Sunday, July 20, 2014

Pressed Between The Pages of My Mind

That sweet faced fur baby on the right is Buster The Wonder Dog as he looked on his very last Christmas with me.  He was gone a month later, taken by cancer.  I had him for seventeen wonderful years. He was a rescue who was a total basket case for the first six months I owned him, even eating my wicker porch furniture.  But, with love and patience, he became one of the most amazing animals I have ever had.

Now, I have another sweet fur baby (whose name on adoption was Buster - really) but is now affectionately known as Buddy!  He is yet another sweet blessing I have been given.

This past couple weeks as I have been going through a time of loss, I have been reminded of many, many blessings and memories.  Friends from as long as fifty years ago have stepped up to lend kind words and support.  I have been truly blessed, and I must remember that!

There are all kinds of memories as we pass through this world.  Some are as sweet as honey dripping from a fresh comb, and others as bitter as charcoal.  I have chosen as much as possible to put those bitter ones in the past.  But, as I reflect, sometimes it is good to remember the bitter and the sweet.  We do learn the most through the hard times and if we forget those lessons we are doomed to repeat that negative history over and over again.  Sometimes those bitter memories allow us to empathize with others going through difficult times.

Honestly, I do believe that unless one has experienced great pain, it is difficult for them to appreciate great joy!  Fortunately, I can say I have had both in my life.  The difficulty comes in learning when to put away the negative and focus on the positive.  Grief is normal, and I am reminding myself of that right now, but it too will pass, and the sun and joy will appear on the other side.

Here are a two fun anecdotes/memories I would like to share -

The POOP Chair

When granddaughter Alivia was about two and a half, we were visiting Daytona Beach.  The girls were playing at the edge of the water and Mel and I were sitting in two small beach chairs watching.  Liv came running up and said she had to go potty...well, we ASSUMED she was talking about having to tinkle.  Remember what that word assume can do to you...we watched as she ran back down to the waters edge, pulled down her bathing suit bottom and began to POOP on the beach!  OMG! Two teenaged girls began pointing and screaming and Melanie tried to shrink into her beach chair.  "Oh Mom, please, please I'll give you anything to go pick that up!" she said, embarrassed by Alivia's display.  I was sitting in a backpack beach chair Melanie had recently bought which I found extremely comfortable.  I said, "Well, I will go pick it up if this chair is mine."  Melanie agreed and I went down with a paper cup and picked up and disposed of the poop!  From that day on the lovely green backpack beach chair became the "Poop Chair."  I still giggle every time I think about that.

Then there was the day we went to church as a family one Sunday Morning.  Melanie, who was probably about 15 at the time had gone out that morning and bought six bagels.  We didn't have time to eat any of them before we left, so I told her to push them to the back of the kitchen counter and she could have one when she got home.  She had bought them with her own money.  They were HERS!  Well, upon returning home from church I went to the bedroom to change.  When Melanie came in a few minutes behind me, she was furious! "Mom! Who ate all my bagels?" I replied that I hadn't even looked to see if the bagels were still on the counter when I came in.  I said, "I have no idea, honey, but it certainly wasn't me. Perhaps the dog got them."  "MOM!! the bag is still on the counter, but the bagels are gone! The DOG didn't eat them! One of you did!"  At that moment, my sweet Golden Retriever, Buster, went skulking out of the room only to return a moment later with a raisin bagel in his mouth.  He dropped it on her foot and left the room!  Never try to tell me a dog doesn't understand what is being said! That dog had carefully removed the bagels from the bag, leaving the bag on the countertop without a crumb behind.  Then he ate all but TWO of them.  Yep, I said Two.  The one he returned to Melanie (much to everyones shock and surprise, and one he had hidden under my bed for a snack!  God love him!

I have trusted God to be there for me since I was very young (six years old in fact) and He has never let me down.  In the past couple years I have reconnected with a dear childhood who actually walked the waters of Baptism with me when we were both children.  It has been a sweet reunion, and we have shared many pleasant memories.  What a wonderful blessing.

Childhood memories of building straw and stick forts in the woods, of climbing the apple trees across the street from our homes and camping in the back yard.  Sometimes those memories seem to have slipped away, and then suddenly, as if turning the yellowed pages on an ancient book there they are! They are there to be savored and enjoyed.

Have you ever been walking along and smelled something which took you back to a long forgotten memory.  It is said that "smell" is one of the strongest memory triggers.  Every time I smell candied almonds roasting at a fair I am taken back to my first time in Germany at Octoberfest!

Then there are songs.  Sometimes love songs but not always.  The song "Windy" was playing on air when my daughter Wendy was born!  I can't hear that song and not think of her.  "Could I Have This Dance For the Rest of My Life" was playing when I danced my first dance with my soul mate.  We got lost along the way due to unfortunate circumstances in both our lives, but now I hear "I Hope You Dance," and think of him and the sweet memories we made together.

My grandchildren remind me daily of what it was like to have children...the difficult times and the joyous ones!  I will remember some of the precious things they said and did until I die.  You really never do know what will come "out of the mouth of babes."  Recently, my youngest grandchild a sweet little Liv, was dressing with me one morning and said - "Granma why does you body have so many wrinkles?"  I said, "sweetie, Granma is old and once I was fat, so it's wrinkles or fat!"  She contemplated that for a moment and said, "I think I like the fat better!"  Brutal, but honest, she liked sinking into Granma's shoulder when it was softer!

Next year will be the 50th Anniversary of my High School graduation.  Oh My Gosh!  Fifty Years!
I am going to make a serious effort to return to Maryland for that celebration.  It will be fun sharing memories with people I haven't seen in that many years.

There are vacations, births of children, marriage, death, accidents and oh so many other occasions locked between the pages of my mind....and yours.  Today, on this beautiful Sunday, take the time to flip through a few of those pages.  Some may make you cry, some will make you laugh out loud, and some will just make you remember what a blessing it is to wake up with the ability to still remember!



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