Monthly Archives: September 2007

Certain Man’s Wife and the Circle Letter


Certain Man’s family has a Circle Letter. (Note capital letters, italics and bold font. This is not an accident of punctuation on the part of Certain Man’s Wife.)


This Circle Letter is revered and (almost) holy. Every female sibling and every female in-law is expected to write in it when it presents The Appearance. Every married niece and every female married to a nephew is expected write in it when it presents The Appearance.  Certain Man’s elderly Daddy and Mom even write when it comes to them (Well, Mom writes for Daddy now, but he was a graduate of the Palmer Handwriting Method and was proud to put his own letter in when he was able).


Certain Man has been married to Certain Man’s Wife for going on 35 years, and for most of those years there has been the Circle Letter. And for most of those 35 years, CMW has not gotten it right. The Circle Letter puts makes The Appearance and CMW resolves that it will be mailed out in three days (as it is supposed to be.) When CM comes in from work, she tries to place it by his chair so that he will see it and read it in a timely fashion and maybe come under conviction to write it himself.


Long ago, CMW learned that the possibility of that happening was quite remote. Not that it has never happened, but just that it almost never has. (Come on!!! A miracle could happen!) Not only was Certain Man not likely to write it, sometimes he was not likely to even read it! This bothers CMW considerably, as she feels that it is somehow disrespectful and maybe irreverent. It certainly is not the proper response to a Circle Letter.


CM tells her that he doesn’t need the Circle Letterto keep up with the lives of his family. He has unlimited calling on both cell and land lines of the telephone, and if he has something he wants to know, or something he wants to tell them, he calls them. And usually they do likewise. There also is the fact that every single one of his siblings has access to e-mail, and they do use it, too, for important business. Probably they have learned that it certainly isn’t safe to rely on CMW and the Circle Letter.


Something happened to CMW in December of 2005 that somehow affected her brain. When her Beloved Daddy died, there were no stories in her head or heart. Her brain felt fuzzy and tired, and the things that she had been able to laugh at or off suddenly took on different properties and there didn’t seem to be any laughter left. And her journal lay untouched for days. Now and then, when the grief would overwhelm her, she would grab the closest empty page and scribble frantic, desperate prayers, but mostly she went about in a fog and tried to make it through somehow. The Circle Letter would come and lie for days. And weeks. And then she would get it off, but suddenly it would be back again. Sneaky Thing!


There has been a wondrous new thing happening to CMW lately. Though she doesn’t know exactly what has triggered it or why, suddenly, there are stories rattling around in her head.again, and the laughter has returned – at least somewhat. Memories that triggered tears are comforting and welcome. This is an incredible blessing to her and hopefully, to Certain Man and the Offspringin’s.


But in a conversation with an extended member of Certain Man’s family in August, the subject of the Circle Letter came up, and with it a gentle reminder that the fact that it wasn’t being circulated was being blamed upon CMW, and that family feelings were not exactly charitable.


Which caused CMW to think that the Circle Letter did, in fact, reside upon a ledge on her desk. And that with it was another envelope of equal importance holding pictures of a wedding that were to be returned to a far away sister in law. And if her calculations were right, both items had resided there for probably (don’t tell!!!) nine months. (If you ignore some things long enough, they go away! Right?)


Although CMW is aware that there are probably people in the family that are secretly blessing her, she is more keenly aware of the fact that there are people in the family who, though their religion prevents them from using the strong opposite words, are probably doing everything that good Mennonites can do on that side of the line. And it troubled her deeply. Except that to write the Circle Letter now meant not only that she had to take it up and look at it, but also that she would need to find a way of gently leading into the letter that would start the Circle Letter rolling again without causing too much stinging criticism and castigation . And there really was no explanation. That bothered her even more. Because she could have sent it on whether Certain Man read it or not. It has been done before. And lately she has been writing lots of things, so she couldn’t plead that she doesn’t have any words to write.


Then one of the extended family called and wanted to borrow a cookbook from CMW, and CMW found some shirts for two of her children, so she got everything ready to send, but then thought that she shouldn’t sent packages to family members before she had the Circle Letter ready to go. So she left the package on the floor under the desk, thinking that she would get the letter written and send both at the same time. That was at least a month ago. And CMW was heard to say many times, “I need to get that package off, and I need to get the Circle Letter written.” But saying it didn’t get it done.


Then CMW broke her foot. “Aha!” she thought, “I shall have plenty of time to get the Circle Letter written and the package sent off.” And she should have. But she didn’t. And the days went by and the days went by and the days went by. There seemed to always be extenuating circumstances that prevented the accomplishment of the dreaded task.


Then quite suddenly, out of the blue, came a get well card and a letter from one of Certain Man’s nieces in a far away place. The card was kind and the letter was interesting as she told of the antics and activities of her five young children. CMW was impressed. And then, upon examination, CMW noticed that this was a copied letter. Her name had been inserted and a personal note was on the end, but it was definitely a letter that she had written and sent to a number of people.


And suddenly some things that had been rolling around in CMW’s head began to crystalize. First of all, she was not hurt at all by her discovery. In fact, she was touched by it. Here was this busy mother who obviously had several people to write to and had taken the time to write a long and newsy letter and then personalize it for the individuals she was writing to. And though CMW had thought of it before, she realized anew that a written letter for Certain Man’s family is one of the ways that they show love. And that by keeping the Circle Letter for so long, what she was really saying to them was that they were not important to her. Or that she didn’t love them. And she really does! And it is important to her that they understand that she loves them. In fact, she tries very hard to show them that in different ways, but she hadn’t thought that the Circle Letter hollers so loud that they cannot hear anything from her heart.


So she got the Circle Letter written. She is not going to reread the old letters that are in there or check to see how long she has had it. (She is quite sure that there will plenty of them who will do that for her.) And she did not give explanation or excuse. She did say that she was sorry and promised to try to do better if she were given another chance. And tomorrow, she plans to mail it out with the package and the pictures to the far away Sister in Law. And she will ponder again how different families speak love and she will try harder to speak the language of Certain Man’s family.

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Last night, I went with my Sweet Mama


 to a “spur of the moment” gathering


 with some of our extended family. 


For a peek at the event, go to


 www.xanga.com/SweetMama1129


 


(Go on over there and leave her a comment!  It will bless her heart!)


 


 

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Certain Man’s Wife and One Glorious Day (NOT!!!)


Late last night, Certain Man’s Stepmother called to say that her brother, Lawrence Beachy, had just passed away. Lawrence’s twin, Laura, had made her Heavenly Journey just one month and one day earlier (August 25th). That passing was a long, drawn-out process. This one was sudden and unexpected.


This morning, amid phone calls and plans and such, Certain Man’s Wife has been surprised again by tears. She knows that these tears are selfish. They have a whole lot less to do with Uncle Lawrence than they do with CMW.


And then the morning proceeded to go so very wrong.


The phone calls did set her behind, but not terribly much. She should have had plenty of time to get around, or so she thought. So she packed lunches and got her ladies up, and gave Blind Linda her shower. The troublesome foot was hurting a bit. This is where she would have taken the three Aleve prescribed for Eldest Son — but the doctor said — (See previous post!!!) So for two weeks CMW had been treating her broken foot with the wrong medications most of the time. She had some narcotics that she didn’t want to take in the morning before she got a few things done.


As CMW brought Blind Linda out from dressing her to sit at the breakfast table at about 8:07, she caught sight of the DART bus, pulling into the driveway, and with a sinking feeling, CMW knew Blind Linda would not be going to Easter Seals on the bus this particular morning. You see, Blind Linda has a “be ready” time of 8 AM, but the bus has been coming around 8:30. Not always predictably, but not ever at 8:07. So CMW went out and told them that they would need to just go on without Blind Linda. (This is called a “no show” and is not good for the transportation record. Sigh)


CMW went back into the house and called DART Paratransit and explained the situation. She did think that maybe she should take her in. It is a “Special Olympics” day at Easter Seals and there are lots of exciting things going on. However, Blind Linda is never quite happy with such things, so it was tempting to think that maybe she should just stay home today. It would be fine with CMW. She didn’t have anywhere she needed to go.


Our Girl Audrey was busy with her morning stuff, and Youngest Daughter ran out the door to school. She was not long on time, and CMW saw that she dumped the last of her hot chocolate down the sink as she headed out the door. “I’m late!” she explained, “And I don’t want to drip hot chocolate on me while I am driving.” Youngest Daughter was feeling bluesy anyhow about some things going on at school, and CMW’s heart went out to her. She had spoken encouraging words to her the night before, and hoped that she would be able to put some things into practice, but almost 17 is a difficult age for kids with confidence issues and career/college choices and friendship challenges, and Youngest Daughter had wept much over several concerning things.


About ten minutes after she left, she called home on her cell phone.


“Mom.” She was crying. CMW’s mother-mind dived into its rapid fire, “Oh, no, what has happened- Kicked in the stomach- Can’t breathe” mode.


“Rachel– What’s wrong?”


“Mom. I ran out of gas. I out here just past Dover Mill Works.” More tears. Isn’t it strange how Moms can drop into relief/happy/relief/irritated mode without even thinking?


“Rachel! Didn’t you know you were low in gas?”


“Well, yes, I was gonna’ get it today. But I hadn’t gotten my check cashed yet. I just thought I could make it.”


Over and over in CMW’s head were the words of Gomer Pyle on an old Andy Griffeth’s show. “A car needs four things. Gas, oil, water ‘n air. Water ‘n air are free. Gas and oil are a differ’nt matter entire!” (CMW has a reputation for thinking of unhelpful things at random times!)


“Rachel, you could have backed out to Dad’s farm tank and put enough in for today — “


She was in no mood to hear any “could’ve, should’ve, ought to have’s. So CMW promised to get some gas and be there as soon as se could. But in the mean time, Eldest Daughter and the little guys had come. Our Girl Audrey’s bus was due. Eldest Daughter needed to get the Oldest Little Guy to preschool. And Blind Linda was still sitting at the breakfast table. CMW sighed deeply and clumped out on her cast and walking boot to look for the gas can. Nothing in the Old garage.


“Certain Man has certainly been cleaning up in this place,” She noted. “This really looks nice.” On with the search.. Nothing in the old barn. In the wood shed, she found a two gallon can with no lid or spout. Nothing in the Manure shed or the lean-to barn. So CMW trudged back to the house and called Certain Man.


“She should have known to just back out there to the farm tank and put enough in to make it through today,” he said with the same degree as helpfulness as Youngest Daughter’s Momma.


“I know, but don’t we have anything here to take gas to her?”


“There’s a five gallon can in the old garage–.”


“I already looked there. I couldn’t find a thing. I found the two gallon without a lid or spout – “


“No, there is the five gallon one in the old garage by the light.” By now CMW was heading back out to look again.


“Daniel, I don’t see a thing.”


“There’s one there on the floor by the light switch. I just saw it there. I’m sure there is one there.”


“Oh. By the light switch. I was looking under the light. Um. Yeah. Here it is!” Certain Man talked his poor befuddled wife through getting a few gallons into the red, plastic gas can, and she clumped back to the house.


Once in there, it was time to call Our Girl Audrey’s bus driver and tell him not to stop for her. Eldest Daughter graciously offered to drive her to her center when she took Oldest Little Guy to preschool. And time for morning meds for Blind Linda who would need to ride along on the gas delivery trip. About the time Certain Man’s Wife was walking out the door, the phone rang again. Eldest Daughter picked it up.


“Yes, she’s coming!” CMW heard her say. “She had to get the gas can, and fill it with gas and work out all the stuff for Blind Linda and Our Girl Audrey, but she is coming!”


“Tell her I am walking out the door right now!” CMW hollered over her shoulder as she did precisely that. (It had been twenty minutes since Youngest Daughter had called. CMW was sure it must have been embarrassing to sit beside one of Delawares most traveled secondary roads.)


CMW got to where Youngest Daughter’s little green Mazda was parked beside the road, and pulled in behind it. She got the big red gas can and set it on the ground behind the car.


“Rachel. This car is pretty close to the road, don’t you think>”


“I thought so, too, but I couldn’t get it to go any farther.”


“Why don’t you get in and put it into neutral and guide it and I will push it off a little farther. I don’t want someone coming down the road and taking one or both of us out.”


Embarrassing for days! CMW had to feel sorry once again for her teenager. It was obvious to every single car going by that she had run out of gas because of that big red gas can sitting on the ground. And now, here was her decidedly plump Momma with her foot in a cast pushing her off the shoulder and partially into the grass. CMW was quite sure that she was praying, “Please, God, don’t let anyone come along who knows me!” The task got accomplished fairly readily, and then it was time to try to get some gas into the tank.


Of course, that wouldn’t be easy. The gas can spout was one of the new kind that needed to be forcefully pushed back to open the end to allow gas to flow out. The car’s receptacle was one that had a spring loaded cover on it that needed pushed back to allow gas to flow in. Which is all well and good under normal circumstances. The problem was that the spout was just a tad bit bigger than the opening and every time CMW upended the can and tried to put gas in there, there was this volcano of gas that just ran right out on the ground. Youngest Daughter was becoming more and more nauseated by the minute, and CMW kept almost falling while she ran around trying to figure everything out. Finally, she retrieved a sturdy plastic knife from her trusty mini-van (even it won’t run without gas, though) and instructed Youngest Daughter to push back the flapper to the gas tank while she attempted once again to pour in whatever she possibly could get in there. Finally. A small measure of success!


Then. “Uh, Mom–” said Youngest Daughter uncertainly. “Um. I think — that knife broke off into the gas tank.” She held up half of the red plastic knife. “This can’t be good.”


While CMW was pondering this, a truck pulled up behind the pair and a clean-cut gentleman got out. Maybe some help! He walked up towards the two woebegone females, holding a sheet of paper.


“Hello, Ladies. I need some eyes!” CMW must have looked puzzled. After all, he had just been driving down the road. He had better be able to see! He went on to explain. “I need you to read something for me. You see, I left my reading glasses at home, and I need to know what this paper says, and I can’t see a thing!” He spread the paper over the trunk of Youngest Daughter’s car.


A sudden thought hit Certain Man’s Wife. “You know what?” she said excitedly. “I have a pair of reading glasses in my car at this very minute. Someone left them there and they do not belong to me, and I have considered giving them away. You can have them if you want them. I think they belong to my brother and he only has about a hundred pair– Here, Rachel, hold this can steady and I will go and get them.” So she clumped back to the mini van and retrieved the brown male-looking reading glasses from the side pocket where they had been residing for several months. She took them back to the Man by the Side of the Road, cleaning them on her skirt as she walked.


He took them delightedly, put them on his face, looked at his paper and burst into a grin. “They’re perfect!” he pronounced happily. And gave CMW that fist-bump sort of thing people do when they have just had a victory of sorts. “That’s a wonderful thing!”


“That’s a God-thing!’ Certain Man’s Wife told him. (He didn’t acknowledge that statement, but it doesn’t change the fact.). And he returned to his vehicle. “Mom, that man said that it won’t matter a bit if that plastic knife is in there. I asked him while you were back there getting the glasses.”


“Well, let’s see if we can see the plastic when we are done, and if we can get it, we will!” So they held the can steady until there didn’t seem to be any more going into the opening, and then took it down and looked in the opening. The piece of plastic knife was right there. Stuck in the little flapper. Youngest Daughter took a scissors that CMW had conveniently in the car and used it as a tweezer sort of thing and got the pieces out.


“Okay, let’s see if we can get this car started,” said CMW to her weary offspringin’. Youngest Daughter got into her car and started the car on the first try. “That’s good. I will write you a note, and you can get yourself to school.”


“Mom,” said Youngest Daughter tearily. “I feel sick. I am so tired and I have gas on me. The smell is making me feel like throwing up. Please, can’t I come back home, clean up and get my note? I don’t feel like going to school at all, but I need to go for Geometry and Chorus. Please, can’t I go back home for a little bit?”


CMW looked at her precious woman-child and had mercy upon her. They got both vehicles turned around and started back home. CMW called the school and explained the circumstances. And she found not only understanding, but mercy at the other end of the line. Then she called Easter Seals and discussed the day with them, and decided that she was going to keep Blind Linda home all day, too. She came home and found the day vastly improved with the decisions behind her and the quiet day ahead.


And the day was very quiet until almost 4 pm, when she heard a wailing noise at her door. It was Youngest Daughter, and she was making very distressed noises .


“Oh, Mom. I can’t stand it! Something terrible happened to me!” How could this be happening again???


Certain Man’s Wife sprang up from her chair where she was trying to rest her foot. “What’s wrong, Rachel? What happened?”


“Oh, Mom. I was on my way to the chicken house and I stepped on a snake! It was brown and yucky looking and I felt it slither its tail through my toes.” She shuddered. “Come out and see it, Mom. It felt terrible!”


So CMW clumped out to the generator shed and there was this very brown and healthy looking snake slithering through the grass. CMW did attempt to catch it in a bucket so she could show it to Certain Man, and Youngest Daughter gave brave chase, but it slithered into the brush pile and was gone. Youngest Daughter shuddered again, and made noises concerning the fright and surprise, but went to the chicken houses to complete her evening chores and CMW returned to the house to hope once again for some peace and quiet and the chance to put her foot up.


And that is the news from Shady Acres where the foot doesn’t actually feel too bad tonight and CMW is going off to a women’s meeting at Eldest Daughter’s house.


 



 


 

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Today I learned something new.


Did you know that if you sprained something, you should take an anti-inflammatory (like Aleve or Ibuprofen or Aspirin)?  This reduces the inflammation, draws the blood away from the area and encourages healing.  (As well as helping with the pain.)


But if you’ve broken a bone, you should stay away from all of those drugs because they inhibit the blood flow to the injured area, and that blood flow is necessary for a bone to heal.  Oh, dear!


So now I learn that I have been doing everything wrong with my pain killers.


And because the pain killers kept things from hurting, (I guess) I have been on my foot (a little) too much.


Certain Man is not attractive when *he says “I told you so!”. 


(edit–*he’s thinking — he would never actually say it!  He just had “the look”) :>(


 


 

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Well, if you want to know how bad
that sprain was on Eldest Son’s foot —
Here is proof

(in some rather graphic pictures)
Youngest Son, these are mostly for you. 
(We wouldn’t want you to miss out on the dramatics )


Z foot 1


You certainly can tell exactly where that good “lace-up brace” was!!!


Z foot 2


The good news is that he is walking on it pretty well!


Z foot 3


Even went to work today and worked all day . . .


Z foot 4


. . . And wisely drew the line at playing softball tonight with his team.
(Good thinking, Son!)


 For those of you who have been wondering —


The weekend was wonderful. 


Z girl  2


Girl With a Beautiful Heart was here,
and it was hard to see her go.
(Youngest Son, this is also for you!)



And the Gal who has made inroads into Eldest Son’s heart . . .


Raph and Regina


 


Began making inroads into ours as well!


Regina Sue


Regina Sue, we are so glad to have met you!




 


 

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Healthy Humor

One of Certain Man’s beloved Aunties passed this on to me.  The fact that I found it funny also discomfited me.  Some of these things are so close home, if I didn’t laugh, I’d cry!


 


A distraught senior citizen phoned her doctor’s office.




“Is it true,” she wanted to know,

“that the medication you prescribed has

to be taken for the rest of my life?””

“Yes, I’m afraid so,” the doctor told her.

There was a moment of silence before the senior lady replied,

“I’m wondering, then, just how serious is my condition

because this prescription is marked ‘NO REFILLS.'”

—————————————–

An older gentleman was on the operating table

awaiting surgery and he insisted that his son,

a renowned surgeon, perform the operation.

As he was about to get the anesthesia

he asked to speak to his son.

“Yes, Dad, what is it?”

“Don’t be nervous, son;

do your best and just remember, if it doesn’t go well,

if something happens to me, your mother is going to come

and live with you and your wife….”

——————————– ———

Aging: Eventually you will reach a point when you

stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.

——————————————

The older we get, the fewer things seem

worth waiting in line for.

——————————————

Some people try to turn back their odometers.

Not me, I want people to know “why” I look this way.

I’ve traveled a long way and some of the

roads weren’t paved.

——————————————–

When you are dissatisfied and would

like to go back to youth,

think of Algebra class.

———————————————

You know you are getting old when everything

either dries up or leaks.

———————————————-

I don’t know how I got over the hill

without getting to the top.

———————————————-

One of the many things no one tells you about aging

is that it is such a nice change from being young.

—————– —————————–

Ah, being young is beautiful,

but being old is comfortable.

———————————————–

First you forget names, then you forget faces.

Then you forget to pull up your zipper.

But it’s worse when you forget to pull it down.

——————————————-

Long ago when men cursed and beat the ground

with sticks, it was called witchcraft.

Today, it’s called golf.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lord,

Keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth…AMEN..







LiveWell * Laugh Often * Love Much!

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We’ve all been eagerly looking forward to this weekend — Eldest Son espcially.


Maybe that made him careless.  I’m sure he wasn’t thinking straight.  Anyhow, he stepped off a tub that he was standing on to tile around a bathtub, caught his toe just wrong, and down he came on top of his foot to the sounds of much crunching and cracking.  (Does any of this sound familiar???)  By his own account, he lay on the bathroom floor for ten minutes, hoping for sudden miracles.  But he realized that there was something pretty much wrong, so decided he had better seek assistance.


So, I was on my way home from an appointment with my good Chiropractor, and Eldest Son called me to tell me of his dilemma.  There was pain and much sadness in his voice.  I advised ice and knew that he needed to have it checked out.


I tried to get an appointment with the orthopedist, and they insisted that they could not possibly see him until Monday.  While I was begging them, Certain Man was beeping into my conversation.  He finally prevailed to tell me that he had an appointment for Eldest Son at the same orthopedic practice for 1:30 today and that Eldest Son was resisting.  I said “Don’t worry, Sweetheart!  He will go.  I will see to it that he goes!”


I really thought that it was broken.  It was huge and crooked and very, very painful.  I drove him to Dover to the Office of the orthopedic surgeon.  He didn’t really want me to go back with him to have it examined, so I went forth to the Kohl’s store and bought me a new purse.  (Did you note that, Eldest Daughter.  I bought a PURSE!!!)


When I was checking out, the phone rang.  It was Eldest Son.  “I’m done, Momma.  You can come get me.”


“You’re done?  Is it broken?”


“Nope, just badly sprained.”


“Do you have a cast?’


“Nope.”


“A brace?  Something???”


“Nope.  Nothing.  When he found out I didn’t have insurance, he told me to go to Wal-mart and get a lace up ankle brace.  He told me to take three Aleve twice a day for pain.  That’s it.”


And so I scrambled over to the doctor’s office, picked him up, went to Wal-mart for the brace and there were none, so we went into the hospital supply store and found the very thing he needed and then we came on home. 


This is a glad day at Shady Acres in spite of the mishaps of the past few weeks.  Tonight, The Girl With the Beautiful Heart is coming home for the weekend and called to say that she will spend some time with us even though Youngest Son is far away.


A -- Lem and Jessica
Lem and Jessica


And then, Lord Willing, later this evening, the gal that has made inroads into Eldest Son’s heart will also be here.  We are eagerly anticipating that arrival as well.


R and R 8
Regina and Raph

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