Haha ok. I’m a lousy listener. My mom (there she is again, sorry mom) told me once that I was vaccinated with a phonograph needle when I was a child. I think I was the only one in kindergarten that was rapped across the knuckles by my teacher with the pointer and told to “sit down and shut up.” Less social souls would have curled up in a ball sucking their thumbs, not me. I always have a word in due and not so due season lol.
It’s hard to explain, because I get accused of not listening enough. Let me tell you a secret. I hear it all. the important stuff. Ok ok…perhaps my husband Kenneth would argue at this point but ask me…his favorite colour…RED, How he likes his toast. Charcoal…almost. See?
I love words, and conversation. I guess I learned it from my Father who loved a great debate and like myself, loved to read and be informed and discuss, discuss, discuss. I feel strongly about things. I take it to heart. It usually isn’t about who is right. Its the FUN of the conversation. and when people give me their words I fill up with answers. Everyone wants to tell you THEIR story. Rarely do they ask to hear yours.
“The world had a way of speaking to you if you let it; the trick was learning to hear.”
― Justin Cronin, The City of Mirrors
The Bible , a book I read often as a child and adult says something I think is very profound.
“Can two people walk together unless they be agreed.”
That means listening to the whole story. And agreeing to remain friends. Sometimes it means to agree to differ.
And that’s the word. Ciao friends, thanks for listening.
I started real work as I call it when I was 15 years old. I went away to a church run private school and paid part of my tuition by working part time in a book bindery. My classes started at 730 am till noon then I worked the afternoon 1 until 4 . Oh yes…and all day Sunday. I worked as a cover layer ..rebinding old and putting new books together. Covers were cut and glue (old horse glue) was melted in a machine that was plastered on the covers and another machine was used to fold and trim the corners and edges. I was so efficient at my job that I was asked to make the year books. It was a huge task. Oh and all the work was done standing btw. And the hot glue smell? …..phew , especially if you forgot and it started to burn!
Those years cemented a lifelong love affair with books because an added bonus to my job was being able to read the books that I was working on during my lunch breaks. Books of poetry, books about the world, history books, books of maps, and magic…… all kinds of books.
I have also noticed through the years that whatever work I have done involves a lot of reading…❤️.
There is a song that I heard as a child that goes “I’ll work till Jesus comes” and I joke that I took those words literally.
If there is a heaven…(and I believe there is) …this quote says it all… book paradise.
“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
― Jorge Luis Borges
To be or not to be
But we insist
To do or not to do
Is our mantra
With least regret
So as we spiral
Down to death
And do our best
To be content
May we see the
Irony of our intent
That what we do is what we be.
I watch the falling snow
The whirling edges
Sparkle into night
Windblown fingers grasp
The naked branches
Cavorting in the light.
Endless snowflakes fall
Like ageless dancing angels
Heeding winter’s flight
I am making shortbread
Cutting small shapes just right
Wishing you were standing near
As you do in every year
Judging the sugary cookies a delight.
Anticipation is something we experience even before our first memories are formed. This story is a revisit of happier times…to be mindful that there is meaning, wonder and even worth in the waiting.❤️
During Christmas holidays, I have loved reminiscing with my grandchildren about Christmas’s past. One story in particular involves an event that became a yearly ritual between my Dad and me.
It started out innocently, the first year I was old enough buy a gift for him with my own money. As the oldest child, I felt I had done something that reeked of specialness, of significance. That first Christmas sweater was grey. It had large buttons and a cable knit design that my mother loved to knit when she was not mothering eight children. Boxed and wrapped, I placed it under the tree in high anticipation of its appreciation. (Mom said so.)
Here I must point out that my Dad was taciturn in personality. Christmas was the one time of the year that he broke from that self-imposed formalness and actually seemed to be more jovial. He ate chocolates and played games, and joined in the fun. When someone squealed to him that there was a present for him under the tree from me, he made a huge production of it. That long, drawn out week before Christmas morning, He would pick the present up as he sat in his favorite recliner chair by the tree and shake it gently…trying to guess the contents.
Was it a violin? I giggled and shook my head, no. A wallet then…boxed to fool him? I refused to answer. He would have to wait for Christmas like the rest of us. Then disaster struck. Christmas Eve had finally arrived and Mom was brewing up a batch of spiced hot cider in the kitchen. My younger siblings and I were stringing popcorn garlands for the tree. Dad reached down, picking up the package that had become a nightly ritual and looking at me intently in the eye said. “Does it have buttons?”
My face betrayed me. Viewing my crestfallen face, he crowed triumphantly. I was tearful but turned my face away. My surprise was spoiled. Another game he had won. That is another story. He, on the other hand was quite happy with his gift that Christmas morning. For the next ten years, I bought him a Christmas sweater. I never put it under the tree until Christmas Eve.
Each time I would put it in his hands he would look me wickedly in the eye though with his Cheshire cat grin and still try to guess, “Does it have buttons?” Sometimes it had a zipper.
Today I wanted to hold
Not chain your soul to the chiseled blocks
of raw silence
promises so brittle
come and gone.
I had no words
one by one at the news that you had left
had just been passing through
I had no sound
my words evaporated
to the ground
to the silent earth
conjured up prayers
that taste like stale communion bread
on my tongue
seeking nourishment for
*Aztec stone sculpture
Let me ask you this: What’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to you? How quickly can you recall this memory? Now try this one on: What are the most hurtful words anyone’s ever said to you? What about instances where the words uttered weren’t even intentionally mean, but they still stung deeply? I suspect this list would be the longest. Words that sting have a way of lingering.
My daughter’s untimely death has caused me to remember conversations, especially in the final weeks leading up to her suicide. It is not easy, not being enough for her to keep holding on. We always accused her of being cryptic…But my last conversation was clear as a bell. It will ring forever in my ears.
“It’s never been about you Mum. Bye. I love you.”
Her last text to me until the unending silence . A last gift. A last kindness. Even in her pain she sought to soothe. That’s why I love her. That’s why I’ve always loved her. Because she loved me. It was the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.❤️