O my God, “Happy Easter”? My yard looks more like “Merry Christmas.” This snowy Monday morning seems to have killed off any possibility of life. But OMG, when You make up Your mind, not even an uncooperative weatherman can stop Your Resurrection!
O my God, thank You for seeing us through another time change. I feel for pastors, as yesterday was the crankiest Sunday of the year. OMG, shouldn’t the law that gave us Daylight Savings Time also fund high-octane coffee, plus three doughnuts apiece, to sweeten tempers?
*Title credited to Phil Callaway
A hometown crowd cheers and munches hot dogs and popcorn.
It’s the season of Little League Love.
Unlike most onlookers, my husband and I are at a comfortable spectator stage, our children grown.
So I can actually watch games, which I rarely did during my son’s baseball career. Like many moms, I spent years sitting on the bleachers with eyes tightly shut, only opening them when I visited the concession stand.
We fans really try to behave. But when offspring are involved, the most righteous dad sometimes lets loose a tirade. The gentlest, sweetest grandma grows fangs when the umpire dares call her grandson out.
Of course, I never acted like that. I do, however, admit to going a little overboard in motivating my child, egged on by another mom. My friend loudly informed her twelve-year-old that if he didn’t hit that ball, she was going to dance for the crowd’s entertainment. I informed my son that I would sing. High. And very loud.
Not only did our sons smack the ball as if their lives depended on it, we inspired the entire team.
Yet despite our critical role in the victory, nobody put our names on their trophy. Where was the Mom love in that?
A roar from the present crowd brings me back from nostalgia. On this diamond, where younger teams play, contact with the ball almost guarantees a home run and most successful defense is purely accidental.
The players appear deeply serious, but the coaches are less, and the crowd has a ball. Some mothers even watch with their eyes open.
They contrast with their glazed-eyed kids, several of whom snore at their positions, the sun having set. An infield player makes interesting dance moves, but I don’t think he anticipates a Dancing with the Stars career. He forgot to visit the restroom earlier, so the compassionate umpire grants a special time out.
It’s easy for me to laud the joys of Little League from my maybe-I’ll-go-maybe-not perspective. For parents who spend enough time to earn a college degree watching, waiting and transporting, Little League Love wears a little thin. But one sitting near us saw it as a win-win situation. If his son’s team won, they’d return the following night for another chance at the championship. If they lost, he could run a combine over his neglected lawn.
He’s a dad who cares, yet doesn’t care too much about the game’s outcome. And that’s the very best kind of Little League Love.
What’s your favorite kid baseball moment?
One sunny day, my husband and I, spring fever victims, rode our tandem bicycle past wetlands.
After compiling the results of a survey I sent them, however, I’m convinced frogs are musical purists who not only sing without artificial amplification, they don’t even open their mouths. Instead, they balloon their necks.
Unlike most human choirs, the majority are males.
These guys don’t waste words or melodies. They not only establish territories and predict weather changes with their songs, they also romance their ladies. Listening to their impassioned harmony, I wished I could understand the lyrics.
Then, remembering current Top 40 titles, I gave thanks I didn’t.
I’m not so enthralled with peeper music that I’d pay $75 to buy a frog online.
Nor would I pay $10 for flour beetles culture to balance his nutrition pyramid. I’ve paid more to get rid of such “cultures.”
Owners concerned about their pets’ boring diets can buy frog bites which, according to the Arizona Dendrobate Ranch, “add variety to a young amphibian’s diet.”
Many devotees will attend California’s American Frog Day. They’ll revel in frog symphonies, bet on jumping contests, even purchase driveway signs: “Frog Parking Only. All Others Will Be Toad.”
However, in 2002, the BBC did not consider frogs a joking matter. Intense headlines implied that killer bullfrogs had attacked Great Britain. Having eaten Parliament, they were last seen headed for Buckingham Palace.
Further reading, however, revealed that the bullfrogs, an American threat mistakenly imported in batches of water plants, were devouring fish and other small critters. Not a national disaster. But something else for which Europe can blame us.
If frogs from South/Central America invaded their territory, they might have reason to gripe. Poisonous frogs abound there, and those who flaunt the loudest wardrobes — gold, blue, orange, and black-and-yellow-striped — present the greatest threat. The poison dart frog of South America, Phyllobates terribilis, is arguably the most dangerous animal in the world. This little golden frog resembles a kindergartener’s eraser. But according to the University of Georgia EcoView, its slime is 400 times as toxic to a laboratory mouse as a king cobra’s venom.
Me? I’ll stick to live, free concerts by less flashy, Midwestern types who stay in their swamps, go to bed on time and only give us an occasional wart.
Describe your favorite frog encounter. Or, like biblical Pharaoh, do you consider them a plague?
- Spring Peeper photo by Joshua Derck, Photo By <a target=’_blank’ href=’http://www.flickr.com/photos/51109932@N00/32910893583/’>Joshua Derck</a> via <a href=”http://www.stockpholio.net/” target=”_blank”>StockPholio.net</a>
- Bullfrog photo by Kevin Vance, Photo By <a target=’_blank’ href=’http://www.flickr.com/photos/23446980@N07/9703424655/’>Kevin Vance</a> via <a href=”http://www.stockpholio.net/” target=”_blank”>StockPholio.net</a>
This spring, God has outdone Himself. Lush lilacs, like grape clusters, decorate bushes. Redbuds flaunt finery like skinny little girls wearing new Sunday dresses. Pear, crabapple, and locust trees grace the landscape like young girls on prom night.
I yearn for the trees’ beauty and fragrance the way some crave the first steak on a grill.
Not surprising, as my parents, tree huggers long before the concept became popular, adored flowering trees. Gradually, we children realized that most families’ Sunday afternoon drives did not achieve action movie status.
MOM: Ooooh, lovely dogwoods.
DAD: Aaaah, those lilacs smell wonderful. Roll down your windows.
KID #1: Shouldn’t you keep both hands on the wheel?
KID #2: How about one?
MOM: I’m holding the road. Mmmm. Isn’t God good?
KID #3: But no one’s watching the road!
KID #4: Let us pray.
ALL KIDS: Look out! (Dive for the floor.)
DAD: What’s your problem? I missed that guy.
KID #5: Um, Dad … we missed the bridge. We’re floating — sort of —
MOM: But look at those crabapples!
I succumbed to the habit, passing it on to my small children. Their pursuit of blooming beauty resembled search-and-destroy missions. When their quests expanded to others’ yards, I intervened.
“But,” I told them, “if branches hang over sidewalks, you may smell them, if you’re careful. That’s just borrowing.”
Chubby hands grasped behind their backs, they sniffed away.
I followed their good example. Besides, borrowing kept me out of trouble, too.
Our next home’s trees seemed under a curse, succumbing to lightning and disease. One of two peach trees went into a coma and never recovered.
Having witnessed her partner’s demise, the surviving peach tree eyed us with trepidation. Thankfully, Penelope, as I named her, greeted me at my kitchen window the following spring, wearing clouds of delicate salmon-colored blossoms.
We planted a redbud and two lilacs. Their first spring, they wowed us. However, the following year, they too succumbed to the curse.
I wandered the streets … and borrowed past my limit.
My husband wasn’t keen about calls from the police, so we planted a crabapple and a pear that flourished. A generous friend gave us rose of Sharon starts.
I will try not to run you down. Or miss bridges.
But you won’t mind if I borrow your trees on the way, will you?
Thank you for informing us, as people bail out living rooms. Facebook whines and surly crowd mumbles at Walmart — my scientific tools for measuring demographic mood — have reached record levels.
So I share suggestions for coping with April showers until they produce May flowers and golfing hours.
- Celebrate that nonstop rain = a power wash for house. And cars. And the lawn mower I forgot to put in the garage.
- Instead of a rain dance, do a sun dance. Show your moves to bored kids and grandkids. They’ll either join in or run screaming, leaving you to dance — or nap — in peace.
- Monitor the backyard battle. Marching dandelions take over my lawn. However, violets are mobilizing, too. Who will win? My neighbors are taking bets.
- Clean the junk drawer—a penance that satisfies the pathological urge to accomplish “spring cleaning” without actually doing it.
- Stick your nose outside to sniff the wet glory of earth and hyacinths.
- Count cars racing through the rain — my nostalgic salute to inclement childhood days when I truly had nothing to do.
- Reassure pansies. Mine won’t spend their entire lives in our garage. Soon I’ll send them, plus houseplants, outside and watch them party.
- Try on summer clothes. If mine fit, I pat myself on the back. If not, I shop for a new wardrobe!
- Listen to your parents’ music. Doing so recalls the rare privilege of sitting in the station wagon’s front seat while envious siblings elbowed each other in back. The radio poured out orchestra music led by David Rose, Henry Mancini and Percy Faith while raindrops raced down the windshield. Wipers, resembling long, thin Fred-Astaires clad in tails, bowed in sync.
- Snuggly rainy days are the perfect backdrop for devouring an I-can’t-put-this-down book.
- Throw a baseball inside the house. Someone will yell at you, and you’ll feel like you’re nine again.
- Be daring. Watch an old movie, when good-night kisses were considered somewhat scandalous.
- Find an intact umbrella and walk. Pass a house with Christmas decorations and feel smug because you put yours away last week.
- Sing outside. Belt out “Singin’ in the Rain,” “I Love a Rainy Night,” or “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” — and watch traffic clear out.
What’s your favorite rainy day activity?
For years I celebrated holidays by directing church musicals. One fateful Easter I chose Watch the Lamb, which focused on Jesus as the Lamb of God. A live lamb would make the ancient story come alive.
During rehearsals, the cast greeted our lamb with enthusiasm.
Church janitors did not. “Do something before that animal pees all over — or worse.”
Why hadn’t I considered this minor complication? Especially as the lamb made entrances down different aisles. Most Passover lambs in 30 A.D. did not wear Pampers®
What other option existed?
God provided the perfect solution: we would cover the stage and church aisles with the burlap-like backside of my recently discarded carpet.
However, God didn’t send angels to cut, arrange and duct tape the carpet throughout the sanctuary. After two unspiritual, aching-knee days, all my bases were covered. No worries now, right?
Loony the Lamb had his own ideas about entrances and exits. A hay bale helped keep him quiet, but for obvious reasons, we avoided feeding him too much.
The 60-member cast’s noise made Loony more nervous than your Aunt Nellie. Kids petted him without mercy. Bright lights and heat caused him to hyperventilate. During dress rehearsal, Loony the Lamb collapsed onstage in a wooly, quivering heap.
Watch the Lamb? No audience would want to watch this.
Two animal lovers carried the prostrate lamb outside while we prayed — and Loony recovered. One guy built a pen outside the stage door where our prima donna cropped grass between scenes. Visiting hours were restricted, with no autographs. We did everything but paint a star on Loony’s gate.
Thankfully, he showed no new signs of cardiac arrest. His brassy baaaaa erupted only once during performances — during solemn prayer after the crucifixion.
Our ingenious actors shifted and blocked escape routes, all the while looking very holy.
One child earned my special appreciation: “Loony was peein’ on my foot the whole time Jesus was on the cross, but I didn’t say nothin’.”
Even after Loony returned home, I couldn’t shake off sheep. Scriptures about lambs leaped from the Bible’s pages. Jesus frequently called his followers His sheep. After Watch the Lamb, I figured He didn’t mean it as a compliment.
Nevertheless, the King of Heaven volunteered to take on the title “Lamb of God” — what God in His right mind would do that?
Even one dithery pageant director named Rachael — which means “lamb.”
Have you participated in a pageant/play that taught you more than you expected?