Monday, August 10, 2015

Savoring August

This picture? No. Filter. Love, love it.
I love you August with your sweet misty mornings and golden explosion of light, as the sun pushes through the early haze. Sipping coffee seems sweeter on mornings like this. 

Or maybe it’s this cinnamon creamer we are currently obsessed with. The one which has no nutritional value what-so-ever. It’s just good so we’re drinking it, no we are really savoring it and not reading the label.

There has been a great exodus from the community I live in. Many people are taking their last big hurrah get-away trips, before the new school schedule sets in. 

Did you even know that I'm a pet-sitter? 

I should make up a real name for what I do, but still I’ve been doing this funny gig for over six years. It’s especially random and that’s probably why it’s the perfect job for me. Some weekends I talk to a few cats and sometimes I feel like Noah without the ark –but– with all the animals to take care of. 

Or was it really Noah's wife that did all the scooping and feeding? 

As I’m driving to and fro with that, I often stop to talk and spend money with the entrepreneurs who are selling sweet corn and melons and fruit. The grandkids had all sorts of questions about why I would buy peaches in a parking lot instead of the store. They had a good argument really.

They were here on Wednesday, just five of the grandkids. 

One of the problems with grandchildren coming to my house is the actual getting everyone to my house. There is usually a car seat issue. As in, me remembering to load the car seats. And after we wrangle up enough of those, we have the fussing for the best seats in the car. This summer, the best seat just happens to be in front with me.

I’m embracing their zeal, while it's there. 

We haven’t all been together since May, so I think some of us forgot how crazy it is and how to function as a group. I further complicated the day by going thrift store shopping. I had this silly idea to make tepees with them and pretend we were on the prairie. At one time it seemed like a great group activity that would fit with boys and girls. 

The problem with second hand stores, is that unlike stores where everything is $1, they do not have two or six of any one item. 

And you never know what amazing, unplanned treasure will surface. So there may have been crying and fighting over the one camo truck and the glass (plastic) princess slippers which were one size too small. 

This lasted a few minutes until the slipper-less princess found three items for 10 cents each and this was the catalyst for a whole new, melt-down to take center stage.  

Explaining how a child can have three things that cost 30 cents and the other can only have the exclusive glass (plastic) princess-dance-shoe-slippers which cost $3.25 –well it wasn't possible. 

This is surely why some adult came up with the ridiculous phrase, “just because I said so.”

Do we adults really understand how young minds reason? They just know what they know, which in this case was, "She has three things and I only have two things which should only count as one thing anyway."

(Deep breath) (Heavy sigh)

And I’ll admit it, I kind of freaked me out when the two year old licked the toy rocket he found to buy in the thrift store toy bin.

In the panic, I remembered I’m a bit of a germ-a-phobe when it comes to certain things, such as babies licking the handles on grocery carts and toys out of a bin at a busy thrift store.  

So, how was I thinking that this could be fun?

We left a lasting impressing on all those fellow bargain shoppers and having located six bed sheets for a dollar each, we came home to recuperate and eat lunch. 

I’ve been wanting to tell you the number one amazing thing I learned this summer. It’s my discovery of macaroni and cheese. Honestly, in deepest sincerity, it's the newest greatest thing to take to any event and to serve to anyone. (Except perhaps those who are gluten and dairy intolerant.)

Who really knew this and didn't tell me?

This may not be amazing to you, but it was epiphany to me.

The caterer we had for the wedding, his name is Phil, and he knows what he's talking about. He is the one who took me to school on this. He insisted that his company’s version of three cheese macaroni, was one a best seller. He suggested for me to buy more, but I didn't listen, so I bought less. 

All I know is that folks were scraping the side of the pan with mac and cheese. It was the first thing to go and I'm still getting reports from guests about how much they loved it and from others, how sad they were to see it was gone. 

So, I bought a case to keep in the freezer and Wednesday we thought surviving thrifty shopping was a special occasion. 

The kids all helped themselves to firsts, seconds and thirds. 

There was not a single argument for at least 20 minutes and the boy who had a birthday last week asked if I could just pretty-please bring some to his party.  

Cheesy happiness in the freezer section. Put it on your list of things to do this month.

We finally got to the part where we made tepees and pretended to be pioneers on the prairie. 

Thank goodness for modern conveniences like bright colored sippy-cups with ice water and readily available bathrooms.

It was a fine time being had by all until the snake slithered though camp. 

The boys –who are getting so big and all too grown up and who have always been brave…. and will be in school all day in another week– they came running with their pretend rifles and asked if I could find a real gun to kill the snake. 

We told the girls to stay behind where it was safer, while the boys and I went on the hunt for the python they clearly described. When we located the guilty reptile, he or she had shrunk to the size of a small gardener snake.  

I was fine with that. 

We might have scared a few others right out of their skin, since we kept finding those everywhere. What is even up with snakes losing their skin anyway? We collected all the skins we could find here. Prairie people do that I guess.

Recently I read a quote that said something to the effect, “only children and poets take the time to notice details and embrace life.” 

That is most likely a very loose translation, which is probably why I could not find the person who actually said it. My money is still on Madeleine L'Engle.

I don’t personally know many people who claim to be poets, but these kids were writing something tender as they marveled at every bug and blade of grass. 

They savored macaroni and cheese as if I had slaved all day and done something gourmet. And they happily picked weeds that were posing as flowers, smelled the herbs and handled every tomato on the vine.

And they tugged on my heart as they grabbed my arm to stop and admire cobwebs, which they only saw as great wonders and works of art.

Children remind us how life should be lived.  

They certainly helped me slow down and appreciate the things which are unique to this day, this season, this month of August.

I have to believe there's a little bit of poet hiding in our hearts, as well as child-like wonder.

May we keep our lives a little simpler, marvel at the things close, and savor more of the season we are in.

And August, I'm soaking up every single piece of what makes you uniquely amazing. Because I know, all too soon your last apricot colored sunset, with all its silvery clouds will be gone. Don't rush off too soon.

So tell me?

What are you rushing past?

What are you noticing?


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© Rhonda Quaney