Sunday, November 25, 2012

Giving Thanks in November 2012

Again, at Ken's house

 This is the fourth year we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving with my brother Ken. His wife passed away last May and at that time, he was adamant that the annual feast would go on and he hoped we’d be there.

            As Ken does EVERYTHING for the meal, he would follow the same routine. Except this time, we would miss his dear wife who, by the way, kept him calm during the pre-meal frenzy. We gave him several opportunities to back out but he didn’t so we packed up the car and headed south. 

            We drive part way on Tuesday and then the rest on Wednesday. The drive through the Smokey Mountains is always pleasant. This time, we veered off and drove to Deal’s Gap (TN state highway 129) that winds through 120 curves in 11 miles. It’s a motorcycle destination and even at the end of the season, we shared the road with many bikes.

cousin and sister
            I DO remember those times where we preceded family trips with the packing of the cooler: healthy snacks, sandwiches, soda and water. Dad would drive and his plan was always to NOT STOP until we got wherever we were going. That part hasn’t changed but this time, our supplies included beef jerky, string cheese, some stray graham crackers and Snapple. 

            I guess we’ve reached the age where we fret less about nutrition. Anyway, we were headed toward some really good eating. 

            The gathering included cousins, nieces, sisters, nephews, aunts, neighbors, special friends plus a whole pile of high schoolers. We all agreed that we would not talk politics, a wise decision as some of these people just get it all wrong!!! (oh) The feast was spectacular. Ken preceded Grace with some remarks about what this last year has meant. We remembered Janelle, shed a few tears, and thanked God for His blessings. We know that as we miss her, she is safe with her savior. In Heaven, it’s Thanksgiving all the time.

Britt, Mike, Lynne, Jan, Ken

            After dinner, we gravitated to activity centers: the game on TV; the impossible jigsaw puzzle; the wine and cheese group in the living room; the newspaper readers at the kitchen table. Little ones ran around, in and outdoors, playing with dogs.
A quiet place to rest
  The next day, we took a routine trip to Ken’s Starbuck’s. Then, we drove out to the cemetery to visit the Hayes spot. Before long, it was time for sister Janis to catch her plane. Then, early Saturday, we saw Mom off to Melbourne. Mike and I climbed back into the car for the trip home.

            Not too many people asked about how Mike is doing. But those who did (and do) get our standard answer these days: “He’s vertical. We’re living our life.”

            And tomorrow, that life slides back into routine.

(me and my baby brother)


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Generic Prayers

We know at this address that there are many people out there who pray for us. When we have set out a specific need, those prayers go up in our behalf. When we do not announce the need, we know that we receive the benefit of "whatever they need" prayers.

For many prayer warriors, there are few things more faith-affirming that to ask God for something and then see that the request is answered. I meet with a small group of ladies who are faithful and gifted in making requests known to God. Together we have seen miracles come to pass through the power of prayer.

Personally, I'm better if I don't know too many details. There's such a temptation to step up as an adviser to the Almighty. "Maybe you haven't considered this.....?"

When I am out and about and run into friends, the first question I get is, "How's Mike?" After the perfunctory answer, I may get, "And who's taking care of you?"

I'll tell you: I am well-cared for these days.

I have a close circle of praying friends and family. I have a great church family looking out for me.  I have connected with some amazing Believers in cyberspace. I may not meet them in person on this side of heaven but they're out there; they check on me; they encourage me.

Mike's illness has had some unexpected effects on me. Apparently, I've been grinding my teeth in my sleep. Over the last three years, I'm chipped off 4 filled teeth. Each has required a crown. While most people don't smile as they run into the dentist, most of the time, I do.

My dentist is a long-time friend. As getting caps requires drilling, the office staff schedules me for the nitrous room. They don't even ask. I get escorted to the gold/black room; they ask me what 'flavor' I want (vanilla, please!) and up I go. About an hour later, the temporary is seated and I'm off.

And there's more. These caps are on back teeth. Really, nobody will see them except my dentist and myself: but she and her assistant labor and debate about what shade of pearl will match the other teeth. You, my friends, cannot spot the capped teeth.

In town, we have the most amazing appliance repairman. He started his business about 25 years ago, working out of his van. At that time, he would come to your house whenever it worked for you." 9 PM?  No problem.  2:45 AM?  I'll be there." As we are people who work long hours, we appreciated his hustle.

Several years ago, after calling him 4 times to fix my dishwasher(I'd gotten a 'deal' on it), I finally asked him, "What brand do you NEVER work on?" He told me. I bought that. He's never had to fix it.

He now has an office and he's problem the busiest repairman in town. I have recommended him to everybody. But, if I call, he works us in right away.

Our washer died. The Kokomo Appliance Man came over. He let me know that it was time to replace it. He takes very good care of me.

We have a local coffee shop. I try to patronize local businesses. So I drive through most days after school. There are several locations. They take such good care of me. When I drive up, I'm greeted by a smiling face and, "Your regular?"  (large fat free latte) I think they start shrooooooooooging the milk as soon as they see me.

Our neighbor brought his leaf vacuum-thing over, twice, and cleaned up our yard. He takes good care of us.

We have a lawyer friend who has a gift for saying the right thing at the right time. Better, he puts it in writing so we can enjoy over and over. Taking god care of us.

These are simple things, I know. But God whispers to me that He's taking good care of us. And I have to believe that these come as a result of generic prayers.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Repeat

Readers of this blog have been following our adventures for some time now. As we post updates, you've come to know a lot about us.

Once Mike joined the author column, you've learned that he has many more facets than just 'retired lawyer,' and 'Lynne's favorite boy.'

Carpenter, speaker, writer, guy-about-town, pilot, sailor, swimmer, biker, bike restorer.....and, or course, chronicler of Cancer from a 1st person view.

Does it surprise anyone that he has a poetic side? Quite a while ago, I found a poem under my pillow. We had been grieving that we would not grow old together.

We have since grown 3 years older with each other.

Today, I sorted through a pile of stuff and recovered it. I'm posting it again.

The Old Gray Couple

They have only to look at each other to laugh--
no one knows why, not even they:
something back in the lives they've lived,
something they both remember but no words can say.

They go off at an evening's end to talk
but they don't, or to sleep but they lie awake--
hardly a word, just a touch, just near,
just listening but not to hear.

Everything they know they know together--
everything, that is, but one:
their lives they've learned like secrets from each other;
their deaths they think of the in the nights alone.

She: Love, says the poet, has no reasons.

He: Not even after fifty years?

She: particularly after fifty years.

He: what was it, then, that lured us, that still teases?

She: You used to say my plaited hair!

He: And then you'd laugh.

She: Because it wasn't plaited.

Love had no reasons so you made one up to laught at. Lơk! The old, gray couple!

He: No, to prove the adage true:

Love has no reasons but old lovers do.

She: And they can't tell.

He: I can and so can you.
Fifty years ago we drew each other, magnetized needle toward the longing north.
It was your naked presence that so moved me. It was your absolute presence that was love.

She: Ah, was!

He: And now, years older, we begin to see absence not presence: what the world would be without your footstep in the world--the garden empty of the radiance where you are.

She: And that's your reason?-that old lovers see their love because they know now what its loss will be?

He: Because, like Cleopatra in the play, they know there's nothing left once love's away...

She: Nothing remarkable beneath the visiting moon...

He: Ours is the late, last wisdom of the afternoon. We know that love, like light, grows dearer toward the dark.

-Archibald Macleish