Classique

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Love at First Peep

One day, when I was about seven years of age, my father arrived home from an out-of-town trip with a curious box.  Strange “peeping” noises were emanating from it.  My siblings and I waited in eager anticipation as Daddy removed the lid. Inside the box, we were delighted to find 12 of the most darling yellow baby chicks!  I fell in love with them at first peep! Daddy let us help feed and water them as he moved them to a larger box.  We were allowed to hold them briefly if we washed our hands immediately afterwards.  

When the chickens were big enough, Daddy built a chicken run in the backyard.  By the time they were adults, the chickens were no longer yellow, but pure white.  They were difficult to tell apart from each other, but we named each one and I think my siblings and I were pretty good at determining who was who.  To us, they were our pets.  We continued to help feed and water them but we were no longer allowed to hold them and were commanded not to touch or pet them due to the possibility of our contracting Salmonella (or some other dreaded disease).  I am quite certain we broke that rule many times. 

Sunday dinner was the most important meal of the week.  One early Sunday afternoon my nose detected the unmistakable scent of Mama’s fried chicken wafting throughout the house.  This was a common entre for our family and Mama made the best fried chicken I have ever tasted!  When I arrived in the kitchen I spied a lovely Lemon Meringue Pie sitting on the counter.  Mama also made the best Lemon Meringue Pies in the world.  My mouth began to water.  The pie would be dessert for those of us who could manage to eat a piece of chicken, a respectable amount of vegetables, and drink a glass of milk.  As much as I enjoyed fried chicken and even looked forward to the creamed carrots and peas that were being offered that day, my eyes were on that pie!  

Soon we were called to the table and sat down to enjoy what promised to be a lovely meal.  In the course of the conversation between my parents as we ate, I was horrified to realize that the delicious fried chicken we were imbibing was in fact the remains of one of our beloved pets.  I stopped mid-chew.  I could not bring myself to swallow and spat the mostly masticated contents of my mouth out onto my plate.

“What’s the matter?” queried Mama, a concerned look coming over her face.
“I’m not hungry anymore,” I replied.  That was not a lie.  I found myself completely without appetite at the realization that one of my friends was on the menu.  I did not even want a piece of pie, and probably could not have eaten even a bite of it either.

“YOU EAT YOUR DINNER,” my father commanded sternly, his brow furrowed in a deep scowl.  “Don’t you know there are children starving in China?”  I can’t remember for sure if it was in fact China, but somewhere in the world children were starving and my father knew exactly where that was, and somehow, by some magic, my consuming the crispy carcass of my former pet would be the means of providing nourishment to those poor souls.  Despite my feelings of guilt, I could not bring myself to comply. Much to my relief, I was sent from the table and not allowed to eat anything more for the rest of that day.


As the weeks went by, our chickens disappeared one-by-one.  I found that I needed to distance myself from them emotionally, so I no longer interacted with them.  It was some time before I was able to eat chicken, fried, or in any other form.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Fourteen Years of Grand-parenthood!

Fourteen years ago today, I became a grandmother!  It was such an exciting day for our whole family. I was to have attended his birth in American Fork, Utah, but that as it turned out, was not to happen.

About 10 days before our grandson was born, I looked over at my youngest son, Adam, lying on the sofa in our family room.  "Maybe, it the light," I remember thinking to myself, "but his nose looks crooked."  I went over to investigate, and discovered that it was indeed crooked.  As he and his older brother Christopher explained, they had been playing baseball with a basketball and Adam's face got in the way of Chris' line drive.  

"We must wait for some of the swelling to go down," explained Dr. Carder.  "But, because of his age, we cannot wait past 10 days to do the surgery."  I reported this to my daughter Alyssa, who was awaiting the birth of her first child and had invited her mother to be present.

"It's okay Mom," she said when I informed her that I would be unable to be there. "Ryan will never remember you missed his birth, but a ten-year-old needs his mother when he has nose surgery."

The nose surgery went perfect.  "Those bones just snapped back into place," informed the doctor.  "A second surgery is often necessary when they are about 17, but I'm not sure that will be required in this case."  Dr. Carder's words were prophetic.  No repeat surgery was needed.

Ryan Thomas Christensen arrived in the wee hours of the morning on March 29, 2003!  I was hoping he would wait to be born on his great grandfather's (my father's) birthday which was the 30th of March.  But, Ryan was to have his own birthday.  He was named Ryan (after Nolan Ryan an outstanding baseball pitcher for the Texas Rangers).  His middle name was Thomas, (same middle name as his father).

I don't remember his weight or length, but I was with  my daughter Alyssa when she took Ryan to his two-week check-up. Dr. Liddle recounted the scary moments after he was born not breathing.  "I've never seen a baby go from an APGAR of two to a nine,' he explained. Ryan had a good check-up and seemed to be doing fine aside from having re=flux.

I remember taking the night shift with my adorable but fussy new grandson.  Because of the re-flux, holding him in an upright position after feeding seemed to help calm him.  In the upright position cuddled up next to me, he went to sleep that particular night; so I laid him down in his bassinet and dozed off myself.  I awakened with a start about five hours later to the fact that that I had let him miss his four AM feeding.  I rushed over to him as I realized that without thinking (and out of habit) I had put him on his stomach to sleep.  (His parents had stressed to me the importance of babies being put on their backs to avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS--exactly opposite the advise I was given when I raised my children).  To my relief, Ryan was sleeping peacefully.  "Well," I remember telling his mother Alyssa, "If you get to the point where you could kill for sleep, you know what to do." Ryan did much better bundled up like a burrito, sleeping on his stomach.

So Happy Birthday to an outstanding young man!!!  I love you Ryan and I am so glad you came to our family 14 years ago today!