Saturday, December 31, 2022

In Retrospect


At the end of each year, I believe almost everyone thinks about the events, relationships, and milestones that defined the “old” year. As we weigh the scales of good and bad, memories will shift the weights from one side to the other.

Those who suffered catastrophic events may not shift all the weights to the bad side. As you see people standing in the rubble of their homes, some will say, “Our family is alive,” and immediately recognize the importance of life over possessions.

When you get to be my age, much of life is a blur. Years pass without making any special blips on our radar. Other years are marred by death or other disaster. Some years are memorable because of births, marriages, reunions, vacations, and celebrations.

 In our morning conversation, Mom and I were talking about how unreliable memories are. Two people can remember the same event with different outcomes. In our memories, we can confuse people, dates, times, place, or worse yet, reality.

I know that I have glitches in my memories. When I try to remember something that happened five decades ago, I will most likely be fuzzy about the details.

Recently, I had a friend who was hurt because someone relayed a “story” about her that never happened. Why would a person do that? In fact, why relate a hurtful story even if it is the truth, much less a false memory or a mixed up memory?

When Jim was in the nursing home, I turned on a recorder and told what had happened that night. I began each day’s tape with the date and time. When I transcribed the tapes, I could tell by my tone of voice if it had been a good day or a bad day.

As I transcribed the tapes, it seemed like a fictional story. I could not consciously recall most of the individual days or events. I used the tapes as a basis for the unfinished memoir that I wrote about Jim. It has been a monumental task and each New Year I give myself the annual pep talk, This is the year I finish the book.

The problem with finishing Indelible isn’t a lack of material…it is too much material. I also want to scrub anything that would cause anyone unnecessary hurt and want to change names to protect the privacy of the residents and staff.

At times, I’m blunt on the tapes. I was Jim’s “voice” and my number one job as a caregiver was to make sure he had the best care possible. I respected the hard job that staff had, and many of them became my friends and I trusted them. Others came and went, often leaving chaos and aggravation behind them.

Yes, some memories stand out, but others don’t. We need to sort through them to separate truth from fiction.

 As for 2022, the jury is still out. It’s been a mixture of good and bad. I certainly like to think that the good outweighed the bad. Regardless of the kind of year 2022 was, it is over. Tomorrow begins 2023.

We’ll know more about the New Year as it unfolds. The year 2023 is the Chinese year of the Water Rabbit and is predicted to be a year of hope. No matter how you feel about China and the Chinese, the entire world could use a year of hope, health, happiness, and peace.


Copyright © December 2022 by L.S. Fisher



Sunday, December 25, 2022

From Blue to Merry in Fifty


By midnight, I knew I was not going to have a restful night’s sleep. I moved to the living room and turned on the TV. I chose a Hallmark type of movie on Prime, and settled in to drift off to slumber-land. Instead of lulling me to sleep, I watched the entire show. It wasn’t the normal girl meets boy, kiss at the end type of movie. At 2:30 this Christmas morning, I was still awake.

I realized that I wouldn’t fall asleep while I was famished, so I trekked to the kitchen for toast and milk. Not long after my early a.m. snack, I fell asleep.

The morning was half finished by the time I pried open my eyes. I thought about turning on the Christmas lights, and thought why bother. As I lay there, Christmases past came marching through my thought stream, and I didn’t even want to get out of bed. I thought about all the big dinners at Virginia’s house, the kids opening their presents, eating dinner at the nursing home with Jim, and waking last year to the sad news that my beloved sister-in-law had died. The sadness just took over.

When I finally dragged myself to an upright position, I grabbed my walker, and headed to the coffee pot. After a couple of cups of java, I went to the laundry room to fold the clothes I dried last night and to put on another load to wash. Then, I bundled up and took the dog out.

Harold was just as lively as I was, and we finally ate breakfast at ten o’clock. Instead of getting brighter, my day just seemed heavier. Bah, humbug, a blue Christmas.

Finally, I called my mom. She, too, sounded a little down. She had turned down all invitations, because it was just too cold outside, and she was home alone. We only talked briefly.

I went back to my chores, but I thought about all those stranded motorists and people spending Christmas at the airport. They had risked it all to see their loved ones for Christmas. I thought about my mom who lived only 50 minutes away on cleared blacktop highways.

“I’m going to go visit Mom,” I told Harold. “I think all the tires are low on my car.” I knew we had just purchased extra hose so we could air up tires in the garage with the air compressor in the basement. I had to take the hose down the stairs, and needless to say, I “don’t do stairs” well.

After Harold’s detailed instructions as to how to hook the two hoses together, I managed that part of the operation. I had to phone for guidance as to how to turn the darned thing on. “It’s a little wire lever on the grey box.” Well, I’d never have noticed that dinky little wire as the “on” switch.

I came back up from the basement on the chairlift and joined Harold in the garage. I had my first lesson in airing up tires. The problem was the blind was leading the blind, and we couldn’t read the pressure gauge. The solution was for me to get in the car and check it on the display.

Finally, all tires were duly aired and I was ready to rumble. I grabbed my ukulele and Kindle, kissed my hubby, and headed out.

Mom and I spent the afternoon together. First, we visited, then I took out my ukulele. “Sing some of the songs you’ve been working on,” Mom said.

I played a few songs. Mom really liked the Ray Price song. “You should add that one to your list. You really do a good job singing it.”

“Now, it’s your turn,” I said.

“Oh, I can’t sing very good anymore.”

“Doesn’t matter. It’s just us.” I played “Coat of Many Colors,” one of the nursing home favorites. Mom sang the song flawlessly.

I put away my ukulele and prepared to head home. By spending the afternoon together, Mom and I both felt a hundred percent merrier than we had earlier.

I called Mom when I was almost home, because mothers worry. As soon as I walked through the door, the dog met me to let me know she needed some outside time.

As soon as we came inside, I flipped the switch to turn on the Christmas lights. The cheerful twinkling made me smile as I thought of spending Christmas with my mom. Today turned out to be a merry Christmas after all.


Copyright © December 2022 by L.S. Fisher


Saturday, December 17, 2022

If We Make it through December


When Merle Haggard’s song “If We Make it through December” became popular, our kids were little and we were struggling financially. Jim used to sing the song, and it encompassed our worries at the time.

December has some bittersweet memories for me. Jim and I started our marriage on a warm December day in 1969. Jim had flown in from Vietnam, a hot spot in more ways than one, and I had flown in from a cold Missouri winter. After our wedding in an army chapel, we walked the warm sands of Waikiki Beach. From a taxi window, we saw a shirtless man wearing a red loincloth and a red Santa hat. It took me more than a heartbeat to realize that it was a Hawaiian version of Santa. Jim returned to Vietnam in the early Christmas morning hours and I flew to the states.

When we began our lives together, we lived in Manhattan, Kansas. We learned how to budget the small amount of money we received once a month. After the army days, we moved to Missouri.    

Instead of being a joyful time, December was a time of stress. We had to stretch our income to pay the rent and utilities, taxes, insurance, buy groceries, and cover the occasional emergency. Frozen water pipes and cars that wouldn’t start were reoccurring problems. I can remember Jim getting up at night and starting our car periodically so that it would start the next morning.

We decorated our small artificial tree, and carefully shopped to put presents under it for our kids. Life was hard, but once we made it through December, we psychologically felt like we’d made it over the wintertime hump. That’s not to say we didn’t have bone chilling weather or blizzards all the way in January, February, or even March.

It seemed that our rental houses were always cold and hard to heat. I remember a December when we lived in a two-story barn-shaped house with little to no insulation. We had filled our propane tank in anticipation of the long, cold winter ahead. We closed off our upstairs bedroom and slept on a pull-out couch in the living room. The kids’ bedroom was downstairs too. It wasn’t too bad until the time that the weather was so cold the propane wouldn’t flow through the pipes to the stove for a couple of days. We piled on the covers and used my blow dryer for extra heat.

  We weren’t alone in our dread of the bitter winds of December. I can’t even imagine how hard the winter months are for homeless families. Some of the churches provide “warming stations” for the homeless or the unfortunate folks who are without heat for some reason.

Dementia made Jim restless at night, and I worried that he would wander off in the wintertime. It was only after I installed an alarm on the front door that I was able to sleep at night.

After Jim lived in the nursing home, I always spent Christmas with him. I would take him some of the special dishes that Virginia had cooked and ate dinner with him. He had a little tree in his room and the halls were decorated for the holidays. It was the changing face of holiday traditions.

Jim has been gone since April of 2005, but sometimes he seems just a breath away. Other times it seems like a final chapter in my life’s story that ended like a Nicolas Sparks’ book.

When a loved one dies, life goes on, but it will never, ever be the same. After Jim’s death, I had to rebirth my life and focus on what remained rather than what was gone. Now, I just need to make it through December.


Donations to the 2022 Sedalia Walk accepted through December

Click  search for Jim’s Team

Copyright © December 2022 by L.S. Fisher


Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The Clock Is Ticking

A few minutes ago, Harold asked me if I had set my timer to remind me of something I needed to do. “The clock is ticking,” I said. This kind of conversation takes place several times a day at our house. 
   Our cell phone is the perfect place for timers, calendar events, reminders, and my favorite of all is our five-minute warnings. When we have to leave the house for an appointment, we set a five-minute warning. When the alarm sounds, it means we have to have our PCs locked away, ice water or mug of coffee ready to go, and be prepared to head out the door.

Around our house, the clock is always ticking for one thing or another. I sneaked in a nap yesterday, but I set my timer so that I wouldn’t sleep too long.

I used to have this grand idea that I would schedule my day so that I could get everything done in a timely manner. It wasn’t long before that was overtaken by the chaos of sharing a house with two other beings—a husband and a dog.

The best-laid plans are easily interrupted when one or the other decides I have to drop everything because they need attention. I started today with plans to work on several different projects. Before I’d finished my first cup of coffee, the dog wanted to go outside. I bundled up like I was going on a polar expedition and still felt the chill as I urged the dog to hurry, resorting to bribery.

As I was working on learning a new song, Harold decided he really needed me to help him with a spreadsheet. This is almost humorous since he can build a complicated spreadsheet in the time it takes me to power up my PC. We got into an argument over a heading. “Let’s not get bogged down with the heading,” I strongly suggested. “It looks fine the way it is.”

“Well, that’s not the way I want it,” he said, which meant we had to figure out how to fix the heading to suit him. Obviously, he figured it out or we would still be working on it. Meanwhile, the clock keeps ticking and my projects are unfinished.

I used to be fine with double, or triple booking my days, but between the two of us, we had three doctor’s appointments in two days. There is nothing more tedious than sitting in a doctor’s office twice in one day.

We have different doctors in the same clinic, but couldn’t schedule our appointments at the same time. I had discovered a lump near my collarbone a week earlier and they wanted me to watch it and see if it went away. So, I had an entire week to consult Dr. Google. Although, there were a lot of scary things it could be, I decided not to worry about it. The clock kept ticking as the time grew closer.

As the nurse was checking me in, she looked across the room and said, “I can see it.” The doctor came into the room, felt the lump, and said, “It’s arthritis between your breast bone and your collarbone.” Say what? Of all the things, I considered, that was not one of them. They took an x-ray to be sure, but the lump is mild arthritic change of the sternoclavicular joint. As my son pointed out, “It could have been worse. You already knew you had arthritis.” I’m learning more about the human skeleton than I ever wanted to know.

We only have one month left in this year and it’s one of the busiest months of all. I flipped the page of the wall calendar to get a good look at December. Oh, yes, along with all the electronic bells and whistles, I like to see the entire month with my appointments, scribbles, and notes on it.

There’s something comforting about having a physical calendar as a backup. Just to think that a calendar was all I had to keep track of Jim’s appointments. Of course, my memory was much better then.

Looking back on the past eleven months, I feel a sense of loss for the loved ones who are no longer with us. I feel joy for the new additions to the family and the little one soon to join us. Time doesn’t slow down for us to catch up. We have to keep moving forward because that darned clock just keeps on ticking.  


Donations to the 2022 Sedalia Walk accepted through December

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Copyright © November 2022 by L.S. Fisher


Sunday, November 20, 2022

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Not Your Usual List

 November is a time for self-examination and giving thought to our many blessings and giving thanks where thanks are due. Many of my Facebook friends have been posting one thing they are thankful for each day this month.

I’ve never participated in this delightful idea, but felt compelled to complete my monthly list in one fell swoop. I made the list and entered it into One Note on a sleepless night. After reviewing the list, I realized that I don’t remember seeing any of these items on their lists. I always suspected my thought processes might not be the same as the average person, but until now, I’ve kept some of the weirdness under wraps.

I am thankful for...

1.      Mice. It’s easy to think of mice as pesky rodents with no purpose in life other than leaving droppings behind furniture and chewing up important papers. But mice are extremely important when it comes to medical research in general and Alzheimer’s research in particular.
2.      Sleepless nights. On sleepless nights, my brain goes into creative overdrive. My best ideas come to me in the middle of the night.
3.      Wishes that didn’t come true. Throughout my lifetime, I’ve made a lot of goofy wishes, and I’m so thankful that they didn’t come true. I don’t think the life of a fairy princess, a rock star, superhero or being married to Paul McCartney is what God had in mind for me.
4.      People who hurt my feelings when I was young. Yep, all those cruel kids made me into a rhino-hide adult. It is almost impossible to hurt my feelings, because frankly I don’t give a poop about what insensitive, rude people say to me.
5.     Failure. I’ve learned more from my failures than I ever learned from my successes. Let’s face it, when I make a really bad mistake, I try hard to not do it again.
6.      Not being beautiful. Being beautiful is a burden I wouldn’t want to carry. Besides, I had to work a lot harder on my personality.
7.      Hard times. There have been times in my life when it was a challenge to figure out how to pay the bills, feed the kids, and not have too much month left at the end of the money. Because of  hard times, I’ve never had that fear of being poor that some people have. Been there, survived, and know that happiness isn’t based on the size of my bank account.
8.      Hard work. Without years of hard work, I wouldn’t have done as well in my job as I did and wouldn’t be enjoying my retirement.
9.      Having my heart broken. If a few boys hadn’t broken my heart when I was younger, my life would have turned out differently. I’m happy with the way it turned out, so thank you for breaking my heart and forcing me to move on.
10.  Rainy, gloomy days. When the rain falls and the sun is elusive, it is a perfect time to sleep in and laze around reading a book.
11.  Boredom. My life is so hectic that if I find time to be bored, I can relax...or think of something totally fun to do.
12.  Hunger. When I’m hungry, I know I haven’t overeaten.
13.  Paying bills. When I pay bills, it means I have another month of electricity, internet, phone service, and a zero balance on my credit cards.
14.  Not winning the lottery. I’ve always known that winning the lottery would screw up my life, and I like it the way it is.
15.  Flies and spiders. When I’m in a murderous rage, I can squash a spider or swat a fly and not suffer an ounce of guilt.
16.  Clear packing tape and plastic wrap. The way these two stick to themselves and trying to figure out how to get a roll started teaches me patience.
17.  Old age. Without old age, I’d have to pay to get into ballgames and wouldn’t get senior discounts.
18.  People who don’t like me. They teach me to stand up for myself.
19.  People who take advantage of me. They keep me on my toes and help me say “no.”
20.  Running late. It’s amazing how much time I’d waste waiting if I got to everything early. Besides, I’ve avoided traffic tickets and dangerous driving when I decided it was better late than never.
21.  Anger. If an injustice makes me angry, it means I am passionate enough to care.
22.  Fear. I might not be alive today if I didn’t have sense enough to be afraid from time to time.
23.  Ignorance. Since I clearly don’t know everything, ignorance means I always have something to learn.
24.  Grumpy old men. Without them, grumpy old women wouldn’t have anyone to argue with.
25.  Lousy TV shows. When a lousy show is on TV, it is much easier for me to turn it off and do something productive.
26.  Bratty kids. I’m so thankful that none of those bratty kids belong to me.
27.  Runny nose. Without a runny nose, I’m sure my head would explode from the inside out when I have a head cold and infected sinuses.
28.  Thunderstorms and lightning. We need the rain to replenish the earth and the lightning keeps me honest since I don’t want to be struck down for telling a lie.
29.  Bad lab results. Without bad lab results, I wouldn’t have incentive to work toward being healthier. I would have continued the same bad dietary habits with the same results.
30.  Uncertainty. I don’t know everything that is going to happen in my future! Uncertainty keeps me optimistic that the best is going to happen and not the worst.

One of the great things about making a list like this is that it made me realize the thing I am most grateful for is living the life I want and wanting the life I live. I am happy to be me and I don’t envy anybody else’s life or want to be somebody I’m not.

Copyright © November 2013, 2018

Copyright © November 2022 by L.S. Fisher


That Which Sparks Joy


At our house, there’s a serious need to declutter. I have way too much “stuff” cluttering up my house and my time. It seems that when I try to declutter, I hit snag after snag. All I can say with certainty is that my husband and I don’t often agree on what to throw away and what to keep.

The KonMari Method of decluttering takes you methodically through items in your home: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items, and then to the hardest of all—sentimental pieces. The idea is to keep only the things that speak to your heart and discard the ones that no longer spark joy.

In theory, that might work, but would it work for me? The thought of piling all my clothes in the floor and touching each item would require weeks. I’m sure after the first hour, nothing would spark joy, and the mess would spark anxiety.

I detest the idea of having a garage sale. When people go through decluttering classes, the normal places to donate are overwhelmed and won’t take more donations. The last time I separated good clothes to donate, I wound up throwing them in the dumpster. That goes against my grain, but no one was taking donations and I wasn’t about to put them back in the closet.

The other problem I have is “wrong time of year.” As I go to put away my summer clothes, I see things that I didn’t wear, but when snow flies, no one wants summer clothes. I put seasonal clothes into a tub and take downstairs. It’s hard to think a season ahead, especially when out of sight, out of mind.

I really need to look at all the projects I’m working on and throw them into the middle of a virtual floor and decide which ones still spark joy. It’s not that I really want to dump all my obligations because I do like a variety of pastimes to keep me from being bored, but my mind constantly nags at me to finish the unfinished.

In the past five years, I’ve found that playing my ukulele and singing with the family band sparks more joy than any other volunteering that I do. It’s a win-win-win that I spend more time with my family, provide entertainment to residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and have a way to relax and forget my troubles.

Now, I understand better the reason Jim found so much solace playing his guitar and singing with his family. Jim suffered from physical pain and mental anguish from his PTSD. Music became his lifeline. His favorite singers were Buck Owens, Elvis, and Michael Martin Murphy. He could learn a song faster than anyone I ever knew. He had a great memory for lyrics and could play the tune after hearing a song once. It was sad when all he could remember was the song “I Ain’t Had a Good Day.” Maybe on a certain level, he knew what was coming and that song stuck in his mind. 

On days when I wake up and know that I’m going to have an activity to spark joy, my entire being responds. The aches and pains are pushed to the back of my mind, I have a feeling of joyful anticipation, and I don’t have to drink a half pot of coffee to be functional. On the other hand, when I wake up knowing that I have to work on an unpleasant task, have a doctor’s or dentist appointment, or have an obligation that is going to take hours to complete, I’m mentally and physically drained before I get out of bed.

The down side to getting older is an accumulation of health problems. I’ve found the key to making the most of life is to focus on the good times. During this month of Thanksgiving, I’m more inspired to think about my blessings rather than my troubles.

Family, music, a hot cup of coffee, reading a good book, my dog, stargazing, and dozens of other “little things” spark joy in my life. When we kindle sparks of joy, we live a life ablaze with possibilities.



Donations to the 2022 Sedalia Walk accepted through December

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Copyright © November 2022 by L.S. Fisher


Tuesday, November 15, 2022



From Halloween forward, the stores are full of holiday cheer: Christmas trees, wrapping paper, ugly Christmas sweaters, and nutcrackers. With my big collection of nutcrackers,  I refuse to make eye contact with any in the store. The forgotten holiday, Thanksgiving, is celebrated through discounts on turkey and sweet potatoes.

In Missouri, people often flock to Branson to witness the lighting of the giant tree at Silver Dollar City. The shops are crammed with toys for all good girls and boys, electronics for pre-teens and teens, scented gifts for women, tools and flannel shirts for men.

The trip my mom, my sisters Roberta and Terri, and I took last week had nothing to do with shopping, Christmas, or Thanksgiving. Our “holiday” aka “girl’s trip” was to experience the Daniel O’Donnell show. My mom had given us a head’s up (hint), several months ago that Daniel O’Donnell was going to be in Branson, and she would sure like to go.

We knew we would have to go on one of three Wednesdays in November, so we chose the third one. Mom had to have a pesky mole removed and wasn’t sure if she would be able to go on the second Wednesday. On Monday, she came out of the dermatologist office with a Band-Aid on her face and said, “Let’s go Wednesday.” After looking at the forecast, we couldn’t have been in more agreement.

As Jim used to say, “On normal mornings you crawl out of bed at the last minute, but if you are going with your mom and sisters, you jump out of bed in a single bound.” I guess he was right, because that’s what happened on Wednesday. Because of obligations at home, our mini holiday had to be a one-day event.

Getting seats turned out to be a frustrating and tedious job. They had such a high volume of calls that Harold and I both called continually for several hours. I left one call back message, but we kept trying to get through. After six minutes, we were disconnected. Just as we sat down to eat lunch and I had a mouthful of food, my call was answered by a real live person! There were no seats left in the front half of the theatre, and seats were available on the side sections. Harold called my mom to ask her if she still wanted tickets if we couldn’t get good seats.

I happened to mention that my mom had a lot of trouble walking and that we were planning to take a wheelchair for her. After determining that she would sit in the wheelchair, her place was in a center section and we had companion seats.

Daniel O’Donnell is more than an outstanding singer, he is the whole package as an entertainer. He danced across the stage with more energy than most men could that are half his age. He told jokes and spent time interacting with the audience. Since he is from Ireland, he mentioned that he was sure that many in the audience were on holiday.

I knew that in the UK “holiday” was used instead of vacation. It made me realize that our little trip was indeed a holiday celebrating the special bond between a mom and her daughters.

The show was fantastic and we all agreed that it was an awesome day. By the time I made it home, I was tired, but it was a good tired.

I love spending time with my mom and sisters, and our one-day holiday softened the impact of my physical aches and pains, and my mental exhaustion.

It’s amazing how a day away from the daily grind can be so mentally rejuvenating.


Donations to the 2022 Sedalia Walk accepted through December

Click  search for Jim’s Team

Copyright © November 2022 by L.S. Fisher


Saturday, October 22, 2022



This week started out feeling more like winter than autumn. Before taking the dog outside, I put on my Cuddl Duds, a flannel shirt, lined pants, my Carhartt coat, thick socks, and boots. I layered up so that I didn’t shiver while my dog explored the entire yard.

Wearing all these layers made me think of Aunt Ann, my grandmother’s sister. Aunt Ann always layered her dresses and wore several at the same time. Other memories I have of her are that she carried a huge purse that contained many treasures. No matter what “trinket” we kids found for her—a piece of colored glass, a rock, or a wild flower—it went into the purse. In an old family photo, she is holding my brother Donnie and me. As I zoomed it in, I noticed that I had on a rhinestone necklace, no doubt courtesy of Aunt Ann.

Aunt Ann’s layers were obvious, but all of us have layers. Sometimes, it’s hard to get past the hard outer shell to find the goodness beneath. The armor we wear hides our vulnerabilities from those we don’t want poking around in our business.

To the casual acquaintance who we meet by chance, we answer the question, “How are you?” with the trite, “Fine, and how are you?” We don’t want to open up about our troubles and woes. We use our protective layer as a shield to hide our weaknesses.

With close friends and certain family members, we peel back several layers to share a more vulnerable side. When we know someone is not going to judge us, or try to “fix” our problems, we share more of ourselves.

The luckiest of us have a best friend that we could share some of our darkest secrets with and know that no matter what happens, those secrets are always safe. This is a layer that lies deep within our inner being. It is important to recognize that if a secret is hurtful to the one you are telling it to, carefully examine your motive. The safest way to share secrets is with a licensed therapist who cannot reveal your conversations to others.

 With all the layers humans have, we may question if we truly know what another human thinks, feels, or is capable of doing. Recently, a man in our town was arrested on a cold case from another state. Investigative genealogical DNA linked him to a burglary and sexual assault. People that knew him were adamant that he was not capable of such a heinous crime. He was a neighbor, a well-loved Sunday school teacher, and a standup guy. But DNA doesn’t lie, unless he has an evil identical twin.

Sometimes layers aren’t hidden at all. All this talk about layers brought back a memory of a bath time incident that I had written about in my journal.


From Indelible a memoir in progress:

Jim enjoyed soaking in the tub, so I decided to brush my teeth. Before I realized it, he walked across the bathroom floor, dripping wet. I led him back to the bathmat, and pulled a towel off the rack to dry him. He didn’t help me and just stood like a statue while I dried him. 

“Here, put these on.” Jim slowly put his feet through the leg holes and pulled the boxers up. “Now for the T-shirt,” I told him as I placed the item of clothing in his hands. After the T-shirt was on, he sat on the bathroom floor and slowly pulled on his socks and sweatpants. Finally! He was ready for bed.

Jim settled in front of the TV to watch a Walker rerun, and I took my bath. When I emerged from the bathroom, Jim was fully clothed with his jeans pulled over his sweatpants. If I undressed him, he would just dress again, so I decided the best plan was to wait until bedtime.J

Layers. We all have them. Some are complicated psychological layers, while others are simply how we pile on our clothes to stay warm.



Donations to the 2022 Sedalia Walk accepted through December

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Copyright © October 2022 by L.S. Fisher


Tuesday, October 18, 2022



When I sit in front of my computer and take a look at my to-do- list, I feel overwhelmed. In addition to all the catch-up work I have listed, I have a plethora of other daily tasks to do.

My cleaning lady and I haven’t made connections for several weeks, so I look around and know that I’m going to have to drag out the vacuum, mop, and cleaning supplies. Since I’m going through another rough patch with my arthritis, I feel a little overwhelmed.

I haven’t had much time to watch TV lately, but when I watched the recorded evening news, I saw the horrible destruction from Hurricane Ian. From that perspective, my housework seemed like child’s play.

How we look at our adversities and how we face setbacks, determines our quality of life. Each of us has to face our own demons. Life can certainly send seemingly insurmountable challenges our way.

I recently saw a Facebook post that said instead of a to-do list, we need a not-to-do list. It makes me ponder what should be on that list. Maybe I need to “minimalist” my activities and figuratively lay them all on the floor and mentally pick them up one by one, and ask, “Does this activity bring me joy?”

That would probably stress me more than just doing what needs to be done. I’ve never been what I would consider a procrastinator, but I’m often guilty of juggling so many activities that I may have to let one task slide to focus on a more urgent one. I’m performing volunteer activity triage.

When I think about the younger me—the primary caregiver who held a full-time job, volunteered countless hours, and in the meantime earned a college degree—I don’t recognize that woman anymore. Before the pandemic slowed life to a crawl, my calendar was often triple-booked. Now, I feel exhausted if I look at my calendar and see two appointments in the same week, much less on the same day.

I have been chiding myself for getting behind in everything. I admitted to my friends at a dinner last week that I don’t have the energy or stamina that I had before the pandemic.

The activity that seems to bring me the most pleasure is playing my ukulele and singing. Whether I’m trying to learn a challenging new song or if I’m playing a simple three-chord country melody, it takes my mind off that dreaded to-do list.

I recently played my ukulele and sang for a group of residents at an assisted living facility in Sedalia. There was a snafu with the calendar, and they weren’t expecting me. After a phone call to the activity director, who said I was supposed to be there on the third Monday, the receptionist looked at the calendar and said, “This is the third Monday.”

“Show me where to set up, and I’ll get everything ready to go,” I said. After loading all my equipment in my car, I decided that if no one came, I’d spend an hour running through my program. The receptionist spread the word, and by the time I was ready to play, a nice sized crowd had assembled.

I couldn’t have asked for a better audience. My heart was filled with joy to see how much they appreciated my efforts. I neared the end of my program and had a little extra time so I told them I’d sing a song I wrote called “Jazzy Wheelchair.”  We finished with “Old Country Church” as a sing-along. As I started packing up my things to go, no one seemed to want to leave. One woman asked if she could have a copy of the lyrics to “Jazzy Wheelchair” to share with a friend. A man named Mike offered to help me take my equipment to the car.

I was still smiling as I drove away. I called my mom and she wanted to know how it went, saying she knew I did a wonderful job.

 “I’d say about 98%,” I told her. “I missed a few chords, my voice cracked a couple of times, and once my screen was covered with a message that I couldn’t connect to the internet. And of all things, I sang “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and forgot to sing the chorus after the first two verses. I knew I couldn’t go back to sing the chorus after the final verse.”

“You sure couldn’t,” Mom said. “But the verses tell the story, and you finished the story.”

The thing about singing is that most people don’t notice the minor mistakes. Singing lifted my spirits, and theirs. It’s all about perspective—end of story.


Donations to the 2022 Sedalia Walk accepted through December

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Copyright © October 2022 by L.S. Fisher


Thursday, September 29, 2022

Forget Me Not


The night before the Sedalia Walk to End Alzheimer’s, I found a package of paper forget-me-nots. We sell the flowers for $1 at fundraising events, but I didn’t have any events coming up. I posted on Facebook that I would make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association for every name given to me. I would put their loved one’s name on a forget-me-not and display them on my vendor table at the Sedalia Walk to End Alzheimer’s. In all, I had about twenty names and donated $5 each.

The morning of the walk, I began taping the forget-me-nots to my table. The wind caught one of the flowers and I chased it down. The place of honor went to Jim’s forget-me-not. I had written “Grandpa Jim” and “Great Grandpa Jim” around the edge. Jim loved being a grandpa, and he loved his grandchildren with all of his heart. He would have equally loved the grandson and great-grandson that were born after he passed away.

Alzheimer’s forgetting is different from age-related memory problems. I forgot to send out my fundraising letters until a couple of weeks before the walk. I asked them to make the checks payable to the Alzheimer’s Association and send to my Post Office box, and I would deposit them with the app on my phone.

Sometimes, several weeks can pass before I remember to check my Post Office box for mail, but I checked it regularly before the walk. I was expecting two donations through the mail, but the box was empty every time.

Finally, I noticed a metal piece across the back of my box. The fee is due in June, and I always pay as soon as I get the notice. My key still worked, so it didn’t make sense that the box was closed.

At home, I searched my various bank accounts and credit cards to see when I had paid for my box. My husband got tired of my searching, called the Post Office, and handed me the phone. After a short conversation, I received the distressing news that my box had been closed due to non-payment. Of course, the people I needed to talk to wouldn’t be in until later in the day.

“I can’t believe I forgot to pay for my box,” I told my husband. “I’ve had that box for twenty years and never once paid late.”

“We’re getting old and forgetful,” he said. “We have so much more to remember now than ever, so it isn’t any wonder that we might forget to pay something.”

Then, I began lamenting about my insurance that is due in September and other mail that may have been returned. After checking my scanned documents, I was reassured that I had received my insurance statements in August and they were already paid.

I went to the Post Office that afternoon and found the box had to be reissued to me as if it were a new box, although I would have the same box number. “I don’t remember ever getting a notice, and I certainly never got a late notice,” I said.

“There was a problem in June.” He didn’t elaborate and at this stage, it didn’t matter anymore.

I think I had my own problems in June. I added a year to my birthday and obviously purged part of my memory. I’ve gone to an electronic to-do list which is supposed to be my reminder to pay certain bills. The big problem is that I forget to load up the list and look at it daily.

My most reliable memory aid is the calendar on the wall. I write appointments and reminders on it so that I forget-them-not. I check the wall calendar daily as I walk by it on my way to the coffee pot. The one thing I never, ever forget is my coffee.

Writing names on the $1 forget-me-not flowers are a way to remember and to honor our loved ones who are living with, or have died from Alzheimer’s.  No one is truly forgotten when his or her name is etched inside our hearts.  


Donations to the 2022 Sedalia Walk accepted through December


Copyright © September 2022 by L.S. Fisher


Saturday, September 24, 2022

2022 Sedalia Walk to End Alzheimer’s


Those of us on the Sedalia Walk to End Alzheimer’s Committee spent nine months planning for the Saturday 17, 2022, Walk to End Alzheimer’s. We recruited a record number of corporate sponsors and planned the details of walk day. Anyone who has never served on an event committee has no idea of the time and effort it takes to make the big day seem effortless.

Last year, we worked through some big snafus. A week before the big event, we discovered the shelter we thought we had reserved was rented to someone else. Still, we managed to move to a different location in the park and by the time the walkers arrived, we had tweaked our original plans to fit in the new space.

This year, we had no last minute crises. It was heartwarming to see our efforts bring big smiles on the faces of the walkers. For the first time, we had a balloon arch and colorful tents to match the pinwheel flowers.

I was happy to see my team arrive, and our wonderful photographer snapped a photo of us. When I downloaded the photos that Jessica Buesing from The Scarlett Lens captured, they added to the kaleidoscope of images already racing through my head. Through her lens, I was able to see what I missed.

Part of the beauty of the walk is connecting with others. I had a conversation with some of the Sigma Kappa Delta Eta team. I welcomed them to the Sedalia Walk and complimented them on their fundraising.

I also met three women from Cedarhurst who had the sponsor table next to mine. I told them that I had been with some friends, and we sang Christmas carols for their residents. “Do you only know Christmas carols,” one of them asked.

“I’m part of a family band that plays at nursing homes in Stover and Cole Camp,” I said. “We play mostly country with some old time rock and roll and inspirational songs. I played my ukulele and sang for Sylvia G. Thompson for part of the facility. Then Covid hit and the other side was cancelled.” They wanted to know if I would play at Cedarhurst, and I agreed that I would in October. I look forward to this new adventure. Singing brings me joy, and I love to see smiles on the resident’s faces.

I met a delightful woman, Rose, and her husband/care partner. Rose has early-onset Alzheimer’s, and I was able to visit with her for a while. During our flower ceremony, Rose held the blue flower. It hurts my heart that she and her family have embarked on the Alzheimer’s journey.

After the opening ceremonies, the teams lined up to go through the balloon arch. We fell in behind several other teams and started on the walking trail. After we had walked for a while, I began to lag behind. I reached a patch of shade, and told the others that I was going to rest. Eric stayed with me and Brandon came along in one of the carts and offered us a ride. “As long as you don’t drop us off farther along the trail,” I said. It felt good to sit down and he drove farther to see if anyone else needed a ride. As we sat there, the rest of the team came by and I snapped a few photos of them.

Brandon brought Eric and me back to the beginning of the walk where we were greeted by pom poms and ringing bells. The walk/ride was over for me.

Rob and Brady helped me break down my table and return my various items to my car. The car was so hot that I rolled down the windows and started it. I walked back over and helped with the teardown. Before long, every sign was taken apart, tents were broken down and loaded into the vehicles, and every stray water bottle was thrown in the trash.

With our goodbyes said, I returned to my cool car, breathed a sigh of relief that all went well, and headed for home. I removed the button with Jim’s picture from my shirt and placed it on the console where I could see it.

I stopped at Dairy Queen to get a cold drink and a chicken strip basket to take home. As I pulled out onto the highway, I thought about all the times, I took Jim out of the nursing home to get chicken strip baskets or milkshakes at Dairy Queen.

My thoughts turned to the 1998 walk when Jim and I joined the Hannafords from Slater, Joetta and Penny from the Alzheimer’s Association and Penny’s dog, Victoria, for the Sedalia Alzheimer’s walk. That was a hot day too, but it didn’t keep us from walking from Liberty Park to downtown Sedalia.

Throughout my twenty-five walks I’ve seen numerous changes, including Memory Walk becoming the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Other changes: the number of participants, the walk organization, the advertising, the pinwheel flowers, the online registration and walk page with instant updates, and the list goes on and on. But some things never change: the passion, the heartbreak and hope, the smiles and tears, and the wish for a world without Alzheimer’s.

Also, never changing is that I walk for persons with dementia and their caregivers. As always, I walk for Jim, and he walks with me as surely as he did in 1998.

Copyright © September 2022 by L.S. Fisher

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Music for the Soul

The Capps Family Band 2022

     Saturday afternoon, the Capps Family Band played music for our dear family friend’s 75th birthday party. I went early to set up my sound system, which was pieced together from several Amazon purchases. I hooked everything up and the microphones had no volume. After a brief moment of panic, I finally discovered that one of the connections wasn’t inserted completely.

Unlike our nursing home gigs, we didn’t have a formal program, but my sister-in-law had put several of our songs together where they were easy for my brother to find. Normally, he is our fearless leader, but he said I was the one that made arrangements for this program, and I was in charge. “I don’t want to be in charge,” I said. Anyway, the program went off without a hitch with everyone in charge of themselves.

It is amazing how much the decision to play a ukulele has changed my life. After I learned a few chords, I began to practice with the family band. My brother encouraged me to play with the band at the nursing homes. I sat in the back far from the microphones and played my little instrument. Then, at practice, my brother finally talked me into singing a song. “We’ll put that on the program next month,” he said.

Later, that week, we played at the nursing home. “My sister Linda is going to sing a song,” he said. So, I stood up and sang the song just as we rehearsed it. That was when I realized how much joy Jim found while playing his guitar and singing.

Jim learned to play on a mandolin when he was a small boy. His mom said that when he first learned to play, he played “Rubber Dolly” so much that she was sick of hearing it. Jim told me that later, his uncles, especially Uncle Vic, taught him how to play the guitar.

Jim always picked up his guitar first thing in the morning. He said it was his therapy. A devoted Buck Owens fan, Jim often played the instrumental, “Buckaroo.” One of the saddest parts of dementia was watching him slowly lose his musical skills. The song choices that he could master went from hundreds to a handful of songs. Long after he had forgotten lyrics to most of the songs he used to sing, he sometimes played “Buckaroo” perfectly.

After he lost his ability to play his guitar, Jim never stopped listening to the music he loved—country music, bluegrass, cowboy songs, and Elvis. Music was always a part of Jim’s life, and listening to the songs he loved soothed his soul.

I have also learned that nothing works its magic on me the way that music can. When I pick up my ukulele and browse the Capps Family Band songbook, time just flies by. The clock might say it is midnight, but my heart says one more song, and another, and I wonder if I can play or sing that song? I love the challenge of stretching my ukulele playing, or taking on a song that I don’t think I can sing. When I’m successful, it’s a rush, but if I fail, I just set it aside for another time.

The one thing I’ve learned is that mistakes happen, the old voice might crack once in awhile, but the purpose is not to be perfect. Perfection is for studios where a song might require several takes, or tweaking the sound. The secret to live music is that when you make a mistake, you just keep right on going.

 I’ve found that life also has a secret, and amazingly, it is the same secret as music. No matter what happens, we need to move forward. We all make mistakes, but to live life to the fullest, we need to keep-on-keeping-on.

The worldly treasures we have accumulated do not determine whether we are successful in life. We are truly wealthy when we have the magic of music in our souls.  


To register or donate to the Sedalia Walk click

Copyright © September 2022 by L.S. Fisher


Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Jim's Team Since 1998

I reached out to the Alzheimer’s Association when Jim’s dementia became problematic. Penny Braun, Executive Director at the Alzheimer’s Association Mid-Missouri Chapter, told me about the Sedalia Memory Walk. I registered for the walk, but couldn’t decide how to tell Jim about it since he was in denial that he had an Alzheimer’s type of dementia.
A few days before the walk, Jim saw a small article in the paper about the upcoming Memory Walk. “We should go to that walk,” he said, “because I have memory problems.”

We arrived at Liberty Park expecting to see a crowd, but instead saw four people and a dog. We joined Chuck and Helen Hannaford from Slater, Penny Braun and her dog Victoria, and Joetta Coen from the Mid-Missouri Chapter. Jim and I were the only two people from Sedalia.

Our small group walked through downtown Sedalia with Helen blowing her hunter’s horn while we collected donations from business owners, passersby, and from members of the VFW.

I haven’t missed a Sedalia walk since 1998. The name of the walk has changed to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and the location has changed, but the mission is the same: A World Without Alzheimer’s.

After the 1998 walk, Joetta Coen asked me to chair the next walk. I remember telling her that if I could get my family to walk, we would have more people. My fantastic committee members grew the 1999 walk to more than 100 participants.

Between 2000 and 2019, participation ranged from 200 walkers to a high of 444. Then, the pandemic hit. In 2020, to avoid a large gathering, the Alzheimer’s Association announced a “Walk Everywhere” event. It didn’t take me long to decide that Jim’s Team would walk the original 1998 route.

Walk Everywhere was a trip down memory lane. With my arthritic knees, the walk was more of a challenge than it was the first time. We stopped and rested on the steps of the beautiful public library. The 2020 walk made me feel closer to Jim, and in its own way, brought our journey full circle. It was a stark reminder of how personal and important the walk was for my family and me.  

Lord willing, September 17th will be my 25th walk. A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that I am the only person in Sedalia who will reach that milestone this year. Some of my family members are not far behind me. I plan to poll them and find out who will reach the 25th walk milestone next year or in the next few years.

Jim’s Team has also been the most consistent fundraising team in Sedalia. We weren’t the best fundraising team every year, but we’ve always been in the top three. Over the years, our team has brought in more than $70,000 in the fight to end Alzheimer’s, and to support families dealing with dementia.

The Sedalia Walk is Jim’s legacy. He was the sole reason that our family became involved in the Walk, and our inspiration to continue. I often hear from people who never knew Jim while he was living, but still feel a connection to him.

My first blog post, Indelible Mark, (January 19, 2008), came straight from my heart: “When Jim developed dementia at forty-nine, we knew life would never be the same. Our memories eventually became my memories. The disease stole Jim from me, but it could not steal the indelible mark he left behind.

“In the end, instead of erasing Jim, dementia ensured he would never be forgotten. His two pictures on the cover of Alzheimer’s Anthology of Unconditional Love are indelible images of Jim. In one picture, he smiles from beneath his favorite Stetson. In the other, he walks away from the camera on a beach in Oregon. I can’t imagine his indelible memory living in a happier place.”


To register or donate to the Sedalia Walk click

Copyright © August 2022 by L.S. Fisher