Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"Why are Your Teeth So Crooked?" (the other way I prayed Vespers tonight) :-)

So, anyway, as I was walking home tonight, I distinctly sensed there was rain in the air. As is my habit, I muttered to Jesus: "I'm going to grab a bus. And I'll pray Evening Prayer on it."

As is NOT my habit, I also distinctly heard an answer: "Oh, you'll pray all right!"


I climbed on the bus and was greeted by the cutest little girl and her beautiful Mom. "Hey! I remember you!" the kid cried out. I didn't recognize her, but gave her my most (or so I thought) dazzling smile. And opened my breviary (on my phone) to Vespers. This wasn't going to happen.

Little Girl (hereafter known as "Kid," turning and smiling at me...she couldn't have been more than five): "Hey! It's ME!"

Me: (recapturing so called dazzling smile) "Oh yes! How are you"! [leave me alone kid]

Kid: "You remember me, right?"

Me: "Oh, of course!" (?)

Kid: "Well, I have a question!"

Me: [As. Kindly. As. I. Could. Get.] "Oh! Sure, what is it?"

Kid: "Well...my Mom here has a beautiful smile. Daddy always says so. Why are your teeth so crooked?"

[Picture, if you will, said Beautiful Mom, wanting to drop into a hole somewhere.]

Me: "Uh...well..(thinking frantically for an answer...yep, got it!)...well, when I was a little girl, a bit older than you? I disobeyed my Mom and Dad and didn't wear my braces!"

[Which was, o' course, a damn lie..my parents couldn't afford braces.]

Kid: "Oh. But why do you have that brown thing on your tooth?"

[Damn tea, black coffee, and that Saturday Night Cigar, anyway!!!]

Me: "Oh! Well! It's from -- hey, what's your favorite soda?"

Kid: "Oh, I love Coke!"'

Me: [after a brief prayer of gratitude] "Me too! But...you'd better watch out. Too much sugar, Cokes, candy, and all that other stuff? It'll make a stain on your tooth!"

Kid: "But that's what my MOM said!"

[insert beautiful Mom offering me a glance of supreme gratitude]

Kid: "But why are you so skinny? My Dad thinks my Mom is beautiful!"

Me: [kinda warming to this] "Because I Didn't. Eat. My Fruit. And Vegetables!!!"

[Another lie, but what the bleep...blame it on Jesus! :-) Also I got another grateful glance from the Very Well Built Mom, so hey...what harm?]

Kid: "Oh. But I don't like vegetables. I like fruit though."

Me: [warming more to my nonexistent subject] "You only think you don't like vegetables. Actually? They make you beautiful!"

Kid: [evidently bored with the dietary conversation]: "Is that JESUS on you???"

Me: [stupidly looking down on my sweater] "Why...yes, this is a `crucifix.'" [I'll show her!] "Do you know what a `crucifix' is?"

Kid: "Yes, yes, yes! I have one of my own, right Mommy?"

Mommy: "Yes, baby."

Kid: "I'm NOT a baby."

Mommy: "Show the lady your Crucifix."

And she did! With a dazzling smile!

Me: [suddenly welling up with tears]: "It's beautiful. Thank you for showing me."

Kid: "Oh, that's okay. I love you. Do you love me?"

Me: [about ready to lose it]: "Yes, very much. I...oh, gee, I've got to get off at the next stop."

Kid: [tears also welling up] "NO! I'm having FUN! You CAN'T get off now!"

Mommy: "Let the lady go, sweetie."

Kid: "Okay, but can't we go home with her?"

Mommy: [looking apologetically at me] "Not tonight, hon...maybe some other time."

Me: [thinking what the bleep? I WANT to take them home....then I came to my senses] "Okay, guys, time for me to get off."

Kid: "Bye! Thanks for talking to us!"

Me: "Bye! Don't forget to say your prayers!"

Kid: [rather scornfully, I thought, but maybe not]: "Don't YOU forget!"

~ ~ ~

The bus driver let me kiss them both good-bye before I got off. And I think I heard Jesus say, very quietly..."nice prayer!" :-)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Let us be ONE!

As I was busy at my desk last Saturday evening, trying to catch up on work after dinner, I heard the ladies next door— they belong to the AME (African Methodist Episcopal) church —listening to hymns. I tried to concentrate on my work, but "How Great Thou Art" captivated me. And then? I heard the strains of the music to "The Lord's Prayer." Turning off my computer, I padded across the lawn in my robe and slippers and joined them as they sang. They were probably as surprised as I was but really? None of us cared...there was too much joy to care. Afterward we laughed and wept and laughed some more. 

Lord? If You can do this? Then You can answer my prayer (which, by the way, I didn't invent...I learned it from Your Son!) "Let us be one, as You, and Your Son, and the Holy Ghost are One. Amen."

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Dedicated to My Daughter Barbara with All My Love (another poem by my Mom)

"My Special Gift"

I have a special memory,
That goes back quite a way,
It's of a special present
That I received on Christmas Day.

My daughters were quite young that year,
And funds were very low.
But Daddy took them shopping
To the "Dime Store" they did go.

Each picked out their "treasures"
For Gram and Gramps and me,
And they all came home elated
About their shopping spree.

They hid their gifts so carefully
So no one else could see.
I could not imagine
What these gifts might be!

And then came Christmas morning
And we gathered 'round the tree,
To open up our presents
And hear the shouts of glee.

The girls were quite excited
About the gifts they got
They weren't that expensive,
But to them, they meant a lot!

After all the gifts were opened,
I heard some little cries,
They were coming from my youngest,
And tears rolled from her eyes.

I took her up in my arms
And held her close to me,
And asked her, why the tears,
What could the matter be?

With tear-stained cheeks,
She looked at me
And sobbed:
"I lost your special prize!"

I hugged her close
And held her tight
Then gently
Wiped her eyes.

We all began to look around
For that grand specialty,
Into her little room we went,
And just searched frantically.

In dresser drawers
On tops of shelves,
Until at last we found
A tiny little box, all wrapped
And neatly bound.

"That's it, that's it," my daughter cried,
And brought it straight to me.
I hugged her right, as I sat down
Upon her little bed,
And opened up the little box,
That held a spool of thread.

No gift of gold or silver
Could replace this gift of love,
And I thanked the Baby Jesus
Who smiled from up above!

Marie Kelly, December 27, 1993

Daughter's note: Oh gosh! How I remember this! My sister Buzzy (the one on the right -- Barbara to others)  -- bought my Mom a spool of thread for Christmas...and then lost it. And was devastated by the loss! (She was maybe, I don't know, maybe 4 or 5 years old at the time.) My sister Sharon and I had bought "cool" gifts...and for the life of me, I can't remember what we bought.

I learned something that long ago Christmas. A spool of thread from a loving daughter is worth more than...well, anything, really. It was, as my Mom remembered, years later? A gift of love. Which is the most important thing.

I could've posted this on Christmas but it's my little sister's birthday -- June 24 -- and I think she deserves this gift of love from our Mom.

I love you Buzzy!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

"To My Husband Jim, Whom I Love Dearly" A poem to my Dad by my Mom

If in the morning hours you stir
And the light from the sun
Illumes your face

I see there
The little boy
Who romped in free abandon
Without care
And swatting at the air
Became all things
That dreams are made of:

The Pitcher
The Catcher
The Star on Ice
The Hoop
A crowd, roaring with delight.

Dream on sweet boy, dream on.
Savor every moment of ethereal delight.

For all too soon
It ends with break of day
And you must revive the mask of morn
And show it to the world!

They cannot be— these dreams
They are webs of wonder, threads of nothingness.

You have fought a war.
And saw men die.
You have tasted
The bitter and the sweet.

You have loved, and lost
And loved and won...

...And held a tiny babe.

You have faced as many challenges
It makes you want to weep.

But You're a Man!
(and men don't weep...that is reserved for little boys.)

Dream on, sweet one, Dream on,
And be a boy again!

Marie Kelly, sometime, maybe Father's Day, to my Dad
Daughter's Note:

I remember this. Not the poem, so much, but certainly the sentiment. My Dad—God welcome him into Your arms and quickly if You haven't already—fathered three girls. Our boyfriends loved him! Often (and sometimes, to our dismay) they crowded around him to hear his advice on everything from sports to cars to girls to sports to cars to girls to sports...and other things my sisters and I didn't hear. (Actually, I did. To my shame, or maybe not...I eavesdropped.)

My Mom understood him more than I ever did. My sister, Sharon, understood him more than I ever did. My sister Buzzy understood him more than I ever did.

Why? Because I always wanted to be "his girl." The one he took out for ice cream. The one who held my hand. The one who bought me clothes, brushed my hair...and looked sternly at the guys who dated me. 

His real girls understood that, beneath that manly countenance? He sometimes longed to be the boy he once was. They got it, 'way back when. Now?  I'm started to get it.

I love you, Daddy. And I'm so grateful that you had Sharon, Buzzy, and, especially Mom, to understand you more than I ever could...or would. Dad? Remember me...you were always, and still are, my hero. Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Donald Hammond 1933-2016: Requiescat in pace (and get to know him!)

Donald Hammond, RIP. My friend Colleen Hammond's Father-in-Law

Please pray for the happy repose of my friend Colleen Hammond's father-in-law Donald Hammond. Of course my prayers — and I'm sure yours — are raised not just for Mr. Hammond, but his wife, Suzanne, his son Dennis (Colleen's husband), his daughters, Erin and Jeni, and all of his grandchildren and great-grand children...and his many friends.

I'm posting this because I'd like you to, after praying, pay a visit to Mr. Hammond's obituary.

God does incredible things for us. Introducing you and me to Mr. Hammond, in my opinion, is one of them.

Well played, Mr. Hammond...very well played indeed! (And hey! I'm a Michigan fan!) :-)

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord! And let Your perpetual light shine upon him! May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.