Remember the song: “Mama said there’ll be days like this, there’ll be days like this my mama said.” (Thanks to suzieflamingo for the lyrics correction.) First off, I will just have to say I miss my mother…but since I seem to be turning into her, that may make it easier eventually. On a hot Texas summer day, we were headed to Wichita Falls to get deck stain so I could re-stain the east and west decks of their house. It was hard for Sis and me to keep things up, with all the caregiving for Dad, the 12-hour one-way trip for me to get to Texas, and Dad’s showplace had taken a beating. Every time I went home, there was a long list of chores waiting for me in the barn, pasture, shop, or outside of the house. Mom was still able to get around pretty well then, so I would usually load her up and we would head to “the big city” for lunch, supplies, and maybe a quick stop at TJ Maxx or Tuesday Morning.
I am sometimes overly sentimental, and a bit of a pack rat, and it was nice to look up this morning and see the last birthday card I had from Mom–summer of 2018. Yesterday I was out in the yard, picking up dog poop in the “not as hot as it has been” heat. It always kind of reminds me of being home, and mucking out Rio’s barn, or cleaning out his water trough–not the most fun things to do, but nonetheless, they are things that have to be done. As I was stomping around the magnolia leaves in my wellies, the song popped into my head–Mama said they’ll be days like this, and for some reason, the follow up thought that No, she did not tell me that I would end up in Mississippi picking up dog poop… and deer poop. I somehow never expected to have deer grazing in my yard, knocking down the bird feeders for seed. If the deer cannot reach it, then the raccoons climb the tree, go out on a limb and take them down. No matter that I put them on small branches that should not hold the weight of a raccoon, they can still find a way. No matter that I tie them up with a variety of bungee cords, carabiners, chains, twisted wire ad infinitum, one or the other of them finds a way around or through.
I am fairly certain Mom never picked up dog poop, but she drove a tractor and plowed fields, wearing a big ole long brimmed sunbonnet, long sleeves, and gloves. Mom was fair-skinned with red hair so she protected herself from freckles and sunburn when working in the fields with Papa. I do not think she ever did that after she and Dad married, probably because she had 3 babies to take care of every day.
So here I sit on this day that marks 70 years of my having been on this earth. Quite naturally, I am thinking of my parents, and the times through the years that are seared into my memories, but also, thinking ahead to those “uncharted” years still to come. Yes, my mama told me a lot, showed me a lot, and in some ways, prepared me for the things she did not tell me about. I suppose the one thing we cannot tell someone else is what their own life will be about, given that we have to construct that for ourselves unless we choose foreclosure. And because I love the ability to make it up as I go, I have decided that today my present to myself is to do what I want to do, even if that is not doing anything at all. Since I will be 112 eventually and still having to take care of everyone and everything, one day off should not upset the system that much.