I know why they call it yard ‘work’

I spent most of my Saturday making a dent in the shrubbery that had attached itself to our chain link fence. We thought the vine had been destroyed last year, but it must have found its way back into existence this year.flower

Its growth went unnoticed for the most part, along with the rest of the weeds. I had neglected the back yard, mostly because I was too busy doing other things, but also because it has been too hot to doing much manual labor.

Nonetheless, the time had come to either cut it down, or let our backyard become a tropical jungle. I decided to cut it down because I figured it would help keep the bugs to a minimum and make the yard look a little neater.

So I got to work. I found that the vines had twisted around the fence, the trees, and yes, even itself. At first I was very careful not to cut any of the branches, but then I just gave up and started chopping away and anything the clippers came into contact with.

When I got to the end of the fence, I looked back at what I had accomplished. I couldn’t believe the massive amount of brush I had cut from the fence alone.

I looked around for more things to cut. I admit that I did go a little crazy with the clippers, but my yard never looked so good.  I was tired, but a good kind of tired, the kind of tired that comes with a job well done.

Even if it is only yard work.

Walt Disney said, “Whatever you do, do it well.” I totally agree.

Tomato update: My tomato plants died some time ago when I left them on the back porch and the 4 inches of rain we got that night drowned them.  Maybe next year.

Flower Update: I planted a few bulbs in the spring and forgot what they were. I can identify the Lilies, but I’m not sure about this one. I think it’s a Dahlia, but I’m not 100 percent sure. It’s interesting, anyway.

A stange-looking flower. At first I thought it was a sunflower because of the stalk. Now I'm not sure. Photo by Cynthia Petersen

A stange-looking flower. At first I thought it was a sunflower because of the stalk. Now I’m not sure. Photo by Cynthia Petersen

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Celebrating our freedom

My grandson and I had a discussion last Thursday as we were heading downtown for the fireworks. He was explaining to us why we celebrate the 4th of July.

“A long time ago, some people didn’t want us to have a country,” he began very authoritatively. “They tried to make us do what they wanted us to do and we said no. Then they came over and started killing everybody and there was lots of gunfire and we finally won and they went home,” he said excitedly,  all in one breath.

“We learned it at school.  That’s why we set off fireworks,” he added proudly.

“That’s right, Thomas,” I told him. “Did you learn about the Declaration of Independence in school , too?”

He shook his head. “No…I think we’re going to learn that next year.”

I smiled, and though I didn’t want to undermine his triumphant moment, I couldn’t help but see an opportunity to impart a little wisdom on my grandchildren.

“We celebrate the 4th of July because our forefathers left England in search of a place where they could be free to do what they want. They didn’t want to listen to a king who told them that they had to worship God or live  life a certain way. But the king wouldn’t let them go and he tried to make them follow his rules by sending soldiers here. But the new Americans decided they didn’t have to listen to him anymore and got together and fought them and made them go back to England.”

“What’s a forefather?” Isabelle piped up.

Thinking of an easy definition, I told her, “The people who knew George Washington.”

“Oh,” she said sitting back, satisfied with the answer.

I continued with my lesson.

“We celebrate the 4th of July to remind us how lucky we are to have the freedom to worship God the way we want, to say whatever we want, or live how we want.”

I paused and could tell by the looks on their faces that they were no longer listening. Their minds were on other things.

“And the fireworks are really cool, too,” I said enthusiastically, livening up the mood, and bringing them back to the moment.

“Yeah, they are!” they all agreed.

As we walked to a good spot to see the fireworks show, I thought about what I told them. I didn’t always appreciate the holiday or what it stands for. But I do now. Maybe it’s because I’m older and wiser, but I’ve also witnessed oppression-on TV, the Internet, and in the newspapers.

But my grandkids aren’t really aware of that yet. Maybe they can enjoy a few more years of their childhood before reality smacks them across the head.  They’ll figure it out some day, and when they do, I hope they will keep those freedoms sacred and realize just how lucky they are to live in a country that recognizes them.

I thought about the good times I had when I was little, with sparklers and fireworks, and if that is what the Fourth of July means to our children at this point in their lives, then so be it.

After all, that’s a freedom, too.