Posted tagged ‘Pollyanna’

“How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence.

February 21, 2015

Pollyanna and her glad game have no place around here. She’d be struck mute. 28˚ doesn’t merit hats, horns or balloons. I’m still astonished today’s paper called this a warming trend. It also warned the cold would be back next week. Our definition of cold seems to have been forever altered after the last two weeks.

I am not one to run to warm places in the winter. In January one year I went to Morocco. Despite it being their winter, it was comparatively warm to winter here. The Moroccans wore winter coats and wool caps. I wore a sweatshirt.

Springs makes me forget winter. I exalt in the green shoots which appear first in my garden. I watch their progress. The buds sheathed in green are next and then color starts to appear through the green. I want to yell and cheer. Finally the first flowers bloom, always the croci (I did have four years of Latin) and the hyacinths. Purple, white and yellow flowers dot the side and front gardens. I always stop and admire the flowers for the colorful miracles they are.

At Christmas I take a ride to see the lights. I hunger for color. I stop for a bit at the brightest houses. I even sit in the car to look at my house strung with both white and colored lights shining through the darkness. Even now I have lights on part of my deck rail and on a couple of bottle trees in the backyard. The prayer flags and the Mexican banners hung between trees in my yard are victims of the wind and snow. I miss them.

I go on flower rides in the early spring. The yards along 6A are filled with croci, hyacinth and tulips. I love the colors, but even more I love that winter has finally been displaced.

“Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.”

December 6, 2013

The phone woke me up close to eleven. I just let it ring. It was a telemarketer who left no message, an assumption on my part but I think I’m right. I heard it all, including the click of the receiver, as I didn’t even bother to move to answer the phone. (I’m going to complain a bit here so skip down to line 9 if you want to miss the groaning.) My back is horrific every morning. I wake up, crawl my way to the edge of the bed and wait until the stiffness goes away. Mornings bring the worst of the pain. I wait, patient and still, until I can move without the neighbors hearing me scream. Gracie looks up, sees me sitting, decides all is well and lies right back down on the bed. Fern meows, turns on her back and expects scratches and pats: so much for their sympathy. Meanwhile, I am Igor working my way to the bathroom. As I move around, my back starts to feel better but the pain stays all day, just a bit abated. Monday I’ll give the doctor a call though I’m not sure which one-I guess the surgeon. I call them my stable of doctors.

(Line 9 for those skippers among you) Today is another rainy, dreary day, but I don’t mind a day like today in winter. Summer, though, is far different. I always think I’ve been cheated if a summer day isn’t perfect, but my standards are much lower for winter when a day can be anything. If I assumed for a moment the guise of Pollyanna and played her Glad Game, I’d say, “I’m glad it’s raining. At least it’s not snowing.” That almost makes me gag. I think I’m long past my Pollyanna days.

When I was sixteen, my family dragged me to Maine for a few days. We were at a friend’s cottage. One of the neighbors came in to say hello. She was from South Africa. I was intrigued and a bit jealous and told her Africa was one of the places I’d most like to visit. She asked if I was talking about colored Africa. Seriously, I missed entirely what she meant. It wasn’t naivety. It was just I hadn’t ever heard that term before. Into my head popped green tropical forests, cloths of patterns and colors and fruit: yellow, red, green fruit. I told her yes. She explained that my life would be in danger, and I would be a target, a white target. I started to argue because I then understood what she meant by colored Africa. My mother put a stop to my rantings and shooed me outside.

When I was in Ghana, we were told we could anywhere except South Africa. No one needed to explain why. South Africa was apartheid, and Peace Corps espouses the opposite. In all its literature, Peace Corps calls the commitment a cross-cultural experience, but it is so much more. For most of us, Ghana became home. We absorbed all we could and became part of the whole landscape of Ghana: its customs and its people, the wonderful colored people of Ghana.

Nelson Mandela guided South Africa from apartheid to multi-racial democracy. He served 27 years in prison and turned this imprisonment into a tool to create political change and national liberty. In 1993, Mandela and President de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work toward dismantling apartheid.

Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the country’s first black president on May 10, 1994, at the age of 77, with de Klerk as his first deputy.

On December 5, 2013, at the age of 95, Nelson Mandela died at his home in Johannesburg, South Africa. President Zuma released a statement later that day, in which he spoke to Mandela’s legacy: “Wherever we are in the country, wherever we are in the world, let us reaffirm his vision of a society … in which none is exploited, oppressed or dispossessed by another.”

“Don’t go into Mr. McGregor’s garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.”

May 7, 2012

I feel a bit like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail only it’s the mechanical I’m losing, not my arms or legs. First it was the computer going haywire. Okay, I thought, I can work around that until I get it to the computer emergency room. Then the speaker wire died, frayed at the connection to the computer end, and now all is silent. Well, I figured I’ll just choose music I know well was my Pollyanna, the glad game response. Last night I went to go to the store and found I had a flat tire. AAA came and now my car has the donut until I can go to the station to have the tire checked. I walk on tenterhooks around my house leery and afraid of what could be next. My microwave makes unearthly sounds when I turn it on so that may well be on its last legs. It wouldn’t surprise me. Nothing much does any more.

Today is warm and beautiful. It is 63° with only the slightest breeze. The oak leaves are much larger now and are light green with a touch of red. I saw a couple of nests in the backyard so the birds have been busy spooning and building. Yesterday I saw a baby rabbit munching on my neighbor’s tulips. I’m betting its mother or father was the rabbit who stood outside the  backyard fence for the longest time just staring at Gracie who was so crazy to get that rabbit she kept trying to jump the fence. Maybe Gracie needs an Elmer Fudd hat and a rifle.

Polliwogs, frogs, grasshoppers and birds were the only wildlife I saw around my neighborhood while I was growing up. A rabbit would have been cause for excitement and a crowd of kids trying their best to be still and quiet to keep the rabbit around for a while. Yesterday I ran at the rabbit to scare it away. Now the rabbit is a nuisance who drives my dog crazy and eats my flowers. Adulthood brings such a different perspective.

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”

April 29, 2012

Oh, spring, where have you gone? Last night was winter, and today is only 52°. The sun is warm through the doors and windows but not enough to make being outside on the deck inviting. I got cold when I was filling the bird feeders this morning. Even the house feels chilly. The heat turned itself on early this morning which meant it was lower than 62° in here. No wonder I slept in under the warmth of my down comforter.

This is a new week, and I have high hopes it will be a good week. It’s my Pollyanna moment.

When I was in high school, I took four years of Latin. I have no idea why, but I actually liked it. The Aeneid, my fourth year text, was my favorite. I still remember the first line, ” Arma virumque cano.” I sing of arms and of a man. I think the story appealed to me because I loved all the tall tales, stories of people like Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed and Pecos Bill. I can still see in my mind’s eye the illustration of Pecos Bill riding that cyclone. In my library those tall tale books were on a short shelf to the left of the door. I used to sit on the carpet and look through them and read a few tales before I’d choose the books to take home. I think I read all of the books from that section.

I never read any of the science books in my library. They were in the shelves in front of the windows. I did read some of the biographies of scientists like Madame Curie, but the actual science itself never interested me. I loved mysteries and historical fiction, though, when I was little, I didn’t know that’s you called it. My favorite of all was Johnny Tremain. It took place in Boston so the novel felt personal for me, and I could actually visit the houses of characters like Paul Revere. It made the story real to me. I remember the horror I felt when Johnny spilled hot silver on his hand.

That book led me to read more stories about the Revolutionary War. I think that’s what books are meant to do. They take you to one place which leads to another and another and on and on. It’s like a family tree filled with the names of books on branch after branch.