After two wonderful days of rain that has now turned our brown, late winter lawn into a suddenly much greener carpet, of course a Saturday with highs in the 50s could only mean one thing: get out there and prune and clean things up! Now, that was a mild suggestion on my part, but on the part of my beloved, it became marching orders akin to any of the great military battles of the past century…
It’s really not that I am lazy. Just yesterday I spent an entire day up in Grafton, a 240 mile round trip, with Cheri’s mom, listening to stories, reading the local newspaper (that I have NO idea about), and going through countless photos and letters and such, that, although I can appreciate family history, pretty soon my eyes roll back in my head…
So, I slept in a little bit this morning, but as most of you know, sooner or later the human bladder becomes the master of all organs, and I got up. I would guess that Cheri had already been up about three hours, and so as I finally showed my face, the day’s tasks were all ready to be tackled. I tried the tactical approach and looked at the list from the most “practical” viewpoint. I had to go and retrieve my car from the car-fixing place, where once again, a special bulletin had gone out and once again, they needed to do upgrades/repairs/replacement of items on this barely three year old vehicle. It kind of feels, actually, that they are replacing my car by one lifter or valve cover at a time. But it’s free, so I just tell them to knock themselves out…
I was going to pick up the screen insert for our back storm door, but the hardware place had only had it for a WEEK, so of course it wouldn’t be ready today. It will be ready to pick up on probably Tuesday, when it is predicted to snow, and so why put the screen in then?
Well, I go the car home, and the list began to put out an alarm, because nothing had bee crossed off in a while. The next thing to do was to create a menu for the week, so we could create a shopping list so we could go over to the grocery store (where I was sure no one would be on a Saturday morning…)
Before that, however, I had put on the list the task of signing all the tax return documents, and organizing them, and getting them in envelopes and addressing them and weighing them, and then mailing them off when we would go to the grocery store. I know, I know, the big thing today is to electronically send in your return, with the promise that you will get your refund so much faster. The only thing is, for more than 40 years I have never gotten a refund, actually – instead any money we are owed, I apply to next year’s taxes, and the money we have saved up in our account to pay for the taxes come April 15 suddenly become an instant refund of sorts, as we pay ourselves. It’s worked pretty well, and there are a couple of other funny things about retired clergy and housing allowances, so I have to attach other documents and it’s just a lot easier to mail it – pretty much.
Finally, with tax forms and grocery lists in hand, we headed to the grocery store, made it through the list and even remembered that we needed coffee (that was close!), and then headed home to unload the stuff into the larder for meals this week. Tonight, by the way, will be brats on the grill, so it must be spring.
After all that was done, with the list still trembling on the table, it was time for lunch. We ran out again and picked up some tasty items, since it is a well known fact that you can’t eat anything for lunch from home after you have been grocery shopping, even if you have new loaves of bread and lunchmeat and chips and such. Oh no – it’s Burger King or McDonalds, so that’s that.
Finally – after lunch, it was up to 48 degrees, so that’s the perfect time to make our way around the house to prune down the tall grasses, the hydrangea, the tall purple flowers that turned into sticks over the winter, the clematis, the day lilies, the peony and the hibiscus. Two giant contractor bags later, we again got in the car and hauled away the refuse to the recycling place.
We did also prune the evergreens in front slightly, if for no other reason than we want to make sure our duck couple from last year, who laid eggs under our bush by the front door didn’t put down a reservation for this year. A couple of them were wandering around in the front yard, but that’s not unusual since this time of the year, we are like Mutual of Omaha’s wild kingdom, with a dozen different varieties of birds and hawks who try to eat them, two kinds of squirrels, rabbits, and more promised, I think, along with neighbor cats, vacationing ducks, and even a pair of Canadian geese now and then – and deer. There are, however, few things more aggravating than to have to adjust your front yard activities so as not to disturb the duck nursery.
There’s more to be done, of course – there is always more to be done. As we were working, Cheri looked off to the corner of the yard where a large crabapple tree and mugo pines were residing, and mentioned, “You know, we really need to get out there sometime on clean all that out…” I just kept my head down and kept trimming…
At last, we loaded all the trimming into the car and hauled it away. When we got home, Cheri looked out at the back patio, and said, “Oh rats.” Apparently, as we made our way around the house, we filled not one, but two huge bags of stuff, and managed to forget and leave one by the grill. That probably means yet another trip back over to recycle. But it’s a nice day, and we have pretty much done the to do, until another day, of course. There is still the matter of cleaning out the garage, and painting the huge plastic flower pots that are filled with about ½ ton of dirt, and washing the windows, and we still have to stain the giant egress openings. Again.
But I bet all of that will wait, at least until after an afternoon nap…
Word for the day: brontide. Pronounced BRAUN-tide. It’s a Greek word, with Greek mythological meaning. Brontes was one of the Cyclops, a son of Uranus and Gaia, two of early creator gods in Greek mythology. Brontes and his brothers were cast into an everlasting pit by their father, only later to be freed by Zeus, and as a result, Brontes would forge Zeus’ thunderbolts.
All of that doesn’t really matter – it’s just interesting where our words from. So “brontide” comes from bronte plus ide, and simply means “thunder.” When you are standing by the sea, or on the edge of a cliff somewhere, or even on a wide open prairie, and you hear the sound of what must be thunder far far away, what you are truly experiencing is brontide – just watch out for the thunderbolts.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.