Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A long, long day...

  Awoke to a mess of snow, wind and cold. Tromped out to feed the chickens and nearly fell on my keister, as I was wearing hubby's big rubber fishing boots. lol  They were the only thing tall enough to keep my feet out of the snow !!

  Was up early, had to go to MissB's house early again today. Needed time to make some kind of supper for the Irishman, as he has eaten all the leftovers and had to eat and run tonight. The class is reading and discussing A Sand County Almanac, by Aldo Leopold. SO...I threw together a chicken and rice casserole and tossed that bad boy in the oven. The house smelled so good!  

  Until the power went out. My oven has an electronic igniter on the pilot, so no power=no pilot light= no cooking.  Luckily, it wasn't out terribly long and they had it back on again and I finished cooking the darn thing before  I had to leave. And I had to leave earlier than normal because the roads are a mess.

  I'm always amazed at the difference in road maintenence from one county to the next. I know that our more rural county has less money for these things, and that the state is going broke...but sheesh...

  I'm sitting here with a heating pad on my neck. It was a gift from my friend Joni, one of the most generous women I have ever met. It's a rice filled lovely flannel long tube that you put in the microwave to heat and than drape it over your sore spots. It is AWESOME. Joni is someone that I met online (like many people I know these days) and have adored her since day one. When I finally met her in person, it was complete.  She is kind and wise and compassionate and full of joy. She is thoughtful and caring and wonderful. Twoderful, as she calls it, just one more than wonderful.  lol I know that I can call her anytime and get a sympathetic ear and a kind word and she understands a lot of what I go through. I was blessed by God the day I "met" her online and I will be forever grateful. As I sit here with the heat easing the knots out of my neck, I think of her fondly.  She is the kind of friend I aspire to be...and so often fall short of being.

  Well, I am really tired and so I think I will go to bed. I am reading another Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum novel...I love this woman's books and laugh all the way through them. This one is called Plum Spooky, and was published in 2008. It starts like this: 

  " Sometimes you get up in the morning and you know it's going to be one of those days. No
 toothpaste left in the tube, no toilet paper on the cardboard roll, hot water cuts out halfway through your shower, and someone's left a monkey on your doorstep."

  Sweet dreams and snowmen....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lemon Meringue Pie...

  Made a lemon meringue pie today. Not for me, because I am NOT a big meringue fan, but made it for a friend who's feeling poorly and declares it to be her favorite. I do make a pretty mean meringue, if I do say so myself.  I also made a small tart sized one for the Irishman...He raved about it. lol

  For what is probably the 5th time in 2 years, someone I know  had colon cancer surgery today.  This time it was a tumor the size of a tennis ball. This stuff must be epidemic, seems like every time I turn around it has hit again. I want to scream from the rooftops :PEOPLE!!!!  HAVE A COLONOSCOPY, DAMMIT !!!!!!!!!

  It was a busy day today, and all grey and dreary. Big snowstorms coming in tonight and they are predicting 4-6 inches for us. The bad news is we still have some leftover from the last storm. I have a very small window these next couple of weeks to get all the things done I need to accomplish...very busy.  Today it was one load of laundry, vacuuming and a pie. Period.  Tomorrow I need to make granola bars and fix a nice supper to be waiting for my husband when he gets home from work. The past days he's been eating leftovers...he doesn't mind, and I don't mind, but not too many days in a row.  lol

  I called my neighbors on my way home tonight to let them know I was parking in their second  driveway tonight. They are so great...we have a hill at the bottom of our drive, and 6 inches of snow would be about enough to keep us from getting to the main roads. SO when the weather takes a turn like this,  we park our cars there.I am lucky to be blessed with such good neighbors. She loaned me a book called 29 Gifts, by Cami Walker....a marvelous story by a woman who was diagnosed with MS and turned her life around with a simple plan of giving.  I have signed up at the website...www.29Gifts.org   and would recommend you to do it too. It's all about gratitude and life and love.

   Had a great talk with a friend of mine from California the other day...we have known each other about 18 years.  She is an extraordinary woman and a great role model and friend. I am so very blessed to have her in my life, and we chatted on for hours about this and that.  Good to have friends that pick up the phone and talk as though we just saw each other yesterday, when in fact, it has been almost 10 years. She came out after my big accident, when we lived in North Carolina and stayed after I came home form the hospital.  I love her....

  I really am bone tired  and need to get to bed.  Here's hoping the sun shines on you today, and every day.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

A beautiful poem on friendship

...IS this cheating???  lol  I thought it was beautiful.


Everyone Needs Someone 
People need people and friends need friends 
And we all need love for a full life depends 
Not on vast riches or great acclaim, 
Not on success or on worldly fame, 
But just in knowing that someone cares 
And holds us close in their thoughts and prayers-
For only the knowledge that we're understood
Makes everyday living feel wonderfully good, 
And we rob ourselves of life's greatest need 
When we "lock up our hearts" and fail to heed 
The outstretched hand reaching to find 
A kindred spirit whose heart and mind
Are lonely and longing to somehow share 
Our joys and sorrows and to make us aware 
That life's completeness and richness depends 
On the things we share with our loved ones and friends. 
 -Helen Steiner Rice



Saturday, January 8, 2011

This friend thing is harder than you think...

  I spent the day at the birthday party of an 8 year old and some of her friends.  I have never heard so much racket in  my life...surely I was never this kind of a little girl...all screechy and laugh-y....lol

The fun part was watching them all interact. Some were cousins, some were school friends.  All of them at different times were hugging and whispering and holding hands. (When they weren't shrieking like banshees).

  They all helped her with her presents, helped her bust the pinata, and helped her eat ice cream and cake. They all oohh'd and ahhh'd over all the birthday presents, especially the clothes and the new bike. They were there, supporting her all the way. Just the way friends should. Of course, it's easy to support your friend at a party. Or when things are all going well.  Or when life is rosy. Not so easy when times are tough, or awful things are happening, or you just don't feel good yourself. That's when the true nature of friendship shows itself...when you know that you have to push past your own frailties and your own limitations and be there for someone else, regardless of how you're feeling. And when you can put your own stuff on the shelf for now, and be there 100%.

  A friend of mine is facing one of the biggest challenges of her life. My job is to stand there and keep my mouth shut and let her say and do the things she needs to do right now. It isn't easy. But I know she'd do the same for me, and I know that when she is ready for advice or help, she'll let me know. Because that's how we operate. We have learned the dance of trust and love that enables us to communicate on a higher level than many. I know, as does she, that our friendship is a lifeline for us both and that we can be especially grateful to have that. It has stood the test of time, good weather and bad.  Hurt feelings and joys.  In sickness and in health. I know her like no one else does and she knows me as well...knows things that even my husband doesn't know. This substantial knowledge connects us in a way that nothing else can. It is an incredible blessing.

  Watching these little girls today, I was reminded of my 2 best friends in grade school, Joan and Randi. We were the Three Musketeers. Inseparable. All for one and one for all. I wonder where they are and what they're doing now....sometimes the friendships we think will last forever don't. People move, people die...people just outgrow each other. There are a million paths we can take, and if we're lucky, we take that path with at least one good friend in tow.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Forever Friends...


   This is Molly and Lucy.  Molly McGee is our Jack Russell Terrorist and Lucy is her faithful sidekick.  Molly came to live with us after my dorkus baby brother bought her as a puppy for his then 3 year old daughter.  Of  course, the pup was way too whacked for a three year old and was constantly knocking her down and running all over her.  JR's tend to be a little on the exciteable side...one of the most manic dogs I have ever owned.  My brother begged us to take her, and bring her up here "in the country" where it wouldn't matter that she had to run away and go a million miles an hour all the time.  At the time we had a black lab named Seamus and I said we'd bring him by and if they got along okay, we'd talk about it. Well, they hit it right off and so Molly McGee (whose former name was Daisy..ick) came up here to live at Honeysuckle Hill.  

  Molly loved Seamus to death. JR's tend to be very loyal dogs too. She would run along side him and chew on him and wrestle with him and play play play. One day I was petting him and said, OMG--Pat, look at his jaw!! The little puppy Molly had chewed him raw, all along the bottom of his mouth.  But he loved her so it didn't matter I guess.That little JR would grab that 70 pound lab's collar, and drag him around the living room carpet! They loved to play. When Sophie had gone from us, Seamus went through a period of intense grieving...walking from room to room looking for her. He would go outside and check everywhere, and when he couldn't find her, he would get very depressed. SO when Molly came to live with us, he was ecstatic and took her for his own.

  We lost Seamus, we think to a pack of coyotes. He had come home on 2 occasions all chewed up, and I nursed him back  to health. Then one day, he didn't come home. It was Valentine's Day, and we went out and looked everywhere and couldn't find him anywhere. It was desperately cold and I was so worried...we looked for days on end and never found a trace of him. It broke my heart...he was a wonderful dog. 

  Molly went through the same grieving process for him that he had gone through for Sophie. If it was possible, Molly was even more depressed at the loss of her best friend. After watching her grow more and more despondent, we decided to go to the animal shelter and get another dog.  We found a young pup. There were 2 of them, litter mates, and they had been rescued only a week before. Apparently some heartless bastard had moved and left his pregnant dog tied up outside the house with no food or water or shelter. By the time someone called the animal control people and they got there, the mother and 4 of her pups had frozen to death. The surviving pups, both girls, were named Flora and Dora by the shelter workers. We fell immediately in love with one of them and took her home with us. We named her Lucy , as in " Luuuuuucyyyyyyy......you got some 'splainin' to do !!!" At first Molly wasn't real sure about this interloper, but we sat down and explained that Lucy's mommy had died and she needed a family and so we brought her here. In very short order, Molly had accepted Lucy and the two became inseparable. Lucy is now 3 times the size of Molly, but Molly still reigns supreme, lol.

  These dogs run together, sleep together, play together, eat together. They share everything and that now includes little Caylee. lol  Where one is, you will almost always find the other. The fight each others' battles, they defend the homestead and they protect us too...always side by side. They run raccoons out of the backyard gardens, possums away from the chicken house, and errant stray cats away from our garage. They both love all the kitties that live here, but have no tolerance for outsiders. 

  These two best friends forever are a shining example of friendship in it's purest form.



Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's my birthday today, friends...

  ...and I am a very childish 58 year old now.  lol  Child-like, I MEANT child-like !!!!!!

   It's been a good quiet day so far. I have had phone calls singing Happy Birthday to me,  cards from very thoughtful friends, and many many emails and birthday wishes online. I am feeling very very blessed.

   I cooked some bbq ribs and mashed potatoes and green beans with loads of onions for the Irishman's supper and my lunch. Just finished eating. Have to leave for you-know-where in about 45 minutes.  Before I go, I have a little online thing to take care of...I have decided to give myself , for my birthday, the gift of becoming a Club 24 member. It's a local charity that serves the homeless and hurting out of St Louis, called New Life Evangelistic Center. And then I am writing the President of the United States a quick note to ask him to please look into the travesty of what the city of St Louis is doing with the almost one million dollars a year they are getting from the government to supposedly help the homeless.  And I shall consider it all a good days birthday gift.  So there.  lol  NLEC gets no gov't money, no United Way  money...it's all the donations of regular people and churches that keep them going. They give out more than 800 sandwiches a day, every day. They have beds for the  homeless  that are filled every single night. I may not be able to do much, but I can make an effort to do any small thing. And so can most of us.

  My NaBloPoMo post on friends for today comes from The Velveteen Rabbit.  Rabbit is talking to the Skin Horse.

 "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you.  When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real."

  "Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

   "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are real, you don't mind being hurt."

   "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked "or bit by bit?"

     "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.  But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real, you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

     ~~From The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams

  And that, my friends, is what friendship is all about. About being real enough to be hurt, to have your luster fade, and still be loved. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A friend is someone who knows all about you and loves you anyway...

Had to go back to the old editor under the settings tab and for some reason now I can post.

Thought I would take this days post and make it all quotes about friends and friendship. Because I am so tired I can barely think, and I don't want 2 melancholy posts in a row. I'd have to poke my eyes out.

SO--here are some of my favorites:

1) Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.--Aristotle

2) Friendship is like money, easier made than kept.--Samuel Butler

3) It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.--Emerson

4) Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness.--Euripedes

5) It's no good trying to keep up old friendships. It's painful for both sides. The fact is, one grows out of people, and the only thing to do is face it.
--Somerset Maugham

6) One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives. --Euripedes

7) Friendship is a furrow in the sand,--Tongan proverb

8) The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are in the wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are in the right.--Mark Twain

9) Great friendship is never without anxiety.--Marquise de Sevigne

10) Sooner or later, you've heard all your best friend has to say. Then comes the tolerance of real love.--Ned Rorem

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

Here's to our friends....


Problems with Blogspot....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Friends along the way....

  Some of the best people in my life...aren't people at all. Like this little girl. Her name was Sophie, and God brought her to me via the Band of Angels rescue organization, in Hendersonville, North Carolina. I was at work, doing my job as the receptionist at a busy veterinary practice. You know, the usual stuff: answering phones, setting appointments, shooing parrots off the counter. A typical day. I got a call from this p[articular rescue organization asking if  one of the vets could have a minute to check out a little dog they'd just picked up. I asked and the answer was "If you can be here in 10 minutes"  They said it was not a problem, as they were pulling into the parking lot right NOW.

  The people I worked for did a lot of free stuff for these organizations, all of the vets in the area did.  Dr. Chris was a particularly soft touch, no matter how hard he tried to not be. The woman came in to give me some info so I could start a chart for the dog. They said her name was Susie and she was a Cocker Spaniel. "Oh!" I said foolishly, "I LOVE Cocker Spaniels!" Her eyes lit up, and she whispered, "An adorable little black cocker spaniel" and i swooned. "Very well behaved" she said slyly, "and as sweet as all get out."  I had a Cocker once before and loved the dogs. I think she had me marked from that point on. She leaned over the counter and said "You should take this dog."  "What? NO, not me. I can't. My boyfriend will kill me"  "She's so sweeeeeeet" she tells me.  Poor little thing...And then she turned to the big window and waved her co-conspiritor in. "You are going to LOVE this pup"  and then she commenced to tell me this heartbreaking story about the rescue of this poor dog. How the people who had her last were an elderly couple. He had had a stroke and she was not well. The dog never got walked or taken outside except just to the steps to "do her business". The elderly woman was forgetting to feed her and forgetting to take care of her.  She had called the rescuers to come help her by finding the dog a good home. 

  The dog was terrified, trembling and whimpering. They set her down on the floor by the side of my desk and she leaned her head against my leg. Of course, I petted her. And she licked my hand.  "She has cataracts" they told me. "We don't know how much she can see, but she was born with them, a result of the mother being overbred. "  I'd heard of this kind of birth defect, mostly dogs coming from puppy mills.  She looked up at me and I could see the extensive white tissue covering her eyes. NO wonder the little thing was so scared. Taken away from her home, plus blind. They told me that she had already had 3 homes. The first couple that got her took her back because she was defective.  Then a young couple got her, knowing her problem, but when they got pregnant with their first child, decided that they just couldn't have a dog in the house anymore, so they gave her to the old couple. She was a throwaway,  and my heart broke for her.  By this time Dr. Chris came to take her back to the examining room. He took one look at me and shook his head laughing. "You are such a MARK"  he said to me.  I took the little dog back for him and she let me pick her up and set her on the examining table. I was amazed by how motionless she stood, letting him poke and prod and look her over. Aside form the cataracts she had a bad yeast infection in her ears, and worms. He cleaned up her ears and washed them out with Novasol and put drops in them. She barely reacted.  The doc looked at me and he looked at the rescuers. "Well?" he asked.  They all turned and looked at me. "I..I....she's so sweet...but I...."  And she turned and looked me square in the face and made a little squeaking noise and practically jumped into my arms.  And I came home that day with a new dog.

  I named her Sophie. My boyfriend fell madly in love with her (after the initial shock wore off). We had Sophie for over 10 years.  She was the best dog in the world. When I got hurt in 2001, she was beside herself while I was in the hospital. Pat brought her to see me a couple of times,. but I was too hurt to do much besides a lame stroke on the head or two. After I came home, she never left my side. She would lay beside my bed on the floor, getting up on her hind legs every now and then to make sure I was still there and lick my face.  When I could sit propped up on the couch, she would crawl up there and snuggle in, always careful not to hurt me.  We sat on that couch and in that bed for months. We watched the Twin Towers come down. We cried (well, okay, mostly I cried) because my life was irreparably changed and I was crippled. She stayed with me, helping me to get a grip, loving me no matter what. When I could finally walk with a walker, she knew exactly how close she could stay and not get tangled up in the walker legs. She learned how to walk with me on crutches when that finally happened. She was the best friend I ever had.

  We moved to Illinois in 2005. In 2006, Sophie was diagnosed with liver cancer.  As she got weaker and weaker, we knew we were going to have to let her go.  I talked to her all the way there and we went into the vet and I couldn't stop crying. He offered to take her back and I could stay out front until it was finished, but I said no, and I told him that all through my ordeals, she never left my side, and I wasn't going to leave her either. She was so small as I held her in my arms while they put an IV in and administered the lethal drugs. I talked to her and she never took her eyes off my face until she closed them that last time. I told her what a good dog she was and how much we loved her. I told her that it was alright for her to let go, that we would be okay. When she took her last breath, I felt the spirit leave her, and she was as light as a feather,  I looked down at that little curly mass of fur and I cried my heart out...harder than I did, I think, when my parents died. My heart was broken in two, and I knew there would never be another Sophie, that I would never be able to own another Cocker Spaniel ever again. I sat there with her for almost half an hour, before I was finally able to turn her body over to the vet's assistant. I cried all the way home and long into the night. I cried for days, every time I thought I heard her, or looked around for her, forgetting momentarily that she was gone. I vowed that I would never have another dog, because I can't take it when this happens.

  I am crying now.  I have 3 great dogs now, because I have to have pets. But they aren't Sophie.  I also have a house full of cats and fish and birds. No one will ever take her place, that little blind dog with a heart the size of New York. I was so blessed to have her for as long as I did, and to get her exactly when I did.  And I will never forget her...


Monday, January 3, 2011

A True Friend

  A Nigerian Proverb says "Hold a true friend with both your hands."

    IN 1976, I left my birthplace of the midwest and ran away to California. I hitched a ride with a Marine I met at a pool table who was headed back to Twenty Nine Palms.  I had no intention of staying in southern California, but planned to head north to a  little resort town. The town was called Clearlake Highlands, and I knew some people there. This town (which has since shortened its name to simply Clearlake.) is about 2 hours  northeast  of San Francisco, and Lake county is a delightful compilation of scattered small towns around the edges of Clear Lake, the largest natural lake completely within the borders of the state of California.  This lake is nestled in a bowl made of mountains that surround the area, one of those being an inactive volcano called Mt. Konocti.  There is an Indian tribe that makes their home there and all kinds of unsavory creatures that get paroled there from Los Angeles, because the courts think maybe they'll be more likely to stay out of trouble there. As if.  There are lots of retirees living there, because (for California) the cost of living is low. There is little or no industry except the hospitality business. That means bars and restaurants  and hotels.I knew I could find work there.

  The first day I was there, I was walking down main street and passed a man on a ladder. He looked like Jesus. He was pretty rag-tag, I thought and was grinning like a hyena. Turns out he was painting a  sign over a shop, and when he leaned down, I could smell that sweaty turpentine smell that I would come to know so well.  He spoke shyly, and said hello--you're somebody that I don't know yet!  I introduced myself, said I just got into town from Illinois, and he burst into a rendition of "Lookin' out my back door".  We laughed and he wiped his hand on his bib overalls and reached out to shake my hand. Told me his name was Rudy and he was a sign painter and musician. We became fast friends immediately, lovers for a while, and back to fast friends again.  He was one of those intellectual types that is almost too smart for his own good, but was a complete misfit. He lived in a storefront and was a vegetarian and had traveled with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as a camp cook because he wanted to learn to meditate at the feet of the master. (Remember TM ??)  He played almost every musical instrument known to man. You could put him in a room with an instrument for half an hour and he would come out playing it. I was awed by him.  He cooked for me, concoctions of strange food I had never eaten or heard of before. I became a vegetarian, and we would do grape juice fasts one day a week and sit in the stillness and listen to Joni Mitchell.  He played in a band and he painted weird abstract pictures that I tried to understand but rarely did. It was his idea, I think, for a bunch of us to put on a parade one summer. We made grand costumes and  masks and played flutes and had a ball. He designed a huge Dragon for all the children to be under, walking down the parade route. 

  His parents were both intellectuals, university professors. He had a sister who was pretty much the same. None of them could understand him and the way he chose to live. Once I went with him to visit his folks for a weekend and his mother stifled a small cry as she came into the kitchen to find me reading the paper. "Oh! Sweetheart!  One of Rudy's friends that actually reads the paper!!!"  I remember she gave me 2 garbage bags full of cuttings from her massive garden of succulents. She and her husband tried to convince themselves that I was his girlfriend, the best thing that ever happened to him.

  We have remained friends through these long..what?--35  years now. We don't talk often or long, but we both still know how to find the other one when the need arises. We have long since taken different paths and forged new alliances, but every time I listen to Joni Mitchell's Blue album, I have sweet memories of an old friend. One who helped me in and out of more scrapes than I can count.  One who was there when I needed him most. One who, to this very day, makes me smile at the thought of him. His long hair is gone now, but he still has the same twinkle in his eye that he did when he was in his twenties.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

The changing definition of friendship...

...or maybe it should be...the changing parameters of friendship.  When we were kids, friends were the kids on your street that you played hide and seek with after dark, or the kids you played with at recess or walked home from school. Everybody had a "best" friend, the one you shared all your secrets with and  trusted beyond a doubt. There were cliques, or groups of friends that all hung out together and kept other people out of the circle.They usually centered around some common thing, like cheerleading or chess club or nerds or jocks.  

 As we got older, this changed to a select few friends, more often people you had liked to hang out with, go to movies, or just sit around gabbing and gossiping.  You spent a lot of time with them and they with you. You spent lots of time at each others' houses.  After getting married, this circle of friends began to tighten, until there were only a few people in your circle, because all the rest of the time was so taken up with family stuff. Some of us sacrificed the comfort and love of these friendships because spouses were threatened by the fact that you had another someone in your life that you told things to, or that you enjoyed spending time with.  Sometimes we have moved away, or moved several times, in the pursuit of careers and life changes, and left those friends behind. 

 The older we get, the harder it is to forge these new friendships, partly because  we don't have the time to build those histories with another person. The friends we do make are less entrenched in our lives, and they just don't know us like our old ones did.  Then, because the friendships of this sort are less satisfying to us, we don't work nearly as hard to forge new friendships.  And we are left yearning for the kind of friends we used to know...the ones who never called before they came by, because they were always welcome in our lives.  

  I have lots of friends today of an almost shallow nature...nobody's fault. Many of them I have come to know online, some I have met f2f (face to face) and some I have had long term correspondences with via emails and messenger chats. I know these people too...just in a different way than the woman who lives in town here. Maybe I even know them better sometimes, because talking with someone online is like telling your life story to the guy on a plane that you know you'll never see again, and there's a certain anonymous safety in it which allows us to be maybe more honest, more open.  I also belong to a 12 step program. I have met thousands of people that I still maintain contact with on an irregular basis. Where do they fall on the line of "friendship" ?  We have told one another things about ourselves that our own birth families don't even know about us.  We have cried and laughed and grown, both mentally and spiritually.  I honestly don't consider all these people my friends...but I have a common bond with many of them that allows us to be connected on some level.  That sounds like friendship, in a manner.

  As the world changes, and we evolve with it, I suspect we will find the old definitions changing and the new parameters stretching and flexing and moving in a cosmic dance. Because man is a social creature. We do better in a pack than we do alone. As we learn the dance that suits our particular brand of crazy, we form lasting (or short-term) connections that serve our purpose, to keep us entrenched in the family of man, and not just one frightened soul facing the darkness on his own.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

1/1/11...here's to a new start

 Here we stand, at the precipice of a new year, all things bright and shiny. Nablopomo is challenging us to blog on every day in January the subject of "Friends". I resolve to post every day.

   Last night we had our friends and neighbors, Bob and Nancy over for supper. They are wonderful people, the kind you always want to have as friends but often don't.  They are older than we are, although their youngest  daughter and my son went to grade school together. (That only tells you what a late bloomer she was and nymphomaniac I was.)  lol  She and Bob built the beautiful home they live in when their kids were young.  They are both well educated and infinitely compassionate...the kind of persons I have always aspired to be, but rarely am.  And ever since we moved here, she has shown herself to be everything a good neighbor should be. She welcomed us with a pie and their phone numbers. She organized a block party that first summer so that we could meet the other people who live on this road. They have had us to their house on numerous occasions in the five years we have been living here.  We dog sit for each other, we loan books back and forth that we've loved, and  we help each other whenever necessary.

   When the winds knocked down trees and limbs all over their property, my husband was over there helping with the clean-up.  When our little dog ran away while still under the effects of sedation after being spayed, in the middle of January, they were out with floodlights helping us look.  They have invited up to their church and we have gone and enjoyed ourselves immensely. We have hunted mushrooms together and picked blackberries and done all sorts of things that neighbors do. When we have extra eggs from our chickens, they go across the way to their house.  Sometimes I make extra soup or some new recipe for something or other, and I take it to them. She does the same.

  We are watching them pull together like nobody's business as he suffers the debilitating effects of Parkinson's...keeping an eye out for him as he tries to still do things outside that he probably shouldn't,  unable to do more than shuffle sometimes as he tries to walk across the yard. Suffering the side effects of drugs that cause him to sometimes hallucinate, or lose all his motor coordination, or be so disoriented he no longer knows how to get from the shed to the house. It is heartbreaking, and at the same time it is amazingly tender, like the moments where she has to cut up his food and watch him as he tries to feed himself. 

  Man is a social animal...we need each other. We need friends to show us how to get through the good times and the not-so-good times. We need friends to laugh with and cry with, to break bread with,  and sometimes just to ring in a new year...with hopes for a little easier road and with gratitude for the people in our lives who touch our hearts.