It's been a day of surprises here for me.
First -beginning early-early in the day -at a hour when most people are sound asleep (but I was sitting in my chair, working away on the "Rooster" tabletopper for my cousin Ruth Ann and watching re-runs of one of my favorite shows on the Hallmark Channel (Cheers) when I heard noises on the stairs, little feet carefully come down the steps and into the living room then pops Miss Maya!
I asked her why she was up as she really should be in bed, sleeping -and dreaming -away so she would be all rested and ready to hop out of bed in the morning to get ready for school. She told me she needed a drink.
So, I told her to go and get a little glass of water and to that, she informed me, in a tone of voice that was almost haughty -"Some people drink things besides water, you know!"
Oh yes, my dear little one, that is quite true. And your Grammy, for example does love occasionally to indulge in beverages other than water or those that are made with water as a main component -like coffee, tea (hot or iced) and yes, Gram likes certain other beverages too that are -at least for several years I would hope -out of Miss Maya's range and liking. Things like oh, maybe a nice cold can or bottle of that fermented stuff called beer! Although my intake of that frosty beverage has dropped considerably over the past few years, I still do enjoy a good cold brew -or two -or sometimes more. LOL
So anyway -back to Miss Maya -I told her to go get herself a drink -of her choice -knowing full well that would involve her putting a little chocolate syrup in a cup and adding a dabble of milk to it and stirring it all up with as much, if not more zest and energy than one would use in mixing up a cake or some other concoction.
The milk having been devoured, I told her she really needed to go back to bed but again, she has a speedy response for me to that suggestion.
"I' m really not very tired or sleepy at all, Gram!"
I thought about forcing the issue and making her go back upstairs and to bed and then thought if I do that and she's not all that sleepy at the moment, she'll be awake upstairs and in no time, I could envision she would also wake up her brother and then, I'd be stuck with both of them up and fighting, and Kurtis having some kind of hissy fit so picking my battle carefully then, I told her she could stay downstairs with me but she had to either go lay down out in my room or lay down on the loveseat or the sofa.
Although there was plenty of room on the sofa for both her and Sammy -who was curled up at one end there -she couldn't lay down there and share the couch with him, so she got herself a lightweight blanket, found her special teddy bear and fluffy dog stuffed animal and curled up on the loveseat. That was shortly after 1:30 a.m. and it was just past 2:30 a.m. when I saw that her eyes had finally closed completely and that she was asleep then!
I just left her there then to sleep the rest of the night on the loveseat cause I sure as heck wasn't about to try to carry her upstairs nor was I going to rouse her and make her walk up the steps either! Best to let sleeping dogs lie you know!
This afternoon, I went out to our church around 1 p.m. to meet up with seven other women from our Women's Group and we set out to give the social hall there a darned good housecleaning!
Cupboards in the kitchen were all cleaned out and scrubbed; the stove and oven cleaned plus windows in the hall, wainscoating, heating vents -all given a good wipe-down. All the tables and folding chairs were given a thorough once-over and finally, the floor swept and mopped up. If anyone were to come into the social room now, I would defy them to find any dirt, anywhere, left over there!
While I was working on the wainscoating and heat vents, my neighbor and good friend, Kate, was doing each table and the folding chairs. We talked a bit as we worked - a nice feature of having a group of people sharing in those chores you know- and when I got to the end of one wall and went to get up from working on that stuff on my hands and knees, I realized I had a bit of a problem.
I was beyond the reach of the last table so I had nothing stable then to grasp hold of and balance myself while trying to pull myself up to my feet!
I thought maybe if I got myself up on one knee and I could put the weight then onto the other leg and do a balance act there, I could stand up. But that knee didn't want to cooperate, so I reverted then to trying to do the same thing but with the other knee and it did seem, momentarily, that it was going to work and then, BOOM! I lost my balance and did a semi-split there on the floor with my left leg bending at the knee and kind of causing my left leg then to splay out a bit and my left ankle was slightly bend under all of that weight then too!
Yeah, it was quite the sight -a not very neat and tidy three-point landing for sure, but thankfully, nothing injured except a bit of pride you could say. Although it did take me very much by surprise and when I made my landing, although in my mind, I meant to say "Oh Sheesh!" but a slip of the tongue and the other women probably thought I was calling out in prayer because what I said was "Oh Jesus!"
I should have known better than to try to get up off the floor in the first place without having anything to hold onto and to give me some leverage but no, I had to prove it to myself, for once and for all I guess, that there are certain moves my old body doesn't approve of and that happens to be one of 'em!
When we were about finished up, my stomach -or intestinal tract actually -began to give me fits with lots of cramping and such so I made a speedy exit out of there then and came home to sit back and put my legs up, rest my back a bit too that way and try to get the intestines to settle down.
Finally, about 5:30 -feeling a little tired but not wanting to fall asleep right then and there -I opted to take Sammy for a nice long walk as an effort to keep my legs and back from stiffening up too much on me.
We walked down the road -in the opposite direction then of the neighbor who complained -and headed down towards the ghost town of Peale.
It had been about 3 weeks since I had last been down that part of the road and what a treat I had today.
Three weeks ago, there were dandelions blooming all over there. Today, still lots of bloomers in that category but lots of them already going to seed and ready to have their fluffy tops blown off and spreading their seeds deeper then into the forest.
Trees that had only the faintest hint of a bud on them three weeks ago now showed many of them to be in full blossom. White flowers, pink ones denoted apple trees among the firs, hemlock and pines. Maple and oak trees had buds coming out and some even had tiny leaves beginning to form. And those evergreens -many of them had lighter green showing on their tips which indicates the new growth coming on to those trees too.
Just beautiful! Seeing all the colors, the different shades of greens and the flora along the road showed how this had all sprung back to life in those three weeks then since my last visit.
It's been many, many a year that has passed since I was a youngster and used to walk down that road or along the old railroad track and see the new blossoms, the new ground flower growth popping up along the way. Back then, when my cousins and I would walk with their aunts along those routes, they told me the names of all the little tiny white or purple flowers we saw blooming but when you stop visiting places like this for a long period of time, don't pay any particular attention over those years to the growth around you, those names, the ability to identify plants leaves you.
And sadly, that's exactly what has happened to me.
I saw some lovely little white blooms as well as some tiny purple and lavender ones too but I couldn't tell you now what plants they were from! I saw the bushes along the roadside beginning to turn from the winter brown to the lovely light green shade and I'm pretty sure many of them will be producing a great crop of huckleberries this summer. I "think" I can still recognize those plants! I know I did see some leaves of some other vine type things growing in and around those bushes and I'm pretty sure they were wild strawberry plants getting their foothold in the ground again.
But when it is time to go pick those things, those bushes, those fir trees and other ground cover growth will then be so thick along the road that it will be hard to reach in and pick their succulent fruits because by then, the wildlife of the area will be out then too. And those woods are really full of creepy crawly things that I hate and am also terrified of encountering one of 'em too -copperheads and rattlesnakes!
Funny isn't it though, how -when I was a kid -my friends and I would take our little pails and head down that road and pick berries with very little fear of those creatures! Usually, we would have one adult with us -for protection and to beat the bushes a bit to roust out any unwanted snakes -but I know and fully understand today why my Mom -and my Grandmother too -were always worried from the time my pals and I would leave on one of these berry-picking expeditions until we got back home with no bites on us other than from some pesky mosquitos or insects of that type.
But these days, I'll enjoy going for walks down there, along that road and trying to imagine what it may have been like there well over a hundred years ago when my Grandfather was growing up in that ghost town and how different the sights there are today than from when he saw them.
Hard to imagine a young boy of 9 or 10 years of age going out and picking berries after having put in a full workday -10 hours or so -loading coal into the mine cars and leading the mules out of the mines, pulling their heavy loads behind them, isn't it?
But that's what life was like back then for him and for many, many other youngsters his age and up. Work from dawn until the late afternoon and then come home and tend to a garden or go picking berries and other things from the woods around them to sustain them with fresh food during the summer months and through the hard work of canning and preserving those items, food to keep them nourished through the long, cold months ahead.
I don't know about you but it makes me marvel that they had that strength to persevere, to push on, to harvest any and all foods they could.
How many of us today could do that? How many of the children today would even be willing to do all that?
All of that makes me very thankful that they could and did and also, that today, we don't have to endure that much work, that kind of hardship, in order to have fresh food to eat.
Enjoy the produce on your tables today and remember how hard our ancestors had to work to have the bounty of the land around them to carry them through.