About 7 years ago, my cousin left an abusive situation and her two children. He was mentally/emotionally cruel to her, not the children. The two boys had started to act like him toward her and there was an incident involving the older boy that indicated she had to get out of there.
She came to stay with me for a while before moving 4 hours north to be near the “big city” and to try to rebuild her life after it had been demolished. At the beginning, she was working at Sta.rbuks part-time and Struggling with a capital S both emotionally and financially. She now admits there were times she didn’t have any food in the house.
It has been a very long, arduous journey for her but I’m proud to say she has risen from the ashes. She had always been an artist but now she earns a living doing what she loves. She has multiple talents that she earns money doing what she loves. She does elaborate face painting and balloon twisting at rich kids’ birthdays and other events, she does faux and decorative painting in people’s homes, paints what decorative furniture and what she calls “prayer chairs” but they are really time-out chairs. They are beautifully decorated to match the kid’s room or personality, sometimes based on a Bible verse. She sews and quilts and crochets.
And I’m probably missing a few but she also does painting parties. They are called “Sips and Splatters” around here. I wanted to host one with my friends because they sound so much fun but I couldn’t find a restaurant to book and my home is too small and poorly lit so I finally reserved a party room at our local Cupcake Place. They wouldn’t let us bring in any wine but we all thought cupcakes were a fine substitute.
It was so much fun. PS is a fantastic teacher and it was good to see her in her element. We all had times of silliness and laughter and times of quiet concentration throughout the evening. It was nice to share this kind of experience with my friends. My mom is an artist too and didn’t paint but assisted in the teaching. Stretch was there along with Dollface and one of her little friends. They all worked on simpler, prepackaged canvases.
I admit it was kind of intimidating but once we started, I could feel my creative juices flowing. Doing the painting was very calming and I can see myself doing more of this on my own in the future.
And then we came home to find the entire herd of milk cows outside of their fence. If you are a farmer, farm wife, farm kid or even a neighbor one of the most dreaded phrases you can hear is, “Oh no, there are cows out”. In the past, this meant gathering whoever was around to help and then running and running and running trying to chase those cows back in only to be flumoxed by one stubborn b!*% who decides at the last minute to turn away from the gate and leads the rest of the ol’ gals with her. These were some of the very few times I’ve heard my dad driven to cursing. There were times my legs were so tired, I just wanted to lay down in the field. At night, your footing was unsure and of course the poor cows can’t really see where they are supposed to go back in. Also, this never happens on a beautiful 75 degree evening, only when it is at least 99 in the shade, raining or very cold. It can be exhausting and frustrating. These days, with 4 wheelers, it’s not as bad but it is still a pain in the butt.
Even worse on this night, both my dad and my brother were out, far enough away, it would be of no use to call them. So I called my two cousins who came in a hurry. My mom went in the house and came out with a broom and looking a little cracked with a Santa’s hat on her head. Why and where she came up with that ??? Dollface and her friend were spending the night with me and were uncontrollably excited and screechy as were all the dogs.
Thankfully, with the cousins’ help and the four-wheelers and my jeep it was just a small adventure and not the rampant, hazardous catastrophe it could have been. Although the herd was split into two groups, they all seemed to want to go back in…it was like they knew they’d gotten into something that was too much for them. So one group into the gate in front and one group in the gate behind and one little stray gal into the calving pen where she doesn’t belong but where she would be safe until morning. I’d say Dad and E took the right night to be away from the farm.