Thanksgiving was a full and joyful time.
I let down Mark and Devon a bit, however, in my morning absence….but they were okay. They did what they could do in contributing to the family cause and I did what I could do. Mark got up and cleaned the kitchen that the girls regularly trash, and that the boys are chronically indifferent to. I have probably mentioned I am not all that strong in the homemaking skills. Need to try harder. Devon eventually got up and frosted hundreds of tiny sugar cookies, her contribution to the dinner. She is talented. I should have probably stayed to help with this, but she gets cranky and territorial in my presence. So it is better I give her space for this passion.
I headed to school to meet an acquaintance who let me in to fetch my school keys and computer power cord from my classroom. But first, we found another pleasant fixture of our school family who bears a nice Christmas name. The first name suggests Christma songs; the second a synonym for happy. ha ha She was setting up to decorate an artificial tree in the school’s entry. An opportunity presented itself. At first my reading aide friend was resistant to the help, but after a few moments of laughter and softening she gave in. She shared stories of days past when she worked in the mink business with Granny. The Adkins were a super power and overbearing presence in the Utah mink dynasty. C.J. told of a pair of stiff coveralls that stunk so badly they could stand up on their own. Unable to bring them into the house, she left them outside in a separate building, or shed each night at midnight, and retrieved them again and again at the crack of dawn. Hours and hours of pinning mink. Wow. This thing made Granny’s family very rich. I wonder how approachable the Adkins’ were back then, when Granny was strong, and young, and vibrant adopting Phillipino children.
It was so much fun decorating this tree! Just the three of us ditching …or rather, delayinig Thanksgiving food preparation for an hour to create something in this symbol. A real “feel good.” Not something I can easily burn in preparing. ha ha. There is nothing I would want to eat on this tree. It would leave one with a mouth full of metal, glitter, and cotton. Sounds like a trip to the dentist, or orthodontist gone bad. Last year Devon hung oranges on our tree. These were tasty.
My other school friend is the computer lab assistant, and mother to one of our swimmer’s. She likes me and would do most anything for me. This is a good feeling. She put festive music on her new smart phone and we set to work prancing around and trimming the tree with snowmen. My friend took several pictures of the sequence of it all. ha ha…..I told her we should make a slide show for our PLC meeting and call it “We Wixie You a Merry Christmas!” Wixie is a new online software design program our school has purchased for use. We spent a couple of PLC meetings learning this in our Principal’s absence last month. Many teachers resist anything new. I quite love anything creative and embrace it. This is a right brained thing to do. 🙂
I felt like a little girl in this decorating. Inspired me to go home and transfer the feeling to those others whom I love. Maybe today. We are planning also for a family picture, minus Donavon. 😦 Have joked about theming it to “hispster” with lumberjack shirts and suspenders. Maybe shotguns when we are out shooting clay pigeons. This “Hipster” movement is all the rage in parts of NYC according to Jason, mark’s architectual engineer son who lives in Manhatten. I will visit him this summer. Get hip.
OMGosh! Justin, the ginger son from Phoenix just came upstairs. We are laughing about the state of disaster in Delanie’s room. Justin suggests building a bon fire in his sisters room…..it is sooooooo bad.
Okay. So after stopping by the school to grab my keys and power cord, I set out toteing a poinsettia to visit Granny at the assisted living some twenty miles north. She was in the lowest of spirits, but came around a bit when recognizing me. This takes more and more primeing with each additional visit. In time she is somewhat more lucid though. She falls into the same predictable trappings and questions of “Who has died in Wanship?” This bothers me, and the fact that I can not supply her with names seems to disappoint Granny. I change the subject as quickly as I can to topics I know she will embrace…..like missionaries. Spent the sum of our time sharing with her the electronic version of “The Christmas Missionary Book” that one of the mom’s put together. I am so happy to have been taught to scan and to email this to my Italian son. A small thing of great proportion. Thank you. Granny loved this…especially the pictures of Donavon. She spun off in relating her youthful trip to Rome. “I went to the Cistine Chappel, and walked the Apian Way.” She also peaked to the mention of a local boy serving in Atlanta, Georgia. Granny served a temple mission in this very place some years ago. Happy memories for her in this. The time flew by in nearing the noon hour.
I wished I could have stayed to share the holiday meal with her, but I was running late. I wonder what pumpkin pie Boost would taste like. This would be a great marketing scheme I think. As I was leaving one of Granny’s children arrived. Not Bob, a third district court judge, and wife Helen Adkins gone to Hawaii for the holidays. Granny verbalizes her worry over this time and time again. I quell and reasure her that they are fine and well traveled. The child who is calling is one we call ‘Little Ella Mae” as both mother and daughter have the same first name. This drop-in daughter is a piano teacher…was a teacher to our girls for many years. Both of our girls have now quit this endeavor, a great disappointment to Mark and I, and to the teacher. Oh well. This is not our choice.
It was akward seeing “Little Ella Mae” not because of this, but because I sensed she was surprised to see me here, almost bothered. I felt as if I were being judged wrongfully somehow. The energy just felt off….like she had brought something undesireable into the room with her. Stress, or something. Insecurity? Didn’t feel good.
I said goodbye and left a hug with Granny. This difficult in bending down and getting arms around someone so tiny and disolved into the overstuffed giant lazy boy recliner. She loves that I hug her though. Just to feel the touch of another. This touch willingly, lovingly given, with no thought of anything in return. She cries in both my coming and going. If she only knew what she she does give to me. I feel in this moment that I have done something more important in giving love than anything else this day could possibly afford in my receiving.
Back home to a kind of “late” chastisement. Oh well. We hit the road toward Mark’s sister’s beautiful home in Bountiful and to the most delicious meal and company. As it turns out….we are not late at all, even in having to stop to gas up. Everything works out as it should I think. Our big boys are so happy to see this family and cousins of their same age. I am so grateful the boys still like to come home to Utah. This is feels kind of like the Granny moment.
It has been many years since the boys have been with cousins. Most years we stay home and my sister Suni and I cook for all the Hill siblings and children. Since mom and dad died I have assumed a kind of Thanksgiving Matriarchal role with Suni. This is fun. But in the absence of my son, Donavon, I knew something had to be different. Going to Mark’s sister’s home was a good call. I think I will send a Thank you card to Marcy.
Home again to Want-a-sheep. I think… Why would anyone want a sheep? Okay. The Woolstenhulmes love their sheep. The lambs adorable. I wonder if I could learn to love sheep. Yes. I think so. I have learned to love my dogs. Think I will get up and eat breakfast now at lunch time, and then take the dogs out. This is their greatest joy….one of mine too. I think I could have been a pretty good native american had I been born to this. I learned this at the ledges as one of my students had a gushing bloody nose. I wonder if I would have been one like “Stands With a Fist” in my defiance, as the squaw in Dances With Wolves. Ta-Tonka! ha ha. Perhaps I would be a softer, more feminine version of myself. Perhaps I would be a warrior women. A swimmer and runner no doubt. Hmm. I think I would love buffalo, and my very own painted pony.
I wonder sometimes…….what if I could love, and did love everyone I know and everyone I met. Even, those who consider themselves my enemy. Sometimes, some people, they display behaviors that irritate, or trigger something negative in me. I wonder in the sometime awareness of this, if they are an enemy of mine, or if they simply possess something in them, that I also see in myself. This suggesting that perhaps the real problem of enemy is really in me. What if I am really the enemy.
In loving my neighbor, I must also love myself patiently with all of my imperfections. I want to be blind to the negative. I want to have larger than life vision to the positive in the world around me. I want to think that everyone along the trail is a friend, whether they are friendly to me or not. I know that I can only control myself and my response. I wonder if I could love everyone. What would this look like? Feel like? Sound like? This after all is what Christ asks us to do. “Feed my sheep,” he bids. Somehow I think I need to learn more about sheep. I may have to leave the dogs home for this adventure.
My sons and daughters are off to rampage in Christmas sales. But me….In this very moment, on this most BEAUTIFUL SUNNY November Day After Thanksgiving Day, I will be present in myself, in being alone…..and yet not alone…..never alone 🙂 This is not a BLACK Friday at all. It is the brightest happiest day of the year for me in feeling full of life, and health, and joy, and forgiveness. I will forego crowds for backroads by choice. I have everything I could ever want as I run…..well, walk behind my bounding dogs.
Thank you. God Bless Us Everyone.