The Invisible Man He really hadn’t meant to burn the place down. It was a joke, something to get her attention. Yet, the fire raged, the sirens screamed and the police lights flashed. Nothing ever turned out the way he thought it would. Maybe he should try a different approach. If she survived, he’d simply ask her out.
The older I get, the more I realize the importance of positive thinking; you know, walking in the sunshine and avoiding the shadows in our minds. We gaze into the future and wonder what lies beyond the little bit we can see. Our economy is terrible, the housing market is failing, businesses and families are sinking quicker than life preservers can reach them, and health care is no longer affordable. It’s a frightening time for everyone let alone for us baby boomers. Looking forward to retirement was supposed to be fun. That was back in the days when we thought we actually could retire. It’s getting more difficult to imagine living on investments that have all but disappeared and social security than is anything but secure. Social what? Did you say security? Yet when we get right down to it, we all have a choice to make and it is a decision that will affect the rest of our lives. The choice is: how will we decide to view life. Is the glass half full or is it half empty?
The rain was really coming down the other day, all day long. I wondered what my neighbor would say the measurable rainfall was. That’s her thing; measurable rainfall. It got me thinking about how many things we measure in life and by what variable of standards. For instance, the value of a new car is often measured by the name of the manufacturer and what the price tag says. The quality of a school is measured by the economics of the neighborhood it serves. Gourmet brownies are measured by the richness of the chocolate and butter used in the ingredients. We, as mere human beings, measure each other up for all kinds of criteria. The desirableness of a suitor may be measured by his income, his looks, his weight, or his age. Woman are far too often measured strictly by appearance. Friendships are often measured by how much time is spent together, or by favors that are granted or gifts given and received. They are too often valued by what one person can do for another as far as socially advancing another, or advancing them professionally. There are work friends, church friends, shopping friends and work out friends, all working…
They have grown thick and fuzzy, these cob webs in my head. Not only that, but our damp Pacific Northwest winters present the grave danger of mold entering into the equation. Can you imagine? Moldy cob webs hanging out in our heads? I know it’s happening to me and I know what a dangerous outcome this could have if something isn’t done about it soon. My thoughts are becoming stale. Boring thoughts lacking essential energy and creativity. Useless thoughts void of anything positive or inspirational. Old cold moldy thoughts held prisoner in a cob webby head. All that can be done is to locate a magic feather duster, one that enters our damp webbed brains on a warm breeze and sweeps away the cob webs while drying out all the mold. It’s somewhere to be found- somewhere on this planet of ours. The duster is made from soft colorful feathers plucked from the tails of birds of paradise. It wafts through our heads ever so gently, carefully sweeping the thick sticky webs from side to side. Given enough time,at least a week, the webs will all be dusted away and the mold will dry out. Our thinking will be crystal…
Enter the long dark days of winter. The wind blows in great gusts of frigid air carrying rain drops and ice crystals. They slap across my face in the early morning trek down the road with my dogs who run for cover under parked cars and boats bundled in canvas and tarps. The sting causes me to pull my wool scarf up over my mouth and nose. I wish I would have thought to protect my eyes with some kind of goggle. It’s miserable. GET ME OUT OF HERE ! It’s time for Mexico. Oh, yeah. MEXICO. I don’t care what I have to do. I’ll strap myself to the wing of a plane if I have to. I’ll wear the goggles. I’ll be fine. I can feel it now; warm sand under my bare feet. Waves rushing up and covering us in warm salt water. The infinite pool, sparkling bright blue, just as blue as the sky. I’m going. I’m not sure how or when, but I’m going. Later, Mary Ann
As always, I have set quite a few goals for the new year. It happens every new year, of course. Yet the older I get, the more serious these resolutions have become and the more determined I am to stick with them. I really do plan to lose weight and get in shape and I really will set regular hours just for writing each day. But most importantly, I plan to spend more time developing my spiritual life. I plan to spend more time with God; to talk to Him more, to read His word more, to look to Him for guidance and comfort and to give Him my fears and frustrations. Through this, I hope to leave the stress behind and develop stronger ties with my family and friends.
There were children on her mind, beautiful children running through the house giggling and laughing. The little boys chased after little girls whose pigtails flew out behind them like tails on shooting stars. They all streaked by in a blinding glow of excitement, thrilled by the prospect of Santa and reindeer and presents wrapped in shiny paper and curly ribbons. They would occasionally stop and see if they could spot a gift bearing their name. Shrieks of excitement rang out.
There are sounds that are unique to the deep murky thickness of the night, sounds that clothe me in a blanket of comfort and calm. I will never cease to wonder why my favorite one of all, the one I find so hypnotic and soothing, causes most women to up and leave their beds in the middle of the night. Of course, this is not normal, the way I feel about it, the peace it brings me. Yet it is the way I’ve always felt. If it stops, I know he’s not sleeping well and this floats me to the surface of my deep and heavy bog. I wait until snoring fills the room once again, and then fall soundly back to sleep. Funny how all the racket he makes has become a lullaby. Our neighbor has complained, “That wind chime of yours keeps me awake, you know.” No, we didn’t know. So we move it to the other side of the house, outside our bedroom window. The soft cling of the tubular chimes brings an image of an angel’s breath moving them gently together. How could anyone not love this sound?
When Patrick and I built our house, we had quite a debate over the type of fireplace we would have. I wanted to be done with the mess of the old fashioned wood burning fireplace. I hated cleaning it out and the constant trail of dirt, moss, and whatever that fell from the logs onto the floor. Bringing in more wood, meant bringing more of a mess. It was a problem. And it wasn’t just the mess. It was the constant wadding up of newspaper, splitting little strips of kindling, and digging deep into the wood pile for dry wood. Just getting the fire started was a job in itself. Keeping it going was another situation all on it’s own. It was basically, no fun.
My family is approaching the first holiday season without our Jackie; Mother of seven, Grandmother of twenty three, Dads wife of sixty two years. It will be tough, I’m sure, her place beside Dad glaringly empty. We could be miserable and tearful and resentful to God for taking her away. Yet her time had come, just as every ones will, and I have decided to be grateful on our day of thanksgiving for all the years of love and laughter we shared with the woman who brought us so much joy. I have found some great pictures of Mom in our overflowing box of photos that never made it into an album. She is young in many of these, vibrant and embracing life. Just looking at these pictures brings her back into focus. She will never really leave us, never in spirit anyway. I think I’ll pack them up and bring them along for the rest of the family to enjoy on Thanksgiving day.