Things to be grateful for


Just over a week ago, I had to look up how to spell "abscess." Now it just flows from my fingertips.

But here are things within this circumstance for which I found myself to be grateful.

The week before, I bought a car, on Memorial Day. I'd saved up a little money for a down payment and the Sunday before Memorial Day, I transferred the money from my savings to my checking. Or I tried to. Usually, these transfers are instantaneous, but for some reason I can only guess at, this one was scheduled for Tuesday. What? My friend, Julie, who was taking me to buy the car, said we should go anyway. Turns out they let me buy a car without a down payment. Well, okay, cool. I now had a cushion for taking on a car payment.

Until the following Friday, when I developed a pain, sensitive to pressure, on my lower right back molar. Which got worse over the weekend. Which found me in an emergency dental office on Sunday afternoon. Which found me in an endodontist office on Monday morning. Expensive trips, even with dental insurance.

So, yeah. I'm thankful for a slow transfer of funds because if I'd used that money as a down payment, my exploding gums would have put me way up that foul creek. Even though the close calendar proximity of taking on a car note and my dental calamity (it HURT, ya'll) causes me no little anxiety, I'm grateful.

And even though the endodontist on Monday was dismissive of my pain and the swelling under my jaw, I'm super grateful for modern medicine and the second endodontist I saw on Thursday, who was much less dismissive and actually got me some relief. (If you are recommended to see an endodontist out Westheimer here in Houston, get in touch with me first. I have an exceedingly better recommendation in the Medical Center.)

For paid sick leave, I give thanks. Two days out from work with this adventure.

This is a sketchy outline of what I went through, but some of it is pretty gross and while I'm happy to share, maybe another time. Suffice to say, the swelling under my jawline is going down and I'm taking very few pain meds now while I finish up a round of big, honkin', antibiotic pills (for which I'm grateful).

Currently Reading

I'm slowly working my way through Mosaic of the Dark by Lisa Dordal. I don't remember where I read a review of it, but this poetry collection is an exploration of family, faith, and coming out as a lesbian. Or it is so far. Other themes may emerge. I'm reading slowly (although not as slowly as Brady Peterson might say I should read them---but that's what makes him a poet and me . . . not one). I do read most more than once and when I realized one section was addressed to her mother, I started that section over again with deeper appreciation. I think they're good poems. Lots of familiar feelings for me.

Currently Listening

Just briefly, i'm going to recommend this new podcast from ARC, a Theopoetics Podcast. The first episode is up and I'm looking forward to the second. Theology, creativity, embodiment, race, jumping Double Dutch as a site for theological expression/reflection . . . it hit a lot of sweet spots for me. Give it a go.

Random Memory #2

I don't recall my age at the time. I was late junior high (what the kids call "middle school" now) or early high school. I was with Daddy and we were cutting through the west part of Giddings after having been to the Nutrena feed store just a block off Highway 290, where we had our feed ground. By west part of Giddings, I mean the Black neighborhoods. As we passed one of the small homes where a black man was sitting in the front yard, Daddy said, "I think I know that man." Daddy was much more an extrovert than I'll ever be and he turned our truck around parked in front of that house.

The man in the front yard was very old, very dark, and very welcoming. He and his family used to come out to our farm, before I was born, when my family raised cotton, and worked for my family.

As I say, this was all very much before my time, and this man seemed quite impressed to meet the youngest of our family, when our family was already pretty large when he worked for us. I wish I remembered details of what we talked about that late afternoon, but I remember it being very congenial, full of story. While I know my parents were not progressive enough to have been marching for civil rights or anything like that, there was a comfort among us. Daddy and this older fellow seemed to have a respect for one another. I'm wise enough to the ways of the world now that I imagine some of it was practiced respect for a white man from a black man who was treated well enough by him. Or maybe it wasn't. I'll never know. But we left that visit with me having really enjoyed listening to Daddy and another man visit---not that common an occurrence.

What I know of that period before my birth, when, when my family raised cotton, was that Mama and Daddy hired people to come pick it. I believe my oldest siblings were out there with the hired hands, as was Daddy. Mama spent the morning in the kitchen cooking up a big lunch for everyone---something that old man talked about in his front yard. Mama said the older workers got on the younger workers for slacking off, not unlike Mama and Daddy got on us when we were lazy and complained about hard work. Mama mentioned once that she really enjoyed hearing the singing start as the day ended. One would start, another would join in, and soon the whole field was singing as quitting time approached.

I wish I remembered the name of that man, or any details from his stories. He's certainly long dead now, but he should be remembered. I guess I do, though namelessly.

I asked Daddy if we could go back and visit him again and he said yes, but we never did.