Monday, June 25, 2018

Fishing and Friendship

"Please, Mama! Just one more page...and then I'll go to bed, I promise!" begged Natalie for the umpteenth time. Natalie loves to read and is a bit of a night owl. She's often the last person in our home to turn in for the night and consequently, last to wake up in the morning. However, once a year, she rises early and without complaint to compete in Des Peres' annual kids fishing derby.

Natalie has competed in the derby since she was six years old and twice has won the total length award for most inches of fish caught and once for longest fish. This year's competition was fierce -- more than 100 kids (twice the usual number) participated in the tourney.

Natalie invited her longtime friend, Gaby to join her. The pair, usually a fountain of giggles, wasted  no time casting out upon hearing the start whistle blow. In the first 30 minutes the girls had each caught three fish...yet all were under 9 inches in length. While it was still early in the competition, a fellow angler had already logged a 19 inch channel cat.

The girls were not deterred in the least.

They kept up a steady rhythm of baiting and casting. Over the next 90 minutes, they hardly paused to take a sip of water. With each fish they landed, they were encouraged to keep up the pace. Nat -  two, 15 inch cats, followed by a 16 inch and several bluegill. Gaby, a string of bluegill and with just one minute left in the competition, an 18 inch monster cat. I marveled at how much the two of them have grown over the years and tried to push down the lump that formed in my throat. In just a few days Gaby, her sister, Vivian and their mom, Stacy -- my tea-loving, chocolate-coveting, shirt-sleeve sharing friend won't be living in St. Louis anymore.

A season of impromptu play dates and tea breaks is ending.

I'm happy for them...for an opportunity to return to the be closer to family.

But, letting go is hard. Catch and release works fine for fishing - the same cannot be said for friendships.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Slowing Down in Scio

Two weeks ago our family hit the road and ventured northeast to Steve's hometown -- Scio, OH. As we inched closer to our destination, our GPS warned us we were entering an "unverified area" and to "proceed with caution". Hmm...while the little community may not be marked on most maps, it is most definitely harmless.

A town of less than 700. It's safe to say there are more cows than people in this neck of the woods. Steve's parent's live on a ridge surrounded by lush green, rolling hills. It's quiet except for the clip clop of hooves from Amish buggies that cross their road several times a day.

Stars are in good supply.

During our week-long stay we had our fill of red meat and potatoes... and bacon. I think it may be considered its own food group in Scio.

We caught fireflies and read lots of books. A good read I recommend, The Art of Racing in the Rain.

We lounged and visited with kin. Steve's 82 year old uncle Gib made the 2+ hour drive up from Columbus just to see us.

We slowed down and rested.

While there Noah turned 15. For his birthday he asked if he could visit the Dairy Bar...a business Steve's parents started in 1971 but is now run by his sister and brother-in-law. They serve soft serve ice cream and deep fried...everything -- from mushrooms, cauliflower, jalapenos and pickles to chocolate chip cookie dough balls and more! Their menu is extensive, however, Noah isn't one to veer far from cheeseburgers and fries. He had his usual and paired it with a peanut butter/fudge shake...a medium...22 oz. of creamy deliciousness. I thought for sure he'd be sick, but then I remembered he's a growing teen and is equipped with hollow legs.

Happy Summer Break to us.

Deep Thoughts from Noah #91

Many of my interactions with Noah seem to be more like a complicated chess game. He counts his moves...trying to come up with unique ways to not do something...anything that he perceives as work -- this could be brushing his teeth, combing his hair, etc.

Scenario #1
Me: Noah don't forget to put away your dishes
Noah: But I can't
Me: Yes, you can
Noah: No, I can't.
Me: Okay, I give -- why not?
Noah: Because it would be wasteful.
(I look at his half eaten bowl of mushy cereal and a plate with a few bites of egg)
Me: Are you going to eat these items later?
Noah: No.
Me: Ok, rinse them off and put them away.
Noah: Ok
(I return to the kitchen to see the dishes in the sink.)
Me: Noah, your dishes need to be put in the know that.
Noah: Oh...I thought you just wanted me to put them in the sink.

Scenario #2
Me: Noah did you feed and water your gerbils.
Noah: Yes
Me: You did? Today?
Noah: No
Me: You need to give them fresh food and water every day.
Noah: Oh

(These kinds of things play out no less than 10 times a day)