Saturday, August 30, 2008

Predatorial Birds, OH MY!

We had always heard that we lived close to the Raptor Center, But never ventured there until now.

We saw owls and other predatorial birds, and alot of trees?
I wouldn't call it their natural habitat, but they didn't look unhappy.

What a good time we had!


I think I will roast a turkey for tomorrow's dinner. I will have to buy some cranberry and make the stuffing and have minimal fixins for our "Lord's Day afternoon dinner". We are all together and it is so reminiscent of the days when we were first married and the older children in Ben's family still came home on Sunday's for dinner. Love of family and love of Mom and love of turkey and love of Sunday seem to all go together.

Anyway, my carpet is clean!

Ezra was giggling in the back of the car at every joke the older children made and I remembered how completely oblivious that he is that these big children will be off and out to their own excursions before you know it. He is enjoying their being here for all its worth.

I am sorry that I couldn't have been that kind of big sister to my Abby! One that came home every week to sit him on my lap and play with him and pretend to still be at home. It is hard to reminisce about Sundays without grieving about that.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Vacation is over!

I had a wonderful 3 days of enjoyment acclamating my children to school; culminating in a "flood" day, school was out yesterday. I arose to Praise God and looked out at the sopping wet sod and just whispered a hope that school would be out and before you knew it, a comforting voice of the Superintendent of Schools called to inform us of the "day off". Halleluia! Everybody woke up disoriented, so Evvy put a pictorial bulletin on the board with a picture of the school half covered in water. I giggled when I saw it but I couldn't catch it before somebody erased it. We maximized the day with drawings and a new movie created by Enoch called "the hand". It was a great vacation and I am grateful to the most important people in my life for being here to make it great!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Children Are

A heritage from the Lord! The fruit of the womb is His reward."

I am so grateful for each of the children that God has allowed me to keep and have. He is merciful and morning by morning new mercies I see. Today's mercy is that we have a rain day at school. One more day of vacation to enjoy my priceless treasures at home with me, before I have to go back to work and they have to go back to school. Stories of rainy days and sick days at home with my siblings are rolling through my brain as I see the beauty of the new dynamic of my own children's interaction with one another.
Political discussions dot the interludes now that we have 2 grown women in the bunch. Sometimes they don't want to talk about it, but I force the conversation as much as possible. I want to know how they think. I want to know what to expect from the portion of the world that I influenced in the next generation.
Righteousness exalts a nation
If we pull the pillars of the nation down we will inevitably not be able to live under a collapsing roof. Heh?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Well, I'm here Dad!

Everytime I had a baby, my Dad would ask me "How old are you?" and whatever age I was at the moment, he would count on his fingers and each finger was a year and he would stop and look at me intently and say. That is how many years it will be before you can be any help to "Benny". He was not trying to be comforting, but a realist. He had been down this road; and he didn't say as I often do, "My condolences!" (Not a biblical sentiment, by any means, but a real one) He was being a financial planner and an emotional planner and a life coach. That, he would always conclude, was not a wise decision. Even though it was in his footsteps somewhat. Not wise.
The mentality of the world is that life begins after the kid goes to kindergarten. You get to be a woman. You get to live your life. You get to be. Wrong answer, according to grace, with or without means.
Children are life-giving and life-strengthening, even though harrowing.
I got on this rollercoaster ride of child-bearing and child-rearing, to give God the glory, not for my own comfort. Each decision to ride out the waves of discouragement, by His grace may not be wise, in the world's eyes, but each treasure in Heaven's toolbox and moment of disgrace at not having the means to do what we're doing is only for God's glory and not for man's credit at all.
The first day of Kindergarten for my baby is the day that my Dad planned for all my married life. I thought maybe, I'll take him out to the park across the street from Mary-Immaculate or we'll get a bag of M&M's, in the lobby to mark the day.
He's not here now to do that with. No more babies!
We'll get together then...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Uncle Bucky would have been proud...

that his little protege' doesn't have to be cajoled into bed this evening. All of the men before him have gone to kindergarten and all of the men before him have grown and developed for generations before. From the early days of Kindergarten at St. Peter-Claver to these days of the Odell school. The stories are in our history books forever.
I will never forget Uncle Charles saying that he fell in love with Mrs. Ruffins in Kindergarten. I want to write that wonderful story of families intertwined by a common love and common expectations and best friends for eternity. These kinds of stories are lost in our transient society. Love that carries families through the tough times and through the depression and through the gas crises and through wayward children and through difficult marriages and through the 5th generation going to kindergarten. That is love!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Moderate weather changes,

cause sentimental journeys back to my own back to school seasons. New books, new shoes, new book bags, are the tools for building on the memories of yesterday. The tools to build hope and inspiration into the children to reach for their dreams. Whatever they come up with is the cumulation of generations of reaching for the stars. Great-grandma Mariea woke Dad up at 5 am to drag him to church before school everyday. He reached and we reached and now its my turn to try to inspire my children and point them to God and hope and see where they go.
Off we go into the wild blue yonder of a new school year. Casting off!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Land Ho!

It is a foggy day and my hair is absorbing every bit of the humidity in the air. It is all over my head, after my worshipful aerobic time.
I remember the first time we played hide and seek in the fog with some friends and the hair was worse than when we were in the rain. Just "poof-afrocity". That is where I am today. Just take out the Afrosheen and the pick and I am ready for the sixties, unless I pull out my blowdryer and do some magic quick before work.
We were supposed to go to see a drive in movie that night and the fog came in and we were so upset, but we had the best time playing hide and seek in the fog until the parents dragged us in sopping wet!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Grass is always greener...

Ginger and Snap, my pear trees have taken to their terrestial homes as well as can be expected, for transplants. Instead of my home looking like the Sahara; now, there are some green and some trees dotting the landscape. It is far from my desires of the beauty of Aunt Dorothy's well manicured and beautifully colorful garden for friends and personal tourists to enjoy.
When I went to her house, years and years ago now, we didn't tour the inside of the house, we sat inside and talked and then she took me out to her garden to show me how she prays for her sisters with this flower and that flower. I was so inspired but never able to achieve the goals that she had so ably set before me.
All of a sudden, I am here in the South and my longing heart for the time with my sisters and brother helps me to understand her devotion to her garden. This was a positive expression of her missing the sisters (I don't think she had a brother).
My neighbors, to the left of us, are a very young couple and their crepe myrtle tree is so tall and blooming at this point in the season; whereas mine is still recuperating from the ice storm, which stunted it down and the drought. It is shorter than it was when we first moved in and still more full of leaves and branches. I will have to do my homework to find out how to get it to do what my neighbor's is doing. It is beautiful in my eyes and the first fruit, I hope, of a budding prayerlife of gardening.
I am grateful for the memory of Aunt Dorothy telling me what to do with that grief without telling me what it is for. She didn't say, One day, you are going to be far away from your sisters and brothers and then you will have to pray for them everytime you look at the flowers. She just brought me out to her garden, at a time that was very vulnerable for me and I drank in the beauty of what she had planted and the beauty of the sentiment that went with it.
Maybe, I'll put my elderly pride aside and ask my neighbor how she got her crepe myrtle to bloom like that?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

For the Activity of My Limbs

Everytime that I would go to testimony service, at church, one of the Older Saints would get up and Thank God "for life, health and strength and for the activity of my limbs." These were not terms that were used in my house. They were foreign to me and so many people would say it, over and over again. I felt like I understood the first half, "life, health and strength" ;but, why the activity of my limbs and in just that way everytime. This wasn't Biblical language, like most of the other enigmatic phrases that the Saints would use to express gratitude and joy. My natural expressions of joy were "Wowee and Far out!" but you can't say that at church testimony service. So I had to find out what it meant, to Thank God for the Activity of my limbs a beautiful statement. Technically, I knew what each of the words meant, but not until now when my knee is frequently and unexpectingly achy enough to make me wonder if it will hold me up do I understand somewhat why, in just that tone of voice, the Godly ones would rise and give God thanks for "The activity of my limbs!"
I said, Ezra, shake your philanges, that is "the activity of your limbs". cleaning up for Aunt Jackie coming over today, that is the activity of your limbs. "Having done all to stand"...and thank God for the activity of MY limbs!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Entering into the mysterious Walker Traditions

Kindergarten assessment was a beautiful experience in the Walker tradition. It reminded me of what was one of the most attractive points of Walkerdom when I first met my husband.
Ben and his sister Gwen had the most interesting sibling relationship I had ever seen. Not at all maternal, definitely sibling and yet the age difference was huge to me. She challenged him and grew him and helped him. By the time, I had come into the family the process was just about over, but I sat in on one or two meetings about his financial aid and other scholastic challenges that Gwen seemed most observant of and interested in. I was awed.
Yesterday, when I came in from Kindergarten Assessment, De-ja-vu happened.
Elyse sat Ezra down in the kitchen and asked him all of the details of the day; her interest as a sister and as his pre-school teacher. I was amazed that without question the family dynamic is being passed down and that the expressions of love, from generation to generation are imitated, when seen, and mystically communicated when never having seen them.
I loved the intimacy of siblings talking about the little details of the Kindergarten world.
Now, if I can only find a place for myself in the communication aspect of these things.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cook pot, hot?

What a humbling experience for me to go from the microscopic view of my family to the telescopic view of "Walkerdom". I do remember the liberty to sit next to my mother-in-law and ask and ask how do you...? She never told me anything in a language style which I could understand. She engaged me in conversation, but she never told me what she did. I was disappointed, most times; even after being with her for years.
I didn't speak the language of Walker, at all. I had no idea that there was such a thing as non-verbal instruction.
I was from a very "Literal" tradition. Words were taken apart and dissected and argued the meaning of and instruction was gained through that means alone.
I sat next to this, my most esteemed mother-in-law and expected to imbibe from her everything that would make me a "suitable helper" to this man I had married that was really in love with her.
It was comfortable for me to play the other woman to Mom. I loved the way that none of the other sister-in-laws seemed to know who was the only love in these boys lives. "One day, I want my boys to be like that to me," I thought.
Mother-in-law what is the secret of your great strength? It must be in the cook pot, I thought. Teach me to cook, please? Tell me(and I meant verbally) how do you command the attention and constant thought of these 10 men. I had truly never seen any power like that, in real life. Part of the reason was that she had been very sick and wouldn't be with us much longer. The years of kidney dialysis were getting to her and the boys knew it, so they doted on her all the more, in their own sweet little ways.
She went on to give me the hand measurement of a bag of flour and mixing the buttermilk or clabba. I had to have a translator translate many of the words and terminologies for things that I had never heard of before. Mother-in-law, what is a clabba, how do you measure a pinch, how big is a handful of baking soda. I was frustrated and there was no one there to help me, get it.
I had to catch her when all of the boys were around and watch what she did then and memorize it.
One of the holidays, when the entire family were together for breakfast and Mom was making my husband's favorite grits and redeye gravy: I got brave enough to learn from Mom by bogarting myself right next to her,despite being quite a low woman on the totumpole. (by this time I had a child already and considered myself fairly competent at gaining the attention of my husband with a hearty breakfast) Redeye gravy was this elusive component of the fully equipping breakfast,which I had brushed it off long enough. I had argued with myself that it was probably something of a dinosaur that was better left in the old "ish" and not to be passed to the next generation because I was certainly not going to get this from Mom(my mother-in-law). I said to myself this is probably another of those pork flavored concoctions that are adding to our human demise; still, if I am going to poison the next generation with my concoctions, I'd better get this one under my belt, was my thought. I sat next to her and said, "Please, may I watch you make the redeye gravy?" They all stuck their fingers down their throats at my formal approach to family care. rightly so. I didn't know how else to say it, though.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


the plastic runners on Grandma Monica's orange carpet. Not a spot or a dot could fall through those runners on her wall to wall orange carpet.
We walked in the door, gave kisses and hugs and crunch, crunch walked or trudged, as the case was usually to the semi-circular couch to watch the adults talk and socialize. "Don't move not!" "Don't break the..." If we would've touched it it would have been broken. She was a keeper of stuff and we enjoyed looking at her well kept stuff, that was half of the fun of going over there.
Keeping my relationships with my children has to uncover the plastic, I think... I am tempted to put plastic over myself and not show the real me to the children. I am tempted to be fake with them and not get spots on myself from interaction with them. I gotta get down and dirty with them. I gotta enter into the thrill of the age that they are. Sleeping under the pretend tent is way over me, or under me.
I have to find a way to be me and survive and still interact with them.
I am trying to keep my carpets and my family. I do like the beauty and fresh feeling of perfectly vaccuumed carpets. When we moved in the carpets had perfect triangles from corner to corner and every Saturday I try to recreate my triangles by vaccuuming from stem to stern as much as time allows. But they are certainly not spotless and I am always working on them from the trudging of evergrowing feet.
No plastic, just work.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

One day Uncle Charles

gave Ezra a lick of his whiskey. I don't mean a lick I mean, everytime Ezra toddled up to him he stuck his finger in the glass and then into Ezra's mouth. Needless to say, Ben was livid. I looked at it as Uncle to nephew bonding time and I really didn't find out about it until Ben flipped.
This little bonding that they did was the only interraction Ezra got from Uncle. He was always telling some little joke about something. Well shortly after he passed away, Ezra woke up with a loud yelp and crying. When I asked him what had happened, he said that he dreamed that he was getting a spanking. I said, isn't that just like Uncle, now that he's in heaven, he sent an angel back to whip Ezra for drinking whiskey from him. Now he knows better, and he had to tell Ez before it was too late.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

100 Word Essays

S.Maria Paul was the meanest teacher on the face of the school-world. Everyday(and I mean everytime we had class) she put 15 or 20 topics on the board and we had 10 minutes to write an essay. This essay would be graded under the awesomely scrutinizing eye of an English genius. I loved it!
I was so sad when she died. Composition class in freshman high-school was exciting and challenging. I had no idea what a dangling participle was or a run-on sentence, or a prepositional phrase or any of the agreed upon correct usages of the English language until I got them wrong in Maria Paul's class.
She was a genius, she knew that the best way to teach us was to let us tell her how much we didn't know everyday.
Thesis statements and iambic pentameter became a tool, because she gave us that tool.
I wrote and wrote and wrote after that and then.

One day My dad found my poem laying around and set the type for it(Archaic; for printed it out on a special machine, his trade). A gift from him to me. He loved the fact that I was writing and couldn't tell me in any better way than to set the type for my poem.

A while ago, I dreamed about my long lost educators; S. Amadeus and S. Maria Paul and S. Jeane Ursula and one other nun that I can't remember who she was. They were sitting next to a broken down wall and doing cross-stitch and I was walking between their chairs while they stitched and every time I walked between the chairs I got a happy feeling and when I was behind them or in front of them I felt regular.
The skills that they were teaching were stitching up Ichabod (I think). The skills of language and communication and self-control and even some of the meanness are skills that build a civilized society and break down some of the effects of idolatry on our fallen wicked race.
At least, it is doing that for me...
(forgive the run-ons):)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I have Aunt Pauline's journal...

It is chock full of intelligence and history and thinking and reminicsences. She had the forethought to put her thinking down for us to ponder. What a treasure that is and gift to us, who never even met her. Adding to the beauty of the thoughtful landscape is real progress. Memories that lead to life, even if some of them are ugly, should not be dispised.
Aunt Pauline lived in a far more difficult day than today is and she found time to read and comment on the current events and great writers of her day. That's probably because she didn't have children, is what I always say.
When you have a quiver like me your life is filled with so many mindless tasks and so much squabble negotiations that there is only time to pick up the scraps of your mind at the end of the day. Thank God for great thinkers who we can follow into mental improvement.

Monday, August 4, 2008

MY o My Yuckie toothpaste...

I simply cannot think of a civilized way to tell my children the importance of keeping the toothpaste clean and in a clean place.
My tendency is to tyrade like my father and throw things around the house and then confess to God after I have made a complete fool of myself. I watched my father brush his teeth to a huge froth in his mouth and down the throat and "God help the child" who squeezed the toothpaste from the middle. It is soooo annoying. I hope that I am able to drill it into them before they get out of the house or before I have a stroke like him trying to drill civilized behavior into them in an uncivilized way.
So many reasons there are for keeping the toothpaste in a clean place and stopping touching it like they do. I think that I may invest in an individual toothpaste for each of the eight of us so that it is up to the user to be hygienic or not. I don't know what else to do.

Title- The Studious One!

Title-  The Studious One!
artwork by Elyse

Of biscuits and syrup

Of biscuits and syrup
tasty treats

Happy Saturday!

Happy Saturday!
a day at the Raptor Center.

Widdle Emmie in outer space school

Emmie jumped on the bus and off it flew out into the atmosphere. There was a set of clouds with turbulence right above the house and it took a few minutes for my Emmie to buckle her seatbelt. They hit the bump hard and it knocked my Emmie out of her seat and she bumped her head. The video camera came on and the monitor looked through and stated, Ms. Emmie, where are you? You are not in your seat. Where are you? I am alright I fell because I hadn’t buckled correctly. Well jump up Emmie we have a long way to go and you have to be buckled there is entirely too much turbulence in the stratosphere for you to unbuckle now. As soon as we are through this weather system there will be straight sailing but right now you must buckle. Emmie scrambled into the seat with intensity and purpose now. She watched every cloud pass her window and her nose was pressed to the window trying to see the top of the house as it drifted slowly out of sight. Soon they were not only out of sight of the house, the sun came out brightly and just as quickly they were putting on the atmospherical breathing apparatus and the outerspherical lights. The ABA and the OL. These precautions were to make them appear to be satellites to the radar as they were out in the ionosphere. Emmie knew all about this now. She had gone to the orientation and had a good breakfast and it took them 20 minutes for her to get out past the atmospherical pull and to feel the zero gravity. It would be 15 minutes before the gravity simulators would take effect, a glitch in the system which was being worked on. Until then, they enjoyed the couple of minutes of floatation, while being connected to the seats by belt. The first thing they saw everyday was the strataflotsam. The items which had been dumped into the atmosphere by earlier generations. What would their generation do about this ecological waste area that remained floating above their heads? This was a question for the generations. For now it was the area that they had to guide through on the way to school.

Midnight at the OASIS

Midnight at the OASIS
Sunset in Huntersville

My little Emmie

ran to the bus on the first day of the last year of school. 2 buns on the side of her head. She kissed me and ran at dawn to the bus. She was starting the adventure of a lifetime. I would never see that little girl again, she was going to woman school!

My Father and I 1989

My Father and I 1989

to the tune of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme


Are you going to Mary Immaculate?

Apricots, Chocolate Cherries and Pie,

Remember me to the one who lived there,

He once was a true love of mine,

Tell him to buy me an acre of land,

Apricots, Chocolate Cherries and Pie,

Between the muddy Hudson in Jamaica Bay,

Then, He’ll be a true love of mine,

Tell him to sow in it seeds of pure cream,

Apricots, Chocolate Cherries and Pie,

And build Ice cream mountains and buildings of whipped cream,

Then, He’ll be a true love of mine,

Tell him to reap them with sickles of M&M’s,

Apricots, Chocolate Cherries and Pie,

And chew bubble gum and eat till we’re done,

Then, He’ll be a true love of mine.

Tell him to run it off down the motor parkway,

Apricots, Chocolate Cherries and Pie,

After your done 50 pushups

and jog down the West Side Highway,

Then he’ll be a true love of mine…

(Don’t wait for me today dad, The kids are sick again, My tummy’s bulging again, My heart is aching again, And now there’s no love there…)

He once was, a true love of mine….So, Girls, I do beg you don't miss your Daddy,Apricots, Chocolate cherries and Pie,You have one short chance to see him on this side, Go visit him and let your light shine.