Squirrels and, When The Wait Is Over

Hello my fellow bloggers. I, in my last post told you I would make an honest to goodness effort to keep this blog active. So here goes, and in that effort I mentioned a couple of little squirrelly fellers named “Dougie and Trouble.”  Now Dougie has been around our place for about two years but this summer we noticed a new guy on the block. Not knowing what his name was it soon became apparent to us what it would be and it looked like he would surely be baptized soon.  This was back about June when we realized Dougie had been active in our yard again. “Better get out your squirrel food again, Steve,” I said to my husband as he joined me on the front patio with our two cups of coffee. He had helped me get seated with a blanket across my lap in a rocking chair that would allow me about thirty minutes of sitting time before the morning sun came around the trees blinding me, knowing I would have to retire to the house again when it did.

“You think so,” he said smiling.

“Oh you already knew he was here didn’t you,” I laughed. He knew I would be delighted to see Dougie back.

“Yes, but I didn’t want to spoil the surprise once I found out they were really going to let you come home from the hospital this time. I’m so glad to have you  back again, by the way.”

“Yes, me too,” I replied as he leaned down to give me a kiss, then pulled his own rocker just a little closer to mine. We spoke in soft quiet voices so we could hear the morning waking up all around us. Then, I saw him. Hop and a Hop, hop, hop, as much up on his toes as he could get. Under the potted Hydrangea that didn’t get in the ground last year and was still waiting. Then quickly out behind the two empty pots I had picked up for some of this years plants. Up the porch rail onto the table. I laughed which sent him quickly back down the table leg. Slowly, he approached, then with about a dozen quick little darts and jumps he was back on the table, the far side of it still, looking at me. Steve laid him down two sunflower seeds in the middle of the table. Dougie came closer but still cautiously. Steve said, ‘You better come get them. Do you hear that?”

“Hear what?” I asked.

“Just wait, you’ll see.”  He pushed two more seeds out of his hand onto the table. Dougie came a little closer. All of a sudden I heard a bunch of chattering behind me, saw a swoosh out of my left eye and something was on the table and off again, gone before I could even tell what it was.  “Here you go Dougie, here’s you a couple more.” Dougie grabbed his bounty and was off back across the front yard and up his tree.

“What was that?” I asked trying to shield the sun with my arm. Steve got up, helped me up and we headed for the front door. “That my dear, was Trouble.” he said laughingly. Once completely in the house, I stopped him, “Trouble?”  Taking my arm and moving forward to the kitchen he repeated himself ,  “Yep, Trouble. Now let’s get breakfast.”

That began our summer with the two of them. Steve hadn’t really given the second squirrel a name up to that point and hadn’t really meant for it to stick., but as we watched his antics for about a week we decided it was time to “dub” him “Trouble” and so it was and is. So there you have it. My first post about Dougie and Trouble. I’ve done my best trying to remember and to write this, to keep things together, keep me together and now,  I’m going to call it an evening. but first,  Many of you have read some of my previous posts and are aware of the one posted on my front page entitled, “Waiting.” Up until the middle of this week, well whatever day it was I posted, ” Squirrels Don’t Hibernate,” you were aware that I was still waiting. But the new’s has come. All those months of waiting, of trying to act normal in front of family and friends, of not saying anything, and of knowing otherwise, because you do sometime, you know, yes exactly, “You know”. Trying to say “this will have prepared me, I’ll be ready , when or if I get the news. All the things you tell yourself about how brave you will be, it’s been so many years since I saw him, why, I thought he must have died years ago and who would know., but you would. You are his sister. You were there with him the night your mother was murdered,  You were the one that worried the most when too much time had gone by between visits. It was your heart that ached each time “mom” would say something mean about him.  You were the one that stood frozen yesterday when you retrieved your cell phone out of your vest pocket and saw the name, ”

Detective Marc” then dropped it while fumbling trying to get it turned on. Finally, you answered,  Hello, Marc? Is there? do you?………   Sandy, it’s me…… Detective Marc…………

I have an answer, and yes, I knew, but why do I have to be so right all the time. Why must I be the one who always see’s before anyone else can or knows before anyone else knows.  However, I do have one question that I don’t know the answer to…….

what do I do now,…where do I go from here?

 

 

 

Waiting…

Twice I have tried writing about this. Twice I stopped before I got to the point of my blog. Those of you who have read “Waiting” and “The Clock Ticks Loudly but The Hands Aren’t Moving” will note that I have combined the two posts here. I will once again try to tell this story. If you have read  my  “About” introduction,  you know that most of my posts are about my life.  Most everything I write are true facts. I don’t want to sound as if I am complaining, or as one might say, whining, looking for sympathy but what follows are just the facts and my feelings as this all unfolds, This story doesn’t have an ending yet so if you are interested in following to the end, be patient. It will come, eventually.  There is an ending or an outcome to every story in one’s life, not always what we want or hope for, pray for, but each story does  come to an end. Here, we have two intertwined stories taking place at the same time and both include plenty of hopes and prayers and yes, patience.

I’ll begin here back at the beginning of “Waiting” so that you can put everything in order and perspective.

Nov. 15, 2016

Its been about three months since Detective Marc called to tell me that they had found his cabin burned to the ground. They had only gone to check because one of the townspeople reported that he hadn’t been seen around town since September. He too was familiar with the man know to most only  as the mountain man  and had noted that he hadn’t seen him on his bike around town for quite some time. There was no sign of him at the cabin. A week later Detective Mark called to say they had taken the cadaver dogs up to the cabin and again nothing. There was no body. I gave a small sigh of relief. Now, he was just missing again.

We rarely knew where he was or what he was doing. Nothing about how or where he lived or if he had family. Now and then, usually with many years between times, he would just show up either at my other brothers house or at Mom or Dad’s, on the doorstep with a backpack in hand. We had come to expect this from him. This time though, it had been too long. We tried to locate him when Dad got sick, having no luck at all.  Dad died, without him there. I was sick at heart for this fact. That was 2009. Then in 2013 he still had not been located. We tried. Mom was sick. Early in 14 she too passed without seeing him again.

After that I just gave up on him for a while. It seemed impossible to locate him. But as each year drew close to December, his birthday and Christmas, I’d found myself praying that he was on one of his cross-country bike trips headed home. This was the time he would have shown up, the time of year when he had shown up previously.  Every year my heart sank when he didn’t come.

Yesterday, startled out of my deep thoughts into reality,  I stiffened as I looked at the number and picked up the ringing phone.

“Hello Detective. Do you have any news?”

“Sandy. We found a body.”

It had been nineteen years since we’d seen him but the tears unexpectedly came swiftly as Detective Marc said those words.  It was 1998 but it felt like only yesterday that he sat on my couch looking out the window as we spoke of trivial matters. I still don’t know if my tears were  because,  if this “body” is him,  he’ll never sit there again, we’ll never talk again ,trivial matters or otherwise, or,  if they were partly caused because I had only just let myself fully understand the depth of  the report from my Doctor,  which began with words like spinal cord, surgery,  immediately, and every other statement that  followed  spoke of “severe,” such as severe impingement and severe deterioration more words like be careful, no falls, no lifting, one wrong move,  wheelchair, for the rest of your life. That is where my thoughts were when I picked up the phone. Now, nothing was making sense and I was feeling totally nauseous. I heard he detectives voice repeating those words . A body, they had found a body. Not too far from where his cabin had been. There was no way to tell if it was him. They would need a DNA sample from me to get a match to see if it was  him. I agreed of course, said goodbye to Detective Marc, and  ran to the bath room and vomited. I saw my older brothers face, as I knew it, then pictured me in a wheel chair and vomited again,  as the reality of why they needed the DNA set in. Still in much of a daze, I made my way back through the house, headed for the back door to call my husband in and try to tell him about the call. Stopping to hold on to the fireplace mantle for a minute hoping the dizziness would pass, I looked up at the old clock. The one that was much older than myself or my brother. The one that Dad had given me as his years were leaving him just as they were leaving Grandpa when he gave the clock to Dad. I remembered him saying that if I ever saw my brother again, the clock was supposed to have been his. That’s what grandpa had wanted.  The clock, as if set to do so at that precise moment chimed the three o,clock hour.

“You stupid clock. I should throw you in the trash.” I grumbled as I ever so slowly moved on to find Steve.   The clock hadn’t run for years. The hands never moved, yet, everyday, it would chime at the three o’clock hour.  At that moment, it was as if time was standing still whilst the old clock on the mantel stood yelling profanities at me with each strike and each slow step I took. My three felt like thirty.

Now, I am waiting. Waiting to get DNA results. Is the body they have found that of my missing brother? I probably won’t know until towards the end of the month. I had talked to the Coroner and he told me it took two months to get results back. That will be around the twenty-third. Everyday is torture. The not knowing almost drives one crazy. I haven’t seen him for so long but still, he is my brother and if this is him I will die myself a little more inside. My heart is aching and pleading with me to just hold on.  Along with that I wait too to find out when I will be having surgery. The physical pain that has plagued me for so many years finally has an answer. Well, at least part of it. Some of it is just there and always will be. That’s another story. However, the back pain that I had resolved to be a part of my forever life, now has a possible fix. I took a fall last September and have been going down hill ever since. Problems that had been there for what seems like forever increased to a point of needing a MRI. The answers that came with that procedure were hard to believe. It’ll take a couple of surgeries but the possibilities without the surgery are not an option. Already, my hands feel like clubs because of the nerve damage. It is difficult to write (type) so I have done little of it.  However, I, like many of you, use writing as an outlet. Writing is my salvation. Writing eases the pain and takes away the time that moves so slowly. I haven’t been able to say these words let alone put them on paper. I didn’t know how. I haven’t shared any of his with anyone except my family. I finally decided it was time to write again.  So this is it. This is why my life is in a holding pattern.  All this is why no one has heard from me, why life stands still, and why my heart and my stomach just wrench with complete pain and fear. Fear of the unknown can so completely render a persons whole being incapable of functioning in a normal manner.   So now,  I just wait for the insurance to give authorization and the paper work to all be in order. I wait for the surgeons call to set a date and,  of most importance,  I wait for the next call from Detective Marc.  That should be only a couple of days away at this point. The twenty-third they said. We should hear something by the twenty-third.

Waiting…………..yes absolutely,  waiting………..is pure hell.

 

The Odd Couple

This morning, I’m pulling from my files a short story written back in 2012, which I have included in my , unpublished as of yet book, “A Little Bit of Me.” It is a book, mostly written for my children, about my life. It includes poems, most of which tell a story, short stories, pictures, and some drawing and art work. I’m hoping, now to have the book published someday. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this short, but true, story about a cat and dog that were truly a blessing to our lives as they supplied endless hours of entertainment and love to us.

The Odd Couple

The Siamese cat and the Rottweiler dog don’t seem like a very probable pair.  Frankie, the cat, likened herself to a princes, extraordinary, noble and certain that mousing was beneath her. She appeared to think she ruled the house and we, including the dogs, were just her attendants. In her case, I believe this assumption, was mostly true.

Blossom was a one hundred and thirty pound dog engaging and delightful in disposition. Her immense, resplendent, brown eyes engulfed your senses and turned even the strongest of men into adoring, belly rubbing, playmates. Loving every one and every thing, this robust girl didn’t have an unkind bone in her body. Her only resolution in life was to please.

One early spring morning while sitting in my easy chair reading, Blossom at my side, I noticed Frankie saunter into the room. As usual, she held her head high, but for some reason appeared to be extra dignified that day.  She paraded, gingerly over to Blossom, rubbing gently from Blossom’s shoulder to her hip and back again, purring quite loudly. She repeated the action once more. Suddenly, I heard a very sassy meooow, then another and another as she looked at the dog with her intense, piercing, blue eyes. Blossom hadn’t been paying any attention, but now, she was sitting upright and taking notice, as was I. The cat sassed urgently and this time rubbed under Blossoms chin. With that, Frankie retreated slightly, meowed insistently, raised a paw with claws extended and slapped Blossom fiercely across the nose. She then meowed once more and rubbed Blossom’s chin. Blossom shook her head portraying a look of what seemed to be sheer amazement and I’ll be darned if she didn’t begin bathing Frankie right then and there. After a few minutes, Blossom hesitated slightly, as if contemplating her progress, and likely anticipating permission to cease. Instantly, here it came again. A meow so sassy you’d be taken aback to hear it. Without hesitation, Blossom returned to bathing the cat. Frankie was luxuriating immensely in the whole bathing process, only shifting positions occasionally, to allow Blossom the ability to wash every inch of her. This went on for nearly a half an hour until Frankie was visibly wet. Finally, she arose, sporting what appeared to be a satisfied smile, meowed softly and yes, even pleasantly, rubbed Blossoms chin and without further adieu, pranced away. From that day forward this became a daily ritual between the two of them. Frankie would approach Blossom, rub her gently, and Blossom would respond immediately to the cats wishes, without the sassing or the slap, of course. The two of them shared many other encounters and rituals during their time together. This is but one or their stories.

August, 2012The odd couple picture

Older, But Not Old Yet!

Just a note on daily life around here. Of course by now, if you are following my blog, you have realized that life at our house is usually not what one would call normal for most people. There is always something happening. Lately, it has been very challenging. So to update you, first, let me tell you that my husband Steve, having had open heart surgery, a four-way by pass, in January,  is doing well since he had the “by pass of the by pass” a couple of weeks ago. He is still getting quite tired in the afternoons  but has had no pain or problems.

For the moment, the focus has been on me. We’re dealing with a couple of health problems but are slowly ruling out the horrid possibilities and aiming at finding a simple answer to all. In the meantime, I’m hanging in there and doing it fairly well. Patience is not my strong point. One thing to understand is that Steve and I are not young anymore.

For those of you in that “beginning to show your age” group of older but not old seniors, like we are,  I’m here to tell you some days just aren’t fun. How do you feel when you get here? Well, last week, I felt my physical age and my mental age were in sync and I was ready for anything. I wasn’t in that “older generation” group but felt more like maybe a forty something. How wonderful it is to get up feeling great. The birds singing, the sun shining, wild life roaming in the yard and you sitting with your coffee on the patio watching it all while figuring out your work plan for the day. Eagerness overwhelms you. Before your second cup, you’ve pulled out your garden tools, gloves, a sun hat and have it ready to go in your garden wagon. Your dear spouse brings you another cup of coffee and together you plot  your day. Then, you actually accomplish what you set out to do.

Now, it’s a week later, the sun still shines, the birds still sing, and all else described above is still in play. But, your bones hurt, your muscles are stiff and aching and your mind is just kind of floating in oblivion. You want to do something but the energy just won’t come. You go back in, wash your face again, have another cup of coffee but this time,  you doze off in your chair. The dogs wake you because they want to go outside and you failed to take care of that when you were up and moving earlier. You feel like you are at least a hundred years old and thank God, it is finally ten am and you can take a little nap.

Yes, it changes that fast, and faster. Sometimes it changes like that from day to day, or morning to evening. I know there are so many of you that know exactly what I am talking about. You too, know about set backs. You have been witness to what stress does for you. You’ve learned how to handle most problems but some days it takes so long to get them handled. Yes, you know where I’m at.  So at this point you are praying for last week to return. And it will. Well, not actually, but the feeling will return.

Yes, we all have these days. It’s all about now, how you deal with it. I’m trying to learn, still, one day at a time. How long have I been working on that lesson? More years than I want to say but since I have admitted to being in that senior group you know it’s a fairly large number. Will I learn. Probably not but I’ll never give up trying.  I tend to work under the premise that if you feel good today, get it done today. I try to pace myself but often find I’m working harder than I should be, longer than I should be, and not asking for help when I need it. I always have a number of projects going. Right now, for instance, I’m plotting, planning and puttering in my, someday it will be beautiful, garden area. I’ve laid out where my little shed will be, some of the beds are in, and I’m collecting. There are windows, watering cans. boards, garden figurines, old tools, pots and planters. I’ll be so ready when the building gets built. I’m actively looking for free building materials every chance I get. I’ve had a little old door for at least ten years that will be my front door to the shed. There are two wicker chairs and a table in my storage shed that need to be painted and the seats recovered that will be just darling in the covered sitting area. We have to have a covered sitting area because we have so much rain here. I have light fixtures for outside that I picked up at a yard sale years ago, knowing that someday I’d find a place for them. They are tarnished brown and green and I love them. That is my main day time activity right now but as I come in for the evening, my paints are ready and waiting for me. I’ve been working on flags. I love what I call “Americana” stuff. My flags are made out of recycled materials. Steve cuts the boards and wire, then I paint. I have several other things I’m making under that category too. I’m also sewing. Right now, baby things. I’ve made the cutest, most darling little booties you ever saw. They will go with a dress, coat and probably a bonnet. This particular outfit is all in lavender and white and is newborn size.  I’m trying to learn to play mandolin and have dedicated one half hour every evening for practice.We have a “Jam Session” at our house twice a month for any friends that want to come. We play and sing and just have a good time. We have (Steve plays)guitars , and drums, which our grand son andgrand daughter both play. For Jam night, they get a real work out from our friend Johnny. Anyone who wants can sing. There are other instruments for anyone who can play. Oh, we aren’t really what you’d call talented or even really good. But, we have fun. We share stories and music and good times. This time is important to us as it’s very relaxed and spent with friends. It is down time uncomplicated with worries. It is necessary to have down time  if you want to stay sane. We are also still, and will be for a long time, working at remodeling, on a zero budget, our kitchen. I won’t even get into the plans for the back yard. So I guess you have figured out that the way I handle this getting older stuff is by staying busy. Moving, planning, thinking and doing almost constantly. This, I hope, will help keep me a viable, active, person. Possibly this will keep my mind from getting slow and stale. I often find myself laughing at my attempts before moving on to a better way. Humor, I use it generously. I have many things to accomplish and not so many years left to do it. The last thing I will mention at this time, but certainly not least in importance, of those things is my writing. I’m now trying something I’ve never tried to do in my writing. I stated that I write from memories and experience on my front page. I’ve never done fiction. My stories are short and my writing is simple. But, I decided to try writing a story, maybe a book and yes fiction. I didn’t exactly decide to do it, it just happened one evening. I was thinking about writing about some things that happened with myself and a couple of friends from high school back in those high  school days. The thought grew into more and now I’ve completed chapter one. I hope there will be more.  I’m also hoping to leave behind when my time comes to leave this physical world, worth while information, knowledge, humor, joy and the desire in others to live, love, and create. Do something important for yourself. Make your life important to others. Share your talents, thoughts and feelings with the world. Never say never. Always say can, not can’t. Keep doing, don’t stop. Most of all, believe in yourself and never stop believing. Make today worth while, because you never know when there won’t be a tomorrow and just ask yourself, seriously,…….will I be remembered? This is what keeps this older, but not old yet, lady on the move, reaching for one more day and one more accomplishment.

My Flag, 7-4-15

My Flag, 7-4-15

Forever is A Long Way Off

ForeverSeveral days ago I posted a short post which I had titled, “A Poem, A Prayer.”  That was exactly what it was. Prayers for my husband. He had open heart surgery the end of January. It was a four-way bypass. It failed. On Friday last week he was taken to the ER by ambulance. I prayed, our family prayed, our friends prayed. He has a twenty-six year history with Heart Disease. He’s had the same cardiologist that entire time.  He’s also had somewhere in the neighborhood of six angiograms, five angioplasties, and he’s  up to nine stents in his heart and one in his groin. Now we can add the bypass and the bypass failure to that. We were told, “He’s running out of options.” by the doctors. However, for now, once again he’s back in good repair. Thank God.  The Doctor’s went back in doing a double cath. One in each groin. The upper portion of the bypass is what had failed. During the time that he spent, recuperating from it, some of the medications he had been required to take, helped clear out some of the arteries that had been blocked.. The Doctors decided to bypass the bypass.  By putting in three stents they were able to use one of these arteries to go around the back of the heart, joining into the lower portion of the bypass which was still working. They also opened up another artery that had previously been completely blocked. It was a long surgery, over four hours. but that had been expected. Not expected was the complications afterward. Immediately following, the cath site on the left wouldn’t stop bleeding. Applying a pressure bandage seemed to be helping, so they decide to leave it on a while. Steve got visitors. Some of his buddies from the plant that he used to work at.  They talked, going over numerous old stories about when they had worked together, fishing trips  and riding their motorcycles, Steve’s blood pressure was slowly, gradually, climbing. I don’t know if it was from the fun and the stories or just what. The nurse came in to check vitals. Blood pressure was up, and he was running a fever. Then she checked his cath sites. Now, he was bleeding on the right side, a lot. There was a sudden flurry of action and soon six nurses were surrounding and working on him. They were able to stop the bleeding and avoided another emergency. Ahhh, we could relax again. The rest of that evening went well. The morning though, brought forth other problems. New medications presented new reactions. Reactions indicating an allergic response. Ants, he was seeing ants. Crawling up the walls, all around him, up his legs and across his bed. Tubes, huge tubes were threatening to fall upon him. His sheets had ever-changing colors and textures. Thankfully, he was aware enough to know  he was experiencing hallucinations. Another medication was administered to counteract the first one. Finally, all was well. He was stable. Now the problem was me. I had hit the stage of total exhaustion. I had been on my way back to the hospital.  Overwhelming tiredness came over me and I simply could not drive. I called my daughter. She came from work to take me the rest of the way. We waited with Steve for answers most of the afternoon and had been there much longer than we expected we would be, with all the complications. She had to get home.I still didn’t feel safe to drive. They still didn’t want to let Steve go. He needed to be watched longer. We made arrangements with his friend, Johnny, to come get him after John got off work. That allowed me to leave with our daughter. I went home, called Steve to check in, and crashed. Six thirty p.m. rolled around and Steve was walking in the door. That’s what woke me. What a day. What a week. I thank God it’s over. I thank God for the end results. Steve is good. We are both getting rested. All is well and will soon be back to normal. Well, as normal as it ever gets around here. Our life has always been anything but normal but the Lord has watched over us well, getting us through the difficult and the even more difficult times. We  have learned to keep a sense of humor. We have learned about survival. We have learned true, absolute love. Together we can handle anything and we will. Me and Steve and God. Our faith in each other and God is what keeps us going.

Why have I shared this story with all of you? Because it’s real. It’s real feelings, real emotions, real happenings. It’s the un-ordinary part of an ordinary life. Also to share with you the miracles that are being made in the medical world. Every time something has happened with Steve’s heart, we hear about new methods, new findings in heart care, new medicines. And every day we are witnessing miracles being granted by God. Through his help and the doctors we have once again moved forward, gotten through a really difficult procedure and an extremely stressful event.  It’s something that many of you may have been through and many more of you might have yet to go through. It’s just a brief description of how a problem was laid upon us and how we dealt with it. How about you. How would you cope? How would a face, “You’re running out of options?” We choose faith. Faith in each other. Faith in God. Faith in prayer and faith in our friends. Sometimes getting through something like this is just knowing that someone else has been there before you.  I, as I had been many times before this, was filled with fear. Fear of loosing him.  Our life together, I felt, was not near over yet. He promised me, twenty-four years ago that, if I would marry him, he’d give me forever.  Forever, is still, a long way off. I pushed the fear away with prayer.  Relief came. I knew, deep in my heart, I knew, all would be fine.  Still, I prayed more, our family and friends prayed with me.  I hope you have taken a moment to think about what you would do in an emergency situation. How would you handle a health set back. Do you have options set in place to handle emergencies. I know we need to recoup now. We need to get funds set aside again for health affairs. We need to plan what kind of spiritual needs we will call upon if there is a next time. We need to have plans in place so that we are not taken by surprise.  I hope you all are planning your own defense for a bad situation, no matter what it may be. To be prepared is to be in control. Take that control now and prepare. Remember too, to include God in your preparations. No one can help you more than he.

I’ve Been Published !

WOW !  Look, I'm "PUBLISHED"

WOW ! Look, I’m “PUBLISHED”

It was just our little local newspaper, The Key Peninsula News, consisting of twenty four-pages and the Poetry Corner is on page twenty-two. Nothing big, nothing elaborate. Nothing too great.

Yeah…..like, that’s a bunch of  malarkey and if you know me you understand all that was said out of modesty but it’s time to let modesty take a back seat and shout it out to who ever wants to hear. “I’VE BEEN PUBLISHED!” It was my poem, “My Great-Grandfather’s House.” I like that one myself. It has a lot of meaning to me.  So I’m very happy they chose to publish it.

I’ve just sent in another one. It won’t have the possibility to be published before August as this is just a monthly paper. Also, since there are probably plenty of others sending in, I don’t believe I stand a chance to be published two months in a row. I will post this one on Word Press later today. Right now, I’m off to take my grandsons shoes to him. First things first and the child has outgrown every thing except this pair that he left here on the 4th and his slippers. They are all headed out to do something special today and I guess, the little guy needs some shoes. Grammie to the rescue…again.

Once again though,before I go, just so you realize it clearly, I am totally ecstatic  about my poem hitting the paper. Published is published, right. It has inspired me to keep going. Sometimes, as a writer, I do get discouraged thinking, “Why would anyone want to read what I have to say?” Then I have to stop and take a look at my work. Realizing, it is unique to me, no one else will have had that same experience, in that same way, I push on. Maybe, my experience will be useful to someone. Maybe, it will inspire, bring comfort or joy, or maybe it will be just what they needed to hear on that particular day. I always hope for the best outcome for myself and my readers. Some will like my work and some won’t. To some, I am probably too simple. They look for more meaning behind the words. Usually, my words say exactly what I want said in a very simple way. Sometimes, I write like I talk. Being from a southern back ground, you may hear a little drawl in a few of my posts or see a little slang. You may see some words cut short as for instance, “darling” might end up, “darlin” but that is how I speak, unless I’m at a high falutin’ shindig for something where I need to be proper .  Okay, it’s not correct and I know it’s not correct so why do I let myself do it. Because, that’s me. That’s how I grew up. That’s just the way I am. No, I’m not lazy. That’s what people who know me expect me to sound like. If I were to change my ways after all these years, they’d think me ill. In fact, once I did just that, changed my way to conform, and friends soon started asking what happened. They clearly stated they wanted the “old” Sandy back. So I have quit trying to disguise myself in my ordinary daily life saving the “proper Me” for the “proper” place.  No one seems to have a problem with that. This turned out to be a longer post than I intended. To close, I hope you all will rejoice with me in my moment of glory. Maybe later today, lift a glass of wine and say, “Here’s to our fellow published writer, Sandy, for her achievement.” Just chuckling a little to myself here and basking in the “feeling good” moment. Here’s hoping you all have a glorious day, and I raise my glass to all of you saying, “If it hasn’t happened yet, it will. Hang in there and keep writing. Your day will come.” Now, I’m off to deliver shoes.

Hero’s, Honky Tonks and Hassocks

It’s getting late. Almost time to get ready for bed. Willie Nelson is playing on the stereo “Living in the Promised Land.” I don’t know about you but I love Willie. He’s been a little  bit of everything in his life, a singer, actor, had his own television show, he’s fought the government and he’s raised money for farmers through the “Farm Aid Program.” He, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash were all part of the original “Outlaws of Country Music.” In the beginning this group became known as this because there was a change taking place in country music excluding  much of the honky-tonk styling that had been so predominant through the years. Willie and the rest felt they weren’t going to be told by the record producers what kind of music they could play. I know many of you think he was just a drinking, drug doing, hippie, who traveled the country in a bus singing wherever he happened to stop. Who know’s, I don’t know him personally, but I kinda of see him as a hero. He stood up for what he believed in and he helped where he felt help was needed. For me personally, I think he’s a heck of a singer. Right now “You Are Always on MY Mind is playing. A very lovely song indeed.  Yep, I love to listen to Willie. Not only are so many of his songs just soothing to listen to, many of them tell a story. Stories we should take to heart and listen to the words. Okay, enough I guess. I didn’t start this post to talk about Willie. It’s just that this is a wonderful album and I’m enjoying it very much. Steve is asleep in his chair and the house is quiet except for the stereo. But as long as we are on the subject of musicians, most of you already have figured out that music is a big part of my life. Oh my, “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground,” one of my very favorites. Oh, um, well, what can I say? Music, I love all kinds of music. Country/Western, Jazz, Blues, Gospel, and of course Rock-n-Roll and lets not forget Rock-a-Billy. Steve and I were just talking the other night about how so many of the the really great artists from our generation have and are passing on. It’s like telling a member of your family goodbye. I grew up watching Grand-Ole-Opry on Saturday evening.  Me, stretched out on my big, pea-green hassock and enjoying every minute, not about to go on and play like the other kids. My cousins would come inside, tugging at me and pleading,“Come on, let’s go play hide and seek. It’s dark now, it’ll be lots of fun.” But I was too enthralled with Chet (Atkins), Johnny (Cash), the Carters, George and Tammy, Even ole Tennessee Ernie Ford. Then there was Hank Snow, Bill Anderson, Porter Wagner and Dolly. Lynn Anderson, Kitty Wells and one of my favorites, Patsy Cline. Mel Tillis and Ferlin Husky. Yes, those are just some of the great ones, but one I don’t want to leave out was good ole Hank Williams, another of my very, very favorites. I could go on but you all get the idea and probably don’t remember a lot of these names anyway. It was another time. A great time. After the Opry my Dad, and my Uncles would all get out their instruments and commence to playin’.  My Aunt Bonnie would sing and I’d perch myself up on the kitchen counter in the corner so I had a perfect view of all of them. I so much wanted to join in. I wanted to sing and sing and sing. But, I was too shy. I loved it but I guess it wasn’t enough to bring me out of the quiet place I lived. But I’ll never forget those nights, the Opry, my family and the good times we had when we all got together. My dad played mandolin, Uncle Arbie, guitar, Tony, Guitar, and Uncle Homer, I think had a banjo. It was a lively bunch full of fun, laughter and music that would last half through the night.  Mom and my aunts would have to pack us kids off to bed as we got too tired to get there ourselves but we argued all the way. Especially me. I just didn’t want to miss a minute of it. How unbelievably awesome it would be to be able to go back to even just one of those nights, jump off that counter and join in with the group, singing my heart out. Of course, that can’t be done in real life but, in my mind, we’re all on a stage together, the music is flowing loud and freely, and the audience is loving it. Oh, and remember that big,pea- green, hassock that I mentioned above, well, I still have it. I had asked my folks to save it for me, evidently when I was young, and by golly, they did. It was funny day when we were moving them from that house, the house I grew up in and where they had lived for fifty-six years, and Steve crawled out of the attic asking, ” Do we really have to get this thing down from here?” I replied, “What thing?” “Well, climb up here and take a look.” he answered, still looking a bit dismayed. ” It’s so big, and heavy, and ugly.” I climbed on the ladder and made my up to the attic opening in the ceiling and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I laughed, then told him, We most certainly do. I can’t believe they saved that thing for me. You bet I’m taking it.” I climbed back down still laughing and Steve made his way back to get the hassock. I think I heard a little grumbling  as he went. Something that sounded kind of like, “Oh brother, what I don’t do….and then all I heard was the shuffling of that huge old stool and a few more groans.  Yes,  I still have the hassock. I don’t know what I’ll ever do with it. Right now it’s in the garage but one of these days I’ll find a spot for it.

Yep, here it is. Stuffed in with a bunch of other old stuff from the past. Someday, I'll make a place for it. Maybe recover it first though. Not a big fan of Pea-green.

Yep, here it is. Stuffed in with a bunch of other old stuff from the past. Someday, I’ll make a place for it. Maybe recover it first though. Not a big fan of Pea-green.

My Great Grampa’s House

My Great Grandfathers Homestead.  Butler,Oklahoma 1899

My Great Grandfathers Homestead.     Butler,Oklahoma   1899

My Great Grampa’s house is made of gold

least that’s how it seems to me

this first time I see it

it ages one hundred three.

No one occupies it any more

there are no curtains to be found

the windows and the doors are gone

 the floor is the dirt on the ground.

I imagine Great Grampa

and Great Gramma too

all the kids running around

they had them quite a brood.

Charlie was the third born

when grown up he became

my Grampa even though

I never knew his name.

He was my momma’s papa

this part is sad to say

I didn’t know her either

she died before my second birthday.

That part of my family is gone

my momma and grandparents too

 I wish I could have know them all

but wish is all I can do.

I have conversations

with  made up memories in my mind

 I hope I get to visit them

at the Butler Cemetery one more time.

But standing here and looking at this house

It doesn’t look so old

I have no memories to connect to it

so the house itself is gold.

We’re, “Settin’ The Woods on Fire”

006

Steve, Guitarist (Bass and lead ) (oh yes, and sometimes humorist!)

Wow! We had a really good evening tonight. We actually made progress, learned new stuff, managed to put it all together, and enjoyed ourselves while doing so.

I guess I’m a little ahead of myself here and should explain a bit. I think I’ve mentioned that we do a Jam Session at our house a couple of times a month. Tonight was one of those nights. There were only four of us tonight.  Steve on guitar, Johnny on drums, Linda was finding her way on key board and I, well, I try to sing. I’m not really that good at it but then again, none of us are experts, in fact, we’re barely beginners.  We are learning and it’s all just for fun anyway. Tonight though, we did better than usual. We’ve almost learned a whole song. Now, to get it down so that we can do it without all the bug-a-boos that are haunting us.

We had picked a song done by the Tractors, called, “Settin’ the Woods on fire.” I don’t know how many of you are familiar with music by the Tractors. They are a Country Rock Band out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. A loosely associated group of musicians, headed by guitarist Steve Ripley, they play a lively bunch of songs, which include, “The Tulsa Shuffle, Baby Likes to Rock It, I’ve had Enough, Badly Bent, just to name a few from their debut album released in 1994. This album became the fastest selling debut album from a country group to go platinum.

Now like I said, we aren’t really what you’d call musicians at this time, but we have guitars, drums, keyboard, piano, mandolins, a fiddle, a sax, tambourines, a few other odds and ends instruments lying around. Plus we have speakers, amps, and microphones. So we’re set up to have a good time and that is exactly what we accomplished tonight.

For the next two weeks we will practice what we learned and who knows, maybe we’ll be “professionals” when we get back together. Yeah, like that happens. Pro isn’t our goal. Learning, sharing, and fun is. So if you’re interested in those kind of things, gee, give us a call, and you too could be a part of this exciting attempt to achieve resounding musical ability, with the possibility of down home fun and festivities but not excluding the possibility a fantastic future. Yes, that’s right. Sometimes goals change. You could be very musically inclined. Just think, your name could be in headlines somewhere ahead in your future. (My philosophy: Never be without a dream of greatness.)

Until then, practice on and have a good time folks because that’s what its all about.

October

It’s that month again

the one where all my feelings I hide

the one in which she was born and died

All to soon, taken away

We had only began to live and play

This year marks seventy years

I still remember all my fears

The nightmares have never gone away

I’d say at this point they are here to stay

More were added after my brothers death

My guess is they will be with me

As long as my life is to be

They all have become

A part of my life

I will not dread them

I will not cry

Nor will I ask the reasons why

I know them now unlike when I was young

When the nightmares first begun

After the man came and killed my mom

I watched I heard but did not comprehend

What had just happened for me would have no end

For a lifetime now the scene has replayed

Every night when on my pillow my head I laid

Yes I know why now but it hasn’t helped them go away.

I guess, they are just here to stay

Yes, I guess they are just here to stay.

Wynona Berniece , 24

Born October 7, 1925

Died October 31, 1949

My mother was murdered in our home, at the age of twenty-four. It was Halloween night, 1949. The man came in and shot her and then himself. I was not quite two, in my crib, in the room in which this took place and watched it happen while my brother, age four, watched from the back door window where my mother had shoved him out trying to protect him. This poem depicts the aftermath for both my brother and myself. Nightmares. A lifetime of nightmares.

October 24, 2019

What? Did I Miss Something Somewhere?

I didn’t choose to come here this morning. I was just minding my own business cruising thru this site and that, trying to remember where I may have put my transfer paper, as I have another project going, without any luck, may I add, when suddenly here it was, “WordPress” just popped onto my screen almost begging me to write. Over the past several weeks the opportunity to do exactly that presented itself several times as the conversation going on opened up three or four great titles. The material to follow up those titles was quite abundant also, but did I have a pen and paper to jot some notes down on? Of course not. Now, this morning, as I was led here to the writing place by who knows what entity, do I have a subject to delve into bringing you all kinds of wisdom, good advise, or maybe a handful of humor to help brighten your day? No, of course not here too. So, all in all, I kept you here, those of you that have hung around looking for that exciting moment of truth when I actually enlighten you in some fine manner, to tell you absolutely nothing of any great importance. I know, isn’t it maddening to be led down a path expecting that pot of gold somewhere at the end only to find out the pot is an empty kettle and you will have to journey on your way without the greatness you were expecting? Well, that’s the way it rolls sometimes folks. What can I say, other than, have a wonderful day and don’t be in such a hurry to find that pot of gold that you miss the importance to be found along the road you choose to get there. Remember that old saying, “Stop and smell the roses?” I guess that’s what I’ve been trying to point out from the beginning of this post. Yes, folks. Stop to smell the roses and enjoy your journey today and every day.

Writers Block

What do I write when there’s nothing there between my ears or under my hair

Nary a word has come to me I have to think, is this month three

Maybe if I just play with some words or sit in the yard under a tree with the birds

Something might stir my so still mind, help me to be not so blind

Maybe give me some courage to write again, Lift up my head, hold up my chin

See only glory in the mornings and amazement in the sky each night

Feel my heart beat fast at both and know this feeling is totally right

Walk down the street smiling at the people there

Watching them smile back, feeling how good it is to care

Start my day with a prayer to God Remembering when I thought to do so was odd

For so many years I wouldn’t try to start it any other way knowing that if he is walking beside me he will always show me the way.   

 Here of late though my life had become a total uproar, I  quit talking to him  I must have closed that door.

The more I thought, the more I realized, that I was missing part of my life, and what was left of the rest was filled with strife

I got down on my knees, began to weep, saw his face in the puddle of tears beneath me.

Then as I began to write that night I realized why so much hadn’t been just right

I began to see how I had strayed,  realized why my words had gone away

I tried to walk alone,  walk without him, stumbled and lost my pace

tried to do things myself, tried to fix it,  tried to turn back and go the right way

Ran into walls every way that I turned, then I knew that it was something  I’d already learned.

Walk with God as your partner, as kinfolk, as a friend, anyway that you wish, just let him in.

Go to bed each night knowing that you have done no one any harm or said anything to cause alarm

so Now as I sit here and write again I realize where my words have been

God and I had parted, gone our separate ways, but this morning a familiar need came back to me, and I began to pray

suddenly I felt his presence, as it completely filled the room,

a place where only minutes before had been so completely full of gloom

I picked up my pen, I started to write,  while an abundance words flowed through the night

What I had known since just a child all came back to me and here I’ll share it with you so everyone can see

Yes,  with God as my companion and all of you as my friends, I’ll never have to ask forgiveness or for the Lord to let me in

From this day I’ll keep him here at my side, in my heart, in my head and never again from him shall I hide

The Seventies, Are We Old Yet?

I really don’t think so.  We are both suffering from some pretty decent health problems but that’s all they are is problems, not a death sentence. We are just entering our seventies and both of us are pretty active.  No, we aren’t into sports like in running or basketball but we stay busy with things. We have a decent size home on five acres and the upkeep keeps us plenty busy. Some days we both think we must be going on at least a hundred years after some of the chores we have to do. Other days, those same chores only serve to perk us up and make us feel vibrant. I like the vibrant days.  Those, for me, are the days the temperatures are resting at about sixty -five to seventy degrees and there is a slight breeze rustling the wiggle wood (as we call it) tree. It’s when the air is filled with the smell of freshly mowed grass, and I’ve just picked my first bouquet of Sweet Peas with their soft fragrance and beautiful pastel colors.

However, I can see the signs. Signs of becoming one of the “OLD.”    Forgetfulness, creaky bones.  Difficulty just getting out of bed in the morning. All are part of it. Steve and I will fight though. We are fighters and along with that, we have a sense of humor and try hard to keep it very active. We work outside together, mowing, raking, weeding, and putting in a lot of coffee breaks when we talk about future plans and our dreams. Sometimes we will go to a yard sale just for fun. We have to put our hands in our pockets and keep our ideas at bay to talk about when we get home. Then we say, “Did you see….” and up comes a conversation on what we could have done with that item and where we would have used it.     

Right now we both are interested in antiques for decoration  Working antiques are best, of course, but those are hard to come by and since that is what people look for you have to be on the scene early to ever get the good stuff.   Non-working antiques often times make excellent “Yard Art”   Sometimes there is a really cool something that you actually can afford and just so happen to have the perfect spot for it without doing a thing.  Often times we’ll see a neat piece of furniture we can refinish (or not) and figure we can get more for it than we have paid. In the car it goes, if we have brought some money with us. 

We also like to just get in the car and drive. Not around town with all the traffic, but out in the country where we can see every kind of tree, deer, elk, and if we drive through Orting, past the Fish Hatchery,  towards South Prairie we might see a buffalo heard. No, it’s not a wild herd but it is a small one and even though they might be domesticated, it is still a herd. We take our cameras on our rides in hope of finding something or somewhere to get some good shots.  We try to pack some snacks or a lunch when we go on these little excursions because we often times are a lot longer than we told anyone we would be. Sometimes our trips aren’t to find wildlife or great scenery.  Sometimes they are to find us.  A long ride in the country, sitting side by side, maybe not saying a word for miles, holding hands, listening to our favorite country music cd’s on the radio isn’t wasted when it rekindles the deep feelings and love we have always felt for each other for more than twenty-seven years now.    Twenty-seven years of raising children and grandchildren, dogs, horses, chickens, a few sheep and bunnies all of which were pets for 4-H all those years. Fun times that we wouldn’t trade as they brought us joy and tears, great times with our kids to reminisce, wonderful adventures, a lifetime of memories many of which would highlight a conversation as we made our way to where ever we were going on any particular day. All this is what helped our love grow between us to the depth that it is today.  That love is another thing that keeps us from being old. A love that winds between our clutched fingers as we drive and says, “Find a place to pull over and spread that blanket you brought on the ground. Have one of those quite picnics together reminiscing of the days when you would take the day away from home, away from the kids, the pets and work to enjoy each other.  Find that enjoyment again this afternoon as you did then.”  It doesn’t take much to convince ourselves to make the stop at the next campground, or picnic area or if close to a beach or river to find a place to have that lunch we packed. The more private it is the better and of course the more completely we can enjoy each other’s undivided attention as we eat our meal and then stretch out on our blanket for an afternoon nap together, to rest up for the drive home, of course.

We will have stopped for many pictures on our way and whether it be a campground or a beach we would pick up many little treasures to use in the making of birdhouses or other artsy things we like to do once home again. Working together keeps us happy.  Bringing to life ideas we have come up with together keeps us motivated and fresh. Planning our meals to meet our needs and doing it together. Even trying to grow vegies and such that we like and are good for us. All these things keep us working towards keeping us together as long as we can get.  We keep trying to do things to make the other one of us happy and keep them healthy because we want as many years together as we can get. So while working on keeping that going for us we help keep the age goblins from our doorstep too.  I think as long as we have each other, we will be young at heart and that is the key to keeping us active, happy, and healthy. Nope, not old yet, and we don’t plan on getting there any too soon. 

Hey, and besides that, we have our “First Greatgrandbaby ” on the way and due any time now. The kids are living with us for the moment and a new baby in the house is going to be like heaven. Nope, we are just not going to that “old” place yet,  seventy or not!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

What!

Sitting here today, finally able to get through to our mortgage officer on the telephone, suddenly I was shocked at a little critter that came strolling in the front door. I’ve written here about squirrels, deer, birds and possibly other sorts of animals but this is another new one for the books.  I  had only gotten the words, “Hi Nate,” out when I saw him skitter across the kitchen floor, and then it was, “Oh my gosh!” but Nate was in his own world and didn’t hear my exclamation.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Rogers, will you forgive me for one moment to collect my thoughts.  I have been on the phone with another client and they are being the most stubborn and oh, what did you say.”

“Well,  sir, I didn’t, but I will. It was a ferret. A ferret just ran across my kitchen floor and back out the front door! At least I hope it was a ferret because I don’t know what else it would be.”

“Oh, Mrs.Rogers  you people just keep me in stitches.  Honestly, a ferret? Do you think it is someone’s pet? Could it have just got away? That would be so sad. But at this moment it’s funny. What are you going to do?

“My husband just walked in the door so he can so the something about it but if think a ferret is funny, you should hear our kangaroo  Story!

“Kangaroo story! Don’t tell me a kangaroo walked in your front door, ” Nate said as he laughed quiet exuberantly on the other end of the phone.

“Oh, of course not Nate. He knocked first, but shouldn’t we get back to business now? I said as I grinned, knowing he would be dying to ask more about the kangaroo.

“Well. yes, but a kangaroo, honestly?

“Yep,” I replied, then continued just as if I hadn’t mentioned it. “So how long is this going to take and what other kinds of things do we have to come up with? Nate and I continued our conversation but as soon as I was off the phone I rounded my husband up.

“Hey, I saw a ferret!”  I said as I met him coming from the family room. “It was in the kitchen and then it ran out just before you came in. Did you see it?

“A ferret.”

“Yep, really cute! He went back out the……..WHAT! Stop looking at me that way. Aren’t you going to go look for it?

“No, no I’m not. I’m not looking. I’m not calling the news station, or the radio, or the pound. If there is a ferret out there he will make it on his own without my help. You want to watch the news with me?”

“No, thanks, I’ve got other stuff to do for a bit,”  I replied with pretty much of a pout on my face but I knew not to take this one any farther. He went to watch the news and I started my search for more paperwork to send the mortgage man. However, I think it was about five minutes, Steve was thoroughly enjoying his easy chair, the news, and his five-o’clock beer and I very quietly made my way out the front door so as not to disturb him.

He Was My “Big” Brother

My nephew, who has handled almost everything up to this point, has been patiently waiting. My niece and her adopted family, they too are waiting. Relatives in Oklahoma, more in Port Angeles and Forks, all waiting. Me, my family, all of us waiting. The Marines. Yes, I have even kept the United States Marines, waiting for my decision on a date to have this memorial.  Because we have chosen to have the Marines handle the Memorial, only they can remove him from the funeral home directors care. Someone from the US Marines will go to get his urn and carefully transport him from Colorado to us here in Washington State where he will be given a hero’s buriel  at Tahoma National Cemetery.

The wait was because I’ve had two back surgeries this past year, the last one in December, and needed to have some recovery time. Now, the word recuperate no longer has a place in my vocabulary,  I’ve set the date, which moves the event a little more forward than what I was thinking, to approximately six weeks away.  We will need confirmation from the Marines that this date, April 6,  will work.  So now it’s my turn to wait for that answer. There is so much to do to prepare for this. I have two beautiful guest rooms and both are piled high with Christmas things waiting to be put away. The living room has piles of things waiting. The computer room, everything is waiting. Crafts, bills, taxes, sewing, the room is full of things, waiting to be handled while I took time to recuperate. Many other projects are in half done stage and need to get finished. Then there is the yard. We won’t even start on that. I need to sell my car. Sad yes, but I won’t be able to drive it. Maybe someday, I’ll have another one, but that’s another story.

I should know in a day or two I would think since this is the United States Marines we are dealing with. I was told that once there was a date there would be no waiting.  Now, I must move quickly, no matter how many times my body says no. No matter how tired the walking and the lifting make me. It’s time to get in shape. It’s been nine months since the neck surgery and it’s been two and a half since the low back surgery. I must remind myself often what my goals are and why.  It will bring back some much needed good health and strength to my body. I then can attend my brother’s memorial on my own two feet. April 6. That’s not long. I can’t forget about emotional strength. That matters most of all. I must be emotionally strong. I know others will be watching me to make sure I don’t over do but this isn’t for them. This is for me. I need the strength to carry on, I need to know I can do this, that I won’t have an anxiety attack. I won’t fall apart. I will hold up and speak of him with pride and tell how proud I am of him and his achievements. Oh, not the achievements he got in the marines which are great. All the medals he got are wonderful and they need no explanation.

What I see, what I’m talking about aren’t achievements. I guess it is more about his qualities as a person and the things he did for me as we grew up that made him seem so great. He was my brother.  MY BIG BROTHER. The one that took me fishing at the creek and showed me how to find and put periwinkles on a fish hook. The brother that “let” me carry his news paper bags and go with him to deliver the papers. The awesome one who waited for me to find all thirteen of my new baby hamsters when they chewed out of their cage one one morning and then walked to school with me because we were late and missed the school bus. He taught me checkers and marbles and go fish. He brushed my hair sometimes when it got tangled, and  it got tangled often.  Yes, he was my big brother.  He is also the one who made sure he got around to going to see my art work when my seventh grade teacher featured me on the main hall bullitin board.  We all had to take turns feeding the dog his evening meal which was served to him in the garage. In the winter when the darkness came early, knowing I was afraid to go get the bowl, Jerry would wait at the back door for me. Sometimes, I would cry because it scaired me so to step into that dark garage to retrieve the dog bowl. Jerry would take it back out for me. There were times I struggled with my homework and he would sit with me at the kitchen table explaining  it over and over until I got it.

The last time I saw him before his death was in 1998. He came home for Christmas. It had been years and he just showed up one day. He stayed at mom’s for a bit and at my brother Darrell’s home. Then he came to stay at our house. We had a chance to talk a little bit. I found out we shared the love of photography. He would have loved to be a professional photographer. Nature was his ideal medium. He also loved trying to find gemstones in the mountains of Colorado. I found that interesting because I am a jewlery designer and am awed at the beauty of the many gemstones mother nature provides for us. We found that we shared the Amethist as our favorite. We spoke of things but never about us. Not about the growing up years and how the death of our mother affected us. Even then, just as it was when we were young, it was a forbidden subject. I didn’t know how much he remembered or knew nor did he about me. Neither of us brought it up. I’m sad about that. That was the last time I saw him. I tried to find him when Dad died with no result and then again when Mom was ill and it was evident that her time with us was limited.  Still I found no clue to his whereabouts.

Time and distance, however, make no difference in the fact that we were family and that I loved him for the brother that he had been to me. As we give him up to God it breaks my heart not to have had more time with him. Time to talk and share feelings that we both kept inside for so  many years. I know though that now he can know his mother and re-unite with Dad and mom Ernie. The pain he kept inside all his life will now be gone. He will know peace.  He was my big brother and I’m glad he’ll be able to let it all go as he enters the kingdom of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OCCASIONALLY NORMAL HAPPENS

Saturday, October 21

A normal day? It’s hard to remember what a really  feels like because I have so few them these days with all that has been going on in my life. However, occasionally one will pop up and take me by surprise.

I talked to my Cousin back in our little home on the phone last week and asked if they would like to come down for the weekend.  We have jam session on Saturday nights and her husband, Wally, plays guitar.  When she asked him if he would like to he was almost giddy about it. Wally was anxious to join the group for some good ole country music.  Well, we play more than country. We do a little blues, some old school rock and roll and usually can’t end the night without a handful of gospel songs. “Will the Circle” is one of my favorites.  Nanc and I wanted to share some family pictures and papers seeing if we can’t pull together information that has gotten lost, forgotten or simply misconstrued. They would be arriving just a little bit before four p.m. which was when dinner should be about ready.

In planning the day, I called next door to my daughters and reminded my grandson that he should come over early in the day to practice his drums a little before session tonight. He is a self-taught drummer at the moment except for a few things Johnny has taught him. After his practice he mossied out to the kitchen where I was just about to put the chicken in the fry pan just to semi-cook it.

Now, keep in mind that this young man of mine is just nine years old. Okay, he will be ten in December. Gosh they grow up so fast. Anyway, he watched me for a bit then asked if he could help with the chicken. I said I thought I’d better do it better do it because I was running a bit late with my preparations but there was a lot of other things he could do.

“Like what grammie? What do you want me to do? he asked.

“First off, how about helping get that table cleared,” I replied, adding, ” Most of that can just go in the computer room from this end of the table because it’s all paperwork I’m working on. The other end is mostly fabric and sewing supplies so it can go over on the other dinning table or the sewing room. Just put it where it will go best.” He started right away,  but made a side trip over to take peek at my chicken.

“Sure smells good. I could probably stay for dinner if you wanted me to grammie.”

I laughed saying to him,” That would be entirely up to your mom. How about chores at home, do you have any?

“Yes, but just one. I can have it  done in a few minutes. I’d better just go do it now.” and off he went running home.

I put the chicken casserole in the oven, punched the bread dough down once then went to freshen up before anyone started arriving.

Just as I finished and headed back to the kitchen I glanced out the windows in the living room and there was Nanc and Wally coming up the driveway. I had timed that just right. I went to the door and was surprised to see Jaden greeting them and inviting them in.

“What a nice young man you have here,” said Nanc as they all came in. “My how much he has grown.  First thing we need is restrooms! That’s a long way to get out here!

“Right over in the hallway of pictures, I said pointing in the general direction. We all made it back to the kitchen. I shaped the dinner rolls and put them in the pan that was waiting prepared with some oil for dipping.

“Okay twenty minutes to raise these, then twenty minutes to bake. The  chicken will be done by the time they are raised and every thing else is ready as soon as I finish the corn.”

“Can I set the table grammie and can we use the Halloween napkins? It is that time you know.

“Sure, I’ll get the plates for you and you should be able to handle it from there.” Off to work he went setting the table making sure he had everything just right.

We had a wonderful dinner and some great conversation finishing just in time for the guys to start showing up for jam.

Jaden took me aside and asked quietly, “What about the pies?

“Oh, well, we might have to have pie tomorrow, is that okay? I asked him.

“Sure it will be.I think there are cookies when I get home anyway. I’m going to play drums now.”

Jaden played along with the rest of the guys. I popped in when they were doing some of my favorites and sang with them on a few but mostly Nancy and I sorted through some of my papers, copying some for her to take home to talk with her mom about and copied pictures she had brought enlarging them so we could see them better. My gosh, some were of the three cutest little girls I ever saw.

Sunday, Oct 22

We were all up early. Nancy and Wally had to be on the road by seven in order for them to be back to town in time for him to sing and play his guitar at  church that morning .After they got gone, Steve and I sat with our coffee talking, in between naps that is, about what a good time we had the night before. Somewhere, around noon I think, we decided we better pull ourselves up out of our chairs and try to get something done. I myself had pies to make.

Now, I don’t know why but with a simple box of pudding mix and simple instructions I have never been able to make chocolate pudding (or Pie!)and have it come out right. I was going to try again. I promised Jaden. The other would be Lemon meringue.

I made the chocolate first, leaving out a half cup of the milk hoping to make sure it got thick enough. It dawned on me,while I was stirring it over medium heat to make sure it didn’t stick or boil over, that I had not cried all day. In fact, I was actually singing as I was cooking the pudding. The weekend had been good for me. I took the pan off the burner, let it sit a minute then covered it with Saran. Then I made the lemon. I always use less sugar than called for because I like mine tart. It cooked up faster than the chocolate. I let them both sit for a bit and called Mary to see if they all wanted to come over for pie after dinner. It was all set.I put the puddings into the pie shells, mixed the meringue, then putting everything into the fridge and Steve and I pulled out the leftovers, heated them up and ate. As we cleaned up the boys showed up. Mary got the pies out.

“Ummm, I think there is a problem with this chocolate unless the plan was to drink it.” she said and then added,”the lemon looks fine.”

“WHAT! But I cooked it just right and it was  thick when I put it in the shell! Oh crap, why me, why can’t I ever get that right. That is so stupid and disgusting and just down right makes me mad. Without saying any more I got out three small bowls and a sugar scoop and dished up a tiny bit of chocolate. Steve got out the whip cream and put a dollop on top of each bowl. I cut the three small pieces of lemon and put on a plate. We sat it all down in front of the boys and you would have thought it was something extravagant. The enjoyed it throughly,gave hugs and said Thank yous and goodbyes, then headed out for home to get showers and be ready for school tomorrow.

Me, I headed straight back to that kitchen. Okay, talking to myself, if I put some cornstarch in the pudding it should thicken. I put a little, then I put more. I put it back on the stove to cook, stirring constantly. It cooked, I stirred. Finally, it was thickening. Ahhhh, that couldn’t, just couldn’t get thin again. Feeling exonerated I sat the pan on the back of the stove to cool some. I got ready for bed so I could just sit down and relax with Steve for a bit before it was time to go.

We both dozed off several times while trying to watch the news. We got up then and put the dogs out for one last time. I went to check on my pudding and pour it into a bowl for the fridge.

“What! Oh, Crap!”  I wasn’t a happy camper that’s for sure. I got a plastic container with a lid and sat it on the counter. Picking the pan up again I cut through the solid mass as best as I could lifting it out into the container a piece at a time. Tomorrow, I will get a container of cool whip and mix it and the pudding together, if I can. But…I’m not going to keep you folks hanging around in suspense waiting to  see if it turned out. Use your imagination and think of the worst thing that can happen here as I try once more to reconstruct this so-called pudding concoction and you will probably be right…..and while you are at it, smile and keep in mind, that I was, at last, able to have a fairly normal day , because this kind of stuff “is normal”  for my life. It feels good.

Just When You Thought You Knew

I thought I was there at the height of all grief. First my dad, my mom and now such a horrible death he had, my brother. As I cried and thought I was at the worst of it and now the pain would surly ease up a bit I came home from the Doctor visit that day and found my dear beloved little dog Rosie had laid down while I was gone and died. I grabbed her up in my arms pleading with that belief of mine that there is a God, to not let her be gone. Oh God please, not my Rosie. Please, please, not Rosie. As I write this, only two days later I am crying all the hurtful tears trying to get them all out. I think the tears have been waiting for me. I held it in with Dad, I had to make arrangements, and I kept it together the best I could for mom, and Jerry, well there just aren’t enough tears but I usually shed them in private. But with Rosie, I can’t stop. I write this more hoping that when I get done, it will have been just one of those horrible nightmares. One of those things when you suddenly awake and everything is fine.

But I know, it is not. It is not. She is gone. My darling Rosie. Oh my dear God. I know she was old but there was no warning. No, no nothing. And he is gone, my brother. Why did he not share his pain with anyone?Why did he become such a recluse, so estranged from his family? How do we not know. But then, I did. When he looked at me as his bus pulled away  and he turned, looking at me and I saw and felt that feeling of one last look. Feeling that I wanted to make the bus stop and make him stay. How is it that I did not see that Rosie was leaving me. I don’t think this hurt will ever leave. I know, yes, it got easier after the passing of the others, mom, dad, Ruthie, and just when I though I might be able to explain what getting through the stages of grief meant, how one manages it, how you work your way back to normal, feeling okay with this world, feeling safe, at peace, whole, your heart is shattered into a million pieces again, for Rosie, for Jerry and now I have to ask you will I ever stop crying, what are these stages they write and talk about other than just something for you to read or hear to give you some kind of hope that life will be normal again. Life is never normal again.

Stages, stages, this pain, this feeling of loss, this emptyness  does not come in stages as if you can say one , two , three putting it all in order. There is no order, no normal, no whole being to your soul again. Grief is, it is a bite out of your being that can never be replaced. Grief is something you must talk to someone about because you cannot get through it alone, no matter how much you work at it and keep tucked safely away inside. Grief, stage one…..again…

We buried Rosie today……   I still don’t know when there can be a service for Jerry…….

Grief: The Next Installment

I am not sure tonight that my plan to go through and describe the stages of grief with everyone was exactly the thing to do. Just because you have been through it before doesn’t make you an expert. Another thing, every one is different, every heart is different, and in my case we are talking about a death and every death is different. I wrote a full-page on Anger last night and this morning. Throughout the day today I anguished over how another family member was going to take this news. It was just almost more than I could bear to know she would be told tonight. I love this child as if she is my own even though I have never even laid eyes upon her. She is my niece. I didn’t even know she existed six years ago. But since that time of finding out about her and talking to her regularly I’ve grown realize her as my blood.

One more thing I realized today. I’m not finished with Stage One. No, not finished with talking about it,and I must admit  I’m not finished  going through it either.  We started out with Denial. Think on that. You can deny your loved one is dead. You can make yourself not believe it. You can argue the point but when there is a body, doesn’t that pretty much end the denial part?  Seems there are no more threads there to hang on to now is there. But still that word nags at me. Denial, what else is one in denial about if not the death? How about the fact that one is doing okay, fine, pretty good. What ever words you use to tell others how you are  really. I came to the conclusion today as I went through my worries about other things and other people, that like I originally thought, I am not doing okay, fine, pretty good or any other descriptive word that means any thing close to those.  I was almost falling to pieces today. Steve was in the family room watching our football team take down their opponents. I was in and out, still in my pj’s and not really watching but more like just pacing the floor. I got a shower at about four p.m. and then dressed, put on a little make-up making a true appearance in the kitchen at about five. I finally, get the call that she will be told tonight. She’s too far away. I want to be there. I want to hug her but her mom had asked if it were alright for her to call me if she wanted to and of course that would be fine. I hung up the phone and cried. She at least would know tonight. Her parents must have handled it well. She was sounding fairly pulled together. There were some questions, some regrets, some worries but mostly she was sounding OKAY. We all know in private she will have her time to cry, to grieve, to start the process. Meanwhile, we talked and we both listened. That’s a  good thing.

Where do we both go from here?  I don’t know. It’s fine to say there are five steps but are they really in a cut and dry formula, or could they possibly be in a random bag of apples for us to come upon when we are least expecting? My day-to-day is up and down.  Some good days, a lot of barely here days. Yes, those who know say there are five steps and if you want to you can google that and you will come up with what I have told you. Me, I can’t tell you anything that has any studies behind it, or anything figured out by scholars. All I can tell you is what I have experienced, what I am experiencing and hope you get something out of it. I’m also hoping that by writing about this thing called “GRIEF” I too will have a better understanding and be able to put to rest some of the issues that have plagued me for a good part of my life.  To end tonight I have a short little story for you.

My mom died in January 2013. The reason being, she simply didn’t want to go on. She was eighty-one years and had spent fifty-six of those years with dad. He passed in 2009, She fell  in 2012. We found her on the floor of her little house next door to us and after that she lost about six years of her life, the six that she and dad had been living there. She had full-blown dementia. After a couple more things and a surgery on her toe she got worse. We had tried to keep her at home but I couldn’t pick her up if she fell. I couldn’t take care of her. But when she was still well, she and I would go putter around her yard look at her plants and flowers. We talked of many things. We sat on the porch and talked to the birds and drank our morning coffee. One morning in 2015, I took my cup of coffee to the family room and as I started to sit down I looked up and out the window. The sun was shining so beautifully and without thinking I said out loud, “Oh, I think I’ll call mom and we can ……..”   That day all the pain, all the memories, all the days and nights sitting with her in the nursing home as she slowly withered away because she refused to eat anymore, all the grief that I thought I had dealt with came rushing back into my life for more than just a moment. I was totally pulled back into the clutches of dispare and sadness and held hostage there for the next several months. Yes, grief is a funny thing. Don’t take it lightly and please don’t try to get through yours alone no matter what stage you classify it in.

Take Their Words To Heart

I’m sitting here in limbo. I need information.I can’t write the obit without information. I can’t plan a memorial without information. What can I do to move things along? Am I just in too big a hurry? Am I rushing everyone? I know Zach is doing his best to find out what we need to know. I know the sheriffs assistant has put the papers I need in the mail.

My best friend called today. I told her and we cried. She’s about five hours away and told me to hang on, she’s hugging me. We do that…hug each other over the distance. Just saying it gives us warmth and the sense that someone out there cares. I love her to pieces. It helps to have someone you love, someone you can trust no matter what. Besides my husband, she’s that person. I hope you all have someone in your life just like that. When you are going through the stages of grief you will need them. Let’s see what stage was I again? I don’t think I am quite sure. Stage One: Denial, no, I’ve got past that. I think I understand now that, yes, he is gone. Stage Two: no wait. Stage one also included isolation and yes, I can see that I am doing some of that. I don’t get dressed so I won’t have to go with Steve places. I don’t brush my teeth, comb my hair so I can tell him it would take me too long to get ready. He won’t let me keep this up too long. We’ve been down this road before. Do you have that person that is always there for you. Be it your best friend or your husband, your mom and dad, a sibling, have some one. Make sure you talk to them. Keep them up to date with your feelings. Talk. You will need to talk but then, be prepared to listen too and take their words to heart.

I wonder how many days it will take for the info from the sheriff’s office to get here. This is crazy. Everything just takes so long.

It’s 4:30 am. I haven’t been to bed again. But I have so much to do. I’m trying to clean the house in case we have company. Steve is cleaning the garage to get my little car back in before the rain comes again. He brought me a huge box of my shoes I haven’t seen for twelve years. Dress heels. I have to find somewhere to put them. I can’t even wear them right now with my back so bad. Papers and pictures. He brought me those too. Things that weren’t stored right and now must be.

I still have plants to get in the ground before winter sets in along with the many bulbs I just purchased. I have an obituary to write.  Maybe there will be some family pictures in all of this stuff Steve brought me that I can use at the memorial. My mind just doesn’t want to stop. My friend, Mary, said for me to be sure to rest some. Steve tells me everyday. I’m going to go to bed for just a little while before the sun comes up. Maybe the paperwork will come today.

Stage Two: Anger