A snow toy

Story_squareNever had the first snow of the season been so anticipated as it was by our neighbor who was armed with a new snowblower.

The day came, of course. The first snow.

On the plains of Colorado, snow often comes as crispy shards driven by a dry wind. This snowfall was one of those.

But our neighbor rushed out to his driveway as soon as the swirling snow could be seen.

We heard the roar of the engine and rushed to the window. This wasn’t to be missed.

He started at his garage door and opened a dry path to the street, turning the blower around and aiming for the garage again. As he walked, the whispy snow flying out of his blower’s tube rose in the air and shot downward with precision.

Back onto the path he had just cleared.

Our neighbor finished the driveway in that same fashion: clear a patch and blow new snow onto it. Maybe the motto of the snow blower is never look back.

But, at the rate he was clearing things, he could enjoy his new machine all day long. Not bad for a new snow toy.

Matching shakers

SeasonsA salt shaker was the last thing on my mind but it lasted the longest.

“You need kitchen things,” my mother told me. “You can’t move into an apartment without those.”

I was a sophomore in college and outfitting a kitchen wasn’t high on my list. But we spent time that summer shopping thrift stores.

I found four melamine plates, some scarred table ware, and two dented pans. Good enough for me.

I checked off that project.

I managed to squeeze in a week’s visit to my grandmother’s house with Mom.

The topic of my apartment came up.

“You need kitchen things,” my grandmother said.

That sounded really familiar.

But she didn’t say any more until dinner time. As we sat around her table with the savory scent of roast beef drifting from the serving plate, she handed me a little bundle.

These are the actual shakers from my grandmother.

These are the actual shakers from my grandmother.

“You can have these for your new kitchen,” she said.

I opened the bundle. Two salt shakers. One with a red screw-on lid, one with a clear lid pressed on. But both had a kind of crystal look to them.

“They almost match,” she said.

And, with my kitchen outfit, they really did.

Cleaning out the archive box

Story_squareI knew things were going to get a little sticky when I uncovered an ink refill for a printer that I don’t remember owning.  I had cracked open my archive box to find it filled with interesting treasures.

“Archive box” sounds fancy, doesn’t it?

My archive box is a plastic box with lid that contains CDs from programs I’ve installed. What a great idea, I thought when I got it. All my CDs were safely stored in one place and protected from dust and stuff.

I don’t know why the ink refill was in the box. The printer must not have lasted long enough to even earn a refill.

I don’t visit my archive box much but my computer crashed and I was re-installing programs.

But opening that box was like a trip down memory lane but without the warm fuzzy emotions. What I felt was mostly confusion.

For example, I uncovered a  CD with a big black question mark scrawled on the label.

What in the world? Who labels their CD with a question mark?

Me, obviously.

Although nobody accuses me of being well-organized (well, someone did once but that was before they saw my desk), I took some pride on my box as a shred of planning.

Every program CD went into that box after installation.

I am proud to say that there were no 5 ½ inch floppies in there.  Using my system, that’s a miracle.

So I lifted the lid to pull out the programs for re-installation.

I found programs that won’t run on anything newer than Windows 98.  I found programs for pre-schoolers. (Our youngest is 19.)  I found a CD from our classical music days.

I’d like to blame this on the kids but they never open the box.  They just run the programs and don’t mess with the details.

Wonder where they learned that?

I’m sure there’s a major life lesson in all this. Something about staying organized.  Those lessons tend to roll off me like tumbleweeds crossing the prairie.

Sometimes simple is better. So here’s what I learned: I’m cleaning out the box.

That way there’ll be more room for further archiving.

More than flowers

SeasonsThe flowers felt like a brick in Chuck’s hand as he walked the hospital hallway to his father’s room. Why had he brought flowers? Dad would mock that choice.

Maybe things had changed.

Chuck stepped into Dad’s room. His father’s thin frame only added some wrinkles to the blankets. His head was small against the pillows. How many tubes and wires were hooked up to him?

“Dad?” Chuck stepped to the foot of the bed.

His father opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling.

“Dad, it’s Chuck.” He leaned a little closer. How did one navigate through all these monitors?

Dad groaned. “Water.“

“I brought you flowers. I thought maybe we could reconnect a little. Darcy said you were —“ How could he tell his father what Darcy had said? That there wasn’t much time left.

“Water.”

“What? Oh.” Chuck searched for a cup. Nothing. “Dad, I wanted to get things right between us.” He looked down at the flowers, wishing he had written down his speech. “I was angry for you for the way— well, the way you used to insult me. You didn’t believe in me. I was angry. I shouldn’t have left but I did.” He took a deep breath. “But I’m back. We can clear the air before—“

“Water.”

A nurse bustled into the room. “Mr. Jones, let’s get you something.” She took a swab, dipped it into a container, and painted his tongue with a gel. “That should help.”

Chuck stared. “Can he talk?”bed_chair

“Not really.”

Chuck needed him to talk. He needed his father’s apology. His father’s blessing. That wasn’t going to happen now. No reconciliation.

“We’re keeping him comfortable now,” the nurse said.

Chuck held out the flowers. “Could you put those where he can see them? And—“ He glanced down at his father’s still face. “And could you show me how to swab his tongue?”