Cheap Entertainment

Slice of Life 2020: Day 29

Today, my daughter talked me into going roller blading with her in the neighborhood. Of course, the trails where we usually skate were closed. And, the tennis park was closed, so those options were off.

Instead, we skated our way slowly through the streets of our little community. Right when we started our journey, some older folks were sitting outside, appropriately 6 feet apart, listening to music. As we passed they said, “Don’t get hurt. Ya don’t want to end up in the hospital.” Not liking irony, I took heed to their words and skated extra cautiously.

For me, skating cautiously is an understatment. A couple of years ago, I couldn’t figure out how to stop on a hill and had a nasty crash resulting in unsightly scrapes and bruises. Since I’m still experiencing PTSD from that experience, I move slowly and awkwardly. Needless to say, as we shambled along the streets, we provided cheap entertainment for the bored and the amused alike.

Why? Because I was hunched on my skates like a freakish scientist looking over his lab results. I was holding onto trees, fences and telephone poles to keep from going down. I was using the grass as speed control on the hill.

Everyone who passed by looked on with smiles and some with downright laughter. People with dogs, crossed to the other side of the street, “Looks like yall are having fun,” they said. Another man kept his window rolled up, but I could see his teeth through the laughter. Yep! It was cheap entertainment for all the neighbor folks.

Yet, it was my daughter who was having the most fun. She knows I’m also prone to spew expletives as I struggle to maintain control on the skates. I think she asked me out just to get a few laughs herself. Right when we made it to the bottom of the “killer” hill, she took this photo and we practically rolled on the ground laughing.

Even though I was the actual laughing stock of the neighborhood, I’m glad we went. It was a fun way to pass the time on a weird kind of spring day.

Twelve Things Going Well Right Now…

Slice of Life 2020: Day 21

There are some upsides to our situation right now…

  • Outings become very special, like this mountain bike ride we took today with the gang.
  • I haven’t worn makeup in 5 days! Before that, it was five days.
  • The kids pet the dog more because they are home.
  • There are extra hands around the house to help with laundry and dishes!
  • I’ve driven my car 3 times this entire week! That’s a serious gas savings.
  • A friend asked me to take some photos of her. I said, “I’m available any day or evening this week.”
  • My truck is clean.
  • The local brewery has “beer to go” in a growler. So, you can take a can home and drink it with your dinner.
  • I’ve talked to my mom and dad on the phone many days this week.
  • Friends and family are calling or texting daily to check in.
  • Food isn’t going bad in the refrigerator, because we are eating everything up!
  • Neighbors are walking the streets in the afternoon.

A Silver Lining

Slice of Life 2020: Day 20

Flowers, birds, bees, sunshine and a little spare time. That’s all it took to get us outside today. I bought a new battery for my second camera, plugged it in and off we went to see spring. Art class will be held outside!

Stepping away from our screens, we ventured across the street to a neighbor’s yard. There we saw snow drops, daffodils, camellias, and violets.

“Your shot’s a little blue,” I told my son and pointed to the white balance icon. He changed it over to sunshine, a first for this year. After he made that change, all his photos then reflected the proper golds and greens of the day.

This short outing was such a nice change of pace. There was no band, baseball, or meetings to keep our day compartmentalized, which gave us the freedom to just breathe in the fresh air outside. We didn’t have to be anywhere or do anything! That’s the silver lining to this cloud we find ourselves in right now: a second chance to slow things down and enjoy the people and life around us.

The Gentleman Will Yield the Well

Slice of Life 2020: Day 3

“The gentleman will yield the well,” announced the Speaker of the House today at the Georgia General Assembly. A collective sigh emerged from most members of the House as bellies were growing hungry and legs were getting stiff.

After a rousing speech in support of his bill # 444, and after taking a couple of questions, the representative yielded his position at the podium, otherwise called the well. This moment punctuated our day at the Georgia Capitol.

I’ve often thought this was a peculiar phrase, “yield the well.” Rich in history and parliamentary procedure, the term refers to that moment when a representative who has been recognized to speak completes his remarks and terminates his recognition.

“Yield the well,” suggests giving something up, almost like a game of arm wrestling. Somebody has to yield. It is certainly a gentleman’s term from a by-gone day. Today, it seems, many are slow to capitulate or relinquish. How lovely it would be if more of us were willing to yield the well, give up a little something of ourselves for the sake of peace and decorum.

These thoughts came to mind as I left the gallery, descended the stairs to the second floor, and found my son. Today, my 13-year-old paged at the capitol with his cousin, Wellsley. He’s right smack in the middle of the photo below delivering a note to a representative.

I found him in the small crowd just outside the house floor.

“How’d it go?” I asked as he stood up from the bench. “Today was a really active day in the house. Did you hear that debate?”

He interrupted my queries.

“I’m hungry. Can we leave and get something to eat?” he asked.

We are at that stage when hunger and the need for food dominates all thought and brain function. It was 1:15 pm.

My thoughts: You mean, after a day of meeting and talking with your representatives, watching the legislative process in action, and roaming the halls of history, all you can think of is, ‘I’m hungry?’ A gentleman just yielded the well out there and you are hungry?!

He shrugged his shoulders.

It was time to yield my own well and get the child some lunch.

“Okay,” I acquiesced and shut up.

On the way out, we lingered over some lighted tiles and stepped into the rainy afternoon.

Sounds Good

veterans day observers

An older man was collecting donations for the VFW outside the Kroger on Saturday. He had a friendly face, so I walked over.

We chatted for a minute. Fumbling through my purse for a couple of bucks, I told him, “We have a good friend who served in Vietnam.”

“Here,” the man said as he pulled forth a colorful beaded key chain from his pocket. “Give this to your friend and say, ‘Welcome back.'”

I smiled and looked at him closely. Then, acknowledging my confusion, he said this: “Vietnam Vets didn’t get a warm welcome when they came home from the war. It’s been my life’s goal to make sure every Vet gets a welcome home, even if its a little late.”

This warmed my heart all the way through.

“You bet!” I said and, “Thank you.” I placed my two bucks in the pot, dropped the key chain in my purse and went into the store.

Two days later…

jeep at the parade

We attended the local Veteran’s Day Parade with our Vet friend, Bill. It is a family tradition to accompany him every year on November 11th at 11 am. He loves this event, although it stirs a lot of memories for him. He was an MP in Vietnam. He paid the price there, affected by the chemicals they used to push back the Americans, experiencing the trauma of watching men die and then the rejection from folks back home. At the parade, there are Vets from every war since WWII. We accompany Bill as he observes and remembers. Rangers, Sergeants, jeeps, bands, ROTC groups and politicians all file past us in this modern day setting.

My absolute favorite thing about this event is seeing Bill salute his fellow soldiers and leaders. Old men are brought to tears out here on the streets of Marietta, remembering and honoring the ones who’ve fallen. They are reminded that they were the chosen ones who survived those hellish days. Some are still struggling.

The only thing we can do here is watch and smile and say “Thank you.” We did this and it was both memorable and touching.

Afterwards, walking to our cars, I said, “Bill, I have something for you from the VFW man collecting money at the Kroger.”

His face lit up, “What is that?” he asked.

I dug in my purse again and pulled out the colorful chain.

“Welcome back,” I said.

“Oh. These are the colors of the Vietnam Veterans. Thank you.

He paused. “What should I do with it?” he asked.

“Its a key chain. Clip it to your keys.”

He fooled with it for a few seconds and smiled curiously as he slipped it into his jacket pocket.

“Sounds good,” he said.

It did sound good. To say “thank you” to so many former soldiers who sacrificed the best years of their lives for our country. It also sounded good to say “Welcome Home,” even if a little late.