A Prayer

A Prayer

Surviving the storm
Offering simple solace
With a quiet grace.

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Barricades at the Crossroads

Will I be staying?
Will I be straying?
They will be x-raying
And I will be paying.
No one at my side.
No place to hide.

Not saying.
Certainly praying.
Perhaps playing.
Determinedly delaying
To keep lives from fraying.
Laying hopes aside.
Here to abide.

Posted in Decisions, Life lessons, Procrastination, Stalled, waiting | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Lamenting the Expanding Social Network

teaching kids - a philosophy by Ann LandersAnn Landers fostered a faithful following.  Her readers were of all ages, from all arenas of society,  all yearning for solutions or curious about others’ experiences. She offered  advice in compassionate, insightful pearls of paragraphs. The newspaper was her avenue of sharing.  As newspapers decline, is there a social network avenue that will succeed in a comparable intimately honest way?

I can click and save quickly…then lose the nugget among thousands of other bits that I save and forget how to access. Oddly, getting the scissors from the kitchen drawer, carefully cutting out a touching column  entry, then folding it to fit in a special spot in my grownup purse for rereading or sharing seemed more efficient. I have forwarded or shared tons of gems since I have learned how to use the computer, but there is no guarantee those tidbits of info were ever read. But, if I  hand someone a clipping across a café table or at work, and I  want it back, it will get read and discussions will ensue.

My printer could be used to print out favorite words of wisdom, but I have yet to fold and stick a print-out in my purse.  Too much debate goes on before I hit the print button.  How much ink is there?  Are there any pending tasks that should take precedence? Will the printer work on the first try or will this become an aggravation?  Do I really need to waste my paper on this? So much easier to have  had only one question to ponder:  Was everyone  finished reading that section of the paper before the scissors hit it?

Cutting and pasting activities abounded in my formative years. I used words and picture pieces  creating cards and posters just for fun. My teachers loved pushing us to expound on editorial cartoons, so that meant cutting them out along with the articles that supported my theories about cartoonists’ intentions, pasting the cartoons on construction paper, then holding the sheets up in front of the bathroom mirror as I rehearsed what I would say if my name was called on Monday.

Reading the Sunday edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch or the Globe Democrat was a multi-sensory experience. My eyes took in miles  of black and white from  slightly off-white sheets.  Color splashes beckoned them  to hop around before settling in to read a whole feature.  Even the shinier surfaces of the  inserts were enticing so I  would yearn for the  advertised products and gadgets. I liked the feel of the pages as I turned them. They were slightly thicker than the pages of my Mom’s Bible. I bemoaned the trouble it took to separate the slicker ones.  After an afternoon in the paper,  I would be wearing black smudges across my nose and forehead till bedtime if I didn’t remember to wash my hands. As I turned the pages, they made a slight rustling sound. If the rustle was interrupted, it meant I was finishing up a last paragraph or scanning the pages to make sure nothing had been overlooked before the next page came into full view. The smell of a damp newspaper somehow mingled with the aromas of  a Sunday lunch that usually included mustard and pickles.

Reading the paper took time: time to mull over the awesome or the tragic or the outrageous news;  time to ponder and time to laugh; time to share a portion out loud, even though others in the room may have already read it, or would read it eventually; time to go back and read the articles intentionally passed over the first time through; time to reread especially powerful pieces.

Newspapers…my mind’s comfort food.


Posted in advice columnists, newspapers | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

THAT Time of Year Around Here

The season preferred is now upon us.
Shopping? No! Stalking with ammo and gun,
Wearing camo and orange and scent of musk,
The hunter keeps hunted on endless run.

Camps and fires
Splatter the woods
With fluorescent glows
And bragging rights.

Some households will eat venison for months.
Others will mourn freezers that are empty.
But all will dread when the time is at end.
The season preferred is now upon us.

(Check out http://freedanichols.wordpress.com. Her latest blog inspired me to experiment a bit at writing Dorsimbra poetry).

Posted in Deer season, Hunting, School vacations | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Memorable Musical Moments

My closet rod fell for the third time in as many days!  Solution?  Replace it with two rolling racks that fit perfectly in the space.  But alas, they buckled, creating a mound of mingled colors and textures that had to be dealt with one more time.

Till someone handier than I can install a stable rod in my bedroom closet, I decided to separate the tangled threads and relocate them to the empty closets upstairs, in the room that was mine during my last year of high school and during summer breaks in college.

Up the twelve stairs  I marched with load # 1. As I hung it up, my glance landed on a Hostess fruitcake tin seemingly in the spotlight once I slid the door open. That tin is among some of my earliest childhood memories, as is the…indescribably yucky… cake that was inside.

Hesitating to halt my task so soon, I gave in to the need to know and plopped down on my knees to work it open to survey the forgotten contents.

45’s! No, not guns.  Records!

I looked through the top few, then took the whole tinfull downstairs to play on my record player.  Yep, I have one of those, and yep, I still have an adapter to play them.

By the time I reached the bottom stair, I had a plan to keep me focused on the task of making the multi-trips necessary to move my entire wardrobe 12 stairs at a time. Put on a 45, grab a load, boogie on up and back down again before the song ended. 

Maybe the teen who used to listen to those records could boogie up and down that fast, but this, uh-hmm, young-at-heart grandma going on 39 for the third time found that a bit challenging.  Who am I kidding?  Impossible it was. That necessitated a slight change in procedure: (1) turn up the volume; (2) grab a lighter load;  (3) move a bit faster. 

From somewhere came the idea to play them  in the order they were stacked in the tin.

Why?  I don’t know.

Why not? No reason not to.  There was no one around to  ask for an explanation.  If it motivated me to  complete the monumental task I had begun, it was rational reason enough for me .

But, might there be another purpose?  Might there  perhaps  emerge from the random selections a message to mull over? A message meant only for me in this  moment in my existence?

Decode a personal message from wacky music from the hippie era, played randomly from a fruitcake tin? And to think I frown upon those who search for meaning from tarot cards or crystal balls!

I resisted the urge to dig out my one pair of bell bottoms, light some incense and go braless. Two of those three tasks would definitely impede progress.

Stopping long enough to list the song titles and artists’ names gave me time to catch my breath and deal with  joints. Nope, not that kind!  My knees and ankles ! They began to complain about the many ascents and descents thrust upon them without warning.

I have yet to discover a personal message in the melodies, but my mind’s musings and meanderings as I sang along while marching through the house and up and down the stairs entertained me to the end of my exhausting chore. (There were some great lesson plan ideas that surfaced, but those days are behind me).

Melodies are  magnets for memories. If you are in the mood, let your eyes mosey down this list. Linger and remember. Who knows?  Maybe the hidden message is just for you!

Order as stacked top to bottom, and as played:

  • Rainy Days and Mondays                            Carpenters
  • Pave Your Way Into Tomorrow                  Glen Campbell
  • Happy is a Bumpy Road                                Supremes
  • Gettin’ Together                                             T. James & Shondells
  • We Can Work It Out                                       Beatles
  • You’ll Think of Me                                           Elvis
  • I’ll Take You There                                         Staple Singers
  • Darling Am I the One?                                   Troy Collier
  • I Won’t Get to Love You Tonight                  Troy Collier
  • So Wrong                                                           Edwina McCauley
  • The Legend of JR Baker                                 John Wesley Ryles
  • The Restless Ones                                            Grason
  • He’s Everything to Me                                     Grason
  • Railroad                                                              Melanie
  • This Guy’s in Love With You                           Herb Alpert
  • Rock and Roll Part One                                    Gary Glitter
  • Windy                                                                  Association
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane                                      Peter, Paul & Mary
  • You Know my Name, Look Up my Number  Beatles
  • Baby Blue                                                            Badfinger
  • I Love to Laugh                                                  Richard Sherman
  • Mrs. Robinson                                                     Simon & Garfunkel
  • Keep on Smilin’                                                    Wet Willie
  • Jingle Jangle                                                         The Archies
  • Woman, Woman                                                   Union Gap
  • She’s Got It                                               Little Richard                     
  • Harper Valley PTA                                        Jeanie C. Riley
  • I Can See Clearly                                            Johnny Nash
  • We’ve Only Just Begun                                  Carpenters
  • Close to You                                                      Carpenters

(Don’t worry if  you don’t recognize the tunes sung by Ryles, Collier or McCauley.  They are hometown songs/artists.)

Posted in Music from 60's, Music from 70's, Musical Memories, record players, vinyl records | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

I googled it.

This is the immediate follow-up to my post “I Know the Feeling.” I did a bit of searching for the fashion history of the ‘fruit loop’  referred to in that post.

My initial thought, “Uh-oh. My memory failed here.”  The first entries were of tee-shirts with the cereal logos.  Continued searching took me to the on-line Urban Dictionary.  Here is the entry:

“A loop of cloth sewn onto the upper center of a man’s shirt by the manufacturer. Often found on dress shirts, and sometimes on preppie alligator-emblazoned shirts.  Purpose of this loop of cloth has never been determined.”

An additional entry by The Original GarnetGlitter, apparently a go-to gal affiliated with Yahoo, affirmed that definition and added some discussion about its significance to kids in the 50’s and 60’s and about its purpose. 

 The only one that makes even a tad bit of sense is that a guy could hang the tie that he wore with that shirt through that loop when he put the shirt on a hanger, thereby resting assured he would have it pronto when he pulled it out of the closet the next time he planned to wear it.  Back in those days everything ‘matched’ perfectly: headbands matched the color of the outfit; shoes matched belts and/or purses; hats matched coats.

Ahh!  Now I get it!  I read recently that if a woman wanted to dress to reflect a young-at-heart spirit, she should not worry so much about the matchy-matchy aspect.  Earrings and necklaces don’t have to come from the same set. Mixing patterns is okay- (GASP) .

Purses must not have to match with anything, based on the trendy hot sellers right now. What would one wear if one tried to match an outfit to those…gaud…no, shouldn’t be so critical…those original creations of color, design and bling?

Can’t quite figure that one out, which is why my one trendy bag adds color, design and bling to my bedroom decor  as it hangs from the reading chair.

I’m not quite convinced that carrying it would camouflage the fact that I am an ABB  – that’s my term for  ‘aging baby boomer‘ that I so cringe at hearing.  Nor can I mix patterns on purpose and leave the house.

Not sure that wearing  earrings and necklaces from different sets is the reason for the spring in my step, but it’s a safe rebellion from my early years of conformity to the few fashion facts I knew.

Anyway, a bounce in my step and a smile are all I really need to reflect my gratitude for being one of those ABB‘s! :)

Posted in baby boomer, fashion tip, fashion trends, fruit loop | Leave a comment

I Know the Feeling…

…of winning the lottery! 

It was lost, three times, but now it’s found!

It isn’t made of gold; it doesn’t have a diamond, not even a diamond chip like my first promise ring allegedly had.

It is a simple sterling silver band with hearts and scrolls etched in black. A classmate who made my heart flutter, my tummy knot up, my hands sweat, and my tongue utter monosyllables gave it to me at an 8th-grade dance.

Gentleman that he was, he asked first if I would accept a ring. With my 12-year-old practicality, I told him yes, but only if it was a friendship ring.  I didn’t want to go steady. ( I don’t think I explained that thoroughly  to him at the time.  Maybe he thought I was holding out for a different fella.  Au contraire – he was my beau of choice.  I was simply thinking it was silly to go steady, like some of my girlfriends thought they were, when I wasn’t going to be allowed to date for four more years.)

My girlfriends already considered him ‘mine’ because I had the fruit loop off his red corduroy shirt.  That sealed the deal in a way that no initial ring could.

Alas, that was back before I owned a transistor radio even! To educate the ignorant, it was a  hang-up loop similar to one found sometimes in a jacket.  This loop, however, was sewn on the outside  back pleat on the seam that ran across the back of the shirt. I didn’t do so well in home ec; there are probably terms to explain it better.

How it became mine I don’t quite remember. I do know I was too shy to cut it off myself, though I did see that done from time to time in class.  I have a vague recollection that perhaps some other girl cut it off and gave it to me, with his permission, of course.

Wonder if moms ever figured out what was happening to their sons’ shirts?   The loop didn’t seem to appear quite as often on a girl’s blouse, though I do remember having a pink shirt that had one. If sharing a girl’s fruit loop had the same significance, it eluded me back then.  My pink shirt stayed intact.

How it came to be called a ‘fruit’ loop? I can’t remember.  My cranial archives can’t seem to come up with that particular tidbit of information.  When I finish here, I will google the term and see what  pops up. Perhaps I will find it listed among other fashion trends baby boomers outlived.  Or perhaps I will discover I am confusing it with the cereal.

Whatever it was called, it was mine, for years kept in the sacred section of  my scrapbook along  with the dictionary he made for me in the sixth grade.   (Why he made me a dictionary and gave it to me in the cloak room is a whole other story  – for later).

I don’t remember wondering when I would get the ring.  Other memories crowd out any anticipation  anxiety I might have had. That eighth grade year Mom finally let me wear garters and stockings with loafers rather than white dress socks with paten leather shoes when we had to dress up for field trips to hear the symphony.

So it was a big relief that I was dressed like the other girls at that 8th grade dance. I didn’t know the boy I thought was  perfect had the ring in his pocket that night.  I didn’t know he had asked the one playing the records over in the corner to play a certain one at a certain time.  I didn’t know why he had waited so long to ask me to dance; after all, I had practiced and could manage a  perfect box without looking at my feet if we had the chance to dance to a slow song. I didn’t know that at a certain point in the song everyone else would stop dancing and watch him take the ring out of his pocket and give it to me.

I didn’t know that would be my first – and only –  Cinderalla moment.  My prince and I never had a date, because my folks decided to make a move away from the city at the end of my junior year, two weeks before I turned 16. At first there were a few long typed letters, which somehow didn’t manage to stay in the scrapbook as long as the fruit loop and dictionary did.  Later there were a couple of photos taken in a college dorm.  Then there was a Christmas card  exchange with photos of babies.

Memories forgotten  until the treasure was unearthed in an old jewelry box.   I wore it occasionally, just for fun. On a day when I thought I had  put it on, I missed it and sadly concluded it had gone down the drain at school. 

This year,  with  teaching career and divorce part of the  completed patchwork of my life, I found it again in a coin purse about to be tossed.  I wear it  often now  for the slightly smug feeling I get because it still fits, though I do  realize it is the only part of me that is still the same size.

One  recent morning I popped into a job to  do some  preliminary work before tourist season kicks in, then headed to  a program geared to help  boomers stay active and alert. As I thumbed through some of the handouts, I realized it was not on my finger.

Panic, pure painful panic. NO, not after all this time, not after losing it twice!  Not again! At break time I made a dash to the office to retrace my steps. I had done so many different little tasks.  I had disposed of papers still a bit sticky with paint.  I had swept, I had emptied trash. I had parked on a gravel lot.  No luck. I stuck  a note on the wall by the time cards.  “I have lost a ring. Keep an eye out please!” When I returned to the meeting, I scanned the parking  lot, the sidewalk, and the aisle to my seat. Nothing.

Bedtime brought to mind places I had not looked.  Armed with flashlight and disposable gloves, I headed back to the office to spotlight my morning’s tasks in reverse.  That meant dumping the trash out to look at the sticky papers, walking the same paths to and fro in the gravel lot, while not thinking, much, about what it might look like if someone was watching.

Beginning to quiz myself on why I found it so important to find a ring a kid gave me 46 years ago, I drove to the location of the seminar to look in the parking space I had used on the paved lot there.  Now beginning to talk out loud, I voiced, “Let it go.  It’s just a thing.  You still have the memories. Get over it.”

As I pulled out of the  lot to head home to Letterman, a flash of insight made me turn sharply  back into the parking lot via an adjacent entrance. Wait!  When I first arrived at the seminar, I had gone to an entrance that was locked!  What if…?

I stopped, put the car in park, stepped out and looked down, fiddling with the flashlight.  I didn’t need it.  There it was, right at my feet. As I stooped to pick it up, I had to stifle the shout, “I feel like I’ve won the lottery!”

Like a gazillion others, I had purchased a MegaMillions lottery ticket, but the winners  from Maryland, Illinois and Kansas  announced the following day would have nothing on this Missouri gal!

Posted in going steady, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment