Saturday, October 23, 2010

4 a.m. - Who's to Blame

I am a walking clock.  It doesn't matter what day it is, I wake up at approximately 3:55 a.m., just before the &#*%$@! alarm clock sounds the most hideous noise known to mankind. It happened this morning, which happens to be Saturday and I didn't even have my alarm turned on. I don't know why or how the internal clock that belongs to me works but I don't wear a watch and you can ask me at any time during the day or night what time it is and I come pretty darn close to knowing every single time.

When I sit every day, October thru March, in front of my light box, I use a little timer to click off 30 minutes at a time in front of it to make sure I get enough light. I instinctively know when to turn my head and look at the timer and turn it off or reset it before it makes its horrible beeping sound.  My husband thinks I'm a little OCD (obsessive-compulsive disordered) and he says it like it's a bad thing. (giggles)  I'll admit I am pretty rigid about a lot of things but it has served me well in many instances.  I'll name 'em if you force me to. (giggles again)

I'm a morning person. I always have been and I don't see any signs of that changing. I was thinking about my Grandpa Walker this morning when my alarm clock did not go off but my internal clock woke me up.  Grandpa used to get up with the chickens, too. He'd get up and start cooking side-pork and coffee. When I'd get up to those wonderful smells, he was always sitting in the same chair, smoking his Camel cigarettes. He kept cartons of Camels in a little telephone stand that was painted aqua-blue-teal and he'd let us "tap" the packs for him before he opened them. I never was a smoker but I loved the smell of tobacco when he opened up a fresh pack. He always wore the same dark colored cotton, collared, button-up shirts and work boots and if my memory serves me right, he never tied his boots. Or maybe he didn't wear boots at all. I wish I had written these memories down sooner, darn it.  Anyway, I don't think he ever slept-in a day in his whole life. If there is anyone to blame for my early morning rising, I'd pick him. Or, I could blame it on Grandma Walker ... who let me start drinking coffee when I was about age 9. She had these fancy little china cups with saucers and there was always more cream (the real stuff, right smack out of the cow they kept in the little barn out back) and sugar cubes in my cup than should have been but I developed a love of coffee right off the bat. Yeah, maybe it's her fault. (giggles)  I can't see a box of sugar cubes on the shelf at the store without thinking of Grandma Walker. There is nothing quite like taking a cube of sugar and letting it melt in your mouth or watching it dissolve as she poured a little coffee in my cup ~ Grandma knew that and it was among the great pleasures of going to visit her.

Grandma & Grandpa had daily routines and once the salt-pork was done, Grandpa would put it on a plate and make greasy eggs.  Grandma would get ready to go to work at the post office and if we were there on the weekend, sometimes she'd let us come visit her on Saturday. She had an old-fashioned postage machine where the envelopes would sit at one end and she'd let us turn the handle that caused the envelope to pass through the stamper. That post office is still there and it looks exactly the same as it did when I was 9, or at least it did the last time I was in Grand Ronde a couple of years ago.  I think I need to go there ... again ... soon.

I think I'll add that to my "to do" list. I know I can fit that into my busy schedule and while I'm there I want to go see my cousin Tommy's daughter in "The Nutcracker".  Tommy's wife read my blog titled  "Ethyl" and told me their daughter has a part in the local production which will be playing in McMinnville in December.  What a perfect way to spend a weekend ~ seeing "The Nutcracker" and visiting old places that mean so much to me.

These are things I think about at 4:00 a.m.

Love, Susan


  1. I see Walking Home sitting there...I just "befriended" the author on FB. You should sneak on some day and check out his photos.....he is an outstanding photographer and has a lot of pics that illustrate his book. Like of the home he is building and ones of Lituya Bay. And the most incredible nature shots. Plus he already sent me a personal little note...which was very sweet as I'm sure I sounded like some kind of stalker.

  2. The photographs are enticing! I looked for a website for Lynn Schooler, do you know if he has one? I couldn't find one but found tons of accolades for him as an author.

    I had never even heard of Lituya Bay before his book. I need to get a map out and see just exactly the location he's writing about. Reading his book has been slow for me. I really love the book but I find myself reading really slowly, almost "being there".

  3. That is exactly what I told him in my stalker message....

    "I just wanted to say your account of the earthquake was absolutely griping. I can't believe I had never heard of it before, and my family lived in Kodiak at the time. I think that's what I love about your The Blue Bear I felt like I was there watching those whales breeching and I felt such a connection to that Japanese photographer....and in this book I feel like I lived through that earthquake myself as well as your entire journey. You really are able to capture your readers in a very personal way. I look forward to the next one!"


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