"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Placing Pine Cones - Spending Treasure XIX

“Just place three little pine cones at the base of the tree like this,” she demonstrated. “That way if you are here first and I am late, I will know you decided to go on without me. I will do the same thing, if I decide not to wait.”  My best friend from grade school, Honey Wheeler, and I always tried to meet up in the mornings, so we could walk the mile to school together. It made the walk much more enjoyable.

Sometimes we would try to connect by phone before school, but it seemed like every time she would call, I would loose my place in line for the bathroom. It wasn’t easy growing up in a house with 4 kids and only one bathroom. So my friend and I devised an alternate plan. We would place pine cones at the base of the big, old pine tree that was just up from the corner of my street. Honey would walk across her pasture from her home at the base of the mountain, to meet me there every morning before school.

I don’t remember too much about how our plan worked, I only remember when it failed.

I arrived one morning and Honey was not waiting for me.  I checked the ground around the bottom of the tree and saw no pine cones.  But it was late!  I looked across the pasture toward the mountain, but did not see my friend. Since it was so late, I was convinced she had already been there, but simply neglected to place the pine cones. I didn’t take time to do it either, and headed off to school. When I finally saw my friend at school during recess, she exclaimed, “You didn’t place the pine cones!  I waited and waited and made myself late!” she lectured. I had let her down and I felt horrible.

I can hear her voice to this day! She wasn’t really mad; just surprised and well…let down. The pine cones were a thoughtful gesture, so we would each know what the other was doing...simply a message from a friend.

I have blogged about Honey before. That post explains why I am calling her Honey in this post. My friend also looked a good deal like the description of the Honey Wheeler in the Trixie Beldon series. She was a very pretty girl, thin and tall, with shoulder length auburn hair. She had a great sense of humor, an easy laugh and a sense of adventure that was contagious.

I have so many fond memories of her and our childhood years together. Like the time we galloped Midnight across pastures as we made our way down to the little pond that was a popular destination in our neighborhood.  Or like the time her dad let me ride their new little 3 year old mare, Go-Go. I remember I was so nervous. I knew they were still training her and I couldn’t believe he let me ride her. I usually rode Sandy the aging Palomino that her family had had for so many years; but mostly we rode double on Midnight to all kinds of adventure; some pretend and some real. We would sing together as we galloped, “Scarecrow! Scarecrow!” I no longer remember the words to that television theme song, and I don’t even remember what television show it was from, but the lyrics seemed to fit the adventure we were on for that day.

One time on our ride to the pond, we found a dead horse at the edges of the water. I didn’t know what to do, but Honey took the initiative and went to the house where the owners of the pond lived to seek help. I won’t go into that but simply to say, Honey always seemed to know what to do.

On another topic, Honey’s folks had given her tap dance lessons and ballet. Though for parents to do that for their children is fairly common today, it was somewhat rare at that time. I will never forget her excitement when she turned 13 and she took me to her room to show me her first new tap shoes that were high heals. She was so excited to finally be able to dance in heals. She put them on for me, and I admired them with all the excitement that had contagiously bubbled over from her unbridled expression of joy.
Raggedy Andy - 1967
Then there was the time she had the idea to dress up like Raggedy Ann and Andy for one of our school carnivals or some Junior High activity. Our moms made our costumes, and if I remember correctly, we won the contest for Best Costume that year. I, ended up being Andy. Honey was Raggedy Ann; it was her idea after all and that only seemed fair.

The memories are endless, it seems.  I would like to write them all down, before any more will be washed away with the tides of time.
I remember driving to the “larger-city-east” to visit her Grandma. I remember that large Victorian home located on the side of a hill. Though it was dark, and obvious her grandma could no longer care for it the way it was once cared for, I knew I loved that house. 

I remember going to the carnival that came to town. Rides were set up in the parking lot of the only mall in our area at the time. Honey talked me into riding that Octopus over and over and over.  “I won’t make it another time!” I told her.  “I feel like I am going to be sick.”

“Just one more?” she begged.

Shouldn’t have done that!  I got sick! When we got off the ride, Honey quickly found her mom to help. Her mom lovingly laughed, as only a mom can do, and then went into the clothing store at the mall and bought me a new pair of shorts. Mine were covered with my lunch!  I was grateful for those new shorts and convinced that a little thing like getting sick was not going to stop this dynamic duo.

We slept at each others’ homes and we had camp-outs on her property at the base of the mountain. When her family got their new fence made of wooden rails for their pastures, one of our favorite activities was seeing how long and how far we could balance ourselves walking those fence rails.

We laughed, and were goofy and talked about boys. Her mom and dad really liked me she had once told me…they thought I was good for Honey. The history teacher at school had told her parents the same thing. I’m pretty sure we were good for each other.

But Honey and I eventually went separate ways in high school. Over the years, (and it has been many) we reconnected from time to time. I visited her at her home when her new daughter arrived. When she and her husband moved south, I called when we were in their area with our semi-truck.  At some point, our friendship became only a Christmas card friendship. But oh how I looked forward to those Christmas cards!

Through no fault of her own, Honey’s life became a very difficult one. Tragedy struck Honey over and over and over.  I won’t go into it; it is her own private heartbreak. But I know no one that has endured what she had to endure. I knew the sadness of her heart. I tried to keep in close contact during the heartbreak of those times. A few years ago, she and her husband moved, and I lost track of her.

She didn’t make it to the high school reunion this year; but I knew she wouldn’t.  Members of our class fondly remembered her, though, and reminisced a bit. I found out where she had moved from a mutual friend. This friend had a message for me from Honey. Now that I knew where she had moved, I was very excited to make contact again. Now a month or so later, I am very grateful for that message I received at the reunion. I needed to hear it; especially now.

Life had gotten busy this summer, and I hadn’t yet called or wrote her. A week or so ago, I woke up to a new message on Facebook from one of our classmates: “It is with sadness of heart…”

It was a knife to my heart. I didn't call!! I couldn’t help but feel I let her down…again.  But I am so thankful I had received her message; that she had taken the time, that she had thought of me and wanted me to know it...Honey was always the one to place the pine cones where they should be.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

End of Season Refreshing

It was His gift to me. I won’t say I knew it from the moment I saw them, but throughout the morning it became apparent, Someone was thinking of me today, and wanted me to know it.

When I walked out to my garden to check on my remaining vegetables, birds were everywhere. Not intrusive or invasive like Starlings can be, but rather scattered throughout the yard creating a pleasant, garden atmosphere.  I stopped for a moment to see what was there.  I looked over at the wash tub my husband had put at the end of the garden, so that I might rinse off my vegetables before bringing them into the house. 

There were two birds there. Bluebirds!  And Mountain Bluebirds at that! They had been so rare this summer, that it surprised me to see them there. I looked around a bit more and saw that many of the birds flying around my yard today were indeed Bluebirds. In the distance a Meadowlark was singing his song causing me to stop and appreciate the beauty around me.

I continued to watch as I dug potatoes and carrots. I noticed four Mountains on the horses’ water trough, and I shook my head in wonder.  “Where have you guys been all summer?” I said to myself. “I believe I am seeing more Bluebirds today, than I have the entire season!”

As I went about my duties, the birds seemed to be everywhere I was. I caught movement out the corner of my eye, and looked over at the Bluebird box; two mountains were there peaking inside, scurrying around it, and then stopping for a moment to sit on top.  It was like they had stopped by to see the old “summer home” that they were familiar with, but simply had neglected to get to this season.

When I took my vegetables into the house, I paused to look out the window to the deck. There on top of my birdseed carafe sat a male Mountain. That’s when I knew. This was a “God-wink”!  This was my Heavenly Father saying, “Just wanted you to know, I’m thinking of you today.  No worries here.  I’ve got your back.” Or maybe, “I know winter’s coming but don’t forget, I’m still on the Throne.”

I smiled as I went to the kitchen to prepare the carrots and “take care of” - as my Grandma used to say - the rest of my vegetables. As I worked there at the kitchen sink, I noticed a Mountain sitting in my dead, but still standing, Golden Chain. The little male stayed there the whole time I worked in the kitchen…a couple hours at least.  When I became worried that he may have been hurt, he flew to the ground picked up something to eat, and then flew back to the branch.  He did this a couple times, allowing me to enjoy his colorful beauty.

Bella lay asleep at the base of the tree, but the little Mountain didn’t seem to mind.  “Just enjoying my old home”, he seemed to be saying.  “I love it here.  I’m sorry I didn’t make it back sooner this summer.”  I let my imagination flow. Maybe this was the little buddy I had saved from Bella’s mouth a few years ago.

I kept working, expecting him to fly away.  He never did. I was the one to leave first. When I came back, he was finally gone.  But I knew the little guy had stopped by to say hello…and to let me know that they would be back. But most importantly the little bird wanted to tell me, “Our Good God sent me with a message for you today! He told me to tell you, He loves you!  Ha Ha!  And yes, He loves me, too - even if I'm just a little Bluebird and not an oft-mentioned Sparrow!”
6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?
7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.  Luke 12: 6-7

"Providence takes notice of the meanest creatures, even of the sparrows, and therefore of the smallest interests of the disciples of Christ."  ~ Matthew Henry


Friday, September 7, 2012

The List

The Beginnings of a Blue Moon
The mornings are definitely cooler. So are the evenings. The phenomenon that I call “the turn” took place some time ago.  The turn? You know; when you wake up, walk outdoors and realize something has changed.  There is a different feel in the air. I was going to blog about that this summer, but the days slipped by so quickly, I never got around to it. Yes, once again, the days of summer simply slid by way too fast. This is sort of how my days went.

Mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, weed eat, mow, mow, mow, dinner at Sandpoint, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, trip to Bonners, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow…..

Splash of Joy
Well, you get the point.  It seems the only thing I did this summer was mow lawns. By this time, as I mow, I am literally telling myself…just one more section, just one more round, push through, you can do this. Oh, my!  If I ever see another lawn mower, it will be too soon!! Yesterday, I broke my 2nd mower for the season. Both beyond repair, I am sure.  I will check the fall, "end-of-season" sales, though, to see if I can find a good buy to complete my season of mowing. But for now, I guess I get a break; somewhat anyway - at least at one house. It’s a good thing it’s the end of the season when the grass doesn’t grow quite as fast.

Better Days
Seriously though, I found myself making a little list the other day, of things that I did this summer.  I used to do that when Matt was little to relieve my guilt that we hadn’t done all the things we wanted to while the warm, sunny season was upon us.  It always seemed to slip by so quickly, so I started writing down the things that we had done; simply to reassure myself that we had indeed taken in some fun, summer activities.  The list only helped minimally; I often found there simply were not enough days at the beach, we had once again missed Art on the Green; and sometimes fishing and picnicking, had not made the list at all! So it was this year.

My WWII Hero!
When I think of summer, I think of things outside, so my list, this year, consists mostly of things outside. I'm not talking about things one does year around, or the things one does as normal obligations; I'm only thinking summer.

Below is my list in no particular chronological order; no order of importance; or degree of fun…only as it came to my mind, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow…  I mean, here is the list:

  • Marched in two parades for a good cause bringing attention to our World War II vets
  • Rathdrum Days
  • North Idaho Fair and Rodeo - twice
  • 3 or 4 Bar-b-ques at our house
  • Trip to Bonners – only 1, I believe; twice if I count Memorial Day
  • Bull Riding Competition
  • Dinner at Sandpoint - twice
  • Summer Wedding
  • Sandpoint – 2-3 trips
  • One Trip to the State Park
  • Fireworks at Bayview and a few at home with friends.
  • Art on the Green - briefly
  • Walk through City Park and what we know as Dike Road…I’m finding they don’t call it that any more.
  • Haying
  • A fair amount of time with the horses
  • Day trip to Oregon for a friend’s graduation
  • Two or three trips over the mountain to dinner and shop – one of my favorite drives!
  • High School Reunion – Boat Ride and Dinner
  • Visit with friends from out of town - 2
  • Lunch with old childhood friends - 2
  • Gardening
  • Yard-work - two homes
  • Mounted Shoot – only once, and briefly at that
  • Family care
  • 1 or two Family Bar-b-que’s
  • Company for an over-night
  • Reading quietly on the deck – at least two or 3 times, I would say. I did read a few good books this summer. Yesterday, I actually fell asleep there…ha, ha…that reminds me: once, I fell asleep sitting in the sun at the picnic table. ;-) Isn’t that what old people do?
  • Morning coffee, outside – 1 or twice
  • Evening coffee outside visiting with a friend
  • Dinner with my husband outside at a local restaurant – don’t know how in the world I talked him into sitting outside! Must have been a miracle – a “God Wink”.
  • Helped pick out two cars (once with my husband, once with my son) after two cars reached their limits. That was actually fun on a summer day.
  • Looking at the stars – plenty, but never enough.

Nephew's Birthday Party With Family!
And the “NO” list:

  • No swimming
  • No camping
  • No huckleberryin’
  • No vacation
  • No picnics
  • No fishing
  • Swimming, nada ( I guess I already listed that! Must have missed it!)
  • Beach days? You know, with the lawn chair the book and sun tan oil – zilch! But I guess those days have been gone for a while, now.
Hayin' with help from Matt's friends.
I know; my list of things that I have done is a fine list, and I’m sure it is not actually complete. There surely are things I have forgotten.  And I don’t mean to sound like I am complaining with my "No" list. I really don’t. Actually, I don’t even think I enjoy camping any more. I’ve out grown it, I think. I’d really rather just stay home. So, it’s all good….mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow…It has been a good mow, mow, mow, mow, summer…mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow, mow….But I will look on the bright side; mowing is better than shoveling snow! Mow, mow, mow, Not so sure about that right now - snow is sounding pretty good this morning...mow, mow, mow………such a funny word…mow.

Old Friends
My Grade School - 50 (some) years later!
Haha...Ok, I guess I did get some reading in...just not enough outside!

Juliee, Skeeter, and Tobi

Well, my garden was mostly a bust this year, but I know I would have had "blue ribbon" grean beans and onions, if I would have had time to enter them in the fair as I usually do.
Oh and Mr. Jack, I miss you!