Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fail to compete but find inspiration

My son is starting to write his own music. He's worked out the melodies of quite a few songs, but the lyrics seem to stump him. At seventeen, he's admitted that his pocketful of angst to draw from is pretty empty. (Thankfully, I suppose!)

This week, he sidled up to me in the kitchen while I was cooking dinner and said, "I thought I had a pretty cool song written, and then I listened to 'Ain't No Sunshine' by Bill Withers and decided mine sucked."

I told him I could relate. I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett and felt the same way. I read her wonderful story and decided I needed to take up meter-reading or burger-flipping—some line of work where my woefully inadequate story-telling skills wouldn't be as apparent. Then, after some mutual ego-stroking, my son and I both decided that we don't have to try and compete with greatness--only aspire to it.

If you haven't read The Help, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy today. Just make sure you have nothing else planned for the next few days. You won't want to put it down. And if it’s been a while since you’ve listened to Mr. Withers, enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Visions of Halloweens Past

The year was 1997. The child: Benjamin. My sister bought him this suit and then I bought a back-up so one was always clean. He called me Meg and his dad, Zeus. He truly believed he was Hercules and demanded to be addressed as such. Even when I went to the grocery, Herc came along.

When Halloween rolled around, it was clear that he would wear the suit--whichever one happened to be clean. And in case you couldn't tell, he is showing off his "mus-kles."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Girls go fishing

When I was a kid, I spent many happy summers at my grandparents' house in northern Indiana. They lived on a small lake--big enough for fishing, too small for water skiing. Perfect for a kid to spend a week with her cousins.

You learned to be careful when you opened up a container of cottage cheese from the refrigerator at the lakes. Chances are it held red worms or nightcrawlers. Since those summers, I've never been good at fishing with anything more sophisticated. Artificial bait just doesn't seem quite authentic to me. Real girls use worms!

I logged so many hours fishing with my grandfather that, lying in the bunk at night, a red and white bobber floated behind my eyelids. The image was burned into my brain. By about the age of eight, I was filleting my own catches and Grandma would fry up fish for supper after dredging them through milk-and-egg then cornmeal. We always kept a slice of Wonder bread nearby in case stray bones became lodged in our throats.

This summer my six-year-old daughter caught the fishing bug and proved to be a capable fisherwoman. She caught this bass from the neighborhood pond and hauled it in herself.

The photo of me was taken the summer after I turned six but, given the size of her catch, my daughter is proving to be a better fisherwoman than I. (At least I was better at losing my teeth!) She still makes me take her fish off the hook, and I'm no where near letting her fillet her own catch, but I'm sure one day she will.

I know her Great Grandpa Wilson would have been so proud of her. I can hear him say, "Mia, that's a dandy!"