I just realized that today is June 6. D-day. Today is the day that we buried my great-grandmother, Big Granny, Neva Varga, in the year of our Lord 1991. And I married Keith Miller in 1992. And my Great Uncle Jim passed from this life to the next in 2014.
This, really, has not statically been a good day for me. I don’t have stories of the beach at Normandy, but I do have stories of my Uncle Jim’s top secret security clearance during the war and when he used to chase me down and eat my croaker sugar. For those of you that do not know what croaker sugar is; I feel sorry for you because I do and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
He had the best laugh I have ever heard and he laughed all the time. He always had a joke to share or a story that may have been sad or funny; either way he put his positive spin on it. Maybe that’s where I get it from.
I have so many memories and so many stories that start with Uncle Jim……
I am now a college student. Very surreal. Anyway, I am taking English comp this semester, which consists of an 8000 minimum of written words. Here is my first official college written essay.
Surviving the Storm
I was pregnant with my first child during the summer that I was thirty years old. Midwest summers are not kind to a pregnant woman close to term. The heat and humidity levels were unbearable. I spent the summer seeking any means that I could to stay cool.
My sister, Beth and her husband, Jeff had just bought a houseboat. They were going to spend the 4th of July weekend on their boat and invited us to go to the lake with them. I jumped at the chance, imaging myself floating weightless in the cool water of Truman Lake.
My husband, Keith and I loaded up our travel trailer and headed to the Sterett Creek Marina and Campground. The campground was located on the gentle slope of a hill rising up from the lake and the boat docks below. The sound of the waves lapping on the bank made me feel cooler already. We spent the beginning of the weekend basking in the warm sun and floating in the lake. The nights were filled with cicadas singing and each other’s company. It was turning out to be the perfect weekend.
On the morning of the 5th, just before dawn, I woke to the sound of rain drops patting on the roof of the camper. I love rain storms. I lay there; comfortable in the bed listening to the rain and watched the light slowly build outside the window. The wind gently rocked the camper like a cradle.
It wasn’t long before the wind picked up and I had the thought that we needed to roll up the awning on the outside of the camper so it would not get damaged. Keith was already one step ahead of me. He slipped on his shoes and headed outside while I stayed snuggled in the bed.
Within a moment, I realized that this was no ordinary storm. The wind had escalated even further and was suddenly a massive force shoving against the broad side of the camper. I heard Keith yell for my help from outside as he struggled with the awning. I rushed out. He was unable to get the awning rolled up because the wind was lifting it like a sail.
“Hold it down!” he screamed over the roaring wind.
I grabbed one side and hung all my weight on it. The next several gusts of wind lifted me off the ground with the awning rising up above me like a balloon. The entire camper would flip over if we did not get it rolled up soon. Just then, the vinyl finally gave way under the stress and ripped more than half way across. Keith motioned for me to get out of the way. He grabbed the awning and tore it the rest of the way off the camper.
We rushed back into our tiny refuge and huddled together to ride out the storm. Everyone that lives in the Midwest knows to seek shelter underground if you can during a tornado but there was nowhere else for us to go and no time to do it. We were in a camper on top of a hill!
The storm ended as quickly as it began. I was in shock as we emerged from the camper. I looked around and the campground was unrecognizable. Was this really the same place that surrounded us when we went to bed last night? I felt like Dorothy stepping out of her house into the Land of Oz. Only this was not a happy scene before us. It looked like a war zone. The huge beautiful 100 year old oak trees were down everywhere. Some were actually twisted off half way up their massive trunks. Limbs and foliage covered everything in a sea of green, crushing vehicles and campers in their wake.
I felt numb. There seemed to be no sound and everything was moving in slow motion. My ears were ringing like I had been to a rock concert. I turned around and saw that miraculously our camper was intact. A tree had fallen right in front of it but the tips of the very top branches fell just short of hitting us. If the tree had been ten feet taller, it would have crushed the camper beneath it.
“Are you OK?” Keith asked with concern.
I blinked at him as if he was speaking a foreign language. Suddenly time and sound caught back up to me and everything seemed to spring to life around me with the emerging sunshine. I was aware of the approaching sirens and the sound of a chainsaw someone fired up to start clearing the road. I nodded at him. Yes, I was fine. Keith was fine. But where were Beth and Jeff?
I started down the path to find them. I could see that the huge metal docks were now in twisted piles of wreckage. Boats were scattered across the cove, some partially submerged. I quickened my pace as panic began to set in. I was so terrified at what I would find ahead of me. Suddenly I saw Beth coming towards me among the refugees on the path. We started crying and rushed to hug each other fiercely around my enormous belly.
It was a long, slow trip home. It took us nearly all day although it was only 45 miles. We crossed the tornado’s path several times and had to stop as the road was still being cleared of trees, mud and debris. The tornado had bulldozed a clear path through the timber for miles.
It seemed like a dream as we watched the 5 o’clock news that night. Jeff was interviewed. It was so surreal to see him on television. Only one man had lost his life. Rescue divers found his body wedged under the dock the next day.
I am reminded how precious life is every time I look at my beautiful daughter who survived a tornado before she even took her first breath.
New rules for Shannon in 2014( or effective immediately ):
1. There is a reason why you don’t do caffeine.
2. Stop trying to help people.
3. Don’t do anything critical or make any serious decisions after 3:30PM because later in day shannon is not as reliable as early in the day shannon… Generally but not always. Sometimes late in the day shannon is totally on her game and early shannon drops the ball but if i was a betting gal then I would most certainly put money on early shannon vs late shannon. Unless your in the market for chaos, mayhem, forgetfulness and unpredictability- then late in the day shannon is your girl.
4. Follow all rules set by shannon for shannon.
5. Stop trying to help people.
6. This isn’t fight club. (As much as you would like it to be)
7. Stop trying to help people.
I must be crazy. I am considering going back to school. I think that Mark must be speaking to me from the grave because when he was alive; I told him he was insane to think that I would take a (single) college class. I didn’t like school when I was there the first time and that has been 21 year ago. I always said that I would go to college if they would let me take the classes that I want to take and not all the shit that they say I have to take…and now I might take anyway. As if I have time. I can’t spin around three times and hit myself in the ass; how am I going to take any college classes??!!??
FYI- spinning around three times and not being able to hit yourself in the ass is a major insult in my family right up there with needing a Plexi-otomy. In case you don’t know what that is:
Plexi-otomy(Uncle Bob): where they remove the front panel of your abdomen and install a sheet of Plexiglas so you can see where you are going when you have your head up your ass.
So that being said, if I have a plexi-otomy, I should be able to score decently on the compass math testing…..right! Math. As in that is the skill that my Father and Sister possess. Not I. (Extreme anxiety and stress=more alcohol to relieve symptoms.) Because I have taken the sample tests when I am able to take my break at work (= only free time I have)…..I passed the first sample test 100%. That one is like % and if there is interest and you amortize etc etc. etc….= my $$$$ and I know what the hell you are talking about here. The second test was 2y+4z=6x.
Is this Portuguese?
Because I could learn that much easier. David Lee Roth knows Portuguese. So like I am sure that I could do that….but this shit….is like aliens sent down a language that only certain people who have alien blood in their veins could interpret (my Father and my Sister) (nothing personal)(but seriously…who speaks this shit?!).
And then there was a bunch of logarithms and other stuff my nightmares are made of…..OYE!!
Shannon+college= no way.
On top of all my other life stuff…
My aunt Kathy says that time passes no matter what, so you might as well be earning you degree. J
Fork It over Obama. Because I think that you have bent me over enough that you owe me something (did I just say that out loud?). Someone should benefit from your f*#$ups. Why not me?
……and now for something completely different:
SOOO… I wrote down my list of things to get done today (that’s what extremely self-critical people do in the wee hours of the morning before they get out of bed or want to wake their spouses). I had a list of 15 things. I completed 4. I started on a few others…but you don’t get to cross them off until they are complete (don’t believe me; check the overachiever hand book). So technically I only finished 4. Now mind you, this weekend coming up is a holiday and I am planning on having time to make up lost time because isn’t that what holidays are for?
And this is where my Granddaddy should send a lightning bolt down to strike me because I remember when I was little thinking ‘why is he still out there working? When the rest of us are in the house?’ But her I am and I can’t seem to help myself.
I built a chicken water not freezing in cold temperature thingie.
Gave Isaac a hair cut.
Cut up T-shirts to make a rug (don’t ask)
Cleaned the kitchen (not on my list- doesn’t count)
Worked on GS
And really the rest is a blur….
So back to bed now…..till my next list (which is running FYI. A running list. Until the page is full and then I transfer the unmarked items and start a new one)
(oh PS-I roasted a deer neck bone- but we didn’t eat it. It is in the fridge.)
October 18, 2013 at 7:58 PM (A Day in the Life)
Me to Jay: We did the cutest craft in Girl Scouts today. Do you want to see it?…… Of course you do…… That’s why I’m going to show it to you….. See……
Jay: Yep that’s cute.
In his defense I really don’t give him a chance to answer I just go from one sentence to the next without drawing a breath.
I recently previewed a blog that I absolutely loved!!! It is written by a GS leader. And I will add her to my blog list below. Upon reading on of her post, I felt compelled to comment as follows…
- “Someone just emailed me your blog to check out; so I read the intro to this post and thought to myself….Holy Over Committed Batman, this is me!!! I too am the new SU manager (in our small service unit one person pretty much does it all) by default….and I can’t say no, not that I want to, don’t get me wrong, I love it all!! and I want to do it all!! If only I didn’t need to sleep I would have so much more time to get it done!! 🙂 Thank you!! Thank you!!! for taking the time to do your blog!! there are so many great ideas here. I am thrilled!! I have a blog but have been mentally beating myself up for the last year because I have not posted recently (a year) on my blog and not because I didn’t want to. It’s on my list. Thank you for the inspiration. To blog!! For troop!! For SU!!! For moms!!!
This has thus inspired me to get my ass blogging again. I think that I should add a GS category to my blog for GS post. I can not make it strictly a GS blog because I wouldn’t be able to say things like ass. (I believed that these things (saying ass) are what makes me a better rounded GS leader. (PS- I don’t say them in front of the scouts))
Truthfully, I feel like the past year of my life has been a roller coaster ride. Most of the time I had my eyes shut and I missed it. It was all I could do to tread water and keep my head up. Lots of time I felt as if I was sinking. But you know me; I never say die; I never admit I’m down. That would be admitting defeat. Just like going to the doctor- I don’t do that- unless it is in an ambulance. J
Case in point: I am sure that several of you have seen my recent FB post about my secret life. To fill those in that have not: In the past several weeks I have had a handful of emails and phone calls from people who are contacting Shannon Martin. Just not this Shannon Martin. But I am so busy that it takes me a few to realize that they are not trying to call me. Lol
I recently received a phone call from a very nice lady named Mary who knew my name and said that I had called her and left her a message but it was broken up so she did not know why I was calling her. I could not remember who she was or why I had called her. So I asked: Was it about Soccer? No. Girl Scouts? No. The FFA Auction? No. The Theater Club’s melodrama? No. Racing? No. My husband is Jay Martin, does that ring a bell? No.
So when I ran out of group, clubs, activities, etc. I finally apologized and said, “I don’t know why I called you. Are you sure it was me?”
Please read her blog. This is the link to the post that I responded to. Of course ya’ll might not find it as close to home as I.
I finally feel like I am getting my life back and getting a handle on things. I still have just as many activities to partake in plus a new full time job. But we are getting there. And did I mention that I have a great partner that I now share my brain with (sorry Claudia). So what I miss he usually picks up. Like coaching soccer. 😉
I hope that you will see more of my on my own blog.
PS- Did I mention that I would like to write a book? LMAO!! Seriously. I am working on that. And contemplating taking some college courses for skills that I need to further my career. And I have enough books piled up around here that I could read for three years straight, if I did nothing by read. Maybe if I went to sleep with a book on my face, then I could read too in my secret life while I sleep. (Wait, I already do that too.) Sigh* then there is the whole I need to go to the gym business.
So I vow to post more blogs. That really was the moral of this story.
I have been through a lot of shit in my life. Words do not even begin to describe the sagas….
I have been contemplating this lately. I suppose everything comes in a big circle. I am thankful that I have learned SO much in my first circle in this lifetime that the second and third and maybe even the fourth are much easier to digest. It almost seems like old news. I truly feel like I can handle most anything. I have been through about all of it. And I am still here. Even when everything seems so overwhelming…really it is not because I will still be here. I know that. I feel like this was my lifetime learn the lesson of material wealth. It has come and it has gone just enough to make me very aware of its existence.
The universe has taken me so close to the very bottom and so close to not having to worry about it; several times. I now know that I can endure no matter what. And I have. Despite the other souls that have been placed in my path. They have their own lesson to learn.
I have always been told that I have an old soul. That I was here to guide others. I have heard this since I was a child. From many sources as a child that should have been too young to know what this meant. But I did.
I am acknowledging that I have been guided as much as I have guided. If I have guided at all. I really do not know. But at this point I feel that I have most certainly been the one to learn a lesson.
I can endure. No matter what. No matter how good or how bad.
On an off subject:
Today my great Aunt asked me, “Shannon, Why do you switch the toilet paper roll whenever you come over?”
I have no good politically acceptable answer for this:
At first, I was even a little shocked and said, “Did I switch your toilet paper??” because I am not even conscious of it!!!
She answered,” Yes.”
Me-“This time or the last?”
Me, slightly embarrassed-“I am not surprised. I tend to do that ( I suppose). I did not even realize that I did it this visit. The only excuse I have is that I am conditioned. My dad always taught me that wire should feed off the top. And so should fishing line. And tape. And rope. And toilet paper. I am sorry. Do like yours to feed from the bottom? Because I can’t seem to help myself.”
So apparently I am neurotic. And I randomly change people’s toilet paper without conscious knowledge of it so it will feed from the top. Leave it to my Aunt Siggy to notice it. If anyone would, she would.
She is a phenomenal woman who has been through more shit than I……
We all know that the funeral business is a racket and Mark would not want any money spent on any kind of stupid funeral services. He always said, “Why should I pay to die when I can die for free?!” So instead we spent a lot less on a lot of food and beer and shared with the neighborhood. He would have been proud.
He was a great man whose heart was bigger than his barrel chest could contain. He would give you the shirt off his back, even if that shirt was one of 47 that he bought 30 years ago when they quit making them and he cleaned the entire chain of Big and Tall stores out of stock.
He had many sayings that I hated when I was younger and came to love as I grew. Pato Sopa! There is no free lunch! He told me, “Wimpy, if you are wrong, say you are wrong and do your best to make it right. But if you are right; scream like HELL!”
He taught me the importance of a hard day’s work. That it will take you farther in this life than anything else ever can. He taught me how to dig holes in the ground, patch drywall with phone book pages, build a fence and how to change my tire. He also taught me that it doesn’t take blood to make a father.
He has left behind a very large pair of bibs to fill.
As he would say, “I don’t do grief.” and “If you don’t have humor; you don’t have anything.”
The last time I spoke to him was two days before he passed; we had a 30 second phone conversation. So to quote the last words he ever said to me in this life:
What did one snowman say to the other snowman?
Do you smell carrots?
Talk to you later.
I am taking the steak out of the package for dinner and the absorbent pad is stuck to the bottom.
Me-Yuck (as I peel it off)
Sav- What’s that?!
Me- The pad they put in the package to absorb all the blood and juice.
Sav- (shocked!) Why would they do that??!! That’s the best part!!!
Me- (Giving a high five) Yea!! Grantpa would proud!
Later over dinner…
Sav- What if they didn’t put those pads in the bottom of the package and we could have all the extra juice-sauce for ourselves.
(oh in a perfect world…)