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"A thousand things went right today."

Monday, April 20, 2009

What a Night It Was

Last weekend I slept with a wild man. He slept so close to me he almost pushed me out of the bed, and today I am worn to a frazzle. Every time I moved, he sat up and asked where I was going.

I'm so crazy for him I'm taking a day off without pay just to be with him this weekend, too, even driving 200 miles to pick him up. He doesn't drive, primarily because another woman in his life won't let him, making him sit in the back, buckled up for safety. My daughter, who is my wild man's mother, has said that when he has his third birthday in July we'll have a big party!

I call him Angel Man or Monkey Doodle. He calls me Dede. Sometimes I call him Little Frog. He doesn't like the latter, and reminds me indignantly, "Me Brooks Thomas Baston; me not frog." (Sometimes he says "Baston" when he really means "Batson.")

Not at all bothered by humidity and the occasional rain drop, my wild man gardens with me. He especially likes me to turn a spade of dirt to disclose worms, the bigger and more wriggley the better. Unaware that worms are considered lowly, disgusting creatures, my Little Frog tries to soothe their wriggling by gently stroking them. Trying to catch one of the abundant red squirrels is another of his favorite back yard games. He's still red shirted in that sport.

Being a grandparent is not something I thought much about until the first grandchild was born. As soon as I met the first one, I fell in love, I fell into unconditional love and that has happened seven times. The two oldest grandchildren live 3,000 miles west; two live in Alpharetta, Georgia, eight hours east. Little Frog and his parents and two older brothers are only two hours north.

As "Dede" I'm far more relaxed, more lenient, more forgiving that I was with my own children.

I learned that I said "No!" or "don't" or Stop!" or "in a minute" or "not now" far too often over incredibly unimportant things when I was a young Mama instead of an older and wiser Dede.

I don't say "No" much these days.

Teenagers: Something New Every Day

As a high school school teacher for more than 28 years, I often think I've seen and heard it all from teenagers.

But no, today I have a new "happening" and I must share it. Actually, this story was passed along by a Teach for America comrade (who taught in Arkansas with me a few years back) who is now teaching in Ohio.

"I love teenagers," she wrote. "Today a student told me that another girl wants to fight her (off school grounds so they don't get suspended). My student said she doesn't have a ride so the other girl offered to pick her up."

Teenagers. You gotta' love em.

Friday, April 17, 2009


We were talking, Scarlett and I, about how quickly the years have flown since we were together: almost twenty-five. Her son had become a man, as had mine; we'd both changed vocations. She'd moved 3,000 miles west and back to the South 20 years later. We had wrinkles and gray hairs. We were no longer young career women.

That night I wondered what I needed to learn from getting old. The answer came to mind spontaneously and in a voice not my own: "That it is a blessing. Not all people get to become old."


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring and Easter

My beloved mother has been gone from this Earth now
35 years. Her birthday is April 12.

On April 12, the dogwood in our front yard was at its fullest bloom. More beautiful than it has been in many years. April 12 was Easter Sunday.

Is it any wonder, then, that I felt the hundreds of blooms were sending me a message?

Lessons From the Garden

Back and leg muscles complained and wanted to rest last week after an afternoon of unaccustomed work during a warm early Spring day, but aches are a small price for a bountiful backyard garden in not too many weeks. The bare beds are clean now of storm-tossed limbs, pine cones and molding leaves that kept them blanketed, safe and warm during below freezing-temperatures.

Today the beds look proud and perky. They seem to anticipate early blooming from bulbs and the tentative thrusts of ferns uncurling. They look forward to robins scouring for worms fattened by months under the rich Delta soil.

The beds look vulnerable, as well. I wonder if their blanket was torn from them too soon. Clean yet bare gardens expect sunny days ahead and adornment of color and growth. If winter's last cold breath reaches them, these beloved gardens still wear their best faces and stand stalwart in a temporary misfortune.

We take lessons from our gardens. Many lovers of the soil and stewards of gardens, especially those devastated by Katrina, have experienced delight and surprise that a toppled and beloved live oak or magnolia has been mysteriously replaced by new plants sowed by howling winds and receding water.

Unlike plants, we forget that the sun not only rises again after a storm, but it also seems to shine brighter and further.
--Avery Dear

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Susan Boyle is My Hero!

First came chills along my arms, then tears in my eyes, then aching in my cheeks from standing rooted to the floor and grinning at the television screen for seven minutes.

Susan Boyle caused my elation. Susan Boyle, a woman from a Scottish village, a woman nearly 48 years old, never married, never been kissed, unemployed but job hunting, a church volunteer who lived with Pebbles, her beloved cat.

If you've not heard her, please go to YouTube...just type in Susan Boyle in the search button and you'll
be stunned. Or Google her.

This unassuming and refreshingly unsophisticated woman with her rather plain face and inexpensive dress and shoes brought sneers and snickers and rolling of eyes when she strode confidently onto the stage before Simon Cowell, his fellow judges and a packed audience for the first round of auditions for Britain Has Talent.
The young and hip audience, who laughed loudly when she nervously answered a rude question from Cowell,
was, within five seconds after Susan Boyle began to sing, standing, applauding and cheering like crazy, for this woman who "had never had a chance before." The judges were astounded, two apologizing for their cynicism, and Simon Cowell was open mouthed, stunned by her range, her depth, her innate understanding of the meaning of "I Dreamed a Dream," a most difficult song from the Les Miserables.

Since the audition on April 11, more than 14 million... 14 million..persons have watched the YouTube video of Ms. Boyle's audition. She has been given three "yes" votes from the implacable judges, thus will advance to another of the three more rounds of auditions.

Today the BBC reported that bookies in Great Britain are saying Susan Boyle will be the winner over the thousands who have tried to gain a spot in the talent contest.

I smiled all day. I showed the video to all my high school classes. Many of them grinned and had moist eyes, too. Susan Boyle is a hero. Mine for sure.

Don't you just love it when the underdog wins!

Sing, Susan.