Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Son's First Friend

Ben, my son's first friend, died this morning. When we lived in town, Ben was our neighbor. When K was five he started wandering over to sit on Mr. Ben's porch while he read the paper. They talked, watched people drive up and down the road, and just sat. As time went by Ben, who was retired, taught K how to shoot a BB gun (since I wouldn't let him have one). K then went to Ben's almost every day to shoot magnolia pods from the fifty foot tree in Ben's front yard. When we moved to the country, Ben gave K his brother's ancient BB gun.

K continued to visit Ben whenever I was in town working. They sat on the porch and talked about guns, patterns of different ammo, and hunting. They listened to Paul Harvey. They sat. Ben restored an old 410 and gave it to K (after asking me) when the time came to advance beyond BB guns.

Ben took time with my son, taught him (some things for which I wasn't excited), told him about the old ways, and let my son be himself.

I'm sad. Sad for K, who has been upset for weeks, and sad because I, too, have lost a friend even though I, honestly, don't know that much about his true self. He was good to my children and that is all I needed to know. Though Ben was in his upper 70's, he seemed vigorous until right before Thanksgiving. Soon after, he had a few problems and was admitted to the VA hospital. He was released, then readmitted a few days before Christmas. Even though he had purchased a brand new truck the day before he first went to the hospital indicating he had no idea he was really sick, he had advanced stages of cancer with a maximum of six weeks to live.

We took him a small fake Christmas tree on Christmas day where he was housed in a room with three other veterans. Last week they moved him to a hospice, which is even more depressing than the VA hospital even though everything is decorated and they have a little courtyard - so much loneliness and waiting.

I'm glad he didn't last longer. I would rather K remember him on the porch, rather than lying on a hospital bed, disoriented by sedatives and cancer, though I was proud of my son during our visits. He showed a maturity beyond his age. He stood by his friend. He didn't want him to be lonely.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Loose Ends

While I was on my blogging writer's strike, I was tagged twice. I wouldn't want to lose those two readers since little to no writing produces few readers, so I will respond.

I was tagged first by Tara at Periwinkles and Pines back in November for the Eight Things Meme. I actually did this meme last June, but I bet I can think of a few more things.

1. I had my first child when I was 34.

2. My husband delivered my second child on the way to the hospital.

3. I rarely wear any jewelry, including my wedding ring.

4. I don't like to be late - ever. I don't like it when others are late.

5. Though I can sew, knit, and cook well, no one would ever confuse me for the June Cleaver sort.

6. If I've read the book, I will never watch the movie, even if I thought the book was written like a screen play.

7. I dance around the house whenever music is playing, even though doing so has sent me to the ER twice. My children like when I play Ballet Maid, but my husband laughs and says he won't take me to the hospital again. I don't believe him so I just keep dancing.

8. I'm still addicted to Tab.

I was tagged my, my NaBloPoMo friend, m~ ,with this rank increasing meme. Maybe this will increase my sagging readership.

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The Strategist Notebook
Link Addiction
Ardour of the Heart
When Life Becomes a Book
The Malaysian Life
What goes under the sun
Roshidan’s Cyber Station
Sasha says
Arts of Physics
And the legend lives
My View, My Life
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What Women REALLY Think
Not Much More Than This life in the lost world,
the suburban farmer
Twice Bloomed Wisteria
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Don't you want to give it a try?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Moment of Perfection

A couple of days ago, while lying in my warm bed with flannel sheets, comforter, and a perfect quilt just as the light was changing, I was listening to the rain on our old tin roof and thinking just how perfect that moment was. As soon as I had the thought, our rogue rooster, Sport, started announcing his superiority from the cedar tree outside the window, then the bull that injured his hoof in the line of duty started bellowing from what sounded like kitchen. He wasn't, just in the catch pen behind the house. At that point, I knew I had to gather my reserve and slip my feet from under the warm covers and onto the cold floor of a house heated with wood. I had to stoke the fire. I had to break the ice on the water troughs, bottle feed a calf, release the chickens, and set out hay. I had to move, for day had arrived.

But for that one short moment, life was more perfect than any romantic farm ideal.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Oh Where, Oh Where Has This Blogger Been?

I've been eating good food like this wild caught salmon and couscous with roasted red peppers. I also ate a lot of great tasting but not so good for you food like divinity, fudge, pound cake, coconut cake, and so many other sweet treats that I felt hugely lethargic.

I've been traveling - not far - but far enough to find more rich food at the Indianola Country Club, which is always a treat. My husband especially recommends the banana pudding. I think he ate three, maybe more.

I've been celebrating my husband's birthday at his mother's where we visited the bayou floats in Indianola and in Leland. Though none of my pictures is decent, these floats are quite fun. We always try to see them. The one shown here is a fire truck spraying water on a house that is decked out for Christmas, obviously the effort of the fire department. There is even a Kermit the Frog float in Leland since Jim Henson's Muppet empire began there.

I've been sleeping at Bed on the Bayou in Indianola. I love this wonderful cypress cabin with a view of the bayou. Originally a one room tenant house, this cottage has morphed into a wonderful retreat with a perfectly made bed including embroidered Ho! Ho! Ho! sheets, a wonderful screened porch, and even though I didn't need it, more dessert. I wished for a few more nights here by myself to recuperate from the holidays, but Christmas Eve is not the time to begin recovery.

I've been making handmade consumable gifts for Christmas at Mr. W's family - candles, note cards, gift cards, and honey. I received a handmade diary, a pot of forced narcissus, a fabulous picnic basket, a Lemuria gift card, a bird house, and a wonderful candle holder - a wonderful combination of handmade and thoughtful.

I've been cleaning the messes of Christmas - ornaments broken by the thwack of the yellow dog's tail, water stains on velvet when the same yellow dog is too lazy to go to his bowl, and the usual clutter produced by all the stuff you never knew you needed, though honestly I think our families are moderating and thinking more.

I've been watching closely as the days lengthen. Though the days are longer, we still can't seem to get through with chores before having to pause to see wonderful sunsets. Mississippi winters are wet and cool, muddy, messy, but short.

I've been planning my garden. Seed catalogs, the one "junk" mail that doesn't seem like junk, are arriving daily. I use these shorter days to think about the pantry foods we have enjoyed the most, the ones that won't last until the new crop. I think about the beautiful jars that have gone mostly untouched because no one, including me, seems to enjoy the contents. I get to visualize my garden the way I want it - weedless, perfectly manicured, heavily laden with fruit - rather than the summer reality.

I've been working - W-2s, owners manuals, websites, brochures . . .

I've been procrastinating and I'm sorry!