Visiting Old Friends

I found ACTS OF GOD at the Jeff library in a little section known as Short Stories! It occupies two tiny shelves at the back of the fiction area. I don’t think I have ever noticed before an area dedicated to short stories before! But then again, they have their large paperback section separated from the fiction also which is where I find my Kate Morten books – and they are in no particular order, God forbid alphabetical!

I adore Ellen Gilchrist and this is her first book in eight years. In one of the stories a group comes together in the London Airport while there is a bomb threat and we are delighted (at least I am!) to find one of Hand girls in the first class lobby. Ah, Anna, my favorite character though her time in Ellen’s prose was way too short, is of course mentioned numerous times by an old boyfriend.

At one point Anna’s niece reflects on meeting old friends, it is like finding a much beloved shirt in your wardrobe and trying it on finds it still fits and one wonders why they stopped wearing the blouse…..happy and content to have it once again.

That is Acts of God – an old friend come to visit.

I must reread some of her books. The Anna Papers was one of my fav’s.

 

 

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ANGEL OF DEATH

Sunday was just awful. My brother requested a cherry pie for his birthday present and I obliged but it was dropped on the way to he car and the glass pie plate shattered. Not thinking straight, I began to clean it up from the drive way and trying to hold back the tears when the dog came up beside me and I glimpsed what  I thought to be a piece of glass among the mouthful of cherry pie and crust!

Sunday night is my turn in the week to spend the night with my Mom and tend to her. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in October but never took the biopsy tests for definite results/answers. As she is 86, she just wanted to go home and die. Eight months ago and her heath is going down down. Pretty soon she will not be able to walk. She may or may not have ovarian cancer, but she does have an advancing tumor in her abdomen area that resembles a basketball size at this stage. She is in constant pain from a variety of ailments and old age.

She is ready to die.

So I left the dog in Joe’s care and he took him to the emergency animal hospital way out on the Outer Loop and I headed to Mom crying the entire way.

I have not had a good cry in some time and as bad as the day was unfurling, it felt enormously satisfying to cry. I was crying for my financial situation (have zip at this point in the month and going to overdraw at the bank with the payment for the emergency care), the crumbling of my marriage in the face of retirement, my alcoholic husband which is the reason for the marriage going south lately with so much time on his hands and so much beer to consume, my mother, my daughter who is a drug addict and I am paying for the treatment and it was the major cause of my financial situation, and I am certain there are many other nagging emotions that caused the dam breaking.

$190 later the X ray reveled no glass or at least they could not find it. Joe gave Jax way too much mineral oil and the poor dog was in agony all night with the shits and Joe could not sleep either.

Then Mom’s next door neighbor, age 70, dies unexpectedly. Her husband left her taking a nap – I believe she had just had some minor surgery resulting a a raging headache, and when he returned she was gone.

My brother, the one who will now not have a cherry pie for his birthday and I were sitting in the living room when I heard the fire truck, the ambulance, the first responders all in our yard and next door. I ignored it while we talked and then when I looked I realized something was tremendously wrong outside!

Paul, one of the neighbors from down the street was crying surrounded by a tight group of new neighbors who just moved into Fag’s house across the street (Fag,his nickname from highschool) had passed away recently and his house taken over by relatives. Anyway, Rachel was dead.

When I was putting Mom to bed and the inevitable 230 wake up to change her and clean her, change her night gown and rub her painful joints with $30 pain reliever cream she recited her most recent prayer “Lord please take me” and I maybe unintentionally saying it out loud but thinking it all day long, “I think the Angel of Death got the wrong house”

Such a long sad day. 

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Judging a book by its cover

I made a trip to my favorite place in the world….the library! The whole world at your fingertips. I have been checking out the recommended books from 2013 and 2012. I am not certain how I arrived at this selection method, but I found my last batch was a dud. I believe I read one of the books and nixed the rest. 

The best method is to just go down an aisle and pick out anything that looks interesting and then reading the synopsis of the plot and checking out the first page. So I have a stacks randomly chosen from the downtown branch.

So that is my life anymore, avoiding life by disappearing into a book. Its not easy as I married a man who does not read! So he does not understand when I excuse myself from the infernal TV and head to the bedroom with a good book for some quality absorption and removal.

Being retired is a difficult transition. It is like a week end every day. And on a fixed income it is difficult to not give in and spend everyday eating out, going to movies, buying alcohol. I love being retired, but I believe I will find some gainful employment and my liver will thank me. And we will not mention my pocketbook!

 

 

 

 

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Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what’s for lunch?

I recently read in a Prevention magazine of all incredible things, if you could do it what would you be doing? and I thought…write. The next line….do it 20 minutes every day.

OK that was weeks ago and I decided that if I must sneak into the living room to do it by God I will do it.

I fee I am in the downside of life. Sliding down the last good years of my life. My mother is dying and could pass away any moment from a multitude of ailments, Anyway I am glad that I have found this outlet. I do not want to write on my blog, my forgotten and tossed away blog that I occasionally toss a bone of an entry but not often, not much.

I want that to be different now. I am not in a good place and it will help me to figure things out by writing. As always, writing.

Stay tuned.

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Getting My Hands Dirty

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How long has it been? The last time I put my hands into some soil must have been spring of 2009 as I weeded my rose  garden in Indiana preparing to move yet again to a remote part of Kentucky. The lilac bush I had planted the year before was in bloom, the roses were doing well and the tulips had come and gone leaving me with a feeling as stripped and spent as their bare stalks, testaments to what once was and what shall rise again.

I was not going to go another summer without some fresh home grown by me tomatoes. And some eggplant and peppers thrown in. I have to find another area for the butternut, yellow and zucchini squash I love. The local Home Depot did not have these plants available so I will have to seek out a feed store. Lucky me.

Truly, lucky me.

I am also looking for a confederate jasmine plant.

My herbs sit waiting also. Sweet basil, peppermint (gotta have mint juleps, baby!) parsley some patchouli if I can find it.

The sun on my back, my hands filthy as I shunned gardening gloves this time around, my mind emptying of all the recent worries, traumas and dilemmas the day presented replaced by a humming of my soul, a melody that is ever present on the edges of my conscious, shoved to the last locked attic of my being let out only in times like this day, when it is calm and peaceful and stress has packed her bags.

 

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The Bank Robbery

Last night I was told, “The older you become the more self absorbed you are!” This is added to a cache of “The older you become….”  allegations  that has come with more frequency as he changes and seems more needy and reliant on me!

First it was, “You’re mean!”

Then it became, “You are becoming intolerant!”

A few moments later I left the room, not in a huff, but under the pretense of no interest in the Military Channel and the sudden urgency of cleaning up the kitchen before turning in for the day.

I needed to mull over the accusation in private and test it’s validly. Was I really becoming more self -absorbed? Or was it just the fall out of a bad day?  A bad day triggers my actions which is to retreat and not  run the risk of stumbling in front  of the Freight Train? He may see it as self absorbed but I know it as self preservation.

 

Yet, the remark had zapped me and the stinger hurt. Was I really becoming more self absorbed? Intolerant? Mean? Maybe so.

The other night one of the “girls” I work with told me she was diabetic. Since I am beginning to think I am diabetic I asked her how it came about.

I expected something along the lines of simplicity such as, “On an annual check –up” . What I got was a 10 minute history about her Dental office job, pissing some foreigner off, drinking a coca-cola, having a four pound tumor, the Doctor weighing 300 pounds and throwing back his head and laughing,  one of the blood clots bursting and soaking a chair……..I had to stop her there as I was beginning to get squeamish and the answer to my question was not even on the horizon yet!

What was so bizarre about the whole thing was the entire time I was listening I barely heard her above the buzzing in my head. I was listening to an entirely different conversation presented to me by my sister in law about witnessing a bank robbery while eating at a restaurant across the street. “I had the roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy. Not as good as mine, I swear they use instant. JJ had the salmon. I think he is dieting. I ate some of it, it was pretty good. I looked out the window and said ‘JJ is that your bank being robbed?’. JJ said, ‘No Mama that’s just the police making a deposit.’ And I said, ‘it sure looks like they have their guns pulled’ and JJ said, ‘ My eye sight is better than yours and I don’t see any guns’ . Then we asked to talk to the chef and ……..”

No one can be more ponderous than that. Or so I thought until  this laborious  story. I thanked my lucky stars she began to include blood so I could bow out before passing out. Literally.

So maybe, in all honestly, Joe is right. As we change as we grow older. Sometime for the better , sometimes not.

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NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED

My parents set exemplary examples for their children. Among many the major standout was their generosity to others. It was not uncommon to have a bag of onions or a sack of potatoes laid at our back porch from the family that lived behind us. My Mom was always helping them out of a bind.

My sister had the brilliant idea of asking everyone invited to my parents 50th wedding anniversary to write some tribute or memory to be included in a large book she gave to them at the party. I was brought to tears reading the many letters of thanks for their benevolence and how they managed to change lives with their kindness.

Some of the best advice my Mom ever gave me was this, “Only lend money when you understand you are giving it away.” 

I have a soft heart. I remember once asking my Mom what attributes she would assign to all us kids. Not that I remember what she said about the rest, but I have reflected ever since her assessment that I am the most compassionate of the lot.

When I am trapped at bottom of an off ramp within striking distance of a man (usually always a man) holding a sign stating “Have not eaten – please help” or “Will work for Food.” I will, most times, dig change from my ashtray and hand it over with this request, “Please do not buy alcohol with this” and one time, out of nowhere I handed over a $5 with this unsolicited advice, “Help Yourself!” I have no idea what came from! It just came roaring out of me from somewhere deep that also made me hand over that $5.

The coolest person I know is my brother in law, K. You know about coolness, some intangible essence that lays on the surface. Cannot be defined, cannot be duplicated, nor can it be imitated. It is or it isn’t. K has it. My sister Omega told the story how K. gives away all their cash to these Down on Their Luck Vagabonds and tells her, “Omega, you never know who really needs it!”

It makes me understand the irresistible urge to give. I guess it is Divine Intervention.

And so, when I met this young couple who so eagerly wanted to rent our home in Indiana last fall and I was so eager to rent it, I shooed away my reservations and decided to give them a break and lease the house to them.

I have paid for my kindness and tender heart ever since. Bounced checks, unanswered text messages, tears (mine and theirs), late rent payments, no rent payments, registered letters and demands for payment have finally culminated into them telling me they are going to vacate the property!

So I sit here both relieved and alarmed – the usual. I just hope I find another Professor or another Mexican that pays on time and keeps me from having a nervous breakdown.

 

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