What? Mom’s Family Never had a Turkey?

My Uncle says that my mom’s  family never had a turkey.

Doesn’t sound like devastating news, right? But to me, it is surprising.

Jack and Ellen

My mom and Uncle Jack playing.

One of the stories I’ve been told since I can remember was about my uncle and his “pet” turkey.  The story goes that a turkey imprinted on my uncle and followed him around everywhere until one day when the turkey didn’t make it all the way through the spring loaded screen door.

When he was here a week ago, I asked my uncle to fill in the turkey saga details. He claims that there was never even a turkey, much less a pet one. He doesn’t have any idea why my mother would pass on such a story. He did vaguely remember and goose and “neck snapping incident.” But the goose was no friend of his. It was begging for food as the screen door slammed shut.

He also remembered that my mother was afraid of the geese. According to my Uncle Joe, my mom bawled when the goose pecked her. In a show of four-or-five-year-old male machismo, Uncle Joe protected three-year-old mom from the assault of a goose by grabbing the goose by the neck when the goose tried to peck her.

According to my mom, my Uncle Joe cried and cried when the “turkey” died. I think I even remember some debate about whether they were going to eat him. (This was a poor family during the depression.)

So why does it matter? The stories have the same sub-text. Mom and her siblings grew up together on a farm, interacted with the animals, had adventures, and loved each other. When one of them cried, it was a noteworthy event.

© Laura Hedgecock 2013

Letter to a Mystery Man

Mystery Man Dear Sir:

You probably don’t remember our brief meeting that snowy night in February 1994. Dressed in overlapping hospital gowns, I was walking the back halls of Detroit’s Sinai hospital with my husband to “regulate” my labor. You were dressed in a black coat and brimmed hat, walking towards us with purpose, when the pain from a contraction took me to my knees. You stopped and waited until I could stand, made eye contact, and said, “I’ll pray the best for you.”

You said it with such authority. It wasn’t a platitude.

Often I think back on that chance meeting, wondering. Who were (are) you? A clergyman on a mission of mercy? Caregiver for a loved one?

I picture you in my thoughts—a tall statue of ebony skin and clothes. I wish I could tell you how comforting your words to a stranger were.

I wish I could tell you how often I pray the best for you.

© Laura Hedgecock 2013

Want to write about your memories? Check out my memory-sharing website Treasure Chest of Memories.

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

Interspecies Attractions and My Failure to Read Social Cues

Take me to a cocktail party and I’m hyper alert to social cues. Eyes wandering? I assume you’d rather be talking to someone else. Lack of enthusiastic nodding? Your interest has waned; time to shut-up, Laura. I won’t even go into the looking at my chest, or worse—your focus is slightly off my eyes. Did I grow a zit on my forehead?

Obsess much? Oh yeah!

However, when it comes to the animal kingdom, I forget all that self-consciousness in my desire to connect interspecially. (No, that’s not a spelling error. It’s a made up word.)

Just this week I had two significant reptilian contacts.

Monday evening, my husband reported a turtle crossing the driveway. I grabbed the camera and took off to find an attractive red slider moving at break-neck (turtle) speed. My hands-off policy failed when I saw something attached to her (or his, I really don’t know how to tell with turtles. You know, the shell and all that…) back.

Gently stopping her resulted in her peeing her body weight, which was a pretty significant social cue that my affection for her wasn’t going to be returned. On closer inspection, the “something” turned out to be a leech. With hubby’s “help” (If you consider standing to the side saying “Ewww,” “Maybe you should put salt on it,” and “be sure to wash your hands, honey”), I removed the leech by rubbing it off with a small twig.

Neither the turtle nor the leech was appreciative.

Red Slider Turtle

Not BFF’s. Not even close!

Later that evening, while I was attempting to dig a cattail out of the pond, a frog jumped out and landed in the grass a foot away from me. I should have been content to simply admire him. (Again, I really don’t know how to tell frogs’ gender either, unless they’re actively mating, in which case I assume the one on top is the male.) He made the mistake of making eye contact.

In my defense, there was a slight gloat to his demeanor. “Lucky mah dirty ass is camouflaged. Stupid human eyes can’t peep me up in tha grass!” (Credit: Pond lingo courtesy of Gizoogle.net) I replied—yes out loud, but don’t tell anyone, “I can see you, you know.”

His little froggy smirk continued. “No, you can’t. No, you can’t. I’m just one foot away, and you can’t peep me.” After I gave him the gentlest of touches on his little froggy head, he sprung away.

Pond Frog

Not interested in human contact…

Spurned again.

I’m pretty certain I heard a “biotch!” as he left.

© Laura Hedgecock 2013

Text Conversation

I love being able to text my teenage sons.  I can’t even imagine how my mom got through life without that luxury (although it would actually explain some of the extreme worrying….).

But there’stext conversation a couple of disadvantages to texting.  When you text, what you said is there for you to see, in black and white (or green and grey–whatever, you get my drift.)

One night, I was missing my freshman and decided to look through at all our loving conversations.  (I delete all the ones that just say OK or Can you add money?)  When I found this one, I realized that not all conversations should be memorialized (or saved…. or mentioned).

Me: Can you eat at work?

Son: idk  why?

Me: Cause I grilled pork chops, but Tucker got 2 of them. Got one back. Dad’s eating half of that one. But now I don’t have enough.

Son: lmao

Tucker is our dog. Time to switch to Snap Chat?

© Laura Hedgecock 2013