Monday, July 31, 2023

Sunrise, Rainbow, and Rain

Today would have been a great day to sleep late, except my body had other ideas. After a restless night, I woke up hurting from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. It had been raining outside, so it wasn’t a big surprise that my arthritis had overruled my meds.

I tried re-medicating my knees, but still couldn’t go back to sleep. Finally, I crawled out of bed and grabbed my walker for a trip to the medicine cabinet for my arthritis-strength Tylenol.

Since it was almost six o’clock, I decided to go ahead and brew my coffee. I pushed the button on the pot. It spewed and sputtered for about twenty seconds and shut off. After lifting the almost empty carafe, I realized I hadn’t prepared my pot the night before.

After the coffee was brewing, I turned off the security alarm because I’d decided it would be a good morning to sit on the almost finished sun porch to drink my coffee. Turning off the alarm signaled the dog to stretch in preparation to going outside. “Okay, I’ll take you out while the coffee is making,” I told her.

Being awake so early made me think of Jim. He was a morning person and liked nothing better than starting the day drinking coffee and playing his guitar. As the dementia progressed, he often sang a cowboy song about having a bad day. It was stuck in his head and he sang it repeatedly. I suppose that somewhere in the recesses of his mind, he knew his good days were mostly behind him.

As soon as I stepped outside, I noticed that it was sprinkling rain. I glanced over to the East and saw the sun peeking through the clouds. In the West, I noticed a very faint rainbow and following the arc, the rainbow was brighter in the South.

I hustled the dog back inside and grabbed my camera. I captured what my eyes had seen and thought about the wonders of early morning, life giving rain, and the promise of the rainbow. It made me wish that I took time each day to appreciate the beauty that surrounds me.

As I sipped my coffee, I could feel the pain leaving my body. I looked out at the trees, the crops in the field, and at the backyard where the grass is sporting spots of green among the sun-scorched patches of brown. I heard a lone bird chirping.

This is how I had always envisioned retirement would be, and yet this kind of morning is rare. I suppose it’s my own fault, but it seems that too much of my day is out of my control. I’m pulled in different directions between chores I have to do, projects I need to complete, volunteer work, or the things I really want to do—play my ukulele, read a good book, watch a movie, or spend time with family.

I’m such a late night person that it’s hard to drag myself out of bed in the mornings. It seems that late night is “my time” to relax and reflect. When I go to bed, I like to read and, hopefully, sleep through the night.

I see more sunsets than sunrises, and that is a disturbing thought. Sunsets represent endings, and sunrises represent beginnings. The rain today is quenching the thirst of the earth. The rainbow is a sign of hope and a promise of better times ahead.


Copyright © July 2023 by L.S. Fisher


Saturday, July 29, 2023

Try to Remember


I was listening to 70’s on 7 in my car while I was on the way to play music at Cole Camp. A song came on the radio that I didn’t recognize at first. Gladys Knight sang a song that came up on my display as “Try to Remember.”
      During the intro, she talked about the “Good old days” and my ears perked up. I think we’re all guilty of remembering the past with feelings of nostalgia and longing for the good old days. It seems that time was simpler then than now.

We lived in the country so our summers were spent playing outside. We didn’t have the distraction of video games, computers, or TV with endless channels. Sometimes, outside was cooler than the house. We had no air-conditioning so I read books while lying on the floor in front of the box fan. Summertime was sweating time. The good old days.

When Gladys starts singing, she talks about September memories. September to me was back to school after the long, hot summer. I liked school and enjoyed spending time with my friends. Well, that is except for the year that for some reason the girls I usually spent time with suddenly weren’t talking to me. I never did find out the reason and when I asked someone about it later, she didn’t remember it. The upside was that once I wasn’t a part of the “cool kids” I became better acquainted with the girls that weren’t part of the “in crowd” and didn’t even care.

September also brings back the bittersweet time of when Jim joined the Army. After Vietnam, PTSD, and Agent Orange, we lived in Manhattan Kansas while he finished out his three years of service. I didn’t care much for Army life, but still have sweet memories of us becoming the parents of a baby boy, days spent at Lake Tuttle, going to the nearby park, and how our house was filled with love, laughter, and music.

We couldn’t foresee the future where the time spent in Vietnam would become a darkness that would close in on us. Jim’s mental anguish lasted for years until the brain disease erased some of the painful memories. Unfortunately, it also erased many of the talents and traits that made Jim, Jim.

I’ve lived seven decades and that makes for a lot of old days, good and bad. I believe the best part of the old days was before I was plagued with health problems. I was extraordinarily healthy in my youth with sick days being few and far between.

I think the key to remembering the good old days is to remember the good. One line in the song mentions that as bad as times are now, these will be the good old days for our children.

Life is not all roses, but it’s not all thorns either. Turning thoughts to roses is part of my basic optimism. I prefer to dwell on the pleasant days, time spent with friends, and forget the angst that I felt when things didn’t go according to plan.

The thorns that prick my memories, have long since dulled and turned into lessons learned. The “could have, should have” mind game usually ends badly. I feel that the choices I made, whether right, wrong, or ambivalent, have landed me exactly where I am supposed to be. When it comes to the past, it is what it was, and although the past cannot be rewritten, it can be edited. We can strike through the negative and highlight the positive.

Copyright © July 2023 by L.S. Fisher


Monday, July 24, 2023

I Love a Parade


The hallmarks of Independence Day are fireworks and parades. Because of the dry weather, backyard fireworks were in short supply. It was unusual to pass by fireworks stands and notice they had no customers. Most people opted to the big displays provided by communities throughout the nation.

 Our Walk to End Alzheimer’s Committee has participated in the parade for several years. We toss candy, bracelets, and T-shirts to the crowds who mostly line the shady side of the street. One of our corporate sponsors has provided golf carts that we decorate in red, white, blue, and purple. This year, our walk manager and her family joined us with a decorated truck.

After the puny polka-dot rains we had before the 4th, I wouldn’t have been surprised if it hadn’t rained on our parade. The day of the parade, I carried my purple polka-dot umbrella so that I had shade from the sun while waiting for the parade to begin.

The parade is a lot of fun. Along the route, we see people of all ages decked out in their patriotic colors, smiling, waving flags, and enjoying life in these United States of America.

As we ride down Ohio Street, we pass by majestic historic buildings, some of which have witnessed more than a century of parades. We see the courthouse with its statues honoring those who fought for our freedom. Although I can’t see them, I know that we pass close to the bricks alongside the sidewalk in front of the courthouse honoring veterans—including Jim and my dad.

 I smile and wave at the crowd occasionally spotting someone that I know. When I’m in a parade, it seems to go by quickly.

There’s something about a parade that just makes my heart smile. I love a parade!



Copyright © July 2023 by L.S. Fisher