March 29, 2010

Scotch Tape and Other Very Important Things

Magical stuff, scotch tape and rubber boots. Well, with scotch tape you could attach just about anything to anything, was my thinking. And rubber boots enabled you to walk home any route you'd choose after school - right through the puddles!

Before I took my mother's scotch tape to school and hid it in my desk, I was just like everybody else. But with the tape, friends came to ME to ask for a piece. We thought tape could hold the world together, if we could just have enough of it!

And before my first pair of boots? Well, let's just say my knee high socks had trouble even hugging my ankles when I decided to have a little fun in the rain. They dragged on the ground after taking on puddle water and with all my tugging on them to repeatedly pull them up! No amount of elastic could handle that much abuse!

The pink pearl eraser. Now that was magic! Now I could change my mind and make my drawings disappear, like the one of my teacher. Call it redemptive, I had "do overs!" Trouble was, my second and third and fourth tries to get my math problems right - well, the eraser wasn't much help with that. Many a math paper had see-through areas where Kathy had labored over it.

I must make mention of my bottle of glue. Such a wonderful tool! I taught myself, through serious research, how to use just a dot to get two pieces of paper to stick together without any sign they'd been glued. Quite revolutionary, actually.

With these few simple things, and what I could find along the way (like a stick, a scrap of paper, a rock) my adventures never ended.

Throw in a stray kitty and it was a perfectly wonderful day!

March 19, 2010

Church Nursery Windows

When our little family of six moved to our little rural town about 18 years ago, we tried to keep our ties with our home church in Eugene. However, it didn't take long before we began to drift.

The drive to get there was long. We didn't see our friends during the week any more. We were adjusting to a new school and lifestyle.

Then my husband began not going. That was hard. Hard not to give way to the fear that I might become one of those Sunday widows who sat in church alone, taught the children alone; her absent husband watching a football game, or something…

A gentle, refreshing breeze blew into our home the day we visited our new home church. We kept going back. The kindness and friendliness of the people, and the love for God demonstrated, was just too hard to resist! To familiarize myself with my new "family," I offered my domestic services to the pastor's wife. I told her I would clean, scrub, arrange chairs. My intent was to observe the goings-on in the church office and schoolrooms during the day, and make myself known.

The building was the city’s original schoolhouse, so the large rooms are heavily windowed, including the doors to the hall. The pastor's wife had requested I clean the windows weekly, so I did. It wasn’t till months later that I realized she had meant only the hall door windows—the ones where babies wiped their melted cracker slime on the glass and older brothers pressed their noses. But here I was, faithfully climbing up the shaky ladder every week to reach the highest corners of the windows to the courtyard that certainly didn’t need it!