Ramblings from a would be writer

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)


It was a flight that never ended… it went on and on my friends….

Many of you knew that I spent a week with my wonderful daughter, son-in-law and our precious grandson last week.  I had an evening flight out of BWI (Baltimore) a week ago this evening.  It was with a sad heart that I hugged my kids good-bye and kissed my little grandson.  I headed into the airport, checked my bag and headed to the terminal to await my flight.

I kept an eye out on the weather, as it was supposed to turn nasty and there was a part of me that felt like I might be stranded in Baltimore.

My flight came and I boarded.  I had two delightful seatmates.  They were two friends who were heading to Charleston for a weekend get away.  We talked about places to eat and we shared a few laughs on our 90 minute flight.

Unfortunately, though, it was one of those flights where your legs get restless and you are anxious just to get off the plane.  My dear hubby would be there to meet me and we were going to have a late dinner and get caught up on what our grandson had done while I was with him.  I was looking forward to stretching my legs and seeing my hubby.

I kept looking at my seat mate’s watch.  It was one of those large ones that are so popular now, so I didn’t have to squint to see the time.  Our arrival time into Charleston was 9 p.m..  My first glance at the watch said it was 8:30.  Only 40 minutes left to the flight.  I eavesdropped on the ladies’ conversation and imagined the fun they were going to have together for the weekend.  I looked again and it was 8:45.  Getting closer!   Again, and it was 9.  Yay!  But, the plane was still in the air.  The next glance said, 9:20 and then we heard the pilot.  “Ladies and gentlemen, you may have noticed that we have circled Charleston for the past 20 minutes.”  He went on to let us all know we were being diverted to Raleigh/Durham, NC.    There was a groan from the plane.  But, it was less than 1% visibility and it was for the best we headed up to North Carolina.

At 10:30 p.m. we landed.  No one (except the pilot) knew we were in Raleigh/Durham, until we hit wheels on the runway.  It was that dark, cloudy and rainy.  As we landed and taxied to the terminal, the door opened.  In came someone from the airport.  The cell phones and texts were open and flying to people in Charleston as we listened to what was being said.  Our visit in Raleigh was a ‘gas and go’ .  We refueled the plane and were told we were heading back up to BWI!    Several people got off the plane, including my seatmates,  but after they left the plane, those of us waiting were informed that the car rental places were closed and the hotels were pretty full.  I stayed on the plane.

We landed in Baltimore at midnight.  All the passengers went to the desk in the terminal for our boarding passes for a special flight for our plane at 6:30 a.m..  It was 12:30 before I had my boarding pass.  I was offered a discount coupon for a hotel of my choice.  I chose to stay at the terminal, as did most of the other passengers.  The reasons being that once we left the terminal, we would not be able to get back in until morning, as there were only a skeleton crew for TSA and they would not allow us back into the terminal.  Also, we would have to find a hotel, check in, get settled (no luggage was allowed off the plane), and get some sleep.  I figured by time I did all that it would be 4 a.m. and time to get up, and head back to the airport.

So, a large group of us settled in for the rest of the night.  We all looked out for one another.  We sprawled out on the benches of seats and tried to stay warm enough to get some sleep.

The airport is a wildly busy place at night!  I had no idea.  There were maintenance crews all over, cleaning, picking up, vacuuming, listening to music and laughing and talking.  There were police on segways  whizzing through the terminal, driving them down the escalator.  Some officers were riding their bicycles all over the terminal.  Everyone was polite and kind, but it was certainly noisy.

I also realized that with those wonderful huge windows that we can watch planes landing and taking off also keep the airport very drafty and cold at night.

I managed to get about an hour sleep last Friday night.  It was an adventure.  One I have never experienced.  I hope I don’t have to have an adventure like that again, at least not without putting my toothbrush into my carry on!


This Date in History?…

January 14th, 2001 was a Sunday.  It was the last day of long weekend trip we took that year for our anniversary.  Being from northwestern Pennsylvania my dear hubby and I love being able to have some time in the snow.  We were married in a blizzard and we have this affinity towards the white stuff (me more than him).

While living in southern California, my dear hubby would try his best to get me to snow.  A couple of times we rented a cabin in the nearby mountains for our anniversary.  It was always a fun time for us.  In 2001, our youngest was a senior in high school, our oldest was in college.  We rented a cabin large enough that each person could bring a friend.  Our youngest brought along a good friend of hers, our oldest a young man she was hanging out with (you know, not a boyfriend, but someone she hung out with all the time never dating anyone else).  We invited a couple friend of ours who are dear friends of ours.

We left home on Friday and drove up to the mountains outside of Palm Springs, the San Jacinto mountains to the town of Idyllwild, CA.  It is a quaint little town and it’s altitude lends itself to snow, lots of it!

We arrived at the cabin, got dinner, got settled, had a fire and enjoyed being together.  The weekend was filled with going shopping and eating and playing in the snow, mostly for the kids.

Sunday morning came, we had breakfast and I put dinner in the oven.  The adults headed back into town to look around while the kids went in search of a place to sled.  The weather warmed a bit and in town the snow started to melt a bit.  We figured the kids most likely weren’t having luck finding a good mountain to sled on.  When I say sled, I really mean that we had one of those saucers, those round discs that have handles on it and the kids were sharing one for the four of them.  But, living in southern California, you really don’t have need for anything more in the sledding department.

The two couples arrived back at the cabin late afternoon.  The sun was setting and it was getting cold.  The snow that had started to melt in the afternoon was freezing over covering any snow with a thin layer of ice.  The four kids came in and our youngest and her friend wanted to go back out for just a few more runs.  Our oldest and her friend were in for the night.  So, I volunteered.  I love to sled ride, I was thrilled to go!

The kids had found a hill down the road.  They had spent the afternoon packing the path down and getting it just right.  I followed the two girls down the road and followed as they walked down a hill to get to the run.  It was getting slippery and I was nervous for the girls.  Our youngest has fibromyalgia and I didn’t want her to hurt herself or cause her to have even more sore muscles.  Her friend had a bad back and her mom had told me to watch out for her.  But, we were all determined to get a few runs in before I went back and finished getting supper together.

My daughter took the first turn down the hill.  It was fast and I watched as she flew down the hill.  There was a little jump at the bottom and she got some good air!  Her friend was next, I watched as she went down the hill.  She hit the little jump and her hat flew off.  She got up off of the saucer, grabbed her hat, laughed and came up the hill.

It was my turn!!  I was so excited.  I sat down, grabbed the handles and flew down the hill.  It was so fast!  I got to little jump, up in the air I went and up and smack into a big frozen bump.  My teeth rattled, my body landed and I thought, ‘That was a great ride!’.  My daughter yelled down, ‘how was the ride?’  At least I think I remember her saying that.  I went to stand up and realized I couldn’t.  I told the girls that I thought I hurt my back, and my youngest started up the hill to get her dad.  I got my feet under me and said, no, I’m fine.  Half way up the riding hill I realized that my first opinion was the right one.  I had hurt my back.  My youngest ran back to the cabin, her friend helped me up the other hill to the road way.

My oldest and her friend appeared shortly and when they saw me, the put me gently into a snow drift.  The college kids chided me for walking up the hill.  I sat in the snow drift until my dear hubby appeared.  He and our friend helped me into the car.  We drove the  block and half to the cabin.  I stayed in the car while they went inside to look for an urgent care.

While waiting, I realized I couldn’t breathe well.    So, instead of finding an urgent care 911 was called.  I was loaded onto a back board and into an ambulance along with my friend who was riding up front.  My hubby followed in the car.  Down the mountains we went.  You haven’t lived until you ride laying down going down the icy mountain roads.

We arrived at the emergency room and the staff set about to get my vitals and figure out what was going on with me.  They were at first very concerned thinking that hyperthermia was setting in as my temperature was well below normal.  I finally interrupted the nurses and told them that since I was set down in a snow drift and I was still in the same wet, cold clothes, that my temperature would most likely be below normal.  After getting some nice warm blankets on, I thawed out and had x-rays and I had broken my back.

The rest of the trip was a blur of being ill from the medications and getting back home.   It was later determined that I had a compression fracture of my lower vertebrae.  My ribs had all bunched on top of one another, which is why I couldn’t get my breath.  The little jump was a small boulder covered in snow and ice.  The mound that I hit was actually another boulder that I flew into.

The saucer was thrown out when we moved.  I didn’t throw it out.  For some reason my dear hubby was thrilled to throw it into the trash when we moved.  He has banned me from sled riding.  Me?  I am still looking for a nice long slope (boulder free, of course) and a nice sled, toboggan or even better, a saucer to take a few rides down.  Anyone who knows of such a place, please let me know!

Thanks for stopping by and reading about my great adventure!!  DAF

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“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

I saw this quote last night.  I posted it on my Facebook page and this morning as I was walking my dear little puppy I was still thinking about it.

October is here!  Fall has fallen!  My sweatshirts are out and some are already in the laundry.  I am happy!

October is one of my favorite months.  I love the sky, it looks like a different type of blue.  The clouds look fluffier.  The trees move from having just a gentle hint of color on their leaves, to being clothed in reds and oranges and browns.  The leaves fall to the ground to do their dance and skip and hop across the yards and streets.  They crunch when stepped upon.  What could be more fun?

There is a house for sale down the road.  The front yard boasts two very large maple trees.  The yard this morning was filled with leaves.  I almost tied the dog to the mailbox and went into the yard to play in the leaves.  I contained myself and kept walking, just enjoying this fall morning.

My puppy loves this time of year.  He doesn’t just walk or trudge down the road.  His little Shiba  Inu tail curls tighter and he prances down the road, lifting his little head to smell the air.  It’s cooler out and easier to keep a good pace of walking.

The sun even changes to me.  It’s light is not so harsh, it is like it is tired from blazing all summer long.  It lights the day and the sky, but casts shadows that are longer and comforting.

The breeze teases you in the bright sun.  It tickles you with a slight briskness.  Not cold, but not warm, just that right amount of cool.

Oh, how I love the autumn.  I love how the world around me is turning and preparing for winter.  It is getting ready to rest from the long summer.  The birds are finding shelter in the evergreens where they will be safe.  The squirrels are scampering around finding nuts and shells of nuts to munch on during the winter days.  The air is fragrant with the remains of fires that have burnt the night before in fireplaces.

I come in from my walk and think of how blessed I am.  The house is cozy, it is home.  This week I look forward to my trip up to our nation’s capital.  I will see another side of autumn there.  I am anxious to experience the beginning of winter there.  I will see leaves die and the sky turn from the brightness of autumn to the dull gray of winter while I am there.

Changes are all around.  Fall, to me, announces the change coming.  The season announces the end of summer and beckons the beginning of winter.  I look forward to the cold, to bundling up in sweaters and coats, reminding myself that our Creator yearns to bundle us up in His arms.  Fall begins my yearly look inward to myself and I, for one, am so happy it is here.

Thanks for stopping by.  Enjoy this day whether it is filled with fall weather, warm weather, or for my blogging friend in Australia, especially enjoy the tulips of your spring.  As always, DAF


On Leaving Buddy…

Yesterday I flew home from my week with my wonderful little grandson.  He is not named Buddy, but was called Bud while still waiting to be born.  But, there is a part of him that will always be Buddy to his family.

My week was filled with so much laughter.  That much laughter should not be allowed.  I am spoiled, very spoiled, in fact.  I feel this way because I was able to hold him and see him when he awoke.

He has grown since I last saw him.  He is now 10 pounds.  He is taller.  He feels like a baby in your arms, not a newborn.  He smiles.  His smiles light up the world and melt my heart.  His cry changed while I was there.  Last week he still had that little newborn cry where it is sometimes loud, but always having a hint of mewing…  You know that sound that little newborns make.

This week we saw him start to squinch up his little face and out came a sound that ripped my grandma’s heart in half.  He cried and a little tear escaped his eye.  I thought I would collapse in sadness to see that little face.  Of course in the next minute he would look up at me and smile, forgetting what he was upset about.

My dear son-in-law described it best, “so many emotions to discover.”  Isn’t that true of all of us?  We are all learning daily how to deal with the emotions of our lives.

Well, I flew home last night.  This morning I was not greeted by that cute little face with those bright eyes and quick smile.  I did not have the little squalls from needing a diaper changed or needing to be fed.  It is quiet here.  No noise, just the washing machine running and the sound of keys on the keyboard.  Quiet.  My heart is sad for this, I miss my little Buddy.


It’s All in How You Look at It

Last week I read a post from a fellow blogger about her recent airline trip.  It was filled with humor and I enjoyed reading it.  Mostly because I was about to have my own airline trip to see my precious grandson.  I read the post last Friday and thought about it through the weekend.  My flight was for this past Tuesday morning.

Tuesday morning I got up early and eagerly to get ready to make the short flight up to see my little precious.  My dear hubby got me to the airport, I checked my bag, and got to my gate.  Piece of cake.  No problem.  The time approached, and as I stood to get into the queue to board the plane, I texted everyone to say I was about to board.  Again, piece of cake.  No post here.

As we were all standing in line the announcement came on.  You know, those announcements where you hear every third word even though the people speaking are no more than 10 feet away from you.  They are the  ones who have graduated from the drive through windows to speaking into the microphone at airports.

I stood and listened.  (It could be my ears)  I heard, Ladies and Gentlemen, something about a gate, something more and then I actually heard,  we will know more in an hour and until then, please take your seats and we will work hard to make sure you get to your destination.

That woke me up!  It appears that Baltimore was having some weather issues and runway issues and by that point several of my fellow passengers were just having issues!  I sat in my chair boastfully thinking that I was above all of this, I had plenty of time.  I looked beside me and saw a young woman with two young boys in tow.  She was patient and gentle with them.  She told them to go look out the windows to see the planes, only to make sure to hold onto each other’s hands.  They were well-behaved boys, very cute.  The woman smiled at me and explained that this was their first trip to the airport and their first flight.

From eavesdropping on the conversation these boys and this woman were having, I concluded that she was their aunt and they were going on an extended trip to stay with various relatives.  Photos were being taken for Mommy and Daddy and since we live in a military town, I am assuming that both Mommy and Daddy were deployed or deploying somewhere.

After an hour, where, I do confess, I did not keep positive (well, they were cutting into Grandma time!?!)  we began to board.  I ended up sitting in front of this trio, the aunt and two nephews.  The aunt was patiently and very cleverly explaining the take off process, the seat belts, the life jackets, the oxygen masks and what was in the seat pocket in front of them.  She showed them the fold down tables and even instructed them that if they played with the tables it would shake the person in front of them.  She did this by taking the back of the boys seats and shaking them so that they would know what it would feel like to have someone kicking them through the trip.  I thought that one was very smart!

You could tell all the other passengers were anxious to get on with their business.  It was the attitude we all can have when travelling.  Just get me there and get me off the plane.

As we started to taxi to the runway the boys, in unison began a sing-song, that grew with excitement, “We’re on a plane… we’re on a plane!” At first, it was quiet, but then they could not control themselves.  I looked around and the passengers who had thought that, but not singing that phrase started to smile.  They turned. and in an instant, you could see the plane full of people catch on to the enthusiasm of these novice flyers.    As we took off, squeals of excited laughter came from the seats behind me.  It was so much fun to listen to them.

They quieted as we reached altitude and then the descriptions of what they could see started to emerge.  I found myself looking more closely out the window and I, also, could see the cloud trees,  clouds that looked like a forest below us.

I spent the flight thinking how we can lose our joy over the simple things we take for granted.  I loved looking at the clouds and the sky on my flight.  It had been a while since I actually looked out the windows to see the glory of the skies.

The weather was bad in Baltimore, landing was a bit shaky.  One of the boys had fallen asleep and missed the turbulence, but when I saw them exit the airport, they were full of stories and well on their way to new adventures.

This week as I have watched my dear children with their dear child, I have thought of these boys and what their week has been like.  Families are so important.  Especially for those who serve our country, families to step in and help and love and care for.  I hope that the adventures continue for these two boys, that this time will be filled with love and comfort and that loneliness is small.

I am enjoying the time with my precious little grandson.  He is all smiles and joy and my heart laughs when I look at him.  I am grateful for the life lesson I learned on my way up to Baltimore.  Excitement and adventures go hand in hand.

Thanks for stopping by, as always, DAF