Younger Isn’t Young At Heart

He’s 79 years old. Sprightly would be the best word to describe him. Its certainly the word that came to mind as I walked around the farm with him yesterday.

He carries a walking stick with him, but its not because he needs it to support himself while walking. Rather it’s to lean on as he interacts with all the farmhands, finding out what’s happened overnight, or since his last walkabout.   Leaning on it as it sits at a thirty degree angle from the top to the bottom, he looks like the gentleman farmer that he now is.

Meanwhile at half his age I’m struggling to keep up. My exercise is usually heralded by mental preparation of running gear, sneakers, my iPod and step counter calibration.  Morning walks up and down the farm, 1.5 clicks to the bottom and the same back again in gumboots are not my foray. But here I find myself, enjoying it thoroughly.

We walk down the hill, striding past the coffee trees as he recounts his life on this farm and its transformation since he acquired it 45 years ago. You can hear the pride in his voice. You can also picture vividly the reality of what it used to look like back then, as he recounts the changes he has made, the improvements and investments.

At the bottom we walk into the sorting area and look around. The machinery is quietly awaiting the next round of berries to churn through after the Christmas break. For now though, it’s quiet, its just his voice sharing the process of the sorting, red, green, buni berries. Only the ripe ones gets pulped he says. He smiles as he realizes how ignorant I am about a process that is as familiar to him as my morning java is to me. Ironic isn’t it? I am a daily consumer of his product but know so little of its journey.

We start walking back up the hill, past the cedars, bottlebrushes and blue gums he planted back in the 80s when he cut a road for his first tractor.  He laughs as he leaves me behind, panting as I try to keep up with him on his casual walk uphill. Turns out the walking stick comes in handy for the incline.  The city girl clearly loses this round.

He may be 79, but on his farm, in his domain, it’s clear that he holds the youth card. Striding up he is the very epitome of Young At Heart.

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Tales of a Former Tooth Fairy

I’m sure you know the moment. 

Carefully slipping  your hand underneath the pillow of your beautiful sleeping child. Feeling around for that tooth that took an hour of coercion and half a second to pull out. Thinking back about how brave she was, you get misty eyed about another milestone. Her first molar is now out. 

Except this time you can’t find the tooth.

So you extend your arm farther in. Now you’re softly cursing in the dark wondering where the heck is it? After two minutes your gentle search is replaced by frustrated grabs all around the bottom of the headboard and you are getting increasingly ambivalent about waking the kid up.

Finally you give in and put on the light and proceed to half shove half shift  your snoring offspring to the side of the bed and nearly strip off all the bedsheets in the almighty search. You throw your hands up in the air and start to storm out of the room then your eyes fall to the bedside table…

 

Oops!
I guess she’s nine. I am a tooth fairy no more. 

Unraveled

In retrospect I realise that my guard had been let down months if not years before. If not, I would have sensed the strangers long before I saw them. That said though, I’m no longer sure what my reaction would have been armed with this knowledge.

Years earlier an escape plan would have been on hand. In fact multiple options would have been at my disposal. Primed for freedom I wouldn’t have made it to the front door, let alone the living room.

But here I was, and once through the living room door there was no stepping back. No more.

No escape from this chilling moment that I had been running from for years.

There was nothing to it.  The conversation had to be had. Words needed to be spoken, anger and remorse voiced. Forgiveness sought.

So finally, I went against the grain. I decided  I not to cut and run. Not anymore. My soul was weary and after all, that formula had clearly run its length. It was time.

Any cake left for me I asked the Agents as they sat on my living room couch.

There they sat served by my innocent daughter, who I had tried so hard to shield from this day.

There they sat – my not so Unexpected Guests.

After Eight

Hate to Love

It’s so cliche.

I know it’s cliche, but that doesn’t make it any less real. That thing I hate to love.

It’s chocolate. Most specifically, mint chocolate. And while we’re at it After Eights.

It’s been a battle for so many years that I’ve finally acquiesced and given into it. Somewhere between my 9 year old daughter introducing me to her classmates and saying my favorite food is chocolate and me growling at said daughter who tried to gently ask for just one After Eight half an hour ago.

Life is to be embraced I tell myself, and the  joy that I get from one, two…ok six of these heavenly filled delights is worth the 4 k’s I’ll have to run in the morning to assuage my guilty indulgence(s). Why lie, maybe they are just the impetus I need to kickstart the get up and go. Hazy memories,  confirmed by a shocking number of empty After Eight sleeves mocking me in the morning from my bedside bin.

One day I’m sure I’ll be done feeling guilty about this, my un-grownup addiction. Clearly not today as it took all of a one second to realize what I had to write about when I saw the prompt that thing I hate to love.

Either that or my grown-up self will finally learn to accept that thing. And hate it no more.