Friday, July 31, 2020

And so...I Iron

I think I was 10 when I learned to iron. It was 1967 and it became my main chore. I started with my Dads handkerchiefs. He left for work everyday with a crisp white one folded into his pants pocket. The next thing were the pillowcases. We were a family of five, so there were quite a few. Even at that age there was something relaxing about the warm steam and then the reward of the smooth fabric underneath my touch. As I got better at it, Mom let me iron Dad's white work shirts with just the right amount of spray starch on the collar  and cuffs. It felt like a work of art to complete one masterfully. 
     Anyway...flash forward to yesterday and today. 
     I've been ironing our bedding. I'll explain why another time, but I've been bombarded with memories spending hours behind the ironingboard. At times I felt like I could even smell my house. The one I ironed in. And the smell of our fresh cut grass through an open window. There was something precious and right and good about the way I grew up, with church and family and dinner around the table together every night. Homemade clothes sewn by my mother with love. These were the important things. I learned so much from my Mom and Dad as they instilled in me the things of love and family and manners and responsibility.
    I've  taken a break from the ironing for now. One bed to go, but its hard work and I'm tired.
But my heart is full!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My Fathers hands...

       I wanted you to know that you were beside me today, Dad. Right there beside me with your hands in the bike.
     Today was bike day at Husky club and as the cast of wild things rode I noticed that one of the older boys was sitting with his head hung. His bike was on the ground. I walked over. 
     "What up buddy?", I asked him.
     He looked at his bike and then at me. Pointed. The chain had come off. It was hanging loose on one side and stuck on the other. 
     "Yeah," I said, tugging on it. "It's stuck
pretty good." Then I tugged it again. 
      "Don't bother," He said as he kicked the tire in frustration, "I've been messin' with it for 10 minutes. It's useless."
      I looked down at the two freshly polished fingers that I used to tug on the chain.They were black. Then I saw your hands, Dad. I'd watched put the chains back on our bikes so many times that I could see you do it in my mind.   
     "You know," I told him, "I have two sisters and a brother and I saw my Dad fix this kind of stuff alot'," I knelt down beside him, "So is it okay if I try?"
     The boy shook his head resigned and I moved in. I angled the bike against my leg the way you always did, Dad, and then I began to move the pedal back and forth and back and forth and guided the greasy chain back onto the teeth. I had to tug hard on it hard a couple of times, but I fixed it.
     I stood up holding my hands in front of me. They were covered with oily black bike chain goop.
     But the smile on the boy's face as he jumped on his bike made my hands look beautiful. "Thanks, Miss Pam!"
      Thank you, Dad, I thought smiling as I walked inside to wash up. I had never put a chain back on a bike until today. But today my hands became yours. Efficient, dirty, and working in love.
     I watched you and I learned something I didn't even know I'd learned.  Thanks for always fixing our stuff, Dad. And know that I really loved having you at work with me today.
     There's nothing like a Father's hands

Sunday, October 9, 2016

It's time...

     On the night of this second political debate, with only weeks until the United States of America picks a new President to lead our country, I am at a loss.
     Confession... I've never been political. In fact, if you asked me how I felt about politics,  I would tell you that I think it is currupt. I would then say that I had a very real dream about my 22 year-old nephew becoming a Senator in Texas and that I'm waiting for him to change the world.
     But all my life, as I think back over the passionate talks my mother and father had. I remember the great debates of my husband, first born daughter, and my son, and I've  often wondered what's wrong with me. Why aren't I passionate? Why don't I care?
     My mother and father raised four children. My brother Ron is 11 months older. He was my best childhood buddy and we were born in the same calendar year.  I'm the second oldest. The oldest of three girls born after.
     Whether this is relevant to my birth order or not, know that I listened to every conversation my parents ever had that I could get close enough to hear. We were Catholic, from both sides,  and I remember passionate and emotional discussions about the Kennedys, and birth control, and the way the world was turning. My mother and father became Democrats because of the Kennedy campaign. They had a genuine and integral belief that he was going to change the world.
     The day he was killed, the principle of our school arrived at the door of my Kindergardern class. He had tears in his eyes as he whispered into the ear of my teacher,  Mrs. Young. I knew something was very wrong as I watched tears form in her eyes also. After a moment, she told us that the President had been shot, and we were all going home.
      I don't really remember going home, but I assume my brother Ron and I walked  home together. What I do remember is walking in the door and finding Mom on her knees in front of the television weeping.
     I was 5. But I loved John F. Kennedy because my mother loved him.  She made beautiful clothes that looked like the clothes Jackie Kennedy wore. We all  believedin them. All of us.
     As children, we watch, listen and learn.
     It was many years later when the truth about JFK was revealed. His blatant infidelities, the politics of hiding it all, the scandal. I think that was the moment for me.  I was a young Mom. I think it was then that I gave up and no longer believed.
     I was a child in the sixties and it was a crazy time in the world. The Vietnam War.  Woodstock. Martin Luther King. The Klu Klux Clan. Revolution and mayhem was happening everywhere.  I was a child, but a young woman was forming inside me too. I began thinking for myself, questioning,  wondering.
      And so now here I am, more than 50 years later reminiscing on the night of this 2016 political debate.
     I sit on my back porch writing this as Paul pops his head out. "Honey, it's getting pretty ugly. I just texted Uncle Todd and..."
     And so now,  I'm hoping to make you laugh a little, but this is the truth.
     Confession number 2... I watch a show called, "Toddlers and Tiaras." It's a crazy show about a crazy world of little beauty queens. And it's often, much more about the Mothers than it is about the precious darlings in the pageant. I cant, however, stop watching it. The reason? In a different life, I could have been one of these Moms. Thankfully,  God knew this and saved ReAnnon and I both. But know first-born daughter was a stunning little girl. She was a beauty,  and in Oklahoma, beauty queens are pretty big deal.
      I'm closing with this, because in the last few episodes of the show these little girls rag on Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, based on their family's political views. They state as fact what they hear at home and it makes me smile but also reminds me of a little girl who listened to conversations just like these.
     My parents talked with passion, and hope. There were wanting conversations about goodnees, and  righteous and change.
     So to end this, I just find myself thankful.  Thankful that God is greater than Donald or Hillary and all that is ugly in the world.  He saved me from becoming a "Toddlers and Tiaras" Mom, and He will save us through this election. I know His Sovergnicy goes beyond this moment in time.
     But as I study Heaven, it sure looks good. Some days more than others.
   But until then, may God bless America and help us all!

Monday, August 22, 2016

A man sits hunched over a table by candlelight...and then... he writes my name.

      There is a drop that forms in the middle of every honeysuckle flower. If you rush, and try to get it out too soon, it simply isn't there yet. And if you wait even a little too long it'll dry up before it ever becomes yours.
    But... when the timing is perfect, you pull that center string and the dewy drop slides along and out of the end and lands on your tongue. When it hits your tastebuds, it's's like... the meaning of my name. "all sweetness" from Greek (pan) "all" and (meli) "honey."
      And as I ponder this, I can't help but wonder who the first person was to do this most amazing  honeysuckle thing and, then I wonder what their name was.
     But now, picture's 1560-ish, and Sir Philip Sidney leans over a desk by candlelight. The wax makes a pool at the base of the candleholder and spills over onto the old oak desk as he dips his quill pen into the night black ink. "Pamela," he says out loud as he places the pen against the onion paper. He begins to write. "Yes."
   "And so she might perceaue that Pamela did walke vp and down, full of deep (though patient) thoughts. For her look and countenance was setled, her pace soft, and almost still of one measure, without any passionate gesture, or violent motion: till at length (as it were) awaking, & strengthning her selfe, Well (she said) yet this is the best, & of this I am sure, that how soeuer they wro[n] g me, they cannot ouermaster God."  (A excerpt from Pamela's Prayer (Arcadia 111.6) in it's original language and writing.)
     And so...this was the moment my name was born. This quiet moment of a man amidst his searching and want. Was it really by candlelight? I picture it so. A waning moon and a sky full of stars and a poet in the dark trying to find the perfect name for his person. And the name was Pamela.
     You must know that I love this story of my name for I am a creature of story love. Those of you that know me well, know this. 
     And soo... from now till forever I will picture Sir Philip leaning over the candle in the dark with the stars and the waning moon. And will thank him for the deep and beautiful contemplation of my name. Pamela. All sweetness and honey. 
     And with this knowledge, do I want to live up to it's meaning? "Yes." My answer is "Yes," I do. Will I? Most definitely not. 

Footnotes: (Sir Philip Sidney also wrote, "Dorus to Pamela" sometime between 1554 to 1586, and in "The Old Arcadia" Book 1, also written by Sidney, the eldest daughter of Duke Basilius also had my name.)
And In 1740, another author, Samuel Richardson, used the name Pamela as the heroin in his novel, "Virtue Rewarded." It was after this that Pamela was used as a given name. It did not become popular until the 20th century.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Three little sisters and a brother...

     Once upon a time, in a place called Oklahoma, there were three little sisters and one older brother who rode bikes without helmets. They had turtle races, caught amazing fat toads, played in the street without shoes until dark, and laid in the grass and stared at the sky. They danced on tables, sang, caught fireflies and put them in Miracle whip jars and sat them beside their beds as nightlights on warm summer nights. They laughed and cried. They scratched and pulled hair. They hugged and played. They were a family. 
    When the sisters and the brother grew into young woman and men, they each got married and moved away from the place they had laughed and cried and played and loved. 
     Years went by and the sisters and brother missed each other, but life moved forward as a new generation of family was born.
     Each of them had three babies. Each of the sisters, two daughters and a son. The brother, two sons and a daughter.
     And now, these daughters and sons are growing a third generation of little boys and little girls into a family. Brothers, sisters, and cousins who love each are having little boys and little girls who too will dance on tables, play games, catch Pokeman, pull each other's hair, and snapchat.
   And in the heart of this oldest sister lies a hope that these new sweet babies will also one day have the pure joy of catching fat toads, chasing lizards, find themselves with a mayonnaise jar of fireflies on their bedside table on a summer night, and stare up into clouds and find rabbits. May they lay under the stars on a warm summer night and dream.      
#lifeandlove #familiesandredemption

Friday, March 11, 2016

Red lips and Ribbons

       You're just inside the in-between. There but not there. So you stand on the line steady your feet and feel your way wearing red lips and ribbons.  You breathe deep and look to the side from where you came knowing the ribbon should really be tucked in the back of your little girl drawer, but you’re not ready for that.  This is okay. Don’t be ready for that.
     Some run ahead on the line so fast never missing a step and you stand here covered in the wake of their dust… but you blow it off, pop those red lips, and touch the ribbon in your hair. 
     I get close enough to see you standing wobbly on the line and I try to remember… but in the remembering what I really want to do is run to the line and knock you off.  I want to push you back onto the playground where little boys and girls live.
     It’s a stupid na├»ve thought. I know this and you would not stay there even if I did because you can’t stay there, no one can stay there…and yet…I wish you could and I think it all the same.  Just for a little while longer, Please!  Just a little while longer.
     But you climb back up and brush off the dirt determined to take back your place in the line because it’s your time and you have to walk it whether you are ready or not…so...
     "Stop looking at me."
     "You're in my way. Move."
     "Why are you talking to me?  You don’t know me."
     "Who are you anyway?"
      The person asking the last question suddenly falls in beside me.  “Me?" I ask. " I'm just a person trying to find my way," I say,  "same as you." I take another step. "I'm just walkin’ the line." 
     "You don't look like you belong here." He said.
     " I know." I reply. "Sometimes I feel like I don't belong here either." We walk a beat. "But I'm doing it. Doing it again, I should say. But it feels really different this time. It's been awhile. This feels like a foreign land."
     There is a few moments of quiet between us, then I point and say, "I was way up there, you know. Almost to the very end of this road." I pause a moment, "And then I got moved back here with you guys." Another pause. "This is hard for me too. I’m trippin' and brushin’ myself off  just like you." I pause again. "But this time...I can't even remember having a hair ribbon."
     “And you..." I say as another walks up and falls into the rhythm of our pace, "You have the attitude...the pretty face... you're so cool just chillin'."
     He smiles and winks in agreement. 
     "Wake up!”  I shout.  "Stop acting like a child and thinking you're so cute it's all that matters."
     He stiffens. "You're not that cute," I tell him. “And there is a quarter-horse inside you and I know you know it. I know you feel it stirring."
     He gives me a puzzled yet knowing look.
     "You were born to run." I tell him, "So step it up. Impress me!"
      He doesn't like my words so his long legs stretch his stride but I know that he is pondering our conversation.
     There is pushing and shoving around me now as this group I walk with struggle to find their place in a herd of, "Children No More.”
     Not quite steady on their feet but want so much to find their way with strength and grace.  I want to believe that when they bloom they will take our breath away and bring tears to our eyes. 
     Until then...I hope they know how amazing they are.  How fascinating.  How beautiful.   
     So let me walk this line with you and see you wear red lips and ribbons just a little bit longer.
     Real life comes soon enough. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

A moment in the life of a girl

A little girl stood behind the backstop...her fingers looped inside the chain link fence.
     And as it grew dark the field lit up and there he was...standing on the pitchers mound.
    A moment that took her breath away.
    The little girl saw him every day and yet...she knew now that she really saw him. Intense, powerful, confident, handsome...
     And in a moment he became so much more than just her Dad.  He was now and forever after... her Hero.
     Later, when it was time for a treat, the little girl stood in a concession line. "The pitcher's my Dad," she said as she pointed. "He's my Dad."