Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Early Happy Hallowe'en, Thanks to Tracy K

I'm back -- sorry I was gone for so long and silent

I want to thank the people who looked for me and got in touch during this hiatus. It started because I couldn’t stand to read one more word about the American Presidential election or about Lambeth. Just wore me out.

And then it continued when I found out on September 11th that I’d be leaving for Texas on the 27th. I didn’t have a passport, I didn’t have a driver’s licence or a learner’s permit, I had one week’s vacation left at work and I was going for a month. I got everything I needed. You can pay $30 extra in Canada and get your passport in less than 10 business days – they have it the day before your trip, and you have to take proof you’re leaving. I went straight from picking up the passport when the office opened at 8:30 on the 25th to write the test for the learner’s permit. Found out the 5:00 a.m. bus from Hamilton to Buffalo Airport only runs weekdays, so I left at 7:30 Friday night and sat up overnight in the airport. Took three planes to Tyler the next day. We had wireless there, but it was slow, and we were busy.

It was a HUGE culture shock. I will write more about it. I wrote down about some of it as it was happening, and I’ll reproduce here, with some pictures. While I was there, I learned to drive a pick-up truck without hitting anything; I learned why I need to be able to shoot something sometimes, and how to do it – with long guns and a lot of time, anyway, I can hit the target pretty well. With handguns, I anticipate the recoil and move and miss the page altogether. I can go out the back and poke through the metal collection and do something. Removing rust from sewing machine treadles with a wire wheel is VERY good for some kinds of frustration – if you don’t give the project 100% of your attention, you get hurt. I learned how to cut up railroad spikes, old files, and hardware cloth with a chop saw and a plasma cutter, and to put them back together different with a MIG welder – that was lots of fun.

And there was a 12-day old kitten whose mother abandoned him three days before I got there, who was being fed with an eye-dropper. I took that task on gladly. I fed with an eye-dropper and later with a baby bottle. I carried him outside and showed him how to dig little holes in the sand, and applied warm water while I held him over the hole til he peed in it, then told him how good he was. He started eating solid food three days before I came back. His name is Yeshua – when he woke up he was so hungry, he hollered and the walls of Jericho could come tumblin’ down, and almost all the other cats have Hebrew names, so so does he. I’ll post some pictures from the time I was there, and I’ll keep getting some and post them from time to time too.

Let’s see. I got scratched when we went for a hike through a thorny forest and I was wearing shorts. I stepped on a fire ant nest and got stung on the ankle. Got ringworm from the kitten. He’d hold the back of my hand for dear life when he was sucking the eyedropper, and I expected scars, cuz he always got the same place. But I didn’t scar. Took off skin and fingernails on the afore-mentioned wire wheel. Got burns on my arms from the welding, and once a big coal fell inside my sneaker and burnt the same foot I got stung on. And when Yeshua learned he could climb up pant legs, it didn’t occur to him that he shouldn’t climb my legs cuz I was wearing shorts. I’d be cutting up vegetables with the kitten hanging off my bare knee. Those are the marks on the outside. On the inside, I’m a whole new person.

Gotta go out tonight. I’ll post some of the other stuff on Friday or Saturday. Thanks again to everyone.