I am bona fide sick. And been stuck that way for what seems a month. (Cough, cough, cough.) My family is quite sick of me being sick and husband and now, cousin Deb have come down sick and they are trying to pin the blame on me.
"Hey, I tell them, there are other, (cough, cough,) sick people, (cough, cough,) in this world.
And, it's almost Thanksgiving. Which means it's almost Christmas. And, I am so very, happy. Mostly. Really.
Particularly, for an Eyore child. (I have a beautiful little book on my desk - 'Eeyore Be Happy' that sits next to a little pensively smiling stuffed Eeyore courtesy of that great reader Denise Mitchell to remind me to be - happy, happy, happy.)
And while I'm not all Tiggerish crazy happy, in the middle of this messy life and struggling to accomplish all running on a quarter tank of well, I am still pleasantly peaceful. I made it to Florida to gather Mom, her mighty little Scottish terrior Duncan, and her things and return to Nashville. We had an uneventful eight hours or so on the road. No breakdowns. No bad weather. But hours full of stories.
I would ask Mom one question and she would answer. In the quiet, rolling miles, that uninterrumpted space that road trips provide, she was able to fully answer me. To remember things that she hadn't thought about in years. And to take the time to actually finish the story.
These are stories I may never hear again and I try to tap them down to memory, to hold on tight, to help some of them get to the page. My mother is carrying an entire generation before her and I'm thinking how to protect all those tangilble things they saw, they carried, they left behind. I want my grandchildren to know what came not just before them through their parents, and through me, but the before, before. The stories or as Cormac McCarthy might refer to in, The Road as the light.
At my middlin' age of this beautiful between, I have begun to appreciate things in a new light. A grandbaby's giggle or silly dance, my mother watching the sunset or staring at the moonlight. And I'm so aware in the moment that I am standing there with her, holding her hand, staring into the sky that everything has become both now and forever. The moments timeless, and a bit heaven sent.
Except for this perpetual coughing. I think it comes from the pits of hell. And that it's also why God made good Kentucky bourbon.
In my morning time I often go to prayer sites on the web and read the prayers that others have posted there. And, usually one stands out to me that I will think about throughout the day and say a prayer for that person, also.
One of these sites is Sacred Space, an Irish Jesuit prayer site that I visit on a regular bases. The daily prayers are beautiful and the chapel of intentions list heartfelt prayers from around the world. It immediately takes my eyes off of my issues when I realize how many people have so many needs and concerns.
What strikes me this morning as I'm reading is the fact that most of the time the prayers are for someone else. Not the person jotting down what's on their mind. Not for beauty or fame. Rarely, for love. Most of the time those prayers requested for the individual are for strength and courage in the face of adversity. For wisdom in their daily life and decisions. For employment to care for their families.
The majority however fall into the category of praying for others. These simple short prayers of, please. Of, thank you. A woman undergoing chemo for her first day gives thanks for it going well and asks for God to bless her family and friends caring for her. Another for a baby, 'little K' who has been diagnosed with leukemia. For the doctors caring for her and for her parents. And so very, many more. For an elderly father. For a grieving mother.
In the middle of all these requests, I paused this morning and thought about how good we are, we humans. How much we love, how much we care. How humble our prayers can be and how passionate for those around us. We may be broken, but we are so beautiful.
For those who think the human race is rushing toward a cold, soulless oblivion - I would encourage them to think again. In so many ways, we've only just begun.
I miss the Halloween I used to have as a kid. So does my mother. She decorated the front yard, put on spooky music, dressed up and played the piano. The sidewalks were full. Trick or treat was a family affair and it went on for hours.
Every year she continues to buy candy "just in case" but the neighborhood has changed. The children have grown and moved away. And let's face it - Halloween in many places has become either taboo or confusing. No one knows what to do anymore. Trunk or treat? Say what? Go to the mall? Wander Wal-mart in costume?
Add to it this year our weather became severe so many cities postponed the trick or treat event until Friday night. But some didn't. Our's was one of those NOT officially moving but so many other cities in our county had that it was just confusing. Some die-hard enthusiasts stood out on their front porches, homes decorated from yard to roof-top to meet the occasion. Them in costume and candy galore. I know because we drove past them, the wind howling, the Charmings in the backseat and me trying to suggest McDonalds for treats. It wasn't a fit night our for man or monkey.
So last night, in an effort to salvage the event for the children we piled in cars and went to my sister's neighborhood. Some neighbors were out in force, sitting on porches, candy within arms reach. We hit a few houses with the monkey running down the middle of the empty street turned loose and full speed. Do you know how long it takes a kid to learn to walk up the steps, knock on a door and ask for candy? One big brother ahead of him ahead of him and his two older cousins behind him trying to catch him and keep up with him all night.
My sister's house was in full holiday swing. Decorations, Party trays, and music. It was all downright festive. Even we Eeyore's put on our dancing shoes. So our usual Halloween door-to-door 'till you drop and carry home fifty pounds of chocolate routine was replaced by a little family party. And the monkey? How was his 2nd Halloween? All he knows it that for some reason we costumed like crazy, visited lots of friendly neighbors who liked to share, and made merry. And that he was born to dance to Motown Sound. He was captured and enraptured and baby has moves. (All attempts to upload video here have failed.)
Do I miss those Halloween's of the sixties? The ones that looked like the street scene in ET where every child in the world is on the sidewalk and in costume. You bet I do. But tradition is a funny thing. It carries on in it's own way. It evolves with the times, with the season, and with the circumstance. To me the value is in the power of story, of the family being together, and of the memories we make that matters most of all.