Monday, May 30, 2016

A small world

Birds cannot fly with one wing, but give a Drake one arm, and she can soar. Back home again in Indiana with my sister June and her family is a destination worth the effort.

After the surgery on my thumb, I was uneasy about the upcoming trip. With a wheelchair waiting for me at check in, I began a rather laid back adventure filled with kind people. After hugging the sweet man who delivered me at my gate after patiently waiting for me as they checked my cast for drugs and weapons, I was given the chance to get onto the plane first. I sat with my arm in the air in my aisle seat seeming to wave at every passenger who entered. I was in turn greeted with kind words as people passed by.

After take off, I decided to tackle the sandwich I picked up in the airport. How one little box can be so cantankerous is beyond me. I looked at the box. It looked at me. I looked at my neighbor in the seat next to me. She looked at me. After helping me gain a sturdy grasp on the sandwich and seeing that I had accomplished eating it, this woman and I became fast friends. She is a Methodist minister who was at a conference in Portland. Of course, one thing lead to another down to the fine point that she went to college at Otterbein. Having taken a course in Astronomy from my Uncle Phil Barnhart, she gave up her dream of becoming an archaeologist to become a minister.

The next leg of the trip was with a young man who had been in Portland to interview for jobs.  He  was heading home to tell his mother who had just had her two daughters move to other states that he, too, was moving. We talked of ways he could handle the conversation and again became friends in the meantime.

Every time I fly, I find new ways to connect to people. This time I discovered great kindness. It is truly a small world. A world I get to love a little bit at a time.

I will be in Darke County for a short time this week. My friend Carol DeMaio has set up a time for me to meet up with old friends and those of you who visit me weekly on Neff Road. I will be at the Coffee Pot in Greenville from 10-1 this coming Friday, June 3. Please stop by. I would love to see you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The balancing act

It was an old blue bike. We didn't get new bikes on the farm. Nope. Handed down from sibling to sibling, the old bike knew the path down the lane to the bridge. Luckily we were far enough apart in age that by the time I was ready to ride a bike, no one else wanted it. They were into cars, so the old blue bike was mine.

"MeMe, watch me!" Emma cried. She raced around the circle and came to a halting stop in front of me. "I can stop now!"

Now this might not seem like much of an achievement unless you consider the fact that she is three. She and Nolan never had a pedal riding toy. They went directly from little riding toys manned by foot power to balance bikes. Balance bikes, in case you have not heard of them, have no pedals. They look exactly like big bicycles and are made incredibly well. Footrests are placed on both sides of the bike at the back wheel. These little tykes have ridden these bikes since last summer when they were two. They push off and get a running start then pick up their feet and glide. Needless to say, as they grew, they increased their power and speed with incredible balance.

Santa had informed the kids at Christmas that their new bikes were not yet ready. He would be sending them along with the Easter Bunny. Now I was amazed that those two are buddies, but now I believe. (personally I think Santa wanted them delivered in warm weather) A blue bike showed up next to the eggs for Nolan and a purple and pink one for Emma.  Nolan refused to give up his little bike. Emma relished the challenge. Training wheels would never be part of their bike experience.. Emma at age three is completely competent on her bike. Nolan is almost there.

Back to my old blue bike. I was probably around eight when it came my way. Of course, in the summer I was always barefoot, and we had a gravel driveway. I still have some of those scars on my knees and probably a bit of gravel roaming around inside of me. The sloping road was great fun as we coasted from the bridge to the lane. Hot tar popped as bikes flew down Neff Road.

I do not think a coaster bike would have worked well on the gravel, yet I did not have training wheels. So maybe these two little kids are taking after their old grandma. Maybe not so much difference between then and now. As with life, once we find balance the rest comes naturally.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Here's the church

MeMe:  Stop flapping.
Emma:  I can do it, MeMe.
Nolan:  Where are my people, MeMe!!
"Let's try it again," I said as I dodged flapping hands. "Now watch me." I interlocked my fingers, "Here's the church, here's the steeple, open the door and where are the people?"

Okay, I learned this as a kid. In fact, it was one of the ways that Mom and Dad entertained me during church. Make a little church. Open the fingers. No people. Do it again with fingers interlaced towards the palm of the hands then open the door and the church is full of people. Twins, age three, just cannot quite get the people into church.

Sadly, I see those old games fading away. Churches supply toys and coloring books. Or, the kids go to the nursery. The days of finding adventure in Mom's purse are gone. Dad and I would play a game where we stacked hands trying to trap the hand on the bottom, so it could not be moved to the top. He loved to tease me. Sometimes when he came into the house, he would have both hands behind his back and tell me to chose one. Of course, he loved to transfer whatever he was hiding from one hand to the other until I got so frustrated that he had to let me chose a hand while watching them. Sometimes it was a penny. Best of all was discovering an arrowhead.

One potato, two potato, three potato, four. Five potato, six potato, seven potato, more. When a hand was tapped on 'more', the hand had to be put behind your back. The person who had the most hands showing at the end was the winner. Plain old fun. We did not need to spend money on toys to be entertained. Interactive playing.

Thumbs wrestled. Slapped hands until they were scarlet, and one of us painfully relented.  We made Cats in the Cradle and, best of all, we played Peas, Porridge Hot. The earliest recording of this rhyme was in 1760. Games passed on generation after generation.

Hand games. Games that parents play with little ones. Games that involve touch and laughter. Dad loved to play mousetrap with me. He made a trap of his fingers with my little finger being the mouse. I learned early on that I had to be fast, so he could not trap my finger. Time spent with a man who worked hard and did not have a lot of one on one with his daughter. These old games will fade away, but hopefully, not in my family.

Okay, once more: Here's the church, here's the steeple......