On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on May 19, 2022:

The City Girl column first began with a Letter to the Editor in September of 2011. When I continued to submit my thoughts from time to time, Earl Hill gave me print space. After several stories about the adventures and misadventures of being out of my city element, he began heading my column “City Girl,” and the name stuck. I still have my moments of showing my city roots, but almost eleven years later, there are periods of time when I’m definitely more country than city.

Around Easter David and I did a tour of the yard and noticed several wild blackberry vines in bloom. They’re more scarce than they were when we first moved here since the Virginia Creeper has taken over most of their favorite spots, but there are still enough to be of interest to cobbler fans. So, early last week I donned my berry-picking clothes, grabbed an overly-optimistic-sized container, and headed out.

I only found about half a cup of ripe berries, but it was fun searching for the small treasures hidden under other plants and often sheltered by a canopy of spider webs. It was also fun being able to distinguish the blackberry vines among the miscellaneous tangle of leaves without having to see the actual berries or having David along to point them out. I did, however, bring home an uninvited guest. When I was changing back into my “house clothes,” I felt a tickle on my shoulder. I discovered a small tick looking for a place to dig in, and like any good country girl, I sent him on a free tour of the Brendle septic system.

Later in the week, David and I planned a quick day trip to the city. There are few things that will entice us into an area where there are real traffic jams instead of a two-block backup at one of the three traffic lights in town, but the promise of a new pistol for the next meeting of Armed Women of America did the trick. If you read my earlier columns about my experiences in learning to shoot, you’ll know that I’ve been looking for something that works well for weak, arthritic hands. When one of the major manufacturers released a new .22 in March, I was immediately interested – but so was everybody else.

The guns were hard to find, and the demand resulted in asking prices of more than double the suggested retail price. Every day David searched a number of websites, and he finally found one that I could at least look at in person. It was comfortable in my hand, and I could actually pull back the slide without pain – but the price was still too high. Persistence pays off, though, and on Thursday he found one at list price at Scheels sporting goods store in The Colony. The only problem was that it was only available for pickup, but he decided a few gallons of gas was a small price to pay to please his bride, so we planned David and Linda’s Big Adventure for the next day.

To say we were overwhelmed by the experience would be an understatement. If it hadn’t been for our GPS backed up by Google Maps on my phone, we would still be going round in circles on Highway 121. I’ve heard others say they take advantage of trips to the city to shop at favorite stores and eat at favorite restaurants, but we couldn’t wait to pick up our purchase and head back to a place with less concrete and a whole lot fewer vehicles. I’ll let you know how the new pistol works out after the next AWA meeting.

Saturday was busy but much less stressful in a country-living sort of way. We began by meeting several Senior Center friends at the American Legion for breakfast. When they began clearing the tables around us, we decided it was time to move on to Hooten’s where David needed to pick up a couple of things for a bit of plumbing and mower repair. I thought about asking him to drop me at Good Samaritans for the “Saturday sale,” but helping Perkins with his garden had me itching to get some dirt under my fingernails. I visited the Garden Center while David shopped for hardware, and I came home with a couple of Caladiums and a few other flowers that I hope will survive in the partial shade by our porch.

I changed into work clothes and checked for berries one more time before it got too hot. I was about to begin work on the flowers when David said he needed help. Our neighbors recently had a new fence installed to pen in their mini petting zoo, and the installer had left the twine that had marked the fence line on the ground on our side. That twine was now tangled around two of the three lawnmower blades. I held the flap over the discharge chute out of the way while David cleared the first blade, but he couldn’t reach the middle blade. When you’re small, you sometimes get to be a chimney sweep in Mary Poppins, a fighter pilot in the planes with small cockpits, or you get to lie on the ground and untangle a very long piece of twine from the spindle of the middle lawnmower blade.

Once the twine was dealt with, I provided a third hand to replace a nut that held the mower deck in place. Then I was finally able to bed down my plants in what I hope will be an attractive arrangement for the summer. By the time I was finished, I had plenty of dirt under my fingernails and was ready for my second shower of the day. No ticks this time, but I did discover a small rash on my elbow the next day that might be poison ivy. I’m still enough of a city girl that I don’t always recognize the three-leafed pest, but I’m enough of a country girl that I have plenty of remedies in the medicine chest.

Blessings,

Linda

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Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

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