The Annual Slightly Strange List

of things for which I am thankful. I remembered this loosely held tradition today and thought I could skillfully weave a few things into our current life experiences so that you get an ever so subtle update as well as a list. Let me see how far I can get without mentioning the C—–.

  1. Assurance of a time coming when the bulbs we planted will bloom and inflatable lawn ornaments will not be a thing anymore.
  2. The ability to gasp, especially now that there is a second son driving on a permit. If it hasn’t saved our lives, it has likely saved some mailboxes that were installed too close to the edge of the road, and also possibly some hubcaps on cars parked along the street.
  3. Knowing how to turn an ornamental white pumpkin into puree, having had the foresight to ask if these pumpkins can be used for cooking after they are finished decorating. Since I learned to simply cut the tough guys in half, turn them upside down on a baking sheet, and roast them in the oven until they are soft enough to scoop into the blender, I no longer fear pumpkins. There is no need to endanger fingers while whacking away at a fruit? vegetable? that defies peeling.
  4. Making a new friend who texts me something about C*&%# and how weary she is of trying to navigate the social situations of 2020. This blessed me more than any text that day, because no matter what anybody says, this is what we all think about it.
  5. Owning boots. Even more than Bedford County, this northwest Crawford County is going to require of us lots of boots. Outfitting a five-child family with all the necessary gear can break even a healthy budget. One mile from my house is a Salvation Army, a large repository of donations and cast-offs. We have found leather boots for Gregory that he wore wet for a day to mold them to his feet, then waxed and waterproofed. Also we have gotten fur-trimmed dressy ones, a number of pairs of snow boots, and some pink rubber ones that are knee high for when the girls desire to cross the creek in the wintertime. Basically we are flush with boots around here. And still when I go to get my pair, someone seems to be wearing them.
  6. Pets that only make miniscule messes. The girls brought a pair of budgies home from the cousins in North Carolina, and they are greatly beloved. Every day there are minor tiffs as to who gets the birds while they are doing school. Gregory has an antler perch for them beside his desk, and Rita let them sit on her assignment book until I objected to the little smears that appeared on the pages. Ever the problem solver, she now has a scrap paper system for their potty needs at her desk. Addy simply lets them sit on her head and brushes the tiny droppings into the trash can if they occur. Compared to the drama of cats and dogs in the house, this is so minor it hardly counts.
  7. A misguided purchase at the overstock warehouse, where the box with the fancy espresso machine turned out to contain a much less impressive machine. Apparently somebody with evil intent had returned the box with their inferior espresso maker inside. So we decided to spring for a cute stovetop model like our grandmas may have used if they drank espresso. Then we bought a milk frother and the entire set-up cost us 90% less than the fancy machine, so we felt smart about that and happy that our counter space is not entirely used up yet.
  8. An opportunity to forage. I was wanting to lay some pine boughs on the mantel, maybe make a wreath for the door, etc. On five acres, we do not have one evergreen tree, so my mind leaped at the possibilities when I saw an enormous pine across the hiking trail, downed by high winds. Addy and I went back with pruning shears and got all the pine we could carry. It smells wonderful and we were so green and helped clean up the trail to boot.
  9. Children who are expert scroungers. It’s the term we use when I am too involved in clay to cook. This doesn’t happen unless Gabriel is working, I might hasten to add. “Shall we scrounge?” they ask hopefully, and that means any leftovers in the fridge are fair game. One likes to make pancakes or Ramen. The little girls peel entire cucumbers to dip in Ranch, followed by cold cereal. The best part of scrounging is reading a book while eating. I am hopeful that they will look back at those times with fondness for a mother who indulged them rather than wondering why they didn’t get the proper nourishment they craved every day.
  10. Leftovers. See number 9. We love them! When I cook, I make large amounts, either to freeze the extras, or to store in the basement refrigerator for later in the week. Right now there are a lot of Thanksgiving leftovers, which I did deliberately. I got an enormous turkey, so that at least 3/4 of it was left for the freezer. Then I cooked the bones with vegetables for broth and got eight quarts of that. Gabriel had to work on Thanksgiving Day, so we had our feast on Sunday, complete with cranberry salad, which only the adults eat, and my personal favorite, stuffing, which the children eat reluctantly. I feel quite thankful.
  11. Being able to laugh through tears. “I am so tired of everything being hard,” she said, even as she finished unloading the trunk full of groceries from a wonderful Aldis that is only two miles from her house. And while the tears had nothing to do with the grocery run, juxtaposed, the circumstances seemed too funny not to laugh because what could be easier than Aldi two miles away? I will not say that I am glad to be able to cry, because there have been more tears than strictly necessary and when they can’t be turned off, it becomes a matter of alarm. It is handy to have comic relief always close at hand in one’s own domain.
  12. The freedom to ignore all the shouting in the world and get on with the simple business of the day, what is right in front of me. Last week I had a conversation where I revealed my ignorance of the current news in our country and was informed that I have been living under a rock. I admit that I like it there. It is peaceful. It is impossible to get away from the groaning of the whole creation as it desires to be liberated from bondage to freedom. This has been going on for a very long time, however, and the distresses of our present time are not a surprise to God.
  13. The yearning hunger that accompanies hope, because who hopes for what they already have? Again I refer to Romans 8 for context, with my paraphrase of verses 38, 39. “For I am convinced that neither Covid19 nor vaccines, neither tolerance nor racism, neither mandatory masks nor the future of lost freedoms, nor any government, fraudulently appointed or otherwise, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

5 thoughts on “The Annual Slightly Strange List

  1. Hello from my rock to yours! What delightful glimpses into the care and habits of your tribe. 😊 Moving is exciting and shockingly hard, isn’t it? There’s always loss involved, but I imagine this to be especially acute because of all the losses experienced by all the world right now. Hugs and prayers!

  2. Dorcas dear,you never need to peel your pumpkins! Simply boil them in a big pot,then put the pumpkin unpeeled in the blender and you will never know you didnt peel them!I have been doing that for many, many years!
    I think we must be kindred spirits.I definitely retreat under my rock too and sometimes come out for a glimpse which is enough for me….Im so thankful my husband loves leftovers.I make lots on purpose too….And I love the mood your living room fireplace and windows evoke!
    Keep writing! Aunty

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