Repost June 16, 2013: In the Redwoods – a tanka

Green tips touch blue sky
a trunk’s red-roughened bark
lean into your strength
my father’s calloused fingers
wipe the tears from my blue eyes

 

 

Advertisements

Be careful what you wish for

woman lying on white sand beach

Photo by Riccardo Bresciani on Pexels.com

When I was very young, my dad and I would sit on the grass and watch the stars. As the first star shone, he taught me to say:

“Star light, star bright
First star I see tonight
I wish I may
I wish I might
Have the wish
I wish tonight.”

A child’s wish is very powerful.

When I was only six, I made a list of the things I wanted to do when I was an adult. On my list were two really important things. 1) I wanted to go to college. No one in my family had been to college. I don’t know what I wanted to learn there, but I had this burning need for knowledge.

My second wish was that I would travel. I wanted to see the world. I had at least one destination in mind–Japan. As I became a pre-teen I put those dreams on hold. I already knew that I had a higher intelligence than most of my peers. I was also the youngest in all of my classes.

Still my parents decided to leave me bored and unhappy. In second grade I was so bored, I read the entire reading list in one week. Then I started to bring books to school to read. I would give part of my brain to the teacher. If I already knew the subject, I wouldn’t listen until I had to take a test. I skated through school this way, making As and Bs.

When I reached the ripe age of thirteen, my parents decided to home school us. At that time my actual learning stopped and I was expected to teach my siblings basic math and reading. My parents had my life mapped out for me. I would work, get an educational degree, and teach children. I was so good at it. I would be married and have my own children then.

When I reached my early twenties and found that I wasn’t going to accomplish either of my dreams, I think I hit bottom. My parents wants for me contradicted my wants for me. I could follow them or I could break free.

I decided to break free. I joined the US Navy and became an electronics tech. I met my husband there, then when I left the Navy I acquired a degree in English Literature. I was 42 when I managed to accomplish that goal. In the Navy and afterward, I traveled to Japan, Panama, and Germany. I even spent a couple of years in South Africa.

Wishes are powerful things. What I didn’t know was that to gain what I wanted, I did sacrifice stability. My life up to now has been constant change. Sometimes I wonder if I would had been ill if I had taken that other path. But I know, deep down inside, that if I had caved, I would be a bitter unhappy woman and empty of experiences.

So wish– and be careful what you wish for– because you might get it.

Here comes the sun

agriculture barley field beautiful close up

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Yesterday the temperature neared 108 degrees. The dry breeze sucked up all the moisture from my body and then blow-dried my hair.

The news anchors reported that the temperature would drop to the 90s in the next few days. The relief from heat would be more heat.

My blonde hair glittered as the rays bounced off of it. I have to admit that I have always loved summer until I came to this place where heat bounced off the asphalt, turning the city into a brick oven. Even the taupe and brown painted apartments can’t push away the heat without the air conditioning going on constantly.

I had braved the heat to spend lunch with my nephew. Family and blood is the only reason I need to walk out into the crushing heat. I listen to my nephew talk about work, family, and social life. I know he is missing the mountain forests, cold clear streams, and throwing his line into the water as he listens to the sounds around him.

I used to love the mountains. My family would pack seven children into a small car with bread, mayo, tuna, and crackers. My father brought his fly fishing rods and bait. When we were freed from the confines of the car, we would run down the small path next to the stream. We would dig for worms and look for the big fat trout that sunned next to a huge rock. Mom would give us a hook and fishing line. We would try to trick the fish into eating the bait.

The fish was smarter than us because we never caught him. We would lie on the rock and sun ourselves and fall asleep. When dusk began to settle on us we would wake to our mother calling us to come back so we could drive home.

It was the only freedom I remembered then. The next day I would be in charge of diapers, food, canning, and cleaning.

So I listen to my nephew and remember what it felt like to work so hard and see nothing for it. I tell him to take some time off and go back to the mountains.

A Hint of Blue eyes

winter-1472915_1920

From intographics | Pixabay

I wrapped my coat around me as the temperature hit 41 degrees as I opened my front door and braved the morning to see my new little niece, Victoria.

This was the day when she would be presented to the church and given a name and blessing in the tradition of her family.

The church’s doors were opened and three generations of her family on both her mother and father’s side stood in the foyer. I stood with them to see this baby, who had had a hard start in life.

On the day of her birth, Victoria and her mother were rushed into surgery for an emergency C-section. Victoria’s pulse had stopped. For five heart-wrenching minutes she didn’t breath in the doctor’s arms. As my brother told it on Christmas Eve, his heart sunk to his stomach because he thought that they had lost this little girl.

She cried and his heart began beating again.

Then it was months of feeding her and keeping her safe because she was too small to survive in this whirling cocktail of disease. I understood why her parent’s kept this little one sequestered until she was old enough and strong enough to survive this world.

Her family descended on the church, filling three long wooden pews.  They doubled the attendance in that small church. We watched her being blessed. This little girl had tons of family to support her as she grew into womanhood.

Later I held her and smelled baby and sour milk. Her skin was soft and pink. I cuddled her.

Then she opened her eyes and I saw a hint of blue.

 

On the Eve of Independence Day

pow-1377526_1920
As you probably know from what I have written here, I am a Veteran. I am also a widow of a Veteran. I am a child of a Vet and a granddaughter of another Vet. I have family members who died in WWII and are buried in Europe. You could say military service runs in my family. You could say that my family was patriotic and loyal to their country.

It makes me sad when I read that some groups are getting together on Independence day so that they can burn the US flag. It is done in the name of “free speech.” Why am I sad? Because the flag is a symbol of our country and our people. Because when I was in the Navy, every morning we would stand and salute the flag. It reminded us as sailors, soldiers, and airmen of the reasons we were in a foreign country. It was for our families, our neighbors, and our country.

It saddens me when a group of people intimidate others through violence and coercion. The most recent group being “Antifa.”

This was not why I joined the Navy. This was not why my family joined the Navy and Army in wars. We truly believed what it said in the Constitution. We truly believed that we are a “nation of laws.” No one group of people is more equal than another. We are equal as individuals.

I’ve heard the argument that to make everyone equal we need to become exactly the same. Bullsh-t. What makes this country wonderful is that we all have the “opportunity” to make something of ourselves. We can be free in word and deed.

If I am speaking a strange language, then I am sorry. I am sorry that you did not learn your “civil rights” in school. I am sorry that you learned to be exactly like everyone else in your group. I am sorry that you didn’t learn discipline and the ability to set a goal and see it through. I am sorry that you are weary of the world of “instant gratification.”

Tomorrow as we celebrate this “grand new experiment” please stop and read. Read the “Declaration of Independence.” the “Constitution”, and the “Federalist papers.” Read what the Founding Fathers had to say. They weren’t just white males who owned slaves. They were educated. They were thinking past their generation. They were visionaries.

Let me leave you with the Pledge of Allegiance:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation
under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

 

Day after Summer Solstice and Strawberry Moon

Lone Tree Full Moon

From Pixabay

 

It was a hot day yesterday about 115 degrees and I was invited to sit in a friend’s pool for a few hours. Yes, I accepted.

The sun baked down on our heads and the only reason I didn’t get a sunburn–I have that light light skin– was because I was in the water and under a tree. It has been a long time since I have sat in a cool pool of water and watched the wasps land to take a drink. My late hubby and I would sit in my brother’s pool many years ago when I was half out of my mind after taking some serious prednisone and chemotherapy. There is something calming about sitting in the water, feeling it lap on your skin, while the air is as hot as an oven. The only thing better is a slight breeze to whip up once in awhile to cool your wet hair.

So we sat in the pool and swapped stories. New friends and old stories. When I was a young girl, my father had a friend who would come every summer to visit us with his family for a couple of days as the sun began to heat up the high desert. We didn’t have a computer or even a TV in the house. So when his friend came, we would sit around a round table, drinking lemonade and eating crackers, and my dad and his friend would swap stories.

Before my father became a hermit, he was in the Navy and was also a door-to-door salesman. I had heard most of my father’s stories. Because we had to make our own entertainment, we would tell or read stories to each other on Sunday evenings. However, his friend had other stories that were more colorful and were not quite fit for children’s ears.

When he would start on the stories, my parents would send us out to play. I would sit quietly in the corner so that they would forget I was there and I would listen. It was then that I gained a yearning to travel and see new places.

I miss the stories. Today, we have so many electronic toys and gadgets. So many of our stories are processed through the same clearing house. We don’t talk to each other any more. We don’t tell each other stories.

There is this push to read to the children. It is a good goal. Maybe a better goal would be to take a night a week and tell stories to your children of your lives and the lives of your parents.

We are all made of stories.

 

He would have been 68 today

Out_house_useage_Last night I knew today would be a punch in the gut. My late-hubby, Otto, would have been 68 today.

There were a few tears when I woke up about 4 a.m. this morning after a restless night.

Instead of thinking of his death, I want to think of his life. This picture shows that smile that made me love him. And yes, the inappropriate picture to prove that he did know how to use an outhouse.

Now if I could just remember his jokes– although most of them are inappropriate as well. He liked to get me with this one.

If you call a guy who works in the matshop a matman,
What do you call a woman who works in a matshop?

(a mattress)

(Matshop means maintenance shop btw)

So yea, I miss the easy laughs and just lying my head on his shoulders with his arms around me. I never thought I’d say that I miss his jokes.