Sweet Saturday

The Babe and I made a loosely woven plan to make this home look festive. His part in it begins with he-man stuff; getting the boxes upstairs from the basement. I will decide to change stuff up from the other Christmases in this home. Buying a new tree last year was a great idea. It is “ours,” and only our memories will reflect in it. Sometimes, I get a hung up on the losses our family had around Christmas time. My dad died on December 7, 1988. That Christmas was one for the ages. It was the first holiday without him. I hated it. Mom had my Frankie sit at the head of the table where Dad always sat. He deserved to sit where his best friend sat for his whole seventeen years of life.

Flash back further, and on December 24, 1963, when I was twelve years old, our Grandpa died of a massive heart attack. Christmas Eve! I’ll never forget it. We weren’t with mom’s family, one of my little brothers was sick so we stayed home. Between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. The phone calls. Mom yelling at us to pray. Scrambling to get our rosaries. My brother and I walked to Church for our Midnight Mass duties; him an altar boy, me in the choir. It was hard to sing that night. I just wanted to cry.

Our family never gathered at Grandma and Grandpa’s house again. We didn’t get to stay with Grandma anymore; she learned to drive at fifty-nine and got a job. Later, our Aunt Judy had a gathering, but my mom and we didn’t go. The other siblings had their in-laws over. It always felt empty after that.

And then, a Christmas eve in 1996, saw the Babe come to my house with dinner fixings. He handed me a small bud vase. “Here, this is for you.” He walked away . I felt something metal on the ribbon. It was a ring. My daughter and her boyfriend grabbed my hands and silently squealed with excitement. I went into the kitchen.

“What is this?” I said.

“Would you marry me?”

“It would be an honor to be your wife.”

And it still is. And forever will be. We are so lucky to find each other in this crazy world. If none of the dreams I’ve ever entertained come true, the one of having someone truly love me has come true. That is what I choose to celebrate this Christmas and every single one we have left together. It is the best gift in the world, and I cherish it. I once told Dan’s mom, “Every day is Christmas with Dan.” She smiled. It’s still true today.

Yes, we disagree on things. We’ve always asked each other, “Is it really worth fighting about?” Nothing is at this point in life. We save it for important stuff. And nothing is that important to have stress in your life. We complement each other. We support each other.

We laugh a lot. We need that now and always. Find things to laugh about. Free up your hearts for love. We have both learned to let each other in. And that is so worth it. It took a long time, but it was worth the ride. Trust is hard, and we must earn it. I trust in him. He trusts in me. The best gift ever opened with our eyes each morning.

I thank you for reading. Hope to see you again tomorrow. It’s a nice, sunny day at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Make the most of it. Make the best of it. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be Courteous. Be the one who makes someone else smile in their heart. Have a beautiful day.

Memories

As I opened the blinds in the main bathroom this morning, the sun glared at the mirror above the sink. Splatter marks all over the place. I smiled. Yes, it was a splattered mirror, clearly dirty, and I smiled. Why? The sweet memory accompanying it. Our grandson Gavin, lover of dogs and common sense, the very smart boy, Grandpa’s best buddy, was over in the last couple of weeks. He spent the night, then Grandpa took him to school the next morning. With the whirlwind only an eight-year-old can create in his path, he dressed in our bathroom and brushed his teeth in the other one. No problem. The sink is lower, so it was easier for him.

Oh, I’ve seen the splatter marks before this. And I’ve smiled every time I’ve seen them. The memory is more important to me than a spotless mirror. One time, we left a little one-year-old handprint on the patio door, where the sun highlighted it all afternoon. It made me smile, too. Too fast our babies grow up, and even faster do our grandchildren grow up. Cherish them. Especially with their mess. A spotless home is often empty.

The Times of Your Life is a beautiful song written by Canadian Paul Anka. It came out in about 1975, and used by the Kodak Corporation in a commercial about capturing your memories on their fabulous film. If you’re young enough to not know what film is, we can’t be friends! It went in a camera and captured images. You had to take it to a place that would develop film. It took quite a while to get it back. At least for several days. You also had negatives available for reprints, if you wanted to order them.

So, of course, this beautiful song will evoke tears about the memories you have. Keep the good ones and don’t dwell on the bad ones. You’ll lose yourself in them. Baby handprints on windows. A little stool you sat on at Grandma’s house. A teapot you drank tea from when you were sick. Memories help us convey so much love. When I mix bread dough, I think of my Grandma Jewell. She baked unbelievable stuff for us. With so much love.

I’m selecting these beautiful memories to keep calm about the world right now. I would die laughing if, by some strange quirk of fate, Trump won. The folks at ABC, headed by George Stephanopoulos, are like the cackling women robbing Scrooges body after he dies. There is another glorious memory, going to the Omaha Community Playhouse’s production of “A Christmas Carol.” I’m wanting people to become civil again. I’m wanting people to calm down. Please. We need to. All of us.

Elvis sings the other song I am recalling about. Mac Davis (who passed recently), and Billy Strange co-wrote this beautiful song. Wow, listening to it now, I remember it so well. My kids were all little and playing in the leaf piles their dad and I raked up. We buried them up to the neck, then Frankie, the oldest put his hands up and threw leaves all over his brother and sister. Wonderful memories of the kids. I had photos of both scenes, but gave them to Frankie a few years ago. We lost them in his apartment fire, but I remember the vision. How terrible it must be to lose your memory, all catalogued in the corners of your mind. The song, “Memories,” is a classic.

Yesterday’s Breakfast was Delicious!

We’re doing pretty well eating differently. Yes, we’re doing Keto, mostly. I think it’s important to get everything we older folks need, so we’re adding a Protein drink every day. To find one with low carbs is a challenge, but we found Ensure in a very low carb version, with 30g of protein. Great discovery and doesn’t taste bad at all. We use it as a snack around noon – 2 p.m. Then cook dinner to eat anytime between 4pm and 6 pm, depending on what’s going on. So far, so good.

Keep your spirits up. Read positive things. Entertain your heart-warming memories. Do it while you still can. Thank you so much for reading today. I appreciate your time and hope you come back tomorrow for some more positive thoughts and words. It’s so much better when you keep a good thought. See you tomorrow! Be Safe!