“Just You Wait”

When I see a clutch of pretty young girls walking along the street, chatting and checking their phones and talking loudly about the latest celeb they’d like to meet, I just smile. When I see high school boys playing a pickup game of basketball and talking about the girls they like and so on, I just smile.

Now and then I treat myself to the occasional hot chai latte (the only really “foo-foo” drink I like) from the local coffee shop in our town. Phillips Exeter Academy is close by, and often the place is filled with students.

Generally they ignore me, but when they do see me there, a woman older than their moms; they either ignore me or gawk at me for being in their “space.” It doesn’t bother me; I’m there for the latte, not the kids. And usually, there are a few more oldsters in there like me.

Sure, it may be a student hangout, but the door is open to anyone; no age limit. I just order my drink and enjoy watching people. I remember those days in college when I felt I could do anything, be anything, go anywhere. I couldn’t imagine myself at age 25 or 30. My body was flexible and strong, I only needed the barest of makeup, and my hair always looked good.

I never gave much thought to the future. I never thought of becoming older. I never thought I would become an older woman with most of my adventures behind me. I couldn’t imagine being married, or having children, or burying my parents. All of that was far, far ahead of me.

If I gave any thought at all to the future, it always had me as the starring role; still young, still good-looking and still able to do almost anything. Well, I made it through the 20s, the 30s, the 40s, the 50s, and now I am in my 60s. In fact, the 70s are slowly but surely creeping up on me as well.

I remember looking into my grandmother’s face, wreathed in wrinkles, her formerly red hair turned silver. I remember thinking ‘I’ll never be that old!’ But time passes, and we do get older.

I imagine that, to these young and fresh kids in college that I must look quite grandmotherly to them. They will probably think, as I once did, ‘I’ll NEVER  be (or look) that old!’ They will think, as I once did, that they will always want to wear the highest high heels and the latest fashions. They will think, as I once did, that they will be young and beautiful forever.

My advice to them is this: “just you wait.” And no, that is not a mean or petty phrase; it just means that, whether we like it or not, time marches on and we with it. Our lives are what we make it, and our outer shell may suffer from age, but our spirits are still strong and bright.

I think of the time still ahead of me, and how precious that is. I think of all those “today” moments; a cup of hot strong coffee in the morning, cats rubbing around my ankles, the Crankee Yankee’s laughter, the time with dear friends, the trips up and down the coast, the wonderful change of seasons, the phone calls from our granddaughters who always say “when you come over, bring doughnuts!”

I can even imagine that, when my time comes (or, as the Brits say, when my ‘expirey’ date comes due) when I will go on from this earth, that there will be at least one or two loved ones waiting for me, smiling and saying “just you wait!”

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The Summer Sound of Slamming Screen Doors

There’s just something so summery about the sound of a slammed screen door. It used to drive my grandmother crazy when my cousins came up from the Carolinas to visit during the summer; that screen door slammed all the time.

Mom and Dad bought some gorgeous hand-made wooden screen doors years ago, and begged everyone to slam them. Unlike my grandmother, they adored the sound.

Now that Fall is upon us, we will miss that summery sound of slamming screen doors. The sound conjures up pick-up baseball games, volleyball, tag and other summer evening games which only ended when mothers called their kids in to wash up, eat dinner and go to bed. Those summery screen door slams bring to mind iced tea with mint, hot dogs and burgers on the grill, corn on the cob slathered with butter, ice cream and slabs of drippy and delicious watermelon.

The sound makes us remember how good it is to run barefoot in the grass, and how the stars and the fireflies seem to twinkle at the same time. The moon always seems fuller and more beautiful in summer, and the birds all congregate in nearby trees to gossip and then settle in for the night.

We sleep with the windows open and the soft sweet air, filled with the scent of mowed grass and family barbeques, drifts in to lull us to sleep. If we are lucky, we can hear the sound of whippoorwills calling to each other above the crickets’ chorus. If we live near water, we can hear the frogs tuning up their songs; chug-a-rum, chug-a-rum. Sometimes the loons will sing their beautiful trills; one of the prettiest of all birdsongs. Occasionally, there may be an owl or two hooting in the darkness.

This time of year is bittersweet; and we always hope for more fair days and warmth, punctuated by laughing children, lawn mowers, and people chatting on porches. While the weather stays warm and the flowers still bloom, we still have time to slam all those screen doors.

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SPECIAL NOTE: let us keep the victims of Hurricane Florence in our thoughts and prayers.

 

 

 

RIP Little Mouse

The Crankee Yankee and I live in a house built circa 1953. Over the years, his dad and now the Crankee Yankee have made many improvements on it. However, because so much had to be done to repair the roof, we found that a few mice had crept in.

Now, we have five cats, so they have done all the work of flushing them out so that we can keep the mice out. We also installed one of those “mouse be gone” pluginskis that make a noise that only a mouse could hear (and evidently not care much for), and that cut way down on the midnight surprises.

However, our best mouser, Pookie, surprised me the other night with a baby mouse in his mouth. And if there is one baby mouse, you know that there will be more. So up went the traps again, and I was able to gently winkle the little thing out of Pookie’s mouth.

Unfortunately, the trauma of being caught plus being so little, it died in my hand. I felt badly for it, but practically, what could have been done? I took the baby out into our back yard where there are autumn flowers growing wild. I found a soft bit of moss under some yellow asters, and laid him (or her) down onto it.

I said a little prayer for the baby, and asked the angels to send him home where mice have endless fields in which to run and play, with all the food they can eat, and where no cats will find them.

Rest in peace, little one.

And Then There are Those Days…

The day is fine, the sun is out,

And there’s nothing whatever to grumble about.

But then there are days you want to get out of your skin

And be in any other place than the place you’re in.

Those are the touchy, prickly, I-hate-everybody days

When you wish that everyone would just go their separate ways

And leave you be

To sit and sulk in your own misery.

It’s nothing you can put a finger on—

It’s just that the whole day feels wrong.

Nothing pleases, your book is boring and TV’s crap

Everyone around you feels the snap

Of your bad moods and muttering—

If someone gets in your way, uttering

All the things you should be happy about

I say shut them up, go away; you need to pout

It’s a day when there’s no one’s face you like—

So just tell them all to take a hike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Ones Standing

I lost my mother on December 16, 2015. I lost my dad on April 22, 2017. My grandparents are long gone, all of my aunts are gone, and all of my uncles are gone except for one; Unkie. I still have two of my cousins as well.

Recently my wonderful cousin Marie and her husband, Joe, moved Unkie from Florida to Brewer, ME where he lives in a beautiful apartment in the Ellen M. Leach Memorial Home. Marie and Joe live nearby, and visit him almost on a daily basis.

The Crankee Yankee and I went up a few weeks ago to visit him, and were happy to see that he is adjusting well to his new home (his apartment is spacious and comfortable). Unkie has been an important part of my life since I was a baby.

My mother had three older brothers; Owen, Buddy and Ray (Unkie). Over the years Owen and Buddy passed on, and Unkie and Mom were left. Their mother died of cancer when Mom was just 14 years old, and she moved in with Unkie and handled all the cleaning and cooking.

When she married at age 18, she had me a year later. Unkie was the uncle I was most familiar with, and he was an important part of my childhood. He was the uncle I knew best and I loved him dearly.

I still do today. He and I are the last ones; all of our family has gone on. His wife, Dottie, died in 2013. When we all got together in our visit, we laughed at being the last ones standing. How wonderful that he is in my life; the last part of my family.

Our loved ones have gone on, but I picture them all in my mind as I saw them last. I imagine that they are all glad to be together again, and with all the time in Heaven to remember old times and places. Mom especially left me a legacy of our ancestors when she put together and self-published her work of genealogy, “*Christian Feero, Loyalist of New Brunswick.”

I will end this post with the epilogue Mom wrote:

*”How I wish I could write a book” my grandmother would sigh wistfully as she concluded an evening of recollections about her early life in New Brunswick.

In the dusk of summer evenings and in the lamplight that softened winter nights, Nannie rocked in her chair and re-lived her life aloud. I was her frequent listener – often a willing one – sometimes bored, but like all children, encouraging the diversion to postpone bedtime.

“Nannie’s stories” imprinted my childhood with second-hand memories of people, places and events. Nannie’s life became almost as real to me as my own.

Was I with them as children when she and her brother tethered little field mice to sticks and pretended they were their cattle? Was I berrying with them when the moose chased them? Did I cry when her only sister died? Did I touch the silken fabric of her garnet wedding dress? (It was patterned with tiny rosebuds). Did I feel the homesickness as a young bride far away from home, and the sadness of the loss of my firstborn child? Did my bones ache with fatique after long days of cleaning, washing and cooking for a family and crew of hired men? Was it my laughter or hers that pealed at the antics of a neighbor or the comical expressions of a relative? Whose joy at births…whose sorrow at deaths?

Who really wrote this book?”

 

 

September 11 – Lest We Forget

Although it has been seventeen years since the attack on the World Trade towers, Shanksville, PA and the Pentagon, that day is forever in my mind. I was working in Texas at the time, and I was just getting dressed. I had the TV on, and I saw the footage of the first plane going into the first tower. Many posts ago, I went through that morning and how I felt and reacted to this terrible event, so I won’t repeat myself.

Suffice it to say that this moment in time was my generation’s Pearl Harbor. It was shocking, terrible and unforgettable.

It is terrible to think of all those people in the towers, in Shanksville and the Pentagon on that day; some never knowing that it would be their last day on earth. Imagine all the people who might have been in danger that day but were not for reasons of their own: the stories are many. Imagine how they must have feel to this day to have been out of the horror of that day.

I heard somewhere that some schools stopped teaching American history. If we do not know our history, we can’t have the full appreciation of what it is to be free. If we do not know our history, then we cannot know the sacrifice of so many. If we do not know our history, we could very well repeat past mistakes.

Our history isn’t always pretty. Yes, there was slavery; human beings were snatched from their homes and lives to work the cotton fields and more. Yes, American Indians were routed from their land and put in reservations. Terrible harm has been done, and we need our history to be sure that these events can not and will not happen.

Today of all days let us remember that freedom is never free; its price is blood sacrifice. Let us grieve those whom we lost, let us stay vigilant and let us remember always who we are and never take our freedom lightly.