Saturday, January 25, 2014

This Time Is For Keeps

   I've held off on posting this final story from my creative writing class for two reasons one its personal. Secondly it's personal. After encouragement from friends and family I've decided to let it ride so I hope you will enjoy it and let me know if you do in fact like it. So without further ado.

This Times For Keeps

     Sitting in the back of the long black stretch limousine on the morning of June 2, 1990 there were more than just butterflies going through my stomach.  This day was my wedding day; I had spent hours having my hair curled and pinned up to cascade down my back, then another hour having makeup done.  Careful hands had put on the Ivory satin and lace dress.  The gown had been hand stitched down to the smallest pearl on the corset.  Each and every inch of my appearance had been fussed over, and finally been judged perfection.
      As I’d looked over at my dad, I could see him beaming with pride as his daughter was about to tie the knot.  That silly grin he had on his face said it all. My baby is getting married.
      “You ready baby?”  He’d asked as he’d gently touched my hand.  I remember seeing the silver in his hair, which had just started to creep up his sideburns.  His tuxedo had been black and crisp.  I could appreciate just how handsome he was, and it made me glad he was my dad.  I knew he would turn heads as we walked down the aisle.

“Yes, just give me a few minutes daddy,” I’d said as he’d opened the door and stepped out of the car.  Gently he had closed it as he walked over to chat with the limo driver.  With his exit, panic had rushed in on me.  I can still remember the terror that shot through my whole being.  Reliving those fifteen or so moments in the back of that limousine where time seemed to stop, still plays through my mind.

What are you doing you ninny?  This is it, run! You’re making a huge mistake!  Open the damn door while they’re looking the other way, and get the hell outta here!  GO!  NOW!  No one will think less of you.  Hell, dad would probably drive the getaway car.  Breathing deeply, in terror, I had gasped finding it hard to breath.  I can still feel the inner pull from that day and wanting to run away as quickly as my legs would carry me.

No one would see me, escaping into the late morning sun!  I could make my getaway from this mistake. There was still time!

Looking through the tinted window of the car, I remember how much I’d squirmed on the leather seat as I looked up at the entrance to the church.  The large wooden double doors, with their polished golden wood, were wide open like the jaws of a giant monster.  I had noticed a few people lingering, chatting while they’d waited, to be seated before the ceremony. Mrs. Tanis, a family friend, was on the steps dressed in a frilly peach and white dress, with a white hat on her silver gold, curls.  She had turned and waved before stepping into the church with her husband laughing at something he said to her.  However, unknown to all of the happy guests, my internal litany had continued.

I can’t let these people down, I’m committed!  Think of all the work that went into this day, to make it right.  Who am I to run away like a scared little rabbit?  People will think I’m a spoiled little brat who doesn’t know her own mind.

My heart had pounded in my chest as I looked out the back window of the limousine down the long empty street.  In my mind, I remember thinking of a scene from a movie from the 70’s or 80’s.  You know, the kind where the bride ran down the street wedding gown flowing in the breeze as her high heel ate up the road as she runs away.

Who runs away from their own wedding?  Swallowing, I had fanned myself as I felt the sweat running down between my breasts, under my suffocating gown.

Whose idea was it to wear this death trap?  Resentment filled me towards beautiful prison cocooning me.  It had felt like it was slowly choking me alive, squeezing every breath from my body.  Veil, skirts, petticoats, and corset all did their job holding me in place. The car door had opened, and my dad was suddenly there again.

“It’s time to go kitten.”

Taking his hand, I had carefully stepped out my face had become a mask of calm serenity as the photographer snapped endless pictures.  Hugging me briefly my dad had whispered.

“I love you baby, be happy.”

“I love you to daddy, thank you.”As I’d looked into his hazel eyes that were damp with un-shed tears.  I found myself, humbled, by the love I could see on his face.  I’d hugged him close because I couldn’t let him down.  Nor could I embarrass my future in-laws, who had embraced me as one of their own, or my soon to be husband who waited in a church full of guests.

Pushing down that inner voice, I had taken, my father’s arm ignoring the warnings in my head, and turn to enter the church were my chosen destiny was about to unfold.  I knew there would be regrets, but my choice, had been made.

The second time around I married my husband Tom, on a road trip to North Carolina. This time, the journey involved a ride through the night which included Tom, my daughter Chrissy and our bulldog/boxer Annabelle.  We headed to South Carolina to pick up Patton, another bulldog/boxer puppy we had fallen in love with, and to tie the knot in the small town of Smithville.

There was no fanfare although we had considered going that route. Like a blurry movie, I can remember us smuggling Annabelle into our hotel room wrapped in a blanket so we could grab a few hours of sleep before our appointment with the justice of the peace. Exhausted and in two,  beds the four of us crashed.  Tom and I on one bed, Annabelle, who squeezed in between us to get as close as she possibly could.

Bleary eyed we changed clothes, crated the dog and went to get it done as my husband would say. On a crisp January morning, we gathered into the Justice of the Peaces office with a borrowed bail-bonds man; whom we had asked to stand in as a witness. Something about this imperfect moment felt right.  Something about this private ceremony, in a quaint little town, in the middle of nowhere, felt like coming home.  There was no doubt no hesitation, no second-guessing, and no desire to run.

This giant silly man, who had spent his life fighting for his country, had become home for me, as I had for him.  A diamond in the rough!  Mine!

Balance and peace at last!  That’s when two people get to be themselves, and are allowed to find real happiness.  Acceptance of whom each other had become.   The difference is this was for keeps; this was for love and all the right reasons.  This was not because it was time, or because our biological clocks where ticking, not even for family expectations, no inner voices, no doubts just us.

There was no big ceremony, no banquet just southern BBQ and sweet tea for two at a popular BBQ joint near our hotel afterwards.  I had found the other half of my heart, as corny as that may sound. In a white dress with a black wool jacket with white piping on the lapels, I married my best friend. I cried as we said our simple vows.

 “This time’s for keeps.  No,  take backs.”  I softly told him, laughing as we slipped our simple gold bands on each other’s fingers.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

You Talk To Much...

Me in the Morning. 
People Who Drive Us Crazy
Have you ever had that one person who makes you want to gouge your eyes out. Maybe you're tempted to puncture both your eardrums so you can have five minutes of peace? You know that individual that you sit there when there incessantly talking and you're just thinking in your head, ”Please just shut the hell up already. I don’t care!!”, If you haven’t then you're either the nicest human being on the planet or your just plain old lying.
People don’t just come in all shapes and sizes they come in all different talk settings, as well. There are those you can't get to talk unless you stick a piece of dynamite under their backside and those who talk all the time and say absolutely nothing. My granny was one of those who when she was on a role could chew your ear off until you wanted to beat your head on the table. My nine year old is pretty good at it, as well.
I’ve often wondered why that is. Most of us will listen to the body language people send us when we are talking so we can tell if they're genuinely interested in what we are saying or not. If they're not we, will often politely excuse ourselves and leave.
My grandmother was famous for turning off her hearing aids after my grandfather retired. When I would come to visit she would often tell me to stop so she could turn her hearing-aids back on. As a kid,  I never really understood the whys, but I always found humor in it. Now as an adult there are times when I do wish it was that simple. I know this is not one of my more tolerant posts, so bare with me. We all get to rant now and then.
Perhaps you're wondering why I would bring this up? Well, there are times when the people who drive us crazy happen to be, the ones we love. Its part of the relationship process. For myself,  it’s that time first thing in the morning before I’ve managed to drink a cup of coffee. I just don’t want to be talked to or bothered by anyone. Yet there is always someone, “Usually my husband” who feels they have to talk to me right at that moment.

Sure I’ve tried to be nice about it sitting down and explaining that no I’m just not a morning person and please let me wake up before you talk my ear off. It is  one of the few things he does that really makes me nuts. Does he hear on this one no, fact is he is a morning person, and I am just not, so we deal with it. We accept that we are each different and try to work around it.
It’s a small price to pay when you consider that there are so many other issues we could have. Amazingly it's almost understandable today with our culture going towards texting, emails and not actually talking to one another that drives people to feel a need to talk more when they actually get a physical person to listen. So the next time someone is talking your ear off and your eyes are beginning to cross because you actually do want to gouge them out take a deep breath and just listen. Listen to what they are saying and what they're not saying. Listen for the simple reason that as humans we all need to learn how to communicate and just be there for each other.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Best Part of Christmas

Pieces of the Past..

     With Christmas and New Years over its time to take the decoration off the tree if you haven’t already and pack them up for next year. I’ve never really minded this part of it or the decorating. Why? Well in part because having a birthday in December I find I get into the holiday spirit fairly well. The main reason though is because it allows me to revisit snapshots of my life with my kids.
     Yes,  I am one of those nerdy parents who kept each one of those lovely treasures my kids made for me growing up for Christmas to hang on the tree. Each little decoration is special and unique and takes me on a journey of their lives and childhood. At Christmas time,  those are the first decorations to go on my tree and the last to come off. It makes me feel good to be able to see the journey of where we were then and where we are now. A small reminder of the joy our kids take in giving, as well.
     I still have those ornaments we made for our tree the first year I was divorced. Four simple little beaded stars the girls worked on for hours. They help me to remember that the hard times are a part of life. Those struggles help us all to reach inside of ourselves and be creative, to give to on another. To use our imaginations to make Christmas good and memorable.  Some time during life's hardest moments our children can teach us the most about the human spirit. I know mine sure did, and I am grateful for that each and every day.
     With the merging of two families,  our tree is pretty much filled now with ornaments that we have both collected over the years. I am grateful to have them, because even though I know our kids are growing up and moving on with their own lives some heading in different directions we are still able to keep a small piece of them with us. I think its important to remember those we love especially during the holidays. Its all to easy to get caught in the moment. Focusing on the  presents and gift giving so that we forget that the greatest gift we have are the ones we love.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

The Truth of Lies

     There are times when we meet someone or know someone who seems to be without conscience or a soul. We sit back and watch as they lie, cheat, steal, break hearts, and hurt the people who love them without thought or remorse. We may choose to look the other way, because hey “they're funny or their not all that bad.” I’m sure you know someone either a family member who seems to go deliberately out of their way to cause pain. Or that coworker who seems to take every opportunity to make you look bad.
     They’re that person who starts rumors that aren’t true. The family member who calls dyfs even though they know there is no issue. They can even be that person who attacks your professional or personal reputation, harming how others may see you. Usually by the time you realize they are up to no good its too late  and the damage is already done.
     These same individuals when confronted with the truth of their actions, are unable to take responsibility for their behaviors. The are the chronic victim who play on a young child's sympathy or tells the world how badly they've been treated when, in the fact that is the furthest thing from the truth.
     They're that bottom feeding relative who only shows up at funerals to see what they have inherited. Or the son or daughter that feels they have to make up stories about their parents to justify their own decisions in life. Making up stories about loved ones, and themselves to feel better about their own self image.
     There are also those individuals who have no real remorse for their actions as long as they get what they want. Lately, it seems like there are more and more of them. Desensitized by the world they live in. They would just as soon walk right over you if it means getting what they want. They can spitefully go out of their way to hurt someone who may have nothing real to do with them, all because they imagine a slight. They believe in payback, vengeance and hate.
     I’m not talking the Soprano’s kind of payback here but an imagined one. Perhaps you score higher on a test, or parked in a space they felt was theirs. As we move further into this new century the number of people like this with no real care or concern for anyone other than themselves seems to be increasing at an alarming rate.
     If you look and listen, you can even hear it in the way people talk at times. It seems any kind of moral view is now off limits. Unless of course its totally left wing and agrees with someone else's agenda. It is getting to a point where you have to be able to see the lies from the truth in any given conversation just to keep your head on straight. For many people,  this shift in the moral barometer is rather sad. Yet as a culture we seem unwilling to do anything to change it.
     There has never been a push to just be honest, or just tell the truth. We have drives for all different things today, just say no to drugs, AA,  or even anti bullying.  The basics that make us human, and ethical on some level are slowly becoming taboo. So perhaps those individuals who get away with it know something we don't. Or maybe we as a culture need to put our foot down and punk out the people who take pleasure from lying and causing harm to others.

Its More then Just a Dream

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