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.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Phone Home

Tim got a wild hair, just as Tim tends to do. He found a house.

I said, "Well, you need to go look at it the inside before you get all carried away with yourself." (Right hand to God, I figured that the inside would be a disaster because the roof looks wonky.) Since he's working on a house right now, with another house waiting to be worked on, I knew that he would not be wanting to sign on for another project. So I thought I was safe.

He happily gets on the phone with 'our' realtor, and makes an appointment for 10 this AM.

This morning, I went off to work, reasonably confident that nothing would come of this.

At lunch time, I called home, prepared to say something to the effect of  'well, things work out the way they do for a reason,' or 'it just wasn't meant to be' or some other comforting (and totally insincere) platitude.

I caught Tim on the roof of a house. I said, "So did you meet with Ron?" and he cheerfully said, "Yes I did."

I began to grow concerned at his cheerfulness.

"It looks really nice," he says, "but there's a little glitch."

A little glitch? I began to feel hopeful again. He continued on. "Yes. Two properties are being sold together."

I said, quickly, "The house next door?" (because it is vacant, and I don't understand why it is not a blighted property). "We're NOT buying the house next door," I said, preparing to dig my heels in.

"No, no, no. You've got to buy her beauty salon."


Tim said, "Someone wants the beauty shop. I'll tell you all about it when you get home."

I hung up the phone and headed to the microwave to heat up a lunch that I'd suddenly lost my appetite for.

If there is a 12 step program for Tim's addiction, it probably leads to the front door of an old house....and the steps probably need fixed.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


You know how, sometimes, you have an idea in your head that never quite matches the reality of the situation?

After I got off work while William was in school, I'd drive up to the school to pick him up. On the way, I'd pass an older white haired gentleman with a beard. He was walking with a young boy. His head always seemed inclined to hear what the lad was telling him. The boy seemed happy to have the undivided attention of his grandpa and would be talking away. 

It was such a sweet picture, and it gave me a happy moment to see them and their quiet joy in simply being together. 

Then came a week when I did not see them. 

I wondered about them. Did something happen to the elderly man? Did the little boy move away? It seemed that I would never know. Shoot. I did not even know their names. 

I was at a protest, and there was honking and beeping and chanting and the like. We were just about to break up for the evening, and there across the street was the white haired bearded fellow.

I shot across the street to introduce myself and tried to explain the small spot of joy it brought to my heart to see him walking with his grandson on the way home from school. My explanation made me feel a little foolish. 

He looked at me, threw back his head and laughed out loud. He said, "It's the small things that make all the difference, isn't it?" 


It is. 

And two total strangers looked at each other and understood. 

I love when that happens.