Monday, December 03, 2007

Bubba & me

See that guy there in the middle with the rubber face and the green chin? That’s Bubba, my new alter-ego, with a watermelon from the garden to fill in where his brains & teeth should be. Just looking at Bubba makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

There’s a reason for that, but it’s a convoluted story. You see, this year, the head of the Tarnished Heart Committee for my local writers group was a close friend who I’ve known more years that either of us care to admit. She’s not an outdoorsy type, and she doesn’t knit either. I love her anyway, even if she does give me a hard time sometimes about spending so much time on farm stuff and not so much writing novels these days.
The Tarnished Hearts are a cherished tradition in this group. Each December we celebrate the good, the bad, and the ugly in our writing lives. We give outrageous awards and laugh ourselves silly. Last Saturday, at the group’s holiday party, my friend called out my name and announced my Tarnished Heart award -- The Redneck Farmer Award. She made me join her at the front of the room. She took my glasses. She told me to turn around and bend down, and then she jammed that rubber mask on my head. Of course we all laughed because what could be funnier than a startled middle-aged woman in a braid wearing a Bubba mask and trying not to burp after overindulging on to-die-for fudge chocolate brownies? That moment was magic – pure, silly, healing joy. I needed that because it’s been a rough season in some ways.

In every life there are moments that change how you view the world. Big events and private epiphanies, subtle shifts in the lens of your reality. We’ve all had them. Some we celebrate publicly. Some are too private to even speak of, but we’re changed nonetheless.

Usually I can knit my way through the angst, settle my thoughts, and get back to my usual to-do list. Not lately. A difficult family situation reached a turning point several weeks ago. Choices were made, things were said, and it didn’t end well. Someone I’ve been close to my entire life is now at a distance – in every sense.

The deepest loss, however, was the few illusions I’d been able to hold onto until that point. I miss those comforting illusions – about the person who disappointed me yet again and about myself. For a while, I missed them so much I couldn’t sleep much, couldn’t concentrate enough to write, and even knitting failed to calm my mind into orderly thought patterns. I went AWOL from my usual haunts out of pity for anyone who had to deal with me. I took long walks and tried to exhaust myself with various chores around the farm. The milk cow picked up on my agitation and kicked me a couple of times. She kicked the milk bucket a few more and spoiled the milk several mornings.

That got old fast. So I started a new book, a psychological thriller with lots of action, drama, and twisted family dynamics. Those people gradually became a lot more interesting than my personal pity party. The heroine, of course, handles her personal angst with a bit more grace than I managed. (Okay, maybe a LOT.) A full house for Thanksgiving chased away more of my blues. Saturday afternoon's belly laughs with friends who know me and accept me in all my weirdness provided the finishing touch.
Yeah, life's messy sometimes. So what? I've got Bubba, and I'm gonna teach him to knit!


Blogger ~Tonia~ said...

Sounds like some great friends. Glad that you are feeling better about things. Hopefully Bubba will be a quick learner. LOL

9:25 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

"Knitting with Bubba"--it has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

Laura, I'm so sorry about your family difficulties. There is nothing worse than being disillusioned about someone you love and trust. It rips your guts out.

Here's hoping the holiday season brings much laughter and healing. We're here for you too.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Cindi Myers said...

Thank you for sharing this, Laura. Families can be tough sometimes. I'm glad Bubba (and knitting) has helped.

4:37 AM  
Blogger georg said...

I have, on my mother's side, a long line of dairy farmers. My grandfather taught my mother to knit, so I'm used to seeing these large handed men holding the needles and working magic. And there is something poignant in watching large hands create something delicate.

While I can confess to two cousins called Bubba at some point in their lives, neither knows how to knit.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Fran Baker said...

Oh, Laura, I so empathize with your recent predicament. Why do they always happen around holidays, anyway? No matter. They do and we have to deal with them.

I'm glad you got a good laugh, and that you're rechanneling your self-pity into something positive. That's a good example for me ... and I need that right now!

Let us know how Bubba takes to knitting. LOL!

1:28 PM  
Blogger LauraP said...

Thanks, everyone.

georg - the dh has a few dairy farmers in his family, but they think knitting is girly. Sigh.

9:47 PM  

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