Recently, while sorting piles of papers in an effort to reduce their numbers, I found several uncompleted “to do” lists. Not all items were crossed off the list, but I suspect I did get the menu planned, the groceries purchased, and the bathrooms cleaned.
I have no memory of making to do lists as a young child. At some point in time, though, life got so busy, or my memory got so bad, I acquired the habit. I liked the feeling of accomplishment a completed list gave me. Oh sure, when my children were younger, I didn’t always have time to write a “to do” list. However, it didn’t matter because if I had a spare moment or two, I just did laundry. The baskets of clean, unfolded laundry proved I had a productive day.
I still make “to do” lists, but now they are more detailed. Some days I even write do laundry on the list–I’m sure it is an age thing.
In a dream world I live on the top floor of a skyscraper with a view of the lights of a large city. Life has not yet allowed me to live in that world. So when I accompanied John on an out-of-town trip and found myself on the 17th floor of a hotel with windows overlooking only a river and city lights, I pretended I was in that dream world.
“Let’s not pull the drapes. I want to enjoy the night lights of the city.”
“Whatever,” John said, exhausted from a full day of continuing education classes on the Internal Revenue’s tax code.
The room glowed from the lights, but I, too, soon fell asleep. I awoke when a light flashed in the room. I did not move, but the light did not return. I again entered dreamland. Throughout the long night, I was often awakened by a flashing light.
Before daylight, I gave up, investigated, and discovered a motion nightlight carefully placed between the night stand and bed. Apparently, as I often sleep with one foot out from under the covers, I, myself, had activated the nightlight throughout the long night.
Night two? Well, I pulled the drapes, unplugged the nightlight, and slept tight.
“Grandma, hand me another stem of honeysuckle,” my grandfather said as he placed the trumpet-shaped flowers into a fruit jar. “We’ll stop on our way to the cemetery and cut red clover from along the roadside to add to this.”
My grandparents were preparing to decorate the graves of their parents and the two young sons they had lost to childhood diabetes. Their hearts carried sorrow each day, and Memorial Day was especially difficult. Perhaps my mother thought my visit with her parents might provide them some cheer on that long-ago day.
Years have passed, and now I am the one who decorates those graves on Memorial Day. I also decorate the graves of my own young son, my sisters, brothers, parents, and grandparents. I, too, feel sorrow as I do so. Yet, each year as I place honeysuckle on Grandpa’s grave, I smile and remember the love he had for his family.
Thank you, Grandpa, for that love—and for the stop at the drug store for an ice cream cone on the way home!
Thank you, too, to all the men and women who have sacrificed for our country.
I recently rented a car to drive to visit out-of-state family. John was concerned my nine-year-old van with 192,755 miles on the odometer might develop some type of mechanical issue on a busy Interstate highway.
I knew vehicles had changed a lot since 2008, and as a person whose main source of technology information comes from watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory, I was worried I might not be compatible with a newer model car.
I was most pleased I actually started the car and appreciated the fact the car welcomed me on its little dashboard screen. It was good I had paid attention to the twenty-minute tutorial the nice guy at the car rental place presented, too. I also appreciated the fact he gave me his personal cell phone number and encouraged me to call at any time.
Driving over a thousand miles allowed me time to get acquainted with the car. Because I knew my route, I disregarded the GPS system. By the time I returned home, though, I knew how to check each tire’s pressure while traveling down the highway. I really appreciated the car’s beeping assistance while passing, too.
Oh yes, it might be time for a new car.
“Aunt Cora’s boy got that job he wanted,” my grandmother said.
“How did Judy do on her test?” my aunt asked.
“We just finished planting the potatoes before the rain came,” my mother said.
My mother, grandmothers, aunt, and the older mother figures in my life are gone, and to my surprise, I am the mother, grandmother, aunt, and older mother figure.
Wasn’t it just a few short years ago, that I anxiously awaited the birth of my first child? Sometimes now the young clerks at the first window– and the second window– of fast-food restaurants call me “sweetheart” as I get my senior coffee. I suspect it won’t be long before family members use their louder, slower, talk to older people voices when speaking to me.
I often long to be a young girl again, sitting at grandma’s kitchen table listening to the women folks’ conversations as they finish preparing Sunday dinner. I wish I had paid more attention to their stories.
Then I remember I am now a mother, grandmother, and aunt. Yes, I am blessed.
Forty-six and a half years ago, John and I married. Along with the top layer of the cake, I saved a dozen of the home-made cream wedding mints. The plan was for us to eat them along with the cake on our first anniversary.
We ate the cake, but the mints had fallen behind some packages of meat and we did not find them. After forgetting about them for several years, I thought it might be fun to eat them on our fiftieth wedding anniversary. For years I cautioned baby-sitters and my children NOT to eat the mints.
Last week I smelled an unpleasant odor coming from the freezer. The freezer, purchased sometime during the 1980’s, had died. Hurriedly I searched for the plastic container containing the mints. Unfortunately, the lid of the container holding the mints had cracked during the last forty-six and half years. Unfortunately, too, the mints were on a shelf under a package of meat. The beautiful, albeit faded and hardened, wedding mints were now only pastel swirls in an ugly brown liquid.
Luckily, I still have the orange plastic salad bowl received as a wedding present to remind me of the day. Oh, and I still have John, too.
“I want cheesy potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, potato chips and dip, cheese burgers, and sugar cookies frosted with cream cheese frosting” my granddaughter answered when asked what she wanted for her birthday dinner.
“You might want to think about adding a salad or perhaps another vegetable other than potatoes,” her mother suggested. I, though, thought it a great menu.
Unfortunately, gone are the days of my youth when I could eat a meal of potatoes, potatoes, and more potatoes without pounds, pounds, and more pounds settling on my small-boned frame. The word carbs was not in my vocabulary until seven or eight years ago.
Still, it was a great birthday meal even with the addition of a green salad—and I am once again reading labels when I grocery shop. Oh, to be young again.
I thought I could–I thought I could–I thought I could, but, I could not. No, I could not drive eleven hours alone in a car with six boxes of Thin Mints, two boxes of Trefoils, and two boxes of S’mores in the back seat. Could anyone?
I ate breakfast before I left and stopped for a hamburger about five hours into the drive. After ten hours, hunger pains struck. Now, I have survived some major tests and stresses in my life. My gray hair doesn’t come from a bottle. I would not suffer defeat for a cookie.
I was getting a little sleepy when I spotted a good place to stop and check on the cookies. What if they were packed in such a way they might crumble? Sure enough, they were packed in just such a way. To be safe I put a box of Thin Mints on the front seat beside me.
The last hour of my drive flew by quickly, and, so too, did a full sleeve of Thin Mints disappear quickly. In fact, it lasted for only twenty miles. I’m happy to report, though, there were no crumbs left on the car seat.
I host a mini-reunion the Saturday before Easter for my extended family. After dinner, the young children participate in an egg hunt. So, it is time for my personal egg hunt. Each year, I place all those pastel pink, yellow, and green plastic eggs, along with the dark purple, bright orange, and sky blue ones in a large, white trash bag and put them in such an obvious place, I will have no trouble locating them. Yet, each year, I spend a couple of hours searching the house. Once found, I fill the eggs with candy!!!!!!
Unfortunately, on Easter many people will not have plastic Easter eggs filled with candy to hunt. They will not have a tasty spiral-cut ham with cheesy potatoes for dinner. Their homes may be nothing but a pile of rubble. Their families may have been torn apart.
I cannot do much for those in faraway, war-torn countries; those whose families are in turmoil; or those who suffer hunger. Yet, while I’m searching for those plastic eggs, I’ll pray—not for help in finding the eggs—but for those who are hungry, or in need of security and peace. I’ll thank God for my blessings, too.
I often see posts on Facebook demonstrating how to fold a fitted sheet. Unfortunately, I never have a fitted sheet with me at the time, and I learn best by doing. Still once a week, I wish I knew the secret of sheet folding.
After many years of doing laundry, I estimate I have folded, (i.e. wadded up) a fitted sheet approximately 2,704 times. That figure does allow for only changing the sheet once a month those many years I worked full time with four children at home. I’ve also accounted for those many nights one or more of the children battled the stomach flu.
I suppose I’m not too old to learn something new, but it hardly seems worth the effort now. While I hope I’m still years away from any type of assisted living, I suspect the day will come when someone besides me changes the sheets on my bed. In the meantime, it’s pretty exciting to find that missing sock nestled in a corner pocket of a fitted sheet.