Sadie’s Lamp

2011, January 081This lamp belonged to Sadie Williams.  She is a woman I never met.  I may have seen a picture of her, but I could not identify her if I saw the photo again.  Despite all of that, I have known this lamp for about twenty years and owned it for at least eight.

It was delivered to me at a school where I was teaching by some missionaries who were headed to Italy.  It had traveled from Texas to Arkansas, then back to Texas.  I have discovered via The Mighty Google, that it is called a “Gone With the Wind” lamp and that it is a reproduction as it is electric (the originals were just highly decorated hurricane lamps that used kerosene).  GWtW lamps came into vogue after the release of their namesake movie, so I will assume that my lamp was produced sometime after 1939.  A part of it has been replaced–the very top metal bracket with the key is a shiny brass that does not match the rest of the metal.  I don’t know if it was Sadie’s or Sadie’s mom’s as Sadie was a teenager when the movie was released, but it is now mine and lives in my bedroom.

Sadie’s lamp is very old-fashioned and has huge tea roses painted on both globes.   If Sadie’s lamp had a scent, it would be a combination of Merle Norman face powder, and rose scented talcum.   It is a very feminine in a grandmotherly, time-gone-by way.  It is a rather large lamp, and it takes a certain person to appreciate it aesthetic qualities.  But anyone–anyone at all–would be able to recognize the loveliness of it’s light.

They key has three functions.  Click one:  the bottom globe is lit.  Click two:  the top globe is lit.  Click three:  both globes are lit.  Both globes give a nice, golden glow to a room.  It’s enough to read a book by, but not enough to disturb someone who might be sleeping.  The top globe lit alone is not a function that is normally used by us.  The bottom globe lit alone is the one we use the most–just one click is all it takes.

When a child is sick and needs to sleep on a pallet in the floor with a bowl near their head or enough light to make it to the bathroom–Sadie’s lamp (click one) is the light that shines.  If either Tony or I go to bed before the other and we want to leave enough light so the night owl can find their way across the room–Sadie’s lamp (click one) lights the way.  If there is anything unsettling that may need attention in the night, but we want to rest until it’s time to go into action, Sadie’s lamp is the sentinel that keeps the time.

I got Sadie’s lamp from this little girl.

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Isn’t she cute?  I love her angel costume over her blue jeans–the north Texas wind blowing her blond curls–the shadows of the bare tree branches on the wall of her home along with the shadow of her Daddy taking her picture right below.

This little girl grew up to be My Friend, Carolyn.  She has been my friend now for twenty six and a half years.  Sadie was VERY NEARLY Carolyn’s aunt.  Of course, had Sadie BEEN Carolyn’s aunt, then Carolyn would have been a different person and might not have been my friend.  Chances are high that we would never have met at all.  The story of how Sadie was not Carolyn’s aunt after all  is a sad one.  It involves World War II and a girl back home who was waiting for her fiance to return.  I will tell it sometime, as it is very, very important.

However, for today we will just look at Sadie’s lamp.  The fact that it sits in my room in Waller, Texas after a detour FROM Texas to Arkansas, then back to Texas is an amazement to me.  The fact that the cute, little girl in the angel costume is my friend is an amazement to me.  How she even came to be my friend and the impact it has had on my life, the lives of my children, the lives of HER children (and grandchildren) is an amazement to me. The fact that God in his infinite mercy and wisdom and grace takes sad stories and brings good things from them is an amazement to me.  It reminds me of this poem that I have loved since one of my teachers in high school showed it to me.

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Bits and pieces.
Bits and pieces.

People. People important to you, people unimportant to you cross your life, touch it with love and carelessness and move on. There are people who leave you and you breathe a sigh of relief and wonder why you ever came into contact with them. There are people who leave you and you breathe a sigh of remorse and wonder why they had to go away and leave such a gaping hole. Children leave parents; friends leave friends. Acquaintances move on. People change homes. People grow apart. Enemies hate and move on. Friends love and move on. You think on the many who have moved into your hazy memory. You look on those present and wonder.
I believe in God’s master plan in lives. He moves people in and out of each other’s lives, and each leaves his mark on the other. You find you are made up of bits and pieces of all who ever touched your life, and you are more because of it, and you would be less if they had not touched.
Pray God that you accept the bits and pieces in humility and wonder, and never question,
and never regret.

Bits and pieces
Bits and pieces.

Lois A. Cheney, (God is no Fool, 1969)

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Tomorrow, September 30th is Carolyn’s birthday.  Happy Birthday, friend.  The friendship that we have is one of my greatest treasures.  You are a gift far above rubies.  Or sapphires since you like blue best.  You know how much I love Sadie’s lamp.  I will keep it safe until it is time to let it travel to another home and continue its journey and its story.

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A Bit and a Piece of God’s loving kindness, October, 2012, Searcy, Arkansas.

In a Hen House in the Woods. . .

So with my blogging absence, I have not kept things up to date with our hens.  When last I blogged about them, they were still tiny, little chicks who amounted to no more than noise and fluff.

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Alas, chicks grow into chickens, and we have been blessed with some lovely hens.

This was when we first put them into their coop/hen house/Marriot  in mid-April.  They were still teenagers back then.

Chicken Roost 4.15.13 034Here we still had all three of our white Plymouth Rocks.  The first day we let them into the run all day, one of them stuck her head out of the wire to get a tasty niblet and BECAME a tasty niblet (or at least part of her did).  So now we just have two white hens. . .and reinforced wire around the lower 2/3’s of the run.

Tony pulled out all the stops to make a house and run that would be the envy of all other poultry, and BOY was he successful!  He built the coop AND the run in his head (along with all of the other touches that make this a stellar chicken habitat), then made it so.

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This was back in the spring when there was a pile of wood that was waiting to be split.

Just in case anyone is confused as to the occupancy.

Just in case anyone is confused as to the occupancy.

Today.  Tony used old palettes to make a porch of sorts, and yes, that is an electric light over the door.

This photo taken today. Tony used old palettes to make a porch of sorts, and yes, that is an electric light over the door.  There is power running to the coop for an exhaust fan, overhead lights, and a nightlight.

The entryway to the run.  The girls like to hang out there as it is near their way in and out of the house.

The entryway to the run. The girls like to hang out there as it is near their way in and out of the house.

This is the way they get from the coop into the run.  The kids named it "The Sky Walk."

This is the way they get from the coop into the run. The kids named it “The Sky Walk.” You can see the original wire–very strong and sturdy, but plenty big enough for a hen to stick her neck out–a lose it.  We put up hardware cloth to keep their necks safely inside.

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Tony dug a trench and buried the wire for the run a foot in the ground to discourage digging predators.

One of the Girls making use of the ramp and The Sky Walk to go inside.

One of the Girls making use of the ramp and The Sky Walk to go inside.

The run is nestled in under the trees and behind the Hen House.

The run is nestled in under the trees and behind the Hen House.  It’s tucked in so well that it makes taking a photo of it difficult.

Tony built the nesting boxes and their housing, then put them into the coop back in June.

Tony built the nesting boxes and their housing, then put them into the coop back in June.

The traditional chicken ramp--this was back when everything was nice and CLEAN.

The traditional chicken ramp–this was back when everything was nice and CLEAN.

Again.  Clean--and no wood chips yet.

Again. Clean–and no wood chips yet.

Before we even had the ladies--this is the view from the back of the coop toward the front door.

Before we even had the ladies–this is the view from the back of the coop toward the front door. Now it’s full of dust and wood chips and chicken droppings. . .and after dark it is also full of chickens.

Thad enjoying a rest.

Thad enjoying a rest.

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What it looks like now. . .not very clean, but much loved by all of us AND the chicken inhabitants. There is roosting above on both sides with nesting boxes below on the left, and food and water below on the right.

We have an open air coop to let out methane--the fan helps to circulate the air and also keeps them cool at night.  Chickens don't sweat and can die from heat.

We have an open air coop to let out methane–the fan helps to circulate the air and also keeps them cool at night. Chickens don’t sweat and can die from heat.

When you walk in, this is what you see.

When you walk in, this is what you see.

An original drawing from Stephanie Mallicote along with a token rooster as we don't have an ACTUAL rooster.

An original drawing from Stephanie Mallicote along with a token rooster as we don’t have an ACTUAL rooster.

From one of Tony's friends.  It adorns the back of the door.

From one of Tony’s friends. It adorns the back of the door.

Next time. . .meet The Girls.

Nature or Nurture or Just Good Taste in Movies?

Thad had a boat load of homework to complete tonight.  I mean a ton.  A lot.  A monumental amount.  Because he tends to get sidetracked at times. . .like when he was three and Tony lowered him behind the couch by his ankles to retrieve his Batmobile.  Thad exclaimed, “I got it!  I got it!”  And when Tony pulled him back up, in Thad’s little (dirty) hand was a small, black, retractable measuring tape.  Ahem.

The Batmobile IS black after all.  And Thad had been wondering where his measuring tape had gotten off to.

Even tonight as he was using the dictionary, he kept finding new words that he wanted to read the definitions for because the words sounded cool. This  is a WONDERFUL attribute that I want to foster in my offspring, but NOT at 8:00 on a school night when there are several more things to complete.  After me fussing at encouraging him to just find the word he NEEDED (already) to my relief he exclaimed, “Okay.  I am SO GLAD I found it!!!”

Silly me.  I thought he meant the actual word for which he was searching.  Alas, it was a picture of a metronome which reminded Thad (who relayed it to me at that exact moment) that we could either buy a cheap metronome from somewhere for a couple of bucks, or get a REAL one for $20, or get a $5 app for his Nintendo 3ds that you can customize.  He needs one to practice for band. He’s gunning for the app.  Because it’s customizable and all.

By the way, he had no homework for band.  We were doing Language Arts.

So.  Thad was answering questions from a reading passage.  Below is a paragraph from said passage.  It is an actual photograph of the actual paragraph on the actual page of the actual passage.

Actual photograph of actual paragraph of actual passage.

Actual photograph of actual paragraph of actual page of actual passage.

Thad, however, had made an addition.  I shouldn’t have been surprised.  I tried not to laugh–really I did.  I am supposed to be the voice of reason.   But he was SO EARNEST and SO SINCERE and SO PROUD when he looked at me with his big, blue eyes and said, “Mom.  I HAD to.  I just HAD to.”

Really. What intelligent Star Wars aficionado of a middle school boy could RESIST such an opportunity? There was a big 'ole empty space there and everything--just WAITING to be filled with what was OBVIOUSLY missing from the passage.

Really. What intelligent Star Wars aficionado of a middle school boy could RESIST such an opportunity? There was a big ‘ole empty space there and everything–just WAITING to be filled with what was OBVIOUSLY missing from the passage.

I laughed, and I laughed, and I laughed. And when I had the chance, I showed it to his Daddy and laughed some more.

Oh, how I needed to spend that time with my boy.