One for you…One for me

rak3Forever, I’ve wanted to secretly buy the person’s meal behind me in the drive-thru at McDonald’s or wherever we might be.  I have thought about how I could do it without being bashful.  Like, say to the cashier, “I would like to buy the person’s meal three cars behind me so I can make my get away and they wouldn’t know who did it.”

Today, after a long walk with twinsie and the dogs, I was at the drive-thru at McD’s to get an oatmeal (YES, they did stop selling our oatmeal near us Darn them anyhow.) We have a dual drive-thru, so after I gave my order, I nosed into line behind the cars filing to pick up their Egg McMuffins and coffees.  Another car nosed in after giving his order, and I could see he looked very grumpy.  Something told me that A, he’s just a grumpy person, B, he just looks grumpy but he’s not really, or C, he’s had a bad start to his day.

images (1)I was thinking how fabulous my day started, prayers early, stretching after a good sleep, walking in the dark with my favorite walking person and pups. And I felt bad for Mr Grumpy, even if he’s just a grumpy old guy, I felt bad for him, because something makes him grumpy, right?

As I got up to the window, I realized I didn’t have cash for my oatmeal and I was going to need to use my debit card, and so then I won’t have change for the Ronald McDonald kids change box.  Woe is, seriously, me.  I had no choice but to bite the bullet and pay for Mr Grumpy behind me, and pray that he had to wait for his meal so I could make my getaway.

So, I nonchalantly said, “I would like to pay for the gentleman’s breakfast behind me.”  And the gal, nodded, and rang up the two orders and I could see that my bag was ready for pick up in the next window, so I grabbed it and took off.

The man did get behind me on the roadway (darn construction) but I kept my eyes on the road.  And he turned right as I turned left.  I wish I could have looked over and smiled and waved or something, but I just sat there looking straight ahead expressionless.

So, I’m starting to get this down.  My first try, was mediocre at best.  I have no idea how that made that man feel and I will never know, but I hope that he felt good drinking that large coffee with extra sugar and extra cream (cheap date this time around), and that it did make his day better.  I wonder if I had just looked over and smiled as we sat at the light if that would have made it even better?  I don’t know.  I’m a sneaky giver novice, but I plan on being bolder and doing it more often.  If I can’t give change to Ronald McDonald, I hope I can change the day of someone behind me.


In the Absence of Color — Tumble Weeds and Grandma’s House

catholic-prophecy-3-days-of-darkness-three-days-of-darkness-anna-maria-julie-jahennyAfter our meal, mom wanted to go straight to the hospital to see Aunt Kay.  As we drove through Sioux City, we stopped at a red light, and what would go rolling by in front of us? A tumbleweed.  I was sputtering.  “Ma, Mom, am I seeing things or was that a tumbleweed?” And no sooner were the words out of my mouth and three more came, well, tumbling by right through the intersection.  Crazy!  I went on and on, I’d never seen anything like that.  Mom could not control her laughter at my utter shock and bewilderment of seeing tumble weeds in the middle of what one could loosely call an urban area.  I said, loosely, to those of you who know Sioux City and are shaking their heads at the term “urban”.

We found Aunt Kay weak and out of it, our “That Girl” was barely recognizable.  They’d done an esphogogastroduodenoscopy and hiatal hernia repair three weeks prior, only to find that her esophagus had been punctured in the process.  Big mess.  HUGE, and she was so very sick.  I sat with her on her bed, lotioned her hands, applied lip balm.  Mom, a stutterer when nervous, was stuttering away.  “Bbonnie…wwwwwhat is is going on?” She touched Aunt Kay’s pale face, kissed her.  I shook my head.  Aunt Kay looked gravely ill, and we were glad we came.

It was quite late when we finally left, and by then she was more responsive, and resting comfortably.  She told us we should go before it got too dark, the road is long when darkness falls between Sioux City and Climbing Hill.  We were able to talk a bit and make a plan, she told us my aunt and cousin would be there tomorrow.  I wanted to be there when the docs made rounds, so we would arrive early, and plan on spending the day. She smiled weakly when I leaned over to kiss her, and said, “I’m so glad you’re here…”

It is darker than ink, on Old HWY 141, and a long 24 miles back to Grandma’s, though, Grandma had been gone many years.  Aunt Kay lived in Grandma’s house, but still to my mind, it was still Grandma’s house.  We struggled with the lock in the pitch black back doorway.  I stepped in gingerly, knowing a step too far would send me tumbling down the basement stairs, and moving too quickly to my right would have me falling up the stairs to the kitchen. But, in fact, I didn’t get in far at all, and I didn’t worry at all about the stairs or the light switch or even hear my mom reminding me of these things I already knew, but that she thought I’d forgotten.

All I could do was stand there and breathe deeply the smell of my Grandma’s house, and hear her voice, and the swishing sound her baggy ankled nylons made when she walked, and listen for the voices of my cousins and aunts and uncles, and feel the life and love and sit in the soft ruby-red chair and hear the strains of music when As the World Turns came on the television.  And get all weirded out when my little 3-year-old cousin ran in from playing to nurse at his mother’s breast.   All these visions and voices and sounds and emotions passed through my exhausted mind in a matter of seconds and then the tears came, the ugly red scrunched up crying face tears.  The force of emotion in that black landing, in that black night, it was beyond anything I’d ever felt before. Or perhaps let myself feel.

My mom’s concerned voice came from the darkness behind me.  “Why the tears, honey?”

I gulped, standing still and breathing and sobbing, and reliving and remembering and hearing as if my little girl self stood there on that dark step.  I was crying because I was amongst the spirits of Climbing Hills past and I missed them so much that the loudest sound I heard that night was the dreams and innocence of that time shattering into a million pieces.

In the Absence of Color, Part 1

More than 10 years ago, my Aunt Kay had a simple medical procedure that had turned into a nightmare and was seriously ill. My mom and I decided to fly to Sioux City, Iowa to see her.  Our first stop was the Minneapolis Airport — shaped like a horseshoe, I flew into a gate at one end of the horseshoe, she the other.  As soon as I entered the terminal I heard my name being called over the intercom.  I dashed to a phone and was told that my mother was concerned that I hadn’t gotten there safely.  I assured the operator that I was indeed safe, and was clear around the other side of the terminal and to let my mom know that I would be there in time to catch our connecting flight to Sioux City.  As I began my trek, wheeling my luggage, and lugging my heavy backpack with notebooks and laptop (writers never go anywhere without either) on my shoulder, I heard my name again, and I called again, and then again my name was called over the intercom.  At least six times my mom insisted that the operator call me so that I would check in.  It was the first indication that my mother’s bright mind was beginning to fade, yet it would be several years before my own mind would be able to comprehend that horror. I just thought, as usual, she was driving me crazy — already.

It’s gonna be a long week, I thought, as I rushed to get to her while my name echoed through the terminal again.

We sat in the back row of a 50 seater to Sioux City with sheer winds whipping that plane like tin in a hurricane.  I was so sick, I knew if I saw a puke bag, I would lose it. My mom was chatting away, and I asked her to sit still a moment as I gulped down the nausea, tears streaming from my eyes.  Being the mom that she was, she called to the flight attendants who were strapped into their seats because of the turbulence, and asked, “Do you have anything for my daughter, she feels like she’s going to throw up!” Nice, mom.  I cringed as every single person, turned around to look at me.  Luckily, the nausea subsided the moment the tires hit the tarmac.

“Home,” my mom whispered, staring out the window as the gray April sky clouded her eyes.  We found our rental car, and I began driving.  Though, I’d been here many times in my youth, it was always in August when the flies buzzed louder than airplane engines and crickets serenaded from lush green trees and hills.  This landscape was gray and black and white, unfamiliar, like a coloring book waiting for crayons to fill in the lines.

My mom asked me to drive slowly past the barracks where my father was stationed in 1944, the year they met at a Revival and rode home on a bus, with him sliding into the (intentionally) empty seat next to her, and tucking her cold hand into the pocket of his coat, forever sealing their fate together.  219375_1710231158832_5921501_o

We drove by the restaurant where they’d meet and hold hands, too in love, and too broke to eat much.  We went inside and sat down, the interior was dark, heavy, a little musty smelling, mingling with memories and roast beef sandwiches.  My mom told the waitress the story of that 19 year-0ld girl from Climbing Hill, Iowa, and that handsome soldier from Queens, NY.  We listened in the darkened restaurant as she spoke about the bus ride, and the long life they’d lived together with six children born in three different states.   Listening to the story from her that day felt like magic.  When my mom stopped, we all sighed at the promise of those two beautiful kids.  I knew the ending, of course, but for now, we were in 1944 and the images of  pencil skirts, red lips, brown sugar eyes, long dark hair, an officer’s uniform, blue eyes, blond hair, and icy cold fingers in a warm hand tucked into a pocket filled our minds in a black, white, and gray world.

To be continued…

The Colors of my Blog World

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This is my world, it’s different from your world and that may surprise you, I guess, since you live in my world, too, no doubt.  This is My Blog World, the places in the world where those who have read my blog live.  It’s been 228 days since my  First Blog that basically characterized my Blog’s purpose, and surprisingly, that very first blog’s written purpose remains my constant truth– after 228 days with 117 posts (not including this one), 7,243 hits (not including this one, that means you reading this blog at the very moment you read it) from 36 different countries around the world, with 326 of you stopping long enough to actually comment.  My reasons for writing down the bones has not changed, I just want to write honestly, write with abandon what’s inside me, brush the editor off my shoulder, and be brave enough to say the truth that courses through my blood and pulses in my fingers as I type. Bearing my soul is an old cliché but nonetheless truth.

A good friend, who is an amazing writer, is starting her first blog right here at Word Press.  A few weeks ago she made a proclamation that on Tuesday, October 21, on her mom’s birthday, who is guiding her from heaven, she’s going to launch her blog.  I wish I knew what Laurie’s blog name will be because I could start with her very first shout out as we call it here in Blogland, but she’s keeping it under wraps. Darn her anyway, I want to KNOW!

Unlike me, Laurie is actually thinking this thing out, and that works for her and her “deadline inspired writing creativity”.  For me, the more I think, the less confident I become.  I simply start thinking too much and I get in my way.

All it took for me was my son saying, “Mom, you need to be getting your writing out there, why not start a blog?”  And the next day, I took a ride on the Internet Highway, stopped at Google, and found several blogging services, and immediately fell in love with Word Press.  For one thing, I don’t pay a single dime for this opportunity to write 117 blogs (not including this one) that has literally traveled around the world to 36 different countries — not one thin dime.  But, should you want to buy “go premium”, it’s a very nominal fee, and it opens up a world of creative ideas for your blog.  I’ve not made this jump because so much of my purpose is just in the words that are in my mind that traipse across this white page and I just need to write when I get here.  But, I plan on taking up this new adventure sometime after the holidays.

Blogs please through many senses, and these are just a few that I read every time they post,  The Daily PostOtrazhenieOpinionated Man at HarsH ReaLITyCook Book ExperienceKindness BlogGotta Find A HomeFound This, Painted ThatTails Around the RanchNew Creations MinistriesGrieving Gumdrops.  The truth about blogging is the variety and the different places we all are in our lives, but mostly what drives us to blog.

Daphne over at Grieving Gum Drops lets us into her life after the death of a child, and yet leaves us with a sense of hope.  I love Found This, Painted That because she speaks to my decorating sense.  And interestingly, my blogs on decorating get tons of hits, so I think I need to find more money to do more decorating…which brings me to another aspect of blogging that I have not explored — making money blogging.

I follow Sam the poodle in Tails Around the Ranch as he lays his head on the hands of the sick and dying, I get a faith boost from Elle every time she writes, and Opinionated Man usually hits the spot and I think, is he in HERE? Tapping my temple.  These blogs are just a few that I follow and follow me, but they come to mind quickly, and I need to stop my list there for the time being because I need to get going to a Doodle Romp with Eugene and Lily Belle on this chilly Autumn Day. So, if I’ve not mentioned your very important blog, I will in another blog, I pinky swear promise.

And here, I’ve gone over my rule of 500 words or less, but I guess a blog like this is less an exercise in restraint as it is a way to lift up the blogging lives for those I care about throughout the blogging world, and moreover, let my friend know that there will be a ton of support for her here in Blogland, and how every single blog means something to someone in the world, as crazy as that sounds.  It just simply does.

A Good Hot Toddy…

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For years I worked with the terminally ill and I often heard about old fashioned health remedies with the hot toddy being the most popular cold remedy, aside from chicken noodle soup (homemade, the canned stuff isn’t the same.)

Every now and then, I’d find a recipe and try it and it was always waaaay too strong, seriously, I’m SICK, who wants straight bourbon burning your already raw throat?  So, I gave up my quest, until I got this nasty cold.

Miserable sucker — sore throat, swollen glands as hard as stones that hurt to swallow or even touch them.  Sinuses so crummy that the roof of my mouth ached along with my teeth.  Miserable, I tell you.  Of course, I had an action packed weekend planned that included a jewelry party at twinsie’s, a five hour stint to help a friend, who’s been ill, ready her house for sale, and a lovely supper out with our besties.  All canceled and in their places, hot showers, warm slippers and socks, blankies, jammies, homemade chicken noodle soup and a dog draped over my lap with several books on Oyster Books (free seven day trial, perfectly timed) to read.

So, I settled my wretched self in and filled my diffuser with Thieve’s Oil (hey, it works, and there is a fascinating story behind it, too).  Now it’s Sunday, and I think I’ve got this cold on this side of awful and heading towards licked.

And I can’t say for sure, but I think it’s in no small part due to the hot toddy.  I searched for one that sounded the most promising, and lo and behold I found Dr Pat’s Hot Toddy and I have to say, it’s a fine, fine remedy to at least help someone like me relax and rest through a cold.

The warm honey and lemon really did soothe my throat and the bourbon did make me rest and there was no hot burning that you’d expect with bourbon.  I’m totally sold now. It might be my favorite relaxation cocktail for cold winter evenings even.  Yes, I think it will.  (And yes, I just sipped one.)

As cold season approaches, consider a little TLC in the form of Dr Pat’s Hot Toddy.  I promise it will make the time you are sick pass more pleasurably. And while you’re at it, check out Oyster Books, I read two from Jennifer McMahon, Dismantled and Don’t Breathe a Word.  They are thriller/ghost stories, Dismantled was quite a bit more edgy with sexual content, both with strong language, and Don’t Say a Word a fast read with the most enjoyable characters.  She’s a great author.

And don’t forget your chicken noodle soup.

Chicken noodle soup and a hot toddy, just two of the many things I learned at the bedside so many years ago.  Cheers to those who left such a rich, curative and tasty legacy to me to pass on to you.


Dear Marge, I lied, I guess.

tumblr_m3z9d6S2bg1rw4sono1_500Dear Marge,

So, I know you are in heaven and all, and I wrote about missing you here, and how I want to be like you (as most people do who know you) and I made a pinky swear promise that I would kiss everyone on the mouth just as you did.  Well, I lied, of course, I didn’t mean to lie, I really wanted to carry on with that special ritual, but I can’t.

Yes, I loved kissing you, and other mouth kissers are fine, but I’m just not good at initiating the mouth kiss on just friends.  So, I’d like to withdrawal that pinky swear promise, and honor your memory in lots of other ways, including donating blood, showing honest to goodness love whenever I can, being just a little bit naughty to keep things interesting, and keeping the door open for anyone needing a place to sit long and talk much.

I will also try to send all the notes and cards I buy that never get mailed, and I will continue to save rocks from everywhere I go, knowing that you did, too.  And I will try to stay neutral in all disagreements in church and out of church, note I said, try! But, I’m going back to kissing on the cheek.

I love you and miss you, and I know that you understand, and if it’s allowed for you to read my blog from heaven, I know that you are chuckling and loving that this is all about you.  Your sense of humor is what we will all carry without any problems, this I pinky swear promise.