Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tenets of Time

I wish I could see my mother dance and stretch her arms toward the sun. For now the days are many when she struggles to stand.

I wish I could climb aboard the big black and white bus with my daddy and bounce on the seat while he drove the lumbering beast around the mountain roads.

I wish I could fight with my brother over which of our 5 TV channels to watch on our families’ tiny black and white TV.

I wish I could laugh again at one of Uncle Cecil’s jokes. The jokes have faded from my memory, but the laughter remains.

I wish I could taste my Mamaw’s homemade vegetable soup again, while my Papaw and I sat in her kitchen next to the wood cook stove.

I wish I could see the ocean for the first time and feel again the glorious assault on my senses.

I wish I could kiss my boyfriend in the snow standing on the step above him on the front porch of my teenage years.

I wish I could be a college freshman with a blank schedule waiting to be filled.

I wish I could be a young giddy fiancé picking out her bridal veil.

I wish I could feel baby butterfly wings fluttering in my bulging tummy assuring my expectant mother’s heart the life inside of me was growing and healthy.

I wish I could be a young mother cuddling a sleepy baby on my shoulder.

I wish for just one more day, I could feel the touch of my sister’s hand and hear her call me Sissy. Forever I will miss her touch and the sound of her voice.

I wish for my Daddy, for the love that was taken away by time.

There are no second chances…

Carpe Diem!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Who are your true friends? When it’s all said and done, who will be left standing with you?

Being a high school teacher, I see more than my fair share of drama. More often than not, it has to do with friend problems – either boy or girl – or both. Over the years, I have accumulated a long list of observations that sadly, never changes unless it is to add another offense. Here is a rundown of that list: I watch friends talk about their friends behind their backs. I watch friends flirt with their best friend’s boy or girl friend. I hear friends say outright lies about their friends, without a blink of the eye or a look of shame at what they’ve done. These same so-called friends can barely contain their glee when their friends get a speeding ticket, fail an important test, get caught smoking in the bathroom, get dumped by their boy or girl friend, and the list goes on and on.

On more than one occasion, I have watched two boys who were best friends for years, fist fight over a girl who wasn’t interested in either of them – she just wanted the attention, and you guessed it – the fight was started by their friends’ gossip. I’ve seen girls reduced to hair pulling and nail clawing, over – a boy when their friends confided he was cheating (whether it was true or not).

After these observations, I understand where the phrase “With friends like that, who needs enemies?” comes from. I think back to my high school and college days and examine friendships. Did such things happen? Probably, but I can recall only a few incidents and those pale by comparison to what I see today. Is it because we were smarter or more mature “back in the day”? I doubt it, but I do think times have changed. In this fast paced high tech world, gossip can be texted instantly. I’ve seen kids text what they “overheard” without giving themselves a minute to consider it. The damage is done instantly. In a world where “reality TV” rules,friends turn against friends on national television.

Friends today are networked via the Internet and social networks like Facebook, so they can keep up a “zillion” friends at once. They can email blog, tweet, message, even post videos on YouTube. Unfortunately, the Internet can be used as a tool to cause even more drama. With what seems to be no thought to the consequences, derogatory comments about friends can be launched into Cyber Space with a click of the mouse. You can send a message without even using words – one incident I saw that devastated a girl happened when a group of her friends deleted her from their friends list on Facebook. I ask you,“What are friends for?”

Oscar Wilde said, “True friends stab you in the front.” The key word here is true. True friends disagree and get angry with one another, but they remain friends. True friends talk to one another, not about one another. True friends are there to laugh with you and cry with you. And true friendship lasts. This morning I spoke with my best friend from junior high school. We’ve been friends for over 30 years! We don’t get to see each other very often, but thanks to today’s technology, we can stay in touch.

I have always told my children, if you want a friend then be a friend. Perhaps I should add true – be a true friend.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Snow. It sparkles in the sun – a blinding light that holds no warmth. I shiver and drop my eyes to escape the brightness. What is that poking through the snow? I brush it away and discover a maple leaf. The autumn transformed it from green to a coffee colored brown, a stark contrast to the silvery white of the snow. I pull it free of the snow’s grasp and hold it up to the sunlight. It is still intact with perfect points and a stem. It feels like paper in my hand. I hold it aloft and twirl it around.

Suddenly, it isn’t winter anymore.

I stand on the mountain. The world under me is a kaleidoscope of colors. Pale green ferns snuggle close to the mountainside. Lime colored moss decorates the rocks. Greedy vines claim the rest of the hillside, their dark green fingers clutching at every tree and rock. Splashes of red, yellow, and orange mingle with the green like candies in a gumball machine. I walk down the mountain. The smell of the earth rises up from my steps - sweet and moist. It whispers secrets of another time when the earth was new. Creatures appear and disappear. A number of them fly, others slither, and some seem to dance for me. I reach the bottom of the mountain and the canopy of green over my head bursts into sky. A spoonful of clouds, too lazy to move, rests against the blue. I shiver in the warmth of the sun.

Winter can’t last forever.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Where do Writers get their Ideas?

I don't know about you, but I've had some of my best ideas in places where I had nothing handy to use to write them down! Case in point, the shower...Then I saw an advertisement that made me realize I wasn't the only one who feels the words flow alongside the hot water. It's called AquaNotes and it's a waterproof notepad for the shower!

Hooray! Their catch phrase is also cool - No more great ideas down the drain! Whoever came up with the waterproof notepad must have been thinking like the inventor of the Snuggie. If you can't find something you need, just make it yourself! It just goes to show you, that super inventions don't have to be complex and expensive extravaganzas!

Just this morning, it occurred to me (in the shower, of course) that so much of human behavior and characteristics are compared to birds:
We can be wise as an owl or act chicken (scared).
We can be bald as an eagle and proud as a peacock.
Eagle-eyed and voice like a nightingale are welcome observations; however, to be called naked as a jaybird is not.
Even though a lame duck is not as bad as a sitting duck, either may be more welcome than your goose is cooked.
One of my favorites - is the night owl, which has its opposite, the early bird.

We even have proverbs about birds:
Birds of a feather, flock together.
The early bird catches the worm.
A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.
What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
Kill two birds with one stone.
That's for the birds.
And our sayings and proverbs don't stop with the birds.

Comments on human behavior also contain everything to do with birds:
Don't put all of your eggs in one basket.
Feather your nest.
Flew the coop.
Scarcer than hen's teeth.
A feather in your cap.

Remember you can be as free as a bird, that is, if you aren't a jail bird, and you can eat like a bird, which is deceptive because even though they are small, birds eat a tremondous amount.

At least that's what a little bird told me.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Snow Days

Ah, Snow Days! The joy of school-age children and (come closer, I'm going to whisper a secret - teachers, too). But there are snow days and there are snow days. Today is an example of a perfect snow day: the snow is lazy about falling. No hurry. Just drifting down landing like dust. You can still get outside and drive without fear of slipping and sliding, unlike snow days that trap you inside.

The best thing about snow days is their unpredictability. You can wish for them, even pray for them, but you can't predict them; at least not with any certainity. That's the magic of them - like a gift for no reason. I can remember the thrill of waking up when I was a little girl, and discovering school had been canceled. More than that, I remember the thrill of waking up and looking out my bedroom window to see the world transformed. There is no duplication of the white that is snow. And when the sun shines on it, it is dazzling. Diamonds cannot compare with the brillance of sun shining on fresh fallen snow.

So, what am I going to do with my snow day? Probably nothing. I have a long list of things I need to do, but all I seem to be able to accomplish is looking out of the window and watching it snow. I do plan to go outside and stand on my back patio and listen to the quiet. The world sounds different when it is blanketed by snow. The quiet is so complete, you can almost touch it or wrap it around yourself like a blanket. The word solitude comes to mind, something we don't get much of in today's fast paced world.

Ah snow days - I am going to savor today.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

That's Alright. It's time.

There's something so precious about the early morning quiet. There's no other time of the day like this. Right now the sky is turning from black to gray, and somewhere outside, my dogs are having their morning run. This is the last day of my "Christmas vacation." Tomorrow I go back to the world of "Ms. Elswick's" "Can I (not May I) borrow a pencil?" And the most important question of the day for a teacher, "What's for lunch?" But that's alright. It's time.

My daughter goes back to Morehead State Univ. today to prepare for her first day of student teaching. Tomorrow she embarks on a new world - music teacher. Pride swells inside of me and I am "fit to bust." In some ways, she has trained for this day since the sixth grade when she picked up her flute for the first time. She is going to be an amazing teacher! She has chosen my profession, which for me was the only choice. For 31 years I have called myself teacher, and I am proud to do so. It is who I am as much as I am a wife, mother, and writer. For her it's alright. It's time.

The sky is lighter now. It has become the color of pearls. The trees leaning against the sky look like black matchsticks. I am happy to see the ground again, since the blanket of snow is gone - at least for now. I admit freely, that I love the snow. I love the seasons and expect them to behave, and be cold in winter and hot in summer, and well, you get the idea. But I also love the days of reprive when a taste of spring intrudes on winter, and a hint of fall splashes on summer, but I'm sure the cold and snow will return soon. That's alright. It's time.

Good-bye 2010. It was a year of ups and downs, but that's life. Isn't it? 2011 begins now like the new day I've watched break outside my window. I welcome it with hope. I do not make resolutions. I've lived long enough to know that doesn't work for me. Instead, I look at each day of the new year like Anne Shirley in Lucy Maud Montgomery's beloved book "Anne of Green Gables" - Isn't it wonderful to have a new day without any mistakes in it yet?"

That's alrlight. It's time.