Monday, May 22, 2017

Planting seeds ~ my column from Sunday's paper

Graduation season is upon us. Each year we receive invitations from the grandkids and great grandkids of our friends and neighbors. It’s an interesting crossroad for kids walking down the aisle. The road ahead into the future seems so bright and limitless. It’s a time when it seems anything is possible, and it is. If a high school graduate asked me for advice, I would tell them it’s the time to start planting seeds.

When I find it hard to explain something, I often turn to metaphors. I got the opportunity this past week when my great nephew Jordan spent the day with us. He was a little under the weather, and his mom decided to keep him out of school. Instead of her taking the day off, she asked if we would mind if he stayed with us. We never pass up an opportunity to spend time with “our younguns,” so we told her of course.

One of the tasks on our to-do list was to go over scholarship applications. Each year Jilda and I fund a scholarship that we give to a graduating senior from Dora High School. We’ve done it for years. We send our application to the counselors at the school and ask that they distribute them to any student who plans to continue their education.

This year we had a stack of applications. Based on the energy they put into answering the questions, we select one student and award the scholarship to them. This year, we’d narrowed our list to four. When Jordan sat down to sip juice and munch on string cheese, we asked him to help us decided on who got the scholarship. He’s 9 years old but bright.

He carefully read over each application and weighed the merits of each. Every few minutes we’d exchange applications until we’d read all four. He thought for a long time and pointed to a couple of the applications we’d placed on the coffee table. “I think it’s between these two.” Both Jilda and I smiled because we’d arrived at the same decision. After re-reading the final two, we made our choice.

After finishing, Jordan and I walked out to the back deck, while Jilda put on her walking shoes. Jordan seemed lost in thought, but after a while, he said, “Why do you give those
scholarships?” I told him it was to help one of the kids from our high school alma mater with college. That was the short answer, but Jordan rarely settles for the short answer. He continued to look at me.

I pointed to the apple tree in the garden and said, “We planted that apple tree almost 40 years ago. It grew from a sapling not much taller than you. We knew when we planted it that it would take several years before it produced the first apple.”

He kept looking at me quizzically. If you want good things to grow in your life, you must plant things. He’s helped us in the garden since he could walk, so he understands that concept of sowing and reaping.

Our scholarship is like planting seeds, I explained. Some kids may waste the money and drop out of school. But others will use it to buy books or pay for a class that can help them grow and do remarkable things with their lives.

I asked, “Do you understand?” He slowly nodded his head. I’m not sure if he understood, or was tired of talking and wanted to chase some butterflies in the garden.

At this stage of my life, I can’t think of a better investment in the future than planting seeds.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Pure joy

We're home now. We arrived weary just after lunch and promptly laid down on the couch for a nap. Both Jilda and I were so tired from the road that we couldn't rest. We got up, unpacked, and sorted a mountain of sandy, salty clothes. I had one tee shirt that could have stood in the corner on its own.

Later this evening, I ran to the grocery store to fetch some organic chicken and crusty bread to have for supper. I was afraid of being too tired to enjoy the meal, but it was perfect.

I shared a couple pictures from the weekend already. I took over a hundred. At the risk of posting too many, I'll leave you all with one last picture of pure joy. I'm my great nephew Jordan boogie boarding in the surf.

It's been a delightful weekend. Even as tired as we both are, neither of us wouldn't trade it for anything.

Saturday, May 20, 2017


Today was windy. Our nephew Haven, his wife Alesha, and their young son Anthony joined us at the water's edge.

Our great nephew Jordan was ecstatic. He had a partner in crime. When they play together, they leave it all on the field (or beach.) The run, jump, dive, chase, tag, and wrestle over water rights, sand castle stomping rights, or dibs on who gets the first snow cone.

Life is about snippets of time that linger long after they have passed. This weekend has been a good snippet.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday stuff

Jilda and I had a pre-wedding gathering this evening. The daughter of one of our dear friends will tie the knot tomorrow and they invited us to a small gathering this evening to celebrate. It was fun seeing many of our old friends. I know the wedding tomorrow evening will be hectic and they won't have much time for meeting and greeting so today was special

We did find time to have lunch with the youngun's. That's always a treat. Samantha snapped a picture of Jilda and me at the table. Jilda is sharing a picture outside that I took of them.

We're both whupped this evening so the words are sparse.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I wish I could bottle it

Beach vacations were rare when I was a child. We went once, but my mother and brother got toasted in the Florida sun. She didn't want to go back. I think I must have had Native American blood flowing through my veins because I was slow to burn and I've always loved the beach.

As I grew older, got a job, a car and a girlfriend I went to the beach often. Later after Jilda and I married, we had a good friend that had a house at the beach which made long weekends at the beach affordable. 

We took all our nieces and nephews down for extended vacations.  Now we're taking our great nieces and nephews.  

A while back, I shot this picture of Samantha and Jordan at the beach. Jordan could barely contain the joy and excitement on the ride down. He didn't want to stop for food or to pee.

When he got to the water, it was hard coaxing him out to go eat. I remember that joy and excitement. I wish I could bottle it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday Smensday

I'm devoid of thought tonight. I'm not sure if some squiggly insect crawled into my ear and eat my brains or if I was out in the sun too long today. It was some kind of hot for May.

I headed north to appear on a community access station promoting upcoming workshops. I've been on the show before and the host is a hoot. But I felt cheated that I didn't get to enjoy my second cup of coffee before I headed out. Is having two cups of coffee too much to ask?

I also met with a human resource director after lunch trying to build a pipeline for some of our candidates who are looking for work. So I finished work earlier than normal.

Once home, I stepped down to the garden. Our tomatoes look as if they've grown a foot since Sunday. they are full of blooms and small tomatoes. It won't be long before the plants are hanging full of red gold.

The last time we visited the local produce stand here, the tomatoes on the shelves were from Florida. I picked one off the shelf and smelled of it. You can tell the difference in a vine-ripe tomato and one grown in a greenhouse. These were definitely vine-ripe. tonight when we ate our salad, you could taste the "homegrown'ness" in them. They were scrumptious. I did think to snap a picture while there in the produce market. That's what's below, but I should be posting pics of our tomatoes soon.

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Cost of doing business

Whenever we invite people over the kids are always welcome. We have plenty of space for them to run and rip as my mother used to say. They often play for awhile in the backyard and in the field down toward the barn, but they always end up on the screen porch.

The screen porch has a ceiling fan whispering overhead and we have a stockpile of toys in a plastic box that we store under the glider. In the box are building blocks, watercolor paint, water guns,  and bubble wands.

You can always tell when they've spent time out there because the residue of playdough is stuck between the cracks in the tilework. The orange, red, and yellow granules of dried goo have to be scraped off with my pocket knife. It doesn't bother me. As a businessman might say, "It's the cost of doing business."

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