Minnesota residents have accumulated another 14–17 inches of snow in the past couple days. Because I know spring is near, and because I wanted one more big snowfall, I was happy to see it come. It had been so long since our last snowfall that the piles of snow lost their luster and bright white. It’s simply unappealing to gaze upon blackened, dirty snow. But now when I look about, there is a blanket of white sparkle surrounding me. I took this photo on my way out the door. The sun is shining and I have an uncountable number of tiny snow crystals piled high in my yard. Lovely.
For me, it would have to be chewing gum. It’s really quite useless, and mints like Tic Tacs or Altoids could fill the void to freshen breath. Gum chewing is annoying on a number of levels. And, believe me, I hate to blame the object when the user is to blame. But this object causes people to lose all manners.
One of the first things that kids learn once they’ve mastered a spoon and fork is to chew with their mouth closed. This is basic manners, people. And it applies to gum as well. I don’t want to see the florescent blob moving around your mouth as we talk. Moreover, I don’t want to hear you chew on it like a cow, with your mouth hanging open, smacking and popping. Seriously, didn’t your mom teach you any manners? I was in church yesterday and the girl sitting behind me was chewing her gum so loudly that I needed to go sit elsewhere so I could pay attention to the sermon. But it isn’t just in church that loud, obnoxious gum chewing bothers me. It’s in the workplace, waiting rooms, stores, really any public space. If you chew gum anywhere but the solitude of your own home, close your mouth, and chew as if you were at the dinner table. No blowing and popping bubbles. No one wants to hear it. Believe me on this one.
Secondly, once you are done chewing your gum, please dispose of it properly. It’s not fun to clean off someone’s germ-infested clump of cud off the bottom of your shoe. Keep the gum wrapper in your pocket, and when you’re done chewing, simply wrap your spent piece in the wrapper and place back in your pocket or in a trash receptacle.
Now that you know what I would un-invent, I ask you: if you could un-invent one thing, what would it be?
My favorite memories of my Grandma go back to childhood, when Grandma and Grandpa lived in Salina, KS and I visited for weeks at a time during the summer. We spent our time crafting, going to the “Y” and in the afternoon we’d always go for a swim in their giant “L” shaped pool. I’d host pool parties for Grandma and her friends, complete with “appetizers,” Twizzlers and fruit loops. My Grandma would buy me all the sugary cereals that my mom seldom did. Every day in Salina, I would call the phone number to get the local time and temperature. As you can imagine, I wanted to call ALL THE TIME! I had the phone number memorized! Grandma just let me do it, easy entertainment.
On my first summer trip to Salina, when I was five years old, Grandma taught me to sew. (You can imagine how much patience she possessed!) I made an outfit out of loud, crazy yellow fabric, shorts and a button up top. My seams were crooked, because Grandma let me do the whole thing myself. I was very proud of the outfit, and I remember while wearing the outfit, my friends gave me compliments on it. And I’d proudly tell them, “My Grandma helped me make this!” She also taught me to cross stitch and crochet. She helped me make many things, but the Halloween costumes were always a favorite. She helped me make a cat costume and an Indian costume. The Indian costume was awesome, and Grandma had to help A LOT because we sewed on a lot of fringe and Native American themed ribbon. I wore that costume in sixth grade, the year of the big Halloween blizzard! I believe that was my last visit down to Salina because Grandma and Grandpa moved up to Eagan, MN, just a hop skip and a jump away from my parent’s house in Savage.
Christmas time was always fun with Grandma Ricke. She always had delicious home-made sweets, including Belgium cookies. Her home was always decorated festively, even with a Christmas tree that rotated on it’s base. (thanks to Grandpa Ricke’s innovation on the tree stand!) She made Christmas stockings with each grandchild’s name on it.
A more recent favorite memory was this fall when I took my Grandma to Juut Salon. They had an entire day of salon services just for cancer patients. I took my Grandma to her appointment and she so enjoyed getting a pedicure and her hair washed and styled. She seemed proud to be with me, pointing out to all the Juut artists that her granddaughter brought her. It’s a really wonderful memory to have spent that time with my Grandma, and I thank Juut Salon for the services they gave.
The thing that I remember most about my Grandma was she seemed to always have a smile on her face and a positive outlook. When she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she said she was going to fight it. She was a woman of faith, and when I was a child, she always encouraged me to sing the hymns and psalms at church. Grandma lived her life loving those around her and she will be missed by all of us. I find some comfort in remembering that death is not the end, but the beginning of everlasting life for those who believe. Grandma believed.