Flying Home

Silver wings in the sun,

take me back to where I’m from

and all the love I’ve known.

Mmmmm…flying home!

I’ve been listening to The Wrights a lot lately…and I thought that I would quote this song here because it describes what I will be doing early tomorrow morning!  Hurray for flying home!  Well, hurray for the home part.  I can’t really hurray about the flying part.  Just thinking about it induces mental moaning and contorted facial expressions.

Anyway, I thought I’d better write a short post today since I didn’t have time to last weekend and I’m not going to bother while I’m at home this weekend.  Because nothing terribly newsworthy took place I’m going to give you the EBR (Elizabeth’s Blog Reduced) version of the past week and a half’s happenings.

Community Thanksgiving Dinner:

Lots of food being shoved into lots of faces.

Teen Retreat:

Kids who can’t last a day without cigarettes.

SPARK:

Played games, all sorts.

Fourth Graders:

Gobble, gobble.  Turkey play practice.

Yup, that’s it.

Now for the traveling.

May the force be with me.

Something to be Thankful for

There has been one thing that has been troubling me the most while I’ve been down here and it touches on something that I believe to be a vital part of any one person’s life and society as a whole.  And that one thing is stable families.  So many of the kids here come from broken families or families that never were really together in the first place.  So many kids are raised by their grandparents instead of their mom and dad.  So many kids have complicated family webs full of half-siblings, step-siblings, my mom’s-boyfriend’s-kids “siblings”, or cousins who needed someone to take care of them.  So many kids have seen things and been placed in difficult situations that they did nothing to deserve.

These are problems that exist all over, but it’s hard to see such a high concentration of them.  Some people might blame it on poverty.  People who feel like they have nowhere to find a legitimate job turn to other ways of making money, like drugs.  Some people might blame it on a society that has glorified the individual and sexual relationships over the family unit and the sanctity of marriage.   There are lots of things we could blame it on.  But the end product is the same:  A kid who is lacking the stability kids so desperately need.

I could use this post to get angry and rant about the things that I blame it on.  But I’m not going to.  I’m going to use this post to tell you two things that seeing all of this has made me realize.  1.  If there is any way that I can help kids in situations like these, I will.  And 2.  I am so lucky to have the family that I have.

Because it is November, and because it is almost Thanksgiving, I think I’d just like to write a few of the things on here that I am thankful for:

I am thankful for parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who took “‘Til death do us part” seriously.

I am thankful for “road trips” to Hart Co-op and Tri-County Feed or just down the road to fix the fence with one of the greatest men I know, my Dad.

I am thankful for lost objects found and problems fixed with “Mommy Magic” courtesy of none other my Mommy herself.

I am thankful for two skinny little brothers who used to stand on the sofa, roll up their pants, take off their shoes, and morph into sumo-wrestlers.

I am thankful for trips down a dirt road to a house with willow trees in the front yard, filled with the smell of wood smoke, where I could eat pizza with my Grandpa and Grandma after church while watching Lawrence Welk.

I am thankful for Uncles and Aunts and cousins who make me smile.

I am thankful for the time spent creating many different fair displays with my hard-working Grandma.

In short, I am thankful for the stable, loving family that made me the person that I am today.

And I pray that more kids could have what I’ve always had.

Somewhere in between

Gorgeous colors hang in the air.  The temperature is just right – cool air coupled with warm sunshine.  It’s a thank-the-Lord kind of day; one that calls for flung open arms, wide open eyes, and mouths turned up into a smile.  The wind sends whispers of home,  of dry corn stalks ready for picking, of a carpet of leaves ready to be raked next to the house on the hill.  Another leaf releases its grasp and floats to the ground.  The colors fade to brown.

The air smells of winter.  Sharp.  Clean.  With lots of space.  Space that had previously been taken up by the crowds of creatures that come with summer.  The blue, blue sky gazes down at the trees that stand stark and bare, with only the occasional cluster of leaves huddled at the top.  The breeze has a bite to it, one that crawls inside your jacket and seeps into your bones.  The change is coming.

November is a month that has two faces.

Electioneering

November is an interesting month.  It’s the time when fall transitions into winter.  It’s the time when you start thinking about stuffing your face full of turkey and mashed potatoes.  It’s the time when you start to think about the Christmas season.  It’s the time when businesses decide to shove Christmas advertisements down your throat as soon as Halloween ends.  (Why, oh, why, am I watching people dance around to Christmas carols in the snow with shopping bags?  ‘Tis not the season.)  But forget all that.  Those are the unimportant parts of November.  What, you may ask, is the most important part of November?  Elections.  Elections are the most important.

It has been interesting to see how elections play out in Kentucky.  The campaign signs are sometimes worth a look.  A lot of people who are running for office like to let everyone know their nickname.  Vote for Bud.  Vote for Old Smokey.  Vote for Four-Fingered Fred.  There are a lot people who run for jailer.  I don’t think I’ve ever voted for a jailer…I didn’t know that they needed to be elected.  I also don’t think I’ve ever seen so many campaign signs for write-in candidates.  It’s kind of like saying “Hello, I was too lazy to sign up in time, but vote for me anyway.”  Or, “I hated the people that were running for this office so much that I decided that I really needed to run.”  Another interesting fact:  Kentucky has no school on election day.  Apparently those kids need the day off so that they can get out there and vote for governor.  Elections are such a daunting task.  But anyway, these are not the most important elections.  What, you may ask, are the most important elections?  Fourth grade elections.  Fourth grade elections are the most important.

I was lucky enough to get to be a part of two fourth grade elections at Whitley City Elementary.  There were several offices that the kids were running for:  President (the fearless leader), Vice President (that’s probably the person who has no official duties), Secretary (handles the paperwork), Treasurer (handles all the monies), and the Department of Defense (performs defensively defensive duties).  The kids made election posters and wrote speeches.  I love student election speeches.  They’re so full of impossible promises.  But that, I suppose, is not all that different from grown-up elections.

Some highlights:  One of the kids who was running for president went all out.  He brought a tie with him, which he put on right before he gave his well-prepared speech.  At the end of the speech, he switched on the cd player, which played his campaign theme music.  Having set the mood with a little bit of music, he then threw some confetti into the air.  Classic.  Then, of course, there were the kids with the impossible promises.  “I will fight for your right to party.”  “We will have more candy and parties at the end of the week.”  “I will throw the president in jail.”  “You will have more money if you vote for me.”  The funniest part is watching the kids in the audience as they listen to these promises.  They get these grins on their faces and then they turn around and look at the teacher with this “Can we really?” look.  I love fourth graders.  They’re awesome.