I Want to Know What Love Is #MusicalMonday #Inspiration

 

This past weekend, while participating in ACB Community Karaoke, I heard someone sing the song I’m featuring today. I heard this song many times during my younger years, but at that moment, something occurred to me.

After my late husband Bill proposed to me in 2005, I learned that he was in a couple of relationships before meeting me, and upon proposing to these other women, he was rejected. That, on top of losing his vision and ability to walk at an early age due to rheumatoid arthritis, having various surgeries in childhood and adulthood to correct physical issues, contracting West Nile virus as an adult, and finally, the two paralyzing strokes he suffered after marrying me, created a lot of pain and heartache in his life. Despite the good things that happened, by the time he proposed to me, he’d come so far and wanted to end his loneliness.

Here I was, never having been in a relationship, not having any idea of what romantic love was like. After his proposal, Bill gave me a cassette of love songs he downloaded from the Internet. If he’d included this song, I might have more clearly understood him. I want to believe now that during our seven years of marriage, I showed him what love is, though I didn’t really know. He definitely showed me. You can read more of our story in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

 

Trying to Eat #SixSentenceStoryThursdayLinkUp #Excerpts #Inspiration

Welcome to this week’s Six Sentence Story Thursday Link Up. The word is “stroke.” As you may have noticed from a post I reblogged here a few days ago, I suggested the word to Girlie on the Edge, and you’ll see why in a minute.

Below is an excerpt from My Ideal Partner, a memoir in which I write about how I met and married my late husband Bill, then cared for him after he suffered two paralyzing strokes.

***

After a day and a half in intensive care, Bill was transferred to a stroke unit. He drifted in and out of consciousness. When we were finally told he could eat, he was too weak to do so on his own. I told the staff I didn’t feel comfortable feeding him because of my visual impairment. Nevertheless, meals were delivered, and it was up to me to get him to eat.

I placed a fork in his hand and said, “Here, honey, eat some mashed potatoes.”

***

Well, did Bill eat those mashed potatoes? Read the book and find out. You can click on the above link for more information and ordering links.

Thanks to Girlie on the Edge for this week’s prompt. You can click here to participate and read other bloggers’ six-sentence creations.

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes her until one Halloween night when she tells Natalie a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that some people with dementia have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she tries and succeeds in finding her biological father online. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding. Her ten-year-old sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant this request?

***

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Third Thursday Poets #WednesdayWords #WeeklySmile #Poetry

 

Attending my local poetry group’s monthly meetings always makes me smile. Most of the time, I’m inspired to write a poem, and we always have fun together.

The Third Thursday Poets started meeting in 2006 as a weekly class at the senior center. Having just started caring for my late husband at home after he suffered his first paralyzing stroke, writing poetry was a great way for me to deal with the stress of being a family caregiver. You can read more about my experiences in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. But I digress.

After the class ended in nine weeks, we decided to meet monthly at the same location. We’ve been meeting there ever since. When the COVID pandemic started, we met via phone conference until we could gather in person again. Members have come and gone, but the idea is still the same. Write, share, and have fun.

We each take turns running the meeting. Our facilitator begins with a prompt that we work with for about twenty minutes. Then, we each share what we’ve written. The facilitator then gives us a “homework assignment,” a suggested prompt for a poem we can bring to the next meeting. We spend the remainder of our time together critiquing poems we brought, some of which were inspired by the “homework assignment” from the previous meeting.

Last Thursday’s meeting was no different. Our facilitator asked us to pick a word from a list she gave us. We were then prompted to write down about three other words or phrases we associated with that particular word. We could then organize all that into a poem.

My chosen word was “meadowlark.” Below is what I came up with. You can click on the title to hear me read it.

 

Meadowlark

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Copyright 2022.

It’s song rings out over the lake
on a sunny cloudless Wyoming afternoon,
as our boat glides through smooth waters.

Dad and younger brother try to fish
while Mother and I enjoy the bird’s song,
gentle breeze that carries with it
the scent of pine trees,
whiff of worms used for bait.

At the age of thirteen,
I know little about the meadowlark,
enjoy the boat’s gentle motion,
observe, with limited vision, the lake, grass, trees, sky,
happy in summer.

***

What made you smile in the past week? You can comment below or click here to participate in this week’s feature.

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Lessons Learned from Dad #MondayMusings #Inspiration

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.Today, my father would have been in his mid 80s. I’ve revised and am sharing a post that went live two months before he passed in 2013. Enjoy!

***

My fondest childhood memories are of Dad and me listening to music together. He loved to play the old standards on those scratchy long-playing records by such artists as Fats Waller and Nat King Cole. These songs taught me lessons that I’m pretty sure he wanted me to learn.

If “The Joint is Jumpin,” you’re going to get in trouble. No man will like you if “Your Feet’s Too Big.” You’d better “Straighten Up and Fly Right.” I also learned to appreciate “”Seafood, Mama” but not until I was an adult.

Dad also tried to teach me the value of money. He thought he’d succeeded until I sold my wheelchair accessible van after my husband Bill passed. George, who responded to my ad, asked if I could take a thousand dollars off the asking price because the switch on the back of the vehicle that automatically opened the doors to the lift didn’t work, and the lift needed to be re-sized to fit his electric wheelchair. Because he appeared to be in desperate need of this vehicle, I agreed. Dad was livid. He claimed that it wouldn’t have cost a thousand dollars to fix these problems, but what he didn’t understand was a lesson I didn’t learn from him.

Although money is important, being helped and passing on that good deed to another is more valuable. Several years ago, Bill and I really wanted a van we could use to go places at night and on weekends when the local paratransit service wasn’t running. We were lucky to find someone willing to sell us such a vehicle at a price we could afford. When George came to my home in response to my ad, I could tell right away he was in the same position. I didn’t need that extra thousand dollars, and he needed the van. you can read more about our adventures with the van in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

I leave you now with another lesson I did learn from Dad via Louis Armstrong. Despite the hateful things going on around us, we live in a “Wonderful World.” Rest in peace, Dad.

***

 

What lessons have you learned from your father? Please feel free to share in the comment field below.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Five Poems #TuesdayTidbit #Poetry #Inspiration

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. She has short brown hair which is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

National Poetry Month has passed, but poetry lives on. Today, I’m offering a five-for-one special: one longer poem and four haiku about Wyoming’s erratic spring weather. You can click on the titles to hear me read them. Enjoy!

***

ODE TO A RECLINER

 

You once belonged to him.
Feeling his presence,
I sink into your depths,
lower my head, raise my feet,
listen to books, podcasts,
radio programs, sometimes doze.
Your embrace gives me peace.

***

The above poem, which appears in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, was recently published in Your Daily Poem’s last-day addendum on April 30th to end their month-long National Poetry Month celebration. You can read this here. You can learn more about Your Daily Poem and subscribe to receive a poem in your inbox daily by clicking here.

 

Four Spring Haiku

 

snowstorm predicted
rain falls followed by strong wind
but no snow appears
unseasonable
warm temperatures grace our land
all nature’s confused

spring storm approaches
one lone bird sings cheerful tune
unaware of fate

spring storm in May
snowflakes flutter in circles
wind blows cold and dry

***

The above haiku were published in the May 1st issue of The Weekly Avocet, which can be read here.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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