I don’t know how or when I started chewing my fingernails, but I remember when I made myself stop. I was teaching. First Graders are germy, have runny noses, and are not overly concerned with restroom hygiene. I decided that biting my nails was unprofessional, juvenile, and just plain gross.
When It was summer, I was the one responsible for mowing grandma Is’ lawn. In the backyard, I would make slow careful circles around her peonies and rhubarb patch.
The peonies would bloom and later be held up with a circular piece of chicken wire through the summer. The rhubarb grew unrestricted. Leaves were generously pulled–never cut–from the plant. I would pull and single stalk and suck on the puckeringly tart end as I sat on the hard dry ground under the weeping willow. The cicadas song sounded like the power lines vibrating. I loved the late afternoon when the cooing of morning doves was accompanied by other lawn mowers humming from distant yards.
Grandma would bring in an armload of the big-leafed stalks to make her rhubarb custard pie. Continue reading →