ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: Kansas bocce ball | Marion County Record
Another day in the countryside
Kansas bocce ball
© Another day in the countryside
We celebrated my birthday this week. My sister ordered banners and hung them on either side of my front door, proclaiming the event and my age-old achievement.
“You are Ramona’s oldest citizen,” she said happily.
It’s a dubious honour.
Looking back on it, it’s an honor! My ancestors walked the same streets as me, and I’m grateful for their good genetics.
Aunt Naomi, at my age, once said, “Before, I thought being over 80 was very old and I probably didn’t want to go past that age, but now that I’m here, I could bear a few more. years.”
She was the woman who was present at my birth in Lodi, California. She had just graduated from Ramona High School. It was his first train trip, his first trip alone, his first trip out of Kansas, and it was all the way to California.
When Uncle Hank on the other side of my family turned my age, we had a big family reunion at Ramona Church Hall. Everyone came. It was all a hoo-ha if I remember correctly. We all wore hats. It was the Schubert family’s mafia roundup.
I can still see Jana, dressed like a floozy, and Tooltime Tim, looking like a gangster hitman with his shotgun, welcoming — checking on — guests as they arrive. It was very fun!
My celebration was much quieter, smaller. The cousins came over for pizza and a Kansas-style bocce ball on Sunday night. It’s a pretty primitive way to play this pretty sophisticated game.
In California, devotees gather at St. Helena City Park, where there are several immaculate and well-maintained bocce courts. They bring wine. There is a pedestal for drinks and tally. It’s quite elegant, pretty.
In Ramona, in my backyard, I spray paint a rectangular piece of land on the dry, mown grass. It’s anything but level and it’s very inaccurate. As I sprayed, Jess measured the lines, walking from toe to heel.
“Do you realize that the west end of this yard is four feet wider than the east end?” she called.
“Big scream,” I mumbled. “It’s the lines that count.”
These are the lines that tell if you are in or out. These are the lines that keep you honest as you throw the ball. Just like life, the boundaries we set to keep things civil are important. However and wherever you draw them, that’s the rule.
My hens are delighted with the lines. The neighborhood dogs that haunted them for years are now pretty much penned down.
“Explain to me, the phrase” roughly “, said my eldest hen, long ago nicknamed the queen. “Do you remember that we lost Héloïse a few weeks ago?
She was our last Polish top knot and was the Duke’s favourite. They’re all gone now.
“You don’t know it was a dog, I told him, it could have been a fox. I saw them in town.
The queen ignores what I said and runs across the yard after a grasshopper. I am extremely happy with it.
These hens don’t come out often. I read an article the other day about the memory span of chickens, but I can’t remember the exact length – maybe a month? The hens could therefore remember what happened the day Héloïse disappeared.
The three hens that still live in my garden all look the same except for Elizabeth. It is a little more golden. Go figure. She is chicken royalty, after all. These are all Easter eggs, hens raised to lay blue eggs and not for show. And they are capricious.
I let them out when I water — which means I can watch them, which is ridiculous. If a four-legged beast called, I probably couldn’t do anything but scream.
I brought them out of the pen this morning with cucumbers that had grown too big and seedy for my liking. They gently pluck the seeds, savoring the sweet interior.
Suddenly, one of the queen’s ladies-in-waiting fled to the open gate of the fenced enclosure and ran inside the chicken coop. She was in a hurry.
The other two hens looked up and watched her go, then ran to the door and looked inside.
“Are you going to lay an egg? they wanted to know. “Are you OK?”
Then they came and watched us hang balloons and lights in the trees. (Friends come over for a Moroccan dinner and we sit in the backyard.)
The hens got scared when a tablecloth threatened to blow across the yard, but they never realized it was my birthday, another day in the country.