Why Dishonor the Graves?

tulipsYesterday I learned the angel and plaque I placed on my husband’s grave three years ago have disappeared. Why would someone do this?  What kind of satisfaction can one get from taking something off the gravesite of another person’s loved one?

My heart breaks to know someone dishonored the resting place of my husband’s earthly body. This violation goes even deeper than those times my home and vehicle have been invaded. I can’t even express the emotions I’m experiencing.

However I am called to forgive. I’m not sure I can forgive right now, but I can pray for the person or persons who did this. I don’t know the circumstances. Perhaps some widow is grieving and she didn’t have the funds to secure what she saw was a heartfelt tribute, so she “borrowed” them. Or perhaps it was just vandals with nothing better to do. These items would not be worth anything for resale. Only God knows what happened. And God is the ultimate judge.

I am going to pray for the souls who dishonored the memory of my husband, and I will pray for God to help me forgive and give this over to Him. This, I know, is the only way I can find peace with what has happened.

In the near future, I’ll be searching for another angel and a new plaque which says just the right words. I realize my husband isn’t in that grave and it is just a marking place for his earthly body. He is in heaven far above the things of this world. But God created him and his grave deserves to be honored.


The Tale of Two BFFs and The Backwoods Fest

backwoods9-16-12Today my BFF and I went to Thornville, OH, to see what the Backwoods Fest had to offer. My BFF had been there before, but this was my first time, and I was all excited. We met at my house and I drove with two GPS’s in stereo guiding us. There was one mishap in one of the small towns when I came to a crossroads and only at the last minute saw a stop sign off to the FAR right of the road. At first I thought it was for the cross road and had been turned by some vandal. Then I quickly registered this couldn’t be because it would be on the wrong side of the road for them. All of this processed quickly through my brain and I did manage to stop. Then I began questioning whether I was having a senior moment and should I not be driving a vehicle. My BFF, always having my back, told me it was an honest mistake. But I did see the eye roll she tried to hide from me.

backwoods9-16-1We did arrive safely at our destination, off a narrow road dwarfed by corn fields, and flashing police car lights told us we had arrived and the driver of said car, stood in the road directing into the gravel drive which would take us to the huge parking area. I have never seen so many cars parked anywhere except perhaps at the Ohio State Fair! It was only 10:30 A.M. and people were already leaving. We parked in row 35 and waited for the shuttle to pick us up and take us to the entrance. As you look at the picture you see what was to the left of us. There was another row (the one where we parked) just like it stretching to the main drive. Off to the right were two more identical parking areas. So we were about halfway between the beginning of the parking and the entrance so you can imagine how vast this parking area was.

In my humble opinion, everything was overpriced. We had to pay an entrance fee of $9.00 to get in! What I did love was the rustic appearance once we walked through the gates.

backwoods9-16-2There were figures of Dorothy and some of the characters from The Wizard of Oz along the path. Also lots of pumpkins and mums for sale!

As we drew farther in, we were in the midst of the “food court.” So many choices! Italian sausage, BBQ chicken, BBQ pork, fried fish, and even pizza. Lots more but I can’t remember everything I saw. The neatest offerings were huge cauldrons of bean soup and vegetable soup.


backwoods9-16-6We decided on getting a BBQ pork sandwich and splitting it. The sandwich was $8.00 and to get a soft drink, add another $2.75 (which we decided we didn’t need). There were a ton of picnic tables but difficult to find any vacant places. We finally wound our way to a table with two spots on the end. We met some new friends who were very interested in our conversation about how we would take a napkin, dampen it with our tongues, and wash each other’s faces when we were finished. Hey, it was BBQ after all! They decided to leave first and I’m glad because they might have been disappointed since we were very neat eaters.

After our early lunch, we began our tour of the vendors. Each vendor was set up in a white tent structure. There were the expected hand painted wooden signs, quilted purses, metal works, glass works, etc. One of the most unique shops had what I’ll describe as something that looked like a small book, the size that would fit in your hand. However, when you pulled it open, it stretched into double sided folded open triangular shapes where you put pictures and embellishments much as you’d do in a scrapbook. Each was secured by a different colored ribbon. So neat! I wish I’d taken a picture to share.

backwoods9-16-11My first purchase was homemade scented soaps. Oh, my! I had such a great time sniffing all the various bars available. Would you believe one was called Monkey Farts? It was pretty. A blue and cream marble affair. But, no, I didn’t bother to smell it! I can’t even imagine washing with something with a name like that! The vendor assured it smelled good…a fruity smell is what she said. Actually the hubby was taking care of us while his wife took care of their adorable baby boy! What a cutie he was. Anyway, I decided on a honey scented bar made with milk and oats. And for my second bar, I chose a goat milk soap with a lavender scent. I love the honey scent. It smell so clean. Perfect for a shower before going to work. The lavender dream is so calming. I can’t wait to take a shower tonight with that one. I’ll sleep like a baby.


backwoods9-16-10We continued to wander through the tents until we came to a place where they had some beautiful hand made bracelets with these very strong magnets, instead of a clasp. The magnets were so powerful that when my friend put one on her wrist before you could blink the magnets snapped together securing so tightly on her arm, we struggled to get it off! So, she found one she loved and so did I. We each purchased one and the pic shows our pretty bracelets resting on the tote bag I bought when we arrived.

Another, and probably the best, thing we saw was an adorable King Charles Spaniel named Oliver. Oliver is almost three years old and he was content to lay in his bed and accept all the pets and attention we gave him.

backwoods9-16-8backwoods9-16-9We were pretty tired by this time. In fact, my BFF sat on the straw bale next to Oliver to look for her text receipt from the bracelet purchase (modern technology!). We sat for a while and decided we had enough and were ready to leave.  Shhh. She doesn’t even know I took this picture!

There was another loop of shops, but it was past high noon and our feet were getting tired. Being in the shade wasn’t bad. The humidity is what got us. So we headed back into the “food court” to get something to drink. We settled for bottled water (cough, at $2.75 apiece).


backwoods9-16-7Of course, I couldn’t get the lid off mine and BFF wasn’t any help with that. So I had to accost  ask, an adorable very young gentleman to assist. With one quick twist he removed the top, making me feel even older than I already felt. But I profusely thanked him and we hurried off.

The water sustained us in the hot sun as we made our way out. No shade for the parking area. We stood and waited for a shuttle to take us to our parking row because our legs were beginning to quake. We waited, a little impatiently while the unsuspecting newcomers arrived to have their turn at the event, to exit the shuttle so we could climb on. Then my friend asked the driver how we could tell him when we wanted to get off. He said just holler! So we settled down to rest and refresh with the expensive cold water. Then I said, “You know, BFF, our backs are to the number on the rows so we won’t know when to holler.” So she squeezed her way onto the other side of the shuttle. Then my senior brain engaged and I said, “Oh, that’s right. He has to turn around, so it’s okay.” At which, she replied, “Carol Ann, if you think I’m going to move again, you’ve got another think coming.” And we laughed. We did a lot of laughing throughout the day, which is always the case when we’re together.

backwoods9-16-13The shuttle turned around and then stopped. After several minutes of waiting with the blistering sun scorching our bodies, we began to wonder why he didn’t move. Ha! He was in a long line of non-moving traffic…those people like us who were finished for the day. Driver man yelled back, “It’s going to be a while before we get moving!” So, we asked if we could just get off. And we did. Our tired feet took us all the way down to row 35 where we pulled our sweat-soaked bodies into the even hotter SUV. Didn’t take long before the A/C kicked in enough that I could pull my BFF off the ground and into the vehicle after splashing her with cold water to revive her. All was well. And so we said farewell to the Backwoods Fest, both of us vowing never to return.

P.S. I did take poetic license with this post. My BFF did not pass out. I am known to “stretch the truth” when writing humorous blogs! We had a wonderful time although I was worn out when I got home and didn’t feel like doing any physical work for the remainder of the day!


Back Yard Shows

me-and-judyI’ve always loved to write and while a lot of authors say they began writing stories at a very early age, my first taste of writing was actually putting together back yard shows. For several years I lived with my grandparents, from kindergarten through third grade, actually.

My grandmother made my dresses from flour sacks. I wish I still had one of those to show my grandkids. Anyway, I diverse. The plays.

I’d spend all day long with my friends gathered in the back yard as I directed everyone in the musical production we would perform for the neighbors. We sang group songs, mostly those we learned in Sunday School. There were soloists. There were duets. And there were an early version of music videos! Once we rehearsed everything, I’d gather one of my friends and we would invite the neighbors to come see our show at a specific time. We charged a nickel.

We’d line up lawn chairs, make Kool-Aid, and sometimes have popcorn. Everyone got their “treats” after the show.

I can still hear the children’s choir as we held up our fingers and sang “This Little Light of Mine!” We always received a standing ovation.

Perhaps I should have been an entrepreneur instead of an author.

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My Crazy Cat Chases His Tail

storms-templetonThere is nothing quite like being woken from sleep by the antics of my cat Templeton when he chases his tail! Seriously!

How can one sleep through that? Not only is he noisy, but he sometimes falls off the bed only to jump right back up again and get up close and personal with a meow as if I had pushed him. . . or maybe to say, “I meant to do that!”

And then there are the times he chews his back nails. Disgusting. I keep them clipped, but I think it’s a habit. I used to think nail biting was a human thing, but he proved me wrong about that, too.

Life with Templeton is never dull. And I’m grateful! Even though I’m writing this in the middle of the night because he woke me up. Right now, he’s quiet because he finally caught his tail and he’s looking around waiting for it to move again.

What’s not to love about cats?

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This is Real Life . . . When I Can’t Sleep

DSC02387This is real life. This is the man I loved with all my heart. The man I still miss so deeply. It’s late, or early, however you look at it and I should be sleeping. But I’m not.

When the saddest memory of my life returns, that moment when a nurse tapped me on the shoulder calling my name, and I woke to hear, “He’s gone,” comes calling when my head is on the pillow, and the tears fall, I need to pour out my pain somehow.

So I grabbed my laptop, and here I sit, propped up in bed, to look at his picture and cry. This is real life. The virile, strong, honest, trustworthy man I loved was brought to weakness by a disease called COPD. He had to breathe oxygen from a tank 24 hours a day, tethered to it like a dog on a leash. He wore a Breathe Rite strip to help keep his nostrils open enough to get the life support. Yet he smiled at me every time our eyes met.

He loved me. I loved him. And when God took him home removing his pain, I was left with an indescribable heartache. I said goodbye to him in a cold hospital room while he was drugged to keep him from feeling his organs shut down. I feel guilty that I couldn’t stay awake . . . guilty that I slept while he took his last breath.

And then I felt so alone. I was all alone in a hospital room, my heart the only one beating, my tears falling just as they are tonight with no one to hug me and tell me it was going to be all right.

Sometimes sleeping alone in this bed is unbearable. I listen for the sound of the oxygen machine, I reach across the bed to make sure he is still breathing, and I feel the empty space where he should be. It’s been 3 years, 79 days now. Sometimes I feel a touch on my back and I whisper his name. I wonder if he’s reaching out to me. Once I saw a white shadow in the dark room, a smoky silhouette against the door. I whispered his name and said, “I love you.” And then it was gone.

Sometimes my cat Templeton looks at me with the same intensity and I wonder if somehow he can see my soul.

I’m being brave and facing each day alone, learning how to live as half the person I used to be. I smile. I keep busy. I go on. I live. I sometimes journal when I can’t sleep. This is real life.

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