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I checked my “junk mail”

And found some lost treasure there

You’d better check yours!

 

I never look in the “junk” folder of my email. Don’t ask me why, it’s just a habit I’ve never gotten into it.  If a message is in there, it must be for a darn good reason, right?  Well, I will now make it a weekly habit to take a peek in that neglected folder.

Here’s why: a friend and I submitted stories to a publisher looking to create an anthology. Months went by, which is par for the course, and I’d nearly forgotten about it, when she told me she’d gotten a “Dear Author” reply, declining her story.  I hadn’t gotten anything.  I told myself that must be positive—unless they were rejecting authors in alphabetical order, then I could still get bad news.

Overnight, my subconscious must have been working, because when I woke in the morning, I thought immediately of my “junk mail” folder. Sure enough, when I checked it, I found good news from that publisher.  My story had made the cut and would be part of the anthology.  I was smiling as I clicked the box that read “not junk”, moving the happy note to my inbox, where it should have gone all along.

While I was there, in my junk mail folder, I scrolled through about a hundred messages, most of which earned their place in that spot. I did find a few other messages that, while not crucial, were still important enough to move elsewhere.

It is hard to keep up with all the email messages that come in each week, and I’m glad Gmail, Outlook and others help a bit by sorting them. But you can’t beat human eyes for knowing best what should go where.  I’ll never neglect my junk mail folder again.

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It’s been fourteen years

Since my father passed away

Gone–but in my heart

I can hardly believe it has been fourteen years since my father passed away. I’ll never forget that long dark night when the impossible happened.  My dad, who had been in my life forever, was gone. And I learned “forever” is just another word, with a million meanings that don’t fit. There is no “forever”, it seems.

And yet—

And yet, if I close my eyes, I can hear Dad playing the trumpet. If I concentrate, I can see his smile, hear his laughter, watch his hands as he sands the bumper on one of his MGs.

And yet, I carry on his love for plaid, and of all things British. I share his conviction there’s more to life than work. There’s curiosity and learning and the pursuit of an interest.

And yet, that creak in my knee sounds just like his. And my ankles are just as skinny, and my feet just as cold.

And so, I guess “forever” does exist, will exist, for a little while longer, after all—in my body, in my memory, and in my heart.

Happy Holidays!

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And so here we are at the end of another year.  When I was just a girl, my fifth grade teacher told the class one day that every year of our lives would go by faster than the year before.  I remember thinking that couldn’t possibly be true, but, sure enough, it is.  I told him that story when he retired, and I’ll bet he was reflecting on the truth of his words, just then.

If you ask me, these busy weeks around the holidays provide a respite of sorts from dealing with everything else that needs attention. At least, that’s how I operate.  “In the New Year,” I think as I add yet another note to my to-do list.  Of course, the trick will be in sticking to my resolution to tackle these jobs, when my track record with resolutions is as good as anyone else’s–that is to say, not very good at all.

But before all of that work comes the fun of being with family and friends, laughing and sharing conversation, and eating too much chocolate. I try to make a point of getting the same kind of chocolates Mom got when we were little, and I put them in the candy dish that belonged to my Gramma. I dropped that dish a few years ago, breaking it into several pieces.  It took me an hour to glue it carefully back together again and, if you look at three sides of the dish, you’d never know of the catastrophe.  That fourth side, though…well, let’s just say it’s best turned to the wall.  I’ll always use that little dish, and fill it with Mom’s chocolates as long as the company makes them.  Christmas is all about traditions, after all, and that’s one of my favorites.

Happy Holiday wishes to you all.

 

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Twenty eight years now

Since vows made us man and wife

Here’s to our future!

 

It’s hard to believe nearly three decades have passed since the day we were married.  How different life was then!  Looking at our album, I see so many beloved faces sharing our celebration, faces no longer here with us.  Dear ones, lost to time. So many. Too many.  Recalling the day, I recall them, too–my parents, Neal’s parents, Gramma, aunts, uncles.

How wonderful it was to gather them all together that day, first in my college’s Chapel for our lovely, very personal ceremony, then later at an historic hotel for an elegant, low-key reception, where everyone ate a vegan dinner and topped the meal with two vegan cakes–a spice cake, and a fancy chocolate one.

In the photos, the happiness of our wedding shines not just from our eyes, but from that of all our guests, as well.

Today, we’ll celebrate now, and then. Love–past, present, and future.

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“Closed for the season”

The sign at beach snack bar says

But I must disagree

 

Never one to blindly follow rules, I’m afraid my beach isn’t closed for the season just yet. Oh, there will be no more enticing smells of french fries from the snack bar, no chance at a cold beverage–or a hot one–unless I remember to bring it along, but that’s okay.

The wind and the waves and the birds and the trees are all still here for me, just where I need them, to disconnect from real life for a while each week.

It’s even better here, at the beach, in the off season. Such wonderful words: off season, implying the reality of deserted sand, stacked-up beach chairs, shuttered windows and, somewhere far ahead, a turn in the weather.

Now, I’ll absorb the scene and the sense of it all. Drink in the energy of the waves, the feel of the sun, the bliss–just the bliss-of the off season.

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Birthday thoughts

 

Old tree sways in wind

Surviving by adapting

Just goes with the flow

 

I took a walk on the bike path today, when a hint of autumn was in the air. Stopping to admire the view of the ravine, I followed the trunk of one tree up, up, up and watched the top of this obviously old tree sway in the breeze. The whole tree, actually, moved with the wind, adapting to its direction.

And I thought of how this old tree could still adjust to changes. Indeed, had to, in order to survive. there’s a lesson there for me, as another birthday draws near.

Adjust, adapt, survive.

Okay!

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Family portrait

With churning waves as backdrop

Quite a memory!

 

 

Over a ways from where I am sitting on the beach, a man is posing his family for a portrait. His camera’s on a tripod in the sand and they all stand with their backs to the sea. The waves are raging today, white caps crashing onto shore, the churned-up sediment turning the water as brown as the sand.

What a memory that photo will be!  Years from now, when it’s posted on the wall of one of the children’s homes, they’ll point at it, remembering this day, when they were all so young and summer was at an end.

Daddy, perhaps, was the parent who wanted one more trip to the beach before school began, so even though the temperature was cool and the wind was strong, down they’d come. Of course, as kids, they’d been impervious to cold and had spent hours running along at the edge of the water, their high, thin voices lost in the deafening roar of the waves.

And then, Daddy had made them all stand still, their ceaseless motion on pause, for just the time it took to gather, to smile, to sprint away again, back down the sand.

Silly Daddy and his pictures, they may have thought. But one day, they will thank God for Daddy and his pictures. Thank God for the memory of that lovely–this lovely–September day.