Saturday, September 26, 2015

And He Said.....GERONIMO!!!!

I was reminded during our vacation this past week, traits of my husband’s personality that I normally over-look. I’m about to touch on some of the highlights of our trip, and as always, I’ll be keeping it real.

Anna Ruby Falls was so majestic and amazing, however the 3,000 feet of elevation during the climb was pure hell and I should have strapped an oxygen mask to my face because I’m pretty sure in between the starting and stopping to regain breath and air, I saw angels more than once; but they say in your last moments, sometimes you tend to hallucinate, so it could have been that as well.

We visited another site called “The Gourd Place”. Now I almost didn’t get to see this as my husband was convinced by the sign on the side of the road, that we would find nothing but gourds hanging from poles; well what a surprise he did find!

Part of this place was things collected over the years that were made out of gourds, i.e.; banjos, ladles, horns, guitars, etc. But the most amazing part of the building was designated to more modern
uses such as dinnerware and candlestick holders that had been painted different colors and were made to be dishwasher-safe. 

I took a LOT of pictures and as all adventurous people like myself are – we think there is nowhere that we can’t go to get “that perfect shot”.  I learned some new things about my husband – mostly that he’s terrified of doing jail-time and he’s not about to go up into any place that looks like you shouldn’t be there – even if there are no signs saying that.  At some point I asked him, “I wonder what’s up there in that building” and his response was “nothing that concerns you, covered in security cameras and protected by a SWAT team ready to take you down if I drive you up there.” 

I would also hear “just another way to get your dang money – aka tourist-trap” more than once, but the time we just about came to blows was over the $5 parking required to park in town so you could stay all day, get out and walk as well as shop til’ you drop. We wasted thirty minutes, $10 of gas and spotted three tow-trucks before he decided paying to park was inevitable.

I will admit these types of vacations are kind of “girlie” and that men are required to be extra patient. I’m sure he had to dig deep a few times to rid the thoughts of gently bumping me off a mountain; if I heard it one time I heard it twelve, “it sho is a looonnngg way down there”.  I watch a lot of CSI, I know how these “mishaps” can occur.

But I think he enjoyed most of it as much as I did, maybe even enough to go back one day. Although
I tried to see everything, I missed the two Christmas shops that were closed and I’m pretty sure I saw him secretly thanking Jesus for that narrow escape.

Friday, September 18, 2015

These Hills Bring Peace

The first time I was ever exposed to the mountains of Tennessee I was about 16 years old and my parents took us on a family vacation in February. Snow was still lying everywhere on the mountains and I immediately fell in love with the look and smell of the land as it lay covered in white and was as tall as the eyes could see.

So when for my high school graduation present I was asked where I wanted to go the most, I chose the Tennessee Mountains. Every single high schooler I knew was headed to Panama City Beach to scream at the top of their lungs and heat their skin bronze in celebration of 12 years of their lives accomplished and finished complete.  I however, chose Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Once again, we would head off to the mountains and that’s where I would spend the next however many days looking at the land that made me feel whole and complete. I’ve never been quite sure what my attraction to trees, hills and green land is, but it fills a hole inside of me that I can’t really explain.

When I was growing-up, my grandmother spent several of her vacations with my grandfather in Helen Georgia. She would talk about it like it was the land of magical mountains and with the same mellow sounds of satisfaction when she spoke, that seems to perfectly match my own feelings.

This year I couldn’t quite make up my mind where I wanted to vacation; Savannah, Georgia was my first choice, I lived there as a small child at the age of four, and I wanted to go back and see it as an adult. But I waited too long to try and make arrangements/reservations so that will be a trip for next year on me and my husband’s 10th wedding anniversary.

After a little more thinking and perusing the internet, Helen, Georgia was my next choice. I decided I wanted to see with my own eyes, what my grandmother found so enchanting about this special place. I’ve only arrived today, but I’ll tell you this, at the first sight of hills and grassy mountains in the distance, I was already in my own special place, as the sights and beauty began to fill that small empty hole inside of me that only the mountains seem to fill. 

Tomorrow we will venture out on foot and see all the sights that I have outlined in advance – Anna Ruby Falls, the Baby-Land General Hospital, and the Christmas Shops, the Old Sautee Store where I’m told the ice cream is to die for, and rummage through the rest of the shops galore up and down the beautiful streets of Helen.

But tonight I am tired from the drive and the little bit of tramping-around we’ve already accomplished walking the creek behind our hotel at sunset. So I’m headed out to my balcony overlooking my requested mountain view and thank the heavens and my grandmother above for this very special vacation memory that is unfolding as I write.

Friday, September 11, 2015

What If.......

What if I hadn't been born to my American, white parents? What if I was a black woman from Harlem whose son had been shot down by one bad cop in the name of hate and no good reason, would I then trust any cops, anywhere? Would I fear for my life because of the color of my skin? Would that always be one of my biggest fears?

Or as a white wife of a police officer who died, because someone walked up behind him, never knowing him, but knowing his job by the clothing he wore, and shot him in the back of his head leaving me without a husband, and my children without a father.

I wonder how I’m not a Syrian woman with a family of seven, piled-up in a makeshift boat, trying to travel hundreds of miles across water to safety, only to arrive and be scorned, looked-down-upon and spat-on in disgust; going sometimes days without food, sleeping in the street, and any hovel of a hole we could all fit into, and crying – crying for my hungry children who I thought I was helping to survive, but now, the struggle is still so very real.

I wonder all of these things until my heart breaks, because the facts are - somebody is all of these people - they are somebody to all of these REAL people that are dead now. How did we get to this point of hatred? How did we seemingly come so far, only to turn around and go back 40 years, back into the days of hate and violence being spewed from our hearts, our mouths and the guns in our hands?

I keep hearing and seeing Black Lives Matter everywhere – let me tell you something – all lives matter, every single one of them. For those of us fortunate to be born in the right place, in the right time, well Glory Hallelujah!  But all of us are not those people, and no, we shouldn’t feel guilty for our place in this life, but by gosh we should feel a definite responsibility to uphold our abilities to provide human compassion for those less fortunate, instead of walking past them in the streets of Greece (or anywhere else) with disgust on our faces because our vacations have been ruined by their will to stay alive at any cost.

What matters is WHAT WE DO FROM HERE – RIGHT NOW. And let me tell you, there had better be a plan, because otherwise we are Iraq and Syria and any other country that kills its own at any given time, with no laws, for no reason, and no consequences.

Our lives - ALL OF THEM - better start mattering and quickly, or we will surely, just kill each other off, one by one until there is nothing left of us. Maybe this is the 2nd coming everyone keeps talking about; maybe He is letting us take care of cleansing this earth ourselves, because we are surely not honoring the sacrifices He made so we could be here. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Current of Life Moves Swiftly

I know I’m not the only one who looks in the mirror and still sees a young woman who still listens to young/hip music, still laughs at bawdy humor, and who still dances in the car when she drives.

Some days I never see the wrinkles that shadow the corners of my eyes, the age spots on my hands that I prefer to see as new freckles, or the lack of strength in my hands when I can’t open jar lids anymore without the help of someone stronger. All of these changes I push to the back of my mind as if they didn’t exist; that is until reality intercedes and I am forced to acknowledge where I am in this thing we call our life-span and I silently accept that I’m not twenty-five anymore.

Sometimes it’s simply the events in our lives that force us to answer to our ages. Sometimes it’s the conversations when you’re re-telling old stories and the crowd surrounding you appears stunned that your story didn’t include covered wagons, and Cowboys and Indians, because the tales that you’re reciting from memory sound to them as if you’re an ancient relic.

And sometimes, it’s something as simple as your youngest child is six months away from being twenty-one years old, and your oldest child is eight months away from being thirty years old and the last conversation that you had with your oldest child he was saying he hoped he didn’t have a birthday crisis – and all you can think while he’s talking is – I hope you don’t either, because both of us cannot have a crisis at the same time.

From last May until even just recently, so many engagements have been announced, wedding dates set – and I mean by children! And if they’re not getting married, they already are married and they’re all having babies - babies that are playing tee-ball, and taking ballet lessons and starting kindergarten!

And the parents of these children wonder out loud, where has the time gone? How did their babies turn five years old this summer? Well let me tell you kiddo’s something, I wonder the same thing from time to time myself.

How did my two children become grown people, with grown-up jobs, and living grown-up lives? What was I so busy doing that I didn’t notice they weren’t wearing little boy sandals anymore, or that they now wear cologne that smells like those good-looking men that pass you in the mall, or that I’m no longer telling them they need to bathe with soap, they know when and how to shower all by themselves.

Slow down, work hard, but work less and play more. Be present for all those silly faces and conversations, make story-time a nightly regime, finger-paint with tiny hands, bake cookies, and on Saturday, play in the water-sprinkler instead of cleaning house. 

Because the next thing you know you’re looking in your own mirror, applying wrinkle- cream and wishing you could re-wind your own life, and used your own time a little wiser and made more memories.