The Look

the look

This isn’t the LOOK. It’s the normal friendly look

It took me until my kids were in their teens to master some semblance of “the look.” You know the one. The talk-to-the-hand, don’t-mess-with-me, don’t-even-try-it look. My kids probably think of it as the “Mom is on the verge of revoking car privileges” look.

On a church trip of all places, I witnessed a “look” worthy of envy out of a chaperone. He’s not a parent, but then again, the look wasn’t directed at one of the teens. Continue reading

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Somewhat Valuable Player Award

In 1979, I was admitted into the second class of women that lived on campus at the heretofore all-male Wofford College. The college was chartering a women’s basketball program and the coach wasn’t overly picky. She wasn’t desperate enough to take anyone with a pulse, but, as I had scored two baskets over three years of playing YMCA league, I made the cut. Continue reading

Tweets from Beyond

Tweets from Heaven As I gaze at the photo taken of my parents the week of their deaths, I imagine they’re in a Harry-Potter-esque animated photo. They’re happy and waving from the bow of the whale-watching ship. “The weather is beautiful! I saw a humpback before you! See ya soon!” Continue reading

Really Really Bad Salesman

Bad salesman in Garmisch

Image Credit Wikipedia Commons

When husband and I decided to buy a piece of furniture painted in the traditional Bavarian folk-art style, or biggest obstacle was a bad salesperson.

Living in southern Germany, my husband and I came to love the Bauernmalerei folk-art furniture style. We traveled to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, situated at the foot of the Zugspitze Alp, where we hoped to select and order a hand-made Bavarian keepsake.

This was in the late 1980’s when a strong US-Dollar motivated hordes of American tourists to visit picturesque Germany. Beautiful Garmisch, with its painted buildings and cobblestones streets, was a popular destination.

We found a small store that had beautiful hand-painted armoires that we immediately fell in love with. Since the shop owner was studiously ignoring us, we sought him out and asked him, in our fluent German, what the price ranges.

“Teuer [Expensive],” he responded.

Matt and I looked at each other. Ok, so he didn’t particularly like Americans. He probably had tons come into his shop and leave again without purchasing anything. We got it. As ex-pats, we sometimes cringed at the behavior of busloads of US-tourists. Un-offended (or not very offended), we persevered.

“How expensive?” I asked.

“Sehr [Very].”

At this point, I was torn between wanting to giggle and wanting to stomp out. Luckily, Matt remained calm.

Bad salesman very Expensive Armoire “Could you be more exact?” he asked, pointing at an exemplar that we had particularly admired. “How much would one like this cost?”

“It depends.”

Yep. He hated American tourists, or possibly any tourist, or possibly anyone.

“Depends on what?” I asked testily, fully expecting him to tell me it depended on how much he hated the individual wanting a quote.

He grumpily pointed out features of carving and painting that influenced pricing. Finally, after pointing out the features we liked, we got a price out of the man.

Despite his misogynist temperament, we loved his work and decided to order an armoire from him. We still love it, twenty-plus years later. When visitors admire it, we enjoy telling them how it was “very expensive.”

© Laura Hedgecock 2013
Interested in sharing your memories? My website, Treasure Chest of Memories, has tips, resources, and a blog about memory sharing.

Teens and Text Messages

Touring Europe Recently, I dug up some of letters I wrote to my parents while I was Eurailing around Europe. I feel bad for my parents, waiting 10 days for a letter to reach them via “air mail, ” assuming I remembered to write, stamp and mail it. I don’t think my kids have ever written me a letter–I just get texts.

I admit that there’s a definite trade-off. My letters were long and newsy. Texts are short. Still, I’m grateful for the immediacy of text messaging, especially with teenage drivers in the household.

For example, my son’s text to me last week informing me of this safe arrival in West Virginia for his week long mission trip.

sending a text

Photo credit: TopNews.In

“We got here.” (Actually, there was no period. I couldn’t bring myself to leave it off. )

When I inquired, per text, “What is it like there?”, I received one extra word: “Nice.” That was it for four days—four words. My friends point out that any expectation of more was just ridiculous.

Maybe “nice” leaves a lot to my imagination, but I knew he was safe.

Caveat: Immediacy of communication doesn’t mean you’re getting the truth.

On the last day of his trip, I texted my son: “Did you have fun white-water rafting today?”

He answered: “It was OK.”

It turns out “It was OK” is code for “we flipped over right before a two section five rapids and I really thought I was going to die and was shaken up, but I didn’t die, so it’s ok. I’ll just never go white water rafting again.”

Whatever the medium, kids are only going to tell us what they thing we’re capable of hearing without freaking out.

I’ll take what I can get.

© Laura Hedgecock 2013

Romantic Doggie Bag

chocolate pie

Image credit: Thekitchn.com

My husband’s work  travel has always taken place in spurts and life is definitely less fun when he’s away.

I remember one particularly hard week, stuck at home alone, feeling like crap, with two very-active-is-a-gross-understatement young boys. Matt’s week ended with a return to the area to wine and dine customers.

Around 11 pm, he called to say that he was not only finally on his way home, but he had a nice treat for me. Knowing me to be his “Forget chicken soup! I want chocolate!” girl, he knew the way to my heart. To cheer me up, he said, he was bringing me a doggie bag (Styrofoam box) with a luscious piece of French silk pie.

Since he was 45 minutes away when he called, I passed the time salivating like Pavlov’s dog and making decaf coffee to have with my romantic gift. By the time he arrived, I had a plate with two forks and hot coffee at the ready.

With anticipatory pomp and circumstance, we opened the box to a horrific sight.

Steak T Bone

Not what I wanted to see

The restaurant staff had mixed up their to-go boxes. Instead of pie, I was looking down at a gnawed on T-bone from some stranger’s steak.

Disappointed German Shepherd

Disappointed

After ranting that Matt call the restaurant and insist they deliver me some pie, pulling my hair out, etc., I realized it could have been worse.

I could be some German shepherd, salivating in anticipation of a juicy bone that his master called to tell him to expect, only to find one of the few things dogs aren’t allowed to eat in the box—chocolate.

At this years’ company party, we won a gift card to that swanky restaurant. I’m finally going to get that piece of pie.

© Laura Hedgecock 2013
Interested in sharing your memories? My website, Treasure Chest of Memories, has tips, resources, and a blog about memory sharing.

Garden Pariah

Ants on flower bud

Ants on wet peony bud

You’d think the garden pariah would be the dreaded emerald ash borer or Japanese beetle. Sadly, it’s not the destructive insects that the garden inhabitants seem to want to vote off the island.

It’s me.

Nature lover. Animal rescuer. Bird feeder. Habitat builder.

The woman wanting to take pictures of flowers.

I’m grossly unappreciated—no, unwanted. Yesterday between rainstorms, I went out to take photos of wet flowers. Here’s the list of animals that ran, jumped, swam, or flew away before I even got remotely close to them. These are just the ones I saw….

  • At least 10 frogs

    Tadpoles

    In the interest of full-disclosure, I have to admit that the tadpoles seemed to tolerate my presence.

  • King Fisher (who I didn’t even see until he left in a huff)
  • Woodpecker
  • Crow
  • Wrens
  • Garter Snake
  • Rabbit

On the positive side, when I stepped in an ants’ nest, they didn’t run away. They crawled in my shoes.

Hmmm. Maybe I should stick with being an ogre. Maybe I could change my name to Fiona.

© Laura Hedgecock 2013