Monthly Archives: December 2008

Simple Faith

simple_faith

Courtesy of Bill Mutranowski

Advertisements

Signs of Life

A couple in the town where I was raised had five children, all of whom were at school with my sister and me at one time or another. I will call them the Bradleys. I remember them all fondly to this day.

Sometime around the mid 1980’s, the Bradleys’ oldest child was killed in a plane crash when a couple of pilots from the local Air Force base took one of the planes out for an unauthorized joyride. She was only in her early twenties, and left behind a toddler son whom the Bradleys subsequently adopted.

In 1992, their second oldest daughter disappeared. She was twenty three-years old. She was last seen leaving work, and her car was found abandoned three miles away. Foul play was suspected, and the girl was never heard from again. No body was ever recovered, and she is presumed dead.

On December 4th of this year, just a few short weeks ago, the Bradleys were celebrating their 46th wedding anniversary. The gathering took place on their houseboat where the family stayed overnight. They awoke the following morning to find their oldest son not on the boat.

After an extensive search of the grounds, and finding his car still there, they contacted authorities. Their 43 year old son’s body was found in the lake. As far as I know, the cause of death has not yet been released.

This couple has buried two children and lost three. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must be like, and what they must feel living in the house where their children were and still should be, looking around and not seeing the people who ought to be there.

As I look around my house, I see Nerf gun darts all over the floor. The television is blaring in the next room and no one is in there. My son has left it on again! He gets excited and runs out, leaving the door wide open, he drops dirty clothes in the bathroom floor, and he plays his music too loud.

These things usually irritate the heck out of me. Tonight, though, I’m thankful for them because they’re signs that my son is alive, well, and safe at home.

The next time I find a peanut butter smudge on the counter top or step in a sticky patch because a spill wasn’t cleaned properly, perhaps I won’t scold, but will gently remind my son to clean up after himself.

Dirty footprints, crumbs on the carpet, scattered toys and books, the sound of Nerf guns firing in the house. These are all signs of life, evidence that my son is still here; that he’s happy, healthy and enjoying life. Sure, these things can be irritating, but the agony of not having my precious child around to make messes or noise would be absolutely unbearable.

I am so very thankful that my son is only shouting distance away right now. I will hear him singing in the shower later. I may have to tell him for the umpteenth time to pick up his dirty clothes, but when I do, I will remember the parents who would give anything to find a mess on the bathroom floor tonight.

Tonight, I will also hear my son laugh, see him smile, enjoy his company, hug him and kiss him goodnight; and in the morning I will have breakfast with him. Because my son is here, and he is fine.

My thoughts are with the Bradleys tonight, and with all the parents crying themselves to sleep again — if they sleep at all.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Boxing Day

I wanted to write a really nice post about Boxing Day, but I’m feeling quite tired and a bit lazy. I’d wait until tomorrow but, well, then it wouldn’t be Boxing Day anymore and, as everyone knows, one can only write about Boxing Day on December 26th.

So here is my feeble, but sincere effort to share the meaning and history of this somewhat mysterious holiday:

Few Gift Americans have any inkling that there even is such a thing as Boxing Day, let alone what the reason might be for a holiday so named.[…]

The holiday’s roots can be traced to Britain, where Boxing Day is also known as St. Stephen’s Day. Reduced to the simplest essence, its origins are found in a long-ago practice of giving cash or durable goods to those of the lower classes. Gifts among equals were exchanged on or before Christmas Day, but beneficences to those less fortunate were bestowed the day after.

And that’s about as much as anyone can definitively say about its origin because once you step beyond that point, it’s straight into the quagmire of debated claims and dueling folklorists. Which, by the way, is what we’re about to muddy our boots with.

Muddy your boots here.


¡Feliz Navidad!


Christmas Past

I’ve been looking through some old photos of my sister and me when we were kids. We always looked happiest in our pictures together. I guess even with all the turmoil we both endured as children, having each other made it bearable.

I absolutely adored my little sister. Oh, we had our problems, but I always loved her. Looking back on those old photos, it appears the feeling was mutual. We hugged a lot, danced together and looked generally happy and comfortable in each other’s company.

On Christmas mornings, Julie and I were awake by 4:00. We didn’t dare wake the parents, but we would sneak into the living room to see if Santa had been there.

The next two hours felt like an eternity, but we would wait together either in her bed or in mine, giggling in anticipation and trying to guess what was hidden beneath the pretty wrappings and bows.

Those days never ended as well as they started. But I’m not going into all that.

Julie died eight years ago this coming February. She was thirty years old. It’s hard to believe that the vibrant little girl in those old Christmas photos is gone. She’s gone and the world keeps turning, people keep going and life moves on.

Sometimes it just doesn’t seem real.

I don’t really know what I’m trying to say here. My thoughts and feelings are all over the place. I want to play this song in Julie’s memory tonight, in memory of the good times we shared and the bad times we helped each other endure. The song was special to Julie, and it speaks a lot to how I feel tonight, particularly the chorus:

And now I’m glad I didn’t know,
The way it all would end,
The way it all would go.
Our lives are better left to chance.
I could have missed the pain,
But I’d have had to miss the dance.

Maybe you’ll enjoy it too.

The Dance
Garth Brooks

Looking back on the memory of,
The dance we shared,
‘Neath the stars above.
For a moment all the world was right.
How could I have known,
That you’d ever say goodbye?

And now I’m glad I didn’t know,
The way it all would end,
The way it all would go.
Our lives are better left to chance.
I could have missed the pain,
But I’d have had to miss the dance.

Holding you, I held everything.
For a moment, wasn’t I a king?
But if I’d only known,
How the king would fall.
Hey, who’s to say, you know,
I might have changed it all.

And now I’m glad I didn’t know,
The way it all would end,
The way it all would go.
Our lives are better left to chance.
I could have missed the pain,
But I’d have had to miss the dance.

Yes my life, it’s better left to chance.
I could have missed the pain,
But I’d have had to miss the dance.


A Young Girl’s Christmas List

A blogger by the name of Possummomma posted an essay her daughter wrote in school. She called it a “pop essay”; the students did not know the topic in advance. Here is what Possummomma’s daughter wrote in response to the question: What do you want for Christmas?

What I want for Christmas, by Possum#1
There’s a movie that’s frequently shown in twenty-four hour blocks in which the main character, Ralphie, wants nothing but a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. Ironically enough, he’s asked to write an essay about his Christmas desire by a slightly shrewd teacher and told that he’ll shoot his eye out. As I glance around this classroom, I see that many of my friends are feverishly pumping out manifestos dictating what gadgets and goodies they wish to find under their Christmas tree on the morning of December 25th. My mind, however, is reeling over the presumption that my public school teacher has addressed our classroom and assigned an essay in which she presumes that the entire lot of us are Christian or celebrate Christmas.

I take another look around my classroom and notice that Mahmeed is absent-mindedly cleaning underneathe his fingernails with the cap from his pen. Emily is feverishly trying to catch my eye and, having done so, mouthing the words, “I don’t celebrate Christmas…I’m Jewish.” in a quizzical manner. Jayden is doing what he normally does during such pop essays: he’s looking out the window- probably wondering where his parents will get the money for January’s rent and feeling guilty for daring to think about a gift. He’s pretty sensitive.

I have never admitted it to any of my friends, but I think I must be an atheist. My mother is an atheist and has always told me to find my own path to spiritual comfort. I think I must be an atheist because I can’t fathom any God who would allow the celebration of the birth of his son to become a time when my friends are consumed with thoughts of how they can convince Grandma to buy them a new Nano Ipod while other kids are wondering how their parent will manage the rent. What do I want for Christmas, I want a less assuming teacher. I want a teacher who thinks past the standard “What I want for Christmas…” assignment when she’s aware that three out of her twenty students probably don’t celebrate Christmas. I want a world where my friends will be asked to write essays about how they might use their winter vacay’ to help other people. I want my mom to be healthy again. I want my grandmother to quit smoking. I want my grandfather to quite bugging her about it. But most of all, I want to not get an “F” on this assignment because you get angry with me for saying all of the above. Merry Christmas, Mrs. “X”* (name changed to protect identities).

Possum #1 makes us proud.
Reposted with permission

If that don’t make a momma proud…

The teacher wrote this at the end of the student’s essay:

[Possum#1], thank you for your thoughtful remarks. I don’t think you’re an atheist but I respect your empathy for your friends. Please see me after class today. A+

Possum #1 reported that the teacher said she couldn’t be an atheist because her “ability to care for others feelings isn’t an atheist trait.” The teacher attributed the girl’s compassion to her own god, calling it a “very Christian attitude.”

Happy Holidays.


Teacher, Teacher

It’s been a exhausting but productive day. Homeschooling will be a major adjustment for us, and the more prepared we are, the better the transition will be. I’ve been working on a new blog today. I need structure in order to function, and this blog will be a great way to stay organized.

The one nagging question on my mind is, “Can I do this?” Having my son’s education resting solely on me is a huge responsibility. If I fail, he fails.

This old 38 Special song kept playing through my mind while I was working on my new blog and researching online teaching sources. I never thought much of it back in the 80’s, but it came to mind today with an entirely new and much more profound meaning than it ever had way back then.

Anyway, here it is. I’m pooped. Good night.

Teacher, Teacher
38 Special

Just when I thought I finally learned my lesson well,
There was more to this than meets the eye.
And for all the things you taught me, only time will tell,
If I’ll be able to survive. Oh yeah.

Teacher, teacher, can you teach me?
Can you tell me all I need to know?
Teacher, teacher, can you reach me?
Or will I fall when you let me go? Oh no.

Am I ready for the real world, will I pass the test?
You know it’s a jungle out there.
Ain’t nothin’ gonna stop me, I won’t be second best,
But the joke’s on those who believe the system’s fair, oh yeah.

Teacher, teacher, can you teach me?
Can you tell me if I’m right or wrong?
Teacher, teacher, can you reach me?
I wanna know what’s goin’ on, oh yeah.

So the years go on and on, but nothings lost or won.
And what you learned is soon forgotten.

They take the best years of your life,
Try to tell you wrong from right,
But you walk away with nothing. Oh oh.

Teacher, teacher, can you teach me?
Can you tell me all I need to know?
Teacher, teacher, can you reach me?
Or will I fall when you let me go?