Pretty Ugly

Banners of love?

There is a story that my mother tells. Sorry sister, but it’s mot about me. It is about my eldest sister.

When she was a little girl learning about language and the true essence of words, my parents were also learning about such things. They would do this little conversation bit that went something like the following…

“Are you pretty?”

Little girl nods her head in the yes motion.

“Are you ugly?”

Little girl shakes her head vehemently in the no fashion.

“Are you pretty ugly?”

Little girl hears the word pretty and begins nodding head yes, then gets confused.

When I heard that story the first knowledgeable time, I was so sad. Why would a parent do such a confusing thing? Children in the toddler stage don’t understand all of the word abnormalities that our language has to offer. It seems mean to me to be so confusing.

I wonder what my parents did to me along this same line. Oh yeah, there is this one…

“Do you want an ice cream cone?”

I would nod my head lyes.

“Maybe you’d rather have a hot dog?”

I would shake my head no.

“Are you sure?”


I distinctly remember being asked this frequently… I had no idea what sure meant. My name, that I knew. My want for the ice cream cone instead of a hot dog, that I knew. Sure–I did not know.

I was not sure. I was not sure what sure was. Sure was a foreign word to me.

The first phrase that my daughter repeated that I said was a bit of a shock to me. While unloading the dishwasher one day or doing dishes, not really sure which, something spilled. Usually it was a plastic on the top rack that got flipped over from the force of water and then filled up. Somehow, this happened too often and then spilled all over the silverware or the clean floor. My natural tongue wagging during those days was the phrase “Dog-gone-it!”

One day while my little girl was playing with blocks or a toy, her frustration became apparent when she too voiced her disgust with “Dog-gone-it!”

Today however, the words only match my spirit.

It is downcast and I echo the psalmist who repeatedly asked, “Why, o my soul, are so downcast within me?”

Like the sunshine blocked by the clouds. Or rather like the clouds themselves. There is this dark ominous sky that says the storm has moved int and the showers are about to burst forth.

Tears. On the brink of tears. The mist is covering my face and the moisture is making my eyes blink. And on top of the darkness, it is cold. Bitter, ice driving winds fling the sharp mist into my eyes and face until it seems I am about to face plant on the rocky gravel under my feet.

When I woke up this morning, the sun was shining.

Where did it go?

Into the empty despairing silence. The chores were complete. The coffee was made.

The dog refused her breakfast.

What was I suppose to do? Ignore her need? I decided, that just because I am blind deosn’t mean that I had not seen her do her business in a few days. We have been trying to nurse her back to health. Perhaps she needed a long walk to get out. Her energy level just has not been normal this last few days.

Why did I think that someone might want to go with me. The morning had dawned bright and cold. Freezing to be exact. Fall is officially here. No one would want to take a brisk morning walk in the sunshine.

By the time I returned home my spirit was completely defeated. The walk had frozen my tears on my face. The bitter words I had uttered told me that in truth, I was pretty ugly this morning. No one wanted to go for a walk on the first day of frost. Not even y dog.

She’s back to sleeping at the foot of my chaise. I’m back to not being sure about anything. And I feel like the whole morning has been a “Dog-gone-it!” Kind of experience.

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