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Friday, October 20, 2017

An Unlikely Event

It's taken me some time to write about this at any length.

A short while back, I attend a memorial ceremony. It was for my ex-husband.

I married him when I was 18 years old. We were married twelve years. The last five were very difficult; I would say we were married by law only. 

But I was raised to believe once married, always married.

He never hit me, though he came close. I was never afraid of him until one night toward the very end.

I learned you can't be married to someone who doesn't want to be married to you.

I know the exact moment God released me from that marriage. It was a revelation. I would have had serious doubts if anyone told me that God had released them from a marriage until it happened to me.

I'm not saying that I believed women who were being abused should stay in a relationship; I never believed that.

But I didn't consider myself in an abusive relationship. Others, after the divorce, told me differently. Many people felt he was abusive.

But you know how it is, you stay out of other's business.

All that was a long time ago. Husband and I have been married nearly 33 years. 

I was surprised at the grief I felt when  I learned that my ex-husband had been killed. Partly, I think, was that he was killed instead of dying from an illness or old age.

The sad parts were many. He died living in a homeless shelter.
He had alienated his family with his hate and his feelings of "you owe me" so badly that his cousin's wife called me and asked me could I tell her something good about him, because no one else could come up with anything.

He could shoot pool really well. Played the drums really well. He could dance. He was a sharp dresser. He was smart. If you were with him, you never had to worry about getting lost. He was like a homing pigeon, always knowing which way to go. 

All superficial things, but it's all I had.

She wondered if I had a photograph they could use at the memorial service. No one in the family had a single photo.

I cropped one of our wedding pictures, getting his head and shoulders. It turned out very nice.

A man, who had been my pastor for a few years, had been taught by me in Sunday School when he was eleven and twelve years old, said he would say a few words at the service if they needed someone, because he had some fond memories. The family appreciated the offer and took him up on it.

So the state of S. C. handed my ex-husband's ashes over to a cousin. They finally found his half-sister who gave them permission. They did the memorial service before their family reunion. That way, the cousin said, at least some family would be at his service. His sister didn't come.

It's all really sad, isn't it?

So I grieved. I felt sad. I also felt relief. I didn't have to worry about him approaching Daughter some day. Or knocking on my door. Or barging in on my Mother.

Because he would have thought nothing of doing those things. He just didn't have a way back home.

And now?

Is he Home?

I just don't know.


And that's the saddest thing of all.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Marriage: The Early Years

Husband and I have always had what you  might call an unusual relationship.

It started out as friendship, and believe it or not, I never thought for a second that there would be romance in the air at a later date.

I think because of that friendship, we were able to be more ourselves than people who start out dating right away.

This might explain the photo of me that was taken shortly after we married:
There's a long story behind this, as you might imagine.

Husband had a costume named CHUG, which stood for something or other about not using drugs.

He would dress in this half frog half dragon costume and go to primary schools when he worked in alcohol and drug addiction. He brought it  home one evening thinking that our three year old nephew would get a kick out of it. 

He did not.

In fact, I believe he may have been scarred for life.

But that's another story!

Anyway, the particular night I "dressed up", was pure impulse. I was already in bed, reading, when Husband went into the bathroom to get ready for bed himself.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the costume on the couch arm, waiting for  him to take it back to work the next morning.

I couldn't resist. I grabbed the top of it and hoisted it upon and over my head, scurried back to bed and posed with a magazine.

When Husband turned the corner, talking, and glanced up at me, he jumped straight up in the air and screamed. Yup. Like a girl. Then he laughed so hard he cried. The next thing he did, of course, was run for a camera. 

And keep in mind this was before a camera was on every device one owns. It was a real camera with, like, film and everything.

Which means film developers somewhere saw this and wondered.

Ah, yes. The early years of marriage.

Not much has changed.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Hello!

Sorry I haven't checked in. But with hurricanes, septic tank collapse and whatnot, I've been pretty busy. 

The hurricane has passed, the septic tank fixed. Now I just have to get all this book stuff together.

You do want another book, don't you?

Hello?


Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Perfect Storm

Okay, it wasn't perfect, but it sure was a storm!

We knew Hurricane Irma was on it's way. That's all the whole media world was talking about. Sorta refreshing, in a way. A break from throwing stones at each other, like when we had the eclipse.

Anyway, We did everything we could to prepare: made sure the generator was up and ready, food in the pantry, laundry all done, and cars parked low in or at the garage.

Sure enough, Monday at 2:20 p.m. our electricity went off. We waited a few, but upon looking up in the sky at the top of the trees, which were being thrashed about furiously, we decided that would be a no go and Husband started the generator.

Now, way back in 1993, when the blizzard hit, our house was totally electric. BIG mistake. See, I was a town child and town doesn't lose electricity like country. And our house really was in the country then. We were at the end of the power line, and only one other house here. So when the blizzard hit, by 5:00 a.m. our house was at 55 degrees and dropping. If not for our neighbors who "just happened" (thank you, Lord) to be up from Florida and got caught, I don't know what we would have done. They had a wood heating furnace in their basement, and once we could manage to get there (a two minute walk that took us twenty) we could be somewhere that was warm.

This taught us a lesson, hence the generator. It runs our fridge and water pump, plus a couple of other outlets in the kitchen so we can use the microwave and coffee maker. It also gives us overhead light in the kitchen.

In 1995, when Hurricane Opal hit, we were without electricity 8 days. I still had an electric hot water heater and cook stove, so we had to heat water and grill outside. 

I got even smarter, and we bought a gas hot water heater and a gas cook stove. 

We also have a gas log fireplace in the sun room and a "real" fireplace in our living room, so if something hits in winter again, we can stay home.

That means a lot. You can hunker down and make do when you can stay home.

So, if you are a praying person, stop right now, for just a minute, and pray for all those who no longer have a home to make do. They have lost everything. 

And if you've never been there, you have no idea how hopeless and helpless that feels.

So, please.  Say a prayer.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

It's interesting to me how things happen in groups. (Yes, many times in threes, although I hope this time it ain't so).

I've never been involved with funerals or  memorials or anything else that involved ashes.

I'm not sure, but I think not too many years ago most the people I know would have frowned on it. I'm not sure why, other than the nod to the body being burned having a superstitious connection to the fires of Hell.

But my aunt and uncle died a few years ago very close together and were cremated. Turns out their oldest daughter saved a bit of their ashes to be spread here, where they both were born and raised. She died a few months ago, too, and she, too, was cremated. She requested that her ashes be spread here.

So, my cousins, when visiting this year, brought their parents' and sister's ashes in order to scatter them here and say the final good-bye.

Before they arrived, however; I got news that my ex-husband had been killed. 

Now, I haven't been married to this man for a long, long time. In fact, Husband and I have been for 32 years. 

But I was married to him, and for twelve years. He was not a good husband. He was not a very good man, and the older he got the worse he became. 

But still - I have to say I was stunned. I guess because he was killed in an accident, in an unexpected way. And that he was living in a homeless shelter. This shouldn't have come as a surprise, and in a way it didn't.

He, too, has been cremated. And because he pretty much ostracized himself from his family, they have contacted me for as much information as I could offer. When was he born? Could I tell them something good about him to put in the obituary? Did I have a photograph they could use? 

I haven't minded helping in any way I could, but it's also saddened me that I am the only one who has anything to connect him to this life. And we have been divorced for 33 years. 

My aunt, uncle and first cousin's scattering of ashes was very symbolic and meaningful. I won't go into detail here, but it was very moving.

If I can, I will go to my ex-husband's service because - well, I'm not sure why. 

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust...

Indeed..

Monday, September 4, 2017

You say tomato, I say

Ta Mah Tah.

Or not.

Here, depending on how far up the mountains you reside, we say "tamata", or if you are really country, "damater" or just plain, "mater".

Whatever you call it, man alive, it's one good food.

I say this because, as ya'll know, summer is ending and that means the end of the fresh picked, still warm from the sun, tomato.

Makes me shed a tear.

You know, folks originally thought the tomato was poison. Some brave soul decided to eat it anyway.

I picture it thusly: Immediately preceding the first bite of the tomato, a loud, braggadocio voice in mountain man accent hollers: "Hey ya'll, watchis!"

And, I believe, after the crowd took one look at the rapturous countenance that appeared on his unshaven face, they galloped to the nearest loaf bread and Blue Plate and commenced to make the first mater sammiches.

And probably, (though I have no proof) they passed by a cow in the pasture and someone thought what's good for the calf is good with a mater sammich and braved themselves to pour a tall glass of milk to go with their new delicacy.

Man, I love history.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Happy Birthday

Mother turned 88 years old Sunday.

We had a big spread, the cost being spread out amongst us. We aren't a big family, but when you put us all in one house, it feels pretty big. Sixteen this time, as we had two Texas cousins join in the fray.

We put the eclipse photo on the birthday cake (see previous blog), which she had not seen. She asked, "Is that me!?" We said yes. She said, "Lord, I look like I weigh 400 pound." 

Now, my mother used to be pretty chubby. She used to be about five feet five inches tall and weighed in the 160's. She has shrunk to five feet and weighs about 109, maybe. 

She blew out her candles (two large 8's).

We ate. She kept telling her great-grandson to stop dawdling and eat so she could open  her presents. This made him giggle. He's six.

Her great-granddaughter, age 2, had a love/hate relationship with Brother of Many Surgeries dog,  Elmer. (I apologize for the name.)

He's three times her size, so she was afraid of him. Yet when he disappeared, she'd look around and ask, "Where's dog?" She'd find him, and he'd get up to follow her and she'd run screaming bloody murder. I swan, I saw that dog roll his eyes. But they were fast friends by the end of the day.

She got lots of nice gifts. We ate good food. We all talked a mile a minute. We took photos.

But my favorite is of Mother, Daughter and  myself: 
I don't remember what was so funny, but we seemed to be enjoying ourselves.

And here is a group with only Niece missing, 'cause she's taking the photo and Husband as he went home puny:
A good time was had by all.

Even Elmer.