Friday, July 13, 2012
Dragonboats, Kindness, and Bad Dreams
A creative way to express one's thoughts is through this little ditty called Friday's Letters, hosted by a young newlywed named Ashley. I first saw this meme over at my friend Lea's blog (Cici's Corner) and thought, "I'm gonna do that some day." Well, today is that someday.
Dear Dragon Boats at Baltimore's Inner Harbor,
I hear you took my husband and many of his co-workers for a ride as a "team-building" outing after their quarterly meetings. From the looks of him half-hunched over the next day, and the sounds of his groans as he reached for more ibuprofen, it was quite a workout for a 51-year old. He said he rowed and rowed and rowed the boat till his back and shoulders and arms and abs were painful mush. Well, he didn't put it that way exactly. He didn't have enough energy to be that wordy. He said, "Oh, man, my back!" and I filled in the rest for dramatic effect. I asked if it truly was a team effort or if he was the lone rower (judging from the moans, he was) but he said everyone helped. It was mostly all women, which says probably it was a lot more work for him than if he'd been rowing with some extra testosterone aboard.
Dear Older Woman at Michaels,
Thanks so much for the coupons! Wow, you were a Godsend. I was just going to price brushes and paints and see where I could save money for my art camp kids. You waltzed into the aisle and asked me and the other lady, "Could one of you use a couple coupons? 50% off one item, and 40% off your entire purchase of stuff I'm not buying--paints and brushes. They expire today and I hate to see them go to waste." Well, the other lady said she had her coupon, thank you, so I jumped at your offer. So instead of spending $100+, it was only $68. Bless your socks off for your thoughtfulness.
Dear Other Older Lady in the Same Aisle,
You and I had such a lovely conversation for well over 20 minutes, didn't we? I never caught your name, but I found out you have three children ages "30, 40, and 50 some" and you have six grandchildren which you said "is the best thing in the world. It's better than having kids. If your granddaughter says, "Nana, I want some ice cream," and it's 5:30, you say, "Okay, let's have some ice cream' When your kids said that at 5:30, you said, "No, it'll ruin your dinner.' I'm tellin' ya, tehre's nothing like it the world, grandkids." I said I can't wait. You were looking for a certain paint brush for oil painting and said you're not very good at painting, but you love it and got hooked after one class at the senior center. I said I understand completely. You said your grandkids love to come over and paint with you, and I said I missed out on that. My younger sister got to spend Tuesdays after morning kindergarten with Grandma, painting.
I continued to engage you, a good listener. " My son declared when he was about five, "I love going to Pappaw's and Ima's." I asked why and he said, "Because they have time for me." I confessed to you, Older Lady, that I had been defensive when my son first said that. After all, I had chosen to be a stay-at-home mom and I homeschooled for 17 years. I gave my children SO much time!" She said, "Yes, you did, but the difference is,grandparents don't care about all the other things that take time when the grandkids are there. They don't worry about the cleaning and cooking and homework. That child has Grandmom and Grandpop's lap, their eyes on them, their listening ears, everything. That is something that's hard for a mom to do day in and day out when she's got a husband and a house and other kids to take care of. Totally different. "
Dear Kind Younger Man at 7-Eleven,
I needed coffee in the worst way today, and having no creamer left at home, I went to 7-Eleven for a quick fix. I grabbed a five out of my purse and left the heavy purse in the car. Once inside, I realized I could use another gallon of milk and there were two glazed donuts for a dollar, so I got one for Joel and one for me. Then I went to the register with the coffee, donuts, milk, and the five. But I had no coffee yet in my brain to help with my already limited math skills, and the total came to $5.33. I told the cashier to take the milk off, which he did. You were in line behind me and held out a bill and said, "Here, ma'am, I have an extra dollar if you want it." I kindly refused it and said, "Thanks, anyway, but that's all right." As I got into the van, I thought, "Zoanna, you should have let him help you. You know how good it feels to help others out in a pinch. It was 33 cents you turned down, for Pete's sake. It was like robbing him of a blessing." I turned it down, supposedly, because the milk had already been deducted and I was getting change back from the coffee as he made his offer. But really it was stubborn pride. If I had really been thinking, I would have had the cashier take the donuts off, but without coffee it's nearly impossible to prioritize.
Dear Bad Dreams,
You were not welcome last night in my head. You disturbed my sleep something terrible. One of you was Rattlesnake Dream, in which I had gone down to a dark, dank, doorless dungeon to wash laundry. I lifted a pile to find a six-foot diamondback snake coiled up, rattling and hissing at me. I screamed and my two dogs bolted down the stairs to save me. Reilly pinned himself between me and the snake. Brownie took on the life of a puppy 12 years her junior and pounced on you, sinking a mouthful of sharp teeth into your neck. All the while I kept screaming, "Don't kill my Brownie! You killed my mom's dog Brownie on the farm, remember?!"
Another of you Bad Dreams was the Stranded and Scantily Clad dream. I had taken the van out with my older sister, but paid no mind to the gas gauge or the trip miles. Knowing from real live experience the van only goes 347 miles on a tank of gas, I should have known better. Rachel drove down a lonely country road, or lane, we didn't know which. Narry a house in sight, just trees and fields and rocks. Near the bottom of the lane, just ten feet from a creek, the engine sputtered to a halt atop a pile of gravel. I glaced up at the trip miles. 365. What? OH, LORD, WHY? Rather than being thankful for 18 spare miles, I gasped, "Nooo! It can't be!" I looked around for anyone out there to help. Suddenly a middle aged man in overalls emerged from a rickety old white shed and headed our way. I started to get out my side when I glanced down to see that I had not only run out of gas, I had run out of clothes, apparently, while getting dressed. Only things on me were a lime green T-shirt and a pair of red cheerleading socks, circa 1980.
I am not sure how the Bad Dreams ended, but I'm glad they did. I woke up exhausted from fending off killer snakes and driving half naked on fumes. No wonder I stumbled into 7-Eleven looking like I could use a big gulp of caffeine and a handout.
Penned by Zoanna