A Fawn in the Field

My friend Julie posted a picture of a fawn in the area around their place. It is all curled up trying not to be noticed. It’s little self stands out on the emerald green grass as the little stripes and spots only camouflage its tiny hooves. I suspect that this baby’s mama is watching from wooded cover growing more anxious with each appearance of a two leg taking a look.

I remember when I saw my first little spotted bundle of fawn. My dad came in from haying and told us to get in the truck as there was a fawn in the hay…and hurry before it gets away. He almost mowed it down doing his field work. Knowing it was a little miracle, he was hoping to share that with us too.

Dad’s instructions were clear. No talking, walk slowly on approach and no touching this tiny ball of wonder. It was curled up just as Julie’s fawn was now. The green alfalfa was almost is a swirl around this infant of the Poygan. This baby was so tiny. Big eyes wondering what all these sights and smells were as it wished itself invisible.

My dad said the mother was in the woods north of where we were. He had the most amazing vision even in old age and was always aware of where the deer were. He said the baby was the smallest he had ever seen suspecting that it was a very newly born creature.

We took in the wonder and then backed off at Dad’s whispered command. He saw the doe and knew it was in the best interest of all to let her fulfill her instincts. Instead of getting back in the truck for the ride back down the lane to the house, we walked. It seemed like the only way to sort out that vision in nature by walking in it a little more, reflecting on the moment and storing it away for a day some 53 years later.

Now is the Month of Maying

When I was a middle school and high school frosh I got to go to music camp in the big town of Oshkosh. I know. Anyway, it was a big town for me at the time and I got to stay for a week at the university in the dorms.

The only other two interactions I had there was going swimming at Albee Hall with Gail. I don’t even remember why we did that. I think it might have been a youth group thing, but maybe Gail will remember. We didn’t drive there on our own.

The other event was driving through the campus with my mother. It was the time of the campus riots during the Vietnam War era. The students were picketing and I think there had been some violence. Whenever we drove through the campus to get to downtown Mom would turn down the radio, roll up the windows (each window was manually cranked), have us lock the doors (it was a every door manual lock at that time), sit still and look straight ahead kind of ride. Those students were supposed to be dangerous and wild. This was perhaps another reason we didn’t go shopping in Oshkosh much. If we went it was just to go to the houses of my aunts.

Later and still today I see the students walking around and that whole thing makes me wonder how tippy the planet is.

One year I was a runner up to go to music camp on a scholarship and my parents paid for it, but then the next year I won a scholarship to go. I think it was a lot of money for them to do that and it was GREAT! I hadn’t thought about it for a long time and was reminded of it the other day when a co-worker that is a college student said that her sister is now coming to UWO and staying in the dorms for her first year. I asked her what dorm and she said South Scott Hall. WOW! That was a blast from the past. That is where my friend Karen and I were roommates…it just hit me, but could Laura C. have been there too? WHAT?

I remembered how it was such a big deal and I remembered some of the clothes I wore, the auditions, the songs, the performance, the professors, the classes, the accompanist, the boys, the ability to actually walk on the city streets to go downtown…by ourselves in a pack, hearing Bette Midler on the radio singing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” as it was a throwback year of lots of styles including boho and WW2 era things…snoods and such.

I had these wide legged pants with one of those snap crotch skin tight shirts. The shirt was ALLLLL polyester, light blue background with wild flowers on it, hey, it was the 70’s and also a peasant blouse or two that I just got done sewing. I don’t remember the other items except my baby-doll pajamas. Those were some sort of homespun looking material that was the rage I was putting in the hem on the way as my mother drove me to UWO.

I had to audition for a triple trio and didn’t even know what I was doing. I had to have a song to sing for the audition and I think mine was “Yesterday”, by Sir Paul. The trio ended up singing “Now is the Month of Maying”. I was unfamiliar with this classical standard.

I had sectional practices and Art Appreciation lessons. The prof took us around campus pointing out this and that. He introduced me to the Frank Lloyd House by having us walk there and talking about the whole FLW dealio. That name and all those ideas had set seed.

He took us to the Art department and showed us all around and what choices were ours in the future if we were interested. Those teachers were kind and good treating us new potatoes that had just fallen off the wagon some things that have stayed with this spud her whole life.

I was so taken with the ability of the accompanist that I communicated with him within the next year to play at our church as entertainment as he had a bit he did. He was a hit and a nice guy. I don’t remember his name, but he had so many musical skills.

I think of that song from our performance at the end of the week. I didn’t know going in that there would be a performance, I am sure it was on the brochure somewhere. I called my mom mid week to see if she would come to hear the concert. I knew that my dad wouldn’t be interested. At that time mainly mothers filled the seats at school events with a smattering of dads. It wasn’t mean it was just how it was. I called to see if she would come back to see the show and then come again the next day to get me. It was a huge thing for us to go to Oshkosh in the first place as they only went their on occasion and then only into our super local town twice a week, once for groceries, once for church. I remember her hesitating as that would make it 3 times that week to go the 15 miles one way. I still think of it now and wonder why the hesitation. Maybe there wasn’t money for gas. Maybe Dad wouldn’t have approved. Most likely it was something else that I don’t want to consider, but in the end she came. Then she came back the next day to take me home.

The friend I was roommates with lives off social media and email. I don’t have her phone number. I do have her address. She came to one of my parties 6 years ago. I think that was stressful for her, but she came. I wrote her a letter this morning and sent it pony express. Her and her hubs and Rick and I can hopefully catch up and remember all those years ago when “merry lads were playing” and Scott Hall was magic to us who fell off the potato wagon.

Conversations on a Monday

How lucky I am to get to live in a world that there are so many interesting people! I am off of work today and getting some loose ends tied up to begin being back to work. It is too wet to be in the garden so I went off to town.

I started at the best pharmacy ever to pick up the pills that are keeping us alive. I am always grateful to see an especially nice clerk who helps me navigate the medical insurance card in the device. I have seen her let older people than me talk at her about their ailments while they are unaware that the line is building up behind them while she patiently listens and is attentive, but I know she is also aware of the eyes boring down on her from the waiting customers. She remains calm and professional and treats them with kindness, although probably not overly interested in sepsis, cancer, hip replacement talk…or maybe she is. She doesn’t roll her eyes and is patient with the other workers that are not as adept as she is swarming around her asking questions and getting things out of order. She sets them straight in a calm way and carries on.

I wonder about her and it sets me thinking of how she got this way. Did or does she have sick or elderly relatives? Does she have family and friends who have trouble paying the high medical bills and that makes her even more kind to all of us that have chosen that particular pharmacy because they fight to get us our medications at a cost where they can still make a living and everyone gets what they can get for a price not currently available in all pharmacies? Does the owner of the pharmacy have a training program where people are taught how to treat the public even though it is sometimes a terrible thing or is he just good at hiring employees? Did she get molded that way at home with her family? She is not that old, in her late 20’s or early 30’s and I am thinking of my own children and wish to believe they are like that too.

When it is slow there and a line hasn’t formed she asks me questions about what I am doing. Not like, “How is your day?”, but more about what do I do when I am not in the pharmacy. I take it that she has picked up that I was a teacher. She used to think I was a teacher and was surprised when I was in there once during a school day. She has asked me about that. She asked me if I like my healthcare professional and if I would recommend that she go there. Those might seem like that is too personal to ask of a stranger, but it is like she knows me and sees me. Is it because I do that for her? She knows my name from my order, but she does not where a name tag and I don’t know hers, yet it seems like I have known her since she was little. Did I?

She told me where she went this last weekend. It was so nice to be set back when she told me that she went to a garden and tractor show in Illinois. I would have guessed her to be interested in other genres, but that is my flaw. Her boyfriend had purchased vintage tractor magazines and she picked up a great milk crate. They had also gone to Dixon. I had only driven through it years ago on alternate routes to get to college in Nebraska. I know that is where the swimming beach is where former President Reagan was a life guard. Dixon was also his birthplace. She told me about how they had toured the house, how the house was reconstructed as a museum and how that was accomplished. She told me about the origins of the phrase “everything but the kitchen sink” and the word sink as used as a plumbing feature. She even talked about his move to California. She did this all without commenting on politics.

What jarred me the most was my own surprise that a young person was doing anything Reagan as most of the younger people I talk to have little regard for anything Republican. It surprised me that she would be at a tractor show too. How myopic I am! This was not to say that she said one thing about politics or way of life. She was content to just explore.

My own political views have changed over time and through experience. I shock myself at how I view the world now. I think that I had no time to be a thorough thinker of political and religion based topics when I was knee deep in the weeds of motherhood and trying to get it together. I went from rural world to a good college that was only of one world view (not blaming anyone here or the college) and then on to marriage and babies. Maybe people have a little more time now to figure out who they are or what they want to be before they step into a world of diapers and baby snuggles. That was right for me at the time and wouldn’t change it if I could as I would not have what I have now if not for that scenario. No regrets.

It seems like I have been so upset about people pigeon holing all non-urban people that I have joined the pigeon holers… in reverse! I am rural. I was brought up rural. I was brought up with a very one sided view of culture and fought so hard in my head to be more globally minded and have tried to think of how the other parts of the world are that I have sorted the same way. GAHHHH! It is very easy to be a person who sees how the “other” is and then all of a sudden jump that line and then become the “other”. Does anyone get what I am saying here?

When we went drove through an area of all farmland in south-western Wisconsin this past weekend, I noticed ALL the signage that was put out was one-sided in content. Some of the signs were hand painted and very pointed. I told Rick that some of the signs to me seemed mean spirited although I support their right to say it, just wish they would use words without malice. There were only signs of one political persuasion..and I purposefully looked for the other. We discussed why that was and if it was always that way. Then I find myself thinking that a person who goes to a tractor show is one way, and clearly that is ridiculous.

How is that we get so polarized? I don’t think that I am the only one. I don’t think it is even an age thing now that I am at a ripe 60. How can I stay on the track of keeping myself open to hearing all that is before me and really listening without too much bias? I don’t think it is possible to be unbiased in anything, but I do think it is possible to listen to both sides of everything even if it seems contrary to any current thought. Let me be that person who checks herself.

Then I went to the store that sells pool stuff to get my pool filter. Rick had previously been there and had spoken to a young man that I had as a student when I was a sub millions of years ago. He heard Rick’s name and asked if I was related and he remembered me as well as some little fun hand gesture that I taught them to use to focus. I had forgotten that particular thing until he brought it up. How fun is that? He is in his mid 30s now. I went in there today and was pleasantly surprised that he was there to wait on me. After some customers cleared out we had a chance to catch up and I got to hear about his life and his thoughts about work. What a nice man. I had no doubts that he would continue to be a good human. I know his family and he comes from good stock.

Imagine that I had face to face conversations with millennials today when all we hear about is people not being able to hold conversations and then I messaged my friend who is 20+ years older than I am for her pie recipe and she is emailing it to me. Imagine if we all would stop to reconsider how we communicate and appreciate that communication happens and be grateful.

Woah! Not Enough Spoons for That

I was leaving a major retailer today and as I was walking to my car I saw a woman walking toward the store. She saw me and veered towards me at quite a distance which gave me time to ID her. Oh, my. It was a woman that used to be employed at the store where I currently work. There was no way to alter my route and as she approached she called out my name and seemed surprised to see me. I only remember her telling stories of spending her money at lots of trips to the casino even though she didn’t have teeth ( you bet I am being judgy here as I think that you could save up for teeth and not spend that money at the casino) and the time she didn’t know the store was closing and got locked in. So there is that.

I asked how she was and she said, “Didn’t you hear that I had cancer?” I had not heard that and told her that I was sorry to hear it and hope she was better with a good prognosis. She said that she heard that I had cancer and was in really bad shape and not expected to live. I told her that she must have me mixed up with our former manager or another lady that was named Jane that worked there for two minutes that had cancer. She said, “No, it was you! One of the woman managers told me. It was you and you were dieing.” Apparently the managers that she thinks work there don’t know me, yet I know them all. I told her that it was news to me and I was fine.

I asked her again if she was doing ok and she just said, ” I thought someone would tell you I had cancer.” She didn’t tell me about it, though I would have listened, but I don’t know anyone at the store that knows her anymore than an acquaintance as I do, so I am not sure how she thought that, but I guess she needs someone to be concerned for her. I am. I was concerned about her in the world before she told me about her cancer, but not in the same way.

I felt my body turn at an angle indicating that I was done here. That made me feel like I was cruel. I just couldn’t think of something else to say as it seemed that she was requiring it and couldn’t let go of that I didn’t know. I don’t know what her last name, if she has a family, where she lives or is or anything more than what I have written here, but it did feel like she was needy of attention. Being who I am, I feel guilty. I should not as there are many people that I cross paths with each day that I have no other connection with or want to. Not necessarily because they are not worthy of my attention, but because I don’t have enough spoons for that. (Google spoons conversation with blogger and author Jenny Lawson).

Considering all the people I know who have cancer, had cancer, live in fear of their genetic cancer pool, had loved ones die of cancer and have died of cancer….it made me think while I was getting in the car, “I don’t have cancer that I know of though I could have cancer. My friends have or had cancer. My dad had cancer. I could get cancer. I got my check-ups. This is a beautiful day. Today I don’t have cancer and I am grateful. I have two spoons left. I have a serving spoon left for Rick before he leaves to use up all his spoons at work and a baby spoon for Dollie.