Tag Archives: Home

Spring Break- a Tale of Snow

by Colleen

My Spring Break was pretty much the most fun one can have while in Wisconsin in early March (meaning, while in cold mud).  I brought back four of my friends, Southerners one and all, and introduced them to a little of la vie campagne.  We arrived latish on a Sunday night, to a Momless house (isn’t it odd, the disarray that seems to be in even the most orderly house when the mother isn’t at home?).  She and Dad were across the road at St. Peter’s Church, and I waited impatiently for them to come home.  Mom arrived first in order to supply the troops with food; we’d been promised homemade pizza, but as usual, it was all gone before we arrived.  Thanks, everyone.

The next day, I woke up early, excited to show off my life back home to all my friends.  I was fairly confident that they would enjoy it, but still that nagging fear of boring my friends to death lingered about.  So, as soon as the boys were up and revived with a few homemade pancakes, I took them out to the pasture to sled.  I had a one up one most of my friends, some of whom had never sledded before, so I took great glee in whizzing past them, whipping up snow clouds as I passed.

Later that night, just the boys, Hermes and Killian, and I went out to sled under the silver sky.  Ice had formed a slick and shining layer over the snow, and we rushed down the hill faster than ever before.  It was not enough, though; I insisted that we all needed to pile into one sled and go down the hill, convinced that we’d get even more speed.  Regrettably, what worked in my childhood did not here.  Our combined weight pressed the sled into the snow, and we couldn’t budge.  But I was not to be stopped!

Using the brilliant logic of a Slattery, I searched around the barn and found to my delight a large piece of sheet metal siding for the barn, unused.  “Perfect!” I exclaimed.  The boys were not so sure.  “Come on, come on, don’t be babies,” the age old insult.  And so, I dragged the metal to the crest of the hill and sat down.  I’d go with or without them.  They hopped on behind me.  With a devilish grin, I pushed off and we went screaming down the hill.  Literally.  The boys bailed, but I stayed on until the very end and sat there glowing and gloating in the cold night air as they came down to see if I was still alive.  I was very much so.

Thus began my week at home.  More tales to follow!

The View From Above

by Colleen

It’s hard to believe that I’ll already be leaving home next Tuesday.  It seems like I’ve barely touched the frozen ground, and now I’ll be off to the sunny state of Texas before I know it.  But first, I’ll be taking a detour to New Jersey to visit Emma at Princeton and spend some time in New York City.  I’m sure there will be much to report on when I return to Dallas about that.

In the meantime, I am thoroughly enjoying being home.  Catching up with family and friends…

Holding my beautiful God-daughter…

And watching my little brother play basketball…

Those three things pretty much summed up my winter existence in the years past.  Plus running of course.  It’s been lovely to run the familiar roads of home again, despite the colder weather.  But now, I feel that I am running them with a different attitude.

As I went out for a typical run at home the other week, I looked up at the hills surrounding me.  We live on a ridge, and so everywhere I run I must descend into the valleys and brave the hills to get back home again.  But never once had I thought about those hills; never once had I thought to climb them.  It doesn’t sound like a very important fact, but the obviousness of the thought struck me.  I’ve been living in this place for 18 years and never even tried to scale those hills, to reach the breath-taking top.

And so, I stopped, stepped off the cold concrete of the road, and began to climb.  Slowly at first, picking my way cautiously through the brush and brambles, but then picking up speed.  Suddenly it was imperative that I reach the top, that I see what was there where the gray sky met the pale brown winter ridgeline.  And when I reached the top, I looked down.  The road I had run for so many years looked tiny, and I imagined a tiny Colleen running there, oblivious to the beauty of the view from above.

Being home is wonderful.

Christmas in the Clamor and the Chaos

by Kate

Having converged from the city in the East and college life deep in the South, the siblings arrived on the ridge last night, laden with bags and boots.

There was an immediate rise in clamor and chaos, with hooting and howling, sisterly spats and a friendly wrestling match or two. Colleen headed straight for the old upright piano in the music room.

There was homemade bread and soft butter on the table, and a plate of garlic and onions from the farm ready to slice into chili simmering on the woodstove.

The woodstove was roaring and so were the Slattery siblings. My own roaring reached a personal screeching pitch after two hours of attempting to put a very excited toddler to sleep while a very noisy impromptu gathering of teens raged in the next bedroom, and the darkness was  punctuated by periodic visitors thowing wide the door to let in the bright light of the hall. The fifth time this happened just on the verge of Olympia falling alseep, Cale strode in strumming a guitar and singing at a high volume. I stood up and ran at him howling.

This morning I headed down the steep stairs to find my father seated at the head of the huge Amish built dining room table, cutting the heads of a bucket of fish. We are miles from the nearest stream, and no one in my family fishes. I have no idea where they came from. I shrugged and headed into the kitchen, absently noting a heap of rubble piled high and filling our entire side yard. It appears to be the remains of a home or possibly outbuilding of some sort, not from our property. No one has commented on it yet.

I am home for Chrismas, amidst the chaos.

In case you missed the recent Slattery sisters posts about Christmas, see here:

Christmas and Coming Home

Dress Drama

We’ll All be Home for Christmas

The Spirit of Christmas

Then and Now-One Year

Then:

Part-time Field Worker Colleen (I say part-time because if I said that I actually worked in the fields a lot my brothers and sisters would die laughing)

Now:

I spend time with my roommate and friends out of the field and in the city of cement, Dallas.

Then:

I ran with this special bunch of girls in the mud and cold of late Wisconsin fall as we miraculously earned ourselves a trip to state competition as a team (and went mud-sliding in celebration as you can see).

Now:

I run with this lovely group of girls and am no longer the giant of the team!

Then:

Let’s just say that layers were required back home at this point in the year.

Now:

The pool closed just last week.  Weather in the mid-80s must be too chilly for Texans.

So much is different in my life already!  Let’s see what more this year has to come….

Full to the Brim

by Colleen

The Slattery household is a crazy place in the summer. Without fail. So, it was incredibly foolish of me to think that this summer would be different, would be perhaps, quieter? Not that I liked the thought of the house filled with less than 14 people a night, but a change of scenery seemed to be in place for this summer. With only Raphael coming home from college and Robert moved out to an apartment in near by St. Joseph’s Ridge, the house held a disappointingly small amount of people for the first couple weeks of June: only 9! Oh, how quickly things change…

Patrick soon announced that he would be moving back home to work construction for a month, and he was bringing friends! So, two brothers from the hot, hot sun of Arizona were transplanted to Middle Ridge, Wisconsin (and soon set to work transplanting for my father). The population of the house was up once again, and the noise levels rose exponentially. The males of the household particularly enjoyed the boost in the amount of testosterone and soon set to participating in that time-honored Slattery tradition of wrestling on furniture.

Soon, the Arizona boys took their leave, after having probably lost three-fourths of their tans and most likely with colds.

Never fear, more people will appear! This phrase should be the anthem of the Slattery household during the summer months. After the departure of the Arizona boys, Kate arrived with the darling Olympia in tow for Robert and Nicole’s barn dance in celebration of their recent marriage. The dance is but a day away, and preparations are in full swing. Kate’s husband, Casey, is set to drive in today, as well as our cousin, Cale, who will be staying on for a month. His girlfriend is coming as well and staying for the weekend.

Our indefatigable cousin, Christopher, is staying in the house for the big weekend bash, and is most likely going to try to rope me into running with him as he bikes an insane distance, cerebral palsy or not.   And another cousin is attempting to join the fray, Greg.  He may be staying with us through Sunday as well.

And, last but certainly not least is the awesome news that I now have a roommate! My best friend, Jubilee, will be rooming with me for the rest of the summer, thus adding a new element to the general chaos that is the Slattery home in the summer.

I predict that I will start tripping over bodies on my way to the bathroom in the morning, and the predicted wait time to actually enter the bathroom will be about 10.3 minutes (and that’s if you are in the FRONT of the line).

So, my premature predictions of a quiet, empty-house summer quite obviously were wrong. And oh, how glad I am! The house is full to the brim, and so am I (with happiness).

The Ants Go Marching In

Clare

We’re back from the Great Oklahoma Wedding, and as promised I’m making my full report on the trip down and back in the 15-passenger van. We loaded up and started out at about 9:30 on Thursday morning, with all but one place unfilled in the van. I was plunked down in the middle of the very back seat in between my niece Claire and my other niece Adeline. At first they weren’t so bad, but as the trip progressed they soon became restless and made frequent trips back and forth to their mother’s seat. At some points I’d have my nephew Thaddeus and Claire by me, Adeline and Thaddeus, or all the three. Needless to say it wasn’t very comfortable back there for me when I was wedged in between three small, fidgety children.

Soon it came time to pop in a movie in the portable DVD player and get the kids to stay seated. I had been attempting to get my homework done all this time, and was so sick of trying to balance my book on my knees and write down ledgible and sensible answers that I finally gave up and tried to watch the movie. The choice of entertainment turned out to be Barbie Mermaidia. After a bit I just couldn’t take it anymore and turned back to my homework. Someone suggested singing. And so started an upbeat and greatly annoying “The Ants Go Marching In” song to end. I’ll forever hate that song.

After dropping off Peter with relatives in Missouri, we soon arrived in Kansas City, Kansas, where we stayed the night at our aunt and uncle’s house. The next day we got down to business and made it to Oklahoma City in the early afternoon in good time and without too many crying fits. Then followed our own personal Royal Wedding and after all the excitement was done, we started out again on Sunday morning, this time going all the way back home, no splitting the trip. We had to tackle those 14 hours in one Sunday. Whew. I didn’t think it was going to be that bad. The ride up had been almost nice most of the time. But the ride up was… different.

We had added two people to our caravan, brother Gabe and Colleen. Gabe started out in the back seat with Claire and Adeline, and I moved up a seat. But neither of the girls were happy with that. Both wanted to sit with their mom, knowing that Gabe wasn’t going to be easy on them. So early on, we had crying. Not a good sign. Drinks were spilled, bladders almost overflowed, and it seemed it would never end. The trip went on, and on, and on. Night came. People fell asleep, but not me. I don’t usually sleep in cars. Thankfully I was saved by Thaddeus, who was still wide awake and happy at midnight, and was at a dangerous level of cuteness. Showing me how he could “nap his fingers”, and that “akchuawy he’s kind of shy” shed a ray of light in the darkness of that van. At 1:00 A.M we finally made it home with our heads still on and the beautiful memories of a beautiful wedding. Bags were collected, and I walked into the house loving the look of home sweet home.