dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

Some days just stand out…

Today is September 27th.  September is almost over, October and the rush of the holidays will soon be upon us.

But, today is a day that stands out.  49 years ago today, my Mom died.  I was 11.  It was a rainy fall morning when the alarm went off.  The kind of morning you wish you could just stay in bed and sleep.  My alarm was turned off that morning, by my older sister, whose life had permanently changed just a few hours before.  Turning off the alarm in my younger sisters and my room was just her first act of taking care of us.  She was 15.  Her childhood ended a few hours before, never to be reclaimed.

For years my sisters and I would call or make certain there was a card or letter in the mail on this day.  We remember in detail the day and the things that surrounded this day.  For years, I think we almost dreaded this day, for once the pain and searing hurt had diminished and we were busy with our families, we knew, on this day, we had to remember.  We had to pick open a wound that almost healed.

A few years ago, my older sister once more acted for our good.  She said it was time for us to stop our mourning of this day.  We agreed with her and since, I know we each remember, but, we do not call one another or email and drag up the memories of that day so long ago.

Most of the time now, I think towards the end of the day, what the day is.  My mind will fleetingly go through the events and I sigh, remembering it all.

Today is a day very similar to what the weather was like 49 years ago.  It is a darker, rainy day, one that is perfect to stay cuddled up inside.  My mind noticed the date and I knew I had to write something.

What I now think about is how much my Mom truly did miss celebrating with her girls.  Cancer robbed us of sharing our tears of joy and sorrow with her.  Her daughters all married, had children and two of them have grandchildren.  Her daughters have all outlived her.

Yes, this is a day to remember sadness in my life, but, I am choosing today to think of the abundant blessings I have had.  I am now 60.  I have hugged my daughters during their times of joy.  I have laughed with them.  I have dried their tears.  I have held their newborn children.  I am a woman who is blessed.

Thanks for stopping by today.    DAF

2 Comments »

39 and counting…

Did not think I would write anything today, but here I am.  Today is my 39th anniversary.  We have watched the time together and talked about what we were doing this time 39 years ago.  Some years are just like that.

We got a book when I ordered our wedding invitations.  It has spaces to fill in about how we met and our first date, when he proposed, showers, gifts, guests, that sort of thing.  I have it all filled in and I also had a page where I wrote out each of the addresses where we have lived and a page of what we did for each anniversary.

I have done better with the address page.  We are in our 11th house, which is not bad for a military couple.  Staying in our house in San Diego for as long as we did helped.

The list of our anniversary celebrations stopped at year 20.  I have 20 written down but nothing after it.  I did notice that for the first fifteen years, hubby missed six of them.  He was off working somewhere in the world.  From the year 20 on, I know there have been years where he has been off working again, but there is no record of it.

This I do know, there were years that were not the best.  We went to dinner and got into discussions about major things (at the time) and we would argue.  I can remember having a huge disagreement one year as we were out.  A whole group of waiters brought over a dessert with a lighted candle, singing and we were glaring at each other.  Awful then, funny now.

Years pass.  Things happen.  You think you have had horrible anniversary celebrations, and you think those will sear in your memory as bad thoughts.  They don’t.  They meld into one another.  Looking back you see a couple.  A couple who were doing the best they could with their lives.  Raising kids, raising themselves, keeping finances, keeping a home and trying to strike a balance of love, laughter and discipline.

Did we always succeed?  No.  I don’t know of anyone who has had successful years every year.  I’d like to meet them if they did.  I think they were most likely pretty boring.

But, today, as we sit in our chairs, laptops open and quietly reading or playing games, I am content.  Content that 39 years ago, in a blizzard I said “I do”.  I had no idea what I was ‘I doing’ , but, then again that is what marriage is all about.

A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity.  The order varies for any given year.  ~Paul Sweeney

Thanks for stopping by today, DAF

18 Comments »

10 years ago… 31 Days of Observing…

31 Days Observing

I still receive emails from a news station in San Diego.  I do this partly to keep informed of what is going on in the city I called home for 27 years and partly because our oldest still lives there and I want to be able to talk with her about her city and the news.

Yesterday I read where there was an anniversary of the first firestorm we experienced.  It was 10 years ago yesterday that the Cedar Fire started in San Diego.   October 25th, 2003 was a Saturday.  We had heard there was a fire in the mountains, but for fire season, it is expected that there would be one or two in the mountains.

Sunday morning we woke up to a weird-looking sky.  It was morning but it looked more like evening.  Walking outside to get the newspaper the air hung heavy.  It was hard to breathe.  This was no ordinary fire.

We turned on the news and found out that the freeways had been closed.  The freeways that would lead us to church on a Sunday morning.  Our oldest drove down the driveway to head to church with us.  She walked in the door and asked, “What’s up with this sky?”  We told her and we all sat down to watch the television coverage of the fire.

Our oldest stayed the day with us and spent that night.  She woke up the next morning and we told her to go get stuff that she would need for a few days.  It was clear that her apartment complex would be in the path and was on the list for evacuation.  She really did not want to stay with us, but she went to her place, grabbed some things and returned.

The fire, known as the Cedar Fire  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cedar_Fire)  was a terrifying experience.  Our home was safe, as was our surrounding area, but the devastation that reigned throughout the county was mind-boggling.

From our decks we could see fire truck after fire truck race toward the mountains.  At one point we counted 15 in a row driving down the freeway.  This was just one freeway to get to one area.  The freeways in the other part of the county were just as filled with emergency vehicles.

The television remained on through most of the firestorm.  The winds changed the course of the fire several times, putting lives in danger and more homes in the path of destruction.

I was amazed that it had been ten years since that first firestorm we experienced.  I was amazed that when I read the headline of the anniversary of the fire, what was triggered in my memory and heart.   All of my senses remember this fire.  I can still smell that awful smell of burnt homes and lives and having to wear bandanas over your face so that it wouldn’t get into your lungs when you were outside.   I remember my eyes stinging from the smoke, for weeks.   I remember seeing the grit and the ash that lay on everything.  Even a year later moving something outside that you thought you had already cleaned to see more ash hidden in the cracks of decking.

Most of all, I remember in early December driving up to my favorite mountain town to see how it was faring.  We drove through a part of the mountains where we had camped with our children when they were young.  The campgrounds were gone.  The magnificent trees that provided fun and shade and home to squirrels and blue jays and woodpeckers were barely there, blackened and dead.  The ranches with the beautiful white fencing around them were mere shells of what they were, the fencing melted along the roadside.  A whole community wiped out.  The sadness that overcame me when seeing this community is still palpable.  My favorite mountain town, Julian, was spared.  At least the main road, the business section, was spared.

The visit up to the mountains saw that places  still smoked, still smouldered.  It is a sight I will never forget.  My children played in the forests there, it will be years before children will have the opportunity to see it restored completely.

But, the city stood together.  People were taken care of.  Slowly, homes were rebuilt.  Slowly, life resumed.  Slowly, those not personally affected, went on and began to forget the horror of those weeks.  That is, until, you reach the anniversary like this one.  The anniversary that recalls the images and the people and it comes flooding into your brain once more.

Thinking of those affected ten years ago, those who lost homes and businesses and those who lost family members.   Today may they feel security and peace.

DAF…

4 Comments »

Love Stories

Yesterday was my niece’s third wedding anniversary. She was the second of the next generation to marry. (our youngest was the first and her love story is written about here:(“https://dearanonymousfriend.wordpress.com” title=”Once Upon a Time”>)

My niece first saw her future husband in the elevator of the building where they both worked. She referred to him as her ‘tall, dark, and handsome’. She still does. They were married in January (obviously since yesterday was their anniversary) in Indianapolis, IN. A very cold day with a few reminders of snow. She was oblivious to the cold though, as was he, they were too consumed with being married.

Saturday, my dear hubby and I are going to a wedding. We are pretty excited about it as it is our first southern wedding. The ceremony is in a church built in the 1700’s. When we first arrived here in the low country, we visited this church to see if it would be where we attended. It feels like history. Sitting there, a few years back, I looked up at the open balcony of the church. It reminded me of an old movie and my mind wandered to think of who has sat in the pews in the church, what they were doing for this country and what they were thinking. It is an incredible church. The reception is downtown Charleston. I have wanted to go to either a reception or a wedding at this hall as it was to be where our oldest was to be married before her engagement was broken. The hall is almost as old as the church and it too screams of history. I don’t know this couple’s love story, but I will be a part of it. We will be there as they say ‘I do’.

Nestled between these two days is our 38th anniversary. Tomorrow will be our anniversary. 38 years is a long time! But, our story started some 43 years ago. Yes, I was a mere child. Okay, I was in high school. We were friends before we started dating. We would talk to each other in the hall and during the summer of 1971 when he was working landscaping the school grounds (it was a new school, its first graduating class was 1968), and I was taking an art class. He would allow me access to the closed off courtyards so I could sketch things other students couldn’t get to. That was the summer we really got to know one another.

In September of 1971, we went on our first date. To the bowling alley, three games. Big date! I won one game, he won two. No, I didn’t let him win, I just am not a good bowler. He then took me home. Rod Stewart’s, “Maggie May” played on the radio. He was the first guy to ever kiss me on a first date. I thought he was fresh, pushy and was determined it was only going to be a one date thing. Yeh, right.

We dated for the next two years. As it goes in young romances, we fought, we broke up, we made up, we repeated this action, several times. He graduated in 1972. I graduated in 1973. We both went to work as neither of us could afford college and our parents weren’t the type to help us out. I made more money in my job than he did in his. This did not go over well. We fought, we broke up, and we were determined not to get back together.

We didn’t for a couple of months. I went out with my sisters one Friday night. When we returned, my disgruntled father looked at me, told me that my dear hubby had called several times for me. He then informed me that I was going to receive a call in the next few minutes and I would take it. I would also go out if he asked. I never crossed my father. So, the call came, a dinner invitation for the following Monday was issued and like the obedient daughter I was, I accepted.

Monday came. I went to work. I came home and ate a full meal. I got ready to go out. We went to a steakhouse and I ordered a very small salad and a soft drink. Yes, I am obedient, but you can’t make me do something I don’t want to do. I didn’t want to have a meal with this guy!

During dinner he told me he had joined the navy. He asked if I would date him until he left. It was eight weeks away. What’s eight weeks? Sure. No problem.

Those eight weeks changed my life. I went from a high school infatuation to actually falling for this guy. He left for the navy in late November. He was allowed to come home from boot camp at Christmas. That Christmas we got engaged. We were engaged for the next year plus a couple of weeks.

No one gave us long. Six months was the longest bet, I believe. We have surpassed that time by 37 and a half years.

Has it been easy? Absolutely not. Have I had my regrets? Absolutely! Would I do it again? Depends on what day you are talking to me.

But, when I look at this man, a little heavier, a little grayer, a bit slower in motion, I feel at home. When we hug each other, there is still a part of me that is a teenager and my heart flutters just a little. (Of course when that happens, I sometimes wonder if it is the high blood pressure, or just excitement).

We are familiar with each other. I know a hot compress helps his headaches. He knows to go out to the garage and tread quietly when I am starting to slam doors. I know he likes crusty rustic bread for his sandwiches. He knows I like onions. We know we will disagree about our dog. I spoil him and he treats him like the animal he is (the dog, not my hubby).

Since he got sick though, I have thought long and hard about him. A few weeks ago I realized that it has been a while since I actually thought of this man. I have cared for him. I have lived with him. But, I hadn’t thought of our love story. The long love story that we are daily living. I was coming home from picking some things up at the store. I was thinking of my hubby. I was praying for him, and I came to realize that although my faith and security is with our Lord, my hubby is my earthly human security. My hubby is home. In his arms I can relax.

I may struggle and argue and go through fight number 650, the one that goes this way, then that way and ends this way… (When you have been together as long as we have even fights become familiar). But, if I did not have my hubby life would not be the same. I would still look out at the pond in my yard, I would still see the sky and the sun, but I know it would not be as lovely or alive, for a part of my heart would be missing.

Love stories are wonderful things. It is fun to watch young couples meet, fall in love, get married. Romantic comedies are great movies to watch and dream about. But, my love story is at least 43 years in the making. It has been a comedy of errors, and it has been a silent movie at times. When it is all done and gone, though, I pray that my love story will serve as an example of true love, true commitment. I pray that when my family looks on our lives that they will smile and know that the foundation they had for love is a strong one, a sturdy one, that although there were cracks in it, it did not falter.

So, happy anniversary to my hubby and to me. I hope there is a love story for you to think about today. Thanks for stopping by. DAF

6 Comments »