Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tears in My Cornbread

Dad was cruel to animals. He was consistently and constantly critical. He never praised anyone because we never measured up. He wasn't a faithful husband. He turned his back on his creator. His hard fist punched in soft faces. Guns were pointed. Animals and humans felt his hands or ropes choking their necks. Horses starved in order to teach them a lesson. Anger ran a cold current, surprising us each time. There are ways to prepare for hurricanes and earthquakes, but not rage.

But none of these things happened to me. I was only an unwilling witness, sometimes screaming hysterically, most times silently watching the anger sucking us all under. A little girl can feel guilty for being relieved to have such anger bypass her.

Late last night I couldn't sleep. The kitchen is where I found cold cornbread leftovers. Crumbling a piece in a bowl with sugar and warm milk, I slowly spooned it into my hungry heart through my lips. Tears started to leak, along with milk dribbling from my contorted mouth. Crying and eating aren't compatible.

I never did like soggy old cornbread mush, but dad did. He shared it willingly, without knowing that being with him was the only part I relished.

He was more than that first paragraph. Much more. Last night proves the good memories never go away.

I miss my daddy.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cork and Apron Dining

Last night we dined at Anthony's on the Edmonds waterfront for Loverby's company Christmas Dinner. I had packed two simple gift bags for the other two wives. A candle, a little paper chain wreath, a box of Anna's ginger cookies.

Before we left, I kept having this niggling thought bubble bumping and prodding me. It came fully texted. "Give Christine one of those aprons you made today." Weird.......OK. At the last minute I wrapped one in tissue paper and dropped it in her bag, then had to mark it so I remembered which one was hers.

We had a wonderful view of the docks lined with boats all decked out for the holidays. The lights reflected and bounced merrily off the water. A sailboat with a tall mast lit up is a breath catching sight.

Our waitress was elegant. Experienced. Composed. She left us to discuss ordering a bottle of wine. My table companions remembered the story of my first embarrassing wine experience/fiasco when I was young. For a joke, the boss pointed to me when she brought the wine to the table. I almost had a stroke. She looked puzzled as everyone howled. I told her the short version of my infamous wine cork licking.

She compelled me to look her in the eye. She said she could heal me, redeem that wounded moment. With panache she took the dreaded white towel off her arm and laid it on the table, showed me how the cork was correctly moist, poured me a tiny bit and taught me the proper swirl (flat on the table) to release the bouquet. She said wine should be accessible and friendly. (I mused how opera used to be the same to the common people.) She then showed me the clear edge of the puddle against the white towel as she tipped the wine in the bowl of the glass. That is what the white towel is for! If it has a brickish/brackish edge, it is 'off'.

This was all done, not in a whisper. My lesson was for the whole room. More than our table was mesmerized with her poise. She signed the cork for me. Kit. I'm keeping it. Maybe framing it.

She told us her most embarrassing dining story. Her husband took her to a high end French restaurant in Canada for her birthday. The waiter asked her if she wanted to savour the champagne? She said yes. He then took a sword off the wall and laid it and the champagne ceremoniously on a table he pulled over for the occasion. By this time, she realized he had asked her if she wanted to saber the champagne. The restaurant was full, all heads turned as she severed the head off that bottle. Thankfully, it was the real deal. In spite of her hyperventilating performance, they didn't drink any glass particles. :)

During our lingering meal, Christine, the youngest wife and mother at the table, mentioned how for five years she has begged her husband to get her an apron for a Christmas present. He put his head in his hands, moaning at his failure at fulfilling this impossible task. Bev and I both love aprons and started holding hands in excitement under the table and slapping each other's knees. I knew she was thinking of making Christine an apron as soon as possible. I knew what was in the bag. Shivers went up my spine as I felt this supernatural love flow toward this young woman. I was so glad I hadn't dismissed that strange thought bubble by pushing it away.

I asked Christine to unwrap a certain package. She wiped tears of happiness away as she realized what it was. I told her the back story. It was one of those perfect moments. Divine. Thanks Maestro. I love how you orchestrate and make music of our lives. I love how you love us.

Our waitress happened by as Christine was holding her apron up. She said, "Looks like two miracles happened this night." We all agreed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Recap 2011

Because we don't live a Christmas Letter life, I can't write one. The pictures would be a little troubling also. Sorry. We can't laugh about it all yet, but maybe someday.

Here is a recap, though. Our year started with Brita getting rear ended, totaling her car and breaking her ribs. Christmas was not fun for her, nor were the many weeks after. Tess was sick four different times, each lasting for about seven weeks. Tests. Tests. And more tests with no answers. Craig was hit by an oncoming car turning in front of him as he was riding his motorcycle. He was in pain most of the summer and fall. Shoulder, ribs, neck, knees, and arm. The internal bruises have been slow to heal. He experienced depression for the first time in his life. I experienced him not being able or capable to bear the load he usually does. I concluded that I take his emotional and physical strength for granted. This, I purpose to rectify. I still have the piece of shattered glass from his windshield. It is in the shape of a heart. I'm grateful he wasn't taken from us that day.

We added two kitties to the estrogen laden air in our home. If I don't get them fixed soon, I'm afraid we will have two batches of kitties birthed in our closet. The kitties made us smile and laugh with their playfulness. They alone had the fortitude to lay curled up next to Tess for hours at a time bringing warmth and comfort. Brita cared for her sister in intimate and generous ways that most siblings never experience. She nursed and bathed and cleaned up after her. She found perfectly tempting food for Tess's wilted palate. Her tenacity was a welcomed character quality as it translated into a year's worth of never giving up. Love is an action verb to Brita. We all were the recipients of it many times over this year. Somehow she carried all of us at different times. She is a woman of substance. Beloved. Complex. Mysterious. Beautiful inside and out.

Tess was the most uncomplaining patient in history. I watched her be disappointed and lose heart each time she got sick, but I also saw her catch the tail of hope and rise with it. I witnessed her training her thoughts to comply, obey, and be disciplined instead of rule over her. This I admire in one so young. Her thought processes  are those of a mature woman. An old soul. I don't fear for her future. She taught me how to live this year. She has an ethereal loveliness that comes from experiencing great trouble. It's in her eyes. Forever.

We had some fun vacations and getaways this fall. Restorative days. At this moment in time our family is intact. Our love is thriving. We have our home and garden, heat and a full freezer, hot water and soft beds. Life is good. Life is sweet. And the bright spots and light places and good memories twist together with the hard parts making strong rope.

Loverby's mom always proclaimed after a bad harvest, "Well, maybe next year will be better."

I don't think it was a bad harvest after all is said and done, but I do hope next year will be better. :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

How a Paintshirt Becomes One

A needle 
threaded by help of 
new readers 
lays easy in my hand 
sliding stitches full of color 
in and out. Today I 
will only think
about sewing (I think), 
so an unstained shirt
is worn. In between
stitches, I see glue is
needed right now
to keep loose ends 
together. Before its 
stickiness has time to 
dry, I wonder if another
layer of paint should be 
put on that board waiting 
in the corner. Oh, and those 
strips need chalked along
the edges. Content, 
I wipe my hands before
getting back to my needle. 
Another paint shirt is born
hand printed with colors 
lifted from life. Don't 
suggest an apron, I 
was only going to sew. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tongue Tied Lashing

No warrior's armor guarded
or protected her from his plunging
organ angrily piercing violation
into her soul. She had left her
breastplate and shield and sword
at home. After all, this strange family
estrangement wasn't war was it?

Anger now spent, these days his
tongue lies silent, unaroused, and
flacid. Her friends said she deserved
it, even asked for it. He still says
it was needed discipline for someone
with mental issues and authority
problems.  On bad days, I want
their tongues cut out for saying this.

My tongue is no longer tied
because I faced my accuser
eye to eye last night.
Suddenly, I felt like Dorothy
pulling the curtain back
exposing a harmless, scared
little wizard who only wants to
get back home as much as me!

Next, I felt like Meg in
The Wind In The Door,
saving Mr. Jenkins from his fate
by Naming him. Part of her
task is to distinguish the
real Mr. Jenkins from his two evil
Echthroi doubles. In order
to do this she must look past
her personal grief and grudge,
finding the goodness in Mr.
Jenkins, and let herself love him.

All is well. Generously compensated,
I wait, wishing my own Mr. J/Wizard
well. Recompense happens.