Browsing Archives for May 2009

Hanging the Oracle

May 15th, 2009

Oh Dear! That doesn’t sound right does it?!?

I don’t really mean “HANG the oracle

Oh no! I would never even think of HANGING the Oracle.

He is far to valuable to me! Why, if I were to HANG the Oracle, who would the Country Doctor consult when he has a problem to which his wife CLEARLY KNOWS THE ANSWER???

But he has been sitting there… on the floor… staring at the opposite wall for about six months now and it really is time to put him in his proper place.

It’s just that I’m not really sure where his proper place is? I tried placing the Oracle both above and below darling pictures of my boys as toddlers. But that seemed a bit out of whack.

You can just tell by looking at him that he is none too pleased with this idea.

So I laid the Oracle down so we could both have a rest and think things over.

And as I stepped away – something about this particular spot spoke to me… It was as if the Oracle himself was whispering in my ear saying…



This is my home….

This is my spot…

So I said a prayer…

And I lit a candle…

And I tried to clear my mind of all distractions…

And I hammered a nail into the wall…

Then I had a snack.

(Don’t tell the Oracle about that snack part.)


He seems to be at peace here don’t you think???

And I find that I am at peace too.

A deep abiding peace that will comfort me every time I step in here to… to… well…to “pay my respects to the Oracle.”

Which is a actually a euphemism for… for…

Okay then…


A few nights ago we received a very special visit from the Oracle Known as Steve. If you didn’t know this already, the Oracle Known as Steve has an amazing breadth and depth of knowledge that surpasses the average human such as myself in both intensity and fervor by about seventeen football fields. In our early married days, the Country Doctor consulted The Oracle Known as Steve with a regularity that makes Metamucil look like white flour. The Oracle advised us on everything from furniture placement to produce selection. I still don’t know how we ever could have limped through our first years of marriage without him.

As we visited with The Oracle and his beautiful family, I prepared a fabulous dinner including fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and some broccoli and cauliflower sauteed in garlic, wine and olive oil. Yeah, I know the broccoli and cauliflower in wine and garlic wasn’t really what you were expecting – but it was all I had!

Just as I was about to finish up the potatoes and put this lovely meal on the table, The Oracle Known as Steve stopped me dead in my tracks with one of those life altering questions that makes you regret everything you have ever done and want to start completely over…from scratch…from the beginning… from the dawn of time. He asked me…

“Are you going to make any gravy?”

To the average family member I would have probably responded by saying,

“Get out of my kitchen now!”


“No! I’m not, you gotta problem with that?”


“Do you want to do all the cooking from now on?”

But since it was the Oracle – I fell prostrate on the floor in front of him and said, “Um… no… I wasn’t – w-w-w-would you like to make some…?”

And he commanded me saying, “Wherest is thy flour?”

As you may know, The Oracle Known as Steve and The Country Doctor are both from a large rambling family of nine siblings raised on the rugged Kansas Prairie in a tiny farmhouse where they thrived on activities such as “Knife Trife” a game involving a butter knife, a living room and three wrestling brothers (The CD, THE OKAS, and Mr. Panties). They also learned how to make massive meals – emphasis on the word MASSIVE to feed this family. As the family grew up and got married and had kids – the meals got more and more MASSIVE. During the making of these massive meals, The Oracle Known as Steve can often be found, behind the stove or manning the grill or stirring the soup. His favorite cooking utensils are – king sized black plastic garbage bags – for mixing salads… Industrial sized vats for making soup and sauces… and evidently he needs the back-end of a pick up truck in order to make his gravy.

I did not have the back-end of a pick up truck to offer him, so I gave him my largest frying pan – the one I use to make entire meals for my family of six and watched in growing fear and panic as he started to make his gravy.

I won’t describe the entire process, but I will tell you that he started with a gallon of milk and this is how much was left when he was done.

At some point he made the sad mistake of jumping from making gravy to instructing me as to how to make gravy and that is where I sort of started making a few very small and very discreet faces.

I made this one when he demanded a whisk… no, not that one… a better whisk. Do you have a better whisk? I will need a better one than that one…

Then… he asked for some starchy water from the potatoes I was still boiling.

I said, “Can I just dip some out for you as my potatoes are still cooking?”

He said, “No, I want the dregs at the bottom with the little chunks of potatoes…”

He went on and on about how the dregs from the bottom of the potato water make much better gravy and blah blah blah blah!

My face sort of started to melt into this…

Oh is that right Mr. Oracle?

Tell me more about your potato water Mr. Oracle, and your dregs and your expertise at making gravy because HELLO – I am the mother of four boys and you are not the mother of ANY boys and my guess is that I have made about sixteen industrial sized vats of gravy compared to your single super large frying pan full!

The Oracle Known as Steve never even flinched.

Finally – the potatoes were mashed – the Oracle Known as Steve got his dreggy water, and finished making his gravy and he summoned unto me saying, “Fetcheth me a large containereth big enough to hold his vast ocean of gravy.”

“And Lo – I did fetch unto him a plastic pitcher for ice tea and he did filleth it uppeth to the toppeth and then we filled another smaller pitcher uppeth to the toppeth and then the gravy ceased and there was no more.

While topping off the large pitcher of gravy, I came to an new understanding of the term “gravy boat” as clearly, that is what we really needed…an actual boat… no wait… we really needed a gravy ark.

I placed the smaller gravy pitcher and the rest of the food on the table and dinner was served.

The food was great. The company was fine. We laughed, we talked, we hemmed and hawed, we chortled, we gasped, we heaved, we hoed, we looked at the large pitcher of gravy in awe and wonder, and then we heaved some more, we ate and ate and ate. After a piece of pie and some ice cream we cleared the table. This is what was left…

One piece of my delicious fried chicken.

One half pitcher of gravy.


As soon as the Oracle Known as Steve left, his precious dreggy potato water left-over gravy went straight into the trash.

Hey – everyone knows that gravy is never as good the second day!

God is a Muskrat

May 15th, 2009

We have a policy at the garden center that states that if a tree or shrub dies in the first year after purchase, we will replace it for free.

But the guarantee does not cover quite everything…

Customer – I bought a weeping willow here last year…
Me – Oh – what a nice tree!
Customer – Well… it died.
Me – Oh dear!
Customer – I have my receipt.
Me – Thank you.
Customer – So can I get my free tree now?
Me – First, can you tell me how your tree died?
Customer – It looks like a muskrat ate it.
Me – A muskrat?
Customer – Yes, it’s been chewed clean in half.
Me – Oh… Well I’m sorry to tell you that our guarantee does not cover acts of God.
Customer – It wasn’t an act of God… it was an act of a muskrat.
Me – Okay… But I am pretty sure that falls under the category of an “act of God.”
Customer – Are you saying that God is a muskrat?
Me – Uh… No… I am saying that when nature intervenes in the life of a plant… like an ice storm… or a lightning strike… you can’t say that the plant died because we sold you a bad plant…
Customer – So you are saying that God sent a muskrat to chew up my willow tree?
Me – No… not exactly… well sort of… but not really…
Customer – Why would God send a muskrat to eat my tree…?
Me – Uh… I don’t think God sent a muskrat to eat your tree…
Customer – So then it wasn’t an act of God!
Me – Not literally… no… probably not.
Customer – So can I get my free tree now?
Me – No… I’m sorry…
Customer – That’s alright. I probably deserved that muskrat eating my tree for some reason.
Prolonged slightly uncomfortable silence.
Me – Um… Can I help you with anything else?
Customer – Have you got any of those burning bushes?
Originally published August 27, 2008