HELLO, Grinches

For all you Grinches, this one’s for you.

I think we all need an attitude adjustment.

Yes, we’re still reeling from the attacks in Paris, and Beirut, and it seems almost everywhere in the world. It’s a sad state of affairs.

There’s also lots of chatter about what to do about all those refugees who may be hiding terrorists in their midst.

And some of you are reeling from seeing holiday decorations in stores before they’ve even cleared the aisles of ghosts and pumpkins.

Still more of you seem obsessed with how you can most appropriately greet people as we enter into this politically correct time bomb of a holiday season.

So I will address all of these problems so that we can all go about our lives and go back to posting dog and cat memes on Facebook.

Let’s start with terrorists. I’m going to out on a limb and say we all think terrorists are a horrible thing. Some of us, though, think it’s much  more terrible if a terrorist does his terrorizing in an elegant setting such as Paris rather than more familiar terrorizing territory such as Beirut. Can we all agree that terrorism is bad no matter where it happens and be equally sad no matter where the bomb goes off?

That brings us to refugees. Let’s again agree that it’s horrible to lose your home and possessions and livelihood and actually flee your country because you fear for you life. Do we really want to force them to endure squalid and uncertain living conditions for another couple of months while we ponder their future? I’m going to say no. Just think if you were that refugee. Wouldn’t you want help as soon as possible? Let’s be the decent people I know we can be and help them right now.

Now for the thorny problem of early Christmas decorating. Some of you really seem upset about that. I have to ask why. Is someone forcing you to decorate? Have I or anyone else forced you to listen to a Carpenters Christmas album?  Are muppets dressed as elves hanging around your front steps?

No? Then just ignore it. I don’t shop that much so I wasn’t aware of all the horribly upsetting candy canes and Santas littering the aisles. Of course, they are not horrible to me. Jerseys for football teams are more horrible to me so I stay away from sporting stores. Problem solved.

Last, and certainly least, is how to greet each other as this holiday season ramps into high gear.

Maybe it’s just me and the fact that I don’t get out much, but I haven’t felt the need to shout “Merry Christmas” at anyone yet. Truth be told, I don’t say it much in December, either. I might say, “Hi, how have you been,” if I haven’t seen people in a while. It’s not that I’m thinking to myself, don’t say Merry Christmas or someone will slap me. I’m just more interested in how they’ve been.

If you happen to run into a refugee, I doubt they will care whether you say Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or Happy Kwanzaa. They’ll just be happy that we’re glad to see them.

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Lollygagging in the fall garden

Note to self: Plant more nasturtiums.

I was contemplating this while sitting in the backyard on a bench I had just repaired. And I had done a good enough job with the mending plates on the bench that it was safe enough to sit on. Good job, Geri.

Sitting at all in the garden is a rarity for me, as it is for almost every gardener I have ever met. We don’t go out there to lollygag. We go out there to garden and do chores. So I also put on the air conditioning cover and fixed a tarp over a bench. I turned up the wagons to stand on end in the lilac bushes so they won’t gather snow and water over the winter. And I hauled my garden carts into the screen house.

And then I sat down. And I surveyed my tiny backyard which is turning into everything and more I envisioned it would be when I moved here in 1989. Back then, I was just amazed that I owned a house. But by then I had been to many other houses and had been storing up ideas of what I could do when I owned my own little plot of land.

Most of those ideas have been slowly implemented over the years as my gardening and construction skills grew.

Last summer, my sister Therese got me started on the biggest project. She had always said we should turn the entire backyard into a stone patio surrounded by gardens.

I had the gardens. Now it was time for the patio.

We busted sod, laid stone and I even planted thyme in between the stones.

That began last summer and we got about a third of the backyard covered in stone. This summer, I tackled another third on my own. It isn’t as well done as the patio stone that Therese laid, but I am still well pleased with it. Pleased enough that at the end of tucking up the garden for the season, I sat down to survey all I had accomplished.

The windmill was spinning wildly in the wind, which lifted my spirits because it proved that when I moved it to the backyard, I actually was able to install it on level ground. No small feat for me since most of my life and construction projects are usually just slightly off kilter.

The potting shed Therese and I built on a scorching August day several years ago is stuffed with tools and my lawn mower. It’s a bit worse for the wear but I still like it very much.

The fence enclosure I built nearly 20 years ago is still sturdy and doing it’s job of protecting the AC unit.

And then there are the nasturtiums.

Those delicate little flowers are still in bloom, bobbing in the breeze, their cheery brightness asking me why I hadn’t planted more of them. They should be all over the yard, and next year they will be.

So thanks, Mother Nature, for this bonus week in the garden. It was more than I expected and everything I hoped it would be.  I’m not ready for winter in my head, but the garden is ready for whatever may come.