Redefining traditions and stocking up on tissues

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With Christmas rapidly approaching, my resolve to not spend the entire holiday season in tears is very strong.  It is going to be tough this holiday season without my mom but we have been doing our best to redefine some of the traditions we have known for so long and create some new ones.  I had carefully delineated a plan of not leaving the house, but that seems to be going off the rails so I’ll have to do my best to keep a brave face.  I’m sure a few tears will leak from the corners of my eyes and stain my cheeks but that is to be expected and will certainly be understood by all who see those tears fall.

Holidays are about tradition – whether adhering to old ones or beginning new ones.  This year will be a bit of both.  My mom’s famous Grasshopper Pie will surreptitiously make its way to the table after our feast of turkey and our best attempt at her stuffing.  But because of work schedules, our Christmas food bonanza and subsequent turkey coma will be on the 23rd so that will be the first of the changes for this year.

grasshopper pie

My brother and his family will attend the church service on Christmas Eve (I don’t think I can get through that step this year) and we will meet afterwards to show the newly purchased or creatively engineered ornaments to adorn the Charlie Brown Christmas tree my mom loved so much.  We will tell stories of why the ornament reminds us of her and take turns sharing our memories.  I may even sneak into town and hide in a quiet driveway somewhere to watch Santa Claus go by on the fire truck.  I don’t think I can let that tradition go and I know a few tears will find themselves frozen to my face before the truck has passed.

The most important thing to focus on, especially this year, is that Christmas is about family.  My brother, sister-in-law, my nephews and the family and friends scattered around the globe will always be the presence and the only presents I want during the holidays.  And somewhere during the festivities, I know that my mom and dad’s eyes will be looking at us through those twinkling lights and sharing those moments with us.  That is a tradition that will never end.

 

 

 

Knock, knock. Who’s there? It’s your past.

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knocking

When people think of their past knocking on their door, occasionally there is a nagging worry of something coming back to haunt you and uncovering long-buried skeletons.  This was not the case for me.

I was sitting at my desk yesterday when a short email popped up in the work inbox from a name I have not seen in twenty-five years.  “Hey, it’s Marty from the 80’s…..write me back if this is you.”  The most astonishing thing about getting this email is that I had been searching for Marty online for the past two months, to no avail.  He seemed to be off the grid.

My brother and I spent much of our younger lives hanging out with the same group of people.  It was a great way to grow up and it made us very good friends as well.   Marty was one of those guys that was very tight in our circle of friends.  My parents had welcomed him as one of their own and we created many great memories back in the good old days.

I stared at the email and read it over and over again.  We exchanged a few brief messages and I knew I had to hear his voice.  As soon as we started chatting, it was like I had stepped into a time machine.  I could picture the feathered black hair and was immediately reminded of the song he loved to roller skate to (it was the 80’s after all) and that song now finds itself among the collection of tunes in my iPhone.

It was a truly serendipitous moment.  After a very long hiatus, we have Marty back in our circle of friends and many years ahead to catch up on all of the ones we missed.

(image credit)

 

Retail therapy and really sore ribs

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I knew it was going to be a fun day twenty minutes after we got in the car.  Driving through town with my girlfriends, we passed a minivan with the hood up blocking the entire windshield.  It wouldn’t have been such an odd site but the van was still driving along the other side of the road.  And that is how the day’s adventures began.

Even though we live in a very small area, we rarely get to see each other.  So the four of us banded together and hit the highway for a day of shopping, drinks and much laughter.   There is a palpable energy in the air when this particular pod of women gets together.  We are so anxious to catch everyone up on what has been going on that we talk over each other quite a bit but when “K” starting telling a tale from the retail job she has, the three of us stopped to listen to her story about the underwear sniffer.  This man habitually frequents her store to spend precious moments skulking through the ladies under garment section, stopping occasionally to bury his nose in the latest design of Fruit of the Loom.  Super creepy, but for some reason it made us laugh hysterically.

sniffing underwear

We got to our favorite store and shopped like it was our job.  We filled the back of the SUV with our new treasures and decided it was time for lunch and a glass of wine.  The laughter continued over lunch and the man seated at the table behind us took great interest in our group.  He was completely harmless, a regular at the restaurant, but he certainly seemed eager to join in the fun.  He regaled us with a few tales of his own and, before he left, presented us with a Tim Horton’s gift card.   It was such a sweet gesture and we enjoyed some coffee and sweets on the ride home.

As the adventure was coming to an end, we were gathered in the parking lot where we had met earlier that morning.  It is routine to see what everyone else bought and as the cloth and yarn were being passed, a precious item (valued at $1.99) hit the pavement and broke.  The sound of ceramic shattering coupled with a slow-motion “oooooohhhhh nooooooooooo” made us burst into gales of laughter.  Here we were – four women in our 40’s and 50’s coming completely unglued in the Walmart parking lot.  Walmart shoppers were doing their absolute best to get as far away from us as possible.  Sideways glances were noticed but ignored by all four of us.  Our main goal was to not pee our pants in the middle of a busy parking lot.

Once I was able to breathe again, I wiped the tears from my eyes and collected myself.  This was the day I have needed for a long time.  This day, full of laughter and old friends was literally what my doctor had ordered for me to get me out of my funk.  And the icing on the cake of this day was finding out where NOT to shop for underwear!

The only one

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The night lay in wait.

The sun fell through the sky

and the trees held the ball of fire close to them.

The air grew cold and the stars lit the sky with their light.

Dusk had come

and lent calm to the end of the day.

The songs of the birds has ceased

and the sound of night crept up on the pair

as they sat with wine in hand.

His stare caught her off guard.

She brought the glass to her lips and drank.

She could feel his gaze burn her skin

and his smile made her heart warm.

The fire roared and the sparks lit the sky.

This was the night.

She knew it, she felt it.

He got down on one knee and gave her the box.

It was carved from a branch of the tree they knew,

a tree that saw two friends grow since they were young.

The ring and the box were pure love.

She lay a kiss on his lips

and said yes.

~~

This was written in response to the Daily Prompt that was my suggestion today!!  Write about anything you choose using only one-syllable words.  It was also inspired by a friends recent engagement and the ring box was carved from a branch of a tree they played under as children.

Walken in a Winter Wonderland

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I have admittedly been in a bit of a funk lately.  The holidays seem to be approaching at the speed of the new Maglev train in Japan and I have been trying to avoid the thought of them.

And then I saw it…..the ad for the live production of Peter Pan starring none other than Christopher Walken as Captain Hook.

captain hook

If you are a fan of Walken, as I am, you know how great he is to watch and to imitate.  His disconnected thoughts and speech patterns make for great entertainment.  I am not dismissing his awesome talent as an actor or a dancer, but Mr. Walken does make great fodder for TV show hosts and actors to share their impressions of him.

or this one…

(wait for 1:51 on this one)

I’m sure the performance will be great.  He is, after all, a professional and a very talented one at that.  But this is live TV.  There is no room for error.  There will be no Director yelling “cut” and doing a retake of the scene.  I’m sure it will be flawless.  But in the back of my mind, I will be longing for that moment….that one little hiccup that will create a slight deviation in the programming and where the nuance of Christopher Walken will fill the void.

The minutes are ticking by slowly as I wait for the fun to begin.  Live television…Christopher Walken…..these are my Pennies from Heaven.

 

 

 

 

The spirits of Christmas

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I want to write.

I was waiting for the fog to clear,

for my thoughts to be happier.

But sadness weighs more than I thought.

Joy is hiding under a shroud.

I know it is in there,

capable of being,

willing to sporadically show itself.

But the pain of loss is heavy,

 oppressive.

I try to tease my joy out of hiding,

keeping only happy memories in my head,

and yet, the sadness skulks.

It has an agenda.

But my resolve is stronger.

My happiness hides in memories.

It lurks in my past,

but seeps into my present.

The holidays loom, like a dark cloud

but we will find joy in new traditions.

Memories will be kept alive,

emotions will bubble under the surface.

new-46

She will be there in spirit,

as Angels are during the holidays.

Together again with him,

reunited forever.

Staring down the storm

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Storms always present themselves in many ways.  They can be the physical thunder and lightning storm that makes us huddle in our comfortable homes and wait for the weather to pass.  Or they can be storms in our lives – occurrences that turn our world upside down and wreak havoc on the solitude of our existence.

storm

Our true strength shows in how we weather those storms.  We can hide in a corner and wait for the storm to do its damage or we can prepare ourselves for that storm and face it head on.  The vengeance of that tempest can only affect us as much as we will let it.

Disturbances will happen.  That truth is inevitable.  Being adaptable and knowing how to deal with unexpected cyclones in our reality makes us stronger and helps us to anticipate the next storm and be a little more prepared for the next downburst.

Climate changes, whether literal or anecdotal, can fluctuate on a whim.  The more malleable we are, the easier it will be to deal with the initial assault and face the aftermath that it leaves in its wake.

It is impossible to predict the storms we will face in our lives but we must have the courage and tenacity to combat the unrest that floats in the clouds that hover over our reality.  That whirlwind can only gain as much strength as we give it.  Facing that maelstrom head on may deflate some of the wind that pushes it forward and leave us feeling stronger than the original gust that hit us in the first place.  Show the storm who is boss – don’t let a little wind and rain get you down.