Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Peculiar Human Emotion: Homesickness

This post is a copy of a writing asignment in a class I am currently taking online.
I regularly read a blog written by a young woman who currently lives in in Europe. She recently wrote a post that not only resonated with me, but also reminded me of a recent journaling exercise that followed in a similar vein.

The young lady grew up in one country but when she was ready to attend University she eagerly left it and emigrated to England. There she found her “soul” home (as well as a husband). Unfortunately there are laws on emigration that must be obeyed and visa expired, she was forced to move back to to her home country. In one of her her posts she wrote about all the places in England that she had hopes of visiting. She wrote of the beauty she encountered and of the things that she once had but has no longer. I felt great sympathy for her when I read her post on being homesick for England. I, too have a “soul” home that I cannot return to.

My father grew up on a farm in south central Minnesota just outside of a small town called St. James. It sat on 80 acres. That is quite small by today’s standards, yet it provided a good income for the family “in the day.” When my grandfather died and my grandmother went into assisted living, the farm contents were auctioned off, the land sold; the buildings and the old-growth grove of trees surrounding the buildings were torn down and then plowed under. There is no trace left of that magical place.

Like that young lady, I visit again and again in my mind. For me, I remember certain things: the smell of fresh cut alfalfa, the dusty light in the barn at feeding time, the taste of homegrown produce filling the table at mealtime, the sound of the yellow rose bush scratching at the dining room windows and the crackly stiffness of corn cob leaves just before harvest.

I remember Grandpa hunched over the kitchen radio trying to listen to the Twins game between lightning-caused static cracks. I remember Grandma sitting on the kitchen counter eavesdropping on phone conversations over the party line. I remember the huge lavender-colored lilac blooms on a tall bush that decorated the middle of the chicken yard. I remember the red box elder bugs that Grandma would sweep off the living room walls into a dustpan and shake them out over the chicken yard fence as a treat for the birds. I remember picking eggs out of the hens’ nests and carefully placing them in wire baskets for washing and storage in the coolness of the root cellar where they sat until the egg-man came to pick them up. I remember shoveling silage down out of the silo and breaking apart the bales of alfalfa for the cows at feeding time. I remember the grunts and squeals of the pigs as they bumped each other out of the way to be the first at the trough.

We would walk half a mile up a gravel road to collect the mail from the grouping of mailboxes at the junction. Sometimes Grandpa would use the tractor to go get the mail. He’d let us stand alongside his seat and we would laugh when the bugs would hit our cheeks as we barreled down the road leaving a plume of dust rising in the air behind us.

In spring when the ditches were full of water, we would find long sticks to tie strings onto so that we could try fishing in them. (No one spoiled our fun by telling us there were no fish in the ditches.) We built forts in the grove to the north of the house and we played "Wagon Train" all over the farm yard. Grandma would fill our canteens with orange Kool-aid and pack some candy bars in our lunch boxes.

When I grew old enough to learn to drive, it was Grandpa who put me behind the wheel in the middle of a freshly mowed alfalfa field. He directed me in circles and figure eights until he knew I could handle the car, and then together we set off down the gravel roads.

In time that young lady in Europe could find her way back to England to visit her special places or even live there permanently. I sincerely hope, not only that she does, but that she writes about it as well. While I won’t be as fortunate, now that the farm no longer exists, I will honor and cherish those memories and more.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Yard Work - Fun or Foe?

I just sat down from working out in my front yard.  I'm exhausted.  There's no one to blame but me for the 23 lawn & leaf bags I hauled to the alley.  Whew!  So, the front yard is pretty pathetic even after I raked all the leaves, sticks, and pods into those bags. 

Water rates have gone up here in the Valley of the Sun and with good reason.  We are in a major drought.  The City feels the best way to get people's attention on how much water they use is to raise the rates.  Of course this only works for people like me who are already struggling to pay the bills.  We stop watering our yards.

Needless to say then that I haven't been watering my front yard and I've slowed down on my back yard.  I've lost two and perhaps three trees back there because of it.  Ah well.  I'll pick out more drought tolerant varieties and try again.

Which brings me back to the front.  Yard, that is.  My neighbor (who has a putting green worthy front yard) walks over to me while I am wheezing over the rake and wiping sweat out of my eyes and compliments my yard.  Yeah. 

"I think it looks bald now," I said.  "Maybe I'll let what grass remains grow really really long and then do a comb-over like a bald guy's head."

He frowned and walked back to his house.  Okay, so maybe not.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Have I mentioned this before?

I love watching TED talks (http://www.ted.com/) and I ran across this one that makes me smile biggly.  (That's short for "really really big".)

For all of you who like to doodle while on the phone or during meetings, IT'S OKAY

Yay! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Notebook Stories has another Giveaway!

Nifty brings another great giveaway on her site.  Check out Review and Giveaway: Some Rhodia and Clairefontaine Goodies, then follow her instructions to enter the contest.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Just Touching Base Here

Greetings all!

I'm smack in the middle of "Meetin' Season" and I'm barely keeping up on the rest of the world.  I'm also buried under with an online college course.  What a dash of cold water there!  Because they can't see you face to face, the work is piled on heavier and the check-ins are tremendous.  I originally decided to try the online class so I could fit it into my schedule.  Well, think again.  **smile**

On personal issues, one biggie down and another just beginning.  I've decided to keep all that "junk" off the blog and not subject you to any more whining than you already get from our Tea Party candidates.  **grins**  (The glorious news that Palin won't be running is keeping me from gagging over Bachmann and Perry.  (Perry actually thinks Viagra is for a health issue but birth control is not.  Uh huh.) )

The weather has finally turned cooler.  I am loving it!  I just wish I could take some time off to enjoy it.

This morning I'm heading off to the Cave Creek/Carefree area to enjoy thrift store shopping and girl talk with my daughter and a good friend.  Much laughter expected - which I dearly need.  Thrift store shopping is such a grand adventure for me as well as being less of a consumer.  Reusing and re-purposing instead of filling up the landfill is what I'm after.

Dang - I'm getting way too preachy this morning.   My apologies.

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful day/weekend/workweek!