Does anyone need a drink?

Co “The Human Voice is the most perfect instrument of all.” –Arvo Pärt On Saturday, I had lunch with two cousins – one of which I haven’t seen in at least 30 years. Cousin Joanne brought me a gift: A few parental-related photos and a cassette tape. The cassette tape was from many years ago, when Joanne’s brother, Jim, made a tape recording of mom and dad. He asked many questions of mom about her family and growing up –Read more

Scrunching. Gaping.

“Are you catching flies or what?” ~Pauline~ When I was young, I heard this line on occasion from my mother. It usually happened while intently watching a favorite cartoon or TV program. I couldn’t help myself. My big teeth and overbite kept getting in the way of always keeping my mouth closed. It still does. I catch myself doing it at work while intently watching an Excel spreadsheet, and also scrunching my face so I can see better with theRead more

Gravy Goes With Everything

My earliest memory of Pauline was of her standing on top of a chair, screaming as a mouse ran across the floor. This would not have been the usual, stoic, keep-it-together mom that was obvious to me later in life. I do not remember other episodes of this woman being hysterical, losing it to furry critters or when life was a bit topsy-turvey. I seldom saw my mother sweat, but perhaps growing up the youngest girl in a family ofRead more

Identity: What Did I Miss?

I’m staring at the ID card I’ve had for several years. This card tells everyone Mary is a permanent employee for a state government agency and assigns an ID number. It also contains one of the few ID or driver’s license photos in which I don’t appear to have woken from a two-day drunk. ID stands for “identity,” but you wouldn’t learn much about me from the plastic rectangle that is clipped to a piece of wardrobe Monday through Friday.Read more

Processing 16 Years

Over coffee on Saturday morning, a friend asked me, “How are you processing?” She was asking about moving forward from my mother’s passing in February. A number of friends have asked this question in various formats, with concern in how I’m handling a new chapter of life. It’s a question that’s contemplative in response, at times difficult and at times easy to put into words, but I will try to answer. This is more than about mom, it’s a journeyRead more

Dad’s Grocery Games

This photo came up in my Facebook feed last week. I had to share the love, both on Facebook and here. “The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, better known as A&P, was an American chain of grocery stores that ceased supermarket operations in November 2015, after 156 years in business. From 1915 through 1975, A&P was the largest grocery retailer in the United States (and until 1965, the largest U.S. retailer of any kind). A&P was considered an American icon that, accordingRead more

One-Liner Wednesday: PIE

It’s my favorite dessert. More so than chocolate cake. Mom and dad made killer lemon meringue pie. They also made the best strawberry dream pie, summer peach pie, and apple slices. Great German cooks, both of them. Last month, I met a few friends from church at a local restaurant (ironically called Mary’s Place). It was evening and I had already had a bite to eat at home because I knew what I wanted to order: A cup of decafRead more

Nothing and Everything

It’s 4:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon and I have nothing. Nothing in the “inspiration to write something cute and funny” department. Nothing in the “I have a story for you!” department. Nothing in the “here’s another poem or cat photo” department. And, yet… I have everything. I have everything in a job that affords time off during the holidays. I have everything in friends who invite me into their lovely home for Thanksgiving and present a royal feast of turkey, stuffingRead more

Imperfect Relationship

“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”   ~Donald Miller~ Mom likes me. Her mind has accepted me as her sister or her friend or the nice lady that comes to visit and holds her hand. When I was younger, prior to the care of mom and dad as they lost their independence, mom had a critical side. She always felt the need to tell others what was wrong, rather than whatRead more

Breathing in Memories

I’ve desired to do this since early spring. It took me until October to comply, to get in the car and go. Something was pulling me toward home – the home of my birth and early existence. It is the home that I eventually wanted to escape out of small-town boredom. It is the home that I rarely visit, but is within a 35-minute drive. It is the home of special places, friends and family. I had to go andRead more

The Cherish of a Family Bible

One of the many cherished items given to me by my parents is dad’s family bible. This is a Catholic Bible, printed circa 1884, leather bound, measuring 14”x11”x4.” It’s a hefty Bible, weighing 13 pounds or 5.9 kg. Dad gave this Bible to me many years ago and for many years, it has been tucked away in the bottom section of a china cabinet. The Bible is not in the worst of conditions, nor is it in the best. IRead more

Parental Admiration

Weekly Photo Challenge: Show us someone or something you admire (and tell us about them, too)! Hands down, I admire my parents the most. Evan and Pauline. They met and and began dating while both were working at the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P grocery store) in the early 1950’s. Evan was a manager and Pauline a bookkeeper. When my father was transferred to a store in the small burg of Waupaca, he decided that my mother should followRead more