Friday, May 17, 2013

Ever Come Unraveled?

I was speaking to a small women's group soon after Unraveled was released. As a way to lead to my introduction, the moderator of the meeting went around the tables and asked the women to say something that makes them come unraveled, which I thought was a clever and innovative way to begin. Mostly the women stated their pet peeves rather than describing something that really rattles them. So after my introduction, before I got on with what I'd prepared to say, I told a story that, a few years earlier, had caused me to come unraveled, in a big way. As a fun way to spend our Friday together, I'm sharing that with you today.

I have to say, the one unanswerable question in the universe is, "Where is a man when you need one?" The answer for me might be Jamaica, Cuba, Siberia ... anywhere but home. When this particular story occurred, my husband was in the Philippines. It was the mid-nineties and Rick and I were brand new empty-nesters. My husband, who is a builder, decided he wanted to live in the country, so he built us a beautiful home on five acres a few miles out of town. We lived there three agonizingly long years. I wrote "Back Side of the Moon" as my return address on all correspondence, because that's how it felt to me -- like I was living on the back side of the moon. It took 15 minutes at 60 mph one way to get a gallon of milk. It was definitely not my cup of tea. But Rick was in country heaven and decided to fulfill a longtime dream: he began growing a herd of Texas Longhorn cattle. Moo.

So we got a couple of Longhorn cows ... that we named after our granddaughters. Don't you know those were the safest cows in the county? They weren't ending up on anyone's dinner plate. Every morning and evening Rick would go out and feed them, and put a special blend of oats in their feeding trough. Then he'd bang the can and they'd come running from whatever corner of the pasture they were in to enjoy their treat.

Whenever he was away, it became my job to do this. But I wasn't quite so cozy with our cows. No, I'd wait till they were in the furthest part of the pasture, then I'd tiptoe to the feeding area, pour their oats into the trough as quietly as I could, and hightail it out of the pasture before they got a whiff and came running. Remember, they had horns. Long horns.

Well, as I said, my husband was in the Philippines for a few weeks doing some sort of ministry, and one morning the phone rang at 6:00, waking me from a dead sleep. A woman on the other end of the line said, "Your cows are in my yard," then she hung up. I laid there half-asleep, trying to make sense of the call. Your cows are in my yard ... your cows are in my ... Wait! What?! "MY COWS ARE IN YOUR YARD?!" I jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes, popped my contacts into my eyes, grabbed my keys, and hauled out of the driveway. Then I hit my brakes and thought, "Wait. Who called?
Whose yard are my cows in?!" I had no clue. So I did the only thing I could think to do. I drove around looking for two runaway cows, feeling like Little Bo Peep, because I. Can't. Find. Them! Anywhere. And the things I was saying out loud to Rick ... well, I won't repeat them here.

I looked everywhere I could think to look, but no luck. So I drove back home, wondering, What do I do now?! I no sooner got back in the house when the phone rang again. This time it was my neighbor who lived on the acreage to the south of us, and who was the self-appointed, unofficial Neighborhood Watch Captain, because she knew everything about everything that went on anywhere within range of her binoculars. And she said to me, "Sharon, are you looking for your cows?" I swear, I'm not making this up. I looked at the phone in my hand. Am I looking for my cows? Are you serious? How could you know this?! "Yes, I am. I'm looking for my cows." And she said, "They're in so-and-so's yard." So I drove down there, and sure as the world, there were Haleigh and Katelyn in so-and-so's yard.

So what do I do now? I am not a country girl. I don't even own a pair of boots. Nor am I the Pied Piper. And they are not going to fit in my Explorer. And then it hit me. One of the guys who worked for my husband was a cowboy! A real one. With a horse and everything. So I called him. "Choya!" (He was even named for a character in an old western his mom had liked.) "You have to help me." And he did. He drove twenty or so miles to get from his place to ours, rounded up the herd, and got them back in our pasture. Then he mended the fence and made sure things were good the rest of the time Rick was away. God. Bless. Him.

Well, that's the kind of thing that happens regularly when Rick is on a trip, and it's one of the things that unravels me.

We sold the place shortly after that.

What unravels you? Share and I'll put your name in a drawing for a copy of Unraveled.


Megan Sayer said...

Good question Sharon!
I am, for the most part, pretty unflappable. It takes a fair bit to get me unraveled...except when it comes to big spiders.
Do you have huntsman spiders over your way? Half the population of Tasmania call them tarantulas - which they aren't - or trianchalas, which is their way of saying it. By the time we're old enough to read and write we've all heard horror stories of the giant trianchalas. And they're hardly giant...but they are big. A full-grown huntsman spider is about the size of my palm. They're not deadly, but they sure look it.
So this time some years ago we were driving home from church, me, my husband, and an equally unflappable experienced bushwalker friend of ours. Our friend is sitting in the back. He starts wriggling, and then next thing we know he's squealing like a little girl, saying "stop the car, stop the car!". We asked him what was wrong, and he said "there's a huntsman just crawled over my leg!" I started squealing with him. My husband pulled the car over in the nearest spot and the three of us jumped out and ran away, leaving this badly parked car with three doors open under a street light, with us staring at it like a bomb was about to go off.
It took five minutes and an impromptu prayer meeting, but in the end we had no other choice that night but to climb back into the car and drive home.
Coz huntsmen aren't scary at all. They're not. No really...

Latayne C Scott said...

I have learned that my "unraveler" is something many people also fear.

Clowns. Yes. They are not funny to me.

Susie Finkbeiner said...

Mice. Rats. Small yippy yappy dogs.

No. Really.

I did my internship in the Dominican Republic where, apparently, the mice can smell unopened pop tarts from miles away. A mouse got into my room. Had babies. And I didn't know it until, late one night, I heard them scampering about the concrete floor. I tried to flip on the light. Well, in the DR the power isn't so reliable. And, in that moment, we had no electricity. I grabbed my flashlight, only for it to fade away slowly as the batteries perished. The next morning (with no sleep at all), I told the housekeeper, Marisol. She went in to help me take care of the problem. Let's just say, the woman was fearless with the handle of a mop. But she could hardly see straight because she was laughing SO HARD at this screaming girl.

Ew. I hate rodents. Hate. Them.

Now I need a shower. Ew.

Jennifer Major said...

Bugs. Bats. Bugs the size of bats. ANYTHING creepy crawly. Oh, and June bugs.

I sing soprano. Kind of really high soprano. With some of the notes I do not need amplification, they are that loud.
Last summer, a REALLY big creepy flying thing landed on my skirt. I was in Oklahoma City. It was pitch dark. I am fairly certain my mom heard me. She lives in Vancouver.

Henrietta Frankensee said...

Unkindness of any sort unravels me. Anything done to provoke or deplete or scavenge off another being. And I don't scream, I just get really, really quiet and fumey. Loud angry voices completely unhinge me no matter where they are directed and I shut down like a nuclear power plant in rehab.

Dear Patti, your story kept my mind in a happy place while the kid was in surgery so I can definitely say I am enjoying it. However, the kid came through better than expected. She won't sleep, she is eating like there's no tomorrow.... And I don't have time to get back to the story!!!! Arg. Review might come later than expected. Thanks for your prayers! love Henrietta

Jenny Mertes said...

What unravels me? Having to drive a car that has some kind of problem - a low tire, a thermostat that's climbing toward "HOT!" or an engine that keeps cutting out or doesn't start properly. Any of the above will reduce me to tears and panic. But cows on the loose? I'll trade you anytime - been there, done that on horseback!

Sharon K. Souza said...

Oh, Megan, I laughed and laughed. But, um, sorry, I won't be visiting anytime soon.

Latayne, write a book, love. Yes, yes, yes.

Susie, yes and amen! And God bless Marisol.

Jennifer, I'd be screaming too.

Henrietta, thumbs up.

Jenny, You go, girl! Yee ha!

Patti Hill said...

SNAKES!!! When a young mother, I returned home from the grocery story with a car full of perishable items and my first-born son. I walked to the front door with a jug of milk in one hand and my son on my hip. And there, evil of evils, was a garter snake. I ran back to the car, screaming, and turned the air conditioner on high (It was summer.). No cell phone in those days, so I drove to my husband's work for my knight in shining armor. Bless his pea-pickin' heart, he didn't roll his eyes. He came right home and cleared the area of all silent, sneaky, pernicious snakes. All one of him. On the other hand, I am the slayer of all things arachnid in our house. We make a pretty lethal partnership.

I recently watched a video put out by a relief organization about southern India, where they have "flying deadly snakes." I have no current travel plans for southern India.

Henrietta, so happy to hear your daughter is doing so well. Good health is a GREAT reason to delay a review. Continued blessings on her recovery.

Jennifer Major said...

Patti, I worked at a camp one summer and of course all the boys want to freak out the female staff. One kid came up to me holding a very long garter snake, he waved it in my face and all his buddies were snickering. What he did not expect was me saying "Cool!! Can I hold it??"
As I held the snake and let it curl around my arm, they were stunned. I TOTALLY shot their nasty attitudes down and then had a giant pack of boys as fans for the rest of the week.
If they had brought a beetle? Game over.

Patti Hill said...

Jennifer: I stand in awe. My son is an entomologist, so bugs are no big deal. Isn't that funny? A much older boy chased me continually with the writhing devils (snakes!) when I was under 3. You don't forget a thing like that. I can, however, watch snakes on television now without raising my feet off the floor. I consider that a victory.

Cherry Odelberg said...

What unravels me? Helplessness. If there is an action to take, I will take it (yes, even yell at spiders before I charge and I must charge before thinking). But when I am helpless with no action to take, I go crazy. Helpless is when unexpected bills mount and I have no resources or when the car breaks down in a wrong place and I cannot heft it out of the way.

Sharon K. Souza said...

Jenny, you're the recipient of a copy of Unraveled. Use our Contacts page to email me your address and I'll send it to you right away. Thanks for commenting on the post.