Posted tagged ‘expectations’

“Morning is the dream renewed, the heart refreshed, earth’s forgiveness painted in the colors of the dawn.”

August 28, 2017

I love these cool and sunny mornings. When I take Gracie out, I sit on the shaded back steps for a while until I get cold or until I can smell the coffee.

There is something wonderful about mornings. The whole day is in front of me. I can do what I please and seldom have expectations as to what the day might bring. I take everything as it comes. Sometimes I have lists, but they are more like guidelines. If I don’t want to do anything, I don’t. There’s always tomorrow.

My morning rituals take about 5 minutes to complete before I can sit and drink my coffee, also a ritual I suppose. They are the only parts of the day which never change. I take Gracie out and then feed her and Maddie breakfast. The two patiently wait knowing what’s coming. After breakfast each gets a treat. Maddie’s patience is usually gone by then, and she meows at me while Gracie just sits waiting. Satisfied, the two then take their first naps of the day.

When I was a kid, I was seldom home on a summer day. I’d go to the playground or  roam around on my bike. My mother never really knew where I was at any given time,  but she didn’t worry. No mothers worried back then. Our world was small, confined mostly to the neighborhood, the school and church and to the main square of our town where the library, the movie theater and the stores were. Nothing bad ever happened when I was a kid.

My mother taught us not to talk to strangers. I figure she was just hedging her bets. My town didn’t have strangers. I think my father knew everybody. He and my mother had lived there since before high school, before they’d met each other. I was simply George’s oldest, and people would stop me and say hello and tell me to say hello to my mother or father or both.

I hitchhiked when I was a senior in high school and when I was in college. I also hitched when I was in Ghana which was a quicker way to get home than to wait for the lorry to fill. Never did I think of my mother and her admonition about strangers. I just wanted to get from one place to another. Nothing ever happened. I never even felt threatened. That’s the way it was back then.

“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been”

January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

The weather doesn’t look much different being grey and overcast, and I slept away the morning having stayed up way too late last night, but I feel a bit different, a little more excited for each new day. I have no expectations so whatever happens will be a surprise. I know I’m hoping to go back to Ghana in the fall with my friends, my friends from Peace Corps days. We traveled together all the time back when, and we lived in a duplex on school grounds. They are funny and are great travelers, and they love Ghana. It feels like home to them as well. How lucky we are!

When I was a kid, New Year’s Day wasn’t especially significant to me. It meant the end of vacation so it had a pall about it. I’d had a whole week of no bedtime and playing as long as I wanted with my new toys. I’d read my new books well into the night without being told to turn off the light. One week just wasn’t enough.

It really didn’t take long for routine to grab us right back into it. Get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, walk to school, sit there all day with just lunch and recess to break up the monotony, sit back down after lunch then with great hoopla run home at the end of the day hoping for some outside play time before it got dark.

The funny thing is I never thought of that as a routine. I just thought of it as the lot of every kid. Weekends also followed a pattern. On most winter Saturdays we walked uptown for a movie. The sun was always low in the sky when we’d walk home. I remember that for some reason. When I was older, we’d often skate on a Saturday. We would walk to Rec Park and skate on the temporary rink the town put up every year. It was circular, and we always skated one way.

Sundays were seldom exciting. They were masses in the morning and family dinners in the afternoon before we were free. Bedtime came early on a Sunday. My mother always used the excuse we needed our sleep for school the next day. We never bought it.

“To lovers of adventure and novelty, Africa displays a most ample field.”

July 31, 2015

And the heat goes on! Today is just a bit better than yesterday, and tonight is supposed to be cool. We did have some rain last night around 11:30. I don’t know how long it lasted. I know it was small rain as I was outside on the deck watching Gracie and barely got wet.

A large fly was inside the house yesterday. I hate flies. I suspect this one was logy from the cold because when it landed I was able to sneak attack and whack it with my hand. No more fly!

I wish I could describe the excitement I had when I was flying over the Sahara on my way to Ghana. It was like seeing my geography book come alive. I almost couldn’t believe it was the Sahara below the plane. It seemed more like a dream. Seeing it got me even more excited because it meant we were getting closer to Ghana. I had no idea what to expect from Ghana. The books I read had described the country, but then it was my imagination, my mind’s eye, which conjured the way I thought it might look. Exotic came to mind. A place different in every way from the familiar was the overwhelming thought. In many ways I wasn’t wrong.

The first few days were filled with eye-opening sights. The compounds, not houses but compounds, had tin roofs rusted by the rain. My whiteness was an attraction. Everywhere I went a parade followed. I met a chief, a real African chief. All the sights, sounds and smells overwhelmed me. I couldn’t process fast enough. I almost needed to pinch myself. I was really in Africa.

One of the first lessons I learned in Ghana was not to have expectations but rather to take everything as it came. I didn’t grouse about what I didn’t have. That was the key to living happily. I didn’t like the flies and I wasn’t thrilled about peeing in a hole, but they were part of life for me. I swatted the flies and aimed well at the hole. I came to love Ghanaian food and wore dresses of Ghanaian cloth. My sandals had soles made of tire rubber by the man in the market, sort of an outdoor cobbler. I rode in crowded lorries and buses and ate food sold along the roadside. I never gave any of it a second thought. I was home.

Sometimes even now I am amazed I went to Africa. I can’t remember what made me at twenty-one willing to go, to leave everyone and everything behind me. Whatever it was, I am forever thankful.