I suck it up and make the call. Palliative care for my mother. It's time. I no longer can be there at the drop of a dime and my dad clearly has had enough whether he fully realizes it or not. I don't want to do this but I really have no choice. It is time. This breaks my heart and my vow to my mother but I know this is right time and the right thing to do.
I call the hospital back home and I am directed to a woman named Beth. I explain my parents situation, my situation and through it all I try not to cry. Beth is very kind. Very. She takes her time with me and she lets me vent. She asks me questions about my mother. This is difficult for me as I feel I am betraying my mother; she was/is an extremely private person, my mother, and the information I am imparting to Beth is terribly personal. I know this is Beth's profession and she has seen it all before....still, it is hard for me to 'rat out' my mom and I am being very cautious in what I say. My mom, with all her faculties in place is a hard, hard woman and no one to mess with. God, don't I know it?!! My mom use to be a real bitch on wheels and she didn't care much whose feelings she might roll over.
Beth didn't ask my name or my parents names right away and for that I was glad...I wanted to ease in to the betrayal.
HERE COMES THE WTF PART
In a small town it is not uncommon to know of people without really knowing them so the odds were fairly good that Beth would know of my parents. When I gave Beth their names she immediately asked for help in spelling my dad's name and then she paused, I assumed she didn't hear my mother's name so I said her name again and Beth replied using my mom's first name and her maiden name and then my mom's brother's name....to which I was like, yeah? Beth explained she was my Uncle's case worker. Beth then blathers on and on about how "difficult" he was and that once he threw a phone at her head but at the end she was with him and he became soft and gentle and to this day out off all her 'people' my uncle remains a soft spot in her heart. Dick was a whack job...a fucking whack job. Everyone in the family knew he was nuts. He did unspeakable things to me as a little girl and threatened me with his insanity which kept me from breathing a word of the horror to anyone. Beth talking about him so lovingly is literally making me sick. I tell Beth I think him an awful man and I always will. I don't want to hurt her feelings since she found a different side to him. I forgave him years ago. I told her despite my feelings I was genuinely happy he found peace at the end, that we all deserve that...and I meant what I said.
ALSO...she knows my mother first hand and it was easy to tell she didn't have a good experience with my mother, which doesn't surprise me in the least. (although as always when people don't care for my mom I feel badly) I have a clear memory of the "uncle dick on the county' fiasco. I was in my late twenties still 'hating' my mom and having her call and rag and bitch about the damn social worker. Which come to find out today is Beth, the woman I am hoping will eventually help me help my mother. Is this all not WTF?
I had to get this out. There is no one left to talk to so this is my release. And I feel better putting it down. I can make sense of out what seemed so random yet not random at all.
I was going to ask, why Beth, the uncle dick thing and her knowing my mom as a bitch....with all that is happening why is the universe dragging up old wounds when the new wounds are enough?
And here is my answer.
the uncle dick thing...i was ready to know he died at peace. his life wasn't easy...my grandpa, i think, beat him senseless. dick was insanely violent...for peace to come to him near his death is comforting to know.
the mom/bitch thing....well, she was who she was, she behaved the way she behaved...i can't change that nor can I continue to feel so sorry for people not liking her. She too had a tough life and she dealt with it by being hard and unpushable.
It is the struggle more than the slide that builds who we are...what happens is not for the choosing our reaction and response is the choice and everyday we make a choice...every moment is a choice. I could choose for this to all mean something deeply mystical but I choose to believe it is simply small town life with a slice of the divine offering me a needed message and a small pat upon the head.
And I shouldn't feel guilty taking the time to sort this out instead of mowing the lawn ....while my husband lays with a fever and low counts, my mother in dire need of a bath, my dad cracking another bud lite and all the other bullshit. Right? Right.
I will get the lawn mowed, it needed to dry out anyway...his counts will go up and the fever will go down, my mom will get her bath tomorrow instead and my dad, well it's cocktail hour somewhere:)
I want answers to questions I don't know how to ask.
Again I can't sleep. It is raining. I open a window and wind blows the rain in. I lay a towel on the sill and keep it open. I want to hear the rain and feel the breeze. Tiny, random speckles of rain pelt the foot I have dangling from the side of the bed and the wind puffs the curtain like a plume as the eave gushes a torrent, such bluster for such an average spring shower. I appreciate the effort on natures part to attempt to produce for me a storm but I am more than grateful for the soft shower to keep me company on this, yet another, sleepless night.
And a good shower can keep you company. Since the little dog at the foot of this bed is apparently off duty it is the shower and I that shall converse and stew the woe at hand.
The woe is not new and the shower and I will not solve anything. I don't know of any solution. I don't have any clue how to make anything better. I have no understanding of why things happen, they just do. It all hurts more than I imagined. I know it will get far worst before it will get better...and that scares me. It all scares me, really.
I wish I could sleep like the little dog at the foot of the bed. He sleeps as he does because he feels that he is loved and he sees that he is cared for. He is a lucky little dog.
Do suppose one day this will all make sense to me? Will I understand why all this had to happen at once and why in the middle of it all the rug had to be pulled out from beneath me? Why the lesson now? What did that awful brand of hurt need to teach me? How does love stop and why don't I know how to stop it?
All I really know for sure is that I NEVER want to go through any of this again.
I can't help but think about the future. I feel guilty about doing it but I need a plan. I need that security of have some sort of plan in place. I have a fountain of ideas but each one brings with it sorrow and guilt. How can I plan?
I wonder about love and will it find me in time. So many hits and misses. Will I have a real chance at what I am looking for? And too I wonder if maybe for me the grand passion love was not the love I was intended for. To stand so close to something of such great value to you and then have the treasure robbed by the unlikely thief is an emotional game changer. I see with different eyes a place where beauty never was. You loose a little of yourself in those shadow places.
I question too much. I just have to accept what is. I am doing the best that I can. Even I know this is way too much for one person. I'm scared. I've never been this alone. I'll get through but I don't know how.
Damn it! I wish I could sleep.
Do you think the cure for Cancer and Alzheimer's was lost in the deforestation of the rain-forests?
What is out there beyond what we think we know?
How does on visualize nothing?
I wonder if I have herniated a disk or is that just stress that's killing my neck?
My puppy is so cutely huggable, I am grateful for his sleeping company.
The shower has passed. I should try to sleep. Tears will come before sleep as they lately always do.
Good night, me.
Driving home from a hospital stay my spouse told me he wishes it was me who had cancer. I was talking about what I could make for dinner....this was his answer.
I get it. I do. Cancer is wicked.
That hurt. A lot.
I have to get this off my chest.
My father calls me at least six times a day; most of the time in some conjured panic fueled by several Bud Lites. This morning it was about their taxes. We have discussed this topic in length on several occasions since last Friday. My father has this whine/weepy voice he uses when he needs to convey his needs/demands. It is oppressively passive aggressive and drives me to the brink...so much so I had buried (the voice) deep in my sub-conscience only to have to re-face it now. With my adult eyes I see that voice for what it is. Still, my father sounding this way is ( I struggle to find exactly how I feel about his behavior) disappointing and that is hard to feel about your dad, but it is what it is. He is just a man. My dad is an alcoholic. He has been my whole life. I love my dad very much, he is a good man. I didn't recognize my father as an alcoholic until two years ago. My children knew but I wouldn't see it. I had always put my father on a pedestal because that is how I wanted him to be. I was his favorite because of that. I stood up for him and I still am standing up for him.
I care for my dad and mom. My mom suffers from Alzheimer's, she is nearing the end. They refuse, sometimes violently to leave their home. So for years I have been driving two hours once or twice a week to tend to their needs. I feel I am doing the best that I can for them. I know they should be in a home but I am respecting and honoring their wishes.
My father is a golfer. He likes the game and adores the clubhouse. Last year his long time golf partner died of a heart attack on the 18th hole, my father was unable to revive him. I was on my way to their house when it happened...I went with my father to tell his partners wife. These are people I have known all my life and my parents have known all of theirs. Dad's buddy passing left my father as literally the last man standing among his contemporaries. The whole incident was very sad and is still difficult for my dad. He drinks more because of it. I have been encouraging my dad to golf again. All winter he said he didn't think he would. The kindness of living your whole life in the wee little town in which you were born, allows you wonderful luxuries, one of which being that someone from the golf course has called my father inviting him to golf with several men that have volunteered to partner up with him. My dad is considering it.
This brings me to the meat of my vent. The phone call from my dad this morning came in while I was talking to my husband, who I took to the ER Saturday and still remains in the hospital. My husband has cancer...end stage...everything is being done...we pray and remain extremely hopeful. My dad knows I have Skippy on hold, my dad also knows I took Skippy to the hospital Saturday, still he continues with his whine...see he knows I will be there tomorrow and I will take care of everything...taxes are the pretense, the real reason, which requires him to carry on like a spoiled child is...he needs to know if he can say he will golf this summer...he needs to know RIGHT NOW! My dad wants me to commit right this minute to being able to be there every Thursday to care for my mom and to take him and pick him up from the course. I have told my dad that I am getting someone to come in for mom while he golfs and the course staff will see to it he gets there and home. THIS IS NOT WHAT MY FATHER WANTS!! He wants me to be there...I tell him with Skippy sick I just can't commit to any certain day. And then my dad, my father, says to me..."Are you lying to me? You told me Skippy was gonna die. By this summer he should be gone and you should be here with me and your mother, taking proper care of us.......
I said something...I'm not sure what...and I hung up. Fucker. Fucking shit. Damn.
Awake when I should be sleeping.
Light snow falls
Furnace, fridge, humidifier hum
Tired body paces,wanders,searches
hopes, wills and stays
Captive choked moans roll
sad little tears
Looking to the sky
asking for reason
hoping for rescue
Wishing for yesterday
where someday lived
Dark is the night
where sadness stews
Lonely is the dark
where love once grew
It is my time to fall in love. A long, long over do romance with me. I have neglected myself for far too many seasons. I love me I just haven't been terribly thoughtful or tenderly kind to myself.
I like my time alone. Some days there is not enough of it and other days there is too much of it.
I fear my near future will have plenty months, perhaps seasons of alone. Like any impending drought I am savoring the moments of plenty to sustain me during the lean.
I wonder where me will take me?
I have not written here in a long while. It feels almost comforting to put words back here. It also feels lonely here but I think that is what I need...a wee spot of lonely where I can chew and digest the past year and fortify myself for what is yet to come.
I spent the entire summer purging stuff. Items I once deemed keepsakes found their way into the arms of other kindred gathers. It wasn't easy but it was easier than I thought it would be. When things come easier than you thought you find yourself more brazen, more courageous and change becomes the sought after keepsake.
Waiting for change is like standing out at that lonely four corners bus stop, staring down an empty highway waiting for the forever gone Greyhound to whisk you to freedom. Somehow that quick ticket to ride to the better place only takes you in one large life sucking roundabout of been there done that.
Knowing that change is all around you does not prepare you for how that change will move and vibrate the Source inside you. The best change comes when you have been still with your soul and allow yourself to really hear the message. The message is the Divine speaking directly from you to you. A most sacred event. This gift comes when we truly learn to stop racing ego forward and sit in peace with the Is inside.
I think this change is the change we search for. The connection we scurry to make is already there waiting for us to be still and to listen.
to be continued.....
For over a dozen years, I have traveled the road from the Wee Village to the City and back again. The homestretch is dotted with farms and fields. Standing alone is a gray, crumbling, once clearly productive farmstead. It remains today as a tobacco spit of jumbled, tumbled buildings, a barn, a silo and a declining yet admirable farmhouse that was once carefully built in front of scant, see-through woods. This long ago thriving home and business is now tattered and worn existing as an island in a sea of tilled earth. It has been sad to watch this dear piece of living ravaged by time.
This Monday morning as I drove past one could not help but notice the old place engulfed in angry orange flames with bight yellow earthmovers at the ready to bury any last trace of the life that was once was shiny and full of industry.
The same dozen years has taken a similar insidious toll on my own Mother. Yesterday, this admirable, once thriving woman lost who her daughter was, lost her as if she never was. This tiny, frail, gray, woman, unknowingly adored exists as an island in a sea of forgotten memories. It is sad watching her slowly leave. My heart breaks for her.
As these last few days of summer slip gracefully by, I have already welcomed, encouraged and shaken the hand of fall. Thus far, the transition has been sublime. The seemingly seamless baton pass of seasons leaves me with little remorse for beginnings or endings but instead fills me with a much-needed sense of calm and a wee bit of resolve.
September arrived to drink empty the oppressive ripeness of August and for a few remarkable weeks I watched what was lush and green become beige and crunchy. There can be so much green in a season of such intense growing that you feel it may just swallow you up. The lustful, passionate, reach for the sky growth became too heady and claustrophobic and as fall tenderly devours the robust green, the sky has begun to open, the passion subsides and I can once again see the horizon.
With the beige comes the harvest, the time I reap what I have sown. It is also my time for personal reflection and clarification. A time for gathering what I need to nourish my body, mind and soul. It is my hope that for my mindful labors, I might be rewarded with wisdom, bounty, October’s brilliant wash of stain glassed color and pure contentment as my warm fire for winter hibernation.
Time moves forward and like it or not I move right along with it. Just as the free spirited hobo riding the rails, I catch only the rides I am supposed to take, there are no missed trains only long forgotten journeys.
The lobby for spending Sunday at the beach began on Monday. My little pea-pod in her very clever way, introduced the beach idea as “Wouldn’t it be great if the weather on Sunday was perfect for going to the beach?” By Tuesday the question was a statement and by Friday it was a fact. Come Sunday I was awakened by an over anxious pea-pod asking if I would like her to make coffee. (She’s good.)*wink*
The game plan was to hit the road by eight and head for the big lake to spend a fun filled day of sun and surf. Since it was already after eight I had the excuse to rethink the direction of our excursion. Don’t get me wrong the big lake would have been amazing, so much so that I held a wee fear that the big blue would take me too far away from the day.
With that thought I suggested a closer destination with breathtaking scenery…a place my soul knows very well.
Not wanting to hit the beach as contractors we packed very little for the day. We hit the road dressed in our suits and cover-ups. Curled up on the front seat of the truck, legs tucked underneath me with a stout cup of hot coffee I felt like I was sitting on a BARCO lounger with the beauty of nature clipping by me as a grand parade. The moment was perfect.
Upon approaching the state park we realized we were not the only family that had thought today would be a great day for the beach. North beach was already full so we pressed on to South beach. Having purchased a park sticker earlier in the year caused our line to creep faster than the lines of day passes and sticker buyers. We were lucky to find a shady spot to park the truck that came with a very short jaunt to the beach. The place was packed. Life bursting and bubbling as far as the eye could see. We seized a good size patch of unoccupied sand and set up our base.
Not only is this park a locale favorite, it is a destination for people from all over the world. The cultural diversity mingled with the amazing surroundings is why this is my favorite beach. Laying there I heard four different conversations spoken in four different languages. Everyone was cooking, eating or drinking and the smells that wafted through the trees were tantalizing and heady. In this place I felt a million miles away from everything I know and at the same time so close to everything I hold dear.
My daughter and I filled a bucket of carefully collected rocks all of clearly remarkable standards. We floated lazily on our backs and told each other what we saw in the clouds. As is pea-pod’s way she began asking me a million questions, not all of which I could answer. In an effort to return to the mellow cloud gazing I suggested to her that too many answers will leave her with nothing to discover.
Drying off on the beach, under the constant yellow orb we all silently observe man and nature in our own quiet ways. With chatter and movement all around everything remains washed in a tranquil veneer. Wet to dry, dry to hot, hot to lazy…a long day at the beach is like that. It feels good to the skin and to the soul to reach a heated pitch and find resplendent refreshment mere footsteps away. Simple, pure contentment often is so elusive in our daily lives yet so easy to come by when spending your day at the beach.
Upon reaching my heated pitch I announced to the family “That I was going in to swim as far out as I could.” Having heard no ob
There in the middle of that astounding lake, with the water lapping at my languid, bobbing body and my breathing echoing through me and out of me into the gentle liquid I found myself asking the big questions of heaven and earth. The response I received through depths of the ancient lake and from the peaks of the jagged cliffs is the answer I gave. “Too many answers will leave you with nothing left to discover.”
Letting that nugget soak into me like the lake into my hair I felt cleansed, resplendently refreshed and restored.
The swim back to shore was a breeze.
The worst annoyance of trying to push out words is when your word pusher becomes clogged. Oddly enough my word pusher became clogged with thought, an abundant flooding gush of thought that seemingly was meant only to live within my head and out amongst the ether as a ghost but clearly unable to be captured in print. Thus has been my angst and pleasure for these last few months.
Summer began in spring with an unrelenting heat and frequent furious storms. Fearing a summer of idle I planted more than I should have, for just as I had finished the tender task of planting penance laced opportunities knocked
My mornings are spent with the sun and heat in a silent protest that I carry barely half a heart for. Four long hours of honks, thumbs-up and unsavory comments that blend with my sweat, thoughts and tears which I pull together to weave into a reason why I remain there standing.
The afternoon is spent in a much more desirable position…my fanny on an old tractor. When the weather is right…hot, dry and sunny, I fire up an old Massey Ferguson and cut beautiful sugar hay into long, green ribbons. I have four fields that I cut. Timed perfectly, each field is ready about a day or two apart…that is when the rain minds.
The sun has left her mark upon me this summer. I am branded brown and freckled, with certain parts peeling and some parts staying red. My legs are bruised by tractor iron and seem unable to catch enough sun to keep up with the top of me. My hair is a wild mess of curls, bleached and brittle and sporting some unholy shade of red.
For the most part I am happy. Penance and pleasure, each chore balances the other. What I earn I am given. It feels authentic to operate this way. It is wonderful when less can really mean more or more to the point it is wonderful when you can allow less to really mean more.
For a great many years I have been told what dish to bring for family events. It is never anything I want to make but I make/bake/cook what I am told. There is a hierarchy among 'farm women' and having grown up in that environment I respect this tradition in my in-laws. My mother-in-law has a passel of sisters who have a passel of daughters and daughter in laws, it is in this hierarchy that I am considered a mid-level newbie. There are three major events each year that require me to bring a predetermined dish to pass. It is within these three events that we are judged. When I say judged I mean really judged and sometimes rather harshly...never to your face but I've heard comments after someone has left that were down right snappy for these hard-core church going women.
A few years ago I was told to bring a dessert to Easter dinner. Not the main dessert...heavens no but a side dessert, a simple, little dessert. Dessert is major in the farm woman world of dish passing. This was a big test and I knew it. At this point I should mention that I cook and bake and feel quite confident in the kitchen. I don't host the huge family events because as I have mentioned I am still a mid-level newbie but I do host all the immediate family events and I have proven I can lay down a damn fine good meal.
Back to the simple dessert...I scoured my collection of old cookbooks for something old school but nothing popped out at me. At the time Paula Dean's cooking show was first being shown on the Food-Channel. There is something about her that reminds me so much of a dear friend that passed on(I have my theories about Paula but that's a whole other story) that I watched and on that episode she made this easy cheesecaky thing that was an old timey recipe of her Me-maw. This was a recipe I had never ran across before, so I copied it and decided to make that. Totally old school, super easy, economical and obsure...perfect...perhaps I'll move up the food toting chain.
Using muffin tins, paper liners and a vanilla wafer as a crust you make a standard Philly cream cheese batter and bake. I used lovely vintage patterned paper liners, added aromatic lemon zest and a wee bit of food coloring giving each batch a pastel hue. That morning before leaving I made from fresh cream whip cream and to that I also added lemon zest and in small batches dyed the whip cream to match each little cake. I plated these pretty little things atop paper lace on an antique milk-glass three tier serving dish with fresh crocus petals placed about. I thought it looked beautiful.
Easter is always held at the cabin. We are always late and that year was no different, everyone was already nibbling and milling about. The aunts were clustered around the table as they always are, eating and eying up the newbies offerings. My offering, which I humbly held almost behind my back got a flat "Isn't that pretty... Put it in the laundry room out of the way, dear" The time comes for dessert and people are eating mine, the younger people, not the aunts. I received a few compliments which spurred the queen aunt to sample my wares. BIG LAUGH..."Girls, try one. Remember these? How many of these things have you made an eaten over the years? (more giggles and nods) Honey, we use to make these back in the sixties for every pot-luck that came down the pike." "Does anyone want the rest of mine?" My pretty little dessert was being waved by chubby farm worn fingers like a rain soaked donut. I didn't pass muster that year.
I have never given up. Each event I bring as told and do my @^@#$^# best to win the favor of the aunts and move up the food toting chain. I have watched other newbies move up the chain but I have yet to have my break out dish.
This Easter I wasn't asked, I wasn't told, no one said anything to me. When the kids asked what I was bringing and I told them I didn't know yet, I sort of began to worry, as did my daughters...they too know their future, their playing field and the level of the bar. Maybe I've been cut. (gasp!) Some have been, you know. My sister-in-law can only be trusted to bring store bought buns and there is a cousin that can only bring butter and if it isn't soft she gets her cage rattled. Then there is the well told story (witnessed by me, my first year of competition, which was the year I was told to bring crackers) of a girlfriend of a cousin who brought fruit pies without asking and bragged about them to boot. The aunts deemed the pies way too sour and the crust pre-made and the rest of what was said I won't repeat, but what was said was pretty rough and let me in on how cut-throat dish passin can be. All I know is never brag about your dish and never go up against an old farm woman with pre-made pie crust...in fact never bring a pie. Always lie and say they make the best pies and offer up something else. You can't beat em so don't even try. I don't know if it is just a coincident but that girlfriend didn't last. So you see this is pretty serious stuff.
Knowing the story you all tell me...
At the ninth hour I get the call. It's my mother in law with queen aunt in the background...she asks me about my youngest's size in clothing and other random Easter stuff. Freaking that I am not going to be asked I ask. "What should I bring Sunday? Long pause, hand held over the phone, then "How about making those rolls you make?" ROLLS? Shit! Those rolls that I make require a day for the dough to rise and would take me all night to bake off enough for the Easter crowd. I am honest and tell her respectfully "At this late date I don't think I can pull it off. At their best is right out of the oven and Spunky sings at church Sunday... I just don't have the time to bake them after church and get up to the cabin before we are getting yelled at late. Is there anything else I can bring?" Another long pause, more hand over the phone, and then I get this "You're the chef make whatever you want, that will be just fine." I am then told what everyone else is bringing so my dish, whatever I choose, will compliment the rest of the meal's offerings
I don't think I have bumped from mid-level newbie to aunt status, which is you call it, you bring it. That kind of ladder jumping is unheard of. I think this may be my final test or I am being set up to fail. The stakes are huge, the bar has been raised. I feel I have been challenged.
The main course is ham, naturally and since this a German bunch there will be sausage, lots of sausage. I have decided with confidence to make beans and cornbread. Navy, pinto and black beans slow cooked with smoked ham hocks from the butcher, beer instead water, onion, leeks, parsley, garlic, butter, Old Bay and a wee bit of hot sauce. A lucky find of fresh milled cornmeal, rich cream and farm fresh eggs should give my cornbread a good chance. I'll add a bit of meat from the hock, sour cream and nibblet corn, cook it in a hot oven in my old cast iron pan. I'll soak the beans overnight and finish them off slowly while at church. The cornbread I'll throw in while we are at home changing clothes. Learning my lesson from the wee cakes my presentation shouldn't be too flashy. The beans will be in a four quart Corning Ware casserole dish that fits perfectly in this wire basket and the cornbread will remain in the old cast iron pan which I'll wrap in a vintage dish towel.
I am open to suggestions. This is a test. I wanna pass. It's been fifteen years.
I have a butter lady and sometimes my butter lady has cream. Wednesday I took a drive over to see her and on my way I stopped to snag a few pictures of this wet land area. There were geese in the field making nests and I was anxious to see how close I could get. Sometimes I am pretty lucky and can get some really good shots.
I pulled Steve almost into the ditch on this narrow back road just in case someone else would drive down. I was in the brush when I first saw this white blob rolling slowly down the hill towards Steve. As it got closer I realized it was a small truck hauling a trailer way too large for it's size. It was a piece of rust white Ford Ranger, tailgate almost dragging from the weight of the trailer and the whole thing was swaying and swinging. They passed by me at a snails pace. I thought to myself " Wherever they're going they ain't gonna get there."
After they passed and are out of my view I hopped in Steve and headed over the other hill to my butter lady. She had butter and cream that day. In fact she had extra cream and ask me to please just take it off her hands. I really didn't want all that cream but I took it because she insisted and because she is sweet. She put the butter in a small box and the cream she put in a milk pail with a tipsy lid. She told me if I'd wedge it just right it shouldn't spill. Gads! The last thing I wanted is cream spilling in Steve. I don't want to smell sour milk (gag) every time I open the door this summer. The whole butter and cream deal took twenty minutes to go down and I was out of there thinking maybe I should dump some of the cream on the road instead of risking a spill.
Spacing while I am driving found me coming up on the piece of rust ranger and the too big swaying trailer. I didn't want to get too close so I kept my distance. I could see a big ass cow moving around in that trailer which was making everything shake and shimmy. From the way the cow was moving around it appeared it wasn't tethered. I started to get the feeling that this might be trouble. I lagged back a bit more. I pondered why farmer Joe was moving his cow when it occurred to me that that's no heifer in the trailer, that's a bull and farmer Joe is doing a little pimping for his stud. Damn a bull. I lagged back a wee bit more.
We were traveling on a very narrow road with a long upward grade. Flying over the top of the grade comes a squad car, lights a flashing and the officer is motioning us to pull off the road. Right after the squad car, driving just as fast, is a car with a large sign saying over-sized load. By now farmer and the bull are in the gravel and I am about 40 yards behind them in the gravel. The oversize load barreled over the hill, it is a semi hauling some huge bridge piece. This rumbles and shakes and makes a vibrating whoosh as it flies by. Then another one flies over and this time the bull trailer ahead of me is just rattling, like a pan of popping corn. Somethings gonna happen, I could feel it, the hair on the back of my neck was standing up, I grabbed the steering wheel with one hand and had my other hand was on the shift. BAMM!!! Like a crack of thunder this crazy ass, spring horny bull comes busting out, whipping is head around, shaking his ass and snorting and grunting. He stopped, looked right at at me and then plowed towards me at a full bull charge. I slammed Steve into reverse and tromped on the gas. With one eye on the bull and the other in the rear-view mirror I go like a bat out of hell, kicking up dust and freaking that I'm going have bull guts all over front of Steve or I am going to start picking off mailboxes. All the bells and whistles are going off in Steve, my backing alarm sounds like it is screaming at me. I can't deny it, I felt a thrill. :)
The big, dumb, horny bull side winded itself into a slip and rolled down the ditch in an extremely ungraceful display. I stopped, threw Steve in park and opened my door. Farmer Joe was running as best as he could and a piece of my past compelled me to do the same. Farmer Joe and I looked down the ditch. The bull is fine. The tumble took the piss and vinegar out of him. Actually the spring horny bull looked a little embarrassed. Farmer Joe has a rope and tells me once he gets him tied the bull will walk right into the trailer, then he gave me a creepy little twinkle and told me his bull loves the ladies. Which sort of creeped me out.
I drove home feeling pretty darn satisfied with my stellar Starsky moves and believe it or not I didn't spill a lick of cream.
Living in my wee village has it's draw backs. Not everything you need is readily available. Quite often simple errands require travel to other wee villages. So I collect errands until it makes sense to travel over hill and dale. Today it was the bank, the dry cleaners, the pharmacy for shoe laces, the post office and since I'd pass by it, this little country store that sells amazing locale cheeses. These errands required 25 miles of driving, two villages, one town and a four way corner stop.
I'm not complaining, not in the least. The roads I am blessed to travel hold such beauty. I know them well, not by their names but by their landscape and my camera lens.
I used the drive-up at the bank. There are two lanes, one was occupied by a huge red suburban so I took the one next to the window. The suburban's transaction was taking a long time and teller seemed flustered. Waiting is a huge part of rural living so I settled into the view across the street. Noting a brilliantly restored old ford truck I noticed this guy walking past it so with my eyes I followed him. He was heading to a tire pile. As he bent down to grab a tire the moon and all it's white ass glory came exploding into my view. Thinking to myself..."God! Can't they feel that their ass is hanging out?" Mind you this isn't some kid with low slung jeans this is a considerably full and by full I mean full, grown man. What is with guys and exposing butt crack? Since staring at the teller would make her nervous and staring at the uber-bleached blond smacking her gum in the suburban would be worst, I watch biker dude's white ass. He picked up and loaded 14 tires before it was my turn at the bank. Staring at the moon isn't always advised. I have no excuse accept maybe it's like looking at bad wreck on the road, you know you shouldn't yet...you do.
The village where our bank is also has a drive-in A&W root beer stand. It was requested of me to find out if it was open. Low and behold on it's dingy little sign, proclaimed in mismatched letters is that it opened Feb. 24 and also in case you're interested, shrimp and fries are $3.99. After a winter closed I don't think I would be ordering their shrimp, but that's just me. That settles that, dinner tonight is at the A&W...not the shrimp but a papa burger or a chili cheese dog...I have yet to decide. My youngest daughter will be over the moon(no pun intended) knowing they're open. Since you stay in your car and they bring you your food my daughter and sometimes myself, go in our jammies. Such fun. Really. Plus I get to watch the people across the street in the laundry mat. Also such fun. Really.
I had to drive to village number two to take the dry cleaning in. I don't really take them to an actual dry cleaners I take them to the pharmacy where the dry cleaning company picks them up and returns them two days later. While there I can also get shoe strings for my older daughter's new tennis shoes that after a night in a dorm appeared to have vomit on them, which she explained away as junk from the dance floor. Whatever. I have learned sometimes it is best not to know. They tell me the big stuff and the little stuff...well...I can still remember what it was like at that age.
Up until recently we had our own Post office in the wee village but now you have to go to a near by town to mail packages. This new post office sucks. Gone is the quaint little structure and the smiles and hellos replaced instead by a cold, stark building and grumpy postal workers. I make quick work of my task and leave feeling like I just left a prison.
The country store is a true country store. No Crackle Barrel pretending here. Old, unused for decades, gas pumps flank the huge concrete slab that makes up the front porch. An old squeaky screen door covers a heavy, signage laden door, worn perfectly where one pushes to open. A little brass bell rings overhead as I entered and a hip guy dressed in a white apron, flannel and jeans greeted me. This store has the basic run-out-of items and then like magic it has so much more. Great cheeses, wonderful wines, artisan breads, fresh made hummus, fruits and veg when in season, and other surprises. Each time I stop there is something new. Today I settle for some venison jerky, a tart, sharp Cheddar and a mild farmer cheese.
Errands finished I take the swamp road home and snag some nice pictures of the melting ice sheet which appears like milk house glass...all greenish blue and thick. I once had dream of this world.
These ramblings should not be confused as those from a lonely soul but as a ramble from a soul blissfully alone.
Ah, Jeff Bridges...I dig his swagger!
The thing about living is it seems to happen all at once or hardly at all. You wake up one day and notice that you are neither here nor there. There is no great plunge to the middle ground, it's a slow, glacier like crawl.
My Mother was and still tries to be a fastidious homemaker. To say she is a neat-freak is a total understatement. You could perform open heart surgery on her garage floor with no worries, there is not one window in that huge, rambling house that doesn't just gleam...amazing when you think about it. Anyway. She has this kitchen drawer devoted to the housing of her Tupperware. Neat and orderly...cover beneath bottom...perfection. Between my Father, Brother and I this perfection never could be maintained. It drove her crazy. I remember countless occasions where my Mother would go off the freakin deep end over the disarray of her Tupperware drawer. Slamming and banging Tupperware around calling us a pack of wolves and ranting about how we can't have nice things. I would think to myself "What the fuck...it's God damn Tupperware...Are you crazy, woman?!"
I've have never bought Tupperware. It's not that I don't like the product, it's the Tupperware party thing I don't like. I also don't have a Tupperware drawer. I have a mish mash of plastic containers, maybe a few stray, hand-me-down Tupperware pieces and that Glad-ware stuff. This collaboration of crap is stored on the kitchen side, underneath, in half of the breakfast island cabinets. Usually when you open the cabinet door a oddly stacked plastic container Tower of Pisa comes tumbling out upon your feet. Which usually elicits a quiet sigh from me and little more than that.
Not last night. I snapped like an sharp ax through dry pine. Totally fucking lost it! Accused the whole lot of them for throwing out bottoms and keeping tops. Crawled inside the cupboard and pulled every stinking piece of crap out of there. Bitchin under my breath all the while. Did my family freak? Did they wonder what's up with Mom? Nope. A few even had the nerve to come out and lean over, with me on the floor surrounded in plastic, to reach for cookies on the counter. Imagine that! Christ on a Stick!!!!
Today I have a nice, orderly, plastic container cabinet. Neat and tidy. Cover beneath bottom. Perfection.
All I can think as I stare at this glaring sense of order is "My God! What has happened to me?" I feel like a time traveler. "This really can't be me, can it?"
If you should happen read this, please feel free to slap the dust out of me. I'm begging you. Really.
Delicate notes of lyrical prose waft around my thoughts as I lay tummy to floor with my spring seed and garden catalogs strewn about the carpet before me. Each opened to pages of interest. Tummy crawling to each one, scooting with me a legal pad and pencil for taking notes and making stretches. I feel cat lazy and I am diggin it. The last few drops of morning sun filters through the pristine white sheers as I finish my morning cup. Like a kid with the Christmas editions of the Montgomery Wards, Sears and Penny's catalogs, am free of censure...I daydream of the bountiful possibilities of the coming season.
The house is tidy, toasty and peaceful. The faint aroma of yeast as the bread begins it's rise reminds me of my Grandma. Grandma was an excellent farm woman cook. She was an amazing gardener. Be it crop or the tenderest flower she had a way with growing things. She had a way with a great many things. Within me, at times, is pieces of her way. Today I feel that.
By the afternoon the snow shall begin to fall and will continue to fall until tomorrow when at it's finish, ten fresh inches will cover the dull, dirty, old snow. Perhaps for the last time of this season all shall be white again. Chapel white landscapes that will beckon me to it's beauty and silence. One last waltz with winter until the season's next dance.
To me, snow after February isn't really snow snow...it is more like a spring shower that was caught and chilled before it landed. March snow smells like rain and rain smells of promise and hope.
With spring on my mind and snow on the way I feel the tug and pull of the these two seasons in their struggle match. I can help but marvel that my own internal struggle mirrors nature. Dug in deep yet so ready to soar.
Thinking of this and remembering Grandma I think it is a perfect afternoon to make Last Jar Soup.
Grandma's last jar soup
In a large pot,
1 large clove of garlic, diced.
1 large yellow onion, 2 stalks of celery, chopped coarse.
fry up in side pork, bacon or saved bacon fat.
Add whatever broth you have on hand
bring to almost boil
If you're adding a soup bone add it now
let the bone boil and simmer for a least two hours
If you're adding canned meat add it now
Add, the last of your put up potatoes, carrots, corn, green beans, peas and rutabagas and whatever else you have hiding in there.
Season with salt, pepper, a little white sugar and paprika
bring to boil then let simmer until all are tender.
Remove meat from bone add meat back to soup.
Leftovers will keep well for a week in the pot if placed in a cold spot in the cellar.
We have always called this "Last jar soup" This soup's duty is not only to feed and nourish, it also empties your pantry and frees up the last of your canning jars. This soup was typically made around planting time.
I add navy, black or both beans to mine and spinach at the very end. I also season mine with a good palm full of Old Bay Seasoning. A favorite old bowl, a little grated Parmesan cheese and some crusty bread and from my way of thinking...that's good eating....especially when the snow is falling.
Gosh the moon is splendid tonight. While folding clothes I just happened to see it's rise from my bedroom window. Summoned and drawn I abandon the clothes and run to see him rise over my silo. My scamper across the yard kicks up several deer at the edge of the pines. Startled...both the deer and I...they take tail and run and I trying to move out of their path slip and land on my ass... thankfully my ass is well padded. I guess the seed corn I dumped for them is working out.
Standing in the deer's well worn path in just crocs and flannel I am freezing yet mesmerized by the butterscotch disk half risen over my silo. The penetrating blueness of dusk contrasting with the rich texture of the evergreens, the tar blackness of bare trees and his magnificent buttery glow is a pure escape from mind and body and the troubles brewing indoors.
To linger here is my wish but it is cold and I'm not dressed and dinner needs to be made and clothes need to be folded and he needs to yell.
Slowly, turning back frequently to the moon over my silo, I slump back to the house. To feel so free in one moment and so tied in the next weakens my spirit. I don't know how to do this any longer and in the same breath I don't know how not to do this any longer.
I am stuck and here I'll stay.
With scenery right out of a Hamms beer sign, standing in deep snow on my tipy toes, binoculars in position and my chest pressed hard against the park green painted chain linked fence I watched bald eagles soar. The sun's brilliance refracted tiny prisms off the steam turned to ice that clung to everything along the river. The sky was a crisp cornflower blue. The river with it's lucent depth of blue, bounced and morphed along the contrasting edges laced in glittering wind sculpted white. It was indeed a moment of heaven on earth.
There were three bald eagles perched atop the scant trees on this wee island. From this vantage point they could watch the open water for a meal. The eagles come here at about the same time each year. Along the big river there are few stretches of open water in the winter. The hydro-electric dam affords the eagles this spot and affords the tourists that also flock some fantastic viewing of these great birds.
Having chose a day early in the week there were few people to contend with my viewing. Still there were a couple of us braving the extreme chill for a glimpse. An Asian man struck up a conversation with me remarking that he once had a camera like mine but that had been four cameras ago. Saying this, he held up this massive black camera and huge lens as though he was holding a trophy fish. Thus engaged he continued with his photo taking life story as we both remained fixed to the position of the eagles. I think people are willing to say things they might not normally say when eye contact is not involved. I learned a lot about this man's life. More than I wanted. Faining cold toes I wished him luck and headed towards my car.
At another viewing site, this one being a "Friends of the Eagle" man made precipice overlooking the river I was approached by a clearly over-avid bird watcher asking me if I wished to look through his mounted scope which was trained right upon a perching eagle. So good was this scope that I could see the eagle ruffle his feathers, dart his tongue out of his iconic beak and see his strong talons curved around a branch that I wouldn't think could hold a bird of that size. I learned that the scope I was looking through was not the best scope but it was the second best scope. I listened to a lot of other things about scopes and was extremely thankful when the eagle left his perch thus abruptly ending my scope tutorial. During the frantic re-scoping I thanked Mr. Scope and again fained cold toes as my exit excuse.
I couldn't help but think that men sure do like their equipment.
Actually I was cold. Deciding the folded over ham salad sandwich and orange that I threw together at home was not going to warm me, I opted for lunch at a diner. Secretly hoping for a soup I've been jonesing for but knowing damn well that no diner in this little town would have it, I entered the Blue Moon cafe. The blue moon theme drowned you as you entered. I was okay with that. Taking a blue vinyl booth overlooking the river, the guy holding down the counter asked if I wouldn't mind sitting at the counter since I was the only customer. Jumping up before I actually was seated I headed back to the counter. A friendly guy. Before I could even see a menu I knew that he and his friend, the cook and by the way he also cooks, were the owners. They bought the place five years ago. They renovated the outside, upgraded the inside but tried to keep the charm the place once had. I told them, by this time, the cook (other owner) had his head hanging out the window, that I love places like theirs. They both told me that if I was interested in soup for lunch they had a 'killer.' LOBSTER BISQUE! I literally squealed my delight and clapped wildly, as for them not thinking I was crazy I immediately explained how long I have been jonesing for a good lobster bisque and that just moments ago I was wishing this tiny town might have it and since the best I ever had was at Caesar's in Vegas what would be the odds of finding it here? Telling me they would 'hook me up' they both rushed around like I mattered. Crazy eh?
In moments I had a perfectly drawn pint of Spotted Cow in front of me with the explanation that it goes 'wicked good' with the bisque. The bisque was served in a CRESCENT SHAPED BLUE MOON bowl. Totally pissed that my camera was in the car, because I would have taken pictures!(I will upon my return) Served along side was a homemade DILL roll. Yes, I said dill roll! Flaky and at the same time hard, it was a roll that you dream of accompanying soup. The bisque hit your tongue like velvet. Rich in real cream and butter, tomatoey, with chunks of tender lobster and a slight, ever so slight, bite of garlic and horseradish and a wee hint of citrus. It was amazing, far surpassing Caesar's. I was so taken with this bowl of heaven that I had to remind myself not to look like I was having sex with the soup as these two happy chefs looked on. I did feel myself blush once or twice. The Spotted Cow was the perfect wash. It did not detract but enhanced the mouth festival that was occurring. For dessert, Bill and Ted, (as I shall call them for the purpose of this blog, as that is who they looked like) suggested their peach cheesecake made with peaches they themselves canned. How could I resist! Light, creamy and delicately peachy served on a crust of crumbled shortbread. That treat of peachy heaven melted in my mouth like moonbeams. At my second bite I was served a steaming cup of rich espresso. I was charmed. Bill and Ted were charming. At lunch end we three went out back for a smoke. I spent the next two hours there in their wonderful little diner talking with them. Finding we all had so much in common, the name of their restaurant, the soup and that we actually knew some of the same people was like providence. At some point I showed them my tattoo which immediately made lunch on them which in turn gave me reason to treat and suggested an other smoke. We exchanged emails, hugged and departed as good friends. Wow! What a nice lunch!
It didn't start out as a good day nor did it end as a good day but the middle of day fucking rocked.
I just move out of it. Like an achingly slow ride on a dark night through thick, clingy fog...eventually, hardly realizing it, I seem to pass through it. My path remains dark but I can see faintly what might be ahead of me. This is what it is like for me as the hard bank of depression ebbs and the weary remains of battle linger and sting.
Mentally and emotionally it has been a difficult month. Held hostage by the wolf has taken it's toll, as it always does. Off my chest, then circling me like roadkill and now his hulking, hungry blackness follows me like a distant shadow. Left to lick my wounds with him satiated yet contemplating his next strike I move cautiously, fearful of falling prey too soon to his inevitable future attack.
I feel unsharpened, out of touch and vacuous. Am I lost or is it that I sense an impending loss? Why is it that I am so sad? Why does everything feel so intense? Why is it that a sunset, a moonrise, a scrap of handwriting on a package, my daughter's smile, will buckle my knees and make me weep as much as the most unimaginable pain? I drift through my days forcing myself to go through the motions of living for the benefit and well-being of others but not for myself. I can't quite hit the mark when it comes to me. I am misfiring on all cylinders. Something has changed. Things I thought I knew feel unknown. Pleasure is hard fought and extremely short lived. Distractions are constant yet wavering when most needed. Where is my well deserved high after the dankness of my low?
Alone, once my golden refuge now feels horribly endless and painfully lonely.
Previous PostsFrom the files of WTF!, posted May 23rd, 2013
sleepless, posted May 10th, 2013
Yup, posted April 9th, 2013
I know he didn't mean it the way it sounded but Christ, dad...have another.. ., posted April 8th, 2013, 2 comments
Sleepless, posted February 5th, 2013
Talking to myself, posted January 9th, 2013
Nice thoughts, posted January 8th, 2013, 1 comment
Time guzzles life, posted May 5th, 2011, 6 comments
Green and beige, posted September 21st, 2010, 7 comments
Life's a beach., posted July 27th, 2010, 8 comments
How to write nothing at all., posted July 6th, 2010, 7 comments
Dish to pass the test, posted April 2nd, 2010, 17 comments
Wednesday bullshit, posted March 19th, 2010, 18 comments
village life, posted March 16th, 2010, 8 comments
Congratulations, Dude., posted March 8th, 2010, 5 comments
I swore to God I would never..., posted March 1st, 2010, 4 comments
Last Jar, posted February 8th, 2010, 7 comments
I got this thing for the moon, posted January 29th, 2010, 2 comments
The yummy middle., posted January 13th, 2010, 11 comments
Standing, posted December 31st, 2009, 2 comments
The symbol of me, posted December 9th, 2009, 4 comments
The wolf on my chest, posted November 29th, 2009, 6 comments
Moments, posted November 24th, 2009, 8 comments
Short dug, posted November 19th, 2009, 11 comments
Yup :), posted August 24th, 2009, 2 comments
Wack-a-doodle, posted August 19th, 2009, 2 comments
As told to me by a part of me, posted August 18th, 2009, 3 comments
Edelweiss (again), posted July 28th, 2009, 1 comment
Edelweiss, posted July 28th, 2009, 4 comments
A weekend of finger wags, posted July 27th, 2009
Screaming ( on the inside) for ice cream, posted July 25th, 2009
yada yada, posted June 14th, 2009
I want it all. Is that wrong?, posted April 13th, 2009, 3 comments
Weather, closets and meat., posted March 11th, 2009, 4 comments
Popping Epiphanies, posted February 3rd, 2009, 3 comments
Skating the blues away., posted January 23rd, 2009, 12 comments
Waving the white flag., posted December 27th, 2008, 15 comments
Tired, posted December 16th, 2008, 4 comments
Life and snow., posted November 24th, 2008, 4 comments
Sunday morning forts., posted November 16th, 2008, 5 comments
Sleepless, posted November 7th, 2008, 2 comments
A day in the life..., posted October 31st, 2008, 3 comments
A gift., posted October 26th, 2008, 9 comments
When everything stops, but the blackness., posted October 18th, 2008, 8 comments
one last dream, posted June 24th, 2008, 12 comments
Yes., posted June 4th, 2008, 8 comments
What is a matter with EP today?, posted June 2nd, 2008, 1 comment
clogged, posted May 30th, 2008, 5 comments
Thought locker., posted May 27th, 2008, 2 comments
Later, posted May 22nd, 2008, 4 comments
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