Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Bike

Last week, Grandpa took the training wheels off William's bike. He'd got the bike for his 5th birthday, and he's always been a bit afraid of it. So it's practically new, very seldom ridden. Tim got tired of waiting for William to gain confidence, so he just took the training wheels off and matter of factly said, "Well, you're just going to have to figure it out, William."

And William did. He's been watching other kids riding around on their bikes, and he really wanted to join them. 

So he got on his bike and took off. Just like that, he got on his bike and he was riding all over the place just as if he'd been riding a two wheeler for all his days. 

He was beyond amazed, and came rushing into the house to tell me (at the top of his lungs) that he could now ride a two wheeler. I obligingly went to the door to watch him, and noted that unfortunately, he'd mastered the bike only after he'd outgrown the little 16 incher. 

Saturday night was the last day of the county fair, and Stock Car football. It has become a family tradition. I've been under the weather, so this year I couldn't go, but Tim and William went just as they always do. 

Now just before the "Super Bowl" round of stock car football, they have a drawing. Each kid in the crowd gets a ticket as they enter the gate and then at the end of the competitions, right before the grand finale, the Fair Queen pulls four numbers out one at a time, and the lucky ticket holders win a bike.

William was excited. He told Tim, "I'm going to pray to God to get one of them bikes." 

Tim smiled indulgently and gently explained that there were hundreds of kids there. 

Undeterred, William spent a great deal of the competition reciting the numbers out loud to himself, memorizing them. He recited the number over and over again. By the time the drawing came around, not only did he have his number memorized, so did every person in the vicinity. 

The Fair Queen read off the first number. It was not a match. William slumped a little. 

The second number was called and William studied his ticket anxiously, slumping a little more.

The third number was called and William sat up straight and stock still with big eyes. Two ladies sitting in front of him said, "That's YOUR number!" 

And it was. 

Tim took the ticket from William's excited fingers to make sure he didn't drop it down the bleacher seats and William shot off ahead to claim his bike, scared to death they'd think he wasn't there, and give his bike to someone else. 

William and Grandpa pushed the bike to the gate, and William commented, "I gotta calm down. I'm shaking." 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Death by Patience.

One boy came home tired and dirty from the fair.
At supper time, he ate like a little piglet, and then began to pester to go to the playground. "Listen," we explained in reasonable tones. "We've been working all day. We have things to get done inside the house before we go back to work tomorrow. You had a fun day already and you'll spend most of tomorrow at the playground."
He glared and sulked. "I'm bored!" he whined. "I don't have anything to do." And he flounced to the living room to complain and mope.
I channeled my inner grandma. "Come on," I said. "You can be a chef." Major meltdown ensued. He wanted to do something FUN, not work. "Nope, you're bored, can't find anything to do. I've got something for you to do."
He wailed the blues while I chopped the carrots, celery, mushrooms, chicken, onions, asparagus, garlic, etc. and dumped them in a fry pan with the left over chicken. He howled as he sauteed them. He was still howling when we added the thick rich chicken broth from the multipot and added the rice.
I ignored him and kept on cleaning the kitchen. "Just think," I said, "you're cooking tomorrow's supper!"
To which Mr. Picky said, "WE GOTTA EAT THIS FOR SUPPER?!!! Get ready for a big fit at suppertime." And his lip stuck out stubbornly.
We had a discussion about the fact that he was being terribly rude, while we discussed how pretty our rice dish looked with the colored vegetables, "Hey, I said, "get a bit of rice and tell me whether you think it's done or not. Blow on it," I reminded him. He nibbled and looked at me in amazement. "This is very good."
By the time we were done with the rice, we decided what to make for dessert and while the brownies baked, we had a stern talking to about how he's not the boss, and that no means no, and every time he starts complaining about being bored, I'll find something for him to do.
Licking the spatula, he said, "But I love helping you cook, grandma. It's fun."
The stinker.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Family Time

Tim and I bought property some time back for our retirement home. It is across the road from my sister and brother in law's, and a two houses down from my nephew and niece's house. It's nice to have the 'fambly' time.

Last week, my other nephew (who is in the military) and his wife brought property that backs up against his brother's property.

We had a work bee.

I was standing knee deep in a spring fed pond in my bare feet cleaning out heavy vegetation. I was excited to see that the pond was rock walled. I pulled and pulled and pulled, and made good headway on what my sister had begun the night before. My brother in law loaded up the stuff in his bucket loader and gave the grandchildren tractor rides to the yard waste pile somewhere out across the pasture. After a while, my feet got so cold that I had to get out of the water for a while. My nephew took a turn, trying to get as much done as we could before the thunder rumbling across the hills turned into rain.

Bill's first pitchfork of water plants brought up a largish crayfish, maybe 4 inches long, and I was quick to point it out to my grand niece and nephews. Bill tried to grab him up but he let loose of the roots of the plant he came up with and wriggled back into the water even as I called out, "Look at the crayfish!" Little Niko immediately made gimme motions with his little fingers and wailed, "I want to look at it with my hands!" We all laughed at the sweetness of it.

The thunder rumbled, and finally it began to rain, and three generations went in to eat together.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Hot Summer Day

Last week, I walked to pick up William from camp.

A small girl was sitting on the sidewalk in front of a poor looking house, but unlike many children in the neighborhood, she was attended. Her father was sitting on the steps watching her draw.

"Hi!" she said, looking up from her stencils.

"Hi!" I said back, stopping.

"I have chalk!"

"I see that," I said, "and you have have sparkly chalk. I've never seen that before! And stencils too! Did you make those stars?"

And she began to point. "My daddy made these, and I made these..." and the chattering began in earnest.

Her young father, a mechanic from a local business, according to his shirt, began to look a little self conscious that a total stranger had been told that just moments before he'd been sitting on the sidewalk with his daughter drawing stars with sparkly chalk.

I said, "Well, I have to go pick up my grandson from camp. You have fun drawing."

"Bye!" she called out, waving her chalk at me.

As I continued on my way, I heard her father say, "Gees. You don't need to stop every single person that walks by..." and I turned back to him to call out, "She's adorable, and this was a very sweet moment...don't you be taking that away from me now!" and I shook my finger at him in a mock threat.

He laughed out loud and his little girl did too.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Like most of America, I've been following the cave rescue in Thailand. Studying the maps and diagrams, it really is miraculous that they found these kids to begin with, but they did. I wondered why a coach would have led them 2 1/2 miles into a cave, the passage so narrow at times that they had to squeeze through to continue. Then the rain came and the passages began to flood and they were trapped. 

But the boys were found. Keeping morale up, letters were taken out of the cave to parents, and parents wrote letters which were ferried back in to their boys. Something that touched my heart was the coach's apology to the parents, begging their forgiveness for putting their sons' lives in danger. I was touched again, when the parents' wrote back to the coach. "We forgive you!" "We do not blame you." "We are grateful that you are with our son, because you can help them stay calm." The answers came one right after another, and they were all forgiving and kind. 

I know a woman who is always angry about something. Really. She's always complaining. Something always disgusts her. She's always got to vent her spleen about it. Today, studying her phone, she exclaimed, "Oh! They got all the boys out!" 

I quietly rejoiced. 

But as is her custom, she immediately began to complain about the coach and his poor decisions that led to this catastrophe, and what should happen to him, and on and on she went, her disgust increasing the more she talked. 


It makes me happy to know that there are places where it can still be found, and abundantly, too. Because I have to tell you it is something that seems to be in pretty short supply in my country.