Monday, August 14, 2017


It is gratifying to see, in times when there are so many troubling world events all around us, that a little girl's smile can return, quickly and brilliantly!

Snowdrop is getting used to her new home.

It's me who is not getting used to leaving the garden alone! No more clipping indeed! This morning I cut 100 blooms out of the garden by the porch.

I want to dignify the garden's pre-autumnal subtle radiance! (Note how the annuals, to the left, are becoming the dominant force. They wont fade until the first frost, even after the lily fields will be long dormant.)

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(A late variety of lily)

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Hey, look who else is appearing cheerful today!

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A few minutes after noon, I pick up the little one at school. The teachers tell me she is full of reports about moving to the yellow house.

Yes, she accepts the home change, even as she now understands that some things will not change. Including adventuring with Gaga after the school day ends.

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She chooses the playground for our first stop.

If ever there is a barometer of her mood, it is in her facial expression once she starts swinging.

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There is a three year old swinging next to her and out of the blue, Snowdrop tells her: I have a grandpa and he has a white beard! Clearly she is not shy about starting a conversation.

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Yep, her ever-present smile is back.

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After she is done swinging and climbing, we head for the pool. It's nearly empty today. The summer programs that had brought busloads of kids must have come to an end. A trickle of grandparents are there with grandchildren, a few small groups still come in, but the pool feels empty.

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As the time comes for us to head home and I hustle her into the locker room to shower, she gets a tad boisterous and tries out a few hefty screeches to hear herself echo in the vast interior. We are alone there, but still, I don't like it and so I tell her to quiet down and after one last blast, she stops.

Quite coincidentally, a few minutes later, a group of nine or ten year olds comes in and they decide screeching is a fantastic thing to do. With a half dozen older girls, the noise is deafening. Snowdrop is terrified and I leap to confront them with a sharp "don't do that!" -- which of course is greeted with one other girl joining in, to lend support to the group scream.

I am suddenly the defender of a scared Snowdrop. I get to pretty close range and say rather loudly: "Stop right now!"

Somewhat taken aback, they stop.

And eventually a supervisor type person comes in and tells them (a bit late) not to scream and we all move on.

But Snowdrop doesn't move on. She asks me: what did you say to them?

And this is when it strikes me that I have never raised my voice at her, or around her, in the same way that I never raised my voice at my girls when they were growing up. For better or for worse, I've just never been a shouter.  (No pat on back here -- I can list many other things I would do differently on a rerun.) Though today I learn that I'm capable of a shout -- when my granddaughter is frightened. (Oh, the irony, that she herself let out a yelp just minutes ago... but hey, she is a two year old.) And so Snowdrop is taken aback.

I answer her -- I told them not to scream.
And then what did you say?
I told them to stop, just like I told you to stop. 
And what did the other lady say?
She also told them to stop.

She ponders all this for a long long while.

At the farmhouse, I ply her will all sorts of saved up treats. (When she was last here, I had run out of her favorites. I have restocked! Frozen yogurt bars! Watermelon!)

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And nap time.

And after, it's a brief interlude before I take her home.

Are we going to my yellow house? -- she asks, seeking confirmation.

Back at the farmette, I roll up the sleeves for some serious cooking. Oh, not serious in terms of quality. More in terms of quantity. I'm leaving on Wednesday and I always feel better about taking off if I have some ready meals for Ed in the fridge. This of course causes him to give me his most indulgent smile. As if he couldn't manage for weeks, nay, years without someone cooking up soups and stews!

Still, I have noticed over the years that he eats most everything I leave for him and this I know for sure: whatever I cook up will be significantly healthier than what he would have thrown together for himself.