Wednesday, November 25, 2009

High School Football in Texas

My brother has been a coach for many years.  Our son Scott has been a coach for not quite so many years.  Chuck and Scott have always had a close relationship, ever since Scott was born, and now they are coaching at the same high school in East Texas.

If you asked either one of them why they teach, they would say, because they won't let me coach unless I teach.

Chuck played football in high school and college.  So did Scott.

We lived in Denison, a small town near the Texas-Oklahoma border.

Denison won the Texas state football championship two years in a row.  Scott was part of that.  And so were we, and the rest of the town.  

During the playoffs, businesses closed on Friday night because everybody was at the game.

Season tickets were handed down like family heirlooms.

More people showed up to watch practices than were in the stands for other teams during game time.

In bigger cities, high school football is not quite as intense, but in small towns, with only one high school, it is literally the only game in town.

In Texas, coaches' careers ride on the backs of teen-age warriors battling on the football field.  If the team wins, the coach gets to keep his job.  If the team looses, he starts looking for another job.

Scott and Chuck are working together now.  Their families spend a lot of time together on weekends.  We go to the games, and sit with family, watching our guys work.

This year, Jefferson went two-deep in the playoffs.  The game was a close one, 14-7.  Jefferson lost, but it was a close game.  The boys played hard.  Only 8 starters are graduating, so next year's team will have a strong foundation of experienced players.

Our grandson will be playing next year.

Once more, we will be sitting in the stands, whether it is 105 in the shade in August, or 45 in November.  If it rains, we have water-proof boots, a large plastic dropcloth, and a big umbrella.  If it snows, we have thick jackets, fleecy scarves, and wooly gloves.

Rain or shine, hot or cold, we follow our team.

When Scott stopped playing, we thought those days were gone forever.

Next fall is going to be a lot of fun.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Indian Summer Day

Gaggle of geese, sleeping on the banks of the lake, heads tucked under wings.

One gander, neck stretched high, head swiveling, watching for predators.

Sunshine on our shoulders, warm as a hug.

Lake rippling in a light breeze.

Chicken salad, fresh whole-grain homemade bread, crisp lettuce, sweet onions for a picnic lunch.

Wick laughing as a goose eats stale bread from his hand.

Grandchildren running, climbing, laughing, shouting to one another.

Sated geese drifting away across the water like scattered bread crumbs.

Cast your bread upon the waters, and it will return to you ten-fold.

Mostly in the form of goose poop all over the grass.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

An Airline Brat Goes Camping

Jeana's husband works for an airline.  Most of their traveling is by airplane.

However, a few weeks ago, they decided to go tent camping.

They were in the process of gathering up equipment, packing clothes, and putting food in ices chests, when one of the kids asked:

"Hey, will the campground provide towels?"

No, and they don't do hot breakfasts, either.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Going to the Zoo

Ever since my long illness last winter, I have struggled with limited mobility. I can walk, with a cane, but not very far. I can walk with a walker a little further, because it lets me sit down frequently to rest.

But long walks, trips to the mall, for example, are just out of my range for now.

My darling husband realizes how frustrating this limitation is, and tries to find ways to compensate. He got me an electric wheel chair, but it is large and hard to load, and impossible right now with his right arm in a splint and sling.

So he found me one of those lightweight electric scooters. He struggles to load it one-armed, but it is surprising how often someone volunteers to help with loading and unloading.

A couple of weeks ago, on a beautiful fall day, we took my little red scooter and went to the zoo with Jeana and her children.

Since they are homeschooling, we got to go on a Tuesday, when most kids are sitting in a classroom, instead of roaming the zoo, laughing at the monkeys, and racing up and down the ramps.

We had a picnic, sat in the sun and soaked up its late-fall warmth, picked up the reddest leaves I have ever seen...soft and supple still, a vivid russet red that seemed to glow like an ember in my hand, holding within itself the promise of winter and of the renewal of life in the spring.

Our grandchildren took turns walking along with me, talking about everything we saw, and expressing pride in me for coming along on their adventure, even though I had to do it on my little red scooter.

Wick and I "walked" along together, me able to keep up with his long strides, and laughingly lamenting that we can't hold hands as we stroll--I because I need to steer the scooter, and he because he has his right arm in a splint--closest thing to a normal walk in a long, long time.

Life is full of simple pleasures, things for which to be thankful. On this day, I realized it in the moment, instead of days or years later.

Life is a gift. Love is a gift. I am blessed to have both.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Winter Is on Its Way

Cold weather, wind blowing, leaves falling like snow.

Chicken is simmering on the stove, filling the air with its fragrance.

We are sitting in front of the fire, toasting our toes, and looking at the lake through the window.

Quilts are on the beds.

Warm houseshoes have been found where they were hiding in the depths of the closet, and sweats, warm, cozy, comfortable, are the attire of the day.

Clouds blow across the sky, with patches of blue sky and sunshine peeking through now and then.

The pantry is full; the freezer is stocked.

The harvest is gathered in.

Our hearts are filled with thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

She Has Her Mother's Sense of Humor

Conversation between daughter Jeana and her eldest, Katoushka, age 13:

K: Why are you wearing a Christmas sweater in October?

Jeana: It's not a Christmas sweater.

K: Yes it is, it's red and green.

J: No, it's red and shades of grey, see?

K: Red and grey? What kind of Christmas sweater is that?