Viva La Difference

I’ve spent a great deal of my life doing something I know isn’t of great importance; finding and making odd things to wear. So when I first knew John the first thing I said to him was, “Do you wear the same shirt every day?”
He wasn’t offended, I could see an inner giggle and he said soberly, “No. I have seven of these; all the same.”
“All right,” I thought “I don’t get the punch line.”
Much later when I opened his closet for the first time and he had about four kinds of shirts and he did have seven of each, and all exactly the same color too. There were also seven of each style of cargo pants.
“Whoo!” I thought “This kid must save a lot of time when it comes to outfitting himself. I could learn priorities from this man.” I was wrong. It took him about as much time to find the right shirt as it did for me to find something odd to wear, with an added problem. When he finally found the perfect grey green striped shirt there weren’t seven of them left . He have to start over.
This didn’t put me off; wearing him on my arm was about the strangest thing I’ve ever worn, and I often remember what my Momma taught me,” Viva la difference!

I Was a Tarantula’s Pet

For ten days, in my fifteenth year, I was owned by a tarantula. I inverted the common terminology used to describe person to pet relationship because when I once owned a small green spider. It lived in my house in a jar for several days not wanting to. But on those ten days I lived on the TARANTULA’S TURF.
We camped at Salt and Sea where temperatures reached into the hundreds during the day then sank so low our car radiator froze rock solid every night. “Maybe we can go home early.” I hinted, the answer was, “No.” I could take the heat but I couldn’t sleep I was so cold I quietly cried all night. By the third day I wanted to die, but that’s the day I discovered someone was even colder.
That early morning my Dad encouraged me to put my hand near the frightening thing and she crawled right on. The next day and every day after, the tarantula met me early to be held until the sun warmed the rocks. I had a reason to live despite my misery, it was only then it occurred to me to explain my situation to my Mom, who fixed it immediately. I guess you could say I was saved by a Tarantula.

A Pleasure That Never Ends!

Again on day four I prayed, “Thank you so much for dishes and laundry!” although John won the battle and now owns both jobs and verbally slaps my hands if I put dishes away.
I’d discovered their charm and joy, as many artists and writers have. They’re a hammer on a  thumb to make a bad head ache feel better. Both jobs are quicker and easier with the added beauty of being a never ending pleasure.

Is It More Frightening To Look For God Or Walk A High Wire?

Did You See the Guy Walk the Wire Across the Grand Canyon? I DIDN’T! John called me in from the kitchen but I’d heard what was on TV and I didn’t want to see.
I can stand quietly still in my living room, without the wind blowing, just stand there for minutes at a time, defying gravity, like a gymnast, THEN FALL OVER FOR NO REASON. Well, I think I know the reason but the fact remains for me that’s normal so I expect everyone to fall over. And I expect all kinds of doom.
In the fifties, families invited each other into their homes for dinner and when the other parents yelled at their kids, my brother and I cried. Every time Laurel, Hardy, or Shirley Temple approached suspense or conflict Don and I ran for our bedrooms yelling, “I can’t look!” AND John thought I wanted to see a guy walking across a big gap?
I no longer sing, “La la, La la, LA la” to cover the sound of suspense so I did hear how fascinated the world was to hear a long verbal pleading to God from the canyon crosser every second he was in the sky.
Don and I both would have ‘La La La-ed’ through this also as we were both miserable atheists when young. But each of us in our own time CONFRONTED THE FEAR that there might be a God and were both amazed, exhilarated, enlightened, and born again to find Him.

The Third Answer Is Needed

“I have two answers for you.” said my young son. “One’s for me and the other’s for you. No I did not lick every cookie on the plate. I’d never do that.” He said as his eyes wandered across the ceiling.
Then he said searching the floor, “And yes I licked almost every cookie, but Anna only deserved one because she took a bite out of my toast this morning. AND she always licks the cookies so I usually only get one. I always say things should be even, and besides I heard her say one time she doesn’t really like that kind. I do. So I decided if she ate them she’d be wasting them.”
C.S. Lewis said something about Christ erasing the things we do that lead away from a joyous life. But he can’t do it if we don’t ask. Many times rather than ask we explain, justify, and create excuses. I still wiggle and squirm when I say, “Yes, help.”

The Black Lead Bead

I thought I was pregnant for seven years. I was a young kid and didn’t understand things very well and I practically lived on egg shells trying not to string even one more bead of guilt and shame around my neck. Therefore I was blackly surprised to find myself ordered to stay after school almost every Wednesday and Friday throughout fourth and fifth grades.
Friday’s formula: write the first word fifty times the second one hundred times etc for all six to ten words I misspelled. The same formula was applied to my numerous multiplication errors on Wednesday afternoons. I started these project after school for a couple of hours then finished at home.
Most people don’t understand some numbers are friendly and some are not. Multiplication is such a good opportunity to combine trouble making numbers with nice ones and my opportunities were practically endless.
You can probably imagine my confusion when my favorite teacher Mrs. Green kept me after school on Tuesday for no reason. I clapped erasers together then sat looking at the wall until dismissed. It was Girl Scout Day I shuffled home then opened my door to a surprise birthday party for me.

My black lead beads built stamina and persistence, each a bigger prize than correct spelling. 6×7 still baffles me but I DO remember my most of the multiplication table as long as both numbers are friendly.

Families Can Be the Greatest Joy in the Universe

Better than toys and candy!
Better than handhelds and intoxicants!
When my brother and I were in our teens we knew our family was living on a very tight budget. When we knew we would surly die without the newest IN thing, we’d beg, get the “Sorry no.” Then often then not MADE the “needed” thing. We learned first; We DIDN’T DIE, then we learned how to make, build and bake, lastly we learned by talking with, listening to and asking questions of our parents about ethics and priorities.
We were busy making things to eat, Don designed and sewed his own tents, grew crystals and molds?, we camped and rock hounded, then made jewelry, clothes, purses, I even tried shoes, furniture, boats, decorative knick knacks, toys, we grew flowers for dried arrangements and painted pictures for our walls. While my parents taught these things, or we learned them together, we talked, failed, tried again, laughed, preened over our successes and talked more. We talked about color usage, seeds, dirt, geology, but when Mom talked about what she’d just researched in history, I learned the way to control a people is to tear families apart then encourage kids, or workers to not want marriage and fatherhood. Then a small group could control the workers, I wasn’t a worker I was a valuable part of a family.

World History’s Greatest Men

I talked to a friend whose older brother had always admired him because he, my friend, had formed and played in a band, wrote well, is now finishing a book, and paints pictures. Yet my friend felt he’d done nothing to compare to his brother’s skills and importance.

His brother was a kind man and excellent father and grandfather, whom all the young ones called, “Poker” because he’d gently tap their tummies to tickle them. My father, like most North American Dads in the 1950s, was not one to hug and tickle, but he was honest, hard working and ever learning. He and my mom attended college classes all my growing up years, often together. My brother Don and I were deposited in the back seat of my parent’s Ford and we followed their geology classes through the western states. Don and I were given mini classes as we rode so as soon as we “arrived” other tourists would be quietly snapping photos of the scenery. My family excitedly faced the other way and fluttered fists to our chests saying things like, “Oh, my! Just look at that HOGBACK!”

My father was a skilled electrical engineer who stayed up late reading various things, making furniture, building models, faceting gems, or casting silver jewelry. We RENTED a house for a year in Lincoln Nebraska, as he finished his Ph.D.. He, Don my brother, and I weeded every plant from the brick patio. “Why are we doing this? We don’t own this house.” His answer was constant and patient and always the same, “We’re doing this because we leave places better than we found them.”

He honestly told us we would be short financially for a while, not to worry about food, but we’d work together. A few times he asked to borrow my saved up Christmas money for a month, offered to pay interest, always paid me back on time and told me when he’d done so. Don and I never needed to be part of a gang. We were already very important and part of something big.

Our importance lay in our family. I can see my Dad’s profound “pokes” in so many parts of my life and I’ve “poked” my children, my husband, his family, my neighbors, and friends, and I wonder when we compare life stories with each other in the world to come, I wonder if good fathers will be recognized as history’s greatest men, having influenced the world more profoundly than politicians, war leaders, actors, and artists.

Does Good Taste As Good, As Badness Does?

There’s a joy in knowing literatures’ greatest villains. We love to study out, point by point, just how bad they are. We hardly realize we’re recognizing each nuance and subtlety of badness because we’ve grown these qualities in ourselves at some point. Although in us they may have been a variation or of lesser degree. The great joy comes when these negative treasures are NOT us any longer.
I’m looking forward to ferreting out treasures of goodness, in all its subtleties, and variations and flavors. Then roll THEM around in my mind and mouth as I analyze and discuss them with others.