Thursday, February 4, 2016

Grumble Bluff on display at the New Portland Community Library in 2009

Grumble Bluff was my first published novel.  Even now, I remember the thrill I felt when I realized that people could actually BUY and READ my story.  :)

Since then, I've had other published 'works'...novels I'm equally proud of...whether they were my own sole creations -- or products of a collaboration with another author.

I hope you will consider giving these novels a try.  I believe you will be happy you did.  :)

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_12?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=karen+bessey+pease&sprefix=Karen+Bessey%2Caps%2C237

The Show Must Go On




Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a fund-raising event at the Phillips Area Community Center.
It was an evening of “True Stories and Tall Tales,” emceed by Phillips’ very own Winona Davenport.  

Headlining the event were four gentlemen; author Doug Dunlap of Farmington, Rep. Tom Skolfield of Weld, Maine Guide Niilo Sillanpaa of New Vineyard and Maine Guide Roger Lambert of Strong.

And then there was Me.

As you can see, I was in the Presence of Greatness!  Doug and Tom wove comical down-home tales of Maine and Mainers; a subject near and dear to locals’ hearts.  Niilo and Roger are master moose callers and seasoned hunters; stiff competition, indeed.

Why, immediately following the last time I tried a moose call, The F.A.R.M. was overrun by feral cats from across the western region of Somerset County!  I haven’t received that type of response from an audience since the evening I practiced on my bagpipes up in the orchard.  Shortly thereafter, the Township organized a protest and presented me with signed petitions demanding that I ship my pipes back to Scotland…and my kilt, along with it.

Hmmph!

But back to Saturday night. I was nervous.  It doesn’t matter how many times I stand up in front of a crowd, nor how small or large that crowd might be; I always, always get nerved up.  I get grumpy in the hours leading up to the event, which results in my family being less-than-thrilled each time I accept an invitation to do “Stand-up.”  My stomach gets upset, too…which can lead to its own set of challenges.

One of my biggest obstacles is that when I get anxious, I can’t remember what I want to say.  I get a big “FAIL” when it comes to memorizing my lines.  My shtick. Even though the words or the poems or the stories are mine…totally original and created by me…I forget everything I want to say.

So I cheat.  I write it all down. 

You wouldn’t think it would be possible to mess up if you’ve got the words right there in front of you, would you?  But yes…it is possible.  In fact, it seems to be par for the course.

One time, my contacts went all screwy.  Dry eyes?  A product of my nervousness, perhaps?  Whatever the reason, those babies refused to float on my corneas and instead, they stuck to my eyeballs like they were super-glued in place.  I couldn’t focus on the words in front of my face. So…not only was I stuttering as I tried to remember my lines, but my face was contorted, my eyes squinting, my eyelids flapping as I tried to read my typed pieces of paper. The audience probably thought I was having a seizure.

On another occasion, I brought a fan on stage with me.  An abundance of sweat is an added effect of my nervousness…and few things are less pleasing than to watch sweat dripping off the nose of a person on stage; a person who is there to entertain a crowd, not repel it. When I stepped over to turn on the fan, I forgot that it was not only pointed directly at ME, but also at the podium which held my stack of papers.  The very papers I intended to follow along on, as I spoke. The sheets went everywhere...and didn’t even have the decency to fall on the floor in some semblance of order.

Naturally, my non-existent equilibrium took an even greater hit as I scrambled around on the floor trying to scoop up the pages that were intended to assist me in appearing suave and in control. Another FAIL!
Each time something goes wrong…each time I stand before a gathering and make a fool of myself…I swear I’ll never do it again.  Never, ever!

And yet…

I arrived in Phillips well-situated within my Comfort Zone.  I was grumpy.  Jumpy.  I had stomach cramps. A bit of a headache.  My clothes felt uncomfortable and I knew I’d probably fall off my heels before the evening was over. 

BUT!  I had my sheaf of papers, printed in large “16 font” just in case my eyes decided to betray me.  I wore my glasses instead of my contact lenses.  I didn’t eat all day in order to keep my digestive track under control. 

If only I’d remembered to staple my pages together.

Yes, half-way through my spiel…I dropped the page I was reading from.  It floated gently to the floor, landing underneath a table where others were sitting.  I immediately forgot everything I was saying.  Didn’t have a clue what the topic of my story was.  Without that cheat-sheet, I was lost.

There ensued some ungainly attempts on my part to retrieve the paper -- but by then, the others in my hand seemed to lose their order. I didn’t recognize a single word on the top page in my hands. I might have stammered on for several seconds…or for several minutes.  It’s all a blur.  The mind has a way of doing that – of protecting delicate psyches such as mine from the pain of reality.

But the show must go on, mustn’t it? Somehow, I recovered and moved forward with my silly tale. The gentlemen who shared the stage with me were gracious and kind, as was the audience.  I survived.

And even though I keep swearing I’ll never put myself through that again… I’ll be speaking to a group of young ladies at next week’s Girl’s Talk banquet.

After all…the show must go on.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Unchained Melody




It was the first significant snowfall of the season; 10 inches or so, here in Lexington Township.  The day following the storm was full of bright sunshine but the thermometer registered only in the teens and it was extremely windy.  That’s not the optimum climate for plowing from the back of a tractor but that’s a chore that needs to be done, regardless of the weather. 

I dug out my winter ‘combat gear’ and trudged through the snow to the tractor shed.  In the winter we typically back the Kubota into its spot so that we can plow our way out.  However, we’d been working on firewood the last time Steven used it and when he parked it at the end of the day, he drove straight into the shed. No big deal.  I could certainly drive over 10 inches of snow and back-drag or plow it away from the doorway.  

I climbed aboard Lena. (I like to call her by name, as I’ve discovered her plugs really glow when she’s given that small courtesy.) Once her diesel engine was purring, I backed out of the tractor shed and began plowing the driveways.  I always start with the ‘wing wall’ so that we can move our vehicles out of the way. Once I’ve pushed and dumped the snow that the county truck has thrown up along the sides of the road, I then tackle the front yard. 

The first plowing of the season is the one I like the least…especially when the ground hasn’t frozen solid first; as was the case this year.  We plow across our front lawn. When pushing snow across a grassy, loamy unfrozen surface, bad things can happen.  I’ve been known to plow UP portions of the front lawn once or twice, depositing large rectangles of sod in the snow banks I created.  Those all have to be retrieved in the spring and -- like working a jigsaw puzzle -- it’s always a challenge trying to figure out where each piece fits. Equally challenging is the task of keeping a pleasant smile on my face while I listen to my husband comment (for the umpteenth time) how much nicer the lawn would look without those dastardly divots interspersed throughout! 

Thirty minutes into the plowing job, I noticed a distinct sound that was separate from Lena’s contented grumble.  As I raised the bucket high and dumped the snow atop a swiftly growing pile, I heard a metallic clinking noise…and as my eyes darted to the right I saw the tail-end of a heavy chain, right before it disappeared -- dumped, along with the snow, into the snow bank.

Shoot!  A chain in the bucket?  I hadn’t even looked! What else had been left there?  More chains? Tools?  A jug of gas? Bar and chain oil? A birch hook? Files?  Maybe even…Steven’s chainsaw??

Each of these was a possibility and I mentally reprimanded myself for not thinking to walk to the front of the tractor and CHECK the bucket before I began plowing.  I knew how often Steven carried tools in that bucket after packing up after a day’s work in the woods or fields!  If he thinks he’s going to be using them ‘soon’, he leaves them close-by. I should have known there might be something in that bucket!

I put Lena in neutral, set the brake and lowered the boom before climbing the snow bank, where I dug around until I found the chain.  I finally glanced into the bucket.  Empty.  I didn’t know if that was good…or bad.  If there’d only been one chain in the bucket, then there was no harm done.  But if that bucket had been brimming with expensive and/or hard-to-replace items, then I had a problem.  

I looked up towards the house.  I counted five huge mounds of snow that could contain any number of tools and equipment.  My mind’s eye captured an image of a blissfully ignorant ME, driving back and forth over an expensive Stihl or Jonsereds chainsaw…its engine compartment buckling, bar bending, chain teeth flying in all directions. I pictured driving over a saw file and puncturing a high-priced tire.  I imagined the mess and potential environmental harm of dumping (and possibly splitting open) a can of fuel.

There were no visible signs of any other tools in the regions where I’d plowed.  There was nothing I could do except finish the cold and monotonous chore.  I wasn’t looking forward to asking Steven what treasures he’d had stored in Lena’s bucket, once he returned home from work.

Hopefully, he’d notice what a fine job I’d done in the driveway, first.

Thankfully, the chainsaw and files were safely stored.  The gas cans were all accounted for.  Steven noted that two chains, including his largest, were missing.  This distressed him. He took Eli’s metal detector outside and hunted through all my snow banks, searching for those huge and heavy chains – which SURELY must have been hard NOT to see or hear when I was dumping them…or so he surmised. 

No luck. The metal detector was useless.  Those chains were just as quiet for Steven as they had been for me.

“Well,” said I, the eternal optimist. “We’ll find them in the spring!”

Steven believes we’ll hear them THEN, for sure -- when they’re hit with the blade of a riding mower.


Protecting and preserving Maine is a cause near and dear to my heart...

...so I hope you will take a moment to view this video (made by a friend and Yours Truly) a few years ago.

It is distressing to realize that a half-dozen of those beautiful, rural mountain environments have been industrialized since this video was made.

There is no 'going back'...but going forward, we need Mainers (and ALL of you who are concerned about the environment, about integrity and ethics, about economics and about the health and well-being of your fellow citizens) to step up to the plate and speak out.  Rural Maine is in the cross-hairs --and looking through the scope are a handful of powerful multi-national corporations.

Please be brave (for courage is what it will take!)  Do independent research on the topic of Industrial Wind. Don't listen to me and don't listen to those who have a "stake in the game" [i.e. follow the money.])

The clock is ticking.  Rural Maine...rural America...rural Australia/Canada/Scotland etc... is at stake.

Thank you. :o)

The next GAG posting will be non-political, I promise!  :o)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-4zdkIgPms

Laying Down on the Job...




I’ve been laying down on the job…

After two years of ‘absence’ I’ve resolved to try to keep my blog, Grumbles and Grins [aka GAG] up-to-date.  “Life” took precedence over my writing career for awhile…but that’s life.  The good and the bad…and the ups and the downs.  My family had some tough struggles, beyond what would be considered ‘typical’…and we made it through.  My father passed away…and I am dealing with that in a way that I believe would make Dad proud.  I also accepted a life-changing opportunity that took me away from my family and home for 2 ½ months. 

But – for now, anyway -- things seem to be on an ‘even keel’ (gosh, I love a nautical play-on-words!) …and what better way to celebrate surviving and thriving than to take up my blog, once again!

In an effort to gain readership as I recommit myself to regular posting and as I move forward with several new writing projects, I am holding a contest.

My sometimes-co-author Saint is ‘on board’ with this contest.

To enter, all you have to do is “join” Grumbles and Grins (there’s a tab to click on the right-hand side of the blog’s screen) and “like” The Old Man and The Bee’s Facebook page.  Just two steps.

Easy Peasey!

The prize is pretty spectacular, in my opinion.  The winner will receive copies of ALL SIX of Saint’s and my published novels! HOLY SMOKES! 



Grumble Bluff, Ashes at Grumble Bluff and Home to Grumble Bluff (all authored by Yours Truly), The Eggless Club (by Eugene Saint) and Bee Dazzle and Following Seas (by the Old Man and the Bee…Saint and Kaz!)

The winner will be drawn on Valentine’s Day and at that time, I will contact the winner for your mailing address, and to find out if you want the novels autographed…and to whom!

Thank you so much for visiting, for liking, for following…and for supporting your local (and not so local) authors.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Coolest Mom EVER!


Okay… I just might be the COOLEST MOM EVER!  For danged-sure…I’m the COLDEST!

I just wanna say (before beginning)… that 17 year-old boys are IDIOTS.

That’s all. Just wanted to put that out there.  J

So…my work day was winding down.  The phone rang.  My friend and co-worker handed it off to me.

The first words I heard?

“Hi, Mum.  I did a really stupid thing…”

If you’re a mother, you’ll understand the gut-clenching reaction I felt upon hearing those words.  On one level, I understood that Eli had called me and was talking to me…so he must be ALL RIGHT.

But on the other hand…all I could feel was ‘doom and gloom’. Had he been hurt?  In an accident? Arrested? WHAT???

Eli proceeded to tell me that he’d gotten ‘stuck’.

STUCK?  Stuck where?  Stuck how?  I’d given him permission to drive to school so that he could ‘stay after’ to finish a project that is due…tomorrow. But driving to and from North Anson didn’t involve any ‘getting stuck’ scenarios.

But see…he’s a boy.  I don’t profess to understand the hold that testosterone has on an adolescent male…but I know it DOES.  I’ve been the mother of ‘boys’ for almost 31 years and I’ve come to realize…they are idiots.

He’d taken his Explorer ‘off road’.  Just to see what it could do.  Understand…his rig isn’t an ‘off road’ vehicle.  But try telling that to a boy who has four-wheel-drive.

Oy!  I could go on and on (and on!) here…but I won’t. Suffice it to say…this wonderful (formerly believed-to-be responsible and common-sensical) young man got his rig stuck WAY off the ‘maintained’ road. Up on the side of a mountain. Beyond the plowed road. Beyond where Explorers are made to go. Without telling anyone where he was going.  Without wearing a jacket or boots.  On a day that didn’t see 10F in the full light of sun. Judas H. Priest! If things had worked out differently, my son could have died. So yeah… I was just a tad wound up.

I arrived home 15 minutes before sunset. I won’t be specific about the heart-to-heart conversation I had with my youngest offspring, except to say…a heart-to-heart was had.
But when all was said and done…Eli wanted to ‘go get’ his vehicle.

I was inclined to let it rot there until Spring. Inclined to let snowmobilers vandalize it, the winter weather assault it...I mean, didn’t he deserve to lose his vehicle, after behaving so irresponsibly?

But once I arrived home… once I’d seen for myself that Eli was okay…I softened up.  I couldn’t help it.  All I could think was… “Hey! I was a kid once, too….and didn’t I make mistakes?  Didn’t I screw up?”

The short answer is…YES.

In the end, I did what mothers like me do. I ‘came to the rescue’.  Oh, that’s not to say I didn’t want to hand off responsibility to his father…another male who should witness the idiocy that the ‘fruit of his looms’ was capable of.

But even while considering the idea of shucking ‘duty’ until Steven could get home and deal with it, I was feeling that strange sense of guilt and responsibility.  Steven works far harder than I do (or our son does.) To expect him to arrive home to (and deal with) a family crisis was unreasonable. Not at night.  Not in the total darkness.  Not when the temps were hovering at ZERO Fahrenheit.

SO! I shucked my ‘work’ clothes.  Donned boots, face mask, insulated jacket, gloves and possible accessories. Fired up that Kubota bitch, Lena…and drove a mile up the road…and then up the steep snowmobile trail towards Spruce Pond…that ‘trail’ that Eli was sure his Explorer could conquer.

We arrived at the vehicle…Eli running up the trail behind me.  Yes, it made sense.  Good sense. The young man no doubt thought I’d offer to let him sit in the bucket or stand on the 3-point hitch and ‘hitch’ a ride…but that would have been DANGEROUS.  So… a little fresh air and exercise were in order!  Heh…

We attached a chain to his rig and to the tractor’s bucket. He got in, started the Ford, put it in reverse….and Lena and I yarded that sucker out of the hole it had been buried in.  After some jigs and jags, the Explorer was once again pointing downhill. 

And I was ‘frozen to the toes’n’!

He followed me down the trail.  Once we were back at the road, I had Eli drive home in his Explorer to wait for me.  Lena doesn’t go much more than 10-12 miles per hour with chains on (and 10 mph at ZERO Fahrenheit is some kinda COLD!) Once I and my frostbitten cheeks and numb fingers arrived at the house, I backed the tractor into the shed, shut her down and instructed Eli to drive me back up to the end of the road so that I could retrieve my truck.  (No, I hadn’t made the poor lad jog ALL the way…only from the end of the road to where he’d gotten his truck buried. I’m not completely heartless, after all.)

All in all, the day ended successfully.  The Explorer is parked in the yard.  My son (whom I love with all my heart) is safe.  Lena is none the worse for wear.  Steven didn’t have to venture into the cold western woods after a long day at work. My cheeks will recover, as will my pinky fingers.

And…I have racked up some serious creds. 

I asked Eli this: “How many boys do you know who have mothers who can and will drive a tractor in sub-zero temps up a mountainside after dark to pull her son’s rig from the snow? Am I not the coolest mother you know?  Or…if it kills you to say ‘yes’ to that…am I not the COLDEST mother you know?”

He had to admit… I am.

Of course, his ability to drive that ‘off-road Ford’ depends on maintaining a good standing with me, so what else could he say?

Sigh… BOYS.  They’re idiots… and I mean that in the nicest sense of the word.












Routine Maintenance at The F.A.R.M.



Okay...so the adrenalin rush is over.   

Steven climbed up onto the porch roof to knock some ice off the valley between this ‘summer kitchen’ addition and the roofs of the main house and the shed.  I was working here at the desk when I heard him put the ladder up, so I opened the window and asked what he was doing.  He told me and I scowled. (That's my 'worry face' in disguise.) I asked if he needed some help. He told me 'no'. My idea? I was going to volunteer to take the screens off the windows and push the snow off from the relative safety of the bedroom…

I admonished Steven that it would be slippery underneath the snow after all the rain we’d recently received.  He acknowledged I was right…and then climbed the ladder anyway – ax in one hand, shovel in the other.  I sighed and went back to work. My husband seems to spend an inordinate amount of time on roofs. Cleaning chimneys, repairing chimneys, re-flashing, painting and yes...shoveling.  Therefore, I spend an equal (and ridiculous) amount of time worrying.

He started pounding the ice and Scruffy got nervous.  She asked to ‘come up’.  (Yes, these little dogs are just like kids and ‘ask’ to be held, sometimes.) I cradled her in my right arm while typing with my left hand. My desk is adjacent to these bedroom windows so I registered Steven’s movements out of the corner of my eye as he worked.

All of a sudden I heard the sound of a big ‘slide’.  Looked up and saw Steven’s feet start to go.  The snow and ice slid off the roof.  The ladder went with it.  As he fell backwards, trying to stop his downwards/forwards momentum, Steven let go of the shovel.  The ax was already sliding off with the snow.

I jumped up just as Steven’s butt hit the roof.  Saw him continue to slide.  I hollered “Hang on!” (as if he needed to be encouraged to do so!) He yelled for Eli, who was inside and downstairs.  I hollered even louder for Eli.

“ELI!!!! GO HELP PAPA!! QUICK!!” and ran out of the bedroom, registering the fact that Steven had stopped his slide—temporarily, at least – with both legs dangling over the edge of the roof and perhaps 4 inches of butt-cheek holding him in place.

I pounded down the stairs and ran through the kitchen, passing Eli as he struggled into his shoes.  His shoes?  He needed SHOES?  Did I have shoes on?  I had no idea! “Get out here and grab the ladder!” I shouted.

As I came off the front steps, what did I hear?

I heard my husband – from his precarious perch on the edge of the other porch roof – holler “Be careful! Don’t slip on the ice, Karen! Let Eli do it!”

Don’t slip on the ice? Let Eli do it?  Eli was still getting dressed, for Pete’s sake! And Steven was barely holding on to the edge of the roof.  Sheesh!

I moved through the soft, wet snow pack to the ladder, stepping onto the partially buried ax as I did so.  I grabbed the ladder.  Eli was right behind me and we stood it upright and leaned it against the roof, to the right of Steven’s legs.  We held it securely. 

Steven was smiling, dammit.  Smiling as he tried to get his right leg onto a rung without shifting his weight enough that his 'slide' would continue. If he did slide the rest of the way off, what lay underneath him – ten feet below – was the railing.  Not snow…but wood.

He managed to get his right foot onto a rung.  Managed to turn himself around and find secure purchase for his left foot. As he started down the ladder he said “Eli, pass me up that shovel.  Might as well get this last bit of ice off.”


Eli leaned down and pulled the shovel out from beneath the snow and ice which had just slid off the roof. He handed it up to his father.  I was still scowling.  Mad?  No.  (Well…maybe a little.  “If they’d listen to ME, this wouldn’t happen!” I was thinking…) Scared?  Not anymore.  (Okay…perhaps a wee bit scared.  After all, my husband had almost [ALMOST!] fallen off the flipping ROOF!) It is possible that ‘scowling’ is my fall-back expression…what I do when I don’t know what other expression is suitable?  I didn’t know and didn’t care.

I realized I had my Crocs on.  Rubber shoes will multiple pre-manufactured holes in them.  Crocs…without socks.  For all practical purposes I was barefoot in the snow.  Barefoot while my husband calmly continued with ‘routine winter maintenance at The F.A.R.M.’

Thank God, he’s safe.  But yeah…I’m pretty much done with winter. I’m through with snow, cold, ice and freezing rain.  It’s way too stressful.

But hey… we’ve gained almost two hours of daylight since December 21st.  Spring will be here before we know it!  Shoveling roofs will take a back seat to removing the banking from the house, tilling the garden, mowing the lawns, painting, clearing brush…working up next year’s firewood…banking the house…and shortly thereafter…shoveling the steps, the walkways and the roofs.

Ah, the joy of ‘routine maintenance at The F.A.R.M.’




Call Me When You Get There


Men are from Mars?

Maybe.  It seems that even “almost-men” have an inherent inability to communicate effectively with the fairer sex.

I like to think I’m imbued with a good dose of common sense.  And I’ve always assumed that – because I am common-sensical – my offspring would be, too.

But it doesn’t always work that way.

Here’s an example of a conversation I recently had with my youngest.  Eli is seventeen.  He is a smart young man; hard-working and with a good sense of humor (most of the time, except when he doesn’t ‘get it’.) But occasionally, there seems to be a ‘disconnect’ between his sharp mind and his ability to reason.  It is my belief that the latter will catch up with the former in the next few years. I’m an eternal optimist, after all.

Eli has his drivers’ license.  He also has a Ford Explorer.  Those are good things.  He likes having this new bit of independence and frankly, I love the fact that his travels can be made without needing his mother as a constant chauffeur.  But having my teenagers on the road has caused me many, many moments of worry.  Panic, even.  I love them.  I want to keep them safe.  Heck… it’s my JOB to keep them safe!

But I have to let them learn and grow and mature.  I can’t smother them completely.  I have to let them ‘go’. 

Within reason, of course.

Often, I let Eli drive to his friend Isaac’s house to visit and spend the night.  This only happens when I think the road conditions are acceptable – but even then, I worry until I know he’s arrived safely.  So I say (every single time!) “Call me when you get there.”

And Eli says (every single time!) “I will, Mum.”

But what Eli doesn’t say is that his promise to call has a caveat.  Several caveats, in fact!  He’ll call IF he remembers.  He’ll call WHEN he remembers.  He’ll call if he’s remembered to take his phone with him – or if he’s forgotten his own cell, he’ll call if the battery in Isaac’s phone is charged.  Or if Isaac’s phone isn’t lost or otherwise engaged. The list of the excuses he’s used for NOT calling me when he arrived at Isaac’s is a long (and inventive) one.

A few days ago, Isaac invited Eli to spend the night at his house.  It was Christmas vacation and my son had worked several days in a row, so I was inclined to let him take off to enjoy a day and night of fun with his friend.  Eli asked for my permission and (after the usual admonitions about what he could and couldn’t do if I allowed him to go) I said ‘yes’.  He threw his clothes into his backpack and started down the stairs with Josie following a few steps behind. 


“I’m ready to go, Mum.”  He looked at me through the balusters as he descended.

“Wait a minute!”

He stopped.

“You call me AS SOON AS YOU GET THERE, okay?”

“Yes, Mum.”  His eyes didn’t roll, but his tone of voice certainly conveyed the same expression.

“I mean it, Eli.  No ‘forgetting’.  If you want to continue to be allowed to drive yourself over there, you have to be responsible enough to call me when you arrive.  I worry, you know…”

“I know, Mum.”

“Okay, then.  Have a good time.  Drive carefully.  I love you.”

“I love you too, Mum.”  He started down the stairs again.

“And what are you going to do as soon as you get to Isaac’s?” I queried. 

I know this boy.  His “Yes, Mum” responses are so automatic that he often doesn’t even absorb the questions I’ve asked.  He doesn’t realize it – but he typically says what I want to hear just to shut me up so that he can be on his way. So yeah – I wanted to cement the notion of ‘calling me’ into his brain.  No ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response… I wanted Eli to have to think about the question before answering. So I asked…

“And what are you going to do as soon as you get to Isaac’s?”

He stopped. Blinked.  And answered.

“Park the truck?”

I laid my head on my desk top, not knowing whether to laugh or cry or scream.  Josie piped up behind her brother – her words preceded by an exaggerated sigh that sounded, hauntingly, like ME.

“Eli, the answer starts with a ‘C’! Sheesh!” (She couldn’t descend the stairs until her brother was allowed to go on his way…so it was important that he get with the program!)

As I write this, I’m laughing.  Eli’s argument in defense of his answer was a good one.  An accurate one.  Every time he goes to Isaac’s, I say “When you get there, park your truck until it’s time to come home.”  His license is still provisional.  He can’t drive anywhere with passengers who are under the age of 18 unless they are family members.  He knows this – but it is a mother’s job to remind him.  So I do. 

And apparently, he’s paid attention to something I’ve said.

Being a parent is a tough job.  I’ve been at this since I was 19 years old and it hasn’t gotten any easier.  If anything, I’m more neurotic than ever. I’m constantly worried about their well-being, whether they are 17 years old…or almost-31.  And yes…last Monday night when we’d had a day of freezing rain atop packed snow, I also emailed oldest son Guy to make sure he was ‘home safe’.  And my father and my mother-in-law did the same.  They called here to make sure Steven and I had also arrived safely home.  It’s a never-ending cycle – but a good one. 

We parents can’t help the way we are…so we just have to hope our progeny will understand and be patient…and CALL when they safely arrive.