Saturday, December 24, 2005

Boy on the Plane Thursday 12/22/2005

There was a lot of bright light coming through the windows on the plane from Indy to Las Vegas.

The little boy in the seat in front of mine pushed the shade up a little and was studying the way his hand glowed red as the light passed through it.

He was a good little boy, maybe four years old. I’d watched his older brother cry and cry at the airport while we waited for our flight. His brother was about six or seven. He seemed to be deeply sad and frightened. He cried quietly.

“What if we don’t get a seat?” he asked.

His mother told him that they would be sure to get seats. They’d be allowed to pre-board because the little brother was so little. The older one seemed to be afraid that he wasn’t going to get on with them, that the little brother and mother would go on without him. Even though she’d just said they’d all board together, she saw this too, and reassured him that he’d get to go on at the same time. She was really good with him, but also betrayed a moment of looking near to tears as he tucked his head under her chin and cried silently.

How sad for him. How puzzling for his little brother who, afer all, probably won’t find it puzzling at all. It will just be the only way he’s ever known his brother to be.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Chickens at Tractor Supply Thursday 12/22/2005


Mom went to Tractor Supply for something and was thrilled with the toy display there. We stopped by on our way to the airport. They had all kinds of John Deere stuff, from toddler-mobiles to farmer hats. Wonderful stuffed animals, and little plastic farm animals, a great toy wooden barn and a plastic Pony Wash, complete with ponies.

It reminded me of reading a children’s picture book written by a friend from a writing retreat. I exclaimed that it was great to see a book about urban kids, because I didn’t remember seeing those as a kid. She looked at me kind of funny, and gently commented that there have always been urban children’s books, it’s just that my school would have ordered the rural ones because we’d relate to them.

Oh yeah. Duh. Get a little perspective, will you?

View from B's Front Door Wednesday 12/21/2005


Beautiful. Up until a couple of days before this, though, B and her husband, J, were parking their cars at the bottom of the lane and walking up. Too much snow. A neighbor came over with his CAT and plowed it out for them in anticipation of their boys coming home from college for the holidays.

It was hard choosing a photo to post. Took several nice shots around their 3 acres. They have an 80-foot barn, a couple of sheds, a pond.

B&J stood up with us at our wedding. Although we live a couple of thousand miles apart, they are still part of the family we chose.

I love visiting home, but I could do without the revival of my recurring homesickness.

Downtown Columbia City Tuesday 12/20/2005


Mom and I walked around downtown CC before meeting up with my sister for dinner. We found 3 or 4 little shops open and poked around in them.

Each of Indiana’s county seats has a wonderful courthouse. This one really anchors the town of about 8,000 people. My sister’s house is just a few blocks away.The building on the right used to house Flox’s Department Store. I remember going in there to shop for school clothes and shoes. You walked down a sloped hallway to get to the area where the shoes were sold. Now it’s an office building.

I can’t help but find it sad that most real commerce has moved to the outskirts of town. I used to come here with Mom on Saturdays when I was a kid and we’d split up for an hour or two before meeting at the ice cream fountain at the back of the hardware store, or for Coney dogs at The Nook. The Nook and Murphey’s jewelry store are the only two businesses that are still there from when I was little, I think. I liked to hang out at Garden Gifts and pick out a magazine to buy.

I know things are meant to change. This little downtown has actually survived the arrival of Walmart as well as can be expected. I wish the downtown well. I hope that the influx of people ends up meaning that they will one day want to walk the courthouse and have a couple more restaurant choices, and it will revive a bit as a gathering place.

Monday, December 19, 2005

It's so cold! Monday 12/19/2005


Mom and I walked down to the creek and back today. Stopped to take photos of the barn and fields until our fingers were painfully cold.

Love the color of these cornstalks in the snow.

It was 6 degrees when we got up this morning, 19 when we came back into the house after the walk, but Mom pointed out that the thermostat is in the sun. The wind was not strong, but added to the chilling effect.

My cheeks! Now I know what Jefferson feels like at Mount Rushmore.

Barn in Decay Monday 12/19/2005


This barn. I remember being in here as a kid. The neighbor girl’s dad nailed the tails of squirrels he’d shot to on of the beams. There were old horse stalls along one side and some abandoned equipment in the main area… Things I couldn’t quite identify that probably had to do with separating the wheat from the chaff or something similar.

I went in here a few years ago, before the roof gave way and walked around on the decaying floor boards. In the summer, vines climb in and out of the gaps in the walls.

My mom’s been photographing and drawing and painting this place for years. I want to see all her work on this place gathered together. It seems a very artful and fascinating project that she’s done because of the beauty in the old wood.

Clementines Sunday 12/18/2005


On Mom’s table, before everyone else arrived. I took lots of shots today, but I like these colors.

The family got together for a Christmas lunch. We do a little talent show. Very informal, sitting around the living room taking turns singing, playing an instrument, reading a poem, doing a cat’s cradle, telling a story. My sis and I did a jazzy version of Sentimental Journey that we probably should have practiced, but hey, it’s not Carnegie Hall!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Green Gables Saturday 12/17/2005


On the way home, we stopped at the country store at Big Lake. This is the cottage my mom’s family rented at the lake for summer vacations. She met my dad, a local boy, when she was staying here. It turned out to be the first place they lived when they got married.

I could have sworn it was a quarter mile walk from the store to the water, but it’s hardly any distance at all. The old store has been replaced, but I remember my wet footprints soaking into the worn grey wooden floorboards inside, and dipping into the cold water of an old fashioned cooler for an Orange Crush.

I’m loving all the pale pastels of winter.