Saturday, October 3, 2015

Overheard in Heaven

“Careful, Gabe, The Big Guy’s in a seriously unheavenly mood at the moment. I’d just shove all those petitions behind a cloud for the next few millennia if I were you. He’s gone right off prayer requests. Praise and thanksgiving are fine but he’s had it with those believers who think that all they have to do is pray and he’ll grant their wishes. 

"‘Who do they think I am, anyway,’ He thundered. ‘ME-damned Santa Claus? I mean, I understand how sometimes prayer is all the miserable wretches have left but why don’t they at least make an effort to fix things themselves? Like one of my guys down there said, first feed the hungry, then pray for them.’

“When did this start? Well, it’s been coming on for a while – all these football teams praying for victory – that Tebow fella was starting to get on His one last nerve – people praying for help finding their car keys or for winning the lottery. But what really ticked Him off was people asking Him to heal their children instead of taking the children to a doctor or praying for an end to mass shootings instead of working for gun control.

" ‘Why do they think I gave them intelligence ?’ He moaned. And then He sent me to check the records to see if He had slipped up when He was doling out intelligence in the USA.

“I think it was Facebook put Him over the edge. He hadn’t paid much attention to it since it was an invention of the Other Side but then one of the Fallen Angels made sure He saw this certain page about prayer warriors. He scrolled through several years of it in the blink of an eye then he shook His head.

“’Oh, Me, this is unbelievable! These people seem to think that I’m sitting up here just waiting for the prayer meter to hit 5K before I’ll save little Timmy from cancer or send the hurricane the other way. What kind of God do they think I am anyway?’

“And that’s when He said He was taking some time off till His children could figure things out for themselves, using the tools He’d already given them. 'Otherwise,' He told me, 'I'm going to start smiting things again and I hate it when I do that.'

" Where is He? Well, technically He's everywhere, what with the omnipresence thing. But the last I saw, He was skateboarding along the Milky Way, and singing ‘Would You Like to Swing on a Star?’ so loud they probably heard Him in the next galaxy. He has a really good voice -- heavenly, actually.”

Friday, October 2, 2015

Signs of the Season

Blackberry leaves turn . . .

Squirrels feast on Black  Walnuts . . .

Poison ivy takes on beautiful color . . . 

Sang (ginseng) yellows up . . .

Michaelmas daisies sparkle
and wild persimmons ripen.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Thankful for Rain . . .

We've had rainy weather for days now . . . and our dryer isn't working. John has diagnosed the problem and has the necessary part ordered . . .

But the laundry is piling up and seeing blue skies this morning, I did several loads and hung them out.

 Upon which the clouds rolled back in. When it began to sprinkle around four thirty, the laundry was still damp . . . John (who is a terrific handy man) has rigged a by-pass of sorts to the problem and (I hope) our damp laundry is tumbling itself dry as I type.

It wouldn't be such a big deal -- except that with the forecast of heavy rainfall beginning Friday -- along with the possibility of power outages -- I'd really like to have a full complement of clean towels and underwear.

So we're filling vessels with water (when the power is off, the pump doesn't work) and considering what else we might need . . . John has dug the water breaks on the road deeper . . . and I'm telling you all that if I don't post at some point, it's probably that our internet is down.

We  are happy at the thought of more rain to raise the water table but we hope that those in areas of flooding stay safe. And have lots of dry clothes.  

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

From the Drawer

A mixed bag of memorabilia from the drawer of my grandmother's treadle sewing machine . . . a pair of pince nez, snapshots of her and my grandfather during their courting days, and a typescript of a lecture on sexual intercourse. (Very positive and using proper terminology.)

And how I would like to know the story behind the lecture. My grandmother's mother had died well before my grandmother married -- did her father give this to her? A friend? Did she acquire it on her own? It will have to remain a mystery, alas. 

This same grandmother was a Sunday School teacher -- this document must have been from that time. (The kid gloves are much later.)

And in the same drawer, a letter from my seven year old self to my grandmother's sister  (Mamie) in Troy, Alabama. I love how I manage to fill both sides of the page in spite of not having much to say. (Skipper is my brother -- I don't know what was wrong with him.)

Oops! There goes the clock! Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong!  Soon it will be time for me to leave to teach my class. 

I will be sure to tell them that it's noticeable when writers are just filling space with nothing much to say . . .

Monday, September 28, 2015

Ona Blankenship (re-post)

This is a re-post from 2008.

"This is how I picture Miss Birdie," my friend Louise told me last night, handing me these two black and white photos. Ona Blankenship was Louise's nearest neighbor in Pipestem, West Virginia, back at the end of the Sixties.

You know what? Ona looks just like the Miss Birdie in my mind. While my Miss Birdie's voice and character draw from my own neighbors -- Grace Henderson, Mearl Davis, Dessie Wilson --- and from fictional characters -- you can find Birdie's kin in Lee Smith's Fair and Tender Ladies, in Kathryn Stripling Byer's Black Shawl or Wildwood Flower, and in The Foxfire Books, to name only a few -- I've never pictured Birdie as looking like any one I know. And now, here she is.

When Louise knew her, Ona Blankenship was in her eighties and living alone. In spite of failing eyesight and arthritic fingers, she created beautiful crazy quilts, Louise tells me.

The quilt in the picture isn't one of Ona's. It was made by Ollie Payne, the mother of the woman from whom we bought our farm. Ollie was almost 100 the only time I met her and was a bed-ridden invalid, covered by numerous quilts of her own making.

These wonderful, fierce old women -- everywhere I go I hear their stories. Only last night a new acquaintance told me about her octogenarian aunt, up on the roof hammering down shingles. (Didn't I have Aunt Omie doing something like that in Dark Season?)

So many stories waiting to be told -- in my family and yours, in my county and yours. Let's hear it for fierce old women!
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