Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving To You and Your Family

The bus slows to a stop, the red flags of caution extend, the brakes squeak, and the folding doors slide open. She literally bounces off of the last step, identical pigtails on either side of her head flounce and she begins to skip. Because I am sitting in my vehicle behind the bus, I cannot see her pretty little face, but I know she is smiling; and I watch as she skips all the way to the back of the lot, knees reaching high as if she were in a marching band.

I was a single parent to my two sons for nine years.  There was rarely a time that I didn't worry if they were getting everything that they needed; was I providing all the right things, materialistically and maternally? Was I exposing their minds and hearts to all the life they needed to see and hear about? And would I, as a woman, be enough as both mother and father for all their needs?  

Now that my children are grown, I look back at all the time I wasted worrying and fretting about such things, what I could and couldn't afford. Children don’t need all the things that we buy them, and they certainly don’t need so much access to cable television or video games. What children do need is their parents; our time and attention, the guidance we should be providing, the discipline and the love.

The lot that little girl was skipping through was the parking lot of a local stay by the day/week hotel here in Quincy. As she skipped all the way to the back, I could see what appeared to be her mother sitting in a chair on the stoop of their doorway, watching her daughter get off the bus and come home. Did they lose their home? Did this woman leave her husband and this is the best she can do right now? Well, I don’t know what their fate or circumstance was, or why this is where they are calling home for now, but I do know something about what I saw and I’ll tell you what it was.

What I saw was a Mama who, no matter what hand life has dealt her, is doing all the right things. She is providing her daughter with a safe place to live for however long that needs to be, a bed to lie in, a place that provides both air and heat when needed, and love. She is providing her with love. And I know that because children are the most honest human beings you will ever meet. And any little girl who skips every step of the way to get to her Mama is one happy child.

Spend this Thanksgiving Day remembering the important things in life; your family, friends, and the good times and memories that are being created. Love covers just about any need that I know of; be plentiful, and spread as much of it as you can. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Welcome To My Den

We’re one week into the part of a time change we call Fall Back. Two weeks before it got here and now after, all I hear is complaining; it’s depressing, it gets dark too early. Well, I think it’s wonderful and all the changes it brings are right up my alley.

Leaves falling daily, cold mornings, warm days, then cold nights again. Multi-colored mums are scattered on lawns and front porches adding color to homes that are already beginning to lack luster and the beauty of spring. 

I'm ready for the months ahead and everything that brings. Burning leaves with smoke that intoxicates and perfumes the air with a scent that makes my spine tingle with pleasure; and houses that seem to always smell of vanilla or cinnamon.  Neighborhood bonfires, S’mores on sticks and nights spent with good people and loads of laughter.

I'm ready to sit on the front porch bundled up in a warm hoodie and gather pecans to crack and shell as I sit and watch football on television because it's too cold to venture outside.  And I'm ready to cook big pots of soup, dumpling’s and chili for those wet/cold weekends when you spend your time looking for whatever will warm your soul from the inside out.

 My son and his buddies will be outside my front window hollering, laughing, trash talking, shucking and jiving, bringing life to a too long dead driveway. His man cave will come alive with ping pong matches, Foosball games, and musical instruments long neglected for warmer outside activities. 

Yes I'm ready to hibernate like a bear. To be able to come home, sling off my work clothes, grab some sweat pants and an old tee shirt, claim my recliner and not move. It's dark, it's cold, and I don't have to feel guilty about doing anything else. I will get caught up on my reading as I easily read three times the books during the winter months than any other time. And there will be no guilt; no flower beds or lawns to be weeded or watered, and no sunshine to lure me outside.

So folks grab a book, a blanket, a cup of coffee, or a bowl of soup and join me. Live the good life on the inside for a few months. Get to know everybody in your house again. Get those inside projects done, and get rested up for the next season in line. I don't know about you, but I'm not getting any younger, and it takes these slow, cold winters to help me gear up for those fast, hot summers! However when spring arrives, I’ll be ready to see it again too. So ready for some warmth, longer days and beautiful blooming flowers. I'll beg to go fishing, hook some worms and smell some lake water. Kind of brings you to that old saying we've all heard a million times over, "We're just never satisfied are we?"

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Miss Kitty Lives On

It’s not usually this bad. I mean, it’s not always easy, but it sure doesn't stop me dead in my tracks. Everybody else I know seems to be getting along just fine with it all.  No fuss, no muss, just business as usual. No whining or cry babying, no big humps in the road. So what in the world is my problem?

I was standing in the shower last night, and I don’t know about you, but that seems to be where I do my best thinking. In the mornings when I shower, I mentally plan out my day and in the evenings I guess I’m going over how it all turned out. Anyway, I’m standing there, thinking about this that or the other, and all of sudden my eyes just start welling up. I tried to get myself in check but I just couldn't seem to do it.

Now I’m not a crier folks. It’s rare that anyone will see that happen. And generally, nine times out of ten, it’s over sentimental things instead of sadness, and most often it’s going to be something to do with one of my children. But last night, it had nothing to do with my kids, my husband, my job or anybody else. But for the life of me, I could not make those tears stop flowing.

By the time you all are reading this, I will have gotten over what is bothering me so right now. Time will have passed, and I will most likely have moved on and settled into it, for better or worse. Not much sense in it being any other way, I’d heap rather it being happening than not if you know what I mean. The alternative, as they say, wouldn't please me at all.

The mail has already begun to arrive, shouting the news as I lift the lid on every envelope; funny ones, rude ones, sweet ones, and everything in between. I’m half expecting a full-fledged marching band to show up at my front door any day now playing my all-time favorite “You’re Too Old To Cut The Mustard” by the late great Buck Owens.

I’ll be half a century old in a few more days. It plumb makes my whole body shudder to say that out loud. I don’t know why we all seem to have such trouble with some of the ages that roll around. We’re intelligent people and we know full well we can’t hang out here forever. We’re blessed to be here for a time, however long that may be, and it’s our job to turn that into as much of an adventure as we possibly can while we’re here.  

I knew exactly when my age began to show, and that the new number approaching was going fit me better than I’d liked to admit. My husband is an avid Western watcher. He likes the Gunsmoke episodes more than most anything. I used to fuss and moan about “wasn't there something else on television worth watching more than that”? Well I’m here to tell you, I’m not sure who is racing to get that dang show turned on in the afternoons now first, him or me. And worse than saying out loud that you’re finally that BIG FIVE-0, is admitting that suppertime can wait until you've gotten your circa 1870, Dodge City Kansas, Matt Dillon fix.

 P.S. And for the record; while the younger female generations seem to be insulted when they are whistled at as they walk down the street or drive by in their cars, I on the other hand, glory in it now. Matter of fact, I’m not beyond slipping a ten spot here and there just to make sure it still happens on occasion. Age is just a number, and a whistle a day keep the “old” blues away.. wink wink. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Another Reason For The Season

It started about four weeks ago. The actions were subtle at first. The obvious seasonal clothes were out of the closet, off the hangers and strewn about. Bags of corn feed stacked up under our carport and the occasional gutting knife lying around with a knife sharpener close by.  Empty rifle cases with their contents lying filleted open on my dining room table, waiting to be cleaned. New cans of “non-smelling people” spray lined up on his dresser drawer. And bullets, cases upon cases of bullets stacked up in every direction one might lay their eyes.

The feeder must have a new stand, therefore, I find it in a full state of disrepair on my kitchen counter and when I remark about someone needs to clear it off, there is dinner to be cooked and it’s in my way; I am greeted with the great American speech about who is the meat provider in this family and that my lack of respect for his position as such is very disrespectful. To which I reply, hunting season has been out for nigh on nine months now, accompanied with my “what have you done for me lately” plus “get your junk off my counter if you want to eat” face.

I don’t have enough time to tell you all the funny stories that come with having a teenager who likes to hunt. But suffice to say, you haven’t lived until you open your freezer one Sunday morning, reach down for a bag of frozen biscuits and come out with the left leg of a gigantic bull frog! Yes sir, that incident would have been after his first all night frog gigging adventure. My son thought it was “enough” to put those huge, half dead bull frogs in a plastic bag, and throw them in the freezer for cooking later. Well, evidently one of those old Jeremiah’s had some life left in him, enough to get out of that bag anyway. However at some point he succumbed to the ice cold temperatures and froze to death, belly up, and legs in the air; lying there ripe and ready for this old half asleep Mama to grab ahold to and wake up half the neighborhood in doing so.

In all fairness to my youngest son, there are a lot of hunting "seasons" recognized around here. There is always something to hunt down, shoot, gig, knife, or catch; and he and his buddies do it all. His hunting license is in Georgia, whose season came in the third Saturday in October. Now as I said, they've been feeding these deer for over a month now, so he was all pumped and ready to go last Saturday morning. Didn't see a cotton picking thing, but said he heard a lot of noises. When his dad asked what he thought he heard, he said it was either a teeny tiny deer, or a big dang squirrel. Well it was teeny tiny alright, all that, and he came home with a rabbit.

Now I don’t know how to cook a rabbit. So I told him to call his MeMa, my mother, in Georgia. She was born and raised in Alabama and her daddy was also a sportsman. He too, was willing to hunt anything that carried meat and could be cooked and eaten. There are good things that come out of all his fun, good things for us all. When he called his MeMa, she was able to go down memory lane a bit with a story or two about her Daddy, and share with her grandson the proper way to prepare rabbit. Both of which will be a great memory for my son one day and warm feeling in the heart of this daughter and Mama.