Monday, July 14, 2014

The Text Message

I ran up on this picture on FaceBook... scanned it and moved on.
Through out the day it returned to my thoughts so I searched it out this morning and downloaded so I could ruminate...

On the third trip to the health care facility to check on my Aunt Juanita, while sitting in traffic, I ran a search on the internet using my my iphone..."random Bible verse"....I put that in Google and got several suggestions and just hit one...
This one:
The verses shown were:
Mark 5:35-43
35While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue's house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? 36As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. 37And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. 38And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. 39And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. 40And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. 41And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. 42And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. 43And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.
I hit the "speak" on the page and Siri read it to me...I had her read it over and over as I drove to Aunt Juanita. I had questions...Like, "Why" (that's a typical question for me lately)...Why did Jesus tell them not to reveal what happened? Why did he come in and tell everyone she was sleeping when he truly brought her back and advise the family to keep it under wraps. And why, why can't we have that healing for so many here today and now. I thought of Sophia, a sweet little angel who has been battling Batten's Disease and her angel keepers. And I talked to God about it...I haven't gotten the answers I want but He knows my heart.
It was thoughts / conversation I wouldn't have today had I not looked into the Bible.  
Then after I cleaned my bathroom tonight, feeling accomplished but so far behind in what needs to be done that the accomplishment was not as great as I wanted to believe. It's difficult, I won't put on like it's easy caring for someone in a health care facility. It had been a month or so that I had been able to clean my bathroom due to Aunt Juanita falling and breaking her hip. She fell the day after the 1year anniversary of her sister's death and had surgery the following morning. So it's been Central Baptist, then Cardinal Hill and now the rehab at a Health Care Facility. I'm there two to three times a day. It's so taxing working 2nd shift full spend time with her and make sure she has what she needs. Do her laundry, wash her wigs and take them to the salon, purchase items she needs, experiment with things to occupy her time, take her to the gardens, courtyards, and other areas outside, take her to her house these past two Sundays to visit her cat, go feed her cat everyday, and the birds, make sure the house is in order, get her mail in...pick up food or replace the food that is not edible or appetizing to her at times...and the list goes on along with the list of my life obligations. Taxing? Maybe, a little...maybe a lot! Maybe I get resentful sometimes.
AND so ....after I cleaned the bathroom tonight I got ready to sit down with my iphone and check in on a few things...and remembered the above picture. So I picked up my Bible and went out to the front porch. The sky was opening up and it was so inspiring. I opened my Bible to the New Testament. I looked to the right of the page for "a message."
There it was.
vs 40 ...."Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me."
I went back to the beginning of the message...verse 31 of Matthew 25 and read to the end of the conversation being verse 46. and if I didn't get anything else from this "Bible Text" I got the important message...that what I am doing for Aunt Juanita, it's the same as if I am doing it for Jesus.
And those lonely people that I want to hug that sit and wait for their family members to stop by and love on them...when I smile at them and pat their shoulder when I walk past them...I'm patting the shoulder of Jesus...and how can a person get down about that?
This entry is not to try and make myself feel better or brag about what I am doing ... It helps document my life happening...but it's mainly to challenge answer the "text" that's calling out to you. Cause I got two texts today that altered my thinking...maybe you are looking for a word, too. Facebook and Instagram are fun to check into...but I need meaning...purpose...maybe you do, too.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

And What Is Rain?

He wrote shortly after he left: "raining"

She responded:
and what is rain ... but a wet love showered upon us ... We can receive with reserve or embrace it passionately ...  today as I worked in the garden ... as the showers lightly fell ... I thought of how YOU have taught me to embrace rain passionately ... my garden inspires me to listen as I see what rain is capable of providing ... I will sleep knowing if it rains I can receive more blessings and my heart will be full just as my rain bucket becomes ... spilling over onto thirsty ground.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Mother's Day Poem from 2001

*Never Enough*

Sometimes I know the words to say,
Give thanks for all you’ve done,
But then they fly up and away,
As quickly as they come.
How could I possibly thank you enough,
The one who makes me whole,
The one to whom I owe my life,
The forming of my soul.
The one who tucked me in at night,
the one who stopped my crying,
the one who was the expert,
At picking up when I was lying.
The one who saw me off to school,
And spent sad days alone,
Yet magically produced a smile,
As soon as I came home.
The one who makes such sacrifices,
To always put me first,
Who lets me test my broken wings,
In spite of how it hurts.
Who paints the world a rainbow,
When it’s filled with broken dreams,
Who explains it all so clearly,
When nothing’s what it seems.
Are there really any words for this?
I find this question tough...
Anything I want to say,
Just doesn’t seem enough.
What way is there to thank you,
For your heart, your sweat, your tears,
For ten thousand little things you’ve done,
For oh-so-many years.
For changing with me as I changed,
Accepting all my flaws,
Not loving ‘cause you had to,
But loving “just because.”
For never giving up on me,
When you wits had reached their end,
For always being proud of me,
For being my best friend.
And so I came to realize,
The only way to say,
The only thank you that’s enough,
Is clear in just one way.
Look at me before you,
See what I’ve become,
Do you see yourself in me?
The job that you have done?
All your hopes and all your dreams,
The strength that no one sees,
A transfer over many years,
Your best was passed to me.
Thank you for the gifts you give,
For everything you do,
But thank you, Mommy, most of all,
For making dreams come true.
Your Daughter
(Ariel was 15 at the time. It is treasured on every read)

And being a Mother was my have five children and marry a George...I am truly blessed by all the six as mentioned in this 2012 post.
Happy Mother's Day!
May you know your worth. More precious than rubies.

Friday, April 11, 2014

So, Just How High Can a Turkey Fly?


I was sitting on one couch with Ricky, Daisy on the other...drinking my coffee and chatting with my big sis on the phone. When Daisy came alive and starting barking like a hooligin at the back door. I'm thinking meter reader, right? I go to the back leaving Ricky on the couch (not cool with a cat in the house BUT I think when bird's see cats they scream out something like, "Taw a putty tat!!!" so I wasn't worried about that as much as I was about a possible intruder in the back yard). Daisy was so upset I had to disconnect from the phone...and concentrate on locating whatever had Daisy in a bind. Couldn't see a thing...Which is odd. Daisy is not a story telling like some dogs are.

And then I located it...a turkey...tip toe-ing through Daisy's domain. Of course, I ran and got my camera. No worries, I gave a quick glance toward Ricky as I passed by. He was alerted to all the action but safe.

Tip Toe-ing through Daisy's yard
And well, when I came back to the kitchen window, I learned there were two intruders.
So I shot BOTH!!!!!
Just so I could have turkey to share with YOU!

and like that they were gone...Daisy wanted out soooooooo very bad.
And that was not an option as I was so concerned she would run
helter-skelter into the road after them because she was so keyed up.
Grateful that Pika is way too lazy to get up and join the excitement,
I put Ricky back into his habitat to collect himself.
I'm certain barking is to Ricky as squalking is to Daisy.
I kept Daze in for a time...but she continued to stay at the back door in solider mode.
"Okay, Daisy, but I'm going out there with you and you best better NOT run toward the road.
And she darted out the door...
toward the field.
And I felt a relief.
But I had let my guard down...and was unable to shoot the next event...
Somehow Daisy knew there was a third intruder in the tree line of the field.
And I only became aware of the same as I saw her flush him out.
I said out loud as I watched it unfold...
"Just how high can a turkey fly?"
I watched as it flew over 50 foot above the trees...a goofy-majestic bird...looking like it could kerplunck with it's chubby physique at any moment...the bird that George reminds me everytime we see one..."was the first choice for the national bird"
Yep, Just how high CAN a turkey fly?
 "Just as high as he needs too!" I answered myself.
And Daisy came running back so excited about her mission...
and expecting praise for purging the property.
And she got what she was looking for.
She always does.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Spring Conundrum


I struggle with PTSD. There I said it. Don’t ask me what the traumatic incidents are cause I may never be ready to share. What I want to share is a “spring” thought.

With  PTSD I experience periods of depression. Again, stay out of my business.

I also know I am not the only one. So, when I find pieces of hope or tools to cope I tend to want to share. Cause I’m heart is big and my love is so strong.

Today is the first day of spring. And after days of feeling impending doom, I woke with Daisy’s sweet smile…and noticed it to the point of basking in it. My granddaughter sent a good morning video and told me she loves her Mimi. I saw a note of inspiration posted by someone who is hurting real bad. I stood an egg on balance as I had done with my children spring after spring after spring. Brought back precious memories and I found myself smiling. I observed the mess around me that piled up in these dark times…and it didn’t seem so big.

Daisy coaxed me outside… I had that feeling of ugh..she makes me move when I don’t want to…I grabbed some poo bags so I could pick up the past two days of presents Daisy had laid around and be productive. I urged Pika’s fourteen year old tail outside with us (if I have to go, you do too). And chucked the ball…

I picked up the presents, chucked the ball, noticed the workers driving in and noticed my attire (wearing my pjs, my housecoat, and my orange rain boots as there are no fashion requirements on the 100 Acre Wood), continued to pick up poo and chuck the ball… watched Daisy ecstatic and Pika inspired, clearly aware of my smile.

And I felt guilty.

Guilty that I felt happy at that moment.

As if I had some loyalty to my depression.
I looked at Daisy’s face as I picked up poo, her smiling and panting, begging for me to chuck the ball again, I’m picking up poo.

And that’s exactly what I needed to recognize. You get dressed. You smile. You deal with sh**, you keep moving. It’s okay to be happy. It’s okay to be sad. Maybe I need to accept life as it is, “chuck it, deal with poo, smile, chuck it, clean up poo, smile….”

Maybe that is my inner peace. To accept life on these terms. Instead of wishing I could fix, change, redo. Keep moving and cheat on my depression when I can. It’s so entangling. So takes over every facet of the day. Why not cheat on it when I can!?

Today. At this moment. My heart is not beating erratically. My mind is not making circles around itself. I don’t feel like I’m trying to run in mud. And the elephant has shifted a bit off of my chest. Tomorrow may be different.

 But today, it’s okay to feel in tune with spring.

Pika encouraging spring stretching

Making another happy is inspiring

Chuck it, deal with poo, smile, just keep moving

Daisy...she loves me..

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Trees in Early Spring written 4-9-96

       Standing there
        Reaching tall
            Many without any leaves at all.
            Still proud of what they do
           and proud of where they stand.
            Could they be an example
            to every man.
            No matter the season,
           No matter your race,
            Lift your arms up toward heaven
             Giving God upmost praise.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

She Reminds Me

 Juanita Carter has lived through a childhood of hard times. She talks of her mama feeding the hobos when they lived on Owsley Avenue and handing out sugar cookies to the neighborhood children.

And she reminds me to give to the needy.

Juanita Carter married a military man who came back feeling the wounds of war. She continued to be his partner despite his tremendously difficult behaviors. She nursed him and his mother through illnesses. She cared for and created a home for them.

And she reminds me to have selfless loyalty.

Juanita Carter has a bond with her baby sister. That took them places. That created adventure. That allowed lives to be touched in blessed ways. That keeps her heart full even after her sis departed this earth.

And she reminds me that friendships are golden.

Juanita Carter did not give birth to any children of her own, but she has many children that love her dearly. She gave to her niece and nephews, great, greater and greatest as if she were the God Mother of all. She has loved their joys, and she has felt their sorrows.

And she reminds me that children are a blessed gift.

Juanita Carter served those in nursing homes and those unable to leave their own homes. She lovingly wrote cards to encourage. She gave gifts. She sang songs and Bible verses.

And she reminds me to shine for others that need the sunlight.

Juanita Carter is a cancer survivor. She survived another surgery in her later years that doctors said would not be life sustaining.  And yet today she still walks miles and miles.

And she reminds me to be a fighter.

Juanita Carter touches the dirt and flowers bloom. She has always had flowers, trees and plants that she has cared for and nurtured. Her knowledge of and continuously love for the blooming growth inspires.

And she reminds me that I can find joy to share when I put my hands in the dirt.

Juanita Carter feeds the birds and the cats of her street. She will not stop. Sometimes I think if she didn’t have the funds to provide for them, she would sacrifice a portion of her food to fulfill their needs.

And she reminds me God has made us masters over these creatures.

Juanita Carter puts her thoughts on paper. She writes encouragement to others. She writes about her journeys so she can remember the adventures to the fullest. She uses words to bless others.

And she reminds me that words can be life changing and the importance of documenting otherwise forgotten moments.

Juanita Carter chose after a stay at Cardinal Hill to put to use the physical therapy she was taught and continued it at home. She exercises regularly. And she has laid a path in her back yard as proof of her steps to stay fit.

And she reminds me to take care of myself.

Juanita Carter is celebrating 93 years upon this earth. She has endured changes in abundance. She has had to say goodbye to many loved ones. She had seen heartache and she has felt troubles around her. Yet she had kept her faith. She has relied on God’s word.

And she reminds me to pray.

And she reminds me I’m in the hands of the Master.

And I like being reminded…by my Aunt Juanita.

Aunt Juanita 93rd Birthday
Aunt Juanita on a trip with Moma and Granny

Aunt Juanita

Aunt Juanita and Granny

Jessica and Aunt Juanita

Aunt Juanita and Skippy

Back home after surgery 2010

Pretty in Purple

Aunt Juanita and I

Aunt Juanita on her 92nd birthday

Ariel and Aunt Juanita ~~~Joy

Sunday, December 29, 2013

"Get These Mutts Away From Me" --Paul Simon

I’m thinking again.

Ran DUI enforcement last night and got in at 4AM. So, when the dogs woke me up at 8:50…the lack of sleep created thought thinking I might not normally do…or well, at least think and admit.

I’ve devoted myself to focusing on the dog sitting. Having my Daisy, Gus, Lexie and Bishop. Only allowing work hours and a lunch with Ariel to interrupt the flow. I can’t tell you how many dog hairs I’ve eaten the past days. I’ve stopped trying to retrieve any that I feel go into my mouth. If I reach in to get one, I end up taking in a few extra during the effort. It’s not worth it. This morning, I found myself feeding small pieces of my boiled egg to each dog…as I ate it. My fingers just torn off a piece and let each of the four dogs take it out of the same hand with which I fed myself.  I’m not sure if I’m losing it or not. I do know that in a bind, one boiled egg can be split in many ways. Just saying.

But anyway, I’m focused. That’s hard for me sometimes. I’ve fought it wanting to get Emily over for a visit this weekend. I have not allowed myself to ask Craig. Because I know I need to focus on the task at hand. I’m teaching myself that I really don’t need to have several things going at once. To enjoy the moment. Stop squeezing multiple activities in at once. Live in the moment, Shep. Live in the moment.

I do prefer sunnier days though for dog sitting…Gus, a golden doodle, mostly white, in this rainy muddy environment…has been deemed a mud puppy. But they have to go out.
Rain can just cause glitches in this dog sitting.
Picking up soupy dog doo is not real fun…but necessary…if you leave it lay, they seem to run through it or Bishop (who must be on a tether at ALL times) will drag the led through every pile. Guess how may piles daily with four dogs…12+…poop machines…furry poop machines. Maybe all that tail wagging stimulates the activity…who knows. I’ve been conducting poo pickup twice a day. And it’s time consuming, you know…if you LOOK for it, especially if you haven’t had the opportunity to view the act in progress…and mark the area in your mind…it’s difficult especially since there are decaying leaves all over. I’m convinced if I really want to move quickly in locating the “stuff” I should put on my nicest shoes and venture out…then it’d be inevitable. I’d probably be stepping in every pile. But hey, I’m not complaining…life is a poopie business. Accept it and do the paperwork or end up with a stinky disposition.

But poor Gus. I have never thought anyone would be afraid of Paul Simon. When I put it in the player, he wants to hide in the closet. I turned the sub woofer off…and I don’t play it loud. I’m too old for that. Maybe, it’s the words…(?)  

“Don’t want to end up a cartoon
In a cartoon graveyard”
Bonedigger, bonedigger
Dogs in the moonlight
Far away my well-lit door
Mr. Beerbelly, Beerbelly
Get these mutts away from me
You know I don’t find this stuff
Amusing anymore”

Maybe if I were a dog I’d take offense to it…Who knows what goes through his mind. Daisy loves Paul…but again, her favorite song is the father/daughter song…probably cause he sings of loyalty…

I'm gonna
Stand guard
Like the postcard
Of the golden retriever
And never leave”

I have learned something so far in this round of dog sitting…you might want to practice, too…Get up in the morning…and eventually put your clothes on…over your pajamas (I have to do this to go outside and play ball and conduct poo detail). At any point during the day if you start stressing, just take your clothes off! Yep…there you’ll be in your jammies…and all will be good again.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Dog "Tails"

So, I dog sit sometimes…and 98.9% of the time I enjoy it…even though it’s a lot of work. I’ve just never been scared of work. ‘Specially if it produces good stuff. Daisy’s enjoyment percentage is quite a bit lower, but she’s not writing this, I am so it’s mine that counts right now.

I’ve blogged about different dog sitting experiences in the past. Including a nine day stay with Hampton and Reggie…and I would like to do this with every dog sitting experience but it’s exhausting keeping notes and trying to find the time to put it on paper. So I have just come to say a few things here and there on Facebook via pictures or blog about an incident that was nonetheless doggone scary as when Peanut was with me and the story “runs” away on it’s own. I’ve had Izzy run into the road, take a tumble with a car only scrapping some fur off her leg but this is not the only death defining act she has encountered. I heard the Georgetown by-pass has a sign up: WATCH OUT FOR IZZY! There are so many “tails” but my mind is seared with the scary moments and all the fun lessons and behaviors are easily forgotten. I know if I don’t get this down tonight I’ll forget and it was so funny…

I had fixed pancakes for my supper…oatmeal pancakes, with blueberries, with pecans served with applesauce on the side. I did share a few bites with the canines…this is a bed and breakfast,  you know. I started cleaning up and all the guys and gals went to find a place to rest. Daisy, who remember, I said has a lower percentage of enjoyment from dog sitting? Well, she went to the bed…Bishop followed her. Lexie went to her dog bed in the living room and Gus went to the couch. I loaded the dishwasher and since Gus had not finished his dog food, I poured it in a small baggie to keep it somewhat fresh. One piece fell out as I poured and landed in the floor. Now Bishop, who is in bed, in the other room…He comes running in the kitchen, straight to the dropped piece, eats it and goes back. Like some kind of sonar! It was a funny sight I want to be reminded of later…so I write.

Earlier this morning…we were headed to the dog park. Because Bishop likes to run and I’ve written about that before, too. I decided I was going to take him somewhere he can run loose and get his ya-ya’s out as much as possible this visit. So first thing this morning, not counting coffee, I did load Daisy, Gus and Bishop…Lexie won’t go with me…the thought of being crammed into the truck is just not her idea of joy. I get in the truck and drive…and noticed the door on Bishop’s side is not totally secured. So as I turn onto Winchester Road, I take the shoulder to secure it. I’m very concerned about fast close vehicles so I open my door just enough to get myself out…and BOOM! Gus is OUT!!!! On WINCHESTER ROAD!!!!! I am a fast operator, yes…but pleeeeasssseee!!! I yell, “NO GUS!” And look up at the white pickup coming toward him and throw my hand up and yell, “Stop!” Which he does and Gus stopped long enough for me to grab his tail, (so sorry but it was a desperate measure, I didn’t pull it, I just used it as a hold on tool as I reached for his collar—NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THIS INCIDENT). I put him in the passenger’s seat and yelled, “THAT… WAS… STUPID… GUS!!!!!!” Daisy was sitting behind him and her ears were pulled back looking toward him as if she were saying, “YOU ARE IN TROUBLE NOW!” But he wasn’t …he was safe and that is what mattered. However, I did experience an adrenaline dump…that took to the dog park to subside.

And so…the first full day …it’s close to bedtime…everyone is safe, fed, watered and worn out…and as I type…Lexie sneezes, Bishop sit up, Gus starts barking, Daisy gets up and looks at Lexie and I laugh. Lexie starts fusing at everyone like an embarrassed little ole lady…hopefully I can catch Lexie’s fussing voice some time. It’s very authoritive. Now she’s gotten up and left the room. We’re so juvenile.

 Video caught just minutes after my post...Gus suddenly decided to wrestle sleeping Bishop and even though Lexie is worn plum out...she took a few moments to get a little bossy.


Sunday, December 1, 2013


I shared with you

I placed in your hands

Fragile as it was

You tossed it up

Exposing it to many

You allowed it to fall

Breaking my confidence

Leaving sharp shards

To penetrate my soul.    
DLS / 2013

Proverbs 25:19

Confidence in an unfaithful person in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

- King James Bible "Authorized Version", Cambridge Edition

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Driving Ms Juanita

Granny got her license when she was 55; I remember when she did. When she was here with us, I asked her why she decided to get her license then. She told me she got tired of having to ask others for rides. I’m so glad she did. She and Aunt Juanita would go for country rides as they got older. Aunt Juanita told me that Granny said it relaxed her. Familiar roads…they do have a way of easing your anxiety. They would go to McDonalds and Aunt Juanita tells me, as they left, Granny would say, “Let’s go for a ride.” And Aunt Juanita would tell her, “Well, Georgia, that’s what I was thinking.” Aunt Juanita told me when I asked her how often they would take these rides, that they did so “whenever we could catch a good day.” “Sometimes, we’d stop and get a coke and chips”, she reminisced, “I’d feed them to her as she drove.”
Their usual scenic route was Old Richmond Road, to Walnut Hill, to Delong, to Tates Creek Road, to Spears and into Nicholasville before heading back home. On Spears when they would past Liberty Road, Granny would say, “Well, we’re right back where we started, Sis.” You see Aunt Juanita lives close to Liberty Road in Lexington. These are the kinds of things we talked about today as we took the ride the two sisters had been riding for years. The first time this year. The first time since Granny last drove her. My heart was so full. I tried to fight back tears so I would be the safe Sunday driver I needed to be. But she melts my heart. When she talks about loneliness, when she speaks of missing my granny, her sis and my mother, her niece. Sometimes, she talks of her late husband, too. Her memories create a closeness to those she loved and as she reminisces, the heaviness in her heart is lightened. Her eyes sparkle and her words are clear in every mention of Granny, Moma and Leon.
I called her and asked what she thought about going for a ride and she said, “Let’s go!” I was expecting the usual, “No, it’s just not a good day for it.” “No, the weather might turn bad.” “No, I probably should just stay home.” But she had been doing laps in the yard, as she does every day the weather permits, and the autumn winds had called to her. I’m always so proud to see my 92 year old Aunt hoist herself up into my truck. “This is my obstacle for the day,” she said as she climbed in without the help of a step stool.
She came out of the house in Moma’s coat, a tweed short coat with red, purple, pink and blue. Immediately telling me how it makes her feel close to Wanda when she wears it. How she can wear any color pants with it and how she hopes to get a purple pair of pants to match the purple in it. Moma came up during the ride several times. As we passed a big red barn on Walnut Hill, Aunt Juanita told me how Moma got up in the yard across the street so she could take a good photo of the barn and all its glory. She talked about stopping at country stores with Moma on rides. And she talked about how Moma liked small towns. She was so precious as she explained, “Wanda liked what we liked. I guess you could say we were compatible.”
It was perfect lighting, perfect weather, just plain perfect timing. The colors on the trees, the sights along the way, I felt were there for her viewing. As if Granny  made the request and things were divinely taken to the point of perfection for “Sis” on her long awaited Sunday drive.
As we passed through Nicholasville, I stopped at McDonalds. You must know the two sisters were McDonald’s consumers that defies all “make you over weight” odds. Her request for a burger is always the same. A quarter pounder without cheese on a regular bun, cause you just don’t need to digest all those seeds. She torn the bag in such a way to make a drop cloth of sorts on her lap. She placed a napkin in the opposite side of the burger because, “Sis always said she didn’t like looking at a cardboard box while she ate.” She recognizes their peculiarity and went on to expound on several quirks. If they were given fries that had salt on them, they would get extra napkins and wipe the salt off of the fries before they ate them. Then as time passed they began to pull the ends of the fries so they wouldn’t choke on them. The inside of the biscuits, in their favorite biscuit and gravy meal, were always discarded before the rest of the biscuit was broke into pieces and the gravy, which is always ordered on side, was applied.  She knows she’s’ persnickety. She chuckled at the workers at McDonalds having to get used to all the quirks. Just part of her…I offered to take her to Frisch’s…but that was out of the norm for thier country ride. 
I asked if she was up to seeing the creek on the Hundred Acre Wood…and she was. I drove her down passed the plowed fields and parked closed to my thinking spot. She marveled at the little waterfall, the clearness of the water, the little island spot. I held onto her as we walked. Plenty of walnuts have replaced those I picked up last month. It’s like walking on marbles. I would so hate to be the cause of a fall that would render her dependent. I picked a walnut up, smelled it, saying, “I just love the smell of walnuts.” I handed it to Aunt Juanita and she smelled it saying, “I do, too!” Then looked up at me and said, “What in the world is wrong with us!?” “Not a thing, Aunt Juanita, not a thing.”



Friday, October 18, 2013

A woman, a dog and a walnut tree, the more you beat them the better they be. (?) ---Thomas Fuller (a churchman and historian)

I pulled into a little lot where the signage indicated tractor part sales. But I could tell I was in the right place to let go of these walnuts. There were orange bags stacked high on palates. There was a truck backed up to an area where a small crew was shoveling from the bed. At least five trucks of all sizes pulled in after me. I got out and went inside. The lady behind the counter acted as if I was on my own with this process and told me to line up outside.

I go back out to the truck and think everyone and his brother showed up while I was in there with my brief inquiry. Most everyone wearing flannel shirts and blue jeans with black walnut stain, work boots, missing their teeth, looking like hygiene was not one of the important elements of the day. And…most had a cigarette hanging from their lips. I backed up toward the area cause I knew I should be next and while they were still shoveling out of the same truck I noticed coming in, I walked over to one of the fella’s at the station.

“I’m foreign to this process,” I yelled over the noise of the hulling machine.

“You’re what?” He responded with a look of confusion.

“I ain’t done this before,” I yelled back.

“Oh! He said and pointed toward the line across the parking lot. “Go get in line.”

“I believe I was here before all those in line already, Sir.” Fortunately one of the fellow workers has seen me pull in, probably noticing me due to having a golden child hanging out the back window and he shouted, “She was here first, I seen her!”

So, I got my place and backed the truck in. Two of the fella’ s wearing flannel shirts and caps, one with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth started shoveling. I started asking questions…cause for one thing, I was foreign to the process having picked up walnuts as a child, but not been a part of the selling. For another thing, when you feel out of place, like you walked into another world, it helps with the anxiety level to chat someone up.  

The hulling machine had a belt that lifted the walnuts up to be hulled. As they were hulled it spit the refuse out to the right down another belt into a bed of a truck. To the left it spit out the walnut (still in the shell). A poochy bellied fellow wearing jeans and a white t-shirt stood there with an orange mesh bag catching the walnuts as they came out. His poochy belly was accented by the walnut stain on his t-shirt which seemed to indicate his belly’s frequent contact with the product.

Evidently, I was a threat…This is the second time this week I’ve been a threat but I’ll save the first experience for another day. This day, standing beside my truck, as the flannel shirt wearing country man shoveled walnuts from the bed of my truck into the hulling machine, with a partial cigarette hanging from his lips, I was treated as a threat yet again.

She was walking up behind me as I asked about the use of the discarded hulls. He slowed and explained they drove it "up the hill there", pointing in the direction, and "spread it out…it's like a fertilizer." She swoops in, refreshes his front flannel pocket with a new pack of cigarettes. He never stops working, they move together as if they have practiced this many times. Without stopping she picks the partial cigarette from his lips, plants it in her lips, glares at me and walks away. I was so relieved she “marked” him like that cause it would have been a real career changer for me if I had been given the opportunity to fall for him.

Three and a half mesh bags of walnuts. The fellow with the walnut stained t-shirt weighed my product and gave the blue memo note to the fellow that almost had my heart before Cruella stepped up. It read 177 …He told me to take it inside and the lady behind the counter would cut me a check. I thanked him for his help and pulled up to the door. The lady wrote out a check and handed it me. Yep, folks, $13.00 per 100 pounds after hulling…my truck bed almost full held 177 lbs hulled. The check for $23.01 was accepted with a smile and a thank you.

When I walked back through the door viewing all the trucks with the women and men waiting their turn to dump and gather a small check that will probably just cover their carton of cigarettes, their desperateness hung heavy in the air…and Me in my dark Gap jeans tucked into my snazzy orange rain boots, my clean black shirt getting into a nice Toyota truck, sporting a well feed, beautiful golden child…yep, when at all possible, I'm driving Ms Daisy… I felt so out of place and like I had mocked them.

Might seem nutty to you, but regardless, I did drive away with a feeling of accomplishment; for the life experience, the enlightenment, the connection with country.