Sunday, June 24, 2018

Blame it on the stars

Today had been one wonky day. I won't bore you with details, but let's just say I'm beginning to believe all the new age stuff about planets in retrograde.

I didn't even take a picture today. So tonight, as I sat down to type, I browsed through my Google Photos at a picture I took in June of 2014.

I hope your day has been less strange.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

How our morning went

When I opened my eyes this morning, I didn't follow my routine. Typically, when I awake, I get up and shuffle to the kitchen to punch the brew button on the coffeemaker. But this morning I laid there.

The light coming from around the blinds had a different hue. Off in the distance, I could hear thunder. I knew it would be only a matter of time before Caillou came in. In less than 20 seconds he left his bed in front of the living room windows and came into the bedroom. He HATES storms.

I rolled out of bed, walked to the kitchen, and started the coffee before I sat on the couch to comfort my friend. Ol' Hook was on his bed nearby sawing logs. He's deaf, and he was oblivious to the impending storms.

Jilda got up when she heard the coffeemaker beeping, and we sipped our coffee and watched the storm pass. 

We both have unread magazines on the coffee table, so we read. 

About an hour later, the carafe still had enough to top off our mugs, so we decided to retire to the screen porch and get a sense of what the day had in store for us. By then, Ol' Hook realized he was late for duty and came out to join us. 

We're in a weird weather pattern, and another storm was on the heels of the first one. The light changed dramatically within a few moments. When I stepped over to the screen to look into the sky, I could see the streetlight in the corner of our yard had come back on. More thunder.

Soon we could hear the rain drumming on our metal roof. The windchimes began playing a disconcerting melody. We could feel a fine mist blowing through the screen on our faces.

Just as soon as it came up, the clouds raced off menacing folks to the east.

And that was how our morning went.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Jasmine Act II

We've had a lot of rain these last few days. That's a good thing. The temps for the last few weeks have been brutal and baked the ground as hard as asphalt. 

It was pretty this morning with a cool breeze blowing out of the northwest but we knew it wouldn't last. The radar showed a storm as big as half of Mississippi stomping its way eastward. When I stepped out onto the front steps to get an analog weather report, I noticed the Jasmine is blooming again. I thought it was finished until next year, but no it's having another go. 

We decided to get some steps in before the rain came. On the final lap, we met Jordan on the walking toward us on barn road. His Nana was with him. We left them walking and headed in.

Jilda went in to start breakfast and I grabbed a basket to pick a few blueberries. I'd picked over a gallon before the sun came out and the humidity spiked. 

I walked inside dripping. 

Jordan decided to join us for breakfast. Jilda had baked some bacon and whipped up some scrambled eggs. Yum.

That got the day off to a good start. I wish every day could start that way.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Fun day at work

I lunched with a colleague today. He's been helping me navigate the way the stories and pictures flow through their system. Before now, I was simply sending stuff in and hoping it got to the right person.
The colleague has been patient and very helpful. The least I could do was buy him lunch.

He's been in the business. When I asked him the question I ask most people at some point, is: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"

He smiled and said, "This." Meaning, working in media writing stories about politics and the inner workings of government. He's good at it.

I told him about something I'd written on my New Year's resolutions for years which was, to take pictures and tells stories. I told him I'd worked for years at a job to make a living. Now I'm doing work that I love.

Yesterday, a guy that does the county's chamber of commerce Facebook page asked if I'd be interested in letting them interview me. I said sure. So after lunch, I spent an hour or so talking and posing for pictures. I'll share the post once it goes live.

On the way home, I swung by the lake that's not far from here. I've posted similar pictures in the past, but the sky was beautiful after a morning rain. So I took a picture.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The arrangement is a gift

Jordan and his cousin Breeze spent the day with us today. I wrote my column a few days ago so I had the day off. Jilda and I had a hoot with them.

We went for an early morning walk, and of course, they had to do the obligatory thinking pose. I wanted to smack them both. Later when we got back from our walk, Jilda started making waffles with fresh blueberries. She also baked some bacon.

While the food cooked, I picked berries a while until the sun came from behind the clouds and super-heated my hat. I'd only picked a little more than a gallon but I was sweating buckets. I left ripe berries on the bush to go in for water. That hurt.

The back door had accidentally been locked, so walked around front through the side gate. On the screen porch, the music was blaring. Jordan and Breeze were dancing some dance I'd never seen. I think they made it up on the spot. I stopped a distance away and watched. Seeing the two of them dancing with wild abandon made me smile.

I love that our nieces and nephews allow their kids to spend time with us. I know it's convenient for them to have a place where they know the kids will be fed and watched after, but we enjoy it. The arrangement is a gift.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Productive day

I slammed and jammed today. Before I headed home just after 1 pm, I'd covered a city council meeting and done four interviews.

The meeting was routine, but I felt at home doing the interviews. Summer reading programs for kids, and a lady promoting the area around the Forks which is one of my favorite places on the planet.

Then I interviewed two teachers in an effort to find the answer to the age-old question that kids ask: "I wonder what teachers do in the summertime."

I can't share much about the pieces, but once published I might post them on my blog.

So today was productive. I hope your day was a hoot too.

Monday, June 18, 2018

LIfe on my front porch

Some of my favorite memories from childhood revolve around our front porch.

Our camp house stood on a hillside next to Sloss Hollow Road. The pine boards on the outside walls were covered with imitation brick siding. That’s a fancy way of saying tarpaper with grit on one side was made to look like bricks.

The place was unremarkable, except for the front porch that spanned the width of the house. On one end was a squeaky swing that hung on chains attached to the rafters. From early spring to late autumn, I entertained myself on that swing each evening while waiting for my dad to get home from work.

I could hear him coming before he came into view. The hubcaps on the old Pontiac station wagon made a whistling sound as he approached. When I heard the whistling, I stepped off the porch and waited for him on the front steps. Inside, I could hear the clatter of forks and spoons on plates as my mom set the table for supper.

After stepping out of his car, he’d stand there and stretch the miles off his legs before heading inside. He’d act like he didn’t see me sitting a few feet away. When he did, he’d snatch me up under his arm and carry me into the kitchen like a “sack of taters.” That short jiggling journey made me giggle uncontrollably. 

Our whole family sat down and ate supper together every night.  

After supper, Daddy usually went to the front porch and smoked a few cigarettes while watching lightning bugs and taking stock of the day. Sometimes neighbors would holler from the next yard or from across the road to share some hometown news or get a garden update. I miss those times on that old front porch.

Life moves fast. These days it seems we have little time to spend on front porches. In fact, a lot of folks don’t have front porches. Instead of unwinding before bed to the sound of whip-o-wills and train whistles, we’re glued to TVs, computers, and smartphones. Our bliss is stolen by the harsh glow thrown off by electronic light.

When we built our house in 1983, the floor plan we chose included a stoop, but the old folk would have chided me: “There’s barely enough room out there to put a comfortable chair. Where will you shell your peas? And where are you going to put your swing?” 

At the time I was too busy working at a job, going to school, and climbing a career ladder that leaned against a wall somewhere in the city. When I got home in the evenings, there was little time for front-porch sitting.

After I retired, we built an arbor over our stoop and planted jasmine. Beside the stoop, we put a garden bench in the shade of the water oak. These days you can often find me sitting on the garden bench reading or watching the birds and squirrels. There aren’t that many cars that come down our dead-end road, but when they do, I always wave as they pass. Sometimes a neighbor will pull into the drive and sit with me long enough to share some news. 

It’s not a front porch, but it’s the next best thing.

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