“You must not lose faith in all humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
Mohandas K. Gandhi
From my mothers Crestwood Methodist daily lessons. Written in the 1950-60s. I am very thankful for the wisdom of my mothers generation.
It was only yesterday when I was mumbling to myself that I hadn’t been doing any writing since we got back from our winter home. The problem was an old one, familiar to many writers I know. It seems like I just keep on talking about the same old things week after week and I am boring anyone who has stuck with me this far. And I am sure boring me. Yet the guilt keeps creeping in to the back of my mind and I renew my thoughts of sitting down with the IPad.
That all changed this morning! Bob and I had made our weekly trip to Ludington to get groceries, and all the other essentials like birdseed and dish soap and other good stuff. It’s about 25 miles to Ludington on US 31, the road is practically empty on a Saturday morning, and I always enjoy watching the windmills. Today they were hardly moving as we drove north. When we got to the store Bob left me off at the door as usual. He stayed in the car reading for a while and then came in to help at the checkout counter. We got in line behind a man who only had one article to pay for.
“This won’t take long, we were really lucky,” I thought. Bob has sorted out all of the groceries on the moving table, frozen things together, so that it will get bagged easily. We have bought quite a bit, actually, it being Saturday
Flash, flash, lights brightening and dimming, and then I hear all of the customers who have just realized what has happened. “Oh, no! Come on, come on!”
Alas, after a few more flashes I realize we have no power and if we have no power we have no cash registers!
And the prices aren’t marked on them anymore. It is beginning to sink into the minds of everyone in the store just what the problem really is.
We stand and wait and watch everyone scurrying around the store. Maybe 15 minutes later a lady comes along and says everything must be picked back up and put in our cart. Someone has managed to get three of the “scan and go” lines open to use as checkouts. Everyone starts running with their carts to be first in line. That doesn’t include us. Our groceries must be all picked up first. By the time we get them back in the basket there are long lines of carts ahead of us.
We wait in line and I am watching to see how people are managing. Some of them don’t have a lot, but others like us have quite a bit. When we get to the register I start the process of picking up each item, finding the bar codes, and listening for the beep. The main hassle is I don’t know where the bar codes are. Then putting them in a bag, moving the bag, looking over my shoulder, seeing the faces of the people behind me who realize just how slow I am. Waving my arm at a clerk going by, I ask her for help, and she is really fantastic. She moves me over to the side, I start handing her cans and boxes, as she just goes thru it as quick as a whiz. In no time at all she has me putting in my money, $115.96! This could have been a disaster if it weren’t for her.
Bob and I push the cart to the door, another clerk checks my slip and we see that it is raining. He heads for our car to drive up to the door. Another clerk is standing there with an umbrella to hold over him while he fills the trunk. Out on the street we can see that there are no lights, no signals, and lots of traffic. But when we get to the signal we find that everyone is taking turns and helping each other out.
Once we get on US 31 I begin to feel a lot better. It has been raining heavily but by the time we get to Hart it has just stopped. When we drive in the driveway there are a few branches and leaves down but it could have been a lot worse. We start putting the groceries away. The ice cream is soft but not beyond repair.
We have had an EXPERIENCE, and I realize I now have something to write about! I look on the Weather Channel and see that there was a “cloud shelf” in Ludington. We were part of an event that covered a lot of people, and we got thru it! By now Ludington is probably back to normal. Walmart did their best to help us in the store and I am thankful for that.
But I will be glad to go back next week and just let my checkout person do her job, quickly and efficiently. Everyone isn’t suited for scan and go!
It is Sunday morning in Michigan, and a spring morning at that. Words can hardly describe how beautiful it was when I decided to take my Rollerator out for a walk to the mailbox on our rural country road. 66 degrees sounded wonderful to me after a weeks session of colder and wetter weather. The trees are beginning their leafy season, the grass is very green, and I can see the forsythia is a fantastic bright yellow.
After checking the box I crossed back on my side of the road and started pushing the cart again. Suddenly I heard a car coming up behind me and immediately I became very cautious, knowing that usually the cars come barreling over a small hill 60 miles an hour or better. This is a narrow country road and walking on it is not for the faint hearted. Especially when you are pushing a four wheeled cart.
But no! The car was slowing way down. I looked over my shoulder and there was an older car stopped, the window rolled down, and a young man smiled, and said “Where are you going?”
“Right over there, “ I said, pointing to our distant drive. “Good,” he said. “We just thought you might need a ride.” An older lady was driving, probably his mother. They both smiled at me, I thanked them profusely, and they went on their way, leaving me with such a profound sense of gratitude for the lesson I had just been given.
Sometimes it is the people with the least amount of material goods that are the quickest to share what they do have with people who might be in need. I need to remember that in my own personal life.
Almost time to go! It’s Saturday morning, the 30th of March, it’s warm and beautiful, and I know that an inner yearning is stirring for us to get on the road again. In my minds eye, and on my FB photo pages, the familiar scenes of Michigan, our number one abode, are beginning to slide past my everyday vision. The sights, sounds, and even odors of life in another atmosphere are invading my mind, reminding me of another place, one that I love, that I haven’t seen for months. To be sure, I really haven’t thought about it very much this past winter, other than to commiserate with my northern neighbors in their hour of need. I know that they had a rough time of it this past year, but the snow is finally melting. Now the days are a combination of rain, snow, ice, wind, sun, and mud. The county has put weight limits on, and everyone tries to avoid the gravel and dirt roads. I remember the many times when we couldn’t even get in and out of our road unless you had a four wheeled truck. March and April often still look like that. And the mud tracked into the house by all of the little feet no matter how much you scolded, I also remember.
After all of this reminiscing I am losing my sense of readiness to go North so quickly. I see that the sun has started shining occasionally tho, and what a welcome sight it is! By the time we get there the grass will be starting to green up, the crocuses and daffodils will bring smiles, and life will look pretty darned good!
Of course there is usually at least one more snowstorm after we get there, and we grumble and say we will wait longer next year, but the cycle continues without any encouragement from us at all. We look at the lawn full of leaves, the flower beds, the grape vines waiting to be trimmed, and we rejoice to be home again.
It is a time of adjustment tho. Different stores, different tv channels, new numbers, faster life style, and it usually takes a few days to get back in the old routine. When I walk into the gas station or post office maybe someone will notice we have come back, but then again, maybe no one will. Life continues at a rapid pace, no matter where we are. Everyone is busy and that is just the way it is. I will miss my southern home, and most of all I will miss my writing class. Bob will miss his pinochle games and his long walks here in the park.
We will enjoy Michigan immensely and the time will fly by with lots of yard work and long rides about the countryside. We’ll visit Lake Michigan and watch all of the fruit trees go thru their cycles of growing and producing the best apples, peaches, plums and apricots to be found anywhere. As I write this I am regaining my sense of “it’s almost time to go again!”
Wishing you all The Best of Two Worlds in your retirement years.
for the past few weeks I have been mulling over all of the sections that my life seems to have evolved into. The small baby that started out being cared for by parents who loved me and wanted only the best for me has long disappeared. There is no one who even remembers that long ago time. I was the oldest of four children so none of them remember me in that form. Both parents and grandparents have gone on to their own destinys and reside only in my memories. The first decade of my life was mostly about school, church, playing outdoors with neighborhood friends, and reading, reading. During the second decade junior and senior high school were added, boys, piano lessons, choir, baby sitting, and eventually my first jobs. During the third decade marriage, motherhood, four children, gardening, PTA, were added to the already full mix. By the fourth decade I was overwhelmed, but still working, both at home and in the workplace. During this time there were a lot of changes made in my personal life, but life and motherhood and work still went on. By the end of the decade I was living out West and devoting my time to a different lifestyle than I had ever done before. The fifth decade was filled with travel and work and it passed so quickly. Then life took on a different direction in the sixth decade and I had to return to my roots in Michigan. By the end of the sixth decade there was a terrific office job, a farmer in my life, and a residence on a fruit farm. New responsibilities abounded in my days, new interest in writing, a farmer’s market to go to, and best of all more children to become good friends with. The seventh and eighth decades seemed to fly by with more changes for all of us, but still immeshed in my life has been the same interests, family, writing, winters in a warm climate, and reading, reading.
So here we are in the ninth decade. Amazing, isn’t it? Family, old and new friends, music, books, writing, and I can’t leave out my iPad, can I? My spiritual life has never been stronger, my family life is of great comfort, and I am so thankful for all of the years that I have been blessed with.
Decisions! Decisions! Lately it seems like it takes forever in order to make up my mind about what I am going to do about my everyday choices. Some change comes creeping into my life and all of a sudden there it is. I am going to have to make a choice about whether I go off with the old or on with the new. For years I was known for jumping into the new, even tho it didn’t always work out as well as it should. I would look at a situation, think about how to fix it and then I would just go ahead and do it. Usually it worked out pretty well or least I could make do with the results.
But now! It’s like a dog with a bone. Last Monday my watch quit! That is to say that the battery finally died. I think that this is the third or fourth time this has happened with this particular watch. And each time I would head off to Walmart where an obliging clerk would replace it for me. I liked that! So I have had this watch for a few years now. I still like it, it runs well, has a clear and readable face, and will probably last as long as I will. But I had just been to Walmart so I decided to wait for a few days. I can’t tell you how many times I looked at my wrist this week. Just couldn’t get out of the habit. But I just kept thinking that maybe it was time to get a new watch, a better one, or a prettier one, even tho there is absolutely nothing wrong with this one. Bob just said “Get a new one, you can afford it “. I knew that. It is just that maybe it was time for a change, so I decided to wait until today, Saturday, and look at the new ones. But I just kept on thinking about all of the pros and cons, driving myself crazy.
This morning I ended up at the jewelry counter, looked at the large display of watches, and deliberated in my mind. And guess what, I didn’t see any I liked better than my good old standby. “I need to have a new battery put in” I said to the clerk, and five minutes later it had been done. I had survived the debate in my head again and I breathed a sigh of relief. “Well, I don’t have to think about that again for a while” I thought. Decisions, decisions, they can be hard on a gal!
And my grandmother used to always say, “Waste not, want not”.
. This picture pulled at my heartstrings when I first came upon it. Mountains, mountains! Somewhere in my faraway past there must have always been mountains to inspire me and give me the warm feeling of being in the right place at the right time. It brings back the memories of reading the book, “Heidi” when I first started going to the library each week. And later when there were movies about Heidi and her grandfather in the Swiss Alps I would sit enthralled in the movie theaters. Eventually I watched the beautiful scenes on my IPad and felt the closeness that always comes to me when mountains appear. Knowing that I always feel comforted by the magnificence of the world that we have been placed in I have taken every opportunity that I could to travel to the Shining Mountains. It has always been where I could go to my quiet place and know that we are never really alone. Why this is I truly do not know. It seems to be where I find my inner spirit, my knowing that all is well, there really is a plan for us, no matter how uncertain the future may be. But relaxing, closing my eyes, picturing the mountains as I last saw them, brings forth the feeling of contentment, the knowing that somehow things will work out, no matter what.
Life can be and usually is a challenge for all of us at one time or another. We lose friends or relatives and it is hard for us to know the reasoning why. Children are taken from us before we are ready to let them go, and we don’t want to relinquish our parents. But sometimes we have to, and when that happens we need to have something to hold on to. For me the Shining Mountains have been and continue to be the thoughts that I hold in my mind, that there is a better place for us, there is a plan and I can close my eyes and feel the warmth and the love of it.