Becalmed… page 76

Day 140 – 07/30/2020

It’s been rainy for a couple of days, starting with heavy fog this morning and morphing to rainfall once again. We bob along on the surface, trying not to just go through the motions like it’s Groundhog Day ad infinitum, but that’s an increasing challenge for me due to “the life of the mind.” BC [Before Covid], I spent most of my hours right here anyway, thinking thoughts and doing the daily, so the difference DC [During Covid] is in the nature of the thoughts. They’re circular, thus unproductive, and they’re relentless… figure this out, make sense of that, reconcile yourself to one unpalatable truth after another. I try to run them all through the Zen shredder before digesting them, for the sake of gut health, but their very insistence and the dearth of answers make each new 24-hours a maze to navigate from waking to sleeping.

Pretty sure this is why humans would rather not think about things too much, why comfortably numb is the preferred state of mind when life gets dicey… and life is always dicey. When your inner self gets to do her own thing, she comes up against pieces/parts that don’t fit… then what? If she goes around them, they’ll always be there serving as obstacles to other pieces/parts of life, so the only choice is to deal with them, which usually involves discarding something, and that’s when the fight starts.

Looking out at the mist hanging in the trees, I have one wish… that I had known the pandemic was on its way and would change life irrevocably for all of us. The heaviest shock, beyond the staggering death toll, is how it has separated us politically, intellectually, and spiritually – a virus the whole planet is dealing with but Americans have managed to turn into internecine warfare.

There’s always blue sky somewhere, though, and often it’s right overhead, with the half-moon at its center.

Photo Credits: Kim Smith

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Around the ‘hood… page 75

Day 138 – 07/28/2020

Woke up before six to a great morning – 74º and 97% humidity. Body knew we needed to walk, Brain wasn’t buying it.

BRAIN: I’d rather stay here, take my time waking up, get caught up online…

BODY: Online will be here when we get back – I’m not camping in that chair again all day.

BRAIN: It’s gonna hurt.

BODY: Yeah. Let’s go.

We walked down Rhode Island to 9th and when we came up New Hampshire toward home we found our reward – a display for the specially-commissioned mural painted on the adjacent building. After reading the bios, I’m good for at least a week on learning one new thing a day – Kansas has a rich history in every direction. Aaron Douglas, Gordon Parks, Langston Hughes, Oscar Micheaux, Gwendolyn Brooks, Hattie McDaniel, and Coleman Hawkins all spent a portion of their lives here and contributed to the genius that is us while sharing themselves with the greater world.

Ms. Head’s full of it and she knows it. If we listened to her all the time we’d miss some of the best stuff.

DISCLAIMER: Kim Smith had nothing to do with these wonky early-morning caffeine-free photos.

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Rainy Monday… page 74

Day 137 – 07/27/2020

For reasons I’m still exploring, I grew up a pleaser and it’s taken me most of my life to shed that tendency, but at this point the people I care about keeping happy are few in number and all the “should” has gone out of my relationships and interactions. “Is it true, is it real, is it right?” If not, our conversations are going to be brief.

The isolation that defines 2020 is showing me that I’m really not all that nice a person and people are likely justified in their relief to be shut of me, at least for the time being. A quick mental inventory of extended family members tells me the gene pool is overweighted by about half toward the conservative-thinking side, and most of those choose to keep me at arm’s length, at the least, for which I can’t blame them since I rarely shut up online. It’s a different story in person… there are days when I don’t say much of anything out loud.

Most of my lifetime has been marked by saying too much, blurting stupid things, irritating friends and family with my penchant for trying too hard, so I love my life in recent years, here in my comfy citadel where I have few opportunities to be overbearing, at least in the flesh… and I’m learning from all of it. I say what seems important to say and a steady sense of detached calm carries me through and over a lot of things… but at its bottom is a loneliness that defies description. It embodies the grief of death and endings, and the nowhere feeling that comes from having no idea what will happen next, where it all goes from here. It sounds like worry when I put it in writing, but it isn’t so much that as the waiting… the heavy sense of quiet outside and in… the tension everywhere… while the fight we can’t do anything about swirls around us.

I just want it over, decided, finished one way or the other. Either full-on fascism will be the victor, everything about America that hasn’t already changed will complete its metamorphosis, and we’ll live with the results or die FROM them… or we’ll get a second chance to make democratic government work. One hundred days is a long time to hold our breath.

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It’s complicated… page 73

Day 136 – 07/26/2020

So what do people do who don’t write? Explode… give up… give in… go batshit unhinged… disappear, what? Clearly there are other channels, reading being one, and it’s looking better on that front the past few days, although I still tend to abandon a chapter and wander off without notice. My safest and best outlet is to write it down – whatever’s eating my lunch – put it out there where I’m accountable for what I’ve said, and let the dice keep rolling. Odds are that at least one other human will read my words and just like that, there I am – a responsible adult saying things out loud and standing behind them.

This so-called responsible adult shows few outward signs of owning the title, all things considered. Most days I sort more detritus out of my life – digital or otherwise – manage a shower, eat stuff, watch TV with some level of engagement, and fill the gaps with whatever I can stay focused on. Hey – it’s a life.

So good thing I did something Grandma… all my grandmas… would have approved of:

He covers a multitude of sins on my part, including that of sloth, and has the grace to give those sins kinder names, thus making me look like a nicer person than I am. And he’s yet to meet a grandma who didn’t like him so I rest my case. 💋 Still celebrating #16…

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Milestones… page 72

Day 135 – 07/25/2020

Got out and walked in the cool air just after six this morning and watched the neighborhood wake up – or not… pretty quiet Saturday so far, but Farmers’ Market was setting up and a few other walkers were out. Increased my distance this morning with half the pain, so I’m calling it a win.

When I was almost home, Kim zipped up on his bike on his way to PickleBall and got cheeky with me, so win-WIN. Sidewalk kisses under a shade tree are great any time, but they’re a must if it’s your 16th wedding anniversary when everything’s a celebration. My future looked like a blank slate to me when I was a little farm kid, but two things took shape as life materialized: I wanted to be happy… and to know that I, the authentic me, had made someone else happy. Feels like it’s all about winning today, of the satisfying kind.

Ms. Brain just asked “Where’s the music?” and now da boyz, Leon and Johnny, are in my head like the best friends they’re becoming. Mr. Russell’s soulful twang… and lord, lord, those pounding chord progressions… and Elton John being his inimitable self. Neither of them will ever know what their gifts to the world are giving to me, that farm girl who had no clue where she was going… but I hope in the economy of the universe they’re both richly repaid. And please don’t tell, but now the girl’s dancin’ to “Hey Ahab,” have mercy! Could just accidentally survive this whole catastrophe.

Things being what they are, we decided to let Anniversary Day plan itself and we’re right on schedule. We’ll have The Breakfast, as is only fitting, with The Best Salsa In The Known World, and then we’ll just hide and watch – the day will be good stuff. Tonight we have tickets for an outdoor cabaret being put on by friends – the audience sits in their cars and listens on an FM station, BYOB and popcorn, what could be better?

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So simple once you figure it out…

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Realities… page 71

Day 134 – 07/24/2020

“Every time you argue with reality, you’re going to lose.” Proven fact… want stories? John, in off moments between hospital shifts, has been sending me short self-development videos done by a young Canadian woman who’s fun to listen to and easy to look at, and her delivery is quickly growing on me. One of yesterday’s was called “How to Accept What Causes You Pain” and I found it helpful – simple reality is powerful. Here’s the link if you’re interested. It’s about ten minutes long…

Still playing with my new headphones and tracking down music on Pandora. So far this morning I’ve listened to Sam Smith’s “Fire On Fire” three times, Elton & Leon’s “Never Too Old to Hold Somebody” twice, and I revisited Dire Straits “Money for Nothing” just for old times’ sake. Speaking of old… Joe Cocker’s cover of “I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends” is staying on my playlist. But “The Union” is the album that’s putting wind in my sails just as the doldrums have settled on us in earnest, and I’ve discovered that I can match tones again, with the music directly in my head… although I only sing along when Kim’s out.

Notes on the ties between Elton John and Leon Russell:

“At the time of their first meeting, on August 26, 1970 at the Troubadour nightclub in Los Angeles when Leon was in the audience during Elton’s United States debut, one of the two pianists had already written two hit songs, played on over a dozen Top 40 records, and was at the beginning of a six-year run where ten of his albums appeared on the Billboard Top 100 charts – including one live album and one greatest hits collection.

“And the other one was Elton John.

“Leon had a four-decade-wide dovetail relationship with Elton. In the 1970s, the pianist and singer from Oklahoma was a major influence on John’s early piano-playing style and song-writing. In 2010, Elton used his passion for his early mentor to record an album together [at a barebones low point in Leon’s life] and get his name back into the music lexicon, saying at the time, “If Leon can get the accolades he deserves and be financially O.K. for the rest of his life, I will have done something decent with my music,” and their collaboration eventually resulted in a Top Five album and Leon’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In Mr. Russell’s words, “Johnny found me by the side of the road and picked me up.”

In the documentary of The Union album, Leon does a run-through of “In the Hands of Angels” and Elton John breaks down in sobs against a door frame. “When he played that, we just lost it. No one has ever written me a song before. He said, ‘I want to thank you for saving my life,’ and I just burst into tears. It was the most magical of times because here was my idol accepting me. Actually, he could eat me for breakfast at playing piano.

The Union is a seminal work full of pain and promise and I can’t get enough of it in this new age of detached living.

The album came out in 2010 and Leon died six years later at age 74, releasing several more albums during that time. Thank you, Elton John, for those extra years you gifted to him and to us.

Leon Russell and Johnny …

I rode to the farm with Kim on Wednesday for pool maintenance and when we got back to town he drove me around to point out changes since the last time I stuck my nose out. We used to do that with my mother-in-law, he and I, and I sounded just like she used to… “Oh my, when did they redo THAT?” “THEY closed? Really?” “Wow, THAT’s totally different!” I love our space, the quiet, the insulation from chaos, but if we’re forced by misguided egocentric fellow citizens to remain in this state of limbo for another year to 18 months, it won’t always feel so Zen, especially when we look around at how other first-world countries have managed the pandemic – resentment is a totally human emotion and no respecter of persons. From the tone and nature of online comments, I know that people my age group and up are expendable, as are children, so home continues to be okay with me for now. Case numbers in Douglas County are over 500, with two deaths and a predominance of recoveries, so we know it’s being managed about as well as possible, but there’s just nothing I miss enough to mingle. And I could take myself for a drive any day of the week if Kim didn’t tote me along… I obviously haven’t been sufficiently motivated yet.

Past a certain age, people start to become invisible to the energetic viable world, but “Remember: when they look right through you, you’re still there.” – Guante

A tacked-on thought after an hour of internet reading: I wish people would leave Harry and Meghan alone. Love is hard. Life is hard. Relationships are hard work – let them breathe.

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Sunny clouds… page 70

Day 132 – 07/22/2020

I walked this morning before 7 o’clock while the air still held a hint of cool. Kept moving until my back said “Let’s go in,” and if I could just do that three more times today I’d have 10,000 steps.

Blew some of my allowance on a set of bluetooth headphones which arrived yesterday… and now I’m sitting here with Leon Russell and Elton John, tears on my cheeks, while they deliver The Union. Small mercies, children, I can hear every note and nuance. Beautiful morning…

The book I mentioned on Sunday was consumed in two days and I immediately started another, so maybe the reading logjam has been broken. I’m not me without a good book going so this feels like psychic progress.

Now here’s Leon with “When Love is Dying” and I can’t even, it’s so heart-rippingly exquisite. Ever since I realized my hearing was fading, I’ve wanted to make music sound real and right to me again, and this is the closest I’ve been in ten years. I’ve missed it like pure cold well water. And here come those plummy hair-raising chord progressions of “Never too Old to Hold Somebody” and there’s just no way not to lose it.

Healing comes to us in any way it can – any fissure or crack in the protective veneer and there it is, warm, welcome, filling whatever space we’ll give it. Books and music have done that for me since childhood and it gets weird without either one, so everything’s sunny-side-up this morning even as I type through the tears. You have to hurt good sometimes to feel better.

The boyz are singing to me now about Shiloh…

Gone to Shiloh
For the Union
Shoulder to shoulder
Side by side
Gone to Shiloh
Hope springs eternal
When flags and bullets start to fly

The year 2020 seems to be our Shiloh and there’s nothing for it but to face it, in union, shoulder to shoulder, side by side. Hope springs eternal.

Now, let’s have some Mr. Blue Sky and bring the house up into sunshine range. “Mean Evil Woman” is the second track, how cool is that? “Don’t Bring Me Down” is #4… Ooo-oo rrrooop…. I’m going with that for the day. The calendar tells me this is HumpDay, so let’s all get over it in style. 💋

Photo credit: Kim Smith – Kaw River 07/21/2020

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And Tuesdays, too… page 69

Day 131 – 07/21/2020

That reprieve we needed… it’s here, as of yesterday evening, and it’s pretty sweet. Temp of 72º this morning, and the only reason the humidity is in the upper 90s is that it’s still raining a little. We asked, we received, it feels like a benediction.

Decatur Man and I exchanged quick humor bytes this morning before he texted this in response to my question about his schedule:

“I’m in Covidland today.
I got floated here yesterday, and the unit manager, who’s a friend of mine, was crying because she’s so overwhelmed. 
So I picked up an extra shift today
(12-hr shifts), along with 2 of my 4200 (Oncology unit) buds. 
It’s terrible here these days.”

At this point, any united effort to halt the spread of the virus would be a godsend. Anything, any level of genuine concern, any solid indication that the naysayers are at least trying not to make it worse. It seems somehow unAmerican that the helpers are fair game and entirely expendable – our teachers, healthcare workers, and the countless others who keep the great world humming. I dislike the fact that everyone’s chances of survival seem to be linked to the common sense of others – the odds are not in our favor.

But Pool Man will be home soon from the Ponderosa and he’ll probably stay tucked in with me until the skies clear – he’ll have to get out and ride his bike or walk at some point, rainfall permitting. Life continues to be a desirable thing… irreplaceable and worth defending for everyone I love, however long it takes, so no whining here about anything but the flies in the honey.

Showers bring flowers. Reminds me of my grandma’s house.

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Rainy days and Mondays… page 68

Day 130 – 07/20/2020

It’s one of those Zen mornings when the sun comes up but hides behind dark clouds right away and everything changes. Kim had to vacate the PickleBall court ahead of the rain, so maybe we’ll pretend it’s still the weekend, have a big breakfast with the fresh salsa a friend delivered, and hit the spa tub again. I would not object. Rain is cool – it happens, literally, out of the blue, and always feels healing to me.

The process and experience of healing means different strokes for different folks, and I used to see it in my imagination as a fluid line moving forward, when it’s anything but that. You have to want to get there – the work, receptivity, and humility required don’t come cheap.

The isolation 2020 has imposed, in all directions, is proving to have some benefits, as most things in life do, however grim they may be at the time. It never hurts to take a step or two back and look things over from a new perspective, in fact it’s what keeps us from solidifying in place and letting life go on without us. The rain washed those thoughts in…

Weather forecast says showers could hang with us for a couple of days, so we’ll happily hang in…

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Sunday… page 67

Day 129 – 07/19/2020

The joy of reading has eluded me this year, a true frustration. I’ve finished a handful of books, but have yet to find the one I couldn’t put down, good as they were. A few sentences in, my mind runs off on its own and I end up reading the same paragraph three times before I give up. I have literary riches at hand… it’s all the not knowing that keeps me off balance and unable to concentrate. I started a book yesterday, though, that might be the one… hope so.

I’m good with fairly mindless tasks like dumping computer files and email. I walk. I watch TV with the sound off while I rearrange my virtual world ever more to my liking. My life isn’t so very different from The Before, except that I leave the house about once a month just for the heck of it, and the vibe is so changed. We miss the sounds of life around us – kids running down the street, laughing and yelling; a band warming up somewhere in the neighborhood; our parking lot full on Farmers’ Market mornings; the buzz of daily living.

The atmosphere outside has been ponderous for the past few days – we need rain again to break the heat and humidity, which was in the high 80s this morning when Kim walked. The picture up top is his, taken in South Park at sunrise. He said the blooms are big as dinner plates.

So, yeah… we’ll have our omelets in a bit and then… maybe I’ll read for a while.

So she DID!

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Here for the duration… page 66

Day 128 – 07/18/2020

It’s hot. Damn hot. The days are full of stretchy hours – when it’s three in the afternoon it feels like ten in the morning and takes forever to get to five o’clock. Rita’s busy with vital things, Susan is long hours away, John’s working his butt off at the hospital, my friends are all immersed in day-to-day survival… so Kim’s stuck with my company full time and I’m a quiet date these days. My brain doesn’t shut off, even in my dreams, but it’s too much to talk about so all I can do is direct it in ways that don’t take a toll on my body… that’s the plan.

This is the long hot summer Kim predicted last winter, with blood in the streets by August. He was only three months off, the streets of our cities were red before May was done. America has seen its full measure of brother slaying brother but it never ends. These are extraordinary times, and as during the Civil War the future of this democratic republic hangs in the balance – will we emerge intact as a nation, still under the constitution, with freedom valued and afforded to all? Or will we fall under the rule of one man and his enablers, and then the next in line, who will undoubtedly be smarter than Donald J Trump and thus able to capitalize on the foundation that’s been laid? Will the 4-headed monster – racism, pandemic, money, and moral rot – end us, or will we kick fascism in the teeth again and start rebuilding? Inquiring minds desperately want to know.

This is our 19th weekend since we chose to stay out of the public fray, which doesn’t even seem real, and with the lack of intention on the part of so many to help end the virus, we’ll spend a lot more weekends to ourselves before it all finally winds down somehow. This is the way it is and I’m mos def not complaining in the face of so much illness and death… it would simply be easier if everyone was pulling in the same direction.

Appreciate… notice… the minutes and what they hold.

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Mad as a Hatter… page 65

Day 126 – 07/16/2020

Let me just say that I’ve been a pip about weathering the pandemic, but yesterday afternoon in a who-really-gives-a-shit mood I arrived at Stage Two of the Kubler-Ross grieving process – Anger – which is specifically not the same as being peeved or annoyed. Solitary souls don’t mind being solitary, but when isolation stems from pure selfishness and shortsightedness it rankles after about so many months. The anti-mask people and other naysayers have managed to rule from the minority, prolonging the prison term for every human currently alive, such that we’re not likely to see the denouement for another year or longer.

The United States government could have had this handled in under six months had the ardor been there for it, but when you’re underwater even before the next crisis hits and you haven’t a clue about any of it, you can only wash your hands of the whole thing and blame the other guy. The “greatest nation on earth” is the only world power that has allowed COVID-19 to run amuck and extract its human toll at will – the picture grows more astounding every day and now there’s no safe spot on the planet that any of us could get to under current conditions, not that I’m in a running frame of mind… yet.

Our death toll, ruined-health toll, economic toll could have been kept in comparable ranges with other first world countries. Should have been. Didn’t happen. It’s crazy-making when elected officials refuse to do the jobs our tax dollars pay for, especially when it comes to matters of life and death.

A place to rant (thank you, Diary) is a needed grace – it’s constructive to put it all down, partly to vent, partly to check myself. To wit, in summary: Why would anybody want to make this near-catatonic state of limbo in the nation last a minute longer than necessary?

I’ll go live in my free-range virtual world for a while – a place where I get to be in control; therefore, oh-so-comforting. The characters have brief, interesting, adult conversations, and I never get voted off the island. 💋

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Hard rain gonna fall… page 64

Day 125 – 07/15/2020

Happening as we speak. The storm hit this end of town with wind gusts that knocked over our swivel rockers on the balcony, and now rain is falling straight down by the bucket. Rainy days… we’ve had a nice spa soak and Kimmers is on the other side of the wall playing blues/jazz/rock with one of his side chicks (of the 6-string description), and we might just roll through another day here.

Meeting challenges from all sides at once makes for a twitchy psyche at times, so a Zen dip in quiet waters is always welcome. It’s tapering off to an easy rain now, but it was timely and cleansing while it lasted.

Equilibrium, essential in any crisis, isn’t always easy to maintain. Visualizing events and their factions from a drone’s-eye view helps – getting above the fray – but it’s hard to stay up there when life-and-death is happening nonstop on terra firma – hard to divorce myself emotionally from the various upheavals going on when they all directly affect people I love more than life.

So yeah, the flipside of loving rain is the melancholy – the losses wrought by 2020 in its first half are feeling more permanent and the acceptance of them more difficult. But I’m a strange duck – an optimistic German with Irish angst – and it’ll be a good day because I will make it so. This beautiful life is not to be trifled with.

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A bunny tale…

Easter was three months ago but we all pretty much missed it so this lightly-edited return to 2013 seems okay… and yeah, still feeling sentimental. A piece I wrote seven years ago…

Yesterday for the first time in memory, Easter Sunday buried me under a huge pile of nostalgia.  You’d think Thanksgiving and Christmas would have considered that their sacred duty, but no, it was innocent pastel little Easter that blindsided me.

I’m the eldest of three sisters.  Our brother is gone, our parents, too, all of our grandparents have passed away, a lot of aunts and uncles, a few cousins, and without warning yesterday a tsunami of loneliness sent me rolling end over end.  My sisters, although close in spirit, don’t live nearby, my son and Kim’s are long hours away in different directions, so it’s just me and Pa, which is ordinarily more than fine.  The KIMN8R himself is now an “orphan by default” — grandparents, parents, step-parents, sister all went off and left him via death.  His niece and nephew, cousins and aunties live far away.  So.  We manage, and we have a very good time at it.  Yesterday was just one of those days.

The growing-up years.  Depending upon the whims of the calendar, Easter morning sometimes dawned sunny and mild, but more often cloudy, gray, and chilly.  Regardless, we four munchkins threw jackets and hats or goofy little headscarves over our jammies at the crack of sunrise and ran across the driveway to our grandparents’ big yard where Grandma was waiting with our Easter baskets.  The hedges and trees and other hidey-holes yielded up an abundance of chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, candy eggs and assorted Easter-y gifts until our baskets were full. Then back home for a breakfast of waffles and bacon, followed by a mad scramble to get into our new dresses – made by our mom – white anklets, and patent-leather shoes. Our little brother was stuffed under protest into a pair of pants and a jacket, and the tie that always gave him a church headache.  As for the three of us girls, we could be found complaining bitterly about the way Mother did our hair — it looked dumb, too curly, too straight, too not right.  Caught up in the joys of motherhood, she continued the grooming ritual on the drive to church, straightening or smacking anything within arm’s reach and using Mom Spit to clean the ears of whomever was fortunate enough to grab the middle position, front seat.  When she managed to get dressed is a mystery for the ages, but at least our dad knew enough not to sit in the car and honk the horn the way one of our uncles did every Sunday.  I have to wonder if he would have lived to see another glorious Easter morn.

Once there we sat in a row, with Grandma in charge of keeping order through the judicious application of Juicy Fruit gum, pencils and church bulletins.  Our parents were in the choir shooting us the stink-eye if we whispered or giggled too much, while we pinched each other under cover of the pew in front of us.  Grandma gave it her best shot, in her Sunday dress and hat and one time wearing a pair of earrings lovingly shaped out of flour-salt-and-water paste and gifted to her that morning.  Grandpa went to church with us about once a year, at Christmas time.  He always said he wasn’t cut out for church because “When I work, I work hard. When I sit, I fall asleep. And when I go to church, I sit, so… ”

Our parents would leave the choir loft and sit with us for the sermon, during which time Daddy invariably found it imperative to clip his nails. That little task accomplished, his next aim was to free a piece of hard candy from its crackly cellophane wrapper.  His painstaking efforts to keep the whole process quiet only resulted in its taking f.o.r.e.v.e.r. … one tiny explosion at a time.  If I’d been the pastor I’d have marched down from the pulpit and thumped him on the head, but I couldn’t think about it or the giggles would do me in.

Church blessedly over, we all piled back into the station wagon, our brother sighing loudly and claiming a window seat so he could stick his head out and breathe again.  He’d already ripped his tie off on the way to the car.

We’d come back home to the aroma of the Sunday dinner Mother had somehow put in the oven that morning — another mystery of time and space — shuck out of our good clothes, and start sorting our Easter basket haul.  Pretty sure we managed to stuff a goodly pre-lunch portion of it in our faces.

The afternoon usually consisted of endless egg hunts of the boiled-and-dyed variety, culminating in the cracked and battered dregs getting thrown at whichever sister, brother or cousin veered into our line of sight.  It was all fun and games until somebody put an eye out, of course.

I’ve been contemplating what sort of cosmic convergence might have set off yesterday’s blue mood, but nothing momentous stands out.  Just a little too much, maybe.  A little too much perfect day, a little too much sunshine, too much quiet, too much capacity for remembering, too much of not seeing people I love for too long.

The earth is back on its axis now and life goes on …

1951 – the year I fully realized I was no longer an only child. My sister Susan was about 3 months old that Easter.

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And a Monday… page 63

Day 123 – 07/13/2020

My Wagner/Stauth/Dierking/Fuhrmann DNA is pretty straight, as in straight off the boat. I have a copy of the ship’s manifest for my Great-grandma Caroline Fuhrmann Dierking’s voyage with her parents and eleven siblings from Germany to the United States on the S.S. Silesia, and I heard all the stories, still fresh, from my grandma, Caroline’s daughter.

My Reese heritage is more mysterious to me, but only because I didn’t grow up next door to it and I spent far less day-to-day time with that part of my family. My Uncle Vic’s extensive family genealogy, lovingly and painstakingly assembled over the years, is priceless. Without him I would likely never know that my grandpa, his dad’s, lines were from England, Wales, and the Netherlands, or that grandma’s were from Ireland, France, the Netherlands, and Germany. See? Mystery…

My Great-grandmothers, each holding a grandchild, my Uncle Bob and Aunt Bette if memory serves.

Great-grandma Somerville on the left was a wife, mother of three sons and three daughters – one of whom became my grandma, Jennie Reese – and she was a midwife and ran a boarding house. Unfortunately, she was gone before I arrived, but I remember visiting Grandma Cummings, my grandpa’s mother, in various tiny houses that always smelled of mothballs and peppermint. She gave me my first real acquaintance with what “jolly” meant, but I know her life wasn’t easy.

Great-grandma C and Me – 1948
My grandpa, Victor E. Reese – enlisted in the U.S. Army underage, was at the front during WWI at 18 – came home to marry my grandmother and start a dynasty.
Jennie Marie Somerville at age 15 shortly before Victor Reese met and married her. They raised a family of six boys and three girls and were married for 56 years.

4-Generations – Great-grandpa Somerville, Grandma Reese, my mother Virginia, and new-baby me. Apologies to my sisters – it’s just all about me today.
Vic and Jennie Reese with their six sons, three daughters, and their first grandchild. Grandma received the title before she was 35.
All nine Reese siblings with their mama.
Not even half of the cousins. One of the last big reunions we had.
The Queen Bee at 95, livin’ the good life at home. I was privileged enough to be with her as she left…

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Winnowing the Chaff

The Last Nightowl

Just the journal of an aging man looking at the world

Jenna Prosceno

Permission to be Human

Flora Fiction

A Creative Space

ipledgeafallegiance

When will we ever learn?: Common sense and nonsense about today's public schools in America.

The Alchemist's Studio

Raku pottery, vases, and gifts

Russel Ray Photos

Life from Southern California, mostly San Diego County

Phicklephilly

Dating & Relationships

Going Medieval

Medieval History, Pop Culture, Swearing

It Takes Two.

twinning with the Eichmans

Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

rarasaur

frightfully wondrous things happen here.

FranklyWrite

Live Life Write

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Drinking Tips for Teens

Creative humour, satire and other bad ideas by Ross Murray, an author living in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Is it truth or fiction? Only his hairdresser knows for sure.

john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Drifting Through

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind

KenRobert.com

random thoughts and scattered poems

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Musings of a Penpusher

A Taurean suffering from cacoethes scribendi - an incurable itch to write.

Ned's Blog

Humor at the Speed of Life

Funnier In Writing

A Humor Blog for Horrible People

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