Monday, April 28, 2014

And Time Keeps Moving On

Summer of 85’ I lived in a single wide, 1968 aqua and white trimmed trailer and there was not enough room for everything we needed; like a wash room. My granddaddy offered to help build a closed in shed onto the back of our trailer. He was in his late sixty’s, but had the build and stamina of a fifty year old, still strong as an ox; and a wonderful carpenter. It was the first time I would cook (and I use that term loosely) for my grandparents. I opened three large cans of Dinty Moore beef stew, “doctored” it up with seasoning and served it with baked “wop” biscuits. They both very graciously said it was the best beef stew they had eaten in a very long time.

Fast forward to summer of 2002; my grandfather is visiting me and my children, my grandmother has since passed. By now my cooking skills have improved by miles and I have once again prepared him a meal; this time by hand and not a can. He eats as if he enjoys it, we spend a large part of the evening on the front porch, sitting in the swing and talking.

There’s a 29 year span, it’s spring of 2014; my parents are visiting the Saturday before Easter and their grandson is grilling the main course for the meal. Their nineteen year old grandson is barbecuing chicken wings and legs as he has become the grill master of our house. I prepare the rest of the menu inside, we all eat, everyone enjoys themselves; the meal and the day is a success.

Tonight as I laid in bed, my mind began to race through the day’s conversations. Better than an hour was spent discussing both of my grandfather’s today and they were fresh on my mind; which is why I find myself back of bed, reciting this chain of memories to you now.

I wonder just how surreal it was for my grandparents when their granddaughter cooked a meal for them all those years ago. Just as I wonder right now, how surreal that was for my parents today, when their grandson was cooking a meal for them. I mean it has taken some getting used to for my husband and I; him especially, relinquishing his title of grill master to the next generation. For years and years, my children and I, gathered `round their table and were served meal after delicious meal. I wonder if ever in that time, they thought about the one day’s, and the what if’s that are happening now.

This isn't a story about food; it’s a story about the cycles of life. Watching the wheels as they turn, keeping your memory greased for the safe keeping of precious times you’ll want to re-live later; better yet, thinking about the value of these times when they’re happening. But I believe, the biggest, most interesting question of all is; what my son, their grandson, was thinking about today. I’m sure gonna ask him. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

April Blessings

I was twenty one years old when I got married the first time; entirely too young. These days, I stand by the opinion that no should marry until the age of thirty.  I maintain, that between the ages of 20 and 30, you will change more in your life, than any other span of time. Your views and opinions will change, your needs and wants will become clearer, and your common sense and logic will mature. With all of those things changing; how could you possibly know who your life partner should be? 

The first couple of years, my ex-husband was at work more than he was at home; I was lonely and horribly homesick. One night, sometime during that first year, I left my home, and drove to my parents’ house; the house I grew up in. It was near midnight, and not a light in the house was on.  As I got out of my car, illuminated by the moon, I could see the swing in the backyard that had a million of my miles on it. I walked across the yard, sat in that swing, in the dark; and cried. I wanted so badly to go back into that house, into my pretty yellow bedroom, and climb up in my bed. I left home much too soon, and I wasn't mentally or emotionally ready. I left the swing, got back in my car, and drove back across town. 

Six months later, I became pregnant and I cannot begin to tell you how that transformed me. From the minute I found out, I was a changed girl; I had purpose again. I nurtured my baby with all my heart. I sang to him, read books to him, and I rubbed my tummy so much you would've thought it was a Jeannie's bottle that I believed to have magic inside. I think I knew; I did have magic inside of me and I knew it was going to be a boy. I didn't have any tests, but I knew; and never believed any differently.

The day was here and my baby was about to be born. The pains came hard and fast, no slow labor for me. On the last push, the doctor announced, “You have a son!” Well of course he did, because I knew all along; I was having a son. My first phone call, while lying in a hospital corridor, still on a gurney; was to my parents. My first words after they answered the phone were, "How do you feel about the name Joshua Ray?"

My first born helped transform another child into a woman. The good Lord took a chance on me, and when I needed something the most, my gift of life, gave me life again; twenty eight years ago.

My son has had several Easter birthdays in his lifetime; this year they are one day apart. So as I am wishing him the happiest of Birthday’s; I wish everyone a happy Easter and blessings to all.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

These Shoes Were Made For Walking

Tires crunching dirt and gravel as they roll to their destination.  They've driven this path many times in the past fifteen years. Sometimes every day with precision and dedication, and sometimes; that crater-holed road is traveled the least.  But no matter the time and distance in between, I’m always welcomed back by friendly faces and greetings; no matter that I rarely know the names.

We all have the same common goal. Some of us have a long way to go, while a fortunate few are ahead of the game and are simply maintaining. It’s been at least twenty years since all I had to worry about was “maintaining”, since it was second nature to know there was a five count limit of increase; no more would be acceptable or allowed.  But these last ten years, it began to careen out of control, rolling so fast that I really don’t even remember how I got here.

I climbed out of my truck, and as my feet hit the ground, I’m looking at the crowd already gathered on that old familiar walking track and wondering how many people feel like I do, how many thoughts are running the same sad course as mine; as they walk lap after lap around that track, day after day, in the frigidly, windy cold and the steamy, blistering heat.

You know you've done some poor planning and absolutely no prior preparation when you've gained more weight than should be legal, you're trying to walk it off with the sun blazing down, feeling like it should be hot enough to melt away your very existence, but when all is said and done, you get back in your vehicle, look into the rear view mirror and you're just as fat as you were before; matter of fact, probably worse. Because now the fat has expanded and swelled from the heat and your fingers and feet look like they belong on a cartoon blimp, 500 feet in the air, on a string.

For the past three weeks I have begun another daily walking regime. I used to be like every woman in America; the first thing I did when I got home was take off all the hindering undergarments that had held me confined all day. But body parts have expanded and moved to new locations where they don’t belong and now they cry to be gathered up and put back in constraints for comfort. The Tylenol bottle has grown in size and promises of old have returned; that if I can just get this weight off, I’ll never do it again.

If you need to talk yourself away from sweet cakes, soda or pizza; I’ll mail you a before and after picture of me that you can put on your refrigerator. And if that doesn't do the trick; meet me at the track and I’ll introduce you to the long, hard road of reality.  Our life changes must equal to our mind changes and it’s a daily battle; but we’re all worth the fight.