17 April 2013

I want to be hot

More snow is on the way this week. I am ready to be miserably hot.

T-shirt sticking to the back hot, sand in the wallet hot, walking on the sides of your bare feet hot, can't hold the steering wheel hot, 5am with sweat beads on your forehead hot, sunburn on the top of the head hot, bramble and stickers on your jeans hot, dust devils on a dirt road hot, asphalt melting trout killing blister raising hot. Yeah, nice and toasty.

I want to get burned by nails in my deck, I want to see roses shriveled up and brown in my back yard, I want birds to flock to my sprinkler, I want to need mosquito spray, I want to see flies around old watermelon rinds, I want to see blood mixed with sweat when i do yard work, I want to run out of cigars, i want bandaids to not be able to stick to me, I want to look like I just got out of the shower when I walk across a parking lot.

I want to cut the grass, clean out the garage, smoke a pork roast, slap a bloody mosquito onto the side of my neck, I want to sit in my back yard in shorts and a t-shirt and listen to baseball.

11 April 2013

"...there has been much throwing about of brains."

In October of 2010 I decided to read the complete works of William Shakespeare. Every play, every sonnet. I have had it on my ipad. Almost all of the reading has been while on the bus, commuting from home to downtown Minneapolis.

For the first year or so I was reading Shakespeare and the KJV of the Bible side by side. When I finished the Bible, I picked up speed with Will. This project required a deeper level of concentration than I am accustomed to.

Today's snowstorm gave me a two hour bus ride. I knocked off the last fifty pages.

I don't feel smarter, just a wee bit more refined.

While most of it was terribly boring, there were a few times when a passage grabbed me with its beauty and compexity. Like this, from The Twelth Night. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have said about you...

His words are bonds, his oaths are oracles,
His love sincere, his thoughts immaculate,
His tears pure messengers sent from his heart,
His heart as far from fraud as heaven from earth.

Goodbye Mr. Shakespeare.

03 April 2013

A time to move

Tomorrow we close on the sale of our old house. How quickly the place we called "home" for over ten years has become relegated to status as "the old house".

I am sitting on the steps to the kitchen, trying to put a few thoughts together. Collect the memories.

I lived here for almost a year by myself. From August 2003 to June 2004. While Rob finished high school, while Rachel rebuilt her life after a Peace Corp tour was cut short by war, while pre-teen Caroline dealt with the trauma of leaving the street where she learned to walk and talk, while Robin prepared for one more move, I was here alone. After 24 years of marriage, one year of relative solitude was not what I was expecting from my life. But it came and it went and it was good and it was bad. I would recommend it to others. It reminded me of how much my wife is part of me, and I of her.

I had little furniture. What I had Rachel had helped me move with a UHaul. A bed, a dresser, a treadmill, a lazyboy, a recliner. A coffeepot.

We moved the family here on June 16, 2004. Our 25th wedding anniversary.

This was Caroline's home more than any of the other children. I remember her shaking in fear as a first epileptic seizure gripped her on the stairs. The helplessness of parents who could only hold her and pray. But it was also in this house she met much of the wonder and trial of junior high and high school. Birthday parties, sleepovers, helping me put up Christmas lights and smoke the perfect pork shoulder.

It was a good place for a man and wife to enter their fifties, and be confronted with their own mortality. There were health scares, big and small, that reminded us of how much we need and love each other, and how limited is our time together in this place.

I remember Rob bringing his future wife, Laura, to this home for the first time.

I remember  Rachel screaming "I passed" and leaping in the yard, when bar exam results came in the mail.

I remember watching my wife sit quietly at the dining table, reading her Bible, taking notes. Pausing to stir a pot, start a load of wash, say a prayer.

I remember our loyal friend Rocko. He who was oblivious to the move from St. Louis, and was always happy to see any of us. How he aged so, and how the walk around the block eventually turned into a walk to the end of the street. He's still here, under a rock that is under a tree that borders our back yard.

I remember special meals shared with those we love so much and special visits from family members Judy Jarrett, Betty Walker, Kristin Walker, Hannah Izard, Emily Izard, Rodney Welch, Kevin Welch, Audrey Welch, Barbara VanAntwerp, Becky Amos, Shelby Campbell, Katie Welch, Audrey Welch, Laura Welch.

I remember the joy on Robin's face when her big sister Betty showed up for a surprise weekend visit.

I remember long drives to see our children, drives that started and ended in this driveway. To Chicago, to St. Louis, to New Orleans, to Waco.

I remember winter snows that seemed they would never end, as the drifts piled higher and higher. I remember learning how not to plow when the wind is blowing.

I remember watching our team win a couple of World Series from this place, how we all called or skyped each other as the last pitch of the last game was thrown.

Thank you Lord for a home where prayers were answered. For jobs, for relationships, for guidance in the big and little decisions of life, for physical healing. Lord, our prayers of thanksgiving from this place were lifted often it seems, but never ever enough.