Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Well, we made it. We're into 2012. Now, what kind of a year are we going to make it? Will we all work alone and try to get our personal dreams fulfilled or will we work together and make a better world for everybody? Will we keep our eyes and ears open and make political decisions one by one--decisions with an eye toward making this a better worlde--or will we follow some party line without utilizing our own critical thinking and wind up living in a world of someone else's vision?
Will we all give a little more time, effort, money, whatever we have, even if it's a smile, to someone who needs it, including people making a living doing those annoying phone solicitations? You and I and we all know they'd rather be doing something else but circumstances force them to sit at a table with a computer and make hundreds of calls daily to people who mostly curse at them.
You all get the point. I think it would be a better world with more giving, sharing, loving, especially when it's hard. So I'm going to try to do my best to do that. Will it make a difference? I don't know. I know it won't make things worse.
AND, NOW THAT I'VE SAID THAT....about 45 minutes ago I asked Madeleina what she was going to do for exercise today. She noted that it's vacation. I said that the food I make was to be used for fuel, not storage and to get her butt outside and get something done in the way of exercise. She asked what that might be? I told her she could paint one or both of the bridges over the runoff creek now that Mike and Martin repaired the one that needed it and I bought fresh paint and brushes.
She scoffed. "That's not exercise. Maybe for an old man like you..."
How about mowing some lawn?
"That mower could kill me..."
"Then get the leaves out of the gutter..."
"You said you were going to do that."
"No, darling, you suggested you'd do it..."
"Yeah, dad, about two months ago. Then you said to remind you, because you were going to do it..."
"No, you were to remind me that it needed doing and that you'd volunteered."
"I'm not doing that."
"It's not hard. You just put on some gloves and get the ladder a bag and put the leaves in it. Then move the ladder until it's done."
"We don't even have gloves..."
"I know. Us poor people take a plastic bag and turn it inside out and put it on our hands and pretend it's a glove..."
"I cannot believe you're asking me to do that. I hate you."
With that I was off to take a shower. When I came out she was on the ladder,barefoot, a bag on her right hand, scooping out the leaves from the gutter while singing at the top of her lungs: "Only Jesus can save you now, you sinner...." or somesuch--it wasn't a religious song, I can tell you that!--and having a ball. When she moved the ladder and the ivy caught onto its legs she threatened the poor plant with death if it ever dared interfere with her ladder again.
It took all of 25 minutes, including retrieving the ladder and sweeping up the bits that fell onto the flagstone. Nonetheless, when she came in she was seriously pouting. I called to her and she ignored me. I called again--she was only 10 feet away--and this time she responded.
"You know what you now have?" I asked.
"No," she answered.
"Well, you officially have a legitimate story that you can exaggerate to your kids someday."
"What are you talking about?"
"I'm talking about one day when you have kids or nephews or nieces or whatever, and they don't want to work you can tell them the story of the New Year's day when your dad forced you outside without a jacket and made you climb a ladder barefoot to clean the gutters with no gloves. And it's a true story, sort of. Just leave out the part that it was 60-degrees and that you refused to wear shoes or a jacket. Let them imagine the cold. That should get their attention. And no need to tell them that the gutters are all of 8 feet above the ground, either. Trust me, it's a great story."
"You might be able to justify cruelty to children, dad, but I can't. And I'm never having children, either, given how you treat them!"
And with that she cut herself a nice slice of last night's chocolate bit/walnut laced banana bread and poured a heaping tablespoon of sweet condensed milk on top of it. "At least I deserve a little breakfast after all that work!"
Happy new year, everybody! Let's make it the best one yet.

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