Tag Archives: Mud

Must We Mess with Our Cell Phones?

Image by Esa Riutta from Pixabay.

When my car and I swerve to avoid someone hypnotized by a cell phone, I secretly wish for a water pistol. Though, even if I shot cold streams out the window, would the driver look up, confirming zombies have not yet conquered Planet Earth?

Only if I soaked her/his phone.

Image by Michael Hourigan from Pixabay.

My generation did not allow rotary phones to tyrannize us, right? Though how many Boomers refused to leave the house, waiting for a special person’s call. …

Nowadays, I grab my cell phone too often. I do know better than to text around younger generation pros. With help-this-old-lady-across-the-street compassion, some with speed-blurred thumbs offer to assist me.

Poor, overworked thumbs need a break. In fact, we should give data use, phone bills, and ourselves a break. What cell phone alternatives can help me break the habit?

Hubby and I have discovered one way: holding hands. On walks, we radicals converse, laugh, listen to cardinals’ songs and luxuriate in autumn beauty.

Image by Lenny Rogers from Pixabay.

Friends may walk together, too. Having only texted for 20 years, they may need to exchange photos for identification purposes. Soon, though, they’ll discover the joy of talking with a real person.

Other suggestions:

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay.
  • Wave at passing drivers. Imagine your town if all drove like you.
  • Splash in puddles for fun instead of being sprayed while texting.
  • Mentally rearrange someone’s outdoor furniture.
  • Plant an imaginary flower bed at a plain house. Enjoy landscaping triumphs without an aching back and dirty fingernails.
  • If walking past an elementary school, thank God you’re not the old woman who lived in a shoe. Or the unnamed wife of Feodor Vassilyev, eighteenth-century peasants with the Guinness record for number of children: 69.
Image by Janusz Walczak from Pixabay.
  • While in educational territory, mentally recite U.S state capitals you memorized in fifth grade. Mrs. Baker would be proud.
  • Hop with one foot on muddy ground, so school kids think a single-footed alien visited.
  • Search for cars dirtier than yours. Write congratulatory messages on windshields.
Image by SD5432SD from Pixabay.

I offer final, unsolicited advice to young cell phone zombies: The love of your life could pass while you’re playing Super MarioTM. Or watching cat videos.

Wouldn’t holding that special human’s hand — maybe forever — be much more fun?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What could you do instead of fiddling with your phone?

“We’re Stranded!”

Even spelled on a SCRABBLE board, the word “stranded” packs enough panic power to send us to our vehicles with snow shovels, boots and sleeping bags as well as food, water and Prozac.

Image by Bindue from Pixabay.
My parents and older brother in 1952.

We Midwesterners have two words for those “stranded” in the tropics: oh, please. That goes for you, Swiss Family Robinson, Tom Hanks, and snowbirds who grouse about sand in their bathing suits.

My family and I have collected a portfolio of strandedness Gilligan wouldn’t believe.

My parents, newlywed missionaries in New Mexico, were gathering firewood atop a mountain when the year’s only rainstorm struck. Torrents washed away the road, leaving their Model T half-buried in mud. Having left coats at home (they’d anticipated a three-hour tour), Mom and Dad spent the subfreezing night there. They burned the firewood to stay alive and dug out. Thus, began a long, creative career of strandedness, generously shared with five children.

Fast-forward two decades. My medical student husband and I skated our car down interstates between Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Muncie, Indiana, where Hubby would work in a clinic several weeks, staying in a decrepit, deserted dorm. I’d planned to drive home to Indianapolis, but remained until conditions improved. Much skinnier then, we fit in his twin bed. Sort of. Glad to be alive and together, we decided that despite resident ghosts, being stranded wasn’t half bad.

Image by parker from Pixabay.

Sharing the Minneapolis airport with thousands of angry people — including our teenagers — during a nationwide blizzard wasn’t nearly as much fun. Snarling, would-be passengers formed mile-long lines at ticket counters, restaurants and restrooms. Areas under drinking fountains morphed into sleeping quarters. A stranger accosted me:

Strange Woman: Where did you get that shirt?

Me: Um, at a consignment shop.

Woman: I gave my husband a shirt exactly like that for his birthday.

Me: The consignment shop was in Atlanta.

Woman: (baring her teeth) I’m from Atlanta.

That encounter, along with a 24-hour TV loop featuring the Sports Illustrated bathing suit edition, didn’t brighten my day. Leaving Minneapolis never felt so good, though our trip home from Indianapolis would have proceeded faster if a single sled dog had towed our minivan.

Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay.

Years later, amid another hair-raising drive during an ice storm, Hubby and I managed to reach a hotel. Fortunately, our room featured a king-size bed, not a twin. I could banish swimsuit models from our TV with a single remote click. Nobody demanded the shirt off my back.

The aforementioned folks marooned in the tropics might question my strandedness. Too bad. They should write their own blogs. Since this is mine, I affirm my official status: stranded.

Though, sometimes, stranded isn’t half bad.

Image by Olichel from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you ever been stranded?

A Tale of Two Anniversary Hikes

It was the best of times. Set in the worst of times.

Amid COVID restrictions, how could we celebrate 46 years of wedded stress — er, bliss?

Normally, I offer suggestions way beyond our first anniversary, when Hubby’s parents paid for dinner at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant. Now, we pay for our own celebratory meals, sometimes in restaurants with daunting silverware and equally daunting prices. We no longer limit trips to exotic locales like Wabash, Indiana. Once, we even splurged on Hawaii.

But now, what to do?

Hubby enthused, “Let’s take a hike.”

But we hike so much, Hubby’s Fitbit thingy is exhausted.

“It’s cold,” I whined. Snuggling and drinking hot chocolate sounded saner.

“But I want to play in the snow.”

Snow? Okay! I donned cold-weather gear.

In a nearby forest, verdant pines and leafless oaks looked equally elegant. Outlined in white, scraggly weeds and thorny bushes proclaimed their Creator’s redemption. Though seemingly dormant, the forest teemed with animal tracks — with life.

Our decades together rested on us, light and joyous as snow.

It was the best of times.

Temperatures rose the next day, when we hiked at a nearly deserted park. Trees, having lost magical white clothing, shivered. We plowed through dark, sticky mud, attractive only when I imagined we were adventuring through brownie batter.

Soon, we navigated puddles, then streams flowing across trails. Images of Israelites crossing the Red Sea flooded my brain. Biblical thoughts, at least — more biblical than some eddying in my mind.

At a bison pen, big, shaggy animals barely blinked at our presence.

Bored bison are so romantic. Especially their smell.

Water inspires swoon-moon-June feelings, even in January. But the gray, half-frozen lake resembled an old black-and-white TV screen.

Skinny-dipping? For polar bears only.

Hubby asked, “Want to kayak?”

“Not enough ice and water for you on this trail?” I queried.

Fortunately, he was only half-serious. But he related how he and fellow Boy Scouts, during their winter paddle, chewed gum to mend their busted canoe.

“We had fun,” he insisted.

Despite challenges, we’d enjoyed our second hike, too. Together.

On January 4, 1975, I wouldn’t have anticipated fun on a mud hike. Then, we were all about storybook moments, white and sparkly like my wedding gown.

We still relive those moments, as on that incredible, snowy hike.

Still, mud-hike marriage moments happen, even in Hawaii. On a tropical trail, Hubby extracted me from sucky mud that stained us orange.

Thank God, we haven’t told each other to take a hike. Instead, we’ve taken a lifelong hike together, including the best of times and the worst of times.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What are magical and mud-hike moments in your marriage?