Calling Erma Bombeck
Saturday, August 09, 2008
When I was a kid, I spent a large portions of my summers with my grandparents. My mother was a single parent and it was the safe and cheap thing to do - send us to Grandma and Grandpa for the summer. In hindsight, it was a great gift. My grandparents had an almond (pronounced Ahh-mond - the "L" is silent when the nuts are on the ground) orchard. I learned to drive tractor long before I drove a car, swam in the ditches even though Grandma and Grandpa had a perfectly good pool, had frog races, worked in the garden, and had the BEST mud pie palace ever! Most importantly, I learned great lessons from my grandparents. Both are depression era people and they taught me the importance of being able to feed oneself, being a good steward of one's resources (not that I have not made my share of mistakes), being a person of your word, and having character. I learned practical items as well such as sewing, needle arts, canning, etc. They are a huge reason that I moved way out to the country so that I could give my kids part of what they gave me.
Grandma read (and still does) all the time. But her bookshelf had mostly good for the soul type of books. There were a few novels, but her collection consisted of what would be called Chicken Soup for the Soul kind of books long before they were the rage. There were a lot of books on the bible and bible study, but as a kid, the books I liked best to sit and talk with Grandma about were the Erma Bombeck books or newspaper editorials. Erma was like a part of the kitchen, the green swivel dinnette chairs, and my grandparent's black coffee in the morning.
Secretly, I wanted to grow up to be like Erma. She was that trusted friend so said the truth but said it in a very down to earth way without being mean. Heck, she had the best job in the world...being herself!
My favorite Erma-ism was the title of one of her books --- the grass is always greener over the septic tank.
That phrase has been rolling around in my head a lot this week. Why is the grass greener over the septic tank?---Duh, the "fertilization". And I have had an abundance of "fertilizer" running around this week. In helping to get 12 tons out of the field before the rain (thanks to the 2 friends who stopped by to lend a hand) - I found myself comparing my ability to move the bales to my husband (who is more fit and handles appliances for a living). After all, if he can dead lift the weight of a bale of hay to his chest level (they are 65-100 lbs each), I should be able to do the same. If he can toss them up to the bed of the lifted truck, so should I (never mind that that he is 6 foot 1 and I am 5 foot 1). I found myself apologizing to him for not doing more. Not to mention the battle with the metal box (scale). For allll that hard work...the scale barely budged!
Part of me felt that same discouragement of why bother...and then Erma's "voice" came sneaking in. My stinking thinking aka fertilizer was cropping up loads of green grass....from the outside it looked good..but the source sure did stink to high heaven and not a bit would help.
I stopped and thought what would Erma do - take stock of what was really going on and not focus on the green grass. What was really going on was a questioning of my worth and fears that my husband would not think I had done enough, disgust with my body taht I had allowed it to get to this point where I no longer recognize it, that I was not getting the instant big reward on the scale.
I shared my thoughts with my husband who reminded me thta I am not in the same shape he is in, that he still loves me, and that I never quit. It would have been easy to say that it was too hard. But I didn't. That there is more to getting healthy than just what a scale says. In his eyes, I did just fine and that to him I am beautiful.
So what now --- the grass is always green over the septic tank. But that does not have to be the only place. So Erma, keep an eye on me and my thoughts in check while I go see what else I can turn green - and not just from shoveling my "fertilizer".