From “Here is the church & here is the steeple” to shoveling mulch

Stained glass inside my childhood church

 Today we A) went to church and B) shoveled mulch.

 It was a grand day visiting my parents! 

 Oh, and my dear dear mama listened to me reading part of the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo last November.  She actually sat patiently on the deck while I read her the Prologue and the Exciting Excerpt where Anneke met David.  Yep, my mama is the best mama in the whole world! Click here if you want to know any more about the month I wrote a novel (along with thousands of other folks around the world.)  Not that the novel has gone anywhere, except to languish on my hard drive.  

 But let’s talk church first.  Get the religious part of the blog covered first.  Mom and Dad were greeters at church today.  I grew up in the pews of the First Presbyterian Church in Yale.  I fell in love with God there.  Even though my relationship with the divine grew out of the four walls of a church and into the woods and lakes and rivers and trees and people and blogs of the Universe.  But still.  It’s good to return to the church of one’s youth.

 Where one was…isn’t this fascinating?…an elder of the church at age sixteen!  Yep, that was me.  I failed miserably at the task.  The church wanted a young person to be on the council of elders…and someone somewhere decided that I was the One.  However, I was so terribly shy that I never said six words.  It would have been too challenging to add six words to the discussion.  I sat there mute for the entire year before resigning from eldership and returning to the teenage world. 

 There’s probably not a soul in Yale that remembers that I was an elder.  That’s how invisible I was. 

My mom & dad inside the church. They are such good sports.

 After church we traipsed downstairs for coffee and blueberry muffins.  My old typing teacher was there.  I can barely remember that I had a typing class in high school, let alone who the teacher might be.  She was Mrs. Robinson.  Apparently I won some typing award.  It was a skill that followed me into the blogging world. If you can type fast you can write lots & lots of words each night and still do Other Things.  Thank you, Mrs. Robinson.

 Then I begged Mom and Dad to pose for a photo in the sanctuary.  “There are lots of my readers who want to see you.  They remember you from Florida and last year.  They ASK about you.  Please, please, please???”  So Mom and Dad agreed. 

 After church, we ate lunch and took a nap.  (Ahhh this is the Life!)  Then Mom said it was time to do the Dirty Deed.  Since I was visiting–and since they would love help in the flower beds–I was recruited (no–coerced.  no–let’s go back to the word “recruited”–) to help weed.  Mom and I would weed.  Then Dad would help shovel the mulch out of the trailer onto the flower bed.  We would help spread the lovely mulch.  

Dad was our mulch-shoveler. Mom and I were Mulch Administrators.

 We started to work.  It was 2 p.m.  We pulled out every darn weed in the bed.  And then Dad put us to work on the “Bucket Brigade”.  He filled the buckets with mulch and Mom and I spread in between the  and barberry bushes and planters with marigolds and petunias.

 At 3 p.m. we took a break, sipping sparkling mineral water.  

Yep. The Mulch Administrators.

 By 4 p.m. we were finished.  Done!  Phew…a little bit sweaty and dirty, but the project was done.

 Mom is already planning next year’s Project.  Apparently there will be a Project every time I come home now…. 

 But it was great fun working alongside my parents, so I don’t mind!

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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18 Responses to From “Here is the church & here is the steeple” to shoveling mulch

  1. Colleen Lloyd says:

    Kathy, it is so lovely to meet your Mom and Dad! From here I will be going to Canada to spend time with my Mom and we will be doing the same things…spending time in her LARGE and lovely garden and doing projects. What a great visit you’re having. Mulch Administrators…. hmmm. Love that!

    • Kathy says:

      Colleen, hope you will enjoy your time with your mom in her gardens as well. I am having a GREAT visit. These guys are the best. 🙂

  2. fountainpen says:

    Kathy, your comment about your ability to type fast gave me a fond
    memory of my Dad saying, “You WILL take typing!” when I was in high
    school, and my saying: “I WILL NOT take TYPING…I do not want to be
    a secretary…I WILL NOT take typing….” and my Dad insisting: “YOU
    I took two years and discovered I could type very fast, and still can…
    and almost always when I sit down at a keyboard, I smile and say:
    THANKS DAD!” Daddy died in 1996…but I know he hears me when
    I thank him….


    • Kathy says:

      fountainpen, funny about the things we refuse to do (or don’t want to do) and end up enjoying or liking. I know your dad hears you. What a sweet nostalgic story.

  3. K Odell says:

    I am so attracted to stained glass- very pretty.

  4. Carol says:

    What a lovely things to do on a visit – working together in a garden seems to deepen those bonds.

    • Kathy says:

      Carol, that is so true. We’ve never really worked together in their garden before. It feels like we made a special memory, indeed.

  5. Reggie says:

    I also enjoyed meeting your Mom and Dad, Kathy – a big, cheerful, sunshiny South African Hello to Kathy’s Mom and Dad!!! (despite the fact that the rain is bucketing down right now).

    I really love the fact that you all worked in the garden together. I’m sure they appreciated the help!

    You took typing at school? We didn’t have typing at school. I taught myself, using my Mom’s manual typewriter, which I used from the end of primary school all the way to first year at university, to type up all my projects. I guess we both knew we wanted to be writers, huh? 😉

    I hope you have a great time with your folks!

    • Kathy says:

      Reggie, you wouldn’t believe it–we had just mentioned your name while watching the TV news about the Soccer World Cup. And here you are visiting the blog!

      You didn’t have typing at school? We sure did. Although the kids these days have “computers” instead of typing. I always loved typing. Strange thing to say, huh?

      And yes–when I was 12 years old I was given a heart-locket to wear around the neck. I opened it and penned the words “I will be a writer” and wore it around my neck. I still have the faded piece of paper in the locket!

  6. Dawn says:

    I did the same thing, argue about not taking typing. But I found out I could type really fast too, and who knew the advantages that skill would get us such a long time after high school!

    I grew up in a Presbyterian church as well, and I remember greeters! When we got older (there were four of us) we sometimes got to stand at the door with Mom and Dad and “help” greet. Thanks for bringing back a memory I had totally forgotten.

    Another memory your post brought up was that when we went to visit Grandma she’d have a list of small “projects” for Dad or Mom or us kids to accomplish for her, because she had gotten to the point where these things were difficult for her. Plus she liked doing some of them with us. So I think the fact that your folks will always have a project when you visit is sweet. And I agree you made a memory, and each time your parents look at that garden they will be thinking of you.

    My own parents left earth too soon, so we never got to the project list phase of their lives, but I know if they had lived longer we’d have been helping with the mulch when we visited and having a blast doing it!

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, you grew up Presbyterian too? That is cool! I am sorry that you lost your parents too soon. I keep reminding myself of the preciousness of these days. That’s for sure.

  7. holessence says:

    Kathy – I’m a day late, but not a dollar short. Loving the blog. Loving your parents. Loving the photographs.

    I saw something in one of your photos that’s made me think of a post for the letter “S” when we get to it this fall in “Alphabetically Speaking” over on Speaking from the Heart. STAINED GLASS windows! I have some delicious photographs from the Unitarian Church in Woodstock, Illinois.

    Riding in your front pocket for this adventure got a bit scary during the bucket brigade portion. I had to hold on for dear, dear life! I almost tipped out — twice!

    • Kathy says:

      Laughing, Laurie, I think you did tip out of my front pocket! Oh no, I hope you did not get too dirty from that mulch. I am trying to think of something alphabetically which might describe being in a front pocket, but my mind does not seem to be working Properly. Glad you like the stained glass idea!

  8. Cindy Lou says:

    Beatimous window photos! And of course, your momma and dad are stylin’ as usual! Kenzie and I are going to be putzing in the garden if it’s sunny tomorrow……fun times 🙂

  9. flandrumhill says:

    Both the stained glass windows and your parents look beautiful. Don’t worry about being invisible. It’s not such a bad thing.

    • Kathy says:

      Amy, I just had to go back and read the whole blog to see what I had said about being invisible! Ahhh yes…it’s not a bad thing. But back in those days I wanted so badly to communicate and express myself and felt so shy and unable to do it. It feels such a relief to have overcome that shyness that paralyzed.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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