Just read: This Life is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone by Melissa Coleman.

It is the true story written by the oldest daughter of Eliot Coleman, a man who took his wife and child to the tip of Maine in the 70s and decided to “go back to the land” by homesteading.

What resulted, ultimately, were several books and articles (many about organic farming which have since become quite beneficial to the current national trend) and one very broken family.

At our book club discussion of the memoir last night, to one question came this answer: “Just because it can be written does not mean it should. Sure, everybody’s got a story to tell. That doesn’t mean they all need to be published.”

I’m wondering if I should heed such wisdom and stop now.

Overheard this week at the gym (a younger-than-me-female trainer to a senior citizen on a recumbent bike):

Trainer: Oh wow! So you’re 89! You’re like, almost 90! Aren’t you excited by that?

89 Year Old: No.

Trainer: Oh man! I would be like so excited if I was almost 90. I mean, when I’m almost 90, that’s like, so awesome that you’ve lived for so long. It should be exciting. I would be excited.

89 Year Old: …

Trainer: Well okay! You’re doin’ great! Good to see ya. See you around.

Hard to read the facial expression from my position directly next to the man, but I think I was feeling a strong sense of WTF coming from the awesome-almost-90-year-old. I love my gym. I do. And I hate that I’m about to say anything negative at all about the place that gives me a full two and a half hours of actual happy serenity whenever I may need it (as long as it is before 1pm Monday-Saturday). So here’s the thing unsaid: the trainers at this gym (and so many others for that matter) are obnoxiously, overwhelmingly, and disproportionately positive. It pains me to hear one 30-something male trainer use “Right on, right on,” like it is still 1999. Most of the time, I think they only hear themselves, and like shot-guns they walk around spraying people with random blasts of all-encompassing-encouragement, but they never linger long enough to see who/what actually gets hit. Lots of words. Lots of finger points. Very little eye-contact. Strangely reminiscent of the dining halls at Baylor. I get the feeling many of them wake up each day with the goal to “live intentionally.”

Overheard today, the last day of Vacation Bible School (a mother standing in the doorway to two, 7-year old girls sitting on the floor behind her):

Exasperated Mother: EE-mily. Carly-Faith. You have about ten seconds to get off that floor. Nay-ow. Come own.

Things unsaid: 10 whole seconds? Lady. Do you realize how long that actually is? Did you mean to say TWO seconds? Because ten entire seconds is probably a little longer than you are willing to stand there holding the door for some 7-year olds, judging by your tone. Then again, maybe that’s exactly why the girls are on the floor in the first place.

And finally, another parking situation.

Vacation Bible School is at the Baptist church in Winston-Salem that could moonlight as a community college. Eliott and Carter assume we’re at some amusement park because they have courtesy “trains” to pick you up in the parking lot and drive you the half or full mile to the church entrance.

It is huge.

Finding a parking spot for the one and only VBS that takes place from 9-12 anymore, also a bit of a nightmare. Normally I am picky. Normally I choose not to park next to jabronies who have managed to wedge their mini-vans directly on top of or even slightly over the line into an empty spot. Given however, that my car is compact, and my clock was reading 12:03, I knew I had to take the first thing that came available.

I wedged in.

I almost had to crawl through my trunk to get out.

I resisted the urge to write my name in red car door paint all over the green mini-van in question.

As we’re leaving the building, I’m hoping the driver of the van has already picked up her kids. I would be out of such luck. Rather, I would be in such luck as to walk out at the exact same moment as the green-mini-van-owner who is recognizing me from the gym and introducing herself as we walk.

She then pushes a button on her key which opens EVERY DAMN DOOR ON THAT GREEN MINI-VAN (and I think turns on the DVD players inside, but I can’t be sure). Though she is not the same mother who was willing to wait a full 10 seconds for the kids on the floor, she might as well be. Lady’s in no hurry to get anyone inside a car, but her van doors have now halved the space between my car and hers.

Eliott was forced to crawl in from Carter’s side and buckle her own seatbelt.

Things unsaid (in my best, most-chipper, southern church voice): Well! Look at that! Luckily I’m not actually one of those (hushed) overweight Baptists who wouldn’t be able to fit in this 3 inch space to get into my driver’s seat right now. About that play-date…call me!

Things Unsaid

0 thoughts on “Things Unsaid

  • You had me at lack of eye-contact – the way of the modern American world. It allows you the freedom to speak without the pesky responsibility of monitoring the content of and audience to which you are actually speaking. At the risk of crossing the ‘old codger’ line, eye contact is the cornerstone of respectful communication, increasingly lost on today’s youth.
    Yet another well-assessed life experience. Thank you Claire 🙂

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