Not so minor characters

“The minor characters in your life will step into the foreground and shine.” – Sheryl Sandberg

There have been some women who have stepped into the foreground for me. They are not minor characters, but they have been in the background of my life for a while.

Like Lee, my sorority Big Sister in college, who I had not seen for over 40 years. She stepped right back into my life by coming to Chuck’s funeral, all the way from Georgia. We’ve met for lunch and spent the day together catching up on all the years gone by.

Lee and me – Fernandina, 2020

Like Jeannie, who I also met over 40 years ago when Chuck and I were dating. She has been so very kind to me, meeting for lunch and giving me books and gifts to show her love and sympathy.

Jeannie and me – 1980

Like Judy, who calls and writes and lets me know I am always in her prayers. Our friendship doesn’t go back so far, but she is a Christian sister who cares. She doesn’t just post “praying” on social media, but when she says she’s praying I know she really is.

Judy – at Melt in Bham

Like Crystal, another newer friend, who writes nice chatty letters to let me know all the big and little things going on with her family. She shares her life with me and shows her concern for me.

Christmas at Crystal’s – 2019

Like Peggy, who lives in Auburndale but stays connected and checks on me. She sometimes brings along her husband, Tom, who is also a dear friend. They were great friends to Chuck and I and I’m so thankful for them still.

Peggy, St. Augustine, 2013

Like Debbie, who was in my Brownie troop when we were in 2nd/3rd grades. We went to church together through our teens and were in each others weddings. Then, time and miles kept us apart. But, we have reconnected, from Ohio to Florida, and had supper after 20 years and fell right into our friendship again.

Debbie, second from left

Like Darla, who I bonded with when we taught school together. She has made it a point to keep in touch. Her life is full to the brim with grandchildren, but she has made time for me.

Darla at Wild Adventures

That’s the thing – time. It’s not always easy or convenient, but it’s important to make time for the ones we love. For the ones who need our love.

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” – Romans 1:8

I guess it’s a natural thing

mamaw

 

I discovered Sean of the South this year and when I see see his name in my inbox every morning  I know I’m in for a good read on his blog.  He writes about everything, but a recurring theme is the loss of his dad when he was 12. He even mentioned that someone has said he talks about that too much. I don’t think so. It’s a part of him.

Grief touches us all in different ways. When my Dad died I grieved, but so much was going on in my immediate family that I didn’t really have time to stop and grieve. It hit me about eight or nine months later. Like a knock down punch.  Mom had been grieving in her own way. I remember she wasn’t eating enough at one point, then later it was the opposite – she was eating a lot of sweets which was unusual for her.

She also could not listen to music for a long time, because it always made her think of Dad. It was quite a while before she began playing the radio again.

This year for NaNoWriMo I’m attempting the family story once again. Last year I wrote about 23,000 words. This year I’m trying to redo it in the forms of verse and letters. So I’m reading/rereading the tons of letters I have here, from 1925-2015. Today I read a letter Mom wrote her sister, Billie, a month after their mother, my Mamaw, died in 1983.

“Seems like for the last couple of weeks I’ve had a delayed reaction to Mama’s dying. Can’t explain it, but I guess it’s a natural thing, I don’t know.” 

It really struck me all over how much I miss Mom. Lately I’ve found myself tearing up with an overwhelming feeling of loss. It just comes over me and I can’t control it. In three months it will be two years that she’s been gone. I know I’ve talked about it a good bit here; forgive me.

Social Media and Letters and Such #2

 

I’ll try to make sense of this  conglomeration of thoughts derived from numerous sources, all focused on  a common issue in my mind: the modern society’s pitfalls of social media and the like.

Fahrenheit 451 was published by Ray Bradbury before I was even born. I am amazed at the insight he had!

“And most of the time in the caves they have the joke boxes on and the same jokes most of the time,…” -Clarisse – from Fahrenheit 451

In my cave there are the joke boxes of television, Facebook, and Twitter. With the same jokes and political garbage most the time.

“There was a tiny dance of melody in the air, her Seashell tamped in her ear again, and she was listening to far people in far places.” Fahrenheit 451

Can you say bluetooth?!? He really hit this one spot on. It drives me crazy to be in the store and think someone is speaking to me and then realize they are talking to far people in far places.

“…people have developed less a sense of community than a loneliness which they attempt to assuage by being with other people constantly, and on a superficial level only.”  –  The Irrational Season by Madeleine L’Engle .

That’s me. I’m with people superficially online, attempting to assuage my loneliness. Often all it does is exacerbate the situation.

“We have an innate pessimism about telephone calls; they have a habit of coming at the wrong time, and they are too sudden, catapulting you into a conversation you weren’t expecting. Letters, on the other hand, are a pleasure to receive, not least because they allow you to consider your reply. But people don’t write letters anymore.” – from A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

I must say that phone calls and letters are a step up from social media. At least with a phone call you can sometimes pick up on moods and intentions by a person’s voice. And with letters, you must put forth a little more effort and (hopefully) you take the time to craft your words more carefully.

 

Letter To My Younger Self

I actually wrote this a year ago, but was inspired today  to pull it out and dust it off.

Me at 14 with my brothers

Me at 14 with my brothers

Dear Fourteen Year Old Self,

This will be short, because I know you may not want to read a long letter right now. I know you are feeling fat, but I can tell you, you WILL lose that weight and keep it off for years. Just continue on being your happy self and a good friend to the peeps in your life right now. Some of those kids will still be in your life when you hit your 50s.

Work on your poetry – some of it is good and some of it stinks, but it will be a help to you when you are feeling blue.

It’s easy now to say not to worry so much about what others think, but it isn’t easy to put into practice at 14. Don’t do anything that would cause people to truthfully talk bad about you, though.

Don’t go looking for love too soon. It will come, I promise you. And it will last for years. Don’t give away pieces of yourself that you can never get back.

Love, Me (or you, or whatever)