Monday, October 2, 2017

Sisters Are Sanctuary (Or, Little Roomies Rule!)

I was thinking this morning about my younger sister Deborah who died on this day some 15-odd years ago.  (I try not to count.)  Of course, I think about her all the time.  And of course, I remember the exact day and time and place the whole earth cracked and heaved inside me and my knees buckled as I slid down the wall in that hateful, ugly hospital waiting room. I remember too vividly, that time when her leaving left so many of us feeling more shattered and bereft than should ever be possible.  I don't know how to not remember this heartache, (less than a decade after we lost our baby brother,) but I also remember all those years we had together in this wonderful earth life!

Deborah and I were roommates all the years we had growing up together (except for a few short spells we lived two to a room and we got all mixed around. I can't believe that was ever possible, actually, with seven children in one family.  There were certainly times we got creative, like making a sunporch into a bedroom, or a half-attic room with a bed, or sleeping in the den, etc.) We have three brothers, and I will have other stories about them in the future.

Our father was a rough-neck in the Texas/New Mexico/Colorado oil fields and we lived in a lot of places.  I'm saying, a LOT of places.  The first place I remember was a one-room apartment when there were only five of us children yet.  I don't remember feeling especially cramped, but I wasn't the mother.   

Then we lived several years in a house where the four of us girls had our own bunk beds in one room.  Even at that, we often slept two to a bed, because being little you can do that.  For a lark, some nights, someone would have a bright fun idea and exclaim, "Let's sleep sideways!"  That meant that all four of us would climb up to a top bunk and sleep sideways on the bed.  We were very flexible and wiry at that age. 

We always had our own special little possessions, and we shared toys and games, as well.  We had a little turn table that played 45s and 78s and 33 1/3s and loved to listen to Burl Ives and Frank Sinatra and Tchaikovsky and Claude King. 

We sat together on our parents' bed sorting through a box of old pictures, talking about people we had never met as though we knew them intimately, such was the frequency and enjoyment of hauling that box down from the closet shelf.

We had friends and school and Christmas and sadness and wonder and dolls and skates and hoola hoops and night games and vaccinations.  We climbed trees and built forts in the limbs...and sometimes even fell out of them.  We walked on stilts, rode bikes, bounced on moon shoes and ran barefoot through the summers all around town.  We swam and hunted bull frogs, read comic books and chapter books, slept outside on cots, hammered black walnuts to make ice cream, rode other peoples' horses bareback and saddled, climbed haystacks, loved a Marmalade cat named Tiger and a scrappy black and brown mutt named Teddy.

We camped and fished and inner-tubed down snowy hills and rocky rivers, shopped at candy stores, ate spudnuts and corn on the cob and hot chiles, went to football games and scouting events, got cars and shared them and broke them or lighted fires in them (all accidents, of course!)

Then we grew up, ventured out on our own and came back to live with each other some more in various combinations of sisters with their children.  Deborah mothered others from the time she was a toddler, including rescuing families in need when she was a teenager until after she had her own daughter and step-granddaughter.  She and Jillian were and are a force permeating the lives of any and all who know them.  To know them together is to know unadulterated longing and belonging.

We had life and we had each other.  And we still miss Deborah so much it takes our breath away, sometimes.



Cherrie Lee


Penny and Deborah with their parents

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Red Rover On The Road Some More

(I think it appropriate to say that I'm on the road TO some more.)

I left my home in Georgia  Washington and headed for the 'Frisco Bay The Beehive State where I landed for a couple of weeks before heading off to enchanted New Mexico for a couple of months where I left again for Ogden where I am today and where I'm getting ready to go back to Roswell, land of aliens and sage brush for another little while before coming back here for a bit more permanency. 

A little late in posting and a few additional things have transpired.  I guess I thought I would add more to this one, but time got into a flurry.  I'll probably just keep making stabs at catching up for a while.

"When You're Finished Changing, You're Finished."  Benjamin Franklin

Yesterday was September equinox...the season of transition, and after my very warm summer, yesterday was the first day I actually felt so cold that I was uncomfortable!  I didn't expect to need to be more appropriately dressed for the season, so I got caught in the rain wearing shirt sleeves. 

Desmond and I spent the day together, staying warm on my bed watching movies, eating blueberries and bananas, and playing games for a while, and then going out to look at pumpkins.  Here in Northern Utah, we have a wonderful stretch of old highway known as the Fruitway, dotted with orchards and farm stands which fairly bulge with harvest bounty.  In town also, is a local farm stand and the grocery stores also carry a lot of local produce this time of year.  To me, it's paradisiacal. 

Since the first time I asked Desmond to help me pick out a watermelon, that's what watermelon shopping is...helping Bayou (me) choose the melon...even if that's not necessarily what we came for.  If there are boxes of melons on display, he marches confidently to the heap, pats or taps the melons, or as he did yesterday, straight-up picks up a small one, and announces, "I choose this one," turning to the next task.  Fait accompli. 

We also picked up some corn, to add to the September celebration we're having later today.  My mother and my grandson both have birthdays this week, and we have other family birthdays in September, so the sheet cake will have a few names on it!  Or we'll have a few cakes, more like!

The last several months have been bursting at the seams with various activities of transition.  I retired, I moved to Utah, I traveled to and from New Mexico a few times to help my mom prepare for her big move and to attend a lovely, sunny mountain wedding.

We took a couple of little road trips in between packing and organizing.  Bonito Inn, now a tourist B&B, was a place Mom lived in as a little girl in Lincoln, New Mexico.

Stephanie and Greg's wedding near Durango, CO.

My sister and her husband built a sweet little "independent" apartment for my mom to move into (in their home) and traveled down there to bring her back up to Ogden, and others of our family gave extra labor, love and money towards the "event."

I'm going to chronicle, later in more depth, those changes we've been navigating, and for now, this is about today; the day after equinox, when we are winding down and settling in a bit, accepting some peaceful moments, harvesting the fruits of our summer labor, literally and symbolically, and feeling gratitude for hard-working, hard-loving family, for living on the earth, for the miracles that buoy and see us through. 

I like change. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

A Little Wedding Under The Madrona Tree

In the sand at Boston Harbor Marina
On a sunny day in July, 2016

It was very sweet. 

(I don't have the photo album at hand, so no pictures of the rest of us! Maybe later.)

Oh My Poor Neglected Blog!

I blame Facebook.  And Russian hackers.

And maybe this colorful little chirper, a bit, as well.

I bought a little notebook as an experiment to see if writing diary entries was as much of an addition to my mental well being as it used to be when I kept prolific journals.  Then I stumbled upon the practice of bullet journaling and have combined agenda organizing and diary entries into this notebook.  So far, I give the experience about a C+, harboring the aversion I seem to have to making agendas for myself.  Not to worry, though, I haven't stooped to making "goals." I prefer secret wishes.

Before the advent of word processors, of course, I wrote and wrote and wrote everything out longhand.  I felt it to be quite therapeutic and revelatory.

Then I bought a word processor (not a PC or laptop) from the Wards store at Serramonte Center in Daly City, CA sometime in the late 80s.

I bought it to help me write my first novel, which I am proud to say is still an unfinished masterpiece. It was great for journaling, as well.

And the rest of the story, as it were, is no mystery, technology being what it has become. 

The next few entries will be an attempt to make up the dearth or at least fill in a few gaps.