Last Wednesday, I drove through a heavy storm. As we drove west then north, the clouds became thicker and darker. The clouds opened up. I could hardly see through the windshield. I slowed to 40mph, and many cars pulled over to weather the storm. O and I, with Ivy along, were driving pick up W from wrestling camp in Wisconsin a day early. It’s been stormy – hot, humid, and muggy in the Midwest since late last week. Thursday morning we were on our way to Ohio driving through a cloudy morning on our way to a different kind of storm – the passing of a loved one.
My father-in-law, B’s dad, passed away after a long life filled with love for family, country, and hard work. We will miss him. The visitation was Thursday and the service was Friday. He will be in our memory forever. Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrasts→
O and I decided we needed a diversion, actually I decided I needed a diversion, something to get my mind away from what I was thinking, what was on my mind. Baseball, it is the space in between which takes us off our worries, for even a moment.
Baseball. I remember going to watch my home team, the Astros, play games indoors in the Astrodome. I’ve since moved away from home and my team has moved out of the Astrodome, but I am still a fan. I still pull for my Astros, though I have lost the connection to the ‘stros and I don’t get out to the ballpark as much as I used to; I still try to take in a game when I can.
It happened last week, a week ago today. The crew came and cut down our tree. The Ash tree. She had been in front of our home for as long we’d lived here. She was here before we moved in, before the kids were born, and before we got Ivy. She shaded our front lawn without fail, never complaining. I’d raked her leaves for 22 years, I’d trimmed her branches – before she got too tall, and then, she got sick. I didn’t notice at first but this spring she didn’t leaf out along with the other trees –the maples, the oaks, the willows, and others. She had always been a late bloomer and the first to shed her leaves in the fall. But, when she did leaf out she looked sickly; a green branch here, a green branch there, interspersed amid many sickly dead grey branches. Then the crews came, first with their paint marking other trees in the neighborhood, they left a faint red dot at the her base. Then they came back with their ropes, saws, grinders, and trucks. They had many trees to cut down – we counted over seventy stumps in the neighborhood. Ours was one of the last to come down, but she came down anyway. The stump is still there as a reminder of where she once stood. This morning, I looked closely and I could see the stump sending out a couple of shoots in a desperate gasp to survive. It’s too late, our tree is gone.
I’ve been watching the World Cup. My dad would be proud. I do not follow soccer; I mean football and can only recognize the player’s names because my students wear their jerseys – Messi, Rooney, Dempsey, Ronaldo, and Beckham. I know a couple of those players are retired. Nevertheless, I am watching. It’s Father’s Day morning and there is calm throughout the house. I am back outside in my garden office, Ivy at my feet guarding the yard from intruders. I started indoors this morning with Ivy under the table at my feet there, too, but I decided to move outside and enjoy the morning.
Last night I checked Facebook and discovered a high school friend had posted a picture of him and his dad. The looked exactly as I remembered them. Most of my photos of dad are ‘old school’ and I have not transferred them over to digital, yet. The day will come, though a few years ago I went through slides and photos at my mom’s house and came across the photo below. I scanned it and saved it for all of us. I think mom has the original, but I have the copy. I skimmed through the flash drive and found a photo of dad and I. My brothers came along for the ride, too. I posted it with my Happy Father’s day message. I hope they appreciate the trip down memory lane.
This morning, I went back in time and re-read old posts. They links are below. Father’s Day 2010 is raw and real and Father’s Day comes early is one of my favorite posts. I can close my eyes and remember the sounds, smells, and events of that day four years ago.
Father’s day is early this year, early in June, as early as it gets. The first of June was a Sunday and Father’s Day is the third Sunday in June; it’s the way the calendar works. The mind works in completely different ways.
Today brings back many memories – some good, some not so good, but memories that have shaped me. Shaped me into the person that I have become.
My dad was my dad, he was shaped by the events of his life and he gave what he could. He, like me, had his regrets, just as I have many. I also have many triumphs as a dad. It’s easy to get bogged down in the ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda game,’ very easily. It’s negativity, man – so, I won’t. This morning I will remember my dad for what he shared, what he taught me; and to laugh, smile, weep.
I am enjoying a lovely morning on the deck; the wind gently rustles the leaves above me, the birds chirp and flit about. It is a bit on the cool side, 56°F, but it will warm up, eventually. I am the eternal optimist, besides I have coffee to keep me warm. The wind chime emits an occasional ‘ding.’
It’s quiet this morning. Ivy is beside me, at my feet, or was until she heard something and stalked off to investigate. B is in Ohio with her mom and dad. W is at off-season sports camp, and O is sleeping. I hope that she’ll sleep for a couple of hours and get the rest she needs. We were supposed to follow this afternoon, but we will not. We’ll need to figure another time to head over and visit. We need to.
Sometimes you just have to pull over and take time and breathe.
“The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller (1880-1968); Author, Lecturer, Activist
I was up north for the weekend. I drove north Friday night and came home, reluctantly, Sunday evening. Saturday was busy. It was full of chores and full of pulling in air, something I desperately needed. Saturday afternoon, I slow-cooked a pork butt on the grill and made my famous cucumber and red onion salad, at least it’s famous to me. It tastes like summer. I sliced off some pork slathering it with BBQ sauce Continue reading Roadside beach→
There is always room. Whether it’s a home, shelter, or an eave. There is room.
“After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die.” ― E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web
I am Up North for a couple of days. Jobs that needed to be done. I wanted to come up in May and couldn’t. Last weekend, fell through with much to do and too little time. Next weekend is filled, and the weekend after that… well, you get the picture. Room has more than one meaning.
Today’s post is in response to the prompt at the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge at Word Press. ‘This week’s prompt is “Room.” From the four walls that currently surround you to the infinite potential of space, this week we’d like you to show us your take on room, rooms, or a room.’
I have four walls; but others like the dear spider use two walls and imagines the other two. We are all constrained by nature and defined by it as well. There’s always room. I think Charlotte said it best….”what’s a life anyway…” It’s what is in between those two events that is important. It’s the way we leave our mark. It’s our service to our family, friends, and community. It’s how we leave our room.
I came up to work, not blog and I have a list a mile long, maybe even longer. School finished for my students yesterday and I could hear Alice Cooper wailing away in the background. I don’t have papers to grade, but I have chores to do and I have room on my schedule. Making the Days Count, one day at a time.
Sometimes, the difference between winning and losing is a split-second.
Saturday morning softball. The batter hits the ball hard to the shortstop, she scoops the ball into her glove, and fires to the first baseman. Out. Yet, it’s not that simple. There are some many opportunities for a bobble, a misstep, an error, a mistake. All split-seconds.
Today is the first day of June. It’s a new month, a new season, and it’s full of possibilities.Summer vacation begins Friday for my students. They are so excited, I can hardly keep a lid on them; four of them have already left early for their summer vacation, and the rest are busy learning and working. I aim to keep it that way through Wednesday afternoon, mainly for my own sanity and mental well-being. Thursday, then Friday will be here before I know it and I’ll be signing yearbooks and asking my students what they plan to do with their 79 days of summer vacation.
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.” Winston Churchill
It’s a new month, a new season, and it’s full of possibilities. Nevertheless, before I begin to think about what summer will be like, I need to go back and think about the year. The year was a challenge – full of triumphs and pitfalls in and out of the classroom. In the classroom, I had a new ELA curricula, based on the Common Core standards. I cringe when I say Common Core because it is sort of vilified these days. Folks in and out of education have turned Common Core into education’s current piñata – people just love beating on it. Unfortunately, it has not yet yielded any candy. It will be several years before educators know for sure if it is effective. But, I can tell you with absolute certainty there is a difference between my student’s learning from last year and my current students. This year’s students have developed into readers with a purpose, deeper thinkers, and stronger writers who can support their ideas with evidence from the text and their learning. However, they did not start that way. It was rough at the beginning of the year, but they have adapted and grown academically. They’ve also grown as people, too. They are ready for the next step, eighth grade.