Tuesday, April 28, 2015


I am deep into Orphan Train, our book club selection for May. The word "portage" is mentioned several times in the book. It is a school assignment for one of the main characters, and I believe it is a tool used to show the book's theme. A dictionary definition says, "the carrying of a boat or its cargo between two navigable waters."

I've been thinking about what I would say if I had to describe my "portage". What have I chosen to take along on my life's journey from early childhood until today? It seems poignant because of all the memories I have been writing about. I wonder why I choose to remember certain things and put them into words.

And then there are all the things I have chosen to save or keep, carrying them from place to place as I have moved, never getting rid of them. I see all those photo albums that I hang onto like they are gold. I see old pictures displayed in their frames. I see Grandmom's sewing machine. I see the Scrabble board. I see ancient vinyl with its recent purchase of a new turntable. Why did I feel the need to buy that? To listen again? I see fishing poles sitting in the corner of the garage. I see gifts I continue to use remembering the people associated with them.

Portage. When does it become too heavy a load?

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Slithering Visitor

I had a little excitement yesterday, unanticipated and unwanted. I stood at my back porch screen door, looking out and thinking I should check some flowers to see if they needed watering. I opened the door and stepped down onto the pavers and before I could react, this black snake slithered up into the porch slicker than snot. 

Well, when there is no one else, you become it. First I thought about Mopsy, my kitty, who was asleep in the bedroom, and what if the snake got inside the house, so I stepped back up into the porch, hurried to the house door and closed it. The screen door had slammed shut. It was me and the snake. 

He had wiggled and writhed along the front wall about halfway across, sticking close to the screen, looking for a way out. Snakes are all "hes" right? I tried waving my arms to shew him back toward the door, but it only scared or agitated him more, and he danced around mostly in one spot. Then I realized the screen door was shut and went over to throw it open until it stuck on something and stayed there. 

Mr. Snake was looking out the screen moving his head from side to side in desperation it seemed. I picked up the rubber mat I keep in front of the door and walked over to get on the other side of him again. I tried waving it at him hoping he would move in the other direction toward the door, but he did the same thing, arched his arches and danced back and forth along the screen. I laid it down on the porch floor a couple feet from him and he settled down. 

I noticed my picker-upper laying by my garden tool basket and decided to try urging him onward and outward with that, but he did the same thing as when I waved the mat. He just arched his back and swayed back and forth. At least he did not come any farther into the porch. Looking at the mat I wondered if I could push it with my foot and herd him out. And that is what worked. I kept inching it forward with my foot, barely touching him with its opposite edge, and he got the message...get away from the mat. He slithered right back out the same way he slithered in except not quite as fast. Whew! I feel like it's happening right now. My hands are shaking.