It’s a hoot for me to run across phrases with universality – ones written for now, for me, for my life. Like this one. “…we are all drawn to the familiar in moments of disruption and situations of uncertainty.” Though from a book printed in 2019, it fits these days we are trudging through. Often I sense time sailing by. Not lately. Time is a square clock being kicked through a soggy feed lot.
What do I know about a soggy feedlot, you ask? Enough. Having lived on a farm for a brief time with a son active in high school FFA and jazz band, I had the fun of doing some of his chores when he was on field trips. It was fun for real, but it could be messy, too. One afternoon, still in teaching attire – skirt/sweater/ hose/heels – I stepped out of my shoes into my boots, grabbed a bucket and traipsed back and forth twixt the feed in the barn and the troughs in the lot. Cows are creatures of routine with exceptional hearing and timing. They were lining up at the troughs by the time I reached the gate. The farther into the lot I stomped, the soupier the muck was. I don’t walk fast in optimum conditions, so when I stepped out of one boot grabbed by the swampy mess, I had time to back up and reboot before I lost the other. All the troughs were finally filled to order and surrounded by lots of big cows. As I turned to lock the gate, I saw some stragglers, some little ones who couldn’t find space at the table and looked at me with those hungry longing eyes. Back to the barn for one more bucketful to pour into an unused trough. The way the calves were watching me, I felt confident we could pull it off – sneak food in so they could have some dinner before the big cows caught on. Wrong. Looming ever larger behind the younger ranks were the bigger noisier ones. I had to get out of the way FAST. This time the slurpy muck grabbed BOTH boots and down I went. I made it to the target trough pretty much using one hand, two knees and stockinged feet, emptied the bucket between a couple of curious calves, slung it over the fence and headed to the gate. Not the mud bath of ritzy spas. Little short on aromatic oils and plush bath robes. Thankfully the sprint in the altogether to my front door was without witness, since I was out of options and my clothes.
Where was I going? Oh, yes, to being “drawn to the familiar in moments of disruption and situations of uncertainty,” a thought penned by Tim Schenck in Holy Grounds. During the last couple of months I have leaned on some favorite familiars and re-discovered some former comfort-inducing activities and foods.
*Raisin bran – The last run I personally made to the grocery, I grabbed some. After years without even thinking about it, it’s my breakfast each morning and on every grocery list.
*Coffee’s aroma – Yes, I am drinking it, too, not making it purely to sniff, but it’s the smell that brings me comfort since that was a consistent part of my life long before drinking it was.
*A sunny nap – This one has been harder to come by, but napping on a rug in the warmth of the sun’s rays is a nostalgic nod to the security of my childhood.
*Pepsi – Gotta be cold, poured into a glass with real ice cubes and sipped infrequently since it is full of sugar that my grownup self doesn’t need. It satisfies like none other sitting on the porch after a round of mowing.
*Listening to the radio – Mom always had it on when I was a city kid, listening to big band stuff. Dad listened to Cardinal games, sometimes watching them on TV with the sound turned off, preferring the radio commentary. After settling in Doniphan, we lived several years without an antenna, so without TV. KDFN kept us connected to the outside world and helped us become friends with our new one. Radio rocks.
What familiar favorites are encouraging you these days?