The Bench

turf-valley-resort-golf-hole-pond 13 tee box13th hole Hialeah, Turf Valley MD.

The golf cart slowed to a stop.  From the passenger side a man in a flowered print shirt pulled his legs from the floor and placed them gingerly on the hot blacktop.  His companion repeated the measure only with athletic smoothness which time had only slightly dented.   It was the 13th hole on the Hialeah 18 at Turf Valley, the annual home of the T-Fest golf and convocation which touched off under, usually, sweltering conditions.  This year was much the same.

Six foursomes had been established consisting of veterans who made consistent attempts to be on hand with newcomers that were coming on the scene, primarily from T- Welsh’s family – shirts and skirts.  The contingent gathered from the mid to upper East Coast and were mostly now dialing in on serious thought to the next course of life, dessert.  The options were as open as the various dessert bars found in Baltimore; Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop, Red Mango, Patisserie Poupon…McDonald’s.  Life was winding down.

John Galbally had been gone now Forty-Two years.

The foursome with the ‘flowered shirt’ was second to last in the queue that had teed off at approximately 1:05 pm under a bright blue nether spackled with white.  Humidity cloaked all.  The course itself was emerald green with leafy adornments graciously and hideously tracking the narrow fairways.  It was a best ball tournament, begun over 20 years earlier and had propelled itself into the lore of Phi Kappa Sigma/Penn.  For it was from that three- story Cuboid, laughingly plunked down in the middle of the University of Pennsylvania, thumb to nose, fingers waggling, that these golfers here arrayed had begun their speed boat ride into adulthood. Not before that wonderful interlude of adolescent time in ‘never never land’ had played its hand, though poked hard by Stat 1, Stat 2, Econ 101, and Sociology – The Family. The Captain Hooks’ of  reality.  The years were lacquered with Division 1 sports and inter fraternity endeavors.  Yet it was not a jock fraternity. It was an unique kaleidoscope of shared companionship developed between the years of 1968 and 1976 enjoined with exuberance, laughter, confrontation, joy….and a little beer.

You sure?

Yeah, a little worn.  You go and come back when you reach the 18th.

Alright man.  I’ll be back.

And with that exchange the foursome became three.  Their Captain, D. Tritton,  could see the exhaustion which had crept in.  He gave a thumbs up and looked into his bag.  Jumper smiled and waved, his a little more jerky and those hooded eyes held up by a that unique smile.

THE SWEDE had slid East from Ohio to take his talents into the hallowed Palestra, but found that the walls of Phi Kappa held more sway..  He was like many of his class, multi talented,  but taller.  A lot taller. Smart, quick witted, girted in wryness.  He waved a goodbye salute, after hitting his iron to the fringe of the green, and was gone, taking his group, now minus one, down around the beautiful pond that menaced the green.

He sat in stillness.  The tournament had been under way for over two hours.  He took sight of the Cart Girl who was stopping near his teammates, now by the green.  She alighted her cart and sped toward the statue likeness on the bench..

I have a beer for you!

Great!  Thank you.  Here. Ah…kind of you…them!

 

He was halfway through his second cigar and another beer was welcomed, even though the brisking wind from the Northwest had begun hammering the humidity.  He thought he heard thunder.  He looked up, high into the now changing skies, then down toward the disappearing cart.  As she drove away, his mind drifted to that night when, in the “Gambler,” he, Q, Schmatz, Gotz and Chuckles had ripped off Pat’s steakhouse.  Danny, a former high school track star was the ‘bag man.’  Had grabbed the “bag,” brimming with cheese steaks unpaid and taken off for Chuckle’s car, a broken down Rambler that had no reverse.  The “Gambler”.  You punched buttons to shift.  The R button was missing. As Danny loped toward them an apron smocked figure wielding a huge knife or hatchet came speeding after, making up ground!    It was dark, they were stoned, and nothing seemed to matter.  Chuckles was laughing while Gotz was yelling for Schmatz to hurry up!  The back door was flung open and Danny slipped in.  The acceleration of the Gambler was not NASCAR material and the ax wielder closed.  But the interlopers began to make steam and, with all now joining in laughter, they headed away, grabbing cheese steaks from the bag while watching the enraged figure disappear ever, so, slowly.

As the Cart Girl pulled away he felt a freshening on his right cheek.  Cracking the beer, his eyes surveyed the 12th green, where the last foursome congregated to plot strategy on a birdie putt.  It was Tom and his brothers,  John and Robert with nephew Rob.  This was their first outing at the tournament.

It was T who had masterminded the tournament, along with Jay years ago when all had tykes.  It was a great time and the T-man had continued to plan and spearhead the annual John Galbally golf fest, herding  the cats each and every year. Sometimes hard to get to with life’s immediacy transcending at inopportune times, but,once there, harder to leave!

John, Chuckles, Galbally, the conquistador herald of goodness, friendship and fun.

Hey!  You taking a vacation??

A breather is all.

You’re on the bench!

Yes, I know.  Jumper pointed it out to me.  One of the reasons I stayed.

You OK?

The best!

allllright….how you getting back?

Q is coming for me when they get to 18.  I’ll see you there.

O.k. brother.  You take care now.

Happy smiles saluted him in passing, after all missed draining the ‘bird’  He watched them loft shots over the pond, one putting on a Welsh body dance, persuading his ball on the short ‘hairs.’.  Another birdie attempt, the last missed opportunity momentarily forgotten. They waved lightly as the  white carts moved off.  He sat alone.

 

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The bench.  “In Memory of Debbie Welsh.”  T’s wife and the matron of togetherness who solidified the gadflies for so many years. The event started with tykes in tow and now it was pictures of grandchildren, excepting T’s clan who were almost all accountable for.   Deb had hosted the Friday night gatherings along with her wonderful sister Peg, which, in the earlier days, measured up to the ‘front door’ of the Frat, but never inside!   She was the balance who had been with T and the gang since he hustled her away from a Penn State football player and she garnered Phi Kap status.  Indeed, many of the ladies had been with their ‘boys’ since those days. Tom and Deb were part of the club until the sudden wickedness of cancer claimed her.  T’s “brothers” were shell shocked and had come in numbers to her funeral, to say goodbye and support their friend. The bench was a simple but warm way she would always remain a part.

The sky rumbled and flashed.   There was a possibility all golf would cease.  However, it never passed to that stage, simply  dripping lightly, like moist eyes shedding infrequent tears.  The cooling felt nice.

I miss you.  And the others who have followed.  I never took the time to really tell Malcolm what a warm person he was: Sincere.  Wickedly funny in a dryness that stunned.  And Kenny.  He made me laugh with his cadence of New Jersey stories.  The Gotts?  He stripped my heart naked with his sardonic genius..  And Debbie?  How she could hang with this rift raft and maintain the decorum of civility!  The school ‘marm’ to all, excepting T!

He suddenly felt compelled to talk about the brothers and sisters on the course…to tell him just a little something.  His mind floated over the various carts:

Ron is here, looking better than ever.  T calls him our Spiritual Leader, as he is.  All the Big Five are present; Gordo, Mobey, Doc, Jim-Bob and Swede.  I always found it compelling that given the characterization of the group, they never ‘lorded’ it over the “house,” but grafted with all.  We little five never got the traction they had.  Ah, we did, but it was different I guess.   And they held it so strongly along with several others of their class, a togetherness -bond which coronated  the years.  Frank, Ollie, Josh, Newall, others; all were equals, all for one you could say.  It carried on to us, don’t you think?.  And man, were they all so very different. But then, so a like.  That was the embodiment of the next class and then ours.  A standard likeness .

Tony Jackson has been a great friend for Mobey these years.  Worked together.  He can handle his share of beer and hit a shot when needed.  Frank is here.  Always a gentleman and one who cared truly for you.  I mentioned Jay, but also Lisa, who has come before, brought Anne this year.  They got rid of the medical smocks for the weekend and are playing with Pam, Jimmy’s wife of a million years and Tina, Swede’s better half, though half his size.  Jim Bob has always been one of my favorites, if there can be such.  The guy just has the smile that accepts all.  And Doctor DuPont’s laugh continues to crack me up.  Successful all…but that is beside the thought.

Stew and Robby are stringing along too, the “Brew”typically with his family, the hilarious Roe and crew, but Stew shot in stag this year.  The continuous optimist with a warmth that ‘hugs’ all.   Robby is diving coach at Penn and continues to be athletically involved.   Good golfer too.  He and Jack Samanski ‘threw’ me a couple of years ago with their play, only to find out Jack’s whole family grew up playing!  Joe made it back one year but this year Jack brought his younger brother for the first time, Jim.  He had stayed in the Midwest for college.

It was sweet when Dickie was able to come.

Denny Dear, T’s Life Partner now that Gotts left us is out talking his ball around the course.  He loves all sports and has been a kick.  Amy, T’s daughter, has her husband and his brother involved this year as well.

And of course here is T.J.  He of all reminds me of you, excepting I don’t think you would have kept up with him on the golf course.  No matter, he has that infectious smile which propels warmth.  He has led more brothers to be able to place their names on the John Galbally trophy than anyone.  Believe me, Q and I wouldn’t be inscribed without him!

The sky began to break, slits of light skidding through the openings.  He took one last pull on his lager and saw in the distance a white cart ‘speeding’ his way.

That will be Q.  Chuckles, we had a time, didn’t we?   Q, Dirch, T and us?  All three have made good and are still on the ‘fairway’ of life, with Dirch and T having grandchildren.  Q decided, what the heck, his girls were so fun why not have a second batch!  I can’t say what hurdles or holes any or all have fallen or tripped over, but I know we all have.  God put you in our path those many years ago and we stumbled onto an hilariously joy ride that your going tore up.

The cart came to a smooth stop.  Think interstate, New York, rush hour!

Hey you good?

Yeah.

Hop in, we are ready  on the 18th.

You hitting alright?

I just wish they would pick a sport we could kick their asses in!

They don’t have to, you just being here kicks their asses

As they skirted the holes heading to the 18th, the passenger couldn’t help himself. Looking up into the sky, he remarked;

I love you man

Yeah, me too.  Just wish we were closer.

It’s fine.  It’s right now.  I’ts fine.

They drove up to the t-box on 18, a short par three.  They looked down on a small green guarded by trees, sand-traps and now at least 14 carts waiting, watching and ‘drinking in’ the last two foursomes.

He surveyed the gathering from his seat, never once moving out of the cart. He could not make out who was where but he knew who was there, and not.  He felt a twinge in his heart.

Q…I love that sight.  Go hit the damn ball right into them!

The NOW was indeed fulfilling.  Once again he was sitting on the ‘ledge.’

 

 

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Collars of love

   Tucker    The little red Ford was ‘down.’  After 300,000+ miles and several sets of tires she had expired, her interior lights glowing off months earlier. 

     It takes time for a sense of history to develop.   Cecilia hadn’t put the time in yet being only sixteen.  She was the second of her family, the second of her generation to have been behind the wheel.  There was no luster or grandeur.  Never was.  Grandma had always owned her.  Until her grandchildren decided to grow up.  Cecilia and her brother were first.

     Eunice, Grandma named her.  James had succumbed to cancer at the age of 41, leaving Granny and her daughter Johanna to tend the small farm.  Her first ‘owned’ transportation came when the Ford truck died and a friend gave them a little red Ford four door. . . no truck but she performed as such, willingly doing the impossible.   Income was ‘light,’ seeping in by govt relief and milk money.  Milk prices were down. And labor minimal.  Her daughter was not old enough at this point to lug the ‘yoke.’   While there was much to fret, Eunice kept hopes alive with her consistent start and mobility.  Grandma began cleaning homes, Eunice horsing her to her stops.  It was during that first year of vacuuming and window washing that the first Corgi showed up.

     Cecilia had taken possession of Eunice when her brother, a year older, went off to A&M,  east in the Hill Country.’  Now it was Cecilia’s turn, though she had pushed hard for a ‘makeover.’ Her father collected Eunice from Collegeville and gave her the homespun tune up…kicked tires for air, made sure all fluids at their preferred levels and turned the key to start, shifting into drive.  Eunice moved off.  Another driver for her to taxi to whereabouts needed.  She behaved.  Always had.   Until now.  

     Cecilia was not so much angry but more shocked that the little car had died.  At least that was what her father was saying as he inspected her by the side of the road.  For two years back and forth to high school, shopping, and her part time job Eunice had been the benefactor for transporting Cecilia.  It was on a gravel road prior to the blacktop county road where she had expired.  Convenient.  Thoughtful.

     “Looks to be the end, Cecil,” he said, head facing down, hood up.

Oh, drat.” came the response.  Cecelia watched her dad.

      Dad closed the hood and pulled it up to make sure it was secure, a natural movement for him. 

     “Grab your stuff and we will go get your mother and the truck to pull her home.  We can check better once there, but truly think she has expired.”

     “K.”  Cecilia went to the passenger side and opened the door, taking her purse and jacket from the seat.   As she pulled her head out and up, she caught site of the three worn collars connected to the base of the rear-view mirror.  She stooped, knelling with her left knee and reached to unclasp them.  She held the three in her left hand and proceeded to her father’s car to head home.  They pulled onto the gravel.

     Cecilia looked at the three small collars.  She placed them on her lap and picked up one of the pink ones.  “Elsie” was etched in the side.  She had been the first. Elsie     Grandma had gotten her a car companion and more.  She went with Grandma wherever she worked, staying in a kennel when not permitted to stretch out in a hallway waiting for the day’s activities to be over or nosing around to see what was ‘in the wind.’  Auntie Johanna stayed those times with a good friend who had a daughter the same age.  Of course her Aunt Johanna thought she was hers, but Elsie was all Granny’s.  A lovable lady who minded her manners in graceful ways, always ready for a snuggle from her girls, but especially Granny.  She hadn’t minded ‘helping’ with chores, but her idea of life was hanging out with Granny in the kitchen snapping table scrapes as dishes were being cleared or hanging out in the den on the couch.  Where she felt extremely important was on the drives, in Eunice, to work and grocery shopping. She was the co pilot, though there was a time she tried her hand at driving.  She lightened the ‘load’ that life was bearing at the time with her unconditional joy and love.

Young Elsie driving the golf cart

     Of course Auntie Johanna wanted her own.  She kept at her mother until relenting was the only option! They might not have money, but they had space…and love of animals. Granny had spoken of this wish to the woman who had given her Elsie (she never could have afforded her) and asked if some arrangement might be made (there was absolutely no thought or intent of being given another:)  She could clean her barn until a puppy could be purchased.  Agreement was reached immediately.

     Cecelia placed the first collar gently on her lap and took up the other.  Gracie.

… named for the grace that Elsie was, but they quickly discovered Gracie was not.  She was all Tom Boy and would run things her way.  Except with Auntie Johanna.  There it was love at first sight and affection unto no other.

first meeting between Johanna and Elise

     So the four of them pushed on, growing in depth and commitment.  Then it happened.  Gracie was found comatose on her bed blanket one chilly Autumn day. Auntie Johanna was beyond upset as Granny attempted to contact the Vet.  Breathing was shallow but she was alive.  When they were able to climb in to Eunice it was doubtful if life would still be in the threshold when they reached the door.  It was, but there were no answers, just medicine to help breathing and, if any, pain.  A day later that inevitable decision had to be made…say goodbye or take her to the University hospital.  Granny hesitated not.   For two weeks Gracie hung while the mystery was looped and re-looped through all qualified veterinarian education. Nothing was coming together to get ahead of what blackness was holding the little dog in its grip.Gracie (1)

     Gracie was not done.  There still are records of her illness at the large Veterinarian school which indicate that there was no singular action taken to heal.  Whatever combination of treatments pulled her out of the depths, Gracie got well.  She stayed for testing beyond, but then she came home.  

     She followed Auntie Johanna up the ladder of life with Elise staying near.  Granny doubled her work load to compensate for past dues.  Friends contributed.  She never regretted a nickle of the compensation owed.  Her girls were together.my girls.jpg

     As for all, time came knocking and Elsie was gone.  Granny could not step back…she had her daughter and Gracie to console.  She began knitting the holes in their hearts immediately while marginalizing her grief (unless alone.)  She leaned heavily on her Faith as she did when the daggers of anguish penetrated deep.

     Tucker was irresistible.  Tucker

 

     He came to Granny and Auntie without warning, a doe eyed spangle of mischief and ubiquitous fun!  A balminess that no medicine could replace.  Granny met him at the horse barn, while she was mucking out stalls for extra income.  A lady came in with him one day.  

“Oh but he is a fine one,” laughed Granny as the pup attacked her boots.

“Yes,” said the lady, “but a handful.  Our last one to dispense of.  And this is the last litter we do!”

Granny stooped and played with his perked ears.

Whether or not the lady new of Granny’s loss months earlier, it did not matter.  It was a voice out of heaven.

“Would you like him?”

Granny stood.  And stared at the brown and white shag with upturned ears.  

“Oh….”

“Really, we would love for him to go to a good home.  And I am tired of puppies.”

“Yes, we would.”

    Tucker came home and he and Gracie were friends, though Tucker had to be put in his place at times.  No matter to him, he just chased after his non existent tail!  Gracie and Tucker

     The years kept coming and Auntie Johanna decided to attend college on the West Coast.  That was not drive-able even for Eunice.  She softly cried as she got in the car to be taken to the airport.  In the window were two familiar faces; one sullen and the other with a smile that indicated he did not know really what was going on.  And the years went on.

     Gracie passed four and half years later, the miracle dog diagnosis still unknown. Auntie Johanna flew home to bury the ashes.   Most people would shake their heads at that, but it mattered nothing to Granny.  She wanted her daughter to come home and say goodbye.  They did.

     Cecelia put the second pink collar down and picked up Tuckers.  She slowly gazed out the window as she thought of the little dog.  

     Tucker changed.  He now became inseparable from Granny and she from him, her constant, more so than even Elsie.  Loss pushes such.  And the love was returned, softly ‘hard.’  

     Auntie Johanna married and she and Tom had three children.  They were quite a bit younger than Tom’s sister’s children; Trek and Cecelia.  So Eunice headed to that household as needed.  Eunice was kept as a ‘second,’ long in tooth but available.  

     A day opened with Tucker in great pain.  By the time the vet could quell it, Granny was shaken.  She also knew deep down that if they could not get this pain under control, there would be no trip to the Vet school.  She had promised her little joy bundle that he would never have to endure such pain again.  Even on antibiotics and with permission to go home, there was a troubling deep in her soul.  She knew something was truly wrong

     “You will never have to endure that pain again for anything.  I love you Tucker.”

     The laughing face still was able to smile, but his joy was truly hindered.  They slept together again one last night.

     The condition worsened the next day.  Granny took him back to the Vet.  Tucker went home as had Elsie and Gracie.  Granny, dear Grandma sobbed.

     Cecelia’s eyes watered.  She thought of her Grandmother, having passed a few years earlier.  She thought of that endearingly loving dog.

     “Honey, its just a car, it will be o.k.  Eunice was old”

Yes it is, Dad.  It is o.k.”Tucker and G'ma

 

In loving memory of Elsie, Gracie and Tucker…who loved unconditionally and we thank God for allowing us the privilege of being with them.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Walk

20160313_182332   It grew cold.  The northwest wind helped.  She reached up with her left hand and pulled her stocking hat lower, wiped her nose quickly with the mitten hand, tucked her chin and kept walking.  Counter clockwise.  The universal direction mostly taken when repeating direction multiple times.

Anxiety had crept into her little soul somewhere in the those learning years.  It wasn’t a constant companion, but it stayed within striking range.  It would seep in and her young heart would race.

   This was not the first time she had made this walk…but they were all different.  It was a walk made in love for love.  Her horse was colicing again.  The second time in  the last two months.  Horses can colic for many reasons and the intestinal disturbances can range from minor to major…excepting that one thing is imperative.  The blockage preventing gastric normalcy has to be removed.   As the pressure of the impairment builds, a horse attempts to roll to relieve the pain and this in turn provides a chance for the intestines to be knotted or twisted.  Then animal would be in a more vulnerable situation. One would be talking: Operation;  the only way to unwind them and the odds of recovery were maybe 50/50.

How does a young one understand moods at all?  They are just there, the makeup of the nervous system?  The component of emotions that scientists call subjective feelings refers to ways each individual experiences feelings. This component is the most difficult to describe or measure. Subjective feelings cannot be observed; instead, the person experiencing the emotion must DESCRIBE it to others.  Each person’s description and interpretation of a feeling may be slightly or greatly different. But ask one that is having an attack upon their emotions to describe it!!  Are you kidding? They are just trying to get through, the description might come later.

   When she noticed Amigo standing, eyes molted, she thought he was ‘off.’  She grained all three horses.  Amigo did not move.  His coat was dampered with dirt.  He had been rolling.  She finished giving the other two their hay allotment and moved to her little buckskin.  Slowly and evenly she stroked his nose and behind his ears.  He lowered his head but no knicker of acknowledgment emerged.  He was in pain.

Her rock during those early years was her mother.  Together, in prayer and talk, they pulled the “hooks” away.  It was a tiresome task and both would be exhausted if it was an extreme bout.  The courage was in not allowing the development to ‘arrest’ her totally.

She was whip smart.  She did not rely on this, though most would die to have such intellect, but leaned heavily on a faith; one that she had begun to maturate and matriculate to; Christianity.  Yes, the crutch of the ‘uninformed or stupid.’

Her eyes would cloud over and become dull.  No manner of talk dug past.  She was on her own to collect herself and push past. The medical field provided some relief. Chemicals can supplant the task.  She clamped hard on her mother. And Jesus.  It was Jesus and Mom who she turned to when she could not find the ‘light to turn on’ to chase away the darkened torment.  They were her ‘raft.’

Colic.  Her heart sunk.   It was the unknown of colic’s temper which always provided a path to her anxiety. She shuddered.  Alone.  She had noted the dirt as she had approached, matted in the lightness of his coat.  It was her hope that she be allowed to complete the feeding and get the chickens back to roost before he tried rolling again.  The vet was on speed dial.  They could be out in a couple of hours.  Or more.  Darkness would come.

Sadie gathered the grain buckets and went to the tractor garage.  She backed it out and then grabbed Amigo’s halter.  The vet would need the lighted area to examine him.  All three of her horses were like big, very big, lap dogs. They ‘ran’ the pasture without halters, came as called.  If stubborn, rattling a bucket with a handful of grain provided the amphetamine to get stimulate them home.  As she emerged, she placed the halter on the round pen, a separate pen next to the fenced pasture, and went to get warmer clothes.  She could not think right now how tired she was.  Work and school all day.  She had to muster up and do what needed doing, not because but because of.  She exited the house with proper late winter outwear and went to her horse.  The bays looked at her as she haltered Amigo, curious but not curious enough to disturb their eating.  The two exited the pasture and moved into the circle.  Sadie listened and could hear gurgling gut port side.  Now she prayed that as she walked the blockage might be jarred and a natural release would commence.  Walking did two things, three actually; it could jar the blockage allowing the waste to pass, it kept an animal from lying down and rolling, twisting the intestines (if they were not twisted already,) and it allowed a person to do SOMETHING!

A cell phone was never far from Mom.  It was there to take ‘those’ calls.  Yet, never was there an allotment for a situation to overcome what each the day was to be.  Events still occurred which had to be worked through.  The phone calls were not automatic.  Unless critical.

It was Sadie who as she developed her base began to think through and decide upon what she could do, what she could attempt, and what she could ride out in a river of tears.  She found love from her family, immediate and extended.   An elderly woman who in her late sixties or early seventies got Sadie involved with handicapped children who used horses as therapy.  She loved working with them.  Pat.  She treated her with normality, as a friend.

There was the small Christian school she attended where the teachers and staff encouraged and understood the milking of the disorder that at times needed to be done.  And there were her gifts of singing, art, and intelligence. She sought any and all to diminish the effects.  Mostly, her faith grew.

   She prayed some.  Spoke soothing words.  Watched the ground silently.  Twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off.  Her mom would be getting home from work a little later that evening, so she really had no relief.  Dad.  He was lucky to manage the circuit on his own without falling.  He too would be late.  

   She finished the first run and opened up a patio chair taken from the garage.  She sat quietly and watched.  He was in pain.  The ‘sitting minutes’ went by quickly.  The smart phone said it was time.  She gathered herself and gently took hold of the harness.

A friend recommended homeopathic opportunities and Sadie became immersed in the ability that this might take away some of the chemical aftereffects from her prescriptions. Together they brought a neutrality to her existence which gave her breathing room to perform to the standards she desired.  She had gained friendship with some families that greatly enhanced her.  And her faith grew.

   The hour grew late.  Darkness came, the vet delayed.  Mom arrived.   Now she had someone with her as they waited out the scenario.  Mom began to take a turn in the pen, giving her needed relief.  She stayed in the chair when she was not walking. Always there.

The vet showed.  He was familiar with the family having come on a few other occasions when Amigo or one of the others had coliced.  They took him into the garage and the vet began the processes of shoving his hand inside through the ‘back door,’ this after putting on a long plastic glove, shoulder length, doused with a jell. He began his investigation.

She was not baptized when many of her school aged friends were; she was not baptized when her younger sister was, in a lake with many others from church.  She was not ready.

When she decided to make the public proclamation of Faith, she asked her Godfather, an ex- rogue hockey player born to Christ later in life to do the ceremony, in the river down from the house, with a select group of family and friends attending.  She wanted it to be an intimate celebration which for her would hold deep meaning.  It did.

    The vet and his assistant found no twisting nor could they find any blockage as far as he could be reach.  They had given the 18 year old horse medication for pain, but he still showed degrees of agitation.  The eyes remained bland. The Vet patiently went through the developments that could be the source.   The options beyond operation had already been employed.   They had forced down his mouth a liquid solution meant to loosen blockages farther up the intestines, injected pain relief as well as antibiotics, but they could only speculate as to what had caused this second circumstance in such a short time since the last one.

While all around her friends and family were off to college, having babies, or pushing off to whatever their next step was, she had taken a full time- part time job at a daycare, the 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 shift.  Torturous for any teenager, the time and the job.  Minimum wage.  She kept it for four years.  It was in the third year when she began taking classes at the Community College; hand signing and art were her favorites.  She worked hard in all of them and it was after her second year when she was asked to join the Phi Theta Kappa Society, one which members had to maintain at least a 3.75 GPA.  She carried a 4.0. Her parents attended the low key celebration, proud.

   Her dad came out toward the tail end of the conversation.  He seemed gruff and a little agitated.  What were the options?  They were explained.  He looked at Amigo.  He loved all their animals, had loved those that had departed.  It was hard to see an animal suffering and though he never liked it, it was always his desire to say goodbye to them and take care of the deed.  It was not the cost, but the responsibility he felt.  The family always had the last say, so some left by the needle in the sterile confines of the ‘room, one of the family holding them, and others by his side on their land.  

   He looked at Amigo.  It just seemed time.  And the vet understood.  Operating was not an option.  There was no money for that kind of cost.  Dad said his piece and left, the decision his daughter’s to make.  She choose to wait.

It is untrue to state that one is past a condition.  It exists. Perhaps it is neutralized. Perhaps it is stilted.  Maybe it hides. But it can lurk.

Sadie had become a young adult who understood responsibility and the decisions it brought.  She took ownership of her anxiety. When anxiety or depression strikes, there accompanies a thought, or desire, to be gone to another level, to hide, to extract away.  Sadie had faced this.  Always she had come out of the tunnel and continued to seek the next day.

    She and her mother continued walking until early the next morning.  Then they left. Amigo.  Her horse.   Sunrise would state the next step.

  She prayed that night.  “God, either let whatever Amigo has become acute so that we must put him down quickly or leave him with us to be past this…for a long time.”

It was a beautiful sunrise.  Dad had gotten up at three and could see the buckskin standing in the pen.  He waited until early light with the yellow orb poking its northern edge past the skyline.  He went to see. Amigo nickered at him.  There was a packed down clump of dump where he had excreted himself during the night.  The blockage was gone.

   Sadie awoke.  She went to see her horse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Walk

20160313_182332   It grew cold.  The northwest wind helped.  She reached up with her left hand and pulled her stocking hat lower, wiped her nose quickly with the mittened hand, tucked chin to her neck and kept walking.  Counter clockwise.  The universal direction mostly taken when repeating direction multiple times.

Anxiety had crept into her little soul somewhere in the those learning years.  It wasn’t a constant companion, but it stayed within striking range.  It would seep in and her young heart would race.

   This was not the first time she had made this walk…but they were all different.  It was a walk made in love for love.  Her horse was colicing again.  The second time in  the last two months.  Horses can colic for numbers of reasons and the intestinal disturbances can range from minor to major…excepting the one thing that is imperative.  The blockage preventing gastric normalcy has to be removed.   As the pressure of the impairment builds, a horse attempts to roll to relieve it and this in turn provides the chance for intestines to be knotted or twisted.  The animal would be in a more vulnerable situation.  Operation.  The only way to unwind them and the odds of recovery were maybe 50/50/.

How does a young one understand moods at all?  They are just there, the makeup of the nervous system?  The component of emotions that scientists call subjective feelings refers to ways each individual experiences feelings. This component is the most difficult to describe or measure. Subjective feelings cannot be observed; instead, the person experiencing the emotion must DESCRIBE it to others.  Each person’s description and interpretation of a feeling may be slightly or greatly different. But ask one that is having an attack upon their emotions to describe it!!  Are you kidding? They are just trying to get through, the description might come later.

   When she noticed Amigo standing, eyes moulted, she thought he was ‘off.’  She grained all three horses.  Amigo did not move.  His coat was dampered with dirt.  He had been rolling.  She finished giving the other two their hay allotment and moved to her little buckskin.  Slowly and evenly she stroked his nose and behind his ears.  He lowered his head but no knicker of acknowledgment emerged.  He was in pain.

Her rock during those early years was her mother.  Together, in prayer and talk, they pulled the “hooks” away.  It was a tiresome task and both would be exhausted if it was an extreme bout.  The courage was in not allowing the development to ‘arrest’ her totally.

She was whip smart.  She did not rely on this, though most would die to have such an intellect, but she was introduced to a Faith which she had begun to maturate to; Christianity.  Yes, the crutch of the ‘uninformed or stupid.’

Her eyes would cloud over and become dull.  No manner of talk dug past.  She was on her own to collect herself and push past.  The medical field provided some relief. Chemicals can supplant the task.  She clamped hard on her mother. And Jesus.  It was Jesus and Mom who she turned to when she could not find the ‘light to turn on’ to chase away the torment.  They were her ‘raft.’

Colic.  Her heart sunk.   It was the unknown of colic’s temper which always provided a path to her anxiety. She shuddered.  Alone.  She had noted the dirt as she had approached, matted in the lightness of his coat.  It was her hope that she be allowed to complete the feeding and get the chickens back to roost before he tried rolling again.  The vet was on speed dial.  They could be out in a couple of hours.  Or more.  Darkness would come.

Sadie gathered the grain buckets and went to the tractor garage.  She backed it out and then grabbed Amigo’s halter.  All three of her horses were like big, very big, lap dogs. They ‘ran’ the pasture without halters, coming as called.  If stubborn, rattling a bucket with a handful of grain provided the aphentamine to get them to come.  As she emerged, she placed the halter on the round pen, a separate pen next to the fenced pasture, and went to get warmer clothes.  She could not think right now how tired she was.  Work and school all day.  She had to muster up and do what needed doing, not because but because of.  She exited the house with proper late winter outwear and went out to her horse.  The bays looked at her as she haltered Amigo, curious but not curious enough to disturb their eating.  The two exited the pasture and moved into the circle.  Sadie listened and could hear gurgling gut port.  Now she prayed that as she walked the blockage might be jarred and poop would come naturally.  Walking did two things, three actually; it might jar the blockage allowing waste passage, kept an animal from lying down and rolling, twisting the intestines (if they were not twisted already,) and allowed a person to do SOMETHING!

A cell phone was never far from Mom.  It was there to take ‘those’ calls.  Yet, never was there an allowment for the situation to overcome what each the days was to be. Events to occur.  Unless critical.  It was Sadie who as she developed her base began to think through and decide upon what she could do, what she could attempt, and what she could ride out in a river of tears.  She found love from her family, immediate and extended.   An elderly woman who in her late sixties and early seventies got Sadie involved with handicapped children who used horses as therapy.  Pat.  She treated her with normality, as a friend.  There was the small Christian school she attended where the teachers and staff encouraged and understood the milking of the disorder that at times needed to be done.  And there were her gifts of singing, art, and intelligence. She sought any and all to diminish the effects.  Mostly, her faith grew.

   She prayed some.  Spoke soothing words.  Watched the ground silently.  Twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off.  Her mom would be getting home from work a little later that evening, so she really had no relief.  Dad.  He was lucky to manage the circuit on his own without falling.  He too would be late.  

   She finished the first run and opened up a patio chair taken from the garage.  She sat quietly and watched.  He was in pain.  The ‘sitting minutes’ went by quickly.  The smart phone said it was time.  She gathered herself and gently took hold of the harness.

A friend recommended homeopathic opportunities and Sadie became immersed in the ability that this might take away some of the chemical aftereffects from her prescriptions. Together they brought a neutrality to her existence which gave her breathing room to perform to the standards she desired.  She had gained friendship with some families that greatly enhanced her.  And her faith grew.

   The hour grew late.  Darkness came, the vet delayed.  Mom came home.   Now she had someone to be with as they waited out the scenario.  Mom began to take a turn in the pen, giving her needed relief.  She stayed in the chair when she was not walking. Always there.

The vet showed.  He was familiar with the family having come on a few other occasions when Amigo or one of the others had coliced.  They took him into the garage and the vet began the processes of shoving his hand inside through the ‘back door,’ this after putting on a long plastic glove, shoulder length, doused with a jell. He began his investigation.

She was not baptized when many of her school aged friends were, she was not baptized when her younger sister was; in a lake with many others from church.  She was not ready.  When she was she asked her Godfather, and ex rogue hockey player born to Christ later in life to do the ceremony, in the river down from the house, with a select group of family and friends joining her.  She wanted it to be an intimate celebration which for her would hold deep meaning.  It did.

    The vet and his assistant found no twisting nor could they find any blockage.  As far as could be reached.  They had given the 18 year old horse medication for pain, but he still showed degrees of agitation.  The eyes remained bland.  They patiently went through the developments that could be the source.   The options beyond operation had already been employed.   They had forced down his mouth a liquid solution meant to loosen blockages farther up  the intestines, injected pain relief as well as antibiotics, but they could only speculate as to what had caused this second circumstance such a short time since the last one.

While all around her friends and family were off to college, having babies, or pushing off to whatever their next step was, she had taken a full time- part time job at a daycare, the 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 shift.  Torturous for any teenager, the time and the job.  Minimum wage.  She kept it for four years.  It was in the third year when she began taking classes at the Community College; hand signing and art were her favorites.  She worked hard in all of them and it was after her second year when she was to join t Phi Theta Kappa  society, one which members had to maintain at least a 3.75 gpa.  She carried a 4.0.  Her parents attended the low key celebration, proud.

   Her dad came out toward the tail end of the conversation.  He seemed gruff and a little agitated.  What were the options?  They were explained.  He looked at Amigo.  He loved all their animals, had loved those that had departed.  It was hard to see an animal suffering and though he never liked it, it was always his desire to say goodbye to them and take care of the deed.  It was not the cost, but the responsibility he felt.  The family always had the last say, so some left by the needle in the sterile confines of the ‘room, one of the family holding them, and others by his side on their land.  

   He looked at Amigo.  It just seemed time.  And the vet understood.  Operating was not an option.  There was no money for that kind of cost.  Dad said his piece and left, the decision his daughter’s to make.  She choose to wait.

It is untrue to state that one is past a condition.  It exists.  Perhaps it is neutralized. Perhaps it is stilted.  Maybe it hides.  Sadie had become a young adult who understood responsibility. And the decisions it brought.  She took ownership of her anxiety. When anxiety or depression strikes, there accompanies a thought, or desire, to be gone to another level, to hide, to extract away.  Sadie had faced this.  Always she had come out of the tunnel and continued to seek the next day.

    She and her mother continued walking until early the next morning.  Then they left. Amigo.  Her horse.   Sunrise would state the next step.

  She prayed that night.  “God, either let whatever Amigo has become acute so that we put him down quickly or leave him with us to be past this…for a long time.”

It was a beautiful sunrise.  Dad had gotten up at three and could see the buckskin standing in the pen.  He waited until light with the yellow orb poking its northern edge past the skyline to go and see.  Amigo knickered at him.  There was a packed down clump of dump where he had excreted himself during the night.  The blockage was gone.

   Sadie awoke.  She went to see her horse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Let’s just make a memory.”

 

 

 

 

happy-young-boy-38108909Cindy was going home.  A break from the brown brick and mortar buildings that had been suffocating her these past weeks.  It was not a school holiday nor any ‘name’ officially stamped on a calendar to state “special day.”  It was just a Friday.  A fried out Friday crumpled on the back end of a white, damp week.   She had closed her laptop, leaving it on the table, grabbed her purse and, trialing her winter scarf as she shouldered her coat, slipped through the snow and headed out to Alice, the 1999 red Alero that served as a motorized go cart of transportation.  She hated ‘her,’  but was thankful. Alice started, cold weather be damned.  Like a dog one would walk around with a quick touch to the top of head, she always found time for a quick pat on the dash when turning the key to start and heard the … er,er,er,er,er,er, hrumppppppppppp -p -peeeeeeepppuuuuuurrrr.  Ugly, beastly, cold…dependable.

The drive home took about an hour.  She texted her departure from the ‘ghetto’ saying she should be home around dinner time.  Cindy had that presence to occupy people’s interest in many capacities, an endearing catalog of patented characteristics from which she delighted many.  None more than her mother.  Sandra ‘bounced’ with the news.

Sandra had slipped into the tide waters of life with her daughter’s absence.  She took each and every occasion to sift a normal day in casual loneliness.  She chose not to artificially introduce activities but became more engrossed with her agronomic activities.  She had five acres to produce as desired within a tight budget.  She had entrusted Cindy (during the ‘home’ years) to be of assistance, but the germination of endearing quaintness to such activities never solidified.  The City was where Cindy felt her vibe.  Sandra had not just ‘lost’ her to college! She would never be back for good.

Being together for these quick getaways always brought an uptick to the norm.  Such did this ‘Text.’  Sandra cast about to fix something that fell in the ‘like’ menu for her daughter. Her phone buzzed.  “On the road.”

Jacob had become dispirited.  Nine, he lived with his father in a four season cabin which sat near a small lake.  He could not remember a time when there had been a dock.   A canoe paralleled the shore.  Jacob used it as a bench, his “wonder” seat.  He would sit as the elders “in the gate,” responsible for the direction of his world.  His mind was shaping around thought and cognizant definition of this world.  Experience had not been kind. His mother had lit out when he was five, the reason(s) never really explained.  He took it that she was just gone.  When she had “rung up,” those occasions were muffled in a false acceptance.  Or so it seemed.  He dismissed them as one discards an unwanted ‘catch’ back into the water, not to be thought of again.  That is what ‘she’ was, a fishing outing once, maybe twice a year, with the memories tossed back.

There had not been a second.  His father sought companionship with the bottle.  He was a hard crusted individual who took to serving himself.  He had ‘ladyships,’ but nothing beyond flesh. Jake watched them come and go.  He found ways to accelerate disappearance on those occasions.  They became infrequent. The bottle became more preeminent.  Jake ‘cast’ about for companionship.

He had persuaded to obtain a pound dog.  Actually, he just brought one home, Jubilee.  He kept him out of sight for as long as he could.  The persuasion came when Jube was discovered. A black eye and slurred curse were the means.  Jube took up residence in a clapboard house Jacob built outside his bedroom window.  A strong chain was insisted upon.  Jacob cringed whenever he locked Jube up.

He slept on Jacob’s bed.  The bottle the silencer.

Jube was clusters of brown patches flecked upon a white background.  He aged out around one.  Small to midsize, he lapped up fun.  The pedigree was one from the working stock breed.  Which was hard to guess.  He was Jacobs from the start and the two hung together in the constant.

Cindy was in eleventh grade at the time, had a boyfriend and played three sports.  In the summer she worked at the Dairy Queen.  Her life was full as was her relationship with Sandra. They, too, were a twosome, Sandy having lost her husband to some illness that Jacob never could remember.  Figured it was cancer and left it there.

He met the Charais ladies as he walked home from school. Detention confined transportation to one’s family and being picked up by Dad never was an option.   Sandra had been outside weeding when the brown hair crown bumped its way past the curved drive.  She had seen him before, but never had entered any type of connection.  Now she lifted up from her kneeling position and whipped her brow with the back of a gloved hand.

“Hello!”

Jacob heard the call and gave a sideways glance.

“Hi, my name is Sandra.”

He stopped and looked up the slight hill toward the house where the kneeling lady was trying to catch his attention.  Motion stopped.

“Hi.”

Sandra had gotten up to her full length and moved down slowly to administer the greeting in total.  Jacob waited.  They shook hands.  He followed her to the house and there he had some homemade cookies, pop, and met Cindy.

That was the beginning of Jacob and Jube becoming fixtures around the Charais home. The canoe became remote to visits.  The next few years found a slightly sulky introverted boy hanging around a middle aged woman and her daughter, when and if one were to be found at home.  Jacob immersed himself in their lives.  And they enjoyed him.  One could have factored in a “puppy love” connection, but it never was of that nature.  Encouraged friendship developed love in each’s paradigm.  And the truth or what each felt was timeless.

When Cindy left for college, Jacob was less visible.  But as Sandra worked a full job, he found that the time he was there, making himself useful to her was interesting if not fun.  He began helping with chores, mostly outside, but an inside one thrown in here and there.

There were shadows in him that missed Cindy.

 

Cindy rolled up the drive, Alice spitting black juice out the exhaust  Sandra whipped her hands with a dish towel and leaned against the counter preparing to meet her daughter. The wait was short.  Her two dogs lit up the night with barks of delight.  The princess was home.

“Hey Mom.”

“Hi sweetheart.”  They embraced.  The next couple of hours were spent over chicken fettuccine, cable comedy and cards.

“What are the plans for tomorrow?” asked her daughter as she counted 15/2, 15/4….

“The temp is supposed to be almost forty, and here it is February!  I hoped to get some of the vines cut away so I can get at that big Elm to cut down in the Spring.”

Cindy was not an agronomist and never pretended to be.   Gardens?  Buy what you need. But she came out with an almost explosive “I’ll give you a hand.”

“Really?  O.k.”

They finished the evening with Sandra clocking out shortly after nine and Cindy greeting the new day.  Sandra had made pancakes, completed animal chores and was setting up the equipment for the task ahead when Cindy emerged from her darkened room.

“mmmmmm….pancakes.  Thanks Mom.”

“Your welcome.”

“What time are you going out to that tree?”

“After lunch.  Breakfast for you.  Take your time.  I am going to head out and get set up and start hacking at those vines.  You come on out when you are ready.”

“Sure, ah, ….”

“Honey, just come when you want,” Sandra laughing said.  She knew her daughter.

Jacob started up the gravel road, Jube scenting the day.  It was half past 1:00.  He had been moseying about the cabin for much of the morning.  Actually did some homework. Mrs. Charais had harbored on him he the fact that education was important.  He took to heart her instructive ways and had begun to apply himself.  A  “B” average welcomed the effort.

Sandra Charais was a lady.  Jacob felt good being around her.  Cindy was fun, their interaction over the last three and a half years was combined with Sandra.  A silhouetted family!  Jube loved hanging around.  All the animals.  He was even allowed in the house. .

Even when they just sat on the couch watching the screen and chatting, Jacob felt at peace.  It was  as common as the sun rising that Jacob would check out the Charais house when the availability of time allowed.  Sandra did not always let Jacob stay when he came down.  He understood, mostly.

Cindy was a product of her times, completely arrayed to use any of the digital opportunities that existed.  She now was into videoing events.  Not at great length, but snippets that could be either kept and shown to a friend or posted in the social media.

She emerged from the house decked out in cast off outdoor wear of Sandra’s’.   Laughing as to what her mother thought she sauntered down to the area her mother was beginning to employ her hatchet.

“Mom, let me do that.’

“What?!”

“Yeah, let me smack away at those vines and you can pull them away once cut.”

“Are you well??”

“I am well, alive, and I would like to do this.”

Cindy loved being with her mother.  She came home to do just that.  And the idea of helping her made her feel warm inside.  She was happy.

Jacob appeared about the time Cindy cut through a third vine.  He stopped and surveyed the scene.

“Hi”

Jube ran up to Sandra and jumped on her legs.

“Hey stranger,” called out Cindy, “How you been?”

“Good.”

Sandra let out a short giggle at Jube and looked up at Jacob.

“Jacob.  Just in time to help us with all these vines!!”

Jacob looked at the intertwined group of barked vines extending from the elm.  He never had really noticed them before accepting how the mass blocked an immediate view of the Charais house.  Now he surveyed them for what they proposed.   A natural mess of nature.

“Sure.”

“Why don’t you grab the hand saw and you and Cindy cut while I drag.  That sound good?”

“Sure.”  Jacob moved to the tool bucket and grabbed the saw.  He looked at the ladies.  Both were geared for outside work, but one looked natural and the other had attributes of a scarecrow.  He smiled.

“Nice clothes Cindy.  How those gloves working for you?”

“Shut up and get over her Jacob,” Cindy exclaimed.

He did, bringing the saw.  He looked at Jube and commanded him to hang around.  It was a command that was so generic but Jube had come to understand…stay in eye contact of Jacob.  He was a pleasing dog.

For about two hours the college freshman and the sixth grader hacked, sawed and pulled at the vines.  Mom kept dragging the cuttings away from the area and piled them in the low area to the north of the property.  Bantering occurred but they put most of there effort to the task.  Then Jacob looked at something ‘different.’

A singular vine hung from a stout branch.  It had developed a natural loop at the bottom, about three feet off the ground.  He went and pulled on the vine.  He held tight.  He pulled again, afterward placing his foot in the loop.   He put all his weight on the vine.  It held.  Pulling the vine back from the lip of the small rock wall that fringed the front lawn there by the elm, next to the drive, Jacob walked as far as the vine would let him.  He held it out, taunt, and then jumped in the air placing one foot in the loop.  The barked rope swung out over the edge and when it had lengthened ‘out’ receded back to the starting point.  Jacob stayed with it and after returning a second time he extracted himself to the ground.

“Oh!  Neat, let me give it a go, Jacob.”

“Sure.”

Cindy grabbed hold and let her self be airborne.  She laughed out loud.

The took turns and Sandra came back from a trip to the pile to watch.

“Why don’t you push each other,” she asked.

“Great idea Mom.  Jacob, get ready!

He did, holding on to the vine and speeding off.  As he returned, Cindy renewed the speed by grabbing hold of him and running toward the lip.  He went even faster as she let go and smiled.

Then, as they took turns pushing and riding, Cindy got got her over-sized glove caught between the vine and Jacob’s foot.  As she went to release him, the speeding Tarzan pulled her along until she tripped over the wall into a pile of wet snow.  Jacob saw her fall.  The return trip would be right where Cindy was.

“Stay down he yelled.”  Cindy remained in the wetness, giggling delightfully as the vine with Jacob swung back over head.  He jumped off awkwardly and landed butt end in the start zone.  Cindy was emerging over the wall, laughing.

“let me go get my phone and video us!”

Sandra was standing, hands on hips, mirth spread her length and her smile wide.  “That sounds like a good idea,” she offered.

“No.”  Jacob had stood and “jollied” the whole up.  “Let’s make memories.”

Cindy looked at him.  Not quite knowing how to respond, she let out an “okay,” and then, “It’s my turn.”  She pulled herself up over the stone wall and grabbed the vine.  “That sounds good.  Give me a memory!”

Jacob pushed her hard.

Sandra looked at Jacob.  Her smile increased.  What an expression she thought.  She took in the two of them for a few more minutes and then suggested that they complete the work.

The vines were gone in four hours, with three very tired workers.  They went in the house, all three, and began recovering with beverage and eats.  The sofa and fluff chair never felt so good.  They watched T.V., the talk minimal.  Then Jacob said he had to go.

He left to thankful goodbyes.

Cindy had no idea that that would be the last time she would see him.  Sandra was the last one.  When Jacob and his father were foreclosed on and headed to the cities,  Jacob asked if Jube could stay with her.  Of course.  That was concurred with immediately.  She had given him a big hug and with tears in her eyes watched him walk home for the last time.  She had implored him to call and stay in contact, but it did not happen. When she tried to find out there whereabouts, she hit dead ends.

The years went by.  Cindy became a Physical Therapist, married, and had moved to the west suburbs.  Sandra remained on the five acres, with her animals.  Jubilee had passed at the age of nine.  Sandra buried him in the special animal plot and marked it with his name.  She thought of Jacob.  He might want to see it someday.  When she finished, a memory came to her…a young woman and a boy swinging on a vine.  She so prayed that Jacob had found joy in his life somewhere.

Cindy and her husband were passing through a small town which ran parallel to the great Mississippi, known for its artists and artisans.  They had stopped to get a bite, and while concluding with a homemade ice cream cone and coffee, they browsed a few of the shops.  One had varied prints of pastoral and rural life.  As she moved to her left, her eyes followed.  She stopped, quietly.  The print stared back at her.  It was a winter scene, by a large tree.  In front was a small stone wall.  A young lady was stirrup-ed in a wooded vine, pulled back to its farthest point.  A boy held her, as if in a state of tranquility, poised to give her a great running push.  The girl was looking down at the boy, and he at the ground.  No face could be made out.  But she knew.

The print was named, “making memories.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Magic Carpet

12509268_10208179771117280_4543863108643947103_n  Ellie

It was a day to ‘float.’  My arrival was the last entry for any or all of the wedding party.  I had no real responsibility other than to stay out of the way, make sure I was on my mark when Ellie came through the door, crook my arm for her’s to slide through, wait for the dress to be fluffed in back.  Then move forward.  Slowly.  I had two words to say after the saunter down the white aisle; “Amy and I.”

I was ‘in a good place,’ in that my emotions were  in an acceptable range of amplitude. I felt peaceful.  No real excitement…yet.  I suppose one could say, serene.  It sure was different from anything I had experienced before.  As if the nerve endings all decided to put up stop signs and let me observe without experiencing anticipation.  In the moment without knowing what the moment was!  Drifting but anchored.

I had gone to ‘stilts’ (crutches) during deer season, cutting that activity off.  The right leg finally grinding to a halt.  The pain had abated some as I worked to graduate from the two stilts to one in anticipation of the ‘walk.’  My goal, if possible, was to use a cane.  Her elegance deserved it.  No, more, but reality has a way adjusting.  I had abandoned the idea to walk without “helpers” on the merit it would not happen.

Funny how an old old downtown storage facility, the oldest one in the country, was transformed into a throne room of tranquil royalty by the hands of love.  After the endless cycle of pictures, formality accepted, I stood on the old staging area and swept the wedding location with my eyes.  Soft white lights surrounded the flood lights to damper the whiteness.  Neatly arranged white padded chairs were set in semi circle style separated by an isle.  The ‘focus area’ was pillowed with flowing, sheer white draping.  The red brick tone styled in behind. It was a picture waiting for the artist to paint in the final pieces.

I was familiar with ‘stilts’…too familiar.  I could pick up a toothpick with them if need be!  But not for my daughter’s wedding.  I needed to get to the crutch and each day was a workout.

I knew them all, one being my other daughter Sadie.  She was ‘best lady’ or as they say in normal English, Maid of Honor.  How the bridesmaids dresses were chosen to tone with the facilities decor was mesmerizing. Each simplistic in grandeur.  Deep brown styled to each lady manicured in a fashion as to be beauty queens.  Her sister and friends.  But to my eyes they were princesses supreme.

It was in December that the ‘stilts’ were put aside for brief periods and the cane employed.  I was thankful and hopeful.  A dear friend came along side and kept by my side, being there.

The guys…guys are harder to spiff up to the degree the ladies are.  But they certainly complimented this fiefdom well; with light grey suits, dark ties and lightly shaded brown shoes lined in black.

Happiness goes so far in employing image and joy takes that and molds it to another level. The footmen were ready as were the ladies in waiting.  The procession would begin soon.

 A few minutes each day in January I would take steps with no ‘lean tools.’  Not many but some.  There came a day that I went up and down the hallway for about five minutes.  The pain afterward was sharp, but I had done it.  It was still the cane option, but I had walked unabated.

Just before pictures were taken, at my request several weeks earlier, Ellie was brought out for me to meet her in her dress  I had never seen it. The Photographer had me face an old metal wheel standing up against the brick wall in the Foyer.  I was to wait until they said to turn around.  All said I would cry.

“Turn”

I did…cry.

What is it in the emotional system that keeps one from breaking down in total love? Because my heart actually skipped, signalling the tear ducts to let loose, a slow draining down the cheeks signifying unabated love.  She was more glorious than any of the Elf queens in ‘Lord of the Rings.’   She was angelic.  The happiness tears squirmed down one cheek of hers.  I held her.

It was time.

Cheol Oh brought in Grandma and Grandpa.  Their countenance one of excitement held tight.  He then retreated and reemerged with his parents, Jung Woo and We Jung; he stoic and she blinking back tears.

All were becoming excited, you could feel it.  These were truly friends and family.

How does one describe his wife when she literally beams in happiness inside a dark navy blue dress so ‘her’ that I wanted to take her and marry again?  I just did I guess.  Cheol Oh brought her down and up toward her chair.  We made eye contact.  I teared.

I was nimble on the crutches.  The cane was smoothed out.  The walk was a tumble.  I felt good about using the cane.  I used it in the rehearsal and it did not deter from Ellie I thought.  We could make it work.

 

I was ready to make a go of it.

I had no clue of what happened , but it did.  After the pictures, while in the dressing room, the young whipper snappers slicking up and enjoying the ‘work up,’ my leg throbbed.  It felt weak.  I had the ‘stilts’ with me and for a moment I thought I would need them.  I stared at the wall.  No.  I finished dressing and went out into the hall.  The procession was ten minutes away.  I journeyed to my spot, cane in hand.  There I kept moving back and forth, near one small table.  My leg felt stronger.  The throbbing stopped.  I walked back and forth and somewhere on that path I placed the cane on the table.

The procession began, and I moved, slowly now so to not disturb all eye contact reserved for the princes and princess.  They came, supremely opulent.

The doorway from where all emerged was to the north side of the stage floor.  Entrants would sweep slowly north to south and then make a 90 degree turn to pass the through the guests sitting on both sides of the isle.  The walk down the stage to ‘center’ isle was perhaps 200 feet.  A nice entry pattern.  As each had emerged from the door, the next stepped up for their turn.  All had gone until left standing immersed in white back lighting was my daughter.

I moved slowly to my ‘mark’ and waited, watching her elegance move toward me.  I did not catch her features until she was close enough to take my left arm.  When I looked at her I saw a woman ready to marry the man of her dreams.  Now we were moving, together, slowly, down the white carpet.

I rode a magic carpet. Free!

 

 

 

 

 

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white carpet

 

 

 

Ellie and DadFunny, really.  How can I not have seen this coming?  A glorious separation, profoundly sentimental, yet ‘jacked’ up with emotional tidings of thankfulness.  She will walk with me one last time, officially, today; the man of her life; now being transferred.

We will come together at the back and wisp our way  between the well wishers, family and friends all.  The agony of who is in and isn’t will not have an affect this day, this walk.  I will be with my daughter.

I will see her for the first time at 12:20 p.m.  Ten minutes before her husband ‘to be’ does.  I like that.  I was there when her mother first pronounced her beautiful.  She will be when she walks in that room. And I will go to her.  I should be first,  but not overstay.  It is time to relinquish.

I really have few functions to perform.  I will be able to take all of her in and see the love she has for many be funneled to her ‘one.’  The ceremony will be simple but elegant and she the most beautiful woman in the world.

Life, what it can be or is, allows hands on guidance for such a slim shaving of time. Then ‘hands off.’  When I let go do I lose my little girl?  No, really?  At sixty five why do I have minor feelings as this?

 

It took me two weeks to pick out the  Father/Daughter song.  Two weeks!   Then it settled upon me one day and I knew it was right.  Right for me and hopefully her.  “This island earth” by the Nylons, recorded in the late 70’s.  I used it as the background music of a video that I took on a houseboat cruise with special friends and my father.  Dad passed years ago.  I have a picture of him holding her, she laughing.  The song has meaning, long stretched out meaning.  And it is suggestive of the path before her; them.  I will hold her.  Just she and I.  And the melody will immerse us for a little more than three minutes.  Three.  It will be three of the sweetest minutes of my life.

Of course I ‘lose’ my little girl.  It is the essence of the ceremony, this day.  I know it will be emotional.  But I look forward to it.  ‘Flushing’ tears of love and happiness with no regret.  A cleansing if you will.  Deep down I will be good, really good.

Off I go.  The ladies are there.  My instructions?  Feed the animals, let the fire go out, bring your suit and don’t forget your shoes.  Drive safe. Minimal.  See?   I get to arrive and prepare to witness a wedding that for the first time will touch me beyond any measuring point.  Because it is not a wedding for me.  It is a love event that drives home the desire of God for a man and a woman.

My little girl is a woman today.  And she will belong to someone else sometime mid afternoon.  I can live with that.  I now find myself purposed to move to the shadows, willing to step out when needed. Let go and love her; just a little farther away is all.

I can not wait to see her in that dress.   And when we make that walk on the white carpet, She will shine and I will glow.

I love you Bomber.

 

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