• Last modified 3251 days ago (July 1, 2009)


Another Day in the Country

© Another Day in the Country

As human beings, we tend to remember the bad things in life. Good stuff comes and goes. We take it for granted. But for the bad stuff, we underline the traumas, make those things that hurt appear in bold print, and hold on to fear as if our lives depended upon it.

If you don’t believe me, just listen to the evening news.

Take storms for instance.

We’ve had some show stoppers recently. Isn’t this the usual time for storms? Doesn’t it happen every year, right before harvest, and we all hold our collective breath hoping that the wheat is saved?

We talk about the bad weather endlessly. I don’t remember anyone stopping me on the street, ever, to mention how lovely it’s been.

“I remember the winter of 1957,” our friend Erich used to say.

I believe that was the year he got snowed in. Or was that 1967? I can’t remember, but Erich did.

We had guests the weekend of the Symphony in the Flint Hills — in fact, they came to Kansas just for this occasion.

We so wanted Kansas to show its best side and for the weekend to be memorable. It was! They were so impressed with the Flint Hills, the music, and the weather. It couldn’t have been better.

“I can hardly wait for my first telling of this story,” said our friend Gary, an intrepid tale-teller.

I wondered, which story would he tell first.

Would it be the story of a perfect Kansas afternoon with blue sky touching the vast green horizons of prairie hay, layers of hills fading into the distance?

Would it be covered wagons, Indians and cattle standing belly deep in waving grass?

Or would it be of the storm that hit the night after with lightning coming in sheets and dancing horizontally across the sky with tornado threats and flood watches the theme?

This past week I’ve renewed my vows to remember the pleasant parts, the grand days, the good stuff.

It’s harder, you know. The smell of grass, bee balm, sage, and mint all come to me on a summer breeze, but it’s the whiff of something rotten that indelibly impresses itself on my memory.

I want to remember basil and bee balm most vividly. Darn, what do I do to reverse this trend?

For starters, I’ve been paying close attention to how beautiful my yard looks.

The flowers have loved the rain. You can almost watch the morning glories climbing the trellis. They are advancing so fast.

I want to revel in the beauty of the fish pond and the fact that the pump just keeps chugging along.

“Rejoice, rejoice,” I say to myself, “and remember this gratifying, contented feeling.”

I’m almost embarrassed to tell you that every morning I check the stream to see if it is running properly and heave a sigh of relief, because when Tim was sick, the pump stopped working and I wasn’t sure what to do to fix our dilemma.

He tried telling me what to do, but the pond was his baby.

I finally got it all going again but I find myself anxious about all the things that could go wrong without his ever-present, can-do, attitude.

“You can do it,” I remind myself.

There were so many things that seemed effortless with Triple T’s touch.

“Remember the good stuff,” I say under my breath, “the rest will take care of itself — somehow.”

What concerns me is that the good things fade away so easily from our memory while the traumas dance before our eyes in the dark of night.

I must reverse that trend.

The scary parts of life are so easy to remember, so vivid.

There’s a flooded basement, a dead battery, a door off its hinges, a dog loose killing my chickens, a loved one lost.

But that is not what I’m focusing on. I’m giving thanks for that reliable sump pump, the handy neighbor, the energy and the know-how to solve a crisis when it comes my way.

It’s another day in the country, and I’m remembering the good stuff — like the way Tim used to whistle when he came through the door, announcing his presence.

I miss that whistle, but I’m underlining the fantastic things in life that are happening this very minute and putting it all in bold print.

Last modified July 1, 2009