Godot Gives It Another Go

“What’s happening with Godot this year?” she asked. Startled, I said I didn’t know. I’d paid scant attention to my little patio friend since April, when inspections revealed no sign of activity in the cactus pot – no new growth, no buds, no blooms. By the beginning of May things still were quiet and, as happens in so many families, the quiet and well-behaved one was left to fend for himself.

Of course, turning your back on the quiet one can be dangerous. Left to their own devices, there’s no telling what they’ll get up to. (more…)

Published in: on June 9, 2013 at 3:52 pm  Comments (98)  
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The Fruitcake’s Revenge

Got Fruitcake?

Johnny Carson said it, and I believed it.  Every year, shortly after Thanksgiving, he began the Christmas season by reminding us, “There’s only one fruitcake in the world. It’s been passed around from person to person since time immemorial, and it doesn’t matter how hard you try. You’ll never escape The Fruitcake.” 

I knew his little joke wasn’t factual. Every year multitudes of fruitcakes marched like overzealous Nutcrackers into the heart of the holiday season, overflowing store shelves and filling up catalogs.  How essentially good ingredients – fruit and cake – could be combined into a “treat” that was both gummy and dry was beyond me. But the fruitcake people had managed to do it. Even though I preferred not to waste my holiday calories on something that appeared to have been circulating since the days of the Roman Empire, people kept pressing fruitcake on me.  I wished there were only one. It would have been easier to escape the ghastly conconction. (more…)

Published in: on November 27, 2012 at 11:05 am  Comments (115)  
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The Time of Our Lives

Reminders about the end of daylight saving time have begun to crop up, opportunities for a little congenial and inconsequential grumping in the midst of Eurozone crises, premature snow and political theatre. Some wish “the longer day” would be made permanent. Others consider the fuss over “falling back”  nothing more than a relic of another time, like barn-raisings and butter churns.

The annual discussions are repetitive, and predictable as the seasons. Does our clock manipulation save energy? Should it be standardized across the country? Does it help or hurt school children?

I don’t think definitive answers are possible, and I personally don’t care. Like an old-fashioned farmer, I work by the sun, not the clock. Grandma liked to say she worked from “kin to cain’t” – from the moment when the first bird took flight into the dawn until the last light faded against the hills – and I love embodying that part of her tradition. Still, living as I do in a world of clock-and-calendar sorts, it’s important to take their realities into account – including the transition back to “standard” time. (more…)

Published in: on November 3, 2011 at 3:03 am  Comments (73)  
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This Most Modest of Seasons

Christmas comes differently to the country.

Threaded around and through twin pieces of rusted rebar that serve as mailbox supports, the shabbiness of the plastic pine garland is apparent only to the mail carrier, or to the woman who trudges in slippers up the lane from her house, hoping against hope to find greetings in her box.  From the road the garland appears perfect, full and fresh.  From a distance, even plastic communicates the woman’s message: in this house, we celebrate. We mark the season. We share our joy with you, the passer-by.

Farther down the road,  a wreath made of vines adorns a gate closed across a cattle guard.  Its ribbon flutters in the wind, attracting attention, drawing the eye through the gate and into a pasture.  There’s a brush pile and some uncleared mesquite. A few trees, pushed over and left to die, wait to be added to the pile.  Despite the cattle guard, no livestock roam. There’s no stock tank, no house or pond – not even a pile of rusted, broken-down machinery.  Only a despondent wind sighs through the fence and across the field. (more…)


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