Friday, February 26, 2010

It's Humbling

He never saw it coming. “Mom, I can’t believe what people have done for us. It’s humbling.”

Gifts poured in, the registry made bare. Yes, it was humbling.

It wasn’t just the gifts that were received, but also the number of people who flew from various parts of the country to be here for just a few days. Here to see their friends married. Here because they are part of our lives. Old friends embraced new acquaintances. We met Lisa’s family and friends, and she met ours. My granddaughters danced with new and old friends. It was humbling.

As my son thanked his friends for singing, his family for their support, his new family for their daughter and the wedding guests for attending the wedding, the depth of his gratitude was obvious. The experience had changed him.

For this mother, these generous acts of giving to my son and his wife give me a feeling of contentment, knowing that they are surrounded by those who will give their all to them, by those who care deeply for them, by those who will be part of their lives as they continue a journey together. Seeing the depth of appreciation from the couple lets me know that they know what is important.

At the rehearsal dinner, James and Lisa gave me a gift, a trip to the beach. Of course, being me, the gesture opened the dam holding back the tears. Tears of joy, tears of pride, tears for a fantastic new beginning.

A wedding is a lesson in generosity, a lesson in humbleness, a lesson in appreciation. There was a joy at the wedding that went beyond this couple. It was the joy of friends and family coming together giving of themselves for my son and his bride. Generosity.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wanted for hire: Sixty-Two Year Old Woman. Ha!

Sixty-two year old woman seeks work. Oh, sixty-two year old woman has medical problems with her hands and knees. Oh, sixty-two year old woman has been laid off for various reasons beyond her control over the last nine years.

On paper I look great. I have done everything from front desk to public relations. From writing plays to producing them for 12 years in a school district. I can type 80 wpm. I have supervised a build-out for a new company, had killer turn outs are press conferences and have set up a public relations network throughout the world. Yet, when I walk into an interview, the sixty-two years shoots me down every time. Don’t get mislead. No one ever says a word about age, yet it is written all over the ‘good-bye’ at the door.

I was always recruited for jobs, always offered jobs at first interviews. I’m a hard worker who always hit the new job full force moving forward. I have a PR personality and never had a problem making new connections or finding my way through challenges, yet when I hit fifty, more and more I noted the surprise on the faces of those who called me in for an interview. I was not young and what they perceive as easier to train, I asked for a salary that was compatible with my experience, I was a strong woman who knew she could do the job, I was not a desirable commodity.

My life has been more downs then ups over the last few years. My boss suddenly died of a heart attack in 2001 collapsing the new company. My next boss was fired by the venture capital investor who wanted his own man in the position. The entire team was laid off. Next I was laid off due to company cut backs. Finally, I worked myself out of a job when the person I was replacing came back to work and didn’t recognize her job. I had moved the office into the new century, and she was still trying to figure out her computer. Periods of no employment plagued me, and the final axe fell when I had to sell my home.

Soon I will be struggling as my house money will be gone. I will be making decisions soon that will set the course for the next two years until I can retire. Life is not easy for a woman at sixty-two who is unemployable.

I know that I am not alone. There are so many of us, the baby boomers, who are struggling with lack of employment, high insurance premiums and no hope for a better existence. What we thought would be our retirement nest egg is eaten up by daily survival and medical bills.

I am not old. My body seems to be in need of a major overhaul, but I am not old. This human race is living to be 100 which means that I am just a middle-aged woman.

The time off has given me my writing. What I normally dabbled at has become my focus. An occasional greeting card with my verse, a few articles online or in a magazine, a daily blog have all given me a place to work with some success. Yet it does not pay the bills.

I am not whining. This situation that I am in is rampant here in the US. I am one of many. My belief is that all politicians should have the same insurance as me. They should have the same retirement as me. My insurance premium could go to a national insurance plan, instead of a policy that still eats me alive, giving me the security of always having coverage with no charge. I’ve seen firsthand the insurance in the UK and fail to understand why a country as progressive as ours can be so archaic. I don’t understand how we can have huge companies hold our politicians in their pockets so they are protected instead of the people of our land. I am angry.

I am a sixty-two year old woman. I am tired of being judged by my age. I’m tired of being rejected because of wrinkles and grey hair. I’m angry at insurance that mocks pre-existing conditions. I’m scared at a future that is uncertain. I am not alone.

I am a sixty-two year old woman.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sydney the Brave

Ironically, I was knocking on the door of my ex-son-in-law’s home while he and the girls were knocking at mine. Good news had been received in the mail.

My daughter called earlier in the afternoon to inform me that ‘the letter’ had arrive, Sydney was accepted into the Arts and Communications school. Her name was drawn in the lottery. Sydney’s immediate elation had quickly turned to tears upon hearing the news. She will be attending a school where she knows no one. Her days will be separate from her friends. She realizes what a big step she is taking and that her life will be different.

“Mom, can you call her?” my daughter asked after talking to Syd on the phone.
“Better yet, I’ll go over,” I replied. I stopped at the house. No one home. Evidently they were knocking on my door while I knocked on theirs.

We had all encouraged Sydney to follow her passion of writing and drawing. No pressure was applied, only options. At age ‘almost 11’, it was a big decision on her part. I’m not sure I would have been so courageous.

I called to congratulate Sydney. She seemed just fine. Nervous but excited. I hung up the phone immediately receiving a call from Gabby. She was laughing all the way down to her toes jabbering about us missing each other at each other’s homes at the same time. “Come over now, Grammy,” she said without hesitation.
“Is it okay with your Dad?” I asked. The phone was held away from her mouth, but the conversation with her dad was loud and clear. “He said okay.”

The door opened and a bundle vibrating with energy hidden beneath a blanket on the threshold. I hadn’t seen the girls in five days. It was a long time for us. “Gabby, is that you?” I teased. The bundle unfolded delivering a hug as a sailor might receive after returning from months at sea.

Sydney walked out of the kitchen cool and collected. We sat down and talked about her decision. I told her that I understood that she was nervous and scared she would lose her friends. “You can always go back to the neighborhood feeder school if you decide to,” I said. “But I know you are brave and can do it if you try.”

No hesitation. No doubt in her expression. “I’m going to do it.”

I look at my granddaughters and know that they get the support to fly on wings, to be creative, to capture new experiences while noticing the simple things in life. It is what family does for one another.

Yes, you will, my granddaughter. Yes you will.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Glove Box

Words seem to grow and change over time. Maybe we get tired of old words and think up new ones. Maybe it is a marketing ploy to employ new interest. Just maybe it is new thoughts on old subjects. I don’t know what it is but I refuse to think it is just because I’m old fashioned.

The child on the TV was told to go look in the glove box. Glove box? First of all, the glove ‘compartment’ was designed to hold gloves. It was just a little place to tuck away gloves that were worn daily when driving the ‘automobile’ to protect the hands in those open air cars. Nobody says automobile any more. Car. Three letters. Short and sweet. I remember when automobile was shortened to auto. Made sense. Shortened form of the word. So, from where did ‘car’ evolve. Cars were what followed the train engine which at one time was called a ‘locomotive’. Help! I’m caught in a word frenzy!!!

Maybe words are to be streamlined by a new generation. Maybe we are only allotted so many letters in a life time so the need to shorten and abbreviate becomes imperative. No longer does the old manual typewriter slowly pound out long words. Computers spit out words as quickly as we think them. No longer do we wait for food to bake. Instead we pop it into a little box and have hot food in minutes. Everything happens in a shorter amount of time. So, I’m thinking that our words need to keep up with the pace.

I even find that numbers are experiencing the same fate. Where I learned to add long lines figures carrying over numbers from the previous next column, my granddaughter adds by tens and uses formulas. My oldest granddaughter looks at me strangely when I try to show her long division. “That’s not how you do it, Grams.” Boy, I remember telling my parents the same thing. The time to do math has shortened as did the word arithmetic.

I wonder what will happen with following generations. If we are on a word limitation, perhaps mental telepathy will take over. Our brains will compute in new ways. Heck, we will commute in new ways.

A page once written is now typed. A compilation of daily thoughts is no longer a diary but a blog. I’m no longer a grandmother but a ‘grams’.

Writing has taken on a new face as well. My 8th grade English teacher, Normal Rhoades, would cringe at my sentences that no longer contain a subject and predicate. (I wonder if they use those same words now?) She would give me failing grades for the way I write for I write as I would talk. No longer do I need to worry about misspelled words; the computer checks my document for me. Normal would stand before me, hands in front of her, asking, “Pamela, can you explain how this can be a complete sentence without a noun and verb?” Surely I would buckle and conform.

I love this evolution of word. I like saying car instead of automobile (or as my grandfather would say, ‘machine’). I like placing my thoughts on a page as they appear instead of diagramming each sentence making them boring instead of alive.

If we are limited in the number of words we have available to us, I hope we continue to be creative and progressive. Still, there needs to be improvement on ‘glove box’. Food for thought.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Background

So how was your weekend? Mine was sunny and absolutely beautiful with flowers in blooms, tree bursting with shades of pink and white and the sun beating down on my back as I walked around Commonwealth Lake. Spring is in Oregon in February.

I did miss my writing time. It is amazing how much of my day is eaten up by writing….and I love it, but I need to refresh and walk away at times. I will be taking my computer back to the computer download doc and also have doctor appointments the next two mornings. So please have patience with me. I will write once I have my computer in hand.

Mom and Dad never understood why I needed to have the radio or TV on when I did homework. Neither they nor I understood my need for background sounds. I have noticed as I’ve gotten older that I always have background. When there is no audible sound, I still have music going around in my head. I find inspiration for my writing in the car with the noises of the radio, traffic and conversations surrounding me. My mind works best when stimulated, I guess. Maybe it is much like watching a movie with music accompanying the story. My mind is drawn to the action but richer for the music. Perhaps my brain needs a jumpstart. Regardless, I still work better with background noise.

I picked up the girls along with their friend, Heather, after school. The two older girls immediately pulled out their homework to get an early start on it. Classical music played quietly over the radio through the back speakers into their pretty ears.

“That music is perfect for doing homework,” said Sydney. Heather wholeheartedly agreed.

I listened to the violins and cello playing classic strains as the four of us paused to listen. Indeed it was great music for homework or working my way home. These were not girls who listened to classical music yet they took note and liked what they heard.

My home is not one of silence. Silence for me is the roar of the ocean, Andrea Bocelli or Mark Cohn singing, old Perry Mason reruns, quacking ducks, violins and pianos. Perhaps my mind is trying to absorb all it can in every minute of consciousness it possesses. Maybe creativity finds me in chaos as well as in the soft strains of nature’s symphony. Perhaps I could write better in silence, but I think I might just get distracted as sound peeking through.

What do we hear when we aren’t listening to all of sound? What do our brains capture when we are not aware?

I remember lying on my back in a sparse room labor room with my first child. Hospital noises assaulted me as well as the moans and screams from across the hall. I laid there wondering why they didn’t have music! What better time to be surrounded by soft musical sounds than when giving birth, when in pain, when scared! What better way to soothe mother and child.

My brain writes stories in the car and hears poetry. A woman cooks on the TV as I type words on a computer screen making her music to my musings. Mom and Dad never understood. Neither do I, but I know that had the school had music piped in, my tenure there would have been more productive.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Taking a Weekend Break

This is a summer of hand surgeries. I love writing daily but feel that I need to take a break on the weekends. I hope you understand.

As I have already said in my Neff Road blog, I am planning to have a column added to my blog page for your comments, memories, ideas, etc. This raising of children takes new perspectives and observations. Let's see what we can find out together.

Thank you for staying with me.

Flight Attendant

What teachers made us want to try? Who was it who made us want to learn more? Who gave us wings?

Oh, there were teachers who were good at their craft. Neighbors who took me under their wings and listened treating me like one of their own. My family who loved me flaws and all. But who gave me wings?

It was a different day and age. Girls were trained up to be wives and mothers. Avenues to explore life were limited. Discovering oneself wasn’t easy.

Wings. They’re important, you know. What better job for a grandparent than to be handing out wings. Wings that have no strings. Wings that support and encourage, that offer challenges and friendship, that give our grandchildren options to make their own decisions and to make mistakes. Wings that encourage thinking and observation.

This morning I put my son on a plane. It was an early morning that started at 4am. For many years, I had taken my son to the airport either to fly off to college, a trip to Europe or to an audition. My concerns and worries took a backseat as he stepped out into the unknown. The wings I gave him were the wings to step away and explore the world as well as himself. Now he was on the way to meet up with his bride then going off on their honeymoon. Wings strong enough to step into the world of family man.

This learning how to fly is a struggle for both the flight attendant and the passenger. Standing by watching a child take first wobbly steps, steps that someday lead away teaches the teacher to find her own wings.

I’m tired this morning. A bit brain dead. My son flew off on wings, wings to take him to the woman he loves, wings that gave him freedom to try the difficult career of acting, wings to discover more of himself and in turn giving more to those he loves.

How delightful to be able to open doors of imaginings. Wings. Our grandchildren are waiting.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Angels

“You hurt?” she asked.

I stopped, turning to see who spoke to me. She looked out of place sitting at the small table with several children’s books in front of her. The small Asian woman was dressed in a back suit and pretty white blouse. Pearl earrings hung at her ears. She reached out placing a hand on my bandaged hand. I looked at my hand as if I had seen it for the first time since my surgery then back to this stranger.

“Surgery,” I replied. “It doesn’t hurt.”

She continued to look at me with concern. A sweet woman I did not know, a woman with stilted words embracing a language not her own for some unknown reason touched my hand as if to comfort me.

A look of concern crossed her face. “You get better soon.”

I looked at the hand on my pile of bandages and into this angel’s eyes. “Thank you.”

The bandages are off. My hand looks as if I’ve been in a sword fight taking a blade across the palm. My story should be so dramatic. The bandages are gone. Still I cannot put aside the sweet lady who touched a stranger’s hand. Why she was sitting in the children’s section of the library was strange as no children were in attendance. She seemed to be sitting there waiting for me. My own angel.

Maybe we are all angels. Maybe we are all supposed to be randomly placed where we can do the most good or at least plant a seed of good intent. We are the keepers of all mankind.

My kids will vouch for the fact that I talk to everyone. I’m not afraid to ask someone in stress or with hands full at the trunk of their car, if I can help. I have hugged many people I do not know. But never before had someone I didn’t know reached out to me for no reason other than to connect with a stranger whose hand was fat with gauze and tape.

Angels come without wings. They walk among us. Mine spoke a language foreign to me but with tenderness I recognized.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Are You Watching the Olympics

Olympics 2000 in Sydney, Australia

“I thought it was too far for me, but I made it.” Swimmer Eric Moussambani, 22, was one of the two strong swimmers on the Equatorial Guinea Olympic team. He recorded the slowest competitive time ever for the 100 meter freestyle after finishing his heat more than one minute outside the world record. He swam the heat alone after the only other two competitors swimming the heat were disqualified for jumping the starter’s gun. At the finish, Moussambani, who had only begun swimming that January, received a rapturous reception from the 17,500 capacity crowd. We sat at home cheering as well.

Are you watching the Olympics?

Sometimes I wonder, just who are the real champion? Are they the ones with tears in their eyes and medals around their necks? Are they those who made the journey and will survive defeat? Perhaps they are the families who sacrificed financially, emotionally and, in some countries, actually gave up their precious children to a sport. Maybe they are the coaches who give up their lives to teach, train, win or lose with each athlete. Or are they the nations who host the event, whose pockets bulge and who acquire temporary fame?

I tend to champion those who originally believed in a concept that has brought nations together to not only compete but to also observe and interact. Those whose dream has survived war, boycott and even terrorists. A place where color becomes invisible and differences exciting. Losers hug winners. Winners hug losers. White hands clasp hands of color, warring nations share the podium often embracing one another for a brief moment, putting aside differences. Even the commercials reflect hope, a balance of all nations, unity of people.

Could it be that we cheer on the other nations because we see them as individuals who sweat, who cry, who hurt, who are not so different from us? Do we maybe see past guns, hatred, war and prejudice to find our own reflection in others?

Maybe when they say, “Let the games begin”, in truth we should say, “Let the understanding begin.”

Are you watching the Olympics? You don’t have to be tapped into sports to enjoy it, but you might just tap into humanity.

Let the understanding begin.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love

Love:
A hug and kiss when you walk through the door.
A listening ear when you tell of your day.
A hand reaching out to touch you in times of pain, sorrow and even just to let you know someone cares.
Bringing you a second cup of coffee without you asking.
Silently standing next to you as you stand awed by Mother Earth.
Saying “I love you” without saying the words out loud.
A partner who pitches in doing housework, cooking and working in the yard.
Almost purring when you dance together.
Still holding your coat for you after many, many years.
Protecting you when you are under attack of illness, hard feelings and loss.
Remembering the little things you have forgotten.
Dropping by work or home to surprise you with a single rose.
Defending you before he defends himself.
Knowing when to step in and when to leave you alone.
A friend, a confidante and the other part of your heart.
A warrior to fight for a love that will get stale, might even disappear in disenchantment for awhile and needs to be protected and fought for that it might be better than before.

I believe Cupid carries a bow and arrow ready to defend lovers, families and friends who love.

Happy Valentine's Day. May your love reach out to encompass all.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Let The Games Begin

Tolerance for an everyday woman. Writing every day sometimes becomes impossible. Morning is my best time to write and some mornings just happen according to life. I’m sorry, but my family and friends, my own need for space take priority over my blog. I cannot apologize for those days I am AWOL. Just know that if I am absent, I will return.

A young friend posts on Facebook that she has been given a Valentine’s present. A hospice nurse. A young family, her sister who has already lost the rest of her family to cancer, all must face reality. She has fought a battle that could be no mightier than a knight in armor facing an army, a foe, alone.

How do you leave your family? One child young enough to only remember glimpses of a mother, a warrior. Helplessly, her friends and family have stood ready to help in any way they could. But no one else could fight the battle. A battle now accepted as lost.

Yesterday a dear friend called. I held her hand as she sobbed, her world tossed into the wind facing decisions and directions for her life. Facing ghosts from the past and looking at the void of the future. A call and I was at her side wondering just what I could do to make it better. I listened. I was there. I cannot walk her journey for her, but I will walk beside her.

We are called on daily to be a friend, a mother, a grandmother. Nothing totally prepares us for the challenges those around us face, but nonetheless we move forward consoling and offering all we can from the meager experiences of our lives. Sometimes the best thing I can do is to sit quietly and even step away. From past experience, I know what it is when friends take on the burden of saving someone with good intentions that interfere with the course of events. I know that offering solutions sometimes backfires. Most of all, I know what it is like to be the one fighting to get her feet back on the ground.

A young man died needlessly yesterday. A team entered the Olympic field wearing black arm bands. A team, a nation, a world grieves. As I watched the opening ceremonies last night, a part of me ached for the young man who came to Vancouver to realize his dream. On the field with millions watching, a program brought to life a country built on the dreams and inspiration, on the back of those who went before. I watched the whales float across a curtain of blue and was awed. I saw the fields, the mountains of a land of beauty still preserved and protected. A native people honored. A history presented to us to embrace for a future that involves us all. A young man died and on the field we saw hope.

We are on this planet for such a short time. A young man’s death brought all of us to the reality of fleeting life. A young woman’s journey has inspired many. My friend’s struggle will change her and perhaps give her a new awareness into herself. I honestly do not know if any of this makes sense. But today has been filled with thought.

Let the games begin. Let us face each day with courage. Let the games begin. Let us realize that we are all one. Let the games begin inspiring people to will honesty and strength. Let the games begin giving us a common goal to save the planet that cares for us. Let the games begin that we might join the team of humanity. Let the games begin.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Be Mine

Please see www.neffroad.blogspot.com for today's blog. It is about yesterday and today.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Little Choice

Growing up is hard at best. I wonder if I will know when I finally achieve it.

I try to be the best grandma I can be, but yesterday I was not hitting the mark. My granddaughter is 10 going on 20. Her emotions are on an unknown journey over which she has no control. From the past I know that walking away and letting her cool down is best for both of us. Yet these children of pre-adult age cannot let go of whatever beast has hold of them at any given moment. I know. I was once there.

I feel sorry for the girls. They want to go home to a mom and dad. Now they have two homes and a babysitter. “I just want to be in my own home”. I would, too. We live in a day and age where everyone is looking for happiness, everyone is dissatisfied with life. Really, it’s no different than any other day and age. We just have more freedom to walk away.

I am a divorced woman. Not something I’m proud of. Did I find great happiness after my divorce? Oh, there is a freedom from not cleaning up after someone else, no snoring in my ear, all decisions are made without asking someone else. I grew up more in some ways and lost so much in others. I left to find me. I left because I gave up. I left because I wanted something more. I left because I was empty. But what of my children?

I justified my divorce by saying that my kids would have a happier mom and a happier dad. I didn’t ask if I would have happier children. I assumed. The sparkle that was once my daughter, the worry-free son changed. I changed. I became more self-centered. I began dating and finding that I was no longer a mere housewife but a sexy woman. I used the word “I” more often.

Sometimes I look at my ex and wonder why we didn’t fight harder to save the years we had together. He was my best friend. We have moved on, but we left behind hope for a family and a history that would have us moving from babies to grandparents to toddling on together just because we gave up.

I must be growing up some. I look back at life and wonder at the chopped up periods of my life, my lack of commitment. I thought life would be easier alone. I thought I could find someone to share all of my laughter and joy. One problem: No one else could share my history or have the history with my children. My sister has been married 50 years this November. Paul and she talk about the days on the farm and people they both knew, remembering another time with Mom and Dad. I have no one to go back and remember those who have passed, the first steps of our children, the joy of holding a newborn baby, the first house, the struggles, the victories. I cannot share those now or later with someone else.

This process of growing up is difficult at best. I want my granddaughter to be a fighter. I want her to cherish what she has and to protect it. I worry that she will, too, give up some day. I don’t know how to do this, this helping her through her rough times. She is struggling through a difficult time of growing up with a mountain of pain on her back.

God bless the children for theirs is a life in which they have little choice.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sprouting Sun

A shadow crosses my path. The illusive sun seems to have returned for a seasonal visit. Could I step to an ancient dance praising the sun’s glow, my feet would know the steps and my mind would soar with praise for the revealed visitor. Perhaps like the groundhog, I need to see a shadow to know that a new season is peeking from behind winter.

I am not one to have problems with winter grey. The seasons are always welcomed with renewed and open arms. Yet my body knows the need for the sun’s warmth. My grandchildren crave the sunny moments and run to meet them. “I want more sun,” my granddaughter cries.

“You were outside playing in it today,” I reply.

“It wasn’t long enough.”

True. It wasn’t, but today it returned. She and the other children will play in the sun at recess. They will come home, hop on bikes or pick up a baseball mitt and worship the sun’s warmth.

We sit on the verge of spring while my sister sits in feet of snow. Our bad winter came last year with more snow than Oregon had ever seen. This is our year for early spring, trees in bud, crocus and other bulbs peeking through, impatiens still hanging on to another year of existence already bloom beneath wet leaves. An earth comes to life, also in those who inhibit it.

Much to my dismay, my hands will prevent my digging in the soil separating weed from flower. Mowing is out of the question, but I can still smell the fresh cut grass. My daughter-in-law is excited to take on the task learning what I already knew…the earth revives the soul as well as the eager plants. Gabby will excitedly clean out the birdbath. The bird feeders will be filled. My yard once more will not only teem with birds searching for food, a pesky squirrel hiding peanuts and a cat stalking from the shadows but will be filled with the renewal of laughter, good conversation and thrilling discovery of new sprouts making their way to the sunlight.

A shadow crosses the room. The blinds’ parallel slates create pictures on the wall. Spring is in the air. Today I celebrate the sun.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Squidish Way

My days of eating calamari are gone snatched away from me with just a few minutes of a Discovery TV show on the Humboldt squid. It will be a loss. Never one to turn away from a culinary adventure, calamari was a wonderful surprise. I fell in love with it. Ah, no more.

These wonderful creatures thought to be killers are indeed peaceful. They attack when threatened….don’t we all. Gracefully they swim investigating the divers who float in their midst. The big eye of the inquisitive squid quickly took in the divers then dashed away flashing colors of white and red. The squid were harmless, curious, rather sweet in their own squidish way.

But this is not the reason I am swearing off calamari.

From the evidence the divers gathered, the squid would work as a team to herd krill for food.

This is not the reason either.

The diver took the lens from her underwater camera off placing it in her tiny pocket. While focusing on the squid around her, a sly squid curiously sneaked a tentacle into her pocket and retrieved the lens cap. Curiosity. A brain. All of a sudden another sea creature lands on the list of the knowing.

Who will protect them from the boats of fishermen who capture a hundreds a day? I can’t do much, but I don’t need to increase the market.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Man Named Bill

The alum stood in front of the Northwestern University graduating class of 1997. Applause erupted refusing to end. We sat to his left in the upper seats watching from a perch where we could see both him at the podium and my son in one of the rows down front. Having a name starting with ‘D’ was an advantage.

I was first exposed to his records. We laughed as he entertained us with tales of babysitting his baby brother and Jello pudding. He took us to another culture and taught us that it was no different from ours. He crossed the barrier of color and blended them on college campuses. His name is Bill Cosby.

I never missed “I Spy”. It was the first drama I remember that incorporated comedy into the mix. A blend of color and another awakening for a white populace and success story for a black community. He opened doors and taught us to open our eyes. Even at a ripe old age, he continues to teach and care.

James’ graduation on June 26, 1997, was a day of pride and great excitement. Yet everyone in the hall watching this man in the Northwestern sweatshirt and tennis shoes were brought face to face with reality. Dr. Cosby had just lost his son in January, a mere six months before. Our hearts wrapped around this man. We wanted to ease his pain. He wouldn’t let us. Instead he lifted us up to a better place, planting young feet on a path to make their world better.

Ennis Cosby died January 16, 1997. Thirteen years later James and Lisa were married on January 16, 2010. Bill Cosby was in Portland the day the kids were married.

Bill Cosby has crossed our lives for some reason. Not sure why. Maybe it is to keep us aware that the world continues to change, and we are a part of that change. Maybe it is to remind us that we can be strong even when we are beaten down with pain. Maybe, just maybe, it means nothing.

I’ll think on it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hurt All Over Inside

She laid on the table looking at my son and I. No anger in her eyes. A bit of confusion along with understanding in that last glimpse. Our dog, Sadie, was going to her eternal sleep.

Today my friend is putting down their old faithful dog. Is it possible to hear such news and not remember every pet you ever lost? I think not.

“When I told AJ, he put his hands to his lips and said ‘that makes me hurt all over inside’.” Her small son didn’t quite understand the pain of losing but expressed it eloquently. It does hurt all over inside when a companion and friend leaves us.

After Sadie died, Sydney was concerned that we had flushed the dog as they had her goldfish. Gabby two years younger would enter the house for months after calling Sadie’s name, looking for her. Finally, Gabby and Sydney decided that Sadie is still here in spirit. I personally know that is true.

We lose pets, our sometimes closest friends. I can name every dog and cat that passed through my life. Each has a piece of my heart. Each a piece of my history.

“Will you get another pet?” I asked. I knew the answer without her telling me. Her children are small. For me, I still see that last look from Sadie. Gabby will once in awhile talk about our sweet dog. Too many goodbyes.

Sloppy dog kisses, a pup snuggled in your lap, sniffling snores and sleepy dreams of rabbit chasing, protective barks and that eagerness to greet you….sweet dreams, Cooper.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Slow Going

Slow going with a temporarily useless right hand, but I am determined to write. One learns a great deal when incapacitated. My right hand seems to be telling me something since I dislocated my little finger last fall. Patience, understanding, humility all whap you right in the face when someone else cares for you.

The night before the surgery I stayed with my son and his new bride. That alone should scare any bride off. She was wonderful. She was waiting when I came out of my deep, wonderful sleep. “Wake up, Pam. Pam, wake up.”
“Go away. I am sleeping in a warm bed with warm air hooked to my paper gown filling it with warm air. Shhhhh. I’m sleeping.” No one listens.

“How do you feel?”

I’m full of drugs and surrounded by warm air. Go away.
Vaguely I remember the surgeon showing me his handiwork. A line of black stitches seemed neatly stitched across the hand. “Hm. Nice stitching. Wonder who owns the hand.”

“Your daughter-in-law can help you dress.” Well, that was not going to happen! That was not an image I would wish on anyone.
I came home on Tuesday. Slow moving. All is going well. Friends have brought in food. In fact, I’m eating better than usual. My fingers are beginning to move more easily so driving in another couple days looks hopeful.

I am humbled. I am blessed. I am back.