Monday, October 18, 2010

A Change of Seasons - Kenny coming home.

82 years young, independent and strong, running a farm on her own, riding horses with a daughter in Colorado. One month later - a stroke, a stomach tube, a move from the farm to a nursing home and suddenly now she is 82 years old. There was no easing into it, no edging, it was analogous to the ball dropping in Time Square on New Year's Eve. There was no grace granted to prepare, our sensibilities were numbed as we went through the motions.

She is our mother, known loving as Kenny and now she is 85 years weak and lonesome. There is this idea that one finds companionship and comfort when surrounded by their peers but we sense something totally different here. As peculiar as it may sound, we see Kenny amongst many, yet very lonely. Is that a distancing created intentionally or is it part of the aging process? Regardless the answer it is difficult to watch.

In a few short weeks there will be a changing of the guards. On November 1st we bring Kenny back home to her 50 acres, 4 horses, 2 dogs and a cat. We will be her ceremonial guards but it will be more than that because we are her daughters. Upholding past traditions we will also learn to perform new duties, more akin to being a mother to our mother.

This is not a fortuitous move we are making, quite the contrary. For over a year we have held deliberate conversation, fantasized, envisioned and prayed over the myriad of possibilities of our decision only to be blurred by so many "what ifs". Our spirits will directly dictate the beauty or perhaps the unwholesomeness of our decision. Imperative are the qualities of patience, understanding and love which we pray will supersede all other emotions.

There is a change on the horizon, a change of seasons for five of us and although we enter into it with great aspirations they are shadowed by our trepidations. Time will show us the wisdom (or not) of our decision but until then we will take all the prayer we can get.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

REAL ESTATE - Harrisonburg's Newest Industry

Last night, a group of us went to the new Forbes Center for a musical production and we all continue to be impressed with the facility, although the musical was a little weird. As we left the theater, I couldn't help thinking of what this area looked like in the past. Buffalo Wild Wings was Doc's Tea Room and the parking deck is on the location of the Daly Shoe Factory. It all made me remember the other industrial giants who once called Harrisonburg home.

The Water Street parking deck was the site of our police station when I was a kid but before that, it was a tannery. The Metro building on Broad Street was a pants factory and Sancar Flats once held scores of employees making underwear. In recent years, we lost the Kawneer plant (Lowes) and Dunham Bush was replaced by Harrisonburg Crossing. It seems that the only production left in town involves poultry or ice. I guess we need to find a new industry to keep our economy going.

Geezer Business

That's right, it is the economic engine for our town and this one won't move to China. It is time to think of the Grey Panthers as a business and concentrate more efforts in attracting them to town.

Think about it. They have money and spend it, they don't take jobs, suck up public assistance resources or have kids in school. They are generally good citizens who take care of their property, pay their bills and have a positive economic impact on the community. We already have the attractions in place: beautiful scenery, activities of JMU, cheap public golf, lots of retirement homes, all you can eat buffets and a brand new hospital. The only downside is that they are sometimes pretty cranky and can be a traffic hazard but other than that it is a "match made in heaven."


Monday, October 11, 2010

The 5 and Dime - Can you identify these guys?

While working "Kenny Duty" this little fella came running out from under a bush when the
lawn mower blew cut grass in his face. An adolescent I would guess as he did much more running on the ground than flying.

To my (untrained) eye I thought he looked lost and was perhaps trying to find his way to the beach not the Appalachian Region. Can you identify this guy for me please?
I could also use some help to identify this guy. He was also found around Clifton Forge, Va.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Our BIG Garden - Tear Down

The time has arrived to begin disassembling the garden in preparation for Winter. This is rather a bittersweet time as it signals the end of the growing season; the last of longer, lighter days and the finish of backyard BBQ's.

For some folks the advent of Fall and Winter is very bleak and discomforting. Many become despondent and even inconsolable but those are feelings I cannot fathom. The brilliant azure sky, flame colored leaves and white billowy clouds make for a stunning picture alone. Now couple that with the clear, crisp air and cooler temperatures and it becomes evident that my spirit has lifted to heavenly heights.

The aromas wafting from a soup pot warming on the stove and the sight of a crackling wood fire lit in a cozy room elicits a comforting joy not found during the humid, summer months. At long last it is acceptable to shut your door at 5pm when darkness arrives. Essentially it is now permissible to relax by the fire and enjoy a great book or sip wine with friends. We can now indulge ourselves in life's sweetest, greatest pleasures.

My excitement is elevated during this time of year to overflowing and I pine to console others with my appetite for the season. As I have repeated numerous times in the past, the four seasons we experience is truly a gift. About the time the chill of Winter is all you can tolerate, a glance in the dormant garden will show some plants waking up under the cover of mulch, looking out as if to be inquiring whether it is safe to come out yet. And then before you realize it - Spring has sprung!!