The Summer That Wasn't is losing even that specious hold it barely possessed on the season and leaves begin to slip from the trees. These leaves were already beginning to turn their coats at the end of July. Makes you wonder what kind of winter it will be.
Tool Guy has been planning a road trip for a few weeks now. His mother is feeling poorly and he'd like to jaunt down to see her. Logistically, it works better if he goes alone. Prior to now, the single vehicle family factor has been a hurdle. Since he got his new set of wheels, which he calls "ambrosia for the back," he has begun to imagine that he could do this on his Harley. Not a few machinations have been in the works to finesse this possibility into a plan. Biking buddies have offered and then rescinded. Planning routes, plotting possibilities, preparing the bike.
I decided to send a care package to my mother-in-love, Claudia, along with him. In my herbal apprenticeship, one of our projects was assembling herbal eye-pillows. The combination that The Herbalist had collated was dried roses, lavender (calming), sassafras bark (earthiness), rosemary (remembrance), and mugwort (sweetens dreams) that we harvested, weighted down with rice or flax seeds. She brought out a selection of shimmery silks and I settled on the pink one. Princess pink. Guess who sleeps with that one? And reports that her frequent nightmares have gone! As we sat, stitching up the fabric envelopes, one of the other apprentices shared that during her chemo recovery, she had been gifted with a similar sort of pillow and it was the most comforting thing she possessed. On days when she was totally wasted by the treatments, she said she would curl up on the couch around this pillow. Sounded like something for Claudia.
Herbal Eye Pillow
2 T dried lavender
2 T dried roses
1 T dried rosemary
1/2 t sassafras bark
2 stem's of mugwort, dried, destemmed, and crushed
1 cup white rice
Pick a tactilely satisfying fabric cut into rectangle per personal measurements: Measure the distance from one temple to the other. This will be the length. Measure from the bridge of the nose to just above the browridge. This will be the width. Mark these measurements on a piece of fabric, doubled over and cut out. With right sides, together, stitch the open sides, leaving an end open for filling.
Mix together the herbals and pour into the open end. A canning funnel is particularly useful in this application, especially if you're mass-producing these. Close the end, tucking the raw edges under and stitch closed. Sweet dreams! I decided that my sister-in-love needed one, too.
A co-worker approached Tool Guy with an offer to use a spare car. He felt a bit nervous about the idea of Tool Guy tooling across the country on a bike by himself, Harley and all notwithstanding. Tool Guy was appreciative of the offer, but declined. He was a bit nervous about the whole road-trip-bike prospect, but determined. Mostly just keeping an eye on the weather.
Well, he was a bit nervous about the weather, too. Rainy as it has been, he wasn't elated at the prospect of three days on the road in the rain. The forecast has been less than auspicious. Growing up in Louisiana, there's more rain than sunshine and hurricanes and floods are as humdrum there as earthquakes are in Los Angeles. Ho-hum. I remember that old joke I'd heard growing up:
After a frenetic week of hysterical meteorological predictions for a Category Three hurricane, the first of the dreaded raindrops began. The police sent out patrol cars stop house by house and encourage people to leave. One good old boy greeted the officer with sanguine optimism. "Mais, no. Ah grew up here. Mah daddy grew up here. His daddy grew up here. Dah Lord's gonna take care o' me. I done ax Him." Nothing the officer could say would dissuade him.
As torrential rains fell, the bayous began to rise and lap at the steps of people's homes. Police patrols in boats went around collecting the previously reluctant and assisting them to shelter. Once again, the insistent good old boy maintained that he was going to stay put and that God was going to save him.
The water levels grew higher and higher, so before long, the persistent hold-out had taken to his roof to wait. At this point, a rescue helicopter came around, throwing down a rope ladder and bull-horning to him to climb up. He shook his head and insisted that God would save him, thank you very much.
Sadly, the man succumbed to the forces of nature and found himself in Heaven. He gazed reproachfully at God and ask why He had not saved him. God levelly returned his gaze and said, "I sent a patrol car, a boat, and a helicopter. What more did you want?"
A week before the trip, Tool Guy was chatting and sharing his plans for his trip with our pastor. The next day, he got a phone call from the pastor, who indicated that he'd not felt at peace with the idea of Tool Guy harleying across country and knew of a car that would be available to use if he was interested.
Not for nothing have we been married twenty-five years, because when Tool Guy called me to report this development, we had an immediate brain-share. We each shouted out the punch line of the aforementioned joke together and laughed. "I'm not waiting for the helicopter," he said. "I'm taking the car."
Halfway through his trip, Tool Guy called home on his spanking new Tracfone. When he got into Georgia, the sky opened up and it rained bullets. Nope. Not waiting for that helicopter.