Archive | February 2017

Farm Friendly

I peeked into the entryway when I heard the back door open. My three younger grandsons had finished playing in the snow and were coming in to warm up. Remembering how frost-nipped their cheeks and fingers were after sledding in my backyard last month, I went to the kitchen to pour them cups of hot sweet tea. As I buttered toast for them, I could hear them stamping snow off their boots. Since they rolled around in the snow when they played, I knew there would also be snow clinging to their clothing.

Eleven-year-old Ben was the first to step into the kitchen. I said, “I’ve made tea and toast for you.” He grinned his appreciation and sat down at the table. Nine-year-old Luke came in next and eagerly accepted a cup from me. Jacob, who will be seven in May straggled in last. After placing the buttered toast on the table, I checked the entryway to see if I needed to hang wet snowsuits over the registers. What I saw was the inner house door hanging wide open. Since my wood pellet thermostat is in the entryway, I don’t like it when that room gets chilled. The rest of the house would soon be roasting!

I opened my mouth, but it was my mother’s voice that came out of it. She said, “Who was the last person into the house? Were you born in a barn? You left the door hanging open!” Continue reading

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First Class

The car radio wasn’t holding onto the signal of my favorite station. Without warning, I suddenly had two radio announcers speaking at the same time. One was giving an update on news, while the other sounded like an interview with an author. The gargled sounds were annoying. I stopped at the red light and before turning right reached over and pressed a button. Discordant sounds turned into soft swirls of classical music from the Public Radio station.

Relaxing, I began to picture the instruments. The violins dramatically sighed as they sang their part of the story. I pictured the people playing them, skillfully pushing the bow back and forth over taunt strings. Flutes added their cheerful version of the story. I marveled at the perfect control the musicians had in holding long notes and how gracefully they fingered the instruments to produce rippling trills. Unlike the two radio announcers, the two instruments blended and complimented each other.

When I listen to music, I like to identify the unseen musical instruments. The voices are distinct and recognizable, just like the voices of my friends. I have to thank Sister Chantal, my seventh-grade teacher for this way of listening to music. Through the years her teaching has made music more enjoyable. Continue reading

Moments of Grace

From the large window in our farmhouse living room, I inspected the thin layer of snow covering our farm yard. It had fallen over a week ago, and looked paltry. I wished for more to fall, a lot more. I didn’t want to go out and play in it as I did when I was little. After all, I was now a grown-up fifteen-year-old. I just liked the way a thick layer of snow looked.

Feeling bored and restless, I paced around the house for a while, then finally sat down on the sofa, pulled an afghan around my shoulders and grabbed one of Mom’s woman’s magazines from the end table.

One of my brothers leaned into the room and said, “There’s a big snow storm coming. I’m going to walk down to the woods while the walking is still easy. Do you want to come along?”   Continue reading

Chef B

My husband Arnie opened the door and I stepped into the small, old-fashioned café. Three old men leaning over steaming cups of coffee at a large table glanced casually at us before returning to their conversation. They were busily discussing how to solve major world problems, such as famine, war and snotty youngsters.

Sliding into a booth, I looked around for Arnie. I spotted him across the room at the cash register sifting through a pile of newspapers. He’d stopped to select reading material to enjoy while he ate breakfast. I hoped the paper he picked had a funnies page. I didn’t like anything too heavy with my jellied toast and coffee.

Arnie loved what he called, “Mom and Pop restaurants”. He’d say, “Those places have homemade food that’s far better than anything you can get at a franchise place.” I had to agree with him.

We were visiting a town neither of us had been to before. How he had spotted this place, I didn’t know. The street facade was unremarkable. I suspected that finding places like this was connected to his uncanny ability of seldom getting lost.

After our waitress, Alice, took our order and Arnie started reading the paper, I looked around more closely. The café looked like a stage set from Mayberry RFD. The vintage décor wasn’t just a decorator’s attempt at inducing nostalgia. I suspected that they had opened their doors four or five decades earlier. Other than keeping the kitchen and dining room clean, no one had thought to update the wallpaper, furniture or anything else. If it wasn’t broken, it clearly didn’t need to be fixed. Continue reading