I don’t get many comments on what I’m writing. Enough to keep me motivated, I guess. Which is fine. I’m not fishing for support, here. But sometimes I do wonder how things are being received out there in blog world.
A longtime friend of mine wrote me yesterday.
“I enjoy your ponderings.” Simple. Straight up. I appreciate that she let me know.
I would have expected, “I like your stories.” Story telling is what I set out to do. And though I have written a few stories, I suppose she is right. I mostly ponder things. Sometimes rambling. Writing is a little like thinking out loud. Which is what I’m doing now since I cannot settle on a story to tell.
Pondering is a time-honored practice, especially among old folks. Another friend commented recently that my musings reminded him of things that “old folks” do. I’ll take that as a compliment.
Everywhere I look there are things to ponder.
Great philosophers ponder the meaning of life. The existence of God. The realities of truth. At one point in my life I was forced to read men like Rene Descartes, Thomas Reid and David Hume. Men who pondered things deeper than a dug out well.
In class, the professor and a handful of students would talk in long winding existential sentences that I could not follow. I just said “existential” to throw it into the discussion because it sounds deep. They would throw around Latin phrases that made sense to dead Romans. Semper Fi. They even debated whether or not the very chair in which the Prof sat was materially real, or just a figment of the mind. I was pretty sure my chair was real because my butt was not on the floor.
My ponderings are much more mundane. Like, what is the meaning of the warm country ham biscuit that I had for breakfast this morning. I whopped the cardboard can on the counter and heated up the cured ham in the microwave. I am embarrassed to admit that. My Mama taught me better than this. By 12 years old I could make buttermilk biscuits from scratch. And everyone knows that country ham is meant to be fried up in a cast iron skillet. But I’m on vacation, so I cut corners.
Ponder this. Folks used to visit. It’s an ancient social habit through which our ancestors stayed connected. Kind of like FB but better and in person. Growing up, we had all kinds of folks at our supper table for a visit. Some were family from just down the road. Some were friends of Mom and Dad’s that drove a while to get there. Some visits were short. Some were too long. And if the visit went late into the evening, Dad would say:
“Come on Helen. We better go to bed so these folks can go home.”
I have used that line a few times myself.
Visiting can require some level of personal commitment. Sometimes you just have to decide that you’re going to go. My folks had friends from their younger days that moved away to Baton Rouge. In the late 60s, it wasn’t all that easy to drive to Baton Rouge, but we did. It was hot. No AC in the car. Skinny legs sticking to vinyl seats. And we went there for no other reason than to visit.
One of the things I wanted to do on this trip to the cabin was to visit with my cousins who happen to live about 30 miles over the hills to Blairsville. So, we connected. And we went. It was just a good old-fashioned sitting around in the living room kind of visit. The kind that the old folks used to do when I was kid.
Wait a minute. Did I just say, “old folks?” Thanks, Dale.
Anyway. The afternoon was full of “remember when”, “did you know” and “I never heard that before.” We laughed about getting old. We talked about the stories that tell who we are. We acknowledged the ancestral currents that flow beneath the surface of our common history. Our Dads, brothers who both married women named Helen. We honored the connections that define us. And, then, there was this apple-chocolate-caramel-crunchy-thingy with ice cream. Which by all rights must be a part of any visit done properly from here on out.
The great thing about pondering is that you can start with nothing and end up with something. It doesn’t cost anything. And it comes natural to every last one of us. Sometimes it’s useful. Sometimes not worth the page it’s written on. Sometimes you just want to be thankful for a chance to visit with kin folk.
Thanks to Trish and Larry, and Betty and Mike. It was a perfect visit.
Right now, I’m pondering how I’m going to get the landing gear down and end this thing. Then, all of a sudden, I’m pondering over the idea that I might have me another one of those biscuits. I knew that this would lead to something good if I stayed at it long enough.