Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Simple Pleasures and the Saga

Today a friend posted a brief message about the simple pleasure she received from a walk. Too often, we fail to appreciate the simple pleasures in life. Some of the events that my children remember from their childhood involve simple moments captured like an etched memory in glass.

My daughters often talk about the evening that we went out and sat at the end of the driveway. There was a glorious sunset painting the sky in shades of orange and purple and pink. As we sat there watching the sunset, we sang silly songs. Camp songs. Girl Scout songs. Choruses from church. Darkness fell and the fireflies came out. We watch them flicker as we listened to the crickets sing.

It was a simple evening. No props required, yet twenty-five years later, it's one of the few evenings my daughters remember.

Another night we were traveling across country. There was no money for a motel with four kids so we planned to break our journey at a state park and camp out over night. My second son and I slept in the car. Even then, I was having joint problems and the ground was simply more than I could take. Around three a.m. my son woke up, needing to take a trip up to the bathrooms. They were quite a ways away so I walked with him.

The flashlight was in the tent and I certainly wasn't going to wake anyone else up so we stumbled along the gravel road in the dark. This was true darkness. My son had on a pale blue shirt and I couldn't see him--even with my hand on his shoulder. We stopped in the middle of the road and looked up at the sky. It had been many, many years since I had seen that many stars. The Milky Way was flung across the sky like a glittering ribbon. So many stars winked and flashed in the black velvet sky that we just stood there staring in amazement and wonder. In a while we continued our journey down the road.

That was long ago but my son remembers those long ago fleeting moments when we stood together on a lonely gravel road enjoying God's handiwork. Sometimes I long to find someplace totally dark that I can stand alone and look at the sky as our fore fathers did. Is it any wonder that early man studied the heavens?

When the kids were small, one summer my husband and I were brave enough (or foolish enough) to take a three week vacation camping out. It would have been ambitious enough if we stayed in one place, but noooo. We traveled across country, putting up the tent every night and packing back up every morning. Thirty-three hundred miles in three weeks.

We saw caverns, canyons, mountains, the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, even Carlsbad Caverns. Never, never hike Carlsbad Caverns in sandals. One early rainy morning we drove up the plateau to the Grand Canyon. Two motorcyclists passed us in the rain. Frankly, they were pretty grungy looking and I was quick to make judgement about them based on their appearance. They pulled into the parking lot just ahead of us.

It took a while for us to all get out of the car and meander over to the railing. I was definitely not prepared for the sheer drop just past the railing. Straight down for well over half a mile. I sucked in a deep breath. The two motorcyclists were standing a short distance away.

One tapped the other on the shoulder and then flung his arms out wide and said, "Hey man! And they say there is no God!"

That was a defining moment in my life.


Amarinda left us in the Australian outback--Jumbuck Creek--where they make golden carrots...

“Yeah we make and flog ’em to the tourists.”

Emmeline smiled as a plan for revenge popped into her head.

And now my part...

Tapping her chin with the purple vibrator, pacing to and fro, Emmeline mentally polished her plan. “Tell me my good man,” she inquired, pointing the vibrator at his nose, “how much do you, er, flog the golden carrots for?”

The shearer kept his eye on the pulsing vibrator while he absently replied, “Twenty bucks apiece.”

“How much is that in American?” she demanded.

“Uh… a hundred bucks.”

“Hmmm.” She went back to tapping her chin. Then, spinning the vibrator like a baton, she flipped it into her holster and demanded a drink.

“What’s yer pleasure, Sheila?”

“My name is not Sheila. I am Emmeline.”

“Emmeline,” he mumbled, thinking that life was getting stranger and stranger in the outback since that Dundee fellow made that movie. “Miss Emmeline, what’ll it be?”

She stared at him as though he had two heads. “Speak American! It was difficult enough learning to talk that language. Don’t you all speak English?”

“Aye, but we speak the Aussie lingo. You know, like that fellow in the movie?”

Thoughtfully, Emmeline stared at the shearer until he was quite nervous. “I think you are messing with me. I do not like that.”

“Right. No messing.”

“You will give me eight of the golden carrots and I will not kill you.”

“Are you mad? Not bloody likely. You pay like everyone else.”

“I am Emmeline, the warrior woman!”

“And it’s happy I am for you, but you’ll still bleedin’ pay!”

Emmeline hauled the vibrator back out of the holster and pointed it at the shearer. “One last chance!”

Don't forget to stop at the ladies blogs and check out their words of wisdom for Saturday-- and and then my friends, Blessings on your day.


  1. The last time I stargazed was after a fast-moving storm blew through and knocked out the power in my corner of Reading. My neighbors were out on their steps, complaining about sitting in the dark with no electrical gagdetry and I kept wondering why none of them bothered to look up and enjoy the rare treat we'd been given.

  2. There's so much light pollution we've forgotten what delights the night sky holds.

  3. When we first moved into our home in the country, my kids, hubby, and even friends were fascinated by the amount of stars we could see. My BF even commented, "It's been years since I've seen the Milky Way..."

    Whe we had a chance to view the meteor showers, my oldest son (age 9 or 10 at the time) set his alarm for the 'peak' time and spent a happy 90 minutes with his dad, watching the show!

  4. One of my favorite memories surprises my parents. We had been walking all day in The Black Forest, Germany. Finally we stopped to eat, but there was no where to sit, so mom cut nutella sandwiches in triangles and put them in baggies and hid them for us to find in the crook of trees, by a rock etc. The added fun of eating a chocolate sandwich (unheard of from my mother) made it especially wonderful. I don't remember the aching feet or whining she insists occurred. I only remember the great sandwich hunt with great fondness.

  5. For a year, hubby and I lived in Michigan's Upper Penninsula. In the early fall and late spring and summer, we'd drive out past the city lights (didn't have to go far) and we'd lie on the trunk of the car and just watch the stars and sometimes the Northern Lights. It was simply breathtaking.

  6. It's that shiney thing, isn't it? Poor dear.