the kudzu patch

from the very first day of school
I can remember the rule sternly set
“no going near the kudzu patch”

it was out back behind the portable buildings
and the monkey bars and swing set
and beyond the patch where we played kickball
back before all of the regulations had
such things padded and fenced in

we were mindful of that
as we played kickball
with the hopes that no ball would go
into the forbidden territory

mindful of the warning to stay away
that is just what we did
until that one day
when you and the others
ran back there
with wild abandon

I stood mortified
of what could happen
to you, to all of you
back there
or later, when you were caught–
if you even survived

(part of me was sure you wouldn’t
for five year olds, kudzu monsters
can be very real)

you had your fun
and later paid the price in the principal’s office
and maybe even with your folks

I’ve always remembered that day–
when I looked on
and worried over what would happen

and now here we stand
talking about where life has taken us
we are the grownups now,
it’s amazing that somehow we made it to this point
despite all the bumps and bruises along the way

you look none the worse for wear, my friend,
a life well done despite your day of infamy
and me,
I wonder what I missed
from not playing in the kudzu patch
all those years ago



By Bubba73 (Jud McCranie) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Coon Bait It’s Not

So the Fella has become a no kiddin’, serious about it for real, coon trappin’ guy.

It started with the sightings.  And a neighbor saying that he saw one just amble out of our garage one afternoon when we’d left the door open.

Ahem.  Ummm, no.

Then the cat food for our outside feline friends started disappearing a little faster.  Some nights we’d hear our cats protesting something that was going on.

It was time.  So the Fella borrowed a trap from friends, and he’s been setting it out on the side of the house on a regular basis.

So far he’s caught four raccoons I think and one possum.

Ah, the joys of living next to the woods.  And yes, I realize we are the ones encroaching on their habitat, so it hurts my heart a little bit.

But only a little bit.

He’s good to them.  He takes them out and rehomes them near the river a few miles down the road.  They will be a lot better off and less likely to find their way into the roads.

So a few nights ago he came in to set his trap.  He uses my old Chobani yogurt dishes (the big ones) with the clear lids.  He’s perfected his technique but doesn’t always use the same bait.  Lately he’s been prone to using apples.  Which is fine.


I saw him with my good paring knife and one of the apples a few nights ago.  At first it didn’t register with me what he was doing, but since he’s not the world’s greatest fan of fresh fruit, it finally hit me to ask him what he was up to.  Just as he was about to cut into the apple, he said, “I’m setting the trap.”


In his hands was one of my hard to come by, precious, lovely, and huge Honeycrisp apples.

The last of my Honeycrisps--it almost gave its life to be coon bait.  Nooooo!

The last of my Honeycrisps–it almost gave its life to be coon bait. Nooooo!

Just no.

Someone recently shared that Honeycrisps were the pumpkin spice lattes of fall for the non-coffee crowd.  That compelled me to go and try them out.  I was a little skeptical.  Really?  An apple that was worthy of such praise?

Oh yeah.

For sure.

And that man was gonna use one to try to trap a raccoon?  A critter that would just as easily eat one that was bruised and sitting all but forgotten in the bottom drawer of the Frigidaire?

And that’s what he was quickly given.

All I could think about since the “apple incident” was the old adage–“You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”  No, and you sure shouldn’t be trying to make a sow’s ear (or raccoon bait) out of a silk purse either (or, you know, the BEST.  APPLE.  EVER.) .

I mean, for real.  The preparation and eating of those apples is akin to a sacred thing.  They are truly that good–good job, God!

As for the Fella, I’m keeping him stocked up with acceptable baits.  But I’m starting to worry.  We originally had just the three we knew about to catch.  Last night, when he caught number four, he saw two others scurry off when he came up to the trap.  He thinks they were trying to help bust their friend out.  I’m started to wonder if word is getting out amongst the critters that we are the place to come for a midnight snack–it’s a regular buffet what with the cat food and now the apples.  (And many nights they get the apple out without tripping the trigger, those crafty little boogers.)

Tonight I’m thankful for the Fella, for his getting the job done to make it safer for our cats again.  I’m thankful for his late night and oh-dark-thirty in the morning trips to rehome the little guys and gals.  I know not everyone would go to the extra effort.  And most of all, I’m thankful that there’s still one Honeycrisp apple left in the kitchen for my “bednight” snack with yogurt that I’m about to have when I leave y’all with it tonight.  Yeah, I love that guy, but when it comes to my good apples or the last helping of rice (that’s another story), I just don’t play.

Wishing you all the goodness of fall, in whatever ways that bring you joy.

Love to all.


“…..the rest of us are just guessing”

I love the twists and turns Life takes to get our attention.

Today I was sitting across the desk from my doctor.  We always talk about the most amazing things.  He is a fascinating person, and I happen to be someone who appreciates interesting people, so it was a good day for me.

He turned around to pull out his iPad and look up the name of a medication.  When he put it on his desk, I saw that he had something attached to the case.  “What’s that?” I asked, pointing.

He showed me that it was a speaker.  “I love to listen to music and the speakers that come on this thing aren’t worth anything.”  He set up his iPad and clicked a few buttons and asked me if I’d heard of Andrew Peterson.  I had not.  “Some folks say he’s the next Rich Mullins.”

Rich Mullins?

I flipped through the Rolodex of memories in my brain, and I remembered reading about him in Karen Spears Zacharias’ book, “Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide?: (‘Cause I Need More Room for My Plasma TV).”  In her book about the prosperity gospel (it’s an awesome read, by the way), she shares the beautiful story of a man who didn’t want to be defined by fame or live as his income could allow.  The sales and profits from his albums and tours went to his church, who then paid him the same as the average salary for that year.  He lived simply.

After listening to the beautiful song by Andrew Peterson, Dr. D and I talked a few more minutes about Rich Mullins, his music, his life, and the upcoming movie about him, “Ragamuffin.”

He piqued my curiosity.  Dr. D shared how the words that Rich Mullins shared when he was on stage were not sermon-like, but they were powerful and important to listen to.  I didn’t know that Mr. Mullins had performed in Macon, Georgia, but Dr. D did.  In 1994 following the flood that devastated so many that summer, Mr. Mullins came to Macon, found a fairly dry spot on Riverside Drive and held a benefit concert.  Wow.

Tonight I came home and poked around Youtube to listen to some of Rich Mullins’ music.  I wanted to know what Dr. D was talking about–to hear the words that Rich Mullins shared that touched so many.

And I found some.

In one article about him, I found a quote attributed to him.  It can be found at about 7:40 on the video clip here.  These words:

Jesus said whatever you do to the least of these my brothers you’ve done it to me. And this is what I’ve come to think. That if I want to identify fully with Jesus Christ, who I claim to be my Savior and Lord, the best way that I can do that is to identify with the poor. This I know will go against the teachings of all the popular evangelical preachers. But they’re just wrong. They’re not bad, they’re just wrong. Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in a beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken….”

–Rich Mullins

Oh, y’all.  So humbling.  So right.  Just.  Yes.

This hits me right where I live.  I so want to live out what he is talking about here.   He gave up all the things and the life that his music could have given him, satisfied to live simply.  I have so far to go to get there.

Tonight I am thankful for the privilege of seeing a doctor with a heart and time to talk about the important things in life.  I give thanks for those who made it possible for me to become his patient.  I am also thankful for my friend Karen who first introduced me to Mr. Rich Mullins.  And I appreciate that the words and music of this man have been preserved for me to listen and learn from.  An amazing life and a great example of how all of us, no matter what our faith beliefs are, should live and love.

Here is an example of the powerful words of Rich Mullins, as Dr. D described.  I love listening to his thoughts as he shares them aloud.

The trailer for the upcoming movie about him…..

And finally, to show the more playful side…..way before the “Cups” song came on the scene…..

“God is right, and the rest of us are just guessing.”  –Rich Mullins

You’re Welcome, Future Self

Today has been all about doing things for my Future Self.

Way too often I put off things, thinking that “later” will be better.  Or, at the very least, okay.  Like waiting to fill my vehicle up with gas.  Or to put away the clothes.  Or hooking devices up to charge.  Moving laundry from the washer to the dryer.  Or  even starting supper.  Usually this is followed by my Granny’s voice in my head, saying, “Lazy folks always did have the most to do.”  Yes ma’am.  We sure do.

So today I set out not to procrastinate, to “get ‘er done” as Mater the Tow Truck might say.

Mater the Tow Truck is all about getting it done.

Mater the Tow Truck is all about getting it done.

We’ve got company coming in later this week, so there are lots of things to be done in preparation.  For one thing, it’s time to clear the couch of the clean, folded clothes.  Completely clear.  That’s a sure sign someone’s coming over at our house.  *sigh*  Bed linens washed and freshened up, done!  (What, Procrastinator Tara, but you still have at least two days?  You’re welcome, Future Self.)  Kitchen straightened up and things put away, check.

And then the monumental task that had been running through my “needs to be done” list in my mind all day long–grocery store.

It’s not that I don’t like going.  It’s just I fail at finding the right time to go.  It always seems like it’s packed at our grocery store.  Or at least busy enough that I see the same person on each and every aisle and have that awkward moment on each one–do I speak?  AGAIN?  Do I avoid eye contact and keep on trucking?  Or do I skip an aisle in the hopes of throwing the whole thing off kilter?  And I fail at finding the right cart.  Too big, too small, or usually–the squeaky wheel.   If you hear a squeaky cart next time you’re grocery shopping, just come on over and say hello.  It’s me.  Then I almost always fail at lane selection.  I think I have a winner, and then the person in front of me decides to have the bagger rebag something or wants to pay with three different methods or has a zillion coupons.  Nothing wrong with any of that.  Unless you have coconut real fruit popsicles that you are trying to get home before they become mush.  Then, you might desire a quicker checking out process.  (Though they are not too shabby as mush.  Just sayin’.)

So yeah, I dread the whole process.  But as I thought through the next couple of days there just didn’t seem to be a better time.  So the littles and I headed out this evening after supper.  What an odd time to go to the grocery store, right?  You’d think so, but there were many, many folks who had the same idea.  And we were all there.  Together.  Loads of togetherness going on tonight.

But the thing is, it’s done.  Things in the Frigidaire, freezer, and pantry, all waiting to be prepared over the next few days.  It wasn’t fun, but I am so glad it is done.  And I know that at some point in the next couple of days, Future Self is going to look back at me and say, “Hey thanks, that was really awesome that you pushed yourself to get it done when you did.  I appreciate you for that. You are the bomb dot com.”  (At least she’d better! Did I mention there were about four folks I seemed to be stalking through the store?  Awkwardness abounding!)

This morning when I woke up, I thought I might get a nap in today. Chances were good I’d need one, what with getting over the cold and–well, do I really need good justification for taking a nap?  If the opportunity presents itself, I’m at least gonna try.  But as the day wore on, I decided getting things off my to do list was going to be more beneficial to my spirits and attitude than a nap would.  And that’s saying something.

But you know what?  Ask me in a couple of days, but I think Future Self would agree.  Doing these things today will make me a nicer person later on.

Last night I told my littles who were not wanting to settle down, “Go to sleep. This is why y’all can’t get up in the mornings.” To which our Princess responded, “No, it’s not.  We’re just lazy.”  Ahem. Oh-kay, so maybe I was just talking to myself.

And on that note, I think I’ll call it a night.  Future Tara will likely thank me in the morning.