Chris- First to Come to Baker’s Acres-First to Go

Chris, on the left, went over the rainbow bridge today. We will miss him.
This Chris, on the left, went over the rainbow bridge today. We will miss him.

My husband fell in love with the donkey who lived in this house when we bought it. We wanted to buy Festus with the house, but the owner didn’t want to sell him. They had been together for a long time. Stephen talked about that donkey quite a bit and I had decided I would get one for him when I heard hay was so expensive, folks were giving them away. I waited til I thought we could afford it and I found two donkeys being given away . I snapped them up and they were both males.

Okay, I thought , “We’ll see how it goes.”

Stephen was on the computer when the donks were delivered . He’d stayed home from work because he had pneumonia. He wasn’t to go outside anyway, and since it was a surprise, I made him promise to stay there and not look. The guy finally got to the end of the drive where we were to let them into the pasture. First, Chris descended from the trailer and was happy to get into the pasture. Even though it was the week after Valentines, there was still grass for them to munch on.

I asked the former owner of these fine badonkadonks, “What are their names- do they have names?”

“Anthony and Chris, he said drably, I named them after mah brothers.”  I felt my eyes roll into the top of my head as I chuckled to myself.

While Anthony was fairly friendly, Chris acted as if he’d been abused at one time or another. He was very shy, didn’t want to be around people, didn’t want to be touched, and went as far as to walk off if one tried to pet his face.

When they were settled into the yard, I went to get Stephen and tell him he could come out and see his new “surprise”. Livestock! We were out in the country, after all . And didn’t he just love Festus? Here were some donkeys of his very own, I beamed with pride and a sense of accomplishment. I guess that was about 6 years ago. The years have been good to us and to the donkeys. Why, the next year, they got girlfriends, when Blanch and Bambi came to join our family. We had two foals, both males, both Bambi’s. The firstborn, Gregory, was from an unknown father- she was pregnant when she got here. Thirteen, though, was Bambi’s and Chris’s child-looks just like Chris. But, it was Blanche Chris loved . Blanche loved him back. However, Blanche lost a foal a couple of years ago and has never been pregnant again.

The boys have since been gelded, so there will be no more babies. That’s okay. We were up to six donkeys- each loved greatly. Why donkeys? Well, they are great guardians of livestock. Coyotes close by? They don’t come up where donkeys are watching. They know the donkeys will kill them if they get close. Donkeys have wonderful and diverse personalities. They are sure to get a laugh out of anyone passing by.

So, this morning- when I went to feed the animals this morning, my eyes burned with tears when I saw Chris lying by the barn door. I ran around to the door of the barn where he lay and saw he had passed away . Rigor mortis had not set in , so , I knew he hadn’t been dead too long. I pet him and walked to the house where Stephen met me bringing dog food.

“I’m sad to say that Chris has died this morning,” I hollered to him.

“What? What”

“Chris has died.” Stephen walked quickly to the barn, bending over to pet him just as I did. Tears fell from Stephen’s eyes  and mine. Now, we had to get busy, find out what to do.

In the meantime, I began thinking of how scared Chris had been when he first came, how untrusting he was. I thought about a couple of days earlier when we had both petted his face, hugged him , without any fear from him. A bit later, Stephen and I figured out why we have so many animals. We take the rescued, the unloved animals, animals who are afraid and love them while they live out their last days here.

Chris, the first donkey here, the most fearful donkey we had was the most loved donkey. He left this place knowing love. That’s our job- to love these guys for the rest of their lives. Thank you, God for Chris- a great blessing. We return him to you-a donkey who knew love and loved in return.

She’ll Be Riding Six White Horses When She Comes

I’m excited tonight, but a bit scared. My daughter, Amanda , is coming home for Christmas. She does each year and each year, I find myself nervous because I want it all to be so perfect for her. It’s been a year since i’ve seen her and I’ve missed her so much.

I’m one of those “visual ” people who plays scenarios in her head only to be the one who is most surprised when the scenes are not just like I imagined they would be. The silly thing is that these scenarios play out in their own way- generally better than I could have ever imagined. Have you played out a scenario just to find out it came out better-or worse- than you imagined? I laugh at myself doing it now – at my age. I remember lying in bed at night doing that in high school – “I’m going to do this and he’s going to say this and it is all gonna be so cool and romantic.” hahha. never was quite as cool and romantic as I imagined.

The thing with mothers and daughters is that anything can happen and they still love each other in the morning. It’s always been that way for us and I know that no matter what goes awry, we can probably laugh about it. I can’t wait to see her beautiful face tomorrow. Safe journey Mandibear! i love you.

It Seems Like Forever…

…since I’ve written. It’s been a very emotional week for me and I’m not whining so don’t call the wahbulance. It’s been an interesting, exhausting and exciting and overwhelming week- so much so that I made an early appointment with my therapist. I usually go once a month, but felt so overwhelmed by emotions I decided to go early.

It’s not that I am so fragile, you see-it’s that after being diagnosed bipolar, I was put on meds that for all intents and purposes shut off my emotions. I was, in effect, a sort of robot person for a very long time. I couldn’t handle the over-emotions and mood swings I had. Now, on different medications that don’t dull my  senses and emotions, when I was presented with Christmas videos including my late mother, late son in law and my late sister and then my first ever glimpse of my grandfather- I had so many emotions and I was just not sure what to do with them all.

See, my grandfather-my mom’s dad, was never talked about- he had been an alcoholic who went on a bender one night and never came back. Questions were not answered about him other than an “I don’t want to talk about it now,” from my mother. My mother was very angry with her dad because he left them. I cannot blame her. Back then, one didn’t talk about a spouse, child, brother, sister-what have you- who happened to be alcoholics or as commonly put- “a drunk.” It was a huge embarrassment, to boot.

My grandfathers both died before I was born and while I’d seen photos and known about the reasons for my daddy’s dads demise, I had no clue as to why my mother’s dad passed away. I found his death certificate from ancestry.com and felt such an overwhelming sadness when I read he had died from lung cancer and pneumonia. I wondered if he was alone, if anyone knew (the kids or my grandmother) and I felt instantly sorry for him. And for me for not having known him.

Here it is Christmas and I’m overwhelmed with emotions. My mother passed away December 21, 2004. It’s so odd because I’m not sad, just emotional. hmmmn.

You May Not Believe it to Look at Me, But..

…I will, tomorrow, be the mother of a forty (40) year old woman! yes~ me! I’m the mom. I remember it like yesterday. I began having Braxton-Hicks contractions and had, in fact gone to the hospital a night or two before. But this time, they kept me, admitted me I was fairly concerned that my baby was to be born on Friday, December 13, 1974. I was hoping it would be good luck for the baby. I believed in that sort of thing back then.Anyway, my mother took me to the hospital since my ex-husband was working construction or some such job and was unreachable. I was 17 years old. We didn’t know whether we were having a boy or girl. We’d had a sonogram, but they didn’t tell you that sort of thing back then. It wasn’t even an option- “do you want to know? ” was never asked because , well, because doctors probably didn’t know or want to be wrong about the sex. So, better not to tell.

As a 17 year old soon-to-be mother, I had some very romantic ideas about this baby. If it was a girl, she would run through the wheat fields (I wonder what wheat fields- we lived in the city) , the wind blowing her long blonde hair behind her as she ran. (now, I picture Fabio and his hair- only longer!) She would be a free spirit, barefoot all the time, daisies in her hair.(Can you tell i was a hippie?) If it was a boy- it would have been all boy, playing with GI Joes, hammering nails and playing with screwdrivers. Baseball, football, soccer, all that … for “mah boy.” Not too many ideas about boys since I’d only played with my boy cousins when I was little.Rough and tumble and stuff.

Back to my saga.I was in labor a good 16 hours when my daughter, Amanda, finally decided to show up. 3:46 am. It’s a girl!  After a while, she did have golden, long hair, curly, kind of, with a bit of wave ,blue eyes,barefoot only for a while because reality hit and she had to wear corrective shoes.Just as cute as a bug in a rug. People thought we were sisters, infuriating me then, flattering me now.

We’ve had  our ups and downs, good times and bad, but she is, by far my favorite girl, my real first love. We’ve had the most fun a mother and daughter can have and some of the darkest times a mother and daughter could have. I love her more than I ever thought I would love anyone and we can pretty much read each other’s mind. Oh my- that’s scary. So, happy birthday my little girl. It doesn’t matter how old you get , I’ll still love you! hahahahhhahahah.

Happy birthday sweet girl. we love you
Happy birthday sweet girl. we love you

Times-They are Emotional

A problem with folks with bipolar disorder, like me is sometimes there are just too many emotions -sometimes all at once. This past weekend was like that for me.

Friday, my cousin posted the first photo we’ve (meaning our generation)  have ever seen  of our grandfather (my mother’s dad). It was one of the most weirdly emotional things I’ve ever felt. I saw my grandaddy’s photo with his teammates- he was a pitcher for Southern Methodist University’s baseball team in 1919- and I was instantly excited and sad all at once. He died in 1955- two years before I was born. He was persona non grata in ours and my mother’s siblings’ houses. Apparently, he stayed drunk most of the time and once went on a bender and never came back. Sad , really as he was a doctor and even gave up his practice (as far as I know) for drink.  At any rate, he was never talked about and we never had any answers about him.

I found his death certificate when I was a member of ancestry.com. I felt such a weird profound sadness for this man I never knew but was a part of. He passed away from lung cancer which had metastisized to his brain and pneumonia. I began to wonder if my mother and her brothers and sisters knew when he died, if they cared or not. Then I wondered if he died alone. I was so sad to think he could  have.

Saturday, my husband found a video with my mother,sister and son in law in it. They all passed away just a couple of years after the video was made.It’s kind of funny because when someone dies, you’d give anything to see them again- to hear their voices. But, I found it to be unbelievably sad. I longed for my mother more when I saw her on the film than when I can’t see her. How odd is that? Same for my sister and son -in- law. I wonder why that is?  See what I mean about the emotions? So excited to see them and hear their voices and laughs, but so sad that I couldn’t have more. I don’t think I meant to be greedy- maybe it’s just natural to long for people who have gone on before you.

Sunday found me mad at the world. Today, I am not quite myself, but almost. I don’t really think people are built for such a range of emotions as this.

Christmas Carols in the Car

The beginning of this week found me being a real humbug. Nothing else could describe it. I said to my husband-or someone- “I don’t mind Christmas carols, but I’m thinking just the last two weeks of December would be fine to listen to them .Much more than that and this early, is just asking too much.” Now, I did admit to my husband, mostly to myself the statement sounded a bit Scrooge-ish.

Fast forward to today.When I listen to the radio, I either listen to KLTY, the local Christian Rock Station or KRLD 1080, all news. I love to listen to the news.The whole problem with spending the day in your car and listening to the news channel is the news seems to repeat every so often. I, then, get tired of hearing the same thing over and over. So, begrudgingly, I turned the station to KLTY. I say begrudgingly because I knew they were playing Christmas carols and I didn’t really want to hear them yet.  But,it was like I was drawn to it. I’m sure that was the case here.

The first Christmas carol I heard was “Mary, did you know?” -my favorite. Such a sweet song. If you haven’t heard it, the question is “Mary did you know your baby boy would one day walk on water? Mary did you know your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?” I love this song because -well, it’s kind of confusing. Sometimes, I imagine it’s God talking to her as a pregnant young lady. Most of the time, though, I think it must be a friend or perhaps God, talking to her after the death and resurrection of her Son, Jesus- not mockingly, but as if to comfort her. I can imagine how special she must have felt, knowing God chose her among all the women in world to carry His Son. I can imagine it was a heavy burden for her to carry, first by herself-before Joseph knew- and then for them to carry together. I can appreciate the excitement and burden they must have felt. I imagine it must have been overwhelming all in all.

You might be able to guess I felt as if God directed me to that station at that moment to remind me what Christmas is all about. Not stuff. Just Him.