The Waiting is the Best Part

Anticipation

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt

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Image result for anticipation

There are many things a child anticipates, and I’m using the word with a totally positive connotation here.  Most kids look forward to the first day of going to school.  It is a hallmark of their long trek to maturity, although they don’t see it in those words.  To most kids, it’s just proof that they’re not a little kid any more. They go to SCHOOL!

We anticipated birthdays with great hope, sometimes satisfied and sometimes not, but the anticipation of the event was always exciting. Another year older to prove yet again that we are no longer little kids.

Summer vacation?  Oh, you bet!  I loved school, but I loved summer more. I don’t remember ever being disappointed in summer when I was a kid.

Of course I anticipated falling in love, marriage, children, and now grandchildren. It’s a wonderful life. I also, most days, look forward with anticipation to to different kinds of work God has led me to.

There were Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then the new year, with the first big day coming on February 14 when we eagerly anticipated getting a bagful of valentine cards.  And all these special days filled our heads as we slept and dreamed; they filled our awake hours with high hopes, and in my case, those hopes were generally fulfilled.

I loved Thanksgiving because of the friends, family, food and fun.  Christmas?  Same thing, only presents, too. And in my house, God was the center of those two holidays. I’ve always loved the story of the first Thanksgiving.  I find it both grievous and  infuriating that our revisionist historians these days are doing their best to take the shine off America’s first years, even to the point of a college removing the American flag because some arrogant young people say  it represents violence and terrorism.  What a slap in the face to all those who have fought and died to preserve our freedom to fly that flag!

I would challenge these folks to find me one single nation in the history of the world that has NOT been guilty of violence at some point in its history. But that’s not what this post is about.

I still anticipate these special days today, at age 69.  It’s different now, more settled, more peaceful, perhaps more realistic. I am still thankful for family, friends, food, and fun. I am looking forward to tomorrow.

I am thankful, on this Thanksgiving eve, for all the ways God has led me through my life to this point,  and I’m truly anticipating the rest of the journey as it comes closer to its end, because the greatest anticipation of all is to see my Savior.  That’s what will make it heaven.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/anticipation/

A Normal Day

Sandwich

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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Hayley was moving like a mindless robot at she assembled the five sandwiches that would be lunch for her and the kids. Bread, mayo, lunchmeat, cheese, mustard on two, butter on the others. Slap, plop, spread,slap, bag, done.  Into the brown paper bags, along with some cheese sticks, fruit, and a coupe of cookies.

She moved to the oatmeal that was bubbling on the stove, giving it a stir to keep it from burning. She turned the burner down to low, poured juice, sliced bread for toast. Butter, honey, jelly on the table. Brown sugar for the oatmeal.  Bowls, knives, spoons.

Then on to the evening meal, which would be a hearty soup in the crockpot.  Slice, chop, open cans, dump, add water, throw in meat from the leftover Thanksgiving turkey. It would develop a wonderful aroma as it simmered all day, a thick and hearty meal to ward off the encroaching cold that blessed central Minnesota. She would add barley when she got home and let it cook for a while. It would be thick, like stew. Already the tongue-teasing smell of onions and garlic filled the kitchen.

All four of her kids were showered, dressed, and tending to their household chores when she called  out that breakfast was ready.  It was good to start the day with everyone eating breakfast together. They would share their schedules for the day. the ones who had jobs figuring out the carpool, all of them hoping Dad would be home before they went to bed that night.

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It was all the stuff of a normal school day. Hayley had her lesson plans well under control, and looked forward to starting a literature unit in her high school classes. She loved teaching, and it was great to be able to teach in the school her kids attended. She had each of them in a class at some point during the day. Some of their friends had started calling her “Mom,” and that was okay with her. Small Christian school, where she had the freedom to talk about God and to open the Bible with kids who needed some counseling time.

Some days, she grew weary in the routine. Some days, she swore she’d never eat another sandwich as long as she lived. Some days, she was just too tired to be eager for the day to start.

Most days, though, especially as she sat talking with her kids like this in the morning, she was just thankful  that they had the food, the clothing, the roof over their heads, jobs that met their needs, and heat for the coming deep cold of winter.

Most days, she was even thankful for sandwiches.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/sandwich/

Busy Sixteen

Only Sixteen

Tell us all about the person you were when you were sixteen. If you haven’t yet hit sixteen, tell us about the person you want to be at sixteen.

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(Another rerun I haven’t written to before. It’s a conspiracy.)

So.  When I was sixteen, I was a junior in high school.  I was rejoicing because I didn’t have to take gym any more.  It was the only thing that kept me from a 4.0, and I thought that was totally unfair.  Still do. I just wasn’t an athlete.  I tried hard, but it was never enough.

I had a two-year-old brother. My sister had left for college, and my mom was sick often, so I had a lot of experience in the care and feeding of a male infant and toddler. That experience stood me in good stead a few years later when I started having my own brood.  I was never nervous about handling a new baby.

I loved school.  We lived in a small farm town in southern Minnesota, where my dad was the pastor of a little Baptist church. I enjoyed my classes, and did well. Physics was a struggle that year, and I’ll never know how I pulled a decent grade because I never understood most of it.  I did learn how to figure out what formula applied to what annoying problem. I think our teacher was really good, but he just couldn’t light a fire under me for his subject.

I was in the school choir, which I loved.  I also worked on the school newspaper, and I was on the layout staff for the yearbook.  This was back in the day before computers, so layouts were done by hand, with pictures, rulers, scissors, and glue. Same with the paper. You typed your piece on a manual typewriter, and you had to know how to justify margins and all that stuff. I was the first page editor, so it was my job for two years to go down to the town’s newspaper office and watch the printer set up the page the old-fashioned way, with little metal letter blocks, ink, and a roller.  It was fascinating, and I never got tired of watching his hands fly over his tools. He was amazing.  Then I got to proof the page, and watch it come off the print machine.  I loved the smell of the fresh ink and new paper.

Let’s see.  I also participated in speech competition, known as Declamation back then.  I competed in storytelling, debate, and extemporaneous speaking. Loved it.  Did pretty well.

My greatest love was the piano.  I didn’t have lessons because that just wasn’t in the budget.  I’d taught myself to play when I was about ten.  When we moved back to Minnesota, an older retired piano teacher offered to take me on for free. I was thrilled.  I walked over a mile to her place each week, played for her, and walked back home. She introduced me to music I’d never thought I could play. That was a true highlight for me.

On a more personal level, I’d already been through my first boyfriend and the inevitable breakup.  He lived in Oregon.  We moved to Minnesota. After shedding the appropriate number of tears and sighing my way through the trauma, I recovered quite nicely and met a couple of new guys that kept my attention. Isn’t it amazing how we think we’re going to die, and then, Surprise!  we get over it and continue to grow up 🙂

A major event that year, 1963:  November 22, the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

All right, I’m sure you’ve had enough by now.  Kind of fun to reminisce.  Sixteen was a good year for me. So was seventeen, and eighteen. . . .just pick one.  I’ve had a blessed life.

This song was still pretty popular in 1963:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/only-sixteen/

Rich, Poor, and In-Between

West End Girls

Every city and town contains people of different classes: rich, poor, and somewhere in between. What’s it like where you live? If it’s difficult for you to discern and describe the different types of classes in your locale, describe what it was like where you grew up — was it swimming pools and movie stars, industrial and working class, somewhere in between or something completely different?

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Okay, I know this scenario exists.  Wrong side of the tracks, Skid Row, uptown, downtown, the Projects, Millionaire Mile, and all the other names we give to places to make it clear what’s what on the dollar scale.

It just doesn’t matter to me.

I grew up for the first ten years of my life in North Minneapolis.  Some people wouldn’t want to admit that.  It’s not exactly a posh neighborhood these days.

Then we lived in a suburb of Portland, Oregon for a year; moved into the city itself and rented three places that I loved, all for different reasons. When I was 14, we moved to St. James, Minnesota.  Little farm town. The wealthy and the poor were there, too.  I had friends all across the spectrum.

Sure, I knew there were divisions. I knew there were places I’d never go, clothes I would never wear, possessions I’d never have. I became more aware of such things in high school, as most of us do, but still it didn’t matter much.  I did well in school, did lots of extra-curricular things and had a very diverse group of friends.

College?  Things became a bit more pronounced there.  I had to work.  Many other students didn’t.  They got to be involved in things I could only dream about.  Still, I had a great time.

Marriage, kids.  A big church where financial standing didn’t matter a whole lot.There was one family, very well-to-do, who opened their home and yard  often to a wide range of people from poor to not-poor, and we all had a great time together.

I’ve really never suffered or worried over not being  from the right side of the tracks.  Maybe I lived a protected life.  I know terrible poverty exists, and I know not everyone has a story like mine.

Just to clarify, we were very poor when I was a kid. There was nothing extra.  Hand-me-downs were the standard, with no attention paid to labels. We’ve worked hard, studied hard, and done pretty well, as you can in America.  At least, you could. I don’t know if you still can.

Still, I’ve pretty much lived happily ever after.

No More School for Me!

Fifteen Credits

If you’re in school, are you enjoying your classes? If you’re out of school, what do you miss about it — or are you glad those days are over?

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I went back to school when I was 50 to get a Master of Social Work degree. An MSW opens the door to private practice counseling, which was my goal.  I chose to do the work in the three-year part-time program that was available.

I’d been a teacher for many years, so being in school was not new to me.  Being in the student desk was a big change, though, and one I didn’t always like. When you’re used to being the head of the classroom, it can be hard to make the switch 🙂

I loved the studying and learning.  I wrote 47 papers, anywhere from ten to thirty pages in length.  There was a lot of research involved, but I’ve always enjoyed doing research. It didn’t take me long to catch up on the differences in style for doing those papers.  When I was doing my undergrad, I was using a typewriter.  Footnotes were at the bottom of each page, and we used a lot of “ibid” and “op.cit.” (Old people will know what that means!)  It’s much easier now, with style changes and working on a computer. What  blessing to be able to rearrange whole paragraphs without using whiteout!

There were some challenges.  The year I had to take Research and Statistics just about did me in.  The research wasn’t a problem. Stats, however, will have a special place in hell.

My favorite paper was my final one, and my professor doubted I’d be able to find any information.  I had chosen to write a paper dealing with the connection, if any, between faith/religion and use or abstinence from alcohol. I found a little book called  Staggering Steeples that was a wealth of information and statistics.  There were also dozens of articles around the same topic in magazines and journals specific to social work.  I loved writing that paper, and my professor was pretty impressed 🙂

Would I go back to school now?  Nope.  No reason to do so. I would get a PhD only if I wanted to teach in the field, which I don’t.  I’m happy in my work, have no need or desire to continue my education any more than I have to in getting my CEU requirements in every two years. I don’t miss  the tons of reading, the deadlines, the papers.

It was kind of fun, though, to be the grandma in most of my classes.  There was one other woman, older than I, who started the course when I was in my third year.  Other than that, I was always the senior person, sometimes older than the professor.  I enjoyed it, but no, I wouldn’t go back.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/fifteen-credits/

Junior High Again?

Zoltar’s Revenge

In a reversal of Big, the Tom Hanks classic from the 80s, your adult self is suddenly locked in the body of a 12-year-old kid. How do you survive your first day back in school?

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I found a seat on the crowded school bus, near the back where some junior high boys were sitting.  They thought I was their age.  I looked their age.  I knew what they were thinking, and instead of making me nervous it just made me laugh inside. Twits.  All junior high boys have an obsessive fascination with female body parts and bathroom humor.  When I really was 12, it kind of scared me. Not now. Let them ogle, let them laugh and make their stupid jokes. I wish I could have ignored it all like this, back then.

The ride seemed to take forever.  Being the new kid is always hard, but seeing it from this new perspective gave me a lot of insight into how fearful kids this age can be. They’re afraid of anything they don’t know or understand. They get all up on their hind legs, like stiff-legged dogs who are considering whether or not to fight.

But I guess we adults are really no different. What we don’t understand, we fear.  What we fear, we mock.

I waited until all those silly twits behind me had pushed and shoved their way off the bus. They left an aroma of little-boy sweat and peanut butter behind them. Finally the aisle was clear, and I made my way to the front. The bus driver smiled at me, said, “New this morning?  I hope you’ll have a good day.”

I smiled back. He was pretty cute, looked to be about my age. Lousy twelve-year-old body!

The day actually went okay.  There are lots of advantages to being 20 and looking 12.  I’m going to ace every subject, even the ones I hated the first time around. I’ll even do better in gym than I did before, since I’ve been working out for a few years now.  And I know a lot more about how the teachers really think and feel, so I’m going to have to be careful not to become the dreaded teacher’s pet.  That could take some careful managing.

What’s going to be hard is hanging out with the little girls. Oh my word, how I hated being called a little girl when I was 12. Eight short years gives you a whole new perspective.  Anyway, they’re just so silly.  Everything they say is in capital letters, italics, bold, and with a dozen exclamation marks.

“OOoooooohhhh, did you SEE (insert boy’s name here)???? I mean, he like really GREW over the summer, and he’s SO CUTE!!  HE’s SO HOT!!(wave hand in front of face here to cool off)!!  He’s like SO MINE this year! All the rest of you just keep AWAY! (Girls all walk away in a huddle, whispering and giggling and making sure they walk by the boy they’re discussing.  Poor kid doesn’t have a clue.)

I found my locker, opened the combination lock, and put my jacket inside. The girl next to me smiled and said hi, and I smiled back. Oh dear. She’s going to have a hard time with the “cool” girls.  She’s shy, she isn’t wearing the required cool clothes, and her hair isn’t in the required cool ‘do.  Well, I can take away some of the pain of rejection. I’ll be her friend. I wish I’d been more aware of these kids back when I was 12.  I wish I’d been nicer.  It’s a lonely and painful path they walk.

Lunch was actually kind of fun. I remember when there was a new girl in my class when I was 12 or 13.  She came into the lunch room looking for a place to sit, and saw some spaces  by me and my group of friends. When she started to sit down, one of the other girls said, “You can’t sit there. Those places are saved for our FRIENDS!” Poor girl, even then I felt sorry for her.  I wish I’d stood up and offered to go sit with her somewhere else. Today, I just found an empty table and sat by myself, and I didn’t care.  When I saw my locker friend wandering around with her tray, I waved and called her name, and she came and sat with me. She looked so relieved! She’s a nice kid. It won’t be hard to be friends with her.

We even discovered that we ride the same bus, so we sat together again on the way home. She lives a couple of blocks away from me, and that could be a problem. How do I explain why I’m living alone in my apartment at the ripe old age of 12?

Well, that’s a worry for another day.  I wonder how long this is going to last.

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/zoltars-revenge/