When Life Gives You Tiddlywinks

An only child of seven or eight years old with the long ribbon of summer unfurled ahead of me, I wouldn’t say I got bored a lot. I enjoyed my own company, the cat and dog, and the outdoors with its insects and trees, way too much to be bored. But sometimes I’d be in a slump. As a lunch lady, my mother had summers off to spend with me. Just what did she do with her time? In retrospect, I recall she crocheted, read romance novels, planned meals, and watched soaps on TV.  A frequent conversation on a sticky lonesome day of yesteryear may have gone like this:

“What should I do?”

“Draw me another picture.”

“I did that before.”

“So play with your dolls.”

“They’re sleeping.”

“So go outside and ride your invisible horse some more.”

“It’s not invisible. And I can’t because my horse is grazing. I just tied ‘em up.”


“I already read every encyclopedia we got. I guess I could look up castles again…No, I don’t feel like it.”

“Too bad your cousins are out of state and Sheri’s at her aunt’s house or we could take a ride to visit someone. Get a snack then. Watch TV with me.”

“I hate kissing shows.”

“Well I don’t! And I’m having a hard time watching it with your twenty questions game.”

“I definitely didn’t ask 20 questions.”

“Good Christ, kid! Go play tiddlywinks with manhole covers or something and let me enjoy my show.”

“I told you before. I don’t even know what tiddlywinks is.”


Bigger sigh.

Sometimes we’d go on excursions to Vermont. One day we were sitting with my aunt when someone commented about the unusual traffic across the road at the church. My aunt remarked that they were having a little Fair, which was described as a rummage sale of sorts, with a variety of refreshments and items for sale, spread across tables. I asked if I could go, of course. My mother dug a few dollars out of her pocketbook and told me to get something good.

With my cousin in tow (because she’d been in that church many times and I had not, and besides who could turn down a Fair) we were soon partaking in twenty-five cent “juice” (which was probably red Hi-C or Kool-Aid and not ‘juice’ at all), sipped from Dixie cups with riddles on them which I would save and try out on my father later.

First table and I saw many things that piqued my interest, but nothing truly worth parting with my riches for. Then, there it was! A faded box with a rubber band around it. I sounded out the word in my head. I shook the box (knowing it would soon be mine-I couldn’t believe my luck) and I heard the pieces rattle inside. I ran across the road and burst through my aunt’s trailer door, holding my box high!

“Mommy! I finally can really play Tiddlywinks now when you tell me to Go Play Tiddlywinks!”

And I did too, a lot. It is even a game that can be played alone. Recently, I found a picture of the very game I bought that day.


You may remember in my last post that I mentioned I was getting an exer-cycle for vein health (because I work sitting down). Well, I’ve got one and so far so good. I’ll write a review sometime soon. What I didn’t anticipate is that I work with my laptop on my lap and the bouncing of my knees from my pedaling legs kind of jostles, but this was overcome easily by resting the laptop on the couch arm. This is the one I got:


There has been a heatwave going on, but luckily I have air conditioning. I am still seeking submissions to PODS by the way. People of Diversity, Speaking would love to hear from you (autistic or loved one). It’s not ‘joining’ anything. Just email me at podsartofautism@gmail.com and I will put a paragraph about you with a photo and link, on the Art of Autism website. I can also forward peace poems or peace themed artwork to be published on the site in September.

So, about trees. Because trees. Because I love trees. Have you heard about “seed balls?” 

They truly are amazing. They’re condensed ‘nuggets’ with seeds inside. I’m considering getting some. Planes can plant 900,000 trees a day by dropping seed ‘bombs.’  This is great. Thailand is undergoing aerial forestation by dropping them from planes and drones. People are on Etsy are selling seed bombs with everything from veggie and herb seed bombs to tree seed bomb kits! This makes me very very happy. I was watching an HGTV show the other day about home improvement when the house flipper remarked: “This yard will look way better when we get rid of the trees.”

Oh no she didn’t! That show got switched pretty fast.

Ever hear of the ‘wood wide web?’ A study shows that trees of different species exchange large carbon via the fungal internet that connects their roots. They have conversations like this, through their root systems. They’re essentially exchanging information. Which is what I’m doing here. Though not with fungi. Nor am I using roots. I’m using interconnectedness, however, and I’m going to end this post with a story about my mother, which is how I began the post.

I recently heard a story about her, from a young man now in his thirties, who remembers her well as lunch lady. He said he couldn’t afford lunch most of the time, and my mother told him he could have lunch every day if he earned it. That’s what he did, and I assume she put the money in. He stacked milk and helped her every day.

The nice things make good ripples. Do something nice for a tree today. Look up seed balls. Buy a batch. They’re not expensive. All you have to do, is throw ’em in a forest and they seed all by themselves. Look around. Chances are the floor you’re walking on and the unseen support beams holding up your roof, were a tree’s sacrifice for you. That’s all.


My Collage Homage to a tree. Bye for now. These days if life gives me Tiddlywinks, I cut paper. I glue paper. I cut and glue paper A LOT!

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