A year ago

A year ago today is when we got our first indication that our world was about to change. I won’t go into all the details, but when I realized Chuck was yellow, jaundiced, I knew I had to get him to the ER. I drove him to the Medical West ER in Hoover but had to drop him off because the Covid restrictions were already in place.

We were under contract on our house already. I went home to take care of marking our electrical box per the inspection, via a wonderful young man who walked me through it by phone and would not let me pay him.

Within an hour Chuck called. They had done a scan and found a mass on his pancreas. When I went to pick him up he was standing outside on the curb, looking so lost.

That day was the only time I remember him really crying. This gentle giant of a man curled up in our big brown chair in the living room and said, “I wonder who will be my pallbearers?”

Then he began his brief fight against the monster that raged within him. Pancreatic cancer. Our journey brought our children back together and then took us to Jacksonville where Chuck died two months after we first heard the words “mass on the pancreas”.

He had no pallbearers, but he is buried in a beautiful cemetery, along with his great-nephew, Wyatt. I can’t say life has gone on without him because he is a part of everyday for me. I see him in the kindness of his daughters and the laughter of his sons. I watched my grandson Everett play chess last Saturday with one of my son’s friends and I thought of how Chuck played chess with him even when he was ill. I’m grateful Everett will have those happy memories of Grandpa.

Everett and Grandpa, 2020

Rant in the time of shutterfly

I might just write this to get it out of my system and never post it. We’ll see.

I received what I consider the worst Christmas card of this year. Let me tell you why. First of all, it was addressed to A. Bell. Like junk mail, like from someone who doesn’t know me. Exactly.

On the back of the envelope is a handwritten line – from (insert name of church here).

So I’m thinking, it must be from my church. Sent out by someone I don’t know, but it must be a card from the church in general.

I open it to find a shutterfly, picture-perfect card of a family I’ve never met. I flip it over. More pictures, including the dog. No handwritten message. No signature. No Biblical message or scripture verse. Just a printed script about a trip they took and how 2020 was a different year with unexpected changes.

Yes, it was.

I search around and find this was from an elder in the church.

I leave you with your own thoughts.

Hello, Goodbye

Word Art 17

So, I was talking to 2019:

She said, “Goodbye”

I said, “High.”

She said, “Low.”

“But, these are my goals for 2020,”  I told her. “If not high, at least higher. In three categories: books read, miles hiked, blog posts written. So, 2019, let’s take a look and you’ll see what I mean.”

“With you, I read or listened to 43 books. That averages 3 1/2 a month. With you, I hiked 132 miles. That’s an average of only 2 1/2 a week. With you, I wrote 67 blog posts. That’s about 5 1/2 a month.”

She said, “Why?” And I said, “I don’t know” 

She said, “Stop”.

I said,  “Okay. I’m done with you. Finished. You are kaput!”

So, I talked to 2020 for a bit.

“Hey, 2020!” I said,  “Hello, hello, hello.”

I said, “Go, go, go.” At first she misunderstood me.  

“No, no, don’t go away. I mean go WITH me. We’ve got some goals to take care of to beat 2019. We need to read at least four books a month. And hike at least 3 miles a week.  And write at least six posts a month.” 

2020 said, “Yes.”

 

If You’re Reading This…

…then you are still here and have another year to be thankful for.

 

2019  is almost in the books. For these things I am grateful:

  • Grandchildren who make it possible to attend Grandparents’ Day at their school and to have Bell Camp at our house
  • Children who still love me
  • Southwest Airlines who make travel pleasant
  • All the beautiful places to hike in and around Birmingham
  • Ruby, my hiking companion
  • Students who make my days interesting and make me feel welcome when they greet me with  “Mrs. Bell! You’re my favorite sub!”
  • Friends who read books with me
  • Record stores and bookshops
  • Cousin re-connections and family reunions
  • Weddings and birthday celebrations far and near
  • The Avett Brothers in concert with only a few sprinkles
  • Seeing old friends in Jacksonville
  • Being protected from snakes at Red Mountain and Lake Guntersville
  • 41 years of marriage
  • Good neighbors
  • New friends that make me smile and old movies that make me cry

Here’s to 2020!

“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.”