Friday, January 26, 2018

Let's go Down to the sea
As the sand
Meets the waiting sky

As the waves tease the toes
Of the stately ice floes
As they lumber slowly by 

Let’s go up to the hills
That kiss the clouds
As they fly

Or the verdant green
From stream to stream
As the dusk 
sails where they sigh

Let’s go home to our home
Where the sea and glade
In our glen we will lie
In the sweet bye and Where the sky meets the sea
I will wait for thee

Where islands in the sky wait for time

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

2018 .. A new year

Thinking about the gains
and losses
from a year so recently gone
always seems to lead me back
to where I first belonged

The good .. the bad
feels stronger than before
I’m wanting less
but finding more
as I work ceiling to floor

I cannot please the everyone
 someone or
anyone at all
so I will try to please myself
ducking from chips that fall

My New Years resolution list
is very short this year
be kind
be loving
don’t fix what’s not mine
don’t make others happy
for me

Sunday, November 05, 2017

My sweet enraged friend posts holiday tips on how to bury guns .... she is angry and frustrated .. unable to comprehend or stop this violence ... she’s looking for someway to assuage the pain ... we all are ... she rants against an ineffectual God ... invisible gun control .. insincere government officials .. incomprehensible violence .. and an exploitative media .. vultures waiting for the next feeding frenzy ... her screams of painful rage echo from sea to shining sea ...

Friday, October 06, 2017

I haven't blogged much this year ... it's been an odd year since my mom died. I've been out of sorts trying to find a new 'normal'.  There was drama over our grandson who moved back in with us after a year away ... and it was a year of 'aways.'   We went to Berkeley for a week to see family ... I went to the Bahamas with my daughter .. I went back East for my high school reunion .. to visit my elderly aunt .. and stayed in Upstate NY and then finally returned from 12 days in Germany and the Czech Republic last Wednesday culminating in finding my home town on national news from the 10-1 massacre ... Las Vegas.

Like I said ... an odd year.  We lost one Chihuahua and rescued another ... we gave our home a facelift .. bid farewell to friends who would never see the end of 2017 and welcomed a great grandson. Was adopted by a feral kitten and picked the sweetest watermelon I have ever eaten.  I watched my husband begin to relinquish his hold on immortality as I began to questioned my own. I let go of my need to be busy and found two new careers .. one in camera work and the other in accounting.

But the worst bit of this odd year happened last Sunday night. Relaxing in bed we got a call from our Katrina -- our Katlyn was in lock-down in the basement of the Luxor ... calling everyone including her 3-month-old son .. to say goodbye in case she didn't survive ... there was a shooter ... people by the hundreds.. bloodied and panicking .. had rushed past her reception desk  in a frantic search of a safe place to hide from the carnage across the street .. the final night of a music festival.

By 5:30 she was on her way home ... and we breathed a sigh of relief that lasted only as long as the next moment as we learned the names and faces of those who not be going home again ... a heart wrenching anthem of mothers - fathers - sisters - brothers - friends - lovers.  I read of the heroes and heroines ... and I saw a town touted as Sin City show its true colors of honor ... compassion .. and love .. as if by an unspoken accord we began to stand in the gap ... for strangers and family alike.

The horror of that day will fade for those who did not feel that bone chilling fear of loss.  For those who must face grief-stricken days ahead ... you are not alone. We grieve as well .. feel your loss and share your pain.  We could not protect your loved ones  .. or our own ... and thus share a bond forged by grief but strengthened by love.  As you travel a road none would willingly choose .. know that a part of us goes with you ... always.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My Mother's Pearls

Several years ago I was visiting my mom in her apartment and she suddenly stopped and looked at me and asked if there was any jewelry of hers that I wanted. I don't wear much jewelry but I was curious. 

I hesitated and so she said she had already given most of her jewelry to my sisters but she could give me either a pearl necklace or some costume jewelry she had gotten from my dad. She said the pearl necklace came with a story.  I chose the necklace and asked for the story.

Here it is....

My mom was 17 years old in her junior year of high school in 1940 and very popular. Slender with dark brown hair that framed a lovely face, she had clear brown eyes and a mischievous grin.  The one I have inherited from her, Frances Lucille Smith. 

That same grin hid in the corner of her eyes as she settled into her comfy blue recliner and into her story.  Once upon a time there was a boy ... a boy who would remain nameless.

It was only a few short weeks until his graduation and he was already enlisted in the Army.  He was preparing to go to the war in Europe but it was spring and he had a question that couldn't wait.

The sweet scent of Lilacs filled the air as he walked her home from school but as she turned towards the walk to the front door he gently tugged her into the blooming Lilac tree, so full of blossoms that it hid them from view.  The heel of one dainty white pump caught on a root as she fell into his arms.

She smiled, leaned in closer and nestled under his chin as he lifted her face and gently kissed her.  She sighed, "I wish you wouldn't go" she whispered.  He nodded, "I know.  But I don't want to leave without a promise."

Her eyes widened. 

"I want you to come with me to the jewelers so we can pick out an engagement ring."  She stepped back, her eyes round with surprise.  

Then she lifted her chin.  "But what ..." she hesitated, straightened her shoulders.  Her voice dropped, "not everyone comes back."   

He started to protest but she rushed on, " I want your ring, I do, but not like this."  She stepped closer and whispered, I want the ring and you, together."

He caught her hands in his.  "But what can you wear so everyone will know you are mine?" His voice wavered.  "Fran, you ... you are mine?"

Her voice raised with that teasing note he knew so well, "Well, I love pearls."

Several weeks later, fingering the strand of pearls that graced her slender throat Frances watched as his train disappeared around the bend.  He would come back; he had to come back.

Over the next three years she repeated that well-worn phrase.  His letters were scarce unlike the black edged posts that were hand delivered around every town, large and small. She spoke often with his mother, who lived in a nearby village, every time fearing the worst but if letters were scarce at least the black edged telegraph never arrived either.

Finally his mother called, he was coming home.  She was so excited, she chatted on, she'd wear the pearls and her pink dress with the white eyelet collar and.... she suddenly stopped as she noticed the silence on the other end.  "Well Fran" his mother began hesitantly, "he wants to wait to see you.  He was hurt and he wants" her voice dropped, "to wait a bit."

"How" her voice wavered, "how long?"  

"Not long Frannie," her voice forced a confidence that was missing.  "I'm sure not long."

But it was long. It was well over a year after the war ended when she stopped waiting and volunteered to go to Japan and aid in efforts to rebuild.   The pearls still went with her everywhere, though seldom adorning her neck.  

They, her and a good friend, went by ship to Japan, then just a few months later, she took the long cruise home again when her father fell ill. She boarded the train from California home to Indiana.  It was on that train that she met the handsome young Air Force sergeant who would become her husband a year later, Joe.

The pearls sat in her top drawer, in a box of cotton, hidden but not forgotten.  They might have stayed there forever, except for a trip home one fall, back to Indiana, a small vacation without three little girls.  On a whim she decided to take them, and wear them.

Joe had spotted a small bar, while visiting her family, on a rainy afternoon.  Sitting next to him she considered how different her life was from what she had imagined.  He ordered drinks as she got up to powder her nose, walking around the long curve of maple bar.  She glanced towards the bar as she turned towards a dim hallway and there he was.

It would be hard to decide who was more surprised.  She stepped back, her heel caught on the edge of the carpet and he reached out to steady her.  A quick glance behind showed that Joe was flirting with a waitress.  She sighed in relief.

"It, it's really you," he whispered, drawing her into the dim hall.  He looked back at the table too, sudden understanding filling his eyes.  "I, I am so, so sorry Frannie."

"You never called.  Never."  Her words hung in the air between them as she fingered the pearls.  His eyes dropped to the floor.

"I, I was sick Fran, really sick.  It was, well, it was hell.  You were my hope and I, I wasn't worthy of you any more."  His chuckle was dry, "When I felt better, I went to see your mom.  She told me you were married.  She told me to move on."

His arms waved to encompass the bar, "This is mine Fran.  But it's not too late.  It can be ours, you," he glanced at her throat.  "You have the pearls."  For a moment hope sprang between them.  "You have our promise."

"Five years, five years I waited."  She glanced back at the table and saw that Joe's eyes were peering into the dark hallway.  "No, it's too late.  I'm married and I have three little girls .. maybe four," she glanced at the waist of her dress. 

She gave him one last sad glance, and turned back towards the table, to her life.  As they left the bar an hour later he stopped by their table, and asked Joe if he'd been overseas.  They chatted for a moment and he told them that the drinks were on the house for servicemen and shook his hand.

My dad died in1991, after years of torment from his years as a POW in Japan.  His torment finally had ended as did my mom's.  A year later the phone rang.  An old friend, he said.  She told him, with a smile, that she remembered.

"I'd like to see you."  She said, "Yes, yes I'd like that."

He picked her up in a rental car, handing her a bouquet of Lilacs at her door.  "You remembered?"  He smiled.  Dinner was comfortable as dinner with an old friend can be, and as he walked her to her door he smiled.

"A little late," he gently touched the pearls nestled around her throat.  "Too late?"

She looked up at him.  That same smile erased the years of loss.  "I should have waited longer.  If I had known...," she looked down at her sensible black heels and glanced up again, "but I didn't.  It was wonderful seeing you again.  I wish you well."

He gazed at her for a moment longer, nodded and turned back to his car, glancing back for one last look.  "May I call again?"

"Of course."

It was almost two years later when his daughter called to tell her that he was gone.  "He always loved you, you know," there were tears in her voice.  "Thank you for seeing him, it made his so happy."

Mom sighed and handed me the box of pearls.  "Now these are yours."  We both smiled as we looked at the slender white vase that sat on the low maple table between us, and took in the sweet sweet smell of the Lilacs  dancing there.

October in Vermont 2007

October in Vermont 2007