Friday, July 5, 2013

Roy's Wheat

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"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." - Galatians 6:7

Turns out that the side effects of too much sleep, inhaling too much smoke, and eating just plain too much on Fourth of July makes the Fifth of July National Cranky Mother’s Day.  So, I need a diversion, or a time out, or both, and maybe a nap.  I decided to write this instead. 

My stepdad, Roy, died when he was 36 years old of alcoholism.  More specifically: cirrhosis of the liver caused by chronic alcoholism.  I believe that’s exactly what the death certificate said.  Odd that I still remember that.  I can still picture the document.  He was, however, the best stepdad I could have asked for and he loved me.  A lot of my favorite childhood memories involve Roy and his family and all the stuff we used to do together. 

Lately, I’ve had several dreams about Roy.  Now I have weird dreams all the time, but not usually involving people I know.  When they are about actual people, I can really get upset over them because they seem so real.  Anyway, a few weeks back I dreamed I ran into Roy in a grocery store.  He was buying dog food and wearing his red baseball cleats.  I kept telling him how much I missed him and that I hadn’t seen him since he died.  He just kept acting like he had no idea what I was talking about.  And I woke up nearly in tears.  This November 20th will be 17 years since he died.

Now back to real life….

Roy’s family was full of farmers.  His dad raised pigs.  His sister raised cattle.  We had horses.  We picked pecans.  We fished.  We always lived in town, but Roy would plant wheat in our yard.  Usually out by the alley behind and around our redbud tree in a little patch.  It was always shocking green compared with the rest of our grass and I liked to pick the heads of wheat when they finally matured.  I remember hulling out the wheat seeds and sprinkling them around. 

Then one year his family raised a whole field full of wheat.  I remember playing in the back of an old farm truck full of wheat, running the seeds through my fingers.  I also remember we ground some of the wheat with a hand grinder.  I don’t remember what we did with the ground wheat, probably fed it to the pigs, but I remember my hands hurt. 

So, when I think of wheat, I think about Roy.

Three years ago, I had a couple of wheat plants come up by my back porch.  Must have been planted by the birds.  But I thought of Roy.  This was my first wheat crop:

 




I don’t know why I kept the seeds.  Nostalgia, I guess.  Maybe I thought I’d plant them and didn’t, but they’ve been in my laundry room ever since.  I ran across them every now and then.  And I thought about Roy. 

This year I am the same age that Roy was when he died.  I’m not a drinker.  Now that doesn’t mean I never tried a beer when I was younger, or that I didn’t send my husband to the liquor store for whiskey when I was sick of coughing last winter, but I’ve never acquired a taste for alcohol.  I even choose the grape juice at communion.  I have Roy to thank for that.  Living with an alcoholic for 10 years of my life pretty much snuffed out any alcoholic fantasies I might have harbored.  In fact, I find myself suspecting all people who drink of being alcoholics and wondering if it might kill them.  What would their children do without them?  How would they die?  In a car crash?  In their sleep?  Would they kill someone else?  Do their family members know how serious drinking is?  Do they?

I get through holidays, family gatherings, stressful times, relaxing times, and most generally every day of my life with nothing harder than lemonade.  Why can’t they?  Why couldn’t Roy?  And they drink in front of their children. 

I was one of those children.


He’d still be alive today if it weren’t for beer. 

Cases and cases of beer. 



 

This year I have 11 wheat plants that I’ve found in my yard.  I’ll probably collect their seed heads yet again.  This time, though, I think I’ll plant them in my garden area for next year.  Roy’s life was cut short by his habit, but the seeds he sowed into my life are evident every day.  I hope I’m as patient, kind, involved, and hard-working as he was, or at least I hope my kids see me that way, because that’s how I saw Roy.  I saw though that Roy had a character flaw that was a dark shadow on all things about him that were good, and I couldn’t fix that about him.  I hope my children see nothing but sunshine when they think of me! 

Am I in a better mood now?  Probably not.  But my focus is on “reap what you sow”, so I vow to be less cranky and maybe try some sunshine! 

Thanks for the therapy.  I hope I didn’t drive you to drinking!

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Garden

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My garden has things I did not plant.  Things I try to keep out of the garden. 

It is full of sunflowers, mint, and children.

Today I am planting hope. 

We dream of ripe tomatoes, cucumbers from the vine, and potatoes deep beneath the soil.

We search for the perfect plants at greenhouses near and far.  We choose them by how healthy they look.   

But the ground is not good. 

So the plants wither. 

We add compost, manure, leaves.  We till and hoe until we think there is not one weed left. 

But we always miss one.  And from one come many.

And the plants die. 

We water, water, water, but it is never enough.  We pray for rain.

Then the rain comes and the potatoes rot. 

The cucumbers yellow. 

The tomatoes die. 

Let’s plant something else say the children.

So we plant flowers.  It is too late in the season to expect that any vegetable will grow before it gets too hot.

Then we water, water, water, but it is never enough. 

Then it becomes a water fight. 

Then it becomes a slip and slide.

Then we are muddy. 

Then we all have sunburn. 

And the flowers die.
 
But the sunflowers, mint, and children grow.

Friday, April 5, 2013

It Happens!

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“What goes in must come out.” – motherhood proverb

 




Today we’re going to talk about poop.  (Sorry if the lovely photo distracted you into thinking this would be a lovely post, but I thought a picture of the subject would be totally tacky.)  So if you don’t like talking about poop or reading about poop, read no further. 

Sorry you had to read poop three times already. 

Wait, that makes four….

Anyway, I consider myself the undocumented Poop Queen.  With a husband, two children, four cats, one dog, twelve chickens, three ducks, a horse, a pony, two hamsters, two fish, two geese, and a regularly irritable bowel, I’m surrounded by it every day. 

No, really...

My yard is full of it!! 

And there are things you learn about it over the years.  Like “Don’t lick your lips while mowing the pasture.”  Things like that. 

I actually think I could write a whole book containing nothing but poop stories.  Any publishers willing to take me up on that out there?  Let me know.  I’ll start writing it in the bathroom.  It would probably be a blowout!! 

Sorry… 

So, last night we had a funny poop story involving a complete stranger.  Well, he’s not now, as we have sufficiently bonded over poop, but I’m still laughing about the whole incident today.  So here it is:

We were at the YMCA and a new guy was working the desk.  I’d seen him once before but hadn’t talked to him yet, but he seemed like a jovial kind of guy.  One that borders on hilarity.  My soccer team was finished swimming and after getting dressed in the men’s locker room, my son comes out and tells us that someone has pooped on the floor!  He proceeds to describe the evidence in terms of length and girth.  I tell him to just go and tell the new guy at the front desk and he’ll take care of it.  I add that describing the evidence was NOT necessary! 

So I watch as my son goes to the new guy and tells him what’s wrong, complete with hand gestures like he’s measuring off his latest catch at the lake.  I’m mortified that my kid is describing the turd, but I notice a slight look of panic on the new guy’s face.  And it makes me laugh.

After all the kids are carted off by their parents, I go up to the new guy and say, “Hey, good luck with that turd,” and give him a wink and a smile.  Yeah, that’s the kind of person I am.  In case you didn’t know by now.

The new guy launches into an ADHD frenzy about how he’s new and the other guy is new and they have no idea how to handle the situation.  They don’t know where the cleaning products are, they don’t know what to do……

So I say, “Here’s what you do:  Just go tell the lifeguards there is a turd in the men’s locker room.  They’re used to it.  They fish those things out of the pool all the time!”  I told him it was called Turd Alert.

A look of relief came over new guy’s face.  It was obvious he was NOT a parent.  He would have never been so terrified of such a bodily product if he were.

Things I’m laughing about today:  What is the new guy’s name?  I figure we are now poop buddies or something.  Did the lifeguards have to clean it up for him, or did the cleaning crew walk in to find a “present”?  Have I started an official title for such an incident at the Y?  And, what kind of person just poops on the floor and doesn’t tell anyone? 

Oh wait, that’s another story…...

One day, many moons ago, we were all outside having a grand old time doing something.  One of our kids disappeared into the house for an inordinately long period of time.  I thought I should go check on him. 

I hear a yell from the bathroom the minute I enter the house:  “Be careful!!!!  Don’t step on it!!” 

“What??!!??” I say as I walk closer to the bathroom. 

And then I see it.  There on the kitchen floor. 

“I prayed that Jesus would come and take away my mess!!” he said.  “But Jesus didn’t come!!”

I don’t think I’ve ever been so disgusted or on the verge of busting out laughing so bad before or since.

I told him Jesus wanted me to know he was having trouble with that and that’s why Jesus didn’t clean up his mess. 

But really, maybe he should have called for a lifeguard!

May all your bodily functions make someone else’s day today!


PS - this is my second blog post under nearly the same name.  Sorry, but I can't think of a better one for it.  I'm open to suggestions.  Here's the other 'It Happens!