Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Rembering Egypt...

As the history of Israel progresses through the Old Testament, Egypt becomes a symbol of slavery and oppression, a place from which they need to delivered and which ultimately resulted in the Exodus and some great movie footage a few thousand years later.

But Egypt wasn’t always the oppressor or a bad place to be. In fact, there are probably more stories about Egypt being a place of safe haven than otherwise. If one looks back at how Israel ended up in Egypt in the first place, their move to Egypt saved them. Egypt became an incubator for the Jews: they had food to eat, they were nurtured and protected, and they didn’t have to go to war to fight off any of the peoples who occupied the land that had been promised to them. That came later.

What might have happened to them had the “evil brothers” not sold their younger brother Joseph to traders who were going to Egypt and who in turn sold him… and so unfolds a rather amazing series of “coincidences” that end up with Joseph more or less running things in Egypt at about the time the famine breaks out and…

And then we fast forward to somewhere around the cusp of when B.C. became A.D., where we read the story of a new father who follows the advice he is given in a dream to take his wife and young son and flee to Egypt to escape King Herod, who has murder on his mind… and we know how that turned out.

I didn’t mean to do a Bible study here on the morning of the anniversary of the day I got married 42 years ago, but a scene replayed itself here a few weeks ago that reminded me so pointedly of our own “Egypt” experience.

We left California when our boy was about 18 months old and moved to Oregon, where we stayed for about 2 years before we moved here. Oregon became our Egypt. I don’t have to wonder too hard what would have happened had we not fled to “Egypt”: I am almost positive our marriage would not have survived. 

We had a good spring for strawberries here and Judy invited me to pick berries because she had more than she knew what to do with. Lucky her. Richard decided to tag along to visit with her husband so off we went. It was still overcast from the rain we had received a day or two earlier and I was soggy from the knees down.

The first place we lived in Oregon was in Lebanon. Strawberries grow quite well in that area of the Willamette Valley – and it only takes a transplanted California girl a few seconds to give away that she is not from Oregon by how she pronounces Willamette and indeed, Oregon. The town still has an annual Strawberry Festival.

U-Pick was a way for small landowners to earn extra money in the late 1970s when we were living there, and perhaps it still is. I was more than happy to go into the field and pay for the strawberries I picked.

But our Oregon experience wasn’t mainly about exchanging big city living for rural life and picking fruit and vegetables and learning to can and butchering chickens. It was about the incredible, nurturing friendships we developed among the Mennonite people who lived in the Willamette Valley, and who welcomed us into their homes and into their lives. It was about us being able to start over in a new place so we could stop the destructive cycle that was on the verge of destroying our marriage.

We wanted to stay in Oregon in the worst way, and I am not sure now why it was that we were not able to do that… but we ended up here…

I noticed one thing several hours after we came home from Judy’s with the strawberries.

There was a lot less pain associated with inching down the rows of strawberries when I was 30 years old than there was at 60 something.

My husband has surprised me with an adventure today... and so off we go…

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Oh what a time I had with....

I picked up an earworm last night, thanks to something my dearly beloved said, and I have been hearing it off and on all day. Perhaps it will go away if I write about it?


You know, a bit of music or a jingle that you hear in your head over and over even when it is not being played.

Let’s rewind back to the mid-1950s and early 1960s, when Marineland of the Pacific was perched a low cliff above the ocean on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Southern California.

I loved going there. The aquarium had lots of innovations for its time, but I especially liked the nice way it had exhibited its octopus and loved watching that amazing creature with its rather creepy eyes. Marineland must have been a relatively inexpensive place to visit because I remember that we went there fairly often.

On one particular occasion, another family was with us (and I have no clue now who they were), and for almost the entire drive to the attraction, my father and the other man sang the lyrics to Minnie the Mermaid. Fortunately for us, it was not a very long drive.

Never heard of Minnie the Mermaid?

There were several versions of the song with bawdy lyrics, and my mother certainly would not have allowed him to sing the original versions in front of us, so I suspect he sang a G-rated version, such as the one that was on the Lawrence Welk show.

So… moving right along and now it is 2013.

Last night Richard was talking to Miss Molly and I don’t know what she did – and he doesn’t either at this point – but he said,

Molly, you’re a moron.

Actually, of course, she is not a moron. She is fairly smart for a dog.

But reminding myself that she is not a moron was too little and too late… all of a sudden, full-blown in my head, I heard to the tune of Minnie the Mermaid

Oh what I time I had with Molly the Moron, 
as we went walking down the road…

Silly me. Of course writing about it and finding the You-Tube video did not make it go away. Not at all.
It is so much fun remembering my Dad’s humor and exuberance, especially as Father’s Day approaches, I suppose if I have to “hear” Minne the Mermaid for a little while longer before it goes away… that’s OK too.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

It is inevitable that when we venture to California, at least one large family gathering will be planned and photographs are taken. Always. All of us “kids” are now on the far side of 50, and one of us is on the far side of 60. There is now an empty spot in the photographs where my mother used to sit, and one never knows when it will be before yet another face will be missing from the picture.

Having said all that, taking the photograph can be an adventure. We usually start off somewhat composed and behaving ourselves…
 But inevitably, one of my brothers (usually the one with the beard, but sometimes the other one, too) wants us to do something silly. And we always do.

  Naturally, some of these silly pictures are the ones we cherish the most. 

I recently took Molly Wolly Doodle to the groomer to get her spruced up and I thought it would be nice to have a picture of her. But because it is almost impossible to get her to sit still long enough to get the picture taken, I decided to recruit my dearly beloved to help me out.

He is normally quite reluctant to have his picture taken at all, much less to allow me to show it to anybody, but indeed he did this time.

And it started off OK...

but then, well, this happened…

And he did it all on his own. I think he loves this family he married into very much.