It smelled more like beer mixed with dead dog than bread! After a wonderfully fun and long phone call I walked into my kitchen and found disaster. My bread dough had risen out of its bowl, onto the counter, dripped off the counter, and grew across the floor! It was odorizing half my house with a pungent, awful mix of smells.
I was raised not to waste anything, especially food, if in this case you could label it as such. Twice on similar occasions I’d baked the “bread” anyway but baking hadn’t improved it one wit! I couldn’t eat it, so this time I scooped the nasty stuff up, hauled it to the backyard and buried it as fertilizer.
I was satisfied that in the spring my garden would thrive with so much soil conditioner. Spring came and I put on my rock hounding boots, took up my shovel, and headed for the backyard to turn over the soil.
I was delighted! I was thrilled! My backyard was full of mole mounds. I still love those mounds of fluffy dirt!
I jumped in the air high as I could and landed, not in a glory of soft soil but in odorous goo! Yes, the dough I’d buried in many places had continued to RISE and mix with mud and had grown four fold! I pulled myself out and beat the stuff down with my shovel. It exhaled giant, terrible poofs of stink!
My neighbors complained about the mysterious smell and so did the garbage men the next year. For that full year I reasoned that the “dough” surely must have run out of sugars to eat and would surely DIE but it never did! My yard got bigger and higher all that year as I refused to waste “food?” I never could plant a garden.
When a garbage dump is full people flatten it and plant a housing tract on top. To this day, I watch the news in dread hoping not to see ‘An Odorous Mystery; why did this neighborhood rise up ten feet and put off a terrible smell?’
My neighbor is suspicious and some what frightened because most of his neighbors are white and when they’re at home they spend ALL their time QUIETLY INDOORS. This seems sneaky to him and he’s positive they are PLANNING something!
I laughed at myself and told him my black neighbors put their lawn chairs on the sidewalk and talked and laughed so loud I was sure they WERE PLANNING SOMETHING!
In the sixties I attended a black high school where in a large art class the only ones of us that weren’t dark skinned were myself and a guy from Japan. Well, actually he was darker than me too, so I was the only pasty one there.
At the end of our first assignment we all waited in anticipation for a Japanese masterpiece, but we were disappointed. I thought, “Well, maybe he needs time to warm up.” By the time we’d finished our third assignment the entire class exploded in a ruckus of disappointment.
For some reason we all thought EVERONE from Japan could draw, paint, and landscape to an inspired perfection! The poor guy said that wasn’t true, but we argued back, “Yes it is! We know these things!” We told him he was wrong! We insisted he did have EVERY art talent! It was INBORN! He was baffled and insisted he was a beginner as were we. “NO!” we insisted. We almost attacked him with our understanding; he just didn’t know he was a superior artist, so get on with it and preform- now!
I love differences! Preconceived ideas surprise me and make me laugh at myself!
I said, “I’ll be thinking out loud about my painting; you don’t need to listen.” My husband’s answer, “Nancy, I never listen.”
How’d he know to answer? Sometimes when I asked a queastion he’d answer with a prfound statement pertaining to the thing on HIS mind. I’d respond to his subject and ask my queastion again at a deeper level.
He’d repond to my question and add a statement that dug deeper into his subject. I’d challenge his answer and make a statement off to the side but pertaining to his response and add a further thought to mine.
We could go on a long time and maybe add two more subjects before we ended by laughing at the exercise.
Occasionally a thing would be very important to me; so I took hold of both sides of his beard, just below his ears; I got close, almost nose to nose; and quietly I’d say, “This is important…” He knew to listen well, otherwise listening was play. I miss John.
I’m close to seventy, and my upper arm flaps seem to increase weekly.
SOOO, I decided to do push- ups to get in shape. It took three months to do the first one, but now I’m up to sixty push- ups per day!
With warm weather, I wore a short sleeved blouse today and discovered I’d greatly increased the top of my arm. I have two nice big bulging muscles, but the bottom has not decreased. Conclusion: I’ve almost doubled the size of my upper arms! Oh boy!
I know a lot!
I can make a list.
I can list billions of subjects,
I know nothing of.
I DO know a few words.
The first few words of the first sentence,
Of page one,
In one of,
Millions of books,
And most things aren’t written down yet.
Sometimes we chick with someone but this time there were no clicks at all. My art teacher would have preferred I dry up and blow away, and I reacted in a predictable way. The other students would whisper, “If you like my picture PLEASE don’t say it out loud. I always get a C or D if you do!”
I learned to act not react. I bit my tongue and made no comments during class, but I was still stuck living with my anger.
Then I got a wild idea. I woke up at dawn and made bread and as class began I handed it to my art teacher steaming hot and oozing with aroma. The rest of the students were petrified with curiosity. The teacher stiffly took the bread and retired to his attached office, and there he stayed for quit a while.
I was in complete control of ME. I didn’t care what the teacher thought. He had became some what civil because I refrained from making comments. I delivered warm bread every time I got frustrated or angry. My method of self control was never commented on or discussed, that I heard of, by the other students, myself, or the teacher.
“Love your enemy,” didn’t so much apply as, “as you do yourself” did. I did it for me not him. I learned to live without anger during most of that course. I faced fear- it was an adventure- It took guts every time I delivered bread. I don’t know if the teacher hated my new guts more than those I started the class with but I have fond memories of that adventure.
Sunshine is like marriage. Today my house was in order and was CLEAN until the sun peeked out. The state of my house hadn’t changed but my sight had. I saw smudges and dust everywhere.
I’m a widow now, but bouncing off John had been as good an illuminating sun.
My cat, Formica Dinette Patrice Foxford Mauerman, taps me on the leg then leads me to OUR refrigerator. Formica already has dry cat food within reach, so I open the door and pull out her yummy, wet cat food, and with great fanfare I sever it. She eats neither the wet or dry but continues to ponder the closed refrigerator door as if she’s hoping to open it with her mind. I open the door and give her a sizable piece of my chicken, but still Formica doesn’t eat. She continues to stare at the closed refrigerator door.
My husband had a habit of waiting for the mail to come with a similar concentration. Finally he got on line and found a list if companies that sent catalogs. To everyone else in this world the catalogues were free, but John PAID to have them sent to him. He ordered regularly then all but held his breath waiting for PRESENTS to come. Sometimes he’d wait on the sidewalk in the afternoons waiting for the mailperson. Waiting for treasure became contagious although I was always disappointed when the boxes were opened! I’d peek in over John’s shoulder and see GUY STUFF.
When John died my anticipation for treasure did not. I feel a let down, I’m always completely without hope on no- mail holidays, and always disappointed when the mailperson leaves an occasional box of…cat treats. I realized, ‘What am I hoping for anyway?’ I decided I was dreaming of something girly- something- I don’t know what- I don’t know-perhaps a tiara! Finally a friend gave me a beautiful pink box on my birthday and inside was a…plastic tiara, so all I can conclude is that Formica stares at the refrigerator door hoping for the same!
Unless I open a box and in surprise find a tiara (which has only happened once in my life so far), my mind reacts badly to surprises.
John would say, “Want to go to Goodwill?” I think,”I’m writing well today, but I guess I can tear myself away for an hour, but then I want to get right back to work.” We get in the car and stop at the grocery, battery store, get gas, and then stop at a friend’s house ON THE WAY!
My fight or flight reactions kick in immediately upon pulling into the grocery store parking lot! Mostly it’s the FIGHT reaction which is filling my head with things like, “WRONG!” “BAD!” “YOU’RE KILLING ME!”
This is when my ‘precious’ gift of DEPRESSION kicks in. My reaction is in kill mode but the part of my mind that forms words is EXTREMELY delayed because I’m depressed. In two weeks time I will tell John how distressed I had been initially before I found out we’d stopped at the store to buy my favorite mints, met a lovely dog at the battery store, heard a great joke at the filling station, and felt cherished and loved at the friend’s house.
I suppose I panic when surprised because in survival mode I need to control the universe, but as a Buddhist Mormon I’m slowly learning to let go.