Friday, August 22, 2014

This just stinks!

It's been a rough week.  And busy.  We've had two girls leave for college: Sad.  Teen car troubles: Frustrating.  More teen car troubles: Frustrated and angry teen.  A trip to Fargo: Tired mom.  A member passing away, to make the second week in a row with a death in the parish: Tired Pastor.

We're leaving tomorrow to attend the Bethany Lutheran College parent orientation and opening service.  We'll stop first at Joe's parents' for the night and then attend church at the congregation of their parish that has the early service.  We plan to stop on the way to Mankato to see Joe's Grandparents. 

We hope to get to see Elsie and where she's living, and meet part of the couple she's living with.  We'll hopefully get to see Jeremy and perhaps eat lunch at Five Guys where he works.

We're planning to stay Sunday evening with Ryan and Marie M.  Marie's dad was a seminary classmate of Joe's.  Marie used to help me with Jeremy when he was a baby and she was just nearing babysitting age.  It will be fun to meet her husband and children.

After that we continue Monday morning on to Madison, WI, to see the "old gang."  We're going to be staying with my cousin Claire, who is not part of the "old gang," but part of the "new gang."  Claire is a handful of years older than I am, so I didn't know her well when we were growing up.  But I have enjoyed getting to know her through facebook.  And as it happens, she's friends with some of the "old gang."  It will be wonderful to see everyone.  

But also bittersweet, as one of our "old gang" is suffering with what appears to be terminal cancer

Oh, Beth, we love you so.  We are caught between wanting you to stay with us, and knowing that you will be out of suffering when you are with our Father in Heaven.  Our selfish hearts don't want to let you go.  But we pray with all the saints, "Kyrie Eleison! Lord Have Mercy!"  and, "God's will be done!"

 ~   ~   ~
On a more mundane note, and to explain the origins of the photo I used to symbolically represent our week, I'm going to share a story from this morning.

I did get one walk in this week, with my friend, Lana.  We walked this morning in a light drizzle before the downpours and hailstorms that came later.  Everything is so nice and green now.  It had gotten really dry the last several weeks.

As Lana and I left the driveway this morning, we were greeted by a nice fat black skunk lying on it's back, looking for all the world like a fat kitty waiting for his tummy to be rubbed.  He was dead, of course.  But still nice looking.  He didn't stink at all, which was strange.   At first we had a hard time deciding, the way he was lying there, whether he was a cat or a skunk.  Most of his stripe was underneath him, and there are several black and white cats in the neighborhood. 

We passed him by, giving him wide girth, and continued on our walk.  As we were heading home, Joe passed us in the car, on his way to his funeral planning meeting.  He pulled over and lowered his window. 

"Mary, I don't have time, but I'd like that skunk off the road.  Do you think you can move him a little bit, and I'll carry him further over when I get home."

"Um, ... He doesn't stink at all.  Can't we leave him there."

"No, if someone hits him, he'll spray.  And then he will stink.  And that stink will blow right into the house."

"Oh, OK, I can probably manage it.  But only for you, Dear."

Lana and I giggled and laughed nervously the rest of the way home, wondering how I'd manage to move the skunk.  After we got back to the driveway, I headed up to the garage to get the scoop shovel and Lana headed to her truck. 

"Lana!  Aren't you going to stay and give me moral support?"

"Oh.  I'll stay if you want.  Do you want me to?"


After fetching the shovel, we walked back out to our well-bloated friend.

We joked about whether it would be worse for him to spray his skunk smell, or if he burst open from being bloated.

I started the procedure at the head end.  It wasn't quite as swollen there, so I thought there'd perhaps be less risk of him bursting, and I knew I didn't want to be at the hind end if he sprayed.  I slid the shovel under.  And gave it a little push.  It slid a little further yet. 

But after I got the shovel under the skunk about half way, as it got under the swollen stomach area, I found I could get no further.  The skunk's bloated belly was like a filled water balloon.  If I pushed from one side, it all rolled and flopped and jiggled to the other side. 

Ugh!  Lana and I talked over different solutions.  And finally we decided to just push him gently with the shovel until he slid off the roadway, and then let Joe worry about moving him further away later. 

As I slid him onto the shoulder, though, he simply rolled over onto his belly.  And stood up.  Really! 

Lana hooted, "Mary, look!  Look how he's standing there!"

And he was indeed standing there.  He was so fat and bloated that his head stood straight out from his body, looking for all the world as if he was still alive.  As if like Lana and I, he was just out for his morning walk. 

I couldn't find Joe's camera to take his picture right away.  So what you see in the picture at the top is from this evening after several downpours and at least a couple of hail storms.   He has sagged some throughout the day, so that his head is drooping a little bit. 

It reminds me of that old Bill Cosby skit about the British, and how proper they are,  "I'm so sorry to be leaning here, but it seems my life is leaving me."

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