Tuesday, November 27, 2007
It's after midnight, and I'm trying to lessen some of the stresses I brought home tonight. Plowing into some Dreyer's Grand rich and creamy chocolate ice cream didn't help, so I switched to Real Strawberry instead.

Any excuse to pig out with ice cream that good will do. But mostly I just need to sit here, and remember some things. When Barb posted earlier today about Mandy's quick thinking when her jeep was wrecked,my heart just about scaled the ditch it flew over, I was so scared for her being O.K., But after I put myself back together, I thought how like Mandy it was to keep the wreck from being worse. Such an example that what we do affects more than only ourselves.

Earlier this week one of my sons learned that a good friend of his died. Only about fifty years old, it's thought he had a heart attack. That in itself is a less than gentle reminder that my son is getting older. But when we talked about it, the whole focus wasn't about dying, but the years that they shared.

In those years I didn't realize how dangerous life and a raging war was. Stormy times hovered as Vietnam seemed to never end.

This son and his buddy hitchiked to Texas. For many years he retold experiences of that desperate trip that became a favored story of their lives. He thought it a grand way to travel, hitching a ride with a Bible Belt preacher driving a big Caddy, who delivered them right up to the front door of Texas relatives.

Not often, maybe only once or twice, one of them may have pointed out a fault of the other, but at death the one left behind stood up to the test of being his friend, by remembering his most shining moments, even if it was only about the two of them roasting dried up onions on the side of the road, because that's all they had to eat on their way to Texas.

The dying, and the danger of it makes me remember how important it is, not just to live, but to be part of someone's life. I've known Mandy since she was only a few days old, and today I relived times I spent with her as she grew. Over and over at work this evening I thanked God for protecting her. He obviously has more living in mind for her to do.

My son told me that another buddy from his youthful days flew all the way from Florida to be at his childhood friend's funeral. As I looked at all the pictures Barb posted of Mandy and Aaron's wedding, I thought how wonderful that so many of his friends celebrated their day with them.

Tomorrow, I think I should tell my daughter, Bev how thankful I am they made it home safely, and the excellent job Barb did posting Mandy and Aaron's wedding pics deserves special praise. I've often told her she's creative and quite talented, but she pleads that she's just good at following directions. Barb, it is much more than that. If you'll forgive my spelling of this, Yogi Bera said, "If it's true, then you aren't bragging". You ARE artistic and very talented!

I should tell my son again how much I appreciate all he's helping with the house. And a friend I've become very close with, I must set work down a while, and take time to be with her. In a few weeks we'll start again with a new year. One I think I need to use more wisely.

  posted at 1:30 AM  

Friday, November 23, 2007
An open letter to my daughter, Barb
I just read your "Dear Mom", and must write you this letter.

When I saw that I was scheduled to work Thanksgiving Day, I planned to be good natured about it. Many of the patients would be downhearted enough, without my being gloomy. But when it arrived, still it was hard to put on my uniform and go. And because I was preoccupied with not really wanting to get in the car and leave, I took too long getting ready, and in a hurried rush, forgot to take the cell phone.

When I realized it wasn't with me, that worried me some, and believe me, I am very good at unneeded worrying. But work has a way of taking your mind off anything except trying to get it done, and the evening moved on.

Families trailed the halls, needing help with getting their elderly Moms or Dads to and from the car, and I did all I could to make their going a happy time.

But stuck way back in my brain, not far from the worrying about not having the cell phone, was a huge guilt trip I'd laid on myself, for not being at home cooking a great thanksgiving meal for my now very grown children.

On holidays the patients' emotions run high. There's a reason why the umbilical cord is as strong as wildly grown grape vines. The bond it creates needs to last us a lifetime. This is personified sometimes by not very well hidden tears in their eyes, as little old ladies return from family gatherings. For only a few hours they are back where they lived, and turned out remarkable holiday dinners, and the shock of returning to a tiny little room they now call home just makes them very sad.

It does no good to tell them you understand. The last thing they need are words of any kind. What they want is for someone just to listen.

And Barb, that's a little like I was feeling when I got home from work tonight, not self pity, but more regret that a family holiday came and went, and I didn't spend it with your brothers.

So imagine how wonderful every word you poured out was, as it took me back to those irreplaceable times. But I disagree with your last paragraph, where you say you can only hope your children will remember you, and the way you made holidays come alive for them. You always have, Barb, you always have, and if that's not enough to convince you, let's ask all the homemakers who follow "A Chelsea Morning" if you're doing enough. Even if ours was only chicken and cornbread dressing most of the time, if you add enough love, it becomes a very big holiday bird.

Because of your love, this is the best Thanksgiving I've ever had.


  posted at 2:10 AM  

Saturday, November 17, 2007
Been away too long.
My last post was about spending time with Barb, (at A Chelsea Morning). And now we're approaching holidays families so need. If you can ignore the commercial side of them, and think about it, affirming our Savior's birth, and offering thanksgiving (especially for living in America) should be high priority for all of us.

But back to why I've been gone so long. I realize I've started posts like this before, but thinking about what's going on with family puts life in some kind of sensible order. Barb is busy, I'm sure, and if you don't believe it, go over to A Chelsea Morning, and see all the new Christmas things she's made. I keep telling her she might consider a year 'round Christmas store, but she just loves giving a part of herself, in those decorations she turns out so well year after year.

While Barb's in holiday mode, especially Christmas, younger sister Bev, at "Scratchin' the Surface" is enjoying a break from her house, and celebrating
a family Thanks Giving; taking a much needed rest.

Not so far away, grand daughter, Sara, at "In The Midst of it" continues to amaze me with how well she cares for her own little ones. And another grand daughter at "And Baby Makes Three" captured a moment I'm sure she'll keep forever, her son's first steps. While that's all going on, Grand Ma here won't be outdone about family business.

This is so easy, because my life's never been only usual. This time last year I was packing my life belongings, and gearing up to return to this beloved town. I've heard that God takes care of drunks and little children, but I also suspect He looks out for risk taking Grand Ma's. Who would ever plan to travel hundreds of miles in mountain country, in December, knowing how dangerous that could be. But I did, because I needed to be here for a son's uncertain surgery.

That was almost a year ago, and today he's doing well. A significant plus of the surgery was because of the possibility of Cancer. That loomed heavily, so heavily that the night before surgery, he gave his last pack of smokes away, and hasn't picked them back up. The fact that the labs came back "no Cancer", I am still so thankful for.

He is the son so busy now, painting and doing repairs to a little house I bought. If I knew how to include pictures, I would show it to you. But we are getting lots of "before' shots", and will have many "after" ones. This reminds me that I need to choose new resolutions for the year that's coming. Learning more computer stuff will probably top the list.

The house is in a quiet area, except when nearby school bells ring. I think I will love being near young families again. Yesterday while there I saw a grownup taking a little boy home from school. Riding on his Dad's Harley, the kid was mesmerized. I'm not sure who was having more fun.

I've met a few neighbors, and they seem friendly, especially one little guy who I think will know an interesting life. He's the unusual kind who makes life happen, instead of just letting it happen to him.

As my son keeps fixing up the house, it's looking better and better. I never thought choosing new carpet could be so exciting, but it's the next thing on the list, and I am, I am!

Soon, I hope to write about other 2007 things, but for now must hurry off to work again.

I hope all of you enjoy a precious time with your family, as you share your turkey and dressing again. I enjoy so much being in this family called Blogging.

  posted at 12:23 PM  

Saturday, November 10, 2007
Ribbons In The Wind.
For days I'd been eager for her to get here, and as a son and I waited for her to walk through the train station doors, I spotted her head and shoulders through a window. In a moment this daughter would walk right up to where we were.

We waited a few floating moments for her luggage, and got it, complete with a tiny unassuming pale purple ribbon she had tied to its carrying handle. For about three and a half days I would mostly have her all to myself.

When we planned this visit, and I asked her what she'd most enjoy while here, she said she'd like to eat at a restaurant that's been in the neighborhood so long, it's related to our family history. Over the years we've celebrated births and weddings, and graduations, and one or two divorces there.

The other exciting event she hoped to experience was a trip to a thrift store. I promised I'd try really hard to make sure we went.

Our family's never claimed to be high society. You'd have to look far in our ordinary village to find monograms on towels or bed linens. But I had discovered a top sheet with lacy looking edges, so I made sure it was on her bed, which consisted of a spread out Futon, and an inflated air mattress. She told me several times that she slept well; that the bed was very comfortable, so I'm taking her word on that.

She really is an extraordinary lady. I've known her all her life, of course, but you know her as Barb, who began bloggging by admitting she febrezes her little dog, Chelsea. Most likely you'll recognize her blog. It is named after it, "A Chelsea Morning".

I truly believe that the less time we spend in kitchens, or forever scrubbing bathrooms, the more time we'll have for fun and play. When Barb happened to open the fridge here, she saw what she described as "her favorite things". I stocked it with everything I could think of that didn't require cooking. Some of it we never got to eat. Julie Andrews wasn't anywhere around here, but the two of us laughed and sometimes almost sang, as we munched on earlier prepared guacamole and chips, and shrimp with my special sauce. When we got really hungry, we hurried over to eat at that neat little place our family's made famous with its ill fated romances.

We stayed up late talking so long, both of us needed a break. Other times we spent with Barb's brothers who are here, and Emails sailed back and forth between she and her sister, Bev, at "Scratchin' the Surface".

Much too soon the last day we'd have together came around. We talked of many things, bared the deepest parts of ourselves. Some of it from the past, but most of it was about the now. Things I suppose many families deal with, and one more remained. We needed to go to the grave of my son who isn't with us anymore.

Much as I wanted to go there,still, it is hard. But we did go, and stood staring at his name written out as everyone's buried in a military cemetery is. I walked a few feet away, and turned to take one last look before leaving, then noticed some people not far from us.

A middle aged couple were holding each other's outstretched hands across a burial plot, and their heads were bowed. A little ways from them an older man who was all by himself teetered a bit, and almost seemed to fall, though he braced himself with a cane. With only one hand He made the sign of the Cross upon his chest, then like someone trying to make a piece of puzzle fit in the wrong placees, he checked his feet everywhere he stepped. Knowing they were there for the same reason as us, and seeing their faith spill out as naturally as breathing, was such a testimony.

Barb and I had one more thing to do. I purposely saved it for last. We found a nice sized thrift store that had many items to check out. We crammed so much into each hour, and suddenly the days were ending, It was time to take Barb back to the Amtrak station.

Again, she checked her bag with the tiny purple ribbon tied onto it. After goodbyes, and one last hug, she walked down the hall to the train that would take her home. A wisp of wind seemed to catch her hair, as though it was trying to carry her along, and I didn't want her to go.

I watched as long as I could see her; watched until her bright yellow top paled. Then we headed for the car. But when I got home I couldn't make myself stay. I got back in the car, and did shopping I didn't even need. After a while I will be allright, and busy settling in my new home. Barb will be more than busy, with the holidays, and Cameron's little sister. Bev will have more to do than any of us, as retirement comes closer. Love truly has its own schedule, but sometimes I want to hold on to it a little longer.

  posted at 6:43 PM  

About Me
Name: Judith

Location: Colorado

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Relishing My Little Pickle-Leslie
Owl Creek Cottage-Sarah
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In A Moment...-Mandy
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