Busy days 

Dadwithoutpaws had surgery on his foot. Today Momwithoutpaws and I have to visit our elders and do all the errands dadwithoutpaws usually does. 

Also I might be able to do home visits. Momwithoutpaws did an article about a man who carves wood. His name is Bob. Bob won a gold metal for his King Arthur’s Castle. Bob’s wife has Dementia. Bob wants to meet me first. I will win him over. 

This is Camelot 

Wine glass 

Wine glass
Clear with a ring to it
Lips leave an imprint
Edge crisp nearly cutting
Drawing it’s blood like elxyir
Fermented reasoning
Draws you deep into its grasp
Will this hold last.
Breath steams a song and dance
Is this love or one night chance

The Sheltered Life

Sheltered Life

Nellie and I grew up on the same street. Not a city street, more of a country street they differ from a country road in that each parcel is 5 to 10 acres as oppose to 50 to 200 acre farms. Mostly my neighbors have horses, or goats, hobby farms with corn, squash, and pumpkins some take their produce to a small farmers market in town to be sold to the locals or those just passing through.

Nellie was home schooled sheltered not by religion but by two really loving and sweet salt of the earth parents. Me, on the other hand was raised by volatile yet loving parents. Their idea of a family barbeque was plenty of beer, farm equipment egging each other on see who could take down a sapling or run over a garbage can with the tractor only to wake up the next morning mad at each other because it was their fault they had to replace said garbage can. I loved my parents but they were what some would call rednecks.

Nellie’s life was sheltered from the crazy side except when we hung out together I was careful not to introduce her to the real crazy side like hiding in the hay loft with Reggie and getting felt up. Underneath the bleachers giving Larry the football star a blow job. Our outings consisted of investigating all the places her parents warned her about. We did talk about sex I did explain in detail what a guy’s thing looked like. She always laughed and said I was pulling her leg; God would not ever make anything that ugly. One day I showed her a picture I took with my Cell phone while Larry was in ecstasy and she said her mom was right, she should wait till she got married because then sex would be special. I am not sure if Nellie believed this is what it looked like when you were having sex out of wed lock and when she got married it would miraculously be transformed into something beautiful. I just left her to her illusions. One thing about Nellie she never judged me after I got pregnant and was sent away to aunt Jeans to have the baby and give it up for adoption. I finished school living at aunt Jeans always keeping in touch with Nellie via the internet, phone calls, and yes snail mail written by hand.

She fell in love, with Guy Richards, a nice guy they did the deed in the back of his truck. She no longer has illusions or maybe she thinks it is her penance for not waiting till marriage. At any rate she told me she loves Guy so much it does not much matter. She always complains though each time friends would gather at their place, which is a small farm not far where she grew up Guy inherited after his parents passed, her complaint is friends of Guy’s have their story, that one or two incidents they let loose and did something crazy. They sit around the campfire and reminisce about the good ol days and Nellie herself does not have a story. She has always wanted her story to tell.

I landed a job as a clerk at a law firm, just greeting people in the lobby directing them to the office of the attorney they came to see, running errands basically the coffee girl gofer. Yet I have some great bosses who are encouraging me to continue my educations, they are pooling their money with the promise if my grades are high they will pay my way. I am going to take them up on it, but before I do I talked to Guy about Nellie wanting her story, he agreed she should have one and he felt comfortable letting me take her on the adventure that would lead to her story.

On the way to the story:

Pulling out of her driveway Nellie told me that she was disappointed that I talked to Guy about her not having her story, but she was also excited.

I understood but I felt that he should be aware of what we were up to seeing that he was her husband; as I told her this she relaxed and asked where we were going.

I said out of town, where no one knows us so that may be she can relax knowing no one will ever see us again.

We started to talk about some of our good old days and the conversation came up we had about Pasties.

This is how the conversation went:

“Paula are those new or used pasties do you think?”

“What Pasties Nellie?”

“The VFW are selling Pasties-are they used ones from strippers?”

“Nellie they are not that kind of pasties”

“There is another kind of Pasties?”

“Yes these are edible pasties.”

“Oh then I would think they are new and not used.”

We both laughed at that which led to the multiple conversations; including the   one about what boys things look like. I asked her if she now realizes it was not penance because she did not wait to have sex till she was married. She said yes she knew that, she asked at confession. The priest cleared his throat and apologized and he could not explain why God chose to sculpt a man in such away but he assured her God does not make mistakes.

By the time we made it to the Bar and Grill I scoped out on the way into town, it is on the outskirts two towns over, bikers and the like hang there. Country music was blaring, as we walked in, couples were necking in the back corners, guys were playing pool, girls, guys together and otherwise were doing the boot scoot boogie, someone yelled put on some real music or I will shoot the damn juke box.

Yes, this place will do, I figure we will be here a couple of hours and Nellie will be ready to go home to reality. Which her reality is not all that bad, nice looking husband who adores her, a 2 year old little boy who looks just like her.

I was wrong, after 3 beers one guy started to buy us shots, I stayed with beer she drank mine and hers. Oh this is not going to end well, I tried to talk Nellie into at least having water along with the shots; she was not having any of it.

She got up staggered to the pool table and put a wager down; the guys started laughing and suggested to wager her body not money. She said fine by her. Oh I should get her out of her, she was not willing to budge. As I recall Nellie is a great pool player, so she started to shoot pool, after the 2nd game one of the guys said she was a hustler, she said she is no whore, he said Not that kind of hustler. Well you know how that conversation went with two drunks. I finally had to step in when she took a swing at one of the biggest guys I had ever seen, he lifted off the floor. Another guy stepped in to save her honor and a full fledge riot broke out and I jumped behind the bar. The police were called, things were sorted out, the big guy and the one who jumped in to save Nellie’s honor was arrested, oh yes so was Nellie.

I followed the patrol car at a safe distance to the police station. At one traffic light there was enough illumination from the street lights I could see into the squad car. Nellie was hanging on to the grate which separated the back seat with the front seat; she looked like a caged monkey swinging. I could not make out what she was screaming but I could hear one of the officers yell, get the fuck down, get back you asshole just then she did a hurl of vomit which went through the grate, took out half of the patrolman’s face because he was turned to her yelling and also half his uniform. I remember saying out loud as we pulled from the light “Whoa Nellie”

I pulled in the stations parking lot, made sure I parked a distance away, not looking forward to calling Guy and telling him he needs to bail his wife out. Nellie still in the back seat and the patrolman were yelling at each other over the patrol car.

“I told you we should not have arrested her, she had a friend in there somewhere; who could have drove her home to sleep it off, but no you were trying to use her as an example. Example of what I no Fucking idea!”

“Fuck you ! You lazy ass did not even want to take the call.”

“I am not getting back in that nasty ass patrol car for the rest of the shift, there are 4 more hours, so you get your macho ass some soap and water and clean it”

“Louie owes us I will roust his ass out of bed.”

“Who the fuck is Louie?”

“Louie who does car detailing, I will roust him out of bed and have him clean it he owes me.”

“Fuck that, you are on your own, I am going inside, shower change my uniform by the time I am done you better be back with something more like we started with.”

At that I walked up and asked if I could take my friend home. It did not look good because they both were so pissed as they whipped their heads in my direction. Luckily they relented and said “Get her the Fuck out of here”

She puked one more time near a tree, then I  took bottles of water which I always carry in an emergency removed her shirt, rinsed her the best I could, threw on a sweatshirt I had in the back. Gave her a bottle of water told her to start drinking; if she was going to throw up I will pull over. We went as far as the closest gas station with a bathroom, washed her up the best I could threw a clean sweatshirt on her, washed her blouse, and then went to a diner for breakfast. After the diner we took the long drive home.

Now she has her story, which I am not sure she wants to tell. She said she would keep it a secret till her son gets old enough in hopes it would dis-sway him for looking to his own story.,

 

 

Abandon (Poem)

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Abandon

Abandon comes in many forms

Renouncing ideas you once believed in

Deserting someone you once loved

 

Forgo any conclusions

Disavow a friend for reasons which matter to you

Discard items no longer useful

 

Yet there is another abandon

This is far superior

Impulsive without restraint

 

Releasing inhibitions

Bursting free of your comfort zone

At any age can be good for the soul

 

Blending abandons theme

Renounce those ideas which hold you back

Release those who have deserted you

 

Burst free of those who disavowed you

Wantonly look to new experiences

Discard judgments of others

 

Become the abandon free spirit

Not the soul which was abandoned

Let it never restrain you again.

 

 

 

 

 

A Bit of life (Fiction, SHort Story)

A Bit of life   Chapter 1 the date

Each season I enjoy certain elements about each one, winter being the first snow fall yet after 3 months of snow I am ready for spring. Now spring is a very special season with emergence of growth, buds alongside weeds, yet still growth. Life stretching it’s arms to the sun, hummingbirds coming to taste the nectar of a blossom.

Well my daughter is going on her first real date at 16, I have walked through the spring of her life learning to walk, and then run, using the bathroom all those moments we hope for yet seem to pass us by so quickly. I am concerned for her to make smart choices, I remember at 16 hormones spoke louder than my parent’s words yet they are compelled to tell us.

I have known this young man since he was a toddler, as well as his family; which lives the next street over; in my neighborhood that is a long way considering a small farm is 100 acres. I and her dad have known the family since we were kids, families hand down the farms to the next generation that wants to farm. I suppose that is why families which live on farms have broods, some want to go off the farm to the big city and make their way others love the life they grew up with, so this could be the makings of another union which stays home and tends to the farm and their families; I am getting ahead of myself this is their first date, I am not naive enough to think there has been no hanky panky in the hay, Claudia said she has NEVER, that is good to hear, we will see.

My husband Jess would want Claudia to wait till she is 17 ; if he were honest she would not date at all he would pick the man and she would marry him, well we can be too protective and that would be to old world protective.

Hearing the truck pull in the driveway I glance out the window I see Butch pull up in his truck, slowly as not to stir up dust, Jess is wiping the sweat off his forehead and hands, reaches out and gives Butch a handshake. Butch gives a firm nod which his hand is probably just as firm when shaken. I can just imagine the word Jess is having with the boy, I have to chuckle.

Jess is probably telling Butch he wants Claudia home by 11pm and if she is late He will get in his truck and find her, if he is inconvenienced in any way and having to go find her he will beat him to a pulp. Something along those lines is what Jess ranted to me this morning over his eggs and bacon. Wow I remember our first date and doing the deed in the back of his pick up after a few swigs of Ripple.

Time to put some motion in that girls caboose, “Claudia let’s get a move on you do not keep that boy waiting”

“First off mom he ain’t a boy secondly keep them waiting a bit is not a bad thing, makes them want ya more”

“Now hold on Claudia, he does not need to be want’n you at all and please the word is isn’t not Ain’t , language is important”

“Yes Mama now don’t you worry about us, we know what we are doing and where we are going and what we want to do, we will not do anything you and dad did not do on your dates”

I laughed and she knew why I laughed then said “Yes darling it worked for us, me having you at 17, but it does not always work that way”

“I know Mama I know now just you wait and see we will be just fine”

“Claudia, “ Jess walked in the door, guess it is her turn “I told Butch to have you home by 11 pm and you make sure you hold him to that”

“I will Papa I will, love you both very much, you two have some fun tonight with no one here to walk in on ya”

“CLAUDIA!!! That is no way to speak to your parents” I know she did not hear my words because she was out the door and in the truck before I could finish my rant.

That girl is smart but sometimes too smart for her own good

“Jess did you give him your speech”

“Yup, same as I told you I would over breakfast, and by the way I like Claudia’s idea what’s say that we have an early dinner and rip off a piece?”

Laughing as he picks me up and swings me around, I still love and lust for this man after 18 years with him.

 

A bit of Life  Chapter 2 The Worry

 

Time went by quickly after dinner Jess and I spent some special time with each other. Warm Spring evening out on the lawn, loving each other; we now can afford the better wine in a box.

I was the first one to notice how late it was getting, running into the house grabbing my clothes as I went, stepped into the kitchen and my first thought was, that boy is going to pay dearly for this it is Midnight.

Jess walked in moments after me and said “To be honest I figured the boy was up to something, I overheard him at the 5 and dime talking with some of his buddies, he said something along the line; it will not be blue berry hill tonight but Marshals corner”

“Well Jess I guess you know where to start”

“Actually I am going to start by going and having a talk with Norm, Butch’s dad, and he will be going with me so I do not kick the boy’s ass, I will let Norm do it”

“I am relieved to hear you say that Jess”

After kissing me, Jess got into his Ford and pulled out of the driveway kicking up stones and dust, now there is something Butch could have taught Jess.

Those kids what are they thinking; there would be no repercussions? Or did they think that whatever repercussions, it would be worth it.

 

Normally nothing much bothers me but now I am actually scared; it is  2am no word from Jess or Norm, I called Sarah, Butch’s mom and  she is on her way over, bringing some brownies and I am making coffee.

As Sarah walked in the door my phone rang, it was Sheriff Hackle, “Rose this is Sheriff Hackle” as he said this, my stomach dropped, knees started to buckle, Sarah dragged a chair over just in time for me to sit.

“Sheriff what can I do for you?”

“Thought I should tell you that Jess, and Norm are here they found Butch’s truck but no sign of the kids, we have called the marine division; they will take a look at the river, it is just a precaution we have no indication that they fell in or whatever; but we should look early may be they just need help.”

Sarah was putting coffee in a thermos, she grabbed the brownies and we headed to the sheriff department.

By the time we arrived the Marine division had already been dispatched. I wanted to go and stand by just in case but Sheriff Hackle suggested we stay at the department in his office.

Looking at Jess I know he was thinking what I was thinking as soon as the Sherriff left the room we headed out with Sarah and Norm right on our heels. We would be climbing the walls if we stayed in that room.

“Jess please slow down I am as concerned as you are please”

“Sorry Rose I did not realize how fast I was driving”

Jess slowed to the speed limit, on these roads at night with all sorts of critters crossing the road you’d be smart to slow down more.

Norm passed us like we were standing still; I shook my head and took in a breath. We only have 5 miles to cover no sense taking chances I am glad Jess is cool headed about these things, Norm never has been all that cool headed, and sure hope Butch takes after his mama.

Our lights picked up something around the curve it was a fresh road kill, large Buck, Jess and I looked at each other with dread, unfortunately we were right. Norm and Sarah’s truck was flipped over into the culvert, Jess was the first one out of the truck sliding down on his ass into the culvert, on hands and knees went to the passenger’s side first. I got on my cell phone and called the Sheriff’s department.

By the time EMS left, Jess and I were digesting the fact that Norm and Sarah was DOA, and Butch would have to live with this for the rest of his life. Sheriff approached and said they did not find hide nor hair of the kids, but they will check more in the morning.

“This has been a helluva night sun is coming up why don’t you two go home try to rest, I have an all points out on the kids and a missing persons, I will let you know if we find out anything”

 

Jess and I got back in the truck it was such and eerie silent ride home, window down, even though there was a chill, I needed the air to breathe.

A bit of life  Chapter 3  A past truth

 

After calling all of the kids friends, co-workers, spoke to anyone and everyone we could think of. Sheriff’s department was not having any more luck then we were.

Saturday is the Funeral for Norm and Sarah, they have 3 more kids who moved out of town soon after they graduated. The oldest did good for himself, Josh put himself through college and became a dentist.

Then there is Marge she owns a small Boutique in another state she also left the state before she graduated, received her GED took business courses left with her Brother Josh. Larry is a year behind Marge soon as he graduated he joined the Army and has made a career out of it. Sharp shooter and I hear he is very good at it.

Neither of them could be in town for the search, I have been in constant contact with Josh, since Larry is out of country and no one really knows where he is. Josh and Marge will be in town for the funeral and take care of the house, clean it check on the critters.

 It is a Dairy Farm, Butch has been doing double duty, taking care of the cows and our farm, along with some help from the other neighbors, everyone doing a little; goes a long way.

Josh came by as soon as he got into town on Friday afternoon, we had coffee chatted, it was odd though he did not seem too torn up about his parents passing, and none too concerned about the kids. I am eager to speak with Marg her and I had a rapport when she lived here. I was surprised when she left without saying goodbye.

I did not get a chance to talk with Marg but did ask her to stop by before she leaves so we could catch up. She did not shed a tear at the funeral. Very proper business like and congenial but like Josh no signs of sadness I just do not get these kids, I thought they were a close knit family.

“Rose have you had a chance to speak to Marg yet?”

“No Jessie, she came in late and was busy being the hostess, is it just me, or does something seems off about those two kids?”

“Not just you Rose, do you mind if I sit in on your conversation with Marg? I would like to know what she knows about Claudia and Butch.”

“You are not suggesting the kids helped Claudia and Butch leave town do you?”

“I do not know what to think, the funeral was odd, we had not seen anything nor heard anything, all we have is Butch’s truck, foot prints going towards the water nothing coming out, by now they would have floated to the surface.”

The knock at the door interrupted our conversation.

“Hey Marg I am so glad you took the time to come see me, how are you holding up?”

“I am good Rose and want to thank you for staying in touch with Josh so we were informed about the situation with Butch and Claudia”

“Here sit down, you remember my husband Jess?”

“Hey Jess, you and the neighbors have been taking care of the cows and farm work that is such a blessing to us. I suppose you would like to know why Josh and I have not shed a tear for our parents passing” 

She paused as she sat; took a sip of coffee looking very uncomfortable

“Well when I turned 13 was the first time my dad came into my bedroom at night, I will not give all the gory details but my 15th birthday was the last time, by that time Josh had found out and he told me to pack and we would leave as soon as he received his diploma, unbeknownst to me; Larry being 1 years younger than I am,  had seen mom at the door watching, had either of the boys intervened dad would have beat them too an inch of their lives, Josh never said but I believe he was abused as well, same as I was, we all just left that evil son of a bitch”

It seems as if I was holding my breath the whole time she spoke, so much was running through my head I did not know what to think or where to start, Jess was already speaking when my ears caught up with his words.

“Do you or Josh know where Butch and Claudia are?”

“No but it would not surprise me if they just took off Jess, those two were real close, Butch stayed in contact with me weekly, I believe Butch was in love with Claudia since they were in grade school”

Jess and I both sat back in our chairs letting air out of our lungs, shoulders slumped, I believe some relief and a glimmer of hope that nothing nefarious happened to them.

“Marg do you think Butch was abused the same as the rest of you?”

“No because before Larry left town he had it out with dad, do you remember dad was in the hospital for a week? He told the doctors that he got caught between the cows and was bruised up pretty bad when he fell and they stepped all over him, well Larry never was abused, he was always small and skinny, he waited till he had the strength and beat the crap out of dad and told him if he found out that he touched Butch, he would kill him. Dad believed him, Butch told me that dad gave him a wide birth, and never even yelled at him.”

Jess did not say a word he just sat and listened, my numbness must have been visible; Jess came over with his chair and put his arm around me.

“Thank you Marg for being so open and honest with us, I am sure it was not easy”

“Jess, it has been a long time, I have had years to work through things, I went through counseling as soon as I could afford it, I just got married last year to a very sweet and understanding man, he too owns a business, we have the same goals, make enough money to retire, there is no retirement for farmers.”

We both nodded in agreement, and then I said “Marg I wish you would have said something to me, I could have helped”

“It is odd Rose I felt such shame and fear, I had no idea mom was a part of it, in part I was protecting her, I only found out later, after I left she had a part in it.”

After Marg had left the thought occurred to me of the chance Claudia might have been raped by Norm, I pushed that thought out of my head with anger starting to seep through my heart, the deepest anger a woman could have for such evil.

A bit of Life Chapter 4 Welcome- story-Fiction

I have successfully at least for the time being have pushed thoughts of Claudia being hurt by Norm. I am getting on with daily living;  a prayer in my heart and on my lips that those two kids are all right and will come home soon.

Jess is showing some fatigue with the double duty of taking care of 2 farms, some of the neighbors had stopped helping, seems that everyone will help as long as the help that is needed is not for a length of time; just short term , still 2 other neighbors are helping doing things in shifts.

Marg gave me her contact information I wanted to wait and see if the kids would come back; on their own, but now I still think one of Butch’s siblings are helping them out. The only one I have not spoken to about any of this is Larry, being that Marg and Josh say they do not know where Larry is and assume he is out of country, call it mom’s intuition, I am not buying it!

I left a message for Marg to call me as soon as she could, I told her my gut says that either she or her brothers know the whereabouts of Butch and Claudia, and that Jess is happy to take care of the cows but he could sure use some help.

I was just finishing up dinner dishes when the phone rang; I hear Jess’s part of the conversation

“Hello? Oh, Larry how yah kid?”

“So you have heard from Butch where in the hell are those 2”

“Married, ok now what? Am I still expected to work both farms?”

Jess’s volume went up a bit, yet I know he is trying desperately to control his temper. One of the gifts my husband has given me, even tempered at times I do not know how he does it.

“Tonight, absolutely tell them no matter what time, we would like to speak to them.”

An hour later a truck pulled into the drive, newer than Butches truck but same make, it was dark but I could make out 2 people in the front seat. I think I flew off the porch, I do not remember my feet touching the ground, I pulled Claudia to me and just squeezed tight, I know she will yelp but she deserved that, and I needed the hold of this hug.

Jess sauntered out, hand out to shake Butches hand, Butch reached his hand in return. They stood silent for a moment just looking at each other like two roosters. Men, just start talking or something darn it.

Butch spoke first “Sir I guess we need to have a talk, would you like to do it here or in the house”

“House”

We went into the kitchen I put a pot of coffee on, did not know what else to do, then leaned back on the counter arms folded and listened.

“Well sir, I know my brother Larry told you that Claudia and I are married, even though it is legal in other states, if you choose to make a fuss they will annul it, but sir I have loved Claudia since the first day I laid eyes on her, it took a little longer for her but I am not one to give up.”

“Ok, it would have been nice had you come to me man to man before running off and scaring the hell out of us”

“Yes sir, yah see we really did not plan on it, what we had planned is to get engaged and wait till graduation, next year, but that night I had forgotten my wallet at home and swung by the house to pick it up, Claudia stayed in the truck, when I came out the side door to the house I see my dad by the window of the truck, leaning in and talking to Claudia his hand was in the window, she smacked him and said something not so lady like.”

Jess and I both looked at Claudia at the same time I asked softly

“Did Norm ever touch you or hurt you even before this incident?”

“No Mama, never, Butch told me about Marg just the day before, I was going to talk to you and dad about it the next morning, that is when Butch went over to his dad and said if he ever touched me again he would have to call Larry and tell him about it and he said he would add that Norm had walked into his room one night”

“Yes, mam, dad never did, but I knew dad was afraid of Larry, you see Larry when he was in State on leave he would stalk dad, being a sharp shooter dad was really paranoid , Larry figured dad should not go on with his life in peace since he never gave anyone else anything but nightmares.”

“So Sir, Mam, I asked Claudia as soon as I got back in the truck if she would marry me that night, I knew Larry was on leave so we took off to the next state, which would allow those our age to marry and got married, I had a boat in the river, took it as far as it would take us, I  originally planned to  just propose in the boat, I called Larry he met us downstream, he stood as my best man and the wife of the minister was the maid of honor”

“Mama, Pop, sorry for the scare but we did not trust Butch’s dad and we so wanted to be married”

“I get that Claudia, but a phone call would have been nice, knowing we would worry and all”

“Sir, that was my fault, I was afraid you would contest the marriage and I wanted some time with Claudia, yah see sir, Claudia is 3 months pregnant. I plan on running the farm, I will also finish my last year in school, and go to college for animal husbandry, dad ran the farm by the seat of his pants, I want to know more and do a better job, there is insurance money to help in daily expense’s and for the college fund, all my brothers and sister have no need for the money so they gave it to us for a wedding present”

“Ok, Butch even though I am disappointed at how this was handled, I have to admit you did a fine job with what you had going on, from now on you call me Jess, you are as much of a man as I am. When Rose and I were married, she was already pregnant with Claudia, you at least have a plan, I only wanted a plan yet no ideas, I inherited this farm from my uncle, just 3 months after Claudia and I were married, that is the only reason we came back to this town.”

We made plans for the next day, Jess and Butch would get a schedule started; Jess suggested with some of the insurance money hire part time help, there were always people needing the extra cash.

We told both the kids we would like to give them a wedding present, Butch said the help with the farm was gift enough, I knew better, Claudia had her eye on this Mahogany sleigh bed at Jamison interiors she was thrilled when I told her.

Claudia wants to finish school as well,  go on to college wanting to be a social worker or a counselor, to help others with abuse. Jess suggested she talk to Sheriff Hackle,  get his opinion on the best career choice that would have the most impact on the problem.

 I so wanted Claudia to be older but I suppose age is a number and these two though the whole ordeal shows some lack in decision making, at least they came home and we are here for direction in the future. That is as long as they listen..We can only suggest and pray.

 

 

 

 

 

Snow Poem

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Snow

Cannot stand alone

Survival is dependent

Cold is it’s support

 

When Snow is supported

Each moment is unique

Producing individuality

 

Yet if bitten to hard

By it’s support

Snow becomes dangerous

 

Crustiness slips

Causing injury

And chaos

 

Yet just a touch of support

Snow will flourish

Beauty within itself

Silent appearances

Bring peace

Huddling families

 

Wind is it’s enemy

Wind brings bluster

Chaos, sounds of danger

 

Wind and snow

Mixes together

Become a hazard

 

Warmth changes snow

Develops snow

Into tranquility

 

Bring new life

Where all can grow

Let there be warmth

 

Losing yet Gaining Chapters 1-5

Losing yet gaining:  Chapter 1  Out of the comfort zone

Every morning I awake and step out on my porch with my coffee. Every morning I sigh and say today will be different, I will do something new, move forward. I do this every morning since my husband Kyle passed away. At 35 while jogging he had a heart attack, how does that happen a young seemingly healthy adult male who jogs every morning before work, have a heart attack and dies?

It has been 6 months, friends and family alike tell me I need to move forward, I am too young to stay cemented in my home, yet this is where I feel  I belong, where I am comfortable. Just recently my closest friend Polly told me I should stretch myself passed my comfort zone, she added “I am not telling you to move from your home, I am telling you get a job, volunteer something other than taking care of your dogs, and cat, I do not want you to turn into that lady who is hording critters”

I know in my heart she is right, so today I am going into town, ask around at the shops see if anyone needs part time help. So today Marisa Sorenson is going to find a job, any job that will take me out of the house for a couple hours a day.

Armada, is a very small rural community, the kind many pass through and miss if they sneeze, yet it is a tight knit community, 2 churches, 2 bars, which I think the bars balance the churches, 1 hair salon, one IGA grocery store, 1 vet, well you get my drift. I think I will start at the IGA see if Mr. Sullivan needs any help, I have worked as a legal secretary for 10 years, that is how I met Kyle, he was going through a tough time and needed help with his parents estate, I just cannot bring myself back to where we started, and I do not really need the money just something to do outside my comfort zone.

Monday mornings it is always busy at our IGA that is when the new sale flyer takes affect and everyone wants to be the first to get a bargain, walking in I noticed Mr. Sullivan at the register, which he never does.

“Mr. Sullivan have you been demoted from manager to cashier?”

Laughing he said “No Marisa we are shorthanded, Glenda called in she rushed her daughter Lily to the hospital, not sure what is wrong.”

“I actually came in looking for part time work, I worked the register at Meijer’s putting myself through college, how about if I pitch in, and fill the paper work out later before I leave for the day.”

“Marisa you have a deal, I need to help restocking the shelves.”

Well that was easy I now have a part time job at least for a day, we will see what tomorrow brings.

Everyone from the community passes through this store, I have to admit I enjoyed the chit chat about mundane things going on in this community. Such as Mr. Nickel’s prize cow calved, Tony Marino got in another scuffle last night at Louie’s bar he is sleeping it off in lock up,  Cameron Mitchell asked Tilly Morrison to marry him again, and for the 10th time she said no, he said he is not giving up, Lonny Granger sold the old red pick up to an out of towner someone by the name of Pierce Logan, who just moved in the Perry place.  Even though you move to this community you will be considered an out of towner for years, and the place you buy will always be considered the original owners place for years to come.

 

Losing Yet Gaining Chapter 2 Another day

Same as every day I wake up take my coffee outside, this time I step off the porch and walk my dogs around the property making sure they do their business. Mr. Sullivan hired me to work 3 days a week, opposite Glenda. As it turned out Glenda’s daughter Lily had swallowed something which had gotten stuck, even though Glenda did the Heimlich maneuver she took her to the hospital to be sure nothing else went through. Lily is a special needs little girl, she is forever doing something that is worrisome to Glenda. Poor Glenda is married to Tony Marino our local ruff neck who at times drinks too much, he works at Mr. Nickel’s farm when he is sober enough to show up.

Today will be an extra day for me because Glenda needed to stay home with Lily till she passed the foreign object she ate yesterday, I would not want Glenda’s job having to look at poop to be sure the object was passed. 

While between customers I am refilling the gum, candy, chip rack I hear a male voice say “Mam can you tell me where I can find dental floss?”

I look over my shoulder while saying “Isle 5 at the far end top shelf”

“Thank you very much”

“Excuse me my name is Marisa, your new here aren’t you?”

He turned back to me and smiled saying “Yes, my name is Peirce Logan. “ reaching his hand out I took it shaking it and introducing myself “My name is Marisa Sorenson welcome to Armada.”

“Thank you, I am amazed how friendly everyone is, coming from the city where people rarely make eye contact this is just what the doctor ordered”

“Glad you like it here, you bought the Perry’s place.”

“Yes I did, I am getting the impression it will always be the Perry’s place.”

“Yes, it will be designated that, until the day you die if you stay here that long, and then it will be considered Perry/Logan’s place.”

We both laughed he went to look for the dental floss I continued restocking the snack rack.

Just before I left for the day Tilly came bounding through, bounding is the only way to describe how Tilly moves, she loves farming, riding horses and she has been known to ride a few cows at the county fair each year, I think she is half female half male, she loves  Cameron but for some reason she does not want to get married.

Tilly whips her head as she notices me saying “Well what the hell are you doing her city girl, slumming?”

“Nope, working part time, how are you doing Tilly?”

“I am good, nice to see you out and about; it is good for the soul to keep moving”

“It truly is Tilly thank you; especially seeing my neighbors regularly makes my day.”

“Damn right, we are some special kinda of something aren’t we?”

“That is for sure a very special kinda of something.”

We both laughed, I went back to checking out Mrs. Potter, and Tilly continued bounding down the aisle a woman on a mission.

Losing yet Gaining Chapter 3 A day off

 

Ok this morning I take my coffee and my girls out to do their business and for a long walk on the property. Kyle and I bought this place as soon as we were married, 10 years now I have lived here, 20 acres which is a parcel Mr. Nickel’s sold us, he needed the extra cash to expand his milking parlor, and upgrade to milking machines he said he had enough of the bucket to bucket milkers’ now he has the industrial size milkers’ which do several cows at once. He is now the highest milk producer in the county.

The new comer Pierce had bought the farm next to mine, the Nickels farm is behind mine;  so where ever I walk with the girls it is free bounding fun for two shepherds. I am not sure what I will do today; but I promised myself it would not be the same old same old it will be another day with something different added. At the property line the girls were a bit agitated, they normally do not bark unless there is a true threat, they are watching to see what the movement is ahead of us. I call out “Hello, I am walking my shepherds make yourself known!”

“Marisa? It is Peirce; how are you this morning?”

“Peirce I am good and you?” As I said this Peirce appeared through the trees the girls were still weary, they wait to see how I react to situations, Kyle trained them and he did such a fine job with them.

“Good morning Marisa, perfect day for a walk, I suppose this means you are not working today.”

“Not working today just figured I would tire out the girls and decide what to do next.”

“I heard you lost your husband recently, I lost my wife Marion 2 years ago, she was on her way back from seeing her friend in Colorado when her plane went down, they never did find out why; or they are not saying.  Sorry I get a little morose these days I am working on it.”

“ I fully understand when losing someone that does not make sense especially if you loved them seems to etch your soul, I am working at moving forward myself, thus the reason for working at the IGA, seems friends and family have been wanting me to move forward, not sure if I am all that ready but I am trying.”

“Marion and I had a condo along a small lake, we loved it there, we were going to save buy a house along the same lake and raise a family, I stayed a year and a half before I realized I needed to move, so here I am. Mornings I walk the entire property, I am considering breeding horses, Tilly said she would school me on it, and work with me in the buying a stud and breeding. Have always loved to ride, now I think it would be interesting to learn a little more, try something completely different.”

“If anyone knows horses it is Tilly Morrison, that girls has been around livestock all her life some say she is stubborn enough to have mule blood coursing through her veins.”

At that we both laughed, swatted enough mosquitos convincing us time to mosey back to our respective houses. Hailing a farewell we meandered back to our abodes, I needed a refill on the coffee and so needed to sit on my porch. May be tomorrow I will do something new, today somehow I just want to sit on my porch.

Just started my third cup of coffee when a truck pulled into my driveway kicking up stones; I had the girls sit and wait, pulling to a stop out jumped Tony Marino.

“Tony! Please you need to slow down in my driveway, you never know when my girls are out meandering around.”

“Sorry Marisa, I am looking for Glenda and wondered if you had seen her”

“No I have not seen Glenda, yesterday I worked for her at the IGA, what’s the problem?”

“No real problem she just has not been around much and have not seen her for 2 days, just wondering what she is up too”

“Tony, you would not be checking on the girl would you?”

“Well Damn it Marisa, Glenda can be so bull headed, I try to tell that girl something and she just will not listen and just go ahead and do things her own way, the way her Paw always taught her, there are new ways not just his.”

“She is an intelligent girl Tony, may be things would go better if you respect her knowledge.”

“Damn women are all alike think they know everything.”

“Tony have you been drinking? If so you should not be driving.”

“Fuck you City Bitch!” saying this and getting into his truck slamming the door, just before putting it into gear a patrol car pulled in behind him.

The patrolman got out slowly walking up to the truck

“Tony, give me the keys, no more warnings this time you need a ride anywhere you find someone to drive you.”

“Fuck you Porky! Fuck you go eat some donuts and leave us working people the Fuck alone, move that car or I will move it for you!”

At that Tony put his truck in reverse put the pedal to the metal and slammed into the squad car. Dang that man should stop drinking; when he is not drinking; he is the sweetest human being you ever want to meet.

I sometimes wonder if Tony knocks Glenda around when he has been drinking. May be she uses her daughter Lily as an excuse not to come to work, others have mentioned this thought in passing, I sure hope it is not true.

“Tony, get out of the truck now!”

Tony got out and took a swing at the patrolman, the patrolman in one move had Tony on the ground, pulling his arms behind him and zip tied his wrists together.

“Tony you have the right to remain silent.” The patrolman went through all the Miranda rights, putting Tony in the back of the squad car, which had some front end damage but still drive able.

He then let me know there would be a tow truck come by and haul Tony’s truck away, I thanked him and thought to myself, well guess you do not have to leave your home for something different to happen.

Losing yet Gaining Chapter 4 New developments

Bright and early Thursday morning before I made it out onto the porch there was a knock at my door, I was happy to see it was my friend Polly.

“Good morning sunshine I hear you got a job at the IGA, and you witnessed someone being arrested in your driveway, now that is what I am talking about, doing something outside your comfort zone.”

I laughed, Polly has a way about her an easy flow and she looks at daily life with a quirky sense of humor.

“You want a coffee Polly?”

“Does a cow have teats? You bet I do, no cream just leaded.”

“You got it, what brings you out here this early in the morning.”

“Gossip, Justin came home with some juicy stuff!”

As I hand her the coffee sitting next to her on the porch she continues not missing a beat. Justin is Polly’s husband the local Sheriff.

“Seems, Tony has been slapping Glenda around for a while, she filed a complaint, that is why the patrolman was out looking for Tony, plus the fact Tony blew through the only red light in town nearly ran over poor Mr. Slatternly, who shook his cane at the back of Tony’s truck calling him an asshole, as Louie came running out of the bar yelling Tony should not be driving, that is when the patrolman climbed into his car and went after Tony, he then received notice via the radio of the domestic abuse complaint just filed by Glenda.”

I sat stunned and silent for a moment before I spoke up.

“You know Polly I thought moving to a small town like Armada would be quiet and sometimes boring, but I guess when there are humans involved anything can happen.”

“That is for sure, I am not finished yet, there is more, this one will knock your socks off, seems Tilly Morrison has been spending a lot of time at Pierce Logan’s place, at first Cameron Mitchell thought it was to school Pierce on breeding horses and finding the right stud, seems Pierce is the stud. Pierce and Tilly ran off to Bellville and got married, go figure never seen that coming.”

I just laughed, after speaking to him yesterday I did not think he would be ready for something like that, and he chose Tilly well I guess he really wanted something different.

By this time we both needed a second cup of coffee, Polly told me there was more gossip then that.

Coming back out I suggested we walk the girls and talk, so off we went.

“So while Tony was being booked Glenda was packing up her SUV, and a small trailer she has attached to it, she called Mr. Sullivan and gave notice, says she is moving to her parents place in Pennsylvania, and does not plan on coming back. Mr. Sullivan called his wife June asked her to come in to help out, June says she was too busy to be bothered, Mr. Sullivan got in his car drove over to the house, and June was at the register within 15 minutes from when Mr. Sullivan hung up; seems June does not like missing her programs.”

“Well I am wondering if my part time job is going to become a full time job, and frankly Polly I do not want to work fulltime, I do not think it is fair to leave the girls all day here by themselves locked up in the house.”

“Well from what I hear, June was told to start taping her programs because she is taking Glenda’s place, seems Mr. Sullivan says June is too pampered and is getting fat sitting in front of the TV. June was seen pouting, and no one really wanted to go to her register, they did not have a choice because her’s was the only register open.”

My eyebrows up and shaking my head wondering if I wanted this job with all the drama attached to it; I would not want to leave Mr. Sullivan shorthanded but I surely do not need the drama in my life, just a job. I think I will check with Mike Porter our local vet, I would rather be around animals then people.

“Ok, Marisa I just lost you, I see those wheels turning what is going on in that ever spinning mind of yours?”

“I was just thinking I do not want to leave Mr. Sullivan shorthanded, and certainly not after just starting there, but I really do not want to be working in an atmosphere where a marriage counselor is needed.”

“Well, I do not think that will be a problem, seems Cameron’s 2 sisters have been told that if they do not find a job, they do not eat, their dad does not take kindly to loafing about, everyone earns their keep., they just applied at the IGA, Mr. Sullivan has been wanting to open an extra register, so he hired both the girls, so since June is there you may be able to back out nicely.”

I pulled out my cell phone called Mr. Sullivan, he was sweet about it said that I was over qualified and he knew it was too good to be true, yet I knew he wanted to keep his wife working and was probably trying to find a way to tell me. Tomorrow I will go talk to Mike, see if he could use me somehow.

Losing Yet Gaining;  Chapter 5 A nice fit

 

Friday morning after walking the girls I drove into town, knowing the Vet’s office would not be open but that Mike would be checking on his four legged patients, cleaning cages, feeding and readying the place for the day.

Pulling in the driveway I see Mike out with a couple of the dogs; I chuckled to myself knowing exactly what was going on, fussy butts. Some dogs have to sniff 100 times before they find just the right spot. I remember watching Kyle with the girls, learning how to do positive reinforcement training, but one thing which is next to impossible to train a dog to do is their business on command. Let’s face it most men take a newspaper into the bathroom.

I walked over hoping to give him a hand. “Hey sweeties come here give me a hug.” The Pug came over snorting and wagging his whole back end, the beagle was a little more timid but came to inspect me.

“Hi Mike, how are you? I was wondering if you needed help.”

“Marisa, I thought you were working at the IGA?”

“I was but with recent events I have decided to look for something a little more tranquil.”

He laughed small towns everyone knows everyone’s business so there was no need to expand on my reasons.

“Well if you could get these two to do their business it would be a big help today, but I really do not have a paying job to be honest.”

“Ok, I understand let me see what I can get done with these two fussy butts.”

It took a few minutes, but it did relieve Mike so he could go in continue to clean cages, check on his one patient. I came in with the two girls, with the beagle being my best friend instead of standoffish.

Mike said “You know Marisa I do not have a paying job but I do have something if you are interested.”

“I am listening what do you have in mind?”

“These two girls where dumped here yesterday, seems who ever their owner was no longer wanted them, they were put in the outside kennel. At least they had water and shelter, I am not equipped to take them in, the local shelter is full up would you consider, being a fosterpawlessparent?”

“Actually that would be right up my alley, I could work with them making them more likely to be adopted, there is plenty of room on the property, I have a very large mud room I can turn into a kennel, yes I will love to do this, but wouldn’t I need some sort of certification from the state to do this?”

“Yes, we can work on that, at this point we will make it unofficial, and work at getting you certified, but let’s see if this is a good fit, that was a gut reaction you gave me; let’s give it sometime and see if this is something you really want to do.”

So that is how it started, that is how my perfect fit and my life moved forward, it took 6 months for me to be certified.  I now work hand in hand with the local Humane Society, and Mike; taking in and training those dogs that are hard to handle. It seems with my added service our Humane Society is slowly becoming the place to adopt the perfect pet. I also run a free obedience clinic hoping to transform pet owners into better pawlessparents.

Tony Marino went to rehab he has been in touch with Glenda, she says unless he dries out and works regularly for at least a year she will not come back. Good for her, I hope she sticks to her guns.

 Cameron Mitchell has a good attitude about Tilly marring Peirce, he says “Seems she meant it every time she said no, guess you can love someone without being in love with someone.”

Lonny Granger who sold his old truck to Pierce Logan has been coming around a lot lately to help me with the kennel. Lonny inherited the farm from his dad, and farms it for grain and hay which he takes the grain to the Local grain Elevator at the end of the season, and sells the hay to the local farmers. He also grows the best sweet corn, and other produce which he sells to Mr. Sullivan who proudly stocks it in his store. Buy local has been this community’s mantra.

June is losing weight and seems her and her husband are going to counseling through the church they belong to.  They are both smiling more and it has become apparent that June has a knack for window and shelf displays the patrons have been commenting on with such flattery June is puffed up like a hen who just laid an egg.

I have learned some things from Lonny Granger since he started helping me with the Kennel, he knows dogs, he has two shepherds of his own and works with the states search and rescue team. Lonny is always on the lookout for the dog that has that something special. We seem to make a good team.

I am not ready to date, but we will see in the future if Lonny and I are the perfect fit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Box Chapter 6-9

The box Chapter 6 The Emergency

 

Another nice evening serenading our parents, leaving them to reacquaint themselves, the only difference this evening mom was acting like a school girl being dated.  Little giggles and coy looks, Stan was soaking it all in.

Paul and I kept glancing at each other wondering how this night would end after my mother’s announcement that she had expected Stan to share her bed last night. Paul made the suggestion to let them be and let the chips fall where they may.  I sighed and agreed, which would mean I would be awake all night: good thing there is Jack Daniels to keep me company.

Sure enough mom and dad walked hand in hand up the stairs I had this crazy question run through my head, I wonder if Stan can still do the deed. What a thought to have about your mom and dad.

Paul came back down the stairs in sweatpants, t-shirt and socks

“Hey sis have any more of that Jack Daniels left?”

“Sure do; but the question is will I share. “

“Let me know because I am willing to drive to the store and get more”

“Actually Paul the bottle was not full yesterday and we had nearly finished it sorry, I never thought to go out today to replenish our stock”

“Hahaha No problem I will throw on some jeans and fetch us the biggest bottle they have in the store, we have 2 more days of surprises coming our way”

As Paul pulled out of the driveway I had a eerie sense something was about to happen. I hate when that happens, it happened the night Jessie died, when the officers showed up at my door in uniform I knew something happened. When they told me the day it happened I knew exactly what time it happened.

I am sipping my drink mulling over everything that happened today; mom and Stan sitting on the porch.

He was gracious about the fact mom did not remember him this morning so he started from the beginning telling about himself, about Paul, his daughter in law and grandchildren.

Grandchildren, my nieces and nephews another thing I have not fully taken in. I keep telling myself I have a family. The box I opened a little more than a month ago has given me a box full of gifts that keep on giving.

Paul walked in the side door with a big grin on his face holding up the biggest bottle of Jack Daniels I have ever seen. He talked the owner into the display bottle, I started to laugh as he did also.

“I figured it could be a remembrance of our time together here may be we can go on Pinterest and repurpose the bottle once it is empty”

“Oh Paul that is hilarious you actually know about Pinterest?”

At that moment my mom yelled Fire!  Fire! Fire!

I did not know where to go first I started up the stairs, Paul right behind me, Stan coming down the stairs yelling “Next Door!  Next Door!”

Oh My God Sherry I have not seen her since Paul and Stan came to visit, have not talked to her, OH God Not my best friend.

That thought rolled through my head I was too afraid to give it a voice.

We all ran outside Sherry her husband and 2 kids where huddled on the front lawn in shock staring at their house engulfed in flames. Sirens approaching police officer speaking to them that they should step back.

I ran to Sherry “Come on Sherry, Glenn come inside the house let these men do their job”

“Oh Penny it is all gone, all gone”

“I am so sorry Sherry, so very very sorry, but you are still here, your children and husband are still here”

She hugged me and wept uncontrollably as I did when I told her of Jessie’s passing

Paul poured 2 more glasses of Jack, 2 glasses of wine and 2 glasses of milk we sat in silence for some time before anyone spoke, first one was my mom

“Well my darlins we cannot stay up all night drinking let’s find a good cuddly place for these young ones to sleep”

“I have a davenport in my office they can share”

Sherry and her husband tucked them in, my mom and Stan went back to bed, separate rooms this time, the rest of us shared Jack.

I need to make an appointment with the Doctor, another conversation.

The Box Chapter 7 Doctors advice

 

After all the excitement last night with the fire, Sherry, her husband and the kids spending the night; mom stayed in bed late. I asked Sherry if she was up to keeping an eye on mom while Paul, Stan and I went to talk to Doctor Christopher and get his advice about moving mom up north.

There is a part of me which is for it, that part says “Go out of your comfort zone move forward in your life, work part time for your brother”

The other part of me is afraid to make the change using mom’s illness as an excuse to stay; but if I move I will be closing the door to Jessie. Here I can still walk by the condo we shared; the places we went for lunch, shopping. Parts of Jessie are still alive here. Yet I know I need to close that door and move forward.

Paul, Stan and I filed into Doctor Christopher’s office, I have not spoken to him since I opened the box and mom flipped out, he has a reader’s digest version of the contents of the box.

After making introductions, I gave a little dissertation on the current situation.

“Doctor Christopher I am considering my dad’s offer to move up north into the house next door to him, my concern is for mom and if she would be able to adjust to the move”

“Well let me ask you this Penny, how is she handling having her husband back in her life, also add to it her son?”

“Better than I ever expected Doctor”

“Ok so let’s look at what you have accomplished as a caregiver, have you been using the tools you have learned in caring for an Alzheimer patient?”

“Yes, I leave little notes with a short list of things she could accomplish each day, I also put current pictures of everyone staying in the house with their names on them; placed pictures on both bulletin boards, one being in her room the other in the kitchen”

“Well Penny I believe those same skills that you use will go a long way into making this move a good transition, my personal opinion you need to do this for you; all this time taking care of your mom I do not believe you have had the time to completely grieve the loss of your husband. Also you have taken 100% of the responsibility for the care of your mother, you now have a family that wants to share in that responsibility.”

“That is very true Doctor Christopher, and I will admit comforting, I have been feeling a little burnt out, needing some time for myself, also wanting to get back to practicing law, my brother has offered me a part time position in his firm, which would work well for me”

“It will be good for your mom because you will be emotionally rested, and more evenly tempered”

I knew exactly what he meant; he has caught me losing patience with mom especially those times when she repeats a question, over and over till I want to scream. I know in my heart it is not her fault but still drives me buggy. They tell you to answer the question evenly and with a calm tone each time. Sometimes it is not humanly possible to do this. 

Paul leaned forward in his chair and asked “Doctor Christopher, I have a question for you, how can you tell the difference between Alzheimer’s and normal aging processes?”

“Paul many people ask this question, the Alzheimer’s patient is not cognitive to assert themselves as clearly as your father has, well thought out his needs, communicating it in a clear and concise matter”

“After listening to you and Penny has me reassessing what is happening with dad”

“Oh Paul I am just an old guy who has brain farts once in a while”

We all chuckled, Paul patted dad on his back, I sighed ; dad sighed, dad is becoming famous for his warm hugs.

 

Couple of days later Sherry and her family moved in with her sister who has a large farm house 7 miles out of town.

I look out my window at the charred remains of my best friend’s house; the fire marshal said faulty wiring combined with a candle on the dining table was not put out. It hit me in a blink of an eye everything can change we need to make the most of what we have and what is given us.

Paul called his wife Millie, she came down state and Paul went home. Paul needed to get back to work and Millie came down to help me with the move. Since the house that Stan offered us is completely furnished I wanted to take only pieces of furniture that mom treasured like her bedroom set, and a floor lamp near her chair and of course her chair.

Last box taped closed, movers closed the doors to the truck and headed out. Mom did well she had her moments of confusion no different than any other day. She did her repetitive question;

“What are we doing why are we moving”

Millie was great with it, she had taken care of both her parents so it was something she was accustomed too. She likened it to having 5 kids and all asking the same question 5 different ways hoping for a yes instead of a no. I had to laugh, she seems a perfect mate for my brother.

I know this is not going to solve all my problems and I will need to do some adjusting as well. I am not used to having people around I have become a loner since I started to take care of mom. It is time for me to stretch past my comfort zone and let others into my life.

I am not ready for dating but I think I am ready to get to know my family.

The Box  Chapter 8 The Move

 

Moving day, as the truck pulled away a strange sensation went through me, a release of sorts; as if Jessie was saying it is ok to move on. Embarking on a new adventure in my life a new chapter, let’s turn the page and a new leaf at the same time.

It was difficult for me giving some control over to Millie, I am normally the one who makes the decisions even those little curves mom gives me I am the one who comes up with the solution. Millie suggested mom ride with her, she will consider it as may be a girl outing which may change her constant question.

I am in the car alone with my own thoughts for 3 and a half hours, I have not had 3 and half hours with my own thoughts for as long as I have taken care of mom. My senses were dulled from unused portion of my brain; my music was not doing the trick to kick me into gear.

Where are those quick solutions I would come up with mom why can I not find it within myself not feel as if I am only going through the motions suspended within this vehicle?

Just then Millie pulled alongside me on the express way I looked over mom had the biggest smile on her face and she waved, I waved back, another moment in my life I will never forget, priceless; I have to remember to thank Millie for this moment.

I through my favorite CD in by the Piano Guys turned it up, put on the cruise control and got diggy with it.

We stopped for lunch at Apple Bees moms favorite lunch spot, her favorite breakfast spot is Big Boys. Walking up to the door my mom actually hooked our arms together and let out a sigh. I have never heard her sigh, I so wonder at what is going on in her mind, what is she thinking we are doing.

“I have to ask Millie, how was your ride?”

“Fine I just asked her about when she was a girl, what she liked in school; things like that, I was just making conversation and keeping her occupied with something other than where we are going and are we there yet”

At that I literally tipped my head back and laughed, realizing I am glad not to have been in that car and had the time to myself.

“Millie you are a gem, thank you so very much, I have to say up front I may at times be as difficult as my mom, I am not used to giving control for her care and needs so if I step on your toes please do not give up on me”

“I totally understand, with both my parents if it were not for Paul I would have lost myself first then my mind, I became a hovering mother duck”

She is right that is exactly what I have become, I need a way to fly on my own, and allow mom some new experiences as well.

“Penny what is it you are eating?”

“Mom, it is shrimp scampi, and a salad”

“I chose the chicken penne and a salad”

“Perfect choice mom” She always chose that, some constants are good.

When we arrived the movers were closing the door to the truck and pulling away, the house is adorable, a brick ranch with white trimmed windows, white picket fence, just adorable. I just realized I liked the idea of no stairs for mom, it is perfect with huge pines, large maples and looks like an apple tree in the back yard; idyllic setting I can see mom will love this place.

Mom stood on the sidewalk and said “Charlottes house”

Stan came up behind us and said “Yes Sarah, Charlotte used to live here till she moved to Buffalo”

“She did not want to move to Buffalo, she was afraid of a stampede”

It was all I could do not to laugh at that, young girl worried about moving to a town called Buffalo because they might stampede.

Walking into the living room the furniture was over stuffed comfortable country style. Yes this will do just fine, I cannot believe my life has changed this much since I opened that box 2 months ago. Even a box being delivered to your house can change your life.  

The Box chapter 9 Adjusting and saying goodbye

The house is idyllic mom just goes room to room repeating different emotions not thoughts emotions, it comes out as  a question but what she is asking and what she is remembering are two different things.

Now it is all about me acting out, looking back as I am telling you this I feel shame. Here is how it went”

First off I cannot tell you the exact words I used directed at my Mom those words were MY emotional fists.

“Mom really you do not remember Charlotte throwing a tantrum because you received for your birthday the bike she wanted.” It has been and endless barrage of embarrassments because of my issues. I know it is due to me being burnt out, I love my mom and am glad I now have back up with family.

Millie has been a gem, she has this ability to know when to come by and suggest that I go for a walk or shopping, I do not know what I would do without her.

Stan has been great with her, especially over the winter; here the winters can be brutal, especially with less sunshine. Stan will start a fire and chat with mom, which gives me a chance to do laundry make beds and start a meal.

Paul stops by so I have an adult to talk to, we talk of his firm what they are working on. I am waiting to start there till summer, giving mom a chance to get into a routine, she seems to do better when her days are organized by routine.

I am glad after 6 months we have gotten past my issues because Mom has settled in nicely. Sure there were quirks same as if we remained in her house, the unending questions, the chatter as one with Savant Syndrome.. My mother is intelligent, sometimes I wonder how much is savant and how much is Alzheimer’s.. I have gone through denial, she had a slight case of savant, and repetition was confused with OCD she is not OCD, some have wondered about me all my life and I found out recently that I am dyslexic. When will we understand the differences between us is not that different but that special?

Starting work tomorrow Millie said she will take care of mom while I am at work. 3 days a week I will be working 5 hours each day, some filing, preparing briefs, counseling perspective clients directing them to the attorney within the firm who specialize in their needs.

Walking out the back door there is a full covered porch, mom loves sitting out there watching the squirrels and birds do their dance as she puts it. Stan is out there now with her helping her water the small garden and potted plants. She at times acts like his girlfriend, other times like a neighbor. She is content which is so good to see, Stan is with his Sarah.

Tonight Stan wants to grill some chicken and we will picnic outside on the porch. I made potato salad, cut up raw vegetables, all mom’s favorites.

“Hey Stan how is it going out here?”

“Just fine Penny, we are just finishing up, Sarah is resting in the chair under the maple tree while I roll up the hose”

I walked over where mom was sitting she seemed so still, fast asleep. I did not want to disturb her so I went back to the house.

Moments later I hear Stan “Sarah!!!! My Sarah!!!Do not leave me again!!”

Leave me again; it did not compute into my brain till I reached the chair where Stan was kneeling his head in mom’s lap sobbing a wretched sob.

I called 911 she was pronounced dead Friday May 1 at 11am.

I am glad I opened the box and made the move. It changed my life and mom’s for the better, not regrets now I will be mourning the loss of my mom and yes still Jess. My family will be near to help me through the grieving, and moving forward.

 

 

 

 

The Box Chapter 5 A sit down with dad

The Box Chapter 5 a sit down with dad

Dad came down the stairs looking dapper, smile on his face and very warm and gracious hug, then he went right to it.

“Well young lady we need to talk about your mom please let me have my say and then tell me what your thoughts are or chew on it for a while and get back to me”

“Here are my thoughts, I do not want to be with her 24 – 7 but I would like access to her, and would like to spend regular time with her if not daily every other day depending how she is feeling. Not quite sure how we could accomplish any of this since you live down here but I have an idea you may want to mull it over; I still live in the same house your mom lived as my wife, I still have the rocking chair she sat in holding you and your brother, I want Paul to bring it down from the attic. Sigh, I also own the house next door, it would be nice if you and she could move in; there is a white picket fence that we could chat over; and a beautiful flower garden, on her good days she and I could putter in the garden, or sit under the shade tree sipping tea. I know you have this place and all but there would be no charge for living there, I just want to spend time with my Sarah.”

I sat stunned for a few beats, what took me off guard was the mention of the rocking chair, I guess I have not completely grasped the whole concept of Stan being my father and Sarah being his wife. I have only known my mom as Judy, this is a lot to absorb.

“Well first off Stan, mmm dad my main concern is how she will accept a move, if she could accept a move. I would not want her to be set back at all, I am so hoping to keep the status quo hoping to hold on to her good days as much as possible. I will tell you this, I will consider it, I need to talk this over with her Doctor and get his thoughts on it. From the information and advice he gives me I will be able to make an educated decision. For us to move from this house financially is no big deal because we are renters, this was mom’s house I sold my condo and moved in with her when she became unable to live alone, so that would not be a problem”

“Well good then you are at least willing to consider my ideas I like that Penny, please let me know what the Doctor says”

“Well dad how about I make an appointment with the Doctor and you can be part of the conversation, would that suit you?”

“Oh Penny that would suit me just fine, yes indeed just fine”

I went up to see if mom needed help as I reached her door she was coming out in a new dress with flowers and ruffles, she looked airy and beautiful.

Slowly descending the stairs Stan came over to look up at us and said

“My two beautiful girls I am one lucky old codger”

“Oh aren’t you a sweet old sort, and what have you got to say for yourself this morning? Leaving me to sleep alone after all that romance music and holding hands”

I took in an involuntary deep breath; if my eyes were as wide as Paul’s I must look ridiculous. Letting out the air and laughing at the same time triggered a coughing Jag which only sent Paul reeling in uncontrollable laughter “

Both our parents looked at us like we had lost our minds which only made it worse.

Once I was calmed down, blew my nose, wiped my eyes I asked if everyone was hungry

Mom said “Stan and I will take our coffee out on the porch, please dear”

“Oh Sarah that is a marvelous idea we can catch up on old times”

“Old times? My word; have you lost your mind we have only met last night, you tell me about yourself and that nice young man you have with you”

So our day started with a mix bag of tricks but hey that is Alzheimer’s for you; never knowing from one moment to the next what the day will bring. It is never boring and rarely the same. One thing I like about it is, if I tell a joke to mom and it makes her laugh hard I write it down and make sure I tell it to her again. It is always heard through her ears for the first time even though I have told it 100 times.

Eaves dropping is a gift I really do not have, I am not good at it; part of that clumsy talent I have. Invariably when I try to be quiet, either I, stub my toe, hit my not so funny bone or knock something over.

After breakfast I went outside with a cup of coffee and sat on a step, I really wanted to know more.

So Paul has a nick name similar to mine Rock a doodle, any time dad played music Paul rocked. Now that brought a smile to my face I have noticed he never really sits still, his foot has to be moving some part of his body has to move he cannot just sit.

Paul’s first words were Skipper. Skipper was the family’s coonhound who would sleep anywhere he flopped.

Instead of singing Paul to sleep dad would whistle, at that Stan started to whistle a beautiful melody that I swear came from heaven itself. I have never heard anyone whistle like that, from the screen door Paul joined in the chorus of Beautiful Savior. I was entranced by this I did not notice till much into the song mom had tears roll down her cheek.

Mom said softly with a little choke to the words “You used to whistle standing in my back yard looking up to my bedroom window, Blue Danube”

Oh that is why it is her favorite song.

The Box CHapter 4 Decisions

The Box Chapter 4 Decisions

Evening is coming quickly, I am concerned about this time of day, Alzheimer sufferers have what they call sun downing. They become more confused and out of sorts. With having guests in the house may make it a little more difficult.

So I will do what I do every night I play the piano; starting with mom’s favorite song Blue Danube. While playing I notice Paul go out to his car then came back with a guitar. He pulled up a dining room chair and joined in. Here I am with my brother serenading my parents.

Looking at my mom and dad on the couch sitting; is as if it were the most natural thing, this is surreal. Dad has this calm sweet look on his face, every so often he nods in my direction I cannot determine if it is the playing or me that he is impressed with. Either way it is ok with me, mom has a sweet contented smile on her face.

After 4 songs I was about to ask if there were any requests, my dad stood up reached his hand toward my mom ; she reached hers to his, they turned and walked for the stairs. Paul and I both sat in suspended animation not believing what we were seeing nor knowing what to do about it.

Being our elders and Parents it is hard to balance as their caregivers, giving them the privacy and respect they deserve.

I broke the silence

“Ok big Brother what do we do now?”

“Don’t big brother me it was only seconds and from what I hear you kicked me out”

We smiled not laughed, of course I sighed.

“Fine I will go up and try to have a discrete talk with dad”

“Thanks Paul, I would not know where to begin”

“Hey Penny what is the worst that could happen, they fall asleep together”

“Well for one mom does not always wake up on the right side of the bed, she may shriek and say “ Who is this man in my bed”

“Now hold on dad may steal a line from the three bears ‘Who’s been sleeping in my bed, aha here she is now and she is not Goldilocks she is the Silver bimbo from the bar what have I done”

Now we laughed as he climbed the stairs. I stayed at the base of the stairs waiting to see how this transpires, plus I am a coward when it comes to confrontation.

Paul was soon back, “He is only tucking her in, and he said he feels it is his duty to care for his wife”

“Whew that is a load off my mind Paul”

“well do not get to comfortable, the way dad said it I am wondering if this was a mistake coming here after all”

“Mistake what do you mean, why would it be a mistake they are doing fabulously”

“I am concerned he may want to stay or take her with him”

“Paul neither of those options are possible, she would not be up to such a drastic change”

“Sorry Penny I am giving you fair warning I know my dad, that tone he used was in no uncertain terms, “It is my responsibility to take care of my wife” when he digs his heels in we can be in for a bit of a challenge”

“Ok we and he can sleep on it, this will be one time I hope his confusion will be a help not a hindrance”

Morning came; I had coffee made when Paul walked into the kitchen. His aftershave reminded me of Jessie; melancholy suddenly weighed on me, I guess I am a bit like my dad; I cannot seem to move forward; using my mom’s illness as an excuse to anchor me in one spot, still morning, still missing Jessie after so many years.

“How is he this morning Paul?”

“He is good, slowly getting ready for the day, and to have a heart to heart with you”

“Oh Paul he really wants to stay and take care of mom?”

“Well he wants to have a say in her care, and legally he has the right to do so even if you are the executor to her estate, and listed as the advocate to make the end of life decisions, he is still legally her husband”

“Paul, you are not suggesting you would push this for him?”

“God, no that would be the last thing I would do, I would counsel him to go slow and keep her illness in mind, also remind him of his on and off confusion , we can find a happy medium somehow”

Sigh, sigh sigh

“Wow Penny is that a record three sighs in a row, one big hee haw”

We both smiled but we knew this was a time to make some decisions. I never in a million years have seen this coming. Let’s see what today brings , they will be here for another 5 days that is plenty of time to sort this out and even hope his mind changes.