An old block building stands there among the pines. Just off the road. Just next to a little old country church. Painted white, with red gingham curtains , it sits quietly most days. You’d pass by it and think , well that doesn’t seem like much. You’d be wrong. It ‘s seen weddings, baby showers, dinners for passings of loved ones. Family reunions, Ladies club meetings, political get togethers and just general gee hawings. Today it saw the Spanhanks Family reunion . It’s been a long time since we’d all gotten together. For some of us it’d been years since we’d seen each other. Hugs were given , people reintroduced, babies kissed, food eaten , lies told , and laughter heard and rung out in the hall. The old piano that has sat so long in the corner , you could almost tell it was glad again to hear the voices of people in the room. Granny Jo , our matriarch was in her element today , making sure everybody had food. “Did ya get ya somethin’ ta drink” “There’s plenty more puddin’ over there!” Uncle Charles has finished up his dinner and has got his toothpick outta his hat and is chewin’ whilst tellin’ a tall tale of some sort. Uncle Ray has got his hands full of grandbaby while trying to eat at the same time, but if anyone can handle that , he can , he has has plenty of grandbabies to practice on. Things get quiet for a while, ’cause it’s hard to eat with your mouth full ya’ know. But it picks back up again when people head back for dessert. There’s coconut pie, and pumpkin, and 7-up cake which Granny makes every time. I tell ya’, if you left here hungry , it was your own fault. People start to round up, and head out to get a dip a’ snuff, or smoke them a little bit of a cig. The kids want to run off all the pie and caffeine they consumed. The ladies start to clean the kitchen up a little, and you can hear the old Sweet Home Community Building smile, because it knows, it matters after all.
I just watched this movie. I found it to be very moving. You can tell that Katai is a boy trying to be a soldier , just like his father , who just happens to be famous for being able to “ghost”, or feel no fear. But from the very beginning of the movie you can just tell Katai is eaten with fear. Fear he will never make a Ranger. Fear he did not do enough to save his sister. Fear he just isn’t good enough.
When they crash land on the Earth that’s been left for many years , and is now dangerous for people, and Katai must go alone to find supplies and the rescue beacon. You can almost feel his fear through the screen. He meets all kinds of challenges but is still afraid, until finally, he meets the huge alien beast that his father had been most worried that he would meet. Katai is wounded , as the alien passes over him to deliver the final blow , he hears his father’s voice deliver the words written above, and then suddenly , HE is “ghosting” beyond the fear, and able to kill the alien.
What struck me so much about this movie , AND this quote is that with lupus , I began to wonder how often have I been afraid of something for no reason? How often was it just a product of my imagination of the future, of what might happen? Something that hadn’t happened yet? Not living in the now? Yes lupus holds a VERY REAL DANGER, but fear cannot be ever present. I can be prepared. I can be trained , even , as a Ranger would be trained to fight, but I cannot allow fear to rule my mind. FEAR is a CHOICE . I choose to not let it rule me. It is NOT REAL. It is a product of my mind, and I refuse to let it take over my life. I will “take a knee ” when I am overwhelmed, but I will rise, to fight again.
I was never the kid picked first
or the one considered cool
I never had the popular clothes ,
I didn’t rule the school.
I was the kid in the corner ,
with the book shoved up her nose,
I lived caught somewhere in Narnia,
and sometimes in the Shire,
Bilbo was my neighbor,
Aslan my king , and Gandalf wizard higher.
Real people seemed to me the shades,
and books the living fire.
I know there were those
who thought that surely this was just a phase
Surely I’d grow out of this oddness!
And find a normal place!
I’m afraid they’re disappointed now,
for I’m of grown -up age.
I’m still not the kid picked first,
or the one considered cool,
I still don’t wear the popular clothes,
I don’t rule the school.
I live in my own little corner still,
with my book shoved up my nose.
I don’t really mind too much
I’ve found a whole new place.
there’s people just like me I found,
with books held to their face.
So don’t mind if you don’t fit in with the “norm”,
who needs THAT rat race?
I’ve wondered for a long time now if perhaps I’ve let my children miss out on something. I see the way families are now and think that we surely seem to be the odd ones out. Now I’m not saying this as a judgement on anyone else’s lifestyle , simply an observation on the differences between the ways I have seen the ways people do things, and wondering if I am in the wrong. I don’t work. Well, let me rephrase that, I CAN’T WORK. Lupus has done such lovely things to my body that even standing for more than 10 minutes at a time , would be a luxury for me at this point in my life. We live in a small wood frame house, that we heat with wood. My husband and sons go out and cut down and chop up the wood themselves.
We eat meat that we hunt ourselves. Deer, squirrel. We fish. I’m homeschool my children, so I spend a lot of time with them. We’re not fancy. We don’t wear name brand, or if we do , we bought it at a yard sale. I guess I just wonder . I see friends of mine, that I went to school with , they’re married now , with children. They live in hundred thousand dollar homes, both of them work, they both drive new vehicles. They’re kids wear name brand clothes , and their school wardrobes cost more than my kids’ clothes for an entire year. The kids go to public school so they can compare their latest acquisitions , and make sure theirs is better than their friends. And yet , when we go to town we are the ones who get the odd looks . So surely WE must be doing something wrong. We want to raise our kids with simplicity and appreciation for where their food comes from , and what the real world will mean for when they grow up. When you grow up, reality says , you have to get a job, and earn your own money and make your own way. The world will not be prepared to hand them anything when they reach adulthood, and the simplest things in life are the easiest things to learn. I can only hope that we have done the right things , and done well in our life of simplicity, and hope they’ve not missed out at all.
I’ve noticed something lately. My husband and I really like to watch cooking shows. Good Eats. Everyday Italian with Giada di Laurentiis , Mario Batali, and so forth. They cook all these wonderful looking meals and make it look so easy. Now to flash back and connect this story and help it make sense , my Daddy and I used to love to watch Norm Abram on PBS on the New Yankee Workshop , and he used to make this beautiful furniture, with all this lovely wood , book shelves, and cabinets.
And I got to thinking, Giada , and Mario and Alton have hundred thousand dollar kitchens , with many hundreds of dollars of cooking equipment, blenders, food processors, high dollar ovens, with grills, and refrigerators and freezers to keep the organically grown food at just the right temperatures. They have people on their teams who go out and shop the day of the show at the fresh fish markets, and herb shops , just to make sure that their dishes turn out magazine perfect every single time.
I’m just a home cook, I have the basics. A regular stove. A regular blender. Walmart supplies my choices of vegetables. I can’t run to the fish market and get fresh flounder. I feed my family on our old family recipes. I don’t have people that run to town every day to buy cilantro. I’m a really good cook actually, “So my husband jokes, ‘Imagine what you could cook if you had access to all the stuff that the celebrity chefs had access to?’
Now we turn to Norm in his Yankee Workshop. With his hundreds of thousands of sophisticated wood working equipment, laser guided saws, lathes, biscuit cutters, scrollwork machines. Access to thousands of dollars of exotic woods, ebony, olive, woods I have never even heard of .
Now my Dad is a carpenter and he can build beautiful cabinets , and shelves and boxes. He doesn’t have access to any of those things,so we used to make the joke while watching Norm, “Wow, Daddy , what could you build if you had all that REAL carpenter equipment?”
So you kind of have to wonder , how much of that on television is the person’s actual skill, and how much of it is the equipment, personnel help, materials, and other things that they are given access to? If all they had was the kinds of things that the common person had in their fridge or garage , what kind of product could they turn out then?
She has known me my WHOLE life. That gives a person a unique perspective on your life, you know. When I was young she took good care of me, feeding me, and using me as her personal baby doll, we spent all our time together. I must admit I wonder now sometimes was she GLAD to have me around, or did she see me as an intrusion into her world? She had been the only child for a good long while, having all of mom and dad’s attention. When I grew old enough to remember , I remember being a pain. I remember us being total opposites. She was very girly, very into her Barbies, and her ballet , she was very graceful , and I was very clumsy. I was such a tomboy, wearing my clompy tomboy boots everywhere. My sister was above all things clean, extremely clean. Obsessively clean. I however was not. I was dirty. I had a horse, a pig, and chickens. I helped my Grandpa farm. Dirt followed me wherever I went. I remember thinking my sister was the most fashionable , beautiful , graceful person on the planet. All the boys wanted to date her. I remember thinking my sister hated me, and wished I would go and live anywhere but near her. Why did I have to be HER sister? I followed my Daddy everywhere, dressed like a boy until I was 14, worked and welded on old cars, went around like an grease monkey, worked for my Grandpa who was a truck patch farmer, learned to drive a tractor, and basically was the opposite of anything girly and graceful. I used to be so jealous, she got all the attention, she was so smart, and had the beautiful red hair, and was just naturally beautiful. I didn’t know how to change. But I wasn’t sure I wanted to either. I wasn’t even sure I was supposed to. Flash forward 5 years. My sister got me a job , working in the same restaurant that she was. I realized you had to clean up to work there. And that was okay. I also realized, I must not be that bad looking. Boys started to look at me. I started to get attention. And surprise, surprise! Boys LIKED a girl who knew which end of an engine was up. And which part of the horse to throw the bridle on. Some boys liked black hair just as well as red, and they found clumsiness kind of cute. They didn’t mind if you wanted to get dirty on the weekends working on an old tractor. So my sister helped me find my way with boys, but I never knew if she meant to do that? Sometimes I am still jealous of her, she is still so graceful , and of course fashionable, and of course still has her flaming red hair. I wonder sometimes does she still feel embarrassed to call me her sister, because sometimes I am still that “bit of a pain” , grubby , tomboy, grease monkey little sister? Does she wish still sometimes , that I would go and live anywhere but near her? But then I think, no, I know, she is my sister, and she is glad to have me now, grubby boots and all.
He knows the routine by heart now. He knows the way around the building like a seasoned veteran. He pushes me in my wheelchair without any need of help from anyone . Fifteen ,going on thirty, he makes the turns in the hospital warrens completely sure of where he’s headed . Left , right, up , down, to the elevator with the big yellow circle. Up to cardiology. Sign in, give your papers to the nurse, settle down to wait. They call his name, and he pushes me completely confidently, not that he needs me, but he knows that I need to know what they will tell him when he goes back there. He turns right for the EKG room , and takes his shirt off without being asked. He smiles at me , and asks me if “I” am alright? I am , so we go to the next room to get his pacemaker checked by the Medtronic expert. This is his second implant to have had. He got his first one when he was 9 months old. His second when he was 7 years old. He has a rare heart condition called Complete AV block of the heart. So he’ll always have to have a pacing unit , he knows. He doesn’t seem to mind, doesn’t see himself as disabled. Sees it as more of an aggravation than anything else. Time out of his busy boy’s schedule . The Medtronic ladies come in , and he flirts with them , of course, like any boy with his shirt off should. Then we wait for the doctor . It’s a bit of a wait so my big boy gives me his special smile and wants to know if I’m okay? He’s concerned that all this has taken too long, and I am worn out now. I tell him I’ll be fine , a little while longer. Finally, the doctor comes and does the regular exam , and tells us , we’ll be alright to wait and get a new unit until Summer . My son seems unfazed as usual , his world hasn’t changed at all, he is just worried over wheeling me out to the van so I can get comfortable. I am suddenly struck with wonder . Wondering when he grew from a toddler needing , needing , to this half grown man worrying worrying over me? When did I miss that drastic of a change? Or did it come about slowly somehow, slipping by me like quiksilver through the days til suddenly there he stands? I’m not sure, but it has happened just the same. And something tells me it will happen again just that quickly and again , and again, til all the silver has gone from the glass and his own big boy stands there with the smile, asking ” Are you allright?”
Khalil Gibran once said that people as a species would never make it , or understand one another unless we could reduce our language to seven words. If this were true what seven words should we choose? There are over 1 million 13 thousand words in the English language. How could we reduce that down to just 7 ? Seven words to explain every emotion , every human feeling, every human expression. Anger. Confusion. Hurt feelings. Love. Happiness. Sadness. Exhaustion. Fear. But to have the words stripped down to seven and that is all you are left, you would have to use your facial expressions, and body language, and finger movements to get all your thoughts and emotions across. So what 7 words would we choose? How would we choose? Would each person get 7 words? Or would the human race have a committee to choose 7 for all of mankind? That would be considerably more difficult ! I’ve tried to think of which words I would choose ………….1. Love , obviously…..2. Sorry 3 .Hungry 4.Thirsty 5. Want 6. Cold 7.Hot Because the only thing I could think that we’d really NEED words for would be for the basic things. Everything else would have to be stripped down to a sign or something instead, or would have to be written out into symbols. We are such a language based society we find it almost impossible to think about a society without words. How to function? How to work together? How to even travel inside a city without words. I’m thankful that we have words to help us find our way through the world , through the galaxy , for me it’d be a lonely universe with only 7 words to share between us.
I couldn’t even hold your hand
or find the words to say.
The pain that I saw in your eyes,
just wouldn’t go away.
The doctors first tried one thing
and then they tried another,
Nothing really seemed to help,
you even seemed to smother.
Underneath the pain,
as if a frozen glaze,
what they said would last just now,
has turned into days.
I wish that I could help you ,
that I had the magic cure,
to take away the pain you feel,
that it would be no more.
I pray for you,
sweet little one,
that this nightmare soon will end.
You’ll be back to your happy self,
my magic cheerful friend.
You know there are just some people whom you meet in life , that the minute you meet them, you know that you are going to be friends. You’ve heard people say it, the saying is “You click.” They get your jokes, and you just carry on conversations , not even realizing that you have things in common , because the visits just flow so smoothly, it’s like you’ve been friends for years. I’ve not been blessed to meet very many people like that, but was just lucky enough to meet one not very long ago. I like having friends, and wish that I had more close ones. But having a close friend can be a lot of effort. Or at least if you do it well and honestly. The true give and take of caring about another person and their family life is not something you take on lightly. I think in today’s FaceBook world, when people say, “Oh, I’ll “friend” you , it has kind of lessened the meaning of that word. But to really be someone’s friend means a lot more than just being a number on someone’s “wall” Or to me it does. When I am your friend, really your friend, you can count on me to really be there for you. Maybe I won’t be that “close” friend with everyone , but I’ll be more than just a number or a name on your wall.