This past weekend, while looking for some info I needed for some forms I have to fill out, I found the 2000 calendar (a Day-Timer…does anybody still use those?) my husband was using during the last months of his life. It had the sermon titles and scripture readings he gave at our church, counseling and administrative appointments he had at church, to do lists- even ordinary things like picking up milk on the way home, our dates for coffee, lunch with friends, taking our daughter for ice cream and our son to karate, and amazingly- notes about a trip to the interior of Peru with a military medical team as US Embassy chaplain, and, sadly, radiation treatment appointments.
And on a page at the beginning of each month, a list. Books he read that month just for pleasure. He was reading five books a month, until the last month, when there was one. He always was a reader. He took a book wherever he went, usually a paperback tucked into a canvas book cover also stuffed with notes and receipts. Coming across those lists was a sweet moment that stirred good memories- times when we spent time reading “together”- each of us lost in our own books, but sitting companionably close, sometimes sharing a good line or two.
They were personal memories, but also brought on more general thoughts. About how much reading adds to life. What it means to really be a reader. How sad that some people just don’t get it. How can they say they don’t have time to read? That’s like saying you don’t have time to breathe. And I reflected on why I share books (and anything) I read as enthusiastically as I can with whoever I can.
I hope someone stumbles on one of my book lists someday. And smiles at the memory of my reading.
As I drive home after school today, I heard a dump rumble coming from behind. It was loud. The kind of loud you feel in your bones. Soon the noise was beside me. It came from a black van with dark tinted windows. After a short while, the van switched lanes and was in front of me. We stopped at a light. My headlights shone on the back of the van. The vibrations of whatever music the driver was playing were so strong it looked like I was flashing my lights on and off.
It’s the kind of thing you can put in your notebook, the kind of thing that could turn up in a story someday.
Rumble on the streets.
Flag at half staff
Rhetoric of hate
Mental health crisis
Together, let’s raise the flag
Flag flying high
Available health care
Unity of purpose
Thoughts that ran through my mind as I drove to school this morning, passing flag after flag at half staff…
In the evening light
Her beloved bird feeder
Creates a shadow
On the window blinds
She is not here to see
She looks out
Another window now
Ninety four years
Cast a long shadow
A presence that lingers
For a dear one who has moved to long term care
Opening old boxes,
Sifting through memories
Several years ago, I stopped dyeing my hair and let it go “natural.” My hair is not silver or gray now- it is white. Most people who know me are used to it, but every now and then kids show their curiosity. Not too long ago, a little girl who was visiting our school said, with just a touch of wonder, “Your hair looks like snow.”
Yesterday in class, a third grader asked me, “Can I touch your hair?” She reached over and touched it. “I thought it would be fluffy,” she said, sounding disappointed.
Hmm. I was disappointed, too. I could have used another touch of wonder.
Being on duty at the cafeteria door for breakfast every morning, I get to hear some great stories (in spite of the fact I’m reminding everyone to come in quietly). Just last week an irrepressible kindergartener came skipping in, chattering along the way. He definitely had a story to tell, and he was telling everyone. I couldn’t resist. I wasn’t going to say “Shh!”
He said, as excited as could be, “They shooted my tooth!” Then he grinned as wide as he could to reveal the shiny silver “bullet” on his tooth!