30 years ago today we were married in Judge Allen Oleisky’s office in the Minneapolis City Hall Building. Judge Oleisky’s office was in one of the curved turrets in the historic building. It is a great, beautiful, historic place to have been married. One of the things that has stayed with me in my marriage were my vows. They were non-traditional and stated each of us would support and want the other to become all that we could be to achieve our individual potentials. That statement has been a driving force for the 30 years through all the trials and changes we have had.
When we married our license had two spots that were reflective of the changing times. It stated here after we would be known as ?????. Women at the time would often keep their maiden name and the form supported that, but it would have also allowed John to have picked a new name as well. John could have chosen to change his family name back to its historic spelling, but we both opt’ed for Ericson. It has served us well for 30 years and hopefully many more.
Well tonight is the first frost warning of the season. The Midwest girl in me just insists that August isn’t time for the end of summer, and I am not going to call it quits. My flowers are just coming into their own and some are just getting ready to bloom for the first time. I have not yet got one ripe tomato off my plants and they are full of many possibilities. So I got tarps out for my flower gardens, covered my tomato pots with garbage bags, and thrown towels over my deck planters. I ran a little short on tarps so I have a few feet of my flower wall that is going to risk the elements. It looks a little trashy but for the night it is worth it to keep the summer going a little longer. Keep your fingers crossed that this clear high altitude night doesn’t get as cool as predicted.
Write a thank you to someone in your childhood who had an impact on your life. I wish I could tell you where I read this, but I can’t remember nor find the source on the net tonight. Most thank-yous are just that a verbal “Thanks.” There are few of those hand-written notes we do, thanking people for gifts, hospitality, their time or a thoughtful act. But many of those people who have a profound impact on our lives are not recognized until years later. It is seldom an “aha” moment when we meet that person. It is only years later in reflection, do you realize how this person changed your life and the impact they had.
My 1st Grade Picture
Once I decided I was going to write a life impact thank you , I knew exactly who my choice was, my second grade teacher who taught me to read and write. It took me months to write my thank you. I even found a Hallmark card to thank a teacher years later, but a card alone wasn’t right. I bought the card to include my with my thank-you note. That card helped me to keep going. It was a reminder of my unfinished task. How do you say not just thank you for teaching me to read and write, but let them know they affected my life in so many ways? How do you say this all out of the blue nearly 50 years later? I discovered you do this with time and many revisions. Writing this is not only a thank you but a self-examination of how much broader an impact this person made on your life. Each time I worked on the letter, I came to realize it was much more than reading and writing, and all of that deserved acknowledgement too. I went through revisions and more revisions to get the words just right, but finally I was ready share this with my teacher.
If writing the letter was a journey in reflection, sending the letter was taking a risk. What will she think when she gets a thank you from a student she taught nearly 50 years ago? I worried about her reaction getting this letter out of left field. Would she think we a wack-job, a weirdo? Was this one of those things that you were suppose to write but never send? Finally I thought about time, mine and hers. Neither of us are getting more time in this world. I also considered the fact of thank-yous are customarily done relatively close to the deed. At the time she was my teacher, her impact was not possible to imagine, only now can I see it deserves proper acknowledgement. I finally decided to sent it because if I didn’t it could become too late, the gifts she gave me deserved recognition and most of all she deserved to know she made a difference in a life, mine.
Yesterday I visited a friend, and I brought her some “farm fresh eggs.” The oldest one was only 2 or 3 days old. They were laid by my happy hens who run free every day, eating weeds, grass and all the bugs they can find. My friend loves soft-boiled eggs and was thrilled with the collection I brought her.
Farm fresh eggs are a special commodity now with all the eggs in the commercial system running amuck with Salmonella. I am not sure how this happened but I’d wager that it came about as a result of the lifestyle of these commercial chickens. I am not saying that the facilities weren’t clean, inspected, well fed or watered. Commercial hens have been selectively bred to lay as many large eggs as possible. These hens start laying early and lay nearly every day. Imagine the women settlers who had 15 and 16 children and how their health suffered the stress of all this childbearing. Many pioneer women died early. The same is true for these birds. Their bodies are tired and it doesn’t take too much for them to get a bug, and their close quarters may it easier to spread. This is all done to make farming as economically viable as possible, because we expect eggs and other farm commodities, food, to be inexpensive.
On the other hand my flock is not commercially successful. My expenses and overhead will never justify my eggs. My seven free ranging hens have a coop that possibly 50-75 commercial laying hens would live in. They get to run out free in the pasture everyday, even though I risk loosing a bird daily to the fox family, a stray dog, or feral cat. Last week one of my hens hid her eggs for over a week and when I finally found her hidden nest there were 6 eggs that couldn’t be used. Unlike commercial breeds that you can’t tell the sex by feather color at birth, I end up feeding a rooster now and then.
I do get to sit out in the yard in the evening and watch them cluck around the yard, chasing bugs and eating dandelion greens. I know that my hens are healthy and hence my eggs the same. True farm fresh eggs are a rare commodity today. If you have a source for yourself, say a special thanks this week when you buy your eggs. If you are looking for a source and they tell you eggs are twice what you pay in the supermarket, remember you get what you pay for.
Last night it was in the 30’s here. That in Montana language means fall is not far away, and I have been bitten by the fall fever bug.
Fall fever is worse than spring fever. With spring fever we all anticipate what will come. The days are getting longer and warmer. Fall fever is different in that you have been given a warning that the number of days are limited before winter sets in. The hours of daylight are already getting shorter. Warm coatless days are doing their swan song. We start to see a few more days with overcast and showers.
Once we realize fall is just around the corner we beginning to think about those things on our summer good-weather to-do list that never got done. It is the start of the big push time. Rush to get this done and that done before winter sets in. When fall fever sets in we start to drop things from our chore list knowing that this is not the year it will get done and that it will have to wait one more year. Fall is the time we realize we didn’t take the hike to that breathtaking summer mountain lake and drop in a fishing line. We are disappointed we didn’t picnic or get out and hike more more. Fall is the time when we ask ourselves where has another year gone?
Once bitten by fall fever I have a tough time staying in the office. I look outside and see the warm sunny day and know those days are limited. I have the overwhelming desire to get outside and take a little hike or read a book in the hammock. I can’t succumb to that urge to head outside every time fall fever urges hit, but I will allow myself to do so as much as I can. Fall is a good time to store up good memories to take us through the long cold winters of Montana.
I recently ran across this quote. It reminds me of how complacent we have all become. It is so much easier to come home every night and curl up with your favorite unwind tool, be it a book or TV, than work on something that requires effort on the part of our mind or body. I know I am of those people.
Is the risk of failure that keeps me from trying things? Am I not making the right priority choices? I think it is time to print up this quote, hang it up and think about it several times a day. After a few days hopefully things will be clearer.
When I got home from my trip to Choteau I found 2 new pairs of training pants that had been on back order arrived One pair of pants had made laundry a logistical timing event and I had decided that a couple more were necessary a while back. .
Is this a sign of what is to come? Another half or maybe a whole 26.2 miles. Do I mark this off my list and take a been there done that attitude? I am not sure what is next.
I never found or experienced the “high” that some runners or athletes talk about. I can tell you I have not become addicted to the feeling that walking gives me. Walking is something I have done for years for my health. I did it before I started planning on doing the Grizzly, and I will continue even if I never do another event.
In spite of that I am thinking of another 1/2, but have no interest in a full marathon. If I am going to hike or walk for 8 hours I want to be out exploring some back country. I guess I will look around and see if there is another walker friendly 1/2 marathon, then make my decision. In the meantime I will use those new pants on my morning walks.