Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Early Morning Gift

Last night was craziness--an evening of overscheduled activities and meetings. My husband and I communicated via cell phone to keep track of all the comings and goings (what did we do before cell phones??). I made dinner for a friend who just had a baby. I drove to the airport to pick up another friend coming home from vacation. I flung plates onto the table as though I was dealing playing cards and practically threw the chicken, rice, and salad onto the plates. I ate in the car.

My husband and I both ended up at the same church meeting. We grinned at each other over our agendas. I stifled a chuckle as the words to the song "Some Enchanted should meet a stranger..." popped into my mind.

We returned home to find the house a disaster. It resembled a crime scene--couch pillows and toys strewn throughout the downstairs, an overturned chair, newspaper pages scattered from room to room. But the kitchen was the worst. Dinner dishes piled in the sink. Dirty pots and pans on the stove. We tucked the kids in bed and dragged ourselves through the house trying to reclaim some semblance of order. We put the food away and rinsed the pots and pans. But the dirty dishes remained in the sink. We were just too tired. I flipped off the kitchen light leaving the dishes...lurking, waiting for me for morning.

Morning came. My husband was long gone having risen before me, exercised, and already completed his early morning commute. I padded downstairs barefoot and in my pajamas, dreading the sink of waiting dishes. I turned on the kitchen light. The sink was empty. The counters were clear. I rubbed my unbelieving eyes. Could it be true? Yes, the dish rack was full of clean dishes.

An early morning gift from my true love.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

This is Fair Week

Start with the smells.
Smoky charcoal grills cooking up the onions and peppers for the bratwurst.
Funnel cakes drizzled with honey.
Fried mini-donuts served warm in brown paper bags.
A whiff of pepperoni pizza.
The scent of hydraulic oil from the rides.
The pig barn, which can be smelled from yards away, so strong we hold the backs of our hands to our noses as we walk through to peek at the huge pink animals and their comically small, curly tails.
Fresh hay in the goat pens.
Soap at the washing stalls that is scrubbed from the animals and travels in rivulets down the hill, making sudsy puddles near the barns.
Rabbit fur, soft and warm, with the slightest hint of wood chips.

Now to my favorite sights:
Meya as "Little Miss Muffet" and Blaze as "The Spider" in the animal parade.
Madi's farm cake which she entered in the Junior 4-H category and won the grand prize. She auctioned it off Friday night and earned a good chunk of money for her college fund.
Madi saying goodbye to the rabbit she's about to auction off. Wearing her cowboy duds, she took the rabbit into the rink and proudly held it up as the auctioneer rattled off, "$10 a pound, will ya give me $10 a pound, $20 a pound, now 20, now 20, will ya give me $20 a pound, who'll pay 30, $30 a pound...going once, going twice, SOLD at $30 a pound!"
Leasie sitting on a bench before her auction. She grinned from ear to ear as she circled the rink to show her rabbit to the bidders. Her smile earned her an extra $5 a pound. Her rabbit sold for $35 a pound!

Moments before the auction after a week of work, showmanship, judging, ribbons, fair food, rides, heat&humidity, fun, laughter, and family time together. We all agree that besides Christmas, fair week is our favorite time of the year!

Friday, August 6, 2010

This is summer

It is a summer afternoon...
Madi is curled up on the blue leather chair in the front room, her feet tucked under her, with a book in her hand. She doesn't answer when I call to her which makes me smile. She's too far away, swallowed whole by a good story.
Breakfast and lunch dishes fill the kitchen sink waiting patiently for me. A half eaten watermelon rests on the counter tilted on its side; bright pink juice puddles beneath it. I can still taste its sweetness on my lips.
I carry Baby C upstairs for her afternoon nap. She squirms in my arms as she reaches for her blanket. I kiss her cheek which is sticky with Popsicle. I brush her yellow curls away from her face and pull her shirt down over her wonderfully protruding belly.
The afternoon light squeezes past the edges of the window blind, and I pause for a moment in the artificially darkened room. Outside, Cicadas drone in rhythm as steady as lapping waves. I close my eyes and listen. Then I peek at Baby C who has already fallen asleep.
I nearly trip over the swimming towels strewn throughout the house like storm debris. T-man helps me gather and carry them to the basement. They smell of chlorine and Downy. T-man bends to push the last towel into the washer and as he does, his swimming trunks fall just enough to expose a perfect line of white skin at his waist. I'm surprised how tan he has become.
I hear thumps and thuds overhead and know that Leasie and Meya are dancing upstairs in my room. I'm sure it is a party of pink tutus, sequins, and fringe.
This chaos. This freedom. This nothing-importantness. This everythingness. This potentially forgettable moment of summer is exactly what I want to remember.