Tag Archives: Robert Burns

After Easter “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley”

26 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites

DiVoran and David Bowers

DiVoran and David Bowers

My brother and I on Easter circa 1949. Mother made the dark blue and white dotted Swiss dress for me. David wore that sweater all winter for several winters. This story isn’t about us; it’s about this past Easter many years later.

 

Do you like routines and schedules? I like them so much I plan carefully so that they won’t go agley, as Robert Burns, the Scottish poet, put it:The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley.” (“To a Mouse”)

People in our church want me, as the children’s Sunday school teacher to put on an Easter egg hunt every year. So I bought the eggs last year. We already had the baskets to gather them into. I got the candy in the last weeks before Easter, but had to go back for more. I spent an hour or two putting candy in the eggs.

The plan was to go out on the playground during adult Sunday school and “hide” the eggs, but when we left the house, a misty rain was falling onto the windshield of the car and my plans began  to go agley so I asked Bill to be praying about what I should do. He surprised me by praying that the rain would stop in time for the hunt. But, still, when could I hide the eggs?

In the middle of praise team practice, I recalled that I hadn’t brought my camera. I didn’t want to miss taking pictures of the beautiful children in their Easter finery, so I asked Bill to go home and get it. I could hide eggs while he was gone.

It had stopped raining by the time praise team practice was over, but three feisty boys were using the playground and I didn’t want to make them go inside. I decided I’d just let them and the two girls who had arrived hide the eggs with me.

The girls and I walked out and I started to get the eggs out of the trunk of the car, but guess where the car was? It was with Bill going home to get the camera. The girls and I went back inside. Church started. We’d have to make do with the kids hiding the eggs during the time they were supposed to be hunting for them. Finally, it was time. By now, we had five girls and three boys. It seemed everyone was having a good time except for Trivona. She’s being reared by an aunt who loves her and who is a capable and efficient person.

“Why do we have to hide our own eggs,” Trivona asked.

“It’s fun, isn’t it?” I asked hopefully.

“The Easter egg hunt we went to yesterday was more fun—the children didn’t have to hide their own eggs,” she answered.

“It’s a long story.” I patted her head patronizingly.

She looked up at me with interest in her big brown eyes.

“You don’t want to hear the story do you?”

“Yes I do.”

“Oh, well…” I told it all, the rain, the car.“Is that a good story?” I asked when I finished.

“No,” she said.

“Oh, then I’m sorry I told you,” wishing I hadn’t bored her.

“It was a good story,” she said carefully, “but if you plan better next time, the children won’t have to hide their own eggs.”

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14.

Someday maybe Trivona will read Robert Burns and surely, then, she will understand.

A Handwritten Note

6 May

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Photo by Melody Hendrix

Photo by Melody Hendrix

When I was younger, I decided not to fall into the trap so many older people live in, with several dates a month marked for the purpose of going to the doctor. However, you know what Robert Burns said, “The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglay.” Last week I visited three doctors with a member of the family in two days and this week, for various reasons I will have been in waiting rooms every day except Monday and Wednesday (twice on Thursday).

I get tired of passive things like reading, listening to audio stories, watching TV. (I never do that anyway), but I don’t knit or crochet, so I’m coming up with a new plan. I will take a small packet of paper; pens, maybe watercolor crayons and either write notes or draw a bit.

Emails are a big thing now, but writing notes and letters on paper has been part of my life since I was a child and I still get the urge to do it when I’m waiting. Mother and I wrote to each other every week. I still have all her letters and she kept mine up to her last days. When I was twelve and moved away, my best friend and I wrote each other every day. Recently, we wrote our schooldays memoirs together, but that was by computer. Out of habit, I hurry to the mailbox every day expecting something, but usually it contains only commercial mail, so I take that in, sort it out, and throw most of it away.

On my last run to the SPCA store, I got a thin book that reminds me of Alexander Stoddard’s beautiful, Gift of a Letter. It’s called, The Art of the Handwritten Note, this one by Margaret Shepherd.

Realizing how happy it made me to read another book about the subject, I realized I missed writing and receiving handwritten notes more than I knew and decided there was no reason not to take it up again.

Ms. Shepherd says, “Writing by hand makes you look good on paper and feel good inside. Even an ordinary handwritten note is better than the best email, and a good handwritten note on the right occasion is a work of art.”

One thing I’ve always loved about notes is that you can save them and re-read them. I know you can do that with emails, and I do have a file, but for some reason, once they’re out of sight, I never take the time to look at them.

“Art Has Always Survived Technology,” says Margaret Shepherd. I agree. It takes about a minute to write a note, so I’ve put a small pad of paper in my purse and some cards in the door pocket of my car. Last Tuesday I wrote a note to my son, (who, because he lives in another town, always sends a handwritten note on birthdays and mother’s days) and one to our pastor’s wife who did my family a big favor. She is also a card-sender and note writer, so it was a pleasure.

Don’t get me wrong I like to get emails, and I enjoy writing them. It isn’t one or the other, for me, but both. It’s something I’ve missed for many years. Are you missing it too?

Handwritten note copy

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