Most stories are in the form of an interview. Stevie sent us each twenty questions about our experiences, which most of us answered. One author, though, chose to provide her answers in the form of an essay. At the beginning of each story is the author’s biographical information.
I enjoyed reading many of these uplifting stories of courage and determination in the face of adversity. For me, caregiving wasn’t fun, but many authors here endured a lot worse. This book has a strong message. No matter what curve balls life throws at you, keep going, and things will get better.
I was reading through some inspirational quotes when one of them struck my fancy. “You can’t see it now, but the thing you didn’t get will someday be the best thing you never had. Let it go. Better is coming.” — Mandy Hale
When I was about eight or nine, one of my friends had a battery-operated toy phone system. A phone was in her room, and a phone was in her brother’s room, so they could communicate that way. I wanted the same gadget for Christmas that year, so I could communicate with my younger brother in similar fashion. Never mind that he was only three. As you can imagine, Santa didn’t bring me what I wanted.
Now, as an adult, like many others, I own a battery-operated cell phone. Unlike my friend with the toy phone long ago, I can talk to anyone, not just my younger brother. This is just as well, since most of my calls to him go to voicemail, and he rarely calls me. So, that battery-operated phone system I wanted was the best thing I never had, and I have something better.
How about you? Can you think of something you wanted when you were a child that you never got? Do you think now that it’s the best thing you never had?
Grammy Hinkley makes the best oatmeal. It’s even better than Mother’s cream of wheat. In the summer of 1971, at the age of ten, I’m sitting at her round kitchen table with its matching oak chairs, savouring the oatmeal’s sweetness. In Denver, Colorado, the sun is shining, and it streams in through a nearby window, which is open, and I can hear birds singing. Besides the table and chairs, there are countertops, a sink, a stove, an oven, and a refrigerator. Appliances sit on the countertops, but with my limited vision, I can’t make them out. The floor is a brown-checkered linoleum.
Grammy and Granddad are sitting at the table with me. We eat and talk. When all of us have finished, Grammy clears away the dirty dishes and gets out the cribbage set. I watch, fascinated, as she and Granddad perform their morning ritual.
What do you remember about your grandmother’s kitchen? Was there a particular food your grandmother prepared that you liked the best? What other activities did you and your grandmother do in the kitchen?
Place two slices of whole-wheat bread on a plate, facing each other. Open a jar of Jiff chunky peanut butter, wrinkling your nose. Holding your breath, with a knife, spread generous amounts of peanut butter on both slices of bread, ⠺⠊⠩⠬ your spouse preferred creamy peanut butter, which is easier to spread. Don’t worry about the jelly. Your spouse doesn’t like it on a peanut butter sandwich.
If you haven’t passed out by now, fold both slices of peanut-buttered bread in half, smoothing the creases so the bread stays folded and wincing if your fingers come in contact with the peanut butter. This will make the sandwich easier to eat, since your spouse can only use one hand. Breathe.
Then serve your spouse the sandwich with a kiss. Note- If you two French-kiss after your spouse has eaten the sandwich, you might get the taste of peanut butter in your mouth. Gag!
In My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, I neglect to mention the fact that my late husband Bill loved peanut butter and I could never stand it. However, I talk about other foods he enjoyed eating and my cooking successes and disasters. For more information about the book and ordering links, click here.
How about you? Does your spouse like any foods that you can’t stand? How do you work around this? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment field.
Tis the season for the junior/senior prom. Unlike the fellow in the song I’m about to sing today, my date never changed his mind about taking me to the prom, although he almost chickened out.
When I was a senior in high school, I had a crush on Milward, but neither he nor any other boy asked me to the prom. Since Dad worked with Milward’s parents in community theater, he trusted Milward, so he said that if I asked him, and he said yes, he could borrow Dad’s station wagon. In 1980, I don’t think many boys had vehicles of their own. In any case, I never worked up the courage to ask Milward, so Dad promised to take me himself.
However, the night before the event, he suggested that we all go out to dinner instead. I was crestfallen. Mother and I were planning to shop for a dress the next day. I really wanted to go to the prom but didn’t want to go by myself, although Dad would have been willing to drop me off and pick me up later, since I couldn’t drive due to my visual impairment. I don’t remember how, but I convinced him to keep his promise.
We did all go out to dinner, though, before the prom. First, Mother gave Dad and me each a flower to wear. Then we went in two separate cars: Dad and me in one and my mother and younger brother in the other. After a nice dinner at one of the fanciest restaurants in town, Dad and I drove to the prom.
I don’t remember how the school gymnasium was decorated, but I do recall a swing in one corner where Dad and I sat while someone took our picture. Grandma displayed that photo in her music room for years.
I had a great time. One or two boys may have asked me to dance, but most of the time, I danced with Dad. He’d taught me how to dance when I was fifteen, so after three years, I’d gotten good at it.
Looking back though, I think Dad may have felt a little out of his element. There weren’t many people his age, and the music the band played wasn’t his style. After the garter ceremony, in which I removed the offending item from my stocking and placed it on his arm, he’d had enough. Now, I don’t blame him for almost chickening out, but I’m glad he kept his promise. It would have been my only opportunity to attend a senior prom.
What do you remember about your senior prom? Who was your date? Had you been dating this person long before you two went to the prom together? Did your date change his/her mind? What did you do?
In my new novel, The Red Dress, which is now in the hands of the publisher, DLD Books, my protagonist catches her date in the act with her best friend on Prom Night. So, which do you think is worse, that or having your date change his/her mind at the last minute?
The loss of her parents and sister inspired author and blogger Carol Balawyder to write the essays in this collection. She writes about her relationship with the loved ones she lost. Other pieces focus on such topics as travel, online dating, religion, and, of course, mourning.
Having lost my parents, grandparents, and husband, I can identify with the feelings the author expresses, especially the guilt at not having done more for her loved ones before they passed. If you are grieving and have similar feelings, this book should help you understand you’re not alone. If you’re suffering from a recent loss, be sure you have plenty of Kleenex handy when you read it.