Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hanging With the Losers

If you are anywhere near my age, you might remember Let's get together, yeah, yeah, yeah! The song goes on to talk about having a swingin' time. Last Saturday evening, we had one of those get togethers. I'm not sure it was swingin' but it sure was filled with laughter and good will.

A close examination of the above picture might just possibly reveal that there is a great disparity in ages of those posing. To me, that is one of the best parts of the friendship of this group of people. It transcends age, geography and occupations. It is a gift we all treasure and thank God for.

Pictured from left to right is me, Linda, Sandi, Heather and Sara. Sara is Linda's youngest daughter and Heather is the best friend of my youngest daughter, Gretchen. The real joy of this relationship is that it isn't limited to those pictured here. It also includes Linda's older daughter, Jodie, Sandi's daughter-in-laws Lara and Katie and my daughters Gretchen and Paige. I suppose to be fair, we should include Sandi's sons, Jeff and Peter and her granddaughter, Sienna. But, read on, there are others.

As you might have guessed, the perpetrators of this crew are Linda, Sandi and I. We became friends at church many years ago and began a ritual of having coffee at a local restaurant one morning a week. Over time, we were joined by Pat and Caryn. Our children began going off to college and would join us when they were home on vacation. That included Heather who I consider my third daughter, though I have to fight Sandi and Linda for her affections, and now Sandi's daughters-in-law and Sienna* .

Anyway, one day in a very long drawn out explanation of some women who Heather thought were trying to be cool, but were not. She said that unlike us, they were Loser Housewives. We loved the name and claimed it as our own. Thus was born The Loser Housewives.

Over time, our membership has changed some, but our commitment to each other remains strong. In the fellowship of that group of women, I know I am safe to be who and what I am. We have shared many joys together; engagements, weddings, births. We have laughed together till the tears flow. And we have cried many tears together over the burdens and losses of our lives. We have spoken honestly and lovingly to each other in the many circumstances in which we find ourselves. I always know that these women will tell me the truth, even when I'd rather not hear it. Through these many years, we have learned to love and trust each other more and more.

The list of things I have to be grateful for grows longer each day, but always at the top of that list are the Losers without whom my life would be the poorer.

*On a light note, although Lara is now officially a Loser, Sienna is only a Loser in Training.

Monday, October 22, 2007

This World Is Very Beautiful

This World is very beautiful
with trees so tall and high
and little fleecy clouds that float
up in the clear blue sky.
This world is very beautiful.
Our Father made it so.
How thankful we should be to Him
whose loving care we know.

These words from a song I learned in Sunday School many years ago kept going through my mind yesterday as Jim and I enjoyed a beautiful afternoon at Letchworth State Park.

It was such a lovely day I couldn't bear to stay home and take my usual Sunday afternoon nap. So after church, I suggested that we drive down to Letchworth and enjoy the beauty of the afternoon. Jim was willing to go, but warned me that it would be crowded. WOW! Crowded was right. It seemed lots and lots of people had the same idea we had.

Nevertheless, it was still a wonderfully pleasant afternoon. We drove in the Mount Morris entrance and meandered our way through the park to the Upper Falls.

After enjoying this lovely sight and the coolness of the water and the mist, we climbed to the old Railroad Trestle high above the falls.

I'm really out of shape and I'll admit it was a struggle for me to keep going. We had some time constraints, so Jim went on ahead while I made my way slowly to the top. I stopped a few times, but was determined to complete climb. You can imagine my consternation when I reached the top of the trail only to find a that there was a road we could have driven to the Trestle.

I caught Jim just as he was about to walk out on the bridge and he waited for me. He was surprised. He didn't think I'd make it to the top. After 39 years he should know I can be tenacious when I want.

In spite of my fear of heights, I did make it out onto the trestle though I didn't stay long. One quick picture and I was out of there.

Letchworth was another thing on our list for this summer so we were really glad we made the effort on this glorious fall day. The only downside of the trip was that it was entirely too short. We came home dreaming of next summer and maybe two whole days of hiking this glorious park.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Scrappin' The Day Away

I can't believe a whole week has passed since this great scrapping day. My neighbor, Tracy, and I had planned for weeks to attend this day long workshop. We had all that time to plan what we would do and collect our materials. Even so, Saturday evening found me scrambling to put all my things together. I was afraid I had packed up too much until I pulled into Tracy's driveway and she and Brian started to bring her things to the car. But, wouldn't you know, with all that, we both found ourselves wishing we had brought this or that.

By lunch, I think Tracy had finished one page while I was still on my first.

After lunch, I did get busy and managed to finish several pages by the end of the day. One, I hated when it was finished and now, one week later, I still hate it. Thank heavens for digital pictures. I can just print the image on my printer and "Voila" I can recreate the hated page.

Aside from getting to spend time with Tracy ,who I never see despite the fact that we live just yards apart, one of the highlights of the day was rekindling some precious friendships interrupted by time and circumstance.

Mary is one of my all-time favorite people. Our busy lives and my retirement from the library keep us from seeing much of each other so it was a joy to be able to run over to her table from time to time and catch up.

All-in-all it was a delightful and satisfying day and I can't wait until the next one.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Switching Gears

I think I must have been seventeen years old when my Dad bought a brand new Chevrolet Biscayne. I remember coming home from a trip to the shore with my friend Priscilla and finding the car sitting in our driveway. I was real excited about the new car ... until I discovered it was a standard shift, three speeds on the column.

That was Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning my dad was leaving on a trip. He was a long distance truck driver and we were a one car family. Oh yes, one other mom didn't drive. So, before the sun was up on Sunday, Dad and I got into the car. He told me what to do and I drove him the seventeen miles to the factory where he would pick up his rig and take off for Oklahoma. At the guard gate he kissed me goodbye and said, "You'll be fine". And I was on my own.

Well, good old Dad was right and I was fine. In fact, that is by far my favorite car ever. We kept that car for three or four years (about as long as my dad could go without trading cars) and I probably drove it as much as he did.

As easy as driving that old three speed on the column was for me, I could never quite master the art of driving a four speed, or heaven forbid, a five speed, on the floor. Try as I might, I just couldn't get it. Until now!!!

I may have mentioned in a previous post that we became the proud owners of a Subaru Legacy named Olivia last month.

Olivia is a sweet little car, previously owned by our dear brother, LaVerne. Jim really likes her a lot and says she has a lot of power, etc. The problem with Olivia is, that darned gear shift...all five speeds of it.

Jim says I MUST learn to drive Olivia, and of course, he's right. What if for some reason Homer is in the garage, or has a flat tire and Jim isn't get the picture. It is important that I be able to drive both of our cars. Soooo, Sunday afternoon after we had finished our walk on the high school track I decided to take the bull by the horns, or as it were, Olivia by the gear shift.
The high school parking lot was empty, and if I do say so myself, I did quite well. Jim, on the other hand, says he wouldn't advise I go the open road just yet. He says maybe when I quit looking at the gear shift and start looking at the road, then maybe I can try the open road.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Blossoms of Hope

I woke this morning feeling tired and discouraged. The meeting last evening didn't go as I had hoped. I felt I came off looking unprepared and not too smart. For me, that is a disaster. I desperately needed something positive to hold onto.

Breakfast with my dearest friends helped some, but I wasn't home long before total exhaustion took over. It was all I could do to make food for my neighbors who have a new baby. Putting one foot in front of the other, I trekked down to the bird feeder. Poor birds, I hadn't filled the feeder since I returned form vacation last week. The feeder was totally empty. On the way to the feeder, I just happened to glance at my clematis plant and to my surprise, saw blossoms. Yes, blossoms in early October.

Then it hit me. If the clematis can blossom in October, I can cast aside the disappointment of a meeting that didn't meet my expectations. I reminded myself that this is a temporary job, and not exactly brain surgery, that I have so many things of importance in my life. So much to be grateful for. I filled the bird feeder and walked up the hill to my house, on the way noticing the beautiful mums growing in my side yard.

Almost instantly, the fatigue dissipated and I was smiling and ready to face the world. The afternoon was filled with errands, cooking and most wonderful of all, visiting the newest member of our neighborhood. It's amazing what looking at the positives in our lives can do to change our mood. Thanks, Lord.