Monday, August 31, 2009

road trippin' with the seniors

my dad, my stepfather, and one of my aunties (say ahnty, not anty)
took a road trip to Montana
to visit one of my other aunties who is battling breast cancer.
we drove on back roads, by farms and fields and road construction and through the Ft. Peck Indian Reservation.
I might add that my fellow travelers were all in their 80's and have lived in this corner of the world all of those combined years...and seemingly more.
Snippets of the conversation:
"yah, look at dat field over dere. my goodness, look at how green it is. not even close to be harvested"
"oh my, look at the weeds in that one"
"now you know this place is the Arnson place--"
"which Arnson is that--Jimmy?"
'No, Petey. "
"Petey? Was that Jack's son?"
"Are you sure? I thought that was Emil's son"
"No, Emil's son is Jimmy. He married that the Halverson girl over east of there"
"Which Halverson was that? June?"
"No, no, I think that was Elvina, you know Einer's daughter"
"Oh, sure..."
"What is that field over there?"
"hmm, not sure. Must be lentils or peas"

As we come upon another field, in chorus, we all say (including me):
"That's sugar beets there!"

"oof, look at that place (meaning farm) over dere. All those junky cars. must be at least tirty (thirty) of them."
"oof, yah, and you know, Mabel C. was so mad that the government made a program to get rid of all those junky cars on those home places and she was so mad. Our taxes shouldn't be payin' for that now--they put those cars there, they can get rid of dem dereselves." (I might add we are driving through the reservation here. There is much racism here regarding the reservation. I just can't even get into that now, but I must name it.)

We finally get to my aunt's house in Montana. (She is doing very well, and is sweet as zucchini bread.) Then the stories begin about growing up on the prairie on a farm...sneaking out at night to go on dates with boys on neighboring towns, reading letters written by my grandfather to my aunt when he was in the hospital in 1970, talking about sweating like a bull, and much laughter, and of course, picking some rhubarb from the garden.

After a several hour visit, which included bars (homemade cookies, scotcheroos, and pecan caramel somethings) and decaf coffee and then later sandwiches from Subway ("oh, these are so delicious!" "wow, they really pile it on, don't they?" "oh my, is this a halapeeno?" "so healthy, you got your meat, your salad, your bread...") we head home.

More of the same conversations, peppered with names like Soiseth, Buseth, Furseth, Teneninko, Olsen, Lee, Mischke, Brevke, Ida, Delphine, Charlotte, Ole, Alvin, Elvin, Marilyn--I am amazed at how my road trip partners can travel over a hundred miles on the prairie and name whose place we pass on the road, and how they remember so and so's maiden name and the three husbands or two wives of another person....and who is sick with what, and who is doctoring where, and what all of their children are doing, and where those said children are living...
and the sweetest thing...
as we pass golden waves of grain,
each one giving an opinion on when it is ready to be combined...
and the thrill each one had
when they saw combines and grain trucks and oggers in the fields harvesting...
and the most precious moment,
when we drove over a hill to see a ripened field,
my father exclaiming,breathing in with appreciation,
"oh, look at that beautiful field. it's perfect. it would be fun to get a combine in that right now!"
such delight.
and deep gratitude for the land, for the farmer, for the bounty it yields.

Glad I got to road trip with dem today.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

the thing with grief

it hangs in the air,
invisible, but present...
and the pain and loss and deep empty ache
will hit at any trigger.
a picture.
a word.
a seemingly small event.
and when it hits...
it can just gently bump into sadness...
or send everything in the universe
down into tight silence and muted hearts
with no place to escape, to breathe, but
just sit
in despair, paralysis, and unbelievable nothingness and everythingness that overwhelms.

you just have to hold on
and pray that it passes.
sooner, rather than later.


Thursday, August 27, 2009


I grew up in Western North Dakota, where I am visiting this week--with a couple of my sisters, my mom and stepdad, my dad and stepmother...
When I go home, I usually stay at my mom's, the house I grew up in. This is where I sit, typing, now on her little Mac (sidebar: I love Mac computers). We have just finished supper of baked salmon, fresh greenbeans, fresh cucumbers in sweet sour cream sauce, potatoes with butter, and vine ripe tomatoes and basil from the garden.

It's funny coming home, even now. I get bombarded with all of these how everything and nothing has changed in the town, how tall my youngest nephew is, and how he sits and makes gestures when he talks which remind me of his dad (my sister's husband--we all went to high school together). I look down the street I grew up, and the houses look pretty much the same, and walking over to my dad's condo, I see two church signs with major spelling errors or grammatical errors, but no one seems to care. I sit and talk to my twin and we remember how although her son takes Algebra in 8th grade, we had it in 9th grade, and my algebra teacher actually dated my stepmother before she married my dad, but I didn't know that until today, when my stepfather told us that. We laugh about the coolness of "Hash" jeans...the only jeans to wear when we were in high school. When I got up this morning, my mom was hand crushing walnuts to make zucchinni bread--from scratch, zucchinni from the garden, and this afternoon, I ate a slice that melted in my mouth, as I remembered the music teacher who gave my mother the recipe.

Oh, and the pictures. Of me as a wrestlette, and the wrestling team (wrestlettes took the stats at the games) and me with the women's basketball team, as the team statistician. How ugly my glasses were! And then, tucked all over the house, photos of my nephews and other grandchildren, photos of different stages of my early adult life, as a youth leader, teacher, a picture from my ordination that I don't even all of the other things to look at--the pile of my stepfather's ties hanging in the sewing room, the pottery I have given my mother to use, but instead sits on shelves next to depression glass and old crockery jars.

The air is blue and breezy and smells like wide open spaces, outside. Tomorrow I will drive out to the country with my dad in his big ass ford pickup with the leather seats, to visit an old Ukrainian 7th day adventist church that my great-grandfather was the pastor of. We will go to either Gramma Sharon's or the truck stop to have lunch--or maybe MacDonalds.

Everything and nothing is changed here. It's home. My roots.
It is bittersweet and gorgeous all at the same time.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

prayer for today

...that your Light would shine within me
...that your Strength would take ahold of me
...that your Peace would assure me...

but most of all,
please use what you have given me
to be Good News, a tiny taste of heaven
for those whom I meet in this day.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

just Wednesday...

as a designer friend says, "I think I need to tart this layout up." Am thinking about this in regards to my new bloggy place. but for just trying to get out of my head a little bit.

-it is 9:00 am Doggies walked. Outside, Venus is barking. I think Venus should have a facebook page. Is that allowed? Can she have a fan page?

-the title of my blog, came from two videos posted by my dear friend Jess. In one, her little girl Kendall is playing with her Backyardigans, and each little friend has an instrument, but the last little friend plays the bongos, which one side is punched through. The little friend (I have no idea of the name of these little creatures) hangs out in the hole. sooooo cute. the second video is here. go ahead. I will wait while you watch all 30 seconds of this. Turn your sound way up. Oh, and if you are the teary type, be warned. This has to be the sweetest sound and video I have ever, ever seen.

--plus, I like that it sounds like Kendall is singing "amazing wrench" or "amazing wench?". Knocks me over.

--so, the blog: two words from the two videos.

--am thinking about the Taste of Heaven this week. Any thoughts?

--I think my last two toes on my right foot are either fractured or very badly sprained. This makes exercizing, let alone walking, a tiny bit painful. Thank god for Motrin.

--I go to North Dakota next week for a week to visit my family. I am looking forward to it, in spite of the mosquitos, which are very plentiful.

--love and peace to you, this day. I am grateful for words and the silence inbetween.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

welcome! Amazing Bongos!
My new blog. Why a new blog? Hmmmm.

Why new shoes?
Because new shoes are fun!
Why make yet another carved tile out of clay like the last one?
Because it feeds my soul.
Why a new notebook?
Just because it is smells good and is open with possibility.
Why a new lipstick color?
Because it's a nice change

So, for all the same reasons, here I am at Amazing Bongos.
Come back and visit again!