Discovering Roots

Yesterday, I was searching for roots- no not the gray ones that appear on our heads. I was in the garden yanking away at some overgrown plants. Mint and trumpet vine have enveloped the three tomato and two basil plants that I planted in June, and mingled with various other unknown “meadow flowers”. My friend Joy (a real person, not just my emotion while gardening) was on the other side of the fence trimming her dried flowers. She was happy to see me getting after the unsightly encroachers that started invading her side. She and I agreed that the four ancient non-blooming rose bush brambles needed to be removed. I got my pruning tools, shovel, rake and wheelbarrow all lined up for a morning workout. Rubber gloves were not enough to protect me from the stinging thorns as I removed branches one by one at the base with the pruners. Then the spade helped me dig all around the circumference of the gnarly plant remaining and gave me a lever to lift it out. I really put my weight into ripping the roots up. Some of them were three inches in diameter and required digging three feet deep to sever a smaller part. Something that felt like a metal rope kept me from getting the whole thing out. I pictured chipmunks pulling back from their underground haven. Finally, I discovered all the roots and left a gaping hole when I scooped out the monstrous twisted base. Once again my chores become synonymous with my hobbies. When organizing the family photos and learning about my roots, or more accurately, my husband and children’s roots in Ashtabula; I find they go back to the mid 1800’s and are six generations deep. The longer a root system grows, the stronger the base. Indeed the Cordell/ Warren family have a strong base and were so successful in providing for the next generation that they have a legacy of supporting the community in many positive endeavors. I don’t know why the wild rose bush became so entangled but the roots alone are so remarkable, there is a chance new life may spring from the portions that remain. Being “Rooted in Community” is also an enjoyable way to do life together. This is the focus of Total Fit and the membership campaign. Let those roots grow long and strong.image


WASPs in the Attic

Yesterday, I ventured into the attic to do a dangerous and dirty job. This attic over the garage had been slowly filling over sixty years and I have been slowly emptying it of boxes. Now it was time to vacuum out the dirt and the dead wasps. Of course a thousand dead wasps will not hurt me, it is the one or two that were buzzing overhead that caused me concern. I started by dismantling the shop vac to empty and clean it. Interesting how a power spraying hose will not dislodge a dozen colonies of spiders and their webs that were stuck to the rolling base. The grey matter lodged in the filter took some time to remove and dry. Ironic, I think, that cleaning the vacuum takes longer than the vacuuming to clean the floors. Later, I carried the parts up the stairs and reassembled them before opening the door to the attic. In we go. I actually videotaped the process in case something should happen and my husband should come home to find me lifeless in the floor. An Epinephrine Pen in my pocket, I put up the hood of my sweatshirt and got started. Even though there was a cool wind coming off the lake, I was working up a sweat and did not want to open the attic window where more wasps hovered and watched me at work. I got a few of the live ones inside with an extended hose and then took a commercial break. While looking at the video, I saw one escaped my reach. As you can tell from my writing I survived this ordeal. Two more industrial bags of cardboard went into the garbage. More work is to be done. What struck me as amusing was the metaphor of the wasp. My husband told me when we were dating that he was a WASP. He had to explain: White Anglo Saxon Protestant. Here in the attic were also six generations of his dead ancestors in photographs, also WASPs. I have always claimed to be a mutt- which of course are the kindest of doggies. A little Polish, a little Swedish, a bit of French, maybe some Austrian, definately some Medditerranean genetics, and Lutheran. So, who were these live wasps hovering above me as I cleaned? Maybe they were just a reminder to carefully preserve the heritage and the stories that built a strong and prosperous family which has been documented by all that collected in the attic. The bible stories I read each day also remind me how important it is know and preserve our Christian heritage. My reward for tackling this job is that my hubby will take me to the Polish Fest tomorrow. No more sausage for me these days, but I am ready for some polka dancing!image

The Plot Thickens

Yesterday, it was sunny and 77 degrees, so a perfect day for a little gardening. The garden I tended was not my own; I went to the Chestnut Grove Cemetery. July is such a beautiful month to be born and our family celebrates many birthdays in a row. Yesterday was the day my father- in-law was born and now he rests on a sunny hill. So, I made a visit, I pulled a few weeds by his marker and sang, “Where have all the flowers gone?”, as I traversed down the hill to where my own father sleeps peacefully. His birthday would be tomorrow. Timageheir flags flapped gently to my tune as I saluted the military service they both performed. Great men who loved us well. So well that Jim Cordell bought enough plots for all of us to be together when our earthly days are done. He and mom loved having us all together and often arranged for elaborate family trips to gather us for celebrations. We plan to follow in their footsteps. I am not sure how I feel about cemeteries. Creepy at times and super sad when we bury someone. A waste of beautiful land? But how else do we remember those we love and admire if not by carving their names in granite? I personally would like a nice bench for people to sit upon in a park, so tired moms will see my name and say, “Oh that nice little lady, Kimberly, gave us a place to rest and think.” My remains should go to science if that would be helpful for someone who needs a body part or two. We can also remember family through pictures, writings, and creative projects they left behind. But don’t leave them an organizational nightmare that causes hoarding for future generations to come, or worse yet, guilty feelings for throwing stuff away. We can best honor others by living a life that is exemplary and supporting or maintaining the good things they have started. I really admire those who have a family foundation for perpetual gift giving.

Well, today, we celebrate a birthday of our son-in-law, Matt, who is alive and well! He is probably at the zoo with his animals all adoring him. He is probably wondering where his card, cake, and gifts are. Don’t worry, we have BIG plans and much singing promised when we get together and celebrate your thirties and the last of my husband’s fifties on Sunday. I hope it will be the first of many more happy gatherings. If we all end up together someday ” pushing up the daisies” at Chestnut Grove I won’t complain too much, knowing that my spirit will be soaring far above in a place I call heaven, within the loving arms of the one I call Savior.

Jet Lag and Jewelry

Yesterday, I finally finished unpacking the suitcases from our vacation to Germany. We were with our whole family together at the home of our daughter Hannah and her husband Captain Brian Hill. There were many stories told around the table, laughter and singing wherever we cruised and hiked. We had interesting informational discussions while walking through museums, parks, and the Stuttgart Zoo with Matt and Lewis. Wine tasting with the guidance of Elise at lunch and dinner in settings of majestic mountains, pristine vineyards and among the exquisite architecture of the Bavarian region were outstanding. You can see the fabulous pictures Bethany took on Facebook. Travel with our children is such a joy. My only complaint is the hassles in getting to where we want to be. In the Boston airport, Stuart’s suitcase was missing, and then in Cleveland my suitcase had been left in Boston. It was delivered at 4am the next morning. A moment of panic occurred when I realized that I left my jewelry tote in my checked suiimagetcase. Luckily I retrieved it in Boston and put it in my carry on bag. Why even travel with jewelry you might say? Well, Stu has given me lovely commemorative pieces every five years on our anniversaries. We celebrate thirty five years tomorrow. I cherish wearing the symbols of his dedicated love. When we got back to Ashtabula it was 10:30pm, add six hours for the time change and as you can imagine we were exhausted. In the morning as I washed my hands I noticed my wedding ring was gone! What? I never take it off, not even to garden. I rushed in the bedroom and there it was with all the other jewelry. Fatigue can really muddle the mind. What I realize is that the time with my family is the crowning jewels. I would trade all the diamonds in the world for more time with our six children. Our trip together was the best anniversary present ever. I count my friends as sparkling gems in my life as well. Those of you who constantly support me spirit, soul, and body are an incredible blessing. This is exactly what the dazzling Linda Howard promotes through “Wholly Woman”. It is not easy getting to where we want to be, but let’s do the journey together.