Sunday, August 20, 2017

Visiting Grandpa and Grandma Skrivseth Years Ago

Childhood Memories

Aroma of baking bread

Fills the room

Coffee perking on the stove

Adds its charm

 - in the yard -
Smoke from the chimney 

Curls in the air

Black and white border collie

Bounds across the grass

Rough pink tongue licks my hand

Little ones roaming

Down garden paths

Searching for raspberries

On prickly branches

A rope swing in an oak tree

A play house in the shade

Sleek brown horses nibbling

The sugar lump I held

Memories, like a sugar cube

Melting in my hand

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

a day with my phone


“Don’t get your knickers in a twist.” One day as I was listening to classical music I heard this expression. It struck me as mildly humorous. It left me curious as well. I repeated it to myself so it would stick in my mind until it could be looked up.
“Okay Google, where does the phrase ‘Don’t get your knickers in a twist’ come from?”
 Yes, just as I thought, British in origin, meaning - Don’t get all worked up. Cool down, it’s not that bad . . .  
and don’t say this to your gentlemen friends . . .
because knickers are a woman’s undergarment.

How curious that I would hear this phrase on a day when I needed it most.

It all started when Ellis forgot his phone at home. When that happens Ellis has no way to call me since he hasn’t memorized my phone number. He can’t look up my number in his contacts or push speed dial because his phone is at home on the dresser in his bedroom. Sometimes he calls his brother’s land line. When his sister-in-law answers he asks her for my phone number. Or he will call his phone from the store phone, but this only works if I hear the phone ring in the bedroom.

On this beautiful morning I washed clothes, hung them up to dry in the breeze, and otherwise scrambled through my morning because I planned to take lunch into town and eat with Ellis. When  I got there he said, “I tried to call you. You didn’t answer the phone. I have to leave for Mitchell SD right now. Did you bring my clothes along?”

(I knew Ellis was travelling to SD but the last I had heard he was leaving in the evening or maybe even early in the morning. Now there was an updated plan I had not heard about because Ellis had been unable to reach me by phone.)

We hurried back to our house. I threw some clothes into the suitcase and lunch into the microwave. We chowed down our food and I saw Ellis safely on his way.
Then I drove back to town to meet Krysta and friends. I had agreed to be the mother figure in an escape to the pond for a swimming adventure. My role was to supervise the wearing of life jackets and the use of swimming noodles so that all girls involved would be safe.
Floating around in the cool water and staring up at the puffy clouds in the blue blue sky helped lower my blood pressure and bring reason back to my mind. There is nothing quite so relaxing as floating on water on a hot summer day in MN.

And nothing that meets with quite so much resistance as the words, “It’s time to go home now.” When everyone is enjoying the swim no one likes to stop. But I have found it best to stop while everyone is still having fun. Here is a tried and true method. Announce that we have ten more minutes to swim and then we will exit the water. Meanwhile I get out of the water and start the process of getting dry clothes and waging a great battle against the mosquitos. Gather up the lawn chairs and the cell phone with the ticking time and the noodles and life jackets and the dripping girls and we head back to the car.

Swimming is so much fun! And relaxing! After the wet swim clothes and towels are hanging on the clothesline and the life jackets are dancing in the breezes I even feel invigorated.

To end the day I had arranged to meet some friends at a writing class. Before I could do that I was meeting Evan at our neighbor’s house where we are caretakers of the lawn. Evan has enjoyed earning a bit of extra money doing that job for us. Usually Ellis takes care of getting the lawn mower out of the garage and filling it with gas. When I arrived the lawn mower wouldn’t start. We eventually got the second mower started and Evan felt comfortable running it.
I took off to go to the writing class. Krysta was there and she let the others know I would be late. We had a very good class. We took turns reading our stories and talked about goals and how to stay motivated so we can meet our goals.

When I started back to the country and the lawn mowing I realized my phone was missing. I turned around and went back to Hog Slat. After calling my phone with the store phone I found it on the floor under the passenger seat. That is almost as bad as the time I was talking to Dea on the phone and suddenly panicked. “Dea, I have to hang up and look for my phone. I can’t find it anywhere!”

Evan was almost finished mowing when I got there. He had three or four more rounds when he ran out of gas at the bottom of the hill. I lugged the gas can down the hill and put just enough gas in to finish the lawn. We put everything away, talked about plans for 4th of July weekend while swatting miserable mosquitos, then we both went home.

When I called Ellis to say “good night” he was talking with the other store managers after enjoying  a steak supper. These guys are getting ready for an open house at the new store in Mitchell, SD.

Phones!  What would we do without them? It seems like it was easier in some ways when the phone was attached to the wall. Of course we love the freedom we have now to call anyone at anytime from anywhere.

One day one of my students on the bus asked me questions about Mennonites and Amish. He asked about the TV show *Amish Mafia* and wondered if it is realistic. I said I’ve never seen it but from what I have heard, sadly, there may be more truth to it than we would like to admit. There is a lot that is not true in the show as well.
In the conversation I mentioned I don’t have a TV. In amazement he said, “You have a phone! but you don’t have a TV?”
It is a choice. We could have a TV but we have chosen not to.
Getting all uptight and angry about the way my day went was a choice, too. I felt tense and cross and turned on some classical music to 
a. relax?
b. take my mind off the topsy-turvy way things were going?  
I don't know exactly, but in the process I found out God has a sense of humor in the way He captures my attention. Next time my day turns upside down hopefully I can remember these words,
"Don't get your knickers in a twist."