Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I Don't Believe I Know Him

I loved the song!
I’d heard it on the radio for weeks but couldn’t seem to catch the name of it. Or the singer’s name. Every time the song played, I listened carefully, but the DJs weren’t bothering with titles or artists.
And then I got lucky.
One evening while I was preparing dinner, I heard the familiar song. When it went off, I stood very still, not moving a muscle so I’d hear if the name and artist were mentioned. And sure enough, they were!
However, the title rolled off the DJ’s tongue so fast I didn’t catch it, but I did get the singer’s name. I distinctly heard… “by Harold Smith.”
Quickly writing it down, I said aloud, “That’s enough! I can buy the CD now.”
A few days later, while at the mall, I went into the first music store I saw. First, I looked through a rack of CDs hoping to find it myself. But I couldn’t find anything by Harold Smith.
I’m just in the wrong section, I thought, and as I started walking to another aisle, a young man stopped me. “May I help you find something, Ma’am?” he said. “I’m looking for a song by Harold Smith,” I told him.

Hesitating, he said, "Hmmm, I don't believe I know him. What's the name of the song?"

“That’s just it,” I said, “I don’t know. But it’s popular. I hear it on the radio every day.”
“Do you know any of it?" he said, “how does it go?”
“I can’t sing, but it starts with, ‘I could stay awake just to hear you breathin’,” I told him.
A strange look came over this young man’s face and I could see he was struggling to keep from laughing, but then he said, “Ma’am, I think you want, I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing, by Aerosmith.”
It took a few seconds for my brain to process what he’d said but it finally started to sink in…
Harold Smith. Aerosmith. Of course! Giggling nervously, I told him I’d take the CD, paid for it, thanked him and left, feeling quite stupid! I never went back to that particular music store again. Would you?
That evening, when I told my family what I’d done, they had a good laugh at my expense and I was sorry I'd mentioned it.
Sometimes I’m my own worst enemy!
It’s been several years since I made that blunder, but do you think they’ve forgotten it?
Not a chance!
Someone is always asking me if Harold Smith has recorded anything new lately.



Thursday, May 23, 2013

Happy Birthday!

I suppose none of us ever stop thinking about our mother, do we? My mother has been gone for almost nine years, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t keep her off my mind this week. You see, her birthday was Monday.
She loved birthdays! A friend once said of her, “She seems more like a child than an adult.”
At times, she did.
She lived 85 years, and right up until her last birthday, just a month before she died, I, her only child, made a big deal of her special day.
She was in the hospital that last birthday. I took cupcakes, ice cream and soft drinks, and, with a little help, was able to serve it to her, several of her grandchildren, and a special friend. She had a lot of presents to open and, just like a child, she was so excited she had trouble getting them opened without help.
I’ll never forget the look on her face as she sat up in bed surrounded by colorful ribbons and paper and gifts. A four year old couldn’t have looked any more pleased than my mother did at that moment. Yet, knowing this was almost certainly her last birthday made it a bittersweet occasion. I excused myself long enough to go to the restroom and wipe away the tears I was unable to repress.
Four weeks later, she passed away, without ever enjoying any of her new gifts.
This is one of those memories that delivers pleasure and sadness at the same time. Remembering how she looked on her birthday brings a smile to my lips, but realizing I'll never see her like that again quickly takes it away.
Like love and hate, pleasure and pain seem very close sometimes.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

That Seems So Long Ago

~Published in the Charleston Gazette, Sunday, May 19, 2013~

I wouldn’t say I’m getting old, but when Mr. H. and I had our first date, he picked me up in a 1947 Plymouth that was several years old. Stick shift, of course. Not only that, but his hair was bleached blonde, which was a fad in our high school days. He also sported white buck shoes. I don’t remember for certain, but I probably wore a full skirt with a crinoline petticoat underneath and brown and white saddle oxfords. And I’m sure my hair was in a ponytail.
Gasoline was 25 cents a gallon and movies were only 50 cents. It doesn’t sound like dates were very expensive until you learn that minimum wage was only $1.00 an hour.
You could buy a brand new car for around $1500, but who had $1500.? According to statistics, middle class Americans had incomes between $3,000 and $10,000 per year.
That seems so long ago. And it was, but the vast changes that have taken place since then boggle the mind!
Fast forward almost a half century: Last Saturday night, our grandson escorted a lovely young lady to a high school prom. Dressed elegantly, in coordinating outfits, they smiled and posed for an hour or more while pictures were taken of them and the couple with whom they were double-dating. Then they were picked up by a shiny, black limousine and driven to an upscale restaurant for dinner before being delivered to the prom.
We could have had at least a year’s worth of dates on what was spent on that one evening. She wore a beautiful long gown with accessories to match, and had her hair done professionally, while he rented a harmonizing tuxedo, bought a wrist corsage for her and a matching boutonniere for himself, made reservations for dinner, and last, but not least, rented the limousine!
When Mr. H. and I went to our senior prom, I, too, wore a long gown with matching accessories, and he bought me a corsage, but that’s where any similarity ends. I did my own hair; he wore dress pants and a white sport coat and picked me up in the ’47 Plymouth. My mother took a few pictures of us with her Kodak camera. We went straight to the prom. After it was over, we and some of our friends went to a restaurant for a late snack and then went home.
The most exciting event of our high school days was over!
I wonder if there’ll still be senior proms fifty years from now. If so, how different will things be than they are today?
Obviously, I won’t be around to see for myself, but my imagination conjures another grandmother – perhaps one of my granddaughters – writing, as I have, about the astonishing changes she’s seen in her lifetime.
And, like mine, her heart will swell with emotion as she recalls the sweetness of her youth.  


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Funny Faces

After yesterday’s continual rain and dark skies, I was so hoping I’d open my eyes to sunshine this morning, but it was not to be; there was not a golden ray in sight! Furthermore, thunder rolled across a gray sky and rain peppered the windows.
Rather than complain, I chose to outsmart the weather gods and be happy despite the second dreary day in a row. On went every light in the house and some loud, bouncy music. That usually drives the blahs away for me.
When I finally got around to looking at Facebook, the first thing I saw cheered me up like nothing else could. My grandson had posted some pictures of himself and the young lady he escorted to the prom last Saturday evening. They were not the posed, “smile pretty” kind of pictures that had been taken earlier in the afternoon, before the limousine picked them up to drive them to dinner and the prom.
Even though I was there, I somehow missed the snapping of these pictures. I don't know who took them. Or when. But the young couple apparently relaxed enough at some point to make funny faces for the camera... and they seemed to be totally enjoying themselves. I found myself giggling as I examined each picture closely.
I often think the young hold the key to happiness. They enjoy life completely without taking it too seriously.
I wonder… Where does that capability go when we get older?


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

If You Can't Say Something Good....

I recently read about a business place that has a very unusual rule. They have a zero-tolerance policy for gossip. If employees are caught gossiping, they are reprimanded, and if they continue, they’re fired. They’re encouraged to confront each other with any problems they have instead of gossiping behind each others’ backs. Idle talk that spreads malicious rumors about another person is strictly forbidden!
How unique!
Speaking badly of others betrays confidence, separates close friends, and causes shame or a bad reputation. People rarely can undo the damage their untrue words have done to a neighbor.
Many things that others say aren’t meant to be repeated. But it seems that some of us just can’t resist being the first to share a bit of juicy gossip!

Wouldn’t it be nice if we always followed the rule our mothers taught us: “If you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything at all?”
I know someone who actually lives that way. Whenever you say even the slightest negative thing about someone, this friend comes back with something good. It never fails! She absolutely will not listen to anything unflattering about another person. According to her, the best way to deal with gossip is to ignore it. A person who gossips is looking for a reaction, but if he gets none, it loses its appeal.
I’m guessing that those who work for the business place that forbids gossip discover quickly if they want to keep their jobs they must learn to say only nice things about everyone.
I never heard of this policy before, but I like it!

It should be universally adopted.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Opposites Attract, But....

Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day. A delicate breeze made it a pleasure to be outside when Mr. H. and I ran errands.
I enjoyed spending some time with my husband, too. Like many men, Mr. H. doesn’t talk much. About the only time it’s possible to have a real conversation with him is when I have him held hostage in the car on the way to church, a doctor’s appointment, or a not-too-frequent trip to our daughter’s in North Carolina. I really get to catch up on one of those four hour drives! I admit, I do most of the talking, but the point is – there’s no place for him to go. He either has to listen and participate or tune me out – which he’s a master at doing.
But occasionally, I hit on a subject that opens the talking valve in his brain. I love it when that happens! Even if I know very little about the subject, I pretend – just to keep him talking. Only thing is... once the valve is open, sometimes you can’t find the “close” button. If he likes his subject, and knows it well, he’ll go on and on. I’ve listened to dissertations about installing furnaces and air conditioners, how to take a hard drive out of a computer and put it back, and the perils of consistently letting your car run on a near-empty gas tank.
But, whatever the subject, I don’t complain. If he’s talking, I’m happy, since most of the time, his side of the conversation is made up of, “Uh-huh’s” and “I guess so’s.”
Why do women talk so easily while men – at least some of them – find it difficult to carry on a conversation, especially with their wives?
My daughter has an amusing theory. She says, “God made men and women totally opposite, then threw them together and said, ‘Get along.’ Knowing it would be impossible, He enjoys sitting ‘up there’ laughing as He watches us try.” I think she could be right.
Mr. H. and I are certainly total opposites! Not just when it comes to talking, but everything. And yet, we’ve been married most of our lives – to each other.
We like different foods, different TV shows, books, music, colors, and while I love to go to the mountains for vacation, he prefers the beach. The list goes on and on, but so does our life together.
I think we’ve found the secret to a long and happy marriage.
A lot of freedom! From each other. We don’t try to make it a "do everything together, twenty-four-seven" kind of marriage. For us, that would get old fast.
Mr. H. has his own space: a den, complete with recliner, desk, phone, computer, scanner, printer, TV, DVD player and a big ashtray for his pipe ashes.
What more could a man want?
I have the rest of the house: my books, music, TV, DVD player, laptop computer, phone, work-out equipment and the kitchen, which he can raid any time he wants.
Seems fair to me!

And all this time apart makes the time we spend together so much sweeter.

When are you together? You ask. Well, we eat our meals together, after preparing them together, we sleep together and we travel together - most of the time. (That's when I get him to talk. Remember?)
In my opinion, too much togetherness is not a good recipe for a happy marriage especially when two opposites attract at a very young age, as we did, and vow to stay together forever.
When we eloped, much too young, people were betting we'd never make it, but we've made it long enough to raise a large family and enjoy several grandchildren.
Hope they weren't betting money!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Here We Go Again!

Got an e-mail from my daughter last night.  It read:

“I had to mail your Mother’s Day package today because I have a busy week and was afraid I wouldn't get to the post office.  But.... That doesn't mean you can open it early!!”

My reply:
I can if I want to…

(For more info, go  here.)

Monday, May 6, 2013


Sitting here listening to rain pelting the windows, I’m remembering many people who are gone from my life forever. How sad it is that one’s life starts out so full and dwindles to so little.
You come into the world surrounded by people who love you. You think it will always be that way and you trust everyone, but that soon changes. You quickly learn you must be cautious. Those you thought would always be there for you have a way of disappearing. You feel lonely and sad.
So what do you do?
First, you must realize that no one else is responsible for your happiness. You cannot depend on anyone but yourself. You will be as happy as you choose.
My grandmother used to say the only way to be happy is to be thankful. She said, “If you wake up in the morning and thank God for your blessings before you even put your feet on the floor, that sets the tone for the day. You must be thankful for what you have before you can expect to be given more - or before you can be truly happy.”
Spending a good part of my life with this grandmother was good for me.
Sometimes at night, especially when it’s raining, I ponder my life and the influences I had along the way – and I think about the many relatives and friends who are no longer with me.

The list keeps growing.

Too often, Death brushes my sleeve or ruffles my hair as it hurries past.
Picture www.cracked.com