Monday, April 26, 2010

Rainy Days, Puffy Clouds, and Softball Games

After last year’s rainy spring, farmers here have been pleased to have had a dry spring in order to get started planting. Then the rains began Friday night, and we had rains off and on all day yesterday. Driving to town in the afternoon, the cast-over sky seemed to enhance the freshly washed vividly green landscape all around me. Then it started pouring. The rain slacked off when I arrived at the beauty shop, but then increased when it was time for me to leave. I was grateful for Gerald’s large camouflage umbrella.

I had planned to run by Katherine’s, then pick up two or three items at the grocery store, and go on to the library in our village to check out the book I had ordered. Safely in the car and pulling in the wet umbrella after me, I decided after talking to Kate on the phone, to just hie myself home. Later that afternoon, it cleared off nicely, and I drove to the village and picked up The Healing of America by T.R. Reid.
That morning I had just finished reading Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, one of the very earliest of English novels. I’d chosen it from the book case at the Country Inn last weekend at Freeport. Guests are allowed to take an unfinished book with them when they depart and turn it in later after they finish it. I’d heard part of the story all my life, and I wonder if I may have read some condensed version in an elementary school book. At least I knew Robinson had a buddy named Friday and I kept waiting for him to appear. Robinson was alone on that island a long time before Friday came and was rescued from cannibals. I was beginning to wonder if Friday were actually a character in that book after all.

Published in 1719, the book has the stilted rhythm and the moral weaknesses of that era, but I found it very interesting to read. I liked all Robinson’s coping techniques to survive being stranded alone better than the last part of the book. All the exciting shoot ‘em up stuff at the end bored me as he had to fight his way off the island and make a dangerous trek through the mountains and France before finally becoming wealthy for a happy ending. But then I don’t like car chases and violence in today’s books or movies either. I can take happy or sad endings, but Defoe’s seemed too contrived. I felt bad to learn from notes in the book that Defoe died forgotten and unrecognized for his classic.

Back home from the library, I prepared Gerald and me a light supper and afterwards, we sat looking out the windows onto our lake while the clouds gave us a moveable feast of beauty. The skyline was filled with large fluffy white clouds with a couple small blotches of silver grey and an elongated streak of silver grey clouds above the puffy white. Leafy trees on our little island gave us a collage of greens from pale lime to bright green with the dirty green of the big cedar mixed in. The sun in the west was highlighting the trees so that they almost sparkled. Then the winds blew those clouds on. Above the lake was now a ceiling of grey. New puffy clouds blew in trimmed at the bottom with a row of silver grey almost like the rickrack that grandmothers used on the hem of little girls’ dresses. The sun was still making the trees shine, when rain hit the western kitchen windows. After a brief but intense bit of rain, calm descended again as the night darkened.

I quit the moving picture show in our windows and made the phone call I had been trying to make for a couple of days to visit with my sister. On Thursday, I called and visited with my brother, and I wanted to share that visit with her and to feel the better human connection that the voice gives us over emails. She was ebullient over the green earth club at the middle school across the street having been at her home that day. The kids have a grant to buy plants and provide neighborhood homes with landscaping help. They had visited her much earlier and talked over the plan for her house, and someone with a tiller and someone with mulch had visited homes that week. Now was the big day when the kids put the plants into the ground and completed mulching, and the students accomplished this despite the cold day in Amarillo.
Rosemary and Phil love kids, so knowing these children were involved with this impressive learning activity pleased Rosie very much. She was also still excited about the regular Friday evening supper she and Phil serve to their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. They will have anywhere from a dozen to 15 or so usually—just whoever has a schedule that allows them to show up. But with their grandson Philip Todd and wife Jennifer on leave from military service in Hawaii (after earlier serving a couple of times in Iraq), there were 18 present the night before. She fixed two roasts in her crock pots and Phil fixed a meat loaf. Lots of veggies and Phil’s famous cookies, and she made two big frozen strawberry pies with a new recipe. I always like to hear about the Friday night gatherings and imagine how good everything tasted.

After our long conversation, checking Facebook and hotmail, surfing a bit on a favorite writers’ site, I started my new book and went to bed later than I should have. Today was another off-and-on gently rainy day, but we were only away the farm for church services, since we wanted to follow Georgia and Texas A&M softball games.

Both of our teams won. The game with A&M (ranked 21) against University of Missouri (ranked 11) was on television, and it was an exciting game to watch. Missouri made us fearful we might end up losing the advantage three home runs had given us. But we did it. Rhi Kliesing hit a single in the bottom of the seventh that broke the 5-5 tie allowing a runner to cross home plate. Missouri had walked freshman Meagan May that inning because earlier she had hit two home runs breaking the school’s single season home run record. Since pitcher Mel Dumezich was on Tara’s summer team a couple years ago and Aidan still has a crush on her as his all-time favorite softball player, we were especially glad to see her victorious after the team’s discouraging loss yesterday. And, of course, we were happy Georgia has had 15 straight wins now.

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