Skip to main content

Before Breakfast

The sun is shining through the windows in the bedroom. It's a perfect morning. I put my feet on the floor to begin the day and step on tufts of dog hair. It's a perfect morning to give Henrie a bath. Lauren gathers up the dog brush, the shampoo, the towel and the leash. I gather up the dog and attach her to the leash on the back patio. Claire turns on the hose.

Lauren runs water over Henrie's back. Henrie twists and pulls away from the spray. I pull her back. The black carpet that is her fur repels the water. It runs onto the patio. It soaks into my pajama bottoms. The sun is warm so I don't mind the cold water. Charlie comes outside carrying a fork and spoon. "Get me some breakfast." When he sees the hose, he drops the silverware and wants to help. Lauren hands him the hose and he turns me into a contestant for a wet tee shirt contest. I am glad for the privacy of our backyard.

Lauren unscrews the top on the shampoo bottle. Faith, Claire and Charlie reach out their hands to help work the soap into lather. Ten hands massage Henrie. She seems resigned to it. The puddle that is collecting in the low spot distracts Charlie. He wades in. He jumps. Faith and Claire join him. They kick...water sprays up and splashes over their heads.

Lauren holds the hose over Henrie. I work the soap out of her fur. Our heads are close together as we work. Twice we bump foreheads. Charlie brings a bowl over. He sets it down in front of Lauren. "I want big water!" Lauren obliges...or tries to. The force of the spray sends the bowl careening across the deck. Charlie thinks this is hysterical. He brings the bowl back, "Do it again, Lauren!"..."Again!"..."Again!"

It takes a lot of rubbing and a lot of water before Henrie's fur begins to feel clean. The hose is turned over to the little ones who take turns spraying golden arches of water over their heads. I dry the dog with a big green towel. She shakes. When I open the door to the house she rolls and slides on the carpet to dry some more.

The little ones drip to the garage to remove wet clothing. They wrap up in fluffy towels and head to the shower. I go to my end of the house to shower and change. Lauren takes maple scones out of the oven. John gets up. It is a perfect morning!

Posted by Picasa


Popular posts from this blog

Spelling Wisdom

One day while skipping around the internet, I came across these:

And when I clicked on the sample, I knew we had to change spelling curriculums. Again. Goodbye Spelling Power and MacMillan and Sequential Spelling! We've found our true love.

The problem with the afore mentioned curricula is sheer boredom. Memorizing lists of words is mind numbing and as my children don't like their school work to lull them to sleep, they often push spelling to the side in favor of more exciting lessons.

When I found Spelling Wisdom, I realized what has been missing: an idea, something to engage the mind so that learning the difference between than and then occurs almost incidentally.

Sandra Shaffer uses the writings of famous men and women (Helen Keller, Beethoven, Winston Churchill...), Bible passages and quotes from quality literature...poems and novels (Robinson Crusoe, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, All the World's a Stage...) to teach more than six thousand frequently used word…


My sister-in-law lugs a heavy bucket of water around her herb garden, gives each plant a long sip. "It's been three weeks since we've had rain," she sighs looking out over the dusty vegetable garden and the shriveled brown grass in the pasture beyond. We help my brother pick beans and pull the weeds around them. The dry ground pulls back and some of the weeds snap off above the roots. We give up in the strawberry plants, sit on the porch, listen to the dogs pant.

We travel home in an air conditioned bubble. The whole length of the Shenandoah valley is crispy brown, the corn stunted. We pull into our Amish county driveway, greener here but the grass is short and the air hot. We breathe shallow breaths, unpack, crank the air conditioning. No rain in the forecast, three weeks and counting.

Saturday there will be a wedding, an outdoor wedding, and finally rain threatens. Stuart is on the phone with the bride. "Pray that the rain holds off," she says. Saturday w…

Until Death...

Kindred spirits, Anne would call them.  Two who complete each other, two who are together,  soul mates one cannot imagine apart.  I can count the kindred marriages I know on a couple of fingers and after last week, that count is down by one.

"You look so happy," Dave says as Stuart and I stand awkward and wordless before him.  I bend down to wrap my arms around him and wonder, Where is the good in this?  Where? A week before we bumped into Dave and his wife, Deb, down at the Famous Brands.  Deb glowed with good health and good news and for the remainder of the day we basked in the unexpected good fortune of meeting these old friends.  And now there is Dave minus Deb.  How can this be?
"It is one of the mysteries of our nature that a man, all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live."  Mark Twain's Own Autobiography
"You look so happy." We do not look happy but somehow this remark makes sense because Dave has loved with …