Thursday, May 11, 2017

Unfinished Business

Take a quick look at what I found while searching for more threads and bedazzlers. Wrought by moi in 1987. Wow. Do the math. Can you believe I taught myself how to cross stitch? I wonder why I didn't finish it. Should I try?

See the woman in the ark on the left? That's Mrs. Noah! With a mixing bowl and spoon. *sigh* Why couldn't she have been watching the rainbow? Goodness! Tell me she wasn't making dove pie!!! Oh no, not pigeon pie! What a waste, huh? All that rain and she's expected to cook? Who lit the stove? Where'd they find dry wood? Did they eat meat? So many questions! 

These lovelies from Anna are responsible for the whole ark thing. They sparked the fire of wonderment and wicked imaginings. Aren't they lovely? All soft and embossed. They have the feel of nice wall paper. I might never use them. 

The envelope is a keeper too. I've seen only a few monarchs so far this year but there are other butterflies in Texas this time of year. Used to be I photographed hundreds of them as they sipped from puddles after a rain or a flower raid. Peeks Road just before it turned north was a good place to watch them rest and refresh on their way to the summer home of monarchs. The little pale yellow butterflies are everywhere, and they're just as playful. I'm glad I convinced the man who mows to leave the wild flowers this spring. They're always a little tired on their way from down south. And guess what. I was rewarded with rare moments of puzzlement, beauty and wonder. There are many more pollinators than we give credit. Flies, wasps, hornets, and all sorts of bugs are in on the act. I've seen butterflies I've never spied before. They pose just long enough before they're off and away to explore other yards and even more nosy people with cameras. 

Less than a handful of Decembers ago my neighbor gave me my first Christmas Cactus. Unim-pressed, I made a home for it on the window ledge in front of the kitchen sink, and it pretty much fended for itself. I'll tell you about the first time it bloomed another day, but it's had a growth spurt now that it's on the patio table.

In case you didn't know this, cacti are unfriendly; they require a minimum of care since they prefer to be alone--not unlike me, but unlike me, they give little affection in return for the praise and good will showered on them. My mother always had a cactus when we lived in Oklahoma, and no matter how often she warned us away from even breathing on it, it found a way to attack me. The spines were vampire teeth in disguise! Coaxing them from tender young fingers took more work than it should. A Band-aid was the best reward for a little girl who never managed to be brave while her mama sterilized a sewing needle with a match--no alcohol though-- because the girl feared alcohol more than cactus stings. It's a wonder she ever learned to sew. 

Did you ever cry harder the moment you saw blood when you were a kid? Did you just know you were dying because there was blood? Daddy used to laugh and ask me, "Why are you crying?" I never tired of telling him the same old thing:  Because it's gonna hurt!" Didn't you believe in your little girl/boy heart that a hole in your skin meant your were leaking and could bleed to death just like those cowboys that always died when they were shot on tv?

 If you had "stickers" that bore into your soles all summer, then you know what I mean, right? In Texas they're pale straw colored burrs that hide in the grass, waiting for the right moment to wound tender bare feet! I used to wonder why God made stickers. The dart of pain that alerted a body to the unseen dagger that stabbed through layers of skin and tender feelings all the way to my heart, was quicker than the lightning that scares all children who were taught to fear being struck by bolts. Grandma's house had a tin roof. Dang Zeus! And her yard had more stickers than was fair. Country cousins were immune; they laughed when we cried and had to be tended to like babies. Our cousins were not braver--they simply had thicker skin on the soles of their feet. Looking back I almost believe they deliberately led me to the parts of the pasture and along borders of the lawn that cultivated those hellish weapons that remind me of pale, dry, miniature puffer fish. Heaven help you if the spine broke off into your sole, and an adult had to dig to get at it. We all cried even if it wasn't our foot on the surgical block! We couldn't not watch our poor cousins and siblings being pricked and squeezed like wounded warriors on the battlefield of summer play. We cried in solidarity. 

Tender young feet grew thicker skin as summer wore on. We outgrew having to hop on one foot to the front porch where the adults sat in the shade, ever watchful against our heathenish habits of kicking off perfectly good shoes just to romp, run like we never could in shod feet, and carry on like the Earth loved us more than they ever would. Parents, aunts and grandma were okay with us kicking up dust under the Big Tree that shed enough pine needles for a small village of tipis, but God protect us if we ever dared step in a puddle or dance in the rain. "Y'all are gonna catch pneumonia!" or "You'll catch your death of cold!" When it rained we were prisoners, tied to the porch with invisible shackles and threatening glares that promised ass whippings if we dared catch a single drop of rain on a palm. 

Rain never did cause pneumonia or even a cough, and we never lost a partner in childish romps because they were even damp. I learned better in school, but did you ever try to tell an adult that you knew better now that you were older and more learned? Nobody liked me after first grade. All those myths, lies stories, wives tales . . . All those don'ts they almost dont'ed us to death with turned out to be false. Like our earlier president was fond of saying, "They almost scienced me to death in school." Oh. And we were never allowed to say "lie." The word was considered a cuss word; we had to say things like, "Oooh, Mama, Bobbie told a story! She said she was gonna buy a library when she grows up!" Not, "Ooh, Mama! Bobbie lied! She said . . ." 

I hope some of my kin folks read this. If they do, they might understand why I still refuse to run to the car when it rains. I won't wait it out either. I like shoes like Keens because they're made for walking and splashing all up in puddles. This old girl gets to lick rain out of thin air! And when I write a letter to my aunts, I remind them of all those days I got to live with them in the country, and run like a wild heathen through the pasture, down the dirt road, and stepped in chicken doo without dying. Aunt Annie likes the letters and the old photos taken from ten years and more worth of family reunions and Mother's Days, Grandma Annie birthday celebrations . . . I used to fly from Colorado just to be home for an Armstrong celebration. Family used to mean just that much. These days letters are better. Why? 'Cause I'm the only one who prefers rain to church sermons at Armstrong Memorial Church. I'd rather catalog the dead in the family cemetery than pretend the current preacher was saving my soul. Saving it from what? There hasn't been an Armstrong pastor in our church since the first pretender to the pulpit back in the 1800s. Grandpa Vox got the last laugh too. He provided the land for the cemetery where so many Armstrongs et al lay sleep beneath their little private blanket of dirt. . . I think the last time he set foot in his cousin's church was the day he was buried. Okay, so he didn't set foot inside. He was carried in. And out. 

Sorry. I lost my way. I meant to tell you something totally different. All this thunder sidetracked me. The rest will keep for another day. What? What does all this have to do with letters and mail? Everything. Just about everything. *grin*


  1. why it has everything to do with letters and mail . Letters and mail are just about the best thing to talk about . oh my yes it is . I just did a lil dance in my mind , thank you for another great post . take care you .

    1. :D I'm trying to imagine you doing a little dance in your mind. I see it! LOL.


      Be well.

  2. Yes, I absolutely CAN believe that you taught yourself to cross stitch!

    1. Is it that bad? Am I so transparent? LOL. Thank you, Mrs. D. Our minds are amazing gifts that should be exercised to the maximum. I have had a wonderful life as an artist.

  3. Another stellar post. You have a way of drawing me in and I never want your stories to end. I'm glad you liked the animals, I just love the colours and patterns. When you see them you imagine stories about them, I did, I admit it freely. LOL

    1. Thank you, dear Anna. I am grateful for another's ability to understand my brain burps. My intentions are good but too often my editing fails miserably. Or perhaps I am too lazy to censor myself. :)

      Yes, I am crazy for those animals, flora and unidentifiable-by-me shapes. They remind me of something I cannot clearly see, yet it does not detract from my fondness for them. Thank you. You are right about seeing stories in each one. Perhaps Planet Earth II is to blame? In my mind's eye the elephant and giraffe are on a travel together. They seek the wizard/wizardess (?) because there's a problem on the savanna. The only way they see the grasses, plants, and trees puzzles them and it is life threatening, since they are only projections viewed on anther animal's body. How can they rest in the shade when the only tree is an image? How does the elephant and giraffe reach the leaves on tall trees if they exist only on each other? Oh, Anna! There are so many questions that need answers on the sad savanna.

      I'd love to hear a tease of at least one of your stories! :) Your gift gave me mine. Thank you.