My Grandmother’s Hand

I’ve written about her before. She influenced my life as a young, single airman. Perhaps the most important thing she did – whether she realized it or not – was keeping a steady stream of letters coming to my mailbox. And each scribed with a pencil that should have been sharpened.

I keep a daily journal. It’s filled with the trivial things that occur during my day. For years I used only a PaperMate ballpoint, then I switched to a PaperMate SharpWriter. But sometime this past winter a yellow Ticonderoga #2 pencil caught my attention. After switching I began experiencing an intermittent comforting sensation, but nothing I could put my finger on as the cause.

This week – some 35 years after her passing – I’ve discovered that when my pencil lead turns blunt my cursive writing often resembles her hand from so long ago.  


The Things We Learn

Last evening our eldest daughter, Evie, called us. She is now 54 and has her own stories and memories to share. She asked if I remembered her high school, Ronda. I did and she went on to read me an email she’d received. It was uplifting, fresh breath of air, sweet memories from years gone by.

Evie and Ronda became friends because they were both taller than their classmates. They wore the same size shoe.

It was the fad in those days, as I understand it, for girls to wear panty hose and knee socks. It made their legs look tan, she said. Barb said no panty hose. I suppose we thought that was the end of it. Not until last night did we learn that Ronda brought a pair of panty hose for Evie to wear.

Then there were the red shoes. She had explicit instructions about never trading shoes with other people. Little did we know she trading anyway, that is until the night she forgot and wore the red home.

Ronda was a farmer’s daughter and when she was nine Ronda’s father would let the two of them operate the huge combine, harvesting grass seed, while he had his lunch.

The things we learn.


Once Upon A Time


Photo from the Internet

When our kids were growing we took them to the Chambers Street Medical Clinic. The architect of the building had been environmentally conscious of his task and built it without disturbing a stand of oak where a few families of squirrels lived. Over the span of 18 or 20 years several generations of squirrels came and went. But one thing remained the same, the the small pharmacy attached to the clinic always kept a store of peanuts for them. The squirrels had access to this store each time the door was opened. For years I watched the parade. Finally, one day, a squirrel was waiting for someone to open the door. My turn had come. I pushed the door open, but the squirrel didn’t move. He just looked at me. “You’re opening door the wrong way. You have to pull it open,” he pharmacist said from behind the counter. I followed his directions. The squirrel scampered inside, chose a peanut and then then headed for the trees.


Sarah, one of our granddaughters, had scared herself silly with a TV spook movie. Then she decided one of these monsters was hiding underneath her bed, waiting.

Her mother’s bird, the African Gray, a parrot having the run of the house, came waddling down the hallway at that moment.

“HELLO!” he shouted from the doorway.

My Fraternal Grandmother


Many years before blogging came about I began keeping a paper journal. I still do. It is a record of my life. I use a Papermate Sharpwriter or a wooden #2 pencil. Seldom do I use a pen. The thought of writing something that I cannot change when I’m brainstorming goes against the grain with me. Though I seldom make corrections of any sort. I’m more comfortable knowing I can.

This morning was #2 wooden pencil day. And when I began the first line the need for sharpening was apparent. That discovery reminded me of my fraternal grandmother. A former school teacher – long before I came on the scene – probably embedded that habit because fountain pens were the norm in those days.

Though I didn’t realize it, she was my literary partner. From the time I ventured out on my own until she was no longer able to communicate, she wrote letters to me, one every other week. And they were always scribed with a #2 pencil that was in need of sharpening. Sometimes she included a poem. Often it was one of her own. Sometimes it was borrowed with the author’s name at the bottom, also in pencil.

She was always at the ready. Once I asked a question concerning English usage. She answered my question in detail. A few weeks later a well-thumbed copy of the Associated Press Stylebook arrived in my mailbox.

The last letter I recall receiving from her arrived about 51 years ago. I still miss them.


Each day we draw closer to Trump taking over. I’ve never seen a more in-your-face individual. He is a real live bull in a china closet. He seems bent on tearing this nation apart. Everything he values seems based on the almighty dollar.

During my air force years I watched newly appointed commanding officers occupy the CO’s office and immediately start changing everything within their reach. I can’t recall one who surviving the test of time.

I can turn a blind eye to most of Trump’s antics, let him rant while I go about my day. But I’m deeply concerned about his messing with my wife’s healthcare before he even has the key to the Oval Office door.

Since March 2016 my wife has suffered two heart attacks and two seizures. One day while she was in the hospital for 27 days last March I held her hand and literally talked her back from death’s door after the nurses had given up and waited for her to die.

She takes nine different medications at seven different times each day. Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, and Humana have so far manage to keep the cost of these medications affordable.

Maybe ACA doesn’t work for everyone, but so far I’ve been able to keep my wife of 54 years alive.

I’m not sure Trump is going to let me keep her another year. And there is nothing I can do about it but write this post.


A Christmas Collar


Mr. Black received a Christmas collar last year. He loves to hear it ring. Last year it was stored in one of our daughter’s Christmas decorations, so she mailed to him.

He recognized it and when he saw me approaching with the collar he recognized it and he stretched out his neck so I could put it on him.

If I shake one of the bells he will shake to make them all ring.

100-Day Challenge – Day 23 (Revisited)




Mama’s Boy

Mr. Black, aka Mama’s Boy, a name he answers to more readily his only a few teeth left, as mentioned in an earlier post. Therefore, we insist that he eat only enough dog food to keep him regular and healthy. The bulk of his diet comes from the table – we, too, are old. Tonight it’s was cheese soup and toast. Last night he enjoyed beef stew over rice. For his rations we purchase small, paper bowls. He know where they are kept and he has laid claim to them.

Late last week I had some apple butter on toast. Barb doesn’t care for it so I dined along. And I used one of his bowls.

He knew where it came from and he assumed that anything served in his bowl should be his to enjoy. He was not pleased when I didn’t share.