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Opinions

Life on the acreage

Food For Thought

Although we lived in town with neighbors all around, life on Washington Street was significantly different from the way it had been on First Street where I’d had many neighborhood playmates. There had been, besides Norma Jo and Charles, the Craig twins, Bobby and Beverly; Jackie Slatterback; Dwight and Dwayne Stone; Bert Reynolds; Gladys Fee and Les Stevens.

The big onion

Walkin'

Talked with Mom and Dad on the phone this morning.
The big news of the day was the Cubs. They don’t have cable so they couldn’t watch the series clincher against the Giants, but they did have a radio tuned in until about 10 p.m. That’s bedtime, they observe it pretty closely. It’s a rare evening that finds them staying up past or, even rarer, going to bed early.
We both agreed it’s actually better listening to it on the radio. The television announcers might be talking about what they had for lunch and completely miss describing the triple being played out on the field.

Responsibilities

Food For Thought

Rosemary had a younger sister named Marlene, a stepfather who was one of the town policemen, and a new baby half-brother named Darrel. Their house was across the street and down the hill from ours, past a vacant lot. I often walked with her, past my house, around her house to the back door where we entered into the kitchen. Rosemary would go to the living room, where her mother seemed to always be seated at her sewing machine, while I waited in the kitchen. For some reason, I always imagined her mother sewing for someone else, as Mrs.

Pearl’s still in our heart

Walkin'

Pearl continues to be a great patient as she rehabs from knee surgery.
At 9, she’s no puppy and her leash-free romps on the farm or at the park may be behind her. But she still loves her walks even if she is tethered.
Pre-injury, I loved to get her amped up before taking her out.
“Wanna walk?” I’d ask.
She’d spark and shoot about like static electricity. Then I’d repeat the question at each step of my routine to get ready. By the time my shoes got slipped on, glasses found, hat donned and sunscreen sprayed, the voltage of her excitement surged to storm level.

Saying goodbye

Food For Thought

Children, for the most part, are dedicated optimists. If things are going well, they assume they’ll stay that way, and if things are not so good, kids invariably believe they’ll soon get better. So when I was in second grade and approaching age 8, I was pretty sure I had my future well in hand. I loved school, had several nice girlfriends and my very best friend and soul mate Charles. My dad was home from the Air Force to stay and I never gave a thought to the possibility of anything unpleasant coming along to ruin my contentment.

Hens and drug overdosing

walkin'

Everyone keeps asking about Pearl but no one inquires about the chickens or me.
The old hens couldn’t have it any better.
The avian experience at our place starts with a snug hen house. The outside of the building is made of sturdy plywood grooved and stained to give it a paneled look. The chicken’s door or, as I call it, the “hentry” is neatly trimmed with strips of linen sprayed with gnat repellent dangled in precise intervals making a barrier for the pesky bugs.

The winds of change blow gently

Food For Thought

Eleanor and I talked about just about everything on those slow walks home from school. Even though it was only three blocks from school to her house, it could take us as long as a half hour, as we sometimes became so absorbed in what we were talking about we stopped walking and poured all our attention into the subject at hand. We compared likes and dislikes, attitudes and opinions. She thought she might join the Girl Scouts. I didn’t like the idea of uniforms and regular meetings and having to fill a bunch of requirements to earn a little badge to sew on my uniform.

A special teacher

Foot For Thought

I think second grade was the best year of my elementary school career. To my mind, Miss McDowel was the best teacher in the school. Every year, my uncles asked me the same two questions about school: Did I have a boyfriend? And, was my teacher pretty?

Skinny dipping with the devil

walkin'

For proof of God’s existence, I need only to look into the waters of the pond we dug on our land near Solon.
Last fall, the spot was an ugly 15-foot (at its deepest), 3/4-acre hole in the ground.
Then it rained, and rained again, in the spring. By the end of March, it filled up. By the end of April, I began seeing frogs and turtles. It wasn’t just a few, but an entire legion of the critters, especially the frogs.

The girl with the leg brace

Food For Thought

Eleanor didn’t come to my attention until first grade. There were two half-day kindergarten classes each day, and attending kindergarten was not required at the time. As she would have been recovering from a bout with polio, she could have been in the morning class while I was in the afternoon one, or not enrolled in kindergarten at all.

One simple rule

Walkin'

When I first mentioned we joined the church across the street, several of our friends were fairly astonished.
I guess this is because I am, by nature, a fairly irreverent person.
I like to drink alcoholic beverages, for example, sometimes to the point of being howling at the moon drunk. I also smoke cigars occasionally and swear frequently. I make up stories about selling pot and amassing fortunes.

The new best friend

Food For Thought

It seems with my own children, as well as for those of my generation, the first five or six years of school involve the discovery and cultivation of a new best friend nearly every school year. By junior high and high school, friendships tend to be deeper and longer lasting, but it is a rare thing when those first early relationships survive for another year. The reasons for this may be as simple as the seating arrangement in the new classroom when school starts each fall, or as subtle as a crooked smile, a purple backpack, or a bandaged knee.