I reflect sometimes on the strangest things. For the last few days I have been thinking about my family. Not just my Mom, she is still witty and to me just as beautiful as ever. Daddy told her one time she was a Poor Mans Miss America. She is older but still as compassionate and loving as ever.
I think about my sister. She was born at a different time than I was, which makes sense, but I mean it was a very different time in the US and all over, not just in the family. She was born in a home where the Dairy is now and she and Mother lived with my Grandmother and Grandfather because Daddy was gone overseas with the Air Force. She became a teen when Elvis was just starting out and experienced things I will never be able to. There are just some things and times that can not be recreated. She was overseas at a later time with Daddy and Mother and visited places that I will never see. I would listen as she and my parents would bring out some old slides and they would talk about when they visited France or Spain or Italy. Of course by the time I was beginning to understand what was going on at the age of 5, she was married and gone to another land, Cleveland, Ohio and I thought that was the end of the world.
My brother is a few years older than I am. He also grew up in a different time. He knew some of the overseas trips and was in most of the photos and movies and slides taken while they lived the military life, but not a sign of me. He played high school football but then he got hurt and had to have surgery so that ended his sports career. Then Viet Nam started up when he was graduating from High School and because he had to have shoulder surgery, he couldn't go, so Thank God we were spared losing him.
Mother worked at a local auto finance and insurance office with Daddy. I can remember one time I was about 6; a customer came in and saw me sitting at Mothers desk. He asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and without ever thinking about the answer I told him what was in my mind and heart. I wanted to be like Moma. I wanted to do what she does. She smiled and kinda laughed a little bit, and I am sure in recollection, she probably blushed a little, but I was serious. I wanted to be like my Mother.
I wanted to be a secretary or whatever it was she did there at the office with Daddy. I wanted to be as pretty as she was and I wanted to carry myself in the graceful manner and be a lady just like Moma.
Well, Daddy died when I was 15 so my adulthood started immediately. There was no transition. It was my time to take care of Moma and be sure she didnt want for anything or be sad. If I only knew. I have no idea how many tears she shed without letting me see, but I do know that she is still as much the lady I remember of the 60s and carries herself in such a sweet manner to this day.
I tease her sometimes that once I get her raised, I dont want any more!!! She tells me without missing a beat that she just thanks God I wasnt twins. We both know the other is kidding and that we are both so thankful and so fortunate to have each other and that along the way when she became a widow suddenly at age 47 and I became an adult at 15 and braces freshly off my teeth, that we would be each others rock. Each others stability. And to this day, we are.
My sister had two boys and they have grown and gone their ways. One has two childen and the other lives in California and is loving it. My brother never had children and I didnt either. No reason except that God gives us what we are supposed to have at the time we are supposed to have whatever gift He is giving us.
So I guess since he has no children, he chose to raise me and Moma.
He lives in Montgomery and is married to his childhood best friend.
We are a small family but one that is blessed. Not especially with money, or with things, but with a lot of love. And you know, sometimes that is worth more than any tangible things on this earth. At least thats how I see it.
I was in a store the other day and I heard someone ask a young lady in front of me, "So what are you getting for your birthday?" I checked my merchandise out and paid the cashier and left without listening to the answer but I kinda smiled to myself and thought, I haven't heard that question in a long, long time. So if I were asked that question, I would have to say, I don't know. But since you asked, I would like a new washing machine.
That sounds like a strange request, I know and not one that most women would ask for, but I want a special Washing Machine. I don't really care for the name brand, that's not the important feature I want. It doesn't matter to me if you have to add the fabric softener by hand later or pour it into the side car part of the top of the washer; or if it has pretty buttons that you just touch and they light up and do everything but put the clothes and towels in the dryer for you. No, just plain and one that doesn't eat socks. That's my only requirements.
I have found in my many, many years of washing clothes that there is not a brand that I have ever used that doesn't let you get all the socks out at the same time. Where do they go? Why do they go?
And why does my bra strap get wrapped around the spinning part of the washer? I have more warped pieces of underwear than I can list. Doesn't matter if they are new or old, they are all, well, just don't look like the photos on the packaging shall we say. The statement that one size fits all does not apply to me. In any sense of the word, no further explanation needed.
And my husband gets onto me all the time about putting too much bleach in the tons of loads of washing I do every week. How can there be too much? I live in a house with cats and a dog that live inside so there is always a stain of some sort to get out and there is no outfit that is complete with out dog or cat hair on it.
And I want a washer that doesn't fade black or dark colored clothes. I buy the detergents that say they are fade resistant, but something happens and my black clothes are all varying shades of grey. And my husband has several pair of slacks that were at one time black but now, well they are sort of on the taupe side.
Oh well, I guess I will keep using the same washer and dryer I have and I am thankful for it. If I had to go to the river or creek and get the washing done by beating on a rock, well he would just have to wear a loin cloth.
There again, One Size does not fit all.......and there are some folks you just don't want to see in a loin cloth. I am one of them.
My birthday is 9/11, and I am proud of that fact. Its strange, before the events that happened on 9/11/2001 that date was not that recognizable. Now when I have to give my DOB, and all I have to say is 9/11 and before I tell the year, I get a look of sympathy. And tonight I was showing my ID and a lady told me that I sure did pick a sad day to be born. Well, no, not really, I dont think. I believe that God put me on this earth on the exact time and day He wanted to put me here. My brother was born on 9-6 and my sister was born on 9-9 so no, I think I have a good birthday. Its like me, its unique.
When I think of my birthdays over the years, there are several that come to mind and they are wonderful memories.
My sister made me cakes that were shaped like Princesses with the big flowing dresses, and I remember one was in pink and one year I got one in lavendar. Moma told me I could get my room painted whatever color I wanted and I wanted the color of the dress the cake was that year. I still love that color.
My brother gave me a book one year written by one of my favorite people, Robert Schuller. I was excited about the book but in his wonderful big brother style, he had hidden a check for $25 in the book and I found it a while after all parties were over.
We have had some pretty funny birthdays too. My sister and I have given the same card to each other; (and there several years between our births as there are several between me and my brother) but yet we have exchanged the same gifts; or used the same wrapping paper. Same mother and father, just different years in our ages.
And there have been birthdays when we were totally caught off guard by Mother. I wanted to order the cake one year and I called the bakery and I had them put an artist pallet on it and a clown to represent my brother and sisters interests at the time. Little known to me was the fact that Mother called and had the bakery add a blue typewriter to the cake to show what I was doing at the time, which was working. We have a photo of her holding the cake and smiling, because she had gotten one over on me...
There are photos taken of me by Mother when I was on my way to class somewhere and she wanted me to pose by a tree in the backyard so she could take my photo. As Lame as it sounded at the time, I now look back on that photo and admire the way I looked and am thankful for Mother wanting to take the photo of me in my teen years.
Last year, there was a bag left on my fence in the front yard and it had no name on it but it contained water bottles and a purse and all sorts of neat things. Later I found out that it was placed there by my cousin that earlier in the year had been going through chemo and radiation. I still break down sometimes when I think of the kindness she showed in thinking of me on my day after all she had been through.
And then this year, I got a surprise and I dont know who to thank. I received a beautiful shawl (pashima) in red and black woven material in a brown manilla envelope in my mailbox. It had been mailed from a local post office and it has no return address or name on it. There was an envelope inside and it held a puzzle. No box to go by and whomever sent it knows I love a challenge, so they sent me a puzzle with the pashima and the puzzle was not round nor square but was an odd shape and it was of a long haired maiden in a flower garden.
Is this supposed to be the VIRGO that I am born under the sign of? Does the sender know I have long hair and that I love flowers? I dont know. But what I do know is that I am so thankful for my wonderful gifts. I am thrilled. I am wearing the shawl to the ballgames at JSU and every Weaver Event I can and I am taking my bag that my sister had made for me that has red and black paws on it for the Weaver Bearcats or just animals in general. I am going to be so proud in my new things, and you know what, whomever sent me the package, THANK YOU. GOD LOVE YOU, cause you know me, know I love to celebrate my birthday and that I love surprises. I am just a kid at heart.
I still think back on the parties we had at Mothers house and when the whole crowd of family would come and we would have hamburgers from the grill or we would have barbque or something equally as good and then BIRTHDAY CAKE!!!
So if you see me going to a bakery and getting me a Birthday cake in the next few days, then you will know I am a happy, well adjusted big kid, I just love the celebration that I am able to celebrate one more year on this earth, and that I am just a big kid at heart. A heart with a smile on it, because all of you that have wished me Happy Birthday and Many More, well, I am taking you at your word and having a Happy Birthday, even if it is on 9-11.
This week I will turn 51. I dont know if thats bragging or just being silly but to me its a milestone. I have never been 51 before. I turned 50 a little over a year ago and I kinda liked it so I am hoping that 51 will be even better. You see I am a kid at heart. I know to look at me you think I dont look my age, I look older, but theres a lot of years on this body. See, I have not been in the greatest of health the last couple of years and I guess thats what makes me more sentimental about getting older because I now find that each day has its own gifts. I like to get up early in the mornings when the day is still brand new and the earth is waking up and as I let the dog out to go do whatever it is she does at 5 in the am, I look at the sky and I tell God good morning. I know that sounds a little strange, but thats a wonderful way to start the day. I mean, after all He does so much for me. Then of course the dog comes back in and its time for us to eat/drink something and go back to bed for a few more winks. Life is what you make it and mine is quite simple but yet so full. I am thankful for so many things that if I tried to list them or even give thanks for them individually I would go to sleep before getting them counted, so I just say THANK YOU GOD and let it go at that. He understands.
Ok, so now for the next part of my life. I am anxious to see what it will bring. I dont want things to change, in that I want to have my Moma around for a long, long time, and keep my husband in the good health that he is in, keep my own health where it is at this time and keep my sister and brother in the good health they are in. Not to say we all shouldnt eat better and exercise and do the things that we are supposed to do but for the most part, my family is a happy family and we all get along well, and thats a big thing to me. My inlaws are family. I couldnt have picked out a better set of folks to belong to. My mother in law has taught me so much in the way of cooking and canning and herbs and flowers and reading the Classics; and my father in law has picked up where I needed a father figure so badly. My own dad died when I was 15 and I married when I was 22 so between those years I was just kinda lost, and I hit the goldmine when I got my father in law. He has repaired more tires, motors, broken items, lamps, and even fixed dog pens, houses, roofs and so much more. He is a wonderful man, and might I say one of the Godliest men I know. He walks the walk and he talks the talk and he and she are well worth their weight in gold.
If I were in school, it would be time to write a paper on what I did this summer. So here goes, this is what I did in the summer of my 50th year.
I am donating my hair to the Cancer Society next week. It will finally be the length they need and since it is "organically white" no color or perms or anything, they are supposed to be able to get more money for it to make wigs for those that have lost their hair. I am proud to do this for those that need it. Its my honor.
I have found the singin' at the Jacksonville Rehab and enjoyed their Sunday blessings.
I have "canned" 48 pints of fresh stuff. Vegetables, salsa and pickles, but I did them. It was a chore, in that it took me a little longer because it was my first time to do this and well, it just took longer. But I did them. And its neat.
I joined the Weaver Cultural Arts Committee. This means that I have a hand in preparing for and joining in the planning of and advertising of the Easter Egg Hunt in Weaver; the Weaver Station Heritage Day Celebration and soon the Christmas Parade. Thats fun.
I was instrumental in having the First Community Wide Weaver Alumni Yard Sale. We didnt have a lot of folks come as vendors but it was the first one and we did very well. That was a great day!
And I learned that there are no cliques when you get older. When I was in school, I wasnt in the band; wasnt a cheerleader; wasnt an athlete, so I kinda didnt feel like I fit in. So after High School graduation I went to work and I worked for over 30 years all over the county and in Etowah County and all around. So I lost touch with folks in the City I grew up in. Now that I have grown to be an older woman, I find that I FINALLY FIT IN!!
We all have older parents; most of us have no kids at all or none at home; we are all looking forward to paying off the mortgage and comparing who goes to what doctor and what ailments we have or have had. Sounds depressing to most young folks, but you know what, the white hair, the lines on my face and the age spots on my skin are badges of honor. I wear them with the courage it took to get here and for once in my life, I finally fit in, and I like it. So today, as you read this, take pride in yourself in that you have the ability to give Thanks; and you too have badges of honor, so celebrate. After all, its my birthday, and I think EVERYBODY should celebrate !!
As you know by now, I drive around the County in my little old Honda and I am usually not alone. I have a white haired female with me most times and she is my best friend. Has been my whole life as a matter of fact. I think when I get her raised, I am not having any more!!! She is 84 years old, (dont tell her I told you) and there are days I could swear she can out work and out wit me with no effort on her part.
We have a Sunday routine that started several months ago and its just habit now more than anything else and to tell you the truth, I look forward to it and have given great details of our Sundays to my inlaws on more than one occasion. And on Sunday evenings, my mother in law wants to know the details of the day and tells me she just envisions what all went on.
See I go to get Momma sometime Sunday and we go to Jacksonville. She has a sister there that is in the Jacksonville Rehab Center and so we make most of the Sunday afternoon out of the trip there and around Jacksonville and let me tell you its something to take delight in.
Not that going to the Rehab Center is for everyone and I understand that but we have a good time visiting not only with my aunt but with the others that are there and I cant tell you who gets the bigger blessing, me, them or Momma.
Our day starts out with discussing where we are going to eat and she ALWAYS tells me its my choice, and well, there is a variety of places in Northern Calhoun County to go, so we change it up every week. She likes to go to see the faces of folks around and she finds the smallest things to delight in, like the face of a child or a leaf blowing around on the ground or a flower thats in bloom or even a cloud. Things most people take for granted, and I must say I have most of my life, but now that I am awarded the ability to spend time with her, well, I see things a lot differently.
So we get the food and she gets to pick where we are going to sit. Usually its with her facing a window so she can comment on whats going on over my shoulder, and I just found out its so she can sneak one of my fries, (which I really order for her but tell her they are for me and we can share)...
After the hour or so long meal, we go to the Rehab Center. There is usually a crowd on Sunday afternoon but unless its bad weather, we ride the parking lot together and find a space and we walk in together.
Without fail, she will talk to whomever is sitting there at the door or in the room, be it patient, family or employee and make a small conversation with them, and I just delight because she is smiling at them that sweet Motherly smile I have known and loved for over 50 years now.
We make our way down the hallway, and she speaks to everyone she comes in contact with and places her aging hand on their shoulder and makes some sort of connection with them even if nonverbal on their part, so that they know someone loves them and wants them to know it.
We get to my aunts room and she and Momma begin to talk and within a few minutes I make my announcement, "I'm going to singin Momma, be back in a little while, you know where I am if you need me." and off I go.
See "singin" is my Sunday church of sorts. I am usually the youngest one there. The folks that are in there with me are mostly patients of the Rehab Center and every week the entertainment lineup changes but its Church Music every week and most times someone winds up doing some preaching.
Its the absolutely most moving experience I have had in a long time as far as church goes. I dont know if its because the majority of the folks that are in there are patients or because its old-time church songs that I know and grew up with or because they dont mind if you sing along, (and I do) and sometimes there are instruments and sometimes not, but there is never a shortage of love and emotion and just good feeling in that room.
There are a couple of people that I try to sit near when I go to "singin" and even if I did know their names I wouldnt publish them, but one is a lady that tells me when I am in there the same times she is that she loves what I have on. It doesnt matter what the outfit is, she loves it. That makes my heart smile. See I learned a long time ago to wear BRIGHT colors or a pattern or shirt with something on it that is easily recognizable to Momma. She has a problem with memory from time to time, so I have the same Honda that I have had for 20 years and I wear bright colors or something that she will easily see and know that its me. Evidentally my friend in the Rehab center likes them too. And there is a man that saves me a seat by him. He is in a wheelchair and yet he has the forethought to wait for me to enter first ahead of him, very much a gentleman, and he saves me a seat by him if for some reason he gets there before I do. Again, dont know his name and all he knows is the lady in the red car. Doesnt matter, Momma knows where I am and I know where she is and the funny thing is when I get back to the room where my aunt and her room partner are at, they want to know all the details, like who did I see, what did I learn and what all went on.
Well, What I learned was that kindness goes a long way. Love knows no boundries. No matter if you are in a wheelchair, walk with a walker or cant move anything but your toe, the Spirit is in that place. And I learned that when I go to "singin" that it doesnt matter whether you can carry a note in a bucket or not, sometimes a friendly smile or a friendly face is all thats needed and it speaks louder and gets the message to everyone better than being in a building on Sunday dressed in my best "Easter dress." Cause then, well, I just dont sing as loud......and maybe for the ones that are around me, thats a good thing, but as for me and Momma, we like the "singin" at Jacksonville Rehab and plan to go again real soon.