mother lived to be 85 years of age without giving up anything she enjoyed. As I
think of her tonight, I can’t help but wonder how many years she might have lived had she made even the slightest attempt to take care of herself?
It’s a beautiful 82˚day where I live. Although I had
things to do, I couldn’t resist taking a short walk in my neighborhood. It’s
amazing what one can learn on one of these walks. I encountered five people and
two dogs along the way and I don’t mind telling you, the dogs were much
friendlier than the people.
I’ve lived in this neighborhood for many years, but an
onlooker might have supposed that I was a newcomer. People seem almost afraid
to speak to people they don’t know these days. I remember a time when I couldn’t
go for a walk without getting involved in conversation with everyone I met. In those
days, everyone walked mostly for the camaraderie. What
started out to be a short walk always took a couple of hours.
But today was different. As a man cutting his grass
looked my way, I smiled and said, “Hello,” but all I got back was a quick nod.
A short time later, I saw two ladies walking toward me on the opposite side of
the street. Gearing up for a friendly exchange, I readied my smile, but the two
ladies barely managed a nervous “Hi,” as they walked on. Another woman sat in a
rocking chair on her porch – rocking away. I said, “Hello, how’re you today?” She
Just as I was checking to see if my shirt was unbuttoned
or if I had mustard on my face, a big brown dog and a small white one ran
toward me wagging all over and jumping on me as if I were a well-known friend.
Their owner appeared on her porch and yelled, “Beautiful day, isn’t it?”
“Sure is!” I yelled back, petting the dogs.
Heading toward home, I thought, “Well, one out of five ain’t
bad, I guess. What has happened to the neighborhood? Where are all the friendly
people? Are all neighborhoods like this – or only mine?”
Am I a scary looking person? If so, it didn’t just
recently happen. I remember a time when I was much younger – and had more
vinegar running through my veins; I was being ignored at a doctor’s office. I sat
there for more than an hour past my appointment time. People kept arriving,
getting called in to see the doctor and leaving while I sat twiddling my thumbs.
I got angrier and angrier and finally couldn’t stand it any longer. I went to
the window. The receptionist looked up and said, “May I help you?”
“Do I have two heads or something?” I inquired.
“What do you mean,” she asked.
“You’ve ignored me for more than an hour. If the doctor
doesn’t have time for me, I’ll leave now and not waste any more of my day!”
After rustling around with some papers on her desk, the
young girl, obviously embarrassed, said, “I’m so sorry! You’re next.”
Those were the good old days when people knew how to communicate!
My son, whose opinion I often seek, assures me that dreams mean nothing. He says, “When you’ve been thinking about certain things and then you sleep, these things come out in your subconscious and you see pictures – similar to watching a movie. They are in no way prophetic!”
I’m not sure I agree.
I’ve had many dreams that later materialized in some unusual way. For instance, as a child, I once had a vivid dream of myself riding a blue bicycle. There was no obvious reason for it. I already had a green bicycle and wasn’t yearning for a new one. Yet, a few days later, when my birthday came, my dad took me to a store and bought me a beautiful new bicycle. I was thrilled and rode the shiny, blue bike home.Do Dreams Come True.
A couple of nights ago, I dreamed my daughter yelled at me from a neighbor’s house, “C’mon, let’s go see the red house.”
Although I’d just gotten out of bed, was still in pajamas and had not combed my hair, I hurried out to meet my daughter, just as I was, so we could go see this red house. When we arrived at the house, we found Mr. H sitting on a bench talking with a man who lives nearby. They didn’t seem surprised to see us, but got up and followed us into the house.
This red house had been staged beautifully! I was mesmerized! From one room to another I ran, taking in every detail of the furniture and the house itself. There were many people looking at the house and no one seemed to notice that I was in my PJs and looking so disheveled. (Odd)
I finally told Mr. H that I must have this house – furniture and all! With nary a blink, he said, “Okay.” I was thrilled! Until daughter spoke up, “You can’t buy it. I already bought it.”
My heart sank and I started to cry like a child.
“You silly goose!” said my daughter, “I knew you’d like this red house so I bought it FOR you.”
Sherry and I have been phone friends, Facebook friends and Twitter friends for approximately ten years. We live about 15 miles apart but have never met! We've planned to meet for lunch a few times but something always happens that one of us can't make it. So we just continue to talk on the phone and share things on Facebook and Twitter.
I suppose if it's meant to be, we'll meet someday.
"One day at a time--this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.”
Once, when I was unusually stressed, my
doctor said, “Peggy, do you ever take an early morning walk in the rain?” Rolling my eyes and scanning my memory, I said,
“I used to – a long time ago.”
“Try it again,” he said. “It’ll do wonders
When I went out this morning to run an
errand, the skies were gray and rain was falling softly. As I drove along, almost
hypnotized by the windshield wipers, I
thought about what the doc had said long-ago and about the walks in the rain
that I had let go of so easily.
Life got in the way of simple pleasures
like that one.
Pulling over to the curb, I parked, rolled
my window down and breathed deeply. The
sweet fragrance of the morning rain brought back many memories and I knew instantly I had to take one of those
walks I’d dismissed as something I didn’t have time for years ago.
Out of the car, I was at once a child again! I sauntered right through a couple of puddles,
ignoring the fact that my feet were getting soaked and I closed my umbrella for
a few minutes, looked upward and let the rain pepper my face.
It was wonderful!
By the time I got home, it was clearing and
the sun was trying to peep through the clouds. I was almost disappointed!
As I put my purchases away, I smiled – feeling like I had a beautiful secret!
mother’s laughter was infectious – like a cheerful tune that lingers in your
mind for the rest of the day. Like a yawn that starts a chain reaction causing everyone else in the room to yawn.
She laughed often. It didn’t take much to
amuse her: the antics of a young child, a puppy or kitten tickled her funnybone
causing her to laugh joyfully and everyone within hearing distance felt an urge
to laugh with her.
They say we all have a talent. Although she
had others, the ability to make people laugh was one of the most significant.
She was a good singer, too. It ran in her
family. Her sister and three brothers all sang beautifully. Nothing pleased me
more as a child than to be there when she and her siblings got together for a songfest
or to hear her singing while she did her housework. Unfortunately, I didn’t
inherit her vocal chords. I was pretty sure of that fact from the get-go, but
it was confirmed when I was once singing with the radio while doing my
housework and my dog started barking at me. I loved to sing but the only place
I dared was when I was alone in my car with all the windows up. I’d put my
favorite CD on the player, turn the volumn up and sing to my heart’s content.
Sometimes I’d take the long way home just so I could sing longer.J
I loved my mother but we couldn’t have been
more different. I used to wonder if she might possibly have taken the wrong
baby home from the hospital until I learned that I was born at home.
Clobbered that theory!
I never liked the clothes she picked out
for me either. How angry I used to get when she made me wear things I hated just
because they suited her!
example, she always made me wear a beret on Easter and other dress-up
occasions. She was so skillful at matching the color of a beret to my dress or
coat perfectly every time! And the way she pulled the tight bands of those
things down on my forehead almost to my eyebrows made me feel like my head was
in a straight jacket. In retrospect, I think I must have looked like a woman
who arches her eyebrows too high, causing her to look surprised. I was convinced if
I sneezed or coughed hard, the beret would go flying across the room and smack
someone in the face. As soon as we were in the car heading home, I’d yank it
off as fast as possible, leaving an itchy, red mark on my forehead for the rest
of the day. When I was old enough to wear what I pleased, I never looked at
another beret! :) Yes,
we were different, and that made for some interesting times. As I grew up and struggled
to be my own person, we had many heated arguments, but she usually won. My
respect for her wouldn’t allow me to go very long without apologizing. To be
completely honest, I feared her, too!
doesn’t make mistakes! He gave me a strong will, and then blessed me with a
mother who would temper it. Just as He uses adversity to refine us and make us
stronger, my mother combined just the right mix of nurturing and discipline to
shape my character.
She was everything a mother should be:
loving, intelligent, beautiful – inside and out, God-fearing and more.
was born in April. I love it! Even with all the rain that is bound to come, the
world becomes a brighter place in this fourth month of the year. Suddenly, the
grass is greener and flowers pop up everywhere: daffodils, forsythia, tulips,
violets, and a variety of flowering trees magically appear to delight us after a
dreary winter. The air even smells fresher.
April – spring at last!
Thoughts of spring bring thoughts of childhood and remembrances
of childish things. I was telling a friend the other day that my mother made me
wear “baby” shoes – Stride Rites – until I was five years old. I yearned for
the shiny black patent dressy shoes that I saw on little girls in my Sunday
School class, but no matter how much I whined and cajoled, my mother wouldn’t
budge. When I got fitted for new shoes, it was always white Stride Rites! I
But the summer I was five years old, while she was
readying me for school in the fall, to my great surprise and delight, she told
me I could go to Keffer’s and pick out my own school shoes. I couldn’t believe
my ears and couldn’t get there fast enough!
Living in a small town, in a much different time, was
wonderful for kids. We were safe on the streets alone. Everyone knew everyone
else’s children and looked out for them. Keffer’s was a one-stop shop sort of
thing. Food on one side and dry goods on the other. Not quite like the store on
The Waltons, but close. My father had a charge account and had instructed the
owners that I could have anything, within reason, that I wanted and charge it
to him. I felt quite important going into the store with a friend, buying each
of us a candy bar and coke and saying, “Charge it to Daddy.”
So, on a sunny August day – a feeling of declining summer already
in the air – I set out to walk the several blocks to Keffer's to shop for my
first pair of grown-up shoes! It was hard to contain my excitement!
When I got there, I looked around at all the shoes on
display. Though I didn’t see much that appealed to me, I wasn’t about to give
up! I kept looking. White baby shoes were strictly off limits. I didn’t even
look their way!
I spent quite a while looking and sighing – fear beginning
to build that I might not find a pair of shoes I liked. What if that happened
and Mother took me back downtown to the Stride Rite store? No! I couldn’t let
that happen. I had to get a pair!
Mrs. Keffer, the woman who worked there, noticed me and
came over, “Do you need help, Peggy?” she asked.
“Yes, I think so.” And the dam broke. I explained in
detail how badly I needed to buy a pair of shoes and why. Mrs. Keffer was a
kind lady who listened all the way to the end of my story. She told me to sit
down so she could measure my foot. Then she said, “Just a minute, honey. I
think I might have something in the back.”
After a few minutes, she came out with a box in her hand,
took the lid off and removed a shoe. She showed it to me first, then motioned
for me to put my foot out so she could try it on me. I loved it! It was the
first time in my life that anything had been on my foot that wasn’t a white baby
shoe! When I smiled and nodded, she took out the other shoe and put it on my
other foot. I couldn’t have been happier!
(This is not me, but you get the idea.) J
Smiling my biggest smile, I told Mrs. Keffer, “Charge ‘em
“Okay,” she said, smiling back at me.
Untying one shoe, she said, “I’ll put them back in the
“Oh, no!” I said, “I’ll wear them home!”
My mother didn’t have heart-failure when I walked in wearing
those brogue-ish brown shoes, but the look on her face was one I’d never seen
before, tho’ she pretended I’d done a great job picking out my school shoes.
What else could she do after I’d worn them home?
This incident amused my dad for the rest of the evening— possibly
for the rest of his life. 😄
disturb me – especially since, lately, mine have become increasingly
tumultuous. In them, I always seem to be frantically searching for something I never find. I occasionally get so agitated that Mr. H. has to shake me awake
to stop the screams.
last night’s vision, I was homeless. And to make matters worse, none of my
friends or family would take me in. Just as Scarlett O’Hara often said, “I’ll
go home to Tara,” I kept saying, “I’ll go back to my home by the river,” which
I finally did. But, alas! my mother was cool, giving the distinct impression
that she didn’t want me to stay and even my dad, totally out of character,
didn’t seem overjoyed at the thought of my moving in with them.
was devastated! Lost, homeless, and unwanted. What to do? I turned to leave
with tears running down my face and was rudely awakened.
Mr. H. was kicking me. Hard! With both feet! It seemed he was trying to kick me out
of bed. I hit him on the shoulder and screamed, “What are you doing?”
he mumbled – then turned over and immediately started snoring.
next day, at some point, he said, “Do you remember screaming at me last night?”
sure do,” I said. “You were kicking me – hard!”
he told me why. “I was dreaming,” he said. “A dog was biting my legs and I was
trying to kick it away.”
had a good laugh and settled that mystery, but I’d still like to know why, in my dream, I was
homeless and nobody would take me in.
I were paranoid, I might think the two dreams were linked and, since nobody else cared about
me, Mr. H. was making it unanimous by kicking me out!
When Mr. H. and I went out to
run some errands, I dressed warmly. Jeans, flannel shirt, heavy jacket, knee
socks and a pair of red boots lined with fur that I haven’t worn for several
years. They're not stylish, but warm was all that mattered. I really love these
boots, but we don’t have that much cold weather so I don’t wear them often.
Nevertheless, I extracted them from the closet today, yanked them on,
zipped them up and enjoyed warm, toasty feet and legs all day.
With heavy socks on, the boots fit
very tight, and when we got home, I sat down on a step and asked Mr. H. in my
most persuasive voice, “Would you mind pulling my boots off? They’re hard to
get off and you’re so much stronger than I am.”
And so... Mr. H. pulled and
tugged for a few seconds and off came the first boot. Then he grabbed the other
one, tugged and pulled and it resisted, but finally came – in two pieces! The
heel broke off in his hand. It didn’t just break loose from the boot – it
actually broke into two pieces.
“Oh, darn!” I said. “I’ll bet I
haven’t worn these boots more than three times and I love them!” Mr. H. doesn’t
think it can be fixed so I’m out a perfectly good pair of boots except for a
missing heel. Why do we never break or stain something we don’t care about?
It’s always something we love.
Life is like that.
Later this evening, I started
thinking about the fact that I seem to have more trouble with shoe heels than
most people. Sitting alone in my family room, I laughed aloud remembering the
time I wrote a newspaper column about getting my heel stuck in an elevator
track and the note my friend, Carol, wrote me when she read the column.
If you’d like to read her note and the column, they're here.
Here it is! This year’s alien
ornament! The picture doesn't do her justice. This little angel is
beautiful - white, gold and glittery! I love it!
If you haven’t been keeping up
with my alien ornament collection, here’s the skinny: each year for the past
ten years, when Mr. H. and I take our Christmas tree down – on or about January
3rd, we find an ornament that we didn’t put on the tree when we
decorated it – on or about the 10th of December. From the very first
one, we’ve never been sure how it got there, although we have our suspicions.
A family member has
been playing this little prank on us each year for the past decade and we
enjoy being the recipients of these unusual new ornaments as much as they
apparently enjoy secretly placing them on our tree – probably while we’re
sleeping or otherwise engaged.
I have written a blog post and
shown a picture of each of them. Hope you enjoy the stories and pictures of our