Portrait of the Artist

I think I did pretty well after the flood as we started pulling stuff out of the house and I ruthlessly decided what was trash and what wasn’t. “I don’t care” became my stock response to every item someone else expressed sympathy about. But when I found this in a flooded bin, it made me physically ill. I didn’t know I still had it. I’d even asked my brother last year if he had it, and he thought he did.

This discovery about broke me.

Debby and Lynne painstakingly lifted it from the water and found a way to place it where it could dry. It did dry, and the truth is, there was already some staining on the sketch long before our flood, but nothing like it has now.

Written on the bottom: HERE’S AN ARTIST’S CONCEPTION OF ME. I can’t read the artist’s name, but I think the date is 1949, which would corroborate what my mother once told me, that the sketch was done of my father by one of his fellow art students while he was in college.

Today’s Daddy’s birthday. The sketch is weathered but it will be okay. Like me.

He was one of the biggest reasons I’m a strong person.

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Got a dime?

Deep from one of the flooded bins on the carport, I rescued this. It’s a little bag I made when I was around 15. I don’t remember if I used my jeans, Riley’s, or First Love Tim’s, but it had a rawhide cord that pulled it into a little pouch, and I often hung it from a belt loop. That rawhide cord had come out and become a slimy thing that scared the crap out of me because I thought there was a snake in the bin, even though snakes aren’t slimy and whatever, fear knows no reason. After some serious laundering, my little denim bag is fine. As I recall, we called these dope bags, but I never had pot in mine, probably only a few dollars and some change. Always had to have a dime with me for that emergency call. There’s a whole generation who thinks phone calls were a quarter, and more generations who don’t know what a pay phone is.

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Priorities

Today is Jim’s birthday.

I actually have a gift for him that I purchased while he was here and intended to ship. I had all the time in the world…and then the flood happened. Below is a generally accurate account of what I told Jim.

“The morning of the flood, I texted Tom to tell him Tim’s apartment was flooding. He told me he didn’t have time to talk because our house was also flooding, and before he did anything else, he HAD TO GET JIM’S BIRTHDAY PRESENT SAFELY OUT OF THE REACH OF FLOOD WATERS.”

When I recounted this conversation to Timothy, here is a generally accurate account of his response.

“I hope you told him that when you called to tell me the house and apartment were flooding, I said, ‘Don’t worry about the dogs or the antique violin my great-grandfather built. GET THE BLUE VASE TO A SAFE LOCATION!'”

Well, of course, Jim knows we’d do that. But he always likes a little proof that the blue vase still exists.

Happy birthday, Jim!

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Button Sunday

September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day.

For more information about recognizing the risk factors and warning signs of suicide, please visit the American Association of Suicidology website. If you are struggling, please visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. You can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

Going through bins of old mementos and papers, I found cards and letters from Aaron both to me and to my mother. Post-flooding, my heart is not strong enough to read them right now. My home and heart will heal from the flood. My heart will always have broken places from losing and missing Aaron.

Please reach out for help if you need help.

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Transport Thursday!

Mel is the stuff country songs are made of.

He was a stray dog on the streets of Houston.

He was run over by a train.

While he was in the hospital, the rest of his family was found and rescued. Some immediately got parvo. (They are okay; no worries.)

Mel did have to get a leg amputated because of the incident with the train.

Out of the hospital, he ran away from his foster home ON THREE LEGS.

A tenacious dog rescuer tracked him through the woods and brought him back.

He’s traveled to Colorado now. I suspect Mel will end up with his own reality show and a pack of admirers. (I am among them.)

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