New Years Resolutions? Every Year Resolution!

I remember the morning I rolled my car.  I was headed in to town for just a short day at school; we were picking up our report cards or something.  I was driving down the road listening to and singing along with:

Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die…”

After the morning at school, my sister Lisa and I jumped in my car and started for home.  It was a few minutes later, when my good friend and his buddy came up along side of us and grinned.  I was fourteen and had my license for only a few months. (I was a farm girl and of course the paperwork for me to take my test for my driver’s license was signed off quickly.  The oldest child in the family needed to be driving; the folks were so relieved to have someone to drive kids the four miles to town, so they wouldn’t be on the roads constantly.)  I remember putting my foot down on the gas pedal and speeding up; he sped up too and quickly pulled in front of me.  I remember seeing the speed limit side on the right and thought I was going to hit it, so I over corrected and went across the opposite lane, into the ditch and rolled over on the grassy side hill.

We weren’t wearing seat belts and our eyes were wide, when we landed upside down.  I asked Lisa if she was Ok, and she said she was, but I could see there was some blood on her toe.  Construction workers from the apartments along the road, came down to check on us.  I don’t remember much more about that; I’m sure some sort of shock was going on; I think there was an ambulance, and I know there was trouble.  When we made it to the clinic, I made the phone call and Mom answered.  “Mom, I rolled the car.”  Her first question was if we were both ok.  I answered that we were and she came in to pick us up.

Well, long story short, I was grounded for the summer and then actually there was another accident and I was grounded for the next winter.  Mom and Dad didn’t quite get the driving break they thought they were going to get.  😦  Dad had a buddy who had told me that my Dad had a similar “incident”, I reminded Dad of that and he made some comment about me not needing to be as stupid as he had been.

The best part of that summer is that while Dad decided it was his chance to fence off every side of six quarters of land (160 acres at a time) and have me help him, Mom made us great lunches.  Finally I’m getting to my life resolution.  🙂

I guess we grew up fairly poor.  I didn’t even really realize it until I was in high school.  A friend said to me that I shouldn’t buy something, because I really couldn’t afford it.  I wore lots of hand-me-down clothes and clothes that Grandma had made for me; I got a job when I was 14, cleaning motel rooms, and paid for most of my own things, but with all of that, I never thought of our family as poor.  I mentioned it to Dad one time and he said, “You weren’t poor, I only had one pair of jeans for all week, that was poor.”  I guess it’s all in the perspective lol…

Mom was careful with money; when it was pow wow time on the reservation, or close to a holiday, she would be approached on the mail route, and asked if she wanted to buy any commodities.  She would get a box or so of groceries, pretty cheaply, lots of canned vegetables and if we were really lucky, commodity cheese.  It was a large block of yellow American cheese and was delicious.  I ate more cheese sandwiches with homemade rhubarb sauce than I could ever count.  It’s one of my favorites to this day.  We also had a lot of cake with homemade fudge frosting.  Cake mixes were cheap and it seemed we always had one in the cupboard.  Fruit and sandwich meat was always in the fridge, but it was for the men, who worked.  Well the summer I rolled my car, I got to have “man” lunches and it almost made the fencing worth while.  Everyday when I opened up the lunch bag, there was a summer sausage or ham sandwich and at least one piece of fruit, many times two.  It was the only time we were allowed to eat fresh fruit, anything purchased by the lug was made into sauce, although there were fruit pies; peach is still my favorite.

I’m not sure if it was our diet, or genetics, but us kids all struggled with our weight at different times.  I am blessed with a large frame, hands bigger than a field hands, and shoulders, that even when the blades have stuck out, still make a men’s large shirt fit my shoulders and arms the best.  Exercising and learning to eat differently has been my life’s resolution.  A few years ago, I was told I’m pre-diabetic, destined to be truly diabetic.  I got tears in my eyes, when the pharmacist told me that most pre-diabetics become diabetics, even with work and diet, it seems unsurmountable.  I keep trying though…more vegetables….. more exercise.  I started at a gym last week, with a program designed for me.  I did it ahead of the New Year! Ha!  Trying to beat Father Time…

Poverty, eating habits, genetics?  It’s like everything else; we can’t change some things; we can only move forward and do the best we can.  I’m headed out the door; I have some lunges and weights waiting for me….

Peace….

 

 

 

When You See One, There Are Always More….

My Mom and Dad moved back on to the family farm, when I was about four.  Dad had worked in the oilfield, but he wanted to farm.  Grandpa Pat was ready to slow down, and then died.  We moved into the old farm house.  It was a sea foam green two story house, that originally only had an outhouse.  Grandpa and Grandma had taken a porch and made it into a small den, bathroom and enlarged the kitchen area.  It sat on a dirt basement, with a coal burning stove that heated the house, sometimes.  In the coldest days of the winter months, we would all sleep in the living room, with a blanket blocking off the kitchen-half of the house, the door shut to the upstairs, and the furnace full of coal, trying to heat that little bit of house we were sleeping in.  We didn’t mind much; we were warm, and it was “camping out” to us kids.

The only thing we had to worry about on those nights, is that the mice wanted to be warm too.  They would come up from the basement, and risk life-or-death, by running around.  They especially liked to surprise you in the bathroom.  I would be sitting on the toilet, and a mouse, or two would come out and look at me.  We both had our jobs to do-me finishing my toileting and them trying to survive.

Dad would periodically catch a bull snake and release him into the basement, to try and control the population, but never seemed to make much difference.  It only made going down to get canned goods more interesting, as I was terrified, the mouse would survive and I would not.

Dad later gave the house away to the mover, who sold or gave it to someone in the White Earth Valley.  Dad told me in later years they used it for their animals.  We built a new house, whose only infiltrators were salamanders, or a calf or lamb, who were brought in by the humans.

I was lucky enough to have repeat performances of mouse escapades, when I lived in a 12×60 trailer house in an oil camp, in 1978-1982.  I was visiting with my mother-in- law on the phone, when I saw the tinfoil move, that was covering the roast beef on the counter.  I looked again in time to see a mouse pull a piece of beef off the plate, slide it across a bit of counter and take it down behind the stove.  There were times I would be laying in bed nursing my oldest son, and a mouse would come out from his hiding and look up at me, with no fear in his eyes.  We were outnumbered.

When we sold that trailer house, very soon after that, I pictured it going down the road to Billings, Montana; the mice waving goodbye as they began their new adventure.

An interesting insight into my life on the farm?  I have tried to give you a few of them, so you know who I am; based on my experiences you can see when we are similar.  So you can believe me, when I tell you I understand where many of you have been.

I was watching TV one morning, working on a Soduko puzzle.  I’m trying to keep my brain more toned than my body.  The announcement came on that Charlie Rose had been suspended.  I set my puzzle down and tried to take it in; I’m obviously not one of those people oblivious to abuse; I’ve had my share of it, in several different versions, but Charlie Rose…  I didn’t see that coming.  Many of the broadcasters have made the point of saying, how do we balance our feelings for someone we care about, who has done something so wrong.  I don’t care if it’s the Senator from Michigan, or Alabama, or our favorite morning news commentator,  the President, or family member.  It hurts when someone we respect, betrays trust.

How do we balance our feelings?  By lashing out at others?  The women in this case, and there have been men in other cases as well, are like mice…They for whatever reason, have held on for five, or ten, or 40 years.  Their lives were changed, but they survived by doing what they had to do.  Victims are like mice, stories of abuse are like mice…if there is one, there is more.

The stories in the news have been mostly sexual abuse of power, but my analogy can be any form of abuse.  I have thoughts and prayers in my heart right now for people who are physically, emotionally, and verbally abused as well.  Verbal and emotional abuse leave no outward physical scars, but the damage is so difficult to overcome.  Please don’t become so comfortable with it, because of your family, or culture that you don’t pay attention to the mice.

With all of my heart, I wish you..

Peace….