Expiration Date


From the moment we wail into this world there is an ‘expiration date’ atop our head.  Perhaps it’s stamped invisibly to the bottom of our baby wrinkled feet.  Exposed and bittersweet, this fact of life slapped me in the face yesterday, leaving a white fingered imprint across my rose, blushed cheek.  In some small way, I might think of this as a “Chronic Condition” to be lived with until my dying day.

While at a family gathering, in arms still young with muscles strong, my sons held sleeping newborns while toddlers ran to play and jump and sing.  Older, ‘little’ ones giggled at Grandpa’s silly faces while striving for his special attention.  Sitting in her cushioned seat was my great-great aunt with vision all but gone together with wrinkles much like an infant’s first.

Looking about the room of celebration for my son’s birthday together with my aunt’s visit here, the whole of our lifetimes existed in that space..that single place.  Soon, the Senior Menu was placed in front of me.  Gathered around the wooden, weathered table were my sons still so young and strong.  So proud.  There were babies in the womb, a precious toddler of two, an infant barely born and another learning first steps, too!  And through my arm, my beloved elderly one with kind words full of wonder.

Soon the love of family chaos erupted over a brunch of steaming food on restaurant plates of white trimmed in navy blue.  My aunt sat next to me where I held her withered hand in order to ease any anxiety.  In her ear, a small hearing-aid had been placed.  Slowly, I described the location of her yellow scrambled eggs and slice of dry brown toast with fresh banana slices on the side.  She eats like a bird, but ‘sings’ like an A cappella choir.

Although it was difficult for my aunt to see, she enjoyed the many sounds of newness.  How delighted she was to hear the noises of  little ones.  Soothing, short panting puffs of breathing infants…in and out.  “Sleeping like angels in heaven at night,” she later said.   Across the table, toddler Gracie, sang nursery songs in silly rhyme….”Five Little Monkeys Jumping on My Bed.”  Clicking her tongue, the wee moppet head of bouncing curls clearly pronounced my aunt’s name for the very first time, G.R.E.A.T.- G.R.E.A.T……. A.U.N. T.  S.H.I. R.L.E.Y.   And, baby Briella, giggeled aloud with enormous smiles of laughter while popping chubby fists of squiggly yellow into her drooling mouth.

Later, in the quiet of the evening, my aunt began to speak of dear lost loved ones.  She is the last of her eight siblings.  Many of which she nursed before they passed on into the world of our next.  She spoke of her beliefs on pain before death, why God has His ways and what they meant to her.  Clearly, her long number of years upon this earth and inevitable mortality was on her mind.

Life…..a treasured gift never to be taken for granted.  For, each one of us has an expiration date.

 

 

Elderly Lessons


It seems like forever since I’ve written a post.  There’s been a deep longing within my mind.  Something missing inside of me.  Ten fingers on two hands tapping air above cool, cotton sheets.  In a silent dream, a horizontal black keyboard appears.  Letters printed in white.  No sound.  Motion only.  Subconsciously, a realization that fingertips, my own are moving now.  During sleep!  First up then down.  Body tossing back and forth.  Fitful.  Later, words appear during REM.  What was written in my head?  What was said?  Gone forever now.  A writer’s mind….

It’s only been a couple of days since I left my office space.  My burgundy swivel chair near the turret window here.  My oh-so-comforting half-moon desk across the well-worn computer to travel to the desert land of Arizona in order to meet my elderly great-aunt.  Still, it truly seems like a month or more since words have been written.

Travel is not as fun as it used to be when I was young.  Gone are the days when I use to dress in a nice nubby suit, breeze through the airport to grab a skinny cappuccino and read the newspaper before catching my plane.

Today, it’s comfortable clothing most people wear to travel in.  Two hours early is the recommended time to breeze through security.  Remove my shoes from my feet and belt from my jeans or the buzzer will go off.  Lift my hands above my head while someone wearing blue rubber gloves will pat my body down from head to toe.

When all is done, fight the crowds to W.A.I.T.  Hopefully, my plane will be on time.  Wait more seconds, more minutes…maybe more hours.  Get in line.  Squish in-between others before it’s time to board the shiny silver bird.  Sit down.  Hopefully, I didn’t forget to bring some food in case hunger pangs begin.  Whew….how much longer before this landing gear goes down?

Regardless, my trip to Arizona was well worth any travel discomfort I may have endured.  Shortly thereafter, I walked into the front door of a little stucco ranch house behind a tall Saguaro cactus.  Sitting at a white, Formica table was a dear, silver-haired 88-year-old lady whose suitcase had been packed and re-packed several times in anticipation of my arrival.  A borrowed black handbag sewn with many outside pockets to carry all of her medication including precious eye drops to treat glaucoma sat safely on her lap.

The next day, I promised her a smooth and easy non-stop flight back to St. Louis.  Although my great-aunt was comfortable in a wheel chair, she was still a bit anxious being out of her normal surroundings.  I was eager to board the plane and ready to be on our way.  Soon a pleasant voice announced over the loud-speaker our expectations were not to be.  Our magical jet plane had, “Mechanical Problems.”

I won’t go into detail, but most of yesterday was spent inside rather than outside the Phoenix airport.  It could have been a personal disaster, especially for my elderly great-aunt, but we turned it into something as close to wonderful as it could be.

Together, we reminisced.  We talked and laughed.  We strolled down streets to shop for what we didn’t need.  We languished over a two-hour lunch, pretending to be in an outdoor Paris café.  Afterward, we bit into luscious chocolates neither one of us had ever eaten before.

Today, the two of us are very tired.  My precious aunt is napping this afternoon after nibbling on a lunch while sitting outside in the coolness of my patio garden.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

How very thankful I am.  My great-aunt teaches me without speaking a word….    

Discoveries


Discoveries.  Those first time moments that might mean the moon to a toddler who is discovering them for the very first time.  What a gift it must be to see ‘newness’ each and every day.  A bug on the ground, stars in the sky, puppy dogs, or cherry pie.

During the last couple of days I’ve been tending to my soon-to-be grandchild, the daughter of my son’s fiancé.  Of course, she holds a golden key to the heart of my whole family with her cheerful disposition and a toothy smile that lights up the room with rays of shining sun.

Sick with a chronic ear-infection, the little one sucked down a bottle while I rocked her in an antique chair.  Together, we sat cuddled against a black caned back while sitting on a lovely needlepoint woolen pad long ago dyed in the color of blush rose.   Cushy, it protects the perfectly caned seat that matches the back.  The chair came to me from my father’s family and is very sentimental, right down to the squeaking sound it makes.  Back and forth….squeak….back and forth….squeak.

When Baby Briella, finished her bottle it was nap time so off to “Grandma’s” nursery we went.  Although she loves to crawl, she’s nearly walking at this point.  Sitting her down on the carpet, I emptied the crib of any stuffed toys or blankets she might pull upon her face.  When I turned around, this is what I found!  Quickly, I grabbed my I-phone to capture treasured moments never to be repeated.  For the very first time, at “Grandma’s” house, a cradle of baby dolls were discovered!

First time moments.  Priceless…..

 

Aging Pea Pods


Only one week more

Seven days until I climb aboard a plane of silver jet

To huddle near a window bubbled seat

Dreaming and drifting along fluffy clouds of white

Floating among skies of Downy blue

Two or three hours of flight for me

Traveling to Arizona desert of cactus and heat

Fetching my oldest living maternal relative

Dear great-aunt who spills my heart with love and joy

Escorting her back for a short vacation

Flying with memories, laughter and a cup of tea

Soon we’ll land to rest on my own Missouri turf

Where green of rolling hills waft with air so fresh and clean

Take my arm, you’re safe with me

Wherever sight has left you blind I’ll guide you free

Touch my tree of willow branches falling to the ground

Soon we’ll picnic on a blanket underneath

Hoping fawns will greet us, maybe turkeys too

Smell the grass hear cricket wings talk to you

Listen to finches and bluebirds sing sweet way up high

Soon I’ll be picking wildflowers inhale their sweet scent so deep

Glaucoma has stolen what you’ve loved your whole life though

A chronic condition robbed you of your sight, its true

Reading books has always been your favorite thing to do

Still life’s not over feel it in the air so much around

Thanks be to God for all of what you can

A lesson here, appreciate simple things

So again I say to you

Grab my arm, feel safe with me

Let’s enjoy our precious time

Bittersweet and far between

Please take your hand to put in mine

Promise me you won’t let go

My words will be your eyes through listening ears

We’ll laugh and visit, learn and play

Drink and eat and feel the sun

Share each other while loving too

Two peas in one great aging pod

Lying around just having fun

Thank you, God, for moments priceless

Gone tomorrow but here for now

Gratefulness


I am most honored and privileged to accept the Versatile Blogger Award from Susanne Leist.  Please visit Susanne’s terrific blog at, http://susanneleist.wordpress.com/.  You will note she has a brand new book out with a 5 start review on Amazon.com!!

Recently, Susanne nominated my blog for this beautiful award.  For once, I am not waiting numerous weeks (dare I say a month or more?) to formally accept it.  Although it may have the same name as another, this award is different.  Beautiful in gold, tall and true, it is a symbol of support and admiration for my work.  Thank you with humbleness and pride, Susanne.

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Rules of Acceptance

List 7 Fun Facts about Yourself

1.   Once, I was chosen to be on a bowling team because of my handicap.  My high score for the season was 63.  Sad but true.

2.   I’m very good at training puppies.  Patience and consistency!

3.   In spite of not being the best driver, I’ve only received three tickets in my whole life!

4.   When I was in middle school, I twirled a baton in a marching band during our city’s annual, St. Patrick’s Day parade.

5.   I have a phobia when going to a movie theatre.  Way up high in the farthest back row is where I must sit.  Crazy, I know….

6.  Food doesn’t really interest me.  Cheese and crackers will do!

7.   One of my favorite hobbies is horse-back riding.  A few years ago my horse was stung by a bee, causing it to throw me down hard to the ground, like a bag of bricks.  The fall left me in tremendous pain for several days afterward.   “Monster,” was the horse’s name.

Nominate 15 Deserving Bloggers for This Prestigious Award  

I apologize if your blog is, “Award Free.”  If you are not able to accept, please support other bloggers by simply showing your appreciation.  :)

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http://crookedtracks.com/

http://evelynweir.com/

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http://fozzyfitness.wordpress.com/

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http://evgenygridneff.wordpress.com/wilfs-world/

American Proud


It was the calm before the celebration storm.  Anticipation grew minute by minute.  My husband and I picked the perfect spot to plop down two folding chairs.  High atop a crested hill of rolling green grass.  Acres never ending.   Fellow Americans in all sizes, shapes and races, having fun.  Together.  Wherever my head turned or blue eyes glanced, people played while children danced.

If I hadn’t seen it myself, the magic of the night might have been painted in an original oil by, Norman Rockwell.  For the first time in years I went back to the little town where my children were raised to watch the 4th of July fireworks display.

So much fun to see young parents carrying backpacks bulging with infants.  Gurgling rounds of peachy tops springing up and down.  Big eyes saying, “Hello,” to me.  Giggling toddlers wearing patriotic colors while playing games just imagined.  “Steal Mommy’s Purse-Run Away,” or “Six-Pack of Kids-Roll Down the Hill!”

Off in the distance, a sea of bobbers waving in blonde, brunette and red-headed colors.  Others in dove grey while some…whoops…none at all!  Nearby, a lattice pavilion painted in bright white.  To my delight, a band tuned underneath twinkling star lights.  Music together with singers entertained the crowd before darkness fell.

A lovely sun set.  Close-by, an elderly couple holding hands.  He, dressed in a snappy blue shirt tucked in plaid pants.  She of warm, rosy cheeks wearing modern jeans.   Crisp white blouse with over the shoulder purse.  A secret look between them made me smile to myself.  Sighs of contentment.  Years of happiness.

Promptly at 9:00, street lights in the park went out.  In an instant.  It was a sign that it was time.  Suddenly everything was darker than before.  Games of children stopped.  Toddlers kicked off shoes to lay on blankets.  Barking dogs no longer heard, while baby’s cries were soothed by Mommy.  Teens sat down to watch, musicians put down instruments giving singers silent voices.

Up, up, up, high above assorted trees, “Oooh’s and Ahhh’s,” could be heard everywhere.  For twenty terrific minutes, the sky lit large and wide with firecrackers of red, white and blue.

Obvious it was when the finale came to be.  Tremendous booms and blasts began to crack the coolness of night air.  Beneath my chair the ground shook like tremors of an earthquake.  Just below heaven, I think, showers of iridescence glowed throughout the whole of an ink sky.  Mouths were agape while gasps escaped at unexpected beauty.

When it was over, a soft rendering of “God Bless America” drifted under the roof  in the lattice white pavilion.  I could see the same twinkling star lights leave shadows above musicians.  Plumes of shady grey smoke swirled, twirling towards the sky where firecrackers had nearly colored heaven.

How proud I was in that moment to be an American.

 

 

200th Post!


To everyone reading this, I just pushed the button for my 200th post.  Surprised I was to see this icon at the top of my notifications this morning!

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I thank all of you who have read my words from the very depth of my heart and soul.  To those who have been with me from the beginning and to others who have just hitched aboard my sometimes weary train.

It’s been a little over eight months since I started down these wayward tracks, not sure of where they would lead.  Such a pleasure my journey has been!  I’ve discovered beautiful scenery through other blogger’s paintings, art and photographs.  I’ve read stories that have touched me dearly, causing me to weep with joy or sadness while discovering personal triumphs or misfortunes through lovely written prose.

I’ve laughed aloud at posted videos, gaggled at jokes or sighed at quotes.  My family has kissed new plates of foods I’ve tried to cook from recipes you’ve given me.   And, oh, the poetry I’ve read from all of you. Inspiration it’s been for me!!

Ah, you have taught me so much more than I could ever learn though books or tapes or classes held.  A sincere “thank-you” for supporting me together with my work.  My spirit is lifted because of you.

Thank you again, and bless you always.

Kim

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Tribute : Sam Berns (1996-2014)


kcg1974:

Listen to Sam’s speech given before he graduated from high school. He had more wisdom in his ‘littleness’ than many of those ‘bigger’ in the world. Truly inspirational, his passing has left a wealth of research for those diagnosed with his condition in the future. Thank you, Sam, for your life, your passion, your inspiration to others and for your legacy that will live on forever. Bless you.

Originally posted on PROPEL STEPS:

We hope you must know him, inspirational Sam Berns. Though he lived short, he inspired many people to take life positive and happy.

lifeaccordingtosamSampson “Sam” Gordon Berns (October 23, 1996 – January 10, 2014) was an American who suffered from progeria and helped raise awareness about the disease.

He was the subject of the HBO documentary Life According to Sam is about one family’s courageous fight to save their only son from a rare and fatal disease, progeria. The average age of death from progeria is 13, there is no treatment, and no cure. Dr. Leslie Gordon and Dr. Scott Berns are set on changing this. When their son Sam, now 16 years old, was diagnosed with progeria at age two, doctors told Leslie and Scott to enjoy Sam while they could. They refused to believe this was the answer. In less than a decade, their advances have led to…

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