The Great Beet Adventure of 1981

Don’t even think about feeding me a beet.  It’s not going to happen. 

Tom Robbins is a favorite author of mine. Tom thought highly of beets.  Let me just quote him for a moment:

The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.

Slavic peoples get their physical characteristics from potatoes, their smoldering inquietude from radishes, their seriousness from beets.

The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip…

Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins

Yes, Tom thought highly of beets. 

Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

So did my father, I think.  Although I don’t remember ever seeing him eat a beet before that fateful summer.  He may have initially planted them for my mother who liked pickled beets.  Which are, arguably, the worst of all the beets.

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My Grief Lives in My Lungs

Grief lives in my lungs.  My lungs temper my grief – keep me upright, keep me alive, keep breathing…putting one foot in front of the other.  Grief lives in my lungs.

I had quit smoking in the months before my dad died.  I had tried so many times to quit smoking and this time seemed to be working.  Oh sure, I had cravings, but I was managing them. 

My mother called, “Come quick. It’s an emergency.”  Part of me knew.  I stopped breathing.

And then, I went tearing down the hill after putting shoes on.  Normally I would have gone barefoot. I don’t know why the shoes. In case we had to go to the hospital? Part of me knew.

I was breathing hard by the time I got to the house. Shallow, unsatisfying breaths.  My father dead on the floor.  I quickly knelt and started chest compressions, went to blow air in his mouth.  Cold.  He was cold.

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Happy Halloween

I am not one of those people for whom Halloween is a high holiday. I enjoy it, but I seldom dress up though I have fun when I do. Which begs the question — why don’t I every year?

Well, partly because I’m always a witch whether I dress the part or not.

We had punkins come trick or treating at the office on Friday. About 40 of them from a local preschool. One little girl solemnly told me, “I just love your costume.”

I miss the days when Chef Boy ‘R Mine was little. He rather enjoyed trick or treat and the whole costume thing. For his first school Halloween, the children were allowed to wear their costumes to school. That was the year of the infamous Ninja Turtle Costume — Donatello to be exact.

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The Williams River

I woke up and felt a breeze on my face.  The strains of a mandolin and sunshine floated into the tent. 

My back hurt and I was cold, but I was happy.  At one with the universe.

We were celebrating Donnie’s life while she was still with us to enjoy her own wake.  Camping on the Williams River with the Bing Brothers – what we called a Bing Thing.  Always a good time. 

The rock falls on the Williams River.

This one was bittersweet.  It was the 4th of July weekend in the early ‘90s – I had 4 days off or something like that.  It was enough time to relax and get into the timeless groove of good music, good food, and good company in good surroundings.  The Williams River campsite in Pocahontas County was rustic and pristine.  It was cool – sometimes cold – a nice escape from the insufferable heat of the Ohio Valley.  These people had been camping there for years – loved it, honored it, took care of it.  There were a big bunch of us, yet it was still private and intimate.  A contradiction in many ways, but enjoyable in them all.

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