the smile

April 18, 2015 § 7 Comments

The woman sitting across from Steve is dressed young. She is young. At least fifteen years younger than my husband. Emerald eyes and tousled curls, perfect chicklet white teeth. Maybe if I don’t acknowledge her she really won’t be there. Who is she? He’s wearing the smile. The smile I gave him. My heart is pounding as if attempting to escape from my chest. I can’t breathe. I can’t move.

And then I notice it. The newspaper. A series of paragraphs. A tiny photo. It’s me. I died? Shaking, I look back at Steve. That smile. My God, that smile.

BM045

a walk in the park

April 16, 2015 § 5 Comments

couple park

“I was really hoping you wouldn’t accept the job, Darlene. It’s so far away–I hate the thought of being that far from you.” Eric gingerly took her hand and they continue walking. It was a beautiful fall day in Michigan, the park showing off an assortment of trees. Massive trees wearing vivid costumes of red and orange. The breeze was active enough to cause Darlene’s bangs to separate from her forehead. She anxiously kept pulling them back in place.

“It’s time for me to move on, Eric.”

He felt tears producing in his eyes. He hated that weakness. Why was he born with this sensitivity that most men could suppress. He kept his head down, fixating on the weeds in the path. This park was his favorite place and that’s why he loved to bring Darlene here. It represented all he loved about Michigan–the trees, the water, the peacefulness.

He wanted to leave Theresa, his wife of twenty years. He just didn’t know how to go about it. They were so young when they married. They started dating as seniors in high school and their courtship continued at the University of Michigan. Now two decades have passed– they have two teenage daughters, a german shepherd and a four-bedroom colonial in the suburbs. What more could he want? He wanted Darlene. He didn’t mean to find her, she just showed up one day. At work.

Suppressing the tears caused the back of his throat to twist up and he could no longer speak or swallow. He kept walking along quietly just as he has done for the past 20 years.

“My God I can’t wait to be back in Phoenix.” thought Darlene. Eric didn’t seem to want to talk. Not knowing anybody in Michigan, it was nice to have him to keep her company even if it was just one day a week. The cold breeze in the park was causing her hair to blow around, she hated that. She hated everything about Michigan.Two years was enough.

The elderly lady on the bench hardly looked at the couple as they approached. She fumbled with the  makings of a red sweater between two knitting needles, mumbling to herself quietly. As Eric and Darlene passed, she watched their silhouettes diminish into tiny doll size figures. She had been at the park for quite a while, it was time to leave. With a quick tug, she pulled the ratty gray wig from her head, stuffing it in her tote bag, along with the red knitted mess. “I knew he was having an affair,” Theresa said in a growling demonic voice even she didn’t recognize.

E.

April 15, 2015 § 1 Comment

dia:

A touching read from another blogger, John Zokovitch. John’s blog is called Stories in the Struggle.

Originally posted on johnjzokovitch:

manwheelchairHe was sitting in his wheelchair, slumped over a little to his right, the cheap 305 cigar held loosely between two callused fingers in his good hand. His eyes were a little vacant, shadowed, gone looking somewhere in the past though they were aimed as if in penetrating study of the cinder block wall a few feet in front of him. His faced was framed by the same patchy beard I remembered from the time when I first met him.

As I walk toward him, wondering if he’ll remember me, his shoulder drops in my direction, changing the angle of his body just enough so that he’s more square to the hallway from which I make my approach.

I’m closer now and I see his eyes are slightly rheumy and out of focus; they search for my face from his place below. And then recognition kicks in. A clarity awakens in…

View original 489 more words

A Special WWII Soldier in my Life

April 13, 2015 § 11 Comments

A little dog I met at the beach

Chet was my grandfather without actually being a grandfather. He was there for every event in my life. His generosity was evident at birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day. He and my grandmother loaded up the car and took us on summer excursions. Many miles were consumed seeking out motels that met my grandmother’s requirements for “clean” and Chet’s determination that the place must have a swimming pool. I loved to swim—he taught me how to dive during one of those trips.

He took us to amusements parks, circuses, museums and baseball games. We even descended beneath the city to visit the dark and creepy yet intriguing world of a working salt mine. I still clearly remember the salty smell and the cave-like surroundings. Walls composed of sparkly salt, eerie yet beautiful at the same time.

We were the only kids in the neighborhood to have a little roller coaster in our backyard thanks to Chet. Friends started showing up in my backyard that I hardly knew. You know the type —they only come around when you have something they want.

As I reflect back, it was not the monetary generosity that mattered most, although that was always evident. It was a deeper, richer generosity. Don Rickles once said the key to a happy life is to surround yourself with people who care. Chet cared. Simple as that. My whole family cared.

Chet passed away twenty-some years ago at age 69 from heart issues that troubled him for several years of his life. Heart issues that I am sure medical science could intervene with easily these days thanks to coronary stents and the plethora of pharmaceuticals that are catapulted at us now. But that wasn’t meant to be for him.

He’d probably be a little embarrassed to be written about. He never did anything extraordinary, he never married, never had children. He quietly fought in WWII and like all the veterans of that war, didn’t expect much for his efforts there and rarely spoke about it.

I found this old photo of him and written on the back in his own writing were the words, “A little dog I met at the Beach, 9-24-42.” I love this photo. It represents what this man was all about—a quiet, unassuming guy, always there if you needed him. A man who wouldn’t hesitate to pick you up, smile, lend a hand, expecting nothing in return.

I wish he could be here now to see what became of us and I wish I had an opportunity to tell him he mattered.

Chet, thank you for being there, for taking part. I think of you often.

Moving on

April 9, 2015 § 2 Comments

“It’s not what you think, really, it’s not what you think,” he said uncomfortably as I looked him directly in the eye. The woman sitting across from Steve at the tiny dining table was dressed young. She was young. At least fifteen years younger than my husband. Beautiful, heavily-rimmed dark eyes and black silky hair, perfect chicklet white teeth. At first I ignored her, maybe if I don’t acknowledge her she really won’t be there. I felt her youthful eyes looking at me, looking at him, back at me, not knowing what to do or say. My heart is pounding rapidly as if it is attempting to escape from my chest cavity. I can’t breathe very well. I just stand there unable to move.

And then I notice it. The newspaper. It’s on the next table turned to a very small article. I see my photo…

Easter Sunday Thoughts

April 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

Easter Sunday 2015 was beautiful. Easter is designed to be beautiful. My husband and I attend the 10am Mass every Sunday but this Easter we managed to wake a bit earlier and made it to the 8am Mass. It was impressive to see the church building bursting at the drywall seams with the massive crowd. I know that many of these people are not regular church goers, but that’s ok. Many parishioners get mad when part-time church goers show up and take up the seating. That doesn’t bother me. Christ would have welcomed the part-timers as lovingly as he welcomed the full-timers. Someone (or something) tapped these folks on the shoulder Easter morning and nudged them to get up early and show up. Showing up is important. It’s a first step. Who knows, maybe they will show up again. 

I feel sad when I see the little girls and ladies all dressed up for Easter Sunday in spring wear. It’s typically never very warm on Easter morning in Michigan. Often it is rainy and cold. But these ladies and little girls shop for their Easter clothes with joy and hope and know they are going to wear them regardless of what’s happening outside. The Easter dresses serve as a reminder that there are good things to come–flower buds, spring outdoor activities, no windshield scraping for a few months. That’s what Easter is all about isn’t it–knowing that things aren’t perfect at the moment, but we move forward and prepare anyway. The best is yet to come. 

Happy Easter to ALL. 

Does your doctor suffer from bad shoe syndrome?

February 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

docI can remember several years ago when doctors and nurses had that sterile all-white crisp look. What happen to that? As I wander into various doctors offices either for my own appointments or with my parents, I see crumpled lab coats, messy hair, and the SHOES. Especially the shoes. What happened to caring about what your shoes look like?

I was visiting in a hospital room and the surgeon came in and I quickly spotted what looked like blood on his shoes. Yes BLOOD. Maybe it was overflow from the spaghetti he had for lunch that day, I have no idea, but I found it unnerving. I became fixated on that blotch of mysterious liquid and didn’t hear much of anything he said. 

I don’t mean to pick on the medical profession–I know it’s stressful, filled with demanding patients and long hours, and it’s apparent that Americans in many sectors have “casualed” it to the max. (Except for the funeral home business–those folks always look, dress and act amazingly classy. Always perfect.)

Doctors, please keep in mind, patients nervously wait for several minutes, something hours in your waiting rooms. When you finally breeze into the room, we want to see clean, we want to see attention to detail. Could the way you care for your shoes be a clue as to the detail you pay to your patients? What I prefer to think is that you are so busy providing excellent care for your patients, you don’t have time to look at your shoes.

And while we are on this subject, what ever happen to nurse hats

 nure hat

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