Whimsy…who doesn’t need some?

A psych-out when I start feeling weighed down by nonsense is to “brighten the corner where I are.” It’s the equivalent of Spring Cleaning without the lifting, bending, and sundry other exercise I like to refer to as work. My desk and I are good friends, so of course I ignore it and treat it like crap most of the time, but there always comes a day when the windows have to be flung open and the detritus swept away. Today is that day – AGAIN – in my world, and lucky you, I love to (over)share.

We start with our big honkin’ desktop because EYEBALL FEAST EVERY TIME WE SIT DOWN HERE. You can immediately see what a crucial first step this is, besides which everything from this point hinges on it. (Gah, I always hope my readers are note takers.) Nobody else’s desktop will suffice – it must speak to me, personally, in some way, and most tell me “You are freakin’ nuts, lady” which is when I know I’ve found THE ONE.

Today’s springboard, our dominant image:

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That’s merely the start, although admittedly an auspicious one. Now that we have an arresting vista in front of us at all times, we must upload that same image as our Facebook cover picture. Done. And, since we use a sweet add-on called Facebook Purity, we get to upload a background image for all of Facebook. Furthermore, since the name of today’s game is *cheer,* we’re using this one:

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Is that not an enjoyable little kick in the shorts over and over? When you spend a lot of time somewhere it’s powerful to make it yours.

Next up is our Facebook blog page, which obviously has to coordinate with the overall theme we’re developing here, and this will do quite nicely as our cover photo:

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All of our Facebook pages share a background, which is working out swimmingly, as you can see. We are ON A ROLL, boys and girls. Add this same image as the header for our blog page, tweak the background, and violas!! Moving on…

What shall we do next? We have choices:

  1. Two Gmail accounts whose non-coordinating backgrounds are piteously crying “Pick me, pick me!”
  2. The big loud Twitter header, or is that just my monitor? But yeah, there’s that.
  3. And we have to go get a new Chrome Theme.

Oh, haha, I forgot, this is my page, I choose! We’re doing the Twitter header next and there’s an outstanding reason for that – IT’S GONNA BE IMAGE #1 UP THERE AGAIN! See how simple this is? See a pattern here? Give a shit?

So now we’ll tackle the whiny Gmail accounts. Okay, pay attention because this is where this stuff gets tricky.

WE’RE GOING TO USE TWO OF THE SAME BACKGROUNDS WE’VE ALREADY UPLOADED. If I didn’t crack myself up I’d have no fun whatsoever. And I did try to warn you up top via words like whimsy and psych – which is like a twin or something to psycho, right?

And here’s where you get in on the fun – you get to decide which two of the three backgrounds above you want to use for your mail! You know, when you redesign it all according to what speaks to you.

Okay, all we have to do is find a new Chrome Theme and we’re set – there are a million of ’em and it’s fun. This one’s perfect and I’m happy. Cheery, even. For all the reasons.

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Hope you are, too.

 

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Kicking over the traces…

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Do you ever want out of your skin? You know, because you’re worn out from thinking all the thoughts that pile up in your brain like kindling, splinters poking and needling. Because the stuff held in by your skin hurts all day every day. Because someone you love is stressed and unhappy and you can’t fix it. Because the world isn’t kind and the slings & arrows extract their pound of flesh and energy every freaking day and you’re tired of the ugly. Because all the relentless hurt hurts so relentlessly. And you finally drop your guard and share some of the pain to make it feel less potent and you’re hit with the ice-bucket challenge – dispiriting to the max. Meanwhile, your heart flutters like a bird in your chest and you fully grasp why people drink and do drugs.

Yeah, me too, bubbie, getting out of this skin is Job 1 today; however, that’s apparently not happening, which leaves humor for toughing it out. What’s your antivenin of choice – deadpan, dark, ironic, satirical, blue, highbrow, slapstick, something else… what helps you get through the night? It would be a kindness to come share some of it with us – we’re dyin’ heah. Life is so simple most of the time that when it turns crunchy it’s really noticeable. The world is full of crazy-ass people who make me want to cry, mean-ass people who do make me cry, willfully-ignorant people who make me want to leave the planet – I don’t feel like seeing ANY of it today, boo-hoo.

So come share what makes you laugh. Robin Williams knows how to make the hurt better by sharing it, so he’s my go-to guy.

 

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I’m okay with real.

Summer water classes started on Tuesday so this chicky is in the swim again. It’s great exercise and a lot less dance-y than my initial plunge at another facility – this could work out. The instructor is easy to love and it’s all friendly funny women plus one cute shy husband. Other than a few younger women we’re all approximately from the same era, including our badass sweetheart of a teacher, so there are lots of Judys, Susans, Paulas, Lindas, Nancys, et.al.

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Other commonalities – surprise, surprise – would include hearing loss, bad backs, arthritis, sucky balance, and a laundry list of other choices. There’s a certain comfort in knowing I’m not the only person my age who’s falling apart, but it’s even sweeter to know that everyone in the class, including Token Man, cares about her/himself or they wouldn’t bother showing up. I see it on all the faces – “I matter. This part of my life counts big-time. Let’s keep it evolving upward.”

Humor is how Baby-Boomers roll, because DUH, without it you stop rolling. I advise you, boys and girls, to maintain a healthy personal space between yourself and humor-challenged beings – close interaction rarely ends well. And if you happen to be a libtard “feeler” like someone I know well, you’ll haul the sand from every encounter until it all finally sifts out through your sandals. Our happy lil’ class is populated by people who love laughing at themselves in the good ways – how does anybody keep putting one foot in front of the other without that? Yikes.

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Their sweet little downcast faces ^^^ would break your heart.

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Memorial Weekend…again

Went back to my 2014 remembrance post this morning, knowing that for too many people every weekend is memorial weekend.

It’s a typically perfect Memorial Day morning here, like so many from my childhood, when every year we could count on it to be raining or blistering hot and windstill, or freezing cold, or all of the above, in gusts, or maybe cool and clear after one of those rains. In Lawrence this morning it’s 79º headed for 82, sunny, blue skies, humidity has dropped from 89% when I went out at 7am to 60% five hours later, and it’s exquisitely beautiful out.

But life holds more than beauty  – especially for those who will never see any of it again – and cloudy skies take over sometimes.  By 2pm we’re supposed to be mostly under cloud cover here, which seems altogether fitting for the day.

In 2016 I reshare my family’s story out of gratefulness, and out of reverence for, and abhorrence of, unspeakable loss on all sides throughout the generations.

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First posted Memorial Weekend 2014 (with edits 5/30/2016 – a personalized haiku for anyone who’s bored enough to find them all – link provided below.)

My grandpa enlisted in the Army at the age of 17 and served at the front as an infantryman during WWI.  His six sons were all military men, Army, Navy, and Marines.  The three Marines, 18, 19, and 21 were in the Korean Conflict at the same time, in the same general location, under miserable conditions.  All seven Reese military personnel returned home intact in body and went on to raise thriving families of their own.  Many of my cousins have also served with honor in the military.  The only family member I’m aware of, without digging into the archives, who was directly lost to war, was my Aunt Bette’s husband, making her a teenage widow with a baby. The baby, my cousin Vickie, is standing in front of her mother and between our grandparents in the family portrait. My mama is top right in both the portrait and the thumbnail pics, somehow descriptive of her position in my life for all time. And kudos today to my Baby Aunt Barbara, lower right in both, who put this collage together.

So thankful to have four of the original Reese Dynasty kids – Vic, Jerry, Barbara, and Roger – present and accounted for, on this Memorial Remembrance in the year 2016. Hugs and kisses all around, beloved.

Ongoing family is priceless. Feeling deeply thankful right about now.

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Okay, Constant Reader, the edits took on a life of their own, so don’t even try. If, however, you’d originally thought you might, for the haiku, throw me a subject and I’ll do it anyway!

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There’ll be gray days, Mama said …

“You can only extend the hand of friendship; you cannot force the other fellow to grasp it.”

Things come along entirely too often that throw shade on my discernment, comprehension, and BS-detection capabilities.  Each time I’m left wondering how I could have gotten it so wrong, and each time I vow to learn the lesson and do better.  Some things, of course, can be attributed to the adage “The man woman who has strong opinions and always says what he she thinks is courageous — and friendless.”  But that doesn’t speak to what’s been unfolding for the past week or so.

Question:  Has it ever once occurred to you, Dear Reader, to devise a stealth attack for gauging who your real friends are, or to send suspected disloyalists on wild goose chases to see who will or won’t follow your mandates?  No?  Yeah, possibly because I wasn’t a Mean Girl an In-Girl in school, that brand of cunning feels foreign to me and I can’t relate to it — set-ups, plots, fidelity tests.  I mean, if you want to know something from or about me, ask me — I’ll tell you.  FRIEND:  Are you loyal?  ME:  Yes.  {Or no, I disagree with you, but we’re still on the same side.}  Instead, my prove-you’re-with-me mission, should I choose to accept it, was to troll someone until he/she left a page, but nobody ever said who I was “trolling,” so I couldn’t actually follow through.  Haha, silly me — pretty sure I was the one slated for the guillotine all along — how’s THAT for being clueless?  Anyone having flashbacks to junior high?

Truth — this friendship has longevity to it, a ton of agreement, much fun, a couple of heart-to-hearts, a few this-is-who-I-am convos … so while I wait for the other shoe to drop I’m doing an internal file-search, looking for where the relationship started to go off the rails.  It’s entirely possible that I was wandering around in a fibro fog when the Freight Train of Distrust left the station long ago, and unbeknownst to me started picking up steam.  I do know that the arrival whistle blew shortly after my friend sent out the BFF test, and when I didn’t turn mine in right away it was instant winter on that page.  My friend won’t see this, but for anyone who might view Tests of Friendship as a cool experiment, see if you can first pick up on whether any of your potential testees are currently engulfed in heavy-duty life-stuff, because it may not, for myriad reasons, be possible for them to really get back to you any time soon.  Here is where most of us, when we sensed which way the wind was blowing, would feel compelled to *explain.*  But ‘splaining accomplishes nothing except to make the offended party dig in with increased resolve — and we all just feel shitty afterward.  It took most of my life to scrape down to the actual me — not going back to justifying my existence now.

I shed my tears days ago and the inevitable denouement can take the stage when ready, I’m good.  Being unfriended ain’t no thing, but if I’m blocked on top of that, it’s gonna leave a mark.  It helps that I do understand what happened — the friendship simply became a casualty of what happens around us every day — collateral damage.  It’s a stress-inducing challenge to trust and align yourself with someone whose skin color looks like other people who don’t love you and don’t mind proving it.  By association I’m required to do more, try harder, prove myself over and over, and pass all the litmus tests.  I don’t have to ask you how familiar that sounds.  Every cell in me is sorry the world is so incomprehensibly ugly — I’m trying with all I have to reverse the trend and I thought you knew by now what my heart looks like.  I think it’s gotten steadily harder for you to look past pigment and I do not blame you.  None of this changes my firm belief that race is simply a construct — if we were truly separate peoples, our insides would not match any more than our outsides … but we’re the same under the skin.

Love and acceptance are priceless, as is friendship with a person you instinctively trust, and all of that is hard to let go of.  But since some things do happen for a reason, I’m going to assume this is for the best — you know, maybe we weren’t all that good for each other’s blood pressure and mood swings.  I do know you were good for my heart, however, and I’ll still be over here loving you — you wield a lot of power, but it exceeds even your pay grade to stop me.  I’m grateful for all I’ve learned from you, my friend, and I’m in awe of your feistiness and sass — please don’t rest until you get your hug from Barack Obama.

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Fall is ALL!

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OCTOBER 2015

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Fall, indeed, has fell.

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PROCLAMATION:

Be it known that on this 29th day of September, in the year 2015, I did don a sweatshirt for the first time since storing it last winter.  

Because while out running errands, in thin t-shirt, floppy shorts, and flip-flops, I came this close to freezing my buns off.  Pretty sure the temp was only in the high 60s, so …  And the breeze was chilly on the balcony, in the shade, so hey, sweatshirt weather, fall is here!

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Halfway up the block I had to peel out of it, but it happened!  It’s official, my favorite season is gracing us with its presence.  I’ll shed the flip-flops by first snow.

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The wagon, in its autumn sweetness, was a part of my farm for as long as I lived there and many years before.  I don’t know where it is now, other than in my heart, but I still love it.

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Various and sundry nonsense … everything about the season brings it to the surface …

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Everybody fall in …

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Once in a while time stands still …

For all my new friends here, delving into the archives a bit … this one from May 2014.

There are times when I love people beyond words. A tiny girl in our neighborhood is learning to walk. Every day now we see her with her dad or mom, pushing a little Fisher-Price cart, slowly making her way down the sidewalk. This morning I was on the balcony dead-heading flowers and here she came with her mama. They waited until the coast was clear, then headed across the street in our direction. About the time they reached the mid-point, a police car approached from the east and stopped well short of the intersection … and waited … and waited … and then when Little Miss had safely reached the curb the car rolled ever so slowly up the street. Nobody hurried her, not a hint of impatience was displayed down there on that ordinarily busy street. Something very important was taking place and everything else could wait. You rock, Lawrence, Kansas, yes you do.

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Hello, goodbye …

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Red Leaves

Celia 1 She stepped off the train in Atchison, weary and vaguely conscious of stares as she made her way to the station, maintaining a firm hold on the well-worn carpet bag she’d inherited from her mother.  The long trip out from New York had sapped her energy and optimism — just getting as far as Chicago had been a daunting challenge in itself — and she wanted nothing more than to find her boardinghouse and sleep for a week, not that she’d be afforded that luxury.

During the layover while arrangements were being made for continuing to Kansas on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, she had given serious thought to staying put.  Chicago in 1905, after all, was a place of substance — diverse, full of life and no doubt abundant opportunity.  But she’d made a commitment and when the time came she set her jaw for the Jayhawker state.

In 1887 the state of Kansas had opened the Soldiers Orphans’ Home in Atchison, and when St. Patrick’s Catholic Church wrote to the East Coast dioceses some years later appealing for young women of integrity to care for the children, our girl saw an opportunity.  Celia Miller (neé Mianovskis) desperately wanted out of the tenement flat on the edge of a New York ghetto that she shared with her father and two of her five brothers.  She was almost eighteen and beginning to picture herself as an old maid, and she didn’t appreciate the slightly breathless feeling that gave her.  As the baby of the family, whose mother had died as a result of her birth, she’d been spoiled and coddled by her father and brothers, gruff as they all were.  She’d been allowed to avail herself of the bits and pieces of education that were accessible, to ask questions about the world, to dream … now she needed to try her wings but there was no ladder in place for a lower-class girl with ambition.  The Orphans’ Home, ironically, offered freedom, independence, and excitement, three things notably missing in her life to date, and all she had to do to reap those rewards was  travel halfway across the United States, giving up everything she’d ever known.

Her father had told her stories of Lithuania, and her brothers, too, as if they hadn’t been born in America just like she was.  Proud and feeling unfairly disenfranchised by their first-generation foreignness, they pretended to remember, as their father did, a Lithuania before the Tsar, before all the strife, before hunger and relentless hardship.  Their bravado and inventiveness became an important part of the protective shield they tried to form around their small sister.  The brothers thought, and managed to articulate among themselves after a fashion, that if she had a “real” country to believe in, a “real” history to cling to, her own slightly alien persona would matter less to her, and thus come across in a more pleasing way to the people she met.  So their stories were wide-ranging and sometimes fanciful, but always with a lesson underneath.  For instance in Lithuania, they said, there grew something called a tallow tree, with heart-shaped leaves that turned bright red in the fall.  It was a temperamental tree, but once established it was difficult to uproot or control, and tended to eventually overtake the surrounding area.  That one they especially liked, and savoring their cleverness they repeated it to her over the years until it was part of her DNA.  There were other stories, most all of them about being brave, strong, and determined.  She was a lucky girl, our Celia — other brothers in their circumstances might have counseled a fey coyness, a manipulative sort of avoidance, a safe and chaste route through life.  And just so is a life determined.

Papa Mianovskis, baffled from the first hour by his tiny daughter and more so with each year that passed, was anxious to do right by her.  He loved her in his own way and didn’t want her to leave, but life had made him a realist — he knew he had nothing of worth to offer her, not even his continued protection.  He thought she might be beautiful, and he hoped that might somehow save her.  Thus confused, well-meaning, feeling slightly broken by all that had transpired since he last saw his homeland, he blessed her, and with a sob in his throat gave her more money than he could spare, wrapped in a handkerchief from the Old Country, along with his mother’s rosary.  Her two brothers were equally generous, not only with cash earned from prized American jobs, but also with small food bundles and bear hugs.  Her three eldest brothers were long out of the house, living by their wits like everyone else, and Celia knew it was unlikely she would ever see them again.  She wondered if Papa would hug her — he had never done so — but of course he simply patted her lightly on the shoulder, sniffed, cleared his throat, and took out his hankie, swiping it across his mustache before walking resolutely to the door.  It was time for him to go to work, and for Celia’s brothers to get her to the train station by hook or crook and still make it back for their own shifts.

As Celia’s various trains wended their way cross-country toward an entirely new life, she found herself watching for glimpses of red along embankments and in tree copses of every sort.  She was thankful for the benevolence of St. Patrick’s in providing funds for the trip to Kansas, that she would earn a small stipend for her work at the Orphans’ Home, that she would be provided room and board, at least in the beginning, and most of all that her heritage and the caring of family, haphazard as it may have been, had prepared her for life.  She sincerely hoped that was true, as she could only imagine the obstacles and challenges to be faced in an orphanage.  And Atchison — would it be anything like New York?  A red-leafed tree along the way would be just the thing for easing anxieties.  She knew her own heart, she knew she’d been strong under certain circumstances … but what more was life bringing?

Later, she couldn’t recall the details connected to locating her boardinghouse, or exactly how she got there.  She remembered being thankful that she had only the one bag, an ancient Persian once cherished by her dead mother, to safeguard.  She knew she’d had some soup — delicious! — and a night’s sleep on a feather mattress.  And then it was morning, with its eastern Kansas sunrise, and time to see what reality looked like this far from New York.

An officious-looking man collected her from the boardinghouse and trotted her to the orphanage forthwith, speaking not a word on the way.  She tried to think of ways to start a conversation, but the ride was jouncey and her head seemed to still be sleeping after the long journey.  It scarcely mattered, the distance was short and the destination in sight before she could fully get her wits about her.  Atchison, it turned out, was nothing like New York.

Her escort deposited her on the lawn stretching in front of the orphanage and she could only assume she was to present herself at the front door, so she set out on the curving sidewalk, looking around her as she went.  An imposing red brick building, along with others of the same description, how many she couldn’t tell, loomed in front of her.  She shored up her courage once again and had just rounded a shapely hedge when she saw it, ten feet from the main doors — a small tallow tree, its heart-shaped leaves turning from green to shades of red.  Celia Miller caught her breath, paused, and strode forward into her new life, looking for all the world like Papa.  She could not know then that she would marry well, bear children, and live a life of genuine service … but she was on her way, with a small red leaf tucked up her sleeve. tallow leaves

Soldiers Orphans' Home Atchison

Soldiers Orphans’ Home Atchison

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**Author’s note:  The preceding is fiction, made up out of whole cloth, based on the photograph of Celia Miller, found while sorting through boxes of family pictures with my two sisters.  The only thing I know about Celia is her name.  Correction, two things:  she was also beautiful.  She was clearly connected with Kansas and my family line in some way, and much of my Dierking/Fuhrman family settled around Atchison, so it wasn’t a stretch to imagine a story for her.  I’ve grown to love her and need to know more …

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Memorial Day Reflections

A comment today reminded me of this … I imported it two years ago from my original blog, and I don’t know its age at the time. Suffice it to say that it was written in another time frame and mindset, but I’ve chosen not to edit it … leaving it as is.

A nostalgia piece in honor of Memorial Day …

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During a recent nursery visit to replace trees and plants lost to our western Kansas drought and heat, the greenhouse owner snapped off a king-sized rose bloom and handed it to me. Magically, as soon as I caught its scent, my grandma was there beside me and an entire era presented itself for review.

We grew up across a gravel driveway from my paternal grandparents, on a sweet little farm in the middle of a great expanse of wheat fields and pastures. There were cows and chickens and a big barn populated by sleepy cats, but the best part of the farm was Grandma and Grandpa’s garden. It spanned acres, and included nearly anything organic you could name — potatoes, carrots, onions, radishes, rhubarb, asparagus, sweet corn, peas, green beans, turnips (yucky), strawberries and tomatoes (both of which we were allowed to eat straight off the vine and warm from the sun, taking advantage of the salt shaker Grandma thoughtfully tucked under the leaves); fruit trees including apple, cherry, and peach — and every kind of flowering thing. Peonies, mock orange, baby’s breath, tulips, daisies, columbine, cosmos, daffodils, lilies, phlox, snapdragons … and roses. That list is by no means complete.

All of this was surrounded by hedges that my grandpa kept trimmed and orderly — a tall one across the back, with openings into the orchard beyond, and shorter hedges along the front and sides, with shaped entryways into the three main sections of the garden. Back in a corner, close to the cattle pens, grew watermelons and cantaloupe, sweet and succulent. And a half-mile away, next to an irrigation engine, was a colossal watermelon patch (which became infamous in its own right — a story for another day) that produced enough for all summer and into the fall, including a rollicking annual community watermelon feed.

Outside the confines of the hedges sat my grandparents’ imposing two-story farmhouse, filled with antiques and decades of living, surrounded by a cool green yard with a hammock stretched between two huge cottonwood trees and a rope swing hung from a sturdy branch. The clotheslines where we helped Grandma “hang out a nice wash,” as she invariably declared it to be, stretched across the lush grass.

There was a cement and brick milk house where our dad and grandpa filtered the milk from the cows, skimmed off the heavy cream, and left it all in glass jars to cool in troughs of fresh running water brought up by the windmill anchored next to the building. A battered tin cup hung on a pipe so anyone needing a quick pick-me-up could pump a fresh drink of water any time. That water was life-giving to the farmer coming in off the tractor, the farm wife with an apron full of freshly-picked veggies, or the farm kid tired and sweaty from a hot game of hide-and-seek in the yard. We (my sisters and brother and I, along with cousins and neighbor kids) spent long hours in that yard and garden, held countless tea parties under the towering twin conifers set in the middle of the garden proper, and built more than one fort among the acres of fruit trees and evergreens out back. And on occasion, we worked.

When I think of my grandparents, he shows up in overalls and she’s wearing a homemade housedress and apron, tied at the waist and pinned to the flowery cotton of her dress at the shoulders. And she never went out, hoe in hand, without a handmade sunbonnet. A real lady had creamy white skin, and although Grandma never managed to achieve that standard of beauty, having been born with distinctly olive coloring, she tried. Grandpa, too, protected his head with a well-worn felt cowboy hat that he sweated through in nothing flat.

Thus they went forth every day equipped for work, intent upon it, dedicated to it. Those luscious fruits and vegetables out there in the hot sun were life, and life doesn’t wait. They did their best to corral us, to slow our head-long summer romp through the garden, to foist sunbonnets upon us and thrust hoes and rakes into our grubby little hands. I remember thinking I really should help out more, take more of an interest, learn something while I was at it. But the fork in the big tree behind the milk house was calling my name, my book was still stashed there from the day before, and I was hot and tired and needed a drink of ice cold water from the well …. and I never quite found time to own responsibility and discipline in any discernible way.

There was one time of year, however, when we all pitched in and did our part. I’m ashamed to say, it had a lot to do with the fact that we got paid for our efforts, but, well ….

Every year in the days preceding Memorial Day, my grandparents would cut huge armloads of tightly-budded peonies, wrap them in wet burlap, and store them in crocks of well water in the cool and spacious cement-lined root cellar. Other flowers, too, found their way into crocks, awaiting that early-morning observance at cemeteries around the countryside. Our job as grandchildren was to take old paring knives and snip daisy bouquets in counts of twenty-five, band them and put them into jars in the cellar. It was always a treat to go from the sunny garden to the damp coolness of “the pit,” and Grandma and Grandpa paid us a nickel a bouquet. We were suddenly rich, and Woolworth’s, McClellan’s, and Duckwall’s were a mere twelve miles away.

We somehow gained a sense of having contributed to something very special. The day before Memorial Day, which was known as Decoration Day then, and very early the morning of, neighbors and strangers from surrounding areas started pulling into the drive to collect the big flower baskets and smaller bundles they’d pre-ordered. And many, knowing there was always plenty, stopped by to see what they might pick up. The air had a special freshness about it and people invariably seemed happy and intent on their mission.

I remember feeling proud of my grandma for her ability to grow and arrange flowers into spectacular gifts, and a connectedness to all those people coming to embrace her talents. I felt firmly tied to all the generations being honored on those Memorial weekends, and I still remember snippets of stories from the conversations I overheard.

After all the paying customers had retrieved their floral offerings, Grandma let us kids have the leftover daisy bundles to place on the graves of the nearly-forgotten babies from the 1800s in our small community cemetery a mile from the farm. It always felt like we’d done something amazing by honoring those brief little lives, and the yearly military ceremony conducted by aging war heroes in a sometimes haphazard and ill-fitting assortment of service garb lent added poignancy.

If my grandparents were here now and could somehow read my heart (which I always felt they could), they would be gratified to know how much I actually did learn through their example and the privilege of living in their shadow. Things like hard work, respect for the living and the dead, a certain acceptance that no matter what happens life goes on … these things have stood me in good stead over all the years since Grandma and Grandpa left us.

As with most farmers of that generation they never became wealthy. But the things they passed along to us are beyond price … and well worth consciously appreciating as another Memorial Day rolls around.

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Spring really is here … right?

Working on a couple of things, but they require me to think so it’s slow going.  Plus spring fever makes me want to sit on my balcony all day drinking various things from coffee to wine while Maddie wanders in and out and sasses the neighborhood.  The Bradford pear trees and forsythia are in bloom, the sun is out, and a Rasta chick just walked down the sidewalk in a barely-there top, skinny jeans, sandals, and a stocking cap over her hip-length dreads.  Rasta chick white.  Cool.  #whymeloveitsomuch

This is Lawrence and how the day feels …

forsythia

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