How? Why? What?

How is this possible?

How can we be in this place?

Again

and again

and again.

Why hasn’t there been more progress?

Why is this country so stuck?

So violent?

So immoral, so inhume, so unjust?

What can I do?

What part can I play?

How? Why? What?

So many questions.

What are the answers?

 

 

Honoring the Brave

I put on my red shirt and blue pants, and my husband grabbed the small American flag from the porch. We donned our raincoats as it had unexpectedly started to drizzle just as we were getting ready to leave.

“Let’s go.  It starts at 9.  We don’t want to be late.”

My husband and I hopped in the car and headed off to find our place along the route. There was one car already parked in the lot that we had designated as a good spot.  We waited.  We could see the firehouse from where we were parked.  The trucks were out front, buntings on.  We saw a motorcycle with a flag head out of the station and head the other way.  Are we in the right spot, I thought?  I read the maps so carefully last night. Another truck pulled out and headed away from us.  It’s not even 9:00 yet.  Maybe they are just lining up.

Then we saw them.  Two Nichols firetrucks. Lights on. Heading out of the lot and in our direction.  We jumped out of the car, waving our arms and our little flag.  They put the sirens on and honked the horns. They smiled (At least I think they smiled.  It was hard to tell behind their masks.).

That was it.  This year’s Memorial Day Parade in Nichols.  We loved it.  It said so much about our small community.  These firefighters are all volunteers.  They, along with the many soldiers who fought so bravely to preserve our freedoms, are fighting hard to keep us safe and free from the horrors of the current pandemic.  Today, in some small way, we showed some gratitude to our heroes.

 

 

Cornflake Chicken

“Can I do anything?” Mackensie says as she comes into the kitchen?

“Sure!”

“Can I crush the cornflakes?”

“Of course.”

Mackensie gets out the large plastic bag, pours in 3 cups of cornflakes, takes the rolling pin, and crushes the cereal. I slice the chicken and melt some butter.  Mackensie dips each piece of chicken into the melted butter, making sure it is completely covered, and coats it with cornflakes to make one of our old favorites, cornflake chicken.

As a family, we have decided to cook our way through this pandemic.  We alternate nights.  The girls want me to make all of their favorite childhood dishes (while they make all sorts of new and innovative meals from the New York Times, the Missoni Cookbook, and a myriad of other sites and books and articles).  Tim makes our family classics; salmon with capers and feta, steaks with grilled asparagus, and anything that requires the outdoor grill.

I could not be happier with my task.  I’ve made Karp Burgers (burgers with toppings of avocado, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise), chicken fajitas, stuffed peppers, Chicken Marbella, and now cornflake chicken. Each time I make a meal, I’m taken back to an earlier time. A time when the girls were younger.  A time when Tim sometimes worked nights, and the girls and I had Girls’ Night with a special dinner and  movie.  A time when the girls were doing homework at the dining room table or practicing the piano or flute while Tim was making dinner and I was packing school lunches.  A time when Morgan would dance her way across the floor while Mackensie was singing a song or reading a book.

I love spending time with these memories as I cook another family meal.  I also love the fact that, for now,  we are together again, making new memories as we cook our way through this pandemic.

 

The Power of a Note

Today, like most days during this Distance Learning experience (or maybe I should say experiment), I emerged from my morning of sitting in my very small office at my very small desk on my very small chair, all tucked into the corner of our guest room, to grab a quick bite of lunch before hopping on to my next Google Meet.  As I grabbed the yogurt and a banana, my husband came through the door. “You got a card!”  he said, as he put the pile of mail down on the counter.

Hmmm, I thought.  Who would be sending me a card?  Mother’s Day is over and there are no birthdays or holidays coming up anytime soon. I can’t imagine it’s an invitation as no one is going anywhere right now.  I put down my bowl and spoon and reached for the card. As I looked at the envelope, I quickly recognized the handwriting.  Why would she be sending me a card? I thought.

I opened the envelope, unfolded the card, and read the words inside.  I was moved.  It was a note to say thank you. It was a note that recognized my efforts.  It was a note to wish me good health.  It was a note that said, “I see you.  I appreciate you.” It was, of course, completely unnecessary.  That’s what made it so special.

A simple note.  A few words. Such kindness.  Such power.

Working the Front Forty

I grabbed my book and stretched out on the lounge chair.  It was time to relax.  After all, we had spent a long morning on this very sunny and warm Saturday in May painting the garage, weeding and edging gardens, and hauling wheelbarrows filled with weeds and sticks and junk to the back dump.  My body was feeling the day’s work, especially after all the weeks spent on chairs, at desks, and on screens. It was time to relax.

I opened my book and started reading. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and all felt surprisingly right with the world. I was just getting lost in the story when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my daughter, hedge trimmers in hand, heading for the huge (and extremely out of control after years of being ignored) forsythia bush in the front yard.  I kept reading.  Clip, clip, clip.  The sun felt so nice.  I just wanted to relax.  Clip, clip, clip. I read on.  Clip, clip, clip.  I couldn’t take it.  I absolutely love trimming!

I closed the book, put it down on the chaise, headed to the garage, and grabbed my favorite tree trimming tool.  My dad gave me this amazing tool last year.  It’s just a long stick, with a hook and sharp blade at the end.  There is a long rope connecting me with the blade.  This tool can reach and can cut just about anything!  I joined Mackensie in her effort to trim back this crazy, untamed beast of a bush.  We trimmed and cut, and cut and trimmed. Trimming is a bit like eating a bag of potato chips.  Once you start, it’s almost impossible to stop.  Every improvement you make,  makes something else look awful.  We reached for the long branches, trimmed the under side, and the beast slowly began to take shape.

At some point, we decided that enough was enough, and we stopped our trimming and cutting.  We stepped back and admired our work.  What had, just hours before, been a completely disorganized and out of control mess, was now neat and organized and tamed.  There was something incredibly satisfying about that.