It’s a colorful, crazy Patchwork Monday

Categorized as 09/13/10 Goshen News column

It’s Patchwork Monday. That’s when I take snippets of everyday life and stitch them together into a colorful crazy quilt on – well, a Monday. Here’s the first piece.

Labor Day weekend, for us, was just that…a weekend where you labor, only longer. As I typed reports and folded the laundry equivalent of Mt. Everest and a couple of Appalachian foothills, Mr. Schrock was outdoors, supervising the grounds crew. Given the junior groundskeepers’ propensity for escaping into the house for more reasons than Imelda Marcos has shoes, such strict oversight was warranted. Now, thanks to their efforts, the lawn has been tamed and the garden is several steps closer to its winter hibernation.

I still haven’t figured out what went wrong with the squash. Most years, they produce enough to feed a small African village. This time, there wasn’t enough to feed our own small village. What in the world?

Zucchini-induced letdown and stir-fry deficits notwithstanding, the flowers have flourished. As Mr. Schrock noted, “This was the Year of the Flower.”

The marigolds marching along the edge of the garden have bushed out into something resembling a small hedge. Their blossoms are huge. And over there in front of the chicken coop, the impatiens are a riot of color, splashing pinks, purples, and whites in a brilliant display.

“The flowers are beautiful!” I exclaim to Little. “And that makes you happy,” he finishes for me.

Yes. That makes me happy.

Something that makes our crowd happy, we discovered, is paddle boating. When the boys heard we’d been invited down to the lake, they were excited. Together with their cousins, they piled onto a paddle boat that had been idle for a year and went adventuring across the water.

Just watching them load up dockside was worth the trip down. The first challenge for the navigator was to maneuver the vessel into position for the boarding of the crew. Holding it steady so they could make it into the boat rather than stepping into the lake was tricky.

We watched their intricate choreography unfold as everyone jockeyed for a position on the rocking vessel, looking for a spot to plop their jeans. Then, just as they were pulling away from the pier, a father appeared with a little sister in tow. More drama unfolded as an older brother was “encouraged” to give up his spot so she could have a ride.

That’s how a big brother and his fishing pole got some quiet time on the pier. Little sister got the stinkeye, and the rest of them paddled halfway to China and back, judging by the length of their voyage.

Someone please call the Discovery Channel for this next piece. They’ll be sending a crew out promptly when they hear that a new species of land-based predators has been discovered.

This disconcerting announcement comes after the two campfires we enjoyed over the holiday weekend. As the burgers sizzled on the Graber grill, a creature called a yard shark appeared, shattering the peace and quiet.

We knew we had a pool shark. He was all kinds of active this summer, slicing through the waves with one white hand angling up above the water. The mere sight of his “fin” was enough to send his brother screaming and thrashing for the side of the pool. Seizing his unfortunate prey, he would dunk him repeatedly until he’d swallowed roughly half of the water before releasing him. Now this.

If he wouldn’t have opposable thumbs, it would help. That way, he wouldn’t be able to grip the handlebars of the vehicle he uses to chase his hapless victim.

The yard shark, if you’ve not seen one yet, looks suspiciously like an ordinary American teenager in blue jeans. Leaping atop a bright red bicycle, he goes tearing across the grass in pursuit of a younger sibling. This poor little bit of shark bait runs, squealing, for his life. Desperate to keep his britches ahead of the approaching front tire, he lunges onto the trampoline, climbs the picnic table, or scrambles onto a boulder.

The shark circles, grinning wickedly, as the mother of both shark and bait searches the yellow pages for the nearest aquarium.

The last few snippets come from the schoolyard where everyone is happy. College Kid, a junior, is making friends right and left, dropping off his laundry, and hauling my coffee beans to his dorm room. The other junior and his very happy feet are movin’ and groovin’ in the show choir, as well as trying out for the fall drama at NorthWood.

Thanks to Mr. Bennett, the science teacher, we now have our own “Bill Nye, the Science Guy.” Mr. Middle School has been coming home, chattering excitedly about flaming money that doesn’t burn and 2 liters that explode with the addition of Mentos. Now, the paper money is under lock and key right next to the Diet Coke, my coffee beans, and the red bike.

And that’s Patchwork Monday, one very crazy quilt stitched together by one really tired mama. Scraps, anyone?

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