Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Different Times, Different Thanks

It’s amazing  how much the parameters of being thankful has changed; so many lives have been needlessly lost and brutally taken in the last 330 days – most of them acts of hatred and certainly violence. It feels as if there are no safe places to turn to anymore, nowhere that you can go that gives the reassurance of eternal safety and well-being.

It shouldn’t be commonplace to always feel paranoid and uneasy; certainly not at colleges and schools where we send our children to learn, they should never have to feel unsafe. Movie theaters that should provide joy and entertainment, and churches which should be the holy grail of safety and love, no longer automatically fit those descriptions. And now, in Paris, that list also includes cafes, outdoor soccer games, and music concerts.

But this morning, I woke-up to sparkling sunshine in my bedroom window that I hadn’t seen is days, and my 20 year old son Zach, parading around the house shirtless and in his old Robert F Munroe gym shorts and his “favorite” hunting hat he found last night, as he unearthed all of his hunting garb and declared it a miracle, as he had previously thought it was lost.

I’m not a morning person at all, I mean I’m not grouchy or mean, I just have nothing to say for the first hour or so. But if anybody can drag you out of silence and into laughter, it’s him. Because as he was parading – I interrupted long enough to ask him to strip his bed before he left the house for TCC – as it was linen washing day. His reply was “Oh I’ll strip those sheets lady, and I’ll strip them with a smile, and do you know why? Because it’s Duck Hunting Eve day, that’s why!”  

It’s been a sad week for me. As I have told you before, I tend to get caught up in other people’s sadness, and watching the television from dawn til dusk, and all the Paris coverage in between did not help matters any for me. I’m 52 years old and I still haven’t learned to constructively compartmentalize information sometimes.

But this morning I was reminded once again, that besides all the things we are thankful for everyday: food, shelter, employment, family and friends, and our health – I am the most thankful for the humor in which my entire family is overly blessed.

Both my mother and my daddy have passed down their own brand of humor to both me and my children, and I was lucky enough to find a husband who is equally blessed. Laughter can get you through almost anything in life, even if it happens at what some would consider inopportune moments i.e.; I believe death almost demands humor for the survivors.

I hope we can all find the laughter within ourselves, remember the love we have for one another and cherish our family and friends as we celebrate another year of Thanksgiving. To get through hard times, we use whatever it is we have – and I choose love, laughter and family. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Clarity Of Darkness

Tonight as I sit here on my glider, still fanning myself out of habit, even though the air is a chilled 47 degrees; my eyes are flitting like butterfly wings on the sights before me as if they are brand new and silently acknowledging that I am generously blessed.

This front porch is my haven of sanity. On either end are a set of beautiful wind chimes that play varying tunes at the slightest breeze.  Between them are full, still-green ferns that hang from the eaves, and on either end of this long porch are macho ferns that have grown-up to their name, firmly rooted in black urn planters.

Looking straight ahead, I see a wooden swing held firm in the ground by wooden posts covered in Jasmine – those posts are the same posts that held the original swing that my Daddy bought me and my boys almost 17 years ago right after my divorce.  I think he believed that the swing would bring my little family smiles, laughter and many conversations – serious and silly - that would become needed memories in the years to come, and he was right.

Over the years, the rain and general weather chipped away at the original swing and it has since been replaced, but those posts have stood steady and firm and have followed me all the way from their original land-site in Leesburg, Georgia where my Daddy and my children put the first post-holes in the ground, to my first home in Quincy on Hwy 65, and now here, their final resting place.

All the smells of what a first chill brings are abound; fireplaces burning their first wood of the season, and off in the distance, the drifting smoky air brings smells from possible fire pits and I’m imagining happy people sitting around them, laughing and telling stories about other good times from days gone by.

I have never felt safer and more secure than I do right now – even though I am alone, and sitting in the dark; because this is my home, this is where I feel the most loved and needed – and what could possibly ever change that?

It’s hard to imagine on a night like this, that the sky could explode right in front of my face and everything about life would be instantly changed. It’s even harder to imagine that my loved ones could be taken from me, or that in a blink of an eye – I could be gone as well. Just how insane is it that we could become “those” people to who “those” things happen?

For many days to come, the people of France will be reeling from the death and destruction that exploded in their skies, in their faces, and to their bodies. Families are searching, grieving, and still praying for miracles.

As I slowly sway back and forth, and my bare feet brush the wood below them, I’m wondering how long it will be before people like me/us, will become those other people.  People who were living life - until hate took over, and then they weren’t.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Women Lessons 101

To all you gentlemen who are reading this; there will be no need for your blood pressure to rise, or becoming  indignant and denying what I’m about to discuss, because it won’t even matter. WE know - ALL women know about all of these things.

Sometimes we (women) blame it on the moon, sometimes we blame it on your jobs and the stress, but mostly, we just blame it on how men were made. Meaning, you just can’t help it that you were born missing a sensitivity gene. You can’t help that you’re unable to select a greeting card without it somehow involving a fart, albeit beautifully and intricately worked into the scenario, it’s still a fart joke and inappropriate for your wife.

Or that you cannot select a gift on your own to save your soul unless it’s circled on a sheet of an advertisement page with a big black marker, or ordered by your significant other – FROM YOU / FOR HERSELF – to make sure she got exactly what she asked for – instead of whatever you saw after you looked for five minutes in the front part of the store and made a horrible / wrong command decision on your own.

That missing sensitivity gene also means you don’t see the warning signs of imminent danger when you walk into the house without the loaf of bread that she asked you to pick-up on your way home, not once but with three different reminders and a text.  Nor do you notice the flames in the whites of her eyes when the first sentence out of your mouth is “what’s for supper?” when you didn’t do your job in bringing part of it home.

But I’m not sure it’s just a missing sensitivity gene - because it’s GOT to be more than just that to cause these things to happen:

A.      Forgotten or seemingly not the most important thing in the world – YOUR wedding anniversary and HER birthday.

B.      Cards that although they were bought and given, look as if they were the last one to choose from and P.S. – she is not your Aunt nor is she Hispanic – as she must be to even read the card, because she didn’t take Spanish in high school, even though she has cursed herself for that many times over by now.

C.      When she is obviously either mad or has been crying – and although these are things that       you would like to avoid like the plague – ignoring them will cause you to believe YOU now   have the plague, because she will have nothing to do with you until it blows over. Could be weeks, don’t push it.

Being a woman is tough job. We are your wives, but we’re also mothers, cleaners /cooks / wash women and mediators for both you and our children. We love you, but we’re tired. We need your strength and your safety, but mostly we just need you to pay attention to something besides your miles to the gallon, sitting in a tree stand, and the Nascar standings.  

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Hibernation In Progress

I hear the muffled sound of a very loud, and irritating horn-beeping in the distance – bonk, bonk, bonk – I attempt to slide my eyes to an open position, but the deafening bonking noise that will not seem to stop, makes me squint and frown all at the same time, and all I can see is darkness. But wait. It’s not a horn. It’s my alarm clock – but why is it going off at 4am? Because I get up at 7:30 every morning and it should not be black as the night at 7:30am.

I am one of the few that LOVES when Daylight Saving Time is over. Let me repeat, I LOVE IT.  I’ve already told you all of the reasons why before – PJ’s at 5:30 in the afternoon is acceptable, no week-day socializing after-dark is expected, and burrowing-up in my recliner and doing absolutely nothing outside after 6pm is not frowned upon as lazy or non-active. BUT, the biggest gift of all is that whole sixty minutes we re-gain that can be spent gloriously sleeping!

However, there is about three weeks before it happens in the fall that the mornings become atrociously dark and therefore difficult to rise-and-shine with my regular motivation. Seriously, who in the heck can get out of bed (because you obviously should still be SLEEPING) when you can’t see your hand in front of your face?

I’m an old fashioned bear: it must be daylight when I am asked to function and be nice, and it must be dark when I am expected to lie down and be quiet. And as the week progresses, each day that passes, the shine is wearing off the sociable-side of my personality, and I find more excuses than not, to just lie there and not get-up when the alarm goes off.

But last night, we finally got that hour back that was stolen last spring.  I woke-up to daylight instead of darkness this morning and with an energy I hadn’t felt in weeks. The Halloween flags and mailbox covers came down, the pumpkins and scarecrow couple lost their post in the swing out front, and all were replaced with welcoming turkey flags and cornucopia covers. My beautiful beaded-pumpkin-table-runner has been laid out on the dining room table, and all the salt & pepper shakers are now seasonally adjusted as well.

The holiday train is at the top of the track and about to begin it’s out-of-control journey with its lightening-like-speed, another thirty days will be gone before we know it, and we’ll all be talking about pies, baking turkey’s and giving thanks.

But until then, we will be waking to daylight, leaving work at possible sunset or nightfall, cranking-up heaters, putting a match to the pilot lights, chopping and gathering wood for the fireplaces, bagging-up our summer clothes and washing-up our warmer winter clothing. 

We’ll all be taking a body break soon – catching-up on our reading, snuggling in blankets, dragging out hot chocolate and vegetable soup recipes, and taking a due rest. We’re off to winter folks, wrap-up and hang on!