Easter – The Beginning and The Ending

Easter has ALWAYS been one of my favorite times of the year.

  • candy
  • chocolate
  • new, scratchy clothes (ok…that’s negative, not a plus)
  • baby chicks
  • Spring
  • flowers
  • pastel colors
  • Easter eggs
  • coloring eggs
  • Easter baskets
  • Ham
  • baked meat skins
  • Easter egg hunts
  • Easter songs at church
  • anticipation of CANDY
  • Aunts and Grandmothers who each gave us certain types of candy
  • biting the ears off of the chocolate bunny
  • spending time with family
  • hearing the story of Jesus’ resurrection and believing with all my heart that he did and that he did so for me – and for you

Easter signified newness and the beginning of so much

  • new life (physical as well as spiritual)
  • new religion
  • new way of living
  • the beginning of the end of our school year
  • the beginning of warm days and happy times outside
  • new flowers, colors, baby animals
  • the first acceptable day for stylish women to wear white shoes / carry white purses
  • barefoot season
  • relationship(s)

Easter also brought an end to things.

  • winter clothes were put away
  • dreary colors faded
  • waiting and wondering what the “Easter Bunny” would leave us
  • the sadness that accompanied Good Friday and the silence of Black Saturday
  • old ways
  • the old life
  • focus on death and dying, sin and hopelessness
  • cold rains
  • sequestered play
  • depending on my good works and right living to please God

This year Easter brings an end to my Lenten fast.  I am free to eat ketchup now. As much as I want, as often as I want.  The question is…do I want it?  Will I eat it?  And, if I do…why will I?  Because I can?

And, is “because I can” a good enough reason for indulging myself?  If it is, perhaps I’ve not learned as much from this fast as I hoped to.

I will tell you that prior to Easter morning, I set my huge antique wicker laundry basket in the living room floor so the “Easter Bunny” could easily find it should he/she/it decide to bring me ketchup for my basket this year.  After all, Easter baskets are small and bottles of ketchup are much larger than most chocolate bunnies or candy eggs. You understand my thinking, I’m sure.

Will I eat ketchup today? My fast is over and I am no longer bound to deny myself ketchup.

No…I won’t eat ketchup today.  Do I want to?  Oh, yes.  I do.  But, I will wait until tomorrow…. Or the next day.  Or, perhaps the day after.  There’s no rush.

I have enough ketchup to last me a long, long time.  🙂

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Unseen

Every place in which Hubby and I have lived – and we have lived in MANY* – with the exception of two, has had an infestation of something.

Our first apartment was crawling with Brown Recluse spiders – literally.

And, our next was crawling with German Cockroaches.

Fast forward a few years and we are in Georgia, in a house – with two small children. And, the house is infested with Brown Recluse spiders, again, along with Crevice Spiders, jumping spiders, black widows, brown widows, and flying 2 inch long cockroaches locally known as “Palmetto bugs.”  For the first time since my teen years, I was bitten by a spider.  (25  years later I still have a knot on my arm where I was bitten.) Oh, and Fire Ants…the yard (and from my experience, the entire state of Georgia) was infested with Fire Ants.

Son was about 9 and Daughter 7 when we moved to a new house, down a dirt road…way out in the country (nearest Walmart was a 45 minute drive at the time). New house = no infestation, right?  Wrong.  The infestation was under the house…under the ground. Fire Ants! Several times they invaded Daughter’s bed while she slept, and our closet – where they settled into our clean, hanging clothes. They managed to get into a tightly sealed jar of peanut butter in my kitchen cabinet! Fire Ants are evil.

A few more years found us living in Florida.  Spiders there are big and hairy…and scary.  At least the one that surprised me in the washroom was.  Its 4 1/2 inch long leg span and huge body was enough to send me screaming for Hubby.  Of course, by the time we returned it was gone.  Inside the house, even though the “bug man” sprayed bug killer every month we continued to see black jumping spiders – funny things that moved erratically with big shiny eyes and white spots on their backs.

Flash forward to 2006 – we returned to Georgia and moved into a century old house – notice I said “old.” The ceilings were 12 ft high and consisted of small boards and cracks between them.  In the winter, the boards would shrink and we could see more attic than we cared to.  And, in the spring, baby spiders would slip through the cracks and greet us face to face as they hung on their little silken threads.  We loved the old house but we didn’t love the infestations. Palmetto bugs, American Cockroaches (never saw any smaller than 1.5 inches), Oriental Cockroaches, Brown Recluse, Cellar Spiders, Black Widow, Brown Widow, Yellow Sac Spider….

Late last year Hubby, Daughter and I moved to our present location, 400 miles north of the old house.  We took great pains to leave creatures behind that did not belong to us. And, felt confident that the cold winter would kill off any Southern critters that tagged along on, or in, the boxes stored in the garage.  The garage had been heavily treated with chemicals before we moved in.

It appears the previous renters had dogs and the dogs had fleas. And, as fleas are known to do, they infested – the house and mainly the garage.  The majority of our “stuff” went into the garage and within only a few days I noticed several Palmetto Bugs and a couple of 1.5 inch long American Cockroaches upside down with their legs in the air.  Dead – not even a twitch was noticed.  I also saw many black crickets, also upside down

No, we didn’t bring black crickets with us.  Apparently they were already here.

Within the house we noted only one spider – a friendly sort who seemed content to observe us from the ceiling, or wall, and eventually became brave enough to assist Hubby on his laptop.

Content and confident that we were at home in a house without infestation, I stopped my weird antics: no longer turned my clothes wrong side out before putting them on, stopped shaking my towel before using it, didn’t knock out or peek into my shoes before putting my foot in, didn’t check under the bed covers to make sure spiders weren’t there….

And, three times in the past 3 months, I have been bitten…by something and I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s a spider…a spider that’s unseen.

In my 55 years of existence, I’ve been bitten a total of 5 times. The first time was as a teen while camping with my family.  My tennis shoes were siting on the rocky shore of the lake I was swimming in, and when I exited the water slipped my bare foot into one of the shoes and received a sharp pinch on my big toe.  With a yelp, I snatched off my shoe and tapped it upside down on the ground.  A wolf spider fell out. It ran one way, I ran another.

15 years later, the next bite happened when I was trying on clothes – Autumn had arrived and it was time to see what, if anything, in my closet still fit.  I knew better than to stick my arm into long sleeves I’d not worn for many months…Brown Recluse spiders infested our house.  I felt it as soon as it happened – a sharp pinch and a sting on my upper left arm.  No spider was found, but I was definitely bitten.

“Always look.  Anticipate the unseen.”  That was my motto ever since that first spider bite so long ago.  And, with all the houses we’ve lived in with poisonous spider infestations, it was a good motto to have – so what if I became a little obsessive/compulsive about it?

Three bites within three months.  Spider bites?  Yes, I’m certain.  Type of spider? Of that I’m uncertain.

My latest bite occurred yesterday. At least that’s when it was first seen.  Hubby saw it on my lower back and asked what had bitten me.  I was unaware that anything had.  The previous two bites were painful and I knew when they happened.  This bite, I was unaware of until he mentioned it.  It was numb to the touch and when I looked at it in a mirror, it was blood red and puffy.  This morning it has increased in size and itches – I can tell that just by touch.  I’ve not looked at it yet, but Hubby has and he said it’s a lot larger than it was yesterday.

So – today I will clean out my closet and change the sheets on our bed.  I’ll clear out anything that could harbor a spider and grab my bottle of spider killer and spritz it wherever I dare. And, I’ll coat a bandage with black drawing salve** and ask Hubby to slap it over my bite (since I can’t easily see it and it’s impossible for me to attend to it).

And, from now on I will look for the unseen, anticipate the unknown and be obsessive/compulsive about making sure there are no spiders in my clothes or in my bed.

Creepy crawlies, beware – I’m on to you!

—-

*pastors tend to move often

**Ichthammol Ointment 20% is great for insect and spider bites

Good Friday

What’s so good about Good Friday?

Sometimes I wish I could see the Christian faith from the position of an outsider.

We, Christians, do a lot of weird things and calling the day our God died “good” is one of them.

A quick google of the following Christian celebrations leaves me scratching my head.

After reading the above information, I am inclined to think that I do see Good Friday from without.

You see, as a child, growing up Protestant, I did not experience it (the liturgical church year)  first hand and knew few who did. Nor were church/worship services of the “High Church” type.

Good Friday was a holiday for me (a state holiday) and a celebration my family and church did not participate in apart from acknowledgment. It was the day we remembered Jesus’ death – not the day he died. (Every child in my Sunday school knew Jesus couldn’t have died on a Friday.  He said he would be in the grave 3 days and 3 nights.)

For me “Easter” began with Palm Sunday.  And, as each day of the week passed, my excitement grew.

To get to Easter there were certain things we had to endure.

  • shopping for new Easter clothes
  • drinking Welch’s grape juice left over from The Lord’s Supper
  • patient anticipation
  • mindless hours of school with little focus
  • concern about the weather (would it rain out the egg hunt at my grandmother’s house?)
  • Good Friday holiday where much was closed
  • dying of eggs (and my fingers) and decorating them – the smell of vinegar
  • final fitting of the new Easter wear
  • the odor of ham cooking and the delicious crunch when munching meat skins still warm from the oven
  • sleeping with curlers in my hair

As maturity slipped in, Easter took on new meaning – deeper, richer, fuller….

  • Palm Sunday became a reminder that Jesus is King
  • Holy Week was a time to reflect, correct and give thanks
  • Wednesday through Saturday – reminder of what Jesus taught in the days preceding his death, of what would not have been had Jesus not been willing to die, and how my life is different because of Jesus
  • Easter became less about the celebration and more about celebrating and moving forward in the new life Jesus offers – less about the day and more about living that new lifestyle. Because Jesus lives, I live, too.

What’s so good about Good Friday?

It’s the results of his death that are so good.

Double Time

I grew up in a family that was time conscious.  Every minute counted.

And, we counted every minute.

We were on time, at the right time, in time, with time to spare.

Every time.

My parents’ house contains a collection of over 89 clocks – all types, sizes, shapes.  I know because I took time to count them.

I married into a family that was…more relaxed where time was concerned.

An adjustment for me, to be certain, but one I’ve grown accustomed to and have become comfortable with – for the most part.

My house has no visible clocks apart from the small digital alarm clocks in the bedroom (his and hers) and the tiny keepers of time in the lower right corner of our computer screens.

Oh, yes – I forgot.  The VCR/DVD player has one as well, but we don’t use it.  And, the coffee pot and microwave…but they blink 00.

Ah, and our cell phones reveal the time if we disturb them.

I look around me, wondering what other clocks hide from my thoughts – silently counting minutes, keeping time, without my notice or consideration.

I’m time conscious.  I have to be in order to accomplish goals and be present for things important to me and others.  At set times, certain things happen in my day.

I also choose to forget the time. Sometimes it’s important NOT to know what time it is – like when you want to sleep in, or you’re enjoying friends/family, or you need to unwind and relax. Sometimes, some things and some ones are more important than some timely appointment.

Keeping time keeps you wound tightly.  When I was a child the clocks and watches (interesting name for clocks we wear on our arms) we had required winding if they were to keep the time/be accurate.  On a daily basis, we would wind them.  If we forgot, the clock/watch stopped.  Time marched on, but time was no longer marked by it.

Time waits for no one.

Having said all that, I now come to the point of this piece.

My mother, who takes off her watch only to bathe, noticed that I no longer wear a watch.  I assured her all was well – my cell phone is always with me and if I bother it, the time is revealed.

I also assured her that I have a watch.  She inquired as to why I don’t wear it.  I gave several reasons.

  • I’m not into watches
  • I don’t want to
  • it bothers me
  • I can feel it
  • gets in my way
  • I might lose it
  • battery died
  • my cell phone is enough
  • it’s not necessary
  • I’m not much on jewelry
  • can’t see it without my glasses
  • I might break it
  • it will get wet
  • it’s not that important to me

Apparently keeping time on one’s forearm is important to her – she offered to purchase a cheap one for me.  I assured her I have one (actually more than one).

“Then why don’t you wear it?” she asked. “You should wear a watch so you always have the time.”

“Battery died and I was too sorry to get another.  I’ll get one when we next go shopping,” I said, thinking that would close the matter.

When we next visited Wal-mart she gravitated to the jewelry department.  “Pick out one of these watches and I’ll buy it for you.”

Time has a way of erasing some memories – this I know as I pick up speed heading down the backside of 50 – but she had not forgotten.

I suggested a new battery for my old forearm clock and ticked away the seconds before she responded.

I counted 2.

“That old watch? she asked. It might not even work. I’ll get you a new watch.  Which of these do you want?”

I argued but she gave me that look…the one she gave me time and time again when I was a child.  You know the look your mother gave you…. It meant shut up and do what I say or else.

If I was going to watch time pass on my forearm, I wanted a light weight time piece that did wasn’t a burden and that looked like it was happy to keep time while I ignored it. I found one for under $8. She was pleased.

I wear the watch every time she and I go somewhere, and often when I visit her.  Do I look at / tell time by the watch?  Rarely.  Apparently it’s enough that I keep time. I’m not required to tell time.

My daughter, while looking in the contraption I call a jewelry box for a necklace to wear, came across my old watch and asked me why I never wear it.  I offered her the same list above and added one

  • Mom bought me this one

She thought it a shame that I have such a pretty watch and never wear it (what good is a watch if it’s not marking time?) and offered to purchase a battery.

I countered, “It’s old and probably doesn’t even work – it would be a waste to buy a battery if the watch won’t work.”

Daughter is kin to her grandmother.  “I’ll get you a battery for it,” said she.

And, she did.

And, she put the battery into my old watch.

Now I have two watches…

And, I have a dilemma – which watch do I wear and when? Truth is, well…see the first entry in the list above.

So, I resolved things the easiest way.

I wear both.  One on each wrist.

After all, if one clock is good, two must be better.

The more time conscious I am, the more productive I will be. Right?

Perhaps.

Perhaps not. Now, I have to take time to return to the bedroom to get the watches, take time to put on the watches, take time to push them up when I wash my hands, take time to take them off….

It seems the watches cost me more time than they save me.

I showed my mom both wrists, the other day, and laughingly told her that I’m keeping double time.

She said I should be able to really get things done now.

And, I probably could if I didn’t waste so much time fiddling with and watching these markers of time.

Forty-three Days Sans Ketchup

Can it be?  Was Ash Wednesday truly 43 days ago?

Wow!

It’s been 43 days since I last tasted ketchup.

I’ve three days to go before my ketchup fast ends.  Will I make it?  I hope so.

My birthday, last Saturday, was probably my most difficult day of all – not because I craved it physically.  No.  I wanted it on an emotional level. Hubby and I ate out at a favorite fast food restaurant, Zaxby’s, and I wanted to dip those delicious fries into a tub of ketchup so deep that my fingers were coated…finger licking good.

Yes.

It wasn’t that I desired the taste.  I wanted the emotional smile it would give me…the happy feeling that I was doing something for me because I deserve it, I like it, it’s my birthday, etc.

My Self even tried to reason with me.

  • what will it hurt? it’s only one time.
  • it’s our birthday
  • come on, it’s ZAXBY’s! how often do you get Zaxby’s?
  • you can go back on the fast as soon as you empty those 6 tubs of ketchup…eat that last fry
  • trust me, God won’t care
  • no one will know but you and Hubby and he will enjoy your enjoyment
  • look, you’ve been faithful to this fast since the middle of February…you’ve done enough
  • hey, no one thought you would hold out 40 days – it’s ketchup, what’s the harm
  • it’s not like you’re committing adultery or something – it’s JUST KETCHUP!
  • go ahead, you know you want to
  • look, you need this break.  lighten up a little, do something for YOU for a change
  • you want this and you need this
  • the Bible does not say “thou shalt not eat ketchup” – you said that.
  • this is your choice and you can choose otherwise any time
  • what’s the matter with you? loosen up, eat a little ketchup, enjoy life a little, sheesh you’re too stiff
  • what’s going to happen? is the sky going to fall? is God going to zap you with lightning? No.  You’ll eat ketchup, you’ll enjoy your birthday and you’ll go back on the fast for the next week just like nothing happened.
  • no harm, no foul – this is not something that affects anyone
  • NO one cares about this crazy fast but YOU! Do you think God cares? Um…no!
  • Ok, look…I know this ketchup fast is about more than just not eating ketchup. I get it. But, this is the 39th day you’ve been on this fast.  Lenten fasts last 40 days…Sundays don’t count.  You’re ahead of the game here. You’ve not taken any days off. Technically, you could stop the fast tomorrow at day 40 and declare the fast a success.  Just take your birthday off – come on…you deserve it.

My reply was “no.”

How could I?

What would it say to those who are watching?  To those who are helping me keep my fast?

Yes.  Those nearest me are helping me…reminding me to order my burger sans ketchup and offering to go without ketchup on their own fries if it will help me.

What greater love is there than to have someone offer to forgo ketchup for me? How could I betray that love?

I can’t.

Identity Crisis

It’s amazing the clarity youth possess when facing the future and grabbing hold of the identity they plan to possess the next 50, or more, years of their lives.

“When I grow up, I’m going to be a….”

“When I graduate, I’m going to….”

“I feel led to….”

Not all attain the hoped for/planned on identity.  Life happens. Plans change. And, the clarity of youth fogs up as reality sets in.

Some find the chosen identity morphs into an uncomfortable mask and itch to remove it…to change it.

Others grow and expand beyond the identity and find it no longer fits.

Truth is, we are always changing…always becoming.  The identity chosen in youth’s naive clarity does not label us or lock us in. We are free to be, free to remake and recreate ourselves – and our identity – if we so choose.

What do you want to be? Who do you want to become? It’s not too late. There’s still time to live that dream, to embrace that identity.  Don’t be locked into what was, or is, or how you perceive who you are. Embrace the possibility of being the “you” you’ve always hoped to be.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What? Think you’ve already grown up? Think again.  You might just be growing old.

Giraffe – Fun Facts

Giraffes are among my favorite animals.  And, to me, give proof of a Creator/Designer.

Did you know there are nine recognized subspecies of giraffe?

  1. Nigerian giraffe
  2. Nubian giraffe
  3. Baringo giraffe
  4. Masai giraffe
  5. Reticulated giraffe
  6. Thornicroft’s giraffe
  7. Kordofan giraffe
  8. Angolan giraffe
  9. Southern giraffe.

The subspecies have differing color patterns and, as many of the names indicate, live in different areas of Africa.

Did you know

  • a giraffe can clean its ears with its own tongue
  • giraffes live 10-15 years in their natural habitat, and about 25 in zoos
  • giraffes sleep only a few minutes at a time and average about 30 minutes total in a day’s time
  • the tallest land mammal is a giraffe
  • giraffes can eat up to 77 pounds (35 kilograms) of food a day
  • due to their height and heart size, giraffes have one of the highest blood pressures
  • a giraffe can drink 12 gallons of water at one time
  • camels can go a long time without water, but a giraffe can go longer
  • at birth, giraffe calves fall 6 feet to the ground
  • baby giraffes are about 6 feet tall at birth
  • if a giraffe’s neck didn’t contain pumping ventricles it would black out every time it raised its head to eat
  • a giraffe’s heart pumps up to 20 gallons (75 liters) of blood every minute, and weighs up to 25 pounds (11 kilograms)
  • a giraffe has just 2 gaits: walking and galloping
  • there are 7 vertebrae in their necks, just like in our necks, but theirs are 5 inches (11 centimeters) long
  • the neck of an adult giraffe is about six feet long (1.8 meters)
  • the spots on each giraffe are distinctive to that animal alone
  • the Arabic word “Xirapha,” which means, “one who walks swiftly,” is where the word “giraffe” comes from
  • giraffes can run up to 35 miles per hour (56 kilometers per hour)

Read more at: Giraffe Facts: Interesting Fun Facts about Giraffes.

Roll Out the Red Carpet

In the Christian calendar, today is Palm Sunday.

In the accounts of the four canonical Gospels, Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem takes place about a week before his Resurrection.  The symbolism is captured in Zechariah 9:9 “The Coming of Zion’s King – See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey”. It was perceived that Jesus was declaring he was the King of Israel to the anger of the Sanhedrin.  According to the Gospels, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem, and the celebrating people there lay down their cloaks in front of him, and also lay down small branches of trees. The people sang part of Psalms 118: 25–26… Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord ….

Such an odd thing it is to throw one’s cloak/coat on the ground for a donkey to walk upon.  And, to line the walkway with palm fronds would take a lot of effort.

As a child I read stories about gallant gentlemen who spread their coats over puddles of water so that genteel ladies wouldn’t soil their dainty feet when they stepped from the curb into the street. I always wondered about the intellect of these gentlemen who removed their coat and spread it in the mud…and of the ladies who ventured out in rainy weather without their galoshes.  And, I wondered if there was anyone I would deem worthy to tread my good coat underfoot…in the mud.

I either read the Palm Sunday story, or had it read to me, every year as a child.  I heard it repeated in Sunday school from infancy up, and in Palm Sunday sermons.  I even taught it when I became a teacher.  I knew the story.  I knew the background.  I understood the Scripture.  I saw it historically…back then…in the past.

In my mind’s eye I still see the Sunday school Flannelgraph images: Jesus on a donkey, men/women/children waving palm branches, the disciples and the donkey standing on palm fronds.

Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem and the people shouted, “Hosanna!”, declared him King – Messiah – Lord as they spread their coats and palm fronds along the path.

Yes, I knew the story

But, I failed to see it in today’s terms…in present tense, not past tense.

These, who proclaimed Jesus King, bucked the system – religious and political.

They hailed Jesus KING! in a day when Caesar ruled and at a time when policy pandered to religion’s iron fist.

I wonder…would I have been among the number fulfilling prophesy that day? Would I have deemed Jesus worthy enough to spread my coat upon the ground for the donkey’s sharp hoofs to grind into the dirt?

Would I have been with the women, dancing and singing and shouting as I waved palm branches in the air and announced to the world that Jesus is King? is MY King?

I wonder.

And, what if it were this age in which the prophecy was to be fulfilled?  Would we throw down our coats?  Doubtful – we would most likely roll out the red carpet.

Proclamation of Jesus as KING would be spread around the world via social media. The faces of the “rebels” would be broadcast on every TV and would be placed on terrorist watch lists around the world.

Would I be in the number proclaiming publicly that Jesus is King?

I wonder.

My Birth Day

Mom and I sat across from each other as we munched a burger and shared fries at her favorite McD’s.

“So, tell me about my birth day.  What was it like?” I asked Mom.

She smiled and after another bite of fry began to share with me what she remembered of the day I graced the world with my presence.

It was rainy – not a hard rain – a late March rain, a warm rain.  Not unpleasant, just rainy.

We went to the hospital in the early hours – about 3 or 3:30. (I went into labor about 12:30.) My pains were 8 minutes apart.

I woke your daddy but he went back to sleep while I sat up and timed them. I knew what they were.  They woke me from sleep.

It was rainy when we left for the hospital. I don’t remember how far apart the pains were when we left.

The doctor got there about 8:30 and checked my progress.  The pains had eased off and I thought, “oh, no! they will send me home!” But, the doctor said, “Let’s get this show on the road” and broke my water.

The nurse gave me a Trilene gas mask for when my pains got bad. Your daddy was going to hold it for me and the nurse said, “No! she has to hold it herself – no one does it for her. She holds it and uses it when she needs it, and when she relaxes from it, it will drop off.”

You were born about 3:30 or 3:35 that afternoon.  Nanny [her mother] said I went to the delivery room on my stomach.  I can’t imagine how I could have been on my stomach as big as I was. At some point, your daddy let Nanny know we were there at the hospital.  He didn’t want to but he did.

My blood pressure went real high after your birth and they put me in ICU, or in recovery, or somewhere to keep a watch on me.  That upset your daddy because they wouldn’t let him go back there.

I don’t remember going to my room.

You were pink and had hair, but not a lot.  It was real light – blondish/reddish looking.  You had pretty little features.  And, an umbilical rupture. The doctor said it was nothing to worry about – it would take care of itself, just keep the band tight on it – and I did.

You were a pretty little baby.

You were born on Sunday.  Your brother was born on Tuesday, or was it Wednesday?

With him, I went to the hospital at 9 and he was born at 1 the next morning. His was a short labor. I went in on Tuesday and he was born at 1 a.m. on Wednesday. (laughed) After his birth I woke in recovery and asked a girl there what I’d had and she told me it was a boy.  I went back to sleep and woke again – and asked her, “What did you say I had?”

Dr. Bishop wasn’t your first doctor.  A Dr. Healey, I believe that was his name, was.  He called me one Sunday to say he was moving – called me at MeeMaws [Dad’s mom]…how he reached me there I have no idea, but he did…and said he was referring me to Dr. Bishop.

I was in the hospital 5 days with each of you.  They kept us for a while back then, you know.

When Dr. Birmingham came to check me at the hospital before you were born, I asked if he would hold my hand during it.  You see, a girlfriend of mine had said that when she was in the hospital, her doctor had held her hand – I’d never given birth before and didn’t know what to expect. And, so I asked him.  He said, No, I’ll leave that to George, but I’ll be here when you need me.”

They had to use “fosips” (forceps) on you. You had bruises and scrapes on your forehead.

Because I’d had 3 miscarriages before I got pregnant with you, I followed the doctor’s orders carefully, and did everything I was supposed to do for myself and for you health wise.  And, for your brother, too.

When I was born, Mother said the cord was wrapped around my neck several times.  Nanny had eaten turnips the day before I was born and thought her stomach pains were stomach cramps from the turnips. Her mother in law realized what was going on and sent for the doctor.  Poppy was sent out to check his traps (he trapped mink and beaver) – you know, back then they sent the men away while the baby was being born – and when he returned Mother had been bathed and was sitting in bed.  I was wrapped in a blanket and they had placed me in a chair.  When Daddy came in, he started to plop down in the chair and they screamed at him, “Stop!” and he did.  He almost sat on me! (Laughter)

The only time Mother saw a doctor was when I was born.  And, the first time I saw a doctor was when I was four years old – after we moved to town.

Things have really changed since I was born…since you and your brother were born.  That was a lifetime ago.

Yes it was – my lifetime ago.

This birthday is my first without my dad and without him singing “Happy Birthday” to me. It’s the first for my mom to celebrate without him, too.  I can’t ask Daddy for his thoughts and memories of my birth day. But, I do remember what he told me once.

He had wanted a boy and when he learned he had a girl, he said, “that’s ok, you can do anything with a girl you can with a boy – girls can throw a ball, too.”

He taught me to throw a ball – and to catch one.  He taught me a lot more, too – like loving God, celebrating life, loving people and being true to yourself and to others.

My birth day was a Sunday like no other for me, my parents, and my grandparents. My first lusty squall announced the arrival of new life and new potential and possibility.  Three miscarriages before me – had they not happened, I would not have been born.

The world without me.  Wow, now there’s a thought.  I can’t imagine a world without me.

Can you imagine a world without you? without the difference your life has made…is making in the world around you?

Good to the Last Drop

Maxwell House is my preferred brand of coffee.

I scooped the final grounds from the blue container yesterday and savored my final cup of Maxwell House.  It was good to the last drop.

…final cup until all of the grounds in the red container are used and a new supply of Maxwell House is obtained.

I’m not a coffee connoisseur, but I know what I like and this cup of Folgers is not it. Perhaps I need to fiddle with the amount of grounds per cups of water.

Maxwell House French Roast was smooth.  Folgers Country Roast Mild hangs in the back of my throat…powdery and bitter.

When I draw the coffee into my mouth and it crosses my tongue, there’s not that “coffee” moment where my taste buds say “wow!” This brew tastes watery…dirty.  Like it was, indeed, ground this morning.

And, it sets my teeth on edge.

Not one to open a container and fail to finish it, I may be tempted to seek a Maxwell House sale somewhere and spread this sorry excuse for brew on a patch of weeds I saw sprouting along my fence row.

The best part of waking up is certainly not Folgers in my cup this morning!

Hubby will be up soon and I’ll watch his expression as he sips his first cup.

My mind drifts to the brim full red container in the cabinet.  It was a great price and it was a brand name coffee.  Two of my favorite criteria for purchasing coffee. And, at the time, I thought it was a bargain because of the size of the container.

Right now, I’m thinking of how many days it will take for me to run though this much Folgers and wondering if it wouldn’t be easier if I just went sans coffee.

I gave up ketchup for Lent and after 38 days have no desire for it…would it not be the same with coffee?

Nah…ketchup is one thing.  Coffee is another.

I’ll adjust the ingredients until I find an agreeable solution…or at least one that doesn’t set my teeth on edge.

After all, I’m a coffee commonsewer. If I can drink McD’s coffee lukewarm, I can get through this 270 cup container of Folgers Country Roast Mild.

Two cups so far, heading for my third. That only leaves 267 to go.

Drop by and stay awhile.  I’ll put a new pot of coffee on. We’ll drink and chat and drink some more.  That will bring it down to 257 cups.

Yeah, I’ve got this figured out.  Where’s the newspaper? Somewhere in this city, someone must have a good deal on Maxwell House French Roast!