Summers

“I look around the room and can’t help but think about how it is the little things we look back on in life. I wonder how often people think that they should pay more attention to them.” 

Erika Lance, Behind the Veil

Writing about the meter man yesterday set my mind in motion.

I’ve been thinking about other memories from my childhood, especially summertime ones.

  • I remember hurrying through lunch so I could get in the pool as soon as it opened at 1 p.m. After all–I knew I could NOT go into the water for 45 minutes after eating which meant I HAD to be done with lunch by 12:15.
  • This brings up another food related issue–remember fasting for 3–or was it 4–hours before going to communion? I think I could not drink anything for an hour before receiving communion. As I got older I started factoring in how long the first part of Mass would be so I could eat for a longer period of time. Going to a hot church on an empty stomach never worked out well for me.
  • I remember walking all over town from one friend’s house to anothers. The only requirement was telling mom where I was headed. My sisters and I were lucky because there were so many kids our age in our neighborhood. Unless there was something special going on, we never had to go far to be with friends.
  • In our little town in Iowa there were summer carnivals every year. I remember how excited we all were when we saw the trucks come through town and start setting things up on Main Street.
  • Having the windows open so I could hear the trains come through town while I fought sleep in order to make plans for the next day.
  • Swimming lessons and learning the skills needed so I could swim my two laps and go into the 10 foot part of the pool.
  • Lightning bugs.
  • Kool-aid.
  • Rushing through breakfast so I’d be ready to run outside to play as soon as the first neighbor kid knocked on the front door.
  • Fresh sweet corn on the 4th of July followed by ripe watermelon.
  • Sparklers.
  • None questioned whether or not we were safe. Our parents had those soft rules of being home in time for supper and come in when the street lights went on.
  • Growing up in a small town at the time my friends and I grew up was one of the many blessings I didn’t appreciate until not that many years ago. We didn’t need much more than a swim suit and a summer pass to the pool. Shoes were often optional.
  • Talking my dad into buying my first pair of flip flops–they were called thongs then–he absolutely hated them.
  • Home made ice cream.
  • Taking pictures with the Kodak camera and realizing we’d used the last side of the flash cube. Unfortunately there was still one unexposed picture on the roll. That meant it maybe months before that roll is used up and another few months before it’s taken in to be developed.
  • Singing and swinging on the swingset in the backyard.
  • Fresh tomatoes from the garden.
  • Going uptown for my mom to buy a loaf of bread and a package of cigarettes–she’d sent along a handwritten note which worked just fine, no questions asked. There would always be some drama when I got home because I never wanted to give them to her so she’d have to quit.
  • Waiting for my Gram to come visit.
  • Trying to drink a Fizzie–I think that’s how it was spelled. I never was able to drink one–reminded me of my dad’s Alka-seltzer.
  • Collecting pop bottles and turning them in for cash at John’s Little Store on the hill. Hopefully everyone would make it to the store before their paper sack broke. John was always patient with us and had the absolute best penny candy–it was worth the walk.
  • Going to the movies so we could all get out of the heat. If I was very lucky, I’d get to have my very own bag of candy and popcorn.
  • Nightly neighborhood hide and seek which evolved into kick the can.
  • Saying my prayers with my mom never once thinking she wouldn’t always be there.

During these hot summer days, grab a snack, pour a glass of wine, and take a few minutes to think back. If you’re a baby boomer like me, I think you might be surprised at how awesome those childhood memories really are.

“I wonder if we would ever switch back to old photo albums we got printed from photography shops. A Kodak KB10 camera with 36 photos worth of film roll, waiting for it to complete before sending the photos for developing.

Nothing was instant, it would sometimes take months to compete a film and weeks to get the prints.

The joy of seeing the photos, the disappointment to find a ruined image due to shaky hands.

Even after having lots of camera and GBs of memory cards will never bring the same feeling.”

Crestless Wave

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace be with you.~

Memorial Day Weekend 2019

“it’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s summertime!” 

Kenny Chesney

For many different reasons, time seems to have eluded me these past few months.

How is it possible this is Memorial Day weekend and the start of summer?

The weather here in Texas has certainly done its best to clue me in. Both of us like to have the house open but even we’ve had to close things up and turn on the air.

The reality is this weekend is much more than the start of summer.

It is a time for all of us to remember and honor those who lost their lives defending our county.

Gracious God, on this Memorial Day weekend,

we remember and give thanks

for those who have given their lives

in the service of our country.

When the need was greatest,

they stepped forward and did their duty

to defend the freedoms that we enjoy,

and to win the same for others.

O God, you yourself have taught us

that no love is greater than that

which gives itself for another.

These honored dead gave the most precious gift they had,

life itself,

for loved ones and neighbors,

for comrades and country – and for us.

Help us to honor their memory

by caring for the family members

they have left behind,

by ensuring that their wounded comrades

are properly cared for,

by being watchful caretakers of the freedoms

for which they gave their lives,

and by demanding that no other young men and women

follow them to a soldier’s grave

unless the reason is worthy and the cause is just.

Holy One, help us to remember that freedom is not free.

There are times when its cost is, indeed, dear.

Never let us forget those who paid so terrible a price

to ensure that freedom would be our legacy.

Though their names may fade with the passing of generations,

may we never forget what they have done.

Help us to be worthy of their sacrifice,

O God, help us to be worthy. 

– J. Veltri, S.J.

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Thanks, Michael R. Hibdon, for sharing another one of your great pictures. I love you. 

 

Happy Summer

Summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people. For those few months, you’re not required to be who everyone thinks you are, and that cut-grass smell in the air and the chance to dive into the deep end of a pool give you a courage you don’t have the rest of the year. You can be grateful and easy, with no eyes on you, and no past. Summer just opens the door and lets you out. ~Deb Caletti 

Today is the first day of summer. As a tribute to the Summer Solstice, I’d like to take you with me as I think back and remember some of my childhood summer activities. As you read my list, take a minute to think back on your own summertime memories.

My favorite summer activity was going to the pool. I’d have to make sure to have lunch eaten by noon so I could be in the water the minute the pool opened at 1 p.m. You remember that rule about waiting an hour after eating before getting in the water? As I think back to those hot summer afternoons, I see myself sitting impatiently watching the minutes tick by on the round black framed clock on the wall of the bath house–jumping up as soon as my time was up.

Lucky for me, none of my other summer interests involved time restrictions. These are some of the ways I remember spending summer days:

Hide-n-seek, kick the can, tag, croquet, badminton, tree climbing, setting out to explore other neighborhoods, bike rides and learning–sometimes very unsuccessfully–how to use handle brakes, playing catch, softball, swinging, shooting baskets and H-O-R-S-E, hopscotch, fishing with Dad, summer Catechism, going barefoot, catching lightning bugs and putting them in mayonnaise jars so you can have them in your bedroom at night, sunburns, seeing the Coppertone commercials and using “suntan lotion” for the first time, green hair from the pool chlorine, the smell of Lilacs, warm rain, puddles, shooting stars, watermelon, sweet corn, church ice cream socials and homemade ice cream, wet dogs and wet dog smell, tornado warnings and tornadoes, fresh garden vegetables, homegrown tomatoes, discovering the world of books, and wondering who I’d have as a  teacher when school started again.

Although my sisters and I usually stayed busy, I know a daily question for Mom was what could we do because we were so bored?

Oh…to be so bored today!

“We’re so caught up in our everyday lives that events of the past, like ancient stars that have burned out, are no longer in orbit around our minds. There are just too many things we have to think about every day, too many new things we have to learn. New styles, new information, new technology, new terminology … But still, no matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away. They remain with us forever, like a touchstone.” 

Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

Be Kind

I’ve rewritten this post from a year ago so I could share it with you today.

When Great Trees Fall

When great trees fall,

rocks on distant hills shudder,

lions hunker down

in tall grasses,

and even elephants

lumber after safety.

When great trees fall

in forests,

small things recoil into silence,

their senses

eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,

the air around us becomes

light, rare, sterile.

We breathe, briefly.

Our eyes, briefly,

see with

a hurtful clarity.

Our memory, suddenly sharpened,

examines,

gnaws on kind words

unsaid,

promised walks

never taken.

Great souls die and

our reality, bound to

them, takes leave of us.

Our souls,

dependent upon their

nurture,

now shrink, wizened.

Our minds, formed

and informed by their

radiance,

fall away.

We are not so much maddened

as reduced to the unutterable ignorance

of dark, cold

caves.

And when great souls die,

after a period peace blooms,

slowly and always

irregularly. Spaces fill

with a kind of

soothing electric vibration.

Our senses, restored, never

to be the same, whisper to us.

They existed. They existed.

We can be. Be and be

better. For they existed.” 

Maya Angelou

 

Memorial Day, 2018, is in the history  books.

 

 

This holiday represents a time for us to remember all of those we have lost–not only those lost in service to our country.

Which means this could be a very hard time for some–observing a holiday that is set aside to honor loss.

For some, the losses are new and agonizingly raw, leaving those who mourn exhausted. It’s tiring–trying to understand what’s happened while searching for ways to move on with your life–a life that now seems so oddly empty–now feeling as confused and unsettled as it used to feel safe and secure.

Or, perhaps those losses are not new. Maybe yesterday was the first Memorial Day you gave yourself the space and time to fully grieve an old loss. I’m learning what was not fully grieved will follow you until you let your armor fall and address it. I’m learning it takes time to strip away all those different layers of disguises used over the years–decades of stuffing it down in order to keep “it” hidden from myself and all those around me. Some of that grief has been under wraps for over fifty years–I’m beginning to understand that it’s going to take time to reach the core of it all.

I’ve learned by telling and sharing my stories I am not alone on this journey to self. It’s days like yesterday–Memorial Day–that agitate and pick away at those fragile patches I’ve precariously constructed over the broken places in my heart. I imagine I am not the only one who stayed very busy yesterday.

As I’ve become more aware of myself, I’ve learned to be careful when I meet and talk with people–old friends or new. I am more open and observant of what is said and more importantly–what is not said. We are all carrying stuff around with us–and there are days when that baggage gets mighty heavy.

I’ve come to recognize kindness and I am so thankful to all those who have blessed me with their kindness.

Now–at this point in my life–my goal–my intention–is to be kind.

Why not join me–filling our world with little acts of kindness. A compliment here and there–a small act that costs nothing but could make all the difference in the world to someone.

I am…

B…simply being…

May God bless you.

~Peace~

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Commitment

We are home from a short camping trip over to Big Bend country. We both love it there because it is so isolated. We were quickly reminded that it is very very very warm there this time of year.

Once home, I learned a tough lesson–one that comes with several parts. In an earlier post I shared a picture of the garden I planted in honor of my sister, Beth, and my cousin, Donna. Michael and I worked so hard on it. We used all the tricks we could think of preparing for what we knew could be stressful for it while we were gone. In addition to that, we asked a neighbor to come over daily to water that garden and a collection of potted vegetables. They agreed and visited with us the day before we left. We gave watering instructions and told them we would have the hose out and handy so the chore would be a quick and easy one.

Well…I think they may have passed the job off to one of the kids. We were gone four days and the attached picture is my memorial garden today. Michael watered it quickly in hopes he could make it look better before I walked out to see it. I am not sure we can revive it. Now, on the plus side, the vegetables look wonderful–we are thankful for that but sure do wish everything looked as good.

There are a couple of lessons here for me. The first one is to be cautious when you create things in memory of someone. When something happens to that honorary thing–whatever that may be–be prepared for that loss. It is a new one that will pick at that  roughly healed scar. Heavens, this is not a huge loss by any means, but it feels that way to me and it will cause me some grief for a while. The second lesson–and it is one that I am given over and over again–be careful when you ask a friend or a neighbor to do something for you. What happens when it does not work out? It may be worth hiring someone to do it–if that paid worker makes an error, you have recourse. When it is a friend or neighbor–you only have hard feelings.

There is also a tangential lesson here and it is an important reminder for all of us.  If you agree to do something for someone, do it. Simple. Keep your word. This past week saw very high temperatures with high humidity in our area–all making that walk over to our house a lot less enjoyable than it was a few days ago.

I found this very gentle instructional quote while I was thinking about my lessons of the day.

Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you. 

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, y’all.

 

 

Be Kind

I’ve rewritten this post from a year ago so I could share it with you today.

When Great Trees Fall

When great trees fall,

rocks on distant hills shudder,

lions hunker down

in tall grasses,

and even elephants

lumber after safety.

When great trees fall

in forests,

small things recoil into silence,

their senses

eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,

the air around us becomes

light, rare, sterile.

We breathe, briefly.

Our eyes, briefly,

see with

a hurtful clarity.

Our memory, suddenly sharpened,

examines,

gnaws on kind words

unsaid,

promised walks

never taken.

Great souls die and

our reality, bound to

them, takes leave of us.

Our souls,

dependent upon their

nurture,

now shrink, wizened.

Our minds, formed

and informed by their

radiance,

fall away.

We are not so much maddened

as reduced to the unutterable ignorance

of dark, cold

caves.

And when great souls die,

after a period peace blooms,

slowly and always

irregularly. Spaces fill

with a kind of

soothing electric vibration.

Our senses, restored, never

to be the same, whisper to us.

They existed. They existed.

We can be. Be and be

better. For they existed.” 

Maya Angelou

 

Memorial Day, 2018, is in the history  books.

 

 

This holiday represents a time for us to remember all of those we have lost–not only those lost in service to our country.

Which means this could be a very hard time for some–observing a holiday that is set aside to honor loss.

For some, the losses are new and agonizingly raw, leaving those who mourn exhausted. It’s tiring–trying to understand what’s happened while searching for ways to move on with your life–a life that now seems so oddly empty–now feeling as confused and unsettled as it used to feel safe and secure.

Or, perhaps those losses are not new. Maybe yesterday was the first Memorial Day you gave yourself the space and time to fully grieve an old loss. I’m learning what was not fully grieved will follow you until you let your armor fall and address it. I’m learning it takes time to strip away all those different layers of disguises used over the years–decades of stuffing it down in order to keep “it” hidden from myself and all those around me. Some of that grief has been under wraps for over fifty years–I’m beginning to understand that it’s going to take time to reach the core of it all.

I’ve learned by telling and sharing my stories I am not alone on this journey to self. It’s days like yesterday–Memorial Day–that agitate and pick away at those fragile patches I’ve precariously constructed over the broken places in my heart. I imagine I am not the only one who stayed very busy yesterday.

As I’ve become more aware of myself, I’ve learned to be careful when I meet and talk with people–old friends or new. I am more open and observant of what is said and more importantly–what is not said. We are all carrying stuff around with us–and there are days when that baggage gets mighty heavy.

I’ve come to recognize kindness and I am so thankful to all those who have blessed me with their kindness.

Now–at this point in my life–my goal–my intention–is to be kind.

Why not join me–filling our world with little acts of kindness. A compliment here and there–a small act that costs nothing but could make all the difference in the world to someone.

I am…

B…simply being…

May God bless you.

~Peace~