Dad made potato soup on Saturdays. That was his lunch and, sometimes, mine too. His recipe wasn’t special. There was no elevating it. A country boy from south-eastern Nebraska, a farmer from a line of farmers, my dad didn’t go in for “elevating.” When it came to cooking, he was not an imaginative man. Dirt colored russet potatoes, white onion, milk, a pat of margarine, salt, pepper. Sometimes a little ground beef – on those days my child’s heart would sing for joy – mostly not. We shopped at the neighborhood market, back in the days when there were such … Continue reading Potato Soup
Aside from their allowances, I don’t like giving my kids money. This isn’t to say I don’t think they should have all they want; what I mean is, I want the money to come from having done something. Pride of accomplishment, reward for a job well done, all that shit my dad used to tell me that I swore I’d never tell my kids if I had any. And I haven’t. I haven’t told them that. I just put it into practice as often as possible. (They don’t like it much either, poor things. ) My son and I were … Continue reading Shreddin’ it.
This was a terrifically busy weekend. I did nothing for any business, mine or day-job. All my time was spent on making Halloween happen for my children, or enabling it. Katie did most of the work in striping her own coat and pants; I drafted and put the pants together. Katie did her own makeup. For Jami’s, I altered and recut a brown polyester pants suit – ugly as hell, very popular with Democratic presidential candidates. To save doing gray makeup all over his body I made legs and sleeves of gray fabric. With his costume done, I grabbed a … Continue reading Halloween 2017
There is a gigantic oak tree in the back yard. Pin oaks are usually chosen for neighborhoods because of their fast growth rates, and I suspect that’s why my uncle planted the ones in our yard, somewhere around 1955. It’s dropping acorns. You can hear them bounce off the fence rails, hit the top of the hen house, occasionally even one of the hens, eliciting an outraged and offended *buh-KAWK* from the victim. Walking back there is like walking after a hail storm. Crunchy. Certainly never barefoot. It’s dropping acorns. Hundreds. So I did what any good neighbor would do. … Continue reading Autumn Music
There’s an old saw about how European settlers to the American continent had lots of children because there was lots to do. Every child you added to the stable, so to speak, was another laborer to help till the land, carry the firewood, cook the food, to contribute, as it were, to the running of home and farmstead. (I think that we’re forgetting the fact the birth control was pretty much non-existent, but that’s an essay for another time.) We live on a third of an acre, with about a third of that taken up by a house and deck. … Continue reading So I wouldn’t have to mow.
I am fifty-one years old. I have been that old for four days now. Fifty-one. Not twenty-five. Just over twice that. I guess that’s okay, considering thirty years ago I would not have predicted I’d last that long. Physical work that I used to give no thought to at all now happens at a more deliberate pace. I’m not in a hurry like I used to be. My back hurts faster, my dogs start barking sooner, and the sunshine gives me a pounding headache. I have arthritis in my hips, and tendinitis in my right arm. I’m content to muck … Continue reading Reclaiming the back yard.
I’m reaching back with this story. It’s one I’ve wanted to tell for a long time and keep forgetting. Our beloved girl-child must have been two and a half years old. Old enough to walk and talk and not do either very well. At an age and short enough that if she wanted to drink from a water fountain I had to kneel down and let her stand on my leg. Out to eat, she might come back from some Important Two Year Old Errand and I would get up from the table and kneel in the aisle so she could … Continue reading Katie-isms, December 2016.