short excerpts...other writings...upon occasion or as prompted...
The tiger in the water? A representation of my life -- spirit and environment!


Friday, November 5, 2010

A Farmer in Leningrad

Mommy, the farmer's daughter, grew up to work in a profession that required her to live in the city. It also required her to do some fancy things once in a while.

Once Mommy and my sister were in St. Petersburg, Russia. (Back then, it was called Leningrad.) Mommy and my sister were visiting the Consul General at the U.S. Consulate there, and they were the guests of honor at breakfast.

Mommy and my sister talked with everyone around the table. The guests chatted, as the maid placed an eggcup with an egg in front of each person's plate.

Mommy did not know what to do with the egg in the eggcup. She thought about it, as she continued to talk, and she still could not figure it out. There was not an obvious way to handle it. She watched what the others were doing. What they were doing was waiting for her, the guest of honor, to start eating before they did. Here was a dilemma. Mommy kept talking, hoping that someone would get hungry enough to start eating, but none did. That is the way it is with diplomats. They have to be polite.

Finally, Mommy was very hungry, and she figured everyone else was, too. She decided to do a very brave thing. She would eat her egg as she was used to eating it. She seized the egg, dragged it out of the eggcup onto her plate, and smashed it with a knife.

The egg was very soft. It made a very big mess on Mommy's plate.

Everyone else then gently tapped open his or her eggs with a spoon and scooped out the egg bit by bit, eating it. My sister did that, too, as she whispered to Mommy, "I don't think you were supposed to kill the egg with a knife."

Poor Mommy! She was not able to eat very much of that egg, so she was very hungry after breakfast.

She was also embarrassed, but she was used to that. She had learned over time that things are done differently in the country and the city.

Her first embarrassing high society incident occurred while she was at college. Her best friend invited her to Philadelphia. There her family took the two of them to a very expensive restaurant for dinner. Mommy dressed up as best as she could, and she was on her very best behavior. At least, she tried to be.

She did not like soup, however, and had never been able to force herself to eat it. (That was very strange for a farm girl, where soup is a staple, but that is the way it was then with Mommy.)

So, when the waiter brought her a huge bowl of warm liquid, she picked up her soup spoon and enthusiastically started sipping what she considered to be a very tasteless dish.

The waiter looked very confused. "Miss," he said. "This is the finger bowl for washing your hands."

Conclusion: You can take the farmer off the farm, but you cannot take the farm out of the farmer.

This story is excerpted from a collection of vignettes that I helped Doah, my severely mentally challenged youngest son, to write and publish several years ago (copyright 2003). It was my attempt to help him understand literacy and the purpose of writing and reading.

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About Me

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I am the mother of 4 birth children (plus 3 others who lived with us) and grandmother of 2, all of them exceptional children. Married for 42 years, I grew up in Maine, live in California, and work in many places in education, linguistics, and program management. In my spare time, I rescue and tame feral cats and have the scars to prove it. A long-time ignorantly blissful atheist converted by a theophanic experience to Catholicism, I am now a joyful catechist. Oh, I also authored a dozen books, two under my pen name of Mahlou (Blest Atheist and A Believer-in-Waiting's First Encounters with God).

My Other Blogs

100th Lamb. This is my main blog, the one I keep most updated.

The Clan of Mahlou
. This is background information about various members of the extended Mahlou family. It is very much a work still in progress. Soon I will begin posting excerpts from a new book I am writing, Raising God's Rainbow Makers.

Modern Mysticism. This blog discusses the mystical in our pragmatic, practical, realistic, and rational 21st century world and is to those who spend some or much of their time in an irrational/mystical relationship with God. If such things do not strain your credulity, you are welcome to follow the blog and participate in it.

Recommended Reading List

Because I am blog inept, I don't quite know how to get a reading list to stay at the end of the page and not disappear from sight. Therefore, I entered it as my first post. I suppose that is not all that bad because readers started commenting about the books, even suggesting additional readings. So, you can participate with others in my reading list by clicking here.
I do post additional books as I read them and find them to be meaningful to me, and therefore, hopefully, meaningful to you. One advantage of all the plane traveling I do is that I acquire reading time that I might not otherwise take.