Make most of the day

By Myra Starkey
Jan. 10, 2017 at midnight
Updated Jan. 11, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Chicken and wild rice soup is a  hearty meal for a cold day.

Chicken and wild rice soup is a hearty meal for a cold day.   Photo contributed By Janet Russell for The Victoria Advocate

Some weeks start out difficult but end well. I had that kind of week. Most of us like to live life at a normal pace without too much changing and nothing going wrong. In reality, this rarely occurs.

When lots of things start happening at once, it causes stress. Excess stress is bad for one's body and mind, and it should be avoided. In reality is that even possible? I suspect that we have to find the positives in difficult situations and change our point of view if we want to make the most of each day.

I work at my husband's medical office as the clinic administrator. We have two doctors and a nurse practitioner with a supporting staff of about 20 others.

Most days, we work together well. The conflicts are generally minor. We usually don't have much turnover of personnel. When we do lose a staff member and have to replace them, it causes a lot of stress in my life. I started the week needing to find a new head nurse.

By Thursday, one of my other nurses, Jessica, who has great administrative skills, agreed to the position. I know she'll do well. So that major problem was solved.

Three of my five chickens had flown the coop during the cold weather Wednesday evening. This probably does not seem like a great stress to you, however, these had been some of my good egg layers.

All my chickens have been sort of lazy and non-productive recently. They have been more than happy to eat the food I gave them, only they were not being grateful enough to lay eggs. So I had thought about giving them away to someone who was hungry and might appreciate them in a different way.

I hate to even admit that and would not even write this except my chickens do not read the Victoria Advocate.

Anyway, they had disappeared, and I searched for them over an hour Wednesday night. I knew extremely cold weather was arriving. I drove the streets in our area yelling, "Here chickie chickie."

I had no success in bringing them out of their hiding places, so I gave up. I assumed they were lost forever. Maybe they were able to read my mind and picked up on my negative thoughts.

The following morning, I realized I had lost a birthday bracelet that Taylor bought me years before. I rarely wore it, fearing that I would lose it, and I did. It fell off my arm during the day, and despite visiting all the places I had been and crawling around on all fours looking everywhere, it did not surface. I went to bed feeling a little sorry for myself and my chickens.

At the age of 56, I would like to think that I know what is important in life, and it is generally not stuff.

Once I worked through this truism, I was able to forgive myself for losing the bracelet.

I still felt bad about the missing chickens. I did not feel it was my fault because the hens had jumped the fence and then scratched, wandered, pecked aimlessly and chased bugs until they were lost. I just had to resolve myself to this fact. I still had two chickens, which is two chickens more than the average person would even want to own.

Friday morning, I woke to a ringing phone and my son, Spencer, and his wife, Rachel, were driving to Victoria to spend the night with us. This lifted my spirits, and when son-in-law Ben called and said he was coming for the weekend also, I was elated and my brain went into planning mode for a Friday night feast of crawfish etouffee. I rushed home from work and started the meal.

A message was waiting for me, telling me one of my chickens had been discovered around the block. I ran out the front door with my apron on calling "chickie, chickie" and saw my hen on a neighbor's driveway looking cold and glad to see me. She ran flapping her wings recognizing my voice and elated that she would spend the night at home. I snatched her up and took her back.

As I arrived, I received another call telling me one of the other hens was two blocks away in a neighbor's backyard. Again I ran to rescue and recovered chicken No. 2. Two of the missing were deposited in my yard and when I returned to the kitchen I looked out of my window and noticed a chicken on the back porch at the door.

After a quick count, I was back to my five girls. I rewarded them with a treat and a brief lecture about the dangers of running away. This is the kind of heartwarming "coming home" story they make Hallmark movies about.

The Friday night feast of spicy etouffee was delicious, and sitting around the table with my people warmed my heart and made me happy.

I drove to Austin on Saturday morning to take a Shibori class with a textile artist. I am trying to learn about the art of dyeing fabric and felt like it was time to seek the help of a professional.

Caroline, our son Miles's girlfriend, joined me. A friend from Victoria, Cheryl, also joined us for the class.

We learned the history of the Japanese art of binding and dyeing fabrics with indigo. Each of the attendees made three pieces using various techniques. The class left me with blue fingers despite my use of gloves.

I decided to spend the remainder of the day with Caroline, and so we hunted antique shops for treasures and ended up finding a neat shop that sold Turkish towels, rugs and other imports.

Later, we dined at a new restaurant, Emmer and Rye, that serves a different menu each night and uses a farm-to-table concept.

We dined on sunchokes, charred broccoli, handmade pasta, grilled pork and then had chia pudding and panna cotta for dessert.

Each dish was more unique than the last. Because they use a small plate concept we were able to try many different dishes. We must have arrived just before the locals decided to eat because when we left, the line was out the door.

As we sat at the table chatting like two friends, I realized how special each day is. One day may bring so much stress or sadness that we want to just curl up and go to sleep, but right around the corner is another day filled with family, food, adventure and blessings.

We just have to learn to make the most of each day we are given.

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email myra@vicad.com.


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