Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

“The journey is the treasure.”

June 4, 2018

The rain was the first thing I heard when I woke up. It was pounding the window. I could also hear the wind, and from my window, I could see the top tree branches flying left and right. The house was cold. I had left my bedroom window open so my room felt damp and chilly. Henry wanted out at 8 so out he went into the rain. I went back to bed, and when he came back inside, Henry joined me. His fur was all wet. We both slept another hour. Given my druthers, I would have stayed snuggled under the covers, but Henry had a different idea. He started jumping and playing on the bed. I gave up and got out of bed. Henry got his breakfast, the cat got her treats and I got my coffee.

My house is dark. Henry is chewing on one of his toys. I think the cat is by the water dish waiting to meow when I walk by, her reminder to me to change the water. I’m just sitting here thinking and writing. The rain seems to make us all a bit logy.

I cleaned a basket yesterday, one of three under the table here in the den. It had clumps and more clumps of dust. It had an unopened calendar from 2015. I also found a manila envelope filled with return address labels. Another envelope had a few recipes and a third had nothing. A few books were in the basket, books I haven’t read. My Peace Corps mug book was there. It has pictures and short bios for every volunteer in my training group. We all look so young. The bio gives my age, 21, and my address. It notes I am a graduate of Merrimack College and majored in English and minored in education. During the summers, I worked in the post office. That seems a bit boring especially given the varied experiences of my fellow trainees. It also says in my free time I enjoy softball. That makes me laugh. I hadn’t played softball since high school.

I thumbed through all the pages and memories flooded back, memories of trainees who left during training, those people I never got to know, memories of friends who stayed and, sadly, a memory of one who died in Ghana.

None of us in that mug book knew what was waiting for us. We didn’t know we were about to embark together on the most remarkable journey. I haven’t seen many of the people in that book, but I still have so much affection for them, so many memories of them. I will always be thankful for them, Peace Corps and most especially for Ghana.

I Was an Oak Tree: Jonathan Byrd

June 1, 2018

“We are all star stuff.”

May 29, 2018

Today is a wonder, sunny and warm and beautiful. The leaves barely stir. It is a day to be outside.

My house still has that morning chill as last night was in the 50′, but it is already 75˚, the predicted high. Tonight will go back to the 50’s. If I could design a day, it would be just like today.

When I was a kid, we used to camp out in my friend’s back yard. She had only one neighbor in the back on the other side of a tall, grey metal fence which ran behind all the duplexes where we lived. It was like a border wall.  I remember that house. It was white, had a long front porch, and black shutters by every  window. Their yard closest to the fence was pear trees. We’d pick the pears through the fence. I remember they were hard to bite. I don’t think we ever waited until they were ripe. Our camp was simple. We’d put a tarp on the ground and have blankets and pillows. We’d each have a flashlight. We’d bring snacks. We were never afraid of sleeping outside. I remember lying on my back and looking at the stars. The sky was full of them. I was awed.

When I was in Ghana, I slept outside during the hottest part of the dry season. My mattress was brought out for the duration. The yard was concrete so the mattress was a must. During the day it was leaned against the wall separating my house from my neighbor’s house. Just as it was in my childhood, our house was a duplex. My friends lived on the other side of that wall. I had no other close neighbor’s. Once I was robbed, and I slept through the whole thing. I even had two guests, other volunteers, sleeping in yard with me. They never woke up either. We were all robbed of money. My camera was taken, but it was found just outside my house. You couldn’t buy film for it in Ghana so it was useless. Despite that robbery, I always felt safe in Ghana. Thieves wanted my money. They didn’t want me. While lying on my mattress, I stared at the stars. I had never seen so many in my whole life. The night was bright from the light of all those stars. I was awed.

Eggs are one of my all-time favorite foods, and making the over-easy egg is a test of skill.”

May 21, 2018

My word retrieval skills have deserted me. I can’t think of the perfect adjectives to describe today. The cloudless sky is the deepest of blues. The sun is warm and bright. The colors of the flowers in the front garden are popping in the light. I noticed new purple and pink flowers this morning when I lingered at the front garden.

After Henry went out, I stayed on the deck watching him. I noticed the lilies of the valley in the backyard are blooming. My mother would’ve loved them. They did, after all, come from her yard.

This is the week I’ll shop at the garden center. I have three lists. The first is house plants as a few of mine have died. The next is flowers for the front garden, the front steps and  the back pots which sit on the deck rail. The last is for the deck window boxes, flowers which repel bugs. I also need a hanging plant. I always buy one which dead heads itself.

I don’t know much about flowers. I can describe most of them only by color, but I do know the plots to most of Stephen King’s novels. I also know much of the dialogue in Jaws and Independence Day as I watch them every year on or around the 4th of July. I know most of the birds which come to my feeder. When I first started putting out seed, I had to look up the birds. I have a well worn copy of the Birds of North America. I can sew buttons back on, but that is the height of my sewing skills. I sometimes staple hems. I can greet people in French, Spanish and Hausa and say please and thank you in Russian. I got through most of South America with my Spanish. I was a good listener. I can order food in French. I ate a lot of bifteck and pomme frites and visited the pâtisserie every day when I traveled to Togo. My Hausa is more extensive than my French. I find that a bit odd.

I have a variety of skills, many of which are not considered marketable, but that doesn’t matter. I like what I know.

Clean Up Woman: The Pretenders

May 11, 2018

Barbecue Bess: Lucille Bogan

May 3, 2018

It isn’t difficult to figure out what Lucille is selling!

Violets of Dawn: Eric Andersen

April 30, 2018