Monday, June 29, 2009

Things to Love On the Rollercoaster Ride - #4 (a.k.a. return of the blogger)


It turns out those little green bridesmaid dresses make comfy nightgowns.

You don't know, because you weren't there with mama and me, camping out on the front lawn that night, dragging a quilt from the couch, and cozying up to the one other Whitehead woman left-- well, not so much "standing," as collapsed from the weight that collects in one's feet following a month of preparation for the wedding that had just concluded as we blew out the last candle and carried in the last table cloth. The ghosts of elegant white tables still haunted the front lawn, but otherwise we were alone at last.

Every morning of those three and a half weeks we rose early to get the household gears turning, breakfast made, children to their tasks, and we stopped--coffee in hand--for a breather and a desperate prayer on the front step.



""We are going to survive this day.""

And if not, there was always Plan B.

The sun would already be hot, bathing our legs as we wriggled our toes in the damp grass and perched on the cool cement steps, gazing into the distant, surrounding hills--wallpaper for a summer wedding. We had three weeks, two, seven days, a few, a couple...

So Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Mikrut ran down the driveway to escape their bubble-blowing fans.

The crowd of guests reduced to stragglers,
reduced to our generous helping neighbors,
reduced to us on the steps again,
a concentration of one month's concentration.

A tired father-of-the-bride had kissed his own bride goodnight and ushered the relatives off to bed with the kiddos.

And we sat listening to the celebratory sounds settle into silence and starshine. God does answer prayer. We basked in the glow of our miracle. We were wriggling our toes in the floor of Jessie's reception hall, and it had been. . .yes. . .and it was over.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Things to Love On the Rollercoaster Ride - #3


Because a maid of honor. . .

. . .should not be attacking her poison ivy rash. . .

. . .during the wedding.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Things to Love on the Rollercoaster Ride - #2


To get a feel for my summer, you really have to get a feel for my family. Every time I come home I realize how weird we all are. But isn't everyone's family? Yes. The answer is yes, and don't think you are exempt.

Each of my family members has some funny quirks that don't always make sense to me, or that maybe made sense to me as a child but now just seem a little bit odd. Henceforth these unusual little eccentricities shall be given the title "FamilyQuirks," which is to be read as one word and can be broken down into categories such as "DaddyQuirks," "BabyBrotherQuirks" and so on...

MamaQuirks story:

Mom gets up at 5:30am every weekday morning to pack my dad's lunch and wave goodbye from the front porch. Then, at 6:00am, as often as we can manage it, she and I put on our tennis shoes and go walking. We live on a long gravel drive that is exactly 1/2 mile long, so if we go down to the stop sign and back again, we always know we've gone a mile. We usually walk two or three miles and it's a lovely way to start the morning if we have the time. Those three miles seemed longer than usual today, however, as it seems my mother has developed a new habit: rescuing EVERY live worm that she sees "suffering" in the hot sun on the gravel drive. We'll be moving briskly along at that speedwalking pace which you might have noticed I inherited in my genetic makeup, when both tennis shoes and conversations will suddenly be cut short so that my mother can bend her sweats-clad self over, scoop up a dust-covered earthworm, and toss it into the grass with a "there ya go buddy!" and well wishes on its next venture (which will, inevitably, be a journey right back into the hot gravel from whence it was "saved.") Never, mind you, did she do this when I was younger, but as she will be turning the big Five-Zero in two short years, I guess the craziness has to start somewhere! *sigh* My mama is going to be a very quirky little old lady.

Personally, I have my own theory about the little wrigglers. Pin it to my psych-minor thinking tendencies, but it seems to me that they're obviously all manic-depressive and have crawled onto the road of their own volition, desperate for the blazing sun to go ahead and put an end to it all. Hey, if you had to burrow through dirt, all day, every day, only to finally be dug up, stabbed with a giant hook and fed to a fish, you'd probably be suicidal too.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Things to Love on the Rollercoaster Ride - #1


Mine left for camp on Monday. Mom and I filled his suitcase with letters (folded into the shapes of airplanes, cootie-catchers, etc) the night before to help ward off the homesickness, despite the fact that his fifteen-year-old brother will be along as his camp counselor. What can I say? He's a sensitive little "boy genius"--as one of his t-shirts claims--who looks every bit like he's been kidnapped from a Norman Rockwell painting.

Having both of them gone for a week reminds me of just how awesome little brothers really are, particularly at age ten. Several (among countless other) reasons are as follows:

1. Ten-year-old brothers run on a secret superfuel that only expires at chore time.

2. You can never count on what comes out of the mouth of a ten-year-old brother. For example, upon his offer to make me a necklace out of a shell he "found somewhere" and "some string," I hesitated to accept ONLY because "it might not coordinate with many of my outfits." To this he replied "Oh Shells match EVERYTHING! ...And also purple." (By which he meant NOT that shells also match purple, but that purple also matches everything. He bases this fashion certainty on the objective fact that purple is his favorite color.) Lesson learned.

3. Ten-year-old brothers construct very high-tech cardboard box forts, complete with "refrigerators" (consisting of a vertically turned mini cooler) which was handy when he invited me to have lunch with him inside of his fort yesterday. Of course I accepted, and he was the perfect host, serving cold leftover mac'n'cheese, apple slices with peanut butter, peanut butter crackers (he got a little extravagant with the peanut butter), and iced tea from a thermos. He did forget the forks, but climbed over my lap and out of the fort just to run downstairs and get them, so all was well. After lunch we brainstormed for an official fort title, came up with a secret password (which of course can never be revealed), and he gave me the grand tour of all the peep-holes and secret compartments, one of which held a rubber dagger sheathed in a shoelace-wrapped dish towel. This, he informed me, was kept handy "in case we need to defend ourselves from enemies or foes" like our fifteen-year-old brother, who is far too mature and cool to appreciate the intricate beauty of a cardboard box fort.

Ten-year-old brothers = awesome.

Monday, June 8, 2009

My rollercoaster has the biggest ups and downs. Long as it keeps going 'round it's unbelievable!" -KimyaDawson

At the end of the school semester I made a decision that instead of moving home for the next few months, I would stay in Missouri, be responsible, and get a job. Ok, I must admit that a small motivating factor was that I will be graduating in December, so I was also hoping to take it easy and enjoy my last ever summer outside of the "real world." I mean, let's be honest, summer breaks don't happen in reality, only in the fairy-tale world of childhood and seasonal academia.

So I reapplied and was rehired at my old place of employment, signed up for some volunteer work, and planned for lots of free time to practice guitar, go to the lake, and catch up on that pleasure reading that somehow evades all English majors. I drove home for a week-long visit with my fam in NashVegas and then headed back to the Ozarks to carry out my plans for the best last summer break ever.

"Map out your future, but do it in pencil lines" -JonBonJovi

Unfortunately, it seems my baby sister was not as in-tune with my summer plans as the world clearly ought to be. In fact, she was obliviously caught up this apparently big ordeal of FallingInLoveAndGettingProposedTo. (I know, right?!) Not only that, but she somehow thought it would be a good idea to schedule her wedding for the end of June. This June. Y'know, that month that started a few days after I got back to Missouri? And as we are all well aware, your truly is the designated Maid of Honor.

It would be impossible to explain the chaos that inevitably followed, but, suffice to say, after a few hundred telephone conversations and grovelling for a dozen or so favors, I went in for my first day at work and apologetically informed my manager that I might be quitting. (She was gracious, and basically gave me the month off. After all, I don't know if I mentioned this, but the wedding is at the end of June! So I'll be back soon.) Then I re-packed my recently un-packed belongings, loaded my life back into the trunk (and back seat, and passenger seat) of my little Camry and headed back to the hills of Tennessee. And here I am.

"When God throws a curveball, don't duck. You just might miss something." -Anonymous

I'll be honest: I'm not too good with spontaneity! I had to take a lot of deep breaths. But when it comes down to it, I can think of worse things than a month of hanging with my favorite people in the world, helping my baby sister (who doubles as my best friend) to plan the wedding that she and I have dreamed about our entire lives.

So I'm cutting my losses, counting my blessings, and spending a splendid month on the Whitehead family farm. In the meantime, I'll be keeping a running tab of the things that make life's little moments of chaos totally worthwhile, and I'll probably be a better person for it.

God knows, if we can pull off a wedding by the end of June, we can do anything!

"Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around . . . I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it." -GrandmaBuckman