To Hale and Back

“Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

As I gaze at the changing elms and maples around me I am reminded of their strength.   Even with broken limbs coupled with the loss, gain, and change of leaves each season, one thing remains strong-their roots.  As do mine.   I am a Hale.    

The memories of my visits to Grandpa and Grandma Hale’s doublewide are soul-secured.   Although the distance between us was less than 20 miles it still felt like a long trek.   Enjoying the journey over the rolling hills I knew we were close when the four females would all bend briefly right with driver Dad.   It’s just ahead on the right after the grocery store.

Amidst their home were many others they sold.  The smell of each “new” one still stings my thoughts and eyes (ah, the smell of the formaldehyde)!  Alas, I’ve discovered my first love of trailers!

The gas station sat next door.  Grandpa delivered propane and proudly wore his uniform (he had his name on it~I wanted one too). Grandma was the cashier.   How lucky were my sisters and I to “run” a register?  Even more fun was pecking the business calculator (note: even when my own two were young they loved playing with this. Although Grandma didn’t like having to replace the paper all the time).   One-time Grandpa didn’t seem so happy about us girls “helping” in the station.  We took our grape Nehi’s and scurried out (or did Grandpa escort us?). 

When the family would gather a crew of cousins would mob the chow table. If it were a Sunday night us kids would hit the floor in time to hear the beginning of “The Wonderful World of Disney”!   If lucky enough, I caught “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” before it.

The spare room kept us kids when the parents needed to get away.  There were times we got “caught” going through Grandma’s scarves and shoes.   But I loved most the signet ring Grandpa wore.  Adoringly we called it his “bubblegum” ring (don’t ask me why we named it that).  They had the perfect snow hill. Grandma would throw our wet clothes in the dryer, just like Mom did, so we could warm up quickly and return to the drop.

Once we were painting our nails (a very rare thing for me)

“Don’t get nail polish on my leather divan,” Grandma ordered.  Well… it happened.

“Which one of you did it?”

Silence.
(twins never blow the whistle on one another).

“Girls! God knows who did it even if you don’t tell me!”

One of us responded, “But he ain’t gonna tell you!”

K.L. Hale

Ouch! Sorry Grandma! “We love you!” “Isn’t it time to make homemade donuts?”  “Can I vacuum for you?” Quick diversions and hugs of remorse segue nicely into another memory making moment.

It was 1984 when they moved to OUR TOWN.  No more winding roads.  They were just around the corner from me (this time a right and then a left bend).  All I had to do was walk left to my parents.  We lived on Chrysler Street (where I grew up).  It was called the “horseshoe”.  How blessed was I that I lived in my family circle? 

Many years of Christmas breakfasts, croquet contests, garage sales, cook-outs, and table conversations were had at that house.  Grandpa would have his scanner playing (along with the baseball game on his radio) and Grandma would curl her legs like a pretzel sitting cross-legged on the couch.  Grandma always remained flexible and fashionable, Grandpa steady, hearty, and with a first-class laugh.  The two of them resembled Bonnie and Clyde in one of my favorite pictures.

My family is a forest.  Within it are so many exquisite types of trees.  Our pipeline of root systems keeps us connected.   Although sappy and alone at times we will not be uprooted.   I am a Hale.

Afterword:

 It was June of 1964 when Larry Hale (my Dad) married Darlene Wilson (my Mom).    Darlene’s sister Connie married Steve Hale in 1967.  Grandpa Hale (Gerald) was Larry’s father.  Harold Hale (Gerald’s brother) was Steve’s Dad.   Two Hale first cousins married Wilson sisters.  You should see the look on faces when the “double” cousins try to explain it.

From “A River and Honey” to “To Hale and Back” my family is my everything.  The ones we have lost are forever in our hearts and daily thoughts. The Hale’s and the Wilson’s- I am a piece of everyone of them in some way.  May my faith stay unfaltering and my roots keep me forever grounded.

K.L. Hale
In honor of Mac Davis-I’ve always loved this song.

Feeling the Heat

It was hotter than 90 degrees one summer day forty years ago. The sun was sizzling. Mom plastered us in white cream. As beautiful as ever, and brown as a bear, she made sure us freckle-faced girls were protected. Hours of swimming and reapplying lotion passed; anxiously I ran to the tall chain link fence to await Dad cresting the last hill from the 18th hole. His two wheel chariot was my dream ride. He was my knight bearing a shiny club. Life was perfect; even with the heat.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Yesterday my R.V. was dripping with water. So was I. It seemed we were both crying. “She” from sputtering so much air to keep Finn and I cool. Me?…just sputtering over disappointment. “You can handle the heat!”, I convinced myself.

This is the worst part of me. And it occurs two seasons a year. Movement is limited by the “air I wear”. The battle aches of the arthritis and autoimmune issues try to wreak havoc on my psyche. Luckily, at times, fog will settle into my mind and distract me from the physical.

My hot tears weren’t all about the humidity. Haven’t we all felt the sweltering swirl of disdain? The heat behind the masks? What about the burning tires of busyness~ the rat race in which so many are forced to participate? Can you feel the heat from the roads?

Being an “in the middle” kind of gal I prefer temps in the 70’s. One where the extremes of hot and cold aren’t experienced. Most certainly I would feel spoiled. But would I be prepared the next time for a visit to the frigid cold? Would I still be able to withstand the heat again? Am I even insulated for either?

When things are too hot to handle I have to ground myself. I allow my shoulders to fall and take a deep breath. My face smoothes out and my jaw becomes relaxed. “Thank you heavenly Papa”, as I inhale. Exhaling slowly I whisper a blessing. This isn’t going to last long.

Meanwhile in the rest of the world we are all longing for perfect temperatures and dreamy places to balance our temperaments. The plague continues its spread like a heat wave. You’d think there’d be brief relief from the coolness of indifference.

I’m not alone. You’re not alone. Don’t get burned. Protect yourself and salve your soul with the paste of these promises:

“Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.” -Proverbs 30:5

“For everyone will be tested with fire.”-Mark 9:49

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.”-Psalms 5:11

“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”-C.S. Lewis