Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013....And That's A Wrap Folks

I wonder when one finally makes it to ninety years old, if you finally know everything. Ninety years of living should be all the time you need. I think as long as we are here on this earth, we should be learning something.  

As I was reminiscing on the year we are leaving behind, I began to think about all the things I learned in 2013; and instead of making a list of resolutions, I decided to make a list of learned realizations.

1.  The successes you have with the struggles you face depend on your mind, attitude and heart being in the right place.

2.  Tragedy doesn't always happen to other people or strangers.

3.  Family is the most important part of your life, but even family can become a disease that you must learn you cannot fix, treat, or cure; simply love from a distance.

4.  You only have one body; take care of it.

5.   Losing a job of 20 plus years can be devastating and change is hard. You have to get over it and move on.

6.  The older you get, the more people there are who will need your prayers.

7.  You are never alone in your troubles; yours may just be the only ones you know about.

8.  No man is too big to fall. Choose your Hero’s closer to home.

9.  All good things do not come to those who wait. But good people will always be better for the effort.

10. My worst decisions or choices do not define me.  I am a good person.

11. Never turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to what your children will or will not do. I have personally watched family's crumble from the realization that their children, really are, like most children. Be there to catch them when they stumble and fall.

12. I've had to call on God and our relationship a lot more than I ever have before. He knows me like no one else; even my shorthand prayers are understood.  

 13. And finally, if I shut my mouth and close my eyes, I can listen with unbiased thoughts. I can learn to completely stop judging by what I see so that I make better decisions based on facts, not prejudice; with my eyes wide open.  

May you be happy with what you have, find whatever it is you're still looking for, and be satisfied either way it turns out. Love everybody you can as much as you know how, in as many ways as you can demonstrate. Apologize when the words out of your mouth are colder and harder than you intended, and back it up with a hug. 

Instead of writing a list of ten things you want to change, pick one, and make it happen. Work on number two next year. The goal is accomplished completion, not predestined disappointment.

Happy New Year to you all and I’ll see you on the other side..the new side....the fresh side...of 2014.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas Beautiful Angel

She was my best friend, confidant, pen pal, book buddy, and one of the funniest women I have ever known. The insight she provided and the lessons she taught were invaluable. Through actions she showed me that it’s important to see the humor in everything that you can, and that you never get too old for silly giggling and out of control, out of breath, laughter.  We exchanged hand written letters all of my teenage life.  I could tell her anything with no fear of reprisals or break of trust. There was a connection between the two of us that has never been duplicated or matched.

Now I share emails with her daughter, my Aunt. We have a connection of our own; the greatest being, the immeasurable love we share for her mother, my grandmother. A week ago I emailed how much my grandmother had been on my mind; and this was her reply: “My Christmas wish, if I could have anything in the world, would be for you and I to have one more day to spend with Mama and tell her all the things that have happened and get a chance to let her know the impact she has had on our lives.  I'm glad to know she lives in your heart as she does in mine.”

Those words have ricocheted around in my head for a couple of days now. What any of us would do to just have that one more chance, one more conversation with a loved one who is gone. If I could have that one wish granted, she would hear all about her great-grandsons; the oldest who is a college graduate, and an accomplished, published writer; and the youngest who has just begun his college career, is full of fun and crazy antics; hunts deer, wild hogs and gigs for bull frogs. 

She would hear about the love of my life, how happy he has made me, and how well he has pulled us all together as one complete family with mine and his own combined. And she would know all the things that I have tried to hand down to my own. Her love of books and the written word, her kind and compassionate heart, her gentle hands and deep understanding; and her infinite love for us all.

From the second I lifted her from the red topped box; the memories flowed. My beautiful Crystal Angel is 29 years old this year, a gift from my Grandmother all those years ago; and she shines so brightly on my Christmas tree every single year.

Realistically, I hope that the most beautiful Angel of all has had a front row cloud and has already seen all of those things herself, and knows how much she is missed. To my MaMa Eloise; my mind is constantly rewinding memories and my heart is always full of love for you; still.  And to all who have their own special Angels, I wish you a very Merry Christmas.  

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Love and Compassion..It's Free Of Charge

He needed help, he had no food. His food stamps had been cancelled. He had been two days without anything to eat, was there someone who could help him, he was home bound. 

She was crying, nowhere to sleep, nothing to eat, no job, no money. That conversation lasted longer, but didn't end as well. More help will be needed, as she tells him she no longer wants to live.

Thursday’s are his days to answer the phone lines. The greetings are always apprehensive; the results almost always prove why.  From one call to the next, he never knows what the conversation will be, but the hope of always being able to help is there.

My oldest son works for AmeriCorps in Birmingham Alabama. More specifically he works for One Roof; which is just one of many divisions that come under the AmeriCorps umbrella. For those who are not familiar, AmeriCorps is our United States version of the Peace Corp. 

The One Roof division is not a shelter or a food bank; but they are responsible for helping to provide/organize funding for all the shelters in their area which would include monies for housing and food. They help organize programs, fill the needs of each shelter, and most importantly to create/build shelters where there are none. The primary goal of the One Roof program is to make sure all who need food and shelter get it. The calls that come in with needs are directed to the closest facility that can help.

However, there are times, when one on one help is needed and that was the case last Thursday. Food was bought for the man who was home bound, and it was taken to him. And the woman, whose life was in desperate need of the right care, was helped as well by medical professionals. 

As I sat in my chair, phone in hand, listening to his end of the conversation, I knew that when he called and asked did I have a minute, because he needed to talk out his day, that it was a vast understatement to say the least.  His words were emotionally crumbling and sad, but more importantly, it was just beginning.

The holiday months are hard for so many people; and that stretches much further and wider than anyone could ever imagine. I myself tend to fall into “funks” as I call them at this time of the year. But last night after receiving that phone call, I knew although my own feelings of temporary sadness were valid, they were not life threatening and certainly not deserving of the hold I let them have over me.

Realizing this is not the happiest column I've ever written, I believe it’s one of the most important. All that are able are obligated to reach out and give someone a reason to smile;  to leave their homes and be among other people; instead of barricading themselves off. Actions speak louder than words or money. Spend some love. It’s free.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Coupons and Combat Boots

Why do people do it? Risk life and limb; sitting in the freezing cold, sometimes pouring rain; waiting. I guess I understand the basic need for it. But I am too old and too slow to survive it anymore. The likes of it can be compared to a stampede of bulls being set loose. Or being in the wrong place at the wrong time when the guy at a Nascar race bellows out “Drivers, START YOUR ENGINES”.

It’s called BLACK FRIDAY for a reason folks. The very thought of leaving my nice, warm home at 2am to stand in some line, somewhere, waiting to charge inside a building that’s having the biggest sales of the century, and shop til I drop, into the next day, absolutely wreaks of danger, and mass destruction.

First of all, I NEED MY SLEEP.  I need at LEAST nine hours to function as a human being. So to think it would be a good idea to let me loose into a frenzy of people with little to not near enough sleep, is like signing someone’s death warrant up front. There are two optimal experiences that will cause me to put my hands around a common stranger’s neck; when I am hungry, or I have not had enough sleep. I lose all sense of reason and ability to think straight. And if you push me or step on my heels I am likely to lose all ability to behave with any manners whatsoever; whether you’re a little old lady with blue hair or not.

My husband and I did most of our Christmas shopping this past Friday; after the weekend of Black Friday. He didn’t want to go; at all. But I explained to him that his suffering would be minor compared to the amount of bail money that might have be required should I be left to survive the day on my own. My husband’s job was to tote all the bags, say yes and no at all the appropriate times, and to not disagree; about anything.

Surprisingly enough, the stores were not very crowded and not once did I even come close to having to “throat chop” anybody. I will say the customer service lacked a little to be desired at some places, but I figured after the weekend all those folks just had; God Bless them all if they were still able to possess walking around sense. Can you imagine working in retail on the morning of Black Friday when they open those doors? Standing on the other side of those windows; us shoppers must resemble packs of rabid animals, snarling, grunting, and growling; ready to devour anyone that gets in our way of saving a dollar. I’ll bet those poor employees have nightmares for days. 

When it’s over and we’re complaining about our aching feet and wore out legs; the story I’d like to hear is the one the employees who make it through it all, tell when THEY get home.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Come As You Are, No Jacket Required

I was already there, thinking about it, planning it, deciding when we would start and what we might do different. Will we do the trees, the bushes, the swing or the fences? Trying to get "the help’s" input, because I obviously can't do it alone. And as much as I despise the reality, I have to have some help; I'm neither strong enough, nor tall enough to do it all alone. 

Much to the chagrin of my family, they are The Help. Their assignment for about two full days, is to do exactly as I ask/tell them to do. They must become Supermen. Fit their bodies into the tightest of places, climb onto lofts; full of items that pertain to a lot more than what they are looking for. Pull on heavy boxes, over the tops of their heads, without, damaging/breaking ANYTHING. And they already know, before we ever begin, they are going to do everything at least twice, before it is done right.

I began to outline the plan about a week ago. I begin all of these types of discussions with..."OK, this is the deal". EVERYONE in my family knows what those words mean, and have come to dread them. They may not necessarily know WHAT the particular deal at hand is going to be, but they know there's a big chance, it's not going to be to their liking. As I began to lay out the plan for how all this should go, I was met with frowns, scowls, and quite frankly, a lot of eye rolling. To which I exclaimed, "What is wrong with you people, this is supposed to be FUN?!" Hence, more scowls and now, not even trying to hide it, eye rolling.

So the decorating ideas are in motion and none of us may be speaking to each other when it’s over.  There will be many times in those two days, one of us will feel the need to break into songs like  'Jesus Loves The Little Children', mostly me, as I try to remember why I HAD children.  Over the years, I have developed an internal intuition of knowing the exact minute I have pushed one of them too far. I can actually time the seconds it takes to lift a heavy object behind my head, and pose to strike.

But it will be done. It will brighten my mood for weeks, and every evening when I come home. It will allow me to smile, cry, and laugh as memories are pulled from boxes and paraded around me, and years of love are brought out and displayed once again. As my eyes see and my hands hold, the beautiful pieces of memories, made by my children’s beautiful little hands.

The holiday season is upon us and the time for giving comes first and the time for remembering how we all got here should be throughout. I love this time of the year and all the memories that come with it. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving To You and Your Family

The bus slows to a stop, the red flags of caution extend, the brakes squeak, and the folding doors slide open. She literally bounces off of the last step, identical pigtails on either side of her head flounce and she begins to skip. Because I am sitting in my vehicle behind the bus, I cannot see her pretty little face, but I know she is smiling; and I watch as she skips all the way to the back of the lot, knees reaching high as if she were in a marching band.

I was a single parent to my two sons for nine years.  There was rarely a time that I didn't worry if they were getting everything that they needed; was I providing all the right things, materialistically and maternally? Was I exposing their minds and hearts to all the life they needed to see and hear about? And would I, as a woman, be enough as both mother and father for all their needs?  

Now that my children are grown, I look back at all the time I wasted worrying and fretting about such things, what I could and couldn't afford. Children don’t need all the things that we buy them, and they certainly don’t need so much access to cable television or video games. What children do need is their parents; our time and attention, the guidance we should be providing, the discipline and the love.

The lot that little girl was skipping through was the parking lot of a local stay by the day/week hotel here in Quincy. As she skipped all the way to the back, I could see what appeared to be her mother sitting in a chair on the stoop of their doorway, watching her daughter get off the bus and come home. Did they lose their home? Did this woman leave her husband and this is the best she can do right now? Well, I don’t know what their fate or circumstance was, or why this is where they are calling home for now, but I do know something about what I saw and I’ll tell you what it was.

What I saw was a Mama who, no matter what hand life has dealt her, is doing all the right things. She is providing her daughter with a safe place to live for however long that needs to be, a bed to lie in, a place that provides both air and heat when needed, and love. She is providing her with love. And I know that because children are the most honest human beings you will ever meet. And any little girl who skips every step of the way to get to her Mama is one happy child.

Spend this Thanksgiving Day remembering the important things in life; your family, friends, and the good times and memories that are being created. Love covers just about any need that I know of; be plentiful, and spread as much of it as you can. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Welcome To My Den

We’re one week into the part of a time change we call Fall Back. Two weeks before it got here and now after, all I hear is complaining; it’s depressing, it gets dark too early. Well, I think it’s wonderful and all the changes it brings are right up my alley.

Leaves falling daily, cold mornings, warm days, then cold nights again. Multi-colored mums are scattered on lawns and front porches adding color to homes that are already beginning to lack luster and the beauty of spring. 

I'm ready for the months ahead and everything that brings. Burning leaves with smoke that intoxicates and perfumes the air with a scent that makes my spine tingle with pleasure; and houses that seem to always smell of vanilla or cinnamon.  Neighborhood bonfires, S’mores on sticks and nights spent with good people and loads of laughter.

I'm ready to sit on the front porch bundled up in a warm hoodie and gather pecans to crack and shell as I sit and watch football on television because it's too cold to venture outside.  And I'm ready to cook big pots of soup, dumpling’s and chili for those wet/cold weekends when you spend your time looking for whatever will warm your soul from the inside out.

 My son and his buddies will be outside my front window hollering, laughing, trash talking, shucking and jiving, bringing life to a too long dead driveway. His man cave will come alive with ping pong matches, Foosball games, and musical instruments long neglected for warmer outside activities. 

Yes I'm ready to hibernate like a bear. To be able to come home, sling off my work clothes, grab some sweat pants and an old tee shirt, claim my recliner and not move. It's dark, it's cold, and I don't have to feel guilty about doing anything else. I will get caught up on my reading as I easily read three times the books during the winter months than any other time. And there will be no guilt; no flower beds or lawns to be weeded or watered, and no sunshine to lure me outside.

So folks grab a book, a blanket, a cup of coffee, or a bowl of soup and join me. Live the good life on the inside for a few months. Get to know everybody in your house again. Get those inside projects done, and get rested up for the next season in line. I don't know about you, but I'm not getting any younger, and it takes these slow, cold winters to help me gear up for those fast, hot summers! However when spring arrives, I’ll be ready to see it again too. So ready for some warmth, longer days and beautiful blooming flowers. I'll beg to go fishing, hook some worms and smell some lake water. Kind of brings you to that old saying we've all heard a million times over, "We're just never satisfied are we?"

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Miss Kitty Lives On

It’s not usually this bad. I mean, it’s not always easy, but it sure doesn't stop me dead in my tracks. Everybody else I know seems to be getting along just fine with it all.  No fuss, no muss, just business as usual. No whining or cry babying, no big humps in the road. So what in the world is my problem?

I was standing in the shower last night, and I don’t know about you, but that seems to be where I do my best thinking. In the mornings when I shower, I mentally plan out my day and in the evenings I guess I’m going over how it all turned out. Anyway, I’m standing there, thinking about this that or the other, and all of sudden my eyes just start welling up. I tried to get myself in check but I just couldn't seem to do it.

Now I’m not a crier folks. It’s rare that anyone will see that happen. And generally, nine times out of ten, it’s over sentimental things instead of sadness, and most often it’s going to be something to do with one of my children. But last night, it had nothing to do with my kids, my husband, my job or anybody else. But for the life of me, I could not make those tears stop flowing.

By the time you all are reading this, I will have gotten over what is bothering me so right now. Time will have passed, and I will most likely have moved on and settled into it, for better or worse. Not much sense in it being any other way, I’d heap rather it being happening than not if you know what I mean. The alternative, as they say, wouldn't please me at all.

The mail has already begun to arrive, shouting the news as I lift the lid on every envelope; funny ones, rude ones, sweet ones, and everything in between. I’m half expecting a full-fledged marching band to show up at my front door any day now playing my all-time favorite “You’re Too Old To Cut The Mustard” by the late great Buck Owens.

I’ll be half a century old in a few more days. It plumb makes my whole body shudder to say that out loud. I don’t know why we all seem to have such trouble with some of the ages that roll around. We’re intelligent people and we know full well we can’t hang out here forever. We’re blessed to be here for a time, however long that may be, and it’s our job to turn that into as much of an adventure as we possibly can while we’re here.  

I knew exactly when my age began to show, and that the new number approaching was going fit me better than I’d liked to admit. My husband is an avid Western watcher. He likes the Gunsmoke episodes more than most anything. I used to fuss and moan about “wasn't there something else on television worth watching more than that”? Well I’m here to tell you, I’m not sure who is racing to get that dang show turned on in the afternoons now first, him or me. And worse than saying out loud that you’re finally that BIG FIVE-0, is admitting that suppertime can wait until you've gotten your circa 1870, Dodge City Kansas, Matt Dillon fix.

 P.S. And for the record; while the younger female generations seem to be insulted when they are whistled at as they walk down the street or drive by in their cars, I on the other hand, glory in it now. Matter of fact, I’m not beyond slipping a ten spot here and there just to make sure it still happens on occasion. Age is just a number, and a whistle a day keep the “old” blues away.. wink wink. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Another Reason For The Season

It started about four weeks ago. The actions were subtle at first. The obvious seasonal clothes were out of the closet, off the hangers and strewn about. Bags of corn feed stacked up under our carport and the occasional gutting knife lying around with a knife sharpener close by.  Empty rifle cases with their contents lying filleted open on my dining room table, waiting to be cleaned. New cans of “non-smelling people” spray lined up on his dresser drawer. And bullets, cases upon cases of bullets stacked up in every direction one might lay their eyes.

The feeder must have a new stand, therefore, I find it in a full state of disrepair on my kitchen counter and when I remark about someone needs to clear it off, there is dinner to be cooked and it’s in my way; I am greeted with the great American speech about who is the meat provider in this family and that my lack of respect for his position as such is very disrespectful. To which I reply, hunting season has been out for nigh on nine months now, accompanied with my “what have you done for me lately” plus “get your junk off my counter if you want to eat” face.

I don’t have enough time to tell you all the funny stories that come with having a teenager who likes to hunt. But suffice to say, you haven’t lived until you open your freezer one Sunday morning, reach down for a bag of frozen biscuits and come out with the left leg of a gigantic bull frog! Yes sir, that incident would have been after his first all night frog gigging adventure. My son thought it was “enough” to put those huge, half dead bull frogs in a plastic bag, and throw them in the freezer for cooking later. Well, evidently one of those old Jeremiah’s had some life left in him, enough to get out of that bag anyway. However at some point he succumbed to the ice cold temperatures and froze to death, belly up, and legs in the air; lying there ripe and ready for this old half asleep Mama to grab ahold to and wake up half the neighborhood in doing so.

In all fairness to my youngest son, there are a lot of hunting "seasons" recognized around here. There is always something to hunt down, shoot, gig, knife, or catch; and he and his buddies do it all. His hunting license is in Georgia, whose season came in the third Saturday in October. Now as I said, they've been feeding these deer for over a month now, so he was all pumped and ready to go last Saturday morning. Didn't see a cotton picking thing, but said he heard a lot of noises. When his dad asked what he thought he heard, he said it was either a teeny tiny deer, or a big dang squirrel. Well it was teeny tiny alright, all that, and he came home with a rabbit.

Now I don’t know how to cook a rabbit. So I told him to call his MeMa, my mother, in Georgia. She was born and raised in Alabama and her daddy was also a sportsman. He too, was willing to hunt anything that carried meat and could be cooked and eaten. There are good things that come out of all his fun, good things for us all. When he called his MeMa, she was able to go down memory lane a bit with a story or two about her Daddy, and share with her grandson the proper way to prepare rabbit. Both of which will be a great memory for my son one day and warm feeling in the heart of this daughter and Mama. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I'm A Believer

First off, I’ll go ahead and admit it; I’m not a good traveler. I mean like, from the time the planning begins. I like schedules. I like knowing that while not every single solitary second is filled with an activity, that if I am traveling eight plus hours, one way,  to a desired destination, that I will be able to see everything and everyone that I would like to see. Do everything that I would like to do so that no time is wasted or conversations about what I wish I had done were had later. Like on the eight hour drive back home.

I’m not a good packer. For a three day event I take enough of everything to survive in the wilderness for a month. I could clothe and feed a third world with all the extra clothes and snack foods I pack. But you have to be prepared.  You never know what may happen. What event may pop up that you might need that sequined party dress to wear, or who may ask you to go fishing in which you would need that SPF 50 sunscreen and the tackle box you packed with all your other amenities.  No, you don’t have any of those things on your schedule, but you just never know.

I always reserve a hotel room that has a refrigerator and microwave. I like to have drinks on hand that are already cool and don’t cost $5.00 a bottle from the hotel vending machine.  And I must have a room with a King Daddy Dog air conditioner unit. It must blow like the artic wind 24/7. However, no hotel room is ever the same, nor is their air conditioning units, so I also try and always take my own box fan. I do this for the noise it creates which is an awesome aphrodisiac for sleeping, as well as the extra cool air it provides.  

I tend to whine a bit about the driving part. Any trip over three hours and you can count on it. Everything gets sore and begins to hurt, multitudes of restroom stops must be made, and a constant barrage of “how much longer will it be now” questions continue so much so that I am sure there are times my husband wishes he had strapped me to the top of our vehicle; or wonders at what point his wife turned into a five year old.

We attended my bonus granddaughters wedding this past weekend in Lake City SC. It is an eight hour drive from Quincy Florida. Everything I described above happened; and then some. But the minute she came down that aisle, everything else disappeared.  I realize I am partial when I say, she is the most beautiful bride I have ever seen; but she was. We had a wonderful time and were able to see a lot of family that are not normally seen on regular visits. So much so, that the eight hour drive back home, was hardly noticed at all.

As I listened to them say their vows, with all the earnestness that comes with being young and so in love, it made my heart feel so good. It made me feel so good about life, and what it holds for those two young people. When you see that kind of love on the faces of people you love, who could ever question that the world is in good hands with the youth of today. As the minister pronounced them man and wife, the music begin to play. I was both stunned by its originality and its appropriateness. As they all but skipped down the aisle, their faces beaming, the speakers blared with I’m A Believer (Then I saw her face, I’m a Believer) by the Monkees. If that’s not the perfect end to a new beginning I don’t know what is.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The 21st Century Devil Comes With A Keyboard

Not to give too much away here, but I learned to type on a manual typewriter when I was in high school.  The television in our home was still operating off of a dial antenna, everybody still had album record players, and if you had an 8 track tape installed in your vehicle for easy music listening, man alive, you were in high cotton!

I held jobs all though high school and after, but my first “real” job in an office setting turned out to be quite the experience. In 1986 I worked as a customer service representative and my job was to take payments and enter applications on the computer.  That part of my job didn’t feel all that foreign I guess; but the fax machine, ah…that little dilly of a deal threw me for a loop! It took me several days to understand why the paper I kept feeding it, to go somewhere else, was coming back to me. In my mind, if it kept coming back, it never made it to where it was going. I would put it back in and send it again, and again. Until finally, someone who had received that paper about twenty times, called, and asked me to stop. That story is probably still being told somewhere by someone.

Now that everything we do seems to involve technology it shouldn’t seem like such a shock I guess. We have been moving towards this hard and fast for the past forty plus years. Telephones, cell phones, DVD players, Blu-Ray Players, Skype, and Face-Time.  With the highest grade cell phones and the picture programs that go with them, who needs a camera anymore? With the various social networks, you can see and talk to people you haven’t seen in forever and capture twenty missing years in one afternoon sitting.

But to have all of these things, you must make yourself vulnerable. You must allow your name, your “secret” password, your face, and other pertinent information be all but broadcast to the world. We are told of security’s set in place, but how real is that I ask you?

Three weeks ago my email account and my social network accounts were hacked within one week of each other. Some maniac wreaked havoc on all my email contacts and sent gosh awful things to all kinds of people. Not only that, but the hackers actually got into my computer and shut it down. I had to pay $200 to get it cleaned up and back on line.

As much as I ranted and raved during all of that, I could hear in the back of my mind, my Daddy telling me years and years ago, that all of this technology, this invasion of privacy, was not good and would catch up with us all one day. I am beginning to think my Daddy in all his infinite wisdom may have been right. There is a clan of tech savvy devil’s out there somewhere, stalking and planning an attack on your email or worse maybe even your back account.

P.S. If some genius could just create a one minute window to “snatch back” texts that are sent to the WRONG PERSON..now THAT is something worthy of creating.  Not that I know anything about that sort of thing.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Parenting 101 ....TakeTwo

I have no idea how I got to this point in my life, yet here I am. My children are almost grown. One is just starting college; the other has just completed Graduate School.  My children are nine years apart in age so I have lived quite the glory land with both of them.  Except for about nine years in between, they were both able to experience being an only child. And I have been able to experience motherhood with a child still at home, headed into my Fifties.

The curve ball to all of this is that if my children are almost grown, and I am almost fifty, well then my parents are well into their seventies. There within lies the Catch 22. I like everyone else my age that is lucky enough to still have both parents living, is also experiencing another “parenting” experience of a whole different kind. Some days, I am the parent to four individuals instead of two.

Years ago I watched my Father help complete his Father’s life in his last years. It’s difficult to help people that have always been strong and independent. Because even when they are no longer either of those things, somewhere in their minds, in spits and sputters of time, they still are and they resent being treated as if they are any less.

They learn to deceive, evade and avoid all questioning. They hide information to protect you and in their minds, to protect themselves. They don’t want to be “tended” to, and they would rather that you mind your own business. They know what to ask at their doctors’ appointments, they do not need reminders from us.

It’s a tightrope that I walk. Show concern, but not too much, ask questions, but not delve too deep, to show compassion without it appearing to be pity; and to know that my day will be here soon enough. Will I be as difficult? Most likely. Will I demand respect? Absolutely. Will my children be able to handle it? I’m hoping how they were raised will shine through at a time when it may be needed the most.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

It's Never Really Over

The New BobCats... Season 2013
Looking for a place to park is always easy. I’m always early. I get out of my truck, walk down the street, and take my place in line. Finally, it’s my turn, greetings all around; I pay, and move on. I glance up to search out my “regular” spot to sit, and it’s empty. I had wondered if it would be, or if someone else would have already taken my place. 

Suddenly the all too familiar smells both assault my nose and bring it pleasure, all at the same time.  Fresh cut grass, smoke rolling from a grill, and popcorn exploding in a machine not too far in the distance.

Then I hear grunts, and groans, and shouting.  I turn around and there they all are, dressed out in their uniforms, spread out like an army, and ready to rumble. They’re on the field, warming those muscles up, getting ready for the first game of the year, the Fall Football Jamboree. 

I climb the steps to my old seat in the bleachers. They are made of aluminum and on a hot August night, they will be warm to the bare legs. I always sit at the tip top because if there is ever a going to be a breeze that might be the only place you feel it. 

My camera in tow, I settle in, start framing shots, and look for my target. It’s then that my mind finally understands, he’s not out there. My son wrapped up his high school football career last year. It seems unreal to me that it has really happened and the emptiness that I have already felt several times over begins to set in. So many things have changed, and yet life still moves on. 

I may not have a “dog in this fight” anymore, but I still know plenty of the other young men who are coming up, and taking the place of all the others gone before them. It’s a fresh new season and I know a lot of Mama’s who will be proud that I’m here with my camera and ready to help create memories.  I’m not quite ready to hang up my Pom Pom’s yet. I think you have to kind of wean yourself off of these things. Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I Don't Care What They Say, I Am Not Getting Rid Of My Truck

Is there anyone else out there, that no matter what it is, it never turns out right the first time? No matter how much you call yourself preparing. Getting all the necessary information. Making sure you have all the details that can possibly be provided so that NOTHING GOES WRONG. Well HELLO, I am that person.

I am alone this week at work. And if there is ever a time, when weird things happen, it will be, when the new girl is left alone. I get a call from my boss that a deposit needs to be made. Well alright, that sounds simple enough. That would have been the first time I would be wrong that afternoon.

My company currently banks with an establishment that no longer has a location in Quincy. To make this deposit I must go to Tallahassee. I must be there by four o'clock, because that is when they close. I leave at three o'clock to make sure I have plenty of time.

I miraculously find the bank. I say this because I am known to get lost in a paper bag. Now, for people who are not from around here, a lot of our roads are a tad "hilly". But the thing is, when you are riding down Monroe Street you don't realize you are on top of this hill situation. It's only when you turn right off of Monroe into a business establishment that you become aware. Aware of the CLIFF that you fall into, halfway into every parking lot on that side of the road.

I pull into the bank parking lot, drive down the hill and into the Commercial line of the drive thru window. I wait patiently in line for ten minutes. It's now my turn. I pull up to the window, put my deposit into the drawer, the girl pulls it towards her and I wait. Not for long though, because she comes right back to the window and says I must go inside. She is not authorized to take more than $25k per check. Really?? In the Commercial line?

So I pull out of the line, only to find there are no parking spaces on that side of the building. They are all full. So I keep moving forward, thinking I will just circle around. I remember seeing empty spaces on the other side when I drove in. Well now, you can't just "circle round'", oh no....you have to get back out on Monroe. One of the busiest four lane roads in Tallahassee. And you guessed it, I HAVE TO TURN LEFT.

I make it out and back in without mayhem occurring, and I cruise down, trying to find an empty space. I see one and I swing in. I have put my truck in park, when I hear this loud honking. I'm looking around and I don't see anything. But the honking continues. I am getting out of my truck when I hear a guy bellowing from the right side of my vehicle that I am blocking him in. He can't get out of his car.

Well, I certainly was..blocking him. I mean a 40 pound child could not have squeezed out of that door in that space. I get back in my truck and begin to back out. Now I will not lie, I was REALLY, REALLY flustered by now and I was truly REALLY, REALLY close to his vehicle. I began to back out and I swear I could smell the inside of his car from my side of the vehicle. I was THAT CLOSE. He keeps sticking his head out, watching me, while I am sweating, because now not only do I have to avoid scraping up the side of his car I have to worry about whacking his blasted head off in the process as well.

I get about half way out of the space, and someone begins honking. Again. I look around. I can't see anyone. Then I start backing up again. And there goes the honking again. Suddenly I see it origin, it's UP the HILL behind me, which I could not initially see, because I am parked down in the CLIFF. I slam on the brakes, let them pass me, talking loudly to myself and everyone who cannot hear me and then I begin to back up. Again.

Now I was not stupid enough to try and nail that same space again. I spot three empty spaces further down the cliff. I figure I can straddle one or two of those, nobody will park near me, and I will be able to get back out without a problem.

Once  I parked, because of  how the parking lot took a dive, and it was even further down, it felt like my truck wanted to tip over sideways. On top of that, directly in front of me, there was another cliff that made my truck feel like the nose of it was just going to start rolling and never stop. So like the smart driver that I am, I remember to apply my emergency parking brake. I get out of my truck, begin walking towards the bank to go inside and FINALLY make this deposit.

It is now 3:45. And I am standing in line behind about ten people. Little by little everything goes along, people move along, the deposit gets made, and I am walking outside headed towards my truck.

I get in, and believe it or not, I DO remember that my parking brake is on. My husband also owns a Chevrolet truck and you release his brake by just tapping it. I never use mine. I don't know if that's how mine works or not. But I try it. I tap. Nothing. I push harder. Nothing happens.. Other than I'm jamming it tighter down. I start leaning down, fiddling with  my hands, trying to find it by feel. I can't. My mind is screaming "THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE",  as I am getting back OUT of the truck to look. My big behind is bent over and jacked up for all who pass by to see, so I can ram my head underneath my dash to find the release. Finally, I think I see it.

Now because I have jammed the brake VERY tightly with all this "extra" pushing trying to get it released, when I pull that release handle it sort of makes a loud POP! noise and takes a deep lunge forward all at the same time. Now my mind screams " MY VEHICLE IS ROLLING OFF THE CLIFF", when in actuality, it just lunged largely and popped from the pressure. However, since I don't know this in that instant, I jump my big behind back in the vehicle, slamming both feet on the brake as my body is shaking from head to toe. I sit there for about five minutes trying to calm myself. I crank up my truck and begin to back out of my totally isolated parking space.

I promise you, a horn begins to blow. Again. As I am even further down into the cliff, I cannot see worse  than I could not see before. I again, let the guy pass, except this time I have had enough and I lost it. I was flipping him off, flipping my truck off and flipping off the cliff in front of me. I get that out of my system, I drive out of the parking lot and head back to the exit that will take me back onto Monroe Street.

Finally, what seemed like 24 hours ago now, I had promised Zach I would stop and get him Chick Filet sandwich on the way home. It was only about two businesses down from where I was now. All I have to say, is that boy had better be dang glad I had turn right on Monroe. Because after all of that, a need to turn left would have gotten him PB&J for supper.