Archive | March 2017

Where it Drains

Sun was shining into the kitchen when I stepped in to make my breakfast. My heart lifted. After so many dreary, cold winter days, I felt more than ready to enjoy spring. My instant plan for the day was to change the bedding, wash a load of laundry and then go outside to tidy the yard by picking up broken branches.

Spring days are unreliable. By the time I had finished stripping the bed and starting the laundry, it had clouded over again. Disappointed, I bundled up to go outside anyway. It didn’t take long for me to appreciate my jacket and scarf after stepping out of the house. Although the thermometer said it was a pleasant forty degrees, wind blowing over snowbanks in the fields around the house picked up a tremendous amount of chilly dampness.

Trying to decide where to start my clean-up, I glanced around the bleak, winter-ravaged yard. Melted snow puddled here and there on the gravel driveway. None of the puddles were very large, though. The natural, gentle slope of the yard made the water slowly trickle downhill toward the river south of my house. Water from the spring runoff already filled the normally trickling, Little Eau Pleine River to a raging current. The gushing, rushing torrent of water could easily be heard from my back door. Continue reading

Ashes to Glory

Pale dawn light was peeking in the bedroom windows when I opened my eyes. Rolling over onto my back I began to think, as I do each morning upon first awaking, about what day it was and what jobs I wanted to accomplish before night fall. It was already the middle of the week! At the beginning of winter, I had assigned Wednesdays as the day to do my once a week wood-pellet-furnace cleaning. If I wanted the fire out and the firebox cool enough for me to clean it by the time I was dressed, had finished my morning prayers and eaten breakfast, I needed to turn it off now.

Slipping out of bed, I thrust my feet into slippers and slowly shuffled toward the staircase. As I passed the living room, I noticed a doll laying in the middle of the floor. My daughter and her children had visited me last night as they do every Tuesday evening. The rest of my trip to the basement was spent thinking about my grandchildren. How protectively my grandson Ben had held his little sister Gemma when she cried! What a funny face toddler Blaise had made when he sucked on the fresh lemon wedge, yet kept going back for more! A flip of a switch and the furnace was off.

Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, landed on March 1st this year. I hadn’t started my winter routine of cleaning the furnace every Wednesday with this in mind, but today I chuckled about spending my day in ashes, both secular and liturgical. Continue reading

Fudge and Popcorn

My boyfriend Arnie and I were parked on a side road necking when he leaned back and said, “I want to take you to Antler’s Supper Club Friday night.”

I smiled and said, “Wow, that sounds great. It’s a popular place. Everyone who’s been there raves about how great their food is.”

Antler’s was a fancy restaurant one county over from where we lived. Friday night was Halloween. Since Arnie hated costumes, I knew he wasn’t interested in Halloween parties, but would happily stop to visit with friends at one on our way back to Marshfield.

Our date on Friday night didn’t get off to a very good start. I teased Arnie, but he wasn’t in the mood. He seemed preoccupied. After pulling into a parking place at Antler’s, instead of getting out of the car, he turned toward me holding out a small square box. He said, “Will you be my wife?” Continue reading

Mama Cat’s Hiss-Story

Mom slipped a sun bonnet on my head and reached down to tie its ribbon under my chin. She said, “It’s windy today. This’ll keep you warm.” My eldest sister helped me put on a red sweater. First, she put one of my arms in a sleeve and then helped me put the other arm into the second sleeve. She knelt in front of me to button it shut. My white, ankle-high leather shoes needed to be tied and then I was ready to venture outdoors.

Going outside to explore the backyard was a big deal for the first few years of my life. On this early spring day, my sister was taking me to the barn to see a litter of kittens. When we stepped out the back door of the farmhouse, two barn cats were stretched out on the sun-warmed cement sidewalk. They jumped to their feet when they saw us and began to rub against our legs. Their fur felt silky and softer than any of my special blankets.

It was so warm and still next to the house that I wanted my sweater and hat off, but by the time we crossed the driveway and started up the barn hill, a surprisingly strong, chill wind buffeted me, making it hard to walk.

The large haymow barn doors were standing open. Sunshine slanted in, lighting half of the threshing floor. My sister led me to a pile of hay alongside the stairway that led down to the lower part of the barn. The sweet scent of dried summer grasses filled the air. Downstairs, a calf bellowed and its mother lowed in return. In the stillness of the haymow I heard tiny mews. Then I saw the source. Burrowed in the hay was a nest with five nursing kittens and a gray tabby cat. Continue reading

13th Child

Warm, happy waves of excitement and cold, shivery chills of nervousness washed over me in turns. Daddy was driving me into town on a Saturday afternoon for a birthday party. I alternately fiddled with the wrapped present on my lap and the hem of my Sunday dress. My friend, Karen had invited me and more than a dozen other classmates. The party was at her house in Stratford. Along the road, we passed homes that I recognized. We were getting closer to where Karen lived.

I was used to birthdays celebrated in class rooms. Usually the birthday person’s Mom would send a pan of brownies or a jar of chocolate chip cookies to school to be passed around when Sister said it was okay. Many birthday parties that I’d been to, were for my nuclear family or for one of my neighborhood cousins. Those parties were limited to cake and ice cream after supper. Today was different. Today I was going to a real birthday party with games and many other children! Continue reading