My friend

I don’t know how many of you have good friends but I sure hope you do. A good friend, a lifetime friend is a treasure beyond compare. Most of us are blessed if there is one such person in our lives. Some people in our lives are friends and they may be kind a caring but they are still not the one who would back you up if the whole world was against you.

thomasaquinas1

I have been thinking about this because three years ago in January I lost one of those friends. We knew the good and bad about each other and it didn’t matter. We didn’t live close for quite a while but on the phone it was as if we had seen each other the day before. Nothing ever changed the link we had with each other.

During her illness I was blessed to live close enough to help her and was with her when she faced her death. She was the kind of person who drew people to her and many mourned her passing. She, like me, was not perfect but she was my friend.

Following are some excerpts from Proverbs that have to do with a wife but they apply to her friendship with me also.

Proverbs 30

A good wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.

 20 She opens her hands to the poor
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.

25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

29 “Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”

RIP Deirdre

 

The bed

When my son was engaged he asked my husband ( a gifted carpenter) to make a bed for them. He made a beautiful four poster bed. I wrote the following poem about it.

edel-illo

The Bed

 

Its posts are silky

as the sanding is done

each coat of finish

a step of love

 

as loving as the lives

who will rest and love

in its grasp

 

the work of finishing

will be done

but the love nurtured in its depths

never complete

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.

Where the lost things go

 

Many people have posted about this song on Facebook. Many were brought to tears. Memories are still there. People are not forgotten. As long as we remember them they are still there. I wrote about my father recently. He is still in my mind. My mother is always with me. Things don’t just go away. Maybe we will find the “where the lost things go.”

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.”

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

Time moves on

sad season

This week I have been sad. I don’t know if it was my birthday and getting older or the autumn and the darkness. It could be all of the above. It has brought to mind some things that I used to do and don’t any more.

I used to bake for Christmas. I made lots of sweets for everyone.  I no longer have someone to bake for. The two of us have no desire to eat lots of Christmas sweets. My grandchildren are grown up (all except one who is in his teens) and not around to bake for or with. It was fun to make treats with my children and grandchildren.

For some reason I stopped sending Christmas cards. Our years of moving around made me lose track of many people. Our life is different now and it seems that there are many people who don’t send cards. In a way that is a regret. It was a job to get them done but a wonderful way to keep in touch.

I don’t have as much money to spend on gifts and so I try to be resourceful and creative in the things I find. This has been a plus as it has helped me to spend time on what really matters. It also reminds me of those who have nothing.

Again, life changes and we have to experience each phase. We can’t opt out if we plan to live on. Getting older can present challenges but so do other phases of life. To really live we have to seize each moment and know it will not come again.

time moves

Even though I have been sad sometimes sad can be a season of remembrance. It can be a time when we think about how different things are and plan to choose to live this moment. In this season of darkening skies and leaves falling life continues. Winter will follow and spring and on and on. The world is turning, time goes forward and I am still here to see it.

A life lived

leaving the church0001When I think about all that life has offered me I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Soon    ( November 15th) I will have my 78th birthday. It is hard to believe. So much time has passed but it feels as if it were yesterday. My childhood with amazing parents and family. Even my mother’s long term illness which taught me so much about life blessed me and taught me endurance and persistence in the face of adversity. I think my anxiety was connected to her near death but life moved on as she chose to accept her restrictions and live.

College aided my growth as I struggled with IBSD and later an episode of Ulcerative Colitis. Graduation brought marriage to my amazing husband in 1962 and anxiety took a back seat for many years. Strangely enough the birth of 3 children brought me no stress but continued joy. They are all married with children of their own and one great grandchild.

all six
all six grandchildren – youngest now 9th grader

It is easy to look back and see things that I would like to have done differently but those are the things we learn with age and experience. Wouldn’t it be nice to see that wisdom early on. The only thing that we can do is to share it with other generations and hope that some of it rubs off. When we are young we are so good at turning away from the wisdom of our elders. Our society doesn’t help as it is so youth focused. Too bad we are not part of the cultures that honor their elders and appreciate their wisdom.

I have had trials that tested my endurance and moments that have provided great joy. That seems to be the sum of life as we age. We can look back and contemplate the rough and the smooth and see the ways we withstood it all.

Long life is a true blessing and I am thankful for all of it….the good and the bad. It has made me who I am.

grands

Savor good memories but live in the NOW

chipmunk-clipart-transparent-background-16We were without power again today. A squirrel committed suicide at the transformer. So sorry. I actually like squirrels although a lot of my neighbors don’t. I’m not sure why as they seem to cause few problems. We actually put food our for them as the trees here didn’t make their quota of nuts and the squirrels have been hungry and getting ready for fall. My dogs love to chase the squirrels but very, very rarely catch one. (thank goodness!)

This is the first day here that has felt like fall and although the days are shorter I am enjoying the cooler air. The air feels good. We live on the salt marsh and have an 8 ft tide. For most people who move here the smell of the marsh is not pleasant. Having been here most summers of my life and lived here for 42 years it is a joy to me. I love the smell. It reminds me of summers going to the beach. Good memories.

Fresh oranges on wooden  background. Selective focus.

It is amazing how smells can trigger memories. My mother always wore the same perfume and when someone is wearing it I immediately think of her. Those kinds of things bring good memories.

There are also things that trigger bad memories. Recently a smell triggered memories of time spent in the hospital with severe bowel problems. Not a good memory. I immediately pushed that memory away.

I have found that it is possible to wallow in a good memory and accept all the pleasure that it brings. I have also worked on letting the bad memories slide in and out of my mind by mentally pushing them away. Usually it works. I focus on something else and drag my mind away.

live-in-the-present

Memories are part of our lives. It is part of what made us who we are but we don’t have to live in the bad ones. Living in the past can become addictive. We would be wise to enjoy the good memories and then move back into the NOW. Dwelling in the past can stop us from experiencing the present. NOW is what is important.

Was the 50’s easier?

While riding the car I listen to 50″s on Five on Sirius Radio. I know, I know….so old. But something struck me. So many of the songs talk about a lifestyle no longer around. In many ways it is sad. I don’t know if people have real fun anymore.

Things were so much simpler. We had sock hops in the gym and had fun dancing without drugs and flashing lights. We had costume dances around Halloween and prizes for the best costumes…..designed and created by us! NOT bought or rented. Half the fun was thinking up a costume and doing it yourself.

sock-hops-2

We had hay rides in the fall behind horses on a farm that did that and sleigh rides. We met at the drive-in restaurant and hopped from car to car seeing all our friends. We got together and played games. We had pajama parties and we didn’t look like the girls in Grease.

We communicated by phone with most of us having only one in the house. Some of us had cars…usually old rattle traps that didn’t run well.  Alcohol was king but not overdone where I grew up. Sure, girls got pregnant and had to quite school but again not many.

We had to go to the library for information and my friends and I loved reading books. TV was watched but the shows were limited so we didn’t spend lots of time watching. We loved to go to the movies with out friends.

1950s-Collage

There seemed to be less stress on us than on teens today. There was little bullying, no school shootings, little drug use. In some ways I think things were almost black and white like the movie Pleasantville. There weren’t so many grey areas and so many bad things for us to see and hear. In spite of the fact that we may not have been as “free” as today our lives were easier over all.

So what changed? Women’s lib, birth control pills opened up a sexual revolution, the internet, cell phones, media of all kinds, parents both working. Kids today have so much in front of them. So many ways to head down the wrong path. It almost seems that with so much on offer the simple pleasures are lost. I don’t envy them.

Caveat: this was the life of a girl from a middle class family living outside of Washington, DC.