March 9, 2018
As much as we would like to remain in one spot for more than a few days at a time, our responsibilities to those we love won’t allow it at this point in time. When I get a break from watching the grandchildren, we always take the opportunity to travel in the opposite direction, further south, to spend time caring for my grandmother. We are so fortunate that my paternal cousin is there with here looking after her needs, but there are things that need my attention as well as the fact that grandma just needs me close as often as possible. We average every 10 weeks making a trip to Georgia and I will always be thankful for these times we have been able to spend with my Nan. I do admit that I am weary of travel and ready to have more than four days in a single location before getting back in the car again. This schedule of running up and down the roads has been a routine for a year now.
Monday morning Mike and I worked around the house in Laurel Fork, having the week off from watching the Little Girls with Alissa being on Spring Break. Around 1 pm we had the car packed and were on the road. We stopped for gas and to eat but made good time arriving at Grandma’s house around 7:30. I called her when we were a few minutes from the house as she had no idea we were coming to see her. We like to surprise her because we don’t want to add to her anxiety and the anticipation of our coming causes her to fret. She began telling me that she had put a letter in the mailbox for me but the postal carrier did not pick it up. I then asked her if she would like for me to get it out of the mailbox. She said, “Yes, but how are you going to do that?” I then proceeded to tell her I was about five minutes away and would be there soon to see her. She was extremely happy and it was very sweet to see her face when we walked through the door.
Tuesday and Wednesday were incredibly busy days for me as I tried to get all the business done that needed to be addressed. I manage all of my grandma’s financial affairs now as well as try to keep her on track with doctors’ appointments. Again, we are so blessed that my cousin can be there to facilitate and that most of what needs to be done, thanks to the internet, I can manage from Virginia but occasionally it is just better for everyone if I am there in person to facilitate. Our seniors face so much more than we realize sometimes, including people who will take advantage of them if they do not see a strong presence in the life of the senior. As I went through my grandma’s financial records since my grandmother’s death, I was very aware of a certain self-proclaimed “handyman” that has lived down the road from her in the past who took advantage of her naivety, inexperience, and trusting nature and took large sums of money from her over the years as well as talking her into giving him her nice, riding lawn mower. In the beginning there was nothing I could do about it as there was no case for memory loss or other issues that would warrant my taking over her finances for her. It was simply a matter of her childlike trust in humanity and her inexperience in dealing first hand with a cruel world as she had always been protected by my grandfather. At that time, I would make her angry as I would try to tell her to steer clear of this man and his thieving ways, because she thought she knew what she was doing. Later, as her mental state became more fragile and we were unaware of just how bad things were getting, she just hid things from us. This is not an uncommon response from the elderly as they begin to feel like they are losing control but don’t want their family to step in and take over. Sometimes this is because they want to remain independent and other times it is because they don’t want to be a burden to their family. Often, it is both. I have walked to where the “handyman” is staying, confronted him and taken back tools that belong to my grandmother. I have made my presence known and made the legal and political authorities in the city aware of what is going on as well. However, it is difficult because Grandma invites him back again and again. I have found that our seniors need an advocate in so many areas of life as they try to manage in a complex and often cruel world.
We seem to have entered into a slightly different aspect of this roller coaster ride of caring for and loving an elderly family member. Grandma was in denial to herself and to us for quite a while. I am so glad that she has always been resilient and stubborn. We women need those traits to help us navigate life. I am always happy that my daughter and granddaughters exhibit those same strengths. That strong desire to be independent, while I respected it and understood, often made it difficult for me to help grandma when she needed it the last couple of years. Now grandma is recognizing and admitting that her memory doesn’t always respond as she needs it to and that she needs others to fill in the gaps. As she has begun to relax into this acceptance of this phase of her life, she has become softer, like the grandma I know best. It is bittersweet because it makes it easier for me to do what I need to do to care for her but it also breaks my heart. I see her reliance on me and on my cousin, who is there with her, and her acceptance of it now and I just want to weep for all the days gone by when it was my grandmother taking care of me rather than me taking care of my grandmother. How quickly time goes by and things come full circle.
During our time in Georgia, I went with Grandma to church on Wednesday night. I knew when I went down this time that I would go with her. It means so much to her and it is not something that I typically do. But, I wanted to make Grandma happy and I did. She was so proud of our being there and introduced us to all her friends. She would forget that she had just introduced us to someone and would introduce us again. Her friends were kind and didn’t correct her when she repeatedly introduced us. It doesn’t matter if one is 5 or 50, grandmothers have the same pride in their grandkids that they always did. I was actually pretty comfortable there only because I knew I was there for the right reason and that was to honor my grandmother by being by her side. As we sat there during the service, grandma also struggled to find the passages of Scripture that were being read. Growing up in a Baptist church, I am very familiar with the way the pastor will often jump from one place in the Bible to another and expect those in the congregation to “follow along” by turning in their Bibles to those passages. Baptist children are taught early on the books of the Bible and participate in “Sword Drills” that rewards children for finding a passage in the Bible quicker than the other children after it is called out by the class leader or teacher. Grandma wanted so badly to follow along but would be looking in the New Testament for Old Testament passages and vice versa. The pages in her Bible would make soft noises as she kept flipping through them. Sometimes she would look at me and say, “I can’t remember where it is” and I would gently take her Bible and find the passage for her handing it back to her. Grandma gave up the choir a while back. She told me that she couldn’t follow along anymore and she couldn’t learn the parts. Nan has always sang harmony and has a beautiful voice. She sang all the time………at church, at home, driving in the car, outside…………she was always singing. She stopped singing. She said she forgot how. However, Wednesday night as I sat beside her every word of the old hymns came effortlessly from her mouth as she sang in harmony and with strength of voice. As I stood beside her, it was all I could do to keep the tears in my eyes from spilling down my cheeks. Those few moments of being able to hear her voice in song once again were my gift for putting aside my own feelings and going to church to honor my grandmother. I will forever be thankful for those moments.
I was also able to sit down with Nan and get her to tell me some of her memories. It didn’t flow as freely for her as it has at other times but still, the stories were sweet and helped me to remember times in my life as well as learn more about those days before I was born. I noticed that the stories of her childhood are stronger in her memory and contain more detail than the stories from my childhood. More and more she likes to go back to those stories of when she was a little girl. I asked her to tell me stories about when she and my grandpa went to the first church he ever pastored. It was in DeSoto, Missouri. My grandpa must have been in his early 40’s at the time, my grandmother being four years younger in her late 30’s. My grandpa went to college at Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga as a middle-aged man who had never finished high school. It took him seven years to finish a four-year degree but he was determined. When he finished his degree, a friend of his, Jim Waymire, told him about this little Southern Baptist Church in Missouri that needed a pastor. He and my grandma left their home in Georgia and moved to Missouri. It wasn’t too long after that I was born and my parents also moved from Georgia to Missouri. I was around six months old when they moved. I asked my grandmother if my parents lived with them or elsewhere when they first arrived and she told me that they lived in a tiny trailer owned by the Northcutt family.
“Your mom and dad lived in a tiny little trailer. I mean it was really small. It belonged to the Northcutts. You would not remember them because you were too little but they came to our church. Your dad went to work at a place where they made tin cans and later he went to Ford Motor Company. He worked at the tin can place first.”
I went on to ask her about the trailer where she and my grandpa lived behind the church. I was really young but I can still remember some about the trailer, about some of the things we did there with my grandparents, and about the trees and flowers outside of their home where I loved to play. My grandmother had a bed of flowers that was nothing but various colors of Iris in front of the trailer that was about half as wide as the trailer itself and very near as long as the trailer. Those flowers were absolutely gorgeous in bloom and even as a child I thought they were beautiful. The smell of those flowers permeated the air.
“We lived in a trailer behind the church. I had a lot of Irises. A lady gave me some special Irises. She said they would be mine. They were a dark blue, almost black flower. They also kept us supplied with strawberries. I would pick the strawberries.”
Remembering how I wanted a baby brother, Nan relayed the following:
“You use to say, ‘I want a baby brother’. Your mom said, ‘If you want a baby brother, you have to pray for one.’ So, you bowed your head, folded your hands and said, ‘God I want a baby brother.’
At this point my grandma laughed at the sweetness of the memory.
When I told my grandma that I remembered things from when she lived at Emmanuel Baptist in the little trailer, she relayed this story:
“I remember the first time you spent all night. You stood up in bed and said, ‘I want my momma.’ I don’t think your mom was too happy you came home. She thought she was going to get a break. You did good for a while but you stood up in bed and said, ‘I want my momma.’
I have memories of that time as well, even though I was probably only four years old. My brother was an infant and I remember walking through the front door and seeing my mother holding and rocking him. I was so happy to see them both.
Grandma remembered the Persimmon trees growing along the edge of the church property and how she taught me to look for a “knife, fork or spoon” when we cut them open. The old timers used to predict the severity of the coming winter by the shape of the seed. To this day, I rush to pick the persimmons from the ground after a hard frost and taste their sweetness that fills me with memories.
“I remember that there were persimmon trees growing at the edge of our yard. There were two old ladies that lived at the property edge adjoining ours. One time a fire got out someplace. It burned a lot of property there. I cut open the persimmons and showed you a knife, a spoon, and a fork. If you picked them and ate them too green, they would pucker your mouth but they were sure good when they got ripe.”
Grandma jumped back to talking about the church at this point.
“Do you remember Pollite’s store at the end of the road? There was a tavern across the road. We could always hear the music at our house, the boom, boom, boom.”
I assured her that I did remember the little convenience store because she often bought me Push-Ups, that orange sherbet like treat in a cardboard cylinder that was pushed up from the bottom by a stick.
“The Womacks lived right across the street from us. They had a little girl. One time on Easter she came over and drew on our windows. Her momma made her come over and clean them up. Of course, that was just a kid thing and she was as innocent as can be. She didn’t know she would have to work after she did the dirty work.”
She smiled as she remembered and then proceeded to talk about the Day Care she started at the church. This memory actually was from a later time in her life when she and my grandpa came back from Alaska and he pastored Emmanuel a second time. They had gone to Alaska to work with a friend at a church in North Pole and lived there for a while before my mother passed away. When my mother died, they came back to Missouri to help with my brother and I. It was at this time my grandpa began his second tenure at Emmanuel and my grandmother started the day care.
“I had the day care there the second time we came back to Emmanuel. I had a lot of kids. They caught the school bus to go to school. I would go out with them to catch the bus. Some of them, the kindergarten kids came back for lunch. We had pizza once a week. Pizza wasn’t made like it is now. I bought it in a box and mixed it up. They were always thrilled to have pizza. I guess the Trent kids were the first kids that started to the day care. We got big enough to have three teachers plus myself. Bobby Davis, Dianne Bell and then there was another lady. I used to hear from her every once in a while. She lived on a back road. She was a teacher in the bed babies up to two years of age. One time I was counting for a little girl and the little girl clapped her hands and said, “That’s very good Mrs. Starnes.” Her grandma was crippled. Her mom worked on the highway installing guard rails.”
Here her memory went back to church services during their first tenure as she remembered who kept the babies during that time:
“When we first went to that church Mrs Bell (Shirly Waymire’s mom) was keeping the nursery. She just had a room back in the office.”
Nan then remembered a visit from her mother and her mom’s cousin during the time of their first pastorate in Missouri. I have my own memories of that visit with my “Little Grandma” as I called her and our vivacious cousin Rosie who was then in her eighties. “Aunt Rosie” as we called her and “Little Grandma” looked as if they had stepped out of the Victorian Era in their dresses and with their hairstyles. I remember Rosie sitting on the edge of my bed with me, listening to a record and singing along to “Do You Know The Muffin Man”, dancing as she did so until she literally fell off the bed. Fortunately for me and for her, she wasn’t hurt.
My grandmother shared this memory of that same time period:
“While we were there we took mom and Rose to see mom’s sister in Colorado. Her name was Pearl. She had nine sons and they all went to the service and they all came back. She was the gold star mother of Pueblo, Colorado. In the War days, they recognized the person who had so many children serving in the service and called them a gold star mother. One son had lost an arm. One of her boys had triplets. In those days it was kind of like having a litter of kids. It wasn’t too exciting for them because of the stigma that was with having three at a time. She and my uncle always traveled a lot even though they had so many kids. I remember her visiting in Lebanon. Someone would come and get us and tell us Aunt Pearl was there.
Gladys and Ines were dad’s sisters. Ines was a school teacher at Dry Knob School. Marlin’s grandmother knew who I was because I looked so much like my Aunt Inez. Aunt Inez had boarded with them. Pa’s grandmother was still living when Nan and Pa started dating. She was feeble and had palsy. She lived with Aunt Nelly. This was his dad’s mom.”
I had been directing Nan to tell me stories about her early years at Emmanuel and living in DeSoto, Missouri. She had struggled a bit keeping those stories going but soon turned back to her early years and was happy telling stories of her childhood.
“I’ve got to tell you about grandpa. He had really white hair. He was Norwegian. He was blind but he would try to farm. Our place was 40 or more acres and we could hear him at night yelling at the cows. He always said, “I’ll knock your head off and throw it in your face” and “I wish lightening would strike you.” He called my grandma Pokey. He always made cough syrup and his cough syrup was mostly whisky. He had a box that fit against the wall and they would drop pill boxes in there. When I went to see them, those were my toys. Grandpa was a veterinarian. He even wrote an article for the Vet’s magazine onetime telling about how good onions were and that they would make you sleep. He and Pokey had an apple tree. It was just right to play on. I would spin on the limbs and go round and round holding my leg. I asked my grandma one time if she could do that. Grandpa always ate beans almost every meal. He liked them baked with fat back. It was just as fat as fat could be. Grandpa and Grandma lived with us for a long time and then they wanted to move out to that little shed. We put a door on that shed. It had a cement floor in it. They lived out there until they went to live with Paul and Eleanor. They gave Paul and Eleanor their farm. The house we lived in was a square yellow house. It had two rooms upstairs and two rooms downstairs. The room off the kitchen was where we entertained people when they came to visit. It was a bedroom and a little bit of everything. We had a big orchard at that place. We had all kinds of fruit trees. We probably had 75 peach trees and 15 apple trees. People would come and buy fruit from us. I never have liked fruit because we had it all the time. There was a cherry tree that grew over the toilet. Mom always said, “Don’t eat the cherries from that tree’ but I liked the cherries because they were different.”
We both laughed and I winked and replied, “You liked the cherries because they were the forbidden fruit.” This made grandma really laugh.
At this point, Nan was pretty tired and I knew it was time to let her rest. I know that no matter how much time we have left, there’s not enough time to get down all the stories but I am thankful for the ones that she is able to relay to me. Our time together was really sweet. Grandma seemed less anxious for the most part perhaps giving in to resignation in some ways over this season of her life or perhaps the anxiety medicine the doctor gave her is taking the edge off. We only had one night that was uncomfortable for all of us when she didn’t sleep and walked the halls from 1 am until 5 pm. She would randomly open our door and stare into the room until finally at 5 am she beat on the door and wanted to know why we were not out of bed yet. At that point, I just gave up and got up. All in all, it was a good trip and I accomplished even more than I had set out to do.
On the trip home, I made calls to take care of personal business, texted folks who had been waiting for days on a reply and worked on a book review for a friend whose book will soon be released. I was thrilled when she asked me to read her book before it was published and honored that she allowed me to share how much I enjoyed the book. I had been thinking about the sentiments behind what I wanted to say about the book for several weeks but just hadn’t been able to settle down enough to put my heart into words. This was more than just a book review for me. This was me wrapping my arms around my friend and sharing with the world how important the work is that she has done to preserve the stories of her grandmother’s life and the history of the land they homesteaded. It had to be done to the best of my ability. I was thankful when I had clarity of thought and could put what was in my heart into words and share that with my friend. We both cried. I’m just so happy for her joy and this great accomplishment in her life.
We stopped for lunch on the way home and then when we went back to the car, Mike asked me to drive. This was a momentous occasion. I can only think of one other time, when he wasn’t feeling well, that he has asked me to drive. I am a very good driver with a good driving record and it is not that he doesn’t trust me to drive, it is just that he would rather be in charge and he is a lot more aggressive of a driver than I am. I don’t mind at all because I would rather be writing which is what I do typically after all the business is done as we travel. This momentous occasion in our life came to be this time not because Mike was sick but because his favorite college basketball team is in the championships and they were playing in the middle of the day. Other than playing volley ball in high school (well playing in practice but mostly sitting on the bench during games) and following the St. Louis Cardinals Baseball team as a teenager and in my 20’s I don’t pay much attention to sports. However, this year I have made an effort to learn more about Mike’s favorite basketball team and watch the games with him. We were both excited when UVA pulled off another win. I drove until we got to Wytheville and it snowed but didn’t stick for most of the trip. In Wytheville, we stopped at Rural King, a new farm store. We bought some Kentucky 31 grass seed and a few other things. Then, we had to stop by Southwest Virginia Farm supply and pick up the orchard grass that Mike had bought there. We finally arrived home, unloaded the car, started a fire and I got supper, called grandma and we settled in for the night. This past week has flown by.
March 10, 2018
Mike worked hard yesterday wanting to make up for the days we were away at Grandma’s. Our time this past week instead of being divided up between Laurel Fork and Staunton was divided up between Laurel Fork and Georgia. It is so difficult to get anything done in the short amount of time that we are in one place or another. I am truly counting the weeks until we can stop running up and down the road. Of course, then we will be getting into hay season, and Mike will have to be in Staunton off and on this summer. At any rate, Mike kicked butt and accomplished a lot. He cleared a lot of brush beside the house. Adjacent to our back yard is a post and woven wire fence that is topped with barbed wire. I am sure it was probably put there to discourage deer from coming through the yard and to keep livestock out that might have gotten into the woods. I’m sure it was also there just to give a division and definition to the back yard. From the first time I saw the back yard I wanted to take down that fence because just beyond it is a grove of mature pines, tall and beautiful on the edge of a steep bank. (Our back yard is quite steep as well.) I imagined how wonderful it would be to be able to walk right up to those old trees and be able to touch them. Just below them and at the edge of the existing yard, just on the other side of the unsightly fence is a spot that is semi level where we could put a picnic table. From there we can see beyond our house and across the meadow where the mules and draft horses graze as well as have a view up into our pasture behind our house where the Jerseys will graze. I was thrilled when Mike began working to take down the fence and clear the brush. He cleared a good portion of it and it looks fantastic but as he got closer to the house it became so steep that he was barely able to get back out and had to quit in that location. I am just thrilled with the progress. Clearing the fence and underbrush also did wonders to make it feel like we are getting more sunshine down in our little “holler”.
I have been trying to get back to walking at least four or five days a week. For so many years, I would become obsessed about the distance I walked and I would compete with myself to push myself further. For a period of time right after my divorce, I walked ten miles a day. In more recent years, I pushed myself to walk 5 miles a day. There would be periods of time when I was not able to do the five miles due to my hectic schedule but I would come back to it when I was able. I determined a while back that I was going to try to throw out the idea of keeping track of how far I walked and just walk for the joy of it. Being so goal oriented, I really have resist the urge to keep track but walking without pushing myself is so much more pleasurable and helps me to slow down and live intentionally. Yesterday I walked up by the springs and then circled around and started to walk the perimeter fence when again, I walked up on the flock of turkeys. The group was a little smaller this time but I am guessing there were probably 9 or 10 turkeys who immediately began walking away and into the woods. I was able to slowly follow them and get a couple of photos before they decided they had enough of my presence and first flew up into the tall trees and then on away from me where I could no longer see them. As I continued my walk towards the back of our property, I startled three more turkeys who quickly disappeared into the woods before I could get close enough to take pictures.
We are having a cold snap and Mike and I worked to get more wood into the house to keep the fireplace going. We also picked up a lot of unseasoned wood that Mike had cut up and stacked it in a building to have for later. Little by little the place is beginning to look better.
March 11, 2018
The vintage, Kelvinator refrigerator groaned loudly last night as it labored to continue its work of keeping food cold. Manufactured around seventy years ago, the refrigerator serves us well, albeit it is quite small. It amazes me that it just keeps on running and so far, has only required a short rest from time to time. After it runs for a couple of months, the ice builds up in the freezer compartment and then the machine begins the groaning sounds like we heard last night. The first time it happened, I was certain that the refrigerator had seen its last day in good working order. However, I found out that once it had rested for a few hours and was given a chance to thaw completely, it ran as good as ever. I didn’t really want to clean out the refrigerator late on Saturday night or have to finish the job early Sunday morning but I was afraid if I left it, it would freeze up completely as it has done in the past. With our leaving to go back to Staunton today, I couldn’t take that chance. Without a backup frig, I simply sat all the food on the back porch where the temps had dropped down below forty degrees and were supposed bottom out around freezing. Anytime I use my back porch as a refrigerator, I am reminded of my days in a little cabin in Alaska and one time in particular when I made various types of candy for Christmas on my wood stove and then put the candy on the back porch to chill. It was so cold there and the temperatures remained well below freezing for most of the winter, so we would leave our frozen food in freezers on the back porch and unplug them during the winter time. The candy I made, I lined up on top of the freezers on trays until it hardened, which didn’t take long. Of course, we had to be careful not to attract bears with the smell of food. The Athabascan Natives who lived in the villages had their own methods of keeping food in the winter and keeping it safe from the bears. I remember seeing their food cache structures when I was a small girl and visited Alaska for the first time. The structures were build high above the ground, like miniature cabins, with secure doors and long ladders to reach them. Putting food on my unheated, enclosed, back porch in Laurel Fork, Virginia is a far cry from the primitive cache of an arctic village, but it’s funny what triggers memories in one’s brain. I wonder how many of our memories that are triggered by our senses are lost to us as we immerse ourselves in the high-tech world in which we live. Our constant attention to computers, cell phones and the noise of electronics keeps us from living intentionally and allow ourselves to really experience our memories and whatever is present in the moment as well. Mike and I talked about it yesterday and even my limited use of Facebook in the past few weeks, after an eight-month hiatus, has brought with it a change that is mostly distracting and burdensome. My soul is just quieter and more receptive to intentional living and the immersion of myself into the present moment when not connected. There is good, of course, in being connected with friends and family but I still wonder if we are sacrificing what is sacred in order to have those instant and constant connections. Life is good when we learn to be still and while we were not intended to live life alone and cut off from the world, we miss out when we are not content to be alone with ourselves.
We did attend our regular Saturday auction yesterday but I was pretty bored with it as they mostly sold signs that brought large sums of money. It is hard to be interested when the items being sold are out of one’s price range. Of course, some of the things were interesting and I always learn something when I go to an auction or estate sale but mostly I just worked on my computer and fidgeted in my seat. We often run errands after auction but came straight home and I started making bread from the starter that I had been feeding for three days. My dear friend sent me starter and poolish from her sourdough that dates back one hundred and twenty-five years and that was brought to Washington State via covered wagon. The starter and poolish meant to me a combination of friendship and history, alive and handed over to my care to nourish and keep. It was a little piece of my friend’s life that she entrusted to me, just as she trusts that I will continue to nourish our relationship. I enjoyed so much thinking of my friend while I kneaded the dough, felt its warmth on my hands, watched it rising, then shaped it into loaves and let the aroma of that fresh bread fill our home. Even though it was late by the time I finished, we sliced big pieces and slathered them with butter not waiting on the proper cooling time to taste it.
Mike worked outside when we got home. He took down a huge section of perimeter fence at the front of our property. We hope to replace that woven wire and barbed wire fence with a nice board fence. He worked until almost dark.
We went to church this morning. I think there ended up being maybe 19 of us there after those who were running late made it. That’s a decent crowd for our little church. The minute I walk in the door, Mrs. C’s eyes light up when she recognizes me. She’s just the sweetest thing and at 96 is absolutely amazing. Every week she tells me how pretty I look and how much she likes what I am wearing. I can tell she genuinely means it. When I told her that all my clothes come from the thrift store, she looked so surprised. We didn’t tarry long after service today. We had too much to do and even then, didn’t leave the house to head back to Staunton until after 4 pm. I fixed our lunch and when I sat it on the table, Mike said, that looks like an amazing plate of food. At almost the same time we both said, “That’s a $20 plate a restaurant” and then we both laughed. It wasn’t anything fancy but it was good food. We had grass finished beef burgers on homemade sourdough bread with bacon and gouda cheese and homemade, sweet relish. I took the leftover hand mashed red potatoes and made potato patties that I fried and we had broccoli with melted cheese. Afterwards, we spent a good bit of time trying to get some items priced for the antique booths. Last summer we had taken a good bit of merchandise we had gathered up that wasn’t top quality and had a few yard sales at a friend’s building right off the highway in Laurel Fork. We had just left the items in the building as it wasn’t being used but someone has since leased it and will be moving in around the first of April. We needed to get our things out of there to free it up for the new tenant. Most of the items we will donate to Goodwill but we pulled a few things out to price and take with us back to Staunton. Mike packed, repacked, and repacked again until he finally got everything in the car. In addition to our clothes and personal belongings, he packed 400 pounds of orchard grass seed (in big, fluffy bags) and the merchandise we are taking to Verona. The car smells like grass seed and burlap bags. It was really hard to leave. It is always hard to leave but this time was even harder I think. We didn’t get nearly as much accomplished as we would have liked. The trip to Georgia, while necessary and a sweet time with Grandma, really cut into our work week. I know the next 8-9 weeks are going to be insanely busy as we work on things at the farm(s) in Staunton, keep the grandkids, and then go up and down the road to Laurel Fork and try to work there as well. We have Easter, garden to plant, the Jerseys will start calving in probably another month, we have birthday parties for three out of the four grandkids, ballet recital, Alissa’s graduation, and so many other things that will keep us hopping. I get a little panicked just thinking about it and have to make myself stop and breath.
March 12, 2018
As I sit with coffee in hand waiting for the Little Girls to wake up so we can begin another busy Monday, I am reflecting on life. I do a lot of reflecting and always have. I suppose it goes hand in hand with being an introvert but I think it is more than that for me. I guess some people just have a predisposition to be more sensitive and have the need to internalize things. Even as a very young child, I would steal away to my favorite tree to sit in its branches or lie on the ground underneath, as a pre-teen I would hike to the secret places at the farthest corners of the farm with a book or a pen and paper. As an older teen, I would lock the door to my room and spend hours in there alone studying, reading and writing. Out with friends with whom I felt comfortable, I was usually wide open, witty, sarcastic in a fun way, in the middle of things but ready to get away when the time came and back to my comfort zone. I’m the same as I have always been. If I am comfortable among friends, I can skillfully tell stories that will leave one in tears, laughter or at least keep the attention of the audience. I love to have fun and make people smile. I like to give hugs and look deep into the eyes of the people I love, or the people that I want to love. I am watchful, always watchful, even when others think I am not paying attention and being extremely sensitive to others, I absorb what is going on around me. I think in stories. I describe people to myself in my head as if they were characters in a novel. I see the natural world around me and long to be able to express that beauty with words. Everything I feel inside begs to find form by way of sentences and paragraphs. Phrases fly through my brain, descriptions keep coming to the forefront of my thoughts, and if I seem sometimes lost in my own little world, it is just me processing all the things inside my head and trying to put them into words.