Monday, August 22, 2005


My kids are grown up now but I remember what it was like to have toddlers and teenagers around. Nothing was safe. The scissors were always missing, the tweezers as well. The new roll of packaging tape was safely in the drawer so I would have some when I needed some. But then when that day came, I would pull open the drawer with happy confidence and comfort that I had a full roll of tape and what did I find? Nothing except a cardboard roll without even a scrap of tape left. Scotch tape, glue sticks, felt pens, writing paper, envelopes all depleted – fully depleted.

In frustration I was forced to rip and reverse envelopes that bills were sent in, in order to have an envelope to mail a get-well note to Aunt Martha. When I lit up the barbecue to cook chicken, I would find the tin foil depleted and even the foil pie plates spirited away for some kind of child craft. And if I went to the bathroom to clean my ears, the Q-tips were all gone. Looking for a cotton swab or a band-aid? Forget it. Cotton balls gone – all glued to the collection of child art stuck to the fridge. Band-aids gone as well. Stuck on Teddy bears, china dolls, Barbie’s blisters, Ken’s sprained wrist, or G.I. Joe’s war wounds. That’s how life went on. Nothing was sacred. Nothing.

So one would think that now that I am retired and the kids are gone some things could remain safe from villains. But no way.

Now out back of the house is a large wooded area with a network of hiking trails. I decided to use these trails for a little fitness workout each morning. I thought I should set a benchmark of 20 laps per day. That would equal a distance of approximately 2 ½ miles. So last Friday was day one.

Now, initially I tracked my laps by counting off each time I passed the big spruce tree but I found the counting took too much concentration for me to revel over other things. To stop and watch squirrels, pick berries, admire foliage, flip stones, and examine unusual toadstools, insects, or fungus. Or even, to pay proper attention in case there were other things sneaking up on me. Bears, porcupines, or coyotes. So in thinking about how I could keep track in an easier way, I happened to notice a large white mushroom that had a dip in the middle creating a bowl-shape.

‘How perfect,’ I thought. ‘I will pocket a few red berries – cranberries or dewberries and each time I pass that mushroom on the side of the trail I will toss another berry in the mushroom cup.’ Now my mind was free to absorb everything around me without losing track of how many laps I had walked and how many more I needed to do to complete my routine. My make-shift pedometer worked perfectly and when I counted 20 red berries in the mushroom, I headed to the house satisfied that I had completed my goal.

Now it just so happened the next evening the kids came home for a visit. And after supper, all of us decided it would be a beautiful evening to enjoy a long stroll through the woods. Something we often do during the warm days of summer. We hadn’t hiked far when Hub who was at the tail end of the group yelled out.

"Wait up. Wait up, you guys. You won’t believe what I found. I found a magical mushroom berry collector."

All gathered around in awe and wonderment to examine the mushroom he was holding with its collection of various colored red berries. I didn’t want to rain on their parade. I didn’t want to crush the wonderment of the moment. All were in such awe. And truly, you all know that moments of joyful ecstasy are the best gifts in life, but next to that is the sense of rapture that one feels when they encounter a miraculous thing. So with this consideration in mind, I never said a word.

Not until now. And what I want to say right now is "Is nothing sacred? Can’t I even have a pedometer without someone smashing it, stealing it or losing it?"

Anyway, I remained silent about the magical berry collector. I’ll just wait for the day, and it will be soon, I know that for a certainty, that Hub starts out telling someone the story about the magic-berry-collecting-mushroom he found in the woods. And then I’ll just blink with astonishment the way they all did when Hub ripped it up and showed it to them and say, "Hub, you’re nuts. You never showed me no such thing." (That will be my revenge for not leaving "my stuff" alone!)


Blogger crystal said...

I need to use your tweezers once in awhile, Grandaughter your scissors, Grandson your tape, but I promise never to touch your magic mushrooms.


8:28 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

Hi Crystal, nice to have a comment from you. Thanks for honoring my own little bit of 'magic'.

And readers, you may have noticed a deleted comment -- could have bowled me over with a feather when I saw that bit of unadulterated Spam. How did I get Spam? I know "Shit happens" but no one told me "Spam happens" -- at least not on the comments on my blog! How rude is that? Guess I have to have a new appreciation for blogs that have taken action to be "password protected".

3:18 PM  

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