remembering…

She was like a second mother, my sister Ruby. While it’s difficult to remember all the details of that time, I can distinctly recollect her being warm and understanding where my own mother was sometimes gruff and exacting.

Misc July 2010 00069The event that remains permanently etched in my memory was when Ruby allowed me to help run the wet clothes through the wringing rollers in her old-fashioned washing machine. I was probably 7 or 8 years old, and very conscientious it seems. Wanting to do it correctly, I hung onto the piece of clothing a tad longer than I should have as it made its way through the wringer. In seconds my hand was being dragged along, all the way up my forearm. Screaming bloody murder, I was rescued by my sister who came running to unplug the machine. I’m sure I steered clear of that fandangled contraption after that.

As a youngster I spent a good deal of time with Ruby and her cowboy husband, Steve Autry. I’ve no idea what brought him to Maui back in the ’50s. Perhaps he was lured by the image of roping horses and riding Brahma bulls in the annual rodeo held at the base of Haleakala, the island’s dormant volcano. Or maybe he thought he’d work at what he knew best…being a cowboy and whatever that entailed.

My sister and her husband made an unusual couple in those days…a lanky, 6 footer whose mischievous, blue eyes peered out from beneath strands of blonde hair streaked by the island sun. His tanned face, deeply lined and freckled. Standing alongside him, Ruby was inches shorter. Hair cut short in the natural ebony color of the island women. A jaunty smile compared to her husband’s. A crooked one that partially hid his tobacco-stained teeth.

Watching my brother-in-law roll cigarettes was always captivating. First came the crisp, creamy-hued slip of rectangular paper, followed by the tobacco pouch. With deft agility he’d tug at the strings of the pouch so that a slim rivulet of tobacco dribbled onto the paper. Taking the strings between his front teeth, Steve would draw the pouch’s opening to a close. Returning it to the shirt pocket over his heart, he’d take the nearly finished cigarette between his thumbs and index fingers. Using his pointy, long tongue he’d spread just enough saliva along the length of one side of the paper allowing him to fasten it to the other side. Slipping the newly-minted cigarette between his lips, my brother-in-law would light it with the strike of a match along the underside of his boot.

To a clueless kid like me, it was pretty cool stuff.

A few years younger than me, my niece and I would often accompany her dad, as he scoured landfills and roadsides for stuff to resell, especially scrap metal. Growing up poor meant not having many toys like friends who did. So climbing over piles of junk in search of hidden treasures was fun. It was kind of exciting to see what I’d find under the rubble. One discovery turned out to be more than I bargained for. Watch for that story in a future post.

They might have made it as a country singing duet. With Steve on the guitar and Ruby singing harmony, they sounded like the real thing. Not that I’d had much opportunity to hear country music, but I knew what I liked and I liked what I heard. My favorite was a haunting lullaby which included some yodeling. My sister yodeled beautifully. Imagine that! An island gal yodeling as naturally as though she’d been born on the range. I’m certain my love of singing blossomed during these impromptu song fests right there on the front steps of their house. 

 Sadly for Ruby and her daughter, the cowboy didn’t remain a permanent fixture. He and my sister divorced when I was a preteen. Since they’d moved to Honolulu, the islands’ designated “big city,” I would spend part of my summers with them. And much later when I returned to attend the University of Hawaii, my sister Ruby’s apartment was where I went the first couple of summers after I vacated the college dorms.

My sister didn’t have an easy life, raising a child on her own. In fact, my young niece lived with my mom and me for a couple of years on Maui while Ruby sought to earn a living. I’m not certain, but it may be that she continued to struggle until the end which came on July 27. She died of lung cancer, a result of decades of cigarette smoking.

I will remember Ruby as a soft-spoken mediator, a comforting presence, humble, self-sacrificing and perhaps easily overcome by stronger personalities, like my mom. I truly believe she would give the shirt off her back if someone needed it more than she. I’m sorry we’d not been in touch later in life, but she seemed content with where she’d finally landed…living with her daughter and her family. Secreted away from the turmoil she’d known, it felt right to let her be, to let her live in peace and quiet, no longer saddled by the burdens of others. At least I’m hoping that’s how it was.

…blessed are the peacemakers…

…for they shall be called children of God.

………hugmamma.Miscellaneous Pictures July 2010 124

 

 

 

 

 

 

…hug mamma!

Happy Mother’s Day to all who mother…children, grandchildren, students, others’ children…and, of course, pets. Make sure you get your requisite hugs and smooshies. Have a few extra for me since my daughter is thousands of miles away. Although she and her fiancé had a beautiful vase of fragrant stargazer lilies and roses delivered to me today.

Of all the days we celebrate, Mother’s Day is by far the one I cherish most. If it weren’t for God’s grace I might never have been a mom. Not until my husband and I were wed 16 years was I blest with our only child. That’s why I write, wearing my heart on my sleeve…about my daughter.

Moms are special human beings. We give and give and give…and yet we never think of it that way. That’s just how we’re built it seems. It’s in our DNA. We instinctively nurture our children, fulfilling all their needs…physically and spiritually. When called upon we can even become…Super Women! There’s nothing we can’t do for our children. Nothing!

When our children are ill, we inhabit their bodies with our minds…willing them to heal. We instinctively feel their sorrows and weep as one with them. When they are elated, we carry them heavenward.

Because children are flesh of our flesh, we would step in front of a careening car to save them. Or exchange our healthy bodies for their diseased ones. We would sacrifice our lives…to spare theirs.

The light goes out when a child is gone. All that remain are memories. Truthfully, that’s all any of us have when our lives end. And isn’t that what really counts? Memories. Precious memories. Nothing material compares.

So we should live fully in each moment. Savor our children…their smiles, their frowns…their gusto, their  withdrawal…their mastery of some things, their lack of skill for others.

If we stockpile memories of being with our children we will never be without them. And we will always have…

…a beautiful and happy mother’s day.

………hugmamma.IMG_4128

hard to believe…

…it’s been 50 years since I graduated from high school! Jan 14 024

I don’t think I’d have remembered if I’d not received an email reminding me. Unfortunately my daughter’s wedding precludes my attending the reunion.

Half-a-century ago the island of Maui was my entire world. As a youngster, I only knew mainland America as it was reflected in TV sitcoms, like I Love Lucy or variety programs, like The Ed Sullivan Show. Anything beyond the United States might as well have been somewhere out there in the universe.

Today, Maui is one of the most sought after destinations in the world. Oprah Winfrey calls it her home-away-from-home, with a beautiful spread in Kula.

The Maui I knew was small-town USA, in the middle of nowhere. Actually, it was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean…still is. Kids were kids, trying hard to be seen but not heard. Entire neighborhoods were ours to explore. We were allowed to wander as far as our small legs could carry us, to and from. Walking to the local library, 45 minutes from home was not a big deal. Lugging a bag of groceries home from the supermarket was a fact of life for me.

Scoring a dime from my mom for an ice cream Dilly stick at Dairy Queen’s was a rare treat. Joining my best friend and her dad for a Saturday morning cartoon, and having him pay my 25 cent theater admission was a huge deal! And waiting outside the local bakery’s back door for hot-out-of-the oven butter bread, was well worth all the kneeling and praying I’d done at church just prior.

For 12 years, St. Anthony’s School was my life. And while my feet were firmly planted in Maui, the nuns who taught me helped grow the wings I would use to one day leave behind my idyllic, island life. Much to my chagrin at the time, the good sisters would prod me on to do better academically. It was easier for me to dance the night away, than it was to recite correct algebra answers. Pranks were more my style, like the time I squirt dish soap into the fish tank. Sister Dominic, the biology instructor, was not too happy at having to empty the tank of all the suds and refill it with fresh water.

I learned about boys, even dated a few…in spite of the nuns. Although I’m certain they had a hand in keeping me virginal until the right time…and man…came along. Thank you, Sisters!!! My husband thanks you as well…

Periodic newsletters arrive from my old alma mater. Images of fresh-faced, young students rekindle a flood of memories reminding me of simpler times. When folks lived simpler lives…enjoying one another…and being thankful for what we had.

Then, as now…

…getting back to basics…is life in a nutshell…no matter where I live.

………hugmamma. 

 

 

she was loved…

I just learned that one of my sisters has passed away. Praying that she would not succumb, it wasn’t a complete surprise that she did. She’d had cancer.

A few years older than me, I grew up idolizing Lucy. She was pretty, had a smile that lit up her entire face…with a personality to match. She was a songleader…a softer, more lyrical version of a cheerleader. And she was smart. Why guys weren’t knocking down our door to date her, I’ll never understand. Maybe it was our strict Catholic upbringing, or mean looks from our mom, or maybe it’s because my sister had really high standards. I’ll bet she’s looking down, nodding her head in agreement with the last reason.

My sister and I were quite a few years apart, separated by a brother. They were closer in age. As a result they were best buddies. I kind of tagged along, orders from my mom. I was probably a real drag to have around.

I remember once when I went with them in search of something we referred to as “rabbit grass,” to feed our rabbits. We climbed over a fence onto private property. As we poked through the overgrown vegetation, I heard my sister yell “A bull!!!” She and my brother lit out of there as if it had started chasing them. I ran to the fence only to find that they were already hightailing it down the road back to our house. When they realized I’d been left behind, I think Lucy said they’d better return to get me or “mama will kill us!” They returned, hiked me up over the fence, set me on my feet, and we all got the heck out of there. I think I was crying, but I don’t remember the bull making a move toward us. I’m not sure.

Lucy taught me to dance. I was always a willing partner when she was trying to learn new steps, like the cha-cha-cha or the be-bop. We would laugh as I stumbled, trying not to step on her feet. I can’t remember my brother joining in. Maybe he did, but thanks to my sister my passion for dance grew. When I was a teenager, I was known as the dancing queen around school. Classmates would ask me to teach them how to do…the twist, the jerk, and the “mashed potatoes.” I continued the tradition and passed my love of dance along to my daughter, who went on to make it a career. Thanks sis!

The thing I admired most about my sister is the wonderful brood of children she raised. She cherished them, 3 girls and 2 boys. And I have no doubt they were as devoted to her as she was to them. They, and their children, are a credit to my sister, and her husband Jim. Both role models, living their lives with compassion for others.

While my sister and I weren’t as close we probably would have liked…our lives taking us in different directions…in our hearts we had only the best wishes for one another’s well-being. So I’m at peace with her now being in Heaven, relieved of her suffering. Nonetheless, I am sad for those closest to her heart who are left behind. It will be awhile before their sorrow is lessened. I’ll continue to pray for them, that God keep watch over all…

…my sister by His side.

………hugmamma.012

 

 

 

stream of consciousness saturday: “store”

Store as in “put away.”  Something at which I’m an expert. I have so much stuff…mostly cherished vintage collectibles…it’s scary. While I continually vow to downsize, I find it difficult to actually do so.

Partner in crime with my talent to store things efficiently is my gift to do so beautifully. Decorating, in fact, is the culprit behind my inability to rid my life of stuff. I can stylize everything down to the minutest of details. My motto, whether I’m speaking of home décor or of life in general…”it’s all in the details”.

Storing what I own becomes synonymous then with…arranging everything into vignettes. Picturesque stories. If it weren’t for my dual capabilities of storing and displaying, I would definitely be considered……a hoarder. Big time!!! Instead, visitors to our home oohh and aahh over all they see. They comment…”Your home should be in a magazine!”…”You’re an artist!”…”You should do this professionally!”Imported Photos 00168

My head swells at such exclamations, but in my heart I know that I’m just storing things with which I’ve formed a strong bond. They represent 40+ years of my life as a wife and mother. If I rid my life of more than a few pieces at a time, I’d be excising chunks of who I am today. So I whittle away at the edges…a primitive, blue bookcase here…an old carnival game wheel there. The core remains intact…an oversized, red cupboard purchased in Pennsylvania which holds antique quilts. A large, blue immigrant’s chest found in upstate New York which holds a variety of board games. Games our family played long ago, when our daughter was a youngster.

Now 29, soon to be wed, our only child will one day inherit all that we own. Attempting to spare her the task of relinquishing all this stuff when we die, I am trying very hard to erase more and more of my physical presence while I’m still here. No easy task, but one which I must assume so that she, my precious daughter, won’t have to choose which memories of us she’ll want to…

…store in her heart.

………hugmamma.

Xmas 2010 00055
(Note: To read more SoCS creations, visit…
http://lindaghill.com/2015/12/18/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-dec-1915/

 

 

nurturing thursdays: she’s getting married…

…my daughter…my only sunshine.

How did my little girl go from shadowing me one minute…to standing apart, aglow in a life all her own?

I can remember hearing folks in my mom’s generation saying of children…”Enjoy them while you can. They grow up so fast.” I too say that to young parents now, more out of habit than something to which I truly subscribe.

I think my husband would have preferred carrying his little “pumpkin pie” about on his shoulders…just a little longer. And building igloos together with her in the icy snow that covered our front lawn…just a little longer. And reading bedtime stories in the soft glow of the lamplight, her little head against his chest…just a little longer.

As for me? I wanted tomorrow to come…and the one after that…and the one after that…and all the tomorrows to follow . I wanted time to pass, knowing that with each passing year my only child was still here, beside me. Not until my husband and I celebrated 16 years of marriage did we become parents. Because of that I always felt she could be gone…in the blink of an eye.

Still do.

Like other parents, I hoped I’d live to see my daughter grow into adulthood…and settle into a marriage with someone who would cherish her for the wonderful person she is. Whether or not she bears us a grandchild is unimportant. She, and the son we gain through marriage, are gift enough for us. Of course we would celebrate a little addition to the family…if that is God’s wish.

And so with my daughter’s marriage, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief, passing the torch of all-consuming love along to her husband-to-be. Although the love I bear my daughter will always glimmer and burn so that she will never, ever...be afraid of the dark.

I’m certain my precious little girl will always remember what I told her long, long ago.

When I’m gone from your side, I’ll still be with you…like a blankie wrapped around your heart…warming you always.

………hugmamma.

Check out more inspirational writings at… 

https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/nurt-thurs-biggest-step-2/

best friends ‘neath the papaya trees…

As a youngster growing up on the Island of Maui, I had a best girlfriend with whom I got into a lot of mischief. We never went looking for trouble, yet trouble always seemed to find us.

Take the time Lee and I went in search of stray kittens. It was either her cat or mine that had given birth to a litter. We were sure the kittens had been  sequestered nearby. We searched in and around both our houses, scouring the surrounding shrubbery as well, and my mom’s greenhouse. It only seemed natural that the cat would want to keep her young safe from prying eyes and worse, bothersome children.

Not finding our prey, my sidekick and I ventured into uncharted territory, a neighbor’s yard.

An elderly, Japanese couple owned the property which backed up against both ours. Separated by a tall, wooden fence, we could only glimpse the tops of their papaya trees.

Proceeding cautiously, we crept onto virgin territory.

Stepping gingerly between rows of vegetables foreign to me at the time, we mewed softly hoping for a response. It didn’t take long when, to our delighted surprise, one white kitten scampered across our path and out of sight. Darting to and fro we tried to pick up its trail. With the noon sun beating down upon us, we paused to find respite in the shade of the papaya trees.

Relaxing my guard I leaned back against a papaya tree, wrapping my arms around its scrawny trunk. Lee and I soon found ourselves laughing giddily. Chasing after kittens in the neighbor’s yard seemed deliciously naughty, and tons of fun. 

As if on cue, we heard someone stirring inside the house.

Preparing to flee, the tree moved with me as I straightened up. My heart dropped to my toes when I realized that the tree had come loose from its hole in the ground. With mouths agape and eyes darting toward the front of the house where the owners would soon emerge to see what was afoot, Lee and I hadn’t a clue what to do with the tree. Sounds of a door slamming and footsteps in the carport catapulted me into action. With arms still wrapped securely around its trunk, I leaned the papaya tree against another of its kind nearby. 

Without looking back, Lee and I bolted out the side gate through which we had entered. We took refuge on our side of the tall fence, too scared to talk. Hunkering down in fearful excitement, we could hear soft voices grumbling. I’m sure they weren’t saying “Hot diggity dog! Just what we wanted…a broken papaya tree!”

While we were never found out, my friend and I never trespassed onto the neighbor’s property again. We did, however, manage to find ourselves entangled in other such uproarious adventures.

Crazy escapades were just part of our childhood, Lee’s and mine. We were just lucky that way…I guess.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/my-dear-watson/

friday fictioneers: pretty, pretty princess…

Copyright - Douglas M. MacIlroy

He was a corporate guy in a suit and tie,

but in a pink hat with matching pearls, he was just one of us girls.

By day he managed employees, sat in on meetings, and problem solved.

At night he happily chucked it all to play “Pretty, Pretty Princess.”

A couple of decades later, he’s still commuting for a paycheck. 

He’s traded floor fun for quiet, relaxed evenings in a chair, Nook in hand, head nodding. 

Memories, always fresh, still linger…of bygone days with his little girl.

All grown up, but still his pretty, pretty princess.

His pumpkin pie. Her pops.

IMG_5272

 

nurturing thursdays: quality time…lasts forever

It’s nice being a normal family once again, doing simple things together. 

My husband and daughter are having a rare father-daughter day. They visited the Motor Vehicle Licensing department to switch her driver’s license over to Washington State. Upon entering, they were pleasantly surprised to find they were the only customers. When asked how they could be helped, my husband replied that this was the first time he’d ever seen a government licensing department empty, especially at 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. The ladies behind the counter chuckled.

Expecting to wait an inordinate amount of time, my husband and daughter found themselves with hours to kill before seeing our tax accountant. Without me offering a myriad of suggestions, they opted to have a nice breakfast nearer the accountant’s office. That ate up an hour. When I called to see how they were doing, they had another couple of hours to waste. They spent it walking around the few small shops in the area. Since both had their Nooks, they figured they’d read or play games to while away the remaining time.

Our family is fortunate to spend so much quality time with one another. It’s been the driving force in our lives. Or I should say…in my life.

Not having had a father, and having to share my mom’s attention with so many siblings while she was our sole breadwinner, meant I clung to whatever thread of stability I could find.

Children crave stability. Without it, they flounder as adults.

With my husband and daughter, I found the home I’d been without for so long. Happily, we will always love and support one another through all the changes life still has in store for us.

Last night I learned from an older brother that our eldest brother is dying. 

I remember Stanley as being shy and gentle, with a nice laugh, and a tall, lanky frame. From what I can recall, he never lacked for female companionship. I think he had 3 wives and just as many children. I can’t be sure because I rarely saw him or them. Sadly, we were worlds apart as to…where we lived…and our life experiences. Bridging the gap never seemed a possibility because he was such a loner.

Nonetheless, I will always remember my brother affectionately for trying to help mend a broken bridge between another sibling and myself. The moment was awkward and she never took up the challenge to right things between us. Being the youngest, and unable to drum up the courage to speak of the past hurt, I clung to my husband seated beside me and kept my head lowered until the moment past. 

Broken families beget broken people who find better lives for themselves…

…and never look back with regret or remorse or bitterness…

……….hugmamma.IMG_1997

thanksgivings past…

As the holidays approach…among the many feel-good stories are one or two that tell of human angst. You know, where a parent can’t forgive his child some youthful transgression. Or best girlfriends are still not speaking because one stole the other’s boyfriend years before. Or siblings who never got along still can’t sit down together for a Thanksgiving meal.

So much is expected of the holidays…cheer, merriment, good will toward all. Any negative vibes should be dismissed, or at least temporarily “swept under the rug.”

Have you looked under that rug lately? Pretty dusty, I’ll bet.

Thanksgiving Day is a mixed bag of feelings for me.

IMG_4944On the one hand, I’m happy to have my loved ones close at hand. Hubby home from work and relaxing. Our daughter home from wherever she’s been dancing. 

We’re always blest to sit down to a bounteous meal, whether of our own doing or that of some clever chef at a restaurant.

I count my blessings, every one, including our furry family of critters.

We’ve a comfortable home in which we dwell, and wonderful memories to keep us company the rest of our lives.

Family and friends are there when we need them. And even when we don’t.

Despite all the joys with which I’ve been blest, one memory of Thanksgiving past continues to haunt my thoughts.

It was my first Thanksgiving as a young, married 20-year-old.

Amid family and friends, I became increasingly saddened despite all the revelry happening around me. I felt I didn’t fit in. Perhaps it was because I wanted my brand new husband to fit in. His shyness seemed a hindrance, although I don’t think he felt it. Nonetheless, I felt for him, and in turn for myself.

Deciding to halt the charade that I wasn’t able to continue, I approached the hostess to say I wasn’t feeling well and that we would be leaving.

It was as though I’d removed my finger from the hole in a dam and let loose a tsunami of seismic proportions.

As everyone gathered around, I was given a thorough dressing down like I’d never experienced before, or since. As tears ran uncontrollably down my cheeks, I was told my husband and I were immature for playing with the youngsters, and not drinking with the adults.

The remaining tirade is now a fog, but at the time every word was like an arrow that found its mark. I was devastated. Some of the men tried to run interference, but the tongue lashing continued until I was mush.

The final blow that took me down was being told that if I left early, I would never be able to step foot in the house again. To appease others, I sat through dinner, head bent, self esteem shattered.

We never returned for Thanksgiving Dinner.

As is always the case, forgiving occurs…long before you forget.

There have been get-togethers, far and few between. None have ever bridged the gap that grew ever-wider because of distance and time. 

But as the years pass, I’ll always wonder what initiated the vendetta. And why was it aimed at me?

An apology was never extended. I figured because I was probably culpable in the perpetrator’s mind. That it was ever open to discussion never occurred to me. With her, it was…what it was. Case closed.

So if I’m gun-shy around Thanksgiving celebrations…it is…what it is.

Some have told me that I’m too sensitive. I’ve recently read it can be the result of having fibromyalgia.

Whether it’s because of an incident long ago or an illness that’s currently got me in its grips, my holiday story is one of reflection.

…thanksgiving is not a one-size-fits-all celebration… 

………hugmamma.

English: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymo...

English: “The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

   

words that resonate……

The Year of Living Nonjudgmentally at http://annkoplow.wordpress.com/ offered the following sentiment, which I now share with you.

          The pain of the loss is directly related to the importance of the connection. 

John F. Kennedy died fifty years ago today.

Where were you when the bullet cut short his life?

I was in school with my fellow classmates at St. Anthony Girl’s School in Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii.

English: Posthumous official presidential port...

English: Posthumous official presidential portrait of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, painted by Aaron Shikler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Obviously I knew nothing of the President except for what I saw of him on our black-and-white television set. His Hollywood-good-looks probably affected me the way it did every other red-blooded girl, American or not. He was hot!

Of course there was more to JFK than his rakish, matinee idol looks. 

With his words, sincerely spoken, the President touched our souls. All the outer trappings of his life melted away.

          Here  was a man, walking the beach. Head bowed, deep in thought.

          Here  was a father, scooping up 2 adoring children into his huge embrace.

          Here  was a husband, given to faults not unlike other husbands.

          Here  was a son, trying to measure up to standards set in stone.

          Here  was a brother, beloved by siblings and in-laws alike.

          Here  was an uncle, setting an example of public service for later generations to come.

          Here  was a friend, one who laughed, who cajoled, who pulled rank, who was loyal.

          Here  was a soldier who thought nothing about his own life in order to save others.

Here was my president, who dreamed of a country in which all served for the good of one another.

…the loss still resonates…

………hugmamma.JFK

My Old Stuff

Being a vintage buff, this story kept me hooked right through to the end. And besides, this blogger’s writes as though I’m sitting in front of a warm, blazing fire, nestled in cozily, listening to my favorite uncle spinning my favorite tales of…what else? The good ole’ days…

………hugmamma.

Storyshucker

My coworker, Clarice, frantically motioned me into her office as I walked towards the copier. She barely looked up from her computer as her hand rapidly waved me towards her desk.

“Isn’t this Italian antique walnut burl carved armoire beautiful?” she asked.

What?” I asked in response. I wasn’t even sure she was speaking English.

She turned the computer towards me, pointed to the photo, and waited for me to be awed.

“Oh.” I said. “Where I’m from that’s just a wardrobe.”

You have one of these?” she asked with a slight smirk.

“No, but I have a cedar wardrobe that was my maternal great-grandmother’s.” I answered.

“Oh, of course. My uncle owns an antique shop in Baltimore.” she said as she turned the computer back towards herself.

“I like old stuff.” I said as I left her office to continue to the copier.

I do like…

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…before it’s too late

English: Death scene of Anna Dandolo painted o...

People always say that…”before it’s too late”…when they want you to reconcile with loved ones…long lost…or never found. It’s like turning a screw that’s in place, but wobbly for whatever reason. Some folks like to tighten things up before…the end. 

I’m not one for artificiality. I don’t do things…just because. It has to feel organic…for me.

In the good old days families did everything together. They witnessed the births of newborn kin…and in the Catholic faith, the one to which I subscribe…there were First Communions and Confirmations. Graduations and Weddings were a cause for great celebration. And holidays were when extended family came together to catch up.

These days it’s a rarity that one is on hand for all the births, graduations and weddings that occur in a family. Modern day families have wandered far and wide in search of the proverbial “pot of gold.” Trying to make it back to the family homestead, if it even still exists, can cost a small fortune. It’s been a long time since we’ve traveled by horse and buggyHave you noticed?

If you were lucky, or not…as the case might be…to have parents and siblings nearby when you started your own family, then your children grew up with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Family connectivity remained intact. Everyone knew everything there was to know about one another. It was either a good thing…or a bad thing. Whatever the case, there was an attachment of sorts.

Thanksgiving with family.

When you haven’t lived in the vicinity of family members for years at a time, the only attachment that remains for many…is blood. And while a pint or two of blood can save a life, it’s not enough to reconstruct those lost years. The most you can do with what’s left is accept the fact that things are…just fine.

My brother Ed and I were the last born in my family. Having spent more time with him than any other of my 8 siblings, I know him best. I experienced good times, and bad, with him and my mom, a widow. He and I also spent some time together when I moved to the mainland after we were both married. We lived in distant states, so our families only saw each other every now and then.

The thing that will always connect me to Ed is that we had some really great times. We cried together; we laughed together. We respected each other, never dictating what either of us should or shouldn’t do. I never felt he was less for not having gone to college. In fact, I admire his having learned the computer trade by apprenticing with those willing to teach him. But then he soared to higher levels on his own initiative. 

I miss joking around with Ed. He lives on the other side of the continent, some 3,000 miles away. I may never see my brother again, for life has a way of…getting in the way. Nonetheless, the times we shared remain fixed in my memory. And isn’t that what we should cherish the most?

Forcing change is not my style. I wouldn’t expect others to make room for me in their lives just because death is at hand. Rather, I would prefer they live happily with those who have helped create lasting memories over all the years they were blest to be together. To my way of thinking…

…death is just another day in the life…we’ve created for ourselves all along…IMG_1997

………hugmamma.

cee’s fun photo challenge: houses

The dollhouse built for our daughter by her dad…and lovingly furnished with her mom’s help. Loving reminders of…a time that lives on in our memories…and our hearts. 

...preparing for halloween...

…preparing for halloween…

...expecting company...

…expecting company…

...the family room's a mess...

…the family room’s a mess…

...where dreams are made...

…where dreams are made…

...time to watch "hgtv"...

…time to watch “hgtv”…

...bathroom break...when ya gotta go...ya gotta go!...

…bathroom break…when ya gotta go…ya gotta go!…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…where has the time gone?…

………hugmamma.

 

 

in loving memory…of lives lived…not lost…

 

Life…and death…have a way of slowing down the rat race.

When we seem certain that the nuts and bolts in our daily lives are running smoothly, the machinery in our little world…our microcosm…chugging along quite nicely, producing the results we’d hoped for, striven for…fate intervenes, upending our…house of cards.

I spent a few moments this morning perusing the most recent posts written by friend and fellow blogger, Christine at http://randomthoughtsfrommidlife.wordpress.com

Français : couverture du livre La maladie d'Al...

Français : couverture du livre La maladie d’Alzheimer – Accompagnez votre proche au quotidien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My original connection with her was that her dad was suffering from Alzheimer’s. You see…my mom also suffered its debilitating effects before finally succumbing a number of years ago.

As a result, I was on the path to doing what I could to deter or slow the progression of that dreadful disease…in myself.

Sadly, Christine recently lost…both parents.

Her mother was unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer, not too long before she died. Christine’s dad followed soon after.

A few years ago, before I began following Christine’s blog, she suffered the loss of a beloved sister who had been retarded.

I’ve admired Christine’s strength throughout the turmoil she endured caring for her parents. And the love she shared with them…and the sister who had gone before.

Christine’s compelling story was like…a dip in the icy cold glacial waters off the coast of Alaska.

When we think life is so unfair…it seems best to remember the advantages we do enjoy.

I’ve been given a chance to live…

…to love…and be loved…

…to explore my talents…and forgive my weaknesses…

…to know others…and have them know me…

…to see with my eyes…the beauty of all I see…

…to hear with my ears…the sounds of life beckoning me forward…

…to sample with my own taste buds…all the gastronomical delights that others create…and the humble offerings that emanate from my own two hands…

…to walk and jump and climb and crawl and wriggle and stretch.

Above all…

I can think and remember and express and give voice and cry and laugh and complain and argue and be thankful…

…and I can pray…

…for myself and for others…

LIFE AFFORDS ME ALL THIS…

AND SO MUCH MORE.

Death cannot take away all the life that I have lived thus far.

Only I can do that…if I fail to crowd every nook and cranny of my life with the sights, sounds, smells…and all the amazing moments that present themselves.

Christine’s story reminded me to…enjoy the ride of a lifetime…

…every single moment…of every single day!!! croppedphoto