Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Duck Dynasty - Denied

Duck hunting. Day one. Wake at 4:30, dress warmly and drive to the lake. Watch the sun glow on the horizon, and at 5 a.m., aim the gun at a duck flying blindly toward the dawn. A hit, and the duck falls into the pond. From flying through the air to a diving death, the duck never knew what happened. Feathers plucked, breasts removed, marinated, wrapped around jalapeƱos and grilled. Two small bites of dark meat. The duck breasts, cooked and consumed, can't equal the glory of the duck, teal-blue feathers, black head, flapping its wings toward a beautiful day.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Post Christmas 2012

The Mayans had it wrong. The world did not end in 2012. The world still spins and life goes on. The year 2012 closed an important chapter in my life. My boys are both grown up. Clint graduated from high school this spring. My work here is done. When Chet died in 1995, I was afraid for all of us. I was afraid that something would happen to me before my boys grew up. Who would replace me and take on the responsibility of raising my boys? Thank God, that didn't happen. Now my job is to let go. We are supposed to raise our children and give them wings. Well, wings don't come with training wheels. Letting go means standing back and watching the winds and storms of life blow our children off course. Sometimes the off-course journeys and detours of life bring unexpected discoveries. People don't learn self-reliance when someone is always there to catch them if they fall. I know that my boys would miss me if something happened to me now, but I also know that they have the maturity to make their own way in the world. What does the year 2013 hold for us? We will have to wait and see.

Senior Discount

Senior. That word means a "senior" in high school. Suddenly, it seems that I qualify for the senior discount on meals at Denny's. Overnight, it seems, I qualify for membership in the AARP. My doctor uses introductory clauses like, "When you reach a certain age..."
To hell with all that!
OK, so yes, it's true that I am not renewing my subscription to Texas Monthly because I can no longer read the articles, which are now printed in fine print -- fine print on a background color that makes it even harder to read.
What happened? While planning for the future, somehow I find myself looking back instead of ahead. Back at lost opportunities, back at poor decisions, back at people left behind...
It's the last week of the year. Morose. That's the word for what I'm feeling. Is that a bad thing? Should I try to put on my Pollyanna pigtails and find joy in the fact that I'm still breathing?
The world is too much with us.
To be continued...in a much better mood.

Moms Worry

When we're pregnant, we worry. When they're babies, we worry. When they're toddlers, we cushion hard corners and install gates on stairs...because we're worried. When they start to school, we worry about friends and teachers and whether they're really ready for kindergarten. We're really worried because we're not ready to let them go. When they make the team or join the club or the choir, we worry that they will get hurt -- physically or emotionally. When they're in high school, we worry about grades, friends, colleges and the future. When they start driving, we worry about bad roads, bad decisions, bad weather, bad habits and, especially, texting. When they graduate, we really worry about college and the future and finding the money to make it all happen. When they get their degrees, we worry about decisions, opportunities, job offers and not getting job offers.
The common denominators are "love" and "worry." The old saying "let go and let God" comes to mind, but it's hard to put into practice, even for someone of faith. As the mother of two sons, I seek serenity about my boys and their future. It's all out of my control. I have done my best to set them on the right path, but I know from my own life experience that pathways sometimes have dead ends or roadblocks or detours that take more time than we expected. Sometimes we have to retrace our steps and start over. Sometimes the pathway is permanently blocked and we waste time waiting and wishing for a miracle. I wish for my sons to have strength of character, resilience without bitterness, hope and determination to live with purpose, to love with abandon and to not spend too much time worrying. I've done enough of that for them.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Warhorse and Other Animal Movies

Mike wants to see the new Steven Spielberg movie "Warhorse." He will have to find someone else to go with him.
In my heart I know that Joey, the horse, will die at the end of the movie. I even Googled "Does the horse die in Warhorse?" Nearly all movies featuring animals have plots that involve the animal being injured, lost, abused or killed. Eighteen years ago, I sat down and cried in a Target store in Houston because all the TVs in the electronics department were tuned to "Homeward Bound." The movie was at the point where the old Golden Retriever limps over the hill for the joyous reunion with his boy. A happy scene, right? So, why was I crying? Blame it on my hormones -- I was nine months pregnant with Clint at the time. But for me, it's more than hormones.
I have always had a soft spot for animals, especially dogs. I've never seen "Where the Red Fern Grows." I watched "The Yearling" just once, and I've regretted it ever since. As a little girl, I had to turn off the TV when the Lassie show ended because the music was so sad when Lassie sat there, staring into the camera, and lifted her paw to say goodbye.
Why is it easier for me to watch movies where people are killed than to see an animal die on film? Mike says we've become conditioned to seeing people die in movies. I don't really have a good answer, except that most animals who die in movies usually are placed in jeopardy by humans. They are at our mercy, and so many times we let them down. I know "Warhorse" is a great film -- I've read the reviews -- but I can't go see it. I think I'll go in the "Sherlock Holmes" theater instead.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Semester's End - December 2011

Tomorrow, we will hold Commencement here at Panola College, with 149 students walking across the stage. Their families will hoot and holler and celebrate this well-deserved accomplishment. Some of these graduates have worked two or three jobs while going to school. Others have juggled the responsibilities of job and family along with college courses. Some have struggled with long-term disabilities. Many pay their way through school with scholarships earned for their musical, fine arts or athletic talents. Non-traditional students have sat through classes with fellow students young enough to be their children. With all those differences, these people share the same goal -- they want to get a good education to better their lives. I remember the struggles -- emotional and financial -- that I experienced earning my bachelor's and then my master's degree. As a faculty member at Panola College, I am proud to have known these fine people. I will miss them when they go on in the spring to new jobs or to universities. Seeing their determination gives me hope for the future of this country. Congratulations, graduates!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Peach cobbler, dressing and other delights

Thanksgiving and Christmas always make me miss my Mama -- not just because of her homemade chicken and dressing, peach cobbler and banana pudding. I miss walking into her house and breathing in all those wonderful, mingled scents of the holidays. As long as she was alive, we gathered wherever she was, because Mama was home. Yesterday, as Mike and Clint ate the last of the apple pie I had purchased for Thanksgiving (two more days away!), I said I would have to go buy another one. Clint said, "No Mama. We will have something better, like maybe a homemade peach cobbler." I guess my Mama will be with us in spirit this holiday season, and I hope she'll be looking over my shoulder as I try to make a peach cobbler nearly as good as hers. She will be whispering these words, "Add a little more sugar and a little more butter. Maybe a little more." And now I realize that I have become "home" for my boys. I just hope I can live up to the standard set by the best.