Sunday, July 28, 2013

Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Sometimes I don't speak right
But yet I know what I'm talking about.
Why can't we be friends?

A lady I’ve known a long time now works with me. She’d moved away, and had many changes in her life. By chance, we traveled together recently. And we reconnected. Catching up with people you knew, still know, but don’t know, is oftentimes very interesting. We went through the “how have you beens”, “how are the kids”, and “where is everyone now type questions”. We laughed as we visited and caught up. Then we began discussing people we both know.

“Well”, she said. “N is really a nice person. Her son is getting married soon.”
 “Really?” I replied? “N is not a nice person and here is why.”
“Oh, I can sure see why you’d not like her!” she continued.

“Have you seen C lately?” I asked.
“C? Well, yes I’ve seen him but let me tell you what happened.” she replied.
“Oh! I never would have thought that! I understand why you aren’t impressed” I said.

The conversation continued on, with acquaintances, like a tennis ball, being batted between opposing sides. Some of the people she really thought a lot of were in the negative numbers as far as I was concerned. Likewise, several of the individuals I regarded highly were real losers in her book. But we are still friends.

It worked this time. I think the proximity of the people we discussed played a part. And it could even be that we are mature adults. Ha! In earlier times, though, it may not have. When I was a kid it was an unwritten playground rule: If I don’t like them you can’t either! That stood until everyone was invited to the birthday party and we all became fabulous buddies again!

Adults aren’t the same. They can hold grudges and sometimes it’s the mutual friend (or enemy) who gets stuck in the middle. It’s a full-time job to be friends with two people who have a grievance against one another. The shared friend can end up becoming a referee and has the potential of facing a whole lot of drama. When possible I stay far away from those situations. If it happens I try to be congenial and noncommittal to all parties involved.

In a recent situation, a friend is going to rent from another friend. I haven’t really been put in the middle, and I won’t be. But both have come with little complaints about the other. I just nod or shake my head and stay a bit reserved. I might offer a “ask her” or a “tell her” now and then but that’s the extent of my advice. I think (and hope) they’ll work everything out.

In the meantime, I’ll be friends with my friends and I’ll be friends with you, provided the friends of yours that I don’t like stay their distance!

Why can't we be friends?
The color of your skin don't matter to me
As long as we can live in harmony

I can’t seem to find time to play with yarn.
By the time I get home, get supper organized, prepared and on the table it’s around 8:00. Even with help it just seems to take a long time.

I usually don’t even do the dishes. My sweet daughter in law is taking on that chore. After that I just want to sit, maybe watch a show then go to bed. I could pick it up during TV time but I’ve recently found that blasted unnecessary evil, Candy Crush. I have to make a choice!
It shouldn’t be a hard choice. Candy Crush is NOT my friend!

Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends…

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Don't Fear The Reaper

All our times have come 
Here but now they're gone… 

When I was younger I watched The Newhart Show on television. It was a sitcom set in a small town in Vermont. Bob and his wife ran the Stratford Inn. I always referred to it as the Vermont Inn and told anybody who would listen that I’d really like to go there someday. I wanted to go in the fall so I could see the leaves as they changed. Fast forward many years, and what did my sweet husband plan for a surprise? That’s right. A stay at the Vermont Inn!

Actually, and I didn’t realize it at the time, there really is a ‘Stratford Inn’ located in Middlebury, Vermont. It’s the Waybury Inn  and is the picture you see when the show comes on.

While we were there we visited a cemetery. We hadn’t planned to see a graveyard but as we were having lunch the waitress told us we really needed to go. So, being the obedient tourists we are, we set off to find Hope Cemetery in Barre, Vermont.

We drove out to the cemetery along a tree covered road. It was a cloudy day so the overhanging branches added to the gloom and mystery of the journey. At last we reached the edge of the cemetery. To say it was amazing is an understatement. So what is so remarkable about acres of ground filled with dead bodies? The over 10,500 monuments made of Barre Gray granite.

The tree-lined road to the cemetery.

Approaching the headstones.

The edge of the cemetery.

Many of the people buried in Hope Cemetery were of Italian heritage. This is because Italian immigrants came in to work in the stone cutting industry after the cemetery opened. Only memorials made of Barre Gray are permitted there and larger than average monuments are allowed. Strangely enough, many people erect tombstones years before they die. That way, they are able to see how they will be remembered and enjoy their own monuments. If that’s not creepy then I don’t know what is!

We started looking around in amazement. There was a huge piece of granite with stairs carved into it. When you got to the top it was a marker for an entire family.
A side view of the monument.
The stairs carved into the granite.
The names of the family.
Family name and name of the sculptor.
The monuments usually reflected the interest or some personal aspect of the person buried. There was a race car, an airplane, a cat and even a chair. Several had scenes carved or sandblasted on their surface. There was a country road with a fishing pole on one side of the gate and a rifle on the other. There was a truck, an 18-wheeler, complete with a shell emblem on the side. There was an office scene with a typewriter, books and glasses. There was even a motorcycle rider.

The race car.
The airplane.
The cat.
A full size chair.
Country road.
Shell 18 wheeler.
Office scene.
Motorcycle rider.
Many of the stones had a rendering of the interred. Numerous memorials had grief stricken or religious figures included. All have intricate detail. One huge shrine was a couple, sitting up in bed. She was on one side, he on the other with their hands touching while they gaze at each other.

A baby.

A cloak folded on the stone.
A chain on a couple's headstone.
Intricate lacy looking detail.
Good night John Boy.
We explored, driving along the roads by car and then investigating on foot, moving from stone to stone, in awe. The clouds had closed in and it was starting to sprinkle. I was looking around and I said to Alan, “Probably the only thing I haven’t seen is a ball of yarn!” About that time I stepped backwards, almost falling. I looked down and then at Alan in complete surprise. “Come here!” I said excitedly. There, on the ground where I had almost gone to my knees, was a flat marker. On the marker was a name and a picture of a ball of yarn attached to knitting, still on the needles.

Can you imagine the theme from the Twilight Zone?

The rain started to come down. I got a chill and didn't know if it was from the discovery or the weather. It reinforced that it was time to go. It was getting just a little too eerie!

Here but now they're gone 
Romeo and Juliet 
Are together in eternity... 

I’ve been playing around with the paperclip loom and finished some funky, fiber art bracelets. I posted a picture on FaceBook and someone wants to buy them! I’m surprised!
Funky woven fiber bracelets

If you do ever get to Barre, Vermont, it’s well worth your time to tour Hope Cemetery. There are so many amazing stones. You may even find a kindred spirit!

We looked backward and said goodbye 
We had become like they are 
She had taken his hand...

Come on baby...don't fear the reaper…