Monday Monday…

August 31, 2015

La da la dah dah da…remember that old  song sung by The Mamas & the Papas? Yep, it’s here and I’m here, so here we go. I’m another year older and the sun is shining. The past thirteen days have been mixed.  But, once again I’ve learned some things. #1 Everything is just as it should be. #2 Life can be taken away at the blink of an eye. #3 Actions speak louder than words #4 Don’t pay attention to everything you hear or read (yessss, including text messages) #5 Some people are drawn to drama like moths to a flame …any old thing will do to start them towards the fire #6 It’s usually best to let it go, consider the source, and if necessary, distance or remove yourself from said person/people  #7 Turning off news, gossip, whatever, in ANY sort of media can refresh you #8 People are stupid #9 Life is not always fair. #10 Repeat these things, write down these things, remember these things and go live your life.

Happy Monday to all!

but never had the benefits as his child. I never once ate a meal, received a good night kiss, awoke to him being ‘home’ with me in the morning, or even shared a bathroom under the same roof. I can count the items my father personally bought me on one hand and still have one digit left. One blue bicycle with training wheels, a wooden skateboard with an inlay of red writing, a brown coat and matching pair of shoes. The bike and skateboard were for my birthday, the coat and shoes for school.

I remember standing in line when he purchased the latter items and having this terrible sense of embarrassment. Although not understanding why  I felt this,  I called, ‘Daddy, Daddy’, to tell him he didn’t have to buy them. I did not feel right, his spending money on me. Unable to get his attention with my soft child voice, the items laid on the counter and were soon in the Magic Mart sack.

When he took me to Sears and Roebuck for my bike and skateboard there was no shame or guilt, as I was younger say, six or seven. The purchase of the coat and shoes, I was probably eight or nine.

There were no family pictures, no holidays, no weekend excursions with my father. An occasional drive to the local dairy bar for a chilidog, malt, and dip cone was usually it. I do remember one time me, my brother, mother, and father going to an eat- in hamburger place. It was the only time all four of us were together out in public. I still hold that in my mind to this day. I was so overjoyed I didn’t know  what to do.

He was a distant figure who showed up at various times and would stare down at me through the screen door with a smile and a low voice. The last time I saw my father was when I was in high school. He came by and I showed him the console stereo my youngest aunt had bought me for my high school graduation. I remember we talked a bit, maybe about after high school…I don’t really remember the exact conversation. I do seem to recall him telling me something I had heard him say when I was younger, “Always remember that you are just as good as anybody else.” I didn’t fully realize what impact those words held coming from him at the time. I now do.

My next contact with my father was seeing his name in the obituary section of the local paper. I know he thought about me, because three or four months before he died he was strong on my mind. At age twenty-six I hadn’t thought to look up an out of town telephone number.

Even in death, my name was nowhere mentioned as being his daughter.

My father was gone. I never really knew him, yet I had worn his name. I have a few memories, I carry his blood, and I had none of the benefits of being his child.

Silence…

August 17, 2015

 Is what I long for

Of mind body and soul

Heart and knowing

Dreams and longing

Words and people

Cruel and mocking

This life I’ve lived

through the years

a little happiness

though many tears

Someday the silence

will come as relief

Still God will laugh

as I’ve sown what I reap

He’ll laugh and mock

at my bitter end

my life was naught

but a blowing wind

died out among

the trees so bare

never real living

a day here, a day there

and now with silence

I no longer care

copyright August 2015/R. Webb

This was what we always called it. The formal name of Byrd Manufacturing very seldom crossed our lips. Twenty-six miles one way from our house, my mother made her way to the plant in “Twinkle Town” for around two or three years. She didn’t drive, so she carpooled and in that fifty-two mile round trip she made our living.

Although a manufacturer of men’s shirts, I remember her also talking about ladies blouses, pajamas, and short sets. The beehive of mostly women workers earned their paychecks to live their daily lives in whatever custom their lot in life afforded them. Mama had worked there before and when she and her younger sister went to apply, the people already knew them. My mother was over the age they were looking for, but she looked years younger. The hiring manager was a man and he actually told her this. He put her back to work.

She didn’t sew, but inspected garments for package readiness. She learned to break a collar, and look for sewing flaws like extra buttonholes, or if the garment didn’t hang correctly. This was knowledge she stored away and brought out with every future clothing purchase. Once, she was tying blouse bows and her supervisor brought over one of the big bosses from up North. Mama thought she was in trouble, but they wanted to see how she made her bows. They gave her a blouse and she flipped it around opposite from how she received it, thereby solving the mystery of how she was able to tie such a pretty bow. Afterwards, it was standard procedure. Such a simple concept and Mama had managed to grasp what no one else had.

She would talk about how at lunch she would take her Dr. Pepper and pour  a package of peanuts into the bottle. How the supervisors would make a lot of the women cry and that some of their nerves were shot. Her own words were something in the neighborhood of, “They’ll never make me/ see me shed a tear.” and to my knowledge, she never did.

Her hands began to take offense at the fabric dyes. They would crack and bleed and she would put ointment on them prescribed by the doctor. I remember sitting in her lap scratching the parched skin in her palms with my tiny fingers and she would say how good it felt. Years later when I was grown, we talked about her days there. She said my Nanny (her mother) told her, “You said you would work for them until your hands bled and now you have.” She did exactly that. She loved us and bled for us at the Shirt Factory.

again  on this terra firma will I hear my mother’s voice call my name. When I enter a room she will not be there to fix her small blue eyes upon me, waiting for her standard kiss and hug, with “Whatcha’ doin’ Ma?” or “Hi Ma!” …

Tomorrow would be her ninety-fifth birthday.

I have white flowers for her grave. She would like that.

I love you Ma. Happy 95th Birthday.

In 2010 there was a book that came out entitled, “The Depression Cure”, by Stephen S. Illardi, PhD. The six points I refer to are those that his book settles on to be the ones that can help you from succumbing to depression in this present modern day of fast, faster, fastest living. I must confess I have never read the book, only looked at the introduction and some reviews.  The points are:

1. Omega 3 fatty acids
2. Engaging Activity
3. Physical Exercise
4. Sunlight Exposure
5. Social Connection
6. Enhanced Sleep
The ones I consider a challenge at the moment are #’s 2 and 5. An engaging activity for me would be something like a class or maybe attending a house of worship…or maybe a club of some sort. I do none of these for various reasons. The same on # 5, and in my mind it runs along side of # 2.
Having never read the book I know I need to in order to see what he constitutes as the differences (if any) between the two. The social connections I have are mainly through occasional calls or texts. Even then, most people are so wrapped up in their own lives that I get the feeling that I’m always last on the totem pole if I receive a call/text from them. I’m like their ‘down time’. I have, on occasion, connected with these people to see if they wanted to do something and most often, it isn’t a good time for them. Years ago I would make a point to call and set up things to visit or whatever. Somewhere along the way I decided to stop it and see what happened. Chirp, Chirp, Chirp, go the proverbial crickets. I’m to the place now I don’t really care. I am the convenient one, but what isn’t realized is how I’ve actually turned tables. My books are my friends. I can set outside and stare at the backdrop from my house. I can take a pen and paper and write or draw. My pets love me. They are happy to see me all the time. Thirty minutes away and they greet me with the longing of a six month away trip!
Okay, back to the points. They are simple points, but stepping out to do these two points I’ve talked about will be a challenge. I need to do it though.Isolation is lonely. Texts can’t go to the bookstore and comment on their own. They can’t walk with you and look at the artwork on the museum walls. In truth, social media is very lonely. It has no facial expression. It is a mechanical thing that throws up some smiley faces or maybe frowns…
This is the next book on my list to read. In the meantime I’ll start applying the points and see what happens.
 

Nature’s Dual Bouquet..

August 7, 2015

Nature's Dual Bouquet

While walking yesterday, I stopped and combined a small branch of dead leaves with the living plant to make a Summer/Fall arrangement. I thought it to be an interesting visual and wanted to capture it before leaving the park.

The following is from my test kitchen to yours.

Using one pound of hamburger and your favorite meat loaf recipe, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Take two loaf pans (yes, two) and divide mixture evenly. Place into oven at recommended temperature and double the time since you are cooking both at once. This is the key. Mine calls for one hour, so I set it for two.

When you hear the timer take them out and slice off the tops, scoop out the insides, and add ketchup to the thoroughly cooked meat. When completed, take the top crusts and shells and toss in garbage.

For a side meat, be sure to flour and season pork chops, frying them on the stove.

#2

This is an old favorite that I like to refer back to when recalling my younger years of food fare with chicken:

Epiphany* Chicken

Wash and apply your favorite spices. Put into a paper sack filled with powdered sugar and proceed to shake making sure that each piece is completely covered. Have your grease in the skillet just hot enough to hear a nice sizzle when submerging. The secret is getting the chicken done before the powdered sugar starts to burn…

———

I’ve been thinking I need to find Loretta Lynn’s pie recipe she used in Coal Miner’s Daughter.

* Epiphany: a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way   (iword.com/idictionary/epiphany)

Morning Walk…

August 5, 2015

 Walking helps me when things start to press upon my mind and spirit. We all have things that bear down upon us, even though outwardly we continue to chin up and carry on. Occasionally, when replying to the standard greeting from the cashier of, “How are you?”, I’ll look them in the eye and state, “Lousy.” Watching their startled face and without missing a beat,I’ll break into a smile and assure them I just wanted to see their reaction. As of date, they’ve all been good natured, perhaps a bit pleased to not hear the mundane answer of, “I’m fine…” . It gives both of us a chance to see the other as persons outside the robotic role of cashier-and-customer-assembly-line.

At the park the baseball field is being mowed, tennis courts are occupied, and people on the green are swinging their clubs. Exiting my car with keys, cellphone, and umbrella, trees ,parking lots, and picnic tables are in view. I walk leisurely , taking in sights, smells, and movement. The umbrella shields my fair skin from the sun’s fierce smile in the already 83 degree temperature. 

 Looking across the road, I spot the large yellow Union Pacific boxcar.  I remember the one from my own small hometown park. It was as red as the wasps that built their nests in it every Spring and made you run when you entered their territory. Making my way towards the side of the stadium, I look at the scattered tufts of grass and weeds poking their heads through the cracked asphalt. I wonder at them. Some withstood the toil of pushing and heaving their way to the surface, while others died a straw colored languishing.

Rounding the side, I start back. To my right, the increasing slope holds large gray rocks. Staring intently I see the recognition of a pastel drawing I made back in  high school art class. Did I somehow draw my young future before it happened? 

  My life, the drawing, and facing these rocks fit together. I search above them  and see them decrease the closer they come to the main road. They are replaced with earth and grass, which wave to me from above. No more rocks.

This is a strong symbol for me. I struggled to climb the rocks all those years. I finally see now. There is something beyond the rocks. There is soil, there is grass…even if not the most green, even if the earth is dry…the rain comes and replenishes both…and there is a road…one that I want to take beyond the rocks.

Last Night…

August 4, 2015

Was a dreamless night. I awoke even before my alarm sounded and dared not look at the time. If I look, I cannot go back to sleep. Staring into the cool darkness I turned over, adjusted my pillow, and pulled the covers around my throat. Sometime afterwards the chime brought me into morning.

This is a calm day for me. I let go of  more material things early this A.M. with the scheduled curbside pickup. I can still see the items waiting dutifully for their transportation to their new home, I feel no guilt. Some of the items are brand new, still in their original containers. Others, old as the hills, but with a good cleaning and if desired, some paint, can earn their keep. The main point is to let them do what they were created to do. Be useful.

I remind myself that things are just exactly that. They have no love, no hate, no anything. You can pick something up that brings you a thousand memories and it feels nothing. It sits silently in your hands with no where to go, except where you direct.

  I have no dirt from my childhood, yet I close my eyes and still smell its rich dark aroma. The tree that produced huge sweet pears so full of juice that it dripped down your chin is gone, but my mind conjures it up, complete with the large buzzing bumblebees, yellow jackets, and honey bees that feasted off the bounty for years. The year after we moved the tree died. I always said that it missed us. I still believe that. We grew up playing under it, our dog having his house nearby. After the dog died and we left, I think it realized it had done its work. It provided us with sweet smells, delicious pears, shade, and a sturdiness for years. We, in turn, had given it sounds of laughter and  joy, receiving the fruit with squeals of delight, playing many years around it throughout our young days. The time came to move on…and the tree had loved us in the way it could and we had loved it back.

Thoughts are in my mind…and I can carry them wherever I go, with no fear of them not having a place. For they are in my heart and I think of them often.