Monday, December 30, 2019

Runaway Train of Time

It’s hard to think that another year is nearing the end. I shouldn’t be surprised since time seems to pass by faster and faster each day. Sometimes I feel like time is a runaway train, and I’m barely hanging onto the caboose.

On Christmas day, I was walking my dog and reflecting on Christmases past. For some reason, a memory popped up out of the blue that hadn’t crossed my mind for years. I was thinking about how Jim didn’t enjoy all the Christmas brouhaha. In his mind, Christmas had lost its true meaning as it became more commercialized resulting pressure to buy gifts.

Jim’s family decided to exchange names one year, and Jim didn’t want any part of it. Anyway, I participated, never suspecting what my gift was going to be. Jim’s Grandpa Tubbs drew my name, and you’ll have to admit the man had a sense of humor. He watched expectantly as I opened my gift. He had given me an orange, transparent negligee. I’m not sure my red face went too well with the orange!

My dog thought I was a little bit crazy when I started laughing out loud, but I found a lot of humor in remembering that unusual gift.

This time of year, we tend to reflect on the year in review—or sometimes, a lifetime in review. Each year has its challenges, tragedies, and triumphs. Families grow and families shrink. Our circle of friends and supporters may increase, or they may fade away.

Sometimes, when we are spreading the merry and bright messages, the words of cheer only serve to bring out the sadness of the holidays. For those who are missing their loved ones or have health problems, the holidays can be an endurance test. Enduring and enjoying are worlds apart.

In many ways, I’m in a better place than I was this time last year, but in other ways, this year has brought a new set of troubles. All I can say is while bad things occurred this year, I feel that if I kept score, I’d find that more good things happened.

A lot of people make resolutions this time of the year. I never found a resolution that I couldn’t break within a week. If I were to look at the year ahead and decide what I would like to see change, I can think of one obvious thing. I’d like to spend more time playing and less time working. It’s not unusual for me to spend an entire day without a chance to sit down—and when I sit down, I’m often at my computer working on one project or another.

A goal I set last year was to get more sleep. Well, that hasn’t worked out. I stay up until midnight, day after day, and then often wake before the alarm goes off. To top it all off, if I have one good night’s sleep, I have another that is restless. I believe this is a left over from the days when Jim wandered at night. The doctor finally gave him a sleeping pill, but that only worked for about four hours. Then, we were both up, Jim trying to leave, and me determined to make him stay.

Living human beings are survivors. We each have fought our own battles, suffered unbearable losses, and picked ourselves up and dusted off despair. We relegate the hurt to a special part of our brains and go about the business of surviving.

As time passes by, living life to the fullest is the best way to honor our loved ones who are no longer with us. I hope that while I hang on to the runaway train of time, I open my eyes and enjoy the glorious view for I will never pass this way again.  

Copyright © December 2019 by L.S. Fisher

Friday, December 20, 2019

Fifty Years Ago

Fifty years ago today, Jim and I were married in a tiny chapel on Fort DeRussy in Honolulu, Hawaii. This whole marriage thing was quite the adventure.

Jim had been in Vietnam eight months and was due for R&R. He floated the idea that he could take R&R in Hawaii and we could get married. Once he got the approval, the only obstacle was money. I was a college student, and Jim had been sending his check to his mom and dad who were in dire financial straits.

Never to be deterred, Jim took what little money he had and won enough at craps game to buy my ticket and reserve a hotel room at the Ilikai.

I set off to Hawaii on a cold December day after just reading the book Airport. While waiting to board the plane I joked with my mom and dad about which of the passengers looked like a bomber. Well, the joke was on me when we made an emergency landing in Denver. Of course, they didn’t even tell us we were landing, but it became obvious as the ground got closer and closer. We landed on an apparently abandoned runway being followed by fire trucks, police cars, ambulances, and taxis. After spending several hours in a hanger, they finally told us that someone had called in a bomb threat for our flight.

They put us on a different plane and sent us on our way. When our flight got to San Francisco, we flew in circles for an hour above a thunderstorm until we were cleared to land. My connecting flight was long gone. I sat in the airport for the rest of the day waiting for a plane delayed by a snowstorm in New York.

Jim and I were supposed to get married on Friday, December 19, but it was late at night before I made it to Hawaii. The next day, we took a taxi up into the mountains to get our marriage license. Except, my family doctor used a form for my blood test that had additional information on it, but he only filled out the part required in Missouri. It had all the info needed in Hawaii, but she couldn’t accept an incomplete form.

Her husband drove us to a clinic in downtown Honolulu that transferred the info to a Hawaiian form. Then, we went back to the mountains to get the license. Guess what? The chapel closed at noon and we couldn’t make it back in time. Jim used his persuasive line of gab to get the chaplain to wait for us. When we came rushing through the door at one o’clock and handed him the license, he had his employees witness our signatures and excused them to go home.

I had never dreamed of a big wedding, but I certainly never thought I’d have a wedding with three people, including me and the groom!
Fifty years ago today, started the life that was to be mine for thirty-five years. We lived in poverty for several years, but eventually had a decent income. We had ups and downs, fights and abundant love.

We had a lot of years of “sickness” and not too many of health. I can’t say I wouldn’t have changed a thing, because I’d have definitely changed Jim’s mental and physical health, and would have skipped the dementia part completely. Still, the family that I love dearly today is possible because a couple of kids, who against all odds, got married on this day in 1969. Smiles to heaven, Jim. I am a much better person for having known your wholehearted love and loving you to the moon and back.

Copyright © December 2019 by L.S. Fisher

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Where's the Skillet?

I read recently that everyone has a favorite burner on the stove, but don’t talk about it. Not only do we have a favorite burner, we have a favorite skillet. In fact, we can’t seem to fix breakfast without that skillet.

A few weeks ago, I inhaled a few cups of coffee and prepared to fix breakfast. I opened the cabinet to drag out “the” skillet, and although the shelf had other skillets, it didn’t have the breakfast skillet. I picked up the larger skillets, as if the smaller one could be hiding beneath them. But no, it wasn’t there. Breakfast was on hold while the search is on.

It seems that more and more objects have been disappearing lately. Makes me wonder if poltergeists are playing tricks on us.

Missing, missing, missing. After a thorough search of the kitchen, I found the skillet—not in the normal place, but in with the pots.

“You’re losing it,” my husband said. That was before he tore up his office  looking for two expensive missing program discs. Which, I might add are missing to this day.

“At least it wasn’t in the refrigerator,” I defended myself. I remember that misplacing items are a sign of normal aging if you find it in a halfway logical place. If you find it in a really weird place, it might be Warning Sign #7 that you might have Alzheimer’s.

I can just tick off the missing: gloves, coats, favorite shirts, sock mates, my seasonal clothing, lids for storage bowls, and just this morning a container of fruit. I had just fixed the fruit and couldn’t figure out what I had done with it. After a search, I found it on the bathroom counter where I had gone to turn off hubby’s razor that he left running.

Ok. Now, I admit that (a) that wasn’t a logical place for the container of fruit, but (b) I was able to retrace my steps. Score one for me, (a) is a sign of Alzheimer’s, but (b) is normal aging. I call that a wash, wouldn’t you?

I’ve discovered there is a rule of lost and found. All you have to do is replace an item to find the original you lost. I lost my nail clippers—well, more like several clippers—but I lost my last ones. I need to keep my nails clipped to play my ukulele. I was on my way to practice our program for the nursing homes, so I stopped at Dollar General to buy nail clippers. Of course, a few days later, I found a nice (gold plated) set of clippers in a drawer. 

The lost is usually found—eventually—even if you can’t retrace your steps. Last year, I could only find my ugly Christmas sweater, but this year, I found the rest of my Christmas sweaters in a downstairs closet. My husband had the serial numbers for his two programs so he was able to get electronic copies to put on his new PC. As for the original programs, maybe I should check the freezer.

Copyright © December 2019 by L.S. Fisher