Me and you and model airplane glue.

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Ratman, aka Natia, aka a dog named Boo,  and I went for a walk yesterday during lunchtime.

Since moving to small town USA approximately eight months ago, we’ve only paid the trash bill once. I vaguely remembered that the owner said they don’t send out bills – we are just supposed to recall our obligation each month.

Holy memory loss, Ratman. You need hearing aids. I need memory exercises and a notepad, since I do not ever intend on owning an Apple watch with Google calendar alarms.

So, we went for a walk yesterday, checkbook in hand.

It was such a beautiful day. Natia the rat is a great walker, until the pebbles on the street hurt her paws, or until she has had enough and decides to park. I ended up carrying her part of the way, but that was okay, because hey, arm exercise.

In small town USA, you don’t go to the city offices to pay your trash bill. You don’t go to the trash company to pay your trash bill. You go to the burger stand with the walk-up window. You can pay your trash bill AND get an order of burgers and fries and a milkshake. Doesn’t get any better than that.

On the way to the burger stand, carrying a rat, my nose was enjoying someone’s fresh cut grass. I could hear recess at the school in the distance, along with dogs behind closed doors, barking at the ratdog and her forgetful owner going down the street.

And then, I smelled it. (cue the angels and heavenly music)

A smell I had not smelled in a very long time. A smell that took me back to the kitchen table in Haven, wishing so badly that Dwight would let me help him, but instead, I was the little sister who only got to watch.

Model airplane glue.

It was STRONG. I don’t know who is building a model airplane in small town USA, but it had to be the size of a real life Cessna, because the smell was as potent as feedlot aroma, and Rhonda wanted it to NEVER END.

I paid my trash bill without ordering takeout.

And we walked home VERY VERY SLOWLY so as to enjoy every breath. I may be getting older and think notepad instead of Google calendar, but my nose is still very much 7 years old.

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*****

This morning, I was in the new laundry room. Sam was in the kitchen. We had a HUMONGO senior moment that had me laughing so hard I created tears.

Sam was getting ready to go to work. I was putting a load of clothes in the dryer.

Sam said, “This granola bar is a good kind.”

I came around the corner, and responded, “The sprinkler is just fine?”

When I realized that I was WAY out in left field, we both laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed. And laughed some more. And as Sam was leaving, he said,

“Best way to start the day – laughter with my wife.”

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*****

I am grateful for simplicity and quirky small town life.

I am grateful that the neighbor watched Natia the ratdog poop in his front yard, and instead of scowling at me, he bent down and made friends with Natia the ratdog named Boo.

I am grateful that in small town USA, you don’t have to carry a doggy bag and bend down to pick up fresh poop out of someone else’s yard. El baño de mi perro es el baño de tu perro – that’s mi casa es su casa, for bathrooms and dogs.

I am grateful for memories of model airplanes. Well, for the smell that conjured up memories of model airplanes.

I am grateful for an abundance of mourning doves in this town. THEY conjure up memories of sitting in a tire swing on Wichita Street, enjoying the peace and quiet and mourning dove sounds of another small town USA.

I am grateful for lilac bushes almost ready to burst with color, for daffodils holding on and tulips about to be born.

I am grateful for the past two weeks with Sam.

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I am grateful for laundry done, bag packed, dishes put away, a productive work week over, and a long drive to end this day. Natia, pick up your tail. We’re headed out.

I am grateful for my memory.

I am grateful the trash bill is paid.

And I am grateful that Linda just sent me a devotion to re-read to Sam on our drive with a message about forgiveness that speaks life. So that makes me extra grateful for Linda. And for Max Lucado. And for the Author of the story who forgives by example and gives me life so full.

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