Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Past Two Weeks of My Life As a Poem

This is what happens when you listen to Garrison Keillor and The Writer's Almanac every day. I just love his voice. I thought it would be fun to write a post as if he would be reading it out loud. Here is my untrained attempt at poetry and prose, (don't forget-this is best read/interpreted using a "Garrison" voice):

As I Grow Older, I Realize the Importance of Savoring Moments

Time with my friends, spent on a chilly weekday afternoon in early December,
Eating gourmet sandwiches from a local deli
Chasing them down with lemonade followed by a square of home made maple nut fudge.
We talk about kitchen remodeling ,our pets, our horses and our children.

I am happy.

The weekend begins with Martha Stewart and crafting some pinecone elves,we bake scottish cookies and decorate the house for the holidays.

We unwrap the ornaments, some handmade, some fancy imported glass, all stored away for almost a year, hidden from the hustle and bustle of daily activities of all the time that has passed; the humid heat of the summer,that lovely trip to the beach,stolen moments toe dipping poolside at Mrs. Hauser's, leaf crunching in the autumn with the sun at our backs, all is now replaced with the chilled air and biting wind.

The next week arrives filled with the usual tasks at hand, things that must be completed for my job, deadlines that need to be met by 2:30pm on Friday afternoons. There always seems to be problems that must be solved,and in the middle of tests and grades, passing scores and phone conferences, I am reminded of what gifts I should be getting for loved ones and family....

Somehow, mid week, I find time to indulge in a lesson at the barn with a retired Peruvian Dressage Master named Fernando.
He tells me in a thick accent that if my mare was human she would be a party girl. I smile to myself; she was so reserved and quiet when I first got her. I remember reading somewhere that a person seems to gravitate towards animals that are a mirror image of themselves. I'm sure not a party girl, but

I am happy.

The snow comes on Saturday; steady, fluffy flakes that quickly accumulate to 24" of whiteness in our little corner of the world. My husband and I are blessed to be together that day, not separated by work. We snuggle together with our children and the dogs for a quiet afternoon of good movies and food.

In a rare moment of relaxation a sickening sound not unlike a freight train breaks our concentration.

It seems our normally unassuming furnace which is almost thirty years old has decided to protest, and coughs up various coils and metal springs, spewing water and God knows what-we are forced to deal quickly with this unwelcomed situation.

For a brief moment in time, we had been drawn in to a false sense of security, watching a movie about someone else's life, someone else's dreams. The harsh reality rushes in to remind me of my life here and now. In a moment I am reminded of how quickly things can change from good to bad, and vice versa..... I am reminded of how everything in this world is fleeting and temporary and that I need to focus what is for sure-and the only answer of course is


I am reminded of what my ultimate priority is in life, and, as if to reinforce this lesson, when I call a neighbor to ask for a recommendation on a good heating contractor, he interrupts me and asks what the manufacturer of the boiler is. He arrives in ten minutes with something in his hands.

It is the exact part for my furnace.

We usher him in, unaware that we are witnessing a miracle-not truly comprehending what is happening, but hoping, wishing everything will be okay. He navigates his way down the narrow wooden steps to the basement, and he kneels down and surveys the boiler, asking for an adjustable wrench. On the cold concrete floor he sets to work quietly. For over an hour, he busily twists off bolts and drains the radiators in my hundred year old home, a man on a mission. His dad is a plumber, and he grew up helping his father on many jobs.

My best friend had rushed over earlier when she heard the news with space heaters to set up in the basement to ensure our water pipes wouldn't freeze. We hang back, holding our breath, our heads slightly bent over because of the low ceilings in our damp, cold cellar,looking on.

He is focused, and knows exactly how to accomplish the daunting task at hand. Watching him, my mind is swimming with thoughts-the cost of a new furnace, that Christmas is next week, how we have nothing yet to give my daughters on Christmas morning; my husband's health, my parent's relocating to South Carolina next year, and my grandmother, who has not been feeling well off and on for over a year. I think about how wonderful our Christmases used to be, when I was growing up, filled with laughter, accordian music and scottish jokes. We used to have so much fun. I think about how things are now, how much has changed, and how I long for the way things were. There's too much to do, too much to think about, sometimes my head just hurts thinking about it all.

My neighbor rises up from where he has been busy working, and with a smile on his face tells us that our furnace should be okay for a while.

Relief and gratitude wash over me as I whisper a thank you to God for watching over me and my family,taking care of us yet one more time.

And I am happy.

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