Shannon Bardwell: Keeping promises

December 17, 2010 12:01:00 PM

Shannon Bardwell - [email protected]


Stepping into the spa, I felt the stresses and strains of Prairie life drain from my shoulders. I recognized the sounds of Pachelbel''s Canon and knew I had found a home. The overstuffed couch wrapped its comforting arms around me like a long-lost mother. The receptionist said they''d be with me in a minute. For a rare moment, waiting was a pleasure. 


Shirley Swoope and I have been meeting each morning for a brisk 4-mile walk. She often asks, "Are we crazy? It''s 22 degrees!" Maybe, but by 9 a.m. we feel like we''ve accomplished something, and we''re invigorated for the day. I loathe the two gravel hills I have to climb just to get to Shirley. I''m trying to change my attitude by singing "the hills are alive with the sound of music." Attitude is everything. Occasionally, I cut through the woods, but going that way I collect "beggar lice" on my britches.  


You may think that Prairie life is simple, but I manage to make stressful the daily feeding of the birds, scattering corn for the deer, and checking temperatures in the greenhouse, where I''m currently hauling water until waterlines can be run.  


Possums have to be caught in an effort to preserve the cats'' food, and then they have to be carted to Leroy''s Landing and released into more suitable habitat. I refill the wood stack on the porch from the pile Sam cut in the woods. (Thank you, Ralph Stewart, for sharing your wood harvest. Wood pile donations are appreciated.)  


Then there''s the feeding of the three cats and refereeing cat fights. At 17 degrees, lights have to be checked in the well house, the boat shed and the garage. Then I go to work. I love Prairie life, but winter can be hard on a body. 


So, when I saw Bella-Derma''s $10-off coupon in The Dispatch, I knew it had my name on it. At the spa I sunk deeper into the couch and absorbed Pachelbel. My mind drifted to my first spa experience years ago in Steamboat Springs, Colo. 


My dentist and friend, Barry Herring, called and asked me to join them on the family ski trip. He asked if I could entertain his wife Karen, the non-skier, while the rest of the family skied. Karen and I spent our days snowmobiling, dog sledding, bathing in hot springs, snowshoeing, drinking lattes in caf├ęs and enjoying the local spa. It was there I had my first-ever facial.  


My Russian technician commented, "My hoosband tells vee he likes vee to wook naturale. I tell hem he has neever seen vee naturale ... " Amen, sister girl.  


I promised myself that once I got home I would get facials even if I had to eat dirt to do so, or maybe just give up dog sledding. 


When I saw the coupon, I remembered my promise and took off for the spa. Like I told Sam, "You know a promise is a promise, and I never break a promise."  


Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.