Thanks Mom

Throughout our lives, we experience many “coincedences” but there are times when we have to sit back, take it all in, and see if what we experience is a simple coincedence or a bleessing.

Earlier today I took the pups out for a walk. At this point in time, I have to take them out separately, as Theo’s current eye ulcer has him on medication that keeps the eye very dilated, making his eye extremely sensitive to light. I walk him first, he does his business rather quickly, allowing me to return him home without having to keep him outdoors, bothered by the bright sunlight, while continuing on with the long walk, which Buddy so enjoys taking.

As Buddy and I were nearing home from our neighborhood stroll, I was deep in thought about Theo, wondering how long it will be before this latest bout of unfortunate health will last. I couldn’t help thinking that he is a lot like my mother. I often kid that she and Theo were cast from the same mold, both beautiful, fluffy-haired blondes, plagued with endless medical issues. Also in keeping with my mother, Theo somehow manages to always be happy and uncomplaining through it all.

I began to silently pray to my mom, asking her to please watch over my little pup and help me to take the very best of care of him. As I did so, a small leaf fell from a tree that I was walking under, gently landing upon my shoulder. The craziest thing about it was that it was formed into a perfect little heart shape. I must admit, that it made me have to hold back a tear.

At this point, there are a few bits of information that you should know about.

First: My mother’s birthday was on the 11th of June while my dad’s birthday is on the 11th of January. I have always joked that if you added the sum of their two birthdays, you got my birthday, the 22nd! Because of this, whenever I see the clock reading 11:11, whether in the morning or the evening, I send a prayer out for my mother.

Secondly: Last night as I was color-coding Theo’s three medications (to help ensure I give him the correct medication at the correct time) I could not find another round sticker to mark the box of his most important salve, which I wanted to mark as “green.” Too tired to go on searching, I decided to use a little green “heart-shaped” sticker to mark that package.

Okay, back to my story… As I entered the house with Buddy, James told me that my alarm had gone off a few minutes ago, marking one of Theo’s medication times. I quickly went into my bedroom to retrieve the salve needed for Theo’s eye and when I grabbed the box, it was the medication marked by the small green heart! Astounded, I sat down a minute to allow the coincidence (?) to set in when I looked at the time and found that the clock read, 11:11!

Make of this story whatever you wish, but for me it was yet another sign that my mom, true to her dying words, is still watching over her family from above with the same brand of unconditional love and gentle caring that she had blessed us with all of her life. Thanks mom. I love you too.

Until next time,Don

Don

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Don’t Let Frustration Overshadow Your Blessings…

So I was waiting in the doctor’s office today sitting next to a young woman who was having some sort of smart-phone issue. She became quite upset by the momentary inconvenience it was causing her; apparently due to the connection in the building, she was unable to reply to a Facebook posting. Suddenly she shoved the phone into her handbag and sighed out loud with a great dramatic flair of frustration, “I hate my efen life!”

Well those of you who know me, know that I was as equally frustrated because I had to keep my mouth shut and mind my own business. I was burning to tell her that such a statement is an affront to God who for whatever his reason, had given her a life of privilege, which she obviously takes for granted.

All over the world there are countless numbers of people who would give their souls to trade places with her and have to live a life filled with her trivial problems.

She doesn’t have to worry how she will get the next meal into her children, who haven’t eaten in days. She does not have to trek barefoot for two days to stand on a line for another day (or more) in the baking sun to get a couple of buckets of water for her family, which by the way, they now have to haul back home!

She is sitting pretty, here in a doctor’s office, about to receive whatever medical attention she needs, while millions of people all over the world are watching in horror as their spouses and worse yet, their children, die of very curable diseases.

As people living in the United States, we may take for granted (myself included) just how blessed we truly are. We do not suffer hunger, although if we miss a meal, we exclaim, “I’m starving,” when in reality, we (thankfully) know nothing of starvation. We BUY water in bottles because we feel a strange need to partake in what we consider a luxury of better water than we have in our taps (which is a fallacy created by the companies making billions off this ridiculous purchase).We regularly see doctors, dentists, optometrists etc., when we are in need of them and forget that others worldwide are dying every minute from lack of medical treatment.

Before I get too preachy, a door I probably went through four or so paragraphs ago, I just want to say that it is okay to “take our lives for granted” every now and then. It’s a sign that things are quite good on a regular basis but please, for God’s sake, don’t cry out that you “hate” your life.

At times, frustration can be a bitter pill, but try to keep life in perspective. It will talk you off the ledge, if you let it.

 

Frustrated Businesswoman Tearing Out Hair

Frustration, it’s part of life!

 

If we took as much time reflecting on how good our life is, instead of focusing on the silly little things that leave us peeved, I promise you, you will be a much happier, more humbled person who appreciates each day as the gift that God intended it to be.

This whole thing reminds me of a song by Francesca Battistelli, “This Is The Stuff” Within a catchy tune, she sings out to God about life’s little frustrations and how we handle them, with lyrics that say:

“I lost my keys in the great unknown, and call me please ’cause I can’t find my phone. This is the stuff that drives me crazy, this is the stuff that’s getting to me lately. In the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I’m blessed, This is the stuff that gets under my skin, but I’ve gotta trust You know exactly what You’re doing. Might not be what I would choose, but this the stuff You use.”

This Is The Stuff:

Thanks for reading my rant. I wish you all a day of peace and blessings beyond measure.

Until next time,

Don

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Made In 1957… And Built To Last!

When I turned thirty, it had absolutely no effect on my psyche what so ever; and why should it have? I was strong, healthy and for the first few years of my thirties, still being asked about (high) school! I felt that my whole life was ahead of me and the opportunities were infinite.

When I turned forty, it too was just another number to me. My body was in great physical shape inside and out. I liked the slight, subtle touch of grey that had begun to fleck my hair on the sides of my head, and even at forty-nine years old, while taking a routine stress test for an annual physical, I was asked by the stress test technician, if I’d like a job, touring the country, demonstrating the machine at medical fairs and conventions. I felt like a “Superman.”

I entered my fifties with the same optimism and enthusiasm as the decades that had proceeded. For goodness sake, at fifty-three years old, young (and quite fit) men at the gem were telling me that my body was their goal!

However sixty hardly carries all the same cheerful prospects that the 30’s, 40’s, and yes, even 50’s did. Lately I was chatting with a stranger in the market who asked almost childlike, “what’s the big deal, so we’re middle aged?” Middle aged nothing, I thought. Who the heck do you know who’s 120 years old?

There’s a reason I am being chased down by AARP and worse yet, hounded by insurance companies to make sure my “final expenses” will be covered. If that’s not bad enough, I receive weekly invitations to come and enjoy a free meal at various restaurants around my community to start “PLANING MY OWN FUNERAL” and I’m even being offered wonderful two-for-one deals on cemetery plots as well as discounts on cremation. This didn’t happened when I turned forty. Clearly I have been placed into a new demographic. One that, if you please, I’d rather not think about.

Sixty is apparently an age that etiquette deems to be socially acceptable for organizations to constantly remind one that they should start preparing now, because they are closer to death than they’ve ever been before. I get it; I have one foot in the grave, but if you don’t mind, I would like to still go on living until such time that the Grim Reaper actually grabs me by the throat and drags me into the hereafter, kicking and scratching all the way. Is that too much to ask?

As you can plainly see, 60 is not a friend of mine. I am not graciously embracing 60, tossing it around as just another number. I do appreciate that in actuality, I’m merely one day older than I was yesterday, but I also know that I need help from younger people with my “tech” problems, who snicker at me because I don’t use my smart phone for anything more than calls or photos. If I have to climb a ladder it is no longer done with the same quick sense of purpose and reckless abandon of my youth but instead rather cautiously, always aware that one wrong move can leave me with some badly broken bones, and I relish getting into bed by nine o’clock each night, as if I’m meeting an old dear friend. All this said, inside I feel every bit the same as I did when I was twenty-seven; it just seems to come with rather old packaging nowadays.

So sixty, I say to you, beware. I am not going to allow you to get the better of me. I may be older, but I didn’t reach this age without a multitude of struggles, each and every one of which, I conquered with sheer determination and stubbornness beyond compare. If you do however think you want to take me on, remember that you have been warned!

In fact, I’ve decided that I am not going to sit back and just “accept” 60 as my newly “assigned” number. From now on when someone asks me how old I am, I think I’ll simply answer, “five dozen years old!”

Jan, Don, and Maur 2

Celebrating 60 with two of my sisters

Until next time,
Don

 

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My Last Word On Last Man Standing

OMG! Has it actually come to this, we’re going to be led to believe that a TV show was canceled because the character on it has “right wing conservative” beliefs? It leads me to wonder, just how many people complaining even watch the show!

As a regular watcher of Last Man Standing and one who has been since the series began (until recently), I admit that the past two seasons have gotten stale and silly at best. I went from a guy who DVD’ed the show in case I should miss it, to “I don’t need to tape it; it’s no big deal if I miss it,” to searching other avenues aka Netflicks, etc., for something “good” to watch instead of Last Man.

The fact is that the show has ALWAYS been what it is, and ABC bought the show knowing so. They then ran it for SIX SEASONS, a truly excellent run for any TV show. Very, very few series have the staying power of an “All In The Family,” “Friends,” or “Law and Order.” Last Man, and the out-in-out horrible, poorly written, and poorly acted show, “Dr. Ken,” have both been put to pasture as ABC tries to revamp their Friday night, prime-time lineup with newer fresher shows for the upcoming fall season. In the meantime, the cast of Last Man Standing, will be enjoying the “really big money” as the show runs in syndication, bringing them all a heafty paycheck, without the effort of any work, for a long time to come. So your energies are better spent on starving children, war torn countries, and horrible, incurable diseases.

I wonder how many people who are fast to write ABC a letter about this silly and very imaginary issue have also written letters to congress demanding, healthier foods served to our children in school lunchrooms, or for that matter, to Ambassador Mr. Cui Tiankai to stop the annual torture and killing of innocent dogs in Yulin for a festival.

Let’s PLEASE STOP the political belly aching, especially on ludicrous issues like this, solely to make a point (or try to) and get on with a more productive and intelligent life once again. I for one really miss those days.
Until next time,

Don

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Will Someone Please Just Shoot Me?

There I was, minding my own business doing some work that needed attending to in our front yard. I was in a “Big Band” kind of mood so I had Pandora set to just such a station on my cell phone.

While I went about my work, happily singing along to Glen Miller’s Chattanooga Choo Choo, a fellow who appeared to be about 30-32 years of age, pulls up in a small pick-up truck to ask me directions to “Curly Cut.” Delighted that this is indeed a street I know in this crazy maze of a development, I direct him around the corner.

After thanking me, the fellow decides to offer some unsolicited small-talk. Nodding his head toward the music he says, and I quote, “It’s great singing along to the songs of our youth”

Smiling I tell the guy that Chattanooga Choo Choo is from 1942. He smiles back and adds, “Cool, I bet it really takes ya back hah?”

Tilting my head in dog-like confusion, I repeat the year again, slowly this time making sure I emphasis the date lest he should think I said 1972. “This song is from nineteen FORTY two!”

“Wow,” he says in total astonishment, “That was like the World War Two days right?”

Thinking he has now seen the error of his ways, I say, “Yes, it absolutely was,” only to have him ask me if I fought in the  freakin’ war!

Now anyone who knows me can tell you that I am a man who would avoid conflict at all costs. That said; it was evident that diplomacy was getting me nowhere. In total disbelief, I explain to the young man (who clearly has trouble with arithmetic) that 1942 was seventy-five years ago.

All he did was shake his head and say (and once again I quote) “I sure hope that I can remember the words to songs seventy five years from now!”

I know that the past seven years or so have not been kind to me. My face shows the stress of a man who suffers chronic pain from both nerve damage and disintegrating bones, but do I actually look thirty-three years my senior? Could ANYONE ever look thirty-three years older than they are?

Frustrated I tell the young man, “you do realize that even if I were fresh out of high school in 1942 it would make me 93 years old today?”

“You’re kidding?” he questions more amazed than before. “That’s awesome!”

Then with a smile and a wave, off he went to do whatever he was going to do on Curly Cut, leaving me to ponder whether he thought I looked really, Really, REALLY bad for 60 or that he is going to go home tonight and tell his wife that he met the finest specimen of a 93 year old that ever lived…I’m hoping for the latter.

Untitled-1

Your Truly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until next time,

Don

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What is “Holy Thursday?”

A non-Christian friend asked me if I could explain exactly what Holy Thursday is and why it is celebrated. For anyone else who might not know and is interested, Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday, commemorates the beginning of the three pillars of the Catholic Church: The Sacrament of Holy Communion, the creation of the Priesthood, and last but not least, the creation of the Mass, which you may have friends who you know to usually attend on Sundays.

At the last supper, which was a Passover Seder, Jesus blessed the bread and the wine and instructed his disciple to eat and drink of them, that they were His body and blood, to be sacrificed for the salvation of man. When Jesus told them to, “Do this in memory of me,” he was creating the mass and blessing them as the first priests. It was at this supper that Jesus commanded his apostles to, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Last supper

Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper”

Holy Thursday also commemorates Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. John tells us in his Gospel, that Jesus did this as a way of teaching them to be servants. They are then instructed to “love and to serve.”

Holy Tghrusday 1

Jesus washing the feet of his Disciples

It was on this night that Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot and turned over to the chief priests and the elders, leading to his passion and crucifixion on Good Friday. It was these events that led to the Resurrection of the Christ on Easter Sunday, which is the very basis of Christianity.

Judas and the Last Supper

Judas leaving the Last Supper to Betray Christ

Usually on Holy Thursday, there is not any other Mass celebrated until this, “Mass of the Lord’s Supper,” which takes place after sundown.

Wishing everyone a happy and blessed Holy Thursday’

Until next time,
Don

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Coming Soon, “Unforgettable – Trudy’s Story”

After literally years and years of working on my novel (based upon my mother’s life) I can finally say that the last of the chapters should be completed in about two months’ time. Then it could go into final editing before getting ready for release.

This book has been a true labor of love and the writing of it has, at many times, been quite cathartic for me. I must admit that a lot of the procrastination I experienced during the writing has been based more upon psychological reasons, rather than “writer’s block.” Something inside me was not ready to give up the total story for fear of having to once again “let go” of my mom. This book will be the last thing I will ever get to do “for her.” It is however very important for me to finish this manuscript on her behalf.

I realize that I will in fact never let go of my wonderful (and much missed) mother, as she will live on forever in my heart and in all the hearts of those whom she touched throughout her lifetime. I know that she would be very proud of my work and I truly believe that from above; she has guided me through the project.

I don’t know exactly how long the editing part of the book will take, but I do know that I am closer than ever before and that each passing day brings me closer to a release date.

I thank you all for your patience and for your words of encouragement. Having you in my corner has touched my heart and I cannot thank you enough. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few names here. These special three women, only one of whom actually new my mother, were privy to reading Unforgettable as a work in progress. Their enthusiasm for the story to continue and for more chapters to arrive into their in box was an incredible inspiration to me. So I thank you Jeanne Steinberg, Chire Harvey, Cookie Vetere . Your encouragement, input, and most of all your interest to follow the story, kept the fire burning inside me. I would also like to give a special thank you to my cousin Susan Tunnell, who each day read a chapter or two of the book to her mother, Eunice, my mom’s only sister, while visiting her in the nursing home where she lived out her final days. My only regret is that I could not have completed the story while my dear Aunt Eunice was still alive. However I do know that she is up there with my mom rooting me on.

So once again, I ask you to be patient with me for just a little bit longer. In the meantime I have posted a small photo slide show to my YouTube channel so those who plan to read the book can get a glimpse of the “real” Trudy.

Thank you all.

Until next time

Don

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