Monday, May 31, 2010

Recent Ramblings

I haven't posted for the last 11 days because I was a) obsessing over having TWO deadlines to meet [my column as always and then a short essay for the 30th anniversary edition of Living More With Less, which was way ahead of its time back in 1980 when it addressed issues of stewardship and responsibility in a global context, sort of Christian and green long before that combination was cool. Well, as we all know I am Christian but neither green nor cool, just old-fashioned and trying to be responsible, hence the essay.] and b) posting short updates on Facebook that didn't seem blog-worthy about the big BMS bunch's trip to the International Student Convention. I had insisted that I'm not going to abandon blogging for Facebook, but I kind of did.

So, with the essay sent off by mistake to everyone on the Living More With Less New Edition Yahoo Group, instead of just the editor, and with a good start on my column, here are a few ramblings about my life.

First, a few results from Convention. Paul's niece Stephy won the championship in girls' table tennis, one Bible bowl team from our school placed 2nd and the other 15th, the basketball team placed fourth, Ben's science project was 5th, Ben's speech was 11th which was disappointing because I thought sure it would be in the top 5 but what do I know, I'm just a mom, Isaiah was 7th in his category of archery, and the one-act play was something like 13th.

But the best thing was being with lots of other great kids from all over the world and the renewed spiritual commitments and the great memories made. There were 11 people in the van, coming home, and they travelled for three days without driving each other crazy, which shows God's miraculous grace at work, I think.

Meanwhile I got very irritated because instead of having a nice vacation while they were gone I had to get up every morning and schlep a certain teenage son to school and pick him up again in the afternoon. Since the curriculum is individualized, as soon as the kids finish their year's work in the last two weeks they can stay home. Well, this guy sees no need to hurry with anything, ever, and did not understand why it was a big deal for me to spend an hour on the road every day.

But he finally finished and then we went on the mother-son trip that was supposed to happen when he was twelve and for various reasons got put off till now. First we had to wait for the rain and river levels to cooperate, a bit tough when we had exactly one clear day in the month of May, and then we went up to the Alsea River, in the Coast Range, with his Uncle Philip [one of three Uncle Philips, so known as Uncle Phil Big Socks] [don't ask] who handed me a neoprene abomination that encased me to the armpits but let me stand in a mountain stream without getting cold and wet.

And we fished. Cast and reel, walk along the river, fight the current, cast and reel. Phil and his brothers used to go up there and catch their limit of ten each by noon, but we weren't doing well at all. Phil and Steven moved on upriver at one point while I stood under a beautiful covered bridge and admired the scenery and the rushing river and felt proud of myself for remembering how to cast from my fishing expeditions in Ontario 20 years ago, and hoped I'd eventually catch something.

I did. It was a fish. A lovely little trout that was beautiful and shiny and smooth. I pulled it out of the water and realized I had not thought beyond this moment. That amazing fish was dangling in front of me with a horrible hook in its cheek and I didn't have a ruler to see if it was regulation size or a pair of pliers to remove the hook or a bucket for the fish, or anything. It was awful. I kept apologizing to the fish as I waded upstream looking for the guys, who turned out to be a long way away, on the other side of the river. I was on my own. I kept tossing the fish back in the water to keep it alive, which probably just prolonged the torture.

Finally I got back to the covered bridge, fought my way up the steep bank, found Steven's tackle box in the pickup, opened it with one hand, and clicked his Leatherman into a pair of pliers. The suffering fish still hung miserably from the hook. I forced myself to grasp it with one hand so I could remove the hook, but it was so muscular and slimy and snaky I couldn't stand it. Then I wrapped part of my sweatshirt around it and held on, which was still terrible, and I worked out the hook, and with a convulsive jerk the fish yanked itself out of my hand and flipped right into the cooler. Its blood was on my sweatshirt and I was feeling queasy and cruel and the old revival meeting song about "Their blood is on our hands" kept running through my mind.

Jesus, have mercy, I said. Please. Have mercy.

And I survived. We kept fishing, ate lunch on a blanket beside the road, caught three keepers, and wore ourselves out, and somewhere in there Steven and I forgave each other for all the last-week-of-school irritation and had a nice mother-son bonding time.

Jenny was going to spend the day with Matt when we went fishing, but when the weather finally behaved itself, Matt had to work and couldn't babysit. So to compensate for Jenny's disappointment just a bit, we spent an evening with him, seeing his new apartment and going out to eat. Then we took him back to his apartment and went to WinCo for groceries.

You know how I am always in line behind the lady whose debit card doesn't work and she tries it five times and finally calls her husband? Well I have had lots of choice things to say about such women, and then wouldn't you know it, it happened to me. Steven and Jenny had bagged up all $105 worth of stuff, and I swiped, swiped again, handed the card to the clerk who tried it three times, desperately tried the ATM, and, yes, called my husband, who was off in Kentucky instead of in the parking lot like all the other irritating ladies' husbands.

Oh, the shame.

The clerk was a 30-something man who looked bored and like he wanted to say, "Yeah, right" when I insisted hysterically that the card ALWAYS works just fine, really it does, and this has NEVER happened to me before.

I had $71 in cash in my wallet. Steven, Jenny, and I pulled cheese and detergent and ice cream out of the cart and handed them to the cashier until the numbers had ticked down to $71.32.

We headed for the car. Steven was beyond mortified. He said,

Quote of the Day:
"This. is the most. embarrassing. day. of my life."


  1. I was behind a young woman the other day who this happened to... I don't think she had a husband to call tho:-( I was kind because this has happened to me in the past, and well, the lady behind me was not.. shall we say.. kind. So yeah, lesson learned.

  2. WE never use debit because they're not secured and safe. Our bank credit card is paid off each month and we earn money that's applied to our mortgage principle. If there's a suspicious charge, the bank calls and lets us know. We're protected against theft and fraud. Your card magnet could have been messed up. Did you get a new card?

  3. Karen Layman6/01/2010 10:16 AM

    The fish story made me laugh.....a lot. I can so imagine myself in that scenerio...apologizing to the fish...having some revival song running through my head.....HOOT!

  4. Dorcas, PLEASE don't abandon blogging for Facebook, because I'm NOT on facebook, and I love to read your ramblings such as these!!

  5. Oh, I LAUGHED at your credit card predicament! I meant to get some cash with my last check at the bank today, but forgot. Then when I swiped my credit card at the Dollar General, I was declined because I don't know my PIN (Duh, Pam!). So I wound up using that last check, which I realized God had saved to bale me out! Though I feigned nonchalance and confidence, I was embarrassed, as yes, there were others waiting behind me. (This is the short version of the story!) So your post struck a cord with me. Ah, well, it happens to the best of us..........!! :) :)
    -PC in VA

  6. Ohhh Dorcas, I think it may be safe to say that it might have also been one of the most embarrassing days of YOUR life as well! Funny!

  7. I still carry my checkbook just in case the card fails me!

  8. My sons tell me I must have hit the "debit" button instead of "credit" because they don't ask for your PIN with credit. I don't know.........all I know is that I've never been asked before for my PIN, and that I was SURE I"d hit "credit"......... -PC in VA

  9. my he live long enough for there to be a most embarrassing moment when he is the center, not you!