You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2007.

         

Heaven needed an angel

One who was smart and kind.

They searched the earth

She was very hard to find.

 

Sharon’s spirit shined bright like the sun.

Heaven caught a glimpse and knew she was the one.

They didn’t ask our permission, we would’ve never agreed

She was one of us and now our hearts are left to bleed.

 

Today her spirit has been freed and she will fly

No doubt she will protect us until the day we die

She will watch over her family and keep them secure

She will be by their side when life is hard to endure

 

She is preparing her home for when we get to see

She is planning the celebration for our jubilee

She will ring the bells and gather everyone around

She will show us pictures of the day she was crowned

 

For a queen she is inside of Heaven’s doors

No longer will she suffer heartaches and wars

Until the day we meet up way beyond the sky

Take care our love, use your wings and fly

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Our family is mourning. We got news on Sunday night that one of our cousins died suddenly. She was only thirty nine years old. We have always been a close family. In our childhood years we spent a lot of time together. My father came from a large family. All of his brothers and sisters lived within blocks of each other. Many of them had large families of their own. The amount of first cousins I had was too many to count. Growing up we spent many weekends together at a cabin in the country. We would fish, play softball, horseshoes, and take hikes in the woods. After all of the activities we would gather around the picnic tables and enjoy a feast. Each family was known for specific dishes. My uncle (my cousin who died father) was famous for his Manhattan clam chowder. A huge soup pot would simmer on an open fire all day long and when he yelled “Soup’s ready,” we would run to stand in line with our little Styrofoam cups and plastic spoons. It was the highlight of the day. No one made clam chowder like Uncle Sam. As we grew older the Sunday afternoons at the country lessened, partly because we loss a five year old cousin tragically,(A tragedy I remember very little about). I was told it made it harder to participate in the outings with one less. In my twenties we managed to get back together on occasion. It felt like old times, our faces were older but we still looked forward to the same things, fishing, hiking, eating, and most of all each other. Those moments came to an end as the family grew. The cousins married and had children of their own and we lost touch even though most of us still lived within walking distance. Life took over and our close knit family grew further and further apart. I would see my cousins at other family functions- weddings, Christmas parties and sad to say funerals. This is not the funeral I thought I would be attending. The funeral of a thirty nine year old kind hearted cousin. Sharon was the middle child of my father’s oldest brother. She had a younger and older brother. She was godmother to her youngest brother’s two children and was going to be the godmother of his third. She loved Penn State football and hockey games. Her intelligence was incredible. She was the family’s accountant and helped all of us out during tax season. As I explained before, our family is huge so you could imagine how busy that time of year was for her. But she did it all. Anytime one of us would have those girly type parties whether it was jewelry, home interiors, Tupperware or a cooking show, she was a guaranteed guest.
When her father grew old and started to lose his reality she moved in with her mother to help tend to his needs. Her death made me realize that family is family. You could separate for days, months even years. You could have friends that know more about you than any of your cousins could ever imagine knowing. But in the end, at times like these it is your family that gathers around and lifts you up. Cries with you, remembers for you, and circles around like soldiers entering a battle. Each soldier holds a different title but every responsibility serves a purpose. Sunday night we gathered, we cried, we sat in silence when words were pointless. We wished this was a cross we didn’t have to bear. In the earlier days we stood in line for the clam chowder. Now we stand in line waiting for the moment the cross is too heavy to hold and we offer our assistance. United is the family who loses one of their own.  

 

Our family is mourning. We got news on Sunday night that one of our cousins died suddenly. She was only thirty nine years old. We have always been a close family. In our childhood years we spent a lot of time together. My father came from a large family. All of his brothers and sisters lived within blocks of each other. Many of them had large families of their own. The amount of first cousins I had was too many to count. Growing up we spent many weekends together at a cabin in the country. We would fish, play softball, horseshoes, and take hikes in the woods. After all of the activities we would gather around the picnic tables and enjoy a feast. Each family was known for specific dishes. My uncle (my cousin who died father) was famous for his Manhattan clam chowder. A huge soup pot would simmer on an open fire all day long and when he yelled “Soup’s ready,” we would run to stand in line with our little Styrofoam cups and plastic spoons. It was the highlight of the day. No one made clam chowder like Uncle Sam. As we grew older the Sunday afternoons at the country lessened, partly because we loss a five year old cousin tragically,(A tragedy I remember very little about). I was told it made it harder to participate in the outings with one less. In my twenties we managed to get back together on occasion. It felt like old times, our faces were older but we still looked forward to the same things, fishing, hiking, eating, and most of all each other. Those moments came to an end as the family grew. The cousins married and had children of their own and we lost touch even though most of us still lived within walking distance. Life took over and our close knit family grew further and further apart. I would see my cousins at other family functions- weddings, Christmas parties and sad to say funerals. This is not the funeral I thought I would be attending. The funeral of a thirty nine year old kind hearted cousin. Sharon was the middle child of my father’s oldest brother. She had a younger and older brother. She was godmother to her youngest brother’s two children and was going to be the godmother of his third. She loved Penn State football and hockey games. Her intelligence was incredible. She was the family’s accountant and helped all of us out during tax season. As I explained before, our family is huge so you could imagine how busy that time of year was for her. But she did it all. Anytime one of us would have those girly type parties whether it was jewelry, home interiors, Tupperware or a cooking show, she was a guaranteed guest.
When her father grew old and started to lose his reality she moved in with her mother to help tend to his needs. Her death made me realize that family is family. You could separate for days, months even years. You could have friends that know more about you than any of your cousins could ever imagine knowing. But in the end, at times like these it is your family that gathers around and lifts you up. Cries with you, remembers for you, and circles around like soldiers entering a battle. Each soldier holds a different title but every responsibility serves a purpose. Sunday night we gathered, we cried, we sat in silence when words were pointless. We wished this was a cross we didn’t have to bear. In the earlier days we stood in line for the clam chowder. Now we stand in line waiting for the moment the cross is too heavy to hold and we offer our assistance. United is the family who loses one of their own.  

 

My second waitressing job was in a pancake house. I learned quickly that most of the customers were regulars. Many of them were older couples. There was the woman who was a psychic and her very quiet husband. He hated when she would talk about her gift. It made him feel uncomfortable. She did read my palm once to his dismay. She told me I would marry the guy I was with. I was only seventeen so the thought of marriage was way off. She was right, I did marry him. She also said I would have three children and I do. Even though her predictions came true, I take them very light heartedly. There was the school bus driver and his wife. I loved this couple. We would talk for hours about trains and the Amish country and anything in between. He had the brightest twinkle in his eye and she had the warmest smile. They were the type of people who made you feel safe. The type you could call from anywhere at anytime and they would come to your rescue. When I left the pancake house to go to a bigger chain restaurant they followed. My heart always soared when I saw their faces. My heart broke when I found out the husband died. I still receive a card from her on occasion more than a decade later. Many of my regular customers were older so I had to endure the heartache of losing them forever. I was touched by all of them, but there was one couple that will forever occupy my mind. I called them my grandparents. They were the cutest pair. We had long chats about their life. She couldn’t have children because of a tipped uterus. Back in her day there was nothing that could be done to fix the problem so they had to accept they would be childless. I explained to them that I never met my father’s parents and wished so badly that I did. She offered to be my grandmother and her husband my grandfather. I fell in love with them. They were precious to me as I was to them. We lived in a small town, so when she suddenly died of a heart attack word reached us quickly. I remember going to her wake and seeing him there and thinking how sad he must be. How alone he must feel. No children, no siblings that I knew of. All he had was his girls. We were his girls, me and another waitress. The first time I saw him after his wife died I almost cried. He tapped his heart and smiled. Immediately I thought he was telling me his heart was broken. I was shocked when he pulled out my senior picture. He said “here you are, close to my heart.” I gave him the picture months before and he did tell me he would keep it in his pocket close to his heart but I was shocked to see he still carried it.  He still placed it inside the pocket of his shirt each day to remind him of me. I told him, “We’re going to visit you and keep you company.” I made good on my promise, my husband (boyfriend at the time) stopped for a gallon of ice-cream and dessert and trekked up to his home in the mountains. We spent a wonderful night with a beautiful man. As we pulled up his driveway the first thing I noticed was a Beware of dog sign. He opened his side door and excitedly waved as if he couldn’t believe we actually came. “Come in, come in, I have been waiting for you.” We sat at his kitchen table and talked. He took out my picture and explained to my husband how he always has it close to his heart. I asked where the dog was and burst out laughing when he told me there was no dog they just put up the sign to scare off intruders. He gave us a tour of his modest home. He tearfully told us how he found his wife in the bathroom the day she died. My soul ached for his loss but I admired how strong he was. “I have a surprise for you guys wait right there.” My husband and I looked at each other puzzled. We could hear him in the next room fiddling around with something but had no idea what it could be. “I’m ready,” he called out. We went in to find him dancing in the living room, twirling about. His arms fluttered in the air like wings. A record on an old turn table played a melody from the fifties. I have to be honest, at first I was like-what is he doing. But then I realized he was so happy to have company that it made him want to dance. We ended the night with a big hug and another promise to return. Soon after that night life changed for me. I was a senior in high-school. With less than a month left to graduation my parents house caught fire and we lost everything in it. My priorities shifted, I was busy helping my parents and consoling my family. My already hectic schedule became even crazier. I had class night (a senior skit), prom, senior day, graduation, the all night party and many trips to the laundromat to try and salvage whatever clothes were left. The smell of smoke was so strong even after three washes that we ended up throwing most away. I left the pancake house and went on to the bigger chain restaurant. After everything settled I started thinking of my grandfather (aka-my regular). I couldn’t believe how I forgot about him. When I saw my other regulars walk in to the restaurant I instantly asked them if they knew how he was doing. (They lived close to him). “I’m afraid he died honey,” was not the words I wanted to hear. I was also informed that a nephew (I didn’t know he had) of his was robbing him right before he died. I wanted to throw up. I still do every time I think of it. It’s a heavy stone upon my heart. To think I was the one he carried close to his heart and he died without me telling him how much of my heart he had. It is one of my biggest regrets in life. To honor him, I am letting everyone here in the blogging world know-Once I met a couple- an extraordinary man and woman who offered me a part of their life. And the part I took will be forever incomplete because I never got to say goodbye to either one. I never returned and now I never can. I wonder how long he kept my picture in his pocket and was there a point he took it out and thought she broke my heart.

Who are the people on your street? Do you know what life they live? I have lived on the same street for most of my life but barely know my neighbors, most of them anyway. In the small one level home on the corner is an elderly woman. Growing up she was not the kindest woman. She barely said hello. Rumor had it she did not like young children. I recall her husband being equally distant. He was always outside watering his sidewalk of all things. He died of a massive heart attack and the woman was left alone. After his death she would acknowledge me as she passed taking her dog for a walk. First a small smile, then a soft hello. The dog seemed to keep her company but he died too. The small smiles turned to wide grins and the soft hellos became loud hollers. “Hello, come talk to me she would say.” Surprised but intrigued I did. It turned out she was a nice lady but she was lonely. She faced hardships in life. She lost a young daughter years before I was born. I understood a little better why she wasn’t nice to children. Perhaps they reminded her of the little girl her daughter never became. Often she would invite me over for a chat. Occasionally I would go but having three children takes up a lot of my time. Late at night when the street is dark I think of her and how lonesome she must be. Diagonal from my home is a cute ranch style home. The home was built long ago and the man who built it still lives there with his wife. He is in his late seventies possibly early eighties but still full of life. He can always be seen on the front lawn planting flowers or tidying up his quaint yard. He loves my son’s curls and always asks if he can cut some of his hair. I admire his work ethic and find his smile endearing. Directly across the street from me is another elderly couple. The husband jogged around the neighborhood for years until his age took away his stamina. They were the only ones on our street to have an in ground pool. The wife used to be active in our church and would throw pool parties for the youth group. I always had a blast at her house. Still I really never knew her. Last year an ambulance pulled in front of our house. When I looked out to see what was happening I saw them take her away on a stretcher. She had a stroke. Now instead of jogging her husband walks arm and arm with her around the block, so she can get her exercise. A few houses up the street are a young couple. They recently had a baby girl. They are friendly. I have had some quick conversations with the husband who is usually the one I see outside. I know he loves the Yankees and works down the road. He is a loveable guy who seems to adore his wife and was very excited to become a father. Another young married couple moved next door to them. They don’t come off as friendly. They may be the type that likes to keep to their selves. Actually, I have never seen the wife only the husband. He is a tall dark haired man with intimidating eyes. He did help the elderly woman this past winter per my request. Her driveway was snowed in up to her back porch. She yelled over to me and begged for help. I noticed him plowing his sidewalk and ran up and asked if he could assist her. I got the feeling he was annoyed but he did it anyway. There is a hippie dude at the end of the street. I bet he is a fun guy. He drives a white Volkswagen Beetle. His front yard is filled with wildflowers and his window treatments are Mexican blankets. Across from him is a recently divorced woman who has three Newfoundland’s. Don’t ask me how but she manages to walk all three of them at the same time. They are all people who I’m sure have depth. Their lives may be completely different from mine or more similiar than I know. I live in a surface neighborhood. Our knowledge of each other is equivalent to small talk. You throw something out there, “a hello or a how’s the baby?” Maybe a “How are you feeling?” but nothing more. They don’t know me and I don’t know them. It’s funny how you can live right next door to someone but be so far away. A song comes to mind as I write this. A song I heard repeatedly in my childhood years. Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood? It was a song from Sesame Street. The lyrics summed it up. They are the people that you meet when you are walking down the street the people that you meet each day. But we were never told who those people really were. Sure we knew their occupations-a postman, a fireman just like I know a hippie, newlyweds, an older woman, and two married couples. I know their titles, their surfaces, but I have no idea who they are.  And I probably never will.

This is not a story about father’s day. This is a story about the day my father had. He woke up determined to go to the bank to see why his account was short three hundred dollars. He is a very financially organized man and knew something had to be wrong. Something was wrong but unfortunately it was his mistake. Even perfect people (as I would like to think of him) make mistakes. He forgot to enter the amount in his checkbook; therefore he had three hundred dollars less than he thought. As if that wasn’t enough of a bummer, upon leaving the bank he approached his car and discovered he had a flat tire. It still had enough air in it to make it across the street to the convenient mart’s air pump. He deposited his three quarters in the machine only to find the machine was not working. It was becoming one of those days. He entered the store and explained to the cashier what happened. “You will have to call the 1-800 number to retrieve your money,” she advised. “You got to be kidding,” was his response. A manager exited the back room and was kind enough to give him his seventy-five cents back. “Put a sign on the machine,” my father requested. “There is one,” the manager assured. The manager was wrong. There was no out of order sign anywhere to be seen. Off to another air pump he traveled. He was relieved to find the next one working. He pumped the air, got back in his car and drove to a garage to have the tire fixed properly. He explained to his mechanic what happened and asked if he could fix it. “We are fixing our tire repairing machine; you will have to wait a bit.” Of course, on a day like this these are the things that happen. He tried to call home to his wife-my mother. Unbeknownst to him my two year old daughter was over and took the phone off the hook. The annoying beeping of the busy signal was all he got for the next twenty minutes. The tire eventually got patched and he was on his way. He had to pick up some groceries and was hopeful his luck was changing when he found a quarter in his shopping cart. His last stop would be the post office. Upon approaching, he could see one empty spot directly in front of the building. “Great,” he thought. He was just about to pull in when another car in the opposite direction came and quickly turned into the spot.  We are characters in our own movies, sometimes our days are dramas other times tearjerkers, today my father’s motion picture was a comedy. At least I thought so. And knowing him the way I know him I think he agrees. 

Mom, get me a snack. “Okay, what would you like?” “Whatever.” This conversation is becoming very common in my house. It usually starts at about seven o’clock at night and ends anywhere from five minutes to an hour later. The one asking me for the snack is my son. You would think he is easy to please. After all he is saying whatever. Meaning anything would be fine right? No, by whatever he means anything but the options I give. “Okay, how about an apple?” “No, I don’t want a yucky apple; I already ate one today.” I take a deep breath and try to think of another option. Usually I suggest something that won’t take too much effort. “How about a nice bowl of cereal?” I can tell by the piercing gaze he is giving me he does not want cereal either. “No, I don’t want cereal and I don’t want an apple,” he yells back. “Well then what do you want?” I ask trying to refrain from screaming. “Whatever just get me something,” he says. I explain in by best teacher voice that “whatever” means, anything you decide to give me is fine. If he doesn’t feel that way then he will have to think about what exactly it is he wants. “I want a snack,” is his response. After running down a list of snacks that don’t require a pot or pan my patience grows thin. I try to remind myself I am the adult and he is the child. There is no reason for me to get in a fighting match over something so silly. My good angel is whispering be patient dear, your child is hungry you wouldn’t want him to go to bed hungry would you? But in the other ear is my bad angel-Tell the kid to stop whining, think about what it is he wants, and tell you when he figures it out. And hey he’s not going to bed hungry you had dinner an hour ago. I take him to the refrigerator and give him a mini tour- he finds nothing appealing. I point to what he can have in the junk drawer-licorice, crackers, an Oreo cookie or two, but advise that chips are out of the question. He decides he’s not hungry after all. I swallow hard and try to calm the nerves that have been dancing through me for the past forty minutes. I call on the breathing techniques I learned in yoga and escort him back to the couch. I applaud myself for not losing it. After about five minutes he looks at me and says “I’m thirsty, get me whatever.”  

I was really excited to post my song here with the lyrics. I followed protocol and uploaded it but was disappointed to find the site I uploaded it to had inappropriate pictures that I didn’t want to be a part of. So unless someone can direct me to a site where my song can be uploaded minus the promiscuous pictures I won’t be posting it. I am bummed because I think many of you would have liked it. Such is life.Feel free to leave a comment if you know of any info that could be helpful.

Make sure you pop by later, I am trying to get a song I wrote onto my blog. It should be up and running a little later today.

Tonight I wish to address the people who cannot control their urge to throw another’s drink away prematurely. You know who you are. You’re the neat freaks, the cleaner-uppers, the-I think she’s done with this type of people. I am pleading with you to ask before you dispose. I know, it only looks like there’s a mouthful left, the ice cubes are just about melted and the drink appears to be watered down. The average person may not wish to finish this diluted drink. I am not the average person. I am the person who loves my last sip. In fact I anticipate the last sip. I have to say my favorite beverage to experience the last sip with is fresh brewed iced tea. There is a merger that happens at the end of this drink than cannot be compared to the first sip or anything in the middle. The tea, water from the melting ice and the few small tic-tac size cubes left, creates a perfect encore. Imagine my disappointment when I go to take that last sip and my cup is gone. My eyes frantically search the area. I hope that I simply misplaced it. I check every corner of counter, every table’s edge; I even quickly look atop the microwave. I don’t’ want to ask the question because I don’t want to hear the answer. So again I look, expecting to find my glass in the same place I swore I left it. But more times than not it’s gone. “Did someone take my drink?” I ask. Growing up it was always my mother. She liked a tidy house and hated when glasses were hanging about. If you saw her coming you better grab your drink or kiss it goodbye. Usually she was too quick for me and it was too late, my last sip was gone. It didn’t only happen at home. It seemed to happen at the restaurant just as much. It would be a crazy busy night. In between waiting on tables, punching in orders and trying to stay in the zone, I would pour myself a glass of tea. When my mouth became parched I would whiz up to it take a quick sip and carry on my way. I knew once I got caught up with all of my tables I could enjoy it to the last drop. Yeah, that never happened. Whatever shift I worked, there was always that one waitress who went into her own zone and cleared the clutter. Little did she know my last sip was amongst that clutter. It hasn’t only happened with tea, my coffee mysteriously disappeared several times and I had many glasses of water go M.I.A.. Countless times I found my glass empty in the sink. But there was one drink that never seemed to get thrown away. The soda I got at the drive-thru, which sat in my car’s cup holder for hours on a hot day. I got  distracted before I made it to the garbage can and set it on the counter. Three hours later there it was just as I left it. The bottom of the cardboard cup was now deteriorating from the sweat of the melting ice. A puddle of soda/water circled the cup and dripped down the side of my counter. It’s funny how no one thought to throw this one away.