Remembering that day…

17 years ago…what a different world it was.  I managed to get in a call to my daughter, living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, as soon as I heard that a plane had hit the Twin Towers…her voice broke as she told me she was okay, that another had hit, that Eric had already left for the day and that she was determined to go to her doctors appointment… I told her to stay home, but she didn’t.  Her doctor never made it across the bridge that morning, but the doctor I worked for kept me busy, didn’t allow me to watch the TV in the waiting room, and let me close the door of my office and weep.

Whether you considered NYC a rat-infested garbage heap or the Emerald City, on That Day, we were all New Yorkers…  I wish it didn’t take Tragedy to bring our country together… but even then you could see the schism forming…When I got home and could talk to them, my mom and sister both decried Melissa’s presence in the city at all –“why is she even in that godless place?”

Melissa has lived in New York for nearly 19 years now, raising her children, pursuing her singing, and working her day-job well into the night.  I have made at least 40 or so round-trips, have walked Manhattan Island from stem to stern, have adopted the apartment up on 102nd as my home-away-from-home.  The people there are friendly, hugging and blowing those little air-kisses around both my ears when they greet me.  I wade into the fountains at Washington Square, or sit in Central Park and notice that children play just the same there as anywhere else.  I visit the museums, drink coffee at the diners, ride the bus or subway with a little help from my friends. I didn’t expect to love it so much, and still wish it was closer physically to the Acres…

That day, that day… I begged her to come home…  She refused…   I am so awed by her strength, by her conviction that The City was where she was supposed to be.  (I believe Eric would not have caught his cancer “in time” if he had been living in Eville) (I believe my grand-daughters are receiving a world-class education because she didn’t listen to my pleas)  When people ask me, and they inevitably do, how they “make it” there, I just shrug.  They make it on Faith…because God Is in that place, leading them along and making sure they always have enough.

If you hear the song I sing
You will understand (listen!)
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It’s there at your command…
 Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

Right Now

Peace

 

 

Fathers Day 2018

I adored my Daddy… To me, he was the strongest, smartest, and surely the most fun guy in the World.  Even after I grew up and realized he wasn’t the strongest or smartest,  he still was the most fun.

After his retirement in 1988, he would go have a few drinks at the VFW every Wednesday.  He got in the habit of coming by my house afterward, allegedly for a cup of coffee, but we would end up listening to music, or making music at the piano.  After a while, he arrived earlier and earlier, lugging a 12-pack;  eventually, he brought his uke and kept it at my house, and we had Music Night every Wednesday, drinking and singing and laughing, and doing the Charlie Brown with the Willie Break…

Dad died in 1997, 5 months after he was diagnosed with metastatic renal cell cancer. He still made it to my house for Music Night whenever he could.  Weeks before he died, on the occasion of meeting Melissa’s fiance’,   he got out his uke and played his last song…”and the band played on”.

He jokingly had me promise that I would take a 6-pack out to his mausoleum on Wednesdays, and one Wednesday about a year after he died, I picked one up and took it by.  I sat on the little folding chair in front of his drawer and sneakily popped one open … I thought how he must hate that cheesy piped-in music… I started giggling, the music got cheesier and went into–I swear!–“those were the days, my friend” ! That struck me as hilarious, and I laughed until I cried, “Come on, Dad, let’s ditch this place.”   We left together…

Dad is such a part of me that I often feel him standing behind me when I’m playing his favorite part of Maple Leaf Rag, and he communicated with me through Phish….but that’s another story.

Still, there’s nobody to sing with anymore, and I miss that more than anything…

Peace and Love to All Daddies!!

Going dark…

I’ve been doing this blog thing for…oh, my gosh, it’s been nearly 14 years!!!  Over a thousand posts, hundreds of thousands of words, a plethora of pictures, and about 300+ readers followed along the way.

The original Sonnystone Acres morphed into The News, then expanded to include 3 other blogs:  Growing Every Season, Rave On,  MadWoman, and Trailer Trippin’.  (Growing is a seasonal gardening blog and the trippers only post when we are traveling —unless it’s to Disney, which goes on The News.)

Anyone who has tried to maintain a blog can tell you it’s not easy. Each post takes a couple of hours to write, even if it’s a photoblog.   It’s intimidating to hit the publish button…you are putting your Self out there…and I’ve written plenty of stuff that I decided to not share. If you want folks to come back, it has to be published consistently and it has to be at least decent, and interesting, or have pictures of darling children!..  Over the years, I’ve often sacrificed quality just to get something posted, but overall, I’m proud of what I’ve written.  It’s been rare that anyone has actually criticized me, though I can always count on my family to point out my weaknesses.  It’s almost as rare that anyone has actually “liked” my posts on wordpress!!

My faithful readers have shared my joy–births of 4 grand-daughters, 5 Camp Sonnystones, 6 Disney trips– and my pain–Eric’s 1.5 years of fighting cancer, deaths of friends, that damn hip thing.  I sincerely appreciate you.

Lately, though, I’ve felt more obligated than inspired…

So I feel like I have to tell you that I’m taking a 6-week-sabbatical from The News.  The MadWoman will likely be in touch, and I’ve got a few other writing projects going, but mostly I want to just shut up for a while.

I know I’ll be back in time to celebrate the February birthdays, so we’ll get together then!

Peace

The Perfunctory New Year, New You Post

The aroma of hoppin’ john — my stock new-year-day lucky food–is filling the air, warming us on this frigid (10degrees), but sunshiny First Day of 2018.

I’m a little skittish about making Resolutions…  I’ve done it before, but I’m just not a Resolute person.  I have only a passing understanding of Determination or what on earth a Firm Decision would be.  Same way with Goals…  The very word implies Effort and there is a whiff of competition that has never appealed to me.

I reject Bucket List, because I do not have a terminal diagnosis, and I sincerely hope to have done Everything before I get the diagnosis…

But just like the traditional lucky food, and kissing at midnight, I usually make a list on New Year Day.  The List was aimed at Self-Improvement, being healthy, changing my habits… The usual stop smoking, stop drinking, lose weight, join a group, take a class…I Would Become a Better Person!!!  January was always full of hope…  By February, I would be making excuses, and March always saw me in the line of shame to d/c my gym membership.

Why did I spend so much time criticizing myself, always falling short of my expectations.  I set myself up to fail, then beat myself up, feeling undisciplined, even lazy!?  Some of those habits changed, but never because I wrote it down on New Year Day.  Time flew in and changed me.  It works much better that way.

At the ripe old age of 64, I see the Year Ahead much differently.  I look at the Year as an Adventure, Each Day as a New Experience, Every moment present and aware.  So I’ll call it my Adventure List?  My Experience List?  My Learning List?  My Here’s What I Want to Do in 2018 List?

Whatever you want to call it, here it is…
(in no particular order and not necessarily complete)

1. Enjoy Each Moment, no judging

2.  Write

3.  Travel

4.  Spend Time with Family

5.  Learn New Music

6.  Read

7.  Garden

8.  Walk/Hike

9.  Spruce up the House

Asking a lot of myself, aren’t I?  I hope you feel free from self-criticism, too.   You don’t always need to Change yourself, trying to please or fit in.  You Will Be Changed, believe me;  that’s what Life is.  Don’t be so determined to be something.  Open yourself to Just Be.  Enjoy the Journey.
Peace

Bye-Bye, 2017

Before I tear off the rear-view mirror and cruise happily into 2018, let me linger just a moment…

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Peace

Have a Safe New Year’s Eve!

Memorial Day, 2017

Busy week, this last one, full of people I love.  Between babysitting, elder-sitting, and good, old friends, I haven’t had time to do much more than maintenance.  I’m way behind on my reading challenge because I didn’t have the challenge book with me at Cades Cove and started reading another, so now I’m finishing up two.

Many confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day.  The former is for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives for their country in military service, the latter for all those who served.  No one in my mom or dad’s family has died in combat, but for the millions of lives cut short by war, it is good to take time to pause and reflect with prayers or meditations of remembrance and thanksgiving for all we, the living, have in this wonderful country.

I remember when we called this Decoration Day and we would go with my great-grandmother in Southern Illinois to walk around dozens (it seemed) of cemeteries littered with Maynes and Kinkades.  Casey and I made our way through most of the old cemeteries at one time or another in the last 20 years, but the weather isn’t always co-operative.   This year would have given us a beautiful day to re-enact the trip, but we chose to stay put, doing mostly nothing.

Casey’s working on putting up our little pool and the week ahead looks sunny.  We are leaving next week, flying to NYC for Eliza’s kindergarten graduation/party and both girls will be dancing Irish at their school’s

Ceili  –  ˈkālē/

a social event at which there is Scottish or Irish folk music and singing, traditional dancing, and storytelling.

Both PawPaw and I are going, and this will be the first time he has seen the girls dance in person, so we are All excited.

Till then, we’ll be laying around the shack, watching the garden grow.  Well, I will. I can’t keep track of Casey, but he’ll be doing something helpful, I’m sure.

Peace

 

 

epiphany…

we-are-loved

Epiphany is one of the oldest Christian feasts. It was celebrated since the end of the second century, before the Christmas holiday was established. Like other Christian seasons, the church appropriated Epiphany from an old pagan festival. As early as 1996 BCE, the Egyptians celebrated the winter solstice (which then occurred on January 6) with a tribute to Aeon, the Virgin. It is important to note that the holiday was established prior to the Gregorian calendar’s introduction.

Let’s add a little Meaning to the day and commemorate all those epiphanies that have led us here, right now.  Let’s drink to the Illuminating Revelations, Glimpses of the True Nature of Life, the Simple Intuitive Grasps of Truth that have led us to This Moment.   Some of our epiphanies were the result of a fall, or a failure, a betrayal, or loss.   Some of our epiphanies were at the top of the mountain, under a green canopy of forest, or watching waves crash on the shore.  Some were while we gazed into the eyes of newborn baby, held an Aged One’s hand, or listened to the minor fall and major lift of Music. Remember, honor, and celebrate All that has brought us to This Now, This Epiphany…

believe-in-your-epiphanies

Peace