Saturday, December 24, 2011

Life Chapters

For the fifty Christmases I have lived in America, each has been different. For my first twenty-three Christmases, I tried to be with my parents and family on the special day. For the next ten, I enjoyed them as a wife, then single mother. For the past eleven, I have been a grandmother and so young children and Santa have held a place in my Christmas season.

This year, I will spend it alone. My daughter and her family are two thousand miles away, my parents 480. My siblings and I rarely speak, and those conversations are superficial and brief. The local church has a dinner I have been invited to attend, a friend invited me to a Christmas pancake brunch with her and her husband, and I have considered attending a candlelight church service.

Reflecting on this past year has me really looking forward to the next. I will be leaving the little town I am currently living in, to move closer to my parents. My daughter too has plans to move closer. There will soon be four generations living near each other. Our time together may be short, it may be long, but we will each contribute to a part of that chapter as well.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Reflections on 9/11

Ten years ago tomorrow, I ordered a latte at my local coffee shop. I looked up and saw a plane on television fly into the World Trade Center. At first, I thought it was an anniversary or something. I then remembered it been a bomb, not a plane the first time the towers were attacked. Then I saw a live shot and saw the second plane fly into the south tower.

I spent the news few hours in the local college newspaper television room. When the south tower fell, I hit my knees and prayed that there would be survivors.

I was only two score that year. This year, at two score and ten, I am changed. As I look out into the world an see the selfishness of humanity, I am afraid for my grandchildren. I no longer am as accepting of evil and wrongdoing as I once was. Because of this I have made the choice to never again freely choose to live in a large city. I love my small rural and have become much more self-sufficient.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Officially Car Free in Rural America

A couple of weeks ago, the local sheriff told me I had to move my car. It hasn't been running for a couple of years and as I walk everywhere, I didn't take the time to get it fixed. In January of 2011, in a snow plowing event, they towed the car. I did have a twenty-four hour parking spot, and they usually called me to move it, but this time they didn't, and it got towed. $160.02 later, the car has moved to the local place where cars go to die. Our local junk yard.

Several acquaintances expressed dismay that I was carless. An older lady even went so far as to drop hints that she would be willing to sell me hers because she wanted a new one. To tell you the truth, I was relieved. No insurance, no maintenance, no scraping windows. I have two good feet, and am within a five minute walk to work. I have a bicycle for long distances and am getting stronger going up inclines. I still walk up the hills, as it is a onespeed, but that is okay with me.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Spring is Coming...Really

I was lucky enough to go on a Caribbean cruise with my mom a couple of weeks ago. I came back and when I got through the terminal to the shuttles, I went outside and saw my breath. My breath, on May 1st.

After the angst, I remembered that Spring will be here. The forsythia is blooming even if the trees don't have leaves yet.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Car Free in the Middle of Nowhere.

Living in rural Minnesota, without a working car is not a hardship. I thought it might be, but like my ancestors, who lived on the plains of South Dakota, I make do.

I am lucky enough to have an apartment on the main street of the little town I live in. It is in the middle of the block and the only drawback is that my trash dumpster is in the middle of the block. To take out the trash, I walk down the stairs and half-way around the block to take out my trash. I don't create much so it only happens once in a normal month.

I do own a lemon of a car that my daughter purchased from a fly-by-night, auto dealer in a city 45 minutes away. She had nothing but problems with the car and against my better judgement, I paid off her loan when she needed a larger vehicle and once again became the owner of a car.

I live above the clothing store, am within a five minute walk for my job, two drug stores, two hardware stores, two appliance stores, the grocery store, Radio Shack and all three coffee shops in town. We also have a little transit system that takes me out to the college campus if I need to go there.

As my apartment doesn't come with a parking place, my car usually sits in the city owned parking lot behind my apartment building. My car never gets used and so the battery was always going dead. I have purchased a battery charger and a device that disconnects the battery from the car so it doesn't discharge. Keeping the car insured, licensed and running is not an inexpensive proposition.

The other consideration of not using it is that the oil breaks down and the last time I used the car to drive 60 miles, the engine made a really bad noise. It felt like it lost compression, and I had to spend $150 to get it towed back to its parking place.

One other consideration I have is that because I live in the upper midwest, it is cold, snowy and icy at least six months out of the year. Usually by the time I walk around the block, scrape off the windows and start my car, I can be at work or where ever else I need to be. I rarely get outside of town and if I do I pay my friend Pearl to drive.

I will have to do something this spring about the car. Usually the police call me at 3 am to tell me to move the car out of it's 24 hour parking spot when they need to plow the parking lot. There was a new policeman this year and nobody gave me a call. They towed my car and impounded it. It is only a $100 charge and no daily fee (as of yet) but I will need to take responsiblity for it soon.

I think not wanting to have responsiblity for it is what made me not want to buy it in the first place. Yet, another one of those gut feelings I should have listened to.