By Apples, Thank You for the Snack, Lady! 

Remember my recent tales of the possum in the garage?

A few days ago, I set a bag of overripe apples on the back deck with the intention of taking them out to the back fence row to leave for the deer. 

I noticed apples had been taken out of the bag and nibbled on. In fact, the bag must’ve been tipped over because I saw my dog carrying an apple around. 

Since they were near the bird feeders, I thought the birds were eating them. 

Last night, a movement on the deck caught my attention. When I opened the door, I saw our friend, the possum, eating an apple and looking right at me!! 

I slammed the door and it ran under the chairs. Whew! That was close! Now, you would think it would run for its life, but nooooooooo! It stuck around and started chomping on an apple closer to the chair! 

This time I ran for a camera! The pictures are quite awful. 

I’m quite surprised how unafraid it was. Heck, after our 3 a.m. meet up in the garage, maybe it thinks I’m pretty darn cool. I mean, I did shut off that stinking radio. 

Who knows. Maybe it thinks we’re pals and this time it was saying, “By apples, thank you for the snack, lady!” 

 

SomeTHING’S Back

Ever wonder what goes through a wild animal’s mind? 

If you’ve had a chance to read my story, “SomeTHING’s in the Garage” you may be disturbed to know that this is a sequel! 

The morning after my 3 a.m. encounter with the possum and crazy radio, I decided to clean out the garage! Take that wild animals! No more hiding places for you! 

What a disaster our garage has been! A few months ago we finally emptied our storage unit in town after 7 years. I bet you can guess where it all landed…

All day I worked on the garage. Ugh! Where’d we get all that junk? Finally I got it most of it organized. 

However, there’s a giant air compressor, a table saw, and a lathe I can’t even begin to think about moving and just past those is an old recliner. Fair enough, I cleaned up all around it and the garage was looking gooood.

I set a bag of cat food and a glass bowl on top of the roll top desk and the cat’s food bowl on a low shelf a few feet away. 

When I went to bed that night, I heard a loud noise in the garage. Hmmmm. What’s that cat doing in there? She’s loud. I figured she’d settle down and I went to bed.

Well… In the morning I discovered that both cats had spent the night inside the house. Oh. Great. SomeTHING’s back!

Sure enough! SomeTHING had been on top of the roll top desk and the glass bowl was shattered on the floor. The cat food bag lay beside it OPEN! And, the cat food bowl a few feet away? Tipped on its side.

Yikes.

Really? Really! After the radio thing? Makes me wonder if that possum told his friends “I found a place with some grub, but man, it’s loud!”

Well, I didn’t  know what to do! Keep the garage door open or closed? Was it still in there? I decided to leave it open hoping whatever it was would run for its life. When it was close to getting dark, I shut the door. 

Later when I was getting Little Bit ready for bed, there was a bunch of commotion in the garage. Are you kidding me? 

I opened the door and over in the corner behind the air compressor near the recliner where I couldn’t see, someTHING was moving around. 

Enough already! My husband was bowling and I messaged him. He said he’d look when he got home. He looked and said he couldn’t find anyTHING. 

The following morning we were gifted a lovely trail of greasy footprints after it apparently stepped into the grease bucket. 

Good grief, what a mess. But, hey, at least this time nothing turned on the radio!  

 

SomeTHING’S in the Garage

Have you ever had the heebie-jeebies? Like twice in one night? 

A few nights ago, my husband went to bed early and asked me to let the cat in before I went to bed. 

Sure, ok, that’s easy enough. When I was ready for bed, I opened the front door and called for her. She didn’t come. I opened the back door. Here kitty kitty… She still didn’t come. 

I remembered he had left the garage door raised about 6 inches during the day so she could come and go as she pleased. 

I opened the house door, stepped into the garage, and heard a loud non-cat “Crunch, crunch, munch, munch, munch.” Enter heebie-jeebie.

I froze, thinking, “What was that?????” Then, I spotted a dog food bag tipped over on the floor. SomeTHING was in it! SomeTHING was having a snack! 

Several boxes were surrounding the bag, so it was a bit hard to see. So, I tried to scare whatever it was by slamming the door. 

The bag rustled like crazy, then was perfectly still. Apparently whatever it was ran back out. Whew! That was close! I shut the big garage door and the inside door and went to bed.

At 3 a.m. I sat straight up in bed. Was that the tv blaring? Why in the world would my husband have it sooooo loud? I got out of bed to go see.

Turns out it wasn’t the tv. That horrendous noise was the weather radio blaring full blast in the garage! 

Oh no! Not the garage! This was already an odd scenario. Everyone else was in bed, yet the radio that we haven’t used in 6 months was on?

As you can probably guess, I was afraid to open that door. S-l-o-w-l-y I opened it just a bit and peeked in. 

Eeks!

About two feet from the door was a possum, sitting straight up, hands on its tummy, staring right at me! 

I slammed the door and weighed my options:

  1. Just go back to bed and and listen to “you are in a freezing fog advisory” on super loud the rest of the night. 
  2. Get that animal out of there and shut that dang radio off. 

So… I cracked the door, stuck my arm out, pushed the garage door up button, then closed the door and waited. A few minutes later I looked again and that possum was GONE! 

Possums don’t wear shoes, but could you imagine being in them? First, you’re out on your nightly rounds, looking for supper. “Hey, what’s this? An open door? Dog food? Yum! What? Who’s that and why is she shutting the door? How am I supposed to get out of here? I’m stuck in here? Oh well. Guess I’ll snoop around behind the toolbox. Hey, did I just step on a button? Oh no! I did! Who is screaming at me? Help! SomeTHING’s in here with me!”

The look on that poor critter’s face when I first opened the door said it all! 

“LADY!!!! TURN DOWN THAT RADIO!” 

P.S. I only wish I would’ve had my camera so you could’ve seen its expression! Oh, and the cat never did come when I called her. Found out the next morning that she was inside the house the whole time!  

 

Valentine’s Fun

Are you having or did you have a great Valentine’s Day? 

I truly hope that you are/did. Valentine’s Day is a pretty big deal around here, but it’s not about flowers or chocolates. 

Today is my husband and my 20th Valentine’s Day. How cool is that? What a lucky guy! He’s had me for 20 years! Ha ha. Just kidding. I’m pretty sure I’m the lucky one. 

This afternoon I dug out a bunch of letters I wrote him when we first started dating in June of 1995. Oh my gosh! We were smitten, to say the least. 

In fact, in one letter, there was a solid paragraph of repeated “I love you’s” one right after the other! That was it, no other words. 

Also, the heart picture here  

 is one I drew him 9 months after our first date! What a gift to see that love jumping off the page!

Over the years our relationship has grown and holidays, including Valentine’s Day have evolved to include our own little family. Currently our family consists of Little Bit, of course, and also two cats and one dog.

This morning Little Bit walked into the living room to see all of his stuffed animals sitting on the couch. Each one with a little card for him. He was so excited. 

The three of us spent the day playing Valentine games and building Legos, with the dog underfoot and cats lounging about. It was a relaxing day at home full of Valentine fun.

Happiest of Valentine’s wishes to you! ❤️

 Ozzy (dog), Lulu Jones (black), Sophie(white)

   

Her Voice

Have you ever just been floating along in your life and suddenly been gifted something so unbelievable that you almost had to pinch yourself so you could believe it?

That happened to me. As most of you know, Friday was a tough day for me. I was working on my story about my aunt. Grief had sort of set up shop in my kitchen and after dishing out bowls full of tears, it made itself quite comfortable on the stool next to mine.

Thoughts of not only losing my aunt, but also about losing grandma Wilma crowded my heart. As I reread my story about grandma from December, my heart was more than heavy.

How is it that time passes so quickly? February is half over which means grandma has already been gone over two months. I found myself really missing her, too.

When I got my story finished up, I went about the normal day activities. A few hours later, I sat down to check my emails. Little did I know that I was about to receive a glorious gift.

My parents had forwarded me an email from my uncle that contained something that I had no idea even existed.

At first, I just sat there, staring at it. Then, I ran to get Little Bit.

You see, that email contained  something way beyond believable. As I hit the play button, the gift magically appeared.

Her voice.

Grandma Wilma’s voice filled the entire room. 

It was an audio file of grandma reading “The Night Before Christmas.” You should have seen us! With blankets and pillows piled high on the dining room floor, we sat among books and Legos, and we listened.

I’m pretty sure there was never a sweeter moment. It was as if there was a giant box in the room covered with pretty paper and ribbons.

Words can’t even begin to touch what it was like to see the sparkle in my little boy’s eyes when he heard his great grandma’s voice once again.

The giant tears cascading down my cheeks were the only movement in a house that was all ears for grandma.

When my precious Little Bit saw my tears, he uttered the most perfectly, amazing, heartfelt words:

“Ooooh, you love it!”

(Insert. Giant. Smile. Here.)

Yes, I most certainly do.  
(her barn and whirly-gig thing that grandpa made) 



My Beautiful Aunt

Have you ever lost someone you truly love?

I have. This week actually. It’s funny how two sentences can change things in a split second. 

Last Saturday, my husband, Little Bit, and I were on our way to buy a new truck when I got the news that my aunt had unexpectedly passed away.

My hand instantly went to my mouth accompanied by a verbal, “Oh my God.” Somehow I got through the truck paperwork without my tears flooding the desk. Since then I’ve been stuck in the sea of disbelief. 

For days I have been racking my brain, trying to think of something perfect to say about her, just something perfect to sum up what she means to me. Nothing but heartache has spilled onto my paper. 

Somehow I’ve got it stuck in my head that whatever I write must be grand in scale. I keep going back to the story I wrote in December when grandma Wilma passed away. 

That story was read by the minister during grandma’s funeral and I think that because my aunt was there and heard it, I feel like I owe my aunt her own story.

But, what I’ve discovered is, she IS that story. Who she was and the way she lived her life is embedded in those words. Her name fits right in between grandma Irene’s, Esther’s and Irene’s. She belongs there. She wore Iowa well, too.

Another thing I’m learning this week is that there’s no such thing as perfect when it comes to heart matters. If you picture your life as a great big heart, it’s easy to see that things don’t squeeze into it perfectly. Life isn’t perfect. It’s flawed and messy and amazing all in one breath.

When I think of my aunt, I see a giant heart next to an empty box of assorted crayons. Instead of the crayons being neatly in their places, they’re scattered on the table, paper torn off, and the colors used up. 

Her love was big and open. She gave it often and freely. In fact, she’s actually my dad’s cousin, but she let us call her aunt all our lives. She lived loudly. She endured some rough times, yet she carried on. She didn’t have to, but she chose to. She was brave, loving, and ornery. 

She was genuine, compassionate, and happy. She smiled every time I saw her. She knew me all my life and even though we didn’t see each other very much, I knew she loved me. I could feel it. Yes, when I think of her heart, it’s colored wayyyy outside the lines. 

That’s the heart I want. I want scribbles. Forget a heart that’s divided neatly into compartments of family, work, friends, and hobbies. I want all my colors intertwined and all my life experiences muddled together just like hers were. 

Oh, how I miss her. It hurts my heart to know that a week ago today she was here, but a week ago tomorrow, she wasn’t. 

One thing about her was, she survived when she lost her loved ones. She was able to keep breathing and carry on. She did it gracefully. The best I can tell, she’d want me to do the same. Here’s to my beautiful aunt.  

 

Weathered in Glory

Have you ever seen a tree, damaged by storms, still standing?

As silly as it sounds, I named an old weathered tree in our backyard “Glory”. Once upon a time when all this land was one big farm, I bet that tree had some important jobs. 

Maybe it held a swing or shared it’s shade for family picnics. Perhaps several baby birds were born in nests there. 

The years have been rough on that old tree. The wind has whipped through on many occasions and broken it’s mighty limbs. 

Why is it that the broken branches can’t fall to the ground with a clean break? Instead they seem to hang on forever as constant reminders of gray days and no sun.

On top of that, it’s trunk has been surrounded by Black Locusts which have huge thorns all over them. It has definitely been protected, but from what, I’m not sure. 

To us, the tree has been completely off limits and quite honestly, looking at it out our kitchen window for eight years, it has looked quite forgotten and lonely. 

Several months ago just after lunch one Saturday afternoon, I heard this tremendous boom and looked out back. Lightning struck the tree.

A massive limb cracked and fell right down its middle. It’s center was essentially peeled back and dangling. My heart sank. How much more could this poor tree take?

When the winds calmed and the storm ended, we ran out back. Not being able to reach it, there was nothing we could do. 

Until two weeks ago. 

My husband brought home a machine and got rid of all those thorn trees. Woo hoo! They’re not welcome here anymore! He cleaned up all those broken limbs and, my, how the view has changed. 

When I look out the window, it’s almost like Faith showed back up carrying baskets full of hope. And, even though the tree’s scars are totally visible, they’re more of a badge of strength now instead of a burden. 

How freeing it must be to drop all that “heavy” and be able to stand tall once again, with arms outstretched towards the blue sky, weathered in Glory.