Tuesday, January 22, 2008


For the last week or so, I've dug through the trash piles of neighbors and the depths of empty lots to find firewood. Dry wood is a pretty rare find in the Tropics, so I ended up cutting up 3 Christmas trees to create a campfire for my friends. It's a miracle my neighbors didn't call the police. Taking saw to limbs and digging a fire pit is instinctual for me, a major part of my old life in the woods. In Miami, it's freakish...or worse (gasp), for laborers! Why not just buy fake logs from Publix, I was asked half a dozen times by different people.

But then my mind wanders to what the question probably means: Why not just do the campfire in the fireplace? Or why not just use candles? Why bother lighting them? Why not just make S'mores in the microwave and watch Everyone Loves Raymond on the couch?

I found that contentment is not counted only by weekends, it's counted by the minute. Gambling on later rather than now often ends in disappointment or hallow satisfaction when things do go as planned. Getting dirt under my fingernails is therapeutic and growing blisters on my hands is humbling. When the match is struck and the fire lights, the whole experience is there: the cutting, the hauling, the digging, the stacking, the tending.

I'm reminded of the "craft kits" management ordered from Oriental Trading at a summer camp where I worked: These cute packages that each kid glues A to B and B to C. Voila! They can take home a fancy token that took no skill or thought...only the kids would often leave them in the craft lodge. Their ugly baskets or bead necklaces always went home. There is more value in what you create than what you manufacture.

Anyhow, I really needed the downhome, hanging out around a fire: even if it's 75 degrees out with scattered showers. It was good for my soul. It was humbling and made my hair smell like pine. And the whole experience gave my neighbors something to gossip about.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Daughters of the American Revolution

Since I believe that one must never be so set in her ways that she denies herself the chance to learn a new perspective, I set out to meet the not-so-young women of the Daughters of the American Revolution this morning. While my undying father prepares for his death, he passed down a folder of papers linking us to a soldier in the American Revolution. I found my Great Aunt Mary's DAR membership card for the Biscayne Chapter, and I learned my 2nd cousin Myra partakes in South Carolina.

They do what?

Other than tracing their ancestry to warriors, I am not so certain my role in this Club. Do I have profound respect for the military? Not so much. Am I proud that my Great Great Grandfather's Last Will & Testament bequeaths his "nigger-girl" to his son? Emphatically NO. Can I hold my hand over my heart and actually sing all the words to America the Beautiful? Not without a detectable amount of sarcasm.

Since I had to bring and attend to my wiggle-happy son, my information gathering consisted of: a. DAR plays a very active role volunteering with Veterans; and b. they have a remarkably attentive Minutes taker (whose rendition of last month's 2 hour meeting took 20 minutes to report). Is this something I should be involved in (see #10)? After all, if things keep moving towards Theocracy and the Caste system here in the United States, I might be changing my passport. But then again, just because I don't like the cover of a book, doesn't mean I won't bother checking it out.

Let's see what I learn.