Ode to Things Lost by Estelle Cade

Write about something lost, something found, our leader suggests. Late at night I think about that, and here’s what I get.

Ode to Things Lost
Some sort of Poem

Look in the mirror — I’ve lost my looks-
It doesn’t seem fair, as I grow older
I’m losing my hair.
Once my crowning glory, or so I was told,
Now I must arrange it
To cover the holes.
I’ve also grown — shorter, you see.
My grand-daughter exclaims, “Nanni-
You’re much shorter than me!”

I’ve lost both my parents, my one sister as well-
Now no one is left to whom I can tell
A story of “Googling” our homes from the past.
So pleasant to see they still look nice, to see they could last.

Old friends — they are lost too.
Gone many years now; no sense feeling blue.
New friends have been made, important, we knew-
To laugh and share stories – -they’ve lost a lot too.

With age come some wisdom; some sayings we knew-
Let go, let God; don’t cling to the past.
Plan to enjoy each day to the last. And this is our mantra — we say it-
It’s true-
We look at each other and shrug-
“well, what are you going to do?”

Oh yes, “the children”-we still have
the children — perhaps ‘Grands’ and ‘Great Grands’
And families (not shattered) are scattered
all over the land.
E-mails and Facebook now replace phone calls-
And as for visits — do they really matter?
We say it does, that a visit is better.
To them — it’s time to send another e-mail letter.

Here’s a thought from a book I’ve just finished reading.
A woman is reflecting to herself that when her husband died
she’d gone from being the Matriarch of the family to being
the elderly mother who must be checked up on by ‘the children’.

How true — and that is the greatest loss of all.

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Leavings by Estelle Cade

“Hmm – write about a leaving or a departure or some such – that’s a broad subject to be sure,” she thought.

As a young person, I thought a lot about leaving – or others leaving. When my sister and I were young, we worried that our parents might die and we’d have to go and live with our aunt and uncle. It wasn’t that we didn’t love them dearly and we knew they loved us in return – but – our aunt had some very conservative ideas about how children should dress and act and we amused ourselves sometimes, dreaming up various scenarios on that theme. We’d laugh and laugh -and shudder a bit also. (Boring shoes and no lipstick seemed to feature in these visions.)

Later on, it seemed we all wanted to leave for something – we wanted to move on to the next grade, on to high school. In high school we dropped, changed, left: boy friends, girlfriends, hobbies, activities; changed course subjects, even. Life seemed always to be fluid in some ways, although we never actually strayed far from the familiar. Teenagers talk a good game, but are less courageous than you’d think.

Adult life found us all moving on in various ways. The armed forces found many of my generation traveling to far places. We went off to college, married, “settled down” – and many of us never ventured too far from what we knew as home territory.

And now, she mused, I am older and find that I have never ‘left home’.

Although I dreamed once upon a time of traveling to exotic places (I read the National Geographic Magazine all through my childhood) and have managed some trips to new places, I find that I am now the one left behind – or call me the ‘core’ person, the one who stays and is comfortable sending children out to their lives in the wider world. Although this particular apple never fell far from her New England tree (a Baldwin, perhaps?), it has produced sturdy branches in other places.

“And, she added – there is one leave-taking that will take place eventually, that affects everyone – and it’s one that no one wants to discuss – ever.

No matter how practical and pragmatic one’s children may seem, talk of that final leaving they prefer to leave in limbo until they must face it. And then we won’t be around to tell them how we want that last leaving to be carried out!”

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND DON’T DRINK THE WATER! by Lettice Randall

Dec.19,2011

Dear Friends,

Well, it’s newsletter time again. So here’s our Christmas newsletter so all of you can see what we been up to for the past year.

We ain’t had too bad of a year, considering. It started off a little scary when our septic tank started leaking and formed a pond in the middle of our lawn. But we decided not to get too upset and to look on the bright side and that’s when things really started looking up. Our bad luck came to an end when little Jimmy discovered a new use for that pond, Continue reading

Butterfly Tears by Janet Keyes

For many years
I dreaded tears
and saw them as my foe.
But then I walked
the valley
of death
and went to the land
of grief.
For a time my tears,
bitter and heavy,
devoured the leaves
of my soul,
leaving skeletal twigs,
growing to a fullness,
subsiding to a time
of dormancy.
Tears walked with me,
reaching out to me
with love.
At last I embraced
that compassion.
And new tears emerged
like a butterfly-
tears that were gentle and light,
not burning or stinging-
which could only exist in the presence
of grace
and peace
and life.
Butterfly tears.

Bad Decision by Janet Keyes

One thing I have always regretted was a decision to “go along with the crowd.” I was a freshman, and most of the cool kids in the church youth group were seniors. One Sunday evening after youth group, the crowd decided to go to Brattleboro to the Howard Johnson’s instead of the 4-Leaf Clover in Bernardston, or someplace in Greenfield, like the Snow’s Dairy.

My ride was the driver for this adventure, and I could have asked to be dropped off at my house on their way, but I didn’t, even though I feared that this would make me quite late. But I was thirteen, and good judgment was not my forté.

After we left the ice cream shop, they decided to go through Guilford on the back roads instead of coming down Rte. 5. There was no Rte. 91 yet. I knew it was spring mud season, but I kept quiet. The driver took us out past the house where I had been born, then up to the hilltop where we saw a display of northern lights, then down to Green River Village. From there we proceeded down Green River Road, which would eventually connect with Green River Road in Greenfield after going through the eastern part of Colrain.

Not surprisingly, we got stuck in the mud. We knew we had to walk until we found a house that was not a summer camp. Ann felt sick and decided to stay in the car, so Marilyn volunteered to stay with her, and then Dick asserted, ” I think I should stay with these girls- they shouldn’t be alone in a car miles from nowhere at night.” That left Bill, Dave, Judy, and me to go find a house and a phone. We walked a mile or so, bootless, on the muddy road. It took a while, but we made it. I felt more than a little nervous when Bill commented, “I’m really glad I forgot to take my insulin before supper. Otherwise I’d probably be passing out by now.”

The very kind man with a house and a phone, Osdin Lynde, listened to Dave and Bill as they explained our predicament, and allowed them and Judy to make some phone calls. I made no phone call. He then went back to the car with some mud-worthy vehicle and retrieved the other kids, then took us all to Greenfield- not using the Green River Road. I think we then transferred to Dick’s car and he gave us rides home. I find it astonishing that many details of this adventure are very fuzzy in my memory. All I remember for sure is that I got home after 2 AM, and my mom was waiting up. Marilyn’s mom had called her to let her know we were all right. In fact, several parents had been on their phones, frequently and frantically, after 11 PM.

The next morning I remember falling asleep briefly in Ancient History class. It was a long, tiring day.

I think I always told my mom that we got lost, but she couldn’t really believe that I didn’t know where I was.

To this day, I wish I’d had the good sense to skip this trip.

So, what did I learn from this? That’s easy- I learned I was a gutless, lying wimp who would go along with the crowd because I was too scared to speak up.

Eventually I learned to be my own person and buck the crowd. That works better.