We made it safely back to Mississippi this afternoon after a whirlwind trip between Christmas and New Year's Day. Sis took off for San Antonio to have late Christmas with her kids, grandkids, and great grandbaby. My Sister by Another Mother and I held down Fort Rio and took care of the parents. It was tag team at its finest. After all this time, my biological sibling Sis can manage Dad, Mom, Tinka, Rio, cooking, laundry, and the household chores for up to 4 days--if she has to. Fortunately, that has not happened except during a couple of ice storms. I suppose most of us could do what we had to when it was a matter of life and quality of life for those we love, though I think some of us would even do it for strangers if circumstances thrust themselves upon us. You know, like an ice storm or some other catastrophe.
I sat in Dad's room every night and watched old movies with him, just being there in the chair so if he woke up from a nap doze, he could see me or talk to me. Sis does that with him every night and I wanted to keep the routine as routine as possible. He does not like to be alone, nor not be able to see us or hear us.
It was a hard week in so many ways, but it was also one of those times that you appreciate and honor, and for which you are thankful. It is part of the cycle of life, and when you can embrace it, even in the hardness, even in the painfulness of impending unknowns and potential loss, it offers joy if we can have the heart to see it.
Saturday, December 31, 2016
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Undaunted, I proceeded to sit in the living room with the dogs and music going full-blast, savoring my bit of time while the chops cooked, occasionally dancing to a tune. My movements seemed to fascinate Abby--the baby of the three and she also danced around me in excitement. Even though there are 3 dog beds in the living room, all 3 of them finally settled on one together. It might be a metaphor for life.
I told my cousin the other day--as she and her sister have also been doing parallel research on her father's side of the family as well as her mother's who is the sister to my mother--that the more I find, the more I am seeing my "carefully constructed identity" take on new meanings and new clarity.
The ancestors tend to have that effect on me. Since I take it as true that life is a construct, in that we "make it up" for how we understand everything, I find myself wondering what I might have constructed had I known some of this earlier. The thing about assimilation of new information is that generally, if we can fit it into what we already know, we do not have to spend much time with it. If not, and we find we have to develop new information and meanings in order to accommodate this new knowledge, it takes a little longer and might even be uncomfortable or difficult.
I find myself these days listening to women who are near my age or older, as they speak about their experiences of constructing lives and meaning in a time of "traveling uncharted terrain." Several years ago, I heard an interview done with Patti Scialfa, and last night, I ran across it again. At the time, she was 54, and said she wanted to write songs that reflected her in this stage of her life. I think for many of us who are reaching this point, and we are now all 10 years beyond the date of the interview, there is a certain nostalgia for some of the moments of our younger selves, while at the same time there is a sense of anticipation for what might lie ahead.
Can we be comfortable with that? Can we be comfortable with being uncomfortable with the new identities that may be forged from these transitions?
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Excuse me, could you direct me to the telephone? I need to call my editor.I am certain I detected a subtle roll of his eyes as the porter nodded toward the left...and then the right. Take your pick, lady--either side gets you there.
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Thursday, December 8, 2016
There were many farms and ranches located in the South Bend area of Young County, and it is probable that these individuals worked on one of the farms or ranches. Vaqueros in Texas were highly regarded for their horsemanship and cattle skills. I will keep up the search as time permits, but for now, my day job calls me.
December 9th update: I spent more time searching for information on these Young County residents--who died in the years immediately after and the same as my parents were born in the area. My ancestors would have/could have/probably did know these individuals--or at least who they were--because they were living in the same area at the same time. I am still not even close to learning about their lives, but I did locate some ancestry information for records of those born or baptized in Mexico, as well as other information on Latino ancestry in Texas. I cannot connect Anastacio Casas with those of the same name that I located, but I did find several in Texas with similar dates of birth, and also several leads on Francisca Narbais.
That raises a new question of why did four persons of Mexican/Latino descent die during the same general time period in South Bend, Young County, Texas?
Sunday, December 4, 2016
When I got home Thanksgiving week, sis advised a skunk was under the house. She had been taking Tinka out on a leash after the first night that Tinka ran over in a full charge and got a snootful of eau de Pepe Le Pew. She had closed off the crawl space and winterized the opening with the foil sealant. Sis underestimated the skunk, who merely pushed the foil seal aside and went on his or her merry way.
The following day, we added the large rocks and I secured them with metal stakes so they could not be rolled away or dislodged.
The trick according to the University of Nebraska professor whose scholarly paper on skunk removal (I am not kidding here--yes, a scholarly journal article, but I like to trust my sources of Internet information) gave the following suggestions:
Pour flour around the opening during daylight hours. After dark, examine the flour for footprints leading away from the opening. Once you determine the skunk has exited from under the building, secure the opening with sheet metal and metal stakes.We sprinkled the flour around the opening, and checked after dark for foot prints. Between the dew moisture and the wind, we could not be sure there were any footprints. I suggested we rake away all the leaves, remove the rocks again, and then try again.
Things always seem to have a way of happening, do they not? Every day brought a list of things that were more pressing and by the time the end of the day would come, or dark, we were no longer much inclined to go outside and battle skunks, and would put it off until the next day.
Friday I packed and loaded to leave for the trip back to Mississippi, so there went the last opportunity. I confess, I did not want to risk an encounter with eau de Le Pew and then have to drive 12 hours with it. Ah, the joys of country life.