Talon, my great-grandson is six going on twenty. He is smart and quirky and extremely perceptive for his age. When he looks at you it’s as if he can see into your soul. I love this little boy. He is truly a gift!
With my granddaughter’s permission, I’ve posted Talon’s written school assignment. It is just too darned cute not to share.
I’d rather have eaten a can of worms than have my hair washed. And my parents would have gladly fed them to me rather than wrestled with me to wash it.
We didn’t have modern conveniences like indoor plumbing, walk-in showers, and bathtubs. We had electricity, though, thanks to one of my dad’s many skills.
And speaking of daddy, he rarely ever raised his voice, never lost his cool and never liked whipping us kids. Mom did, though. She liked law and order and didn’t hesitate to exercise her militant authority when needed. You’d have thought she was the one that served in the army instead of my dad.
But to keep peace with mom, during Saturday’s hair-washing night, daddy reluctantly sat beside the galvanized tub with a long, skinny switch; the kind that wrapped around your legs several times like a leather strap. Mom picked it out.
Like a stern-faced Sargeant, mom sat me down on the stool and leaned my head back, allowing my long red hair to cascade into the metal tub. Then the waterboarding began.
As if being electrocuted, I kicked and screamed and wriggled my slippery, half-naked body free from daddy’s firm grip and flew out the door, across the porch, down the steps, and down the dirt lane. If we had had any neighbors, they would have been standing on their porches with shotguns thinking a mass murderer was on the loose.
We lived in the heart of the woods where the only light we had was the moon and the stars. For a little six-year-old with a big imagination and afraid of the dark, that was just a tiny spark in a cave. Every tree was a leaping bear; every sound a prowling monster looking for children to eat.
Suddenly, I came to my senses and decided I’d rather be drowned than eaten alive and shot like a bullet back into the house.
And there they were, mom standing triumphantly with the pitcher of water in her hand and daddy sitting, seemingly amused, still holding the switch.
There were other Saturday night hair washings. But, remembering the monsters lurking outside in the pitch dark, I stayed glued to the stool. That doesn’t mean I didn’t cry and kick and scream and make it easy for my mother to torture me. Oh, no! She always had to pay for her evil crimes!
I’ll never forget that day.My brother, Kenny, and I were left alone while mom and daddy went to the grocery store. Because my youngest brother, Leonard, was too young to stay with us, he always got to go and Kenny and I always had to stay home.
Kenny, who was eight at the time, is four-teen months younger than I and a hundred years wiser. He never sassed, never questioned, and never ran out the door kicking and screaming like a lunatic. He was made of moonbeams and stardust and placed delicately in my mother’s arms.
Me, I was made of cowhide and hurled like a football in her lap.
Long before video games and iPhones and five-hundred TV channels, we actually had to sit and talk to each other or play pick-up sticks or ball and jacks or tinker toys or build little log cabins out of Lincoln Logs.
Well, that day we got bored with all that. We needed some adventure. The kind of adventure we had before moving into that stupid cramped, cinder block apartment, far away from the woods and trickling streams and giant bullfrogs. The bottom line was we didn’t like living there.
While pacing the tiny living room floor,I glanced out the window and saw the landlord working in her flowerbed. For whatever reason, mom, and daddy didn’t like the landlords, so I didn’t like them either.
Suddenly, as if being poked with the devil’s pitchfork,I coaxed Kenny into doing something totally out of character for both of us. We raised the window, stuck out our pea-brain heads and yelled, “Hey, old lady Brummel! Hey, old lady Brummel!”
We lived quite a distance away, so I didn’t think she even heard us until she threw down her garden tools and stormed toward the apartment huffing and puffing and smoke pouring out of her ears.
Oh, no! She’s coming to chop off our arms and legs!
Like a cat with its tail on fire, Kenny ran downstairs and locked the door just in the nick of time before she started pounding on it and screaming like the big bad wolf, “Let me in! Let me in! I’m telling your parents when they get home!”
True to her word and to my horror, as soon as the car pulled into the driveway, the phone started ringing.
My mother was the warden at our house.A strict, religious warden that didn’t put up with nonsense and expected her brood to follow the rules or else. And that day “or else” meant that we march our little impudent behinds over to the landlord and apologize!
I’d rather have shoveled a pile of manure in the freezing cold stark naked.
Yes, she made me go, but I made her pay!
Like a bloody battle between the North and the South, I bawled and kicked and screamed as mom nearly yanked my arm out of the socket, pulling and dragging me across the field. By the time we got to the landlord’s house, mom needed a long nap and I needed a straight jacket.
I thought that if I danced around bawling and screaming long and hard enough, mom would give up and take me home. But, oh no! If it meant waiting for the rapture to take place, I was going to straighten up and apologize before I could even think about going home.
Like swallowing a ton of bricks, I finally choked up the words everyone was waiting to hear and never talked my brother into doing anything that stupid again.
I love trees. And when we moved here, there were none except for a mighty few. So we planted trees. Lots of trees. Everywhere.
Thirty years ago they were just little twigs. Today, they are monsters . . . especially the one planted right beside the house. A Bradford. With giant limbs stretching across our roof and the neighbor’s house and driveway. It’s a nuisance to us and to them. It’s got to come down. In the meantime, Buck is going to cut off as many limbs as he can. But it’s going to take a skilled professional to take it all the way down.
We didn’t plant trees to cut them down. But we were young and dumb and thought all trees were created equal. They’re not. Some trees are better left in the forest, like the Bradford. It may or may not grow in the forest but if it does, that’s where it should stay.
This is not good.
Not good at all.
Really not good. The tree’s bigger than our house and we have little trees growing in the gutters.
It’s got to come down. SOON!
It was so little when we planted it.
It’s a mighty big tree.
Now it’s way too big.
Too close for comfort.
So, my advice to anyone wanting to plant trees, do your research and find out what to plant and what not to plant. and trust me, a Bradford is one tree you do not want to plant!
Bradford’s in all their glory.
But they are weak and fragile.
One little ice storm can destroy a Bradford and create a big mess.
One of four trees down in one day during an ice storm.
One of four trees down in one day during an ice storm.
Couldn’t get out the driveway that day. A kind neighbor across the road cut it up for us.
So, my plan was to help Buck pick up all the limbs in the yard . . . lots and lots of limbs. Big limbs. Little limbs. Way too many limbs for a young person, let alone a shriveled up bag of bones. After thirty minutes of bending and stooping and sweat burning my eyes, I quit!
Not my thing anymore!
Will never be my thing again!
I feel like crying.
NO! I feel like cutting down every blasted tree, pulling up every blade of grass and pouring cement!
Then I’ll cry.
A deep, overflowing river.
Long gone are the days of working in the yard from sun up till sundown, jogging twenty miles a week, cleaning the house from top to bottom, and working five days a week. Never again will I run up a flight of stairs, bend over and touch my toes, and press a hundred pounds.
Wait. When did I ever press a hundred pounds?
I’ve never been weak and helpless. I’ve always been able to pull my weight and somebody else’s too. Even as a kid I was strong as an ox. Stubborn as a mule, too. But we won’t go there.
I think you get my drift, especially if you’re where I am at the moment . . . old and tired and frustrated and discouraged and weak and puny and . . .
Stop! The list is getting too long!
When did it happen? When did old age wrap its bony fingers around my neck and choke the life out of me? When did it break my back? When did it chop off my arms and legs?
When I started jogging at thirty-six, I assured myself and everyone that I’d keep on jogging even in my seventies. I stopped at fifty-eight.
One of my many regrets.
I did take it back up when I was seventy-one. But it was never the same and after my back injury, I had to stop. Even walking makes my back scream. But, occasionally I tell it to shut up and I do it anyway.
So, here I am. Wishing I could do the things I did five years ago and reality laughing like a crazed hyena in my face.
So, back to picking up limbs. Buck finished my job and is mowing, now. He likes to mow. And I’m happy he likes to mow. No. I’m ecstatic he likes to mow. Now, if he just liked doing laundry. And cleaning the house. And taking out the trash . . .
Since we no longer have a re-cycle pick-up, it makes a great wheelbarrow.
Hubby just emptied the trailer running over with limbs.
We’ve had so much rain that Buck got behind in the mowing. Having to pick up limbs first didn’t help, either. Who feels like squishing around in the wet yard picking up limbs?
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:26, 27
Hear the birds chirping? See them fluttering from the trees? Can you Sense their happiness and peace of mind?
Birds don’t worry about stuff like coronavirus or running out of toilet paper. They don’t fret over empty shelves at Walmart or starving to death. And they certainly don’t get their feathers ruffled over clutter on the back porch.
Jesus knows what a bunch of worrywarts we humans are. That’s why He tells us to look at the birds of the air and observe how lighthearted and carefree they are. They don’t work for anything. They don’t store up anything. Yet, God takes care of them. (Matthew 6:26)
God reminded me of that again this morning as I sat fretting amongst the clutter on my back porch and wondering what the heck I’m going to do with it. How quickly I forget that God is in control of every little detail of my pitiful life. Nothing happens to me that He doesn’t know and care about. I don’t have to pace the floor biting my nails to the quick. I don’t have to beg and plead. I just have to trust Him.
Yep! That’s what a little birdie told me this beautiful sunny morning while sitting on my cluttered back porch.
I captured a few pictures while sitting with hubby and our two girls on the back porch. Pepper doesn’t mind posing for a snapshot. Bella, on the other hand, refuses to cooperate!
So much mess. So little room.
I feel like calling the Goodwill to haul it all off!
Looks like good firewood!
I did get rid of the empty boxes that were here yesterday. I couldn’t do that until hubby emptied the truck.
Pepper can finally get to her chair, now.
Sniffing the air.
What do you see, Miss Priss?
Hubby’s lost 30 pounds. Now Pepper slides off!
How’s this pose, mom?
I know you’re out there! Show your face, squirrel!
I told you I don’t want my picture taken!
Hey, Pepper! You know that lizard that got in the house? I think he’s back. He’s missing his tail! Did you do that?
Yes, Pepper is the sweet, prissy-walking, submissive dainty one. Children lover her, but the feeling isn’t mutual. When she’s had enough of their petting and picking her up and rough-housing her, she runs and squeezes behind someone sitting on the couch. She’s just not the cute little play toy they think she is.
Behind all that sweetness, though lies a mischievous imp that sneaks pens off the computer desk and chews them up, or jumps on the dining room table, or countertops – – even the kitchen stove looking for something to get into. I think Bella puts her up to it, though to get stuff she can’t reach, like a loaf of bread or left-overs tightly secured in a ziplock bag. I never know what remains I’ll find on the kitchen floor when I go in there.
When we hug Bella, Pepper jumps all over us demanding our undivided attention. She even thinks that because she’s little and cute that she can get by with just about anything, like chewing the corners of my pillows, or my blankets, or anything she wants. And she’s just about right because scolding her is like scolding a tender-hearted bawling two-year-old.
And just when we think she’s potty trained, she’s not. Yesterday it was raining so we didn’t let her out as often as we usually do. When it slacked up a bit my husband let her out but the little snot just wanted back in. So I checked the den where she usually goes when she doesn’t do it outside and sure enough, there were three turds and two puddles of pee.
I love my dogs, but they can be a royal pain at times. I have to remind myself that although they think they’re people, they’re not. They’re dogs. They act like dogs, they smell like dogs, they shed like dogs, they bark like dogs, they dig holes in the yard like dogs, they scout for food like dogs. They are dogs. A lot of work. A lot of trouble. A lot of joy. That’s why we have them, right?
So, it’s raining . . . again. Bella hates the rain. She’d rather pee and poop on the floor than to go out and do it in the rain.
But, she’s not the Queen. I am. So I stand at the back door, clapping my hands and coaxing her off the deck. She gives me this big cow-eyed, go-to-hades look, jumps off the deck, pees like she’s been holding it in for three days then charges back on the deck.
Oh, no! That’s not the way it works, miss wanna be Queen of the castle. You get your prissy butt back out there and poop!
Another, go-to-hades look, and another and another, and jumping on and off the deck like playing a game of tag, she finally finds her spot in the tall, wet grass and poops!
Then, as if being chased by a grizzly bear, she charges back to the deck where I hold the door open praising her as if she had dug up gold in the yard. With a big, fluffy towel, I dry her off, wipe her four big paws, and without even a thanks mom she dashes toward the bedroom, jumps over my husband lying in bed, and plops down demanding him to share his warm, cozy blanket.
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