At the time I thought the comment was silly. Everyone’s life is a constant unfolding story and we all experience change and evolution all the time. But the shift in a person’s life is not unlike growing hair -when you peer into a mirror daily, you simply don’t notice change. Then one day, you’ll be running a brush through the strands and suddenly think, “Lord, when did my hair get so long?” (or gray or missing), and after that, you can’t stop noticing the alteration of your appearance.
I’ve thought about that fast moving life comment often the past few years, and I am ready to admit, my life moves very fast. This is evident whenever I spend a few weeks, or even days, without blogging. I come to the computer and think, where should I start? Because inevitably, there are many events or experiences to write about. The picture I paint here of the Hendry world is nothing but a Swiss cheese rendition of a dense (yet palatable) meal. I couldn’t cover it all even if I gave it my best college try. So I strive to hit the highlights, or often, just pick silly subject matter (like chickens) meant to entertain. But in the case of friends who tune in to my blog because they are sincerely interested in how our world is evolving, I’m always sorry I can’t be more thorough. Sometimes I am compelled to write about a particularly moving moment, but I simply don’t take the time to do so. The fact is, I am most committed to living a full life in the flesh than creating one on paper – an important distinction and one I must remind myself of often.
Anyway, changes are happening in our life, things both small and large, which combined seem daunting, exciting, scary and riveting all at once. We sold FLEX two years ago, and a great deal has happened in that time, but it seems as if suddenly everything has picked up speed. Our life was like a river clogged with debris. The water eeked through, but it didn’t flow freely and the fluid that did ooze through the damned up area was littered with fallout. Suddenly, it feels as if the dam has broken free, allowing the water gush along with new force. With each passing day, it flows more clearly.
For us, the dam was FLEX and all the nasty strings attached. We left, but we were tied to the school and/or people, regardless (not something we expected.). This tied our hands so we couldn’t move forward to build a new life with conviction. We had serious financial limitations we were not counting on when we began this transition, and as it became obvious that things would not end well, we kept tossing around the idea of going back. This was a perpetual enthusiasm killer and until that door was truly closed (selling the building) the lingering possibility kept us tentative about planting permanent roots here. Throw into that mess Mark’s father passing away, taking on the responsibilities of his mother, addressing conflict with my own family, and dealing with no small amount of depression regarding retiring from an art we loved (and due to physical issues and age, we knew that we really had no choice but to gracefully end our love affair with dance), it is no wonder we lacked steam to forge forward. But now, knowing there is no going back, we are suddenly focused on our options and deepest desires for creating a new sort of life. And that demands action.
Denver cashed in the remaining balance of her college fund to pay for an intense eight week course in silver smithing and metal work for handcrafted jewelry design at Penland, in NC. It is a very prestigious school for folk arts, offering subjects such as glass blowing and blacksmithing. Her teacher is a renowned jewelry artist with pieces in art galleries all over the country. Denver is learning so much, and she’s happy with this new venue in her life. She sent me her first creation yesterday, a pair of copper earrings with horses cut out of the front disk. I adore them, more than I can express. I don’t plan to take them off until she sends me something else – perhaps something in silver? She said I have to wait until her skills are more refined before she makes me something in silver, considering it is 178.00 for a six inch square sheet of raw material. Copper is good practice material. We talk almost every day and she sounds happy, which makes us happy. Everyone must find their way in life, and if the arts are calling her, who am I to try to railroad her into a practical career that doesn’t feed the soul? She says the school is in the beautiful mountains surrounded by 100 acres – with free ranging llamas all around and that makes her think of me. She said she tried to make llama earrings, but they came out looking like big cats, so she stuck with the horses. Ha.
We will go visit her in three weeks – can’t wait. We are each walking on our own, preparing to meet for our Breast Cancer Walk in ten days. I will, of course, wear my earrings for the entire 60 miles.
Speaking of which, fund raising for the walk has been very difficult because we are in this quiet, small country place and know so few people. The friends I can count on from my past have done what they can, and I am so grateful, but I am constantly hitting obstacles when it comes to business help etc.. We’ve done the bake sales, sent the letters, auctioned the baskets (the proceeds of which we put into Denver’s account) but still we are far short of the required goal. It is very frustrating. For example, Mark and I have spent over 70,000 each in two different firms recently with our business conflicts, but neither responded to a request for a sponsorship. That sucks. Other businesses we have supported for years and years have not responded either. Makes you feel the world is a cold place. Ah well. If I’ve evoked enough pity, you can still donate, just go to: www.the3day.org/atlanta07/ginnyhendry.
The only sad thing was that the man selling the land has cancer, and hospice got involved earlier than expected, so they called to tell us they didn’t think he would make it until our closing date. They asked if we could do anything about that, and while we wanted to finance the land with a bank, we decided to go ahead and close right away and handle the financial details later. The family was very grateful. They felt their dad was “holding on” for something, and they guessed it was this closing because he was concerned about his wife being set financially before he left her. So we did a quick impromptu closing, and they went home and told him everything was in order. He died a few hours later. The family called and thanked us for arranging a quick closing. It was a glitch in our long range plans but we felt it was the right thing to do. It was a poignant experience, more so because Mark had just experienced the same loss with his own father. Anyway, we own the land now. Yippee. The conditions upon which it was being sold are sad, but we hope to do something special there so that family feels all ended well.
The very next week, (ain’t life cruel) our Lakewood ranch building deal fell through – only days before the expected closing. A church had contracted for the building, but they are having problems getting a permit from the county. Funny, because our first proposed buyer was a liquor store, and that was OK. But the county knows to keep out those rebel-rousing churches. Whatever – it was a huge disappointment, because this will delay our being able to build our new business. It is always something…..
There is a two acre lake in my back yard. What a huge difference water makes to a home setting. How did a big ole lake show up in our backyard? Well, God works in mysterious ways. So does Mark. Pictures and more on this phenomenon later. It deserves some real attention.
What else? We finally built shelves in my office. That doesn’t seem like a big thing, but it is to me. I have at long last unpacked my reference books and placed the things that inspire me about the room. For two years, I’ve lived out of boxes -Yuck. I feel good in here now – ready to work. I have started a new book, a memoir of moving to the country. It is humorous and fun. It is nice to be out of school and finally free to write something close to the heart. After a funky period of disillusionment ( a part of the growing process, I expect) I have a renewed excitement about writing – there are so many projects I want to work on. Writing (other than a blog or a school assignment) is another long overdue and sorely missed aspect of my life that got put on hold. Here are pictures of my office where I spend a great deal of time. The top shelf won’t be set in for another week, because it is a natural edged rough sawn wood for looks and we had to wait for it to dry. It will be pretty when finished. You might notice that over my windows are the words, “Imagine” and “It’s all good.” They are words to live by, in writing and in life. I’ve even taken out the “slaves for sale” chairs and put them on display. If you are newer to this blog, you won’t know what that is – I made a couple of chairs by putting antique newspapers from 1850 over them and shalacked the surface. I caned the seats myself too. The want ads displayed on this chair are concerned with runnaway slaves, which is the subject of one of my historical books ( a book with a hero who who runs the underground railroad), thus I find the chairs meaningful. I like them, anyway.
The dolls over my desk have finally come out of hiding. Mark HATES these dolls, he says they are freaky and they remind him of Chucky. As such, they have never been allowed to see the light of day. But each one was chosen to represent a character in one of my historical books. I pick them for their period dress and coloring and expression. I look long and hard to find a doll that really looks like my characters -they serve as inspiration to me. I don’t really care that he hates them. Heck it keeps him from hanging out in my office. I am now on the hunt for two dolls that represent characters in my second historical- one has to be a black doll, the other a dark skinned doll with blue eyes dressed in Indian dress. I know, that will be a stretch and I may never find it. The point is, I don’t collect dolls just because I like dolls – I collect dolls as representations of the important people of my imagination. I guess I’m only telling you this so you don’t think I am some weird woman who still plays with dolls.
Little things that have happened:
We always go to a restaurant on the last week of the month to here a live jazz band that Kent’s drum teacher (a wonderfully talented man from England – don’t know how he ended here in the mountains) organizes. Last time we went, at the end of the night, Simon (the teacher) suddenly announced Kent and put him on the spot to play. I thought Kent would die of embarrassment. He was a nervous wreck because he’d never played with a live jazz band, didn’t know the song they would play, and didn’t know the feel of that particular drum set. Nevertheless, he stood and took his place behind the drums for his first live debut in a club. The band played a swing number and Kent was great! His teacher was beaming and said, “I told ya so, he is remarkable” to anyone who would listen. Mark and I were shocked, because swing is complicated – it’s not like you have an even beat in the background to simply pound out. Kent was doing riffs and drum rolls and off beat rhythms as if by instinct he knew just what was needed. The people at the restaurant went wild applauding and the members of the band kept saying, “How old are you again?” as if they couldn’t’ believe anyone 16 could handle such authentic swing. But then, rhythm has always been Kent’s strength, and he’s had very diverse exposure to music, more than the average kid. It took about an hour for the color to leave his cheeks. We were very proud and impressed and happy for him. I was so bummed I didn’t have my camera.
Had we never stepped away from dance, my kids would never have the opportunity to discover their unique gifts. They were too involved in our world, following in our footsteps out of habit and convenience and because dance was all they knew. But each person needs to create their own path and for Neva that includes soccer and horses and writing. For Kent it is drumming. I will always be grateful we retired in time to give them the space and time to question who they are and what they love and to go out and tackle it.
Neva came home the other day and said, “Sorry mom, I got published before you.” And indeed she did. The Georgia Literary Festival had a contest for youth writing, and Neva submitted work. From the 500 or so entries, she was one of 5 picked to go in the book. I’m not surprised, she writes all the time. She is mostly a poet.
Here is her published poem entitled :
Mountain Moon Dance
Upon the moon, a glimmering star,
Fitting in the moon lit sky perfectly
The moon dances
They danced and twinkled all night
The crickets started applauding
As if the finale was near
The moon did a last shimmer with the stars
But then he left the stars, following
Giving the part to the sun
The Mountain Moon Dance is done
Neva Hendry – age 10
Some day I’ll post some of her other poetry – she has written some lovely pieces about horses and I recently sent one in to Pony magazine. We’ll see how it goes. She is a remarkable little soul – and talented. If she wasn’t my kid, I’d be jealous.
Mark’s sister, Dianne, just got a position training to be an ex-ray technician and working in the medical field. She is thrilled. It is a good job with benefits and potential for advancement and one she feels will be meaningful. She is overdue for something exciting happening in her life. I’m happy for her.
We’ve gone places I could write about too, but I just haven’t been in a blogging mood. For example, we went to a horse auction. It was like going to the pound, only with starved or unloved horses on the block. Sad. Some great bargains to be had- some wild horses just needing someone to train them and love them a little. It was HARD not to buy one – Mark practically sat on my hands and it looked like he was ready to put tape on my mouth. He did buy me a new, upgraded saddle at an unbelievable price. We plan to go back to purchase a donkey cart there too. The underground horse world is unique – we stood around this huge auction barn with dozens of rough horse traders and old men-farmers, who buy and sell like horses as unsentimental commodities. I, of course, consider the horse as something sacred, more like a beloved dog that requires gentle care. It was a fascinating, if not disturbing experience. I will go again. It was interesting for sure, and there is always something to learn when you wade deeper into an interest, even when you go into the shadowy corners. I am very taken with my horses. That is an understatement.
We have season tickets to the theater in Atlanta and went to our first show last weekend – The Rat Pack. It is always fun dressing up and taking the kids to ever sophisticated Atlanta to remind them of the other half of the world. But it is only as good as it is because we get to come home again. My cosmopolitan-loving days are long over, I’m afraid, and while I adore the events, I can’t help but watch the traffic, people and consumerism and wonder where the world is going. We have concert tickets, show tickets, and a yearly pass to the art museum (the second chapter of the Leuve exhibit opens this month.) For all that we embrace “country” we have a duel existence. Creates a wonderful balanced life
Kent had a birthday. He is sixteen! Pinch me. I’m so old. He is going to get a license next week. I’ll write more about this later – providing I don’t’ have a heart attack between now and then as I teach him to parallel park.
This is a long update, but at lease it catches readers up a bit so I can go back to blogging at random without feeling I’ve avoided important family shifts. I will try to make the next entry more entertaining but, then again, it is October. I always slide into a quiet period in October. Just one of those things….
Now, I’ve been called to help Mark paint his workshop. I’m willing to put in some muscle to get that job done.