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Every Life is a Story
    A place to share my own family stories

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

May Day

When I was a little girl, May Day was still a holiday. I remember early in my elementary years seeing the Maypole dance at school assemblies as party of the May Day celebrations.

When I was in kindergarten, we lived in a house that was lined with lilac trees. One May Day, my mother got little woven baskets, cut lilacs and arranged them in the baskets, then gave them to us to deliver to the neighbors. We carried the baskets over, put them on the doorstep, rang the doorbell, and ran.

I haven't seen a Maypole dance since early elementary. I certainly don't see a tradition of delivering flowers, nor do any advertisers push it. All of the advertisements are about Mother's Day now.

May Day isn't a holiday. It's a cry of distress for pilots.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


My father served in Vietnam. He and my mother were married for three years before he was sent overseas, and she was left back in the states. She got together with a friend of hers from college whose husband was also sent to Vietnam. Together they rented a house, and my mother helped take care of her friend's baby.

Together they would look for things to send their husbands to make serving out in Vietnam easier. It was on a trip up the Mckenzie river in Oregon, that Mom found a great deal on some amazing blueberries. They were as big as her thumbnail, and the most beautiful things she had ever seen. She purchased 20 pounds of them, thinking of how wonderful it would be for her husband to come home and have all of these amazing blueberries. She washed them, put them in individual bags, and froze them, imagining blueberry pancakes, blueberry muffins, blueberry cobblers, all of the great things she would serve my Dad when he came home.

That's when she got the call from my Dad. He was in Guam, and on his way to Hawaii on leave, and she needed to meet him there. She had finished the blueberries, but wasn't prepared to leave suddenly on a trip. There was a frantic race to find and pay for the first flight out to Hawaii she could get, then pack everything she needed and get to the airport. She hadn't done her hair, or her makeup or anything. After nearly missing the flight, she managed to get on her way to Hawaii, and the two of them were reunited. After their first kiss in ages, my Mom excitedly told my Dad about the amazing blueberries she had purchased, and how she'd just gotten them frozen, and couldn't wait to give him some.

My Dad looked at her, and said, "Bernie, I hate blueberries."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Mouse

My husband has already posted about our new family member on HIS blog at www.rampantgames.com. With stories, however, telling them from a different point of view sometimes means a different story...

My oldest daughter came home from her Young Women's church group excitedly asking if she could have a mouse. One of the girls there said that her sister was coming home from college with a pet mouse, and her parents said she couldn't keep it in their house. So she was asking if there was anyone who would take it. My daughter clearly wanted to say yes, she'd take it, and wisely consulted us first. My husband and I debated back and forth, and decided that if SHE was willing to assume full responsibility for the creature, then we didn't mind if she got the mouse.

The mouse arrived last Saturday, a cute furry little brown thing that slept the whole day away. It arrived with its own cage, complete with plastic running wheel, a hanging bottle of water, and some food. My daughter was thrilled, and made a place for it in her room in spite of the smell. Some air freshener made that more palatable, and we all happily introduced ourselves to the new pet. The only person who had a problem with the mouse was our dog. She knew there was a living thing in the cage on my daughter's dresser, but couldn't see it from her low to the ground vantage point. She HATED it that we were all standing around looking at the living creature that wasn't HER, and whined and fussed whenever anyone got close to the mouse.

We were out with friends Saturday night, and didn't get home until very very late. We had early morning activities, so we quickly went to bed and fell asleep. I remember having a dream that someone was pouring marbles on the roof of the house. It morphed into a serious hailstorm, and I was wondering in my dream if there was really a storm going on outside. I woke up shortly after that to hear the dog whining, and glanced at the clock- 3:30. I'd had two hours of sleep. I blearly staggered out of bed and let the dog out- that's usually what she wants. I had enough presence of mind to check her water. If she didn't want to go out, that's usually the NEXT thing she wants. I let the dog back in, and went back to bed.

My husband spoke as I crawled back into bed, "The mouse woke you up too, huh?" The mouse? It was my dream and the dog that woke me up, not the mouse....and that was when the mouse hopped on his plastic wheel and began to run. It sounded JUST like marbles being poured out on the roof of the house. The dog went insane. She started to whine and run back and forth between the two bedrooms trying to tell us that there was something GOING ON over in the other bedroom. She hadn't needed to go out at all. It was all the mouse. We had known that mice were nocturnal, but hadn't really thought about what that meant when we signed on for the new pet.

I went back to sleep finally, but ended up waking again and again as the night went on, unused to hearing the loud wheel. The next day was awful because it was a busy day, and I was exhausted. We're a few nights into it now, and I've only been awakened by the mouse a couple more times. The dog has gotten used to it, and I think my oldest is ignoring the sound better now too. Still, we might be visiting the pet store to see if there's such a thing as a QUIET wheel....something I'll probably have to pay for given my daughter's limited income and her need to provide things like, oh, FOOD for the rodent.

So much for her taking sole responsibility.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Little Miracles

April 2nd is my husband's birthday. On April 2nd, eleven years ago, I miscarried our second child. It was devastaing. We spent time in the hospital, then we had to call all of the relatives and friends to tell them that no, we weren't having a baby anymore. My husband's birthday ended up being some pizza, and a gift remembered after-the-fact. It won the honor of being the worst birthday of his life.

The very next year, on April 2nd, I gave birth to our second daughter. As far as birthday celebrations go, it wasn't much better. We had takeout Chinese food as we waited for a bed to open up so we could be induced. Apparently every other pregnant woman in the state went into labor naturally, so they couldn't fit me in. Thank the Sweet and Sour pork, because we ended up driving to the hospital not two hours later with contractions 5 minutes apart. After a fairly quick labor, she was born just after 11 pm- just in time to share a birthday with her Dad. This one was ranked as one of the best birthdays of his life- second only to his own birth perhaps.

All gratitude to tiny miracles that replace one memory of a horrible day with another memory of a joyous day. Happy Birthday, you two.

"To be a person
is to have a story to tell."

- Isak Dinesen  

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