Monday, August 30, 2021

A Snickers bar?

 Everyone knows you can see some interesting individuals at Walmart. Usually they are customers.

Today I had a strange encounter with a store associate when I was picking up photos.

The young man in the electronic's department presented me with the envelope of photographs. He said, "Look and see if you want them."

"I do. I want all of them. I edited them on the store photo computer."

"Well, are you sure?"

 "Yes, I'm sure."

"That will be $2.13."

I handed him eight quarters, two nickels and three pennies. 

He shouted, "Holy cow Martha! Look at this, a full sized Snickers bar. And don't feel bad, ma'am I need the change." 

Okaaay. I didn't feel bad; I had cash in my wallet. 

WHO was Martha? He was working alone.

A Snicker's bar?

Maybe it's me.

I left shaking my head, but pleased with my pics of Alex and Charlie in the pool.

Friday, August 27, 2021

I love a good laugh

 Sometimes I am amazed at people. 

We went to a restaurant, masked and socially distanced, for lunch. A couple maybe in mid 30s appeared to be on a first date. She said, "Well yes, I wouldn't mind seeing a movie. But no, I wouldn't want to see THAT movie. However since we are on a date, I would sit there beside you in the theater, but I would not enjoy it."

He told her to go online then and select something she wanted to see. 

He asked what she liked to do for entertainment. 

She said, "Well I'm trying to be more adventurous."

 His eyes widened. "How?"

"Well skating for instance. I don't want to just skate. I'm thinking about skate boarding."

He did a double take but said nothing. He opened his wallet to pay with one of the several 100 dollar bills he flashed. Making a first date impression?

I am sitting here wondering how that date ended. They both weighed about 400 pounds, no exaggeration.


My honey made me laugh out loud yesterday. A few days ago, he noticed a little bump on his bottom lip and got a tube of herpecin (for fever blisters and canker sores) out of the medicine cabinet. 

Every time I saw him he was reapplying it. I told him he might be overdoing it. 

He came into the living room later and said, "Why didn't you TELL me I was using LIP GLOSS instead of that medicine on my lips for the past three days?!

The dentist always gifts patients a tube of lip gloss. I laughed until I couldn't laugh any more.

Friday, August 20, 2021

I am diving in!

 I pride myself on being resilient, possessing inner strength, and having strong faith, however...

channel surfing local and world news and foreign outlets this morning, I became so overwhelmed I could not watch for another second about how this world is in such chaos: the flooding, wild fires, hurricanes. People suffering, the pandemic raging again, and foolish adults fighting one another making mask-wearing a political issue, instead of protecting innocent children and realizing it is a potential life/death medical issue. My heart aches for our grandchildren going back into the classroom next week. 

As I felt my chest tightening, I realized I was holding my breath and tensing my hands. Like the last block precariously placed upon a child's wobbly tower, I could not pile one more thing on.

So, I flipped on a sit-com rerun, Mike and Molly. Silly jokes and one liners made me grin. 

Carlton's grandmother has the best lines; they never fail to make me laugh out loud. Her wise cracks to her annoying police officer grandson who lives with her, had me guffawing. 

Laughter can be an emotional release, better than crying because my eyes don't get puffy and my nose doesn't get stuffy.

When Victoria, Molly's flaky sister, was reading and reciting Shakespeare with a friend, she said, "You see, I am not so much book-learned as I am magazine-learned."

That struck me not as funny but as alarming, as I fear many people are facebook-learned, social media misled, misinformed, or completely uninformed. 

Crazy world we live in. You have to recognize when to turn off and tune out. 

Liam, Alex and Charlie swam Wednesday. I am not babysitting today. The filled-to-the brim kiddie pool in the back yard is calling me. Water, particularly the sea, beckons me. I yearn for the beach.

Vacation is out of the question again this year, and besides, the Florida beaches are inundated with red tide, flesh eating bacteria, sharks coming into shore, and who knows what else. 

I heard, "The Redneck Riviera is a haven for Covid." The Florida Panhandle, a day's drive away, is often refered to as such. Hmm. No thank you. We will stay home.

Today I am going to take a good book into the back yard and dive in. Rather, slip in carefully, and float my worries away for an hour. 

I am blessed to have actually floated and snorkeled in the Caribbean Sea with colorful fish and creatures, soaked in the Gulf of Mexico, swam in the Pacific Ocean, and waded in tide pools teeming with sea life in the Atlantic with my late best friend.  

I will travel today...back in time and reminisce, reflect, and pray.  

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Mom was sworn in as a deputy

 Chicken Soup for the Soul chose my story as the featured free story in their daily newsletter on Friday 8/13/21. This story was released June 23, 2021 in  Chicken Soup for the Soul Eldercare and Dementia. My mom did not have dementia. She sure knew how to juggle, though.

Social Butterfly by Linda O'Connell

“You are not moving me into a nursing home, young lady!” My tiny mom with a tight gray perm and pursed lips sat in the passenger seat of my car with her arms crossed, refusing to exit.

“Mom, this is not a nursing facility; it’s the independent living, senior apartment complex you applied for two years ago. You’re free to come and go as you wish.

Mom sat like an obstinate child. Cajoling didn’t work, sweet talk didn’t faze her, so I used my teacher voice and ordered her out of my car. I buzzed the office intercom.

“See! They lock you in!” Mom was convinced she was about to become a prisoner.

The property manager greeted us with a wide smile, “Welcome, Virginia. We’ve been expecting you.”

Mom put on her happy face like a kindergartener being praised. We walked through an elegant vestibule, past a large aviary where parakeets flitted. A lobby area with comfy plaid couches, overstuffed chairs and a large screen television had a homey feel. Tables and chairs and stocked bookcases invited residents to linger in the lobby. Mom gave me the side eye and whispered, “I am not visiting people I don’t know.”

I nodded. “You won’t have to.”

From the office to the elevator, we strolled a long, glass-enclosed hallway. Outside, the green space, teeming with flowers and bushes, was home to bunnies and even a box turtle.

“I do like to walk, and I don’t like to feel closed in. Nice.” She commented to herself.
The manager explained the four apartment buildings were connected by these corridors, so she would be able to walk in comfort, regardless of weather.

After Mom settled in, she called me several times a day. “Do you know they have line dancing here?  But I’m not joining!” She’d never been a joiner. When I had Tupperware parties she refused to attend because she didn’t feel comfortable in a crowd. I was amazed when she mentioned amenities such as card making, book clubs, and free bus transportation to shopping centers and grocery stores.

I felt a sense of relief. I had been my mom’s sole transportation for many years. I was about to get a break. Mom used her sweet voice to entice me.

“Honey, if you have time, could you come take me to the grocery store?”

I hopped on it, even though I wished she’d hop on the free bus.

“Can you come over and help me straighten my drapes?” I could hear the smile in her voice.

I dropped by whenever she called. I brought leftovers and bags of homegrown tomatoes for the residents. I took her shopping and on evening rides.


One evening while carrying her groceries to her apartment I looked at the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board. “Why isn’t your name on the bus list? I thought you said you were going to the mall this week.”

Mom waved me on and said, “I might, and I might not.”

I called my grown daughter and asked if she had seen her grandma lately.

“Of course, I have. I see her almost every other day. I always take her to the mall and grocery shopping.”

I phoned my adult son and encouraged him to stop by his grandma’s. “She might be feeling lonely, you know?”

“How could she be? I’ve seen her almost every other day. She asked me to program her television remote. Then the VCR wouldn’t rewind. When she called to tell me her thermostat wasn’t working, I had to convince her not to touch it because it’s a heat pump system. I took her for ice cream last night. She wanted me to put something high up in a closet. Next week she’ll call me to take it down.” He chuckled.

The next day Mom asked me to take her to McDonalds for a fish sandwich.

 That evening my daughter called to tell me she’d taken Mom to McDonald’s.

“Not true!” I said. “I took her this afternoon for lunch.”

“Well I just took her for a chocolate sundae.”

 While we all imagined Mom suffering from loneliness, she was busier than ever yanking all our strings, orchestrating which one of us she would see on different days at different times.

Little did we know Mom, who had been shy all her life, was becoming a social butterfly in her later years. As it turns out, she had joined all sorts of clubs and had even met a best friend in a Bible study group.

When the office manager called me into her office to show me a photo of Mom and three other residents wearing white cowboy hats and silver badges, I couldn’t believe it. Mom brave enough to stand before a group?! Dressed in costume?

“This was our monthly residents’ meeting. There was a theft in our building. Someone stole the large screen T.V. last night. So, because your mom is always walking the halls, we deputized her and these other two women and man as our residence watch committee. Did you know your mom has even tried kicking up her heels on the dance floor?”

Really?! I walked into Mom’s apartment. “What have you been up to lately?”

“I’ve been busy working as a deputy,” Mom beamed showing off her badge and photo. I expected her to run to the closet and pullout boogie-scooting-boots.
Mom, a late bloomer, was like a lovely wild rose that finally blossomed in her elder years.