Saturday, December 19, 2020

If ever we needed Christmas

I know what you’re thinking. As years go 2020 has been a bummer in so many ways. Each of us, in our own way, has dealt with month after month of intimidating isolation, longing for a return to normal. The fortunate among us have maintained contact with family, friends, even our church, via Zoom and emails. Though nothing can replace a grandchild’s hug, thank goodness for those ‘second best” alternatives.

Though the latest vaccine news offers reason for hope, they tell us we can expect hard months ahead. And if ever we needed a season of hope….… Christmas in its deepest meaning…..this is that time. Surely, with so many of our neighbors hurting in one way or another, we ought to be extra generous with our Christmas spirit.

Beyond that, I tell myself that this year of the abnormal calls for a bit of geriatric, virus-appropriate boldness. If you are like me you have been housebound……pacing the floor, wearing out your recliner and treadmill, and generally rattling your cage. We would like to fill our hours with productive and satisfying pursuits, but what can we do in the face of these circumstances?

It took some looking, but I finally settled on what might be an answer to my personal “boldness” challenge. I actually believed that my timid excursion into the world of bread making might be enough. After all, what damage could a kitchen-illiterate like me, armed with a bread-making machine, possibly do? Turned out I can produce an edible loaf of bread almost every time. But that modest bit of success still had me falling short on the “boldness” scale. It was time to find something more.

In an earlier post I recapped my totally selfish, off-the-wall idea of serializing my Second Chances story. I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say I consider that undeniably “bold” project a success…..a challenging, yet satisfying way to fill my stay-at-home hours.

Better yet, the reader reception has been more positive than I expected. As I said before, I like the story and am proud of how it turned out. To find that some of you agree, at least enough to keep reading, was gratifying. (We’re talking dozens, not hundreds.) Since Second Chances is the first of a two book story I will continue with the serialized chapters of Long Way Home, the second half, after the holidays. (For those who might want to start at Chapter 1 of Second Chances the right sidebar of this post provides links to all the chapters, beginning in October.)

Though I can’t say it works for everyone, I am comfortable urging each of you to consider you own “bold” ways of dealing with the numbing effects of this stay-at-home existence. Why not take a chance, something beyond your own normal, perhaps something you’ve been putting off?

Finally, if you are so inclined, I hope you will consider an invitation to add a reply to the email that brought you this link…….enough to spread your personal Christmas cheer to the rest of us……..with a “Reply to all” comment.

With that…’s wishing a happy holiday season to all of you, and a Happier (much happier) New Year. Stay safe.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

My wife is married to an older man

   Turns out my wife is married to an older, much older man. It was that not-so-surprising realization that had me recalling some of the times she shared with that once-younger fellow. 

      Has it been that long since she was serenaded by the young man’s fraternity brothers on the steps of her college dorm? It was shortly after that she honeymooned with her still-young husband on the nearly deserted Baja beaches ……long before the tourists arrived there in force.

     Before long a pair of strapping sons were keeping her busy, and life had become almost predictable....... until her thirty year old husband decided that Stanford Business School was a good idea. Turned out it wasn' least for him.  

A few years, and a third child later, he had stumbled onto a better idea, one that led their young family to the high desert of the Oregon Outback, where she thrived while playing a ranching lady, wife of a wannabe cowboy.

Then, about the time she hoped he was old enough to settle down, he was once again proving that “growing up” takes longer for some folks. How else could she explain the year their family, numbering six by then, spent in England, while he pretended to be a writer?

Finally, that husband of hers reached the age when it was time to put down roots ……in the small town that would be their home, where they would raise their children. There they prospered…..until that prosperity hit a speed bump.

It was then, in late mid-life, her man was on the move again, launched on a new career path, in a new place, actually several new places……each of them requiring her to turn a different house into a home. Lucky fellow that he was, she was able to pull that off every time. 

Then came the day she must have been waiting for……..Retirement …….escape from his daily work routine, and a retreat to the same small town they had left years before. But did she have any idea how boring it would be, spending twenty-four hours a day with that now-older fellow? Once beyond their three-month European adventure how would they adapt to life in the slow lane?

Truth is, there was no rocking chair in her retirement. (Do recliners count?) Like most folks she and her tired old man tended their garden, mowed the lawn, and tried their best to keep up with the grandkids. 

Until that is, the virus made the extended family, and special family occasions, grist for the Zoom mill. (Though it’s not the same, thank God for high tech.)

And now, having recently celebrated their 60th anniversary, that nice lady and her grumpy old guy are hunkered down, looking forward to what they vaguely remember as “normal.” Seems like she has earned a healthy dose of ‘new normal.’

Still, there are other events that might be added to the old fellow’s list …….now that he has turned 84, and she remains a youthful 83. I expect he will address some of those…….after his nap.