Friday, May 31, 2013

A K-Mart Blue Light Special That Turned Very Green!

Okay...get this! So I am in the checkout lane at K-Mart minding my own business, as usual. Stop laughing. I have my moments when I stay entirely focused. And no---this is not a blog about going to war with a shopping cart, or stealing someone's shopping cart, thinking it was mine. No...I am not retelling a tale about a kid named Michael who needed my help in the parking lot or about the time some guy mistook me for another gal who frequents 'the club'. If you have read some of my 'ongoing stories' these tidbits will be familiar. But I digress. How surprising. I have my purchases loaded up on the belt thingy that clearly has a mind of its own. (But that is another story). Then, I look behind me and see this nice looking young man with his arms piled high with brats, franks, packaged potatoes, more brats and such. I mean this guy was loaded. After wondering why said 'nice looking young man' lugged his barbecue menu up to the check out  without aid of a cart, I wondered if he too, had gone to war with a shopping cart. I regained my wits and mentioned that he could go ahead of me. This guy was about to drop his hotdog. Not that I was staring, of course.

At first he resisted. Then I insisted. We chatted about my dog purchases (regular dogs, not hotdogs) and then his brats were bagged. He thanked me again for letting him be next in line. Truly, no big deal.

As he turns to go, he stops, takes a twenty dollar bill out of his wallet and tells the cashier, "Here. Put this on this nice lady's purchases." A twenty dollar bill? Holy guacamole! Of course I told him no, that payment was certainly not necessary! He then said, "You did a kindness for me. Let me do one for you." With that he placed the twenty dollar bill in my hand and walked away.

I am not sure how long my mouth hung open as I stood there staring at the money. Have I mentioned that it was a twenty dollar bill? And it is a real one! My sister checked to be sure it was not counterfeit. I mean, my heart was so touched, but had it been funny money I think I would have had no choice but to pray for somebody's hotdogs to burn.

Now...I know these random acts of kindness are just the ticket these days. And I have been on the giving end a time or two, but what the heck?? A twenty dollar bill just for relieving a guy of his heavy load? What is this world coming to?

Kindness. And you can put your money on it.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Small, White Crosses...Untold Losses

Memorial weekend. Flags are a flyin' and families gather, and kids know this is a precursor to that long awaited summer vacation. And many folks stop and remember those who have paid the price for freedom. Many images capture the honor, loyalty and unselfish gift of giving up one's life for that of their country. Is it not a noble and 'lump in the throat' moment, when we put our personal agendas aside and remember? As I write this, my American flag salutes the bravery of so many--flying fiercely in this Indiana wind.

But it is the image of those white crosses in cemeteries-- that stretch beyond number--that got me thinking. Sure, they mark the soul that has gone to Glory, but if we put those crosses touching one another, do they not form a fence? A steadfast, protective barrier to the forces that threaten our freedom?

The threats--not of other ethnicities making America home, but of those with thoughts of terrorism and destruction who invade our buildings, marathons, and workplaces with evil on their minds.
I see those fence-like crosses, with soldiered spirits in uniforms, uniting across our great land still standing duty, continuing their guard, oh so many years and weeks and moments, ago.

These small white crosses are sentries, each with a unique story, who took an oath to protect and follow orders. Even if such orders would mean an empty chair at the dinner table. An absent brother or sister from every Christmas morning or graduation. A daughter or son, God help us, never to call and say--- from the other end of the phone, "Hey Mom!"

We go on with our lives and when May rolls around, we think of a three day weekend, full of race cars (remember....I am from Indianapolis), barbecues, and sleeping in. Of yard work and spring cleaning, and get togethers. Well....get togethers, for some.

But this May, I see those little white crosses as fences, with shadowy figures behind whispering to me a promise of security.
I will not forget their task of protecting the country that I love and call  home.

Little white fences, indeed; formed by strangers who crossed that line for my freedom. May I never forget.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

This Is What Dreams Are Made Of?

Dreams. What do you think of when you hear that word? That subconscious far-off place we wander while we slumber? An imaginary goal that somehow begins to own our soul? I am sure the this word conjures up various meanings for us all. But have you ever dreamt about ordinary objects becoming, well, dream-like?

Okay. So today, this random self decided it was time to get organized, and I would start with my underwear drawer. What better way to spend a three day weekend than putting socks, granny panties, and brassieres in an orderly pattern. (Guess I just made this blog a bit too graphic. My bad.) Anyway....I set out to find some of those drawer dividers to make this a serious-I-am-not-kidding project. And dreams began. Sort of.

I took these dividers out of the box and was quickly informed that these were no ordinary dividers: these were Dream Drawer Dividers. I've gotta tell ya now...I have dreamed of many things in life....drawer dividers aren't one of them. Now perhaps I have divided my dreams but never once did I ever utter, "I am dreaming of Dream Drawer Dividers." Not once. Perhaps this is why my life is as exciting as cold oatmeal.

But I got to thinking about ordinary stuff which has the word 'dream' attached to it. You know, like a Dreamsicle (yum), a dream vacation (not to be confused with four kids in a mini-van for sixteen hours), a dream date (not the prune kind), a dream job ( dream is not needing a job!), a dream home (one that is paid off so I don't need that dream job), dream team (ummm I don't follow sports but I guess that is where that one would go) and many more that I cannot dream up right now.

Remember dream sequences in film? Yeah....I think my first realization of how that worked was with soaps. I was a big soap opera fan growing up. Watching: 'Love of Life, Edge of Night, Search for Tomorrow, General Hospital, Days of Our Lives, the Young and the Rest of Us' (as my son, Matt, called it), and so on. Yeah, I would buy into all of that melodrama and then the screen would get wavy and smokey and the storyline would have been a dream. Really? I skipped school on Monday so I would not miss a detail-- thinking Maude had run off with Claude only to find out it was all one of Maude's dreams? Claude is confined to a coma for the next 1500 episodes so he is running nowhere! How unfair to play with a viewer's sense of reality. are such a fraud.

And dream sequences in literature have absolutely ruined kids for becoming authors of great writing. There is nothing more disconcerting then reading a decent little story of a student and to be smacked with the line: "And then I woke up. It was all a dream." Seriously? A good plot, action, characterization, and then it resolves in a meltdown of a puny dream? Poopy doo. I taught you better than that.

I'm going to cut music lyrics a break. After all....dreams and music are a bit like hands and gloves--they go together. Besides, 'I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas' is a personal favorite. So there.

Okay. Maybe I am over analyzing this dream stuff. I guess I just consider dreams to be that lofty staircase to personal fulfillment--not to be diminished by being the name of some toilet tissue or mattress. Or worse yet: drawer dividers.

Well....I am off to dream of dividing my drawers with utensils that are not at all ordinary but are DREAM DRAWER DIVIDERS.

I truly hope that sorting my socks and such does not become a nightmare. I would hate to return the DDD (dream drawer dividers) to the store and say they just weren't what I dreamed they would be.

They never have issues like this on 'Days of Our Lives'. Maude wouldn't dream of it.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Power of 'Play'

I don't know about you, but I like playing around. Oh....not that kind of playing around. This is a wholesome, family friendly blog. I am referring to the power of 'play' in our lives. While there is a time to be serious, God-fearing, tax-paying adults....there are those moments when a person just needs to be goofy.

Like this week. I played an old, bitter, mean teacher named 'Miss Sickentired', complete with a gray wig, big dress stuffed with bed pillows, and old knee-high hose down around my ankles. "Why would anyone do such a thing?" you might ask. Simple. It was for a pep session for 6th, 7th and 8th graders and after weeks of testing they needed to laugh. And I needed to play. It was a ball!!

Last weekend, my four children and their families created a Mother's Day for me I won't soon forget. All kids were present and accounted for and that in itself is a joyous occasion. Or in other words: time to play. Part of my gift was that they hired this photographer to come and 'capture' our family. Now, if you know my family, that is an assignment! One of the things I wanted this sweet gal to 'shoot' was our family gathering game of 'hot box' or 'pickle' as it is called. It consists of two bases, two of my sons pitching and catching the ball, while the rest of us run to their bases without getting tagged. It is hilarious! And all of us run---from the two year old grandkid to me....the big kid of the bunch. And we fall, and get tagged, and argue, and laugh, and get out of breath. Oh wait...that's just me.

Perhaps I have some secret need to become a child again; or perhaps it is because I am around kids all the time. At any rate, I do enjoy playing. And I think it is vital that grown-ups put their stuffy selves aside and be silly. Medical science has done in-depth studies on how the 'bad' cholesterol numbers, belly fat, and baldness disappears when one engages in riotous playtime. I made that up. And if you have seen me anytime lately, you know that is a lie 'cause my belly fat and 'bad' cholesterol numbers haven't exactly disappeared. Not bald yet, so maybe there is hope.

But back to the topic of playing. Do you play? If I have any regrets as a mother, it is that I did not play enough with my sons and daughters. Did I forego crawling into the blanket forts because I was mopping a floor? Was I too busy talking on the phone to join them in a game of kickball? Or too worried about the monthly bills to join them in hide and seek? If so, I failed them miserably.

Now...I do recall standing in line for my turn to try out the rope swing which allowed one and all to swing out over the creek on Pleasant Run. And letting my oldest son trail me on his bike, where-in I would stand on his 'pegs'. That fun ended when the bike was stolen. And of course, there was--and is---Halloween and yes, I still dress up and trick or treat. The gorilla costume is my favorite.

Life is too short not to play. There is pure joy in laying our images aside and recapturing our lost selves that told 'knock-knock' jokes and giggled without end. Whether catching lightning bugs or having a pillow fight; squirting your offspring with water guns--I give you permission to play.

The next time someone asks that time-honored question of childhood: "Can you play?" don't miss it!

There is, indeed, power in 'play'.

Play holds such power!