Category: Guest WoW
I’m sitting here at my computer listening to the many joyful birds outside as I wait for the sun to rise. I’ve been awake since 4 a.m. I can’t start my day until the sun is up. Or so my mind tells me. I have plenty that needs to be done, but my mind says I must wait till there is daylight. Why is that?
I am a night person by nature. Sometimes I’ve wondered if I were an Owl in another life. So why do I have trouble early morning when it’s still dark out? Owls hunt prey at this time. I have witnessed it. So guess I need to pick another animal to explain myself.
There must be something about the stillness that makes me think I need to be still as well. Everyone seems to be in their homes asleep. I’m sure that’s not completely accurate as there are so many who go to their jobs this time of day. But I hear no cars going by, no noise coming from anywhere except for the very happy song birds.
I have often thought that I would love to live in a town that never sleeps. Where I could run out for a bite to eat or groceries at any time day or night. So often I have wanted to live a life like many characters in the movies I’ve seen. Can’t sleep, so I go for a walk where streets are bustling with activity. Maybe stop in an all night diner for coffee and a burger. People in the movies always seem so happy being able to do those things in the middle of the night. I often wonder if life is really like that in large cities. It seems romantic I guess. But maybe not so much in reality.
My little town falls asleep early. Our only diner is called the Toot-n-Tell It. I don’t think they would be up for running a late night special as they turn off their grill at 9 o’clock sharp. Every place but two close at 9 o’clock. One of the two gas stations is open till 10, and the Dollar General also closes at 10 o’clock. So you better make your run with plenty of time to spare or the doors will be locked.
As the old saying goes, grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Maybe I am just deluding myself into thinking anywhere else to live would be better. I have so much to love right where I am. But my mind is always open for anything new the good Lord might may suggest. He has certainly taken me places before that I would have never dreamed I would go. Some, not in a million years. So who knows.
It’s now 5:39 a.m. and the sun is shining enough to call it a day. I will begin my daily rituals and hope to be successful in being productive. I will fight the sunset tonight in hopes to keep it from leaving. I always fail. But with it’s departure, I know I will be less than, and I will wait anxiously for it’s return in the morning.
Have you ever had an itch, a physical itch that is, and could not scratch it? If you’ve ever had a mosquito bite, then you know how irritating an itch can be. Now multiply that itchiness by ten. Now you will get the feel of the story I am about to share.
When I was a little girl, my older sister and I spent the majority of our playtime outdoors. We loved playing in the acres and woods surrounding our home. It was much cooler in the woods during the summer than anywhere else. So many beautiful old trees gave us the shade we craved. We would pretend to be on an expedition, searching the woods for something we had never seen before or lost treasure. One year I found much more than I bargained for. I found Poison Ivy.
I must have been around six years old. I’m sure my parents had warned me about this evil plant, but somehow I had walked through it unknowingly. My sister had missed it because she was fine. I, on the other hand, broke out in the most horrific red rash from my chest down. I remember my mother undressing me and gasping at how bad my skin looked. I didn’t care how it looked; I worried more about the awful ITCH!
The itch from H, E, double hockey sticks is how I remember it. Being a young kid, things always seem much worse than they are, but I really do think that itch was as bad as it felt. My Mama covered me in that pink lotion that is supposed to give relief. It felt good while she carefully put it on with soft cotton balls. Being careful to dab and not rub, as to spread the poison. But as soon as the pink, chalky liquid dried, the itching came right back. All I could think of was how much I wanted to scratch every inch of my body from the chest down.
My mother was adamant, DO NOT SCRATCH! I remember thinking that I had to do as my Mama said. She always knew best, and I always tried to mind her. But this was ridiculous. The discomfort was so intense it was making me cry. Surely Mama didn’t understand the severity of what I was feeling.
I realized years later that my mother was not trying to make me feel worse but was attempting to keep me from making the rash spread. The look on her face told me that she felt awful for me. It hurt her that she could do nothing to soothe my pain and give me relief.
After suffering for several days, with no relief to be found, I heard Mama talking to one of my aunts on the phone. She often called on her sisters for advice when one of her children was sick. They were all older than her and had already experienced much with their own kids. This aunt gave her a recipe for a concoction to be used as a wash for my rash. She told her that it would “kill” the poison. I remember the recipe called for something called Sulfur powder. It also called for apple cider vinegar. Mama sent Daddy to the store for the Sulfur powder right away.
Mama undressed me and stood me in the bathtub. The concoction smelled terrible. I was frightened. Needless to say, when that Sulfur and vinegar hit my skin, the itching was instantly gone. It was, however, replaced with the feeling that I was literally on fire!
I look back now and think, “my poor mama .”I can only imagine, now that I’ve been a mother too, how much it hurt her to see me in so much discomfort. At the time, I felt as though I was being tortured. I was standing still in that bathtub as what felt like hot lava was being poured over my body. But guess what? The stinky potion worked! It dried up my rash, and I no longer itched.
I was one cautious kid from then on when outdoors. I didn’t touch any weeds of any kind. And my daddy felt so bad for what I went through that he went into the woods searching for Poison Ivy and Poison Oak and eradicated it! I’m sure that was no small feat, but I had a very good daddy. And Mama too, that’s for sure.
When I was twelve years old, some forty-eight years ago, I walked into gym class at school one day, and there was a new girl I did not know. I could immediately tell that she was very timid and uncomfortable. I also noticed that she knew a girl I was acquainted with. That girl’s name was Molly. She and I had several classes together. Molly introduced us, and there began what would become a life-long friendship with my “bestie” Kalynn.
When I tell you that Kalynn was shy, I mean she was painfully shy! I considered myself shy, but I felt sorry for Kalynn. She would even break out in hives from her anxiety. But there was just something about this quiet girl that I felt drawn to. I liked her. The more I got to know her, it was evident that we had many things in common other than shyness. My favorite thing being Art. It was my best subject, and Kalynn was extremely talented at both drawing and painting. She had been taking private lessons for some time. I was in awe of her artistic abilities.
We spent lots of time outside of school. Going to the mall and eating out, but mostly just talking. I could talk to Kalynn about anything. She was understanding and sweet, and we seemed to see eye to eye on almost any subject. The more time the two of us spent together, the closer we became.
Before we knew it, we were graduating high school together. The majority of my friendships ended with graduation. But my friendship with Kalynn got stronger. We saw each other even more. Shopping, doing lunch, even double dating with our new boyfriends.
Before we knew it, we were both engaged to be married to said boyfriends. Kalynn was married in August, and I was a bridesmaid at her wedding. I was married that November. Unfortunately, Kalynn married a Navy guy. That meant she would need to move away to wherever his job may take him. Her first time away landed her in upstate New York. I missed my bestie tremendously.
My life took a direction that was so new to me. Right away, I was pregnant with my first child. This was before computers or cell phones, and my bestie was too far away. I had no other friends now. There was no one to give me a baby shower. No friend to talk to about all the new things happening in my life. It was a very lonely and challenging time for me. But I gave birth to a healthy baby girl and, 19 months later, gave birth to her little sister. Now I was married and a mommy of two.
Finally, Kalynn and her hubby moved back to town. Kalynn was sad because she also wanted children. Here I had two already, and she was finding it difficult to get pregnant. But that was about to change. Soon she was pregnant for the first time. She gave birth to a healthy little girl. Not too long after, she gave birth to another beautiful baby girl.
Our friendship seemed to be exactly where we had both wanted it for so long. Here we were, living in the same area, both married, and each a mommy to two little girls. We saw each other as much as our time would allow. We got our girls together for play dates, trips to McDonald’s, and the circus. We shared their birthdays with each other. When it was Kalynn’s birthday, I would make her a homemade cake. When it was my birthday, she would, in turn, bake me a cake.
Our friendship continued until Kalynn became pregnant with her third child. Another bouncing baby girl. I, too, had been hoping for a third baby and was feeling down that I couldn’t have one. When I visited Kalynn and her newest addition, I felt hope holding her newborn. A couple of months later, I was also pregnant with my third. You guessed it, another little girl. That made three little girls for each of us. I felt complete.
Unfortunately, my husband’s career took our family sixteen hours away when I was pregnant with our third daughter. I would have to be without my bestie again at a significant time in my life.
I missed the birthday parties for our girls, the birthday cakes for one another, the lunches, play dates with our girls, and everything else our wonderful friendship brought. But we stayed in touch the very best we could, first with old-fashioned snail mail. Then by emails, followed by messaging or chatting online. And we continued always to send each other greeting cards for holidays.
Nowadays, we continue to stay in touch primarily through social media. Kalynn just recently learned the joys of being a grandmother. All three of her girls are grown and successful. So are mine. I had grandchildren by the time I was forty-one.
I still refer to Kalynn as my bestie, and she refers to me as her bestest. I feel she is a part of my family more than a friend. She is so unique and special to me. It is hard to put into words just how special. We have known each other for so long and have gone through so many things together. I know for sure that she will forever be my bestie.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended my first grandchild’s high school graduation. My granddaughter Randi graduated with honors and will be off to college in a few months. I could not be prouder of the beautiful young woman she has become, both inside and out.
Wait, did I just write “young woman”? I have to keep reminding myself that Randi is no longer the little girl I usually envision in my heart’s mind. Where did the time go? How did my granddaughter go from being my little “Pookie” to an adult by this world’s standards?
When my first, Randi’s mom, graduated high school, I don’t remember feeling this emotional. Oh yes, I was proud of our daughter! Robin was our first and our pride and joy for so many reasons. She still is, I am happy to say. One of which is being such a wonderful mom to my three grandkids. I remember Robin’s high school graduation as a celebratory time with family and friends and a highlight in her life. But I don’t remember being sad. Perhaps it was because she had two sisters in line behind her. I just remember my life being hectic at the time and Robin being my first little bird to leave the nest!
The multitude of emotions I am feeling with my granddaughter is like bees swarming around a honey hole! The first emotion is disbelief. Randi couldn’t possibly be this old. No way is she out of school for good. No way is she considered an adult now. And there is definitely no way she is going off on her own. Into the world, by herself? You must be crazy.
Maybe I’m the crazy one. Because when I think of my first grandchild, I still see that cute little face with huge brown eyes and even bigger dimples looking up at me. Yes, I watched her go off to her Senior prom, and yes, I have seen her driving her own car. But to me, she is still that little teddy bear-loving girl who requested I find her a Superman doll for Christmas. She used to make many requests of her Mamaw. A new bear, a baby doll, and all the action figures she could hoard. Yes, she loved both. Now she will be drawing those superheroes in her Art classes in college.
I know this is the normal order of a child’s life. And I am very thankful that I am here to witness and enjoy it with my family. Many grandparents do not have that privilege. I know I am very blessed.
I’m also very blessed to have the overwhelming memories with my granddaughter. They will remain in my mind & heart forever. And on days like this one, I will remember her at age 5, in the photo her mommy took of her on her first day of kindergarten. I’ll feel pride welling up until it makes a lump in my throat, and I will bid her farewell to college life.
Congratulations, Randi, on all that you have accomplished thus far. You have made us so proud. But what makes me happiest of all is that you are YOU. I love you the world full.
Always have, and always will.
I’m updating you today from my office. Even though it is dark and dreary outside, clouds rolling by and raindrops smacking my window every few minutes, my office is light and airy. Today is my first day back to work since last Wednesday after a long weekend. You would think this would mean my office may not be cheery; however, I just spent hours with my family celebrating my oldest niece graduating from high school. Who can complain about that? Especially when I visited with my grandpa and grandmother for the first time in around three years!
Monday was an average day of work for both Jake and me. We started Tuesday morning off early, though! by meeting with Grandpa, Jerilyn, and my mother for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. I’ve never really preferred Cracker Barrel myself, but my husband loves biscuits, and it’s a sentimental place for me. Several years ago, before my father passed, we started a new “tradition,” which would be every time I visited Virginia or he visited Tennessee. The morning we were to depart, we would send each other off with a Cracker Barrel biscuit. No matter how late we may have woken up, how much time we didn’t think we had, we would do this. Unfortunately, this only happened around 3-4 times before my life changed forever with his passing. Eating breakfast that morning with my family, one of them being my father’s father, I couldn’t help but think of what my dad would’ve ordered or what we would talk about. I glared at the two rocking chairs with a handwoven checker’s mat placed on top of a barrel in the middle of the dining area, next to a fireplace. My head suddenly filled with memories of being many years younger and playing checkers with my dad in that exact spot. I wonder if Cracker Barrel doesn’t change its layout for this very reason. All the families that share meals and create memories at this establishment. However, this may be an old-fashioned way of thinking. It may simply be a financial strategy to save money and escalate their profits. Either way, I try to be a glass-half-full kind of girl, so I will think it’s the more meaningful reason of the two.
Tuesday, we attended a concert scheduled months ago in our eagerness to be back out in the world safely. Jake and I enjoy concerts more than almost anything else that we can go out and do. He is a musician, and he’s played guitar and the drums since he was around eight years old. He plays pretty well and thoroughly enjoys it. He almost pursued it full time but decided on a more unadventurous way of life. However, with no hesitation, if the option presented itself for him to take that career path, I would happily pack our bags and our 65-pound puppy up for life on the road!
Wednesday, we returned home from the concert and started work early, but the rest of the week was like a stay-at-home vacation! We shared lots of laughs, food, and memories with family and friends. I know I am still young; however, seeing my niece graduate where I did just 11 years prior sure makes me feel like an adult! I remember little from my graduation, but I remember how young Randi was back then. It’s strange how some things seem so long ago, but you remember them as if they were much closer in your life timeline. I hope that the memories I created this week with my family mostly remain that way, always fresh in my mind, and bring a smile across my face and heart.