Archive | November 2016

Traditions

When I arrived home, I sat down at the kitchen table with my bag of goodies. Mom was standing at the stove stirring a pot of chili. Looking over her shoulder, she said, “Don’t spoil your supper with candy. You can eat whatever you want later.”

I protested, “I just want to look at what I got at school.” Opening a small brown paper bag, I dumped it next to my cereal bowl, filled during the night with chocolate covered peanuts, vanilla creams, hard candies and an orange. Mom left the stove to look over my shoulder as I examined my new loot. There was a red and white candy cane, a bunch of peanuts in the shell, several chewy red, white and green mints in wrappers and a popcorn ball. On the way home from school, I’d gobbled down the malted milk balls.

Mom asked, “Did you get to see Saint Nicholas today?”

Shaking my head and grinning with the superiority of a ten-year-old, I said, “Nah. It was just like other years. When we came back inside from our last recess of the day, everyone had a bag like this on their desk.” As Mom sliced bread, I said, “My classmates all celebrate Christmas pretty much the same, but not Saint Nicholas. Only a few put letters to Santa in a cereal bowl like we do. Some of them set out shoes, others hang socks…” Continue reading

Set in Stone

An hour after I arrived at the hospital, large, wet snowflakes began to fall. It was my turn to work the Thanksgiving holiday day shift. The patients assigned to me that day watched the snow fall and reminisced about past Thanksgivings. They mused about how good the snow was for the deer hunters, but bad for families traveling to Grandma’s house.

Our unit was quiet and relatively empty because not everyone elects to have surgery right before a holiday. By mid-afternoon I felt restless, frequently checking the time and peering out the window to see if the weather had changed. The last hour of the shift ticked by slowly. By then it was colder outside and the snowflakes were smaller. A stiff wind whirled them around the hospital parking lot.

My shift finally ended and I cautiously drove home to change into holiday clothing. I felt as excited as a child let out early from school. Refreshed, I got back into the car and headed to the farm where my husband grew up. Arnie would already be there, but out in the woods hunting until dark, unless he had already shot a deer! In any case, he and his brothers would be back in time to eat their Thanksgiving dinner together with the whole family. Continue reading

Sumo Turkey

The sun burned down on my skin as I walked through the crowd. My teenage daughters had gone off with friends as soon as I parked the car. Glancing around, it appeared that many people were heading towards a spot under the trees beside a park building. The minute I stepped into the shade, a lovely, cool breeze refreshed me.

A young boy ran to a couple walking nearby. He said, “Mom, Dad…you have to come with me to see this! They’re doing sumo wrestling.”

“Sumo wrestling in Wisconsin?” I thought with surprise. Without research, I knew two things. First, sumo was a Japanese grappling sport. Secondly, I knew it was done by extremely overweight men wearing nothing, but tiny loin coverings. Curious, I slipped this way and that through the crowd to get a front row view. Continue reading

An Adultier Adult

I sprinkled shredded cheddar-cheese over the pan of bright-green, freshly-steamed broccoli florets. The orange fragments melted quickly on the vegetables, but the pieces that made it to the pan began to sizzle. I slid this first course of my supper onto a plate and carried it into my office. As I set it down in front of the computer monitor, the phone rang. Caller ID showed that my daughter, Tammie, was on the line.

Switching the phone to speaker, I sat down at the desk and said, “Hi sweetie! How are you this evening?”

Tammie cheerfully answered, “Good, had a great day at work…got everything accomplished that I had planned to and, since the weather is so pleasant, I’m going to go for a bike ride along the Mississippi river before going up to my apartment.”

Swallowing a mouthful of broccoli, I said, “Great! Glad to hear you’ve had a good day and are going to get out for a bike ride. I’m ashamed to admit that my only exercise so far today was two or three trips up and down the stairs and thirteen minutes of quickly peddling to no where on my exercise bike!”

Laughing, my daughter gracefully conceded, “Well, at least you got some exercise!”

Nodding as if Tammie could see me, I said, “The rest of the stuff that I did today doesn’t count up much on my Fitbit. I did a few errands in Marshfield, visited my brother and baked some bread.”

Tammie quipped, “In other words, you were being a responsible adult. That reminds me of a meme that I saw on the computer today. It showed a terrified-looking young adult. The message under the picture said, “The horrifying moment when you’re looking for an adult, but then you realize that you’re an adult. So, you look for an older adult, someone successfully adulting…an adultier adult.” Continue reading

The Other F Word

Louie, my slowly-becoming-civilized, white and black cat, sat purring on the office futon. Just looking at the lanky feline at rest that evening made me feel peaceful. When he dozed, his eyes closed and there appeared to be a smile on his face.

Leaving my desk chair, I crossed the room and sat down on the futon next to him. I reached out and stroked his silky side. Louie stretched and looked even happier. Something tickled my forearm. I looked down and saw a small bug. When I reached to pinch it, the small bug sprung straight up into the air like it had been launched by NASA. A huge surge of adrenaline flushed through my veins. Simultaneously, I felt flashes of Saharan heat, icy blasts of Artic chill and the need to expend energy by slaying dragons while galloping the circumference of the world. MY CAT HAD FLEAS!

Fear and loathing made my mouth feel like it was full of dirty cotton balls. I jumped to my feet, reflecting that the fleas had probably been around for a while. Being oblivious to the signs, I’d ascribed the itchy bites on my ankles during the past week to mosquitoes. There was no way I could continue in this denial. My house was fully contaminated and it needed a good cleansing! Continue reading