Today, arriving in an airport an hour and a half south of me: Monica, for a visit that's been in the making for several years now.

It becomes difficult to explain a friendship when you realize that you can barely remember why you became friends in the first place. A quick bit of mathematics tells me that we were off just a bit when we did some phone calculations the other day; we were fourteen when we met. She might have been fifteen. She had the neatest handwriting I'd ever seen, had far curlier hair than I did, and she knew the worst puns in the world. Loved them. Gloried in them. (All these years later, I still remember the punchline "Kicks are for Trids!" even though I cannot remember the joke itself.)

Weaving in the ends

My grandmother never expected me to stick with yarn work. When I asked her to teach me, I think she was surprised, and even moreso that I persevered and became good at it. Later, I added knitting to my repertoire, but was never able to master the art of tatting (using carefully-crafted knots to create delicate lace).

for whom the bell tolls

Storm season is back amongst us again, blowing through in a succession of muggy afternoons and dark-grey clouds. It's later than usual this year, having decided to wander in and get revved up only towards the end of spring. Several nights this week, Jeff has had to shut off the weather radio multiple times.

Truth is stranger than fiction

Did you ever have a family member whose antics were guaranteed to liven up any holiday gathering? Someone whose particularly-skewed ideas of fun and amusement were the subject of dinner-table conversations for years to come?

I wouldn't be posting if I didn't have one. Truthfully, I had several, but the one that comes to mind is Clint.

In my family, "mudding" is a verb. As in, "Clint's gone mudding. Who's gonna pull him out this time?"

He wasn't the first member of my family to get addicted to this particularly-rural pastime. My uncle, Keith, was the one whose antics that most of us remember most vividly. My sister, when asked to describe, said it this way: "On every holiday, Keith would take the biggest vehicle he could find and go out to the bluff and sink that sucker up to the axles in mud, and then we'd all have to go pull him out."

Clint was the same way.

Stubborn, just like her

What I know is so much smaller than what I don't know.

She was a teenager when she married. From her pictures, she was never a particularly pretty girl. I know nothing of what her personality was like. I only knew her later, after years and circumstances had had their way with her.

Because of family disagreements and her death during my childhood, I never knew her well. To say that she never got along with my mother would have been a bit of an understatement; the knowledge that they never agreed on much of anything was common, yet unspoken, knowledge—even to me, the youngest—when I was a child.

In terms of the Bitser

When Dad answered the phone, I was surprised.

"I didn't expect to get you. I figured I'd get Mom. So, you been doin' okay?"

"Yeah, mostly. Glad to be—"


"Thank you, Little Bit, I'm just fine." Dad laughed; a dry, raspy chuckle. It told me everything I needed to know—that there were still things worth laughing about, but that even with the constant morphine IV, belly laughs still weren't pain-free.