Archive | June 2019

The Crossing

My brother announced after dinner that he was going to walk to the woods on our farm’s back forty. I excitedly begged, “Take me with you! Please? I promise to keep up.” Being nine-years-old, I no longer needed to be carried home as I did when I was five.

Moments later, equipped with apples to munch on, we left the muddy cow yard and turned down the cow lane. Wide enough for a tractor and farm wagon, this long narrow fenced area served as an alley for cows who wanted to go from the barn on our front forty acres to the woodlot on the back forty. A lush corn-field bordered the fence on one side and an oat field on the other.

I stopped to admire the yellow flowers of a tall, fuzzy-leafed mullein gently swaying in the breeze next to one of the fence posts. A red-winged black-bird swooped low overhead, scolding excitedly. My brother explained, “He has a nest nearby and doesn’t like how close we are. Let’s move on!”

I ducked and ran, swatting the air overhead in case the crazed bird tried to peck me. By the time we were several yards away, the bird had calmed down.

When we crested the hill, we saw the small creek with our field and woods lying beyond. I wasn’t as interested in visiting the woods as I was in visiting the creek’s two crossing spots. As I walked, I stared at the stream of water. My brother snapped, “Watch your step! You almost stepped into a cow pie!” Continue reading

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Life Dancers

I spun from the refrigerator to the sink. Dumping a bundle of carrots on the counter, I twirled toward the stove where a kettle lid was jiggling noisily. My fifth grade daughter Tammie, sat reading a book in the corner of the kitchen. Ninth grader Niki, leaned on the counter next to the sink eating an apple.

Earlier, when I picked them up after school, I had asked, “How was your day? Tell me about it.” They’d each given me the typical non-verbal shrug.

I knew from experience that I’d opened a channel of communication. If I was patient and listened, by the end of the evening their experiences of the day would slowly unwind for us to share.

Tossing her apple core into the wastepaper basket, Niki proudly announced, “My gym teacher asked me today if I was a dancer.”

Looking up from my gravy-making, I inquired, “What gave her the idea that you danced?”

Niki answered with a chuckle, “She had the class doing stretches. I was able to do them easily. She told me people who dance are usually more flexible than those who don’t.” Drawing herself up as tall as she could, she proudly proclaimed in an exaggerated drawl, “I am flex-i-ble!”

Laughing, I instructed, “Ok, flexible girl…show me those stretches!” While I finished supper preparations, both Niki and Tammie were on the kitchen floor doing splits. Continue reading