Monday, February 28, 2005

An Open Letter...

Diamond Rio "I Believe"

To My Devine Creator:

With each passing day I learn. These lessons you place in my path for a reason. But must there be so many tests? Geez, even my college professor’s didn’t test me this much! Okay, sorry, but I had to say that. I know you have a sense of humor; when I see dolphins skimming backward across the water on their tail, I know you are smiling with me at their antics. Why else would you have put a perpetual smile on the face of dolphin?

In the days of my youth I foolishly thought I could master all the lessons of life in one life time. You gave me the energy and stamina I needed to propel me forward. Now, I have reached the mid-point (hopefully) of my life and I see some of the folly in my youthful thinking. Ummm, okay, I see a lot of the folly.

When I think I have learned tolerance, you place resentment in my path. In this I shall learn to endure, this I know.

When I think I have learned patience, you place restlessness in my path.  In this I shall learn to persevere, this I know.

When I think I have learned forgiveness, you place accusation in my path. In this I shall learn to release, this I know.

When I think I have learned compassion, you place indifference in my path. In this I shall learn to affect, this I know.

When I think I have learned wisdom, you place foolishness in my path. In this I shall learn to understand, this I know.

When I think I have learned courtesy, you place arrogance in my path.  In this I shall learn to be humble, this I know.

When I think I have learned serenity, you place agitation in my path. In this I shall learn to soothe, this I know.

In the days of my youth I opened my heart and senses to all of the wonders of your creation. But in my vulnerability, many times I received bitterness and hatred. The bitterness consumed my senses, the hatred seeped into my heart, and my soul shut down to protect me from deeper damage. And so my soul slumbered, conserving the energy I needed to heal those wounds. During that time you watched over me, defending me in my stillness. You knew the day would come when I would awaken and rise, once again, to continue my journey.

When I felt I would not heal, you showed me your light.
When I felt I was not worthy, you showed me mercy.
When I felt I was not loved, you showed me tenderness.
When I felt there was no hope, you showed me beauty.
When I felt I could not survive, you showed me purpose.
When I felt I could not reach, you showed me The Way
And when I could not feel, you touched me.

All this you do, for me, so I can be the person you know I am. You put me here for a reason. Each and every day you remind me the lessons I have learned can easily be forgotten. Perhaps that is why you put subtle reminders in my path. In the days and years that lay ahead, there will be times when I forget, but I know you will remind me. And I will listen. And I will remember. I will remember that you are not finished with me, and that is why I am here. The lessons are not yet complete...and so I continue to learn.

There is no greater love than that which I have known through you.

In your name, I remain your child,

~~Pruning is necessary for growth.~~

Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Case of the Vanishing Comment

AOL Music: Carly Simon: 'You're So Vain'

Something interesting happened to me yesterday. Someone in Journal Land wants to silence me. Now, it may be a fluke, because we all know AOL's performance lately has been less than stellar. Alerts on the blink, getting kicked off...the list goes on. Yesterday I posted a comment to a journal. It is a political journal, and my comment did not support the author's views. After I clicked on the 'Save' button, I checked and yes, my comment posted.  However, sometime later I checked and my comment had vanished.  Hmmm, vanishing comments?  Strange.  Sam was ready to go on our drive, so we left.  And I pondered the case of my vanishing comment.  It had posted, I saw it. Now it was gone. And I believe I know why.

The entry in question covered the highly charged issue of abortion. The author is clearly against it. Most of the comments supported that view point. One opposed, but that comment was left to show the reader's how the author squashed the opposing postion, and another is from an individual who shamefully regrets her abortion. There are two sides to every story, to every issue. So, I posed a scenario to the author, because, to quote them, "I hope you leave this journal learning something, and I hope it really makes you think about issues that go on in our world today." Okay, I'm open to learning. But, is the author? Here is a portion of my comment: "All babies are miracles. And not all women are blessed with the ability to carry a baby in their womb full-term. With all the passion you carry inside you, let me pose this question to you. What if you were 20 something and your doctor...several doctors, advised you against ever getting pregnant? You have a condition, and there is a 90-95% chance that during the final tri-mester you will lose the baby and without immediate medical attention you will bleed to death. You take the pill but it's only 99% effective. You get pregnant. What would you do? Would you be willing to risk your life and your unborn baby's life for your pro-life belief?" I played by the rules in making my comment. No profanity, no flaming...I was nice, diplomatic, but I presented a new perspective. And I was deleted. Why?

I can take people as they are, as long as you don't hurt me or any one I love. We are all different, and that's what makes the world so great. I respect every one's right to express their opinion. Whether I agree or not, we have a right to say what we feel and believe. If through enlightenment we choose to change our minds, so be it. More power to you and me. For the most part, I consider myself an easy going person, laid-back, low-key, open minded, just doing my thing. I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.  Everyone has a story.  And there are very few things in this world that get my ire. Ignorant hypocrites are one, and loose cannons on a power trip are another.

Yesterday I learned something after leaving that political journal. I learned that, in our world, some people come across as intelligent, thinking persons. But in reality they are only capable of regurgitating the words and ideas of another. They seek the warmth of the spotlight and thrive when everyone agrees with them. When presented with new thoughts and information, they slam that door shut for fear that someone holding the spotlight might also see a different perspective. In their world, everything is shoved into a narrow and often confining ideal.

To that person, I have this to say.  You can delete my thoughts and words from your journal, but you can't silence me in mine.  Yes, abortion is one of the saddest things in the world. Sadder yet is the number of children who are born into a life of abuse. Each and every day they are beaten, victimized and often tortured. They live in fear, without trust, without love. They are hell.

Where are all the tears for them?  You know, the ones you are crying that now fall into your keyboard?


~~Be who you are and say what you feel, cuz those who matter do not mind, and those who mind do not matter.  -Dr. Suess~~

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Setting My Sights on Spring

AOL Music: Faith Hill: 'If My Heart Had Wings'

After being couped up in the house for a week, Sam was getting restless and very bored.  Since being on medical leave this past week, he has been working on the kitchen wall paper while I work.  He's almost done.  But today, he needed to get out and about.  How about looking at flooring or lighting for the kitchen?  He wrinkled his nose.  We could drive to Moscow and see what's going on up there.  No.  After making a couple more less than stellar suggestions, I asked about taking a drive out to Waha, a mountain community about ten miles south of Lewiston.  Sam raised his eyebrows...and nodded his head.  We loaded our dogs, Rumbeau and Allie, into the Dodge pick up and headed out of town. 



I love drives up to the mountains.  Especially this time of year.  Most of the snow is gone, but occasional spots remain, reminding us that is it still winter.  The air is crisp and cool...clean.  Today, there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  It was simply beautiful.  Sam isn't much for words, he's a quiet man.  As the radio played in the background, Sam drove in silence, and we slowly climbed up the mountain road.  I had time to enjoy the scenery.

At the top, we stopped and allowed the dogs to get outand stretch their legs.  Rumbeau found a couple of patches of snow, flipped over on his back and proceeded to make his version of doggy snow angels...minus the wings.  His angels don't have wings. 

We spent a couple ofhours driving around the mountain roads.  One road is the old stage coach road and it's a real trip; no pavement, just dirt and gravel with steep drops that barely hug themountain side and hair pin curves.  This time of year it isn't advisable to travel on...but the views are spectacular.  We opted for the safe, paved road back to town.  At least, it started out as the safer choice.  There were a couple of spots that were a little bit scary.


No, the snow isn't gone from the mountains, yet.  This past week Sam did take a drive up to our cabin in the mountains of Clearwater County.  The road up was about the same as the roads in Waha, wet with some spots of snow.  Everything is fine at the cabin, no broken pipes, no problems.  Soon it will be mushroom season and I'm looking forward to getting back up there.  The corals and morrels will be popping up, everywhere.  I love hunting for and eating wild mushrooms, but one has to be careful, as there are several varieties that may look safe but aren't.  I have seen morrels used on television, in several of Emeril's recipe's...oh yeah babe!


~~Everyone is worth it.~~ 

All photographs in this entry are the property of delela1 (c) 2005.

Friday, February 25, 2005

For Giving Souls

AOL Music: Enya: 'Only Time'
Last month I bought this calendar; it was one of those impulse buys.  I went to Hastings to purchase a specific book, but I tend to wander once I get inside.  Something just overtakes me...I think it's the power of being totally surrounded by all those written words.
Any other time when I shop, I want to get what I want and then get out.  Except in book stores.  I've never been able to walk into a book store, make a bee line to my intended desire, get it, then leave.   I wander slowly between the aisles, occasionally reaching out to allow my fingertips to softly pass over the multitude of standing spines...almost like a caress.  Sometimes I find a treasure.  Such as on that day.
NOTE: The original photo that accompanied this entry got lost in the transition from AOL Journals and Blogspot. As is the case with many images I embedded in my entries. :::sigh::: This image of a 2008 calendar was all I could find to replace the original. 

During my wandering I found myself standing at the calendar rack, all marked down for immediate clearance.  It was there I found a new treasure, one I keep on my desk at remind center touch me.

Each day brings a new passage.  For me, words to live by.  I've included some of those words at the end of some earlier entries.  But I've decided that these words are far too special for an occasional inclusion.  They belong on a daily basis.  They deserve to be shared, with everyone. 

~~Life is full of promise.~~ 

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Why Cats Have Nine Lives

Friends are always sending me funny stuff.  Sometimes, I just can't keep it to myself, especially the good stuff.  What can I say baby; I've got to spread the love.  Whether you are a cat lover or not, you gotta see this!  I dare you not to laugh!

Extreme cats   <--clicky  (if I did this right, the media player will launch)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

If Your Heart Is In the Right Place

AOL Music: Garth Brooks: 'When You Come Back to Me Again

My heart really goes out to my youngest step-daughter.  While working on the kitchen wall papering project, I got this hunch to call her.  Her phone rang and rang, then finally she answered.  I could tell she was crying.  She said she was talking to her boyfriend about something, something that she also wanted to talk to me about.  So I let her talk, and cry.  She is struggling with two issues.  One involves her sister, the other her boyfriend.

On the one hand, she's growing up and it fills my heart with the purest joy to hear her say certain things.  There is this feeling of completeness that comes with knowing every message I sent to another generation has been received, read, understood, and best of all, acted on.  Yet on the other hand, it is so very difficult, knowing what she's going through will involve pain.  I have to fight my instinct to protect and nurture her.  It's difficult, but not impossible; this experience will give her strength, strength she will someday need.  As long as her heart is in the right place...she'll do just fine.

At times, I think we all feel like a ship at sea being tossed around in a relentless storm.  Filled with fear, we wonder if we shall ever see the comforting sight of our home shore again.  Just when we are about to break and give in, the storm passes.  The sea is calm again and we find our way, guided by the familiar beacon of light shining somewhere in the distance.  Beckoning us home.


~~There is suffering and then there is overcoming.~~ 

Monday, February 21, 2005

Did I Ask For Rain?

I'm back...sorta.  Things are settling down here a bit...sorta.

AOL Music: Jo Dee Messina: 'Bring on the Rain'

You know that saying, when it rains, it pours.  Upon arriving home from the trip to Spokane, I found out my best friend Bona is in the hospital, in a coma.  I'm not going to even try to explain it right's too complicated and I'm on an emotional overload.  I don't even want to go down that road right now.

Yep, this year is starting off in an unbelievable way.

So enough of the heavy, depressing crap.  On a lighter note, I have been smoke-free for 90 days!  God knows my committment to quit is really being tested, but I am determined to succeed.  This is one aspect of my life I can control and I will not back down.

And for some more lightness; a funny story from the hospital last week.  But first, a little background info on this type of procedure.  The stint is inserted into the blocked artery via a catheter, which is inserted at the right groin area...yes you male readers may wish to groan right now.  Now, when it comes to being sick, or in pain, Sam has no tolerance.  When he's sick he is such a wimp, and when he's in pain, he whines.  And yet, he wouldn't even go to the doctor when this all started.

On Thursday, after the doc inserted the stint, he told Sam they would remove the catheter in a couple of hours.  Prior to and after the procedure Sam is given Plavix (blood thinner).  For this reason, the medical staff must wait until Sam's blood will clot before removing the catheter.  After several blood tests, the results indicate his blood is clotting.

Bear in mind, this is the second catheter injected into the same artery at the same site in the past two days.  The first catheter was on Wednesday morning when they found the arterial blockage.  And Sam is already very, very sore in that spot.

Okay, so the nurse comes in to remove the catheter and the eight inch long sheath.  After doing so, pressure must be applied at the site for at least 15 minutes until the blood thoroughly clots.  And yes, the nurse has to stand there the whole time, with herhands pressed against Sam's groin.  And oh, she is young, slender, and attractive.  You know where this is going, don't you?  But wait...

Sam is doing his level best to watch the tv and keep his mind preoccupied throughout.  He's been instructed not to move his right leg for obvious reasons.  About halfway into this process, I see him moving his left leg as he raises his knee up a bit.  Sam makes a couple of comments about how much she is hurting him.  A few minutes later the nurse checks the site but the blood is not clotting yet (probably cuz it's rushing to another area nearby).  As the minutes tick by I watch the nurse patiently shift her weight from one foot to the other.  About the time things are getting really quiet in the room, the nurse leans in toward Sam and brings her left leg up.  A rather panicked Sam shifts his attention from the tv and asked, "What are you doing!?"  The nurse stops, and replies, "Just bringing my knee up for leverage."   Relieved, Sam says, "I thought you were going to put your knee into my groin."  She laughs, and turns to me.  I shake my head and roll my eyes up.  "Is he always like this?" the nurse asked me.  "Oh yeah," I replied, "I'm surprised he didn't think you were trying to get into bed with him."

Now Sam will tell you that the entire time, he was in too much pain to notice where her hands were.  Ah-huh.  The previous night he described the pain as 'feeling like someone had just kicked him in the groin.'  At first, I didn't believe him...he's exaggerating to get attention.  That is, until I saw the bruises.  And he is bruised, black and blue all over.  Partly from the procedure and the blood thinner meds.  Doc said one of the side effects of Plavix is the tendancy to bruise easily.

So much for the red blooded American male.

P. S.  It should be noted that just before the hospital discharged Sam, he commented on how many people had paraded through his room, either poking or proding him.  And, he was convinced that EVERYONE in that hospital had peeked under his gown--including the cafeteria staff.     

Friday, February 18, 2005

Home Sweet Home

We're back home.  They released Sam right after breakfast.  Arrived home about noon...telephone's been ringing off the hook since.  Amy and Kari stopped by for a reassurance visit.  On the surface they were okay, but underneath those cool exterior's they are both very worried and afraid.  Their fear surfaced as a minor exchange of bitter words between themselves, which only ended when Kari left in tears.  I followed her outside to her car; it took 45 minutes but she finally calmed down.  There is an ugly, stuck in the past dynamic between those two; hopefully Kari has a better understanding of that dynamic and how to effectively deal with it so she can have an adult relationship with Amy.  It will be a hard line to tow, but Kari want's it bad enough she is willing to work at it.  Time will tell.  I hope both of them reach the point where they can take this relationship to a better level, for both their sakes.  They both just need to put the past down so they can see the possibilities the future holds.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Tell It To My Heart

I'm writing this from a motel in Spokane.  Tuesday morning Sam went to his doctor.  Twenty-four hours later Sam and I are in Spokane, sitting in a room at the Heart Institute, listening to the heart specialist explain the results of Sam's heart cathederization (sp?).  One of Sam's arteries is 90% blocked.  This morning Sam had a stint put in; he is still at the hospital and doing fine.  Doctor said Sam's lucky he's not pushing up daisies right now.

Before Sam had the cathederization, all the staff at the Heart Institute kept asking Sam what he was doing there...Sam is only 49 (he'll be 50 on August 1).  Before we drove up the head nurse told Sam she didn't understand why Sam's doctor referred him...Sam is too young and didn't have the "classic" symptoms of patients needing a heart specialist.  Even the specialist seemed somewhat skeptical of the seriousness of Sam's condition.  So much for that school of thought.  Once the results were in, they wasted no time getting Sam set up for the procedure.

Hopefully everything will go well tonight, and we will be on our way home tomorrow morning after breakfast.  Right now, I'm tired.  I've been up since 4:30 this morning and I need sleep.

I'll keep you posted...hopefully from home.


Monday, February 14, 2005

Cookies and coffee grounds

Yesterday I baked some chocolate heart cookies for Amy's 1st and 2nd grade students.    Had a couple cookies break on me when they were hot, and my chocolate drizzleing really fizzled.  But the cookies are...very yummy.  Took the cookies to Amy's last night.  She and baby are doing well...mama's a bit grumpy but that's to be expected.  She's so long in the torso it's hard to believe she's starting her seventh month.  People keep telling her she should be bigger, but the doc assured her all is well--the baby just has room to stretch out, that's all.  Funny thing, one of Sam's nicknames for Amy has always been Stretchy...he's been calling her that since she was 14 years old.

First thing this morning I was faced with a challenge...before I had my first cup of coffee.  In order to have my coffee, I need the coffee maker.  Said coffee maker was buried behind the kitchen table, which is now conveniently located in the the living room.  Hmmmm, there is something to be said for planning ahead.  So after laying across the table and stretccccching behind one of the chairs, I latch onto the filter basket and pull the coffee maker up.  However the basket, being designed to swivel, does just what it's supposed to do, and disengages itself from the machine before I can grab it with my other hand.  You know how sometimes, you see things move in slow motion?  Well, I saved the rest of the coffee machine from falling onto the fireplace bricks.  But, apparently I didn't empty the filter from the last brewing session and I watch in horror as those lovely dark brown grounds slowly slide out of the basket downwards toward the carpet.  Luck was on my side tho, because I moved quickly and the coffee grounds landed right on the edge of the table.  I mean right on the EDGE!!!!  Wheeewwww!  Man, I never had to work that hard for a cup of coffee.

Fortunately, the rest of the day went well.  In fact, the wallpaper came in and I picked it up on the way home.  I can't wait to get this job finished.  Half of my kitchen is in the living room, andnaturally it's the half I use all the time.

Better Late Than Never!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The 80s called--they want their wallpaper back!

  I don't envy people who make their living dealing with wallpaper; especially removing it.  Two years ago I bought the Euro-Pro Shark Steamer..mainly for cleaning and removing hard water stains in the bathroom (ugh!).  But boy this little machine paid for itself this weekend...and made removing that stubborn wallpaper so much easier.  We used a vinegar/water mix in a spray bottle, and the steamer; within two hours all the wall paper was gone.

Kitchen -- with wallpaper

 Note: Those vertical blinds are outta here!!!!

Kitchen - without wallpaper

   A red beer to celebrate...hey, it was 2 o'clock! 

Also to be replaced is the countertop and floor, it's that lovely 1980s dusty rose pink.  Haven't decided on the countertop material yet...but it won't be pink or formica!  Getting rid of that horrible linoleum flooring and putting in a nice terra cotta tile...maybe.  Keeping the cabinets...I like these and think they will work with the Tuscany theme now that we removed the plate rail.  The wallpaper should be in by Wednesday.  Me thinks putting the new paper up will take more than two hours...and at least a few more beers.  I've never done wallpaper before, so this should be very interesting.

Now if I could just get rid of all those god awful cottage cheese ceilings

Saturday, February 12, 2005

...In the Sky with Diamonds...

Where did it go?  This week just flew by!

AOL Music: Big & Rich: 'Holy Water'  <---click  Love this this video!  Very powerful.

This past week I've taken many photographs.  I often wish I could put all of them in my journal, but you'd be waiting forever for the page to!

These are the photographs I took last Saturday, when I traveled up the river to my Uncle Ed's memorial service.  The weather here can change so's not unusual to go from sunny blue skies to thick gray clouds with rain in just a few minutes.

 Blue skies and puffy clouds outside the church.

 Two hours later, on the road just outside of the small town of Culdesac.

And ten minutes later, we have blue skies again.

Been feeling a little under the weather these past few days.  But I'm feeling better and my voice is sounding normal again...I hate being sick and having that froggy ate sandpaper voice.  On the way home from work Friday afternoon, I was treated to yet another colorful show.  Naturally, I have to share it with you.


I dont' know about you, but I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to see these sights on a regular basis.  Once a week would satisfy me...but twice...or three times a week.  Man, oh man...I'm satisfied...and spell bound.


Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Seven Wonders






A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the present
  "Seven Wonders of the World."  Though there were some disagreements,
the following received the most votes:

1. Egypt's Great Pyramids

2. Taj Mahal

3. Grand Canyon

4. Panama Canal

5.Empire State Building

6. St. Peter's Basilica 

7. China's Great Wall

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student
had not finished her paper yet. So she  asked the girl if
she was having trouble with her  list. The girl replied,
"Yes, a little.  I couldn't quite make up my mind
because  there were so many."

The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have, and
maybe we can help

"The girl hesitated, then read, "I think the
Seven  Wonders of the World'   are:


1. To See


2. To Hear


3. To Touch


4. To Taste


5. To  Feel


6. To Laugh


7. And to Love."


The room was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.
The things we overlook as simple and ordinary and that
we take for granted  are truly wondrous!  

A gentle reminder --
that the most precious things in life 
cannot be built by hand or bought by man.

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Lady in Red

Dad loved to tinker.   With cars.  With his hands.  And always with his mind.

Over the years he had a handful of restored beauties: a lime green 1969 Chevy Camero convertible with white tuck and roll upholstery, a black 1936 Hudson sedan, and a candy apple red 1946 Nash coupe.  There may have been others, but these are the ones I remember.  He was driving the Camero the day we were reunited in June 1981.  It was a warm spring morning the day Dad called me at work and asked to see me.  The top was down when he picked me up and I loved the feel of the wind blowing through my hair as he drove and we caught up on our lives.  I lovingly referred to the Hudson as the 'gangster' car--I kept expecting to see some guy in a pin stripe suit and fedora packing a tommy gun saunter out of the back seat and pose on the rail.  That's what I saw when I looked at that car (yes, I have a very active imagination).  Until the day Dad showed me a picture of my newlywed cousin and her husband sitting in the back seat drinking champagne as Dad drove them to their reception in the Hudson.  So much for the gangster image...between Gina's white wedding dress and the white wedding bell decorations inside...that just killed the pin stripe suit and tommy gun.  Probably for the better.  (Note: in an earlier journal entry, I confused the Hudson with a Plymouth--oops...sorry, Dad).  It was the Hudson he was driving the day he took me to the airport.

Then there is the Lady in Red.  The 1946 Nash coupe Dad restored, with inspiration provided by his wife, Rita, and the song written and sung by Chris DeBurgh.  It was playing the night they met and Rita wore red on the day they married.  It became her song.

I'll never forget the day I visited Dad at his car lot and he was filled with enthusiasm about something he had to show me.  I followed him outside, back behind the office, listening to him ramble on about how he found it.  We stopped walking, he pointed to it and said, "There she is and I'm going to restore her."

At that point I wondered if Dad had taken complete leave of his senses.  "Into what?" I asked.  "A sardine can?"

1946 Nash coupe -- Before


He made a pouty face and launched into a detailed explaination of his grand plan for the car.  I thought he was crazy.   But during the next couple of years, oh boy, did he ever prove me wrong.

1946 Nash coupe -- After


She is a real beauty, a true work of art.  A rarity, as very few Nash's are around today.  Dad drove her to work in the spring and summer months, and loved to show her off at the annual Hot August Nights event here in Lewiston.  On those weekends he and Rita cruised the drag in the Nash, recapturing that unforgettable magic of their youth.  That car was like a magnet.  She had a 401 AMC big block V-8--that unmistakable sound.  When you fired her up you knew there was no wimpy engine under that massive hood.  This car meant business.  One turn of the key in the ignition brought the men and boys to her side, standing in awe and wonder of her beauty, their eyes alight with the glow of enchantment, captivated by the energy and vibration of her song.

Several years later I got my first ride in her.  Dad was in the hospital, slowly slipping away, losing his battle with cancer.  It was November 1997.  We knew it was only a matter of days before lucidity escaped him...when he would no longer recognize us or even know we were there, by his side.  Before he faded away, we all wanted Dad to see his 'Lady in Red' just one more time, from his hospital bed.  So my brother Mick and I volunteered to go to the house and bring her to Dad.

Once there, we opened those long, heavy doors, Mick on the driver's side, and I the passenger.  We got inside and Mick put the key in the ignition and turned on the choke (for you younger people, all cars had a choke before the 1960s).  Mick turned the key, but she wouldn't fire.  Then I remembered Dad telling me the engine would only turn over if you pushed the gas pedal quickly down to the floor board three times.  It had to be three times, not two, not four.  Three.  I told Mick.  He did so and she fired right up.  I loved that sound, and we both turned to each other and smiled.  That's when we noticed the dome light, shining brightly.  Thinking we hadn't shut those heavy doors properly, each of us reopened our door, and shut it.  Light still on.  Try again, first Mick, then me.  Still shining.  Now these are heavy doors, so we both tried slamming them shut.  The light is still on.  This went on for another 30 seconds or so.  I'm sure the neighbors were wondering just what we were doing.  Could we not decide to get in or get out?  The light stayed on.  Thinking it might be a short, I tapped the light a couple of times.  Mick tried the light switch.  Nothing happened.  

Having exhausted all of our problem solving skills, to no avail, we decided to drive to the hospital and deal with the stubborn dome light later.  Mick shut the choke off, I turned to say something to him, and noticed the dome light, now off.  At that moment it dawned on me.  "Dad!" I laughed.  "Oh, I should have known.  Of course!  I can just see him coming up with that idea."  Mick stopped the car and looked at me.  "What?"  I pointed to the light, he glanced up and furrowed his brow.  He didn't understand.  Still laughing, I explained.  "Dad wired the dome light to the choke to remind him to shut off the choke."   Mick didn't believe me; I don'tblame him.  Who would do something like that?  So, just to verify that I hadn't lost my marbles, Mick turned the choke on.  Let there be light.  I watched as his face totally changed from bewilderment to fascination.  He turned the choke off and on several times, while I sat grinning at him, thinking about Dad.  "Why would he do that?" Mick asked.  He knew nothing about our father.  Like me, Mick grew up not knowing Dad.  Like me, he was raised by another man.  But unlike me, he never had any contact with Dad, until Rita called him a few weeks ago, just before Dad went in the hospital.

And so there we sat in the driveway, my brother staring in disbelief at a silly dome light, slowing flicking it off and on by way of the choke switch, and me, laughing my ass off at him...and Dad.

Guess you had to be there.

Finally I reached over and touched Mick's arm to bring him back.  "It's okay," I told him.  "You know all those times when you've had a thought that you knew was out there, like from left field."  I saw the look of recognition on his face.  He nodded.  "Well," I smiled, "we inherited it.  From our father.  And now, you know."  He started to say, "But--"  I put my hand up.  "Don't try to understand it.  Best thing you can do now is just accept it.  It's in your blood," I laughed.

Mick sat back, shook his head and let out a small laugh.  He shifted the gear into first, and slowly steered the Nash onto the street as we made our way back to the hospital.  Mick let me out in the parking lot so I could be in the room with Dad when Mick drove her by the window.  Dad's eyes lit up with complete and total delight when he saw her.  I remember the far away look in his eyes, as some not so distant memory came back to him.  Remember those days, Dad.  Remember them well.  Before the illness, before the pills, before the chemo, before the pain.  When you were free.

Remember those days.  Remember them well.

Dad (left) and a friend begin the restoration process.  I think this jobs going to require more than a couple of hammers and a can of maybe a wrecking ball. (Photo taken 1991)


~~May today be filled with memories that warm your heart and carry you always.~~

Saturday, February 5, 2005

Fly Like An Eagle

I saw a bald eagle in flight today.  First time.  For twenty years I have heard friends retell their stories of seeing bald eagles around the Clearwater River.  Every year during the eagles winter stay in our region, I have traveled up the river hoping to catch just a glimpse of these magnificent birds; with my eyes always searching, always hoping, but never seeing.  Until today.

It was on the way to Uncle Ed's memorial service.  The family held the service at a small church in the country, about nine miles up the Clearwater River from Lewiston.  Sam and I were just leaving Lewiston and I was gazing out the window, looking at the river, listening to Alison Krauss sing 'Down to the River to Pray.'  A movement caught my eye and I noticed a large raptor flying about thirty feet above the water ahead of us.  It's probably just another osprey, I thought to myself.  As our vehicle caught up to the bird, I caught my breath...the bird dropped a few feet and I saw the white head and a flash of white tail.  "That's a bald eagle," I said out loud.  For a few moments, the eagle soared along side our vehicle, then it began a slow descent down to the water as we pulled farther and farther away.  I watched, unable to take my eyes off it's simple yet powerful flight, turning back in my seat only when the eagle disappeared from view.  For a few moments, I was totally captivated, entranced in the eagle's every move.  It was so worth the long wait.

NOTE: I did not take this photograph.  I was too enthralled at the sight of the eagle to even think of grabbing my camera.

On the drive up, I thought about all the people I might see today.  We arrived early, so I spent a few minutes taking pictures of the scenery around the church.  There were puffy, fluffy clouds peeking out from behind the hills all around the church.  And then it was time to go inside.  My cousin Don was the first familiar face I saw.  I haven't seen him in over ten years.  Thirty years ago he loved to scare the crap outof me.  He'd take me for rides in his Jeep, and he'd drive on the wrong side of the road, especially if another car was coming from the opposite direction.  I remember sitting there, telling him to turn, watching the other car get closer and closer.  I'd grab the steering wheel and try to turn it away from the path of the oncoming traffic.  But he was much stronger than I and held the wheel straight, turning only at the very last possible second.  He'd turn to me and laugh while I swallowed my heart as I pounded on his arm, and he'd always say 'I paid for both sides, so I'll drive on both sides.'  I just wanted to kill him about that time and I'd swear to never get in his Jeep again.  But I loved spending time with him, so I always went when he stopped to see me.  He was the only person I could tell my troubles to...who would actually listen.

Don was injured on the job about a year ago; he used to work for Sam until the accident.  Now he lives with constant back pain, you can see it in his face.  He's pursued a few different treatments, with some success.  But the spine is an unforgiving structure and damage of any kind is difficult to mend.   

We made our way inside and found Aunt Joan and Aunt Darlene.  The service lasted about an hour and the ladies of the church served us lunch after wards.  We visited with several other cousins and their families over the meal.  I traded addresses with my cousin Rob from Utah; he's been very curious about my genealogy research and I think it is time to start sharing resources and information with others.  Let someone else carry the torch, so to speak.  I've been doing it for over twenty years now.

After lunch everyone said their good-byes, and we headed back home.  We decided to take a different route back.  That's one of the nice things about this region.  There is always more than one way home, so you don't have to go back the way you came.

If one path doesn't suit you, you can always chose a different one.

AOL Music: Alison Krauss and Union Station: 'R... 

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Chocolate Lovers...

I think I've gained ten pounds just looking at this picture.

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Take My Breath Away

My view of the world on the drive home from work tonight.  (c) Dona L. Cox


~~The time to pursue your vision is now.~~