Category Archives: Columns

National Chicken Lady Day!

I am down to seven hens but I’m still a chicken lady.

Chickens and cats eating on our front porch in summer.
A past watermelon eating contest
My favorite hen, a bantam, with summer’s crop of chicks.

I love my feathered pets but I don’t know if I can keep them. Winter issues might be too much for us.

Stay tuned. Fingers crossed we don’t have a terrible winter again.

Copyright © 2019 Susan Manzke, All rights reserved

End of season

I started my cosmos from seed in the window box late in the spring.

They grew straight and tall, but didn’t bloom.

Finally a day or two before a hard freeze the cosmos opened.

Better late than never.

Copyright 2019 by Susan Manzke, all rights reserved.

Looking back to 1980

I thought I’d go back in time to the year I began writing my weekly newspaper column. This column shows me as a harried mother of three young children. Hope you enjoy this memory.

September 4, 1980

He put on his jacket as he turned away from me. Heartlessly, he ignored the tears in my eyes as he went out without a backward glance.

 Without pride, I followed a few steps behind him. He was leaving me today and there was nothing I could do to keep him by my side. Robby was going to kindergarten.

Many a day this past summer, as I pulled at my hair thinking of answers to his never-ending line of questions, I looked forward to this day. Someone else would now have a chance to try to answer his questions. I would have a breather, if only for a few hours a day. (No one told me that in a few years, the baby in my arms, Russell, would have even more questions.)

But now he is actually leaving and I’m not rejoicing as planned.

Robby is not like my impression of the usual first-timer. He is not clinging to his mother, crying as if he is being abandoned. No, he is raring to go. He’s grown up … too grown up. He doesn’t need me anymore!

Today, I again give him into the hands of strangers. A short time ago, the stranger was the dentist. That was for all of a half-hour with me fidgeting in the outer office. He survived that experience better than his overly nervous mother.

This time I won’t be in the next room. I’ll be miles away from my little boy.

I won’t be there even if he cried. I’m sure he won’t—that is, if he doesn’t trip over his own feet and fall down.

I won’t be near if a big kid picks on my innocent 5-year-old. He’ll just have to learn to stick up for himself. He has to grow up sometime. BUT IF ANY HOODLUM EVER DID TOUCH A HAIR ON HIS HEAD…

I also won’t be around when Robby accomplishes a learning feat. I’ll just have to wait until he runs through the front door, waving his paper proudly.

I watched him climb on the bus and I sniffle. “I’m alone…” There’s a tug on my arm. Becky looks sad, too.

I pat her head and say, “You’ll get to go to school when you’re five, Honey.”

“I know that. But Mommy, when will Baby Russell quit eating my coloring book? Will he get a bellyache if he eats a crayon? Can I help you clean up the kitchen floor? Russell made me spill my milk. Does the baby like milk on his head?…”

What am I thinking about? I’m not alone. It’s two long years before Becky marches off to kindergarten (730 days to go) and five years before Russell follows (1,825 days for him).

I don’t have time for tears. I have to hurry to get something done before Robby gets home. He’ll only be gone a few hours.

Robby, Becky, and Russell 1980
Rob, Rebecca, and Russ

Copyright © 2019 Susan Manzke, All rights reserved

Art Street and Farmer’s Market

Rebecca came by today and offered to drive me to Art Street in Green Bay. Though my sciatica was bothering me, I decided to go for the outing.

We had to park on the 6th level of the parking garage. The elevator was busy with all the people going up and down, I decided to walk down, and then we walked around Art Street. I hadn’t been there in years. It was so much fun.

As we prepared to head home, Rebecca decided to get cheese from a vendor at the farmer’s market (two events makes a HUGE crowd). She said to stand in line for the elevator and she would catch up after getting the cheese.

Well, I stood in line and stood in line. Eventually, I started the climb up, as did a group of other ladies waiting for the elevator.

I took my time, one step at a time. Since I was slow, I stood aside when others needed to me.

Rebecca caught up to me when I reached the third floor–halfway home.

Eventually, I paused and took a photo out a window.

This is from the parking garage fifth-floor landing. It’s of the Farmer’s Market, but looks very much like Art Street from this height.

I made it to the car without a problem, but I think I’ve had enough exercise for today. Time to sit and catch up on some reading.

Copyright © 2019 Susan Manzke, All rights reserved

The question of the day

Our critter cam caught a photo of a flying bird.

This is a first for us. We’ve gotten turkeys and sandhill cranes walking into view, but none flew into the spotlight.

Now it’s your turn to guess what this bird is. Post your answer on my Facebook page.

Copyright © 2019 Susan Manzke, All rights reserved.