Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters


The Matchstick Burning

Blog Everyday In May Challenge

DAY 1: The story of your life in 250 words or less(2013 post)

The Matchstick Burning

by Melinda Wilder


My name is once again wilder

Maybe it never really changed

“I’ll keep you wild,

You keep me safe”

So the quote left me estranged


Estranged from the words,

Read that : SAFE and WILD

“I’m right here,

But you needed me there”

I kept that hurt filed


Filed away at any cost

I’m good at that dance

“I do,  I do,  I don’t,  actually,

I’m waaaay over there, really”

Laughter put me in a trance


Trances only last so long

And I’m no good at magic

“Do tricks with sugar packets,

Instead of holding my hand”

Now where did I put my matchstick?


Matchsticks kept me burning

So I could shine out to the rest

“You said at any distance,

You would love me”

It’s like life turned into one giant test


Testing my patience, laughter and joy

I didn’t know what to do

“Untangle yourself,

I know you’ll make it out alive ”

My own mother said, to help me get through


Through what, I still wonder

Will I ever feel there?

“You make my head spin,

And I love you forever ”

My own father said,  making me swear


Swear to get through

I swear I’ll do right.

“No lemon moon

Will choose me”

But that’s ok, that’s alright



Everything’s alright

Wild, filed, matchstick burning

Untangled and spinning

Chosen at last


Whooping Your Bricks: A Breakthrough (and a farming trade secret)

“Can you help me water the caterpillar tunnel?” – Meggie

“Sure thing. Am I whooping your bricks?” – Me

“Yup.” – Meggie

I’ve officially lived in Wisconsin long enough to have:

1) made new friends

2) moved into a new place.

3) met enough people that the last time I went on a walk, I waved hello to two NON strangers. (!!!)

4) almost memorized my route to Minneapolis

5) formed a new lingo between those I see most often, namely, my co workers. 

There’s more in this list, but I like the number 5 and I like summing up the most important points. (I hope to be as good at this as my dad is someday.)

I failed to mention that I also have lived here long enough to have received my first speeding ticket (on EASTER), seen pole dancers in action for the first time (at a play, at a theater called Mixed Blood) and to have had difficult conversations with those back home. I’ve had some incredible conversations, too.

Let’s just say that my old saying, “A lifetime can happen in a day,” is in full effect.

I feel as though I’ve been living here for no less than six months.

home sweet home

home sweet home

It’s funny how one good conversation can lead to a great friendship. It’s nice to experience how sharing your own darkest secrets and experiences can make you truly connect with someone. It’s THE BEST to feel the magic of laughter create ties that weren’t there before. (I’ve been playing charades. Ahem.)

Whooping your bricks might be the most poignant sort of moment I’ve had since I moved. It was a moment of understanding, a moment with a comedic edge and a moment of feeling somewhat proficient at what I do.

the barn

the barn

Words and phrases are of utmost importance when forming bonds and sharing with others. In the same way my own nickname came about (Hey Lou!), these words are of the sort that might only be truly understood by who is saying them and who (usually very few) is hearing them. It’s akin to muttering, “I think I’m in a tragedy” and someone who’s seen Stranger Than Fiction understanding exactly what’s going through your head. 

This little story has to do with farming and not tripping over bricks. It also has to do with how we communicate and hear each other over a 2+ acre expanse of green houses, hoses running, and birds chirping.

A farm can be a hard place to hear one another, is what I’m saying.

Meggie, my coworker and friend, showed us the “Whooping” technique. If you “WUUUUOOOUP!” as loud as you can muster up, with a little lift in pitch toward the end, there’s no way everyone won’t hear you. This is especially useful to call out when lunch is ready, when you need help watering or simply need to get someone’s attention.

We’ve started calling our team The Whoopers. (As apposed to wwoofers…. a farming term that I’m learning… not everyone knows!)

Anywho. When we water an area like this one:

caterpillar tunnel

caterpillar tunnel

…someone (usually yours truly) guides the hose in and out so that it stays in its correct spot and doesn’t damage any plants in its path. We started by Meggie yelling a WHOOP any time she was going to step back and I was to pull the hose. We soon found that we could manage this just fine, but she was tripping over the bricks (the bricks keep the row covers in place). We devised a new system: I would watch and give her a WHOOP every time she approached a brick.

The second time we did this I asked her, “So, am I whooping your bricks?” and she said I was. Then she turned around and said, “You know, if anyone else heard that question, they’d think we were crazy.”

I swear, my eyes lit up and I just about cried, because I realized that even one little connection, one inside joke, one iota of understanding… well, it can make all the difference when you’re in a new place.

I told Meggie right then and there that I was going to write a blog about it.

I’m reminded of so many special connections, via language, that I have with folks back home.

A pair of green falcons. I am a lone reed. Books and Melons. I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T. Thudth. 

I’m lucky enough to understand each of these phrases with at least one other person. (Pat, Mom, Gina, Jess, Meredith.) And I’m even luckier to say that the list could go on, and other people included. I had that in New Mexico and I was so incredibly afraid that I’d never find it again.

I’ve been here, what? six months? a year? … LESS THAN TWO MONTHS! And I have this already. I simply consider myself truly blessed. I am so thankful. (Add to the WI/MN list: “Neeeeat.” -A.A.)

I was terrified of the midwest. But now I can say that I’m fond of it. Falling in love with it, even.



The whooping of the bricks just might have been the moment that changed this experience for good.

What’s your moment? Your special phrase? I’d love to know. And even if you don’t tell me…. make sure those you share the words with know how much they mean to you. (After all, you might not have the connection forever, Hey Lou being my case-in-point. It doesn’t mean that it can’t still make you smile, though.)

I’m finding out that home really is a state of mind, happiness a choice, and connections will last and thrive over miles if it’s right.

Cheers to the whooping of bricks and all other inside jokes.