Saturday, December 03, 2016

Saturday in Target

I am not thinking straight.  Clearly, I am not.

I needed to make a run to Target (about 15 miles from home) to buy some storage tubs.  I am trying to whip this art room into some sort of manageable shape and navigable floor space.  I didn't realize that everyone and her dog, (yes), were out Christmas shopping today.  I'm still coming down from my Thanksgiving high.  I haven't done much in the Christmas season thoughts yet.

In Target, there were kids squabbling, mothers ranting, and what's this with the husbands??  My husband does not go to Target with me.  He doesn't shop anywhere, with me or without me.  There were so many husbands in Target today, with their ranting wives and their squabbling kids.  Interesting.

Speaking about interesting, there was an older couple who walked past me.  They were old and looked really old.  Rough.  Long-time smokers, perhaps.  She, in particular, was wrinkly and drawn.  But she was dressed in some kick-ass skinny jeans, and when she walked away, her backside could have been mistaken for a model, with her above-the-knee leather boots filled by her legs which seemed to go on forever.  Interesting.

Turning down another aisle (the bath aisle, if you were curious), I heard a voice that sounded just as deep and gravelly as Louis Armstrong's.  I kid you not.  I looked around the place in search of some magnificent fellow who was no doubt capable of belting out a tune to stop all shoppers in their tracks.  I peeked down another aisle, and there was the source of this gravelly bass voice: a woman, a youngish grandmother with her two grandkids!  What??!  It just did not seem right.  She was nice looking, as were her grandkids.  Her voice was put in the wrong body!!

Then there was the pleasant old lady, her husband, and their dog.  I have a thing about keeping dogs at home in their yards.  Not in cages or kennels (oh, wait!  That's another blog post for another time.)  I have a problem with all the dogs in all the human public places.  Too many dogs in outdoor restaurant settings, and by this I mean too many dog owners allowing their little, mini dogs onto a restaurant/coffee table.  BLECH.  I don't want to eat from a plate right where your dog has been sitting and slobbering.  I am digressing.  This pleasant old lady, her husband, and their dog simply melted my heart.  The (human) couple was so happy.  No doubt that little pooch has a lot to do with that.  And so, my minor anti-canine diatribe can abate with that sweet vision.

And then I headed towards the book aisle.  This meant I had to pass the multiple toy aisles.  Squabbling kids, ranting moms, husbands who were way out of their element.  Here's a funny I witnessed:  A largish (really largish) woman was yelling (no exaggeration here) to her son, "BUBBA!  BUBBA!!"  A little kid, the size of a mosquito, came round the corner and answered politely, "Yes, Mother?"

And finally, the damper of the Christmas spirit: A big ol' father, dragging around a cart full of coats, followed by four young children and a sweet-yet-haggard-looking woman.  He barked at his wife.  "Take 'em back!"  And she walked away, carrying a few Christmas items, with very little emotion on her face.  Her older daughter followed her, carrying the younger daughter.  All three were a vision in their long denim skirts.

And that was my orientation into the new season of...Advent.

I hope I get more out of it than shopping...

Friday, December 02, 2016

This is Not a Good Chapter

I began this blog some many years ago, when my brother Bob secured blogspot.coms for each of us in the immediate family.  I took off with mine.  It was like a diary in the new millennium.  And I had family readers.  And then, I had friend readers.  And then, I noticed some readers from within the USA, and some international readers.

The voice from which I wrote most frequently was that of a daughter, writing home to her parents. In reality, I knew my Mom and Dad read my blog posts regularly.  Both Mom and Dad would reply or email me a note as to their take or reflection or opinion of any piece I wrote.  We had such fun!  Mom and Dad would write to me by email, or call me on the phone, and we would discuss what I had written.  We might chuckle.  We might sigh, or wipe a tear.  But it seemed that my writing was aimed for my parents' pleasure or "discussion".

About four years ago, I began noticing Mom's short-term memory loss.  Mainly on the phone.  In person, she was great.  But it progressed/regressed (which is it?!) to Mom changing from Mom, into "my mother".  My Mom is no longer there.  She left a couple of years ago.  My mother is still here, living in my parents' home.  She is happy, vibrant, and she is "my mother".

Two months ago, I went home to Pryor Creek to visit my Mom and Dad.  I was brushing my mother's hair one morning (who, at age 88 still has the most gorgeous thick, silver hair that one rarely sees at that age.  My Dad complains that she needs her hair cut.  She doesn't.  She's got it, let her flaunt it, I say.)  My mother commented to me, "You are really good at this."  I replied, "Well, I learned from the best!" And she and I bantered back and forth for a few moments, and then she asked me, "Do you work mainly in hospitals, or in home health care?"

And there it was.

Not six months before, I had told my brothers that this day would soon be here, when she did not recognize me.  I live five hours away from my parents.  I am lucky if I see them once a month.  I was braced for this moment, and it did not upset me.  My Mom left a couple of years ago.  My mother was making terrific, cheerful conversation with someone.  For that, we are blessed.  My mother is cheerful and happy (most of the time.)

Today, I wanted to call my Mom and talk to her.  I wanted words of experience, of wisdom, of humor, and of love.  I did not call my parents.  When I called yesterday, my mother could not even figure out how to hold her phone.

And so, this is not a good or sweet or comforting chapter.  I hate the phrase "It is what it is.", but now, I get its meaning.  Millions of daughters have gone through this, and millions of daughters will go through this.

It's my turn.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pretty Chooks

Each morning I call out to my four Silver Lace Wyandottes, "Here, (or Hear...listener's choice), Chookie-chook-chook-chook." Every morning for months.

I got these four chickens in June or so.  I ordered "older" chicks (or, as I call them, chooks).  Not day-old little chicks, but some with a few weeks of life to them, so that I could forego the month or months of babying the baby chicks.  Cute though they be, baby chicks are smelly and labor-intensive.  Older chooks, ugly though they be, have a greater viability rate.

All I ask of this coexistence between my feeding/housing them, and their existence on our property, is that they provide us with a daily egg,  That's all I ask.

Hooray!  Yesterday was a one-egg morning.  Today?  A stellar two-egg morning!  By George, I think they've got it!  

Yes: Apparently, we have become the Clampetts.

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Big Ol' Moon

Last week I was describing on the phone to that Spouse o' Mine something I had seen out here in the middle of nowhere in rural Kansas.  "They were putting in a big ol' tank."  "A big ol' tank?!"  And that's how he, Aussie folk, mocked my Okie vernacular: big ol'.  And the "ol' " is not pronounced as you might hear someone from the East or West Coast reading it from a book - it's not "big ol" with the tip of the tongue pronouncing the "L" (as in "Olaf").  The "l" is pronounced, starting in the back of the tongue and meandering towards the tongue tip, but it stops somewhere along the way, as only an Okie can do it.

Big ol'

Whole slew


Rilly big/little  (rhymes with "hilly")

And so it goes..

Anyway - here is my addition to what no doubt is a whole slew of rilly big pictures of a big ol' moonrise tonight:  my tripod was my shoulder leaning against a fence post out in the pasture.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Celebration of Life, in the Present:

Last week I received an invitation to celebrate an acquaintance and neighbor's 91st birthday.  She is an acquaintance of nearly fifteen years, and a neighbor...some seven miles away.  (That's how it works in rural Kansas.)

It was a morning coffee today with something like ten women attending. Ten women of three generations -PLUS two children of another generation - so...four generations celebrating coffee and coconut creme cake with this amazing woman, around her rural kitchen table with which most of us are so comfortably acquainted.

We women all know each other by close or distant social occasions; whatever the definition, we were all so comfortable in our meeting this morning, it was a true joy.  (We even sang Happy Birthday in  two-part harmony.)

True joy, also, by celebrating this wonderful neighbor's life thus far.  How fun to enjoy the sharing of parts of her life's daily diary, started in 1942.  A daily diary!  Her daughter read spits and spots of it to us, and I was transfixed.  We all had so much fun revisiting our own family heritage/history by her written words.

I left this morning's coffee with a song in my heart.  How nice to be able to celebrate a life well-led, and especially, a life that truly had hardships which she has shared both in her diaries, and to some of us {me} in person.

And so?  There are so many folks out there with great stories to hear and to share.  I am always so uplifted when I visit this neighbor and her family.  Her grace and humor and intelligence.

I guess I would close this by saying "Thanks be to God."
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