A New Place to Thrive

It was a new church that I felt compelled to visit.   It wasn’t a new church as in being newly established or even new to the area.  It was new to me.

I’ve lived and/or worked in this area for over 40 years.  The church, I understand, has been here for about ten – on a main street that I use at least once a week –  and yet I hadn’t noticed it until now; when I am searching for a permanent spiritual home.

So 3-4 weeks ago, I looked up and there was this church and my only thought was “where did that come from?”.  I decided to visit.  Two Sundays later I was sitting in one of the pews completely enthralled with the service and the people around me.  This was a full spiritual experience.

I left exhilirated and uplifted.

I went back yesterday.

I believe I’ll go again.  This is what church should feel like.  It’s friendly, warm and light – easy to enter, hard to leave; a lot of good music and good teaching in between.

…talk to you soon.

Living – Deciding

Staring at my computer right now.  It’s not talking to me today.

If I had a moment
To live my life again…

There were good times.

“Alright, my baby…” she’d say when calling me to the table for dinner.  Two pots of greens on the stove – one with okra, one tiny one without – because I didn’t like okra.  I never had to eat what I didn’t like.  She’d make extra or she cooked something different – for me.

“Okay, my baby…” you want to play a game tonight?”

And then, when I was older, it was “My Lady”.  I was thrilled to be her lady.  I felt grown up and appreciated.  Her words; “my baby”, “my lady”, made me feel loved.

She was the cab driver, boiler operator, madam, cook, Bingo operator (for the benefit of the church), apartment building manager/troubleshooter, reader, healer, seer, teacher, speaker, gambler and, most precious of all, mother that reigned supreme in my life.

This gun-toting, indolent whirl of angst, brilliance, dance, power, God, spirit and, yes, sometimes hatred, would spit fire as easily as she would kiss.  Her emotions – her power, sat on the tip of her tongue impatient to anchor and destroy a new target.  There was no mercy.  Once incurred her anger was alive, sharp and dedicated to the absolute destruction of whomever had awakened it.  She reveled in it.  She’d seen death.  Maybe she’d killed someone.  Maybe; the thought haunted her.  She’d survived knife attacks, shoot outs, home invasions, armed robberies; and understood that life at every moment was a fragile gift.

She carried a pearl-handled .38.  This is the gun she taught me to shoot when I was 11.  We’d go to the furnace room and fire into the coals that were stacked on the floor.  They formed a kind of lop-sided triangle of rolling black stones.  She taught me about ricochet, noise, and hot flying cartridge shells.  She taught me to never fear a gun.  This gun was her favorite, but after it was stolen she chose a snub-nosed .38 to replace it.

I watched her perform miracles (really) and wondered how God could work through this cold, angry woman.

But there were those moments when she was afraid or in love, or worse even, hurt.  I marveled at her softness then.  Vulnerability was foreign to her; frightening to her, but she didn’t try to mask it.  She would dive in and find a remedy.  She knew the answer would come – if not today then certainly tomorrow.  She’d find her way out.   Her susceptibility was beautiful – made her beautiful – made her transcendent.  Not in the sense of God – no, no.  I mean that the love at those times was great, so soft and welcoming that it overpowered everything else.  It was pure.  Being in her presence was enough; truly sufficient.  Nothing else existed.  In this place my heart rested.  So I kind of  understood why everyone loved her so.   There was that goodness, that softness, that intelligence about her that would not be denied.

She was God’s child.  Like David.

She lived a long time; longer than her friends and almost all of her family.  Everyone relied on her for everything – when she let them.  “I ain’t goin’ out there.  I said I would, but I ain’t”, she’d say.  Or, “I don’ give a d– what you want.  S—, the devil want s– too, but he ain’ gon git it.”  Or my personal favorite (one of them anyway) “As long as you s— between two legs…”.  They seemed crasSs to me then, bur now that she’s gone; now that I can’t hear her anymore, they seem funny and completely unanswerable; wholly sufficient to her desired message.

She got older and shifted to just being plain angry.  Alzheimers made her angry.  Her ability to do columns of math in her head deserted her; her ability to think clearly and quickly escaped.  There was no more “Don’t try me.  I can think rings around you.  I know where you goin’ before you even start.”  It was true once, but no more – which frustrated her.  This woman, this builder of things and people, could no longer find her her way home, so she told me she was ready to go.

She’d been tired before.  Arthritis ate away the vertebrae in her neck.  Emphysema clogged her lungs.  Cancer invaded the brain and the lungs.  Her bowels locked, resulting in severe constipation.  High blood pressure caused her nose to bleed, and her to pass out.  Lymphomas grew throughout her body.  Medications did not help.  Trips to the hospital resulted in temporary relief.  But she fought back.  She knew death was coming and occasionally invited him in; but then she would fight back.  She had to stay, she said, for me.  Her battle extended from the physical to the spiritual; she began to fight everyone as she out distanced the final act – she would stay.  But then she fell, breaking her hip.  The pain was great.  Her disappointment in life unconquerable.  She warned me.

Then she left me.  A couple of days before she passed I sat in the hospital room and watched her play with her visions.  I watched her smile for the first time in ages.  I saw her determination to slip away.

This woman and one other I know willed themselves to die.  She, first, willed herself to live, then later willed herself to die.  Her choice; not doctors, nor family and friends; not death.  Her choice.

There is another.  Another woman who, born on the edge of slavery knew suffering.  She, too, was a fighter.  She preferred to fight people (particularly policemen) more than anything else.  She too was a woman of God.   She was humorous, alive, devilish.  I met her when I was a pre-teen. Continue reading “Living – Deciding”

Family? 2 and a Book

A close relative revealed the other day that he has written a book and that it is soon going to press.  I wasn’t surprised – he has enviable writing skills; has written all of his life.  Actually, I was glad to see that he had stepped out of his vacuum and, finally, begun using his gifts.  Really, I don’t know if he’ll ever be wealthy; but he will get that ever-elusive sense of satisfaction that comes from doing what he enjoys.  And he’ll release an incredible amount of angst.  It takes a lot to write a book.

The content was a bit confusing, initially, but as I read I began to understand.  It was good.  It was clear.  It was better than I could have done with the subject matter he has chosen.  Yeah, I’m going to read it again.   The name of the book – if you’re wondering – is Conversations of Love; written by Jeremiah Loquacious Denton.  Look it up if you get a chance.

Oh yeah.  It’s about God’s love and how men process it for and through their women.  He says the book stems from loves he has lost, but it is a message to the one he wins.

I’m particularly pleased about this effort because I remember the beginnings of this young man’s life.  Born with multiple medical issues he was promised no more than three months to live.  He lived anyway.   Then he was promised that his bones were too soft to support him.  They did; he is now over 6 feet tall and strong as, well, as a bull.  They said he would never achieve because of his inability to focus or to comprehend the world around him.  “They” were obviously wrong.  God has a way of doing things.

He does suffer;  people who don’t know him don’t understand how hard he has  fought for his life.  They don’t know the challenges he has had communicating, working, getting an education.  He overcame them all; won awards for his academic achievements, even excelled in the military.  We were satisfied, pleased, and proud of him then.  We are proud, pleased and satisfied with him now.

So, out of his pain he has elicited glory.

Sometimes we, his family who should understand him better than most, look askance at his efforts and – as with any wayward child, mutter “Aw mannn.  Here we go!”  But we encourage him; every success a celebration.   Every failure acknowledged as preparation for the next success.  He never stops trying.  He cries only in private.  When we see him, when we lay eyes on him, we are met with his easy smile (forced, actually, but we pretend not to notice) and a warm embrace.  “How you doin’?  I’m good.”

His father is not around.  We’d like to share this with him, but maybe it doesn’t matter at this point.

But maybe it does.  A near-70 year old friend of mine just recently revealed that he is angry that his father was not there.  He was frustrated that he tried to communicate his loss to his father, but was brushed off.  The idea that things were different back then was not sufficient to alleviate my friend’s pain.  So I wonder about it, but will respect my relative’s wishes and leave it alone.

There are 15 children in my friend’s family;  9 boys and six girls.  Only the four youngest know their father; lived with their father.   One of the boys was killed at 24, leaving 14 to mourn.  It was rough, my friend told us.  A large family in a four-room house behind a store (it was actually a storage room).  A single parent household, usually.  Kids slept in bunk beds and on twin mattresses – feet to face.  There was a dog, too.  A giant German Shepherd named Blackboy.  So little food, so many people, one bathroom.    Yeah, it was rough.

But then they moved into the courts, that’s what they called housing projects down south.  There were three bedrooms, a living room that was lived in, not slept in, a kitchen and a bath.  That was more than they’d had before so it was enough.  The older boys had jobs.  Newspaper delivery.  The eldest joined the military; the second and third oldest soon followed.  The remaining children continued as usual.  They worked.  Yep, all but the youngest had jobs.  They went to school, came home, cleaned up (when their mom could catch them), ate and played.   The typical family growing up anywhere- including the south.  They played, fought, cried and lied together.

There was a third house which was larger, roomier.  There were fewer children at home now.  Those that remained were older; capable of feeding themselves, of cleaning behind themselves, transporting themselves, and managing their own homework and wash.  But it was still full of children.  And something else – sadness maybe.  Anger definitely.

They are all grown up, now; they’ve moved on; grown into highly functional, productive adults.  They are CPAs, teachers, musicians, managers of all sorts of businesses, owners of all sorts of businesses – but not in the business of being related.  They don’t seem to get along very well.  They don’t talk or visit with each other.  My friend said the oldest brother had a stroke recently but that no one went to see him.  They all assumed he would be fine.  And he was, but he is angry.

It seems that everyone is angry; violence trends throughout all of his stories.  Just recently he heard that his older sister,  the oldest child, was beaten up by her granddaughter and daughter.  Since his sister hasn’t called they assume she is alright.

When I look at my relative I think about this family.  We have our problems and yes, there is space between us.  I thank God that it is not as dark or as deep or as engulfing as his family’s space is.  I am thankful that we can do better.  I believe we can do better because I have watched other do it.  I have watched others step over distrust, frustration and distance.  We can do that too.  When I look at my friend I see pain,  and I feel that pain.  I remember the times that my own relative looked at me just like that.  I try to soothe this man as if he were mine.  I hope that it is enough.

Yeah, I’ll call his brother.  And mine.

Although the love I’m talking about is different, it is as necessary and as hurtful as the love(s) discussed in Conversations of Love.

I know families hurt each other just as unrequited love hurts young men.  It’s what we learn from the broken heart, each put down or put aside, that helps us to do better the next time.  What I get from the book and its correlation to life is that God loves us through our pains and our downfalls so that we can do the same for others.  And the people we love don’t always look like the people who love us.

Even though we want them to. Continue reading “Family? 2 and a Book”

Family?

quiet_calamity_by_megatruh

I get up early every morning to watch the sunrise.  The colors and shapes made by the decorative glass bowls and statues are beautiful.  The light from the blinds enhances the movement of the sunlight from east to west; first bright and then dimming as light follows time to bed.

I watch the trees as they obey the breeze, bending ever so slightly.   Sitting alone and drinking my tea, I glory in what God has done.  I am so thankful.

I finish my drink and begin thinking about waking Arthur – starting his day.  Maybe I’ll make him some coffee.  He prefers it over tea;  with honey, even.  I pick up the remote, turn on the television, then pad to the kitchen.  I am wearing my soft bedroom slippers.  My feet are warm and comfy.  The television is tuned to the news – MSNBC -, thanks Arthur.  He sleeps and wakes, prepares for work to MSNBC.  I don’t, can’t, don’t want to be so immersed in the news.  So I keep walking.

Trump, I’m told, wants to end DACA
Trump wants a wall between the USA and Mexico
Trump has established a tax structure that gives corporate entities millions forever; but has minimal increases for US citizens for a 5-year period
Trump is eliminating the largest and most often used middle class tax deductions
Trump will kill Obama Care and Medicare and Social Security, and eventually, the VA
Trump has rewritten consumer protection laws such that corporations cannot be held liable for injuries they cause to the people.  No more class action suits
Trump loves guns and hates Hillary
Trump does not provide FEMA assistance to Puerto Rico – (Okay, he provides unequal and minimal care to Puerto Rico, and did not provide the same care to Louisiana as he did to Oklahoma.
Trump doesn’t believe in global warming or the EPA

I couldn’t avoid hearing the discussion even in the kitchen.  My fault.  I didn’t check the volume when I turned on the set.  Arthur likes it loud.  Really loud. So loud that he can’t hear anything that happens in the house.  Wonder if that’s on purpose. Huh.

That got me thinking about family.  I’ve been a member of many families; have opted to remove myself from some,  been asked to exit from others.  I was young, but I wondered, what component makes the family infallible?  I don’t mean that they don’t make mistakes.  But that sometimes, in some families, mistakes are less important than the person.  Or vice versa.  Some families curse and kick and scream at each other, then drive to work or school, feed the kids, wash the clothes and clean the house – together.   In their youth they may fight each other day and night,  but anyone – anyone at all – who bothers one of them is going down.  Harshly.  I know families who don’t know loneliness because they have each other.  They cry on each other’s shoulders and in each other’s laps.  Unashamed, they tell their saddest stories, their greatest losses without fear of shame or blame.  They’ll tell everyone eventually, but first the most trusted and most constant friend (whatever the familial relationship) has to know.  In these families there are no secrets.  Everyone knows everything you’ve ever accomplished, every discrepancy you’ve ever told, every indiscretion you’ve ever committed and they still love you.  Because they also know, and prefer to remember, every good thing you’ve ever done.  So, when anyone is in trouble everyone comes to help him heal.  And they keep trying, no matter how difficult the situation or how many times they are needed.  They talk to each other.  They laugh at each other.  They have celebrations for things that go right and go wrong.  They teach each other, and they learn from each other.  I have discovered that it doesn’t matter whether there’s a Mom and Dad, or if the adult role is played by Uncle Sue or Aunty Bob.  Or older brother Ben.

There’s always food to eat.  There’s always a place to sleep.  For everyone.  These families have – what?

Let’s skip the in between and go right to the opposite of the above –

The families who regularly beat each other up, and mean it.  There’s no respect for anyone, there is no friendship – or trust.  These persons suffer sexual, mental, physical and verbal abuses in their own homes.  Because they are afraid, or are conditioned to accept these personal violations, they cannot – will not fight back.  They are victimized into being victims.  When they go out they return with new exposures to other forms of abuse from other forms of family.  School friends and teachers.  Church members.  Team members.  Strangers.  Babysitters.  Kids who don’t like them.  Bullies.

They bring all that home with them.  There is no safety net.  They are alone, no support, no help, no defenses.  So they are abused some more.

And there is the family that, as I watched, squared off for murder.  Two brothers on opposite ends of the block, ducking behind buildings, trucks, whatever was available, shooting at each other.  Trying to kill each other because one had slept with the other’s wife.  Low, right? It was strange enough.  I had just met them.  And just as I met them, they were shooting.  A hot summer day in Alabama a mother was telling the older sister to  “go get them”, to “Make them stop.”  Sis never moved.  “Let them kill each other.  They stupid enough to sleep with each other’s women.   Nothing’s changed around here.”  The shooting ended when one of the men ran off.  The other, after threatening to follow and kill his brother, went into the house, fell into bed, and finally went to sleep.  It took much pleading from the mother.  No crying.  There was discussion, sure.  But eventually everything returned to what I supposed was the norm for this family.  Shoot, everyone was undisturbed but me.  I was shaken and ready to go home.  Big Sis wasn’t ready to go, though.  We had to go into the dark, 3-room house with a pot-bellied stove sitting in the middle of the living/bedroom floor.

But then as I was told more about this family –  a daughter forced to have sex in exchange for a bottle of whisky, beatings when she didn’t comply; being hit with an axe for refusing to have sex with a drunken man; the mother’s fights with police; the constant fighting; the potential murder of an acquaintance because of an insult that wasn’t well tolerated which resulted in the relocation of the child (now 17) from Alabama to Michigan.  Havoc had a new home.

One family masqueraded as street thugs; selling drugs, committing assaults, home invasions and various thefts.  Some became gang leaders and managed to kill a few people before being killed themselves.  The oldest of these siblings set his grandmother’s house on fire while she slept because she wouldn’t give him money to buy drugs.  She would never support his drug habits or his street activity.  So she had to go.  She did not die.  She made it out of the house while he watched from across the street.  And she forgave him for what he had done.  What creates such strength as to forgive attempted murder?  Of oneself?  These were her children, “regardless”.  This little woman, small and roundish, quietly determined that these were her children, acceptable just as they were.  She did not condone what they had done, but chose to look at their beginnings to understand their end.  Their lives from birth had been dysfunctional – an invisible (never present) father who freely spread his seed throughout the city and the South (no one was certain how many children he had.  The best estimate was 20), a nonfunctional mother who provided no discipline – no presence – no guidance.  These children were beautiful; they were smart, and they were angry.  I had a favorite among these children.  She, again, was beautiful.  Again, she was smart.  She was also kind.  She died at the hands of a john who beat her, raped her, killed her and threw her naked body out of a moving vehicle into traffic on a Detroit street.  The memory of her softness, her gentleness still haunts me.  We became fast friends on meeting.  Unfortunately, we enjoyed just a couple of conversations before she was gone   I still miss her.

Anyway, the children saw themselves as survivors.  They did well in school but could not find their way in society.  They blamed only themselves for their actions, finding no luxury or truth in accusing others.  Only once was their an excuse, “He shouldn’t have pulled a gun on me.  He still be alive if he hadn’t pulled a gun on me.  He pulled the trigger three times.  And now he is dead.”  Because he was a small time name in the criminal world; familiar to police and other gang members –  he could not walk away.  He certainly couldn’t run.  He had to kill the man who tried to kill him.  And now he is dead.  After serving a number of years in prison then returning to his old ways, he is dead.  The opposing gang came to his funeral with guns, lined up against the walls of the funeral home chapel and laughed while the family mourned.  They made it clear that they were armed and had come purposely to kill.  The police were called; they came and, when it was over, everyone went home safe and uninjured.  Definitely shaken.  Trust me, the parking lot and the street surrounding the funeral home cleared faster than airplane take offs.  But, the family came knowing there was danger in being there.   And they came.  And they came to the next brother’s funeral under the same circumstances.   They were not trying to prove how tough they were.  They were mourning one of their own.  They refused to abandon their children because of fear.

There are some children who are passed over state lines from one relative to another; criss-crossing the country following major infractions or simple cases of disobedience.    Schools won’t accept them anymore.  They’ve become outsiders.  But the family keeps trying and make it worse by creating non homes; a kind of living no place that the children tolerate until they are old enough to create their own places, their own lives.

So I wonder – is there a main ingredient that no one can identify – an intangible but cohesive substance that ensures an individual’s safety and health?  I mean, is it in our genetic code?  Do some of us decide that we will, no matter what, no matter how, love and nurture the people with whom we live?  Does the heart matter?  Is there a thread connecting all three?  If so, if one connection fails is the entire movement lost?  Why doesn’t occur in all families?

I wonder.  How can humans, being only humans, be so different, so distant from each other.  How can each individual be so different from the other that they can’t recognize the dangers and pitfalls of living.

Just one person might be enough to save just one person.  And, besides, we’re all family.  Ask the genetic specialists, they’ll tell you it’s true.

I chose the picture above because I don’t know what the young lady is doing on that precipice.  It is dark, she is sitting on the outermost edge of the precipice – but she is holding a string connected to I don’t know what.  I can’t tell if she’s happy or sad – the surroundings are bleak, but that doesn’t tell anything about her condition or her life.

As we watch, though, we are a community; empowered to stop watching and to intercede on her behalf.  Whomever is nearest her has the ability and possibly the insight to change her condition if not her life.  She will know whether to accept or reject the effort.

I have momentarily mused myself into stillness.  The coffee is ready and Arthur is on his way down.  Breakfast must need be fruit.  I have fixed nothing else.  I am back in the world of Trump, but I turn to the light.  This is the sustenance of the world – the thing that along with its sisters rain and wind – nourishes everything.  I can dismiss Trump – his time, like so many others, is short – and go on pondering the faces of family.

Talk to you soon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excellent Friends Forever

I’ve been thinking about some very good friends from my youth.  These were people who cared for me, who played and danced with me.  They drank and smoked without ever forgetting who they were.   Some of us worked together.  Some lived so near each other they’d often walk to each other’s homes.  We shared families, so to speak.  Those who could drive took those who could not to parties, to work, to where ever was necessary.  It was so natural; so easy.

Why not easy?    We were all good people who shared the expected desires of the average 20-year-old.  We wanted jobs, our families, cars, work, money.   Our personal goals were never stated, but they were there.  They hid themselves beneath every action, every breath, each thought we thought of every day.  Our lives would be better than our parents.  We would live different from them, but not far.  Most likely we will take our drunken brothers, our broken mothers, our man or friend-challenged sisters with us to our new and better lives.  We shared our cars, our homes and food, our stories and our lives with each other.  No lies, no pretensions.

We lived without jealousy.  Some of us could sing, some danced.  Some were absolutely beautiful (but didn’t know it).  Our innocence must have underpinned this friendship of ours.  There don’t appear to be many like that today.  We went to work, we went home, we got together.  We were, as a unit, complete.  If one cried the other four held tissues, told jokes, took her for fresh air.  It was us against no one.  Nothing could win against us.  We just lived.

I’ll attempt a portrait of one of them.  To me she defines freedom and honesty.

Her name is Pat.  She is  tall, heavy-set, dark as night with a impish laugh that matched her nature.  She was the director of a day care center for a church on Livernois.   On a cold November day, wearing a rabbit fur coat, burnt orange leather boots and a hat, I walked in looking for work.  She told me they didn’t need anyone, and she would probably get into trouble, I could watch the kids for a couple of days.  They really couldn’t afford to pay me so I’d earn $-5 dollars an hour – if the owner of the facility agreed to let go of the money.  I should be sure to come in tomorrow.

I’d walked at least 10 blocks to get there and it would be another 10 blocks to get home.    The job, however, was a blessing.

I was sick with the flu.  Then we discovered that I was pregnant.  The baby was sick, too.  Seeing my flushed face, feeling the heat radiating off my forehead, she told me to lie on the storage table.  And sleep.  She was not allowed to dispense medication, but here were two aspirin anyway.   The next day she rolled out a cart in the back room for me.  In pain and tired, having arrived at the day care after school, I lay on that cot, thankful for a place to put my aching body, a chance to fight off the bone-deep chills.  I began to feel guilty when I began to feel better.  So I  got me off the cot; began to earn my wages.  Or tried to; for some reason I couldn’t stop being sick.  I stayed home for a few days.  I was attending DBI (Detroit Business Institute) full time.  I’d been looking for work since I’d moved into the area recently and wanted something near home.  I was jobless and sick.   Until Pat.

My  son was born in June of the following year.  He had medical problems which the doctors at Children’s Hospital and Mt. Carmel Hospital Hospitals seemed unable to conquer.  They anticipated he’d die before his third month.  Three months after his birth the world said “The end”.  No worries, people.  My son is still here.   That was in 1975.  I’ll tell the rest of the story later.  Anyway, because of his illness and because of the birth control method that tried to kill me too, I couldn’t work.  She stuck with me; laughed when I couldn’t, cried when I wouldn’t.  She understood my family dynamic, saying that my mother was not unlike hers.  She preferred to laugh.  I pouted.  She’d say:  “Why not laugh?  There’s nothing you’re going to do about it.  Your family won’t change.  They’ll always be your family.  Just be who you are.  I love myself.  I don’t have to worry about whether thy love me.  Even though I know they do.”

We partied together; merged our friends and families.  She thought it was hilarious that her cousin named Tracey lived on Tracey.  She taught me to drive.  She got me high.  Okay, not just her, but our group and my husband …. and before the night was over I couldn’t find the way out of my house.  They took care of me though.  We were all supposed to go get her cousin from the airport, and they did.  I just can’t remember it.  Only remember falling under the table and off the doorstep – and they laughingly held my arms, my hands, keeping me upright.  I was mad at my husband, but not at my friends.  Let’s get her some air they’d said as I pulled myself over the sofa.  They opened the door and we entered the cooling darkness.  They got into the car.  I couldn’t go because I was out of control; “messed up”.  Pat would get in touch with me the following Monday. That’s it.  My memory fades from there.  Oh, yeah – she certainly did get back to me on Monday.  She needed to know that I was alright.

She hoarded children.  Problem children.  It was her social worker nature.  There was nothing she couldn’t care about.  She was allowed to take in only one child at a time, and for  a pre-determined period.  She hated that.

One child caught her heart from the first meeting.  She was wanted to adopt this girl in spite of the agency’s rules.   At thirteen the girl was curious, precocious, troubled because her mom was troubled.  Pat loved this foster child because in her own words, “she is so much like I was when I was that age.”  She was determined to adopt that girl so she devised a plan that worked for the agency, the mother and the child.  The child could go home, and could stay as long as the mother kept herself functioning – including maintaining her home and a job on her own.  Until then, the child would stay with Pat, and would return to Pat whenever she wanted; the door would never close.  Pat would retain visiting rights – check on her to ensure her happiness and her safety.  The mother eventually met her goals and the child went home.   Pat’s door remained open for years. The child often contacted her because she, well, she knew love when she felt it.

Anyway, Pat brought the little girl over to meet her extended family and friends.  She was a wiggly little thing; constantly moving in her seat, jerking about.  Pat kept asking if she were okay, if she needed anything.  We knew it was the boredom of being 13 and in the room with a bunch of grown ups.  My children were younger and at a friend’s house.  So before long, she had to go to the bathroom.   Pat, laughing, yelled after her to not  be nosy and to come right back down.  Being of a curious nature (which we had been warned about) she raided the bathroom cabinet and bedroom drawers, finding – personal female items.  She decided to try one.  Just as Pat was asking her what she was doing up there we heard moans and writhing.  Pat ran up, checked the bedrooms to find the child mid-experiment, unable to remove it.  I believe a little petroleum jelly helped free her.  The child was embarrassed and in pain.  They went home.

Pat worked, married an African  male from Toronto, left him.   She moved to Minnesota to complete her Masters.

I went to Pat’s house when I left my husband – she had an extra bedroom which was always prepared for the unexpected visitor.  On the second day she told me to make a decision.  Either tell him it was over or go back to him.  She laughingly suggested that if I stayed she would expect that I would cook breakfast, maybe clean up around the house.  There’d be no rent, though.  I could stay at her home if I was leaving him, but it was surely time to decide what I really wanted to do.  I went home thinking how smart and efficient she really was.

But then one day it was over.  She asked her friends for a stand mixer for Christmas.  Top of the line.  If we loved her we’d get this for her.  If not, we need not contact her again.  We, the four of us should easily pull this off because we could all go in on the price.  We four friends discussed it and then most refused – it was too costly.  There was an ultimatum attached which we all rejected.   She laughed.  A few years later I received a letter from her wishing to re-establish contact.  I didn’t respond because I felt she wouldn’t accept me anymore.  It had nothing to do with the mixer.  I was in the same position I’d been in when she left.  They, all of them, had moved on in their careers, their education.  I was embarrassed, ashamed.  So I didn’t write back.  My assumptions were great.  My lack of faith in my friends even greater.  A crime not easily forgiven.

It cost me four fantastic friends, and one who was more like a sister.

This makes me realize the importance of communicating.  Fear or judgement can cost the loss of friend and family.   I only realized at this moment just what I’ve done. I learned that a friend who loves you out values the price of a stand mixer every time.  And I learned that you cannot go back, that people are not the same at 60 as they were at 20, and most people don’t like looking back at what used to be.  I cannot replace her.  There is nothing that will replace her, who she is.   Didn’t realize it at the time but I see it now.  But  now she won’t respond to my efforts to contact her.    I’m not surprised; she’s either totally with you or not – that’s just how it is.

I miss her and the others terribly some days.  I’ve never had another friendship to equal this one.  I know you can never go back, but maybe someone reading this can rescue a friendship that’s equally important to them before it’s too late, before going down the path of self-doubt or self-deprecation.

Yeah, I clicked my heels, rubbed my lamp of gold.  Heck, I even prayed to change myself, but those friends, those days of fulfillment are gone.  They won’t come back; they can’t.  And if they did come back they’d be different.  And so would I.

Cherish those people in your life who love and appreciate you.  They are few and far between; especially if you also love and appreciate them.

See you next time.

 

Putting It On Paper

I love writing.  I love it so much that I think every thought, every sensation, every interaction should be written and saved for prosperity.   I read newly written articles aloud to anyone and everyone within hearing distance.  I’ll read my latest notes over the phone, under the cover of darkness, to tired people who, just getting in from work, really just want a hot meal and a comfortable bed to lie in.  I’m inconsiderate, so I call anyway.  Then I wait for the applause.  “Oooooh, that’s GOOD!” is what I hear in my head. Who knows what they really said?  Or maybe they fell asleep.   Heh, heh.

On this site I’ll talk about things that interest me.  I’m no expert in any of them.  Who knows life?  We’ll talk about science, space, politics, sadness, church, people – you know – everything.  Stay with me.

Sometimes frustration about this or that gets me wondering how society has changed since 1950.  Or not.  Maybe it’s the same but looks different, uses a different language, lives in a different house.  Well

Maybe you’ll laugh sometimes.  Preferably once a week (on Mondays) you’ll laugh out loud.  And people will come to see what you’re laughing at.  They’ll read my blog and go…

Check back with me next Monday.  Surely there’ll be something here worth reading.

To all my new friends, Hi.  Pleased to meet you.  Hope you’ll be around a long time.

Oh!! Some interesting people will contribute from time to time.  They’ll discuss things like psychology, medicine/health, science, space, people, family, food, etc.  All the things that equate to living.

This is the space where I share the better part of myself.