Let us be of good cheer, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those that never happen.”
James Russel Lowell
Let us be of good cheer, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those that never happen.”
James Russel Lowell
A quick post this morning.
Riding on the passenger side of my husband’s car, air sneaking in an open window is cool. Scents of fresh Fall are waking me with promises of a beautiful day ahead. Skies are pale blue. Clouds sketched in charcoal gray resembling a horizontal painting lie low, straight north up and above the highway road.
Soon, strong steel beams of emerald-green shine in the dawn of a bridge crossing over the mighty Mississippi where our car turns right to veer into a parking lot. There, it’s full of others in all makes and models that seemingly have driven faster than ours. People, little and big, some in tiny pushed in baby strollers are out walking near the banks of the rolling river. Excitement is in the air. Children can be seen wearing colored t-shirts proudly displaying their team names. Allie’s Angels, Sam’s Supporters or Mandie’s Miracles. They’re holding onto strings of balloons in circus colors that float high above the current.
Today is the annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s annual Walk For The Cure here in the quaint town of St. Charles, Missouri. My family has taken part in this most important fundraiser for over twenty years. If not a cure, we hope for better lives for children and adults living with type 1 diabetes. So we walk the streets today of St. Charles, Missouri, where cobble stones still pave the way for old-fashioned dreams of all who take steps…
Wish us well….:)
My daughter-in-law knocked on the door. Upon opening it she smiled, tired from a long day of teaching teens and in-betweens. Math and science it seems. Walking across the wooden floor, ran a robust toddler of one to greet her with open arms. “Mama, Mama…” Blond and blue-eyed, his face was aglow to see his mother bending down on one knee, ready to hug him-so-tight. This single grandson of mine wrapped soft pudgy arms around his mother’s neck squeezing her with all of his little might. She fell back on her behind to laugh aloud. Tired no more, life was all about the moment…
With the rest of the family off to a Michigan game for the weekend, the three of us skipped off to a nearby café to enjoy the treat of a special dinner. Our chosen restaurant was a small, family owned place where menus were written overhead on chalkboards of black. Beverages were self-serve near a wall towards the right, while wooden booths waited for us to sit and chat on the left.
Although the food in this café is truly delicious, all homemade and one of a kind, the chef is mainly known for his French pastries and desserts. People from all over St. Louis come to enjoy a slice of mile high raspberry cake filled with buttercream frosting or delight in their signature chocolate desert covered in milk chocolate ganache. At holiday time, rows and rows of cakes and pies line the entire restaurant with orders sold in advance. Call early if you want to serve anything filled with cream or baked in crust at your dinner table!
Of course the above, in all its magnificent glory sits behind massive cases of glass lit from behind, tempting anyone who comes to dine. It’s impossible to say, “No.” I’ve tried looking another way or ignoring the display. I’ve even pretended it wasn’t there in order to “come back another day.” Ha, it doesn’t work that way!
Still, my daughter-in-law and I were doing fairly well in masking our watering mouths. We sat in our booth, discussing children’s play while waiting for sandwiches to be delivered. ‘Our’ little man was buckled into a seat, his back to the tempting treats.
Minutes went by…then out of nowhere came a clear voice, as if from a speaker. “Cupcake.” It was clear and concise. Anyone could have said it. Yet, lips of a toddler were moving up and down. “Cupcake.” My daughter-in-law laughed. Me too! Then, Little Guy began to giggle. “Cupcake!” Our dinner hadn’t been delivered yet, so what the heck? With permission of course, my grandson was allowed to devour desert as his first course. Oh, and on the way out, another one to take home!
Posted on September 22, 2015 by James North
I recently had the honor of writing a Guest Post for the very talented author, James North. Please visit his terrific site as it has much to offer together with his many publications. http://jamesnorththrillers.com/
Will You Choose The Correct Fork In The Road?
Everyone comes to crossroads in life, a fork in the road if you will. At one point in my own, I found myself at a dead-end where all that I knew was gone. My vision for the future was not to be. In an instant. Tick-tock. Quickly, like a second-hand on a clock. A new normal was in store for me and my family from that day forward.
To the left were tears leading me down a pity path. To the right I felt magical whispers of wind wafting through my hair. Somehow, scents of leaves beneath my crinkled nose. Colors of orange and copper splayed across a sunlit wooden bridge beneath the weathered limbs of hanging trees. Cross it and everything would be okay if only I believed it to be true. Yes, please, choose the correct fork in the road.
Metaphors of my life from over twenty years ago when my children were diagnosed with chronic conditions. The above shaped much of who I am today. Like my boys, I had to change too. Surprisingly I became a writer. If not for the two of them, I never would have written a single word. I prayed every day for God to guide me on the right path, for my words to help others through paper pages that would someday be printed in books.
How I wish my children could have ridden bicycles while licking dripping popsicles. Or, gone off to birthday parties to steal real crumbs of chocolate cake off colored paper plates! That would have been a true dream come true for me. Yet, in all of their little lives, it was never to be. No, God had other plans for us.
My kindergarten boys who once played with toys are now grown. They will always be blessings who helped make positive differences in the world. I thank God for holding my hand to choose the correct fork in the road and with His help, you will too.
Still waters, where life transcends among reeds of season’s end to triumph in the new.”
*photo courtesy of Google
The last weekend of long was filled with anticipation for me. I was off to visit my elderly father in Phoenix, Arizona. I use the term elderly in a loose manner as he doesn’t look elderly to me, nor does he behave as such. A boy’s brain in an aging body it seems. I thank God for that.
I met my sisters at the airport and immediately our togetherness could have become a pilot for an unscripted reality show. Even at the airport, we got lost before finding each other. From there it went downhill whenever our sub-compact rental car opened it’s doors to us. Contorted in every-which-way, we felt caged in small can of tin on wheels of four. Minus an opener.
My youngest sister was the designated driver. It was only after we made a wrong turn coming out of the airport that I realized she needed glasses for distance. She couldn’t read a single sign. “Kim,” she playfully squawked at me, “I’m a great driver when I know where I’m going!” “Kellie, you don’t know where you’re going because we’re in Phoenix, not Dallas!” “Yes, but I’m really good when I use your eyes!” Seriously? Seriously??! “That’s fine,” I responded, “but my eyes are not behind the wheel!”
What should have been a 45 minute drive to my father’s house ended up taking two and a half hours. My GPS helped to re-route us while my younger sister’s did the same from the back of our seats. Every few seconds or minutes voices were heard guiding us. “Make a U-turn, proceed to ramp,” or “Merge on to I-10.” Again and again and again. Have you ever tried listening to two voices at the same time? It was very confusing. Even more so because one of them had a British accent. No luck in turning it off. I tried. Several times. The British accent was along for the ride!
Finally we called my father. Five or six times….At least. I can’t imagine what he was thinking. It was nearly 11:30 pm. He had been waiting for our arrival since 9:00. Like any father, he was worried and scared, wondering what could have happened to his three daughters.
Guiding us into a parking lot of a nearby restaurant, San Tan Flats, his voice crackled in disbelief through the speaker of an I-phone. “Oh you girls, do you see the stuffed bear to the left? Turn right. Drive until you see a For Sale sign at the end of the parking lot.” We did before somehow ending up at the restaurant’s hulking emerald-green dumpster. Our bright lights caught a raccoon scampering off in the distance of the desert darkness.
“Dad, what do we do now?” my sister asked, in panic. I could tell my dad couldn’t believe his ears. “Back up, back up, turn around and follow the smoke from the campfire. Go out the nearest drive to the first road. I’ll stay on the line.”
Bless my father’s heart. He did stay on the line, hearing a big thud as we drove over a Saguaro that had fallen during a recent storm. Car lights, bright from our rental car soon shined on the best of him. Standing in the middle of the dusty desert road he stood wearing baggy jeans and a loose yellow shirt. On his feet were tennis shoes, glowing in fluorescent white. His legs were balanced straight, even and wide apart. His arms of two lifted high towards a clear endless sky with hands swaying back and forth in a frenzy as if to yell, “STOP! Turn off the engine now, before it’s too late!”
In spite of our trials of lost and found my father together with all of his children had the very best time. Rare because the five of us were all together with him. During the weekend we went to the American Legion where he sang Karaoke and danced the night away with his girlfriend. Yes, she is so kind and they are happy!
My sisters and I woke in early mornings to share coffee under quiet, peaceful canopies of leftover stars. We walked at dawn to discover horses who neighed, mongrels who barked and flowers that bloomed “Hello” from nothing more than dry cinnamon dust of a desert crust.
Then the inevitable happened. Such sweet sorrow to say, “Good-by.” A whisper in my ear from my father. Choking up he said, “Your mother would love to see all of you kids together like this.” Hugging him tight, I whispered back, “She does, Dad.”
That’s what life is all about. Love and bonding. Togetherness. No matter how far apart, get together again. Create new memories. Laughter. Even the mini-trips of lost and found with my sisters will forever be with me. I dare say one of my ribs might be broken from laughing so hard. No matter. All was worth it.
From every second in the desert dark to each minute of my father’s mark…..All above is in my heart forever.
*My Happy Place, visited often and again early this morning. A post worth repeating filled with life lessons….
There is a familiar spot here in great St. Louis, where people flop inside or outside, leaving their troubles behind for another time. Actually, this hang-out is located in a toy town called Kirkwood, about ten miles from the chocolate color of my dusty garage door.
When summer begins to wane the weather is perfect, like this time of year. Today, barely a soul of young or old can be found inside the multiple front doors of the welcoming café. Instead, eagle eyes scan the outdoor crowd, looking for any sign of movement in case an imaginary “Vacancy” sign pops up. Deep breaths are taken. Fresh air is inhaled while lungs expand. Ahhh, relaxation begins!
It is here that a new discovery is made each and every time I visit. Who would think that a simple, nondescript patio made of concrete cement would have such an impact on my life? And, yet it does. This is my Happy Place. A corner of wired tables in black with matching chairs on top of grey. Wait…take a seat, sit down to rest your feet. Shhh, watch and listen. This is a haven full of people who are living in the moment.
Do you see what I see? There are mothers pushing strollers, babes in arms, Daddies giving horsy-rides and coffee cups made of china white. Children riding scooters, chocolate milk clutched in little hands, bikers, joggers, bunnies in wagons and toasted bagels laden with cream cheese. Kisses on cheeks, grandparents carrying toddlers, and dogs-of-all-kinds. Pacifiers in pink or blue, books being read and luxury leashes made of leather. Working laptops, baked banana bread so good, couples on first dates, I-phones, singles and fountains splish-splashing. Love is in the air, walkers, bottles filled with water, smiles, secrets and even bellies-SO BIG!
My husband clasps my hand to find me the best seat. He pulls out my chair before inquiring what I’d like to sip and eat. “A vanilla cappuccino,” he asks, expecting a “Y.E.S.” Next, his words so sweet, “A cinnamon roll warmed for you?” He is the very best man and I am the luckiest of women. Soon he comes back with my treats.
While nibbling, I stop to “people watch,” snap a few pictures, and meet new friends. The sun feels warm to my skin, pinking my cheeks. Next to me, I meet the cutest Labradoodle who excitedly poses for me. And then, a “Hallmark” moment begins.
A few feet away, the sweetest girl of young reaches up and over on tippy-toes to kiss her loved one so dear. She has long and lovely dark hair, wears shorts and seems to surprise the woman who is older than she. My heart skips a beat.
Seconds go by. The freshly kissed woman passes our table. My husband smiles, pointing to our phone. “Look,” he says, stopping her. A gentle grin, big and wide slides over pretty, white teeth. She is touched by what she sees, going on to tell us a bit about her lovely grand-daughter.
Looking across at her table, she notices more seats taken. Chairs pulled out. Tennis shoes underneath. This time by her husband together with a darling, young grand-son wearing metal and leather braces strapped to thin legs. Briefly, we talk about Chronic Conditions. “He was born with club feet,” she says, speaking of her other darling one. “He’s already had several surgeries,” she adds, “with more to come.” She speaks matter-of-factly, with no hint of ‘woe-is-me‘ in her voice when she glances over at her loved ones.
There is no doubt, no question in my mind that this is where I am supposed to be. Right now, right here at this moment in time. A new Life Lesson for me today. How special it is to have and hold this “Hallmark” tip-toed kiss upon a grandmother’s lips! From an innocent grand-daughter to her loving grandmother. A story of life trials chock full of smiles on this very morning. Lucky for me.
No matter how brief, this will forever be “My Happy Place.”
In darkness blooms a beauty
Golden yellow the color of a sleeping sun
Dipped in hues of tinted blush
Gently kissed by joyful tears
Whispers of a feathered brush
Smiling scents of bottled years
Soon to shine in resplendent light
For all to see no secrets here
Thankful yesterday, today and tomorrow near
Wake and you shall see glory through the beauty of sunrise. God’s gift for all eternity”
Imagination creates wonder while touch teaches magic.”
*photo courtesy of Google
To touch imagination
How magical it would be
If ever a child again
I’d reach out to see
Closing my lids
To squeeze them ever so slight
While plopping upon pillows
Praying to dream during the night
When eyes open wide
In dawn of the morn
She’s right by my side
Grasping my hand
Skipping out the door
My dream is awake
To see wonder…
Of Mother’s imagination
Butterflies are dancing on branches of trees
Feeling flutters, smiling, giggles, teaching wonders
Heaven’s softness is kissing my skin
Tilt your head now for melodies that woo
Freedom that flies in your imagination too