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

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

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

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

Origins: Reconnecting

That laugh! As I listened to it echo through the phone, the 22 years of a lost connection melted away. I instantly remembered a sound that I had long forgotten – it was the laughter of friendship. Later, as this friend and I met and hugged and reminisced at a local Starbucks, the fond memories of years past came flooding back…awash with shared meals and adult refreshment, a trip to Canada, card games, watching her children grow, and pondering whyRead 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

It Doesn’t Work That Way

Mom and I had a wonderful visit on Saturday. Given mom is minus a hearing aid at the moment, we were able to converse fairly well. I had to spell a couple of words for her, but that will occur even with two hearing aids. Our conversation drifted from parents to siblings, to her own mother’s cooking, to how the food at the home sucks, to her children, to “why doesn’t your brother get married?” These are many of theRead more

Cherished: Memories in a Plastic Box

I had plenty of cherished objects to choose from for the subject of this post: A china doll that belonged to my grandmother; a pouting stool painted by my father; an orange bicycle in the garage; jewelry from a friend; a chest of drawers that belonged to a great aunt. What I eventually chose was this: My cherished object is not one thing, it’s a collection. A collection of photos. In plastic, rectangular boxes. Memories of childhood, parents, trips, cousins, neighbors, weddings, friends,Read more

Your Pit Bull

Dear River, I want to tell you a story about your dog, Zoe. We found her cowering at the pound. She wasn’t barking like the other dogs. She was simply laying there, looking up at us. The tag said, “lab mix” and she was slated to be killed in a week. We fell for it, thinking we were buying a lab. She is not a lab. She is a pit bull. As Zoe grew, we came to realize the pound had…

Birthday Cake

“Hello? Is that you? This is me!” When dad was alive and he would call, more often than not, that would be his opening line. On other occasions, he would simply say, “This is your dear old father.” I found a photo of him cutting a birthday cake in 1961. I cannot figure out if the photo was taken on March 9th (his birthday) and developed in July or if this was a late celebration. At any rate, dad turnedRead more

Pauline’s Dream Revised

Back in August, 2014, I wrote a poem called Pauline’s Dream. You can read it HERE. For the Day 5 poetry challenge of Fog/Elegy/Metaphor, I chose to rewrite this poem and the words, but tell the same story. For those of you who are not regular readers, my mom is 95 and suffers from the effects of dementia. When Ben suggested fog as a mental state, this was a natural response. This is the place of my dreams, but itRead more