Things you always wanted to say but were afraid

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

The 24 hour rule

As  see the Olympians getting involved in “twitter wars” I am reminded of a great rule that took me years to learn.  I’m not even sure where I picked it up, but it is the best rule to live by when dealing with people in any media form.

No matter how mad you get, let it sit for 24 hours before hitting the send button.  Oh you can go ahead and write while you are mad, but do not under any circumstances respond for 24 hours.  After that time has passed, reread your message, and if you still believe you should send it then go for it, repercussions and all.

It was the most successful rule I ever used in business and only once did I go ahead and send the original statement I had made while mad.

Twenty four hours is not a long time in a life time of maintaining relationships.


Hey Lucky Dog

Fifteen years ago, a friend of mine had some mini wiener dogs for sale.  At the time, my grandmother had been diagnosed with high blood pressure and research was showing that having a pet would lower blood pressure.  I bought the dog; he was five weeks old and just nothing is cuter than a mini dachshund puppy.  The man and I drove to the city to my mom’s house where she and my grandmother (the Golden Girls) lived.  He was wrapped in a towel not more than 3 pounds when I handed him to my Mama Lou, but I should have known things would not go exactly as I thought.  I told her it was her Christmas present, and I never told her that I paid anything for him.  She was too tight for that.  Now Mama Lou loved Lucky, but the real dog lover in the family is my mom, and before long Lucky was sleeping with her at night because Mama Lou was just too fanatically clean to have a dog in her bed.  But not Mom.  Every night he would bury himself either under her covers down to her feet or under a pillow near her head.  He was so cold natured.  It was winter, and we thought it would be good to put a sweater on him when he went outside to keep him from shivering in the cold.  We squeezed him in to a too small sock.  He looked like a stuffed wiener, and by the time we got the dang thing off of him that idea was thrown out the window.

Lucky lived a long and enviable life with two grannies, but last week he died in my mom’s arms.

We will miss you Lucky.  You will not be able to be replaced (you ole philanderer).

It’s such a prick


After several days in the hospital, the Man’s 40 plus weight loss issues were finally discovered with a scope that gave the most gruesome pictures of a large ulcer on the top of his stomach.  The thing was huge.  The doctor said it was the largest he had ever seen, but he probably says that to everyone just so they can brag.  The blood loss has stopped, and I was encouraged by his clarity of mind after he began to hold food down again.  I decided the unnerving loss of his mental capacity slowly day by day had been due to the massive blood loss and so it seemed.  But alas, after a couple of days of an almost back to normal existence, I walked in and asked him about breakfast and could tell when he looked at me I knew it wasn’t the blood loss.  When he asked me if it was bedtime at 7:00 am I was devastated,  beaten, scared, and resigned to our fate once again.  What a prick tease to let us have that week of normality (however weak he might be), then jerk the chair out from under us.  To be grateful for the time-any time- is becoming such a gift, like a newborn baby to be nurtured and loved and cherished.  We are in this together, just like he told me the first time I met him.

Ah, my love

I have a hard time deciding to write about the Man.  From a strapping six-foot plus man of a man, he has come to be very dependent on me.  He is very ill.  He is 87, and I believe he has gone to looking to the end.  He has not embraced it yet, but that will come.  Right now, we are in a game of him loosing his mind.  I hate to say this out loud, but it really is a funny stage if you can let go and let God and laugh about it.  Some examples:

“The Rifleman lives in our small town and has four kids.  Two boys and two girls – What is that boy’s name?” he says.   I answer, “The only one I know is Mark.”  He comes back with, “I know that one.  What is the other one’s name?”

“I saw a mouse in the bathroom last night.  Do we have a mousetrap?”  I answer, “No, but I will get one when I go to the store this week.”  Later in the day he tells me, “Right there is the shaving cream to catch that mouse with.”

He decides to lay down in the afternoon.  This takes several minutes to manuever.  We get him to the bed, and I’m hoping to get a rest as well.  I have some green beans on the stove.  I ask him if he would like some dinner in a couple of hours when he gets up.  He says he doesn’t want any dinner; his stomach is bothering him.  I lay down next to him.  he jumps up and says, “What’s for dinner?”  I’m shocked, but I am glad he’s wanting food so I say, “Are you hungry?”  He tells me yes, of course, isn’t it time to eat?  I hurry to the kitchen and throw a really good supper together – green beans, okra, avocado, watermelon, and cornbread. He eats every bite.  I guess it was time.

After supper he decides to go to bed.  I get all his bedtime medicine, and after several very slow trips to the bathroom to brush teeth, shave, etc. he lies down in bed.  Before I can walk around to the other side, he jumps up and says he has indigestion and is going to sleep in his chair – which he does.  He sleeps really well for a while.

One afternoon, he is asleep in his chair, and I am napping on the bed.  I am startled awake by loud static sounds coming from the living room.  I run in, and he has unplugged the TV and several other things as well as thrown several things into the middle of the floor.  When I ask, he replies, “I can’t find the remote.” This one made me laugh and later cry.

These are just a few examples that we have laughed about.  He remembers doing them; he just doesn’t know why he does them.  He still tells me he loves me, and I get hugs at times.  He likes to talk about the grandkids.

Today, he said, “I am just trying to make it to see **** (our first-born). ”  He is coming the first of August.

I hope he makes it too;  sometimes I don’t.

Ain’t life amazing??

I was such a city kid, and he was such a country boy.  I moved into his house in June because the well at my house had broken.  He had been hauling water to me and my animals for several weeks when he suggested it would be easier for us to move to his house till it was fixed.  Once there, I never left.

Five people settled into a two bedroom house with the only bathroom in the master bedroom, so everyone could traipse through our bedroom to pee.

We went immediately to get a pull out bed for the boys and the baby slept in what I called the junk room, which was really a second bedroom, but because the house had been built with very few closets, the Man kept all his stuff in there.  That make the port a crib sort of lost in a sea of junk.  But you know, we were happy.  We had Saturday night TV night and watched wrestling and made popcorn and all slept together in the living room.  The kids began to look for him to come in from work and could hear the old red Ford’s motor about two miles away.  This would generally cause a jumping up and down reaction with choruses of “Daddy’s home.”  He asked me one night who told them to call him Daddy.  I had to confess that no one did, I guess they just began to think of him in those terms.  The well got fixed, and we were sitting on the porch when I told him that I really hated to go home where we were alone again and he replied, “Well, don’t go.”  I didn’t, and I’m still here.  I wonder if he realized how significant those three words were.  Much more life changing than I love you.

From June until August of the next year (fourteen months later) I asked him everyday when we were going to get married. When we went to bed each night I would say, “When are you going t make an honest woman out of me?”  He would answer the same everytime, “Soon.”

Fourteeen months passed, and I don’t think any of us had ever been that contented.  We were sitting on the porch one evening after supper, the kids playing outside when he said out of nowhere, “Do you want to get married?”  I didn’t know what to say; I mean I had pretty much given up on the idea of him getting married.  After all, he had been a bachelor for fifty-six years.   I almost fell out of my chair before I could get the words out of my mouth, ” Of course, when?”  “On Friday,” he replied.

Friday was four days away, and I had final exams that week in order to graduate university, but I was so afraid he might rethink the entire idea that I said o.k.

The entire week I was nervous.  Of course, it didn’t help that he teased me constantly about standing in front of the JP and when they said the part where he answered, “I do” he would instead say, “Well, let me think about it.”

August 3, the day the first-born and family arrive after an eight year absence will be our 28th wedding anniversary.  Ain’t life amazing??

Just to set the record straight


I have but one sister.  There will never be another.  She is a unique individual.  Strong, smart, single-minded and there when you need her.  I would never have and will never trade her for any one for any reason.  She can be the most important ally that you have.  We have that trait in common from our dad.  She is and always has been prettier than I, but I like that as well.  She knows how to take care of herself, knows all about old movies, fashion and electrical business.  She is organized and a planner and when she does something she does it right.  She goes all out.

She is not always fun and light, but the good inside of her will come to the rescue like a mother tiger and as for me all the rest is easy to ignore.  I ignore her harshness and her not wanting to be with her family.  I ignore her hard-headed my way or the highway attitude because I know that is what makes her the strong person she is.  There are too many good things to care about the other and besides don’t we want that for ourselves as well?  We don’t want everything we ever do to  be held against us.  We grow and change and learn and we hope that of all the people in the world our family will understand and give us the freedom to do that.

I love my sister, and I know she loves me too.

Death upon us

My mind is just wandering all over the place along with Rods.  We live so close together in this world that I cannot separate myself from him even as he closes this part of his existence.  I feel what he feels.  I know what he will say or think before he does.  The same words come out of our mouths at the same time. I am being swept up in his final chapter and living it with him.

The quiet time

It was a busy day.  Cooked fresh peas and canned peach jam, salsa, and bread and butter pickles.  That went along with house cleaning, laundry, dishes (as you can imagine from the canning), and trying to make the man rest more comfortable.  This is a near impossible task, but it was finally accomplished late in the afternoon with he and I having a marathon of old TV shows – The Rifleman and Dr. Quinn.

His decline in health is a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, I want to do everything for him, but on the other it troubles him for me to do that because it only amplifies his helplessness.  And let me tell you, helplessness is not a word he has needed until now.

When he first fell in March, I really believed he would get over it, but I am now beginning to wonder.  At 87 it would not be unthinkable to be seeing the beginning of the end.  He and I have had lots of conversations about this very thing because of our 30 year age difference, but talking and experiencing is (as you all know) two different things.  Always before he has said that he was thinking only about living, not dying.  He hasn’t said that in a while, and I am afraid to ask.

It is this time of night that I am finally assured of the peaceful completion of a day.  I have never been so uncertain before.  But now, in the cool of the summer night,  he lies here beside me, snoring softly, and I feel the comfort of his presence, the strength of his character, the surety of his love, and the steadfastness of his care.  I don’t think age can take these things away.




An ache in my heart

The excitement of our first grandchild on the day of his birth was indescribable.  We actually rushed to the hospital and for those of you that know the husband “rush” is not in his vocabulary.  This was especially meaningful since we were watching a John Wayne western “Big Jake”.  Within three days our world had collapsed, and I had seen the husband, all six-foot two inches of stoic farm and ranch ancestry, actually on his knees.  Jacob Allen was born a Down’s child.  For all our initial anguish, within a few months Jake had rebuilt our faith in the world and humanity, and as we approach his seventeenth birthday (which I find so hard to believe) I thank God for giving us such a gift to change us into the kind of person that Jake came into this world already being.

Jake never just hugged; he hugged and patted your back at the same time.  Jake never watched musical programs; he acted them out in their entirety.  His rendition of the munchkins singing “We welcome you to the lollipop guild ” is one well worth seeing, followed by his run behind the couch when the wicked witch suddenly appears.  It brings the Wizard of Oz to a whole new level of entertainment.  The sureness in which he rolls down his back window and begins telling the speaker at McDonalds what he wants starts as we drive in, and he can make any TV, VCR, DVD, etc. work better than any of us (especially those of us that are older).

There is no matching the amount of love that he gives, and the day he left to move to Wisconsin was perhaps the saddest day of my life.  I have never missed anyone so much and the ache in my heart never leaves knowing we can never make up the time we have lost.

The unique thing about this is it’s not just me.  The husband, the uncle, the aunts, the great-grandmother, and the great-great grandmother (who lived her remaining years without him) have all said the same at various times.  My mom (the great-grandmother) tells when she was flying home from visiting and Jake saw her with her suitcase, how he cried when she left to get on the plane and how she cried as well.  She still feels deeply about that.

There is no way to change the fact that kids grow up and sometimes move far away and do just fine, but I long for the days when families stayed within a few miles of each other and were there to help, love, disagree, agree, laugh, celebrate and just generally be a family.  I guess I’m just getting sentimental as I and they get older.

Happy Birthday Jake.  You will never know the time and space that your love covers and the healing powers that it has.

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