Friday, June 27, 2008

Fred passed away this week, at the age of 84. He’d had lung cancer, so it wasn’t a big surprise, but still…

Of course I hadn’t known Fred all his life, or even for all of mine. I probably met him about 15 years ago. He was a decorated war veteran. I never knew that about him. He was one of the nicest people I’ve ever known. I don’t have a single memory of Fred in which he doesn’t have a smile on his face. He was one of those people who always seemed happy to see you, whether you were a close family member or nodding acquaintance. I was fortunate to have met Fred, and I’ll miss him.

I went to Fred’s wake. I went with some trepidation, because the wake was in his house. I know this is the way people used to do it, but having never been to one before I was a little unsure of the procedure. I needn’t have worried. What I found was a house packed-and I mean packed-with friends and family. Everywhere, inside, in the back, spilling out into the driveway, were knots of people talking, catching up, children running between, and there was Fred in the front room, laid out very thoughtfully without a coffin, surrounded by it all. I expected to be a little creeped out, I’ll be honest. But I wasn’t. It was the most respectful, natural thing that could have been done. As I had showed up toward the end of the wake, I was there for the ceremony; prayers were said and the eulogy given by Fred’s nieces, songs were sung to honor him (Fred was a member of the Pequot tribe), and another prayer eloquently given by his young grandnephew (I believe Sherente is 9, I can’t quite remember) and the feeling that death is a natural part of life was prevalent—and comforting, more so than any wake I’ve ever been to in a funeral home.

I came away from the wake with a certainty that what I’ve always believed was right all along; please, friends and family, do this for me. Don’t gather in a stuffy, formal funeral home. Get together in familiar surroundings, enjoy each other’s company, laugh and talk and don’t be quiet and solemn. Have a party. For real. Be thankful for the gift of each other and for me while I was here.

Goodbye Fred. And thank you.

After Months of Plotting....

...and scheming, my evil plan to steal goldfinches away from my neighbor is working. Ha ha Sparky!! You must SHARE your finches!!! I got a thistle feeder for Christmas from Preston, and have been trying unsuccessfully to lure them over from her house, where she entertains a vast variety of finches, woodpeckers, sparrows, towhees, hummingbirds, chipmunks, and God knows what else. It's like the office water cooler over there. I don't usually feed the birds during the summer, but it became my mission in life to get the little buggers to leave their posh resort and come across the yard, where I offer something they can't get over there; thistle seed. That's right, my neighbor told me, "Oh you don't need thistle seed to get finches to come" and it's true, word has spread far and wide that behind her house is the place to be, and now they'll all eat anything she puts out there. She's like the bird whisperer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

So much beauty.... take in all at once. Tonight while I'm taking out the trash at twilight, I catch a glimpse of the moon through the tall pines next door, glowing orange. Intrigued, I walk over to the garden and sit on the bench, just taking in the approaching night; in the waning daylight, even the neighbor's barn, with its missing shingles and random assortment of weeds and wheelbarrows, is beautiful. The air is still and cool, only a few browsing mosquitoes find me. I listen as the birds sing their end-of-the-day songs, suddenly all silent at once as if on cue. Their efforts give way to the endless drone of crickets, which nearly drowns out the endless drone of the traffic on the highway; tonight I hear it, but sometimes when the wind drifts the other way the nights are as silent as the grave. My bench overlooks the cow pasture, overgrown with grass and providing a perfect backdrop for the lightning bugs' display. A single calf wanders silently out of the barn, looking for the remains of dinner in his bowl. The moon has risen some since I've been sitting here, now full and bright, now nearly hidden by small clouds. I wonder if it's full, but I can't really tell behind the trees. I wish I could take a picture of it, silhouetting the pines in the last fading light; but I've tried that before, with unsatisfactory results. So I sit and appreciate the gift of this evening for long moments until it becomes apparent that the word has spread among the mosquitoes that dinner is served, and so I go back inside.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood....

....and I took the opportunity to wash my car. I feel like I'm hardly ever home, and today I was and I saw that it was good. So I finally washed the car, which was getting embarrassing even for ME. I'm not a car person, my feeling about the car is that it gets me from A to B. If it does that, I'm happy and if it's dirty I just don't really care. Most of the time it looks like I'm moving, car all full of junk being transported from A to B. Drives Preston crazy.

Also today I watered the flowers, poor things were looking droopy already. I'm also not a flower person; I have no master plan for laying out the little garden, not even a color scheme. I go flower shopping, and whatever strikes me at the time is what I buy. And it shows, my garden is pathetic until everything gets big and healthy...right now it's still in the early stages, so I won't show you. But here are some things I had to have:I don't know what they're called, I told you I'm not a flower person but I love daisies, and I'd never in my life seen daisies with purple centers...I saw purple and got excited, so I had to have them. Also these petuniathings:
They're yellow now, but I swear when I bought them they were kind of mango-colored, peachy but a little more orange than peach. Petunias are not my favorite, but these were so little and pretty and they looked like they belonged in a hanging pot. I don't have a place to hang them, but I could just picture them in a pot on the stump next to the flower garden.

And of course I have my three window boxes at the store, which get more attention than any other flowers anywhere. I water them and pick the dead things off of them when I go in, and then on most afternoons the Plant Police (aka Marilyn) show up to fuss over them and scold me for not taking proper care. She always finds a dead thing I missed. She doesn't know I leave one for her to find, so she'll have something about which to scold me. It seems to make her happy; I guess we all need a purpose in life.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

It's Been Brought to My Attention...

...that I don't post enough. Sorry my friends! It's been 6 weeks since my last post, and here are my sins. Ahhh....number one, I forget to post. That's pretty much it.

Life has fallen into something of a routine; the store, the ball field, make dinner, eat, fall asleep. The days I'm not at the store I get up late, make a valiant attempt to do some housework, maybe have band practice, managed to get the garden planted (well Preston did most of that, he's home a lot more than I am), and do whatever errands need to be done. Wish I didn't have to sleep, I could get so much more accomplished!

We like to watch TV at my house, but since most everything we watch is now on hiatus, we have been watching things like "Deadliest Catch" or what I like to call "The Crab Show", which proves once and for all that people will watch anything. For the life of me I can't understand what is so interesting about watching a bunch of men in rain gear haul cage after cage of big ugly crusty crabs out of the freezing ocean, but it is. If nothing else, it has given me an appreciation for why crabmeat is so expensive. Now if there was a show that could justify to me why GAS is so expensive, maybe I wouldn't feel like crying every time I pull up to the pump.