Posted in Boo, Food, Husbands, Marriage, Sharing

Split or Share?

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Split or Share:  

 

My Boo is a Saint!  When we go out to eat, I will usually order the veggie plate with grilled chicken and he will order the chicken fried anything with cream gravy, fried okra, and mashed potatoes.  He knows full well, that I will want a bite (or two) of his and he’s okay with that.  “I’m a sharer, Boo.”  he’ll say, “But, not a splitter.”

 

Sometimes I want to split.  “Let’s order the filet and split it,”  I’ll suggest.  “I want my own filet.”  he’ll say.  “You get what you want.”  We have friends who split.  I don’t know why, but it seems sweet and romantic; not to mention economical and lower in calories.  It’s a sign that they ‘agree’ on everything and even their taste buds are in love.  You think I’m probably reading too much into it????

 

Sometimes I try to dance around it by saying, “Why don’t you get the filet and I’ll get the salmon and we can share?”  He is not fooled by my tactics and will readily say he doesn’t want salmon but I am welcome to a bite of his steak.

 

I have to admit that it’s one of the things that first attracted me to him.  He shares his food.  He doesn’t mind if I stick my fork onto his plate to taste just a bite.  He never says a word when I use my fingers to pluck a piece of fried okra from his bowl at Luby’s.  He always gives me the 1st bite of his dessert and he’ll even give me the best bite of his hamburger.  And, when I foolishly say I don’t want any popcorn at the movie, he’s already planning to set it between us.  He’s a saint, really.

 

To all of you splitters out there….I applaud you, but I’m sticking with my sharer.  He knows I will most likely order the healthy option and yet want a few bites of his delicious unhealthy choice.  By the way, I always ask if he wants a bite of mine, too, but usually, he declines.  That Boo….he really is a Saint!

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Posted in Austin, Texas, Cajuns, Friendship, Support

Jockstrap Friends by Ginger Keller Gannaway

bike-original-mm-jock-strap-whiteJockstrap Friends (by Ginger Keller Gannaway)

Bette Midler has long known, “You’ve Got to Have Friends.” From the first friend I made in kindergarten to the dog-walking friend I made a month ago, friends have given me the support and the empathy I need to stay sane. 

Ever since I read Rebecca Wells’ Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, I daydreamed about that group of best friends that sticks together even after troubles may temporarily pull them apart. They snap back together even stronger.

Growing up in south Louisiana, my sisters were my closest friends, but technically they’re sisters, and each has her own best friend. I also have a first cousin I’ve gone through tragedies and comedies with, but she too has her own best friend.

In Texas I have friends who could be BFF’s, but they have friends they’ve known longer than me, and these friends know “where more of the bodies are buried” than I do.IMG_4335

So the single-best-friend-in-all-the-world is not my reality.

Instead, I have a group of Jockstrap Friends: friends who are close and supportive and know all my stinky secrets. (I considered calling them Bra Buddies, but a brassiere does not have the smelly, sweaty essence of a jockstrap). Jockstraps hold “the family jewels” in place, and in the bumpy, unpredictable ride we call Life, jockstraps have the comfortable elasticity to protect our most precious “friends” from sudden shocks and shoves.

Jockstrap Friends show up at hospitals and funerals as well as weddings and birthdays. IMG_4339 (1)In extreme situations they will even clean your house, cook your meals, hold your hair back while you puke, and take off work to drive to the International Crawfish Etoufee Cookoff in Eunice, Louisiana with you. Once three of my Jockstrap Friends even decorated my whole home for Christmas when my son was in the hospital!

Jockstrap Friends share many of your tastes in food, music, and movies. They accept your idiosyncrasies the same way your family does; however, you laugh more with Jockstrap Friends. Ya’ll share a 100%  breathable cotton kind of comfortableness without them “riding your ass” the way family members might. You “show your butt” with a jockstrap friend and still maintain “optimum support and comfort.”mardi gras with mark

At times I’m sad I don’t have a one & only best friend, but it’s probably better to have a mess of Jockstrap Friends.  That way whenever my next catastrophe hits, if one friend is having a hip replacement and another is flying to Oregon for the birth of her grandchild, I’ll still have that one friend who will help me clean out my grandma’s attic in August, help decorate the church’s activity hall for Momma’s memorial, or read the first draft of my YA novel.

Posted in Gifts, Gratitude, Introspection

The Unexpected Gift

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The Unexpected Gift

A Gift is defined as something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation…to bless, favor, bestow or endow.

 

Most of the time, gifts are given and even anticipated on our special occasions and celebrations.  We look forward to beautiful wrappings and a loving sentiment, maybe something chocolate or favorite flowers.  However, occasionally we receive an unexpected gift.  Suddenly, with no warning, no fanfare..a gift arrives unannounced.

 

This unforeseen bestowal is usually not wrapped, at least with outward paper and bows.  It almost never has a gift tag announcing the recipient,  because these unexpected gifts come in unassuming packages tied with love and ensconced in undeserved grace.  Sometimes they lie within the outer trappings of a thing called ‘duty’ or ‘guilt.”  They hide in unattractive paper, a grimy hand or eyes crinkled with age.

 

In August 2014, my oldest daughter waited to receive results from her recent medical tests.  I remember we sat in a small examination room as the doctor blurted out all manner of medical jargon and then abruptly announced, without flinching, the diagnosis of ‘cancer.’  We sat there for a long time after he left the room, our fear and sadness hung in the air like a dense veil, covering even the light.  For six months, I watched her face frightening challenges.  I sat beside her as ‘healing poisons’ traveled through her veins, and she never gave up.  We cried together and talked together and reassured each other, even though we could vividly taste our horror and panic. But, as time went on, the gift arrived.  

 

The gift surprised us with unexpected laughter at the most inappropriate times.  It came wrapped in knowing glances and hands held tight; it bloomed within us as we grew closer and more accepting of each other.  Our unexpected gift grew out of the fire and ashes, and we knew that no matter what, this gift of love and acceptance was meant for us.  

 

Let there be no mistake….an unexpected gift is real and genuine and meant exactly for the one who is brave enough to open it.  I have heard before that there is a ‘gift’ inside every hardship, every problem.  There are unexpected gifts hidden in lessons to be learned and attitudes to be adjusted.  There are gifts in forgiveness.  Look closely, lest you overlook the unassuming blessing.  Look closely among the thorns, for your rose may be just about to bloom.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Friendship

Big Santa by Ginger Keller Gannaway

Big Santa 1987Big Santa

In 1961 my dad created a 16-foot tall Santa Claus.  At the time, he owned Keller Advertising and painted huge roadside billboards and local storefront windows. When I was 5, he designed, drew, and painted four wooden pieces that when connected made a smiling Santa that he would raise and attach to our 18-foot chimney. Our  1950’s ranch style home was at the end of a winding gravel road off of Highway 190 on the outskirts of town. Dad set a spot light on Big Santa so cars could see him waving as they drove by. Also, Dad made the back view of  a 7 year-old boy and a 5 year-old girl waving at Santa. My red tricycle was set next to the  pigtailed girl to create a Rockwell Christmas moment.

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Santa circa 1996

Over the years, my feelings about Big Santa have changed.

In the 1960’s Big Santa added magical excitement to my kid dreams of Mr. Claus’s superpowers. Santa’s smiling presence also gave my family a touch of local fame as folks drove past our place each Christmas, and we even made the Eunice News once.

Fast forward to the 1980’s after my grandma died, and my parents bought her 100 year-old home and we moved to town. Now Big Santa needed an 18-foot pole to support him as he waved to sidewalk visitors and Second Street motorists.  Now Santa was a novelty who made his December appearance when I swooped into town for my mandatory college semester break.

In the beginning of the 21st century Big Santa loomed large in a different way.  After my three sons were past their “I believe in Santa” phase, they helped their Papa put up the Santa the day after Thanksgiving and take him down right after Christmas day chaos.

Putting up Big Santa became a complicated family tradition.  In 2007 my

dad was 80, so he mostly directed his grandsons (my boys and their 2 cousins) in the raising of the Santa.  First, they hauled the four sections from the back of the garage and cleaned up Mr. Claus before laying him facedown on the front lawn.  Then several wooded 2X4’s were arranged and screwed to the Santa sections to pull him all together. Next 4 or 5 guys sorta lifted and walked Santa towards his standing pole and secured him in place with screws and wire.  Papa sat in a folding chair and barked orders to his grandsons. By 2012 he had his walker beside him, and the boys did their best to keep Papa from grunting and struggling to stand to correct their construction mistakes. Of course, mistakes were as inevitable as Papa’s complaining and cussing. Once my middle son wisely suggested they buy new tools since my dad’s hammer head had a tendency to fall off its wooden handle, and the screws were more rust than metal. (“This would be a lot easier if we weren’t using tools from the Stone Age!”) Papa scoffed at such nonsense: “Give me that damn hammer! I’ll do it.”

So the grandsons worked with worn-out tools and rotting wood as they maneuvered around a short-tempered, crooked-backed, bossy-coach of a grandpa. Big Santa became a dreaded sort of family tradition. “If we get up early enough tomorrow, we can get Santa up before Papa wakes up,” said my youngest on the fortunate Black Friday of 2014.

Despite the frustration and anger that accompanied Big Santa’s arrival, family and friends still loved to pose in front of him each holiday. He made a dramatic backdrop, and passers-by often stopped to snap their own Big Santa moment.IMG_4299 (1)

Now Dad is 90 and living with us in Texas. Big Santa still spends his off-season days in Grandma’s garage. His fate now is in cousin Chiquita’s hands since she bought Grandma’s home.  Hopefully Big Santa will still come out to wave at the small town folks of Eunice, Louisiana, who parade past his tall smile.

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Big Santa, 2014

 

 

Posted in Holidays, Motherless daughters

Christmas Corsage by Nancy Malcolm

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We love Christmas time.  Our house is decorated inside and out.  There are so many ornaments on our Christmas tree that have special meaning.  Wherever we go, we purchase an ornament from that location.  A red lobster from Maine, bear paw from Yosemite, cable car from San Fransisco…you get the picture.  But, there is one decoration on the tree that is above the rest, a Christmas corsage.

 

For as long as I can remember, my Daddy always loved to decorate for Christmas.  When I became older he showed me a silk, red poinsettia corsage that lay on one of the Christmas tree branches.  He told me that my mother was in the hospital her last Christmas and one of the nurses had brought her the corsage and laid it on her pillow, as a token of the season.  She died that January and from that time on, my Dad would place that corsage on the tree in her memory.

 

As time passed, my brother and I divided Daddy’s ornaments between us, and  I received the corsage.  Every year as I place it on our tree, I whisper my mother’s’ name, inviting her to enjoy our tree and know that she is not forgotten.
A simple red corsage laid among the baubles and bells.  A simple act of kindness that carried a mother’s love all these years later.

Posted in Friendship

It’s Raining by Ginger Keller Gannaway

It’s Rainingit's raining

Irma Thomas’s “It’s Raining” is one of my favorite songs.  At the New Orleans Jazz Festival once Irma was walking around the fair grounds when a light rain started falling, and a group of festival-goers serenaded the Queen of New Orleans so she gave them a royal bow.

Growing up in Louisiana, I have a reverence for rain. Driving in a blinding downpour can be a nuisance, but it’s not scary for me. Like folks in Fargo and their snow, folks in Cajun land are used to their rain.

Plus there’s the comfort of a steady rain, especially if you’re on a front porch in a comfy chair sipping something good with good friends or sharing the serenity with your own self.

I know rain also arrives angry as a demon during storms and hurricanes. I remember my dad boarding up windows and us losing power for days. Back in 1965 after Hurricane Betsy hit New Orleans,  I remember Dad driving down I-10 and seeing the flooded streets with tricycles and sofas floating by.

A few years ago some friends and I were driving on Texas Hwy. 71 when we broke the “Turn around; don’t drown” rule. We had stopped at a stretch of road that was covered with water, and we debated risking going across. After we saw 3 cars in front of us drive through (and rats swimming across the road), I urged our driver to “Go!!! Now.” as another voice demanded, “Don’t do it!” We made it over safely although we also yelled at the top of our lungs for good luck.

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Emile, Kelly, me, and Gayle driggin the sand box at Keller Camp.

I have, however, more comforting rain memories than scary ones. Like being at Grandma’s camp in Indian Village on that perfect screened-in porch. I’m sitting at one of the two picnic tables coloring with my cousins. Grandma and Stella Parrott  sit in large wooden rockers with other less-important adults sitting in folding chairs at the other side of the porch, drinking Salty Dogs, telling stories, and playing gin rummy on TV trays.  Not far away the Calcasieu River is being replenished, getting ready for the fishing boats to visit her soon.

I let the fat steady drops of rain match the contented beats of my 7-year-old heart. And if I have any thoughts of the future it’s that the river water will be higher and more exciting when an adult takes us down to the sand bar the next day.

Nothing like rainy afternoons to remind us to live in the moment and absorb the sounds and smells of a natural kind of calm.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJjDmpyWfBs

“Drip-drop, drip-drop” sing Irma’s back-up singers at the start of “It’s Raining.”

“It’s raining so hard, brings back memories

Of the times you were here with me.

Counting every drop, about to blow my top

I wish this rain would hurry up and stop.”

Irma’s song is about a sad longing for the rain to stop, yet even in the lonely tunes about lost love, we listen, listen, listen and feel relief like after having a long, hard cry.

Posted in Friendship

Junior League and The Junk Yard Dogs

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Junior League and The Junk Yard Dogs:

It’s almost time again for the Austin Junior League Christmas Affair.  What a grand tradition; full of beautiful decorations, artisan gifts to purchase, throngs of women dressed in their holiday finest and delicious food and wine.  It’s a sight to behold. In Sittin Ugly Sistah fashion, we make the trek to our Jr. League Mecca, along with a few friends, every year.  It gets us in the holiday spirit!

We loaded into my car, giddy with anticipation, wondering how best to see it all, shop as much as possible and of course decide where to eat afterward.  We made our way cross town and arrived at the venue.  Crowded streets and a FULL sign at the parking garage, made us circle around again until we saw a half-empty parking lot……….at Hooters!

How ironic or serendipitous that Hooters is caddy corner to the Junior League Christmas Affair.  “Perfect!” we squealed.  “Let’s park here!”  I do have a little ‘safety Sue’ in me, as I questioned, “Are you’all sure we should park here?”  The answers came back fast and furious:  “Sure!  Everyone does!”

“Why not?”

“We could go into Hooters and have a drink first if you feel guilty about parking here,”

Bottom line?  We parked and excited about our close proximity, almost skipped across the street to the “Affair.”

More than three hours later, laden with packages, relaxed from a little wine and starving for Mexican food, we walked back across the street to Hooters.   The parking lot was now full with the late lunch crowd, but as we sauntered to our spot, something was missing…..my car!  Somehow, we had missed that little sign that said: “All cars will be towed unless you are a Hooters patron.”                               

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Refusing to believe it, we walked the parking lot two more times, until we were finally convinced the car had been towed.  Ever the optimists, we found the phone number in tiny print on the sign and called.  I naively thought we would call and maybe they would bring us the car or maybe it was parked at a nearby lot.

My face went ashen, my wine glow slowly disappearing…as I listened to the unhappy voice on the other end of the phone.  Sure enough, miles away, in some obscure impound lot was my new Honda Accord.  Gulp!  Not wanting to call Boo, (for obvious reasons), one of the girls said, “Let’s call my daughter, Audra.  She won’t mind, I’m sure.”  We all watched and listened as my friend made the call.  “Hi, honey!  You’ll never guess what!”

Waiting in the Hooters lot, our holiday finest was beginning to droop and we were beginning to lose our appetites.  In fact, under the stress, one of us (who shall remain anonymous) bummed a cigarette off of a Hooters kitchen worker on his break.

When Audra pulled up, we cheered and then we realized she was driving a Honda Fit. We crammed our packages into the trunk and folded ourselves into the back seat.  We kinda had that ‘clown car’ feeling!  Audra was laughing but probably more than a little concerned about the Hooters Hooligans or Geriatric Gangstas as she called us!  Inching our way, during 4:30 traffic, we finally made it to the lot.

Barbed wire fences, growling junkyard dogs and no door in sight, I left everyone in the car and said, “Call the Police, if I don’t come out.”  I don’t know what I was thinking, but I can tell you it wasn’t $260.  I cautiously walked through the gate, bypassed the fenced-in dogs and found a small building with a dirty window.  I stepped up and a twenty-something girl asked which car was mine.  I told her, and then tried to make polite conversation, but she really wasn’t interested.  Finally, she said, “Lady, are you by yourself?”  “Oh, heavens no,” I said, “I’m with friends!”

She solemnly told me the amount, $260.  I solemnly slid my credit card through the dirty slit in the bulletproof window.  She smirked at me and pointed to the sign…..CASH ONLY.  “Oooops!” I said.  “ I’ll be right back.”

Silently I was praying, “Dear God, please let my car still have its tires.”

The girls and I emptied our purses, regretting that last purchase and round of drinks, but we managed the $260 between us.  I paid and we all rejoiced as I was led to my car and started it up.  Yippee!  No dents and all the tires were there.  

We hugged Audra, said our thank you’s and gathered our purchases to transfer into my car.  “Goodbye you Hooters Hooligans!” she laughed and off we went to get that much needed Mexican food.

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Posted in Gratitude, Letting Go, Motherless daughters, Saying Goodbye

How to Say Goodbye

How to Say Goodbye

 

How to Say Goodbye  by Nancy Malcolm:

I am unsure of how to tell you goodbye.  I’m holding your hand as if you were holding mine back and my breathing has slowed to match yours.  I sit as close to you as possible, but I don’t know how to say goodbye.  My mind is searching for the right words, but my heart is whispering “don’t go”, “don’t leave me”.  I’m at a loss as to how to say goodbye.

Because my mother died when I was so young, I am both familiar with loss and petrified of it.  For years, I tried to avoid all funerals except when it was a family member or I sensed that I was expected to attend.  Even then, the fear and discomfort I suffered was overwhelming.  It brought a flashback of emotions from long ago as if it were a fresh cut.  I just didn’t know how to say goodbye or let go of a loved one.  It is too much to ask of anyone, really.

How ironic that now I am a hospice volunteer.  Ironic? Or is it divine providence?

When I retired, I wanted to volunteer in some way.  No matter what I researched or thought about, I always came back to hospice.  Even though the thought of it scared me, it also tugged at my heart and settled in.  There were trainings and workshops and the many other volunteers who bade me welcome, saying: “You’re embarking on a sacred journey, friend, a chance to walk with another soul toward peace.  It will change your life forever.”  And they were right.

In my 6 ½ years, I have grown and changed and calmed.  At first, my nerves restricted me.  I felt that old familiar uneasiness and gut-wrenching clinch when I would begin my shift, but by the end of my visit, I would be at peace.  As time went on, I felt my whole insides becoming rewired.

One of my favorite patients still lived at home, when I met him.  He was a widower and had round the clock care. The three of us;  my patient, his caretaker and I shared many a Tuesday afternoon; peacefully sitting on his patio.  If he was feeling good and weather permitted, he and I would stroll around the yard as he pointed out each plant by name. He loved to tell stories about him and his wife gardening together.  As time went on, we just sat on the patio, hand in hand and passed the time in silence, only interrupted by the buzzing of a bee.  Sometimes, he would look over at me and smile, and on more than one occasion, I heard him say, “I’m going to miss my garden.”  “I know”, I said. “I know.”

My hospice patients have become like family, as was the case with a very special woman who I had the pleasure of knowing for three years.  Once a week we would get together to visit.  She would always be sitting in her chair, knitting or crocheting an intricate project.  Over the years she taught me to knit as she also shared stories of her faith and family.  Her eyes would light up when I walked into her room and my heart would always be full when I left.  We had an unconditional love and respect for one another that comforts me still to this day.

I have been so blessed and fortunate to have spent time, space and breath with these beautiful souls.  I’ve learned a lot about life and a lot about dying with dignity and grace.

           -I’ve learned that how you live is most likely how you will die.

           -No matter who you are; soft, human touch comforts.  It tells you, without the need              for words, that you are not alone.

I have had spiritual awakenings and unexplainable happenings.  I have laughed, cried, loved and felt someone else’s fear.  For, after all, we are still ‘ourselves’, even ravaged by disease or weakened with age.  We live until we die, in fact, dying is the last act of living.

The beautiful souls I have known through hospice have healed my heart, even as it breaks for them.  I no longer am afraid.  I no longer resist saying goodbye, when it is time.  Because I know, that just as I am saying goodbye and they are gone from my sight;  there are other souls rejoicing, as they are welcomed home on the other side.

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Posted in Friendship

Why I Write by Ginger Keller Gannaway

WHY I WRITEearly morn2

Yesterday at the Texas Teen Book Festival I heard the powerful writer, poet, rapper Jason Reynolds speak. He talked about a teenaged student he once taught who regularly cussed him out in class, and later Reynolds realized the boy was illiterate. However, this student was also extremely clever, creative, and very resourceful. Not being able to read or write caused him to act out in school because of frustration and anger.  James Reynold and me

Reading and writing can give us powerful ways to connect with our world. Literacy gives us voices. And just like the frustrated toddler who cannot make his mother understand that he does not want apple juice; he wants grape juice because apple juice reminds him of the time his cousin force-fed him a jar of apple sauce, we need to communicate our desires as specifically as possible to those around us. Also, this need to communicate grows larger as we grow older. Our world becomes flooded with information from so many sources, and we receive info all day long so that we often feel the need to respond with our own opinions, thoughts, and dreams. We take in so, so much that we naturally want to give out or give back to the universe that is always trying to get our attention.

Some people respond to the world with physical actions (athletes, dancers, builders, designers); others make music or paint or act or create comedy; others do research, conduct experiments, invent things, or study formulas; others pray, advise, teach, protect, or help others. Some connect to their world through writing. They share ideas that inform and entertain others. They examine past worlds, evaluate our present world, or create new worlds. No matter the method or aim, they write these “words, words, words” to help themselves make sense or even cope with their own lives.

Even though I have written all my life, I did not consider myself a “writer” until about three years ago. Now I remember way back in the third grade when I had gotten on a silly poetry kick where I wrote terrible riddles and rhymes for my classmates. I produced notebooks full of pitiful poems for an audience that admired unoriginal and ridiculous rhymes. (Remember they were 8 years old!)

3rd grade class
Mrs. Sally’s 3rd Grade Class, 1964

“We might cry
and wonder why
Our world’s a mess
with nothing but tests.
But don’t give up.
Don’t hit your pup.
Don’t go in a trance
or poop your pants.
We will soon have nothing to fear
Cause in just 10 days summer is here!”

As a timid, bespectacled girl who walked with a limp, I basked in my peers’ brief attention like a happy turtle on a sunny stone in a small pond. My little head poked out and I was smiling at the bright warmth of their third grade praise. But in less than a week the world returned to its normal ways and I went back to my shell of shyness.

Fast forward 50 years and now I write for family and friends on a blog with a fellow writing friend. The experience actually reminds me a lot of third grade. I feel comfortable and uneasy at the same time. I enjoy the little blue-colored likes and the comment here and there about what I write, yet I also worry that I will either bore or annoy my not-8-year-old audience. However, my writing uneasiness is nowhere as strong as the joy I get when I write. Writing makes me feel worthwhile, and all my physical and emotional shortcomings are revealed only when I decide to uncover them.

Is that not powerful? I control what is thrown up on the computer screen or down on the page. Freedom of expression can be like wiping the sweat from your forehead or pulling a splinter from your thumb or letting out a laugh that I fought to hold in and then I laugh until it almost hurts and I take a deep breath that turns into a soft sigh and ahhhhhh.  All seems right with my world for a short time.

Nowadays even folks who claim to “hate writing” have power of expression with their tweets and their FB posts. And the Instagrammers and the Snapchatters use pictures and videos to express themselves.

BUT the power of words for me is the most special. Words are not full of color and sound and flash and movement. They are mostly basic black and are carefully arranged like sticks and stones in row after row. They could be scrawled on a filthy bathroom wall or printed unevenly on a homemade Valentine or etched into granite or scripted with swirls and dots on a suicide note, but all the words were written to connect with someone, somewhere. These stick figures of anger, pain, love, hope, despair and wit have the ability to cause us to think and to feel deeply.

These days I do not feel powerful about anything in my life except writing. Most of life feels way beyond my control. I scribble my way through heartaches and confusion as well as through successes and celebrations. I fill journals, yellow tablets, cards, and letters with sorrow and regret and joy and gratitude. And whether the words I write make sentences that have honest strength or sentences that have awkward confusion, the sentences are mine. I may throw the words away or rewrite them in different ways or hide them in the back of a junk drawer. But I have power over my words and every time I write I feel less alone and less powerless.

Famous writers tell unknown writers that they should continue writing whether or not their writing ever finds an audience because writers write because they feel they must. It does not matter if anyone ever reads what they have written.

Such advice looks good on paper and sounds good in a pep talk; however, in reality writers usually write for others, not only for themselves. Writers may feel powerful as they write, write, write. However, if their words are never read by others, that power fades over time as their sentences get cozy with a small kind of silence.

So thank you, thank you to those who read my words.

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Posted in Auntie Sue, Gratitude, Introspection, Sittin Ugly

The Nose Knows by Nancy Malcolm

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The Nose Knows:  

One of my favorite smells is coffee in the morning.  I love, love, love my coffee and I’ve been trying to slow down enough to actually breathe in that fresh, nutty scent before I take that first sip.  I do believe that long, fragrant sniff makes it taste even better.

At a time when many folks are choosing “scent-free”, and “free of perfumes” laundry detergent and dryer sheets, I am going the opposite direction.    “Island Fresh”?…Aloha!    “Febreze with Odor Defense”?…yes please!     “Apple Mango Tango”? … Count me in!  I’m just one of those people who enjoys doing laundry and I especially love for my clothes to smell good.  Yes, I sniff my clothes….is that peculiar?   Whenever a grandchild spends time with us, I always send them home with clean clothes.  My daughter sometimes says as she hugs her son,  “Your clothes smell like Nannie!”  Is it a bad thing to have your clothes smell like Nannie’s house?  I think not!  Oh sure, I understand allergies and I do have the ‘clean and clear’ which I gladly use for one of our little ones.  But, for me…..it’s “Tropical Sunrise” and “Moonlight Breeze” all the way!

My brother still makes fun of my nose and refers to it as the family schnoz!  But, this nose has smelt some pretty incredible aromas in this lifetime.  Just last week I had the blessing to breathe in that ‘new baby’ smell.  It was a combination of fresh, musky sweetness and warmth, with a hint of vanilla.  If preciousness has a scent…that was it!DSC_0332

And, what about the smell of chalk dust, floor wax and yeast rolls on the first day of school?

garden-339236_640A fragrant rose or lily

Sweaty little boys who’ve been playing outside (this one is questionable)

A deep breath of air from a crisp New England day       DSC_0250

Remember Claire Burke original potpourri?

Cinnabons fresh out of the oven…

A new book?

Rain

The list is endless really if I choose to just slow down and breathe in this life I’ve been given.  Many of my fondest memories and joyous occasions are marked by a scent that even now when I get a whiff of it, transports me in time.  And what I wouldn’t give to hug Auntie Sue’s neck right now and smell that SCAN0046Clinique Aromatics Elixir or Estee Lauder perfume.  It has been said, that of the five senses, smell is the one with the best memory.  I believe that to be absolutely true.  

 

Nothing in the world smells as good as the person you love. We all know that for sure.   It seems our hearts are directly connected to our sense of smell.  The nose always knows….a scent can paint a more detailed picture than an artist with oils.

 

So, let us daily, breathe in deeply and be mindful to acknowledge this free gift.  ‘Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.’ Helen Keller       Amen.