Thursday, May 29, 2008
Julie is in charge of making sure that my obituary is published as follows:
Yep, my husband is fine with this - or else he has just given up. I would have.
When lil man was just a baby, my daughter's paternal great-grandmother died. Nonnie was 93 when she died and I went to stay with Julie's brood while she went to the funeral. The day before she came home, the kids and I made her a frog cake. We wanted to cheer her up 'cause her Nonnie had croaked. The cake was a white Jello poke cake with green Jello (frog blood, you know). I frosted it with white icing and then stencilled a green frog on the top.
Julie's stepdaughters were not sure that Mom was gonna like this. I told them she would. They remained unconvinced. I promised to take all of the blame. They were still not sure.
She loved it - and a tradition was born. We commemorate all family deaths with frogs.
*Julie read this and reminded me of the joke that started it all:
I must "fix" your post....the whole thing orignated with a joke:
A little boy crawled up on his grandpa's lap and said "Grampa, can you make a noise like a frog?"
"Umm, yes but why?"
"Cause mommy said when you croak, we are going to Disneyland!"
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
George (named after General George Patton who owned a bull terrier named Willie) has been checked by the vet and is in pretty good shape. Should no one claim him, I am going to have a new yard dog. Everyone is getting along pretty well so far as you can see from this very boring (and isn't that a good thing?) video.
George showed up yesterday and, once Buddy escaped from the yard, he and Buddy played together very nicely. He is a bull terrier, about 1 1/2 years old, and un-neutered. He is very affectionate and friendly and lovable and I hope there is a special circle of hell for folks who abandon dogs. I'm pretty sure there is.
More to follow, I am sure.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Happy Memorial Day
I'm not sure Happy is the right prefix for this holiday but so it goes. First known as "Decoration Day" in honor of those who fell during the American Civil War, it has since grown to encompass all of those brave men and women who have given their lives in the service of their country.
May their souls rest in peace and an enormous "thank you" to their families.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Today, I was in the presence of courage. I was at work, dealing with 30 pages of UPC codes and a hand-held computer when I noticed a gentleman in the soap/body wash aisle. He was about 60, neatly dressed, driving one of the electric scooter carts and obviously unable to reach whatever it was he wanted. I went over and asked if I could help.
He looked up at me, intelligence shining through his eyes. His right hand reached up toward me, clenching and unclenching. He attempted to speak but there were no words. I assume that he is recovering from a stroke.
I asked again if I could help and he nodded. I started pointing to body washes until I found the one he wanted. I put it in the basket and asked if there was anything else he needed. He nodded and struggled until he finally whispered the word "shampoo". We went three aisles over and, through trial and error, I located the correct shampoo. I took it off the shelf and put it in his basket.
We continued this way, the gentleman and I, until all of his toiletries were in his cart. He went toward the cashier area of the store and I said to him, as I say to almost everyone with whom I have contact, "You have a nice rest of your Sunday, sir."
After he left, I was struck by the amount of courage it must have taken for this man, barely able to communicate and totally unable to reach things either above or below him, to shop - alone and unaided. I think that, in his shoes, I would have just stayed home. I hope that, should I find myself in his shoes in later years, I will remember him and draw courage from this memory.
It made the rest of my day just sing.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
OK, this may sound a little weird, but my hero is my mother. I have not spoken to my mother in 20+ years. I guess a more accurate statement would be that she has not spoken to me in 20+ years.
She is still my hero.
I learned from my mother how to shop. This sounds frivolous, but I am talking about shopping for food and clothes. There were certain food items that, in my mother’s mind, would not be purchased if their price got above a set amount. These were not luxuries but things like mayonnaise. If Best Foods got above $.39, we did without. I learned, when shopping for clothes, to always buy the very best that you could afford and to buy classic styles.
I learned from my mother how to be a friend. When I was in 1st or 2nd grade, our neighbor’s husband was hurt in a construction accident. He underwent numerous brain surgeries and was left less than whole. Our neighbor, Honey, kept her husband at home. She, who had never worked, went back to college, got her LVN and went to work to support the family and care for her husband. She did not do this alone. My mother went with her. They graduated together, worked together, and retired together. Honey has since died. Her husband died when I was 19.
I learned from my mother how to be faithful to my religion. My mother never missed Mass. She went every Sunday, even if she could not, because of work, go with the family. She attended Church on every Holy Day. She dragged us kids whether we wanted to go or not. She worked, in part, so that she and Dad could afford to send my brother and me to parochial schools. She observed those domestic rites of the Church that are slowly coming back - weekly family rosaries, holy water at home, and religious art. There is not a single doubt in my mind that, when I left the Church, the rosaries and novenas started and that she prays for me still. And, yes, I found my way back.
I learned from my mother how to be polite and gracious. I learned that there are certain responses that are required to certain situations. This is a gift not to be taken lightly. Good manners have stood me in good stead through some very tumultuous times. Yes, ma’am, they have.
I learned from my mother how to honor a vow. My parents were married in 1940 and stayed that way until my father’s death in February of 1999. Theirs was not a happy marriage- at least not during the 18 years that I was at home. My father, God rest his soul, was a chain-smoking alcoholic who never missed either a day of work or a chance to belittle his younger children. I understand from my older siblings that he was different when they were young. I will never know. My mother, though, stayed. She did not allow us to show disrespect for our father in his house. She cooked for him, she cleaned for him, and she did everything that a “good wife” was supposed to do for him. She honored the commitment that she had made, as a young and hopeful bride, to her husband and to God.
The most important thing that I learned from my mother is how to be a grandmother. My daughter would not hesitate to tell you that my mother is her favorite grandmother. This is due, in huge part, to the fact that my mother loves my children unconditionally, totally, and without end. The same mother who strove to put me into the proper mold allowed my child’s imagination to run rampant. The same mother who never kissed me cuddled my children even after they were “too old”. The same mother who would not allow me to wear makeup until I was 16 bought my daughters eye makeup when they were 12 and, yes, I took it back. The same mother who made me feel less than adequate has nurtured in my children the absolute knowledge that they are the most important things in her world.
I learned from my mother how to have the courage of one’s convictions. Regardless of why she disowned me, she has done a banner job of it. I learned from my mother to never, ever, do this to one of my children.