“I need a break!” Eleven-year-old Brenda said, sighing as she scooped another shovel of poo into the pile the same way she did every stinking Saturday while her friends…uhhh…did the same thing at their farm home.
“Cows are milked, the stupid horse is fed, the fence and gate are checked, the dishes are finished, the garden is weeded, vegetables are washed…what am I forgetting? Oh ya, laundry! ” she thought so loudly others could surely hear her, had anyone been within miles of her.
“Oh, the mail…well, there usually ain’t any mail. Maybe I will jus’ skip it today. I am tired.” she said, almost laughing and a little tense at the mere thought of skipping walking down the hill to get the mail, a direct disobeying of family rules and responsibilities, of which she had many.
Little Brenda, not even a teen at the time, but with responsibilities that adults now would whine about the difficulty doing, started the 200 yard trek to the row of mailboxes at the end of the road by the fish hatchery and the rock-enclosed spring…her spring. She whistled a tune while she walked, finding a companion to take on the mail run with her: an old, empty oil can that someone must have had blow out of the bed of their truck. She kicked this part-cardboard, part-steel can down the hill, soccer-style, all the way to where the mailboxes, the spring (her spring) and a trashcan awaited her arrival.
Her only prize when she opened the mailbox? A brand new, shiny Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalog. “This thing must have 5,280 pages in it!”, little Brenda exaggerated, using her very favorite number (by miles over the rest). Needing a rest from the exhausting day, she walked over to the spring, her spring, just ten or so yards off of the dusty road on which she trekked. She walked around to the northeast corner of the spring, her spring, where the willow shadow covered, and stretched out on the short, rock retaining wall that guided the water down the path to the fish hatchery on the other side of the highway.
Little Brenda flipped through the catalog, looking at amazing things, house ware, clothes, tools, farm gear and the like until she remembered that catalogs also make great retaining wall pillows (among other things…think outhouse). Rolling up the catalog gently, knowing ripping it would likely cause big problems at home, she laid on her back and look at the light blue sky. She listened to the robins and the martins and the mockingbirds and especially the frogs who seemed to be trying to drown out their bird friends from their bank homes.
She would normally take her boots off and walk around a little in the mini-creek, but it was still too early in the season and the water at the spring stayed a consistently chilly 60 degrees. She sure didn’t want to catch a chill because 4am came awfully early and a cold was no excuse to evade chores….or school after morning chores were done.
This princess closed her eyes and soaked it in…like we all would have in Chesapeake, her childhood hamlet in the Ozarks.
Simpler times then.
Oh, for some time by the spring…mom’s spring… today, dreaming not of cures and treatments but of katydids and tree swings. I pray heaven is that way for mom someday, but I know it will be even better.
Mom had another good day yesterday. She is still toodling around ok, albeit slow and measured in her steps. Her speech is still quantity, not quality, but she is happy and, all things considered, well.
There was conflict between a member of my team and the head nurse over how much he should help the non-mom members of the unit. (He usually puts bibs on them, gets their coffee, helps with chairs, etc…) The unit is worried about liability, understandably so, although worrying about the liability of understaffing apparently never crossed their mind. Stuff like this takes a toll on an already emotionally zapped me.
Lord, take us all away to the simpler times, or to the heaven that the amazing Creator of all of this beauty has prepared.