Burlap

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Burlap: (n) coarse canvas woven from jute or hemp, used especially for sacking.

I once was young enough that a hostess offered me accommodations in a barn. (You have to look like you’re brave and strong, able to survive the elements and sleep on hay.)

I was grateful. She explained that she had so many guests in the house that she had run out of blankets and pillows, but I was more than welcome to draw from a huge stack of burlap bags in the corner of the barn to use for such purposes.

Upon entering the barn, I first found a collection of hay that was dry enough, without suspicious damp portions. That was pretty successful, although I will tell you, a bed of hay gets thinner and thinner as the night goes on and you crush the straws.

As she noted, there were innumerable burlap bags, which I grabbed and pieced together to form a blanket and a pillow. I would not consider myself to be a woodsman or an individual given to outdoorsy experiences, but I’ve had my share. Yet on this particular night, it was impossible for me to sleep.

The burlap was so coarse, so itchy, that I was convinced I had thousands of ants crawling all over my body, which was further reinforced by the knowledge that I was lying on a bed of straw.

I tried to throw the makeshift burlap blanket off, but then I got too cold–but every time I covered with it, I got too itchy.

So I faced a perplexing situation in the morning when I stumbled out of the barn and headed to the house for breakfast.

I knew my hostess was going to ask me how I fared amongst the animals, so I quickly grabbed two biscuits, stuffed them in my mouth, took a big swig of milk, and kept my orifice filled the entire meal– so I was only able to communicate with nods and grunts.

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Anything

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Anything: (pron) used to refer to a thing, no matter what

If you’ve ever parented teenagers, this response is probably one of your pet peeves.

If you ask them a question of any sort, they will either ignore you or reply, “I guess anything’s OK.”

I grew weary of this.

So one night when I asked my teenage sons what they wanted to have for dinner, and they replied, “anything,” I complied.

I went out to a neighbor’s trash can and pulled out the cast-aside leftovers of their previous lunch–some half-eaten sandwiches already drawing the interest of a couple of ants, the skeleton of a fish, and believe it or not, some broken pieces of pumpkin shell.

I found two bottles of partially consumed Coca-Cola, put it all on a platter, set plates, silverware and called them to dinner.

At first they were in such a state of oblivion that they didn’t recognize the placement set before them as being basically inedible, but perched in their chairs and reached for their cell phones.

So adding to the comedy of the moment, I asked one of them to offer grace. It was at this point that the child felt the need to look at the food, in order to determine the length and intensity of the prayer. Amazingly, he did not gaze at me in horror, but rather, looked at the spread before him, perplexed, shook his heads, and began to pray:

“Thanks for the food and the hands that prepared it, and for this day. In Jesus name, amen.”

Finishing the prayer, they both stared at the food–or shall I say, the “remains of the day”–and then looked at me quizzically, asking, “What is it?”

I smiled, grabbed my fork and spoon and touted, “It’s anything. Dig in.”

 

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