Our county prosecutor and his staff have a tradition of organizing a Thanksgiving dinner at the jail, and this year my husband, who is a county public defender, and I took up the offer to help serve the dinner. I’m so thankful that we did, because it turned out to be the most enjoyable Thanksgiving I have ever had, and I didn’t eat a thing. We served, and the “resident guests” as I call them, took their plates back to their quarters.
Everyone was in pleasant, gracious spirits, and all the resident guests were upbeat and thankful for everything. One fellow even took the opportunity to thank the prosecutor for getting him there!
I was pleased to meet several of my husband’s clients, who very kindly extended to me their appreciation for their attorney. Our resident guests all were pleasant men and women. Had I thought about it beforehand, it would have been difficult for me to imagine such contention-free warmth in a diverse group of 50 people at a holiday event. It would have been difficult for me to imagine being comfortable around so many people. But there it all was: the unimaginable. My best Thanksgiving ever.
I don’t recall specifically when people quit calling, writing, or speaking in person to people, and instead began “reaching out.” Whatever the timing, I cannot help but think that it marked a point of devolution in our language.
As a downhome introvert, the idea of being reached out to is as creepy as bugs. Just call me, write me, or talk to me if we’re in the same airspace. I’m approachable; I’m just not particularly big on socializing, though I enjoy occasional brief forays into social terrain.
If I go into the bedroom when Effie is napping on her hammock, she often rolls over onto her back, hangs her head down over the edge of the hammock toward the floor with her face up, and wiggles around on her back, her forearms stretched out over her head toward the floor. It’s such an adorable greeting that I have long wanted to photograph it. Of course anyone who photographs their cat knows that cats scan their peoples’ brains, detect motives, and thwart them.
And so she did. I went back for my camera, hoping she would repeat her adorable greeting. She began washing her paws and tummy, and then lolled back, one leg reaching outward with claws extended, and her tongue out. I caught her just before she resumed putting her coat and paws in order.
The photo is significant to me. Effie is reaching out while sticking out her tongue. My response to the idea of being “reached out” to, in most cases, is “bleah.”
The second photo is close, but not her perfected form of the Adorable Look.
My husband had long desired a scythe, preferring the whoosh of the blade, the whisper of slashed grasses and weeds falling, and the art of rhythmic scythe swinging, to sitting on a tractor to cut hay. His wish was granted a couple of years ago, when we finally found a funky little used-stuff shop in Genesee, Idaho open. On all of our other diversions to Genesee while on errands in Pullman and Moscow, the shop had been closed. It was a delightfully eclectic shop, owned by a man and his wife: a cheerful couple, notwithstanding the apparent fact that the lady was dying of lymphoma. Vic mentioned he’d been looking for a scythe, and the nice man brought in just such a thing from outside the back door. He’d found it under a manure pile, he said, but he’d cleaned it up; and how about ten dollars? I can’t tell you how quickly and exuberantly the deal was cinched. Meanwhile, I’d been fingering a necklace of blue coral beads, not unnoticed by the lady. The necklace would be mine for two dollars, she said. Without hesitation, the blue coral necklace became mine.
The couple had another friend over, a retired man who had once taught at a Bible college. Sadly, the three of them were of the opinion that the Bible was “inconsistent.” We were served hot tea–very hot–from a kettle boiling atop a wood stove. The three were serious rockhounds, and showed us many intriguing specimens from their prodigious collection. We departed friends and promised to return on our next junket to Moscow.
Some time, perhaps a year later, we returned to the little shop, hoping simply to visit the dear couple again. But we were saddened to see it shuttered and nearly buried in tall weeds. We knew the lady’s demise had most likely come. I felt sad and terrible. Why hadn’t I tried to reason with her, and try to show her the perfection of the Word of God? Was it because I didn’t want to gainsay their good friend, the professor and presumptive expert?
My husband loves his scythe. I often think with affection of the dear lady who essentially gave me a lovely blue coral necklace, and who struggled so hard with such severe illness, and warmed our day with so much good cheer and hospitality.
And my husband made this beautiful tripod selfie video of a man, his scythe, and some tall grass that is now cut-hay mulch.