Category Archives: Faith

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!

Missing Christmas

Missing Dad Christmas

Christmas came. Christmas 2014 is over. Most of the day I spent by myself, remembering past holidays when my own children were little. And of course, that also got me recalling the wonderful and cherished family members that attended Christmases when my brothers and I were little kids. So I mostly had a day of reminiscing and MISSING CHRISTMAS. My own parents were much younger than I am now when I was a little child and we had large family gatherings at our home filled with lotsa favorite cousins and Aunts and Uncles, as well as my beloved Grandparents. (The Grandparents and all of the Uncles are gone now and I have 1 Aunty left) After devouring a most scrumptious meal lovingly prepared by the fabulous cooks in our family (everybody had their ‘specialties’ which we came to expect and look forward to), the bigger kids would help to clear away dishes and arrange kids in the living room, my Daddy would mysteriously disappear, and soon thereafter Santa would come and hand our gifts. We had joyous holidays at our home.

1st Christmas with Daddy-5 months old-1956

Now my precious Daddy, pictured with a 1-year-old ME in the photo, is celebrating Christmas in heaven, and has been for a few years. I am sad, and the tears still flow because I miss him sooooo much. But I have learned not to be selfish, for I know that this is his ‘reward‘ and it is surely glorious beyond anything that my mind can imagine. Besides, this is Daddy’s very first Christmas in heaven with ALL 5 of his big brothers and his sister and his folks so I’m certain that they’re having a GRAND TIME! I still am blessed to have my darling Mama, pictured with me in the photo of my 1st Christmas, even tho she’s spending Christmas at her Hoosier home in Indiana. She does always hope for that ‘White Christmas‘, whether or she gets it is another story! The only white that I wanna see in the winter is the sugary white sands of the beaches on the Gulf of Mexico!

Mama&Jeannie-1st Christmas

I’m also missing my baby boy this Christmas. That’s him pictured with me when he was a young’un. He lives in PA with his fiancee and wasn’t able to come home to FL for Christmas since he’d just been here in October. But I’ll be seeing him in April when we all gather in Indiana for Mama’s 80th Birthday Celebration!

Mama & Joey Easter 1988

So even tho I spent most of my daytime yesterday MISSING CHRISTMAS, in the evening I did get to have supper with my other 2 kids and my daughter-in-law! We had a yummy meal and then our gift exchange at my son’s apartment. I enjoy living in central Florida; the down-side is sharing my kiddies with the tourists since this is officially ‘The Tourism Capital of the World’! My daughter and my son and his wife DO WORK for a giant Mouse, after all! Even tho it’s not cold here….it is very festive!

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!

Flower Delivery

protea & other tropicals

My 1st job as a college student in Hawaii was at a boutique-type flower shop making leis and flower deliveries in an upscale mall less than 2 miles from my dorm. It took me less than 15 minutes plus 2 quarters by The Bus to get there, or I could take a brisk walk and make it in half-an-hour. Usually I took The Bus (that is literally the name of the public bus system) because it was handy and extremely efficient. Anywhere on the island of Oahu could be reached by The Bus for 50-cents each way. Although I’d begged my Daddy for a car, when he visited me he went with me to all of the places that I would ever need or want to go to….then he declared that I did NOT need a car because The Bus was well-suited for anything that I’d need it for.

The flower shop owner was, at the time, the top designer in the entire state and was much in demand for weddings as well as office and resort floral displays. This kept him very busy jetting to the other islands, and he was only at the store during business hours a couple of times per week to check on bookings. Those of us working there basically answered the phones, helped the walk-in customers, and constantly made leis of every kind. The boss had several gigantic coolers of beautiful tropical floral displays that were ‘sold out’ daily. Somehow, as if by magic, the coolers were refilled with dozens of new ‘creations’ by the next morning. Our boss was amazing at creating unique designs….the prices were expensive but the guests did not complain.

Our boss also had another business, a limousine service. The fleet of limos only had Silver Cloud Rolls Royces! Part of my job was to make flower deliveries. IF the boss gave me a large delivery AND ALSO had me deliver it by limo, then I knew that the flowers were going to a V.I.P. The limo driver, of course, wasn’t telling me where we were going. Usually we didn’t get to actually meet any celebrities. If the deliveries were made to a luxury hotel, then the flowers and I only made it as far as the Concierge. If the flowers were going to an individual’s personal home, usually a mansion or mini-mansion, then a maid or butler would take the flowers and I’d get a decent tip. I could drive up and down the streets of Kahala and Black Point and Aina Haina; also around Diamond Head and all the way up the ‘Gold Coast’ and point out the homes of every celebrity if I’d wanted to. But usually that didn’t excite me anymore because, with the exception of Cher, most of them were not especially what I would call NICE.

Usually my boss didn’t take me along with him to help set up for weddings and I didn’t particularly enjoy it anyway because of a nasty motorcyle-riding has-been celebrity, whom I won’t name, that made it not at all fun. Besides, I never did like those quickie Hawaiian weddings that folks do on the spur-of-the-moment because it’s not the way I was raised (to honor and sanctify marriage). Naturally, this was a huge money-maker for my boss tho! One of my favorite set-ups, however, was at Christmas. There were dozens of large banks and other office buildings that hired us to totally transform their lobbies into a Christmas wonderland, and it had to be done overnight so that their employees would come in the next day to see the ‘magic’ that had taken place. That was so much fun! My favorite was the 3-story Christmas tree that we erected totally out of red poinsettia plants. It was awesome. Lotsa folks don’t realize that most of the potted poinsettia plants that we buy at Christmastime on the mainland come from flower farms on the Big Island of Hawaii. My boss had a couple of plane-loads of plants for making these trees. The ingenuity and the work that went into making this happen was great to be a part of!

My best memory of my short stint working in the flower delivery business was the time when I had to deliver the biggest bouquet of daisies and roses that I’d ever seen. It’d seemed unusual that there weren’t any tropical flowers in the arrangement but this was an Anniversary bouquet for an older couple and supposedly was ‘their usual’ except that every year the bouquet would get larger. The bouquet was soooo big that my boss’ wife was assisting me in delivering it because I couldn’t handle it alone! So we got into 1 of the large Silver Clouds and the driver headed into Kahala. I asked where we were delivering and the boss’ wife and the driver just smiled. I knew then that it’d be yet another celebrity. We pulled into a circular driveway and started to the door with the bouquet. I wondered if it’d be a maid or a butler that answered, as usual. I was surprised when the door opened….I stood there speechless, mouthing words that wouldn’t come out! The older gentleman smiled that familiar-but-devious smile and said “Yes, I am Vincent Price. Do come in.” He laughed THAT laugh as we sat the lovely bouquet on the antique table in his round foyer. He was nicer than any of the other celebrities I’d met while in Hawaii, thus far, and he gave me a $50 tip!

April Fools!

ImageChildren always seem to have so much fun on April Fools Day. It’s a day of silliness and merriment that may or may not be much of a joy to teachers but at least the younger students have quite a bit of fun throughout the day. As the students get into the upper grades the tricks often get nastier and the pranks might not have the desired ‘end result’, sending some of the more devious students (who….me? couldn’t be!) to the Principal’s office for some explanation with hopes of avoiding detention.

Can we blame our parents? Oh yes, in my particular case, I certainly can! I grew up in a home that was fun-loving. Thanks to my Mama, my brothers and I knew joy, honesty, and happiness. Thanks to my Daddy, we knew about getting along with all kinda folks, laughing a lot, and when it was time for seriousness. Both of our parents took us to church, along with Gramma and Grandpa Joe, and that’s where we got a strong sense of a decent faith that’s loving but not overly-strict. My parents were the very best parents that God could possibly have chosen for me. They were Friendly, they were Happy, they were Cheerful….so was I. So AM I! But my Daddy and his friends could definitely play jokes on each other, usually much to the exasperation of my Mama! They always made it a point to ‘one-up’ each other too, so we never quite knew what to expect….except that we COULD expect something interesting!

When pregnant with my 1st child, I was asked permission to test a new kind of ultrasound for free. Of course I agreed, even though it meant that my bare belly was exposed to 8 OB/GYNs crowded around that table that I was lying upon while the technician slowly explained every step to all of these doctors (he was trying to make sales!). My own doctor announced that everything was A-OK during the ultrasound. I definitely wanted a boy but the baby’s legs were crossed and the sex couldn’t be determined so I had to wait until delivery to find that out. But my doctor said that the baby would be born on schedule….April 1st. OH NO! I told the doctor that I was NOT, under any circumstances, having an ‘April Fools’ baby! Eight doctors and an Ultrasound Technician/Salesman got quite a few chuckles outa that but I was serious. My own doctor patted my hand and told me that babies tend to have their own timetable and come out whenever they are ready! Well, he DIDN’T come out on April Fool’s Day and I was extremely glad about that. But he took 3 more weeks of making me wait for his debut so I should’ve suspected right away that this was going to be a child that was always gonna do things his own way!

It’s a lot of fun playing April Fools jokes on your kiddies when they’re little, and then pretending to be shocked and/or surprised at whatever they come up with when they ‘get you back’! Then when they start school, they’re getting a bit wiser to these tricks so I figured out that the best time to play my tricks on them was early in the morning before they’d really had much time to think about it. They weren’t fully awake until after breakfast so this was usually MY prime time for April Fools jokes. What fun we’d have during this one day each year. I sooooo enjoyed this and I’m sure that they did also. The only problem was: I’d get a great April Fools trick on each of my kids, and I’d get them first….but then they’d have the entire day away from me with time to think of a clever comeback!

Slow Motion

ImageThis morning I forgot to take my 6 a.m. meds that control my dizziness. I awoke at noon with my head spinning so much that the task of merely getting out of the bed and grasping the walker to go into the bathroom seemed as if it were a monumental undertaking, one that I’d not had to do for many months. But for some reason this morning I must’ve slept through the alarm that was supposed to alert me to take that medication, the first of 10 that I take daily. I’d also missed my 9:00 med plus my allergy pill. I get so frustrated with/at myself whenever this happens but usually it’s only a single pill that gets taken an hour or two late. Luckily my daughter is home today, it’s her day off from work and she’ll be studying for tonight’s class and an exam in another class later this week. So I’m happy to know that someone is at home as I clumsily wheel myself down the hall, banging my walker a couple of times on doorframes, into the kitchen to pour a glass of juice. Knowing that this is going to be a rough day because of my lack of early meds, I warn my daughter as I go back into my bedroom. It’s going to take several hours for the dizziness and vertigo to subside for today so I know from past experience that all I can do is to just take it easy.

‘One of those days’ is what I keep thinking to myself and I just wanna sit here and cry but know that’s not at all what I need to do. I notice a couple of CDs that my daughter had borrowed for me from the library. So I plug in Hank, Jr. and decide to play computer games. But I’m still tooooo dizzy for the games so I figured that it’d be a good time to go through my box of photos…. the photographs that hadn’t made it into any of my albums. It’s always enjoyable reminiscing but not so fun when realizing that the memories are not coming back as swiftly as they used to.

The most pleasant recollections are those when my children were young and also the years that I spent in Hawaii. Still dizzy, I propped myself upon the bed using all of my pillows and my largest stuffed Eeyore to support my back. (I have a LOT of Eeyores!) My dizziness, along with the photos, were carrying my mind to a more pleasant time period. I recalled day after day after day spent at various beaches. I could imagine that my life was in slow-motion and that I was still in that moment. I smiled upon hearing my children’s laughter while chasing the birds and building sandcastles or taking turns partially burying each other in the sand! EVERY time we were at a beach in Hawaii, I’d have some nice and polite Asian tourists asking permission to take pictures of my blonde and redheaded blue-eyed kids. I always got a kick outa that….when I was a teenager and my family came for the first time to Hawaii, it was the American ‘mainlanders’ that wanted to take photos of the Polynesian and Asian folks that inhabited those beautiful isles. Now they wanted to take photos of my keiki (Hawaiian for ‘child’)! Imagine that! So all over another continent there’s also pictures of my kids in somebody’s photo albums….I wonder what the captions say?

3 hours have gone by and I’m really REALLY wishing that I still lived on or near a Hawaiian beach! Florida beaches, especially the Gulf beaches, are a close 2nd and are much more affordable so that’s why I stay here for now. Besides, I have the world’s best Neurologist (in my opinion) and I don’t wanna leave him! He understands  my condition and I trust him….it’s amazing to fully trust any doctors nowadays, and mine is a gem. He’s actually a Neurotologist; he was an Otolaryngologist before specializing further in Neurology so he is an expert in balance and vertigo. I’m very lucky to be here in central Florida….‘right place, right time’, & I’ll add ‘right doc’! These times of having this feeling of being in Slow Motion is kinda par-for-the-course for my illness; that doesn’t mean that I have to like it though, eh? It’s just that I’ll have ‘an episode’ sometimes and have constantly been learning of ways to cope. I just wish I didn’t feel so sorry for myself each time! I reckon that’s another thing for me to work on….ah! Another little goal!

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!