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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

She's Gone

I was talking to her, I was walking right up next to her side. She was starring off across the street to the second orchard farm. Her golden ears were up while she was intensely focused. I kept walking normally up to her when I suddenly wondered what she saw. "What is it girl? What do you see? You wanna go over there?" She never looked back at me as she stood there the whole time. "Come on girl, ya don't need to go over there.." then I bent down to touch her. My poor old dog jumped 20 feet in the air startled completely by my touch, "Oh no Savannah!" I exclaimed tossing my half eaten apple to the dirt ground. "I am so sorry Girl! Did ya not hear me?" I asked her as she wagged herself into me as a reply. While I scratched her belly I thought about how old she was looking. I began to realize my Sweet Savannah was going deaf, even her once very dark brown eyes were now cloudy. I knew she was fading from me, I could feel the changing time upon us. Yet I tried to make that moment last as I sat down next to her looking off in her same direction and petting her golden fur. She nudged me with her nose if I ever stopped petting her then I would laugh. Later in the evening I couldn't help but wonder when I saw her walking way out across the valley below, Really where does she go?

"It's a crazy storm tonight!' My 16 year old sister Dana said as she flew into our little cottage. The wind outside came crashing through the open door. "Is it raining?!" I asked as I threw my book down and shot up from the couch. "Yeah, pretty hard." Dana replied as she went to start her shower from the bathroom that was located between our bedrooms. Since Dana's bedroom was actually the living room of the cottage she also had an old couch I liked to lay on while reading. "Did you see Savannah?" I asked as I opened the kitchen door to the outside again to call for Savannah, Then I felt stupid realizing she is a deaf dog so I began flashing on and off the patio light. "No, I didn't see her or else I would have brought her inside with me, What are you doing?" Dana asked me and I laughed "I am calling her home." It was just barely dark still the stormy night was coming. While all the cats came running inside, My Sister started her shower with her big screen TV on. I ran outside into the wind looking for my old dog. I caught sight of her across the street on the second farm. Though she was clearly heading home in the storm I laughed at how she moved, just like a chubby old woman with determination to get there but not with any speed. She was wagging her big bushy tail when she reach me as we headed into the cottage. Ever since my Sister and I moved across the yard of our parents house into our own place, into our very own bedrooms. We never rejected our pets from living inside with us, so there was always a kitten somewhere sleeping on my bed or in my shoes. Savannah had her own bed setup in the cottage kitchen floor, usually the cats walked around her with no bother. But on this scary storming night the cottage was feeling more like "Noah's Ark". I was laying on my small twin bed when the lightening was followed by the sound of thunder, then the sound of my old dog running through the small cottage, I sat up as Savannah jumped for the first time ever up on my bed. The whole bed frame seemed to be pulled off the ground by her weight. Dana stood in the doorway watching "Now what is her problem?" she asked as I was laughing so hard at just how tiny my bed really was after all. "Ooooh Look at her! She is terrified of this storm....Well now my girl!" I tried to share my bed for the rest of the evening as I read but Savannah kept nudging me to pet her and soon I got her back to her own cushion bed. A few nights later I heard a strange noise in the middle of the night like she was dreaming or choking. I ended up sleeping on the kitchen floor right next to her because I had been so frighten by the sounds she was making. As I had learn that she was deaf I still chatted away with her as if she could still hear, but I used my hands all the time to direct her and I loved flashing the outside lights to watch her come running from any where on the farm. That long long night I stay up with her petting her or holding on to her big fat paw. "You are getting old Gal,  You scared me with this odd breathing...What is going on inside ya huh?" I asked her as if she could answer. When Dana woke me at 6 in the morning, I was laying half bent over onto Savannah and her bed with a shared blanket. "What are you crazy?" She asked me as she was about to leave for work. "That looks bad for your neck." I shot awake alarmed that Savannah had died in the night after all but instead the big old golden mutt got up with Dana and went outside. I would have a very sore neck for the rest of the day of course but I told Dana all about being woken up by Savannah's strange breathing. Dana paused standing by her pick-up watching Savannah move around just fine. "Well She looks normal to me." I was laughing out of relief until I tried to move my neck.   

Sunday evenings for my family when I was seventeen were very routine after getting home from evening service at church. Mom would pop popcorn or make big huge milkshakes. I would put the pjs on my toddler brother Daren, and my baby brother Dougie. Then my brother Derek would be laying on his stomach in the living room while Daren sat on his back. Dad always had his big lazy boy recliner chair, Mom would spread out on the couch as we all enjoyed whatever seasonal dessert it was. The TV shows were always "Nature" and "Masterpiece Theater". I would sit up against the door frame of the entrance way to the kitchen. While watching our weekly shows. On this evening Dana had gone across the yard to our bedrooms to shower. While I still kept my tennis shoes on in my summer cut off shorts. I remember thinking I should take my shoes off like I usually do but for some reason I just didn't. In fact at that moment I realized I was the only family member completely dress while eating a milkshake. As our TV show "Masterpiece Theater" played on, the summer evening breeze came through our open windows at the same time a sound of a speeding car from the nearby commonly used Ustick road. Dad mumbled "Where's a Cop when ya need one." Mom chuckled as she looked around at her family glad we were all safely in the living room,  Upon hearing the roaring car getting closer just as it reached the front of our home there was a loud huge whack sound followed by skidding tires. Dad shot up from his chair running to his bedroom for a pair of jeans, Mom was nursing baby Dougie and worriedly said "Oh no! not again!" It was very common to see accidents happen on this road, drivers fly down this dark paved country road hitting all kinds of wild life and when they reach the bridge over the canal they usually lost control, this happened all within a mile of our home. We usually were the first on scene calling for help. Now I had heard the whack sound so perfectly because I had stopped watching the TV show and was listening to what Dad had pointed out was just another crazy driver coming down the road. "Dear God I beg you!" I exclaimed as I shot up to my feet at the same time Dad did. "I beg you, I beg you please God let her be there, let her be safe." I prayed continuously as I left the rest of the family to the back door where my 15 year old dog would be laying, or I mean SHOULD be laying under the porch light up against the steps so that she can feel when the door opened and she knew I was there to take her to bed in the cottage.
The empty spot where Savannah should have been, where she always was after her nightly rounds on the farm, made my heart stop completely "I BEG YOU GOD!" my mind now screamed. My heart was wild and my lungs were burning as I ran in full speed in the opposite direction of the road, "SAVANNAH GIRL" I called though I clearly knew she couldn't hear me. I ran through a small section of the peach orchard, the moon light was the only flash light I had. I hear the calm voice in my head saying "You know where she is  Debby." but my heart's voice screamed "RUN" So I ran to the ditch bank and to the gravel road up half way to my Grandparents house calling her name as clearly as my lungs allowed. "Savannah Baby Girl, Come on show yourself... Dogy Wogy Girl!" I had seen Dad and Derek jump into the pick-up heading to the road. I could see their lights from my spot as I ran over to the Cherry trees, I ran and ran circles every where that was as far away from the road as possible. The head lights of cars, the commotions of voices and I knew I had to surrender. "Run Debby Run, RUN AWAY!" was what I was saying to myself, but another calm voice that wasn't really me said "Go to the road, you can do this for YOU are strong and SHE needs YOU."
I opened my cottage bedroom door out of breath shouting "Savannah!" Dana was just getting out of the shower calling back "WHAT HAS HAPPENED!" But to my already understanding self I looked sadly at Savannah's empty bed, I had hoped Dana took Savannah in with her. My voice wasn't my own when I replied "Savannah has been hit tonight." Dana cried out then I calmly closed the door and ran to the street.
I felt like my body was floating across the dark night, my eyes were focused on her golden body laying in the gravel side on the street. There were many shadows of people walking around my dead dog. But the scream that left me stunned them all, To this day I still can not see these faces of those people. I didn't even know which one was my Father, yet they all froze, they all were looking at me. I only saw the glowing lights on my dog, I could not move any closer, I let out a sob and a cry saying  "MY DOG! MY SAVANNAH!" I ran again this time back the way I came, At the age of seventeen and in those tennis shoes running never felt so good! For I never wanted the day to come when I would have to say Goodbye to my golden brave farm dog, Savannah. That night I ran until I couldn't breath, until I couldn't cry, until I was buried in moon light and stars. I stopped to look out over the valley wishing I could see her again, just like she was on one of her wandering long walks in the cool late summer night. Actually, that is what she was doing when crossing the road earlier....I had to say it out loud to myself if not to the earth, to the God I called on earlier "She's Gone." 
I wondered...really where did she go?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Harry Potter

I fell head over heels in love with Harry Potter in the first movie "Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone." I just happened to be out looking to see a movie at the dollar theater, my roommates had said they were coming but they got suddenly stoned instead. So while I set out their munchies, and told everyone to be safe when they left the smoke ring. I went out on my own self date....I really wasn't into to pot, I got high once and everyone said I chattered fast all about food and my love for the different kinds of food in the world. Funny I only remember sleeping the best sound sleep in a long time, I was stoned along with a head cold so sleep was delightful but marijuana was not "my cup of tea". I didn't like that distance head flooding feeling or that alone part of being stone. I liked going out to dinner and movies engaging in conversations and being actually in the present time. So as I watched Harry Potter's first movie I was so amazed by the magical world.
When I found out they were based off the books by J.K Rowling, I quickly borrowed them to catch up with the rest of the world. My co-workers were always discussing the stories, they were complaining the movies weren't exactly like the books and I had to explain they are not meant to be. For the books are a whole other world into your imagination bringing so much information and details that a movie can not display. The movies are a whole other world of entertainment. I love the movies for the pure escape they give into the virtual world and how fun it is to share that movie growing excitement with others around you. The books give way to the creativity of your mind and thoughtful discussions. I think both worlds are perfect and magical. Somehow we have traded wonder for reason in our society with day to day life. I will grab a wand any boring old day and come back to life with such beauty, with such wonder again. I may mimic the movie with a "swish and flick" or laugh happily over troll boogers!  The fact that these stories have children reading again, have whole families dressing up for the movies and everyone sharing in the magical memories of the midnight releases with tons and tons of cheering then I say humbly " that's magic!"

Taking my husband to the 3rd movie "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" he quickly fell right into the story also. He was amazed at these movies were good after all. He had been thinking they were only for kids and that he wasn't going to be one of those geeky fans. When that movie was over I sighed out loud saying
"Ooooh If only there was such a world..." in my dreamy voice, my hubby Tony burst out laughing as he said I was so cute! he would then watch for every movie to come out on DVD and quickly get it for me as surprise saying happily "If only there was such a world!" He really loved that thought of mine.
We saw the 4th movie "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" I couldn't help but cry as Harry's parents showed such genuine love and protection for their son. Tony waited in line to buy that dvd for me. He said it was crazy just how many people were waiting at that same moment it was released. He also commented he would never do that for anything except for me...<3
I loved watching the 5th movie "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" in the IMAX theater, Tony had reserved those tickets way in advance and there was a part of the film in 3-D. The story keeps getting built up going to a place of pure excitement and understanding how it's all connected. I was not sure I was ready to watch the 6th movie. For I had read all the books as they came out, though I never stood in line for the book releases I did however watch all the excitement. On the last book release at midnight Tony and I were in our pajama pants and house robs while we drove all around town looking at the crowds at the book stores, we compared notes to which place had the best party. And Barnes N Noble had the classiest people in costume and in setup. They had balloons and a speaker with games and cheering. It was fun to see the celebration, Tony said he loved to see such a spectacle from the cozy comfort of his own car.
Now the 6th part "Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince." both in book and in movie were so powerful that I couldn't help but really cry, I know that things can not stay the same forever and I really understand that sense of lost, of heroes with their amazing protection. At the midnight showing for that 6th movie Tony exclaimed looking around "WE are the OLDEST people here!!?" I laughed reminding him that we have just reached our 30s. Then I notice everyone was very young while holding a lite up cell phone in hand, there was a huge scream at the preview of the second "Twilight." My Hubby quickly covered his ears mumbling "What the HELL?" I whispered over to him "It's Twilight the stupidest movies ever made for struggling sexually charged teenage girls, who are completely consumed with their outward looks and are afraid of getting old." I drank from my soda with a smirk as the screaming continued. Tony spat back "What is the world coming to?....Oh great now I even sound like an old person!" When the second preview came on with Nicholas Cage, Tony let out a manly roar and cheer but since he was like the only man there he was left with his own voice echoing the theater and I laughed hysterically!
Tony said that was going to be his last midnight movie celebration for he really was getting to old for that kind of thing. So I was relieved find a good friend, another hardcore fan like myself to go to the midnight showing of the final movie "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." though they split this into 2 parts, I am not complaining for they are truly  Magnificent!  I even decided that since this is the grand finale I would dress up! It was a magical midnight party and I wouldn't be bored to go a few more times, So yesterday Tony and I went on a romantic date. It was in the  more normal hours of the evening for us "old folk". Tony said he felt a bit sad that this magical world is coming to an end though he thinks they dragged it on long enough at the same time. I commented that these movies will become such classics, Tony laughed in reply "Of course! For we all wish there was such a world!"

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Leave it to Duffy

When My Uncle Dan's dog Sausha had puppies, he brought them to the farm and setup a pen for them to play in. Now I was 11 years old thinking having 15 puppies was a piece of heaven on earth. Along with my siblings Dana and Derek. We cared for all the puppies. Sausha often fed them by standing straight up since there were so many puppies. I loved sitting among all the soft paws and wagging tails. I even let them chew on my hand without any fear. There was a beautiful golden brown pup I named Tasha. I carried Tasha every where and she seemed to respond to her name after awhile. She was the very first puppy sold....naturally. My next favorite dog was the fattiest pup he was just named Fatty, He was sold 4th in line. Derek loved the smallest puppy, that puppy was almost all white and very skinny. Dana and I would give the runt extra food because he was looking like a skeleton. It was amazing to watch how the big pups plowed over him to eat his food. So my sister and I would work together holding back the bigger puppies so the runt could actually eat. Then my Uncle said we could have a puppy, as a thank you gift for babysitting all those pups.The three of us kids agreed on the runt of the pack without debate. Now Uncle Dan was surprised and questioned "Are you sure? he is the smallest, the weakest one of the bunch." Derek loved this dog the most and they were always together. Mom rolled her eyes and put her hands on her hips. "Why didn't you kids pick a healthy strong puppy!?" We loved that tiny puppy and we were going to keep him. During these days of playing with a new puppy, of laying around in the summer shade, we also watched a TV show called "Leave it to Beaver." at noon every day. Now Mom wouldn't let us bring our puppy inside to watch the show with us. Yet we would sneak him in whenever she wasn't looking. Mom also named our puppy "Duffy" because she said the name should start with a "D" like all the rest of the family. Dad said he liked Duffy because it sounded like "Dummy" which was just like our puppy.
Looking back I can clearly see where we all went wrong in raising this pup. Duffy had so many people telling him what to do, so many unnecessary rules with a constant loudness. He was high energy, and also very bored. He chewed huge holes in the laundry room walls, he shred all the blankets and pillows we gave him. When we were sledding down the hill in the winter he would slam right into us grabbing our hats and pushing us off the sled. Of course all of this caused shouting, there was no control for the dog. One time when Duffy got into so much trouble, I had to put him back up his puppy pen. Dad stood from the doorway as I walked up to him. "That is the dumbest dog of all time." He said and I turned around to laugh. Duffy was whining in the pen with his front paws up on the 2 foot fence with his whole body exposed. I realized the fence only cover his back legs when he stood like that. Both Dad and I had a good laugh watching him, Duffy was pure puppy no matter how big he was getting. One day I noticed him running away from the main road with such panic and he bolted to the corner of the ditch bank starring back at our house. I was in dinning room watching him as I asked Dad "Something is wrong with Duffy, He looked so scared..why is he just siting way up there?" My Dad looked out the window asked back at me "Where did he come from?" then I replied "The road." Dad took off after Duffy wondering if the big lanky dog had just been hurt. The blood was all over my father jeans so that scared me to death! Then mom got mad when Dad brought Duffy inside the house "Honey we have a problem." Dad explained to mom when she began to order them outside. Dana jumped right in to help Dad wrap up Duffy's bloody paw, we all thought a car must have caught it on the road. Mom protested the whole time for she had just finished mopping the floor that was the moment I realized my Mother didn't get dogs, she just could not see them as another soul. Now after that moment Duffy never chase a car again, but he did die a month later from being hit by a car.... 
This is where I say to my poor father, it wasn't his fault. but I am sure he still thinks it was to this very day.On that Sunday afternoon the day Duffy died, Dana had her friend Kessa over for the afternoon so we were playing the board game "Payday" in our bedroom when I heard fast running outside then saw a shadow flash by our bedroom window. I was just 12 years old so I left in the middle of the game to go investigate, I heard my father yelling from the street. I ran into my Parents bedroom to look out the windows that faced the busy ustick road. When I reached the window I noticed it was open, I saw my mom trying to push my father back from a strange lady who stood by a white car that was pulled over in front of our house. I glanced at the side of me to see Grandpa Graber on his motorcycle waiting on the corner of the driveway he was watching sadly as he parked and walked up into our yard, I caught his eyes and I knew he was sad for me though I didn't understand why yet. Mom kept pushing on Dad trying to calm him down but he was in full force, then she was trying to talk to the strange lady at the same time. My dog Savannah suddenly popped up from the hill side of the lawn where I knew she had just across the street. Grandpa petted her and kept looking worried at the scene in front of us on the road. While Dad screamed "WHAT is WRONG with YOU!" my Dad looked so red in the face from all his yelling. "THIS IS A COUNTRY ROAD NOT A FREEWAY! WHAT IF IT HAD BEEN A CHILD!!" I watched in awe at my enraged Father, I was trying to understand what was happening then my heart began to race as I saw the lifeless body way up the road at least to the second telephone pole, The driver was going so fast at the point of impact Duffy flew like a sack of potatoes, "Duffy!" I cried out through the open bedroom window. Then everyone turned to look at me, Mom shouted "Stay there!" Grandpa waved me back from the window where now he had been standing and watching. "You should close this." he said quietly, as he walked down the slope to join the others the car. Dad had begun to carry our puppy back to the yard. He would tell us all about how it happened, How he opened his bedroom window to call the dogs back home, Duffy being faster then Savannah was bolting home by Dad's command "That was the first time that darn dog EVER obeyed me!" my Dad chuckled then sighed. So Dad saw it all go down with no way to stop it, the Lady had been speeding up the road after having a fight with her husband so she never saw the young lab run out in front of her. It was a sad time for us kids, we lost our first puppy. I couldn't believe he was only 10 months old and I knew I would miss him greatly,I use to sleep next him on the floor in the laundry room all the time. With his wet nose and big fat paws that he had not grown into he would put them on me as we napped in those winter evenings. I even trained him to stand up next to me with his paws on my arm. He also had an obsession with apples, lucky for him we lived on an apple farm so he could swallowed them whole or he sat chewing on them. I had noticed when we ate apples as a puppy he wanted one too, so I fed him one then he was hooked. Once as we walked down from Grandpa's shop to our own yard we crossed the bridge over the ditch. I just happened to look back and see a golden delicious apple floating in the muck by the grid of the ditch. The stuff was held back so that only the water went under the bridge. But at the sound of a small splash Duffy wanted that apple. I knew I had to move fast, so my arms went flying out into all the gunky crap all the way up to my shoulders I felt around in the ditch water for my puppy. His wild eyes met my own as I tried to grab him, but he slipped back under that dirty water. There was a grid like fence holding him in place against a cement wall. So I dug my knees into the gravel and worked hard at trying to grab him again. "Duffy!" I called out as that golden apple suddenly got loose and drifted under the bridge. "Stupid apple" I mumbled as I watched it go. Once both my hands could get around wet Duffy's kicking body then I pulled him up into my chest. He never ever walked on that side of the bridge again! I was amazed that I just happened to know Duffy was going in for that apple, It surprised him that the pile of muck wasn't actually land. I was really happy I had been there, I didn't care I was covered in cow manure after that, I was just glad Duffy didn't drown.

Since I believe that all dogs go to Heaven, I know Duffy is up there, he is the angel dog with all the apples!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Saving Savannah

In my 10th summer I was given my very first dog. Her name was Savannah  and she was almost 7 years old. Now I knew Savannah when she was just a puppy rolling around me and I began to cry. I was terrified of dogs as a little girl, for I had been bitten 3 times. Once by a black Cocker Spaniel, a grayish black Poodle and a dirty matted Chow. I was chased by many dogs and the ones that jumped up always seem to take me by surprise. When I was maybe 3 years old my Aunt Kaisie brought by a puppy to play with me in my sand box, That was a beagle. Though I never saw it again I still remember how cute it was, and how my Dad tried to tell me not to be afraid. I liked Ariel the red Retriever of my Aunt Veta. Though I would only pet her if she was laying down. When I was 8 years old I wrote a short story for fun. It was called "Debby and her puppy" I wanted a puppy so badly but my Father had to explain that we lived in a tiny trailer home, in small trailer park where a dog would go crazy having no room to run around in. So on the summer I was 10 years old Savannah came to be mine!
My Uncle Dan had an all white German Sheppard named Taffy. This dog was amazingly bright and beautiful. She was at my Uncle's side all through out her life on the Orchard farms, She also scared me to death because she had a deep low bold bark and she didn't mess around with hugs. Dan and her were always mother once said her brother would never love a dog as much as he loved Taffy. Now I have never known Uncle Dan to not own a dog in all these years. He is a good leader for the canine animals...But he did not like Savannah. He wasn't very nice to her, I would see him kick her or loose his temper then I would protest, sometimes my mother would scold me for telling him not to treat her that way. Mom said that Savannah was his dog and he knows how to train dogs.  But I loved Savannah for she taught me not to be afraid of dogs. She coward and gently dragged her nose on the ground when walking up to you, she was slow in running and not as clever as Taffy. I think my Uncle excepted Savannah to replace Taffy in his mind, though no one ever told me Taffy died and when I asked out loud "Where's Taffy?" My mother shhhhhed me down quickly. Savannah couldn't fill the paws of Taffy, so in my uncle eyes Savannah was stupid and retarded. He even would ask me when he walked by "Why are you petting that retarded dog?" I would glare at him, then leaned into Savannah's golden coat and rub my chin on her back "You are NOT retarded Girl." I would whisper. Yet she was slow and goofy! She would  do things like walking into the garage wall or jumping up on a truck from the wrong side...Once she scratched up the hood of my uncle's new pick-up so naturally he lost it. I was laughing because it was so funny to see this big fatty dog scrambling to figure out where the back of the truck was. When she did the same thing to my Dad he didn't care for he had an old beater rig. He did however take a picture of her laying on the windshield ready to go for a ride. Savannah never jumped up on me, she always laid right next to me as I scratch her belly. I would talk to her all the time, I loved cheering her on when Uncle Dan raced her through the farm on the 4-wheeler. She was never as fast as the new pup, a golden lab named Sausha. Sausha was maybe more like Taffy after all and Dan soon loved her. He would ignore Savannah and train his smarter puppy who would grow up to be a wonderful mother of many puppies and a good partner for my Uncle. Yet I had my eyes on Savannah at all times making sure she didn't get forgotten or yelled at. "She saved me from my fear of dogs!" I explained to my Grandpa one day, he petted her saying quietly "There isn't a dog like her, she really loves you." I was amazed that a dog could love, so from that moment I loved her too!

Uncle Dan mumbled "Dumb ol' dog" when I retorted "She IS NOT dumb!" He looked surprised at me. Then he chuckled "Well she isn't that bright and I am not wasting any more time with her." I waited rubbing Savannah's ears while I watched Dan work on the long green pipe of the irrigation system. He continued to explain "She is going to the pound tomorrow or this weekend I think.....she is the stupidest dog and she is all old now." I gasped a sudden alarming breath and wrapped my arms around her. "NO! No no no she is a perfect dog!" Dan shook his head and rolled his eyes "Nope, she is a pain and I am done with her." He shrugged like it was no big deal. I suddenly asked without a second thought "CAN I HAVE HER?" He stopped hammering and looked surprised again. He looked at Savannah with such discuss "Why would you want HER? She is old and dumb. She won't live another 2 years maybe..Why not get a puppy like Sausha?" 
I stood up straight and tall as any 10 year old can. "I just want her, she is the BEST dog I have ever known!" Dan nodded "Okay, she is all yours.....IF your parents say yes. I could just see it now your Dad would be pretty mad at me!" He laughed then stop to rethink it again "Actually it is your Mom who would kill me!" He laughed and laughed as I ran off to ask my Mom. When it comes to dogs my mother can leave them or take them, they are just part of the farm decor. Since Savannah was already always around my mom didn't care, she did however tell me that I was paying for the dog food and I was in charge of Savannah's care. The first few nights I begged to have Savannah sleep with me on the floor of the cottage. But it never happened for my Mom thought dogs were never allowed in the house, that was something I disagreed on my whole life. When my Dad looked over Savannah I watched him closely examine her, He whispered gently "What have you been through Girl?" he looked at me sadly saying Savannah was depressed and confused. He told me to spend extra attention to her and to get her out playing again. The Vet then told us she only had a year or so to live, I didn't believe the vet and my dad warned that when she dies I could not freak out. But she would live another 8 years, she was loved and she was my very first dog.
When Dad and Mom had a fight, Mom was so mad at Dad then she had to drive him somewhere on the farm. She told us kids to get on the trailer of the 4-wheeler then she blazed out of the driveway, Dad was chuckling he knew she was very mad at him. he tried to be goofy for us kids as she began to drive at a faster more reckless speed. Dad yelled back at her to slow down but she only hit the gas harder. Alarmed, we kids held on the flat bed trailer even harder trying to hang on to each other. Savannah stood trying to keep her balance on the crazy fast 4-wheeler and trailer. Suddenly a boulder rock hit the trailer sideways Savannah was startled by the slant we all took she began to fall backwards and I lunged for her. I had my arms around her but I still couldn't completely reach so with my butt and  with my feet I pulled us back on to the trailer in the few seconds I had. She landed on top me as the speed never broke. My chin was a tiny bit away from skidding on the open wheel of the trailer. I pulled my self up into a seating position only to see my father's face in alarm and his eyes were huge. Needless to say our parents argument escalated after mom skidded to a stop. "YOU ALMOST KILLED OUR DAUGHTER!" Dad boomed and Mom waved him back "Don't be so dramatic." When Dad exploded telling her what happened when she was driving so crazily. She snorted pointing her finger at me "Debby don't EVER put your own life at risk over some dog!" I stood covered in dust and holding on to my dog from the trailer watching this all go down. What Dad said to Mom next was something I always remembered  "IF she hadn't acted so quickly her dog would be dead from a broken back!  I saw it all happen and she loves that dog! Do you want to bury Savannah? ....and then face those eyes?" He looked down at me and smiled "You did the right thing."
When my 10th summer came to an end, I was alarmed to see both my Mom and Dad crying. Dad wiped his eyes and said "You kids have never seen this before....Your Dad crying an'all." We stood there watching them try to tell us that we had to leave. Our Grandparents weren't going to sale us a piece of land after all. That summer had been the most magical of all our lives, even my parents marriage seemed to be doing good too. Though they had their moments, they both found their own peace and quiet on the farm. "What about my dog?" I cried and my father stopped for a moment to think. "You will have to ask your Grandpa that question." he stated plainly. "I want to stay with her!" I exclaimed as I took off across the orchards calling her name. "Savannah! Savannah Girl!" She joined me in no time to sit on a soft patch of wild grass overlooking the valley below. I knew I wanted to hang on to this moment with her forever, so we sat there until the sun began to set. When my Dad flagged me down, he said Grandpa was by the garden talking to mom. I had to go ask him to take care of my dog. I was shaking from having been crying most of the afternoon, when I walked up to him. Grandpa Ansil was resting on his motorcycle in a discussion with his oldest daughter my mom. "Grandpa can you.....please can you....keep my Savannah.....for me...Can she stay here... or else Uncle Dan will put her in the pound!" I burst out sobbing now looking up at how his face soften, he half hugged me and whispered "Yes yes my child, your dog will always have a home with me." then he glared at my observing parents demanding "WHAT are you telling your kids!" Mom stood there leaning on her gardening hoe smugly "The truth, since we don't know where we HAVE to move to Debby can't take her dog." I cried again and Grandpa patted my back then drove off angry. He would arrived again early the next morning with papers for my parents to sign, I remember that day so clearly when Dad let out a holler while he danced around the cottage "We get to stay kids! We get to stay!" the cheers and the jumping was loud. Our Grandpa sold the peach orchard to our parents so this farm could be our new home.  But most importantly to me, to my 10th year alive I got to keep my Savannah!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I was 17 years old as I waited around after morning service at church with the youth group kids. We had been studying the bible in how to witness to the unsaved world. I always loved Sundays, once my family finally found a home church where we could make friends and stay connected. I didn't leave my high school Sunday school class right after graduating. I thought the adult class was boring and slow. I went only once and knew I should stay among my friends a bit longer. Our youth group leader was a dynamic, out going and humorous teacher. He had been teaching us the witnessing steps of the "Roman's road" and how to be bold when knocking on a stranger's door to save the lost soul. I waited along side my friends as our teacher announced how the teams would be broken up. "I paired you guys off with one shy person and one outgoing person." He explained. I was happy to join my friend Leah the sister of my Beloved friend Rebekah, so in many ways I thought of her as my sister too. "I wonder which one of us is shy or outgoing?" I asked her as we walk together down the neighborhood street. "Because I am feeling shy right now." I admitted. She giggled and held her bible up to her chest and we knocked on the first door. A nice elderly woman answered saying she was episcopalian then quickly closed the door. I began again at the second door to a lady with a baby on her hip, "Hi, we are from the church around the corner and would like to tell you that you are always welcome to join us. We teach that Jesus..." She interrupted me saying "I need to change his diaper." then door closed. Leah and I walked to 4 houses before I began to notice the more questionable yards and houses all the way down the street. I began to feel uneasy and just not safe, but I joked with Leah that no one likes their Sunday afternoon interrupted. It was Leah who noticed the Beware of dog sign as she called out to me "Hey watch out they have a dog!" she was a few steps behind me as I knocked on the broken frame door. The deep angry barking from the dog on the other side made me fly back in alarm. Then I raced back out to the sidewalk where Leah was laughing. my eyes were wide as I said "They should put that sign on the actual door!" The last door we knocked on had a fat hairy no shirt man sitting in a lazy boy chair. He yelled at his wife who had answered "Tell them to go away." I began to stamper over the stinky smell that came from inside the messy home. Leah took over calmly visiting with the tooth less lady as I back away by the heavy odor. The fat guy kept yelling though he was only a few steps away from the door. We ran to the sidewalk giggling at the crazy people we had encountered. "Well I think that is it for the day." I announced as we were only half way up the street. Leah looked up to where we were told to cover. "Well, I am not sure this counts...." She wanted to retreat back to church just as much as I did. I wave one hand out to all those falling apart houses and explained "If a person doesn't care about their front yard then chances are they will not like us coming up to their front door either."  I thought for a moment  "So let's go back!" I smiled She nodded taking my arm as we walked together relieved to be done with our witnessing assignment. "I wish they had sent a boy with us to keep us safe..." She smiled at me when I winked at her saying "A tall young man no doubt..But really if you think about it I kept us safe! I think that last house was way to intense for me! So no more,  it could just keep getting worse." Once back inside our church I  threw my hands up in the air "We are safe once again!" then she and I ran all over the church with on one around for a whole other hour. Leah sat with me on the steps of the stage in the auditorium as we rested from running. "Do you ever wonder if you will save someone?" she asked me I waited in thought as she continued "I mean do you think God keeps a score card of how many souls you save for him? I have been really struggling with not knowing anyone I have witnessed and saved?" I chuckled replying "I don't have any one on my score card either IF there is even such a thing....But I do think we sow seeds every where we go in love and in prayers. Maybe we aren't suppose to know how many souls we saved, maybe we just have to be ourselves the best way we can?" She leaned into me saying "It's all so hard to live up to...sometimes." And I agreed thinking once again I was right where God wanted me to be in my life.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Code Black

When I got a partner manager in the produce department of the Market that I worked in 2001. I was able to have 2 days off in a row and that alone seemed wonderful to me! Wendy and I were a fun duo of knowing how to run our produce. We sent gifts to our vendors for Christmas and gave many praises as referrals for them to sale to other stores around the valley. We even took notes as we walked through the Co-op, the fruit stands and the grocery stores. I thought it was better to sale our produce as close to our own cost as possible. While the owner wanted us to mark it up 3 or 4 times as much. "Profit Girls! Profit first!" She would say to us. But she actually had no idea how much anything should cost. Then when grocery manager was always telling us to have "last day" produce sale section....the owner freaked out on us as she walked by it "This is horrible quality!" She would shout in a whinny voice, for she loved to yell. Wendy would roll her eyes at me as she explained to our boss what the other manager wanted a last chance sale. "Oh well now that is just stupid we aren't some WINCO! Pull it now...I was thinking you girls were ordering such crap!" I often wondered day to day if she was on medication. It was also stressful to have so many managers in that one location. Our boss and the owner of both the coffee shop and this store, was always wearing black. Black skirt, black shirt, black leggings and black shoes. Along with Black coats and sweaters, she even had jet black hair. She used big black boots to make herself taller. When she entered the store it was known as "Code Black". If the seafood guys saw her first then they would walk quickly through out the whole place saying "Code Black" looking just as freaked out as the rest of us. Sometimes someone who would get on the phone speaker through the whole store announcing "Code Black in 20 minuets." We would all laugh usually relieved to know she is on her way so we can prepare. It was hard on us when she sneaked up from behind watching us closely then yell "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" For you would no doubt jumped 20 feet in the air! Having to quickly explain what you were doing trying to stop your pounding heart. If she thought it was work related then she would simply say "Oh. Okay." and walk away while you try not to mutter "Bitch" under your breath. When Her husband and her had a disagreement it always got crazy, they would go into my produce cooler to scream at each other. I would over hear thinking to myself "Oh, how lovely." sarcastically. The fact that she was a crazy short tempered person didn't bother me like it did others. I was use to people like this in my life, but I didn't like when she yelled at my vendors who helped me keep my produce looking good. She once came over and took my phone out of my hand as I was ordering from Grasmick. Then she slammed it down while screaming at me for not having the white asparagus from the Martha Stewart show in my department. I couldn't just sit there embarrassed that she didn't even care I was talking to a professional produce person. Though He was very understanding, he had already heard all about our owner from other vendors and other business people who had run-ins with her. "How Dare you grab my phone! I am the manager of this department! Show some respect!" I yelled equally loud back at her. It had gotten around the store suddenly that we were in a screaming battle. She flared "HOW DARE YOU raise your voice at me!" she retorted. I flew out of my seat waving my hands "I can order your goddamn asparagus! Just give me a note about it and I will have here this afternoon! DO NOT I repeat DO NOT EVER hang up my phone when I am talking!" I could see the group of employees gathering watching in awe that I wasn't so sweet and so quiet anymore. She was enraged but it didn't scare me at all, so she threw a tomato at me. I of course ducked and laughed at how crazy everything had gotten. I pointed right at her like my father had always done to me. I kept a direct glare as I said stiffly "Do not throw my produce around just because you are being a big baby! You hung up on my best vendor so YOU owe him a bottle of wine. I will order whatever you want! I didn't even know asparagus came in White!" I stood boldly never loosing eye contacted with the produce table between us. She held another tomato maybe she was going to throw it at my head again. She looked behind her at all the pairs of eyes watching and moving about trying to see the fight. I kept my finger pointing her down and my own anger was waiting. "Well...I thought you were ignoring me on purpose. I yelled your name all over the store and you never came so I was very mad at you." She explained while I frown in reply "What are you 10 years old!?" She began to giggle and waved her hand "Go get a cheap bottle of wine for your vendor who I hung up on...Just don't tell him what happened." As fast as she had been there she was gone, but she never did that again. In fact everyone said she avoided me now because I wasn't intimidated by her at all. I would just shrugged jokingly to whoever was asking me about it later "Well I guess...I just lived through my own "Code black" moment after all." I would smiled realizing that it wasn't so bad, maybe it wasn't as sad as I had first thought to have grown up in a household of many unstable people. For I wasn't bewildered beyond words, I wasn't lost among such sudden fear anymore. I now knew how to duck at a flying tomato, or whatever else came towards me.

Produce Manager

It was the fall season of the year 2001 as I began my new job at a specialty market. This market had many different departments like a wine section, a seafood department, a butcher with fresh meat cuts and floral lady. The decor was household goodies or groceries. The dairy wall had rows of milk of every kind. A lunch bar for freshly made sandwiches and pasta salads. The corner of the store by the offices was full of teas and cookies just as you walked by naturally into the connected coffee shop. I was trained on the register that first day and caught on instantly. The cash registers faced the beautiful produce department. The holidays were coming so the whole place smelled like pumpkin spice candles as they were lit through out all over the store. The very first time I had discovered this variety market was with my Boyfriend Tony along with his parents Kelly and JoAnne. When the four of us filled the cart up with freshly baked breads and fancy cheeses. Tony's Mom carried a flower bouquet up to me and exclaimed "THIS is going to be my favorite place to shop from now on!" Tony and his Dad got iced coffee drinks. We wandered around eating samples and getting new ideas for dinner that night. As we left I thought to myself that I would really love to work in a place like that.....a couple of years later I did!
It was the middle of October when I went in to ask for a job application, A middle aged woman was a bit flustered as she explain "I am so sorry this is my very first day and they just LEFT me here! I don't know where a job apt. is?" I shook her hand and introduce myself  "Oh I know what that feels like, my name is Debby." She smiled back relaxing now "I'm Carla." Now Carla and I would end up being friends for years after this very moment....
I helped Carla find the job applications while we stood visiting for awhile until the hiring manager came up and talk to me through Carla's recommendation. Carla said she asked every day for the rest of the week if I was going to be hired. So my interview really took 10 minuets and the guy interviewing said I had the most beautiful smile he had ever seen. I knew that I had to cleverly stand up for myself against his flirting, while still being very respectful...So after my first day he never tried again to catch my attention with his winks or his jokes as I confidently laughed back at him saying casually but still boldly " don't be so pervy!"
When the crazy unstable owner found out that I loved produce, she began to find ways to replace her bold christian produce manager with me. I went to the back room to help him set out new fresh lettuce heads. He was so intense as he prayed out loud while I stood there and then He said "You do know these are the ending times, America is under attack and now God is coming! Satan is out to take this Christian nation down!" He kept working along side of me with his bible on the cutting board. I was not alarmed, I wasn't even pissed off by his boldness in getting up right in my face. I felt like I simply knew he was harmless, He was scared that the two towers were just blown up. I talked to him as if I had known him my whole life because really I had...I was raised in this bulldozing Christianity. He stared at me like a wild man as he realized I was just working not arguing with him. "ARE YOU SAVED?" He asked bewildered. I laughed replying "I hope so!" He questioned on more while grabbing his bible, "I mean do you know the Christ, the son of the living God?" I realized this could drag on forever so I said quickly "Yes, I have known him my whole life and the Holy Spirit was always my favorite. For it's like a protective blanket we always need something to believe in." I stated back.
He hugged me suddenly then asked if I had a boyfriend. I was alarmed now and so I chuckled "Oh yes for at least 2 years now, Tony...He is a great guy." The owner was watching all this with a frown as she stood there trying to find a reason to fire this spiritually crazy guy. I thought about it later, how odd it was now I that no longer go to church nor do I believe that Christianity was the answer for salvation. Yet this man reminded me of myself, of who I once was and how glad I am to move on.
As produce manager I took over the department working long weeks with maybe a day off, or maybe not. My Father would pop in with advice, with ideas for my new setup. I often would just bumped right into him as he stood looking over my produce. "Oh! Hi Dad." I said in that first week as manager. "Like these potatoes? aren't they huge?" I asked him. I would wonder if he had just heard me say "Oh Shit!" as I almost drop the 50 pound bag of russet potatoes in the back room on my way out. Dad would walk around asking me who my vendors were and how I should order boxes of apples soon they were in full season. "You know what you need to do is get as much local produce in here and give the Co-op a run for it's money!" He chuckled. Then he would lean into me to whisper "Who in their right mind pays $3.49 for a candy bar?" I laughed as he pointed to the specialty chocolate bars by the registers. Having my father visit my department every so often was really nice, I never saw anyone during the year of this job. Unless they came to me, for my week days were filled up with an average 12 or 14 hour shifts. My dad mentioned to me how he thought I could get ahead in my job, it was coming in on my days off to check things out. So the one Sunday I had off I would stop into the market to see how things looked. My boyfriend was really the last person I gave any time to, Yet he was always the first person I called in the morning over my break or the last person at night I chatted with before I went home. The voice of my father was in my head all the time in how to be a good leader and how to be a good manager. "What I would do if I was you, I would come in early on my day off and follow the other managers to see how they do everything. You can learn more not having to be in your own department. and your boss will be very impress you are learning off the clock." Dad explained to me as I was bewildered "REALLY? but I only have one day off a week right now." I replied sadly, Dad just shrugged "Well that is how you get ahead and stay a good employee." He seemed to light up when I asked him questions about the produce or how should I display the Thanksgiving yams. Yet I couldn't bring myself to ever go in on my day off to shadow people without pay. I liked seeing my dad just pop in, I liked getting the chance to chat it up about my job with him. 
Now I am really hard worker because of his leadership. I gave it my all when working as that produce manager, the rest of the world moved on without me. I began to notice even when I was home that my mind was in my job. That I had already began to plan tomorrow's schedule, I couldn't relax and couldn't sleep deeply. I loved the produce and all the people I talked to through out the day in the job. Tony was beginning to realize that I was a true work-aholic, He had to gently tell me how worried he was over my health, over my state of mind. "My Dad says my job is a huge responsibility, my department reflects me as a person.....So I am going to stay late to help close up tonight." Tony's voice was sad on the other line "But I made us dinner, shrimp even... you will love it!" I felt bad and I sighed "I have a job, I am a produce manager I have to stay." He sighed back "I didn't realize you wanted to be like your Dad so much. There is more to life then making money." I sat there at my desk with stacks of invoices and ordering lists. I had sticky notes for all the customers I needed to call back. I looked around me at the crates of tomatoes, at my large coffee frappe. It was as if I woke up from a dream, half dazed and half caffeinated I worked my life into this moment. I left early that night heading home to surprise Tony, He had made me dinner and I realized my life wasn't any where I wanted it to be. He was thrilled as he hugged me when I arrived and I said the words that were the hardest for me to ever say "I'm Sorry." I had really missed him as I continued "I choose YOU over any job out there!"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Closer to Fine song by the Indigo Girls

 (I have been singing this song all day so I had to share!ENJOY <3)

I'm trying to tell you something about my life 
Maybe give me insight between black and white 
The best thing you've ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously, it's only life after all
Well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
And lightness has a call that's hard to hear
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it, I'm crawling on your shore.
I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain
There's more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.
I went to see the doctor of philosophy
With a poster of Rasputin and a beard down to his knee
He never did marry or see a B-grade movie
He graded my performance, he said he could see through me
I spent four years prostrate to the higher mind, got my paper
And I was free.

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain
There's more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.

I stopped by the bar at 3 a.m.
To seek solace in a bottle or possibly a friend
I woke up with a headache like my head against a board
Twice as cloudy as I'd been the night before
I went in seeking clarity.
I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain
There's more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain
There's more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.

We go to the bible, we go through the workout
We read up on revival and we stand up for the lookout
There's more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in a crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine     The closer I am to fine    The closer I am to fine

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Table Manners

Growing up in my family was just one adventure after another, I had both great moments of pure happiness and wonderful memories followed by equally crazy horrible drama. My parents were young when I was born, My mother said I interrupted their honeymoon time. She would say the first year of marriage is the most important because you need that time to get settled before starting a new family. So after I was born a month later my parents celebrated their first year married....Oooops!
I know that my Father didn't sleep the first night I was home, he said as an infant I would stop breathing suddenly and he would shoot awake in alarm. But most infants do that funny breathing the first few days alive. How cute to picture my father picking me up in the middle of the night unable to actually relax he laid me on his chest so that when I stopped breathing he would know....He said it was such a long night for him. When my mom over heard him telling me this story she snorted and laughed "He was so worried and I kept telling him there was nothing to worry about." She rolled her eyes and Dad laughed saying "All I can say is that on the next night you were sleeping in your own bed after that!" I wondered later if my mother was jealous of me  for that devotion from my father? For all the years of wanting to know this woman, I realize jealousy was her main struggle through out her whole life. Most of her grudges come from that one moment when she saw things go down through her own eyes and felt hurt or left out. Maybe my father kept his distance after awhile realizing his wife didn't want to be left out or over looked by her own children. I also think Dad's short temper and my Mom's high standards were just waiting to exploded. 
"Dinner is ready!" our mother called from the kitchen as my sister Dana and my brother Derek shot up from whatever we were doing in our bedroom. The race was on! I shoved Derek back as I ran passed him but he tripped me as Dana bulldozed over the both of us. The crashing, the banging and the yelling had begun. The Battle was very clear, the chaos was created simply from our fear of our father. Terrified of him was the soul purpose of us kicking and biting each other to get to the dinner table first. Our mom would always have to calm us down "Stop! You guys need to wash your hands first, DEBBY! did you just kick your sister?! Was that very nice to do?" I clung to the chair feeling guilty having been caught. Then there was the arguments of all three kids "Dana pushed me into the door knob!" I cried, Derek shouted "Debby shoved me! and Dana kicked me!" Dana splashed her wet hands into his face and darted over to mom as she set down the dinner plates. "MOMMMMY, It's Derek turn to sit in that chair." Mom nodded and sighed "You guys are driving me crazy! Calm down and sit down...Your Father will be home soon." Dead silence. We saw him parking his farm pick-up and walking in. Dread and sadness flooded us as we stop fighting crazily, I was so relieved to get a chair next to my mom at the table. Dana smirked at Derek as she took the chair facing me. 
Our mother wanted family dinner time to always be at the table, she would set it up early before our father could turn on the TV. His boots walked across the hallway as a warning to us all that HE has entered his home. Derek seemed to go white and pale as he tried to tell mom it wasn't his turn to sit next to Dad. The Table setup was Dad at the head and mom at the foot always. There were 2 chairs on each side of our mother then the one alone chair by the right hand side of our father. THIS CHAIR was hated, was avoided by fighting and kicking and arguing. "Your children have been fighting with each other." Mother said this as she set the basket of bread rolls on the table. Father boomed "Well then everyone can join me after lunch to pull brush." Mom smiled and sat down. While we all took hands and prayed, Dad looked around the table then picked Derek to pray over our dinner. Now Derek was holding Dad's hand and Dana reach out to take his other hand but I was so luckily to be holding my mom's hand and my brothers instead. Derek sounded nervous as he spoke, I was thinking to myself that I would be too. While we served up the dishes, Dad complained about the things he had to do on the farm. He would snap to when I started laughing with bread in my mouth "Close your mouth when eating!" I nodded quickly and swallowed. Then almost with out warning the smack sound of his hand hitting Derek behind the head. "Del" My Mom would warn looking annoyed. Derek had used his fingers to catch his food following from his fork while trying to hide this by stuffing his mouth fast...But not fast enough. THIS WHY we hated that chair at the table, If you got in trouble dad would yell at you but if you sat next to him he would smack the back of your head at the very moment you were swallowing. Dana once spit out her food  when he hit her in the back the head because she was choking, He was enraged and she was sent to her room with no more food. He would shout "That was discussing! Go to your room!" Now Derek got hit just as much as us girls at the dinner table if not maybe even more for Dana and I would throw him under the bus every chance we got. Sitting on the right hand of our father was the HOT SEAT, If you made a mistake and he saw you then Wham! Your head would fly forwards and tears would blind you as you tried so hard not to cry. Dad hit from his right hand first then say "Don't talk with your mouth full." But if you sat next to mom you weren't hit first. After Derek was hit he would sit trying so hard not to cry, Then Dad would snap back "Dry it up, finish your plate." Once Derek couldn't eat his food a bowl of soup with sausage, he sat there all the rest of the night unable not to puke if he took another bite so as punishment he had to go straight to bed. Then the next morning while Dana and I ate pancakes and bacon, he had that same bowl from dinner in front of him. By the time dinner came around again he sat there with the same bowl of soup he couldn't eat. "You have be pretty stupid not to just eat that and get it over with." Dad said to him. By this time I felt really bad for Derek, though he figure out a system of one bite followed by a piece of bread then half glass of milk. He made it, he finished it on the second night. That was the longest time food followed him around as punishment. When it came to our table manners, or to just eating the foods we don't like. Nothing could really motivate you like avoiding being hit or yelled at. My love for breakfast foods helped me not get stuck by a following bowl of baked beans. Often that 3rd chair got pushed over to the chair next to it as we sat trying to be as close to our mother as possible. Mom would notice this and chuckle saying to her one of her lady friends "My kids always want to sit by me all the time, It is really sweet."  I would over hear this with a chuckle of my own.

Dana passed me a cigarette and I lit it. I breath in deeply feeling the warm smoke fill my lungs and relax my nerves. I passed her a beer and we sat there looking out over my apartment's back yard. Here we sat now in our early 20s, as the soft rain came down around us. "Do you remember fighting to the death over not sitting in that 3rd chair at the dinner table all those years?" Dana let out such a hearty laugh and replied "Shhhhit!" I giggled and said "That was so fucked up!" We laughed. Dana said "I almost always got a chair by mom, I was always lying about whose turn it was to sit were! hahahahahaha You and Derek were always such suckers!" I couldn't stop laughing now through the calming smoke and the sweet taste of beer. "HELL NO! We weren't suckers we were just as scared of YOU as we were of Dad! If you lost then you were so pissed off the rest of the day at us! hahahahahaha."  Dana stop laughing so hard with me to say what I always remembered "We were all in it together, and so alone at the same time." I felt the moment was healing for me to sit next to my sister and pat her knee. "We aren't alone anymore." Dana clinked my bottle in agreement while we suddenly became quiet.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Life is a bowl of...Baked Beans

I had arrived home after working all day on my 20th birthday. The year was 1999, For it had been such a happy day at work while my Boss Larry and his wife Debbie took me out for a special birthday lunch and also gave me a raise. Naturally I was thrilled, I felt like my life was on the move towards change. Yet with my growing confidence I still suffered from doubt and fear. Now in this memory, I ran into the kitchen and swung up in the air my baby brothers Daren who was 6 years old and Dougie who was 4 years old. My big fatty birthday cake sat out on the kitchen island counter. "Oh Yummy! Angel food cake...Do we have whipped cream?" I asked as the boys gave me drawn picture cards for my birthday. My Mother had just finished washing and cutting the fresh strawberries. She nodded and then said "We are having baked beans for dinner." I froze. "WHAT?" I asked as I set down one of the boys from my arms so I could go over and look into the big pot on the stove. "Why? why did you make Baked BEANS ?" I asked all sad and hurt to see the only meal I couldn't stomach boiling up at me. The aroma alone made me gag and drop the pot's lid back down. I had not yet been 2 years old when I was forced to eat those traditional baked beans with rubbery bacon floating about in this syrupy brown sweet liquid. the skins of the beans caught in my throat, the sandy grit in my teeth cause a knee jerk reaction to simply puke. But when I did throw up I got spanked, Sooo NOW I have the stomach of a rhino. When Mom set a deep dish bowl in front of me of those hated beans. I asked "I can't believe this...?" She smiled down at me and said "You have to eat all your dinner if you want any dessert." For 20 years she has been saying that line now I laughed out loud while shaking my head. "You have got to be kidding!" She giggled as she walked away then replied "Nope I am not." I was bewildered and yet I sat there for 2 full hours trying to swallow the only dish my Mother made that I could not eat. For all those years growing up I was sent to my room with no dessert because I could not finish my baked beans. The belt, the frowns and the lack of dessert couldn't get me to actually eat my baked beans. If I did then I had to fight so hard not to vomit everything back up. At age 20 I was still laughing as I ate my baked beans, "This is really crazy!" I said to my Mother as she sat down next to me giggling again "When you were a baby you never ate the beans I gave you, then I thought you were just being defiant. Now you know better and can change your mind on whether you will eat these." I wasn't so sure if it was that easy. How odd I thought sitting at the table later all alone and frustrated over my bowl of beans. How odd that I am here again exactly like when I was 10? How totally silly I feel right now.., The last bite of beans took 2 hours and maybe 10 minuets. I tried to act like nothing hurt yet I made a mad dash to my own cottage bathroom. After that moment I knew with out a doubt that my body rejects baked beans with floating bacon....not my mind.
When I went to tuck in my brothers for bed, Mom had fixed me a slice of cake and strawberries as she gave it to me while I was walking by, I had to put up my hand and say "No please I can't look at any food right now." Mom was confused for I had been really excited for the cake at first. I just stated "I will never eat baked beans again!" then she laughed while I just shook my head.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A No Go dinner

I was thrilled to see the instructions laid out in my Everyday Foods Magazine, on how to make lasagna just the other day.. When it comes to new adventures or new ideas for dinner I want to try them. Sometimes I forget to read the directions all the way through but this time for lasagna I was wanting comfort cozy warm foods on this cold fall night. My husband loves coming home from work to the wonderful cooking aroma of our kitchen, I Think it just feels really cozy when the lights are dim, a pumpkin scented candle is glowing and then Tony opens the front door of our condo while he exclaims "It smells so good! man, I am so hungry!" If I am home all day without the car, I feel like I get so much more done at home. I get to do deep cleaning projects and bake many different things through out the day. I am not sure what that feeling of being bored is anymore for it has been years since I thought to myself that there really isn't anything to do. I have late mornings walks with Oscar now that the weather is changing we try to go out when the it warms up more. He is usually always on the go with me when I have the car after taking Tony to his office. Since Oscar gets double the park time, and tons more adventures since I have become a homemaker, he has relaxed beyond just some lazy dog. Oscar is truly spoiled and happy. As I think every dog should be! You can find Oscar trying to always nap while knowing I will drag him out and about before to long:-)
Now while everything was peaceful in the home, both the cat and dog chilled out, the place was nice and cleaned. I began with such excitement to cook Lasagna for dinner. I saute' the veggies and shredded the roasted chicken into easy bite size pieces, the sauce was a bit more work but as I began my layers I followed closely checking the recipe. first I put a row of the whole wheat pasta noodles down, the recipe said NO BOIL NOODLES. So I just assumed that meant that I should not boil the noodles first....It would be Tony who was laughing later saying "Only in Debby's world would No Boil mean a NO GO on boiling." He explained to me that they actually make noodles that don't need to be boiled first, though clearly I hadn't grabbed a box of those. I was so disappointed after all that work to have still have such hard as a rock noodles among all my fixings. We ended up scrapping the regular needing to be boiled first noodles of the lasagna to put the saucy veggies and chicken with rice:-( Now I am hoping one day recipes will click with me and I will just understand how everything works.....but until then I will be cooking up some new adventures!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fall Colors

I wish this season didn't fly by so quickly, It is honestly so beautiful!

My Lucky 13

It was just another shopping day as a small kid I followed my mom and grandma through the Karcher mall in Nampa Idaho, when suddenly I saw above me a restaurant on the second floor. The arch ways showed people eating looking down at the passing shoppers. "I want to go up there!" I exclaimed. I was amazed by the glow of the candles from the tables and one young man waved at me as I pointed. Grandma Norma smiled at me saying "When you turn 13 years old I will take you there for lunch on your birthday." I counted on my hand, that would be 7 more years. I thought it was forever away and yet I reminded Grandma ever time we passed underneath the restaurant that one day I will eat there. She always nodded and smiled saying she was impressed I could remember. Little did anyone ever realize just how well I can remember!
January is a cold month to have a birthday, though now I am very proud of being an Aquarius. When Grandma took me to lunch on my 13th birthday it was snowy outside and I couldn't believe that day had finally arrived. We got a table for 2 overlooking the mall. I starred in awe and no doubt had my mouth hanging wide open. "The people look small from up here!" I exclaimed while our server laughed having over heard me. Grandma patted my seat for me to actually sit down. She explained "Debby dear we are in a nice fancy place for lunch, you can't hang on the railing to watch people. You need to put this napkin in your lap like this." I laughed at my Grandma holding the cloth napkin up to her "This isn't a napkin! It's a hanker chef!' Our server laugh again as she pour our water glasses. I felt suddenly shy, suddenly aware of the people around me. Grandma's lips were pinched tight that show she wasn't amused by my loud talking. I began to think to myself "Am I not a kid anymore being 13?" I loved my table candle, I loved my decorative food and I loved finally getting to see what it is like up here after all these years of shopping below. Grandma began step by step in how good table manners were kept, how to say please and thank you. She took the time to explain softly how we should talk quietly and politely. By the end of the meal I was truly amazed at how good the food was and how special I really felt. I smiled at our lady server saying "Thank you for a memory I will never forget!" She laughed again and said to my Grandma "You have the makings of a true young lady there." Then I giggled into my cloth napkin or hand towel or whatever it was for I only knew of paper napkins.
While Grandma and I walked the long hall way of the mall, going in and out of shops. She asked me "Did you like that restaurant?" I nodded "Oh yes! Why it was so fancy and so nice!" She nodded continuing "Well now that you are a young lady, Then we could eat out like that for your birthday every year! I will take you to some of my most favorite places to eat!" She giggled and I smiled. As we drove home Grandma asked me if being 13 is hard on my relationship to my parents. She said being a teenager now days was very tough. I just shrugged thinking about how I didn't want to be going home yet anyways. "Mom still talks about having another baby." Grandma snorted and shook her head disapprovingly "Well give her time, she will come back around to enjoying being around you again." I shrugged again thinking my mother didn't have much more time if she wanted another baby. "And I am just terrified of my dad, so really nothing has changed yet for being 13." I reasoned but Grandma's face turned into a deep understanding. I had seen the way my father yelled at her and knew she was just as afraid of him. Though I talked in complete honesty and trust, I began to ask myself important questions about my parents. Grandma didn't waste any time in telling my mother, her own daughter that I said I was terrified of my dad. I hope Grandma thought she was helping, that she too was worried about her short tempered son-in-law. Instead I felt instantly betrayed when my mother came into my room shouting at me and then crying. Mom said she was so ashamed of me in my disrespect to the family. She said I made her look stupid in front of her own mother. How dare I even say such things and try to make my father look like a monster. I was completely bewildered by the whole scene and suddenly my whole world of honesty shifted and I felt like I could never really open up in my true feelings with Grandma ever again. I had been thrown under the bus, ran over like a car by my own words of my 13th year of concerns. I remembered the very moment I said it out loud, that my Father was the scariest man I knew. I had thought to myself "Finally I can tell someone how much I avoid him, how much he yells and throws things, how trapped I feel around him." I was happy and relieved to chat with my Grandma about everything. Only to have the very next day my own mother scare me to death! At the age of 13 my family was under pressure, under stress and under such anger. I some how was just waking up to it all, some how I was trying to put it all into words, with feeling my emotions and sharing my thoughts to some one I could trust. The very next month the up stairs restaurant in the mall was closed for good. And with it my very first glimpse into my future adult life, where napkins are cloth and candle light still fascinates me. Where now my Husband says "I am so proud of you Babe." as our server smiles saying "You two are really so cute!"

Friday, November 12, 2010

The bother of Boys

As a bubbly young girl I grew up through my teenage years with 3 wonderful beloved girlfriends. They were the sun, the moon and the stars to me. I was so thankful for them, for the friendships that gave me so much joy and peace of mind. When you struggle with your own personal insecurities Good Friends bring you out of your doubt, they love you no matter what. You can grow and live a stronger life for just having such faithful true friends like that. Having both the homeschooling and church life style in common, we four young ladies formed a bond strong enough to last a life time. Now currently in our adult lives we have been taken out into the real world, into the different lives and places. Yet in my heart it's the four of us so young and so happy together. I truly love all my memories of my beloved girls, they really helped me not grow old into a lonely bitter person:-)

"Debby! We are taking our food outside like a us out there!" Tiffany said this to me as I was still walking down the line of food dishes at this one of many hundreds of Church potlucks. She had return for punch cups and saw me. I smiled and nodded in replying "I will find you!" I loved being 14 years old with my 3 new friendships. Our Sunday school class was very intimate with just the four of us, Rebekah, Tiffany, Jennifer and ME<3
As I walked out to the back field where these girls sat together, I was so happy to know they were my very own friends. "Debby!" Jennifer waved to me while moving over on the blanket so I could sit next to her. As Tiffany and Rebekah were sharing thoughts on the next time they played "Rats of Nimm." Jen and I gave each other an odd look as I asked "What in the world is Rats of Nimm?" While they explained that it was a group of rats, each made into their own character to act out as they all played in the Nampa park or wherever they all got together. "Oh scary! I HATE Rats!" I informed them. Both girls began to laugh at the same time Tiffany shook her head "NO SILLY it's not REAL rats! we pretend to be this band of rats, It's like in the books "Wind and the Willows" where the animals can talk." Jen and I giggled together as we ate, then I clapped my hands together "We should play it now!" Rebekah replied quickly "No. We need more room and everyone isn't here, We are just getting the story line straight for the next time we play." I would find that I as played with them that I still couldn't picture everyone as some clever rat. So instead I saw them all looking like badgers when I used my imagination in playing this famous "Rats of Nimm."
Right off the Boise river when the four of us girls had a sleep over party at Jen's home, We played "Rats of Nimm." I was a snobbish city rat, While Jen and Tiff were the adventurous male rats and Bekah was the mothering rat who tried to keep me from doing crazy things. Poor Rebekah! for I determined to fall in the river no matter what! As I threw out my fishing stick with some random string attached that Tiffany had given me, I began my acting in my city rat voice. "This shall take me forever to catch dinner! We will no doubt starve out here, Oooh how I just hate fishing!" Suddenly a roaring male's laughter came across the river, I was startled to be discovered in my acting. He was floating down on a inner tube with a beer can in one hand and he began shouting out to his buddies "This little gal thinks she is fishing hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha." I quickly ducked behind a tree and climbed up the slope to my girls, they were laughing too! "Oh Debby! You really get into acting when you want." Tiff said with another laugh. As the guys floated by, yelling at each other "There was a girl trying to fish! I shit you not! hahahaha" Jen looked back at me saying "I think we have a group of drunk guys who will be laughing about you for the rest of the day." She smiled while shaking her head. We all four hid among the bushes and trees until the men's laughter trailed down the river. Rebekah whispered while we waited "I was thinking you were talking so loud." Then She patted my shoulder while I sighed in complete embarrassment. Yet being with my 3 beloved friends I felt undoubtedly bold and protective.
One evening while our youth group played a game at church with 2 teams against each other, I saw a guy throw Tiffany up in the air after coming at her from behind and tossing her up. I was focus in on that moment like a hawk or maybe a mother bear. She looked startled, she looked worried as she quickly pulled away from him. We were just 14 and 15 years old, and I didn't trust this greasy black haired college aged guy. When he circled her a second time I ran myself right in between them and elbowed him in the side. If I was Tiffany I would have been horrified if this guy touch me. He was a big dork, a nerdy flirty man who was spoiled rotten by his mother and sister. I never once trusted him for one second, this was the kind of guy parents all easily liked but never actually saw him for what he really did or said. Tiffany grabbed me tightly "Don't leave me alone with him please." I just nodded as she whispered in my ear, my eyes were glaring him down. "Ouch! Debby why did you DO that?' He asked with a frown while rubbing his side. "I guess you were crowding me." I smirked. For if you weren't my father then I didn't have to take crap from you. When it came to boys at that age I had no room to let them boss me around, I was always going to be protecting my girls. This young man and I would go the rounds as if in a boxing match over the next few years.....
He had followed Beka so closely into the camper as she and I settled down to talk about my biology book. This was the fun filled week of Church camp where I was in social heaven, at the age of 16 I shot him a glance asking "Why are You here?" He held up a folder to Rebekah he didn't look at me. "I thought I would show you something." He hated me just as easily as I hated him, so I smirked and rolled my eyes. He caught me and spat back "Debby you can leave, this isn't about You." I closed my biology book quickly while throwing up my arms "Gladly!" Then Beka grabbed me by the arm, "Stay! please just study here....Please." She moved to the upper steps of the RV, settling down on the couch. I melted back into the kitchen table that double as my bed at night. For my Beloved Rebekah I will suffer but NOT silently, He began his nerdy way of flirting again. He was always so bulldozing and demanding to be liked. I snorted again as he talked, He tried to ignore me but sometime he would squawk "DEBBY enough! what IS your problem!" For 3 long hours I kept my nose in my text book and one eye on him. He sat first in a chair then moved casually over to the couch to be right next to Bekah who instantly curled up into a ball putting a pillow in front of her for extra space. When this college guy did moves like that I would snap my fingers and point to his empty chair "Get back there..." I sounded like I was talking to a dog.  Rebekah would giggle, I found this fact to be very odd for Rebekah was by the book rules and determined to always do the right thing, giggling was rarely heard from her. I liked hearing her giggle when he teased her. It was cute but I still didn't trust him. In his folder he began "I was inspired by you." He said intensely to Rebekah I paused for a moment in turning my book's page we waited for him to continue. The sheet of paper was vibrant and flashy. "So you are now a character in my comic book! This is Rebekah the righteous!" I let my head fly back and a huge deep laugh left me and then my face slammed into my text book. "OH PLEASE!" Rebekah looked very impressed, "This is ME?" I ran over and grabbed the page "This is NOT Beka her boobs are not twice the size of her head! Who said YOU  could draw her boobs anyway!" Rebekah was now patting my arm and calming me down. She looked back at her love sick greasy man in replying "Maybe you should tone down these kind of features?" I let out a loud "HA!" as I sat back down while they discuss all the characters in his personally made comic book. He turned to me with a smirk "If I drew Debby she would be a villain!" I snorted back "You couldn't capture MY beauty." Rebekah would always "Shhh" me when I spoke so rudely at the guy. But She would have been so lost without me at the very same time. When He began to tickle her, and I heard the alarm, the fear in her voice as she told him to stop repeatedly. I shot up from my table again only this time to actually hit him hard in the arm with a slap across the shoulder at least twice and I yelled "KNOCK IT OFF! and Get OUT!" He quickly turned on me again "Ouch! Why are you always hitting and kicking me!?" He left quickly as I was steaming and glaring at him. Once he was gone I sat down next to Beka completely mentally exhausted. "What an idiot!" I mumbled and Rebekah laid up next me saying "Thank you for being the bad guy, I was so freaked out!" We laughed as I reenacted my swinging hand hitting the couch pillow, "I really liked hitting him!" I said so proudly, and we laughed again.

"You have to sit somewhere else, there isn't any more room at this table. No Debby! I said you can not sit here that is Jennnifer's seat." I glared at this cocky corny blond haired boy. It was another Sunday potluck and the usual event is, I always saved a chair for Jen and she for me. But while it was pouring rain outside the church was extra crowded on this afternoon. I stood there holding my plate of food wondering once again to myself "why do boys have to be such a bother?" Suddenly I knew I was not backing down, This young man was JUST a friend, though he may have wanted to be Jennifer's boyfriend. I knew he couldn't win over where she sat this day without a fight. "Listen, you can't win this just move over to the kids table behind us." I said I waited. He shook his head and his eyes narrowed in on me for he was now mad. "Don't be such a big baby." he spatted at me and I slammed my plate down on the table and hissed "MOVE!" He rolled his eyes and patted the empty chair next to him while smirking "This is for Jen and I to sit together, YOU move!" I felt helplessly out of control with sudden rage at the whole situation. Usually I liked this guy as a friend in our group but now he had over step his place. I knew I wasn't giving up, I waved my hand over to the space at the other table "Just go sit down and stop causing a scene!" I demanded. He let out a cough "HA! It's YOU who is causing a scene! For the last time Debby Jen is sitting with ME!" He said as he rolled his eyes. At that very moment a hand was on my back as Jennifer's brother stood there, he had been watching this all go down. He leaned into this guy's face saying quickly "That is Debby's chair, it's not even a question. I thought you were smarter then that." he rolled his eyes at me and just as quickly he was gone. I couldn't help but sit down with one of the biggest smiles I have ever had. When this young man moved he glared at me saying "WE shall ask Jen herself." But I was way to happy to even care anymore. I loved when Jen slide into her chair next me already knowing from her brother what had happened. "REALLY? you guys it is JUST a chair! but Debby will always get the first seat." She winked at me and I replied with wave of my hand "For who needs boys anyway?!" We nodded and smiled in agreement.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

For this is Love

In was a cloudy day at the age of 8 years old when I asked myself for the very first time "What is LOVE?" It would take me an over all  4 more years to actually answer that question. For on this cloudy day I cleaned my bedroom in the trailer house we lived at the time. Our Mother had just told us we were meeting new friends and needed to have everything in it's place. My Sister and I shared a bedroom with bunk beds and yellow shag carpet. We had a book shelf full of kids books and stuffed animals. Along with shelving up high were most of our breakable things were displayed. Our beds were made by matching quilts our mother sewed for us. Bright yellow with painted kittens doing fun thing like chasing a ball of yarn or drinking a bowl of milk. My favorite square picture on my quilt was the bright yellow kitten sleeping. Now I stood looking around at our bedroom as it was cleaned. We had a big picture mirror on the wall by the closet where our toys were tucked away in baskets on shelves inside just below all our clothes. My Sister Dana and I shared a room together until we were 16 and 17. Needless to say we often laid down a line of masking tape to keep her side from mine. I would freak out with her pile of laundry laid over on to my side and I would squeal loudly "Oh NO! get your stinky laundry back!" I would demand then she would shove me and I would shove her right back until one of us was so mad and crying we went to our Mother in hopes to solve this problem. So while these friends came on that cloudy afternoon, our bedroom was clean on both sides on the tape. Though we kids had never met before I felt slightly suddenly nervous that they won't like us. Being Home-schooled and stuck in this little house every day didn't teach us kids how to be social. Usually when trying to get someone to like us, we would run in circles giggling. But on this day I remember it like yesterday for I was just 8, I had these huge eye glasses that cover a part of my cheek bone too. my blond hair was stringy and my brown eyes sometimes shared in a little green color. Now I only know this because it was the very first day I stopped to look into that big picture mirror in the bedroom. For these new friends came into our bedroom watching us introduce ourselves. Two girls and a boy with bright blond hair and a bit older then us, I just chattered away about who I was and how happy I was to have them to play with. It was that adorable boy with blond hair and blue eyes that starred at me as I showed them our tiny bedroom. I noticed he was watching me the whole time, my heart begun to flutter and I glanced at the mirror for the first time in my life, I wondered "What is HE looking at?" He never stopped watching me. I could feel my life changing right in front of me. When I smiled right at him, he smiled back and his sister shoved him then he looked flushed quickly leaving the room. He was just eleven years old, but it was at that moment I wondered why he was so shy, when I so clearly wasn't. I wanted to be his friend almost instantly! I came very interested in what he thought of me. I worried suddenly that I was quite the nerd or geek. His sister who was my age, grabbed me by the arm in giggling that very moment explaining "He likes you! He wouldn't stop starring at you! I know him, and he really likes you!" She smirked and I frowned with many questions of my own. "I like him too!" I replied honestly as we went outside in the back yard where all the other kids had gone. She squealed and said "I can't wait to tell him then!" I was suddenly alarmed that she meant more then what I thought. She was quick to tell everyone what I had just said and I was instantly embarrassed. Yet it was in the same moment of wanting to die that he came up to me and told his sister to stop. Then he winked at me as he lean in closer to reassure the teasing will not stop. Perhaps at that moment I was in love.
That night as I laid in bed wondering about boys, the repeated question that I debated over was what is love? Does it make your heart stop like mine had done that day? Does it make you happy to hold hands or even want to kiss though really kissing would be so gross...won't it? Maybe I should pray about this, for if God is in charge then I need to remember this day very carefully.

One of my most favorite times while visiting up North in St.Maries Idaho, was getting some time alone with my cousins Trina and Cally. I loved these girls so much for really they were my very first friends. Trina was just 5 years old then me, She was always creative with playing games, or building something out of wood in Papa Rudy's shop. She would give my Sister and I bracelets and gift bags of goodies. She took the time to explain important details about TV shows or farm animals. I ate up all her information about how the real world works out there...Cally spent time painting our finger nails and doing our hair. She was just a couple of years older then me, we almost always were hand in hand where ever we went. Now I adore them both and liked when it was just the 3 of us walking and talking on Cherry Ben road, or sitting on a big huge rock in the field outside of our Grandparents house. This is were our most intimate conversations took place. "Have you ever kissed a boy?" I would ask them, they would chuckle and ask me instead of answering if I had a boy in mind I wanted to kiss. So I told them of the one boy in the one moment of my life that I suddenly realize I should stop to look in the mirror just in case I have something stuck in my teeth. Now my cousins burst out laughing together and half hugging me as they said "Oh Little Dee, you have a boy crush that is the cutest thing!" I would snap up alarmed "NO It's NOT cute! If my Mother finds out I am dead then Dana and Dad will both tease me forever. It will make all these times his family hangs out with my family all the more horrible! I would want to die!" I explained. They seemed confused, then as I explained it all out I realized that now at age 10 if I wasn't careful my secret would be out and my heart would be broken. Trina walked with me later saying "I am always going to be here for you if you want or need to talk, it is really fun to have a boyfriend. But with your parents I think you are smart enough not to try for one until later." I hugged on to her as we walked, then when I felt really safe I showed her my very first love note from him. "What is this Dee?" She asked as she read the 2 lines worn thin paper, "He wrote it to me on Mothers day after I wrote him first, His sister encourage me to write and I was almost completely sick over doing it! He is 13 now and likes all kinds of girls. But this note was amazing to me!" I whispered as if I could be arrested. It read "Debbie I like you too, you are very sweet and very cute! You have a beautiful smile that makes me smile too." Trina hugged me laughing again "THIS is a big deal, he even says With love before his name! that is very special indeed!" I had the love note tucked safely in a locked dairy at home but for this trip it hidden in my purse with the inside zipper. It was only a 4 month old note by this time yet it was almost shredded as much as I had read it and smiled. He drew a funny face with big eyes and a tongue sticking out. I first traced over the face then I began drawing it from memory onto many other letters to people from that time on. I often asked myself  "Do I love him? what is love?"  Trina was the support I needed in understanding boys and these kind of love notes. Cally would always say to me that I could have any boyfriend I wanted as beautiful as I was, but it was my cousins who I thought that they were truly beautiful. They could curl and style their hair so easily. They even wore make up, jewelry and heels, I wanted very much to look just like them. I was so proud when they taught me how to curl my bangs in that 80's style flip high up in the air with the help of hair spray, it shredded down the side with curls. Having a wave look around the face. Once I had that style down I thought I was just so cool! Now when the late 90's came about someone boldly pointed out I shouldn't wear my bangs like that anymore.
One day while Trina, Cally and I sat in Papa's shop, and I was 13 years old. I asked excitedly "How is John doing  lately?" I knew I only had a very short window of talking about boys without being discovered by my parents. Cally looked at me confused "Who?" she asked and Trina shrugged not sure either. 
"Your boyfriend !" I exclaimed. All at once Trina and Cally laughed together. "Girl that was months ago!" Trina explained "when you go to public school having a boyfriend for a week or a month can seem like forever!" I sat bewildered "But you guys went on and on last time I was up visiting about him, so I was hoping I would get to meet him in this visit!" I was still trying to understand this world of public school and boyfriends. Cally asked me "Soooo do YOU have a boyfriend yet? you are old enough now." She grinned and winked at her sister. Both Trina and Cally came in closer to me to find out what I was mumbling. I glanced all around Papa's shop to make sure no one was around. For whatever I had to say was very top secret stuff, I sighed and said "I am still in love with the same boy as always." Both girls threw up their hands and backed away like it was so ridiculous. Trina asked "How many YEARS has it been since your first love note?"  I counted 2 or 3. Cally frowned asking "Isn't there more boys then him in your homeschooling group?!" I laughed at their reactions. I was beginning to realize just how weird I honestly was about boys. Then Cally suddenly warned "You shouldn't say "Love" that is a really big word, with crushes and liking someone it isn't as heavy as the word Love." Trina nodded then sat down beside me to talk more "We just don't want you to get your heart broken over just one guy the first boy who ever winked at you. You have so much time to still flirt and play with boys not taking this whole Love thing so seriously. I don't think you understand Love yet." I smiled at this comment and decided it was time for me to share what I had discovered. "I want to just like one boy, it's hard enough to figure out how I feel without adding more boys to possibilities, Besides I would rather just love one person then to "like" so many for little silly things. Love is the most wonderful feeling in the world, with everything beautiful in just that one person. He doesn't have to like me back at all because I am honored I get to admire him, to know him and to just be around him for what ever little time that might be. Love that is so true and pure, in Love I am wanting him to have the most happiest life possible. You can see how handsome his is, but it really comes down to the heart. You want everyone to really love him and be there for him! When so clearly it's not going to be you to share in that after all. You can hope that love never leaves you alone while you say goodbye to that person, having changed you for just knowing him. True Love gives and never takes, for it wants that person you were so luckily to be friends with, to know everlasting love and have a joyful life." I finished explaining to my cousins, as I twirled around the shop talking. I was now 13 years old and Love was the most important question I asked of myself in the last 5 years. Their eyes were huge and they kept glancing at each other as if to ask is this for reals? I stopped to see what they thought of my discovery, I didn't like talking about love around my own mother I knew she would freak out even more and my father would dig for the boy's actual name. My sister would roll her eyes and my brother would just snort if I told them I understood what love was. Now at this moment I waited on the shock of my cousins, then Trina replied "Wow! Little Dee you are growing up so fast. But really your parents are going to need to let you date and just have fun." Cally said as we left the shop "I think you are a hopeless romantic, it's really cute!"
As the blond haired, blue eyed boy grew up, got married and had kids. I thought how happy that makes me to know how beautiful his life is now. How important he was to me in understanding love.

"You kissed me!" He exclaimed as we ran right into each other in dark on his cow farm. I was so shocked that he was close just as I slammed into him. "No I didn't!" I exclaimed as I moved back quickly. He pulled his baseball cap down more in the moonlight for we all were playing flash light tag on that warm summer evening. I was just 12 years old and determined  not to let him tease me as he usually did. "YOU kissed me! I know it!" he grinned so smugly and I pushed him hard to get out of my way, but he grabbed my hands and swung me fast around then let go saying again "Oh now admit it you liked kissing me that is why you ran right into me." I was so surprised by his pull and stood a moment against the old barn as he walked away with a wink. "I didn't! I was running away! who runs into a kiss...oh please!" I snorted bravely but felt instantly light headed. He waved the flash light on as he ran back towards me saying "We can see now how that actually happened, quick Debby run back to me in the same way..." He was laughing so hard as I ducked back into the dark barn squealing out "No!"  
So while I stayed hidden out of sight, I was still smiling at the sound of his laughter.