Loving

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Juper

Logan George, one of our littlest (just shy of two), most joyful, and cutest neighbors, when he isn’t experiencing the thrill of an airplane up above, exploring with dad in the truck, or dashing about the yard in a game of tag, loves to shout, “Dog!” At his family pet, Baxter, or our girl, or whatever canine happens to be strolling by.

This last week, however, as we were walking home, he shouted, “Bye-bye Juper!” Adorable and heart melting. How the innocence and love of children and dogs make the world whole.

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Isn’t fascinating how stripping an image of its color reveals the essence? The soul? A secret springs forth, a wrinkle, a knoll.

I read once that a person can see a dog running away for three days in New Mexico. The views are so long. Look for it now. It’s there for you to see.

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Hello, and happy Friday! It’s our 27th wedding anniversary today! We are twenty-seven years better together, to be sure, though both of us forgot until I was glancing at the calendar and saw the date. So funny!

The memorial rose bush my mom gave me for Grandma Tess is positively covered in blooms to celebrate!

We had a wonderfully heavy rain earlier this week, complete with the rumble of thunder and flashes of lightning. The same storm brought snow to Pike’s Peak, which always makes me smile.

A few of this week’s eats. I brined and smoked chicken wings, made a green olive and orange gremolata to top more chicken, and did a Thai-ish salad of mushrooms, pork, peppers, green onion and garlic. Oh, and lots of ginger. Lots. Steamy!

Grandpa Herbie’s favorite Indian Paintbrush is popping up all over. Did you know it is a parasitic plant? Fascinating.

Yucca getting ready to bloom…

So much love for these tender hearts…

James Marshall was born a fox. Red-haired and a little wild in the eyes. His Momma’s clever fox, handsome fox. His Pop’s too. His big sister’s best little kit.

Yelp. Yelp. Yelp.

Later, James Marshall became a firefly, gazing out the window at the magical language of his kin. For though he was bright enough to light the Ozarks and for Grandpa Nicolaus to read by, his wings were too small to fly.

Blink. Blink. Blink.

One day James Marshall lost his wings and became a boy. A giddy big brother of a boy, curious and ever so fast to smile. But his body hurt and would not let him out of bed. Not to jump with his Momma, swing with his Pops, romp with his fox family, or flit among the fireflies.

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

Momma and Pops took him to the doctor. A long ride in the car. There he became the boy under the lights, warm hands and cold hands. Big voices and small voices. Machines & medicine. Talking fast and slow. So many words.

No. No. No.

Always his Momma. To her, he was still her handsome fox. Always his Pops, who helped him touch the stars. And brother and sister and Grandpa Nicolaus, too.

Love. Love. Love.

Sadly, nothing could make him well. Not the doctors, not the medicines and machines. Not his Momma, nor his Pops. Not the foxes, nor the fireflies. He could not yelp. He could not blink.

Sad. Sad. Sad.

He got so tired, and his wee body could do no more. And then the sky exploded, and James Marshall, the fox, the firefly, the boy, became the 4th of July.

Boom. Boom. Boom.

***

James Marshall was my great uncle, born October 22, 1918. He died on the 4th of July 1921 of a giant cell sarcoma of the right kidney.

Since learning about him in my ancestral research, we’ve spent much time together, both on this plane and in dreamtime. This story is as much his as it is mine. I know he likes it, and I hope you do, too.

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A new coat for Juniper, in one of my favorite colors (teal!) and with a useless and utterly adorable faux fur hood. I feel sort of lame buying her such things, but our girl’s genetics did not prepare her for our weather, and so I must or watch her shiver.

A couple of Greg’s favorite eats: red chile and chocolate cake! I also tried my hand at pupusas because 1. I never had, and 2. They are filled with cheese. A duh if ever there was. I also like them because they are far easier than homemade corn tortillas. I know my way around the kitchen, but dang, do I have a difficult time keeping them from sticking.

I made his favorites, not just because I love him, which would be enough, but also because my best love had hernia surgery last week. He deserved extra special treatment!

It was a nice role reversal, with me the one waiting and hoping and uttering every little prayer the surgery would be as uncomplicated as the doctor had foreseen. Thankfully, it was.

He was and remains a good patient, utterly silly while the drugs wore off, rejoicing in the complex flavors of ginger ale and saltines (the best ever), wielding them like precious metals, giggling (and grimacing – ouch my tummy hurts!) and making me do the same. It only took a few days before he could walk at his normal pace on our Juniper jaunts, but he’s still got a way to go in terms of pain. Please think good thoughts for him.

Makings for a rhubarb apple crisp on our regularly scheduled dessert day (Sunday). As I peeled the apple in one long go, I thought of how I marveled at adults who could do the same when I was a child, how it seemed so impossible to keep the peeler going, going, going. How lovely it is to learn and grow and mature, the impossible made simple and everyday. Life is a wonder…

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