Friday, May 9, 2014

Thanks Mom, by H. Michael

When I was a young boy of eleven or twelve growing up in a suburb of Salt Lake City, I decided I wanted to make some money while school was out on break for the summer.  Utah is very popular with fisherman and it was easy for a young kid to make some cash catering to those using earthworms, or as we referred to them: night crawlers, for bait.   I suppose worms were called night crawlers because one had to hunt them at night when it was cool, and the grass was damp from watering or rain. 
I embarked on my scheme to sell worms by first making a place to put them once I caught them.  I recall building a box, open on the top and bottom, about six inches deep, from scrap lumber.  There wasn’t a need for a bottom because I put the box on concrete in the breeze way of our carport.  I filled the four foot, by four foot box with dirt and peat moss from the flower beds around the house and I was set to begin hunting for worms.

On most nights that summer my mom would take me to Riverside Park after the sun had set to hunt down, and take into custody, the creepy crawlers.  We would find an area in the park that had the right amount of moisture in the soil and begin our hunt.  We both would crawl on our hands and knees with a flashlight and tin can, sweeping our flashlights back and forth, until a night crawler was spotted stretched out on the grass.  Concentration was necessary in order to sneak up on the worm because it seemed like they could sense they were being stalked, and if we weren't careful, dart back down their hole.   Cautiously we would reach out and try to grab the dirty buggers.  With practice we learned if we could get our fingers on it, before it completely disappeared; we could usually get it out of the hole in one piece.  But, oh what a mighty battle it was. 
We would labor on our hands and knees on the wet grass well into the night.   My mother would crawl in her preferred direction, and I would crawl in mine.  Occasionally, I would look up from my single minded task and just watch my mother.  She would be at least fifty yards away, in the pitch dark night, with her flashlight casting a glow on the ground in front of her, pinching night crawlers off the grass, and depositing them in her can.   Only a mother would help a young boy on summer nights catch fish bait.

I have seen more than fifty summers come and go since I sold worms to fisherman.  Becoming wealthy was never part of the equation because that summer night crawlers sold for about 25 to 35 cents a dozen.  I have come to realize the real wealth I made that summer is the deposit in my memory of my mother, with dirt caked on her palms, and muddy knees, whooping and hollering with joy because she won another battle with a worm.

Thanks mom!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Moving On(board) by Janet Lee

This week Michael and I reached a significant milestone in our predetermined five year blueprint to shift our lives onto AdventureUS2.  The strategic objective leading us headlong into the final phase began with a swift and decisive motion of the pen, and ended with a sign from a local realtor being placed in our yard.  Yep, we did it.  We put Casa del Dos up for sale.  

How do I feel?   I feel anxious and excited.  Up until now the impact of our decision to downsize and move onto AdventureUs2 has mostly been on an easygoing path, and at a casual pace.   However the trail has reached a major crossroads, one in which the pace will ramp up several notches, and changes will occur at a much faster tempo.   Suffice it to say I must somehow find the strength, courage, patience, and endurance to run an excellent race because the end reward is a prize we have been training for, and dreaming of, for a long time.

We have had 3 garage sales in the last couple of years, but still need one more gargantuan, mother-of-them-all sale. The do or die sale.   The sale to relieve us of all most of our stuff.  I love our home, and I love our stuff.  But in the end, it is really only just stuff.  Am I ready for this?  Will this be life altering?  Will it be liberating?  Will it be disengaging?  I hear that it is, I hope that it is, after all, it is just stuff. 

I sure could use a good shoulder to cry on some counseling and encouragement from any of the experts that have already gone through the cleansing.   What should I do with the little rocking chair that my mother rocked in as a child?  The same one I rocked in as a little girl.  The same one my daughters rocked in and played mommy with their baby dolls and stuffed animals?  I don't know.   I guess that too, is just 'stuff.   

I know this current stream of emotions shall pass when we, as Jim Morrison and the Doors once said: "break on through to the other side".  Once there; will we be open to a different kind of life journey because we are free of most our material stuff in life? Will we explore new avenues and experiences based on our lack of material encumbrance?  Will we be able to set fresh goals and discover, yet to be told, adventure stories?   Our lives will most definitely be altered, because we won't have much 'stuff', but then what?  

Stay tuned to find out.