From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Days Are Just Packed

And the nights are a little chilly.




My 82-year-old neighbor lady and her daughter have returned today from ten days in the Holy Land. Their arrival home releases me from the responsibility of caring for their seven dogs, twice a day. (The son did come out from town for dog duty on the nights that I worked late.)

I feel a great sense of relief! If I didn't think it would hurt my back, I might leap up and click my heels.

The last few days of November

November has turned cold while the ladies have been gone . I've knocked ice out of the dogs' water bowls on several mornings. This morning, I found a miniature drift of snow on my windshield.

November has only eight more days and Christmas is just a month away. People are beginning to shop earnestly. We've been busy at the store where I work.

Shoppers and shoplifters

I try to serve the customers as quickly as possible with a cheerful attitude, and to treat them as I like to be treated. Simultaneously, I try to fulfill my employer's expectations and guidelines. When things go well, these two sets of interests intersect or, sometimes, even converge, and everyone is very pleased.

We also have some people in the store who are shoplifters, not shoppers. Shoplifting is a perpetual problem, but there is an increase during this time of the year. A few steal because of true need, but most are motivated by vanity or greed. Sometimes they steal to resell.

I'm better than I used to be at sensing bad intent, and I alert the security people if I am suspicious. Our store prosecutes shoplifters and requests maximum penalties. I'm glad we do.

Many sides

Like so many things in life, the Christmas shopping scene has its seamy underside. I understand the metaphor well because I sew. I know how imperfections can sometimes be gathered and hidden in seams that don't show.

Related figures of speech come to mind. Most people have good sides, bad sides, and sensitive sides. Some have wild sides, and they could cross over to the dark side. On the lighter side, people enjoy laughter. Optimists look at the bright side and don't worry about the flip side.

And then there's the sunny side. This morning, when I was doing the dog chores, I paused for a moment on the south side of the shed. A stout wind was blowing and the temperatures were below freezing, but the shed blocked the wind and the sunshine was warm.
Keep on the sunny side,
always on the sunny side.
Keep on the sunny side of life.
It will help us every day,
it will brighten all the way
If we keep on the sunny side of life.
- Ada Blenkhorn (1899)

Music, lyrics, and info

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.