Friday, February 29, 2008
"Aah." Grandpa sank into the couch.
"Get the box of candy for Grandpa, will you?" Mom said.
I drug my feet into the kitchen. I knew what was in the candy box. Two chocolates. Both had been squished. A white nougat, no one liked those, and a mystery brown one that had been squished so long ago that it was petrified. I wasn't the only guilty one but I was the only one that was home.
"Here, Mom," I handed the box to her as nonchalantly as possible. Grandpa patted the spot next to him.
Mom shook the box. Empty wrappers, rustling and two thunks. I had that sound memorized. Every almost-empty candy box in the history of my life sounded just like that.
"Hum," she said as she peered inside, poking the petrified candy, "Maybe we need a new box." She looked at me and raised one eyebrow. I sank into the cushions behind Grandpa.
I listened. There it was, the faint screech of the fruit room door. I had searched the fruit room dozens of times. There wasn't any candy in there, but here she came, working the ribbon off a fresh box of chocolates.
"Here we go," Mom wadded the cellophane into a ball. She opened the box and handed it to Grandpa.
He brought the open box to his nose and inhaled. "Mmm, there's nothing like the smell of chocolate, is there, Sis?"
"I dunno, I guess so." I had never stopped to smell a box of candy, There wasn't time to smell when you were in the candy cupboard. You had to be quick. Open the box, grab one that might be promising, shut the box and then try to remember the exact way it was sitting. Had the box been a little bit crooked? Closer to the edge or further back? There wasn't time to fuss, you had to get off the bar and out of the kitchen quick.
"Well, let's see," Grandpa never rushed. "The one with the double swirl is a raspberry creme. This one with a V is a vanilla creme."
"You can tell what's inside?"
"Sure, that's how you know what to choose. See this here? This oblong one with the two squiggly lines? That's a caramel."
Caramels were my favorites but the awful jellied ones were oblong too . Lots of oblong jellies, with a corner bit off, had been thrown in the bushes next to the front porch. Mom found a swarm of ants there one day and couldn't figure out what had attracted them. Ants obviously didn't care if they got inferior candy.
"What do the jellies look like, Grandpa?"
"Like those do you? Here you go. They have an X on top, from corner to corner."
He closed the box and bit into a chocolate. "Mmm, chocolate truffle. One of my favorites." He handed the box back to Mom and she took it into the kitchen. The chocolate was starting to melt. I changed hands and licked it off my fingers.
"Well, go on," Grandpa said, ruffling my hair. "I picked a good one for you."
I smiled as best I could and bit a corner off.
"Well?" he asked. "How is it?"
"Grandpa," I whispered. "I hate jellies. It's the caramels I like. That's why I asked what the jellies looked like, so I wouldn't ever pick one."
"Well, now," he whispered back. "We're in a predicament, aren't we?" He cleared his throat. "I think I'll just have another chocolate," he called to Mom. "I've got a powerful sweet tooth today."
"What about your diabetes?"
"I'll eat carrots and broccoli for dinner, I promise."
"I will, I surely will."
Mom opened the box and Grandpa picked up an oblong with two squiggly lines. When she went into the kitchen he traded chocolates with me. He wrapped the jelly in his clean white handkerchief.
I bit into the caramel. "Aren't you going to eat that one?"
"Ah, Sis," he said, ruffling my hair. "I hate jellies."
"What are you two laughing at," Mom called from the kitchen.
"Nothing," we chorused together. I leaned into Grandpa's side, he put his arm around me and pulled me close. I could hear the clock ticking and an early cricket starting to chirp somewhere outside. I licked my fingers and looked up at him and smiled. He smiled back. We sat there together for a long time until Mom called me to set the table for dinner.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Fatty--whose real name I forget--I used to call her/him Snow White--decides to attack William--I used to call him/her creamsicle. He sits on Toves in the meantime.
Gregory decides he wants in on the action so he attacks. Gregory is the bawl-baby of the group. If you pick him up he cries so much his momma comes running.
Wait, I hear something. It sounds like Momma.
It IS Momma and she's giving baths and maybe dinner. I better hurry.
Yup, that's what she's doing, I'm gonna get in line.
Wait, which side is dinner on?
No room there, thanks to my greedy siblings.
I'll try over here.
Nope, maybe this end is better. I'll just kick that greedy Toves out. Right over Momma's back. Zoop! Bye, Toves.
I better go exploring and find my way home.
But just where is home, anyway?
In the meantime, Dyna got up, ate three pieces of cat food and then went back to the kitens where they lined up in pretty much the same order.
Ah, peace and quiet, at last. And as I tiptoed out of the room I actually heard tiny kitten purrs.
How long are kids delighted to see how much they weigh? When does the scale turn from one of delighted curiosity to one of anticipated horror?
Bathroom scales should be banned in homes with women past the age of eighteen or at least in homes where women have given birth. There should be a bathroom scale brigade that show a warrant at the door and leave with the bathroom scale tucked under their arms. They could wear nifty military hats with the monogram "BSCB"--Bathroom Scale Confiscation Brigade. Women all over America, maybe all over the world, would willingly salute, maybe even bow in reverence when they saw them coming.
Or bathroom scales should be programmed to be stuck at zero when it senses a grown woman steps on it. That's a good option. That way, when you stood on it, and it didn't move you would know that your weight was something but you were free to choose the numbers yourself.
If only bathroom scales worked that way. It should be an option.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
That summer morning we climbed in her jeep and hung on--it was important when driving with Pat that you hung on. She had the top of the jeep off—she always had the top off—and the windshield down. She used to drive from Las Vegas for long week-ends and would drive the whole way, summer and part of the winter with the top down. Every truck driver along the way knew of her. She honked at waved at each one. She had a whole fleet of truck-driving men watching out for her.
That summer morning we drove away in a roar of exhaust fumes, I imagine our mothers held their breath and hoped for the best.
Once we were on top of the mountain my wacky sister showed us one of the advantages of owning an army jeep and drove us right into trouble.
“The great thing about driving a jeep,” she yelled, over the roar of the engine, “is that you don’t have to stick to the roads. Ta doot, ta doot,” she called in her musical, magic way as she deliberately drove off the road through a large valley, dotted with sagebrush. She weaved in and around the sagebrush. Looking over her shoulder she called to us hanger-on’ers, “Isn’t this fun?” And then she drove on top of a rock. The jeep had enough momentum to get halfway. It was like a green teeter-totter with one laughing driver and six terrified girls, teetering. We scrambled off before it tottered.
“Oops! Look what we did.” She turned the motor off.
We stood around the jeep with our hands in our pockets.
“What do we do now?” someone asked in a quivering little voice.
“Well,” Pat said, ignoring her. “Isn’t that something?” She didn’t seem to be concerned in any way. She actually laughed. Again. Or maybe it was just a continuing laugh. She laughed her whole life.
I didn’t laugh. I was frightened. I knew we were doomed, all alone on the mountain and it was my breezy, irresponsible, laughing sister’s fault.
We hadn’t seen anyone else all day. How long before someone would send help, I wondered. Would we be nothing but bleached bones by then? I had seen my share of Westerns and bleached bones played a big part in the lives of people who were stranded.
Pat walked around the jeep, pushing on it a bit here and there, saying things like, “Well, we’re really stuck, that’s for sure.”
She smiled. When she smiled she could charm ornery mountain lions and she charmed me. She put her arm around me and I forgave her for her recklessness. I forgave her for the breeziness and for the laughter. If I had to die on the mountain at least I would be with someone who was fun and interesting. How awful it would be to become bleached bones with a grumpy person.
“There’s just one thing to do,” she said. “We’ll pray, shall we? Then everything will be all right.”
So we gathered around and folded our arms and prayed. I don’t remember who offered the prayer. It was probably Pat but whoever it was had barely said, “Amen,” when we looked up to see a miracle coming up the draw, a sheepherder, leading a horse. A Border Collie was trotting by his side.
“Got yourself in a bit of a spot, have ya’?” he said when he got closer. He was laughing a little bit too. What was the matter with all these grownups and the laughter?
He seemed about as worried as Pat, which was not at all. The two of them talked for a couple of minutes about stuff that didn't matter one little bit in the world, like the weather, nothing important like how we were going to get rescued.
I thought he should get on his horse and gallop away to bring help. He should have yelled encouraging words like, “It won’t be long now,” over his shoulder as he disappeared in a cloud of sagebrush pollen. He should have waved his Stetson and maybe even a lariat. "I'll leave my trusty dog, Lassie here to keep you safe," he should have called. Instead he ambled, in a bowlegged way around the jeep, pushing it here and there.
“Yup. Ya did a really fine job of it.”
They both laughed. One of the girls gave a vague little laugh. I thought of her as a traitor, this was serious business. There should be no laughter.
He uncoiled a rope from his saddle and tied it to the jeep. He wound it around his saddle horn and in a quiet voice said something to his horse. The horse slowly backed up pulling the rope tight. The sheepherder made a little clicking noise out of the side of his mouth and the horse walked backwards again. The jeep made a horrible screeching noise and bounced off the rock.
The sheepherder knelt down, looked under the jeep and pronounced it fit. He and Pat shook hands, he patted her on the back.
“Well, have yerself a good time with those here girls. Maybe I’ll see you around later. Gotta check on my sheep, so I’ll be a goin’.” He led his horse up the draw and out of sight. We never saw him again and we never saw as much as one sheep on the mountain either. I watched. I watched for a sheepherder wagon. I watched for even one glimpse of white woolliness. There wasn't any. Being the fanciful person I was I wondered if he were an angel or maybe one of the "ancient ones" that come from some kind of a time warp to help stranded fools. Maybe he was John, from the Bible or one of the three Nephites, from the Book of Mormon. He was probably just a sheepherder but to me he was magical.
As soon as he was out of sight we piled back into the jeep and away we went, at speeds the same as before, if not worse, and with the same amount of carefree attitude. Pat sang at the top of her lungs, waved her arms in the air, pointing out things of interest to us. We laughed and pretended indifference at the excessive speed. I glanced at each girl. We all had had white knuckles and clenched teeth with forced smiles so I wasn't alone with my fear.
Pat didn't notice. Life was good for Pat. It was to be enjoyed, full throttle. Life was always good, wherever she was, whatever the circumstance.
An important thing happened to me that day on the mountain, besides being terrified. I learned to believe in the power of prayer. But there was a difference between my belief and Pat’s. She believed too but she knew that help was coming. She asked. Help would come. It was as simple as that. From that day on, I have believed too but she lived her whole life knowing.
My sister has been gone about fifteen years now. She died of sepsis, about seven or eight weeks after receiving a kidney transplant. She was/is the most fascinating person I have ever known and I miss her so much it hurts. She never felt sorry for herself. She never complained that she was the one to have kidney failure. She took what life gave her and squeezed every drop of fun out of it. She is my hero.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
I started watering them in January. They grew almost daily.
Look at this. They are so anxious for the sunlight they stretch toward the window. When I see this I turn them.
This clock does not work. It's a reproduction from 1776.
PS Remember how the blooms stretched toward the sun? That's what I want to do too--only it is spelled "Son." I want to stretch toward the Light of Christ and be bathed in his goodness. Then my growth will be just like the Amaryllis. Even if I don't bloom, like that one might not, it will be worth it. I will be better, more complete, at peace.
Friday, February 22, 2008
This is Jo Cool.
I wonder who they will become. Will they grow up and do great things or be just ordinary? Will they save the world, save the rain forests or save the dolphins?
We are all children of God. We are children of GOD! All of us. We were worthy to be born here, to have this earthly experience and then one day to return to him. Not all of us will have it easy. Not all of us will make women in the audience faint. Some of us will only hear the sounds of crickets when it is our turn to walk on stage.
Which brings me back to these four children. They will each choose different things to do in life. Will one feel more important than the other? Will one be happy for the other, watching the other do something that the world will applaud? Will they be jealous or petty? Or will they be genuinely happy for the success of each other? Will they stay close and loving or will they all go their separate ways and not see much of each other? Isn't staying close as a family part of success?
And what defines success anyway? Why do we let the "world" define what success is when we have our Heavenly Father cheering us on, when He knows we are doing what the two of us probably discussed before we left Him?
And why do we forget? We are important, each of us. We are doing important things, even if we are doing stupid stuff. We learn by doing stupid stuff. Some of us-cough,beenthere,donethat,cough-have to do lots of stupid stuff to learn. Then we go on to lead ordinary lives but I think our Heavenly Father doesn't count us as ordinary. I think He stands on the sidelines, cheering and clapping. "Way to go, daughter. Way to go, son." When we stumble and fall I think he says something like, "It's okay. You are going to be all right."
So, tonight, if you are feeling unimportant--if you are feeling crummy about yourself or think you don't count then I am the voice on the Internet saying you are important. You are a child of God. That's better than being the child of a King or the child of the President of a country. There isn't anything more important that that. There isn't anyone more important than you. It doesn't matter what you have accomplished or not. You are valuable and your Heavenly Father cherishes you. He adores you. You are going to be all right.
This is what I believe. I hope you do too.
Now, because I am human I will be down on myself from time to time so when that happens will you spit this back at me? I promise to do the same for you. Except for the spitting part. That just isn't tidy.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
And this winter, the Winter of The Endless Frozen Narnia winter, when I am blue and worried and anxious and upset and weepy and not-loud and not "Halloooing" to anyone, he still loves me. He loves me in the good and the not so good. I am so lucky to have him in my life, to be married to him in the Lord's temple and to know he will be with me through eternity. I will be better then. There will be no insecurities, no blues, and no fear. There will be joy with all the members of the earth, loving each other, remembering each and every one.
Until then, I wonder how I can show Phil I love him. There is no adequate way. I don't cook like I used to. Maybe he could remember those tasty dinners and think, she loved me because she cooked. She still loves me; she just doesn't cook. We need to eat "cleaner" anyway so we can toddle into our golden years with better health. Tonight he ate a bowl of fresh fruit. Apples, grapes and oranges. For a snack later he ate raw cashews and dates. Not a bad dinner. I didn't even cut up his fruit; he did it himself so I can claim no part of fixing his dinner.
So, how can I show him I love him? I guess I will try to be a better Lynne. A nicer Lynne. A not-so-blue Lynne. I don't know if I can be a not-so-loud Lynne--when I'm not frozen or thinking I'm going to be frozen, that is. I will try to be a better member of the church and do a better job in my calling. I will try to have faith and not fear.
Oh, and I know he would like me to do more housework, get rid of the clutter, either give away or throw away a whole lot of stuff. How am I going to do that? I'm not a tidy person. I have other talents--they have not shown up yet but I'm sure I have them--they are just waiting until my twilight years and then they will show up and he will be impressed. Of course, by then he might be too old to see them. Ha ha.
I wish they would hurry, while his eyesight is still good. Until then I hope he knows I love him. I really do.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Sadly, the wooden leg has been lost to our family. The Yoga Empress, married to my son, Mr. Hot Sauce, gave it to her mother for her mother's birthday. I think there was a hilarious story to report there too. I don't know where it is now. Maybe on its way to your house.
Gilmore Girl could no more bring herself to touch the wooden leg than fly to the moon. She does, however, cut my hair. Maybe I have more to fear than I thought. I'll post pictures if I get a Mohawk.
"Wow! What a wad of kittens I have produced. They are out of control. Clam down, my little kitten-wad."
Settling in, lining up, slurping away.
Dyna is purring, everyone is happy.