Monday, October 21, 2013

2-4-6-8 Who should we appreciate

Wives and mothers, that’s who. How do we show our appreciation? We grumble about dinner being late, or our clothes not being ironed correctly. Other times we just don’t bother to take the proper time to express gratitude. Throw me in that last category. You would think being a writer, I could find the proper words, but it rarely happens.

This past weekend my wife and I attended a writer’s conference. She wanted to come along because she wanted a relaxing weekend away from the world. She intended to spend the better part of the weekend losing herself in outlet malls and a local green market. Instead, the first day she spent hours getting the tire fixed on my car that picked up a screw along the road. Did she complain? No. She was perfectly content getting her nails done while waiting for the tire to be serviced. While I was sitting in classes, picking up a nugget here and there about learning how to be a better wordsmith and eating more food then I should have, she was content to sit in the room and eat a salad from nearest fast food joint.

At the day’s end after learning how her day was ruined, it would have been very easy to show some gratitude for me not having to take care of the car. What would have happened had she not been along with me? I would have come out from the conference three days later wanting to go home after an exciting time, only to be delayed for hours waiting for the tire to be repaired. Oh, I imagine, I said thank you. But we all know there is a difference between saying thank you and being grateful in your heart. Inside I was grateful, but a weak thank you was all I uttered.

After the long weekend was complete and I was home, my youngest daughter caught me in the kitchen to tell me she came to a realization. She informed me how difficult it was being responsible for the family dog while we were away. The dog had to be fed and let outside early in the mornings and in the evenings. Our spoiled pooch starts to whine if she’s not let out at her usual time before daybreak. My daughter realized how much work goes into caring for others. Who did she tell? Me, not her mother who gets up and opens the door first thing every morning.

Those are two small examples but ones that happen on a daily basis. So much goes into running a family and household that we all take for granted. I know dad’s do their share as well but let’s be honest. In most families, the mothers and wives are the glue that keeps it all together. You don’t have to wait for that one day a year on Mother’s Day to show them how much they are appreciated. Find the words today.

Thank you to all the mothers and wives who keep us heading the right direction on a daily basis. You are appreciated and even if we don’t say it enough, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you.   

Monday, October 14, 2013

Our assignment from today's creative writing class about sneaking into an abandoned house at the end of the street. Inside an upstairs bedroom was a treasure chest on a dresser. It had a sign saying, don't open. There was a key on the wall. This was my entry. I hope you enjoy it.

What did he know anyway? Tommy told me to stay away, but we spent our entire summer vacation riding past the old abandoned house on Cole Street. If we were ever going to get up the guts to go inside it had to be last Saturday. I knew my mom and dad were driving me out to Aunt Marie and Uncle Jack’s house for the end of summer BBQ on Sunday. So there was only one day left to see what was inside that ghoulish looking place.

I got up at my usual time on Saturday and munched on a couple a blueberry muffins before hopping on my gold Schwinn with the Mickey Mantle rookie cards in the spokes. Those Mantle rookies sound so much better than the Duke Snider cards when I cruise the neighborhood.

It only takes me two minutes to ride over to Tommy’s house from where I live. Tommy Stafford is my bestest buddy. We use to tell each other all our secrets. That was till the end of the last school year when I told him about getting an “F” on my math test. Tommy was the only one who knew that when Mrs. Damone sent the test paper home to get it signed, I signed it. I never showed it to my mom or dad. Somehow, my dad found out and did I ever get a whacking. That wasn’t the way I wanted to start my summer vacation. Tommy still swears he didn’t say nuttin. But how could Mrs. Damone ever know it was me who signed it? I mean I practiced for over an hour copying my mom’s handwriting. That paper looked close enough to me. My dad said it hurt him more than me after whacking my butt. I find that really hard to believe. Anyways, ever since my whooping, me and Tommy are still bestest buddies, but next time I don’t do so good on my math test, I aint telling him.

I banged on Tommy’s front door. His mom answered with her hair all mashed up in pink rollers and her furry bathrobe asking me if I knew what time it was. I guess they don’t have clocks in their house. I told her it was about seven and asked if Tommy could come out and play. She said he was still sleeping. It’s really hard having a best friend who’s as lazy as Tommy.

I sat on Tommy’s front steps hoping he would come with me. He still won’t admit it, but I think he was awake the whole time I was sitting in his yard. He knew Saturday morning was the time he finally promised he would search the old house with me. Ah, who needed him anyway? I decided not wait any longer for my lazy bones bestest buddy. I hopped back on my bike and rode past our school, the old church, the store where my mom does her shopping and across the railroad tracks.

The house sits at the end of a tree lined street. No one has cut the grass for a long time. If someone would pay me, I’d cut it for em. I could use the money for more baseball cards. Mr. Leo has some leftover packs of Bowman’s he says I can have, if I can come with eighty five cents by next week. I asked my dad, but he said money don’t grow on trees. I guess he still aint forgotten my math scores.

I parked my bike in the weeds and high grass in front of the house that needed a paint job. I walked up the three creaky steps to the wooden screen door. The front door was jammed shut but not locked. I gave it a good shove and the door flew open. I sure coulda used Tommy’s help, lazy bum.

I spent all summer guessing what was inside the old house and to my surprise once I busted in, all I could see was open rooms. Not even a chair. I tried flipping on the lights but they didn’t work. I walked through to the back of the house to the kitchen. The only thing in there was an old stove that looked like no one had cleaned it for a long time. It had rust all over the bottom too. I looked in the drawers but the only thing I could find was a pack of half used matches. I stuck them in my pocket.

When I got to the house, I have to admit I was scared to go in alone. But once inside I was OK. So I decided to go upstairs and keep exploring. At the top of the steps was a smelly old bathroom. I made a left turn to see a small hallway and three bedrooms. The first one had nothing in it, not even in the closet.

The second one had a big spider web in the window but I didn’t see nuttin else. The third room had a cherry colored dresser. On the dresser was a box shaped like a pirates treasure chest. There was note saying don’t open. Yeah, right. Like that’s going to stop me. I waited all summer to get inside this place. I tried to open the box but it was locked. I looked around the room. There was a key hanging on the wall.

The key fit perfectly. I opened up the box. When I did music started playing. What kind of boxes play music? The only thing inside was bunch a crummy necklaces and rings. What a waste of a summer vacation being scared of going inside that house. I think I’ll tell Tommy I found a dead body inside and I rode my bike over to tell the cops. He’s gonna be so ticked off he missed out on all the fun.

I put the key back on the wall and left the jewelry inside. Who wants a bunch of gold rings and pearl necklaces? I don’t even wanna give them to my mom. She likes new shiny stuff, not somebody’s old crap. But over the last day or so, I done some thinking. Maybe after school I should ride back over and grab up that box. If I’m lucky, maybe I can swindle Mr. Leo into giving me his left over packs of baseball cards for some old lady’s jewelry. I don’t know, if what’s inside that box is worth eighty five cents or not. But until then, I better stop thinking about that box and pay attention ta my math class. My dad is still steaming about last year.