Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Am Judas!

Woe is me!  I have betrayed my friend of 27 years!  Fifteen years ago, when he was ailing badly, I hugged him and told him that I loved him, and gave my heart to him.  I encouraged him to live, to flourish, to hang on and be with me forever.  The doctor did his best,

-Probably a good five years, was his guess.

It's been 15... 


Thru thick and thin, there he was: 

   Strong.  Surviving.  Sheltering.

Sunday evening as we tucked into bed, we had the windows closed, air-conditioning pumping.  Heat and humidity make for difficult night's sleeping and we needed to be good for the 'morrow.  About two o'clock in the morning, Hubby gets up, turns off the fan, opens the bedroom window.

-What are you doing?  It's so hot.

-But, it's the last night with him.  I want to hear him moving in the wind.

Breakfast outside in our pajamas, with food on a tray, our last few moments together.  Taking pictures, trying not to cry (my eyes are moist now as I recount the scene).

Before we were ready (would we ever be?) there was the death squad.  Marching forward in their day-glow uniforms, overalls, helmets, face-guards and weapons,  armed with sharps and tethers, Katrina and Steve began to assess their best line of approach.  It had begun. 

I retreated indoors, not wanting to be there for the first assault.

It took many hours.  Step by step, the agents of destruction did their work and our friend succumbed to the inevitable.  We saw for ourselves how diseased and in pain he was, but it was little consolation.  He was gone.  His stalwart form, his shade and shelter, his presence and ultimately, his menace were all gone.  No longer would we cringe in fear at each great wind, waiting to see if he would weather the storm.  The danger of a disaster was over, but he left a void in his wake. 

Soon a replacement will take his place, but he will not be forgotten.  He has served as a goal post in winter hockey, a hiding spot for hide and seek, a touch-stone in tag, a sentinel for kite flying, a witness for anniversary parties, weddings, and birthdays, a headstone for our first dog's grave site.  We miss him already.  Our backyard is naked without him.  I feel like a Judas, having given him over to the axe.  Perhaps birthing a new tree will exonerate me, ameliorate the pain and redeem the void.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Follow and Over 40

Thank you for stopping by.  Hope you can stay awhile and look around.  I covet your comments and look forward to what you have to say, your reactions to what you read and how you feel things here may be relevant.  Join the fun and follow along as we face life together in Bloggersville.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Miss Shirley Stories

Back in the day when Miss Shirley was living outside Peterborough, Ontario, she ran a small gift shop.  Putting her artistic talent to work, she spent as much, or more time, decorating the venue as she did making sales.  Everywhere one looked, there were things to peak one's interest, to make one want to linger, to draw one into a world of beauty and grace.

Down to the river Miss Shirley would go, looking for just the perfect big and small stones, rocks or boulders to fashion into her signature pieces:  Ladybugs.  Outside the entrance she positioned a 35 pound smooth rock that paint and imagination had turned into the resident Queen Bug.  You knew you were at the right place when you saw the fat, smiling Ladybug at the door, welcoming you in.

Inside, you would find Miss Shirley smiling at you from behind her polished eye-glasses, the sunlight glancing off her gold hoop earrings as she tilted her head towards you in greeting. 

--Come on in and make yourself at home, she would sing out to visitors.  Look around and let me know if you need assistance.

Children can be like bulls in a china shop, as Miss Shirley well knew,  having raised three boys of her own.  The consummate hostess, she welcomed children in her shop inspite of it all.  She devised a way to entertain them and put things on offer especially for small shoppers with even smaller budgets. 

While strolling the local beach, she selected pocketfuls of small, smooth stones, perfectly shaped for fashioning into little ladybugs.  In her free time, she used nature-resistant (read: rain, rust, neglect) automotive paints to transform the rocks into adorable bugs.   Placed artfully on display shelves low enough to catch the eyes of small tykes, they were tantalizing to shoppers of a certain age. 

--How much are the Ladybugs, Miss Shirley?

--How much do you have to spend?

--Ten cents, he proudly announced.

--Well, the one you are holding in you hand is going to be three cents.

--What about this one, he asked with a frown?

--It seems to be the same size as the first one, so it will be three cents also.

It was a sale!  The little boy lovingly carried his purchase to the chair by the door while he waited for his mother to finish her shopping.  It wasn't too long before he was back at the shelf with the collection of Ladybug rocks. 

--Miss Shirley, can you please tell me how much this Ladybug will cost?

--It's a bit smaller than the other two, isn't it?  I guess that one is two cents.

Another sale!  Miss Shirley gets tears in her eyes as she recounts the end of this short story:  as the little boy walked away with his three little rock Ladybugs, he said,

--Now we are a family.

Now, doesn't that just warm the cockles of your heart and put a smile on your lips?  Don't you wish we could go back in time and visit Ye Olde Shoppe ourselves to be entranced  by wimsy and grace too?  Elizabeth Barrett Browning once penned these words that seem appropriate here:

The world is so full of a number of things,
I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fathers' Day

Living He loved me,
Dying He saved  me,
Buried He carried my sins all away.
Rising He justified
Freely, forever.
Some day He's coming.
O, Glorious Day!

Fathers' Day is Baptism Sunday in our church.  What wonderful testimonies of redemption and grace we heard this morning.  The refrain from the hymn above has been in my head ever since. 

Thank you, Father, for your love and mercy in saving even me!

 My Dad died 10 years ago this month.  I miss him always and wonder what he would have to say to me these days from  his treasure trove of Fatherly Wisdom?  He left us a legacy of love and the importance of a close family.  

My husband, who comes from a broken home, valued these traits in my Dad almost more than I did.  He was the one to give the eulogy at Dad's funeral--a very moving one.  He reminded us of how the sound of Dad's flip-flops slapping his heels was the signal to take time out for fun and well-deserved R&R.  He had us remember the roasted turkey dinners, the funny Christmas trees and the endless card games we accused him of cheating to win.  He helped the children remember all the concerts, baseball games and activity and school events he attended to support them.  He had us visualizing all the camping adventures with the whole family, which Dad so loved.  It was 10 years and/or just a heartbeat ago, but I remember.  We'll always love you and miss you, Dad.

Did your church honour fathers in a special way this Sunday? 

Were you able to connect with your father today? 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Barely There

On our recent trip to the cottage in Maine, we were told there was a black bear and a cougar prowling the neighbourhood.  Bears are fairly common on the Cape, but cougars????   The little dog stayed in at night and only howled and barked like mad when he heard things go bump in the night.  We took flashlights with us everywhere.

Sunny days gave us lots of opportunity to put in the gardens, mow the lawns, fill the planters, put up the flag and admire the passing sailboats.  We even sat on the rocks at the shore and admired the seals fishing for their dinner.  Of course, being it was Maine, there were the foggy days and days of rain too.  That gave way to rainbows and promises of more to come.  The D.I.E.T. put a dint in cocktail time:  I think I am now addicted to Crystal Lite cherry lemonade.  As the sun sank into the water towards Castine, we snuggled in for peaceful nights of deep sleep.  A good thing too. 

Every year we drive up the lane, hoping to see once more the Old Apple Tree. 

Is it still there?  Has it given up the ghost yet?  Should we take pity on it, cut it down and get over it?

Yeah!  It's still there!!  As beautiful and artfully flawed as always.

Five days into our visit, we woke to find that the bear/cougar had been by on his/her nocturnal roamings.  Looking for ants in our dead tree, he/she left his mark.  My hackles rose and a shiver coursed down my back.  If those five marks came from one big paw....that wouldn't be an encounter I would relish in the dark.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dinner Time for Ravagers

I've been away.  Have you noticed???  Twelve days with no computer, no carpel tunnel, no burning eyes, no blog hopping.  Life is exciting when one gets involved and then there is more to talk about too. 

Last night I checked in on the babies.  Snug as three robins can be, tucked into their nest with Mama Robin close by keeping watch.  I knew the eggs would have hatched in my absence and I was anxious to see how things were progressing.

Can you see three beaks?  Three little heads.  Patiently waiting for the next meal to arrive.

This afternoon, I thought I could get a shot of them with their mouths open begging for worms.  Look what I found!

What happened??!!

Oooooooh.  I know it's natures way, but this is still so sad.  What a welcome home.