Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Long Way Round

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be. ~ Doulas Adams -( 1952-2001)

When I was around five I wanted to be a trapeze artist. I had heard of them from my brother David, He had been to the circus and seen one there. I had never seen one but I knew I wanted to be one. I would hang upside down from the top of our swing set and flip and pose for the entire Back yard to watch in wonder. Of Course the only watchers were the chickens and hunting dogs But still I put on a pretty good show. My brother Frank saw me from the garden where he was hoeing one day and with some rope and an old broom handle he made me a swing high up in the China berry tree. I would climb up the boards he nailed to the tree and climb out onto my swing and practice my moves for hours. I could hear the roar of the crowds and the applause in my young mind. I just knew I would be a famous circus performer one day.

A few months later I decided I wanted to be a ballerina. Jimmy nailed a couple of wedges of wood across the back of the smoke house and after adding the handle from daddy's best shovel he declared that it was now my studio complete with a practice barre. I had discovered Ballet while looking through the New World Books Daddy had bought from a salesman. I would hang onto My barre in the back of the smoke house as I ignored the canned goods lining the walls and the ropes of sausage hanging from the ceiling. I could do all of the basic moves. I could twirl and stand on my toes. I was convinced I'd be a great dancer some day.

I was always changing my mind about what I wanted to be. When I got an easy bake oven I swore I would be a great chef some day. My Oldest Sister Trudy would help me mix up cakes and I'd bake one of the cookie sized cakes for every member of the family. I loved My oven till the light bulbs Burst inside the little oven and Daddy took it away. They made a new version after My own children came along. Both my daughter and my step daughter had their own. They too wanted to be chefs for a short time!

I wanted to be many different things. But I always from my first day of school wanted to be a writer. When they made me read ~run spot run ~ I wanted to be a writer. I told the teacher, Miss Dunbar that I would write better stuff than that . I despised Dick and Jane. I whined over Sally and Spot. Finally Miss Dunbar gave me a book from her shelf. It was called " The Big Yellow Umbrella". She told me that if I could read it and tell her what it was about she wouldn't make me read Dick and Jane any more. I read her wonderful book about an Umbrella and was in love with words. From the day I stood in front of her desk with my hands clasped behind me and told her about the book that she didn't think I could read, I never had to read Dick and Jane again. Miss Dunbar was a great teacher. She realized that I had five siblings older than me. She realized that I might already know how to read some words. She even allowed each of us to write something for the class to read aloud. My sentence was " One day I will be a writer and write sentences that will be read a lot by other people." I was the only one who could read it. But Miss Dunbar let me read it to the whole first grade class. I thought they would cheer; they frowned at me.. They called me names. I was different they said.

I was in love with words. I would read every word I could find. I would write words on the wall inside the smoke house when I was supposed to be practicing my Ballet. I would write words in the dirt with a stick beneath the shade of my china berry tree. The rope and broom handle swing rotting away above my head. I wrote poems and stories for my neighbors children and later for my younger brother and sister. I wrote extra stuff for school. Sometimes writing two or three for each assignment then choosing what I thought was best. I even decided to change the smoke house from a ballet studio to a writers studio. Dragging myself a peach crate in there and setting up my own office. I was going to write a mystery book and My sister Mary who was handy with a pencil and could draw anything at all was going to illustrate it. We were talking about it a while back she thinks we could still write a book like that, maybe one day we will..

And then I became a teenager. I was a good teenager. I always did my chores. I helped out in Mama's daycare center with the small kids. I loved to read them stories or make up stories for them.My youngest brother Reuben,would beg me for stories and I would make them up as I went along. I'm sure sometimes I had facts confused but little kids didn't care they loved my stories. I would write things for school and the teachers would tell me that the stories were wonderful, But that I HAD to write in proper form. I hated that too. It was as bad as reading Dick and Jane. And then I discovered the boys. Writing wasn't as interesting to me as were the boys.

I got married the first go round at sixteen. That marriage lasted for eighteen years. I actually did a good bit of writing during those years. Besides the stories I wrote for My oldest son , who came along when I was almost nineteen, I actually wrote a few times for money. I wrote for a newspaper for a while. My Sister-in-law, Camella, and I often working together. We liked to expose things that we thought were secrets or injustices. We would sometimes cause a stir here in this small town. People thought we were trouble makers. I wrote short stories for a couple of magazines and was published quiet a few times. But even though I was writing, I was way off track. Life wasn't taking me where I wanted to go. I wasn't headed in the right direction and I knew it. But I was; I thought; trapped . Finally I bought a lock box and pushed everything inside it and found me a job in a factory. Living takes money and writing was just for fun. And I was a mother with a child so I had to have steady money. I would write sometimes on my napkin as I ate supper in the green walled cafeteria where I worked. I would toss the napkins into my box at home and never look at it again. I wanted to write but I couldn't, life was leading me down another road.

Life took a big turn for me in nineteen ninety. My youngest child Emily was born just after the new year. Emily was sick from day one. I had two other children too and they had almost become my Mama's kids. Anthony was twelve and Cooper was sixteen months old. I was at the hospital and they were with my parents. I missed them But life was taking me where it wanted me to go. I wasn't writing now. I was to busy worrying about my sons, watching over my daughter, and learning to be a single Mother. I was divorced with a sick child and two sons besides her. I was way too busy to write.

I did keep a diary all those years. I pulled out some of the old ones a few months ago. I laughed about some of the things I wrote there. Entry's like ~Thanks God Cooper isn't a midget~ caused me to roll across my bed as laughter pealed from my lips. Cooper is well over six foot tall. But I remember when the nurse told me they thought he would be a midget. They measured him constantly until he grew a tiny bit.. He grew slow.. He took the long way round to get there but now he is Tall. Other entries caused me to cry. ~ Mike died cause we didn't match~ caused me to hang my head and weep remembering the little boy who was Part of Emily's cancer support group. We were all tested for a bone marrow transplant but none of us matched. I was devastated when he died. I was so afraid that Emily would be the next one to go.. And yet she recovered and will graduate from high school this year.

I married for the second time in nineteen ninety four. This Husband, who remains the best thing in my life, came with two more children and a whole lot more work required as a stay home mom. And even the diary stopped for many years. I didn't miss writing. I was way to busy being a Mom and step-mom and wife. I was off on a new path. I read every thing I could get my hands on and I even have some books where I wrote an extra bit in the back. I guess I didn't quiet like the ending of those so I "fixed" it. But I wasn't doing any real writing.

Last Summer, Dave and I went to the beach for a week-end, Taking Cooper and one of his skater friends along. Dave and I were going for a relaxing rest and the boys intended to skate. We even checked into a motel right across from the skate park so that they could run across to it without us having to drag them every where. Something happened that week-end. I was watching Dave sleep and the boys were skating. words began to pour through my mind. I hunted a pencil and searched the room for paper. I finally found a pen but no paper. I made so much Racket that Dave woke up and offered to take me to wal-mart to get what ever I wanted. He had that, I think she's lost it look on his face but still he was willing to haul me, in my crazy state, to wal-mart. I was ready and in the car before he could get his shoes on. I bought paper and two pens. I bought a folder for finished stuff and a pencil with a packet of erasers in all shapes and sizes. Rushing to get it all and get back to the room Just as my mind went Blank. I managed to hold on to one poem as all the other words ran away. But they were only hiding for the week-end.

I have wrote something every single day since then. I have learned something about me too. I was always a writer. I was writing when I rocked Emily in intensive care and told stories that the nurses would sometimes stand still and listen too. I was writing when I explained to my children that sometimes people just have to move into new houses and families have to divide. I was writing when I explained to my new love what Life meant to me and how he would have to act if he intended to share this wonderful life with me. I was writing when I mitigated problems between his children and mine convincing them that we were all going to make it.. I was taking the long road, But I was headed in the right direction.

Last night I sat in my Baby sisters living room and watched her youngest son climb up and down on Dave's knee. He took a liking to Dave last night like never before. Dave has that effect on children sometimes. All of mine say he's a hero. His know he is the greatest dad. And I tell everyone he's my soul mate. Martha had been sitting quietly watching them, when suddenly she asked me. "Patsy, do you remember taking me, when I was little, to run through Emmett's wheat field?" I smiled because I had forgotten till she mentioned it. She talked about how the wheat felt so silky as it brushed against her skin. She said she remembered that I took her there and told her to run and feel the wheat brush against her. She said I took pictures of her there so we could remember the fun that day. She's ten years younger than me so her memory is better. I asked her where we were heading. She laughed and said.. " We were walking to Grand-ma's House." I frowned and said "well we were way off track for Grandma's house.. We could have been to Grandma's house quicker another way." She just laughed and said.. "Yea Patsy, But you ALWAYS took the long way round!"

My sister was right. I always took the long way around. If I was sent next door to borrow sugar I would go way out in the woods behind our house and then run back to the neighbors house. Being sent to grandma's house just a small distance away often meant a trip to the railroad tracks or through My uncle Emmett's fields. I always looked for something more. I was on the right track all along. I was just taking the long way around! Don't be afraid to try paths you haven't walked before. Never fear the unknown. Sometimes there is a short way to reach your destination. But I'm sure you will have more fun and maybe learn something extra if every once in a while you will take the Long way around! Have a great day!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Invisible Man

No one is asking what happened to all the homeless. No one cares, because it's easier to get on the subway and not be accosted. ~Richard Linklater

I would do anything for my Mother. That is how I became aware of the invisible man. Last July Mama got sick. Now Mama hates hospitals almost as much as I do and had never been admitted to one except for the times she was there to have babies. She doesn't count those eight times. This time though Mama wasn't going to come home with a bundle of joy. I wasn't sure Mama was going to come home at all. But for now she and her sick heart were upstairs under the attention of her other seven children and her first Non baby toting nurse. I was leaning against the ashtray outside. I was trying to get me a few more puffs in before I had to return to the sterile heart ward to guard my Mother through the night.

I watched him walk past me and then come back and ask for a light. I shared my lighter and small talk as he lit a half smoked cool and propped up there beside me near the ashtray stands. He wore jeans slung low on a skinny butt. Much too thin for my taste even had I been in the market for a man. His hair could have used a trim but wasn't unfashionably long. It appeared clean. He had a tattered gray backpack hanging from one Bony shoulder. His green eyes smiled as he stood laughing as I related to this stranger how the ambulance driver had scared me on the sixty mile ride from My Tiny town to this bigger, better equipped for sick people, City. He agreed that they could be scary behind the wheel. I was sure he was a Doctor or at the very least a medical student. He wished me luck as I turned to go back inside. I did look back once as I walked away. He was tucking something into the side pocket of his Backpack.

Morning finally came peaking through the clouds.. A light rain was falling as My sisters came quietly into the room. They were glad to take over the guarding of our mama and allow me to get some coffee and a smoke. I rode the elevator to the lobby amazed at the early morning bustle of the large City Hospital. Our own tiny hospital only a forth the size, if that, of the one where they had sent my Mama. Congestive heart failure meant Mama had to be moved. And I knew Mama wouldn't go alone. So I had come with her. I would do anything for my mama..She would do anything for me.

I followed my nose to the coffee shop once I reached the ground floor. Just as I went in I saw my stranger friend from the night before cut across the lobby. He was again carrying his back pack. On the way to learn more about Doctoring I thought Watching him hurry to catch the elevator.

I was glad to see others near the ashtrays this morning. I like people in general and like to listen as other people talk to each other. Some call me nosy. I just think I'm curious. I had found me a spot on a ledge near the stands and was enjoying the vacation planning of a couple near me when I first heard the angry yell. "Who took my coffee?' the man yelled looking around at the rest of us. No One answered as he continued to look around for his missing cup. I looked around too, now fully alert and on the look out for a thief with a coffee cup. I only saw the young man from last night as he turned the corner heading away from the pack of early smokers. Just as he turned his profile was turned to me and I saw him drinking from a large coffee. He almost seemed to be laughing as he hurried away into the parking garage. Something about him stuck with me as I walked back to the elevator. I didn't know what yet but I was nosy. I would figure it out.

The rains came hard and fast that afternoon as Mama slept a drugged sleep. I decided a cup of soup from the cafeteria would sooth me. As I walked down the hall towards the elevator I caught a glimpse of the young man again. He was hurrying away from the trash can; Near the snack machines in the Lobby; right beside the nurses station. He had His back pack off and was stuffing it with packages half full of crackers and some sandwiches that they had taken out of the machine earlier that day. Out of date food and two past their prime apples. It was then that I realized that the man I had thought was a doctor was Homeless. It broke my heart. He seemed to be totally invisible to everyone else there. I even for a second wondered if I had seen a ghost. But as he turned and smiled I knew he was really there. He commented on the storm and then said he had to go.. he walked along to the elevator with me. We got on and he pressed the Button to get off one floor down. I guess he was checking the lobby's on all the floors. Filling his pack. His version of buying groceries.

I stayed with Mama a whole week in the big Hospital. I spent a lot of my time watching her sleep or talking quietly with her when she was awake. I knitted things that I gave to the nurses who cared for her so sweetly and some doll dresses for my Granddaughter But mostly I worried about the invisible young man. I watched as he moved about the hospital unseen by anyone but me. He would take coffee from under the nose of people smoking outside and I even saw him walk past a table in the cafeteria once and after he passed the woman was looking all around on the floor for a banana. He could have taken some ones purse or wallet or other important things but he didn't. I watched him fill his cigarette pack from the ashtrays every morning and every night. Yet I never saw him ask for a cigarette. I felt as if I was as invisible while watching him as he was to the world that moved around the hospital. I wanted to offer him something. Maybe a meal or a few dollars but for some reason I felt that he would be embarrassed by my offer. I started buying a sandwich from the machine late at night and leaving it sitting on top of the trash can. Hoping he would find it still fresh for his breakfast. I left whole cigarettes for him in the ashtrays. I'd smoke one and leave one. I even put a clean Tee shirt in the lobby trash can and was pleased to see him wearing it the next morning.

It must be awful to be invisible out by the ashtrays. Where people plan extravagant dates and dinner parties and discuss new clothes and expensive pleasure trips. Never looking at the less fortunate ones around them.
I pray for my invisible friend every night now. Him and the many others like him. I pray that he has found a safe place to dream and a dream that will take him away from the streets!
Have a good night, remember to count your blessings; though they may seem to sometimes be few.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Daddy's Dating Rules.

One of life's greatest mysteries is how the boy who wasn't good enough to marry your daughter can be the father of the smartest grandchild in the world.”~ Proverb

“Watching your daughter being collected by her date feels like handing over a million dollar Stradivarius to a gorilla.”~ Jim Bishop

My Daddy was a kind and gentle man. He loved us all dearly. I don't know if he ever discussed dating rules with My brothers, I'm sure he did that privately with them. But to date one of his daughters could be a dangerous thing. Daddy had certain rules that he expected us to follow as young ladies and The boys we might date were expected to do certain things. First of all we were not to call boys at all. Back then it was considered "Ugly" for little girls to call boys. There were a few girls who would called our house to ask for one of my brothers. Most didn't call more than once. Mama always gave them the girls shouldn't call boys talk and most never called again. Boys could call us, If they didn't mind talking to Daddy first. I was in the second grade when the first one called me. I heard daddy ask him why was he calling.. Then after a brief pause Daddy told him well you call back in ten years son and he hung up on the young fellow.. I didn't ask who called or why.. At that point I didn't like boys anyway.

My oldest sister Trudy was the first one to reach the magical dating age of sixteen. One of our cousins had asked Mama and Daddy if She could go on a double date with a boy none of us knew. I remember Daddy telling them that he didn't mind If Trudy went on a date but that the Boy better come to the door.. No horn blowing .. That he would have to know who the boys "people" were.. Couldn't be No jail birds or jack legs. We weren't allowed to date those... If he had long hair Daddy knew a good barber.. Or Daddy had some dog clippers. Either suited Daddy. He was not to buy Trudy any gifts of clothing of any kind.. Any boy who bought you clothes either wanted to help you into the new ones or out of your old ones. and Both of those were a good way to meet Daddy's double barrel. She had to be home at a decent hour lets say eight pm. Seven, forty five was even better. When you bring her home You do not sit in the car in the dark in the yard! You do not put her out at the road. You pretend to be a gentleman and walk her to the door. At which point you Thank her for a lovely evening and get about the business of leaving. And Daddy's last rule and the one I personally never understood was.. Don't come to my house without your socks on. There was nothing Daddy hated more than a boy who wasn't fully dressed to go on a date and that meant SOCKS and shoes..

Well the day of the date came and the young fellow came along with my cousin and her date to pick up my sister. They all came to the door and Daddy let them in.. The young man began by taking of his hat at the door and offering Daddy his hand.. I was sitting on the floor in the dining room sneaking a peek at the young man who would be the first to date one of my Daddy's daughters. I thought he was doing pretty good so far. Daddy shook his hand and told them to come in.. His hair was neatly cut and combed into place. Mama was sitting in the living room along with Trudy. Sue and her date Mark came in and sat down.. daddy invited the other young fellow to sit as well. Then began the questions.. Where are y'all planning to go? What time are you planning to be back? Who is going to be driving? Who is your Grand-daddy? And on and on.. Finally daddy having decided that the boy was harmless stood and said " well y'all young folks better get on the road if Trudy is going to be home on time." I really though the young man had passed the tests. I think Daddy thought so too. They almost made it out of the house before the crazy boy messed up. He turned to Daddy just as they were about to leave and held up his foot. He had on his socks just as Daddy had said he should but he had them on with sandals. He said " And Mr. Black Look I wore socks just like you said." I saw the frown turn daddy's smile upside down as Daddy pushed the door shut in his face.. He looked at Mama and said "I ought to Call her back in here; You see what a smart Alec jar head he is.!" But Daddy didn't make her come back in the house.. She went on that date with him.. But she never dated him again. Later I learned that Daddy always gave us girls two things before we went on a date.. A dollar and a dime. The dollar was to buy yourself a drink if you accidentally got out of the house with a boy to cheap to pay for you a soda and the dime was to call Daddy to come and get you should you find yourself on such a date. And we were to call first and he would be there by the time we finished our soda. I feel that it was a lucky thing that neither of the four of us daughters ever had to use our dollar or our dime!

I guess it sounds like Daddy was a hard man. He wasn't. He just wanted us to be safe. He was going to see who we were leaving with. He was going to say a few words to them before we left. And he would be waiting up when we came home. Daddy was always nice to the young men who came to carry away his daughters. He just liked things to be a certain way.

Times have surely changed from way back then when Daddies met young men at the door. Daddies don't know who their daughters are dating any more. Girls call boys and think nothing of it. Girls will come to get the boy and will wear his clothes if she can get them. If there are any rules for dating the young people break them all. My children said I was out of style and old timey when they were here at home and dating. I just smiled at them and said.. "yea, well be glad you didn't belong to my Daddy!"

I laugh often when I think about the rules Daddy had for dating.. They really are funny. especially the rule about socks. But I'm glad my Parents loved us enough to try and keep us safe from the world. I felt the same about my kids.. I hope my son will feel the same about his daughter. And since I know how my son loves his children, I think socks will be the least of a young mans worry when he attempts to date my Grand-daughter. Thanks for sharing a smile with me tonight!
Have a great night!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Phone Call

Tonight I was doing my very best to get my supper dishes all washed up when My phone rang. I dried my hands and ran to the living room grabbed the phone and said "Hello!" The response I got was "Teeheehee" then a buzz as they hung up. I checked the number. It was a number that seemed familiar and yet not one that I really knew. It was listed as Unknown name but the number I knew from the first three digits to be a cell. Honestly I thought it was either a child playing with a parents phone or just a prank caller since they were giggling like crazy.

I went back to the kitchen and again began cleaning up. No sooner than I got my hands good and wet again than I heard the ring ring of the phone once more. I stopped what I was doing and came again to the phone answering with an annoyed Hellooo! This time I only got a half of a giggle and again the buzz. I looked on the box and it was again the same number. Now I was really annoyed. I looked at the number again and looked in my own cell phone to see if it was someone I knew.. Nope. That number wasn't in my phone. I was standing there trying to think of who it could be when It rang again.. this time I was ready. I was standing beside the table and I grabbed it on the first ring. "Do NOT hang up on me again!" I yelled into the receiver. Silence.. Not a sound could I here in return for my yell. "Now" I said taking a few deep breaths to calm myself down.. "Who is this?"
"Oh I can't tell you that" she answered with a giggle following her words.
"What number are you trying to call" I asked.
"Yours" she replied.

OK I'm now ready to choke this person who I am relatively sure is female and not very old. Not from the sound of things to me right then did she appear very bright. But Being the kindly; ( Hack hack) Wonderful; ( I'm choking myself here with these lies.) Grandmotherly ( OK so I am a grandma!) type of person that I am. I decided to play along with her for a minute or two.

"So now that you have me on the phone, Do you know my name?" I asked.
"Yea!" She said."Well then who am I? What is my name?" I asked.
"You know your name! I know you know your own name!" She answered.
Deciding to take a different tactic I said " And then do I know your Name?"
"Yea" she said "I think you do but I can't tell you who I am right now."
"OK" says I, "But I was busy so I'm hanging up now since we don't even know who each other are." I had really had enough and still had dishes to wash.
"No wait Miss Patsy" she said "I gotta ask you some stuff!"

OK Now we were getting somewhere. She does appear to know my name and since she's calling me Miss Patsy she is most likely a friend of one of my children. Or she is one of the children I kept in daycare. OK, She could still be anybody. But we have now established that she knows me.

I was just about to ask her what stuff she needed to ask me when she suddenly blurted out. " Does Cooper love me, I called him before but he said I was too young to call him and Now my baby daddy is gone and I was wondering if you think He might love me now that I'm a woman. I have a cute baby boy. 'Cept he cries all the time." I was really floored. Cooper is my son But hasn't lived here in a while now. He has been on the other side of the country since November training for a new Job there. And even though this young girl knew me... I was clueless as to who she was. I was pretty sure that he wasn't the Baby daddy as she called it so that was at least a worry off my mind.

So we talked for a while this woman child and I. I assured her that I didn't want to hurt her feelings but that If a boy didn't like her It was nothing wrong with her it was just that sometimes people didn't match like that. And that if a young man told her she was too young to be calling him it was probably because he was actually too old to date her.
"Oh" she said "so it don't mean I'm ugly or nothing like that? Cause I ain't fat since I had the baby."
"And how old are you?" I asked still trying to gather a clue as to who she was. "And have you ever been to my House?"
"I'm fourteen, and No Mam I ain't never been to your house but I know where you stay because I used to love your son. But he said I was too young to call him so I called somebody else and now I have this baby, he's cute and I love him, But
He.. " and as if the child knew she was talking about him I could hear him crying in the background.

I listened as she went to get her baby and cooed to him telling him she loved him and I sat here and held my phone and almost cried. I wanted to weep for her; fourteen and already a Mother. I wanted to weep for the baby I pray he will have everything he needs to grow up strong and wonderful Like my son who is not his Father. I am thankful that My son turned away this young woman who was not old enough to date him. I am thankful that he didn't take advantage of her youth and innocence. And I am sad even for the young man who left her to deal with all these things alone because he will miss so much. Babies are very special gifts.

Finally she returned to the phone and told me she had to hang up and feed her Boy. I asked her again to tell me her name and she refused. Saying that she was sorry to have bothered me. I asked her if there was anything I could do for her and she said That she had read my MYSPACE blog and that she had seen a poem I wrote for one of Cooper's friends and that she would like for me to write her one too. One that would let her know she was important she said. After I hung up from her I sobbed. I still don't know who she was. Maybe next time she calls she will tell me. I doubt that my son would know. Girls have been calling him since he was too young to even be interested in them. I used to fuss and tell him girls weren't supposed to call little boys. I often heard him tell girls that he was dating someone when he wasn't or tell the young ones not to call him again. But he was always kind about it. Always gentle with the girls feelings. He used to say he hated to hurt anyone. I told her to call me if she needed anything and she said she would. She giggled and said she might just call to talk and I told her she could. I did write her a poem. I have included it here as well.
Have a wonderful night!

Young Mother

Oh Young Mother
You have barely learned
to live yourself and yet
I hear the great love
in your voice as you
calm your tiny son's fears.
You are his everything.
Love him freely and he will
return your wonderful love.
You are important to him as
he is to you. The love you share
will grow as the two of you grow.
Let your Love be your guide.
For Motherhood does not come
with age. Motherhood Comes with
the love we hold for a child!


Monday, March 24, 2008


No performer should attempt to bite off red-hot iron unless he has a good set of teeth. ~Harry Houdini
The real secret of magic lies in the performance. ~David Copperfield

Today being the birthday of Harry Houdini made me think of Magic and Magicians. I don't really know much about magic myself. The most magical thing I ever did was to cause a boiled egg to fall into a milk Bottle for my sixth grade science project. One of my older Brothers, Jimmy I think, showed me how to do it. I of course thought it was great. Unfortunately the Judges didn't agree. I had planned on hanging the Blue ribbon on my wall but am sad to say I didn't even get an Honorable mention. I do have one sister who can make half of her pinkie finger magically disappear and even though I know how she does it, I must admit that it looks very freaky to me.. I try to turn away every time she does it. I also have a brother who is always pulling quarters from all the little children's ears.. There have been times since I was grown that I wanted to call him and see if he could pull some from my ears as well. I used to think think that he must have huge pockets. Then one day I saw him getting change secretly handed from another brother as the group of kids kept getting larger.

Many years ago I lived near a Magician in a small town. He was very old and wrinkled. His few white hairs covering none of the thick blue veins running across his pale scalp. He had the loudest Birds I had ever heard all penned together in his back yard. I was terribly afraid of him and of his birds. I had to pass his house while walking my son to school and He would always call after us.. "Come here! Come and talk to me! My House is too quiet!"
We would walk along quietly until we were almost to his house.. We would speed up as soon as we were near and be almost running when we got there.. Many times we trotted By his porch trying to outrun his calls. The more he called the louder the birds called. The louder they called the faster Anthony and I ran.

He had never done anything to scare us really. And even though his looks were frightening He was no more scary than the Crypt keeper on TV and we Loved the ugly little Crypt Keeper.. But Granny who lived between us and him had told us many times that he had sold his soul to the devil for the ability to do magic. She said he could never die. She told us that he was hundreds of years old And Granny, who wasn't really my Granny at all, had us convinced that it was so. She loved to tell us all about how he had traveled the world with witches and spells and those awful birds as his only companions. I was an adult and I did know that she was just telling tales. But still I feared that old man and his birds. He had peacocks and roosters. There were pigeons and doves. He had Flamingos And several Black Birds. Big ugly Black birds that some mornings would be sitting on the porch rail as we came up the sidewalk nearly in a run.

Finally there came a morning that I had walked Anthony to school and was headed home. Just as I got right in front of his house he stepped right out in front of me stopping me dead in my tracks. I could feel my heart beating like crazy, the blood pounding in my ears as he shouted at me.. "Can I borrow a cup of sugar?" I was so sure he had planned to kill me and feed me to his birds. I asked him twice "What did you say?" He smiled a crooked smile and said.. "Sugar.. do you have sugar?" He spoke loudly but slowly as if I was dim witted. I managed to pull myself together enough to answer. "yes, Sir I have sugar at home." Praying he wasn't going to follow me there. I hurriedly offered to run and fetch him a cup. I ran home and got two cups of sugar just to be sure he was satisfied.. I didn't want to offend a soulless man. He thanked me very loudly and I began to realize that he thought I was deaf or at least very hard of hearing.. He told me that he was baking cookies and begged that Anthony and I stop back by after school and share some with him.

We talked about it that afternoon as we walked along together towards his house and our home.. We decided that he most likely wasn't going to eat us. And Home baked cookies were a good reason to stop for just a few minutes and see if he was really as scary as we thought. After all we reasoned he was hundreds of years old so we should be able to outrun him. When we got to his house he had a table set up on the front porch. He had cups of coffee for himself and me. He had a glass of Milk for Anthony but offered to change that if Anthony wanted something else. I hoped secretly that Anthony would ask for juice. I so wanted to see if he would cast a spell on the milk But Anthony just nodded that Milk was OK with his mouth stuffed with still warm Cookies. That afternoon he showed us a few of his birds and told us their names. He never told us his name.. He said everyone called him the Bird Man or they called him Wizard. So that day over cookies we began a friendship with Mr. Wizard.

Mr. Wizard died many years ago. He took sick not too many months after we all ate cookies on his porch; surrounded by the birds who were until us his only companions. He left his house to the town to be used in some way to help troubled children. I moved away before they ever did anything with his house. They sold most of his birds. The peacocks went to a zoo. The flamingos that screamed so loudly went to an exotic animal farm. The doves and the big black crows they simply turned loose to go back to the wild. Last week I rode by his house.. I almost didn't recognize it with the bird pens all gone and the wheelchair ramp. I looked twice at the porch thinking to myself how he would be pleased to see them there. All the girls. One with hair the color of peacocks blue feathers and another with Pink flamingo curls. Sitting on the porch rail was another with raven hair standing on end. Stuffing Her mouth with what appeared to be cookies. A tall glass of milk resting near her hand.. I heard them laugh together as we waited for the traffic light to change. Just as we drove pass I turned and watched as a dove came from the roof and sat down on the end of the porch where some one had hung a feeder. And I thought of My magical friend who I was told could never die. And I realized that the magic we create everyday will live on long after we are gone. Because the magic of life lies within the love we share. Share a little kindness and love every chance you get.
Created a little magic in some ones life when you can.
Have a magical wonderful day!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter as time Marches on!

Our old history ends with the cross; our new history begins with the resurrection. ~Watchman Nee

Today was Easter. I have always loved Easter. When I was a child I loved the candy and the pretty new dresses and the New shoes. We knew the meaning of Easter. But we were Kids. We loved the other things that were part of the celebrations.We would hide Dozens and Dozens of eggs when we were children and then count the found ones over and over till we found them all. Daddy and Mama would take turns hiding them and then Us kids would run like wild thing to try and find them all. Daddy would give a dollar to who ever found the prize egg and we all wanted that dollar. I was one of the smaller ones of eight kids so I didn't Manage to get the dollar very Often. Both of our Grandma's would come home with us after Church on Easter. It was an all afternoon event. We would have so much fun together. But time marches on.

When We were grown and all of us had children of our own we would gather at Mama and Daddy's House and they would have Plastic eggs all filled with candy and always a Easter gift for every Grandchild. My Brothers would hide the eggs and our own children would run wild everywhere till all the eggs were found. My brother Frank was always the best hider. He would always pick out a very small child and walk around with them sometimes giving a nudge or a whisper when they were close to an egg. I once told Frank that he was cheating. He laughed and said He wasn't cheating he was assisting. Frank has one Grandchild now. Everyone knows when they see them that she is the apple of his eye. I hope they hid eggs together today. I hope they made memories. We each have to build our own History. Because Time moves on for all of us.

I was a single Mom of three for a few years. Those years were tough. I would hide eggs and they would find them. My two little monsters running around like crazy while the big monster laughed at them because he already had all the eggs spotted. Anthony would always give a third to each of the other two so that they all had the same amount. He was always a good sport. He didn't care about the eggs. I always gave him the dollar for the prize egg. He was older I figured he needed it. Then I remarried and Had a new Husband and two more children and Easter began to be another holiday that had to split between houses. And
I worried about what history that was bringing to my five children. We always tried to have something special with all of them on holidays and time marched on for us too.

All of my Children are grown now.. All five live somewhere else.I had one Grandson here this week-end with Me. Mason. Dave hid the eggs for Mason. Mason said Grand-daddy hid them too easy so he was going to hide them for us. We did our best not to just bend over and pick them up since they were in plain sight. Pretending we didn't see them. He was very excited that he was a better hider than Grand- daddy. Then came my turn to hide them. I walked around carefully looking for the kind of places we would find them when we were small. The kind of places My Daddy or my Brother Frank Might hide them. I laughed as they ran around looking in all the places they had already hidden them. They managed to stumble over all but four of them. I kept telling them. " I can see them from here." Finally Mason came and stood by me and looked around high and low and spotted one sitting carefully way up on a tree limb. He then spotted the two in the goldfish's waterfall. I laughed as they walked and re-walked all over this yard searching for the one egg. Finally after they had both gave up and were about to go inside I walked over to a tree stump sitting in the middle of a flower bed and next to the stump sitting in a yellow daffodil was the final bright yellow egg. I picked it up and tossed it to Mason. He said I was the very best egg hider this year. And I was happy because even though we don't always see it Mason and the other children are growing up And time still marches on.

Times Change. Families change. Lives Change. Holiday traditions change. My Easter's now are usually spent Just me and Dave here at home. This year for a change we had Mason here. We had fun with him like we haven't had in a while. Our own children Out grew Holidays Early. When children have to split Holidays in two houses that happens. It's no one's Fault It just happens. But We always made holidays special in our house. We dyed eggs even if it would be too late Easter to hide them when they all came home. We could hide them Monday. Fun is important to children. I do remember some times that I was in trouble as a child but Most of all I remember the fun times. So try as often as you can to have fun with a child. Who knows you might even enjoy yourself.. And better yet the child might with a grin and a hug declare you to be the best hider of the day! And Even time can't march faster than good memories. Time can't erase the loving history you build with a child!
Happy Easter!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

New Shoes

"If the shoe doesn't fit, must we change the foot?"- Gloria Steinem

Yesterday I talked about Friday before Easter when I was a child.. Good Friday.. This morning I will talk about Saturday before Easter in our Childhood home. Especially our Easter shoes.
Saturday before Easter Sunday was always a busy day. There were heads to be washed and Half of those had to have bobby pin curls. The new clothes that Mama and Daddy had been paying on for a few weeks would have been already picked up from lay- away and They would be hanging on doorways awaiting Mama's final inspection. We would not have a wrinkle or smudge between us Come Easter Morning when we filled an entire pew at Our country Church.
We always ; with out fail ; got new shoes twice every year in our family. We got Loafers every year when school started. We got those in groups of two each Friday for several weeks before School started for the fall. We didn't get other shoes very often. Maybe a pair of flip flops for the beach or Camping. We did get sneakers once we were old enough to have Physical education in school. That was around the sixth grade for me. But Every year on the Saturday before Easter we would all get new shoes. Dress shoes that would be worn for Church and to school for special days like chorus concerts or maybe an induction into a club or something. You didn't wear dress shoes every day.. you would mess them up. Scuff them or scratch them. Patent Leather was easy to ruin. And if you scratched them you would have to rub them with Cold Biscuits. Naturally you didn't dare ruin your Dress shoes.
One Main street there was a shoe store. Not like today's shoe stores really Because back then there was a person there to fit your feet and try shoes on you till he was satisfied that they fit. Then you would be sent to walk up and down the aisle so that Him and Daddy could make sure they weren't rubbing and would never cause a blister. Then it was back to the stool so Mr. Haines could mash on the toe to show how much growing room you had. Growing room was important because you had to wear those shoes for a whole year. They had to fit for that whole year. you just had to have growing room at the toe. One Easter Saturday in Particular I remember that we had all went to town. We were all lined up trying to pick out shoes for Mr. Haines to fit for us. Mary always had a very Narrow foot and so she was hard to fit. I on the other hand Had a perfectly normal foot and was always easy to fit. I had picked out a shoe that even I knew would never fit.. I was hoping though. Hoping that Mr. Haines Could do magic and make it fit me. I didn't like the shoe any more than I did any of the others but This pair had a doll to come with them and I sure wanted her. She was a doll from some country far away and I loved all dolls.
When It was my turn I stepped up to the stool and sat down calmly straightening my skirt and smiling my best smile at Mr. Haines as I lifted my foot to the fitting step in front of me. Then I handed him the tiny shoe I had chosen. He smiled and shook his head no as he got up and went to the shelf behind him. He came back with a pair that naturally were a perfect fit. He was very good at his Job. I was about to raise a fuss but just then I caught Daddy's eye and knew a fuss wasn't a very good idea right then. I took my unwanted shoes and moved to stand over by the door waiting as the others were fitted. I watched people through the glass as they walked up and down the short Main street. I was almost over the whole doll issue till I saw Mary coming with her shoes. She had the shoes I wanted. She, who I was certain, was way too old for dolls, had my shoes and my doll. I was furious. I was mad with Mr Haines because he had tricked me . I was certain that he had. I was mad with Mary because I knew she had chosen my shoes for spite. I was just mad at the world. I was even mad with my feet for being too big to get me a doll. I pouted as daddy paid for all those shoes. I pouted all the way home in the car squeezed in between Frank and Mary in the back seat. I pouted all the way to my bedroom where I tossed the shoe box to the bed and flopped down beside it. Finally I heard Mama coming toward my room. She would be handing out the socks that she had bought at the dime store while daddy was getting us all fitted for New Easter shoes. She would have socks to match every one's clothes and she would look at everything together to make sure we were all ready for the Easter Morning Services. I lifted my Shoe box lid and There laying in the box along with My black, patent leather, Sunday shoes was a little doll from Spain. Mr. Haines had surprised me. Mr. Haines had realized that I knew the shoe wouldn't fit. But he had given me a doll anyway. Mama opened my door to a smiling happy girl and was proud that they had again got all of us pulled together one more time.. Just in time for Easter. And the next morning we would all eight be
Pictures of perfection sitting on our pew in our new Easter clothes and Our New Good shoes.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

"Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time." ~Martin Luther
"Jesus took my place on the cross to give me a place in heaven."(unknown)

Oh What a day filled with memories. Good Friday. A good day for prayers and planting. When we were Children Good Friday was a kick off day for a great week end. We would all work in the garden that day. They wouldn't even think of having children in class on Good Friday. It was a holiday. Daddy always planted the garden on Good Friday. Many people still believe that to be the very best day for planting gardens. I always plant a few things myself. I guess that any day that is a blessed day should help my seeds to sprout and grow. We cleaned the pool and got it ready for swimming on Good Friday. We would begin to swim after Easter. On the early evening of Good Friday Daddy would always drag down a huge pot and fill it with eggs From the store. We had chickens so we always had fresh eggs every day but for Easter eggs Mama always bought a few dozen to Dye. Fresh eggs are usually brown or beige But bought eggs are mostly snow white and able to absorb the colors better. While the eggs were cooking Mama and Daddy would set out old coffee cups and Daddy would carefully measure food color into each one. Blending the food colors together to make every color in the rainbow. Mama would follow with vinegar and again the careful measuring would begin. Finally they would fill each cup almost to the rim with Boiling water. By the time they had everything set up the eggs would be done and mama would have rinsed them all under cold water. She would remove any with cracks or nicks and lay the others out on white paper towels to wait for the fun to begin. Mama always pulled out ten and wrote everyone's name on one with a wax crayon. She'd write Mama on her's and Daddy Rabbit On daddy's. Then beginning with Davey she would go down the line and write all of our names on an egg. We all knew how the crayon would coat the egg Keeping that area white while the rest turned to some wonderful color. Even though we knew how it worked, it still gave us thrills to see our name appearing on our very own egg for Easter. Each of us would be allowed to dye a few eggs after that. We would dip one end sometimes and then the other to Make two toned eggs. Mary would always draw flowers or other pictures on hers with the crayon then dip them into several different colors. Trudy always dyed at least one yellow and one blue. I remember that Jimmy once dipped one of his eggs into every color till it came out black. We all laughed and told him it looked like a rotten egg. Daddy always dyed a few too and would always take one very special one and wrap it tightly in foil to be the prize egg. Mama had a huge basket that for most of the year held her curlers On Her dresser But this time of year it was emptied out and dusted off then filled with a packet of green Plastic grass. That basket was simply beautful when we filled it with our Easter eggs.
We would all place our eggs carefully into the basket and then all gather around Daddy as he told us about why We celebrated easter. He told us about how Jesus Died for the sins of every one. He told us how they laid him in a tomb but that when they came back Jesus was already gone. He had risen from the dead.
He would always remind us that we serve a living Savior. I dyed eggs with my children when they were small and told them the Easter story. I boiled eggs today and told myself the story Just to remind myself of the wonderful story of Easter. I don't have any children here to hunt eggs But Even I like egg salad.
Have a truly Good Friday!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My Daffodils!

Where flowers bloom so does hope.- Lady Bird Johnson

The daffodils are blooming and I love this time of year. This time of year always makes me think of so many wonderful things. With the first bloom of them I always think of Grandma Black and how even though she lived very simply she touched many lives through her words of wisdom. Sheron and I often remember to each other some off her greatest words. She used to give us warnings about how things could bring about other things. One I will always remember is. "All right NOW! Leaving a rocking chair rocking is a sign your are gonna get a whooping!" I got a few whoopings for that. Because if you jump out and leave it rocking it might; and in my case did; break something at Grandma Morris’s house! At Grandma Blacks little house in the woods she had daffodils planted down each side of the little path to the door. She didn’t have a sidewalk or anything elegant like that. Not even a few stepping stones, But still she planted flowers along her path. She had other flowers as well but I always remember her best from the daffodils. I carried her daffodils that me and Anthony picked from the grave yard near our house once when she was in the hospital. She smiled at us and said." They always bloom so much prettier in the grave yard!" She died shortly after that while they were still blooming. I walked through those woods near where her house was a few weeks ago. I snuck in there by way of the old railroad bed. Just to see if the flowers were still there. They were and are in full bloom! They also remind me of Nelma. My Mother-in-law. Mom to my first Husband Gaylon. We loved each other, Nelma and I. It had nothing to do with him. We loved each other aside from him. We would embroidery together during the long days we spent together with nothing else to do. She would tell me tales of the old ones long gone from her family. Tales about her Papa were very important to her. Everyone used to say Cooper looked like Papa. She would have loved him and Emily. I like to think that she held them in Heaven before they were sent to me. She loved Anthony to death. But she Loved to tie him up too. She found it funny to see him try and get out of it. I think that was the only time she made me really mad. But we got over that moment too. I would go for walks and bring back some daffodils when they were in bloom. She would smell them over and over and then put the whole bunch in a jar and carry it straight to her room. I would say "Hey Share Those Please!" and she would just say "Hmmmmp" If I wanted some for the table I’d have to go and pick more. They also remind me of Mr. Lennie Still. He didn’t have a single blade of grass in his yard. He’d get out there every morning and sweep the yard clean chopping up anything green with the hoe. He didn’t have other flowers in his yard either. But he did have a few scattered clumps of daffodils. He said they let him know that spring was coming. He told me that they remind us of a promise from God that there is a season for everything under the sun. He said that they represented renewal to him. He said we should all have a few planted to remind us. He said "Man needs to be renewed every so often. It keeps a man Humble!" Mr. Lennie was a good man. A Humble man. They remind me of a time that me and Trudy and Anthony were going old house plundering. We wanted to check out an old log cabin someone had told Trudy about way down in the woods. Cooper was reaching for a bloom and was suddenly sliding away. Anthony jumped and grabbed him and was yelling for me to come help him hold on. They both almost fell into a well. If Anthony hadn’t been watching Cooper would have surely fell in. There was no marking of any kind there to warn people of the well. Just Daffodils planted all around it. I can still hear Cooper yelling "Help me bubba!" just as Anthony’s almost a man’s hand closed over Coopers tiny little one. And me grabbing Anthony by the foot as he started to slip as well. But we all Hung on. I think I hugged them fifty times each when we were all safe on solid ground again. Me and Trudy both crying with relief. We all made it out of those woods. We even got a bucket that was hanging way down deep in that well. Anthony was determined to pull up whatever was tied to the rotting old rope. I kept the bucket to remind me of how close we came that day to loosing something precious. I think that was our last house plundering trip. I think that scare ended the house plundering for me and Trudy! It’s funny how something as simple as a blooming yellow flower can bring so many wonderful memories to your mind. How just the smell can invoke such loving thoughts of family and friends already gone. How seeing the blooms all over this yard can remind us of so many things. I didn’t plant them here. They just were. If I had to guess I’d say Miss Ruthie planted them or maybe someone even before she lived here. I give thanks to who ever planted them here. Thanks for the blooms and thanks for the memories.

Give me time.

Whatever you are, be a good one.--Abraham Lincoln

Wow. I sit here staring at my new blog page and suddenly I am silent. I know some of you find that hard to believe. Yes my children and My beloved Dave I am talking about each of you. I have always wanted everyone to hear me. Maybe this is the way To finally be heard by all.. I can imagine the looks of pure pleasure on all of your faces thinking of me sitting here with nothing to say. But just give me time. It will come. And I will be a blogger. I will be a good one! I will tell tales that everyone hoped I had forgotten. I will repeat stories that everyone else has long forgotten. And I will write new stories to be told and re-told from now till all blogs end. So I ask that you give me a little time to get the hang of this.. Then sit back and watch me roll.