Sunday, May 31, 2009

Night's Fantasies, Morning's Realties

This morning I awoke with a million thoughts. I'd spent those moments before waking in a lovely dream of many relatives who are now moved on to the next life. In the dream, I was surrounded by mountains of photographs of the times we spent during our lives. There were pictures of me as an infant and growing up that I'd never seen before. There was a photo which was a number of good sized stones, placed in the formation of a heart with an arrow running through it. I was told by my aunt, in my dream, that it was my father who had placed the rocks, as a romantic gesture for my mother.

Awaking, I realized that I'd never seen any of the photos in my dream because they didn't exist in reality. Even the story of my father's creative endeavor wasn't true. But my mind was set in motion, and I began to think of the things my father had done to show his love for his wife and others.

I don't honestly remember Daddy being much of a romantic, though it was a fact that he was a loving husband, father and man. We all take it for granted that a man will work to provide for his family, but is that not a true act of love? We expect it, of course, but the man has a will of his own to reject that responsibility. My father did not do that. He worked full time, came home for supper, and then went out to work a part-time job as well. There was not necessarily a need for him to work more than his 40 hour a week job, but he and my mother were not living in the moment. They looked ahead and planned for it. Because Dad had provided the way he did, and because they were good stewards of what they had, they were able to build a small house which would provide a rental income. One thing built on another, and over the years, they owned a few small houses which made the nest egg grow. When my father passed away at the early age of 61 years old, my mother had no financial worries. They'd lived simply and never beyond their means. There was no debt, but there remained a steady income.

I think it is a wonderful thing when a man shows his love in such a way that is often over-looked. I enjoy it,too, when those little romantic gestures that we so often don't expect, come along. One of my favorite remembrances is a Christmas when Dad presented Mom with a simple but very special gift. It was a small, wooden 'puff' heart which he had whittled from a bit of wood in his basement shop. She proudly wears it quite often, and I'm always so pleased to see it. I think of him with his tools, standing at his workbench, forming a symbol of his love for my mother. What makes it even more special is that the first one he was making was somehow lost, and he had to work faster to get the second effort finished by Christmas! I covet that heart, and am certain it will be mine one day, but for now, I am happy to see it lying close to my mother's own heart.

There was many a heart-shaped box, covered with lace and bows or flowers, for my mother on Valentine's Day. There were love letters when my parents were apart for a short time due to a job decision. There were beautiful garments given as birthday and Christmas gifts. But, what I've come to know in all these years I've experienced, it isn't anything material that matters. It is truly the thought behind the giving. Anyone can give a gift out of obligation, but it is the giving of self that is the real show of love. Daddy did that, every single day that I knew him, and even beyond that. My mother, at the age of 83, still lives a simple, yet comfortable life, with want of nothing, because of his fore-thought and his love. There's nothing better than that.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Chicken Heart

Ok, I'll admit it. I'm a yellow-bellied chicken heart. Well, not always, but most of the time when I see the lightening and hear the thunder booming, I cringe and want to hide under the bed.

Last night I was out at a friend's house a few miles from here. We were sitting in a cement block building on their farm where a group of bluegrass pickers meets every Thursday night. Suddenly, the music was being drowned out by the sound of thunder and a light show accompanied the drum rolls in the sky. Every now and then we'd hear static in the microphones. I thought it might be wise to turn off the electrical equipment, but I didn't say a word. The guys just went on playing, while I shuddered every time Nature showed the musicians some competition.

The small crowd began to leave, one by one, around nine o'clock....three hours earlier than most nights. Word came by cell phone that a bad string of thunderstorms was heading our way. I didn't know whether to stick it out or to drive myself home, directly into the path of the storm.
Finally I decided to make my way across the six or seven miles to my house. I turned the radio on full blast and sang loudly, praying at the same time, while the skies opened up in torrents.

I don't know what it is that scares me so much about the noise and lightening. I try to comfort myself with fantasy stories, such as those that we used with the children when they were little. "The angels are bowling" or " the furniture's being rearranged in Heaven." I'm too old for that scam to work! I speak rationally, telling myself it's just the collision of hot air and cold air that makes all that racket and there's nothing to be afraid of. I count between the lightening and the thunder claps so that I can convince myself that there are many miles between me and the storm, even though it might appear to be right over my head. I pray. Nothing seems to work to alleviate my worries.

Some of this fear might be because at one time, while on vacation in New Hampshire, I was nearly struck by lightening while walking up the road from a river. With no warning, I felt the hair on the back of my neck and on my arms stand up, and then I heard the distinct sound of electricity shooting through the air. As it hit the telephone pole very near where I was walking,
I hit the ground and covered my head. I'm sure I looked stupid, but fortunately, the only one who saw me was my husband, and he was amazed by the streak of lightening that threaded it's way directly to the top of that pole.

I do have a healthy respect for the power God holds in His hand, and for the workings of Nature.
Thus far I have survived it, and all things considered, I probably will continue to. I will also continue to try to talk myself out of the fear that grips me when those storms arrive, but, please, don't even mention a tornado sighting! You'll find me cowering in the bathroom, praying fiercely for mercy and protection. My husband says he wants to build a bunker...similar to the old underground things some built in the 1950's and 60's to protect themselves from nuclear radiation. I guess he has his own fears.

There are actually times when I feel very brave, realizing that there's really not one thing I can do if Nature's out to get me. I feel a peace in that thought at this moment....but of course that is very easy to do today, while the sun is shining and the birds are singing. For this moment, I'll feel courageous, and if a storm arises, I'll attempt to put that bravery into action. But, like Scarlett O'Hara, I won't think about that today. I'll think about that tomorrow.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Front Porch

When one of my girls was a teenager, she and a friend's daughter would tease my friend and me about the days when we were their ages. Their favorite comment was that she and I spent our time sitting on the porch, sipping lemonade. None of that was true, but what they were saying, without saying it, was that we were old and old-fashioned. My family didn't have a porch on our house. My friend's family did, but I don't think we spent even one moment sitting on it.

Now, we have a lovely front porch. We enjoy sitting out there with our morning coffee. Beneath the roof that shelters us from the sun, we might be found wiling the hours away in conversation. We watch the weather, we remark at the skies, we listen to the thunder, and we enjoy the sound of the rain. In the evenings, we relish the cool breeze and the viewing of the twinkling stars. While the neighbors come and go, we stay put, and we wave to the strangers who drive down our street, circling at the cul de sac where we're located. One of our neighbors is said to have bought the house two doors away because we waved when they came to view the home!

When we first moved here and the subdivision was new, neighbors would stop by and sit with us on the front porch, each of us learning about each other. That has slowed down a bit these days, as everyone knows everyone else now, and we're all sort of settled in. We do have visitors often, however, and we spend time on the porch, talking with each guest about world and local events, church, or whatever topic happens to come up. There is a group of men who will often gather at our porch when Mike goes out with his coffee. I've nicknamed them 'the Man Clan'. Sometimes they stay a short time, sometimes a good while, sharing the military stories or the latest political happening.

There is little to say except positive things about a front porch. However, if the weather is muggy, the gnats and flies appear. That is an unpleasantry, for certain. One other thing that some might consider a detriment is the gathering of folks who stay a bit too long, keeping us from accomplishing one of those items on the 'honey do list.' On the other hand, we think it's wonderful that people come to share our day with us and that they are as comfortable on our porch as we are. Unless we have an appointment that must be met, we don't worry much about how long they stay. We enjoy their visits.

It may have been an old-fashioned idea to my daughter once, to sit on a porch and chat with a friend over a cool glass of lemonade or iced tea, but I've noticed that she has grown up to appreciate the porch as much as we do. There is hope that our younger generations will come to know the pleasures of such wonderful old-time things!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


It seems to me that names must be very important to people. Expectant parents spend many hours, sometimes months, pouring over lists of names and their meanings, in hopes of finding the perfect name for their child. Of course, when the child has been born, and the name is given, the meaning has no importance to anyone, outside of the person who chose the moniker for the babe. In Biblical times, parents gave names according to personality traits they wanted for their child to develop or to honor the Lord, in some way. Hannah, who wanted a son, named her baby, Samuel, which means 'asked of God'. The name of the first man, "Adam", means 'man'.

Sometimes I've wondered if these little people grow to 'live up to' the meanings of their names. When I look at the way my children have developed, the definitions given to their names seem to have become a part of their lives. For example, my youngest was given the name Megan Beth.

Megan comes from the Welsh, meaning 'strong' and Beth is Hebrew, meaning 'house of' Meg's full name means 'house of strength.' Not that I put any store in astrology, but she is also born under the sign of the bull, a Taurus. Megan was a strong-willed child, and as a head-strong teen, was a bit of a challenge for me. As an adult, she is a strong woman, intelligent and
tackles her life head-on, with little diversion from her task. She is, indeed, a house of strength.

Amy, means 'beloved'. She is that, to most who meet her. She is well loved in the family, and seems to make friends easily and be accepted. She is thought of well by her employers and looked upon as friendly and outgoing. She is a giver, governed by her heart, so I'd say that she is beloved and loving too.

My grand-daughter has an unusual name, Selah. The word is a musical term meaning 'pause' or 'meditate on this'. This not -quite-six year old was an infant who seemed to be gazing into unseen worlds, examining everything she saw, and still is a very serious child. She mulls over everything and must have a valid reason for all things. She contemplates every word, and if it doesn't make sense to her, she must question it. Her father says she will be a lawyer.

These examples are just three of many, many instances I've seen where babies seem to grow into the meaning of their names, given before they have a chance to determine what behaviors and personality traits they will adopt. I would want to say to every parent, 'choose wisely the name you bestow upon your child'. It is unclear whether a name really can help or hinder a child to develop good ways of living, but personally, I wouldn't want to take a chance!

Hope Chest

Who remembers the term "hope chest" these days? We of the middle age and older generations do, but somewhere along the passing of time, I believe the idea has gone by way of the dowery.

When I was a teenager in the 1960's, my mother and aunts began giving me household items for my 'hope chest.' I didn't really have a chest, per se. in which to store these things, though I'm sure some girls did. The contents of a hope chest were to prepare the young woman for an eventual home of her own. Gifts would come for my 'despair barrel' as one of my aunts deemed it, and would be stored in my closet for the 'someday' when I'd need it.

I like the custom, though, I'm not sure I did at the time. I always had the idea that I'd be a wife and eventually a mother, but at the age of fifteen and sixteen, I thought I had plenty of time, and household items were not particularly exciting. However, when at the (too young) age of nineteen, I married a high school boyfriend, those towels and dishes, sheets, etc. came in handy.

When my daughters were teenagers, I gave each of them a cedar chest. There were gifts, here and there, of articles that they could save for their future homes, but things had changed by that time. Kids were more interested in 'registering' for the specific small appliances or dishware or linens. Registering is common practice today, but it irks me. When a gal gets engaged and sets a date, she runs to her favorite department store and picks out everything she'd like to receive, and then lets all the gift buyers know where they can choose one of those items to bestow upon her and her intended. I suppose, for some, this makes it convenient because one doesn't have to think much about what the gift will be. They need only to decide what they want to spend and pick something from the list which lines up with their budget. It also is insurance that the bride will like and use your gift, since she's picked it herself.

I've never been ''registered'' for gifts, nor have I purchased anything from a registry list. I like the challenge of shopping for useful gifts that I think would suit the one receiving it. I might sneak a peek at a list, just to see what a bride's china pattern is, or to get an idea of her color preferences, but the gift is all my own idea.

Some of the old ways still charm me more than today's practices. I think I'm getting old, and I know I'm old-fashioned. I can think of a hope chest full of ancient traditions that I'd trade for methods of this day and age. Life moves on, times change, but sometimes I wish things could be a little more like they were in the days when I was young.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Memorial Day weekend is here again. It hardly seems possible! In East Hampton, it signals the start of the summer season, but these days, the tourists and second home owners come earlier and stay later. No longer is it a three-month season in the sea-side resort town.

When I think back on the holiday weekend from earlier years, I do, indeed, find many of them memorable. When I was a youngster, early in the morning on Memorial Day, I would hear the 21 gun salutes at the near-by cemetary. I donned my Girl Scout uniform and headed for the flagpole near the library and Town Pond. I'd join my troop for the long, often warm, trek to the windmill on the north end of the Village. It was something I looked forward to and was proud to do.

In later years, as a parent, I watched my young ones march the same route, wearing their various assortment of uniforms...Brownies, Girl Scouts, Cub and Boy Scouts, Civil Air Patrol, EHHS marching band, Little League. Whatever the uniform, Mom was there to deliver the kids and to stand proudly, beaming at the children. We always stood, afterward, at Hook Mill for the ceremonies honoring our men lost in wars. We listened to our local public officials, and we applauded the students who were presented with scholarship awards. It was all a part of the day, as was the annual cook-out our family attended at one or another home.

Two Memorial Day events stand out in my mind. One was when I was a young mother, expecting my second child. The phone rang in our kitchen that morning, and my own mother's voice said, " I have bad news." (I recognized that phrase as my mother's coming announcement that someone had passed away.) She continued to say that my Grandmother had died that morning.

Years later, another family died on Memorial Day. In fact, he died in a way that would probably have been chosen by him, had he had a choice. Uncle Bob was a veteran of the US Navy and an active member of the Navy Reserves. Having reached the rank of Chief Petty Officer, his uniform bore an arm-full of stripes and his chest was decorated with many colorful ribbons. He'd served in five wars. He loved his uniform and was proud to wear it in patriotic service for his country. That May morning, Uncle Bob carefully put on each item of clothing, being sure to line up his shirt buttons with his belt buckle, as is the military way. He 'reported for duty' for the last time, to the flagpole. He began marching in step with the drumbeat, accompanied by other men and women of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He marched almost half the way to the Mill, when the flag he carried began to droop toward the ground. Someone stepped up to take the flag as Uncle Bob collapsed to the ground. He'd served his country well, and finished his earthly work wearing his Navy uniform.

A Memorial Day indeed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

By the Sea...

I need a fix. I need to visit the seaside. I've often said that I have salt-water in my veins, instead of blood, as my ancestors were men who worked on the water in some capacity. The early family were whalers. Later men in the families were members of the Life Saving Service, and then, the US Coast Guard. Some were manhaden fishermen, and one was the Captain of a steam ferry. Although I love my new surroundings in the foothills of the Appalachians, one thing is missing....the ocean.

One of my favorite pastimes when I lived in East Hampton was to walk on the beaches. When I was a teenager, and April signaled that Spring had arrived, my friends and I would head to Main Beach where we'd spend countless hours sifting the soft white sand through our fingers as we discussed the most earth shattering news in our lives. Sometimes we'd meander near the edge of the water, toward the rock jetty, where we'd sit and enjoy the sun.

In later years, when it seemed the world was caving in on me, the ocean beach was my place of refuge. I'd find a quiet place, far from others who might be there, and plunk myself on a beach towel, lie back, and contemplate my current situation. The rhythmic, soft slap of the waves on the shore was comforting. No matter what storm raged in my heart or mind when I'd arrived, I always left with a peace and, sometimes, more clarity.

There were times when walking the sands that I'd feel that a great enlightenment had fallen upon if I'd actually heard the voice of God speaking. One particular day, I had gone to the beach, overwhelmed and confused about what was happening in my life. I remember silently saying, "wow...there are so many grains of sand that make up this shore." I 'almost' heard God say, "Yes, and if everyone of them was one of your problems, I would know each of them and every detail of every one of them." Now, that opened my eyes!

I feel no particular need of comfort as I write this, but I do feel a bit homesick for the shore. When we make our way north to East Hampton in August, the beach is the first place I'll visit. I want to look out over it's vastness, to watch the gulls soar and dive. I want to smell the salt air, and to pick up the briney foam from the edge of the water. I want to hear the waves crash and watch the sands chase the water back to the sea. I'll walk until I'm tired of walking. Perhaps I'll get up very early one morning and watch the sun rise over the jetty.

I will fill my memory bank with the sights and sounds and smells, for who knows how long it will be before I will have a taste of the East Hampton beaches again?

Sunday, May 17, 2009


When I read her blog this morning, she'd written of the fog that surrounded her home yesterday. It's my turn, as when the day turned light, I could see from my windows that the world was shrouded in a film of gray.
I've always loved the fog. There's an air of mystery about it. I may be perfectly clear in my mind about what it covers, knowing that behind the veil there stands a tree, or our neighbor's home, or some other object of familiarity. However, when I look out and there is a wall of fog between myself and the object, I feel isolated in some way.

I remember the walks I used to take beside the sea in East Hampton. Wrapped in the thick, wet, morning fog that rolled in off the ocean, I'd make my way to the jetty. The air was heavy with the smell of salt and the surf would pound against the sand. My footprints were erased with every wave, and it was almost as if no one would ever know I was there. I felt solitude in my silver, misty cloak. It was complete serenity.

In Maine some years ago, my husband and I sat on the craggy cliff in the early dawn hours. We could not see the ocean, but we could hear it slapping hard against the boulders below. We felt the spray as we sat in the cacoon of fog. The mournful sound of the foghorn warned the boats of the ragged walls at the edge of the sea. The beam from the towering lighthouse attempted to penetrate the air, another warning to those in boats somewhere.

The fog can be a dangerous thing. I don't care to drive in it and would love it far less if I was on the water, or in an airplane, when it chose to make its appearance. It's weather that comes when it will, when conditions are right. So long as I'm in a safe environment, I'll not worry of the danger, but will lose myself in the thoughts of its mysteries and romance. Let the curtains of gray fall and envelop me with its peace and solitude.

Do What You Love

There is currently a theory that if you do what you love, what you're good at, you will succeed in business. I'm not sure that would work for me....but it doesn't really matter, because I'm not looking for a business.

For years people have been telling me that I could make 'good money' if I would sell my crafts. They've said the same thing about my articles and poetry, encouraging me to put them together in a book and sell them or to write greeting card slogans. Do you know what? I don't want to do that!

I keep thinking that I'd begin to hate the crafting, the card making, the writing, and that the creative juices would stop, if I had to do it. I do what I do, when I do, for the pleasure of it. I do it for the presenting of some part of me as a gift. If someone else along the way appreciates it, that's all well and good, but to get so busy creating for profit doesn't give me a thrill. I don't care to think of the record keeping, bookwork and legalities that go with a having business of your own. I've spent too many years chained to a desk working for someone else and I don't care to put the shackles back on even if I'd be the boss. Perhaps I'm too independent. I like governing my own time and talents, without the discipline it would take to make money at all this.

Yes, maybe someone else could be a successful business person by doing what they love. As for me, I'll do what I love and enjoy the feeling of success I have when I see the delight in a child's face, or a new mother's glow when I've given her a handmade gift. I'll be happy enough knowing that one of my cards has encouraged someone or brightened their day just a little. I'll leave the money-making to someone who's not satisfied with his or her life as it is. Besides, I'm better at spending money than making it!

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Sad Life

He never owned a home of his own, but at one time he had a bed in a place he called home. He was a youngster then. As he grew up, I saw him, I attended classes with him, but I didn't know him. Perhaps I thought I was 'better' than he was. Perhaps because he didn't approach me, I didn't bother with him either in my youth and shy ways. I'm not sure he cared whether we spoke or not, and I didn't either, but, somehow, these days a thought of him arises now and then.

For years after he left school, he'd wander the streets, sometimes begging for a few bits of change. The only work I'd ever known him to do was the collecting of bottles that he'd turn in at the redemption center for the five cent deposit. Sadly, there were times when he'd be found by the police, sleeping or passed out, in the middle of the road. The officers would chase him off, or escort him to a safer place. There were a few occasions, when I worked in the village where he lived with others whose lifestyles were similar, I would see him sleeping in a doorway. My heart always sunk at such times. It seemed to me that he lived such a sad life.

Was this a way of life he followed because it was what he'd come from? Was it because, genetically, he was predisposed to a life of inebriation and poverty? Was it discouragement that put him there and kept him there? What was it that didn't allow him to rise above that way of living? I have no idea of his family life as a child. There's no knowledge in me to say why he lived the way he did. I want not to believe it was his choice. I don't want to think that he was a sluggard with no incentive to work or to try harder to escape the trap he seemed to be in.

There is no way for me to know how a little boy grew up to be such a man. It hurts me to think that the fact is, there are many in every city, who live much the same way. Does anyone see them? Do we walk by and carry on, as if these lost souls don't even exist? There they are, rummaging through garbage cans for something to eat. There they are, sleeping off a bottle, in the doorways or on the sidewalk grate. There they are, pushing their belongings along the street, on the way to their next temporary bed. Will they live this way until they leave this earth?

My schoolmate did. He will never have a chance to make another choice or work toward a better life. His circumstances were the same for him, day in and day out, until the hit and run driver ended his life. What he might have been will never be known. Such a sad life....such a sad ending.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tra La, It's May! The Merry Month of May...

I found myself humming that song from Camelot last night. It was an incredibly lovely evening. The air was a bit cooler and heavier than usual, with the promise of rain. The fragrance of the honeysuckle was heavy and heavenly! Mom and I had a short visit while I waited for our dinner to finish cooking, and we remarked again and again about the aroma of the sweet vine. I could have stayed on the porch all night to breathe it in.

There's no telling what the month of May will bring to us in the upstate of SC. Last year the weather was down-right hot, much more so than that of the following month. It was also dangerously dry at that time. This year it's been very pleasant temperatures with a lot of rain.

The grass is green again. The flowers in the garden are loving all the water. The Asian Lilies are popping open to join the yellow, white and blue Siberian Irises, the Mexican Sage, the Roses, and a bouquet of other blooms. It's quite colorful, and very rewarding, to see our work come together in such a spectacular array. It's also a great blessing not to have to use our street water and run up the water bill in order to keep things alive!
May is most definitely alive. The ladybugs are in abundance, the butterflies are back, the birds are enjoying the birdbaths and houses, even the humming birds have been visiting! The air is full of fragrance and song. Very soon the sound of happy children being released from school for the summer will join the sounds of nature. The vegetable gardens are planted and thriving, and oh! the strawberries are ripe for the picking!

What a wonderful month is May! It is the time of transition...from cool to warm, from bare to blossom. Tra la, it's May...the merry month of May!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Old Hometown

She often writes of the days of yore, when our hometown was a different place. It was a slower, simpler day, and her writing sparks memories and tugs at my heartstrings.

She wrote this morning of the farm fields which were in and around our town. There were expansive acres of potatoes, dotted with bent over migrants who worked the farms. These people would make a trek each season, from the southern states, to work until after the harvesting. I would often see these strangers, their black skin and clothing covered with rich, brown soil. They would pass my grandmother's house, wearing stocking caps or ragged turban-type coverings to protect their hair from the dirt. They frightened me, but never so much as spoke to me. I guess it was the fact that they were not familiar to me, like most everyone else in town was.

While on the job, they would live together in group housing, places that were usually not much more than shanties or shacks located somewhere near the farms. I would imagine that living conditions in such places were not very good. Too many people in too small an area can cause difficulties and frayed nerves. At times we'd hear or read of some disturbance at one of the 'migrant camps' and police would be called to settle the matter in a lawful way.

Old tractors were seen putting along the Montauk Highway, slowing the cars traveling east to west. Somehow, it never seemed to bother the drivers of the automobiles behind the farm equipment. It was a way of life and people were tolerant of those who were making a living by working the land. We learned quickly, as young girls helping with household chores, that 'potato dust' made its way to window sills inside house and it had to be removed nearly day during the farming season.

These days, the farms are all but gone. Most have been sold to developers and the fields have grown up with large, unbelievably expensive, houses. There is no need for migrant camps as the migrant workers no longer make their way north for potato planting and harvesting. Tractors on the highway are rare. Patience of drivers on the road is also rare, and slow-moving equipment would not be looked upon kindly. Everyone is in such a hurry to get wherever they are going.

I am sorry to say that things are not the same in the old hometown. The landscape has changed, the people have changed, the attitudes have been altered. It is all too obvious. I'd rather slip back in time and remember how things used to be, when life was as simple, when traffic was slower, and when the potato dust rode a Spring breeze.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

For Mom on Mother's Day

I know I wasn't an easy child,

I had a stubborn streak, that's true.

I must have been quite a challenge

But it was a job you were called to do.

He could have put me anywhere.

He could have given me another.

But thankfully, God knows all things

And knew I needed you for my Mother.

A loving woman with a gentle hand

And all the right words to say,

The one who'd teach me right from wrong

As I traveled along life's way.

When God puts things together

He knows just what to do.

He never makes a single mistake

And He knew....I needed you!

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

I love you!

KBW 5-10-2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

In the Garden

Someone once wrote, 'One is nearer to God in a garden than anywhere else on Earth.' I agree, as do most other gardeners.

I took a walk among the blossoms

In this morning's early light.

I marveled at the sweetness

Of every thing within my sight.

I wandered o'er the muddy path

Examining each bloom.

And I thought how bright the colors were

In every garden room.

I heard each special birdsong

As the winged creatures took to air.

I felt the blessings fall on me

As I whispered praise while walking there.

I bent to catch the fragrance

Of the rose, still damp with dew

And I thought I heard God whisper

"I made this all for you."

(copyright) KBW

May 9, 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009

Never say "Never"

My mom always says, "Never say 'never' ", and by this time, you would think I would have learned to listen. Somehow it seems that the wisdom in that little phrase has escaped me.

Thinking back, I can remember a number of specific times when I said "I'll never..." followed by some act or idea I deemed impossible for me to ever even think of doing. As a rebellious child, I said, "I'll never tell my kids 'because I said so, that's why.' " "I'll never leave East Hampton" I said once. "I'll never own a computer. They put people out of work" I declared in my ignorance.
"I'll never move to the South. EVER! I don't even want to visit ." "I'll never get to retire."

Guess what? I did say 'because I said so'. It just came tumbling out of my mouth one day while in the middle of one of those 'why/why not' sessions that kids always want to have when parents are at their most weary. I guess they think we're in a weakend condition, and if they strike then, we'll give in. I didn't, but the dreaded words were said.

I did leave my beloved home-town, too. When it became unbearable for us to stay, and after years of deliberation, we packed up and moved away, saying we'd never go back. (there's that word again!) And...guess where we ended up? Oddly enough, we're in the South. We're also retired! Ironically, we probably would not have been able to retire had we stayed in East Hampton, so much good has come of a few occurances I'd never dreamed of.

Not only did I get a computer, I am now using the fourth one I've owned. I believe they've opened up an entire world to me, and to other users of them, and I can't imagine why anyone would not want to use one. As for my silly statement about them taking jobs from people, I recant. In fact, I'm sure that many people have jobs because of the popularity of computers.

Now, I hope I have learned to listen to my mother, after all this. I hope I'll never say 'never' again, but I wouldn't count on it. I'm never good at keeping resolutions.

A Career for Me?

When I grow up I think I'll be a crime scene investigator. Well, maybe not out on the street doing the photographing and marking of evidence, but one who thinks about all the clues and parts of the crime, and puts them together to solve the case. I'm getting pretty good at it, after watching CSI, NCIS, True Detectives, and the many other dramatizations, as well as true life, TV shows.

Of course, I think it's probably easier for me to solve these cases from my couch than it would be if I was working in the field. After all, I'm seeing the entire case unfold before my eyes in one hour, when everything is fresh in my mind, rather than plowing through mountains of photographs and reports and testimonies over months of time.

Seriously, though, I like mysteries and trying to solve them. I'm not big on blood and gore and violence, but it goes with the territory, I suppose. I like investigation. My favorite books and movies revolve around mystery, and the more twists and turns they take, the better I like it.

I wouldn't mind sitting on a jury, but I'd want to be sure that the investigators had the proper facts, as I'd never want to cause someone to be punished unjustly.

Maybe, instead, I should look into medical investigation. I like to put the symptoms together and figure out what's causing them. Years ago when I worked for a chiropractor, he showed me xrays of patients and explained what I was looking at. That fascinated me, and it still does. I am never thrilled to have that sort of test, but when I must, I try to watch the screens of the ultrasound or the echo cardiograms to see what the technician sees. I'm awestruck to know that we can see inside the body without surgical procedures.

I might be a little old to be going to school today to pursue any sort of career, at this point. The options are open to me, however, and all I've got to do is make up my mind as to which one I'll focus on. For now, I think it'll be the tv screen.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Recycling Decorator

Decorating is one of my many interests. I scour magazines and books, storing up ideas in my head for the next 'someday' that comes along. When I'm in a fabric store, I must look and feel every fabric, checking price tags for anything that 'speaks' to me. If it whispers loudly enough and is affordable, it makes its way home with me. This can be dangerous, unless there's a project waiting for that perfect textile. If not, it will sit for ages waiting for me to get back to it, and by that time, there's a good chance that my thoughts have moved on in another direction concerning the fabric choice.

I'm a frequent visitor at our local Habitat recycle store. It's the best we have found, so far, in our new environment. When I lived in NY, I had a plethora of 'thrift' and resale shops, though none were particularly inexpensive. Since I tend to be drawn to things that are not new, but rather used and cared for with love by someone before me, I always have liked that sort of shop. My house is full of such items of furniture and other goods. I like the putting together of things and the mixing of woods and pieces that others might not feel 'work' for them. Maybe they don't have the 'cozy' feeling that I get when things 'work' for me. Sometimes they need a little paint or a new gluing or a screw or nail here or there, and sometimes they are just fine as they are.

This morning I spent some time looking at some old country cottage magazines. As I looked at some of the articles and their accompanying photos, I thought..."aw, come on! How many of us
have a bedroom the size of a castle chamber, with 15 ft walls and arched ceilings? " That may be country cottage for a royal figure, but not for those of us who are retired peons with less than a serfs' income. This realistic recycler would love to see more articles and ideas for someone in my realm.

I wish I had access to an architectural recycling place. I'm asking the antique dealers and keeping my eyes open at our local flea market, but thus far, I'm still searching for perfect pieces of gingerbread, finials, etc. to place in our expanding garden and home. They will come, they always do, in one way or another if I wait long enough.

In August, we will be making a visit to our childrens' homes in our former area. You can count on me spending at least one day visiting my old haunts. I'm glad we have the van, for I suspect that there will be a few things returning with me that didn't make the trip North! I'm looking forward to my little shopping spree. It's the thrill of the hunt, you know!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Like two old women, we sat on the front porch. Speaking in quiet tones, we shared our experiences of daughters, mother to mother. Neither of us particularly wise, neither of us particularly ignorant, we were just two women wiling away the warm day and sharing our hearts.

Women seem to have a special bond with one another. Perhaps men do, as well, but not being a man, it seems to me that if they do have such a connection, it is much different than that which women share. We seem to understand one another on so many levels, and relate to experiences as if they've been our own. Being, seemingly, nurturers by nature, we rise to the task of caring for one another. We speak, we listen, we teach, we learn. Sometimes we laugh together, sometimes we share the tears. Sometimes we can be just silent, and in our silence, understand.

She is not my sister, not in the commonly-used terminology. We are not joined by blood, but more than that, I think. We are joined by a common thread of female-ness. Though she and I are very different in so many ways, we are strung together with an inate understanding of one another. We don't need to have been born of the same parents. We each may call the other 'sister'. We are comfortable with that label, as it depicts a relationship that is closer than a friendship.

And so, we sit together, out of the hot sun, and compare our experiences shared with other, younger, females. We offer our understandings of their current behaviors, and our encouragement that they will grow through this time, knowing that we did, ourselves. We share words of support and testimonies of victories in the years of child rearing. We have an ear that hears, a word that soothes, a heart that cares, a hand to hold. We have a sisterhood.