Radio in the Morning

In a recent guest post, Lynda McKinney Lambert featured a poem about her grandmother’s ivory cream pitcher. This inspired me to revise and re-post a poem I wrote a couple of years ago about one of my grandmother’s rituals and how I still carry it out today. Click below to hear me read the poem and sing the John Denver song that inspired it.

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RADIO IN THE MORNING

 

“It’s a good day,” the announcer sang.

“Now, stand by for news.”

At the age of twelve, lying next to Grandma

in her big double bed, I asked her

why we had to listen to news.

She said it was necessary to know

what was going on in the world.

After local and national events,

sports, horoscopes, we began our day.

 

In my own room at home, I had a radio,

woke up to all the happenings

around town, around the country, around the world.

 

As a teen-ager, I awoke to latest hits,

re-broadcasts of The Shadow,

The Lone Ranger, some comedy.

 

Now, with Granma gone,

I wake up to NPR news,

“find out what goes on in the world.

***

Now, it’s your turn. Think of one thing you remember about your grandmother and write about it in the comments field. What you share doesn’t have to be in poetic form. I look forward to reading about your memories.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

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Song Saturday: Let It Be by The Beatles

This is a new feature I’m trying, and thanks to Sharon E. Cathcart for giving me the idea. Each Saturday, I’ll feature a song I like and a thought or memory associated with it.

It’s so frustrating to hear of all the events that are going on in the world. However, there’s nothing we can do about it except “Let It Be.”

 

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Memoir Offers Insights on Death

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: and Other Lessons from the Crematory

By Caitlin Doughty

Copyright 2014.

 

This author, with a degree in medieval history, a star of the online video series, Ask a Mortician, shares the first few years of her experiences working in the death industry. She starts with her first job as a crematory operator in San Francisco, explaining in detail the cremation process and how she was the one to do the actual cremating. She also describes going with another employee to collect bodies and observing the embalming process.

She then talks about how she eventually moved to Los Angeles where she attended a mortician school and became certified. After another job collecting bodies, she gained employment as a funeral director. She also shares her disillusionment with embalming and other techniques used to make a corpse look natural before a viewing. She suggests taking responsibility for what happens to you when you die.

She also talks about her life growing up in Hawaii and how she took an interest in death after seeing a child fall from a second-story balcony of a shopping mall. She touches on the history of death and how other cultures deal with it. In the end, she relates the details of her grandmother’s passing. Her story begins in the morning at the San Francisco crematory and ends at night in a nearby cemetery.

Because of my experiences with death over the years, I was fascinated by some of her stories and horrified by others. Despite the grimness of the subject, I found myself laughing at some of her anecdotes.

When she described shaving a corpse for the first time, I was reminded of the time I saw my late husband Bill’s body at the nursing home before he was taken away. Shaving him was far from my mind, as I stroked his hair and talked to him for the last time.

When Doughty described picking up bodies at hospitals, nursing homes, and people’s homes, I thought of the two people from the funeral home who came to pick up Bill. Soft-spoken, the woman assured me they would take good care of him. When I asked about arrangements, the man said someone would contact me. You can learn more about my experiences with Bill’s death in My Ideal Partner.

When I started reading this book, I was afraid of death, and I still am. I didn’t think Caitlin Doughty could explain what it’s like to die. Nobody really can. Once you find out, there’s no way to tell others.

My brother, a physicist, once said that when you die, you simply don’t exist anymore, but what is that like? When pets die, they are said to have crossed a “rainbow bridge.” Christians believe that when you die, you see Jesus and are reunited with loved ones passed.

I would like to think that when my time comes, I will cross a rainbow bridge and be reunited with Bill, but what if that’s not the case? What if you’re aware of what is happening to you after you die?

What if Bill heard the last loving words I said to him including my promise to see him on the other side someday. What if he knew he was being wrapped in a shroud, strapped to a gurney, transported to the funeral home, and placed in a refrigerator?

Both my parents were cremated. What if they felt the pain of the flames, as their bodies were being burned until there was nothing left but bones?

If you or your family chooses to have a viewing, necessitating an embalming, what if you feel the instruments cutting into the artery on your neck and into your abdomen to drain blood and other internal fluids and infuse chemicals that make you look more natural? Of course lying in a grave for eternity could be boring but certainly better than burning or being stabbed.

I hope I don’t die for a long time, and maybe when I do, someone will know something. In the meantime, this book is a great start to understanding what can happen to your body after you die.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Graduation Revisited

Last year, I shared this poem when one of my nephews and a cousin graduated from high school. Today, my other nephew Tristan is graduating from high school, so this poem is worth a re-post. It’s an acrostic, so you’ll note the first letter of each line, in bold font, spells the word “graduate.” Click below to hear me read the poem and sing a song I remember performing years ago with a choir at a graduation ceremony. Congratulations to Tristan and anyone else graduating this year.

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Graduate

 

Go out into the world–never look back.

Reach for the top–always look forward.

Aim as high as you can.

Dream as big as possible.

Use your mind, heart, hands,

and know you can do anything.

Trust your instincts.

Energize your life.

***

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Guest Post: Ida Matilda’s Cream Pitcher

Today, I’m pleased to have Lynda McKinney Lambert as a guest. She’s the author of Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage (Kota Press, 2003) and Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems. (DLD Books, 2017) She’s also an artist and teacher who suddenly lost her eyesight ten years ago. You can read reviews of Walking by Inner Vision on my blog and on the Vision Aware site. Here’s one of her poems, which you can also read on her blog. It’s about her grandmother’s cream pitcher, a photo of which is below.

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Ida Matilda’s Cream Pitcher

by Lynda McKinney Lambert, 2017

 

I loved to spend endless, languid

days at Grandma’s house, sitting

around her plentiful kitchen table. Ida

Matilda’s raisin-filled cookies, sprinkled with

granulated sugar,

apple pies and yeast breads served hot from her oven

tart cherry desserts and homemade blackberry jam.

I poured heavy cream this morning, from her

old ivory creamer, a

little piece of McCoy pottery, circa 1940, Art

Deco, with faded daisies and pale green

leaves, beside

a glass vase of old-fashioned pink roses on a

soft cotton table-cloth, the color of Ida’s blushing cheeks.

Creamers like this had a mate but the open sugar

bowl, now lost.

Reservations were never necessary

even when times were tough, she served her

husband and 7 children

around the abundant table. A tolerant

Mother, she filled her creamer with sweet

milk every day.

Patiently I touch the smooth brown glazed

handle

Ida’s cream pitcher felt cool in my

septuagenarian hand

today. It spilled out the sound of her laughter

caused me to cinch my fingers around its girth

her pale eyes were the ice blue winter sky.

Every time I hold her cream pitcher it

reveals memories of refreshing new cream.

***

The picture to the left is of Lynda’s grandmother with other family members. Now click below to hear me read the poem.

 

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Pictured above, Lynda stands next to a bouquet of flowers. You can read more of her work on her blog. Here’s a link to where you can learn more about Walking by Inner Vision and order the book.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Educating the Uneducated

You’d be amazed at how many health care professionals don’t know how to help people with disabilities. Patty offers her own experiences with such personnel and a great strategy for those in the health care profession. The key is effective communication and the realization that there are times when the patient knows best.

Campbells World

Good afternoon, and happy Mother’s Day to CAMPBELLSWORLD VISITORS!!!
Campbell, and I hope this day finds you feeling most awesome, and realizing that no matter your circumstance, you are truly blessed.

If you read my earlier post, Positive Perspective On the Other Side of the Help Desk Yet Again: Making Myself Whole, you know that I was admitted to Asbury Place Kingsport on May 8 after a short stay at Holston Valley Hospital.

I’m happy to say, that I’m recovering nicely, and in fact am sitting outside in a lovely patio area, enjoying the afternoon sun. However, it is this very thing, that has finally moved me to post this post.

During both my stay at Holston Valley Hospital, and now, Asbury Place, I’ve learned that the Medical Profession is, absolutely the least educated of any profession that deals with the public than any I’ve ever run across ever in…

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