About Love

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.Thanks to The Life and Death of Love for providing interesting answers to some questions about love. Now, here are my answers to those same questions.

***

 

Define love in five words.

 

Love warms and comforts you.

 

Do you believe in love at first sight?

 

Since I’ve never experienced this, I don’t have an opinion. However, for my late husband Bill, who was totally blind, it was love at first sound. He was living in Fowler, Colorado, and I was living here in Sheridan, Wyoming. He heard my voice on an audio magazine for people with blindness or low vision and apparently fell in love with it.

 

Have you ever changed yourself to make someone love you?

 

Yes, at least I tried. It drove Bill nuts when I talked to myself. I did my best to kick that habit but never really could. Finally, after Bill suffered two strokes that paralyzed his left side and depended on me to do almost everything for him, he said he liked it when I talked to myself because he then knew where I was and what I was doing.

 

Love is like a box of chocolates. Discuss.

 

Chocolates and love are sweet and irresistible, but you have to be careful. If you eat too many chocolates, you’ll gain too much weight, which causes diabetes, heart trouble, and other complications. If you have unprotected sexual intercourse as a result of love, you could end up with an unplanned pregnancy and/or a sexually transmitted disease.

 

What’s the one thing about love that scares you?

 

It’s the commitment. After Bill sent me a letter, asking me to consider marrying him, I alternated between wanting to spend the rest of my life with him and not being sure I wanted to live with him for the rest of my life. It took me a couple of months to make a decision, and these were agonizing months for Bill because it had taken him six months to work up the courage to ask me to marry him.

 

Do you think you can be in love with two people?

 

Absolutely not! A married man who has an affair has apparently fallen out of love with his wife. That’s why it took me a couple of months to decide to marry Bill. I was thinking long-term, which is something people don’t do when considering marriage proposals.

 

How do you know when you love someone?

 

I don’t know how, but you just know. At least that’s the way it was for me. After Bill sent me his letter of proposal, he came to Sheridan to visit me for a week. We planned a dinner with family and friends at a local restaurant, where Bill would make his proposal official.

On the day of that dinner, I was still experiencing periods of doubt. The ring he’d brought was too small, and we were waiting for it to be re-sized. He used a necklace instead. When he placed it around my neck, I knew, and I said yes without thinking.

 

Do you believe love conquers all?

 

Absolutely! Three months after our wedding, Bill suffered the first of two strokes that left him unable to use his left arm and leg. Our love for each other got us through the uncertainty of not knowing what our lives would be like and the difficult times we endured while I was caring for him at home.

 

What do you hope to gain from love in the future?

 

Now that Bill is gone, I don’t think I can love another. I’m sure Bill wouldn’t mind if I did, but no man loved me before Bill and I doubt any man will love me again. Many women end up in abusive relationships or have husbands who cheat on them. I’m thankful to have never been in such situations and feel it’s better to be alone. If you’d like to learn more about me and Bill, read My Ideal Partner.

***

Now, it’s your turn. Please feel free to answer any or all the above questions on your own blog or in the comment field below. I’d love to know what you think about love.

 

My Books

 

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

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Monday Musical Memories: Apple Tree/Apple Blossom

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

In 1976 when I was in eighth grade, and my family was living in Sheridan, Wyoming, where I’m still living, we moved into a three-story red brick house with an apple tree in the back yard. I’ve never liked the taste of fresh apples, but my parents and younger brother may have picked and eaten them. I don’t remember. Since I didn’t grow up during war time, I didn’t have a sweetheart to tell me not to sit under the apple tree with anyone else until he came marching home.

According to Wikipedia, the song, “Apple Blossom Time,” was published in 1920 and made popular by The Andrews Sisters and other artists. It was one of many songs I sang while working as a registered music therapist in nursing homes and other facilities for senior citizens. Here’s my rendition of a medley of this song and “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” also made popular by The  Andrews Sisters.

 

 

How about you? Did you have an apple tree while you were growing up? Did you sit under the apple tree with a lover or by yourself? Did you make pie, jam, or cider with the apples from your tree?

Happy Memorial Day!

My Books

 

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

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

Thursday Book Feature: Our Souls At Night

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Our Souls At Night

by Kent Haruf

Copyright 2015.

 

In Kent Haruf’s last novel, published posthumously, Addie, a widow, is lonely after the death of her husband. In desperation, she asks her long-time neighbor, Louis, a widower, to spend nights in her bed, keeping her company. Their relationship blossoms from friendship to romance amid gossip from people in the small town where they live and despite their families’ objections.

From the beginning, this author takes us directly into the story with little description of the setting. As the story progresses, we learn about our main characters’ lives through dialog instead of paragraphs of narrative back story. All this make Our Souls at Night a sweet story about two people finding happiness in their older years. The ending, though, leaves a lot to be desired.

 

My Books

 

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

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

 

French Silk Pie (Fiction)

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.I glanced up from my dessert and saw him. He was sitting at the next table, also alone, also eating French silk pie. Our eyes met. He stood, picked up his plate, and carried it to my table. Sitting down across from me, he asked, “You like French silk pie too?”

“Yes,” I answered, surprised by his boldness.

“You come here often?”

“Yes,” I said.

We stared at each other for a moment. Then, I picked up my fork and started eating again. Being a happily married woman, the last thing I needed was to be distracted by another man. Couldn’t he see the wedding ring on my left hand?

Finally, he extended his hand. “I’m Jack Baker.”

With an inward sigh of resignation, I put down my fork and took his hand. “I’m Jill Tanner.”

“Jack and Jill, how about that? I was transferred here a couple of weeks ago. I work at the Veterans Administration Hospital.”

“My husband was at the VA for a few days after his stroke. We weren’t too impressed with his care. We thought he’d be better off in a nursing home.”

“Yeah, I don’t blame you. Our nursing department has been short-staffed. I’m the volunteer coordinator, and I’m trying to recruit more people to help, but there isn’t much they can do unless they’re certified. It would be nice to get people who could fill patients’ water pitchers and do other tasks that don’t require certification. I already have a woman who’s blind and plays the guitar and sings. Those old guys really like that.”
“Linda was one of the few things we liked about that place. She has such a sweet voice. She knows all those old songs the men like, and she’s so good with them. Fortunately, she also volunteers at Fernwood Manor, so my husband can still listen to her music.”

“How badly has he been effected by the stroke?”

I sighed. “He can’t use his left arm or leg, and his speech is somewhat affected. His mind is still pretty good, but he might have lost some short-term memory. The therapists at the nursing home have been great, but the neurologist says there’s no telling if or when he’ll walk again.”

Jack reached across the table and took my hand. “I’m sorry. How long ago did this happen?”

I dislodged my hand and picked up my fork again. “A few weeks ago,” I answered.

“You look awfully young. How old is your husband?”

“I’m forty-six, and my husband’s sixty-four.”

He stared at me in amazement. “You don’t look a day over twenty.”

“I know,” I said, and I smiled in spite of myself. “but when I’m sixty-six, it’ll be a blessing.”

“There’s quite an age difference between you and your husband.”

“Yeah, when Don’s mother saw a picture of me, she accused him of robbing the cradle.”

He laughed. “How did you two meet?”

“I met him at a writers’ conference. I write romances, and he writes science fiction mysteries. I don’t like mysteries of any kind, and he doesn’t care for romances, but somehow, we hit it off. We both like to write, and that’s what matters.”

He looked thoughtful. “Wait a minute. Your husband is Don Tanner?”

“Yes,” I said.

“I love his stuff! I bought a copy of his latest yesterday and started it last night. He just had a stroke?”

“I’m afraid so. Before it happened, he signed a contract for another book. I talked to his agent, and he said he would see if he could get an extension, but I don’t know…”

As the stress of the past few weeks settled over me, I found myself looking deep into his blue eyes. After a moment of silence, he said, “Maybe I could be his ghost writer.”

“Have you done any writing?”

“I’ve had a few stories and poems published, but with a forty-hour-a-week job, it’s hard to find the time. This could be a big break. I’ve read most of your husband’s books, and I know his style. If I could meet him and get some idea of the direction he wants to go with his next book, I could write it for him.”

“I’m not sure how the ghost writing business works. Besides, Don has always been very independent. I’m not sure he’d like the idea of someone else writing his work, even though he may not be able to write it himself.”

“Are you finished here?” asked the waitress, as she started to remove our plates.

“Yes,” I answered, anxious to end this conversation. “Could you please bring us our checks?”

“Actually, we’re both on one check,” he said.

The waitress hurried away before I could protest. “You don’t have to do this.”

“Yes I do. I’m one of Don Tanner’s biggest fans. I’m not going to let a stroke interfere with his career. I’ve made up my mind. I want to help him.”

The waitress returned, and after she left with his credit card, he said, “Why don’t you come over to my place, and we’ll talk about it some more? We could even go online and do some research on ghost writing.”

I looked at my watch. “It’s late. I really should see Don. He goes to sleep early, and I like to talk to him while he’s awake.”

“I understand, but this is important. If we could work something out tonight, we could both see Don tomorrow, and I could give him a proposal.”

The waitress appeared. As Jack signed the slip, I considered making a run for it, but I happened to glance into his eyes. He looked so sincere. “Okay,” I said with a sigh. “I’ll follow you to your place.”

He lived in a red brick building with four apartments, two upstairs and two on the ground floor. His was on the second floor and had a balcony plus a living room, two bedrooms, and a kitchen. After giving me the grand tour, he asked, “Can I get you a drink?”

“No thanks,” I answered. I wandered into one of the bedrooms which had been converted into an office. The shelves were lined with books, and I was reassured to see some of Don’s titles. I sat in an armchair next to Jack’s computer, hoping he would take the hint when he appeared with his drink.

My heart sank when he said, “It’s more comfortable in the living room.”

“I thought you wanted to research ghost writers.”

“We can do that later,” he said, as he approached me, extended his hand, and pulled me to my feet. “Come on. The night is still young.”

With trepidation, I allowed him to guide me into the living room where we sat side by side on the couch. We talked about this and that, as he drank glass after glass from a bottle of Scotch on a nearby coffee table. I tried several times to steer the conversation in the direction of our project and suggested we get started on the research, but he kept putting me off.

After the third drink, he set the glass down and put his arm around me. I shouldn’t have been surprised, I thought. “Excuse me, but I’m a happily married woman,” I said, trying to pull away.

He tightened his arm around me. ”I find that hard to believe. Your husband is partially paralyzed. He may never be able to walk, let alone write, and he’ll never be able to make love to you like I can.” He pulled me into an embrace.

With my free hand, I slapped him hard on the cheek. Startled, he released me, and I jumped to my feet. “You bastard! My husband may never be able to walk or write or have sex, but I still love him, and he loves me, and that’s all that matters.” I snatched my purse from a nearby chair and hurried through the kitchen and out the back door, slamming it behind me.

My legs were shaking, as I descended the steep wooden staircase to the parking lot. I expected to hear the door open and his running footsteps behind me, but the only sound was the faint chirping of crickets. When I reached the car, I climbed in and locked all doors and windows. I took several deep breaths. When I felt calm, I started the engine and glanced at my watch. It was late, but I had to see Don.

When I reached the nursing home, I was surprised to find the main entrance still unlocked. “Hi Jill, you’re a little late, aren’t you?” said Beverley, Don’s nurse, as I passed the desk.

“Yes, I got held up.”

“I’m sure Don’s still awake. In fact, Bernadette might still be with him, although I doubt it.”

I’d forgotten about Bernadette, Don’s speech therapist, but would she be here this late? Because she worked somewhere else during the day, she came early in the evening to work with Don and other residents. In her mid-twenties with long blonde hair and blue eyes, she was also a fan of Don’s books.

The door to his room was closed. Thinking Bernadette was gone and Don was asleep, I inched it open and stepped into the darkness, stopping short at the sounds of kissing and voices. “Oh Don, even though you only have one good arm and leg, you’re such a lover,” said Bernadette.

“Ummm, you’re so soft, so silky, so delicious, my French silk pie,” said Don in the same seductive voice he’d used with me. “If I could write with the same part of me I use for loving, my troubles would be over.”

“Don’t think about that now. Just love me some more,” said Bernadette, and I heard more kissing. In shock, I cried out and flung the door open wide, flooding the room with light from the hall that illuminated the naked bodies on the bed.

***

The above story was published in this year’s spring/summer issue of Magnets and Ladders, an online journal featuring work by authors with disabilities. It won an honorable mention in the magazine’s fiction contest. It also appeared last year on Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo.

 

My Books

 

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

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

Song Lyric Sunday: The Pain of Loving You

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.The theme from newepicauthor this week is “pain.” This song is about loving someone even if that person hurts you all the time. I’m sure victims of domestic violence can identify with this, and I’m thankful I’ve never had such an experience.

 

The Pain of Loving You—Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris

Lyrics Courtesy of Genius

 

Chorus

Oh the pain of loving you
Oh the misery I go through
Never knowing what to do
Oh the pain of loving you

[Verse 1]
You just can’t stand to see me happy
Seems you hurt me all you can
Still I go on loving you
But I never understand

[Chorus]
Oh the pain of loving you
Oh the misery I go through
Never knowing what to do
Oh the pain of loving you

[Verse 2]
To love and hate at the same time
The line between the two is fine
The two have bound me heart and soul
So strong that I can’t let you go

[Chorus]
Oh the pain of loving you
Oh the misery I go through
Never knowing what to do
Oh the pain of loving you
Oh the pain of loving you

 

Songwriters: Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton

Copyright 2019 Genius Media Group, Inc.

***

Note: It’s time for a change. After today, I’ll no longer participate in this challenge, but starting a week from tomorrow, I’ll try something new. It’ll be called “Musical Memory Monday.” I’ll feature either a video or a recording of me singing a particular song. Hopefully, the song will bring up memories, and I’ll ask a question or two about such memories that you can answer in the comment field.

This is similar to an activity I used to do as a registered music therapist with nursing home residents. Our group would sing songs related to a specific topic, and participants would be encouraged to reminisce on this topic.

I’ll no longer link to Jim’s posts, so if you aren’t currently following me, you might want to subscribe by email. That way, you’ll be notified about this and other posts here. I hope you will enjoy this feature as much as the other. If not, I can always go back to doing Song Lyric Sunday, but for now, let’s give this a try, okay?

 

My Books

 

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

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

Song Lyric Sunday: Cold as Ice

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.The theme from newepicauthor this week is “freeze/cold/ice.” The song I’m featuring was popular in the late 1970’s when I was in high school. At the time, I was on the speech team, and we listened to it often while traveling to and from meats or while hanging out at the meets between rounds. Enjoy, and have a super Sunday!

Foreigner–Cold as Ice

 

You’re as cold as ice
You’re willing to sacrifice our love
You never take advice
Someday you’ll pay the price, I know
I’ve seen it before
It happens all the time
Closing the door
You leave the world behind
You’re digging for gold
Yet throwing away
A fortune in feelings
But someday you’ll pay
You’re as cold as ice
You’re willing to sacrifice our love
You want paradise
But someday you’ll pay the price, I know
I’ve seen it before
It happens all the time
Closing the door
You leave the world behind
You’re digging for gold
Yet throwing away
A fortune in feelings
But someday you’ll pay
You know that you are
(Cold, cold) (as, as) (ice)
As cold as ice to me
(Cold, cold, cold) (as, as, as) (ice)
You’re as cold as ice
(Cold as ice)
Cold as ice I know
(You’re as cold as ice)
You’re as cold as ice
(Cold as ice)
Cold as ice I know
(You’re as cold as ice)
Oh, yes I know
(Cold as ice)
(You’re as cold as ice)
You’re as cold as ice
(Cold as ice)
Cold as ice I know
(You’re as cold as ice)
Oh, yes I know
(Cold as ice)
Songwriters: Lou Gramm / Mick Jones
Cold as Ice lyrics © Songtrust Ave, Somerset Songs Publishing Inc

 

My Books

 

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

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.

Re-Blog: The Owl and the Pussycat: A Poem by Edward Lear

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.Via Poem: “The Owl and the Pussycat” by Edward Lear

 

My Books

 

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

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.