Tangible Time

Hourglass handQuiet in my office space today except for the sound of clothes tumbling in a dryer a few rooms away. Things to get done before I’m on my way. Off to visit my father in Arizona tomorrow. Yes, leaving on an old familiar jet plane to soar above into a golden setting sun off the tips of shiny silver wings.

So much to do with extra excitement too. Lots of relatives to visit during my brief stay among the tall green saguaros within a painted desert land. My precious father of course, together with my father-in-law and my dearest great-aunt. In addition, I look forward to seeing three of my siblings and other relatives who live nearby. My husband and I will be very busy!

My great-aunt, who I love so very much is not doing well. She hasn’t been for quite some time. Now blind from her own Chronic Condition of Glaucoma, she’s not able to telephone me anymore. How I miss our giggling chats! I’ve written about her before, once on New Year’s Eve http://wp.me/p41md8-Uo , and it wasn’t long ago that I scooped her up for a visit to St. Louis. But, even then, I knew she would probably never be coming back.

I will treasure my Arizona memories perhaps like never before. Besides squeezing a frail hand of my precious great-aunt, the touch of my father and father-in-law will feel differently this time. The warmth of their skin will be soaked like a sponge, their hugs imprinted for only me to see. Time has become tangible as I feel my loved ones aging closer toward Heaven.


The Gift of An Unexpected Day

Oh to cluster sands of coral within an hourglass of time

Seconds trickle silently

Speck by speck, grain by grain

Falling through clear 

Dropping one by one

Ever s-l-o-w-l-y not to hear

Reaching bottom

Single seconds drifting into precious minutes

Until the gift of another day may come my way

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….    

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

The One Who Knows

I’m still in Arizona soaking up the sun, visiting my father, my brothers and my maternal great-aunt.  My Aunt Shirley is a tiny treasure, no more than 90 pounds who my mother left to me (and others) when she passed on.

My aunt is the youngest of eleven children who recently turned eighty-eight years old.  One would never know.  She’s truly an anomaly in every sense of the word.  Not because of the number of years she’s lived on this earth of ours.  Rather, because of the way she’s lived those number of years on this earth of ours.  She is one of the few people I’ve ever met who can honestly and with conviction say, “I have no regrets, I’ve done everything I’ve ever wanted to do in my life.”  Is she sick?  No.  Is she on her death-bed?  Hardly.  Ha, this ‘young’ woman in my life is sassy and sharp, quick-witted and strong in spirit.  The best friend and ‘therapist’ I could ever hope to have in life.  I have told her so……..even the ‘therapist’ part.   She laughs it off, but it is true.  She is so wise and she’s seen so much in life.  She knows just what to say when to say it, and how to put her thoughts into words.  I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

On New Year’s Eve, I had dinner with her in a small restaurant where we split a white ceramic plate of rare, pink prime rib.  She ordered an “Absolute” martini, straight up with twist of yellow lemon floating on the side.  I joined her with a Lemon-Drop.  A “Kool-Aid,” drink she said with a twinkle in her eye as we clinked our glasses to the next day, the next year of hopeful, 2014.

She told me stories I thought could only be read in books.  Things I might write about myself one day, or at least, I wish I could!  As she smiled and reminisced, she got that far off look. It was obvious even without words the joy she lived all those years ago.  How she loved that smashing time in her life!  The music she listened to, the movies stars she saw in the flesh or the places she visited and the people she met.

By the end of the evening, Aunt Shirley was drinking a cup of coffee.  I was on my second and last martini (the one I never finished), asking silly questions.  “Aunt Shirley, will you go to church with me tomorrow?”  “On New Year’s Day?” she asked.  “There is no church tomorrow.”

She always has the right answer, she always knows…….