dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

Markers…

This week is Thanksgiving.  A time when we remember.  A time to point out things in our lives that we are grateful for.  A time to give thanks.

Many of the things we give thanks for are situations with family, friends, people.  Activities we may have had or shared experiences that have touched us somehow.  This time of year prompts us to think back, to reflect, and in reflection we respond with gratitude.

Each of us have certain things in our life that we hold on to.  Things become markers in our lives.  We keep them to remind ourselves.

Today I came in from church.  I came in through the garage and as I headed into the kitchen from the mud room I saw a blue leash hanging from one of the coat hooks.  I smiled to myself and took a breath, somehow arguing that is was now time to take that leash down.  It has sat idle for a year now.  Hanging there as a reminder.  I won the argument with myself and the leash still hangs in its spot.  It belongs there.

The leash is not the only marker I have in my home.  For most of the year I have a little ornament that hangs on my pie server in my dining room.  It’s a simple little ornament that says, “Friends are Forever”.  Most of the time I don’t even see it, it has just become a part of my dining room decor.  But, like the leash, it belongs there.

I have a mini Christmas stocking that looks like it has been through the wars.  It hasn’t, it is just old.  I got it the Christmas I was pregnant for the second time.  It hung beside the stocking belonging to my daughter.  It was full of hopes and dreams as I hung it in 1981.  It was the stocking for the child we lost just a few short days after Christmas.  A miscarriage, but somehow it was Tim’s stocking, the name we had picked out for that baby.  It now hangs each year on our tree, another marker of mine.

I have photos on my refrigerator.  They often times drive me to distraction because of the cluttered look they give my fridge, but each are markers for me.  People dear to me and reminders to pray for those in the pictures.

The markers in our life are important.  They become a landmark for the journey of our lives.  Most of the time we don’t see them.  They are there like stop signs and street signs.  We see them, but they do not stop the activities of our daily routine.  They do not cause us to cease our schedules to ponder them.  They are just there.

Until, that is, we do stop to look at them or touch them, or consciously think about them.  Today I thought about the leash.  A melancholy smile came to my face.  The leash that gave excitement to our Shugo.  The leash that held him at stay whenever another dog was walking in the other direction.  The leash that jingled when we went to the door and he would come running, tail wagging, and we waited for his house bark to go out for his walk.  It will remain there, because it belongs there.

The ornament on my pie holder will remain there, because, it reminds me of my friend Dawn.  My walking companion for years.  I will keep it there to remind me of the times we spent circling Chollas Lake, laughing , talking, crying and making certain the squirrels did not get her.  The strength we got from each other to get through her divorce, to get through my moving, to get through a rough day when walking was just not enough, but a piece of pie did help it just a bit more.

The mini stocking that makes me wonder who that child would be as an adult.  But, also knowing that the child born after the miscarriage has given me so many wonderful gifts that I can’t begin to write that all down.  A reminder that plans don’t always go the way you think, but our God is bigger and His way will give healing to broken hearts and bring us unexpected joys.

The pictures on the fridge, are a testament  of a life surrounded by people who have touched your life, some family, some neighbors, but all loved.

Markers are things we hold onto.  As I head into this Thanksgiving week I am grateful for much, but, I think that in this moment, right now, I am thankful for the markers in my life, for they anchor me to where I have been.  They are a foundation in my memory.  They stir my heart with recognition of a happy, full, and rewarding life.

What are some of the markers in your life?  I’d like to hear about them if you would like to share them.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all,  thank you for stopping by.  Cathi (DAF)

 

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A year has gone by…

I dreaded looking at my Facebook memories today because I knew what would be waiting for me.  I was right.  The pictures of our little pup were waiting for me to look at.

It has been a year since he was underfoot.  A year that we haven’t heard him wheezing and crying in his sleep. A year that we haven’t had to vacuum once a day to keep up with the shedding.   A year that we haven’t tripped over him accidentally .

I have spent the day trying to talk myself into acknowledging how much easier this year has been.  We have saved on trips to the store to pick up his food.  No vet visits.  No stress over how he is feeling and if there was something I could do to make him more comfortable.

We said that we would give ourselves a year to decide if we were going to get another dog.  We decided months ago that he was, in fact, our last dog.  We are still good with that decision.  But, we still miss our little guy.

I went I to the place in our yard where we laid him to rest.  I talked to him even though I know he could not hear, and I did shed a few tears.

As Agnes Sligh Turnbull said, “Dog’s lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”

Image may contain: dog

Thanks for stopping by, Cathi (DAF)

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Dredging up the past…

Today was a fall day.  The sky was bright blue, but the air was crisp and there was just a general feeling of needing to be wrapped up in something comfy and staying on the couch all day long.

But, that was not the plan for today.  Instead, hubby and I drove an hour and half to Columbia to visit the VA hospital for an appointment of his.

The morning started out wonderfully, we loved our drive down and spent the time munching on some fruit and sipping our coffee and tea and chatting about upcoming events.

And then…  we arrived at the VA.  We were an hour early and were thrilled, hoping we could get in sooner and leave sooner.  We drove into the facility and immediately stopped, vehicles everywhere.  We entered the first parking lot and immediately I was transported back in time.  The years were 1982- 1985….  The time was the same, fall, bright blue skies and a nip in the air.  The kind of cool that cuts through your sweater and settles into your bones.  It only comes in sharp gusts and takes you by surprise each time it happens.   During that time frame I was a mother of two young children.  We were living in San Diego and I was in a parking lot like the one I was in today.  I circled the parking lot several times, praying each time I entered into a new row, ‘please let there be an open space!’.    None were ever available, and I would finally go into a pay parking area and fork out the $2.00 that was needed for my vehicle.    The parking lot would be a quarter to a half mile from my destination…  the pediatric care clinic of the Naval Hospital.   Pushing my car into park, I would then unload my girls and proceed to carry them, sometimes both of them at a time to the clinic.  I was usually exhausted by time I reached the clinic and it always made the bright days seem cloudy.

I haven’t thought of those times in years.  I haven’t had to, they were neatly tucked away in my stored memory file.   But, somehow, today, circling those parking lots, it all came flooding back to me.  And, in that moment I was feeling the same weight I felt all those years ago.

Again, hubby and I did not find a parking place.  A half hour after arriving, we finally found the overflow lot and proceeded to circle that lot, an unpaved, pot-hole strewn lot where a semi could get lost in a pot hole. Not one place was available.  Finally, we backed into a grassy area and parked our car.  We walked the quarter mile to the building we needed to be in while I tried my best not to find a place for my soap box which, unfortunately is always with me.

Why a soapbox?  I find it reprehensible that our veterans have to spend a half hour trying to find a place to park in order to been seen by their physicians.  These people who have pledged their allegiance to our country.  These people who have given their youth, their energy, their best cannot easily use the facilities that are there for them.

So, as we walked to the clinic, I mentioned that I knew there was a blog post in all of this.  I will now put away my soap box and sit and try to shove those memories back into storage.  Those memories make a part of me want to sit and cry.  Although so many of my memories of our time in the Navy are wonderful, there are some that just make me ache.   The feelings that were resurrected today are some of the worst.  Feeling helpless with sick children and knowing that the only way for them to be seen was to jump through the hoops that were present during that time.  After being seen we then had to go to pick up prescriptions, which, at that time meant sitting on a group of metal bleachers outside in the elements with your sick children while your prescription was filled.  That always added an hour to the ordeal.

Yes, I know things have greatly improved for military families, but, just one question remains for me… why can’t they pave a stupid parking lot for our veterans?

Thanks for reading my rant…  Cathi (DAF)

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And time marches on….

It’s been two months since I last wrote on my blog.  Truthfully, it doesn’t seem like it has been that long, and I had to check my stats to actually prove to myself that it has been.

Two months, eight weeks, sixty some days, more hours than I care to figure out.  It is time and it has passed by.

In this time I have spent time with friends.  Had meals out with friends.  Cleaned my house several times.  Done a ton of laundry (well, not really, it just seems that way).  Ironed for several hours (which I really do not mind).   I have gone on a women’s retreat at the beach.  I have written and taught a Bible Study.  I have made holiday plans for both Thanksgiving, and Christmas and New Year’s.   I have even addressed most of my Christmas cards and started to plan our neighborhood party.

Time passes.  Seasons fly by.  Our area has been hit with two tornadoes.  The green leaves have changed to bright colors and have started to fade and fall all over.  The last of our tomatoes have been brought indoors and we watch them wondering if they will ripen any more.

The holly berries have appeared and the camellia’s are budding, waiting for the holidays to come so they can start to bloom.  Soon the birds will perch on the holly trees ridding them of the bright red berries.

And time marches on.  Seasons continue to pass.  The sky gets dark earlier and the cold sets in then.  It is the beginning of winter and I am happy for that.  I have started to decorate for Christmas already.  I have never done this this early before and have found myself enjoying it more than I imagined.  Somehow, it brings a sense of settling in.  A sense of preparation for Christmas.  A feeling of not rushing to do it all and trying to grasp the joy of it all.  A feeling of looking forward to not only the gift giving, surge of activity, but of actually thinking of what Christmas is.   I can look at the angels and think of the host of angels that appeared over that manger.  I can look at the trees that are up and decorated and think of the people who will gather around them and be grateful and so thankful for them.

Yes, time is marching on and there is a peace to all of it.  Thanks for stopping by.  I do appreciate it.  Cathi (DAF)

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Just…WOW!…

As I have written many times, my hubby is a retired Navy man.  He served for almost 21 years and it was a great part of our life together.  I stood by and watched him re-enlist many times and each time I felt such pride well up in me.  There is just something about watching someone raise their hand and promise to protect and defend you.  It is a remarkable thing to experience.

Yesterday hubby and I drove over to Atlanta, GA.   We spent the night there in anticipation of seeing our son-in-law re-enlist in the Navy.  He had the opportunity to do this at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, GA.

This morning we gathered at the aquarium to witness this ceremony.  He was going to re-enlist underwater.  His family gathered together as well as several of his peers who came up from the Navy Dive school.

The entire experience was remarkable.  The facility is the best aquarium I have seen, and I have visited many aquariums.  This is a beautiful place to visit.  If you are ever in the area, go, you won’t be disappointed.

We were given instructions as to the time of the ceremony and at the appointed time we went to a viewing area to see the divers swim into view.  We waved to our son-in-law and took pictures, it was all very exciting.   Then the divers made their way to the area where the re-enlistment ceremony was to take place.

We went into this gallery area that overlooked a large tank filled with fish and sharks and sting rays.  The view was breath-taking.  Then in the distance we saw the divers appear.  This moment took my breath away.  You could see the bubbles from the divers and then you saw these men swimming towards you.  What spoke to me the most is that these men do this for a living.  They do this for this country.  My heart swelled with pride in seeing them in this tank.  These are the heroes of our country.  They protect us on land and in the sea, literally.   Tears fell down my face as I saw these young men having a great time.  The contrast of seeing these men among the fish in that tank.  It was all lit up and you could see everything going on in there, but, these men do this when there is no lit tank and the fish are not used to seeing people in their domain.  They have a dangerous job and they do it willingly.

After a staff member introduced the divers to those assembled in this gallery, our son-in-law took his place along with one of his commanding officers.  They stood at attention and because they were equipped with audio equipment we sat and watched as our son-in-law raised his hand and swore an oath to protect and defend this country.   He did this willingly and without hesitation.  I watched as my daughter, who has been to many of these ceremonies in her life,  beamed with pride as she watched her husband repeat the same words she heard her father say.   We cheered and applauded as he concluded his oath and then stood with pride and tears as a staff member sang our National Anthem.

The day was one that will be etched in my memories.  I am a flag-waving person.  I love my country, but today, I was reminded once more how deep that pride of our country and our military is in me.

For those who have never heard the words of re-enlistment here it is.  Men and women freely and proudly speak these words daily.

The Oath of Enlistment (for enlisted):

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” 

Congratulations dear son-in-law, thank you for your service that you give so freely.  Thank you for allowing us to share in this special day.

Thank you for stopping by my blog,  Cathi (DAF)

 

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Good-bye Dear Friend…

Each person has a ‘first’ friend.  Those childhood friends who are neighbors or children of family friends, but there is a connection to somehow make you friends.

My first friend lived close by.  I would go out our back door, walk by the neighbor behind us, cross an alley, and end up at the bottom of the steps of her house.  We didn’t knock on the door and ask politely if they could come out to play.  No, I stood at the bottom of the steps and hollered, “Hey Peggy!”  Several times, if necessary, until she either came out or her Mom or older siblings came out to let me know she couldn’t play.  She would yell at my door also, “Hey Cathi!”.    It was a crude way to begin play, but it worked.

Peggy and I loved being together.  We played on her swing set (it is where I learned to flip myself over the bars), or we would catch butterflies or bees in jars, or we would roam the neighborhood, making certain we ran past that scary house on the corner because we just knew a wicked witch lived inside.    It was heaven.

My family moved in August before my first grade year.  Peggy was no longer in walking distance and the shouting from each other stopped.  We went to the same elementary school, but, her last name began with a “C” and mine with an “M”, so we weren’t always in the same classroom.    We played on the same basketball team and she came to my birthday parties, but, it wasn’t the same.  We went to different high schools and lost track of one another.

Years later, when we both had two daughters who were mostly grown, we met up at our husband’s class reunion.  Hubby and I had gone with our forever friends and everyone found someone to talk with.  Everyone, but me.  My friend, noticing me standing alone not talking with anyone, came over and pointed out that Peggy was also standing alone, talking to no one.  I went over.   Instantly, it was like we were once more roaming the neighborhood talking and sharing with one another.  It was the best!  We took some pictures together and a piece of my heart was put back in place.

Thankful for Facebook, we messaged each other, sharing our lives and pictures of our girls, and grandchildren.   She talked about her daughters and how proud she was of them.  I got to know them through our talks.  I heard about her grandchildren and smiled and laughed with her as she shared her stories about them.  We always said that everything we learned about friends happened in kindergarten and somehow we knew our hearts were joined in friendship there.

Two years ago I realized that I hadn’t heard from Peggy in a few weeks.  I wrote her and let her know she was on my mind.  I asked her how she was.  Her answer was like a punch in the stomach for me.  She told me she had ovarian cancer.  I swallowed hard and tried to write something positive to her and I closed out Facebook and sobbed.  Her news hit me hard.  She told me her dates of chemo and I put each one on my calendar in my phone, so I would remember and know to pray for her.  I knew I couldn’t be with her, but, I felt that if I could pray for her during those times, I would be doing something at least.

In July of 2016 she wrote that she was cancer free!  I rejoiced!  I was so very happy and thrilled.  She even talked about possibly coming to visit, asking which airport was closest to me.  I started to imagine sitting on my screen porch visiting with her, watching the lightning bugs flicker in the night sky and us laughing together, sharing stories of daughters and grandchildren.  They were happy thoughts for me.

Four months later she wrote to tell me her cancer was back.  She would undergo more chemo and testing until she couldn’t anymore.  In between, her youngest got married and she was able  to be there with them and celebrate.  The pictures were lovely and I was so happy for her.

The past few months have been a time of travel to hospitals only to receive news that was not good.  She passed away this past Sunday.  Her daughter called to tell me.  When I saw her daughter’s name on my phone, my heart sank.  I knew it was not going to be a good call.

I heard this beautiful voice on the other end of my phone.  I heard the tears.  My heart broke.   Peggy was such a dear person.  She saw the best in me and made me laugh.  We had been friends most of our lives and I knew there would be a void in my life when she went.  But, my void would be nothing like what her family now has.  Their Mom, his wife, was gone.  I know that words cannot heal that hurt.  Words cannot fill the spaces that used to be filled with her laughter.  Words cannot replace the ‘looks’ that only a Mom, Wife and Grandmother can give.

But, for me, I had to write about her.  She will be remembered.  People will get a glimpse of this person.  This person who used to holler for me.  This person who once challenged me to pick up a snake(I couldn’t) or catch a bee in my bare hand(I did).  The one who had the mumps and I got to play with her daily in hopes that I would catch the mumps and get it over with.  I never caught the mumps….

So, good-bye dear friend.  I miss you already.  I will miss our late night chats on Facebook.  I will miss hearing about your news and your family.  I know you are now pain-free.  You are able to be as free as we were as children.  Rest well, you have fought the brave fight and you taught me how to live.

Thanks for stopping by.   Cathi (DAF)

 

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So over it…

Today I am using my blog as a place to air my opinions.  I do not want to cause a discussion in my comment section, I just want to state some things.

I am a Northern born Yankee.  I lived the first part of my life north of the Mason-Dixon line.   I learned about the Civil War in school.  I learned that the war started in my former hometown of Charleston, SC.      I also learned that states rights were the reason for said war.

I am a very proud Yankee.  That is just me.   That said, we moved to the south in 2009.  I made several jokes to my hubby that I would never be ‘genteel’…    I did not have the gracious and soft manners of the stereotypical Southern Woman.    I am just me.

But, the one thing I have discovered in the past few years of living in the South, is their fierce pride in their history.  Their pride is also the same pride I had when living in the North.    It is a pride of their heritage.  It is a pride of who their ancestors were.  The pride that is inherent to us all as individuals.   It makes us who we are as people.

I do not understand why monuments are being torn down.  I find this ridiculous.  I find it very offensive to me, a Yankee, to have monuments of great men being removed from perches they have been on for generations.  Why,  in this day and age, are they being taken down?  Have we become wiser?  I think not.  Has something about them changed?  I think not.

I think it arrogant for this generation to think they have a right to do such things.  I am appalled at the actions of people I see lately.    I do not see respect.  I do not see honor given to anyone.  This  is a sad commentary on the state of minds.

Like I stated previously, these are my opinions.  I have read and read and read so many people stating what they believe, I see so many spewing hatred and anger and then they speak of love and how they want and need hugs.   A well cannot produce sweet and brine water at once.    What does your heart say?

I am not a learned person.  I do not have a lot of education.  I have had experiences though, and I know that anger is not a good thing.  We each have a choice in how we react and act.  We can jump on a bandwagon and adopt a mob mentality, tearing down monuments and tearing down our President, or we can choose to  act in graciousness.  We certainly will not agree on everything.  But, reacting with violence and hatred is not the way either.

For months I have read and hidden posts on my Facebook account.  I have shaken my head at things I have seen.  I have chosen not to engage people on things.  This has been my choice.  I have tried to accept their opinions as that, their opinions.    This morning I went on to Facebook to see pictures of my Little Man’s first day of school.  I saw those, but then was hit with everything I have mentioned above.  I told myself that it is their right to speak.  That they have freedom of speech in this beloved country of ours.  I went to hide a post and realized in doing so, I was denying myself of my freedom of speech, thus, this post.

Again, I do not want to have any discussion of this, but, I had to stand for once and state my opinions.  DAF

 

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Baseball Adventure…

I was born and raised in Northwestern Pennsylvania.  Since this is a fact, I also was raised to believe that I am a fan of three teams ~ Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins,  and Pittsburgh Pirates.   I am perfectly fine with this.  All three teams are excellent teams and deserve my fandom (is that a correct word?).

Now, I have never been to a Steelers game, although I would love to someday.  I have gone to a Penguins game and loved every minute of it.  Nothing has truly compared to  that hockey game for me, it was magical!

My first professional baseball game that I went to was in November of 1978.  I was seven months pregnant and a group of us took the train and bus up to Yokohama, Japan.  We sat on wooden bleachers to watch the Yokohama Whales play the Cincinati Reds.  We basically tail-gated by taking thermoses filled with hot chocolate and picnics of American food that we would get if we were in country.  It was my first baseball game ever.  Not one of my finest moments though, as in the bottom of the third inning I asked when the game was going to start.  Everyone turned to look at me, and without thinking I said, well, they haven’t sang the National Anthem yet…   Yes, it was not one of my finest moments, I chalk it up to pregnancy brain…   I thought that this was going to be my only time seeing a baseball game, and I carefully tucked the memory away so that it could be remembered always.

A few years later, we moved to San Diego.  San Diego, the home of the San Diego Padres.  This is where my love of baseball really came to be.  I do not follow the stats.  I wouldn’t know an error if I saw one (which, by the way, I know I have seen several in my life)  I can follow RBI’s, but I can’t explain it to anyone.  All I know is, I love the game.  I love watching the players,  I love the atmosphere of the game, I love the crowds, I love baseball.  I especially love the Padres.

Padres games fill the memories of raising our family.  We would go several times a summer to see our boys play.  When the girls were young we got the cheap military seats in the nosebleed section of the stadium.  We would smuggle food in so that we could eat during the games, since buying the family tickets was close to breaking the bank at that point.  I remember holding our youngest on my lap as she would cheer for her favorite, Tony Gwynn.   The girls grew up watching the Padres.  Our seats changed through the years, as did they.  One of the last things we did as a family was a ball game together.  I love my San Diego team.

We lived in San Diego for 27 years.  During all that time I never saw my Padres play the Pirates (who remain my 1.5 favorite).  I don’t know why I never did, but, I didn’t.  I know hubby took his father to a Pirate/Padre game one year, but it was just the two of them who went and I stayed home watching and listening on t.v..   I never missed an opening game, I would make certain I was watching on t.v. or listening to the radio.  I never did make it to an opening day, as that was when school was still in session for the girls and once they graduated, I was just in the habit of catching it like I always did.

Three years ago I went to my first Pittsburgh Pirates game.  We were in our hometown and we went with our friends.  I was so excited to see them play for the first time.  We had since moved from San Diego and I had not seen a ball game in five years at that time.  The Pirates lost that game, but it did not diminish the thrill of seeing them.   It was a childhood dream come true for me.

So, when we knew we were going to be home this summer, I went online to see the Pirates schedule.  In our time frame of being here, we would not be able to see a Pirates game since they would be on the road.  I was disappointed, but, I did realize that the Pirates would be in San Diego.  I packed my Padres shirt.  I knew I could watch it on t.v. (hubby and I do not have sports packages on our t.v. at home).    Last week I donned my shirt and watched as the Padres beat the Pirates two games.  I was a happy girl.

During those games there were advertisements for the games this current weekend. The Pirates would be home and they would be playing the Padres.   But, we would be on our way home by then, or so we thought.  Our trip was delayed and last night, after all these years, I got to see my favorite team play my next favorite team!

I proudly wore my San Diego shirt (I counted and saw three other shirts!).  I was so thrilled to see my team on the field!   They scored first and I smiled.  They ended up losing the game, but that did not matter to me.  I don’t know if I will have a chance to see them live again, but, for now, my heart is content.  I saw my Padres play.

This of course was an adventure in itself, as there was a rain delay of two hours before the game started, so, from 7:05 to 9:05 we waited.  The time was spent watching those in the good (uncovered) seats scramble out of the rain,  watched the rain, looked at the lightning and talked with our forever friends. The time passed quickly and the game ended around 12:30 a.m..  We of course, stayed to the end, not that we are that die-hard fans, but there was a concert following the game.  We saw Chicago perform.  The concert started shortly after 1 a.m., and it was incredible!

We returned to the house around 3 this morning.  I was a great adventure. one that I won’t soon forget.  Together with lifetime friends, we laughed and talked and yes, she and I even cried…  even though “There’s no crying in baseball.”

Thanks for stopping by…  Cathi (DAF)

 

 

 

 

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Lunch with a Friend…

As I mentioned in my previous post, a little over 42 years ago I left home.  Home, as in my hometown.  The past few weeks  we have been staying with close friends who are, in reality, family to us.

A couple of weeks ago, I had an opportunity to spend the day with my forever friend.  I haven’t had a day like this in a very long time.  It was wonderful.  She had an appointment in the morning, so I tagged along and after that we were on our own, a dangerous thought, considering how long we have known each other and, also, being left to our own devices with our husbands safely ensconced in their house.

Most of the time I do not think about having a girl’s day out with a friend.  It is something that I rarely have the opportunity to do anymore, so I tend to not think about it.  However when I do have the chance it is a gift to me.

We had lunch, tea, chicken salad on croissants, potato salad and conversation that you can only have with someone you have known since kindergarten.   From there we went to an antique shop.  To some, a mundane day.  To me, a day that makes memories to cherish forever.

I write about friendships often, for they are important to me.  Friendships are like the seasons of the year… they can change, they can be challenged, they can grow, or they can lay dormant.  But, true friendships can survive all of the changes.  They can weather storms of life and temperaments.  They can produce conversations that are both difficult and healing to each party, they are a gift.

During this time my friend and I have laughed and cried and cried some more.  We have giggled like we did in high school, we have shared memories that neither of us have heard before.  We have been friends.

Also throughout this time, I have heard from friends who are not in the vicinity, friends who are close to our current home, or friends who are always there.   These women have called and checked in and kept me in their hearts.  For these women, I am so grateful.

Friendship is a dear gift, one that too often we take for granted.  Today, I want to acknowledge these women, they are my strength, my joy and my heart.

Thank you for stopping by ….  Cathi (DAF)

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Reflections in the Rain…

We have been visiting our hometown.  Today, I decided to go to a neighboring town to browse some shops.   Of course, the day I decide to go anywhere is the day that it is stormy.

I drove through town and started down the four-lanes, the closest thing there is around the immediate area to a highway.  I was watching the clouds and the rain coming up the river valley.  It is a wonderfully, familiar sight to see for me.

As with any visit to our hometown, memories, both good and bad, flood my mind.  Each bend in the road brings a new thought to me, a new memory.  This always leads to the next train of thought for me, which is: “I wonder what I would be and what I would have done if I never left home so many years ago?”

As if on cue after this thought,  I saw a bolt of lightning and thunder came close by…  just like those movies where the main character somehow finds themselves in an alternate reality of what if’s…..  I half expected to somehow be transported into a life where I had never left Oil City….

But, no, instead I kept driving and parked the car by the park in Franklin, PA….   I smiled to myself as I fed the parking meter and went across the street to  where the shops are.

Looking through several of the stores I remembered times when I had visited the downtown section with aunts and cousins.  But, no longer are there Isaly’s  (a wonderful place for ice cream and chipped/chopped ham), no Murphy’s (a five and dime store).  Those days are long gone, nevertheless there is a lingering trace in my mind of the times when you dressed to go to town and you would see women in hats and gloves.

Yes, the past few weeks have brought forth many memories.  I have seen people from elementary school, I have walked streets that I walked as a child, I have driven past the place where I had my hand held for the first time, I drove by the church where I married my hubby.    Times change and people change, but somehow buildings will echo things to you and memories spring forth.

No, I really don’t know how my life would be if I had stayed in Oil City so many years ago, but, I know how rich and full my life is because I did leave.  Oil City will always be a part of me, deep down, however I am now just a visitor here, someone who comes infrequently.

It is always good for me to come back home.  The time here causes reflection, and that is a good thing.  I think of my life and gratitude comes flooding in.  I have been blessed in my life.  I had a great start in a small town that was safe and secure.  We grew up being able to explore and go in safety.  I was then thrust into a life of adventure where I traveled, seeing sights that some only read about.  I experienced foods and places I never dreamed of.  I met people who have graced my life in so many ways.

Yes, on this rainy day in my hometown, I have traveled in my mind and have realized once more, that my life is good.   Thanks for stopping by.  Cathi(DAF)

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