Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Yesterday, Robin and I experienced one of those “first in our lifetime” events we always like to remember and talk about later. Steve and Tonya, our older son and daughter-in-law, had invited us to join them and another couple for the Mississippi State vs. University of Louisville game at the Music City Bowl in Nashville, so we took them up on their offer.

We knew the excursion might be a bit strenuous for us, navigating our way through crowds of fans, making our way through security, locating our seats in the stadium, and braving cold, windy weather with temps in the 40’s. But the forecast had predicted a sunny day, Steve had told us they’d drive us into Nashville and home again, and Sharon and Mike, our daughter and son-in-law, had loaned us their Mississippi State clothing and gear, so we were excited to go.

After lunch, I drove Robin and me to Steve’s.  From there, Tonya drove us in our car into Nashville to meet Steve and our eleven-year-old granddaughter, Lily Grace, at a place close to where Steve had taken her for a therapy appointment. Sam, our nine-year-old grandson, stayed at home with a favorite sitter, and he seemed happy about that, too, so the afternoon looked promising.

We met Steve and Lily Grace and discovered he’d called an Uber driver to pick us all up at that location to take us to the stadium. Steve said he’d forgotten to get a parking permit when he ordered the tickets, but later, we were all thankful to have Uber do the driving. The traffic was terrible, streets near the stadium were blocked off, and police, with security cameras on almost every corner, watched to make sure no one tried to make a prohibited left turn. It took almost an hour for even our skillful driver to wind his way through the maze.

Finally, he dropped us off at the spot designated for Uber passengers, and before leaving, he advised us where to walk to after the game to have the best chance of quickly getting another Uber driver to take us back to our cars.

We walked a short distance to the huge Titans Stadium, stood in line to pass through security, then found our way to elevators that would carry us up to the seventh tier. Yes, we knew we would be way up there, but even those “cheap seats” were $60 each, including the tax.

After exiting the elevator, we followed the signs to find our section and row, emerged into the open stadium, and I stared up at a steep column of concrete stairs leading to the top. It looked like we’d be scaling the side of a mountain! However, Robin and I held onto safety hand rails all the way up, then inched our way down a narrow ledge to our fold-down seats.

We sat on the east side of the stadium, so the sun in the west hit us directly in the face. The wind was brisk, too, but we donned our sunglasses, caps, and scarves and settled in. Way, way down on the field, the players looked like miniature moving dots of white and red. With the stadium’s shadow covering the field, I could barely see the Louisville players in their dark-colored uniforms, so during the first quarter, I watched most of the action on the jumbotrons. Finally, the sun sank behind the Nashville skyline, the stadium lights came on, and I could see the game much better. However, our team began to falter, and that wasn’t much fun to watch.

Before halftime, Steve and his friend, made their way down to the concession stands and returned with a huge pretzel for Lily Grace, popcorn and drinks for several others, and bottles of water for Robin and me. At halftime, we enjoyed the Mississippi State Band’s excellent performance, and Steve reminisced about his days in the drum line. Wait, was that really almost forty years ago!  Yikes!  : )

Then Lily Grace, Robin, and I ventured back down the mountain to the restrooms. Ah, warmth at last! I hated to go back up! By the end of the third quarter, though, our team had fallen farther and farther behind, so we all gathered our gear to leave.

Outside the gates, we still needed to walk to where we could call another driver, so we struck out on foot for downtown. The city’s lights in the distance were beautiful, but a cold wind whipped us as we marched up and over the long pedestrian bridge across the Cumberland River. We must have hiked well over a mile before we came to a street where hotels on either side seemed to offer good places for Uber pickups, and Tonya, Lily Grace, Robin and I ducked into a Starbucks to stay warm while Steve punched up Uber on his phone and stood by the curb.

Thankfully, he waited only a few minutes, the five of us crammed into another car, and the friendly driver delivered us to where our two cars were parked. From there, Steve drove Robin and me in our car, Tonya and Lily Grace followed in their car, and we headed to Cheddar’s, one of our favorite restaurants, for supper. The friends who’d attended the game with us met us there, and we all had a fun time together again, relaxing and enjoying our meal in that nice, warm, cozy environment. Before taking us home, Steve drove us into downtown Franklin so we could see all the beautiful Christmas lights too. A perfect ending to another exciting “first time” adventure!

Happy New Year, everyone!  May 2020 bring you many happy, new adventures.

A Time for Prayers

During this Christmas season, we Americans have much to be thankful for. Our U.S. Constitution is still intact, and in spite of the battles between our two political parties over the impeachment of our President, we still believe that truth and justice are paramount and that truth and justice will prevail. However, this Christmas is a time for prayers.

“Let peace begin with me,” we sing. But are we open to having an honest dialogue without meanness?  Can we “walk with our brother” without slamming him to the ground?  Prayers for patience and understanding are definitely in order!

Today, I’d like to share a poem written by my mother, Faith Lucy Stockton Mischler. This piece was published in Candle Glowing, a collection of writings by Shreveport Writers’ Club, Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1973.

The Star

O lustrous star that trembled into sight

Over a Persian land of long ago,

And sent the Wise Men out into the night

To learn the meaning of that gathering glow,

Were you aware your beams would mark the span

From past to present? Radiant mystery

Made clear to earth the night that time began

Forever after, Anno Domini.

O lighten still the darkness of our days,

Dissolve each hidden sorrow with the light

Of reconciliation. Let fresh rays

Of rapture cleanse our hearts this Christmas night.

O star whose blazing path changed history,

Kindle a flame of love this night in me.

 

May it be so, dear friends. May you have a peaceful, blessed Christmas.

 

Green Fuzzies

Today I’ll share a fun brain teaser you can play with all your buddies. It took me a while before I could figure out the answer, so don’t be surprised if you’re stumped at first, but when you discover the solution, you’ll laugh.

The following statements are all true. What makes something a “green fuzzy”?

  • A dress is a green fuzzy, but pants are not.
  • Puppies and kittens are green fuzzies, but dogs and cats are not.
  • Cookies are green fuzzies, but pies and cakes are not.
  • Pillows are green fuzzies, but quilts and blankets are not.
  • Tennis is a green fuzzy, but golf is not.
  • Books are green fuzzies, but magazines and newspapers are not.
  • A shopping mall is a green fuzzy, but a store or a boutique is not.
  • Leggings are green fuzzies, but stockings and pantyhose are not.
  • Apples are green fuzzies, but bananas are not.
  • Tennessee and Mississippi are green fuzzies, but Alabama and Florida are not.

Have you figured out the answer to the brain teaser yet? Let me know what you think. After I hear from many of you, I’ll give you the correct answer. Have fun. : )

 

Exactly two years ago today, we moved from Hot Springs Village to Franklin. We actually moved on a Friday, not a Sunday, but on October 20, 2017, we journeyed from Arkansas to Tennessee to begin a new phase of life here in this senior living community called The Fountains of Franklin.

That evening, we enjoyed a great “welcome home” party at the home of one of our children, and it was fun to celebrate our transition with all our children and grandchildren. Then Robin and I spent the night in a motel before meeting our movers here at our new villa early on Saturday morning.

All day Saturday and Sunday, the children and grandchildren helped us line cabinets, unpack boxes, and cart mounds of packing paper and cardboard to recycle bins, and they even went shopping for and put together new stand-alone shelving in the garage and a new storage cabinet in our laundry room. We couldn’t have asked for anything more from them. But the move was still exhausting.

During the next couple of weeks, Robin and I worked diligently to get organized. There were still a few new pieces of furniture we needed to buy to replace the things we didn’t bring with us, and he and I braved the heavy Franklin traffic, which we weren’t at all used to, to go shopping. Thankfully, our daughter also took us places, and she smoothed the way as we found new doctors and a dentist, a new hairdresser, a new place to get the cars serviced, etc.

Now, two years later, we feel right at home here in our new surroundings. We do miss the active lifestyle we had during our previous fourteen years in Hot Springs Village, but we both feel we did the right thing to move closer to our children when we did. We’re both in our eighties now, and Robin’s memory loss is still progressing. It would have been much harder for us if we had waited until now to make a major move.

I keep a small stand-up, flip-over calendar here on my desk. Interestingly, today’s Bible verse for October 20 reads: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Today, I feel so grateful to be here in Franklin, surrounded by many new friends and our family during this “new season” of our lives.

.

This week my husband, Robin, began using a CPAP device—a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device—to help him sleep more comfortably. So far, he’s been doing pretty well, but it’s another new “adventure” for him to undertake.

For several years now, he’s been experiencing intense dreams where he will be in some kind of stressful situation. His legs, and strangely, only his legs, become extremely sweaty. Afterwards, he feels completely drained and lethargic, and it takes him several hours to bounce back.

Of course, we’ve been discussing these “episodes” with all his doctors and trying to discover possible causes. They have run numerous lab tests and other kinds of tests, and in August, he underwent a sleep study at Vanderbilt Sleep Center in Nashville.

The study revealed he had moderate sleep apnea, and his sleep neurologist has surmised that his brain may be struggling to deal with less oxygen as the night progresses. Therefore, she ordered another sleep study be done while he wears a CPAP mask and receives a steady airflow during his sleep. In the meantime, he will use the CPAP at home so he can get used to it before they do the second study.

Robin says the mask on his face is not too uncomfortable, so that’s good. When he gets up during the night to use the bathroom, he merely unhooks the air hose from the mask and then reattaches it when he returns to bed. The console which controls the airflow and temperature of the air sits on his bedside table and is easy for him to reach. The sound of the airflow isn’t loud, either, so I am able to sleep well too.

The first night, Robin had one “moderate” episode about 1 a.m. Last night, he had another “mild” episode about 3 a.m. Now, we both hope that his new CPAP device will continue to reduce the number and intensity of those dreams that leave him so debilitated.

Sisters

The Saturday before Labor Day is when White County Creative Writers group in Searcy, Arkansas, always holds their one-day writers’ conference. When Robin and I lived in Hot Springs Village, I would go to the conference, and I’d often submit stories to their writing contests. Today, I’d like to share a memoir I submitted in 2014.

Sisters

A knock on Sharon’s hospital room door interrupted our conversation. I spun around and ducked into the bathroom. My eyes, red-rimmed and puffy, stared back from the mirror. I dampened a washcloth, squeezed out the cold water, and pressed it against my eyelids.

Outside the bathroom, a young woman’s cheerful voice greeted my daughter. “Hi, Sharon. How are you doing?” Earlier that morning Sharon told me the associate pastor from her church might drop by.

“I’m great.” My daughter’s energetic response belied her long labor and delivery the day before. “Our little Robin Elizabeth is doing great too. They just took her back to the nursery. I’m sorry you missed her.”

“Me too. I know she’s precious. Congratulations!”

“Thank you. We’re all thrilled. We’re going to call her Libbey, and Emily is so excited to have a new baby sister.”

Behind the door, I smiled. This morning, as soon as big-sister Emily caught sight of her little sibling, she scooted up close to her mother, propped herself against the pillows, and beamed like an angel when Sharon placed the newborn in her lap. Only after the nurse carried the baby away did our four-year-old granddaughter reluctantly agree to go with Daddy and Granddaddy to get doughnuts.

Holding the cool cloth over my face, I listened as Sharon and her pastor continued their friendly exchange. I felt a little foolish hiding in the bathroom, but I would have been embarrassed to greet the stranger with my teary eyes. She’d wonder why Sharon’s mother wasn’t sharing in the joy, and I didn’t want to explain.

Finally, I regained my composure, and I waited. After the young woman left, I stepped back into the room and gave my daughter a sheepish smile.

She squeezed my hand. “Mom, I’m so sorry about Aunt Cathy.”

“Thank you, sweetheart. I apologize for not meeting your pastor, but my emotions got the better of me.”

“That’s all right. I understand. I’m sure it’s been really hard for you to deal with Cathy having cancer.”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, she’s undergoing more chemo treatments today in Little Rock.”

“Oh, my. I didn’t know that.”

“Her doctors want to shrink the tumor as fast as they can. Since it’s wrapped around the trachea and not inside the lung, they can’t operate. They’ll just have to attack it with chemo and radiation, poor thing.”

Sharon nodded. “That’ll be tough on her, I’m sure. And Uncle Del too.”

“Yes, it will. But she’s a trooper.” I took a deep breath. “When I saw little Emily sitting up there, holding her new baby sister, I couldn’t help but think of Cathy and me, wishing I could hold my baby sister now too.”

***

This incident happened in April 2002, and Cathy passed away four months later. My sister will always occupy a special place in my heart, but today I have other “sisters”— dear friends with whom I can share all my joys and concerns. What a blessing that has been!

 

 

 

 

 

This past weekend, we had a visitor. He chewed through a corner of the plastic bread wrapper in the pantry, attacked a cellophane-wrapped package of peanut butter cheese crackers, and binged on several small Hershey candies.

We talked with Jim, the Fountains’ maintenance man, to see if he had any traps. He thought he might, but he didn’t get back to us right away, so my husband made a special trip to the store to get some.

The next night, Robin baited three of the traps with peanut butter and placed them in the pantry. I also pulled all the soft packages off the shelves and set the food on our island counter.

In the morning, I gingerly opened the pantry doors. Drat! All three traps were still baited. Our visitor must not have come.

Last night, we left the edible things in the pantry and set two traps on the floor and one on the lower shelf among the packages.

This morning, I gingerly opened the pantry doors again. Both traps on the floor no longer had any peanut butter, but our little visitor wasn’t so lucky with the trap on the shelf. Ugh.

Now the little fellow is lying out behind the bushes in our back yard. I expect he’ll be another little varmint’s dinner this evening!