This is dedicated to my Mama. My Mama is very special to me. She has helped me
through so much in my life while helping others at the same time. People go to
her when they need help because she is very easy to talk to about personal
problems. She always knows what to say, that is why I go to her all the time. For
example, when I broke down and had a panic attack because I was so upset by
basketball, I went to her. I was so sad, but after she wrapped her arms around me
tight and talked to me in her soothing and comforting tone, I knew I was okay. She
prays over me when I’m anxious and sad. She picks me up when I’m down. I don’t
know what I would do without her.
She means the world to me. I know every kid says to their mom that she is the
best in the whole wide world, but Mama, “You are the best in the whole wide
world!” I mean it with all my heart and no other kid can mean it as much as me! I
love you, and I want to help you like you help me. When you are down and trip
over a stump, I want to help pick you up like you do me. When you are scared and
see a pot hole ahead of you on the road, I want to help you move around it like
you do me. I want to be someone that you can talk to and get help from like you are
No one can replace you Mama. Know that that will never change! I love you and
always will no matter what! Never forget that! You mean the world to me. You try
to make me happy even if it causes you trouble.
I appreciate you and everything you do. You fight for this family, and you fight for
me. You try your best to get me where I need to be, get my two siblings where
they need to be, and get yourself where you need to be. I do not know how you
do it but you do.
I for one am proud of you. Might I just say that I am a fan of your work. Also….
just so you know… I love and miss you the most, no backsies.
P.S. Many of you reading this will not know what that means in my family.
How often do you hear the words “I love you”?
If you are in a romantic relationship, you probably hear those words daily. Young love, or what feels like young love, seems to bring out, “I love you” with ease. It’s when we are most expressive. It’s timely and fitting for the romance at the moment.
If you have been married for many years, you may rarely hear I love you. Lol, the well-known “honeymoon stage” has long since passed and has been filled with kids, bills, and a lot of hard work. It’s not that the love is gone, there just doesn’t seem to be a reason to speak it verbally anymore. After all, you made a lifelong commitment to your spouse, and you are still there. So, you love them. Why say it? Naturally, I am making light of a quandary many couples fall into.
If you are a single parent, hearing “I love you” from a significant other may be just a memory. You may however draw energy from those three brief words each time they cross your child’s lips. A child can quickly soften the stress from a long, hard day by saying I love you at bedtime.
But what if you live alone and there’s no one to utter those precious words? I have lived alone for many years and my children are grown with families of their own. There is no “significant other” in my life, so I have gotten used to going days, or even weeks, without hearing someone’s voice say, ever so sweetly, “I love you”. When I hear those words, they mean a lot more to me now and I no longer take them for granted.
I know the importance of saying those words better now. When I tell one of my grandchildren, “I love you”, I want those words to stay in their hearts forever. I know they will need to hold on to that love in tough times. I want them to always know that love is there for them, no matter what. Just as I did with my children.
Yes, there are many ways to show love and they are just as important as saying it. But this missive is about verbalizing the actual words. There is something to be said for someone opening up their heart, letting go of their inhibitions, and speaking words of affirmation. To hear the words out loud has a healing affect, whether it be on a child, a friend, a parent, a spouse, or a partner. Hearing “I love” you can open a door to forgiveness, feelings of self-worth, and relieve many anxieties in life.
So, how long has it been since you told someone you love them? Never underestimate the power of saying it and never miss an opportunity to do so. I believe this quote expresses it perfectly: “Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again.”… unknown
⚽ It has been said that everybody does not have a love story. That is a pretty harsh, yet profound statement, because everyone should have at least one love story. Some, including me, have two love stories and some have many. Of course, there are many types of love, but the one I am referring to is the romantic type. I encountered my first experience with love when I was 16 years old. She was a classmate of mine, and her name is Joyce Weaver. Our romance lasted for three months and she was all I thought about for days on end. Turns out, what I thought was love, was called, “puppy love”. Later on, the term evolved into “a crush”. So, those two situations do not qualify as being in love since they are of a temporary, short term, nature. Being married twice has left me with many fond memories. My first wife and I split after 32 years of marriage and the time immediately after that was not happy for me. I knew that I did not want to spend the rest of my life alone, that I needed someone to share it with. Fortunately, a year after the split, I met my current wife and immediately my life got better. I was 52 at the time and felt as if a new chapter in my “Book of Life” had started. I wanted to make it meaningful, thoughtful, and exciting. The twenty prior years were filled with stress, little fun, and no way out. Now, all that was behind me and I was going to make life interesting. My current wife and I have been together for 28 years and during that time I do not have one single regret. We never go to bed mad at each other with kisses and “I love You’” exchanged on a daily basis. It never gets old. I have never been happier since her love became a way of life. “I love you” are the last three words we say to each other before going to sleep. I plan on it being the last words to her on my last day on this wonderful planet. Everyone should have a love story! Oscar Wilde said, “When you really want love you will find it waiting for you”. I believe a need for love, without the action required to find it, is just a wish.
⚽ Almost everything we know comes to us either through our eyes or ears. I think that is probably true for 75% of our knowledge, but the other 25% comes from, in my humble opinion, intuition, in which the heart plays a major role. Intuition could reasonably be influenced by knowledge, but I suspect what we do in response to what our heart tells us is not. For example, I believe love has no basis in knowledge. We suspect we fall in love with someone because of their beauty or personality, but it is much deeper than those two qualities. Although my wife has both of those qualities, the reason I love her has more to do with other aspects of her being. After my failed first marriage, I gave a lot of thought about what I was looking for in a mate. I was unable to determine what I was looking for, but I was able to decide what I did not want in the person with whom I wanted a romantic relationship. After about 4 months of living a solitary life, I started dating and I looked for those traits. It was instrumental in helping me decide which relationships to pursue. I would like to say that I consciously made the decision to fall in love with my wife, but that would be untrue. My heart made that decision without consulting me, and my brain had absolutely nothing to do with it. As it turns out, my heart made the right decision and my brain felt abandoned. I tend to believe we place too much confidence in our ability to decide things based on our knowledge and a lot of times we try to be too practical. If we try to rationalize everything and ignore our heart, we will surely, over time, harden it so that it becomes unable to help us pursue happiness. When that happens, we tend to lose that vital part of our being call empathy and we all know that comes from the heart, not the brain. There are many times in my life when my heart told me what to do. It’s the heart talking anytime you say, “It just feels like the right thing to do”. I am confident that any act of charity comes from the heart and that any act of cruelty is calculated and, therefore, generated by the brain.
Randolph Bourne said, “The logic of the heart is usually better than the logic of the head, and the consistency of sympathy is superior, as a rule for life, to the consistency of the intellect.” See, it didn’t take me long to find someone that agreed 😊.
⚽ It has been 2 months since I’ve had a haircut due to COVID-19, and I was beginning to look a shaggy dog. I picked up the phone and called my barber, Renee’, and asked her when her shop would reopen. She replied that it was still closed, but she would come to our home and make me handsome again. She said it would be ok if I invited friends over that needed her services. We set the time of her arrival (2 hours) and, after hanging up, I started calling some of my male friends. Only one accepted my invitation (Don) and he arrived within an hour. I setup a place in our garage for her to do her work and Don and I sat and chatted while the rain tried to erase all footprints in our area from the face of the earth. In a short while Renee’ and her friend (Karen) pulled into our driveway, jumped out into the rain and dashed for the garage. I had set up two lawn chairs and a stool, so everyone had a seat that needed one. I sat on the stool as she calmly placed her tools in a neat row on my workbench and commenced her work. I gazed in amazement as gray hair fell in all directions. Was my hair really that long and that gray? After finishing, she trimmed my eyebrows and cut the hair in my ears. As you age it seems like hair grows in places you wouldn’t expect it to. I paid her, including a healthy tip, got out of the chair and Don sat down in my place and she began her work anew.
A barber is sorta like a bartender, and their customers chat with them as they perform their magic. Turns out her husband died a mere 4 days earlier at the age of 51 and as she spoke of him, there was so much sadness in her voice. She quickly turned our conversation away from that and we attempted to help her push aside her grief. In about an hour she was finished, Don & I were satisfied with the results, and as she repacked her tools, I commented that she sure brought a lot of them with her. She replied, “Since you couldn’t come to the barbershop, I brought the barbershop to you.” She smiled, tapped me on the shoulder, and she and Karen, her security for house calls, bravely hurled themselves into the downpour of rain and dashed for the car. Don & I were glad that our wives would no longer complain about our hair being too long and equally glad that we could help someone during this terrible time of job loss due to COVID. I concluded that getting a haircut every month has become a habit and not a rule, and as Dr. Frank Crane said, “Habits are safer than rules; you don’t have to watch them. And you don’t have to keep them either, they keep you.” That is probably truer than I want to believe.
It was the summer of 1967. I was 5 years old. A time when a kid should be able to be a kid. But for my older sister Jeanie and me, our summer was anything but fun.
Jeanie is 4 years older, and as a kid, I adored my big sister. I was her shadow. When she was home from school, we were inseparable. Our entire day would be spent together. From the moment we woke up in the morning, until we went to sleep in the same bed every night.
This particular summer, our sisterly routine, was painfully broken. Jeanie was sick with what started out as an infection. But that infection turned into a severe case of Scarlet Fever. Anyone who lived in the 60s or earlier, knows how frightening Scarlet Fever could be. Doctors didn't have the medicines or knowledge to fight it like they do today.
The scariness of this fact was quickly apparent, even at 5 years old. I could see the worry & concern on the faces of every adult. I was most frightened of the unknown. At only 5, I was very confused by everything going on around me. Scarlet Fever is very contagious, so I was quickly taken away from my sister. Having my sister taken to the hospital, along with my parents, was devastating.
I went to stay with my favorite aunt and her 2 teenage daughters. My aunt Rena always made me feel loved, special, and wanted. And I adored my 2 cousins. So there was no place better for me to be at this time. I ended up staying there for over 2 weeks. Which as you could imagine, felt like an eternity to a child.
My daddy came to visit me at breakfast time, every couple of days. The look of worry, sadness, and exhaustion in his eyes scared me. He tried to hide it by bringing me a treat, but I knew his crystal blue eyes too well. Yet, I still chose to believe him when he assured me everything was going to be okay.
My aunt Rena did everything possible to keep me entertained and comfortable. But one day, about 10 days in, I couldn't take another minute. I was painfully homesick. I wanted my mama, my house, my toys, and my sister to play with. I decided that I would go home. I asked my aunt and cousins repeatedly if they would take me home. Every time, the answer was no. Well, I thought, if they won't take me, I will go by myself.
I went outside and sat on the front stoop to make up my plan. Before long, my aunt came out to check on me. I once again asked her to take me home. She again said no. So, I told her I was going to run away and go home by myself. She laughed and sweetly said, "But you don't know how to get there." I confidently replied, "Yes I do!" Still smiling, Aunt Rena asked to me to explain to her how I would get home by myself. I then replied, without one hesitation, and in great detail, every single step I would need to make, every landmark and business I would pass, and every bend in the road, for the entire 9 miles to my house. My aunt's eyes got as big as silver dollars, and her smile was gone. She sharply said, "Get in the house!". I was not allowed to play outside again, for the remainder of my visit.
I am happy to say that my sister Jeanie did get better. After a lot of suffering and recovery time, she was a healthy little girl again. It was a long summer for all of us, but a blessed one in the end. Certainly, one I will never forget. I love you Jeanie.