Monday, August 19, 2019

Skinny pages on the calendar

Cooler weather comes as birds revisit their migration maps, plants and trees pull their resources into the ground and the old brown bear chases critters out of her den. Getting close to nap time.

The birds seem to be swirling and grouping, practicing for travel to their sunny vacations in the south.    Even I find myself wearing warmer clothing in the mornings. I refuse to go inside with my morning coffee until the temperatures fall below 60. Yes, I have added socks to my morning attire. I adjust much like the animals that grow a winter coat.

Teachers are scurrying around classrooms, preparing for the next batch of students. Our twins will go to the school on Friday to see which teacher they belong to. In order to lure them in, donuts will be served. I suggested that Nolan might need warmer shirts, and was told, by his own authority, that boys are much warmer than girls. They don't need anything more than tank tops and shorts. I envision him turning blue as cold weather sets in.

We all prepare. We all set our lives to that yearly clock that goes around the calendar. "Is that Christmas music," Loren asked while the twins were over today. "Yep," I said." Not much use in saying more. It is what it is. The kids will know more words to the songs when they listen to them for months on end. Hibernating is beginning to sound good.

We can food. We pull up dead plants that gave us their best throughout the summer. We trade in milkshakes for hot chocolate. "MeMe, don't forget to get four cans of whipped cream," Emma said today. "We can each have one and fill our mouths at the same time." Now there are some things that I have taught my grandchildren that might not be acceptable in many households....including their own. However, I remember sneaking to the refrigerator and tipping up the can of whipped cream when no one was looking. I'm looking forward to my can.

My mom would scrub the house, shake out the bedding and fill the coffers with canned and frozen foods. Dad had a calf butchered. There would be plenty to get us through the winter.

I don't mind the coming of another season. Perhaps I do get tired of the predictability. Shoes off in May. Shoes on in September. Plant in the spring. Tear out in the fall. You know how it goes. At least we don't hibernate or need to catch a flight south. (No wait! Forgot about the Snowbirds.) We move on with the seasons as we do the seasons of our lives. There is always much to learn and hope to gather. And perhaps a nap or two. The calendar is getting skinny.


Mommy, that means you will die

Sometimes, most times lately, I wonder what has happened to people who are supposed to have a heart, faith, belief in the good of people. Instead I see more and more people trying to justify how they feel, cold to the facts. They use God and their Bible to quote scriptures, while there are people dying of hunger, trapped in cages, begging in the street. I wonder then, where are you people of faith? Faith is an action word. Not a political battle.

faith (noun) 1. complete trust in someone or something. synonyms: trust, believe, confidence, conviction, credence, reliance, dependence; optimism, hope, expectation

This last week I asked my prayer warriors  to pray for a young woman who is dying. Only about 4 people listened. Over a year ago, Erika and her family moved across the country, so she could go to the Cleveland Clinic. She vomits blood, her appendages swell to the extent she feels she is carrying another person. Her skin peels. Her liver is dying. "Mommy can't do this much longer," she tells five-year-old Loie. "But Mommy, that means you will die."

Erika and her husband have been in an ongoing battle with insurance. She has been on the liver transplant list three times. Erika's liver was damaged during surgery. She was finally free of cancer but now needed a liver. Her first donor liver was available but too large for her. So they sent her to the end of the list. She was kicked off again. I won't get into the whole story here, but you can find it on CNN's site. The cancer tried to get her, but she conquered it.

What has happened to faith? It seems to have slipped through the cracks. Faith is not just in a church. Faith is a belief, a trust, a hope, an expectation that things can be better. It is a noun; however, I feel it is also a verb. Faith calls everyone to action.

The thousands came from all over, immigrants and all others. Christ fed them all. He didn't turn away from the sick or the sinner. Faith does not reside in a church. It resides in you and me. I have faith in people and am so hurt when they fall short. Faith is not based on truth. It is based on trust. Yes, this week I am saddened. People all over the world cry out, but few listen. What is worse is that people just don't care. They believe God will take care of them. It's not their problem. There is a song I love: We are His hands;  we are His feet; we are His children, people of the world.

I close this column asking you to pray for Erika Zak. She is beyond being able to help herself.

Monday, August 12, 2019

To sit upon a horse

Emma just started horseback riding lessons. She sits tall in her English saddle, looking as though she was always meant to be there. Our love of horses. June had it. I had it. We sat on sawhorses holding a rope and shouting, "giddyup!" Horses.

I asked June what it is that she liked about the fair. The carousel. I should have known. I, on the other hand, always got sick on the merry-go-round that went round and round and round and round. I think I'd better stop there.

A few years back June was researching carousels. She came out here where we tracked down merry-go-rounds. Then we had grandtwins (Yes, I make it one word. I'm a writer. It's my style.) We have a favorite place in Salem, Oregon, where a carousel waits for us. In the backroom of the building, the kids can actually watch the carousel creatures being carved. The last time it was a cow wearing rain boots. Their artistry is fascinating, and, to tell the truth, Loren and I are captivated with this adventure as well. We love to watch the kids go round and round on their horses. So where in the heck did carousels originate? Hm. Sounds like a column to me. June, this one is for you.

Let us start with the name. Of course, we know merry-go-round and carousel; however, there are a few more names: galloper, jumper, roundabout, horseabout and flying horses. (Hm. Bet you didn't know that little fact.) Carousels started in the days of jousting. Knights galloped in a circle as they tossed balls to one another. In fact, the word carousel comes from the Italian word garosello which means little battle. (You can find this all online.) In the 17th century the balls were tossed aside and the gold ring came into the picture. Shoot a spear through the small ring and hone your skills as a warrior. I personally think grabbing a ring is better than target practice. Of course, kids mimicked adults, as they do now, and this all became a game. An early carousel was set up in Paris where wooden horses sat for the children to play upon. You 'fair'ly well know the rest.

The classic carousels we have today are rare. More than 4,000 carousels have been built in the United States. Today only 150 survive. So when you sit your child or grandchild onto the seat of a carved animal this year's fair, remember the rich past of this, the oldest carnival ride. And, of course, our historical love of horses. Giddyup.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Summer is not over yet

So I walk into the store looking for some fun summer things and am greeted with backpacks, folder, pencils, etc. Wait!!!! Summer isn't over yet. It is 92 degrees!

Our kids here in Oregon do not go back to school until after Labor Day. Yes, they are out the second week of June, so if they went back to school the beginning of August, they would have little summer to enjoy. In past years they had early release on Wednesdays to help alleviate some added expenses to schools during those few afternoon hours. The budget could use a little help, since we do not have sales tax to help out with some of the finances in this state.

I remember when summers looked long and lazy. We were out mid-May and back to school mid August. Of course, the weather in May was not always the best and August was always hot. But having all that time without shoes was worth it.

I saw where some schools in other states are actually going to a four-day school week. That draws out questions, such as: Will teachers be able to cope with a shortened week and smaller paychecks? Will parents be able to afford extra childcare? Will kids get all that they need in four days? Will this affect the length of the school year? Yep, lots of questions.

Computers have certainly changed the face of education. My granddaughter can contact her teacher online and ask questions when she is not in attendance. She can check on her assignments and even get help while sitting in her own home. She can check her grades and do homework online. I certainly wish we have had this opportunity. I recently heard that some kids have a computer day at home where class is held online. Not bad. Of course, they miss the banter at school and the socialization. Still, they no longer lug encyclopedias around, and can go to the library online. It is the future. Oh, and the present.

I rather miss not finding summer things in the stores. It is a bit unsettling to think that I am being forced into fall already. And.... if that is not enough, I just passed a woman putting out Halloween items. ARGH!!!