Funny How This Works

A blogging friend shared this post today:

Nachos..

Posted on March 29, 2016 by A Not So Jaded Life

I called for a nacho night, awesome right? Except I ate almost all the cheese before it went on the corn chips… Why do I do these unforgivable things. 

I can certainly identify with her dilemma. Nachos sans cheese are just chips. I imagine that  when the ingredients met up in her stomach they probably recognized their respective soul mates and did a happy dance.

  
But her tale reminded me of one from my very early childhood. I commented:

When I was very little my mom made up a mixture of peanut butter and Karo syrup to put on toast. But while she was toasting the bread I devoured the mixture. She got so tickled because I thought the peanut butter and syrup was my breakfast. I remember that vividly and I was only three or four at the time. Your post brought that back to me. Thanks!

I can still picture the confusion on Mother’s face when she brought the toast to the table and found that the peanut butter and syrup bowl was empty–probably licked clean. It was my first taste of that lovely concoction and it was bowl licking good.

Then she began to laugh. And it was a wonderful laugh. We mixed up more of the good stuff and enjoyed it on our toast. And then I watched Captain Kangaroo.

This is why we share our lives through our blogs. The exciting and mundane, the shocking and the bland can provide meaningful connections. You never know when your post is going to trigger a lost memory.

Heres a link to my friend’s site. Check her out!

https://anotsojadedlife.wordpress.com/author/anotsojadedlife/

Peace, people.

Peanut butter and Karo Syrup: Food of the gods.

Angels 

Studly Doright and I married on July 30, 1976. We were young, in love, and profoundly broke. I hadn’t really noticed just how broke we were until our first Christmas rolled around.

We managed to buy a sad little tree, but we had no ornaments. I know now there existed women who could whip up some crafty ornaments using a mixture of baking soda, grape jelly, and crushed leaves, but I was not one of those women. And this was way before Pinterest. 

My mother came to the rescue. She bought me two kits of do-it-yourself felt ornaments. At first I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t, and still can’t, sew, but I began working on the ornaments a little bit every evening, hanging them on the tree as I finished. 

 
In the beginning there were twelve ornaments, but after 16 moves in 39 years of marriage a couple have gone missing. One wreath shaped ornament was last seen being tossed around by our Siamese cat, aptly named Holly. Said wreath had a decidedly bedraggled air before it disappeared for good around 1996. The other missing ornament just went A.W.O.L. one year, perhaps fearing it would meet a death similar to that of the mangled wreath.

My favorite of the lot are the scarecrow and the angel.

  
Poor scarecrow is holding on, but just barely. He is missing an eye and his hat has undergone drastic alterations, but he continues to smile. I feel like scarecrow is my spirit animal. 

  
The angel has fared better than the rest of the crew. All but one of her sequins remain intact. She’s still praying for peace, and she means it. 

After my mom passed away I began collecting angels. Some are intricately carved, others beautifully crafted. A few were quite expensive. But this little felt angel, given to me that first Christmas of my marriage by my mother and sewn imperfectly by me, is the one I cherish most.

Peace, people.

Remember When

  

remember when youth
defined our relationships?
who kissed whom, when, why?

remember when life
seemed suspended in bubbles
of the possible?

remember when love
was everywhere, yet nowhere
for all, even you?

remember when fate
was always to be tempted?
damn consequences!

remember sweetest
softly tangled memories,
joy amid regrets.

remember classmates
underneath crinkles remain
life’s anchors, steadfast.

Remembering September 11

This is a reblog of my post from last year. I tried to rework it a bit, but I still get too emotional. 
 

I don’t often take this blog to serious places, but it is difficult to ignore September 11 as anything other than a serious date. 

On 9/11/01, I was at a conference in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. The day was beautiful. Bright blue skies beckoned outside of our conference room, and a group of us planned to head into D.C. that afternoon. It was my first trip to the area, and I couldn’t wait to take in all of the sights in our nation’s Capitol.

Our group was engaged in a lively discussion, but then, in the middle of the conference session, cell phones began buzzing. We laughed at first. It seemed amusing that we’d all get calls at the same time. Then one of the presenters stepped out to take her call. When she returned to the room her face was devoid of color, and she said we were adjourning to the lobby of the hotel.

There, we gathered around a television and watched footage of a plane crashing into one of the World Trade Center buildings. A coworker began sobbing. Her parents had a business next to the building and she excused herself to try to call them. We stayed focused on the screen and watched in disbelief as yet another plane crashed into the side of the second building. 

The dawning comprehension that this was not an accident registered immediately. Some cried. Some cursed. Some prayed.
My room was on the first floor, just around the corner from the lobby. I felt the urgent need to be alone, so I went to my room and got down on my knees. I prayed for the families of all those on board the planes. I prayed for those inside the buildings. Then I prayed fervently for those who had perpetrated this unimaginable act to be forgiven.

When I emerged from my room I began hearing all sorts of stories: the Pentagon had been hit, the White House was under attack, another plane had crashed in Pennsylvania. I wasn’t sure what was real and what was rumor. 

I tried to call my Studly Doright who was en route to Houston that day. When I finally got through he was frantic. He knew how close my hotel was to the Pentagon–15 minutes by Metro.
He’d had an intense day. Studly and eight of his coworkers were traveling in a white rental van from Kansas to Houston. They’d planned on playing a few rounds of golf on their trip. When they received a call from their company’s vice president to find a spot to convene a conference call, they found a bank in a small Texas town. The bank had locked its doors and required Studly and his coworkers to present picture i.d.s before admitting them to the building.

Their Houston meeting was cancelled, so they turned the van around and headed to their respective homes.

I’d never wanted to be home as much as I did that day, but all flights were cancelled. Colleagues began trying to rent cars, but those were hard to come by. One of my closest friends urged me to stay put. The hotel said we could stay at no expense until we could arrange for travel and our company promised to take care of us until we could find a way home. So for three days we stayed in the hotel, checking flights and watching the news. On Friday morning we headed to Dulles, hoping that our flights would be cleared.

I’d never seen lines that long at an airport–around the terminal and out the door. People were beginning to feel a sense of desperation. First we were told our flight to Dallas was cancelled. I was ready to give up and head back to Tyson’s Corner, but again my friend urged me to stay put. 

That advice paid off when a gentleman came through our line to gather those of us ticketed for the Dallas flight. We boarded the plane and then sat on the tarmac for two hours. No one spoke. The silence was more unnerving than anything I’d experienced in the previous three days. 

Finally, we were cleared for takeoff–the first plane to depart Dulles after 9/11.
When we landed safely at DFW a palpable feeling of relief surged through the cabin. One of the flight attendants broke into tears. I cried with her. I had to catch another flight to Amarillo, TX. 

The flight attendants gave us instructions on fighting off attackers. Use anything you have they told us. Purses, pillows, wallets. The whole experience was surreal.
When I made it to Amarillo and to my car I sat and cried in the parking lot for a long time. I still had a four hour drive in front of me, and I remember very little of it. When I pulled into my driveway in Dodge City, Kansas, Studly came out to hold me.

Peace, Please People!

Busybody

I’m a natural busybody. My tendency to chat up complete strangers drives Studly Doright crazy. He’s something of a misanthrope and I’m whatever the opposite of a misanthrope is. A posithrope?

When I’m on a solo journey as I have been  these past couple of days I indulge my urge to make polite conversation with fellow diners and shoppers. 

This morning I had breakfast at a Panera Bread adjacent to my hotel in Paducah, Kentucky. The place was hopping, but I couldn’t help but notice an older gentleman at the counter with his perhaps 9-year-old grandson. 

The man was obviously a regular there–everyone knew him by name–and he was proudly introducing the little boy who was visiting from Ohio.

The two of them ordered ahead of me and took a seat at a large table, joining three other men. Once I had my wonderful cinnamon crunch bagel and creme cheese (oh my heavens!) I found a seat near this group. 

Surreptitiously I listened in on the good natured ribbing, noticing that the grownups included the little boy, especially giving him a hard time about his Cincinnati Reds. As I ate and pretended to read a newspaper I realized the men were part of a regular men’s coffee group, casually solving the world’s problems from a their corner at Panera Bread. 

I remembered my own days of sitting with my Grandaddy and his coffee group at various cafes in Floydada and Lockney, Texas. Sweet nostalgia overtook me, so of course I had to say something.

As I left I stopped by the table surrounded by these older men and told the grandfather how having coffee with my own granddaddy during my childhood had made an impact on me. “Those were the best days of my life,” I said. 

He smiled and patted me on the hand. I had to leave before I started to cry. 

Peace, people.

Daddy and the Perfect Bag

Every day I spend a little time thinking about my Daddy. I don’t plan to; it just happens. He was quite a guy, and he impacted our lives in many ways.

Studly Doright and I were privileged to have Daddy live with us the last few years of his life, and it was a great experience for all of us; although, I’m sure Daddy often thought we were nuts. That’s ok, he was a little nuts, too.

Daddy loved golf and was in part responsible for Studly playing. But, by the time he moved to Melbourne, FL, where we lived at the time, Daddy’s COPD prevented him from hitting the course as much as he’d have liked. 

He still played a few times, though, even earning a “Closest to the Pin” trophy in a charity tournament.  Man, was he proud of that trophy! Any visitor to our home was invited to gaze on it in awe.

Long after Daddy stopped playing he would sit out in our garage imagining courses he’d played in years gone by and putting together the perfect set of clubs for a round of golf there. Often Studly would go looking for one of his clubs only to find it taking up space in Daddy’s “dream bag.”

“Gerald,” Studly would ask, “Have you seen my 5 wood?”

“Yeah, it might be in my bag,” Daddy would say. “I was thinking of number 4 at the Floydada Country Club. I thought I could reach the green with that 5 wood.”

Even now that Daddy has been gone for many years we still go looking in his bag anytime a club is missing, just in case he needed it for that perfect round.

Miss you Daddy. I hope you’ve got just the right clubs for whatever course you’re playing now.

Daddy holding his oldest great-grandson.

 

Algebra is Such a Lonely Word

In response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion. Which subject in school did you find impossible to master? Did math give you hives? Did English make you scream? Do tell!

I was a smart kid. Not motivated, and certainly not well-directed in my educational goals, but I had a talent for learning and for taking tests. 

My family wasn’t particularly concerned with my academic performance. They were pleased that I earned good grades, but there really weren’t any expectations that I’d go on to college. 

For the first eight years of my formal education all the subjects were ridiculously easy for me: English grammar and literature, Social Studies, even Science and Mathematics. Seldom did I need to study, even though had I done so on a regular basis I might have ended up near the top of my class. 

In ninth grade my good grades landed me in an accelerated algebra class and my educational wheels fell off. I worked my butt off in that class, but the concepts were so abstract that my brain was unable to process them. 

I literally thought that I must have missed the lesson explaining what “n” and “x” were, so night after night I’d reread my algebra text from the beginning trying to unlock the code. Surely, I thought, if I could just figure out their values I’d be okay. The concept of a variable just made no sense.

With the help of a good and brilliant friend I managed to stay afloat, even though she occasionally became exasperated and annoyed with my questions. It seemed simple to her, why couldn’t everyone “get it?”

Our accelerated class churned through one and a half years of algebra in one school year, then we moved on to Geometry. Holy crap. If I’d been merely struggling in algebra, geometry put me down for the count. I lasted half the year and then dropped the class since it wasn’t required to graduate. 

I can’t even remember what replaced Geometry in my schedule, I just know that for the first time in my academic life I doubted myself. It was a lowdown, crummy feeling.

Following my junior year my family moved to a slightly larger town. I met my future husband (Studly Doright was so cute back then) and even though I went to junior college for a year my heart wasn’t in it, and I was petrified by the idea that I wouldn’t be able to conquer college algebra. So I married my Studly and we settled into our lives together.

When our children were in elementary school we decided that I should go back to college, and with a totally new focus I rocked that scene. To my surprise and delight I was still a smart kid. With trepidation I faced my college algebra class. What was once too abstract for my 14-year-old brain now made sense. Amazing!

It was the only class I didn’t earn an “A” in, though, preventing me from graduating college with a perfect 4.0. But, that “B” felt like a victory after all those years, and summa cum laude looked great on my transcript.

Take that, algebra!   

Peace, people!

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

When our first son was very young, perhaps not yet two, he and I were snuggled under the covers on a cold, snowy morning. Studly Doright had left for work, so little Doright and I were catching a few precious zzzz’s.

As we basked in that delicious laziness that comes with sleeping in, little Doright asked sleepily, “Mommy, who is that man?”

I said, “What man, sweetie?”

“That one, Mommy, in the curtains.”

I saw nothing, but my heartbeat sped up just the same. Who knows who or what little Doright saw.

On another occasion I awakened from a nightmare in which Studly was chasing little Doright and me with a knife. I’d just finished reading Stephen King’s The Shining, so that dream was something of a logical consequence. However, from his crib in the room next to ours I heard little Doright crying, “Daddy, don’t hurt us! Daddy stop!”

Whoa! That was a surreal moment! Written in response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt.