Archive | May 2020

Eating Pi

Standing in line for a favorite food item wouldn’t sit well with my plans. I’d been on my feet for most of the previous six hours. All I wanted to do was quickly buy something to eat, then sit down to enjoy it and my co-worker’s company. Thirty-minute lunchtimes pass as quickly as the flash of a camera.

Stepping into the cafeteria, I discovered there was a long line of workers waiting to be served hot food. Only a few people were around the cold bar making salads. Salads always satisfied me, so I turned to pick up a bowl and make one for myself.

Barb, my coworker, nudged me with her elbow and hissed, “They’re serving shepherd’s pie!” In unison we turned to join the line. As we waited, Barb commented, Shepherd’s pie is supposed to have a spring mix of vegetables in it and not sauerkraut. The hospital just calls this meal, ‘potato-sauerkraut casserole’.”

Shrugging I confessed, “I prefer the kraut. Switching the ingredients should automatically require the dish to have a different name. Maybe it should be called, German shepherd’s pie.” A mental picture of a happy, tongue-lolling German Shepherd suddenly popped into my mind.

Barb grimaced in response to my comment as she reached for a dish handed to her by the cafeteria worker. It was heavily laden with mashed potato-topped sauerkraut with a satisfying bottom layer of creamy ground beef. Continue reading

Changes

The shelves under the stereo in the dining room nearly sagged from the weight of photo albums. I stood examining them. Which one did I want to pull out? Each one was like a black hole that would swallow the rest of my afternoon, so I needed to be careful in my selection. I wanted pictures from the first ten years of my marriage for the family history project I’m working on.

Luck was with me. The one I finally pulled out was labeled, 1968 through 1980. Between the shelf and the dining room table, five photos fell out and scattered on the floor. Sighing impatiently, I glanced at my daughter, who works remotely from my house, and asked, “Would you like to help me this week end? I want to put these pictures into a new album; one with pockets.”

Tammie eagerly offered, “Sure. Looking at the old pictures will be fun. What’s wrong with that album?”

Several more pictures spilled out of the album as I turned pages. Trying to put them back in place, I explained, “This album had sticky pages covered with plastic cover sheets. After 50 years, the pages have stopped being sticky and now the pictures don’t want to stay in place anymore.” Continue reading

Playing Tag

The bush near our farmhouse’s chimney was a cedar tree. At least that was what Mom called it. To me, it just looked like a tall, narrow bush. I snuggled into its green branches, trying to melt into it and be invisible. Suddenly, two of my big sisters galloped past and around to the front of the house. They didn’t seem to realize I was even there!

I sighed with relief and discovered that the cedar smelled really good. Tearing off a flat cedar leaf spray, I held it to my nose, took a deep breath and peeked out at the surrounding lawn. I didn’t see anyone. Maybe it would be safe now for me to run. Shouts from the other side of the yard emboldened me. As I sprinted off, my hasty departure making the cedar sway.

My brothers and sisters were playing a tag game called, “7 Steps Around the House.” The rules were simple; if the person who was “IT” saw you take more than 7 steps as you ran around the house, you became the next “IT”.

I didn’t want to get caught and be “IT”! The prospect filled me with great dread, too horrible for my five-year-old mind to express. Just thinking about getting caught made me shiver as if with chills. Continue reading

Zoo Doo Review

The sun felt warm, but a chilly wind kept trying to find a way down our collars and up our coat sleeves. My daughter and I stood on the deck at the back of my house inspecting the yard. Pointing to the row of pine trees along the backside of my property, I proposed, “For our walk today, lets walk the perimeter of my land.”

“That’s a good idea.” Tammie enthused. “We can see how high the river is and check for buds on all of your shrubs.”

My daughter and I decided to shelter together when the “Safer at Home” order was given. We knew being together would ease our anxiety about the situation.

As we settled into this new, unfamiliar lifestyle of never going anywhere to ensure an extreme form of social distancing, we decided that keeping busy would make us feel better and that we needed to get fresh air and exercise every day.

Keeping busy is an easy plan to follow. Tammie’s job for the last two years allows her to work remotely. All her meetings and social gatherings are done online now, too. For my part, I keep busy by managing the house, making meals, cleaning, washing clothes and writing my family history.

As Tammie and I walked across the lawn, the sound of an eagle call made us look up. Soaring overhead we saw a beautiful bald-headed eagle. Its white plumage glowed in the sunshine. As we watched, it called, “Screee!” and disappeared behind tall trees upriver.

When my daughter and I reached the line of pine trees we discovered it had a solid boarder of deer doo-doo. Tammie exclaimed, “Now we know what all the local deer did this winter. They came here every day to take a dump!”

The lawn ended as we neared the river. Picking our way through the trees and winter-bleached grass, we discovered another much-used deer trail. All along it, we found more doo-doo. Tammie dissed the deer, “What dirty animals! There’s hardly a clean place to walk.”

Sounding like a wise old Indian scout, I pointed out, “This wasn’t all done by deer. Notice the pile by that tree? A rabbit did that. It’s shaped differently.”

My daughter observed the difference, “Hmmm, yes, I see what you mean. One is shaped like jelly beans and the other like skittles.”

I muttered to myself as we continued our walk, “Another reason I won’t be eating those kinds of candy this Easter.”

Nearing the bridge, we found more doo-doo that looked different. Stopping to look at it I guessed, “Coyote or fox?”

A few steps further, Tammie exclaimed, “Ew! This is from a very large dog…or maybe a bear?!”

Seriously considering her last possibility, I mused, “We’ve had a few warm days this week. I guess the bear along the river have left their dens already.”

Looking nervously around and over her shoulder, Tammie quickly suggested, “Let’s walk on the road.”

Smiling, I nodded in agreement and confided, “Several years ago I read an article about how some gardeners like to use manure from zoos because of the different beneficial nutrients some plants require.” My daughter didn’t laugh. She listened, nodded and looked as if she was evaluating the possible benefits.

I chuckled, “I told my friend Val I wanted to start a business selling zoo manure. When people called to order their poo of preference, I would answer the telephone by saying, “Zoo doo-doo! What can I get for you?”

Giving me an eye-roll, Tammie suggested, “You could gather up all the doo-doo we saw today and advertise it as, “Just the thing you need for your wild garden this summer; deer and rabbit septic results without inviting them over for dinner.”

Groaning over her joke, I pointed out, “We were pretty good at guessing whose was whose back there… After our “Safer at Home” quarantine, we’ll be expert scatologists.”