Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year's Eve!

Check in with Soccer Mom in Denial who started Music Monday and see who else is playing!

Auld Lang Syne sung by: Barbra Streisand

As I was looking through the offerings on YouTube for Auld Lang Syne, I ran into a number of truly fun, and some rather nifty entries. This particular rendition of this New Year’s Eve standard, was one I had not heard before. I also got a kick out of it being a recording of a 2000 New Year’s Eve concert, and that flashlights had been provided for those in attendance, incase the lights went out--do we ALL remember the “turn of the millennium” forecast of gloom, doom, and random blackouts, etc.?

For me that rather added to the nostalgia. I hope you’ll enjoy this arrangement of “Auld Lang Syne”.

So here's to all my old and new friends: May you all have a VERY Safe and Fun entry into the New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Auld Lang Syne

Enjoy, and Happy New Years!

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Jenn in Holland inspired me to join in on her: Singular Saturday. If you pop over to her site, you can see who else is being "singular" today. So here’s this Saturday’s “singular”:


Monday, December 24, 2007

Celine Dion-Oh Holy night

Wishing You All A Merry Christmas!


Check in with Soccer Mom in Denial who started Music Monday and see who else is playing!

Oh Holy Night sung by Celine Dion

Beyond the tinsel, lights and glitter, beyond the gaily wrapped presents, the ribbons and the bows, beyond the festive decorations and turkey, stuffing, pies and desserts, beyond all of the rest, we find the true meaning of Christmas, of our dear Savior’s birth, of the greatest gift of love our Heavenly Father has bestowed upon us.

This song, for me, epitomizes the true meaning and spirit of Christ’s birth. I hope you enjoy it with me.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Today my uncle went home to be with the Lord, and to be with his wife, Nina and all our other relatives who I am sure are welcoming him even as we speak. It has rather changed the tenor of our family’s holiday celebrations--but life does go on, and there will be meals shared and gifts exchanged yet this week.

Right now I find myself at the end of the day. We’re in the middle of quite a nasty snow storm, with winds whipping up the four to six new inches of snow with gusts up to forty-five miles per hour. There’s been baking to finish, a huge meal to prepare and now put away and store. But dealing with the loss of my uncle, that I’ve just not had time to do yet.

So, not knowing what the next few days are going to entail, I wanted to wish all of you my Christmas best wishes. I will try to get around to read and comment to all of you whom I’ve come to enjoy sharing your thoughts and family’s and activities. I am continually impressed with the number of gifted, creative, sensitive, caring, sharing, widely diverse and infinitely talented people this blogosphere has made available for me to meet and interact with.

Joy to each of you and heart peace. I will be thinking of you, and will write as my heart allows me to do.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Jenn in Holland inspired me to join in on her: Singular Saturday. If you pop over to her site, you can see who else is being "singular" today. So here’s this Saturday’s “singular”:


Tuesday, December 18, 2007


In our Sunday paper, there is an insert magazine called PARADE. This past Sunday they had an interview of sorts with author James Patterson.

Here is the opening to the article:
“The best-selling novelist James Patterson has written 44 books, which have sold an estimated 130 million copies worldwide. He’s also the first author to have his books occupy the No. 1 spots on both the adult and children’s best-seller lists at the same time. PARADE asked Patterson what present he’d most like to give his son this holiday season. Here’s his reply--in a letter to 9-year-old Jack.”

Here are a few excerpts from the article:
“I have something grand to tell you--not dreaded advice or a boring lecture, just something cool as ice that I want to share. It’s a gift from your old dad--maybe the best one I’ll ever give you.

. . .

“Jack, I want you to become a passionate reader for life, and not because you have to or because it might make you more successful or get you into Harvard or Stanford. I’m talking about real passion here, like the way you currently go crazy over The Simpsons and The Incredibles.

. . .

“A great French writer named Gustave Flaubert once said, ‘It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creating. Today, for instance . . . I rode in a forest on an autumn afternoon under the yellow leaves, and I was also the horses, the wind, the words my people uttered.’ Jack, that’s how I feel when I write, and it’s also how you’ll feel when you read a great book. It’s truly one of the best things in life!

. . .

“I believe that getting you to read is my responsibility, my job. In fact, it’s the responsibility of all parents, grandparents and teachers. That’s why I’m doing my homework now and searching for some terrific books that I know you’ll love.”

This article in its entirety is found in PARADE magazine, December 16, 2007 issue, pages 22-24. I’m not sure what else they may have at their website; however, they end the article with a blurb about sharing your own favorite books for kids.

Please come join our Day to Read:
If you would like to add your two cents to this Day to Read, January 10, 2008, please send to SMID or a2eatwrite for the button--display, and talk it up!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer by Dr. Elmo

Just for a giggle or two . . .

Music Monday

Check in with Soccer Mom in Denial who started Music Monday and see who else is playing

In the tradition of Christmas songs that others have been sharing lately, I’d like to add in one of my son and his grandmother (my mom’s) favorite holiday selections: Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.

Zach had shared this song for the first time with Mom years and years ago--but as the years have added up, Mom forgets about it. So then, when she comes for her Christmas visit from the nursing home, Zach will haul out the tape player and share it with her. And once again they both sit and laugh and share rolled eyeballs as each verse unfolds.

Mom will ask him to play it again and again over the week long visit, until I think my hubby and I have had enough. But it’s pretty great that she and Zachery have this song to share each holiday.

Hope you enjoy it too--it’s just for some laughs and a giggle. Maybe you’ve got a grandma to share it with too!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

There's No Place Like Home: Part 3

There‘s No Place Like Home: Part 1 may be found here. Part 2 may be found here. SOS is an event inspired by Brillig and Walking Kateastrophe's . Hope you all enjoy this next entry to this fictional tale. To find out who else is taking part, and read some great SOS, Musings from a Muse is hosting this week. Go check it out for some soapy fun!

Gratefully the La Crosse airport was relatively small. Grace knew the only reason for the crowd that filled the lobby was because they had traveled the last leg of the flight from Minneapolis to La Crosse with a plane full of kids coming back from a school field trip to the Guthrie Theater. They had been there working in some kind of workshop with other youth from around the country, and were quite wired as they headed home.

And now, as Leland jockeyed for a good position to grab their luggage off the horse-shoe baggage conveyor belt, Gregory did his best to stick close to both of them. The nearest spots were filled, and Leland had to content himself with a spot about half-way around the “u” shape. Although there was a rather loud “hum” of voices, Gregory tried to explain why he was there, and what was going on. Grace knew his voice was deeper and could be louder, but he always spoke with hesitancy around his grandfather.

“They air-lifted Uncle Mick around nine this morning. Dad figured you’d be on your flight, so there was no way to get word to you. Dad drove Aunt Delores and me, and Mom stayed home with all the kids. Aunt Delores wanted him to stay with her at the hospital, so that’s why they brought me, to come pick you up.”

There was no acknowledgment from his grandfather, so he nervously sputtered on.

“Uncle Teddy is out at the farm seeing what can be salvaged.”

Leland’s voice was almost a growl, “Junior should have stayed at the farm to look after the animals and sent Teddy.”

Grace flinched as she watched her grandson’s posture stiffen. It wasn’t fair of Leland to take out his angst on Gregory, but it had been that way ever since his father and mother had chosen to name him Gregory, instead of Leland Allen Mueller V. It wasn’t Gregory’s fault, but since his father had become a veterinarian, putting a Doctor in front of the name, Leland hadn’t been able to put the blame on his own son. He blamed his daughter-in-law, who chose her own grandfather and father’s names for her son: Gregory Michael.

The luggage had finally arrived and the noise level appropriately increased as young voices sang out identifying their bags, and eager hands reached out to grab them off the conveyor belt before they passed by and would have to make another round before appearing again. Leland snatched all of their bags off the belt without saying a word. And Gregory skillfully placed them between he and his grandfather until all the bags were accounted for. Once in hand, they made their way to the parking lot and the family van without another word being spoken.

Grace wanted desperately to get more news out of Gregory as they drove to the hospital. Leland had taken the keys to the van while Gregory helped his grandmother into the front seat. He had climbed into the back grateful to be out of the line of fire from his grandfather. So instead of getting information, there was nothing but silence inside the van.

Grace tried a couple of times to say something about seeing the Mississippi again, how green everything was, something just to lighten the heaviness as they drove. She was grateful the hospital was just a twenty minute or so drive from the airport.

“They’re building a new parking garage or something, Grandpa, at the hospital. You’re going to have to follow the signs for the parking, and then they have transportation picking people up in the lots and getting them up to the building. Would you like to pull right up to the front door, and then I’ll park the van and catch a ride up from the lot?”

“Yes. That will be easier on Grace, and get us into the hospital faster. Where do they have Mick?”

Gregory took a moment to answer, since his grandfather’s voice was the softest and weariest he’d ever heard it. There had never been a sign of frailty in his grandfather as far as he could remember. But in those few words, he heard his grandfather sound tired, and old. When he finally found his voice, he tried to give the best directions he could.

The van came to a halt close to the door. Then Leland rolled the car a little further ahead out of the direct line of the door, thus allowing another vehicle behind him to move directly in front of the doorway. He shut off the motor, and turned around in his seat trying to look at Gregory sitting in the back. His face and eyes looked worn, and it was evident he’d been crying. Both Grace and Gregory were taken aback. Both tried to say something, anything, but neither did more than open their mouths and then close them again.

“Do you know how bad it is, boy? Did they say anything concrete?”

Gregory almost whispered, “Uncle Mick‘s got broken ribs, Grandpa. One of them has punctured his lungs. I think they were talking about a surgery, and needing a specialist. That’s all I’ve heard. Nobody talked all the way here. Grandma Telner told me to pray and not stop praying. So that’s what I’ve been doing.”

Leland let out a deep dragging sigh. Grace thought it sounded like he’d held his breath for the whole trip, and then let it all out in that one long sigh. She began to fumble through her purse looking for a Puffs, as the tears she’d been trying to keep back began to roll down her cheeks, unchecked. Gregory reached out for his Grandfather’s hand, then his grandmother’s. Leland bowed his head, as his grandson offered a prayer. Then there was only the sniffling back of tears. Gregory got out of the van, walked around to his grandmother’s door, and helped his grandparents into the entrance of the hospital.

As if on cue, Leland appeared to escort his parents. Gregory had used his cell phone to call from the lot where he was parking the van letting his dad know they had gotten from the airport to the hospital. Grace threw herself into her son’s waiting arms. Leland was rather amazed when his father joined in the embrace, putting his arms around both his wife and son. For a moment he couldn’t find his voice.

“Dad, it’s not good. They’ve got him in surgery right now. There’s a punctured lung, he’s bleeding internally, they’re looking at a fractured pelvis, a dislocated knee, and they said his ankle will need to be pinned. But all of that will have to wait until they can get him stabilized, the bleeding stopped . . .” his voice trailed off as he felt his parents both shivering in his arms.

“I should have come home this summer. Please take us to Delores, son.”

And with that, Leland straightened himself, pulled Grace to him, holding her firmly, and looked to his son for directions.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Jenn in Holland inspired me a few Saturdays ago to join in on her: Singular Saturday. So here’s this Saturday’s “singular”:


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

In Answer to Mariposa's Meme

Mariposa was “tagged” by Gwen of Everything I Like Causes Cancer--and now has tagged me for this meme:

Here are the rules...
(1) Make a list of eight random facts/habits about themselves.
(2) Tag eight other people to do this meme and list their names. [I've amended this to TWO people, not eight.]
(3) Leave a comment on each of the Tagged People's websites to inform them about the meme which they're tagged to do (enjoined to participate!). [I'm amending to ask "Please, would you enjoy taking part? I'd like to see your answers!]

OK, we’ll start with the Eight Random Facts/habits about ME:

  1. When I was very young, my folks owned and operated a pet store.
  2. I grew up having my father telling me and my brother stories at bedtime which he would make up “off the top of his head”; and, he always left them at a “critical point” so my brother and I were hanging on every word, and would never fight going to bed the next night, so we could hear more of the story. (Unfortunately, there were no tape recording devices in our home in those days, so all of these marvelous stories are lost to the world--which is very sad, as he was a wonderful and magical storyteller.)
  3. No doubt because of being raised in a pet store, and having parents (especially my father) loving critters, I have had an alligator, numerous chameleons, “circus” mice, guinea pigs, and a host of birds, dogs, a cat, fish, rabbits, etc., as pets over the years.
  4. I lived in Aspen, CO for one interesting summer when I was 39 years old (my children and husband were back in Iowa--and it was the first time I’d ever been alone, as I went from daddy’s home to hubby and my home, no place of my own in-between).
  5. It is a rare thing for me to have, as my health and body can’t really tolerate too much of a good thing--but I am a major fan of Cotton Candy. Any midway I go to, at any fair, and I’m in line at the first cotton candy vendor!
  6. When I was a little girl I had copper red hair. And along with the red hair, came a red-head’s fiery disposition if crossed. I now have pretty much “salt and pepper” hair, more salt than pepper. And you really have to push things to ever see my temper flair.
  7. When I was young I got on a kick of naming everything “Buttercup”. I believe it was the name of Dale Evan’s horse (Roy Roger’s wife)--I may be wrong, but it was a horse on a TV show. For the next few years, I named every doll, every stuffed toy, Buttercup. My family couldn’t see how I kept all the Buttercups separate--but then again, why would I need to, it wasn’t like any of them had to actually “answer” to the name and show up when I called. LOL
  8. One of the people I’m looking forward to seeing in Heaven is Mark Twain/Samuel L. Clemens. I have been a fan, an admirer, a student of his for eons. I’m sure I have a host of questions for him--but in truth, I would just enjoy sitting over a cup of tea with him and letting him do all the talking.

There we go, eight exceptionally random facts about me. And now the two people I'm tagging:

Jen from a2eatwrite

GF from View from Here

Now I’ll zip over to their spots and “tag” ‘em. And thanks Mariposa for thinking of me!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Puppy Song - Puppy Music Video 4

Music Monday

Check in with Soccer Mom in Denial who started Music Monday and see who else is playing!

This is my first Music Monday:

There is a song that just makes me happy. I’m happy when I hear it, I’m happy when I sing it. I was introduced to it when I first watched the movie, You’ve Got Mail, with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It just sets the tone to the entire movie--and it took no time at all for me to fall in love with it.

Once you’ve heard it, I think you’ll agree, you just have to smile and tap your toe. Have a listen. Also go to YouTube and do a search for other Harry Nilsson songs--he wrote “Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me” for the movie Midnight Cowboy, as well as “I Guess the Lord Must Be In New York City”, which was also in You’ve Got Mail.


Sunday, December 9, 2007

Home Is Where The Heart Is: Part 2

Home Is Where The Heart Is: Part 2

Home Is Where The Heart Is: Part 1 may be found here. SOS is an event inspired by Brillig and Walking Kateastrophe . Hope you all enjoy this next entry to this fictional tale. To find out who else is taking part, and read some great SOS, Walking Kateastrophe is hosting this week. Go check it out for some soapy fun!

For the first time in a month, Grace was headed in the right direction, home. It wasn’t for the reasons she would ever wish, but still, she was going home to Wisconsin, the farm, and her family.

The early evening phone call had been a shock. It seemed so incongruous to hear your son was in the ER, there was a bad storm, a tornado, undetermined damage . . .and all the while your eyes were looking out on San Diego’s swaying palm trees and balmy robin egg blue skies.

The hours from then to now, sitting there in the plane, sandwiched in between her sizeable husband, and a very hefty woman who reeked of garlic, seemed a blur. For once Grace was pleased Leland knew his way around a computer. She had mixed emotions about his bringing his laptop on their summer vacation--but as he scanned for the most direct flight, the least number of transfers, made the reservation, and made all the arrangements for checking out, returning the lease car, canceling events, etc., she was duly impressed.

And now there was nothing to do for the next few hours, but sit and try not to think too much. Leland had brought his computer, but had denied Grace bringing her hand work. Right now would have been a good time for crocheting, tatting, anything that would have allowed her to keep her hands busy, and her mind occupied. Instead she tried to doze. Sleep seemed the only escape, and something she would probably be short of in the coming days.

Images of Dorothy’s house being tossed around the dark Kansas skies, with the wicked witch of the West, looking a lot like a green Leland, cackling heinously as the swirling house landed on the wicked witch of the East, all flew through her sleepy head. Grace twisted in her plane seat as much as the house did in the Tale of Oz.

At last the plane taxied down the runway. It had been a fairly smooth flight, especially the last leg of the journey. And now, in minutes, Grace would be able to see her daughter-in-law, Delores’ face. She’d be able to tell immediately if things were OK. As she looked through the crowd of waiting faces, she finally spotted her grandson, Gregory. His boyish face looked drawn and anxious. Her stomach lurched. It meant Delores hadn’t been able to leave the hospital and Mick, and neither had Mick’s brothers or sisters been able to come. Not a good sign.

Grace reached for Leland’s arm. He had spotted Gregory too. His stride increased and it was all she could do to keep up with him. She was almost panting when they reached Gregory, but Leland merely nodded at his grandson, and continued in full stride toward the luggage pickup area. It became a race to see if the young man could keep up with his grandfather. He and Grace exchanged glances, but there was little time to talk as her husband wangled his way through the crowded terminal.

It was like having her old husband back. He had his family first and foremost in his mind, and he would let NOTHING stand between himself and getting to his son. Her heart swelled, and tears welled in her eyes--she was truly coming home. And with her husband. No matter what they would face, they would be facing it together, no holds barred. If she would have had any breath left, she would have sighed.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Jenn in Holland inspired me a few Saturdays ago to join in on her: Singular Saturday. So here’s this Saturday’s “singular”:

A word that exemplifies the sights and sounds of the holidays for me:


Friday, December 7, 2007

Addicted to Blogging?

Having found this interesting percentage comment at Katstuff’s site, I immediately clicked on the link to find out what percentage my data would illicit. Much to my chagrin, I came up with 74%, barely shaving off 1% point from Kat’s--argh--how did this happen? I’ve only been blogging for a little over a month now.

I want all of you reading this to know, you are, in part, responsible for this score, If you all didn’t write such great blogs, I wouldn’t be spending so many hours a day reading and commenting on blogs. That would have helped heaps in keeping my percentages down.

And since so many of you have written such encouraging and wonderful responses to my blogs, you have encouraged me to be THINKING about what I’m going to blog next--again, raising my percentage points.

Then there’s the whole Soap Opera Sunday thing, and the Music Mondays, Wordless Wednesdays and Singular Saturdays--yes, I’ve “blown things off” to get to these special entries. Again, clearly NOT my sole fault, as it’s all of you writing such great things that draws me in.

Clearly, I’m not taking the hit for this 74% alone--I’m holding all of you responsible for my addiction. Thank you, by-the-way, I’m having WAY way too much fun ;-)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Home Is Where The Heart Is: Part 1

Soap Opera Sunday is an event inspired by Brillig and Walking Kateastrophe's . Today's entry is a fictional piece I've been working on--hope you enjoy!

The wire whisk stopped mid-stroke. “You want to go to San Diego? Why?”

“Listen Grace, I’ve been reading. They have a zoo, a sea world, a huge museum, a planetarium, beaches. And if we run out of things there, we can hop on the freeway and be up in L.A. in an afternoon and go to Disneyland. Come on, admit it. You’ve said you wanted to go to Disneyland ever since you were a slip of a girl and watched old Walt himself turn the first spade of dirt on the future home of Disneyland.” Leland’s words tumbled out trying to find favor with the ridged backside of his wife.

As his words continued, naming this place and that from all the tourist brochures he’d received from the San Diego and California Tourism boards, Grace once again worked the whisk until the eggs and milk were a yellow foam. Adroitly she reached over to the small length of countertop and picked up saucer after saucer, dumping their contents of sliced mushrooms, diced green peppers, onions, and ham into the froth. Soon the click, click, click accompanied Leland’s remarks as she turned the ingredients through the omelet, never letting them settle until she was ready to pour them into the awaiting pre-heated pan.

Quickly she moved the two feet back to the small double sink and placed the large bowl, now devoid of its mix, the wire whisk and assorted saucers, spatulas, measuring cups and knives into the sink. Briefly she allowed her thoughts to encompass the sizeable array in the small metal sink. How fixing breakfast muffins and an omelet for two could possibly take up that many utensils was a mystery, she chuckled. Nothing like fixing breakfast for five strapping teenagers come in from farm chores, she silently avowed shaking her head in testament.

“It’ll be fun, Grace. We’ll map out all the places we want to see between St. Louis and San Diego. Make a real trip of it. No holds barred!” Leland said with great relish. “I can send for information from each state we’ll go through. They all have tourism boards. They all want you to spend your money in their state, so they have all that stuff free,” he almost drooled over the prospect of sending for more pamphlets. His days would soon be filled with more pictures of distant places. Spots he had spent a lifetime envisioning while milking placid cud-chewing cows in the bitter Wisconsin winters, and while riding high atop a hay wagon pitching bales skyward to the next level, sweating profusely in the sizzling summer sun.

“I thought you said we could go home this year.” The words came slowly as if drug from the very depths of her soul.

“Home? Home to Wisconsin? Are you crazy woman? Life is in the living, not in the sitting,” recited Leland. “Why on earth you’d want to spend another hot humid summer in that state is beyond me. Cool ocean breezes. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Let’s do it, Gracie, let’s let ourselves wade in the Pacific, watch dolphins and whales. Yeah, did I tell you that one? The brochure said there was a beach where you could watch whales swimming right off shore. They even have a beach with seals,” his voice warming to the subject, he once again launched into a full description of the many and varied attractions all to be found in sunny California.

The timer on the oven began its insistent dinging, calling Grace back to her task at hand. Opening the small oven door with her large oven-mitt, she could see the muffins had come up full and perfectly golden. They had just begun to pull away from the muffin tin. As the oven door opened, the room was flooded with their light spicy cinnamon aroma. Grandma Iris would be pleased, Grace inwardly beamed.

Giving the omelet pan a slight swirl, she assured herself it wasn’t sticking and put the heavy glass lid over the mixture to allow it to cook and rise. She prided herself on her light fluffy omelets. Everyone wanted to know her secret. Her secret, she knew, was so very simple, a sprinkle of cream of tartar in the mix. Something every McAlester woman knew from the time she could see over the countertop--maybe even earlier, she smiled.

Leland’s voice sounded something like a fly buzzing, or maybe, she ruminated, like a mosquito that invades the bedroom at night with its high-pitched whine assaulting your ear in the darkness. Her knuckles whitened as she leaned on the sink edge wishing she could stop the never-ceasing drone. He was definitely on a roll, she thought, shaking her head wearily, shoulders sinking with her sigh.

She raised her gaze from the child-sized sink to her lovely flower box in the window sill. One thing the man got right, nodded Grace with approval. The box had been his attempt to meet his wife’s complaints over her lost herb garden and flower beds from the farmstead. She reached out now and lovingly caressed the light purple flowers on the chives.

“Leland, I just can’t do it,” Grace drew herself up and braced for the reaction to her announcement.

“Can’t do what?” Leland’s voice rose an octave. “Can’t sit in the damn car and look out the window? Can’t lounge around motels and sit pool side in the evenings? Can’t eat out at fancy restaurants and dress for dinner? What the hell can’t you do? he demanded, his voice continually rising with each query.

Never turning, she knew his face would be beet red by this time. She didn’t want to see it. She wouldn’t look. It would drain her resolve.

“Please, Leland. After last year’s trip up the Alaskan highway, you promised we could go home this year. You said we could take the camper and stay in the park near the farm. I could cook for the kids. The only time we get to see the grandkids is in pictures in our email. They’ve grown so,” she implored. “You know you’re their favorite grandpa. Don’t you want to see them while they’re still small. Soon enough they’ll be grown and won’t want to have anything to do with two old people.” She turned irresolutely hoping she’d see some sign of him weakening.

There Leland sat, face fire red. “That’s hitting below the belt, Grace!” he boomed. “Bringing the kids and grandkids into this is just not right. We can fly home for the holidays like we did last year. One week with that crew is enough. Good Lord, woman, you spent thirty years plus raising that wild bunch. Why in the world do you want to spend what good years you and I have left raising another set? You know damn well that’s what would happen. We’d been there for one hour last Christmas when Delores asked you to watch the baby for Christ’s sake.”

“Leland, she hadn’t been out of that house for weeks with Tammy Lee sick with chicken pox. It was all she could do to get ready for the holidays, what with shopping and cleaning and all the farm chores. You know she doesn’t have children yet with any size to them. She has to fill in the chores for Mick when the summer hands are laid off.” Grace poured out the defense from all the years she had done the same, and been glad for Grandma Iris, and her own mother Ida’s helping hands.

“Just the same, she’d do it again in a New York minute, summer or winter! Never saw a woman so anxious to get to town. Don’t know how Mick took up with a city girl. Told him right off it was a foolish move. Love my ass,” Leland snorted, settling back into his kitchen chair in a huff, arms crossed defensively across his heaving chest.

Grace searched her husband’s face for some sign. Something that showed he’d heard a word she’d said. That he might feel something she felt for her home, her lost life. Of her being trapped inside this “senior housing” unit that she referred to as a gerbil cage. The reddish purple had worked its way down Leland’s neck to his chest. She could see the veins swollen from his brow to his shoulder. There would be no home visit this summer.

Turning back to the stove she realized she’d almost allowed the omelet to over-cook. Hastily she grabbed the oven mitt and removed the glass lid, skillfully cut the omelet in fourth’s with the spatula edge, and flipped each section. Reaching over to the tiny counter, she retrieved the shredded cheese and scattered it across the surface of the overly brown omelet hoping once melted Leland wouldn’t see the dark surface. She was ashamed she’d allowed herself to be so distracted from her task.

With his wife’s back to him once again, Leland opened his arms from across his chest. He knew she’d say nothing more about it. He’d won. He’d have his trip. Her stiff back robbed him of any sense of victory.

Grace brought the muffins, now cooled, over to the table and returned to the counter, her haven. Leland reached for the muffin and broke its golden top open, smearing it with heaps of butter. As his teeth sunk into the soft tender meal, its aroma still filling the small room, his muscles loosened and so did his anger.

Sheepishly he began to coax her. “Come on, Gracie, old girl. Those kids are doing just fine. And we got lots to see and do together, now, eh? Tell you what. You don’t want to make the drive, right? Well, fine. Let’s fly out, eh? That’s right. We’ll fly out and lease one of them economy cars from one of them easy rental shops. Hey, there’s lots to do right there in San Diego, we don’t need to do the whole cross country trip if you think it will tire you too much.”

With each seeming “concession” Leland grew more animated. He was, after all, a reasonable man, a loving husband. “We’ll have a helluva time, Gracie gal, you’ll see!” And with that he piled into his next muffin warming himself to the task of getting the best airfare rates--more brochures and a trip on the internet were going to be the order of the day.

Grace brought the omelet over and placed it on Leland’s plate and returned to eat her meal at the counter as she had done for more years than she could remember. She watched the sun dance on the leaves of her parsley plants.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Jenn in Holland inspired me a few Saturdays ago to join in on her: Singular Saturday. So here’s this Saturday’s “singular”: