We Didn’t Care (Blog #5)

Whitney-Faith and I walked outside. The cool Pennsylvania fall air wrapped itself around us. We were at Mr. Martin’s and the swing was in the yard. This swing was made out of a smooth board with rope tied to a tree limb that seemed as though it were 50 ft. in the air. We would swing for what seemed like hours. But today we had a new idea. And it made us laugh.

“I’ll push you and then it will be my turn,” I told me little sister.

“Okay!” was her reply. She jumped on the swing. Her feet didn’t even drag the dirt that was beneath them. 

We swung. We waited. When would a car come by? Or better yet, when would a horse and buggy come by? We were vacationing at a friend’s house in Amish country.

I pushed her and she pumped her legs. That swing went so high. I always thought that one day I would swing so high, I would fly right off the seat. I never did. But that day, we did something that we thought was just crazy.

The air was clear and the only thing in front of us was a corn field and a two lane road. And no cars. Where were the cars?

Finally, a black sedan came traveling down the black asphalt. Giggles rushed into our throats. She pumped. I pushed. Our hands shot up above our heads as we yelled,

“HELLOO! HEY! HOW ARE YA?” with laughter erupting between each syllable. We did it. We yelled at someone going down the road that we didn’t know. And we received a smile in return. 

I was young. She was younger. We loved that swing. It would carry you up and away, and then bring right back to safety. Those people going down the road had no idea who we were.

We didn’t care.

We just wanted to laugh, so we did something that in our little homeschooler minds, was crazy.

We just wanted to be silly, so we took advantage of our location and opportunity and yelled hello to strangers.

I was young. She was younger. We did something that made us laugh. It puzzled those who passed by. Hopefully it made some laugh. Maybe later we were the joke of the neighborhood.

We didn’t care.

We were free. 

We were safe.

We hadn’t a care in the world to keep us from smiling and saying hello to people we thought needed to be spoken to.

Because they were people.

We were children, giggling little girls with a word and a laugh to share.Image 

 Whitney-Faith, me, and our Aunt Jenny-Thanksgiving 2013

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A Place of Solace-Blog #4

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A place of comfort. We will find it if we take the time to trust our instincts and allow ourselves to rest in the places we often find ourselves. If we trust those places.

His doors are heavy from wear. His metal armor says “Made in America and proud of it.” He is nearly as old as me. This “he” I speak of was given to me by my Mommy and Daddy. His name is Chevrolet Silverado. And I call him my honey. His tires that are nearly warn out speak of where he is from. The country. A long driveway. Home. They tell of the service that he provides and the help that he offers. Mud from the pasture decorates the sides and at times and in certain places, blends in with the gold that is his coloring. You might find me silly. Writing about a truck. Giving it a name of endearment.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted a truck. My Daddy drove one. Always. My sisters, whom I admire, wanted one. I learned how to drive in a 15-passenger, black, Ford, E350. Big has always been standard around here. Big has always been safe. And that is what my honey is.

On the rides home from school, with the heater blowing on my boots, I felt safe in my pick-up. As I sit on the worn, leather seat and look in the rearview mirror and see the truck bed, I smile. After a bad day, he doesn’t ask questions. The radio blares. He doesn’t betray my trust. Tells no one of my tears. Or of my immature giggles. He just keeps going.

Solace- a place of comfort during trouble.

God gave me this truck, this bucket of bolts that I call my honey. And with it, solace. He knew I would need it. Before I ever would have. Thankfulness. My oozes with it.

My Hero (Blog #3, Revised)

My pajamas were soft. What surrounded my body was more than likely stretchy pants and a worn out, green T. shirt that smelled of diesel fuel and felt like Daddy. I always stole his shirts to sleep in. They were just better. The hems were always thread bare, the pockets worn through.

I sat in a little wooden chair in our living room. The white pine hard wood was chilly beneath my feet. But I never would have admitted it. I liked going barefoot year round to much. The tap and hum of the 20 year old, Dove wood heater was the only noise that drifted through the house.

It was Saturday night and my hair was dripping wet from my getting-ready-for-church-on-Sunday bath.

I wiggled and wrinkled my nose as I sat there, learning patience. Daddy was behind me sitting on the couch, with my curly, blonde hair in his lap that would sweep across the red, GA clay in our back yard if I leaned back in the swing set. Which I often did. Now do you see why I needed a bath?

The ends of my hair were soft and twisted and waved into baby curls that my daddy loved. And that wouldn’t be cut off for many years. That is why, on Saturday night, he and I were the only ones up.

With a plastic, Dollar General comb in one hand, and my hair in the other, he patiently picked apart the rats-nest of a knot that had been constructed out of my untamed hair at the base of my little neck. Those same hands and arms that were taking care of my tangled tresses, were the arms and hands that carried chainsaws and six foot logs. They were the arms and hands that were calloused from a life time made of days full of honest, dirty, long, and hard work.

It seemed as though I sat in that chair for hours. It was probably only 30 minutes. But Daddy was always patient with me.

“Leah-Joy, sit still,” he would say as he slowly picked through the mess with his muscular hands. Those muscles came from carrying me and my six siblings, catching us when we fell, building our home in six months in the 1985. They came from building a company with nothing but a tractor and a chainsaw.

As I sat there in that little, yellow chair, trying my best to be still, and not always succeeding, I knew why I was having my hair brushed. The next morning Daddy would walk up our stairs that each sounded off a different note as you stepped on them. He would come into mine and my sister’s room. One by one he would wake us up and laugh at the drool on our faces.

“C’mon. It’s time to get up. You need to get ready for church.” Because of his patient hands, my curly, waist long, 6 year old hair was ready for church the night before.  

By the time he would finish, my thick hair would be dry. He would give me a scruffy kiss goodnight and a pat on the bottom. My little feet would make their way up the creaky, wooden staircase to find my room that Daddy built and crawl into my little, warm, twin bed bed that Daddy designed for me.

Sparkling Apple Cider and Miracles

The kitchen was hot as white chili cooked in an enamel pot on our worn, ten year old stove. The space wasn’t just filled with strangely warm air on January 11th. Floating through it was joy and the reality that miracles are real.

The reality that they walk among us.

The island was covered with color from vegetables, fruit, salsa, cheese, and of course, sweet tea. We all gathered around it as if we were penguins trying to keep warm.

“Everybody, we need to go that way,”Mommy said,pointing at the kitchen table.

We all shuffled and giggled as we picked up our glasses of Sparkling Apple Cider. 20 members of my family encircled our 8×8 foot, white oak table. It was toast time. My cousin, Patrick, raised his glass. After laughing because of Sparkling Apple Cider running down his arm from an overflowing cup, he thanked his dad, my uncle, for raising him, for being an awesome dad. The 6’5” man with a loud laugh that I call Uncle Bobby, turned 51 today.

Today we all thanked God that he is with us. And not six feet under the ground because of the brain bleed that attempted to drain his life from him in the winter of 2011. Today he was here. Today is a miracle. He is still Patrick’s dad.

Today I realized that all our cups are overflowing.    Uncle Bobby and Mommy   Mommy and Uncle Bobby