This whole past week has been much crazier and busier than I am willing to be on a regular basis. I won’t go into detail on all the stories, but here’s the blog version….
Last Saturday, the day after our beach fun with friends, the whole family went down to River Street to see the Tall Ships. The Herban Cowboy was performing two puppet shows with the Puppet People, and Little Boy and I tagged along for the pirates and the face painting. It was a HOT day (sunburn for Mommy!), but SO much fun. My mom came down and Herban Cowboy treated us all to lunch at the Boar’s Head (grilled fresh tilapia with cheese grits — I almost licked the plate).
Halfway through the day, as Little Boy was getting his face painted, I noticed my wedding ring was gone.
I stared off into space and very quietly had a three minute panic attack while Morgann painted a shark on my kid’s face. I didn’t tell the guys until later. Why spoil their day, too?
Sunday, I shook off the blues and we took a family trip to Home Depot to order a new stove. My old one was down to one working burner, and we desperately needed a new one. We looked around at a few second hand options, but my mom really wanted me to have a new one, and offered to pay half. Which came out to about the amount of the second hand ones we’d looked at. So despite our Possum Living inclinations, we gave a fat wad of cash to a big box corporation for a new appliance. To be delivered Wednesday. So no, I don’t get to feel superior that I saved the planet by buying local and used, but I will get a shiny new stove. So it’s still a win.
Later that afternoon, we all went mulberry picking. Our friend D came over with a big sheet for catching fallen berries, we grabbed a bucket, and headed off to search for fruiting trees. Most of them we found were either full of green berries, or past fruiting, with empty branches and purple stains on the ground below. We finally hit pay dirt behind a grocery store in our neighborhood. D put the sheet down, she and the Herban Cowboy shook the tree and gathered the fallen, I pulled them by hand from the branches, and Little Boy grazed happily on the low hanging fruit.
Little Boy and D, working hard and filling their bellies.
Purple jazz hands!
I love picking mulberries. Reaching through the branches, sunlight filtering through the canopy, seeing the gleaming jewels of red and purple, feeling the scratching of the leaves on my arms and face, the earth and berry juice under my feet (yes, I was barefoot). There’s something primally joyful about picking berries from tree branches. All the pleasure centers of my brain were LIT. High on berry picking. I’m such a nature nerd.
Pictured: Nature Nerd Feet
I’m going to make mulberry jam, but 1) My new stove doesn’t arrive until Wednesday, 2) I need a 10 quart saucepan and 3) I need more mulberries. So I froze what we collected on Sunday, and there in my freezer they await their jammy, jammy fate.
Shining purple jewels of treasure!
Monday morning, Little Boy and I lazed around the house, playing games, watching DVDs and reading books. I was tired from the weekend, and still down about my lost wedding ring. I kept NOT hearing and feeling the metallic “clink” when my finger taps against a hard surface. I noticed its absence. The weather seemed to mirror my mood, with thunderstorms forecast, and dark clouds and intermittent pattery showers.
We needed to go to the bank before the afternoon thunderstorms hit, so we hitched up the bike trailer and started off the half mile to the bank. I figured we could make our deposit and still have time to hit someplace up for an easy lunch. Once a week or so Little Boy and I like to have a “lunch date” somewhere. Maybe we’ll beat the rain.
On the way to the bank, I spot one of the homeless men who lives in my neighborhood. He and his mother? sister? — they’re definitely related, but sun and wind have made it difficult to determine their ages — anyway, they live in a tent in a little wooded patch behind a gas station. We see them when we’re walking to the Dollar Store or riding the bus and we’ve spoken with them several times. On different occasions I’ve offered them blankets, hand-knitted hats and scarves, and lunch. They always refuse (though the Herban Cowboy has reported that the man has asked him for money).
The woman always has nice words to say to my boy, and he likes the two of them. Because of his affection for them, we’ve had to have the conversation about friends vs. acquaintances vs. strangers and what the safety protocols are with each category. I don’t think they’d hurt me or Little Boy, but I do have a feeling that the man is a petty criminal and con man. Nothing to base that on but instinct, but nevertheless, I am friendly but cautious with them.
So on the way to the bank I see the man. He’s alone, and I realize I haven’t seen HER in over a week. My curiosity overcomes me and I stop and ask, “I’m sorry if this is personal, but where is K? I haven’t seen her in a while.”
He tells me she has pneumonia, and is lying down in their tent in the woods. He was trying to find something for her to eat. I told him I’d see what I could find.
Little Boy and I continued to the bank, all the while talking about what was happening. I explained to him that Miss K was very sick, and she only had R to take care of her. I told him that she was hungry and needed food before the thunderstorms came, so I thought we could give her our lunch, since there’s still food at home for us to eat. He didn’t like that idea at first.
“Mommy, I don’t WANT to go to Kroger I want to go to lunch with you.”
“Listen,” I said as I locked up the bike outside the grocery store, “I want to go to lunch with you, too, but we do that all the time. I don’t want to go into Kroger either, but there’s a sick, old, hungry lady who’s all alone and needs our help. And I just couldn’t live with myself if she got even sicker or even died just because we didn’t feel like going into the grocery store.”
He considered this as he took off his helmet and followed me into Kroger. We got chicken, black eyed peas and turnip greens from the deli, some fresh fruit, and a jug of purified water. Then we loaded up and headed back. Rain drops fell here and there, threatening to open up at any moment, though no thunder yet.
We gave the food to R, and continued home, making it back just before the sky opened up and sent a big, fat shower. The whole thing shook me up all day. I’m all for living in the woods, but I’d like to have food and good shelter and help when I’m sick. The piles of trash bothered me, too. What if that was my mother? What if that was me?
It put my lost wedding ring into perspective, that’s for sure.
And then to drive home the fact that all my problems really are First World Problems, my shiny new stove arrived yesterday.
So shiny. So pretty.