I love fall. It's such a melancholy time of the year. And I love melancholy in my stories and in my music. Minor keys, touching words, sweeping melodies that bring you up and then down. So fall is perfect. Rainy days then beautiful sunshine. Geese bisecting the sky and the seasons with their V formations, gathering on the fields gleaning what the voracious combines have left behind. Their honking overhead first thing in the morning and late at night are like a last call, a final farewell to summer and to stress-free driving.
Each fall is the same and yet it always feels different. The way the trees change color and how soon the leaves fall off. Each year I hope that my Virginia Creeper will turn red before the frost kills it. Sometimes we're privy to the bright red that is so rare up here in Northern Alberta, sometimes the leaves are wilted and spent after a killing frost. Sometimes summer returns for a few hours each day in brilliant blue skies and sun warming the afternoons.
It's a waiting time. A time when each day feels like a gift. And we are treated to awesome displays of colour.
How about you. What is your favorite part of Fall?
I’m on Facebook. I should be writing. Instead I’m looking at wedding dance videos. You know the ones. The funky Groomsmen dance, the one where the bride and groom do some amazing routine on the dance floor after dinner, the mother and son ditto. So cute. So fun.
Yeah, it's cute and fun but part of me is thinking, where did you find the time to rehearse for this dance? Weddings are a lot of work to plan and get ready for and now, on top of all of that, there's the pressure of coming up with an original and Facebook-worthy way to:
1.Walk down the aisle
2. Say your wedding vows
3. Cut the cake
4. Do the Bride/Groom, Mother/Son, Father/Daughter, Groomsmen, Bridesmaid ..... dance.
As if weddings weren't enough stress. More pressure for the poor girls who are thinking “Why won't my future husband take even more hours away from his work to rehearse a dance that will get a million views on Facebook or YouTube and make people smile for about 2:30 minutes?”
And I'm not even talking about Pinterest with it's endless pages devoted to wedding candles alone never mind tablescapes, flowers, pew markers, arches, wedding favours, wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, decorations,......
It's enough to make someone think..."Elope".
So new and upcoming brides and grooms I give you permission to just shuffle across the dance floor with your husband or wife, or your dad or mom. To toss a few daisies in a Mason jar drop that puppy on a burlap runner and call it a party. Get Aunt Lou to make a carrot cake and decorate it with her Pampered Chef Cake decorator and probably misspell your names. To enjoy the day for the day and not for the potential Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Vimeo, Tumblr, Periscope and on and on.....post. You'll be just as married as you would if you spent two years pinning and saving and sharing and bookmarking.
And truly, I think you'll have more fun.
Now and again I get chiding messages from my computer. "Power was not turned off properly last time." "USB was not unmounted correctly" "Computer must be restarted before installing.”
For some reason this annoys me. Who or what is this piece of equipment to tell me how I should run it? I bought this....thing....and now it's slapping my fingers for not doing things properly. I know I have a problem with people telling me what to do. I don't think I'm alone in this.
But when something I bought and paid for, something that is just a collection of bits, bytes, cables and cards starts reprimanding me, I get annoyed. I don't have kids in the house anymore and my husband and I have figured out a rhythm of co-existence (I don't tell him what to do and he tries not to tell me what to do) so I figured I should be scolding-free.
Equipment should not talk back to me. It should not tell me how it should be handled. It should just do its job and keep its comments to itself. Thanks.
And now I'm going to check my e-mail but not because I've got this annoying little note telling me I have mail. I'm doing it because I choose to.
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And you…you be quiet. I’ll leave whenever I feel like leaving.
The last word. To be able to convince someone that your logic is so clear that they are left speechless. What a feeling of self-worth that would give me. But alas, as often I try for it, I never succeed.
I have been trying for years to have the last word in an argument with my husband. But he is a logical type and doesn’t let emotion be his guide. He simply decimates my rhetoric with clear-minded stubbornness.
I can’t win with the kids either. When I discuss bedtimes, how often we should run the sprinkler when the thermometer falls below 20 degrees Celsius, how weeding the garden can be hazardous to your health, my children easily leave me in the dust. My husband uses logic to win his arguments. The children get the job done more thoroughly with stubbornness. When they feel they are losing ground, they resort to dirty warfare. They stare me straight in the eye, cock their heads to one side, and ask the question I’m sure even Adam and Eve had to contend with.
If someone could publish a book dealing with answers to that most infamous of all questions, they could retire on the advance they would get from their publisher.
I haven’t yet met a parent who can effectively deal with that question and come up with the winner in the last word war. The best we can do is use that old chestnut.
We all know that is a loser answer. It is the cry of desperate parents whose kids have them backed into a corner. Even if it is the last word in an argument, one glimpse at our child’s face tells us that they are still on top, and we have to wait for another day.
But it is effective. So effective I thought I would try it on my husband next go round.
I waited until we were in bed to choose my moment in the discussion that had been ongoing and, so far, unresolved. He hit me with logic, and I and threw out my sure-to-be-last-word.
“Why?” I demanded, watching for that puzzled look that always hits me when the question is thrown my way.
“Don’t be childish,” he retorted.
Now what? Anything after that would be self-fulfilling.
I lay awake for a while wondering how I was going to plan my next move. The plotting and planning made me sleepy, and I rolled over.
Unfortunately, just at that moment the dog chose to have some words with the coyotes in the bog just past our place. I listened for a few minutes and then stormed to the window, yelling at him to shut up.
It was quiet for a moment, and I climbed back into bed. The coyotes and the dog started up at the same time. I was just about to get out again when quiet voice stopped me.
“Give it up. They won’t let you have the last word either.”
I have to face it. Being a Sweet Aunty is not in my future.
This realization came to me a few Sundays ago when we were invited to come to my brother and sister-in-laws place after church for lunch. My husband and I were wandering around the yard, admiring the barn, petting the horses, appreciating the garden and my sister-in-law’s gorgeous flower beds when my brother in law called out that we had to get in. There were hungry humans waiting for us. We came in side and my brother in law told me that he had told his son to come and get us but he quickly shook his head. “I’ll ask Uncle Richard,” he said, “But I’m afraid of Aunty Carolyne.”
Now this didn’t bother me much. Every aunt should have copious amounts of Guilt and Fear in their arsenal when it comes to nieces and nephews.Keeps them from taking over your house completely when they come over, sleeping in your favourite chair, eating the snacks you hoped to save for your husband’s lunch, raiding the pantry and drinking all the pop.
So the comment only made me laugh.
It also made me realize that this young man will never call me his sweet auntie. Nor will the other nieces and nephews. Oh I know they love me. They tell me often enough. (Probably because they’re scared of me). And I love them tons back.
But I am starting to realize that Sweet Little Old Lady will not be spoken out loud in my eulogy. The relatives and friends won’t stand around the fellowship hall of our church all dewy eyed, half-smiles on their faces saying how sweet I was. How gentle. Soft-spoken.
I know who I am and it’s taken me many decades to get here. And I’m okay with myself and who I am. I try to be faithful with what God has blessed me with and I try not to spend too much time on e-bay and Amazon. I try to help where I can and say no where I should. I love to bake for company and have people over and I like to be by myself. I love my kids and grandkids, extended family and community. I lose my temper and use bad words, and probably talk too much. Not exactly the hallmarks of a potential Sweet Little Old Lady.
And that’s okay. I’d sooner my nieces and nephews remember me for camping and crepes and soup and sandwiches and smart remarks that showed them I cared about them. And I do.
I just won’t do it sweetly, that’s all.
Living a life of the writer at the intersection of No and where. > Read more
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