Friday, June 14, 2013

The snake, the "skunk dog" and the crash

There's never a dull moment.  But I wouldn't have it any other way.  And I just love a great story....  So here goes...

First, the cottonmouth.  Then, the scary "skunk dog" my children were certain would eat them alive!   And last but not least, the 18-wheeler crash.  All this, in just one weekend's time on our family's land.

It's called the GJ Ranch, and it borders the Ouachita National Forest. "G" for Gene, my precious grandfather, and "J" for Joyce, my darling grandmother.  They worked this land until they died several years back.

It's heaven on earth there.  Really is.  Nearly a thousand acres of forest, streams, wide open space, and stunning views of Mt. Magazine.  God's country.  One of my peaceful places on this earth.

It's also wrought with the fury of nature:  snakes, coyotes, hoards of mosquitos and chiggars, and the random sounds of various animals in the night letting you know you are most definitely not in the city and most assuredly not alone.  But as Helen Keller once said, " is either a great adventure or nothing."  So I've taken my children there since they were babies. They love the horses, they love packing a lunch, and they love buckling into the 4x4 mule and riding into woods.

Saturday, my cousin was driving and boy child spotted it first and screamed "A SNAKE!" Sure enough.  Giant cottonmouth, yards from my children.  Being the tough-guy I know and love, sweet cousin shot the snake and gave my little love bug the bullet.   He told my boy, "because you spotted that snake first, you get this bullet."  Son's jaw dropped to the muddy bottom of the mule.

Baby just girl kept saying .."Mommy, mommy, it's the first time I've ever seen a snake in the wild!"
Thank the heavens, the fates, God, and the universe no one was bitten or hurt.

Sunday, we headed out in the mule, just me and my babies, for a picnic by the stream.  That's when we were followed. Not by a creep, because there just aren't a lot of people in this area of the world.  But by a giant dog, taller than my kids.  We recognized him from a month or so ago when he reeked horribly of a skunk, and the children quickly squealed, "It's skunk dog!  Drive faster momma. Get away from him!"   I tried, but that darn dog followed us all the way to the stream.  Girl was terrified.  But then, boy started to pet him and realized, albeit slowly, skunk dog was kinda nice.  And he didn't really stink at all anymore.

In fact, by the end of our picnic, "skunk dog" was a friend, splashing in the stream with us all.

(note the THREE dogs between each child in picture on right)


Beautiful evening and so relaxing.  That night, we got back from the stream, built a fire, and made s'mores.  We could hear the coyotes howling in the background.  The kids thought it was so cool, but the dogs went nuts.  I drifted off to sleep so very grateful for such wonderful adventures.  I slept so hard, always do out on our land.  And then *BOOM*

It was morning, and we thought the house exploded.  Baby girl screamed.  My mom screamed.  We all went running outside....   to this. 

An 18-wheeler literally crashed into the ditch in front of the house on our land.  Tires everywhere, busted concrete and a crashed-up truck.  Kids were beside themselves.  I was shaking.  Truck driver's nose was broken.  We welcomed him in and got him wet washcloths and bandages and a landline to make his calls.  Poor guy told me he saw his life flash before his eyes when the tire blew and he lost control.   Thank goodness he's okay.

Life is so random, isn't it?  Not worth trying to figure out.   Don't you think it best to take the ride and welcome the adventure?   I'm so grateful for it all.  The good, the bad, the ugly.  The laughter, the sorrow.  All such delicious, rich stories that one day will make up a good, well-lived life.

I read a lovely quote the other day.  Reminded me of our weekend inconveniences.  The snake, the skunk dog, and the crash. 

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.” ~ G. K. Chesterton

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"...a great place to spend the rest of your life."

I'm tired of talking about being divorced.  But it just keeps tailing me. And people just won't stop bringing it up.

Like the other day at lunch with my kindergartner at his elementary school.  A fellow 5-year old just walked right up and said, "Miss Dawn, are you and your husband still married?  Because when we drawed pictures of our houses in class, your son drawed two houses."  I looked at him with a stunned face.  What I almost uttered was... (well, you really don't want to know). 

Instead, I smiled politely and said, "No, sweetheart.  Darling boy's daddy and I are not married anymore, and your classmate does indeed live in two houses." 

His response was what stunned me!  "Cool, Miss Dawn!  He has two rooms?  And two toy bins?"  Then suddenly, he looked confused.  "But what days does he stay where?"

Lordy, if he knew how long it took us to work that out......

Anyway, I later saw the drawings and descriptions of my angel's two houses, and tears filled my eyes.  This is just not what I wanted for him.  For me.  For his sister.  For his daddy...

But a wise friend keeps telling me:  it just is what it is.

Of course, boy-child came running home to say that he drew a picture of daddy's house biggest only because when they pulled up Google Earth in class, he picked mommy's house to show and describe to his class.  Honestly?  He's 6.  Shouldn't he only be worried about chase on the playground?  Or what he gets for snack time? 


It is what it is.

Then there's the whole working-on-TV-thingy-that-attracts-certain-freaks aspect of my life.  Those people I've never met who call or message me daily.  "Ms. Scott, I saw you're not wearing a ring, so I was just wondering 'Are you married?  And if not, maybe we could meet?'"  How do I even respond?  I just decided to start wearing my mother's old ring on my ring finger.

Other women ask me often (with eyes lighting up, I might add) what it's like to date and share with me that their married lives are boring and that, in some cases, their marriages are terrible.  As if I'm the one out here livin' the dream!  As if I'm even dating!  Friends, I.  Did.  Not.  Want.  This.  But it's what my life is, and I accept it.  And there is a reason for it, whether I know it or not.

Honestly (confession time), it is kinda lonely sometimes.  The hopeless romantic I am, I often wander off into fantasyland, where the perfect love is just waiting for me, wrapped up in a beautiful package, ready to sweep me off my feet. 


Back to reality, little heart of mine!  We all know that doesn't exist.  Love is all imperfection and rocky, and people are messy and hurting and healing.  And it's lovely all at the same time.

I also know in my heart that the love I dreamt of all my waking life is really right before my eyes:  in the form of a 4-year old little girl and a 6-year old little boy.  The absolute embodiment of all things pure and innocent and love.  The two babies who run around on this earth with my heart on their sleeves.

The other night on the set in the TV studio just before our show began, the evening news ended with a story of a 91-year old man who reconnected and proposed to an 81-year old woman, over half a century after first working together.  A precious love story! My co-anchor and I nearly cried upon hearing that man say out loud in his aged, tattered voice: "Love is a great place to spend the rest of your life."

It really is.  In whatever form it comes.