Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I could dimly see her bustling around the car through the new curtains hanging on the front door. The vacuum cleaner was roaring on a piece of scrap linoleum in the driveway, she was wrestling with the hose and attachments.

She doesn’t like the pine tree in the yard.

The needles drop into the car's air intake, wedging into the windshield’s seal, dropping through open windows to poke unwary posteriors.

“Let me help you with that.” The pine needles poke at my neck as I duck under a low branch that has escaped pruning.

I can do it,” she say tersely, pulling at the needles sticking out of the end of the vacuum hose. The needles keep wedging themselves sideways in the attachments.

The hood is up so I idly start picking up clumps of needles from inside the engine compartment. She is pulling on two sections of vacuum pipe to get at a clog of brown needles. They fly apart, the long thin attachment flies off, hitting the nearby van.

“These things are SO IRRITATING!” she grunts.

I want to help her, but if she lets me do it she will have lost her battle against this thing in our yard. She jams the tubes together, sticks the narrow attachment on the end. In moments the tube clogs again.

Brenda pulls on the pipes, the pipes resist, they give in, and taunt her by flinging the attachment even further than before.


“Let me do it...”


Her last two sentences hang in the air. Suddenly I bust out in loud, hearty, and almost certainly annoying, bellows of laughter.

She looks at me in astonishment. My laughing redoubles.

I'm gasping: “You hate it, but you don’t want to stop?”

Irritation, frustration, recognition, flicker across her face. Beneath her furrowed brow and button nose she pokes her tongue out at me.

Finally a smile plays across her face. I smile, pick up the attachment from where she flung it, and begin vacuuming up the pine needles for her. She watches for a minute, and wanders off to do some other chore.


Isn’t that human nature? We continue doing the things we hate. We don’t want to do them. We don’t have to do them. We are stubborn beyond reason.

What things do I do that I needn’t? Self-criticism? Not treating everyone with the love? Sin? Failures of spirit? Failures of flesh? Habits I have developed, nurtured far beyond any rational purpose? Grudges, resentments? Preferences in my home? Getting my way in traffic, service in the marketplace...

Where am I stubborn?


jel said...

we are all stubborn !

you know that a missouri mule is the most stubborn thing there is ,

oh did I tell you i'm from MO! :)

take care

curious servant said...

Struck a chord?


jel said...

Hey CS,
thanks for happy bday wishes, did you like the cake and ice cream? :)

curious servant said...

Folks, it's JEL's B-Day. It might be nice to drop by and wish her a happy one!

bjk said...

Hit a nerve ....... HARD.....I am stubborn about so much and hoping and praying that the MORE I recognize the stubbornness the more HE will be able to soften me...or I will be able to choose differently......

Judas Hate said...

I'd like to leave you a longer comment, but you've inspired me to make a list of my flaws. I'll get back to you in a month or so when I'm done:-)

P.S. I'm glad for your sake Brenda was able to see the humor in it. I shudder at the thought of you being pummeled with vacuum attachments:-)

jel said...

Thanks CS,
and judas hate, thanks for stopping by hope you got enough food there! :)

Becky said...

How am I stubborn?????? Good question.


Ame said...

hehehehehe ... that's classic!!!!! i love the last pic!!!!! ohhhhh ... how i SO easily relate!

i kinda thought the same as judas hate - i thought that the way you two were able to "banter" back and forth and it end so lightly was a result of all the time you invested into her and the boys and your home ... i wonder that there would have been such a favorable ending before the renovations in the house?

C & G said...

hi, i stumbled on your blog because i was looking for a friends blog and i searched "brenda, canby" . . . then i just got stuck reading your posts. i appreciat your writing and art. i had to laugh though because i figured out that i live 3 blocks up the street from you - n. manzantia. my husband and i walk by your house at least 5 times a week. we should probably all meet sometime!

JeffGeorgia said...

You have blessed me so much with you writings. Thank you.

Peace with you.

Fred said...

Stubborn? As far as I can tell, that's a good thing.

Me said...

Drinking this darned Coca-Cola!! I hate it i'm like a slave to this crap! I'm an addict I tell you! Everyday as I go to the store to buy it I just hate myself. :P

Jim said...

Blogging might be my curse.
My thoughts are that the things we hate we really like, but know we are 'supposed' to hate them.

curious servant said...

So many nice comments! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

C & G: Drop by! Say hi! Tell me that CS sent you!

Anonymous said...

"we continue doing the things we hate..." sounds very familiar. :)

God bless, CS.

Anonymous said...

Looking for information and found it at this great site... results from accutane http://www.ambienpurchase.info/Honda_concept_bikes.html prince tennis apparel Ideas marketing internet 3 fico score what it means toys r us peter cottontails commercials Free anonymous brower dsl Football dudes klonopin generic photos Tramadol info tramdol purchase Digital camera comparison australia Tins for cosmetics Blackberry word processor renault blender

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting site... » » »