Friday, July 20, 2007

Where do you sit at the table?

I have lots of bird houses, bird baths and bird feeders in my yard. I love to sit and watch the different types of birds that are attracted to the feeders. I have loads of Cardinals, all types of sparrows, a woodpecker that visits from time to time, blue jays, Robins (they do not feed at the feeders but come by the flocks to feed in the front yard) and they all feed and bath together without any problems. Some birds are loud and have no problem letting anyone who will listen what their needs are; the others don’t pay them much attention. All come together at one table to eat. The only problem they have is the cat from across the street that wanders over from time to time and tries to turn one of my bird feeders into a feline dinner. I have got pretty good with a sling shoot; I can run those pesky cats back across the road with their tails tucked. I have one large area that I put food for the chipmunks and squirrels. The crows stop by and spend time eating with Bother Squirrel. We have a doe and her 2 fawns that come to the edge of the woods and watch the going on’s. A mother fox with two young puppies’ can be seen from time to time playing just outside the tree line. I have not seen any armadillos, but I know they are in the area. There is nothing better in my little corner of the world than to sit on the front porch and watch God’s creatures.

THEN – there are the hummingbirds! I have 5 count them 5 hummingbird feeders and they fight over them like there is only one and I am going to take it away any minute! I sit and watch them perch on a tree limb close to the feeder they have declared as their own. Mind you, there is at least 2 cups of nectar in each feeder, more than enough to feed a number of small hummingbirds for days no matter how hunger they are. There is no sharing; it is not going to happen. If a misguided hummer gets anywhere near the “previously claimed” feeder he will be dive bombed. This little scene is played out all day over and over – no wonder they are so thirsty they expend a lot of energy trying to chase their brothers away. A strange truth is – during nesting season they will all feed peacefully from the same feeder. As soon as the fledging has flown the coop it is every man or woman for themselves.

As I watch the show that nature puts on for me I cannot help but think “how much like real life it is”. Our world is made up of so many different types of people. Not only are we different sizes, shapes and colors but we have different ways of looking at how to share the table. Some feel that their rightful place is always on the high perch eating the first and best. Others feel unworthy to even sit at the table and eat the left over droppings on the ground. Some are afraid to come and join the feast, they stay in the shades and watch, maybe no one has ever asked them to come and eat.

Where do you think your place at the table is? Jesus said “the last will be first” and “whatever you do for the least of my people you do for me”. It breaks my heart to think that a single person will go to bed hungry tonight. I have been so very blessed all my life. On a mission trip to South America a few years ago I realized just how spoiled I am. I am also well aware of the fact that I cannot solve the problem of world hunger. I do know that I can take the lower perch when opportunity presents itself to let someone less fortunate than me have the first and the best. I can buy someone a meal, pay for a bus ticket, and even let someone use my cell phone to call a loved one. Mother Teresa said - We do not have to do “great thing” we only have to do small things with great love. Do you love your brother enough to let him sit on the top perch?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sliding in home!

Do you ever go shopping and buy something, hang it in your closet and take it out in a few days and wonder to yourself –“Self what were you thinking when you bought that”. I do this more now days than I use to. I think it is because in my mind’s eye I am 25. I have not caught onto the idea that I am pushing 60 real hard. When I look in the mirror I wonder who the heck is that old lady and who let her in my house! It is like when you run into someone you went to school with and you think “man do they look old” and you realize they are the same age as you. Then you say a silent pray that time has been better to you than it has to them. When you get home you rush to the mirror and only confirm that you in deed are old. Being old does not bother me – I just can’t figure out how I got here. I just graduated from high school a couple of years ago – on wait that can’t be right I have children in their thirties. While I am on that subject – when did they get so darn old? My Grandmother always said time passes faster the older you get – if it passes by me any faster I will have to celebrate the 4th of July and Christmas on the same day.
I remember having a conversation with my Dad many years ago and I told him I could not understand why anyone would want to die. I loved life then and still do. The world is full of so many wonderful people, places and things; my thought was how anything could be better. Dad in his infinite wisdom told me that as we get older God puts a desire in our hearts to be united with Him and our family and friends. I did not have very many folks at that time in my life that had taken their final journey home. Haven seemed like a faraway place filled with strangers, it might be a nice place to visit but the here and now was as far as I could see. Now that I am “old” I understand what Dad was telling me so many years ago. I still love life – everyday is an adventure for me. It can never be said that I did not take time to smell the roses or daisies or marigolds or anything that happens along my path. BUT in those quite moments when I take time to listen to that small still voice I do feel a yearning to be go home – I have lots of folks on the other side now. Family and friends alike and I will be happy to see them again. To sit at the feet of the Lord and Mary did feel my heart with a yearning that almost takes my breath away.
I am not saying I want to make my final journey anytime soon. Heck, I feel like I got several more good years in me. I have not lived long enough to become a burden on my kids – pay back is going to be heck! There are still roads I have not gone down, flowers I have not smelled, places I have not seen and people I have not meet. I want to live long enough to enjoy as much of everything as possible. When my life is over I don’t want to walk in to home plate, I want to slide in yelling “Thank you God for letting me live such a blessed life – now I’m here to help You get this place straight!”

Monday, July 16, 2007

You've come along way Baby - maybe too far!

I wish my Grandmother could have lived long enough to see a Super Wal-Mart. Every time I visit one of the mega stories I am in awe of the fact that I can buy donuts and fertilizer at the same store. I can load it all in the same buggy and throw in a couple of pairs of step-ins (panties) if I feel like it. I can get a prescription filled and while I wait to hear my name called over the loud speaker, I can get my oil changed or buy a new set of tires. “You have come a long way baby” since you’re up bringing in Collinsville. We had a 5 & 10 Store, Graves which was a general store, a feed and seed store, a small grocery store, a bank and a movie theater. A big day out was when we went to the City. For the most part families were self sufficient. They grew their own vegetables, raised killed and cured their own meat. For things like flower, salt and sugar there was a “peddler” that came by every week or two. I told you I grew up in the country – we were so far back in the woods that they had to pipe in sun shine. We never missed going into town when the chickens were hatching in the incubator at the Feed Store. Now, you want to talk about a good time – kids with their noses pressed against a window to watch chicken break out of the shell. This was the highlight of our week, heck make that a month. No one on the mountain had a T.V. so we had to find our excitement where ever we could. We were the first ones on the mountain to get a T.V. – it was a big box and it took a long time for it to warm up. On any given Friday or Saturday night our living room was full of family and friends. I remember the women sat in the back of the living room and the men up closer to the T.V. I never recall them watching anything but wrestling. I was just glad to be a part of the party. My Grandmother would cover her face with her apron when the wrestling got brutal. She just knew the poor guy getting beat up was going to die. Remember – we were in Alabama and they took wrestling “real” serious.
We were also the first family on the mountain to get a telephone – I can still see my Mom picking up the receiver, waiting for the dial tone – then looking around and saying “I have no idea who to call”. It was not long until the phone was ringing. All our family and friends got their own phone. We were on what was called a “party line”. Don’t remember how many people were on a party line but each person had their own ring. Two shorts and a long, one long and 2 shorts everyone knew their ring and the rings of everyone else on the party line. SO – If there had been talk at church on Sunday about so and so – if you heard their ring you could pick up your receiver and listen in. Since there was not much other entertainment on a rainy day we would listen to everyone else’s calls. It was sad folks really sad. If only there had been a Super Wal-Mart back then.
We got all gushed up to go to town. No shorts and flip flops – we dressed for the occasion. I don’t remember my parents buying much when we went into town. Mostly they stood on the sidewalk and talked to their friends. I remember that I could not wait until I got to go in the grocery store – my Uncle worked there and he always had chewing gum in his pocket. How we managed to spent almost all day on that one small street still escapes me. I just know that we did and I knew everyone and they knew me. My Mom did not have to hold my hand or make sure she could see me every minute. I knew to behave, because the people in that small Village did raise the kids. If Ms. Oliver say you misbehaving she had your parents’ permission to snatch you ball headed, grab you by the nape of the neck and march you to your parents – where you would get the whooping of your life for embarrassing your family.
You know while I was in the Wal-Mart I did not see a single person I knew, no one spoke to me and kids were running amuck. On second thought I am glad my Grandmother did not live to see a Super Wal-Mart. She would have taken to her bed for days just seeing the way folks were dressed!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Where Do All the Roads begin?

Today Tom and I went out to pick up a few things at the dreaded mall. On the way home he started to make our usual turn. I said “no go straight, there is something I want you to see”. After driving a few miles the road came to a dead end at what looked to be an old county club. All the buildings are boarded up but they have put in a walking track around a beautiful little pond, it winds through what appears to be an old golf course. Tom did not even have to ask how I found the place, he knows about my fascination with roads and knowing where they go. When I was a little kid one of my constant questions to the adults around me was “Where do all the roads in the whole world start”. Every time we piled in that old 1950 Ford pickup I would wonder out loud if we were going to pass the place that all the roads started. Yes, I will be the first to admit that this was a strange obsession for a small child but I was always a bit strange. Finally one day my Uncle J. B. took me for a walk down the dirt road outside our house. We came to a small road in the middle of a corn patch we ventured only a few yards when the road stopped. It ran right into the corn field! Here is where my uncle told me “all the roads in the world started”.
This was enough to settle a 4 year olds mind. We lived on top of Sand Mountain in Collinsville Alabama and I had never been further than Gadsden. My world was pretty small so the fact that “all the roads in the world” started right down the road from my house was easy for me to accept. I would go to that very spot a few times a week and revel in the fact that all the “roads in the world” started right where I was standing. Then one day we went to visit my Aunt and Uncle in Memphis, Tennessee. I realized that there were a whole lot more roads in the world that I had ever imagined. And, I guess you could say I have been looking for the spot where “all the roads in the world start” ever since. When the kids were small and I decided to go down a road just to see where it went I would tell them we were on an adventure. They would always sing out “That means we are LOST”. I have to admit sometimes we were lost – but for the most part we would find something new and exciting to look at.
I would love to tell you that at my age I have out grown the desire to turn down roads in search for “where all the roads start” but I have not. Given the opportunity to do so I can ramble for hours on back roads. Yes, sometimes I get lost. I will tell you a story about one such time – this happened less than 2 years ago.
I had been looking for a new puppy and had settled on a Papillon. Little did I know that they are a bit hard to find. I located a breeder just south of where we live. I made an appointment to visit I had checked the directions several times and felt I would have no problem locating her home. I did pretty well until I got to the place where the “hard road” stopped and the gravel road started. I thought she said take the third drive on the left – but as I would later learn it was the third “hard” drive on the right. So, I am riding along talking on the phone as usual and made the 3 turn on the left onto what appeared to be a dirt drive – I had only traveled a short distance when I realized that my bug was not moving. The wheels were turning but I was not going forward. I got out of the car to discover that my VW Bug looked like a giant turtle stuck on a rut with all it legs dangling in the air. I tried everything within my power to move the bug, I put rocks under the wheels, I drug downed tree limbs and tried to stick them under the wheels to get traction. All was to no avail. Why didn’t I just call Tom – are you kidding – Tom would not learn about this until months later. I had no idea what to do so I walked back out to the main “dirt road” I meet a guy in a old pickup truck and he agreed to see if he could pull my bug off of its current resting spot. Long story short his truck would not budge the bug. He told me to wait and he would go home and get his tractor and a logging chain and he would pull her off. Shortly I hear the putt putt of an old John Deere I look up to see possibly the oldest tractor I had ever laid eyes on. The old guy turned the tractor and started backing towards the bug – then he yelled “Scotch her, scotch her, I don’t have any brakes”. Thankfully I had grown up in the country and knew what “scotch her” meant. I grabbed one of the downed limbs and threw under the tractor wheels just before the tractor reached the bug. He hooked that logging chain on something on the underside of the bug climbed back on hid trusted John Deere and snatched my bug right off that rut. Everything was fine – we checked for oil leaks and there were none. God was laughing at me once again but in the end He was there. Mr. Tallis and I talked for a long time, turned out that he was born on Sand Mountain and knew my “folks”. We shared stories about the good old days and parted friends.
If I had not made a wrong turn that day I would have missed the opportunity to meet and share stories with someone I never would have noticed. Sometimes we get so caught up in our “lives” that we forget to take time to enjoy all the things around us that God has put here for us to enjoy – SO He creates a detour for us. Most of the time I create my own – but on occasion The Big Guy throws one in. I will continue to go down roads that I have never traveled – who knows someday maybe I’ll meet you!Yes, I did find the ladies house and yes I did buy a Papillon from her. Now if I could just remember where she lives I would take this spoiled brat back to her. Toby has no idea he is a dog!