Category Archives: Christian

Summertime Sunshine

American poet John Greenleaf Whittier said, “The windows of my soul I throw wide open to the sun.”

Beach sunset Casey Key

SUMMERTIME SUNSHINE. Northerners long for it all winter long as they shovel the snow from their driveways and sidewalks. Folks across the nation watch the news for snowstorms, school closings, crashes caused by bad weather, and airport delays. I chose long ago to leave all of that behind. Quite frankly, I got tired of getting sick in November and remaining sick for several months and having this happen every year for the 4 years that I’d moved back to northern Indiana with my 3 small children following my divorce. So I moved to Florida. I’d lived in both Florida and Hawaii several times but reluctantly had to choose Florida because it was more affordable.The kiddies and I had also lived in Texas and Georgia (thanks to the USAF) too but those 2 states no longer had any appeal to me because we didn’t have any friends or kin living there. Florida won out tho this time; more affordable because of both the cost-of-living PLUS eventual college costs for public education are more affordable and we have lotsa relatives already living in a few areas in that state. A win-win situation.

People seem to be drawn to light. It seems as though since recorded history began, we have always been gathering around fires during hours of darkness. Evidently we have always enjoyed the warm dancing of the flames. I am particularly soothed by that glowing of embers, whether it be a simple candle or a campfire on the beach. Moonlight on the beach seems to weave its own particular magic too as it inspires songwriters and storytellers and artists. Both fire and the light of the full moon have had ceremonial uses throughout the ages by many peoples and religions for celebrations and events of various kinds. We seem to love the light of nighttime as much as the daytime.

I prefer the light of the sunshine. The light of the sunshine upon the water, particularly the ocean, revives my spirit. I enjoy the warmth of the sun and don’t wanna ever be without it. I am the first to admit that I probably spent too much of my youth basking in the glow of the wonderful rays of the Hawaiian sunshine and was usually sporting a golden suntan. Back then we didn’t know about ‘harmful rays‘ and I definitely do worry that every ‘age spot‘ that shows up now in my 50s may very well develop into that dreaded melanoma. But I still wouldn’t trade my SUMMERTIME SUNSHINE to move back to any state that’d have me living without it on a daily basis all year long. I don’t think that I could or would survive! I need that sun just as much as my plants do. I enjoy those sunsets immensely. I have always felt like a sunset is God’s signature on another ending of a gorgeous landscape!

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Easter Passing

Gramma&I-Easter 1981

Yesterday was Easter Sunday, always a sad day for me. It’s a day of remembering of the EASTER PASSING of my darling beloved Gramma Pearl, and while most of the Christian world is celebrating Christ’s glorious resurrection….I am fondly thinking about Gramma and the joy that she brought to my life.

It was an Easter Sunday when I was 12 that I came forward to accept Jesus into my heart at the little white church that our family had always attended. I don’t recall ever NOT spending Sunday mornings and evenings at that church with our family and my Grandparents. My Gramma Pearl lived next door to us in our tiny farming town of 40+ homes, and the church was in the next town where my favorite Aunty lived. It was always so much fun to spend Sunday services with my cousins! Anyway, I had always believed in Christ because of the beautiful stories that were a part of my life, as taught to my brothers and I by our Mama and our Gramma. But I’d not yet been baptized, so for several weeks before Easter, my Gramma had been preparing and encouraging me to take that big step! She was so gentle and precious. When the time came for the ‘altar call‘ at church and I was nervous because several pair of eyes were upon me….my wonderful Gramma simply held out her loving hand and actually went with me! That has always left quite a lasting impression on me and is even making me misty-eyed as I write this!

Gramma enjoyed a very happy and fun-filled 3rd marriage. After Nick retired and their big old 2-story house and acreage got to be too much for them to handle, they moved into the nearest larger town, the county seat. They were across from an elementary school, a block from a ball field and a pizza place, and a short distance to anywhere they needed to go. My Mama and stepdad lived there too so Gramma got to see her oldest daughter almost daily and her other daughter a couple of times each week too. Life was good for her. As I journeyed, we wrote very often and I sent lotsa photos. Following my divorce, I moved back to that Hoosier small town and for 4 years, my children adored life with Great-Grandparents and 2 sets of Grandparents constantly being nearby for them at most any event. Since my kids are/were ‘Air Force brats‘ and had moved around A LOT, the 4 years spent there in my hometown gave them a sense of being grounded, of being FROM SOMEPLACE. They really really got to know their grandparents and great-grandparents. This was priceless!

After Nick died, in a few years my Gramma’s health declined to the point that her daughters weren’t able to take care of her. They tried, they really did, but they were unable to lift her so they had to place her into the local nursing home. This is a nice nursing home and my Mama visited her every day. Plus my cousin was a nurse there so Gramma had her own granddaughter to look after her care, and her private bedroom was directly across from the nurse’s station so she and my cousin could make ‘funny faces‘ at each other. This nursing home also has an aviary! Gramma knows all about birds, being the ultimate lover of nature, so this was something that she would converse about with anybody that’d listen! So it really didn’t take too long before my Gramma became the ‘QUEEN BEE‘ around that place! She was well-liked by all: staff, residents, other visitors.

Towards the end, we made a special visit in winter because my Mama told me that Gramma needed to see me and that she wouldn’t be lasting too much longer. I hate cold weather but still, I could not deny my dear Gramma, so we drove overnight to have what we expected to be our last visits with Gramma Pearl. This would indeed be the last visit for my 3 children to have with their Great-Gramma. She was in good spirits when we spent time with her and took our last photos together. After a brief stay with Mama, we left.

When Mama asked me again to come, just a couple of weeks later, I refused her request. I’d said my goodbyes to my dearly cherished grandmother and had been crying several times daily since I’d left her. I did not want to watch her die. I did not want my children to either, nor did I honestly believe that Gramma would want her grandchildren to remember that. So we were gonna wait to return for her funeral. At this point, Mama said that Gramma hadn’t been responsive or opening her eyes at all so probably wouldn’t know if’n I were there or not. Mama and my Aunty were taking turns being by her bedside and chattering, but they did not know whether or not she was aware of them being there. Every other day Mama would call and ask if I were ready to come home yet and I’d say that I would come home for the funeral.

Evidently, I don’t quite remember how it went, but somehow Gramma had asked for me. So shortly before Easter my Mama called and practically begged me to come home because she thought that her mother NEEDED to pass on to heaven but she WANTED me there one last time. There was a different sound in my Mama’s voice that I’d not heard before, or since. Even though I didn’t want to see my Gramma like this, or didn’t even know if we would make it ‘in time‘, the kids and I hurriedly packed and headed to Indiana.

I dropped the kids off at Mama’s house Easter night just as she came home. She was going to bathe and eat before going back to the nursing home but since I was there, she’d be able to take a little more time plus she needed to call my brothers to come soon from Indianapolis and Chicago (she lives between). It was late at night, well past visiting hours, when I walked into the nursing home….but nobody stopped me. Instead, the 2 nurses at the front must’ve known exactly who I was because one of them said, “You’re the one that she’s been waiting for.” And then they both started crying! (I’ll always remember this) I hurried to Gramma’s room and was startled at her appearance! I expected to be, but I am very glad that her eyes were closed. I hugged my Aunty, who was holding her hand and caressing her arm. I kissed Gramma’s cheek and forehead, unclenched her fist so that I could wrap her hand around mine, and told her that I was there. Gramma squeezed my hand and my Aunty smiled, then told me that Gramma won’t open her eyes, and that she hasn’t done so for several days. Well, the women in our family are stubborn and defiant. That includes ME and my only daughter, Mama, Aunty and all 3 of her girls, and it surely started with this beautiful, incredible lady laying beside me because the last thing that she did was to defy what her baby girl had just said that she wouldn’t do! She opened her eyes, barely, but enough to see that it was me standing there beside her smiling at her. She looked at me and I told her that I loved her and that it was all right. She knew what I meant. With a daughter and a granddaughter holding tightly onto her hands, she closed her eyes for the last time that Easter Sunday. My Gramma’s EASTER PASSING has always had a heavy impact upon my heart; not only upon my heart, but also upon my sense of guilt. Did I cause my treasured grandmother extra weeks of discomfort, pain, or unpleasantness just because of my stubborn unwillingness to come home and be present for her death? I did not know that she’d been waiting for me. I will always carry that with me. It bothers me still. But she has a new and glorious body now and I know that she would never ever place any of the blame onto me, even tho I may do so myself. That’s because she always loved me truly and thoroughly, the way I hope to love my grandchildren someday if I have any!

GrandDad’s Buddy

Granddad and Jerry

My First-Born child also has the honored position of being the First Grandchild for my parents, as well as for my Step-Mom. He loves this distinction! However, my Step-Dad already had 2 grandkids by this time but they live in South Carolina so he only saw them a couple of times annually. He had lotsa fun being GrandDad too. My son never got to know his ‘other’ biological grandparents….the grandfather had been killed by a tornado more than a decade before and the grandmother had been extremely ‘broken’ by this same tornado so she wouldn’t have known him anyway. But since both of my parents had remarried and lived in the same small town, which was approximately 40 miles from where my baby boy and I lived, he still had two sets of grandparents and a set of great-grandparents to dote on him! I had to live in a larger town, near Purdue University, for my travel agency job but every Friday after work we drove to either my Mama’s or my Daddy’s house for the weekend and had a grand time! All of my children have/had special relationships with each grandparent/great-grandparent. For nearly the first couple years of his life, my son turned into his GRANDDAD’S BUDDY. Whenever we were at Mama’s ‘little round house out in the woods‘, every time I’d turn around, my Step-Dad had that baby laying on his tummy watching TV or reading to him or even taking naps with him!

My parents divorced when I was in my early twenties. Don’t ever believe the old adage about divorce hurting the children less if the parents wait until those kids are grown-ups. It’s just not true. My world turned totally upside-down even tho I was in college. I ran away, literally, to finish my college studies as far away from my small Hoosier hometown as I could get. My parents informed me of their decision in July and less than a month later I was attending a small Catholic college in Honolulu. That was as far away as I could get and still be on American soil. After college I returned to Indiana but not to the same small hometown. Instead I moved to the larger town 40 miles away where I could obtain work.

As it turned out, I married an Air Force Officer and we had assignments in Texas, Hawaii, and Florida before my husband decided that he didn’t want to be married anymore. So it was back to this small Hoosier hometown that I took my 3 children and our broken hearts so that we could feel the love of family surrounding and comforting us once again. My parents, even tho married to others, cooperated together to pave the way by finding a suitable house for us to rent and basically made the decisions for me at a time when my distraught mind was unable to function. My Daddy and my brother brought a moving truck to Florida and literally picked us up and got us and took us HOME, while Mama was busily getting things ready in Indiana. I do not even recall registering the kids in school and doctors and many other things that needed to be taken care of so I’m sure that my wonderful parents must have had a hand in taking care of a lot of the things that I didn’t even notice but am totally grateful for. It was a good move and a good idea. Sometimes in life a person has to trust in the wisdom of those who have lived life and already made mistakes because they are able to give advice, should anybody care to listen. My parents are a perfect example of this. I may not have always agreed with them but they wanted what ultimately was best for their grandbabies. Of course I’m sure that it was wonderful for them to be able to finally attend the various schooling and scouting and church functions with their grandkids too that they’d been missing out upon because we lived in other states! They certainly did! It worked out fine.

My Daddy and Step-Mom lived out in the country so that was fun for the kiddies. Daddy enjoyed coming into town and taking the 3 of them, or sometimes each one at a time, to do things or to go places. He even took my boys to his own barber and filled in when my daughter needed him for ‘Daddy Date Night‘. My Step-Mom always knows exactly which foods are the favorites of each family member and makes it a point to prepare everybody’s favorite. She’s kinda like ‘the cheerleader‘ of the grandbabies! Mama and my Step-Dad had moved a couple of blocks from the Elementary School so it was fun for the kids to be able to ask if they could walk to Grandma’s after school a few nights each week, where they knew that she’d have home-baked goodies awaiting! Their Great-Grandparents lived across town near the shopping area and we visited with them a few times weekly. It was a very good 4 years that we lived in that area, having all those grandparents nearby gave my kids the love and stability that had been lacking when we’d been moving around the country going from Air Force base to Air Force base!

For some reason, probably just because he’s the oldest, my Step-Dad seemed to like to teach my first-born kid lotsa stuff. Perhaps it was because he missed his own grandkids, which by now he had 4. Or perhaps it was because he reminded him of his own son at that age….they both are stubborn loveable blondes with really big eyes! My Step-Dad was a ‘tinkerer‘, always fixing or improving something, often to my Mama’s frustration. That’s how my son became his GRANDDAD’S BUDDY….my Stepdad and my boy took apart 3 junk mowers and built 1 mower rather than buying a new one. They built a model airplane and worked on other projects that always kept my Step-Dad busy. I think that sometimes he was just looking for an excuse to ‘borrow’ my kid even tho he said that he wanted to teach him something! My Mama and my Step-Dad also invited my son to watch EVERY Chicago Bulls basketball game on TV at their house, complete with carefully planned favorite snacks. My other two kids showed no interest in sports so this was a special memory for my son. He still watches basketball and is a big fan of the Chicago Bulls. He also has turned out to be a ‘tinkerer‘ too, always finding projects to work on! Yep, that’s my boy! I’m sure that my Step-Dad is watching this young man, GRANDDAD’S BUDDY, from heaven with a twinkle in his eye!

Remembering Corcovado

Corcovado sunset

 

This photo is a beautiful sunset image of the Cristo Redentor, or ‘Christ the Redeemer’, statute atop Corcovado Mountain in Brazil. Yes, I HAVE been all the way to the top of that mountain! I was fondly REMEMBERING CORCOVADO as I’ve been perusing photos from very long ago, this one from the mid-1970s.

I was still a teen, a college freshman, when I convinced my family to let me do a semester in the jungles of Brazil as a student missionary. There were a handful of us from the college, and one day the missionary took us into Rio de Janeiro on our way to someplace else. We were very young and naive Christian students that seemed shocked at the big city! I’d never seen so much flesh displayed as on the beaches there in Brazil! I thought that I had seen bikinis before, after all I’d been to Waikiki….and Hawaii was (and is) my favorite place on this planet. But nothing prepared my eyes for Copacabana Beach and the string bikinis and thongs on both females and males of all ages. Needless to say, the missionary wasn’t letting us dawdle there, we were passing through on our way to the old train to take us up the mountain. Corcovado means ‘hunchback‘ in Portuguese, which is the language of the Brazilian people, the only country on the South American continent to not speak Spanish. I probably learned about 5 words of Portuguese throughout my time in Brazil, but since our group was working at a youth camp in the jungle, it mattered not to the children of Brazil. I think they delighted in hearing us trying to sing their hymns because they clapped and laughed and gave us lotsa hugs anyway!

The train made it’s way up 2&1/2 miles to the top of Corcovado Mountain, which is in the Tijuca Forest, a national park. We then had to climb more than 200 steps. At that point it was so very foggy that we were unable to see any of the 125-foot statue except the base because we were up so high that we were literally in the clouds! We waited a long, long time with our cameras ready to snap photos. The clouds were moving fast but they were so numerous that it seemed that we were in the midst of some sorta ethereal white cotton candy forest and all we could see were the toes of Jesus! It was surreal ‘standing at the feet of Jesus‘, knowing that He’s there but not quite being able to see Him. Oh my, just like in REAL LIFE!!! We stood thataway for more than an hour before the clouds moved for only 3-4 minutes, just long enough for everybody to GASP, and then to get a couple of pictures. Then the clouds covered the statue again. The tour guides said that some days are like that all day long but that those are also usually the days with the most magnificent sunsets from below, which did certainly prove to be true for us.

Looking out over Rio de Janeiro was one of the most amazing vistas I’ve ever personally witnessed. We could see the Atlantic Ocean, all of Rio and Copacabana Beach, and even further than Sugarloaf Mountain, which stands ‘guarding’ the other end of the city of Rio de Janeiro. One day in Rio was all that we had. REMEMBERING CORCOVADO plays in my mind as being the inspiration of that trek. We still had an extremely long and arduous journey to our mission camp, somewhere along the Rio Parana. This was the remotest locale that I’ve ever visited in my life. We worked hard for weeks, ate rice and beans with every meal, and were rewarded with the smiles and friendships of the Brazilian children. All in all, a most satisfying mission!

Cease Bickering

This quote reminds me of so very many things. I liked it’s simplicity. My 40th reunion from High School was last month, and even though my health made my attendance not possible to make

that 1000-mile journey this time, I’ve certainly had lots of enjoyment perusing the numerous photos that my former classmates have posted onto Facebook! Out of 151 that graduated, 46 were there, so I’d say that was a successful turnout! Fortunately, our class has had very few deaths, which means that approximately 1/3 attended this event. Looking over the photos and trying to remember the faces, I also recalled some of the past ‘instances‘ and ‘quarrels‘ and ‘bitter competitions‘, and am happy that after 40 years folks have finally managed to CEASE BICKERING! This wasn’t necessarily the case at the 10th or the 15th reunions. Why, oh why does it take people so very long to make amends? Human nature is a peculiar thing!

The same is true of old friends, and family members, and co-workers. When a friend is having a party, they’ll have the audacity to tell another friend that they can bring a friend (as long as it’s not ‘so-and-so’). Or lunchtime with co-workers can get complicated if you’d already made plans with just one person but then a group wants to include you but not that person. Of course, I’d stick with the plans I made first! The most difficult is when kinfolk is visiting and prior to their arrival, I have to call either my Mama or my stepmom (depending on which side of the family) to find out who isn’t talking to whom JUST SO THAT I WON’T accidentally say the wrong thing at the wrong time! This is ridiculous to me and shouldn’t have to be so. Why can’t we just all get along?

I absolutely refuse to play these games! I will not get in the middle of other people’s squabbles! I’ll listen if you really need to talk but don’t ask me to choose sides because I love my relatives and I wanna keep my friends. Next time you go to the cemetary to put flowers on the graves of your ancestors, look up and down the rows of headstones….I’ll betcha that all the spirits of those people would love to tell you that those squabbles just DON’T MATTER and that they are a waste of your time and energy! So please CEASE BICKERING and live the rest of your short life in harmony!

 

Yellow Hair

Image

My oldest son was going to be the only one enrolling in school when we moved to the island of Oahu while their father was getting an assignment in an extremely remote location upon the Arctic Circle. We’d been stationed at Randolph AFB in San Antonio and my husband came home with the news one day that our time would be ending in Texas and that he’d be living the next 14 months in a place so cold that there weren’t even any trees! His next assignment after that wasn’t yet determined so we had to make a decision where the kiddies and I would be living. The Air Force gave us 2 choices: stay in San Antonio or move back to ‘where I came from’, with all moving expenses paid by the Air Force. I was then thrown-for-a-loop when my hubby grinned and informed me that the Air Force had ME listed as being a resident of the state of Hawaii! Oh My Goodness! I had never changed my residency out of the state of Hawaii since college, and apparently as a military spouse I never did have to renew my driver’s license….so I now had to make a choice of moving my 3 kids and myself to Hawaii or staying in San Antonio! I supposedly had until the end of the week to decide. REALLY? I decided instantaneously! We were moving to Hawaii with the move being paid for, even my car and my baby grand piano too; and also quite a hefty cost-of-living allowance increase, WOOHOO!

Hubby took us on the long flight to Honolulu. I’m so glad that we were given the ‘bulkhead’ seats because that gave us extra room. Back then, in the 80s, those seats were not necessarily reserved for particular passengers. I do feel sorry for the other folks on that plane. The stewardesses knew the kids’ names plus brought them extra treats and spent much more time on them than anybody else flying with us that day. My children have always been extremely well-behaved, but we must’ve made 3 dozen trips up and down the aisles to the bathrooms. They were sooo young and fidgeted and wanted to sing and be read to, etc. I’m just thrilled that they didn’t cry or scream like we heard some other children doing. I was embarrassed for those parents! Mine were ages 1, 2, & 4 when we flew from San Antonio to Honolulu. We were even allowed to disembark the plane 1st, along with the other family with kids, and I could swear that I heard cheering when we all got off that airplane!

After settling into our rental home, we enrolled Jerry in the preschool program at Pearl City Elementary. He needed to continue in Speech Therapy and that was a school that’d been on our list that supposedly had excellent teachers. I just wasn’t prepared that in Hawaii the preschool was going to be an all-day program! I didn’t know if I could handle having my 4&1/2-year-old away from me ALL DAY, 5 days per week! (in Texas it’d been 3 half-days) But the program was 1/2-day in preschool and 1/2-day in speech class. His 2 teachers, Miss Maile and Miss Glenda, were wonderful! He took a liking to them from the very beginning.

My biggest worry for my son was ‘culture shock’. When I’d gone to college at Chaminade College (now University) in Honolulu a few years before, I’d chosen to go there because it WAS so very far away from my tiny hometown in northern Indiana. I was from farm-country moving to a big international city and I wanted to see what folks were like elsewhere. I wanted to explore customs and cultures and religions. But Jerry was just such a little boy and had only lived in Indiana and Texas. He spoke English and was only used to hearing 2 languages spoken regularly: English and Spanish. Here in Hawaii there’s a myriad of languages heard, plus ‘pidgin’ is not at all like the English that he was used to. He also was accustomed to seeing people of only 3 nationalities in Texas….in Hawaii my children would hopefully be making friends with dozens of nationalities plus mixtures of those races, just as I had when I’d moved to Honolulu not-so-long-ago.That was certainly my dream, anyway!

During his 1st day of school, this Mama sat at home nervously wondering how his day was going and what he was doing. I fretted and fretted. I wondered if he was being accepted. I hoped he wasn’t crying or fighting or pouting. I made sure the phone was working about 15 times also, somewhat expecting the principal to call to inform me that I’d have to come and get him….I had at least a dozen scenarios imagined in my overworked mind! Finally it was time for us to go and pick him up at his new school. So into the carseats went the other 2 kids and away we drove. I’d been praying and praying all day for my son. We sat by the school sidewalk waiting for him. I was so very worried that he’d come running to the car with a black eye or bandaged knees or something. Instead, here comes Jerry surrounded by 7 lovely little Polynesian and Japanese and Hawaiian girls. He points at us and waves goodbye to them. When he gets into the car, I resist the urge to hug and kiss on him because I definitely don’t wanna embarrass him in front of the little girls! So as we drive away, I ask him if he likes his new school. He replied, “Yep. I’m the only one with Yellow Hair!” And THAT was THAT!

Pearl’s Pearls

ImageMy Gramma Pearl went to heaven 10 years ago on Easter Sunday. Gramma lived next door to us, with just an acre of corn between us, in our tiny town as we were growing up. She most definitely was the “World’s Best Gramma” to my brothers & I plus a wonderful Great-Gramma to my kiddies. I have a feeling that my dozens and dozens of cousins would readily agree!

Gramma was our babysitter while our parents took their many vacations & would let us ‘get away with’ things that out folks never knew about! It was wonderful having her closeby so that she could be our confidante, referee when we quarreled with our folks, baker of numerous goodies, & she made sure we grew up in church. Big family get-togethers meant a lot to Gramma & really instilled a sense of FAMILY in us & I’m sooooo thankful for her. She liked telling people that she got 15 grandkids out of only 3 kids….but my favorite was the delightful twinkle she’d get in her eyes when somebody would ask her how many great-grandbabies she had because she’d say she wasn’t sure but that she knew it’s a LOT! (she honestly didn’t know!) She enjoyed telling others that she’d obeyed the Lord’s command to “be fruitful”! Seriously tho, it gave her tremendous pleasure to know that she will live on through (or dare I say ‘vicariously’?) her many offspring. She told me this numerous times; she loved us so much!

I got the strand of pearls for my Gramma that she wears in this photo. Many, many times I’ve enjoyed living in Hawaii and/or vacationing in these awe-inspiring islands of paradise. This particular time, my family was returning (once again) from a 14-month tour-of-duty in Hawaii & we managed to time it so that we could attend her 75th birthday celebration. I’d asked Gramma what gift she’d like from Hawaii this time (after soooo many visits, she had all the usual gifts that tourists bring to their loved ones back home!) Anyway, the subject of pearl earrings came up & Gramma mentioned that she’d have nothing to wear them with….upon further conversation I learned that my precious Grandmother was almost 75-years old & nobody had EVER given her a pearl…..AND HER NAME IS PEARL!!!! Oh My Goodness! I made up my mind that above all other gifts that I’d be bringing all my kinfolk this time, my Gramma was getting the best gift above all others. I would make sure that I found the prettiest pearl that I thought she’d adore since I adored her. It took me 2 months of searching (and saving money!) before I decided that I’d splurge and buy her a lovely strand of pearls because I knew that she’d wear them with pride. So that was my special gift that year, & she did wear them many, many times. Of course, I think she told anybody that’d listen about those pearls that her granddaughter brought to her from Hawaii!

After Gramma died, I got the pearls back. Now I proudly wear them every Easter in remembrance of the anniversary of her leaving us to go to live with our Lord, and also on every Mother’s Day, & on her every birthday! I love & miss my Gramma Pearl Jane Princie Bell Gross Spicer Zimmerman Nicoson! I was so very honored & privileged to have her as a constant part of almost 1/2-a-century of my life!

Kindred Spirits

small zoo in Kauai 1987

I look sideways to smile at my handsome son as we stop at the convenience store…..he mutters “what?”, to which I reply that he’s still such a cutie after all these years. He makes an annoying-but-oh-so-familiar double-click with his tongue & rolls his eyes. However ‘macho’ he may be at age 28, I can’t help but notice that he’s still stifling a bit of a grin! He asks if I want anything in the store….nope, just the usual weekend lottery tickets.

I think back to when he was in elementary school, the class clown yet still a straight-A student…..a little guy yet always surrounded by a dozen little girls…..ornery but somehow still managing to be ‘teachers pet’! My Joey, my baby boy, the youngest. My Big Surprise–arriving exactly 2 weeks less than a year after his sister. I’ve been told that means they’re ‘Irish Twins’ & that it’s more difficult than having real twins. Nope! He was always the calm one, the easygoing child whereas the other 2 were as hyperactive as could be! But not my Joey! Having 3 children within 4 years kept me extremely busy but the time just flittered by. I always wondered that God knew that I couldn’t handle another hyper kiddie so he gave me my darling Joey. What a blessing!

I somehow knew that Joey would be the best driver in the family and that has most definitely turned out to be true. I did NOT plan for him to have to take over MY own personal driving though, at only age 57, because of my health! I feel bad, and often angry, that I now have to call upon my kiddies to take me places. This leaves me feeling useless & I don’t like having to be reliant upon someone else for transportation. Grrrrr! But of course he doesn’t even complain. God has surely blessed me with this wonderful son!

I glance over at the car parked next to me. There’s an older gentleman a bit older than me. A lady comes out with 2 cups, gets into the car, & hands 1 to him & says “here’s a treat for you, Dad”. His eyes light up, then he takes a sip & tells her “I just won’t test my blood sugar today”! How cute (and, oh my….but don’t I do the same thing once in awhile? Shhhh)! Probably another parent-child pair doing the same thing. I catch a glimpse of the the older gentleman’s eyes. I’m thinking that this probably isn’t the way that he’d expected his so-called ‘golden years’ to have turned out either. For a swift moment in an otherwise uneventful day, our eyes meet and we share a teeny bond that 2 old folks understand and that our kids probably do not and will not. Hopefully they never will either. My prayer is that my children will not have to become dependent upon their children as early in their old age as I did. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be; I most definitely didn’t have this in my plans, nor even within the outer reaches of my imagination!

Well, there they go, the lady and her dad…..and here comes my Joey out of the store. So off we go to do my banking & have lunch out someplace for OUR treat!