Saturday, November 26, 2011

Journal of a Living Lady #410
Nancy White Kelly

Thanksgiving has come and gone. Our dinner was wonderful. Last year I cooked. This year Charlie’s in-laws did.

Tori’s parents retired last year and moved close-by. We have become good friends so our holidays have evolved into clan gatherings.

Charlie’s wife, Tori, is expecting again, a secret I promised to keep until confirmed. They have now heard that miraculous tick-tock and are hoping for a girl this time. They have two boys, Micah, 6, and Noah, 4.

Tori has had significant morning sickness, more like 24/7, and is porting an I.V. of anti-nausea medication to combat the serious up-chucking. She has already spent two stays in the hospital. Hopefully all will clear up soon and the middle trimester of the pregnancy will be much better for her than the first.

Tori did make it for Thanksgiving dinner which was a fun affair for us all. Well, not exactly for me. I woke up with excruciating pain in my back and right hip. As long as I laid flat, I was fine. The effort of getting on my feet was torturous. What could I have done in my sleep on a rainy night? Nothing I could think of.

Stubbornly, I insisted on being a part of Thanksgiving dinner, one of the highlights of our year. I paid a price. Getting in and out of the car was torment.

The Living Lady tried not to spoil the teasing and bantering that accompanies such family gatherings, but nobody could ignore the two elephants in the room: Tori with her I.V. bag and my piercing groan and grimace when I stood.

Buddy and I returned home late in the afternoon. I headed straight for the bed. Minutes later Buddy appeared in the bedroom doorway. He was pale, sweaty and in obvious pain, quite contrary to his comedic, hypochondriac personality.

He explained that after moving the car under the carport, a feisty neighbor dog charged at him. Buddy picked up a small rock and slung it toward the dog in an attempt to send him home. Pain raced through his right shoulder. He said he almost passed out.

Just when Buddy needed me, I could be of no help. My back pain was screaming for attention too. Two married senior citizens, painfully incapacitated on the same day is no small matter. Growing old is not for sissies.

Being a holiday week-end, our regular physicians were enjoying their families. We doctored ourselves with pills from the medicine cabinet. We both moaned through the night, occasionally laughing at the irony.

Today we still hurt, but maybe a tad less than on Thanksgiving Day. Life goes on. No matter what, we still have much to give thanks for which reminds me of the time I was teaching kindergarten many years ago.

I asked the five-year-olds to draw a picture of what they were thankful for. I walked around the tables, praising each of the pictures. Luke’s drawing was different. His turkey had a huge black X heavily scribbled on the turkey’s beautifully colored wings.

My curiosity took hold. “Tell me about your picture, Luke. What are you thankful for?”

The boy looked at me in disbelief. How could his teacher be so ignorant of its meaning?

“Mrs. Kelly, I am thankful that I am NOT a turkey.”

Me, too, Luke.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Journal of a Living Lady #409

Nancy White Kelly

There is a Ginny Winder in our front yard. Buddy built it recently for our grandkids. Unless you were born in the yon, pre-computer days, you probably haven’t a clue as to what a Ginny is.

Buddy and I have been amazed at the number of people who have pull into our driveway and inquired about our Ginny, modified slightly with a plastic chairs on each end. The original had sticks for grip handles.

This outdoor toy was a common yard adornment in our day, just like a hanging tire or rope swing. My dad frequently made us toys that took knee, arm, or leg power to propel. No batteries were needed. That was a good thing since we could not have afforded them anyway.

All it takes to make a Ginny is a sturdy tree stump and a long piece of lumber. Similar to a see-saw, children sit on opposite ends of the board. A third person controls its horizontal swirl with a repeating shoves. When he tires of pushing, one of the riders dismounts and trades places. We burned a lot of energy and calories while having fun.

I remember other childhood activities like marbles, hop-scotch, and Red Rover. However, not all my time was spent playing. I had chores.

As the only girl, I got clothesline duty which, according to my mother and grandmother, had to be done a certain way. The rules for our three clothes lines were unwritten, but indisputable.

Clothes were to be hung in a certain order. All the white were hung first. Shirts were hung by the tails. In order to hide our undies from the busybodies and peeping Toms, the towels and sheets were put on the outside lines.

Sub-zero winter didn’t matter. Clothes still had to be hung outside where they would quickly freeze dry. Many a wintery day I brought in clothes that were as stiff as the proverbial board.

For efficiency, the clothes were strung along so that items did not need two pins. The second pin shared the edge of the next item on the line.

An email friend sent a poem last week that stirred my nostalgia for clothes lines. Enjoy.

A clothesline was a news forecast
To neighbors passing by,
There were no secrets you could keep
When clothes were hung to dry.
It also was a friendly link
For neighbors always knew,
If company had stopped on by
To spend a night or two.
For then you'd see the "fancy sheets"
And towels upon the line;
You'd see the "company table cloths"
With intricate designs.
The line announced a baby's birth
From folks who lived inside -
As brand new infant clothes were hung,
So carefully with pride!
The ages of the children could
So readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed,
You'd know how much they'd grown!
It also told when illness struck,
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too,
Haphazardly were strung.
It also said, "Gone on vacation now"
When lines hung limp and bare.
It told, "We're back!" when full lines sagged,
with not an inch to spare!
New folks in town were scorned upon
If wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows,
And looked the other way.
But clotheslines now are of the past,
For dryers make work much less.
Now what goes on inside a home
Is anybody's guess!

Not only are the clothes lines gone from our lives. Many of our neighbors have passed too. They went to their graves without ever knowing about Facebook, blogs and fancy phones.

Some would argue that these are the best of days with all our electronic gizmos. Not me. I would like to go back to the days of clotheslines and Ginny Winders.