Moving on up

Drainage is good.

Elevation is, too.

I am thinking about homes in the Fifties and Sixties after watching the powerful movie, "Tree of Life". As a Sixties tree-climber, I loved being able to see a long way to the east from the hill in our backyard. I loved riding down the hill from our house to the swimming pool on my blue Schwinn, but not pedaling back up.

Having a house on a hill was important to my mother.  Fritzi had vivid memories of flooding on the farm where she grew up.  The farm was in the vicinity of Marion, which was never much more than a "populated place" on Little Beaver Creek between McCook, Nebraska and Oberlin, Kansas in the Republican River Basin.  According to Mom, it was a dismal spot to be a child during the drought and Great Depression.  Her stories always included kerosene lamps, mean roosters, and stinky flood waters.

My eldest, Mr. Speech-Debate, is experiencing the soggy Joys of Home Ownership in a rapid immersion program.  After buying a starter home in Salem, Oregon last fall, he is dealing with flooding in Marion County in the Willamette River Valley.  More particularly, there is flooding in the HVAC ducts of his home's crawl space.  There is little I can do for him, beyond directing cosmic blow-dryer thoughts in a northwesterly direction.

Dad also needs cosmic blow-dryer thoughts directed his way, but he's a bit better today.  He swallowed tiny bites of chocolate pudding and Gerber baby peaches, but couldn't manage mashed potatoes.  He swallowed a couple ounces of water, then said, "little bit" when I asked if he would like to try some coffee.  He moved his arm to adjust his eyeglasses, lifted the Styrofoam cup to his lips, and pointed his finger toward the photos on his bulletin board.

To bring this weekend story full circle, my youngest, the Woolly Mammoth, is moving to a new apartment in Washington, D.C.  After a year and a half in a basement apartment, he is excited to have windows and city views.  D.C. is, of course, the city of Marion Barry.  I'll be glad not to fret about basement flooding if the river of Republican presidential candidates overflows in an rush of hot air and polluted water.

Dad is awash in oral secretions that clog the back of his throat.  This problem has escalated over five years, although it is considered a symptom of the final stage of life.  We keep the head of his bed elevated to promote drainage.

And for the polarizing film "Tree of Life", there is much to admire in the sets, costumes, locations, and glorious photography.  Much, too, to consider about doing the best one can as a parent in any decade.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder

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