The Eclectic Car

In a previous post I mentioned the first car I ever had. My father bought it and I’m sure it must have been a bargain. Just having a car was a thrill…I didn’t care what kind of car. For me any car was a plus.

my car
A beautiful version of the car, Mine was old and battered.

Fortunately I was young enough (?16,17?) that the problems the car had were like an adventure to me. The car was a Willys Jeepster. It was not new and had some interesting challenges. It would not go over 50 mph unless you were going down a long hill.The seats were bolted to the floor so there was no adjusting them to reach the clutch and change the gears. I used a pillow to reach. There was a starter button in the floor (how many people ever heard of such a thing?). It was a convertible…you pulled the top up and down. It did not have windows…only side curtains. ?Isinglass? Before plastic. (Now you are getting how old I am.) We lived in northern Virginia and it was cold in the winter. There was no heat. My friends and I didn’t care a jot. We had transportation! In the winter we bundled up and sometimes rode with the top down when it was snowing.

The car’s idiosyncrasies gave us an opportunity to meet people. For a while the starter button in the floor did not reach something called the “starter connector” in the engine compartment. There were two options for starting the car. You either had an available person to put a piece of metal between where the starter button was supposed to connect to the starter connector so that it would reach or we pushed the car. Old cars started easily by someone pushing and someone popping the clutch. If we parked the car when in town we usually searched for an end spot so we could jump start the car if needed. We parked on hills when we could as just drifting down a hill would give us enough motion to start the car. We would also get help from people who stopped to help us. We met lots of boys this way.

teens

Once, in heavy traffic, I stopped for a red light. I didn’t realize that when stopping I pulled up on the steering wheel…..it came off in my hand. With great aplomb I pushed it back on and held it that way until getting off the road. There was a bolt that held it on and we managed to fix it.

The car met it’s final demise while we were in downtown Alexandria. We began seeing smoke coming from the front of the car and pulled into the nearest filling station. It was not the radiator but all the wiring in the front was merrily in flames. The station attendant raced out with a fire extinguisher and put the fire out. My father retrieved us and the car went “where the lost things go.”

This was life in a different era. It was not dangerous for young girls to wander around town and meet strangers. Most roads had speed limits of 50 mph or less. Looking back it seems it was a kinder era. Maybe not…I may have just imagined it that way.  I wish it were so now.

The child and the baby

This is not my story. I heard it at a conference. It was told by Madeleine L’Engle and I never forgot it. I don’t know if it is hers or someone told her. Forgive me if I tread on toes.

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There was a family that had a new baby. They also had an older child called Tommy. (not real name). Tommy seemed very attentive to the new baby. After the baby had been put down in bed in the nursery he said to his parents. “I want to see baby!” The parents tried to usher him into the room but he pulled back. “I want to see baby ALONE!” The parents were a little taken aback but reasoned that there was a monitor in the room and they could hear whatever went on. They waited by the monitor. Tommy entered the room and they heard him say to the baby: “Tell me about God, I’m forgetting.”

Always having the “Mot Juste” (perfect word)

My father was a unique man. I don’t remember ever hearing him say something negative about another person. He always said “if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.”

He had impeccable timing and always had exactly the right thing to say at exactly the right moment. I never think of what to say until the moment is long gone.

In the 1950’s I had a Willys Jeepster. Not the car you would want to have. It ran when it wanted to. The seats were screwed to the floor and I had to have a pillow to reach the gear shift. I will post more about this car in another blog.

my car
A beautiful version of the car, Mine was old and battered.

That day my father was riding with me. We were siting at a red light when the car decided to stop running. I was struggling to get it started when the light turned green. I couldn’t move and continued to crank the car and beg it to start.. The man behind me began blowing his horn impatient to move on. After a short while my father got out of the car and walked back to the man’s open window. I could see him speaking but had no idea what he was saying.

He calmly got back into the car …..the horn had stopped. At this moment I managed to get the car running and moved through the intersection. As soon as we were on our way I turned to my father and said: “what did you say to that man?”

He replied: “I told him I would blow his horn if he would start our car.”

Small things matter

maxineI am not fond of new years resolutions. I probably never kept one that I planned. If I did I would be surprised.  But…I have been thinking. Maybe  there is something else that we should due to usher in the new year. How would it be if we spent time thinking about life in the past year or years. Are there things that we can divest ourselves of? Do we own things that are no longer used or don’t matter? Can welighten our load and let some things go?

Also, how would you like to live in the new year? Not hunting for goals and major changes but what are some little things that may in the long run have a big impact? It might be some as simple as trying a new coffee shop  or stretching before getting up. Think of the things that are easy and simple. Put a smiling face on your mirror or splurge on a great smelling soap.

small things

It is amazing how simple changes can impact our lives. I bought a set of squeezable fidgets for my desk and I love them! I find myself defusing by just holding one of those in my hand. Those tiny animals have changed each day for the better.

Each year life changes in one way or another. See if you can find small ways to improve your days and give you something to look forward to.

Poems, Prayers, and Promises

This has been a quiet week. For those of us who plan so much quiet can be good. I actually had time to meditate. I also seem to have more energy for getting things done. This is good news since my house to-do list is growing exponentially.  I think all the Christmas things are put away and my house looks clean even if it only looks that way.

Christmas is always a drain on energy and money. I do my best to not overspend and this year I did well.  Since we are both retired and on a fixed income we do try to be careful.

I have spent some time thinking about the whole of my life and I can see that many blessings have come my way. There have been times of trial but overcoming them was a gift.

I was reminded of the John Denver song “Poems, prayers and promises.” It think it sums up what I have been feeling.

Here is the text and a link to it being sung.

Poems, Prayers and Promises
I’ve been lately thinking
About my life’s time
All the things I’ve done
And how it’s been
And I can’t help believing
In my own mind
I know I’m gonna hate to see it end
I’ve seen a lot of sunshine
Slept out in the rain
Spent a night or two all on my own
I’ve known my lady’s pleasures
Had myself some friends
And spent a time or two in my own home
And I have to say it now
It’s been a good life all in all
It’s really fine
To have a chance to hang around
And lie there by the fire
And watch the evening tire
While all my friends and my old lady
Sit and pass the pipe around
And talk of poems and prayers and promises
And things that we believe in
How sweet it is to love someone
How right it is to care
How long it’s been since yesterday
And what about tomorrow
And what about our dreams
And all the memories we share
The days they pass so quickly now
Nights are seldom long
And time around me whispers when it’s cold
The changes somehow frighten me
Still I have to smile
It turns me on to think of growing old
For though my life’s been good to me
There’s still so much to do
So many things my mind has never known
I’d like to raise a family
I’d like to sail away
And dance across the mountains on the moon
I have to say it now
It’s been a good life all in all
It’s really fine
To have the chance to hang around
And lie there by the fire
And watch the evening tire
While all my friends and my old lady
Sit and pass the pipe around
And talk of poems and prayers and promises
And things that we believe in
How sweet it is to love someone
How right it is to care
How long it’s been since yesterday
What about tomorrow
What about our dreams
And all the memories we share

A Reflection

Yesterday was a good day. We had lunch with out friend and dinner with my son and his family. Both of us won’t eat for several days. For some reason today I am sad. It may just be the let down from all the energy spent getting everything done.

reaction-adjust

It is strange that each Christmas seems to fall out differently. I miss a routine. I miss a Christmas I recognize. I know things will continue to change as we age but it would be nice to have a few more Christmas norms. I guess if my whole family lived here it wouldn’t be so hard but I don’t know many people who have their whole family in one place. My children had to go where the jobs were best and it was the right thing to do. We are blessed to have one here some people have no one.

I do miss the old Christmas. I wonder if we ought to pull a Kranks and just skip it but neither of us  wants to do that. We really do love it and want to celebrate with whoever we can whether it is family or friends or whoever. I do remember the real reason for the celebration and will continue to give thanks.

Life does have ups and downs. We spend our lives accumulating…people, family, things and then we spend our “golden years” divesting ourselves of things. The family decreases on one end as it grows on the other. Our parents are gone and other family members but we have gained children, grandchildren and not great grandchildren. We will be the next generation sliding out and new generations will come. It is the cycle of life but sometimes it is hard. I remember my grandmother saying that she was a girl trapped in an old body. It is easy to feel that way. Sometimes I look at things from ancient eyes and sometimes not.

horizon-learn-orlando-espinosa

This blog has ended up sounding depressing but reflecting on my life span and where I am in the scheme of things is part of acceptance. No matter the past my life continues to be full. I am living each day, continuing to learn and grow. I will do that until I slip into the twilight.

The Coming

Tonight I just want to share a poem I wrote a while ago.

The Comingchristmas-nativity-scene-with-holy-family-.jpg

The night was dark and cold

or so I’m told

when God became a man

 

The stars were bright and clear

seeming so near

when shepherds strode the land

 

The angels sang for him

a special hymn

praising God’s name

 

and in a manger bare

with creatures there

sweet Jesus came

 

merry-christmas2The night again is cold

though time grew old

since he was here

 

his spirit lingers on

in my soul dawns

his presence near

 

for in my heart I find

Christmas reminds

me he’s not apart

 

but here to be with me

as long as I can see

him in my heart