Showing posts from August, 2016

Only 900 Hours

Okay kids here’s the good news: you’ll only spend 900 hours in the classroom this next school year. Which means you’ll have nearly 8000 hours at home doing other stuff. Yeah, I know there’s homework. 
But if you use those 900 school hours wisely, maybe there will be less to do at home.

Your mom and dad are probably working too. It can be hectic getting out the door in the morning and you’re all pretty tired when you get back home. 
But here’s something important to do—love those who love you. Helping each other is a way to show it.
Remember, it’s only 900 school hours. That leaves time for sports, TV, and video games, but also take time to look around your house, put things away, help in the kitchen, take the garbage out, you know the routine. 

When we help those we love, we all feel better at the end of a long day.
Having loving homes makes our world (and schools) a nicer place.

Me? White Trash?

Our farm was a 30-minute drive to the city, so one day when I ran out of oatmeal, I drove to our nearby country store. I walked in carrying my baby, and went to the cereal aisle. I heard the bells jingle on the front door as someone else entered. 
Voices carried quite well in the little store, and I heard the owner greet the customer.
They began a conversation I’ve never forgotten. After a few pleasantries, the customer declared:
“You wouldn’t believe what those trailer people are doing now.” The way she said it sounded like they’d discussed the “trailer people” before.
“They brought in a heap of broken concrete—piled it next to their dilapidated shed.”

The concrete got my attention. Needing extra money, we’d removed a concrete driveway for someone. It had been a horrendous job. Instead of throwing away the pieces, we thought we’d re-use it for a cobblestone pathway. Okay, maybe it sounded better than it would eventually look. But right then it was in a huge pile—next to our small shed.

We Make America Great

Summertime across America brings lots of local festivals. My rural community celebrates wild blackberries during Joyce Daze—a day-long event beginning with a hearty pancake breakfast. 

Local musicians take turns on a wooden stage while vendors selling handmade jewelry, baked goods, art work, leather belts, lamb’s wool hats and scarves, and whatever one wants to sell are tucked beneath plastic tarp awnings. 

People line up early for slices of homemade wild blackberry pie.

Dozens of Joyce Daze volunteers commit the first Saturday in August year in and year out to make this happen—from the zany parking crew (my son and his friends have done this for just over a decade now)

—to the absolutely indispensable pie bakers—rolling every crust and filling each pie shell with such amazing goodness that people travel miles every year just to taste a bit of heaven.

Managing details for an event that draws hundreds is no small task.

All the action pauses when the state highway closes and people sta…

Work the Deadbeats

Deadbeats wasn’t my term, but the word of an angry woman that boarded the Seattle Streetcar and slid into the empty seat next to me. 
Despite her deep frown, she looked striking in a black skirt, bright red blouse, and matching pumps. She opened a briefcase to reveal dozens of resumes. It was late afternoon, and she told me she’d spent the whole day canvassing businesses for employment. Six months prior, she’d lost her job after corporate downsizing.

My usual quiet ride back downtown wasn’t going to be. This tired, forlorn woman needed to vent. And she did.
After the first three months of unemployment, she humbly applied for government assistance. Sitting in the DSHS waiting room with “kids” fully able to work frustrated her. 
Whether she’d researched it recently, I didn’t know, but she angrily noted that there were 10.2 million American young adults who have no job, are choosing not to go to school, or take part in any job training opportunities. 

Rather than taking a minimum wage servic…