Day 15: Find Your Voice…not difficult today

A friend, well a colleague of mine, posted to FB a rather honest look at how the most recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy made her really sad. She continued to say that she knew in the big pic of life that the death of “McDreamy” was not a big deal. I had a lot of compassion for her. I had lost a character named “Sweets” on the episode of Bones I was binge watching this week. I cried. A lot. I felt silly to talk about it. Oddly enough reading what she wrote was meaningful. 

Yes, these characters were a part of fiction, but “Sweets” on Bones had become a personality whom I had loved for many years. In the funeral scene for Sweets they used the song, “Put the lime in the coconut…” which they had used in another memorial when a squint from one of the early episodes was killed off on the show in an untimely accident . It was a wonderful tribute, but brought back great emotion. Such great writing. 
Now, my thoughts went to another post on FB for the day. It was from the daughter of a dear family friend. All our kids grew up together. She had posted a sweet memory as a birthday memorial about her youngest brother. He died in an abrupt car accident a few years ago. There are no words to describe the loss. One day he’s here and the next he is not.
Now the emotions of the day  from the TV loss seemed small next to this, and I cried again. I do think loss is when something real or perceived is no longer in the present. 
We get use to having people around in real life. The bar-b-que sauce and ketchup they eat are real and we miss them. We really do.

And I have to say the fictional TV characters are missed too. It is a loss. My mind will return to the sound of their voices on days like this. I keep these thoughts on the “down low “, but that’s how it is.



Day 14 To whom it may concern: a passage

“noun 1. a portion or section of a written work; a paragraph, verse, etc.: a passage of Scripture. 2. a phrase or other division of a musical work. 3. Fine Arts. an …”

According to the dictionary this concerns movement. Moving the mind through written words, symbols or music. Whether we move to a thought or expression, directions, instruction, concoctions, or places that we visit, the word passage suggests moving from something to something else. That is life. The only truth is there will be flow or movement or change. Will it come through a passage? A paragraph, a scripture, a piece of music? A portrait? A verse? It’s a mystery which invites us. Will we allow the passage to lead us? To move us? Will it create desire or fall on stale rigid hearts? Even then I’ve seen it change a life ever so slowly. It is not our outcome to predict. It is not our agenda to complete. It is only that we notice or show up. Stay in the place and breathe the breath of life. Allow it to present itself. We will be moved.

Day 13: What I found

Litterally, what I found was a necklace. I have lost earrings, and lost friends and lost loved ones , but today I stepped through the bathroom door and there it was on the floor. The peace necklace I lost two weeks ago. It had not been there before I entered the bathroom. It had nt been there a week ago when I vacuumed. 

It was there when I stepped out of the bathroom into the hallway. On. The. Floor. I said,

 “Thank you Angels!”

Day 12: dark clouds…I heard today…

We have all at some point told what we have heard or over heard or overheard thrice removed, but today I really did hear that girls in Africa who are sent dresses with a tag of some kind saying “Made in America”, are not as likely to be trafficked into sex slavery or treated wrongly. It was reported that each girl would be considered as having someone watching over them. Now, it could be true, but it could be a hopeful wish on the part of the “do-gooders” to make themselves feel better about their dress making project. How could that be measured anyway? Are we snobs to think that all people would want US made items? That the US protection reaches all places of turmoil and places a protective hedge around the little girls so they can be grateful to us is a bit much. 

Would we follow the dresses and interview the recipients, or put tracking devises in each tag? I am all for helping our fellow man, but not so we can manipulate the outcome. So if buying pillow cases and adding decorative ribbon to make dresses for small girls in Africa makes one feel good and helps the little girls, then it is a worthy project. But if the people who receive the gift decide to stitch them up and reuse them as pillow cases then our gift will still be just that…a gift from the heart cheerfully given so that the receiver can determine how it best can be utilized and the giver will benefit from the generous space from which giving pours forth.

I don’t think the people sending dresses or food often think or know totally what the ramifications are of the actions. But it is a cause and effect type situation. The U.S. tags could also put a target on the girls in some districts. If I were to have said that to the people who were trying to do a good deed, it would not have been very well received.  But I wonder if my forward thinking and speaking up on the little ones behalf would have saved a life. We want to relieve poverty and so we send nice things, but if we speed up their death is it really us relieving them of the struggle or is it just that?

Day Eleven: Size Matters…the House Granddad Built 

The year I turned 12 my Grandad came to town and built a house for us. We were crammed in a two bedroom/one bathroom white framed house. My bedroom was off to the side of the back porch. There were 8 of us including my grandad living there. 

My dad was a welder and we had, up to that time, moved 42 times following oilfield pipelines. I knew nothing of personal space. I had shared everything, clothes, beds, pallets, brushes, food, shoes, toys of which I don’t remember having many. It was a transient life. My built-in friends were my siblings. 
When my dad found an oilfield hub in central Oklahoma in which to put down roots I didn’t know how to make friends or why I would want friends. I didn’t know what kind of independence having my own room would allow me. Money was rolling in due to the boom. Grandad came and built a beautiful brick home on 4th street right across from our own church building.  It felt so big. Four bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a formal living area, and beautiful kitchen with a connected garage. We were amazed at the size. 

Now, looking back that house was small too, which tells you of the extreme tight space in which we had lived up until then. I remember having lived in hotel rooms, sleeping in an enclosed porch at my Granny’s house, tiny houses and moving all our family of seven’s belongings in a station wagon and a small trailer. 
There are many memories from the new house, I grew up there.  I experienced my last whoopin’! Went on my first date from there. Started to high school, and came of age. It was a whirlwind of growth. 

Maybe, the year turning twelve is pivotal for the masses. I don’t want to return to those days of cleaning the kitchen over and over and over, but I’ll forever be grateful for the room to myself. I will remember reading by flashlight until the wee hours of the morning. It was a place where  I was offered a taste of independence and self awareness. It was the first place I felt beautiful and recognized beauty. It was the house my Grandad built.

Day Ten: Happy Meal at Granny’s 

Oh man! I can smell them now! Home made buttermilk biscuits! Gravy, eggs, bacon or fatback and ham, sausage and streaks! Anyone else out there ever heard of  this brown liquid made from pork fat, a tad of coffee, and God only knows what else? It was heaven and I loved it so. 

My Granny was the best cook. No one came close in the breakfast department. She loved me and that made it the best! She would keep track of how many biscuits each person ate, and then announce who ate the most and the amount. This was done in case someone wanted to outdo the champ for the day. It was a most coveted title. Even at the expense of having a belly ache later.

She’s been gone now for some time. With her passing so does the tradition of streaks on gravy, C-O-K-E’s after naps, chocolate pie from jello pudding,  peppermints in church, chopped up fresh strawberries and crust with cream on top ! My mom carried on the peppermints in church, and the “good scald” on the biscuits! My Aunt still makes crust and puts up strawberries. But no one to this day carves up an empty milk jug to scrape the scraps from our plates into like she did. 

Ask anyone! Juber Odell was her name! She taught me to like the simple things in life such as Lawerence Welk and Jergens hand lotion. And to purchase make up from the local Avon lady because she’s a church friend who needs the money due to her husband being a closet drunk. 

She gave to everyone, volunteered and worked for under minimum wage at the local hospital as a nurses aid. She never took except for the hugs and kisses of her grandkids. She kept things simple. 

So I know the assignment was to describe our favorite food and I did, but it can’t be my favorite unless I talked about why and to whom the love for biscuits and gravy are connected! Granny was her name. Eating at her house was in the literal sense a “Happy Meal.”


Day 9: Point of view

Today I turned 89 so I had my grandson, Harry, walk me to the park to knit for a while. It was a beautiful day! My project was to finish the little red sweater I had started for the neighbors nephew who was turning two tomorrow. I wanted to have it ready to give to him at his birthday party. It would be a block party. We’ve all been neighbors for years. Oh my! I’m so thankful for the warmth of the sunshine today. It allows my hands to work at a quick pace. No pain today. There’s so much light. I am drawn to it today. Colors are brighter. Sounds are clearer. Is that singing I hear?  Goodness gracious child, it can’t get any better than this. Harry will be back in a bit, but I can’t wait. Its such a great day. It’s the brightest most beautiful light shinning through the trees and across the lawn! Oh how it sparkles!

Harry told me he’d be outside the shop to pick me up at 10 this morning. He said he’d be prompt and to be ready. He’d been waiting for a warm spell so he could have me meet his grandma! I like old people! He had told me of the special tradition they had of him escorting her to the park so she could knit. Harry would then walk to the corner kiosk to pick up pastries and coffee. Today, he walked the extra block to pick me up from my jewelry shop. My sis and I are joint owners, and today she shooed me out the door to go meet Grandma! I’m wearing my red shawl. Harry said it was her favorite color. It matches my hair. He said grandma once had red highlights to her hair too. Or that’s what he saw in the pictures he’d been shown. I hope she likes me.

That did not take long! There she is. Ready for our outing. I’ve not been this excited for grandma to meet one of my lady friends for some time. Today it’s happening! Tess looks fantastic. Off we go. One more stop on our way a block from here for the coffee and pastries. I have to purchase her special birthday pastry. Grandma loves the cherry cream filled tarts! 

I point grandma out across the lawn with her back to us on the wrought iron and pine park bench. We could make out her red sun visor and the red throw she had draped across her shoulders. The light today was grand. Shining through the trees and shimmering off the new green blades of grass. There seemed to be a special halo of light shining around grandma too. What a heart warming sight. I juggled the snacks with one hand and took Tess’  hand and smiled down at her as we quickened our pace across the grass so my two most favorite ladies could meet. We laughed as we made haste, because the coffee tray bobbled just a bit. 

Wow! So much light! It was radiant on the walking path to the park bench. Warmth was everywhere! I whistled as I always had to allow grandma time to reach a stopping point. She didn’t like to be rushed or not given some warning. She always looked up and gave me her flapping hand wave and grandma grin. But, she did not look up. One knitting needle was on the ground. Did she doze off? Tess took the snacks I handed her. I knelt down to gently take grandmas hand and retrieve the stray needle. Grandma gave a heavy sigh. And I knew. 

All the light was for her. And for me. To know I was here, to support her, to witness her passing. She had waited until I took her hand. I pressed her head against my chest as tears dropped down my cheeks. She was not here now, and in that instant the sunlight grew brighter.