Honeysuckle Air: Holding Foot

I am probably not the only wife who was born with cold feet.

After our marriage had settled into decades, there were times we went to bed only because we were tired and longed for sleep.

Yet our mutual fondness declared some expression of love was necessary to settling down for a “long winter’s nap” as they say.

One such night our toes touched and my toes which are always cold discovered the warmth to be found there.  After a bit of giggling with him declaring how cold my feet were, and me relishing his “hot feet” we settled into the night’s rest with our toes still touching.

This toe fondling became a habit of sweetness and snuggling after a hard day’s work. When one of us was a little late to climb into bed the other would bemoan the lack of a foot to hold.

Eventually it evolved into the term “holding foot” which we always said with a bit of a grin. Since it bore all the tender landmarks of holding hands, we found it to be a vital part of our time together, especially when we were tired. It supplied to us the same gentle thrill as holding hands does. We enjoyed the idea that we could drift off to sleep while holding feet.

As the tradition continued, we began to realize that whatever didn’t hurt with aging issues could be held in fondness and comfort. Due to his severe peripheral neuropathy, what got held could vary from day to day. Sometimes hands, sometimes feet.

It can serve as a reminder to us all that whatever works is good in a relationship. Hold hands, hold feet, but don’t hold your breath too long as you get older.

Copyright 2017 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Deep Breathing Moments: Meditations for the Unpremeditated, Honeysuckle Air - Memoirs, Savor Our Seniors to Grow Bold Along With Me – The Rest is Yet to Come | Leave a comment

Teardrops for My Country: Repeal and Replace?!

Sing as Introduction:

One morning I had an inspiration.

I think it will last me all year long.

It came out of my exasperation.

That things seem to be so very wrong.

Chorus:

Repeal and Replace a congressman’s face.

Rejecting diversity; ignoring adversity.

Reeling in the votes while trampling on the voters.

Remember protection is in the next election!

RISE!

Verse 1:

Repeal and Replace: 

Remind the poor to just save more! (how, save what, the grocery money?)

Regarding older folks, just wait for Medicare (so sit and be patient during your heart attack).

Rewarding bad behavior with tax breaks for the rich; they need our help.

Remember I have Teardrops for My Country! (It might get worse, can I borrow a hearse?) (as I drip my red, white and blue necklace)

Repeal and Replace:

Rudeness

Raunchiness towards women.

Reallocation of wealth (movin’ them dollars upstream!)

Rejection of so many Americans (What would Reagan say?

Poor Lincoln, rollin’ rollin’ rollin in his grave) * arm circles *

Repeal and Replace:

Rehab slipping away from opioid areas.

Restraining children while their parents are taken

Ryan?

Refusal to care for our citizens! (Ever thought of fixing it? Here come the midterms!)

Fix it. Fix it. Fix it.

Repeal and Replace:

Refusing to see the suffering.

Resting at night while many live in fright.

Repeating alternate facts. (Your microwave is watching you!)

Ruining the Reputation of America! (Just sayin’ Wash out your ears with hope!)

Chorus:

Repeal and Replace a congressman’s face.

Rejecting diversity; ignoring adversity.

Reeling in the votes while trampling on the voters.

Remember protection is in the next election!

RISE!

Verse 2:

Repeal and Replace:

Reading and defending the Constitution.  ‘Fraid not.

Repeating things that have failed before — like trickle down — NOPE!

Rural folks used for votes yet no help when they’re sick or broke.

Ruling out The Great American Dream!!  (Sorry about that — Founding Fathers. I know you’re pulling your white hair out.)

Repeal and Replace:

Railroading — could it be that you’re being fooled?

Reprimanding the press for not singing your song.

Racketeering — calling it budgetary engineering.

Respecting just the right ones while rejecting “someone else’s babies” (Be powerful, Be rich, Get a tax cut)

Repeal and Replace:

Raking minorities over the coals, yet weren’t those the ones Jesus hung with?

Rewind the song and dance about death spiral (not the program, but our lives may be winding down)

Reverence for all is disappearing.

Ryan’s Rookie Health Bill — You may never see a nurse! (Kill the Bill, Kill the Bill, REDO!)

Repeal and Replace:

Regarding others as “less than”  (Different is delightful! Different is delightful!)

Rough Days on Death’s Doorstep for the fifties folks — half of income for insurance?

Review the CBO (Math NAH). Believe only the parts you like.

Resign if you weren’t on this year’s team. (Lose those jobs, add a few, but away with you.  Bye, bye, jobs.)

Chorus:

Repeal and Replace a congressman’s face.

Rejecting diversity; ignoring adversity.

Reeling in the votes while trampling on the voters.

Remember protection is in the next election!

RISE!

Verse 3:

Repeal and Replace:

Reaching out only to straight whites but restricting bathrooms!

Russian Roulette – as hacking discourages democracy.

Refusing basic kindness to all of God’s children.

Ruling for Compassionate Hunger — no Meals on Wheels or after school kid food. (They need our money, give it to ’em honey.)

Repeal and Replace:

Recovery — Forget it. Rue the day folks believed your promises.

Rancor in the budget everywhere.

Running from reality while wrangling your rights away.

Rebuilding infrastructure by building a wall???!! (Do your job, do your job.)

Repeal and Replace:

Racism accepted and sometimes even rape.

Repeating from the history books –they won’t mind our dirty looks. (Resist)

Rarely standing for something — even if it means you lose or don’t get reelected.

Roads leading toward a not quite free society (can you spell fascism?)

BUT WHAT SHALL WE REPLACE IT WITH?

Reach out to one another. Who knows,he might be your brother.

Remember to buy spy free appliances! (watching you, watching you)

Rely on standing in the truth — (My middle name is Ruth)

Rejoice that folks stand up on both sides of the aisle.

Restart a resurgence of respect and caring.

Rely on what people do, not what they say–(but the tweet was just joking?)

Review and change gridlock, reach across the aisle, and smile. (Get ‘er done, get ‘er done).

Chorus:

Repeal and Replace a congressman’s face.

Rejecting diversity; ignoring adversity.

Reeling in the votes while trampling on the voters.

Remember protection is in the next election!

RISE!

Copyright 2017 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.

Posted in Matters of the Heart: Grief and Other Feelings, Poetry and Inspiration: Including Personal Growth and Self Awareness, Presentations, Sermons, and Other Public Musings | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Presentation: How Gospel Music Taught Me Life’s Lessons

(Although this was originally presented as a sermon, it has also been given as a presentation of the wisdom and legacy of gospel music.)

Gathering MusicSometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child  piano by Darko Varga

Centering Moment

Chalice LightingHarvesting Hope and Humor from Hate and Helplessness       

Inspired by Marge Piercy’s The Low Road (from We Are Everywhere), as I heard it at church one morning when I was distraught with the senior bullying issues at my retirement condo I was struggling with. My thanks to her for her for helping turn my helplessness into hope and comfort.

——————————

Voice 1 – What can they do to you?

Voice 2 – Anything they want!

Voice 3 – Maybe you can’t stop them.   .   .

Voice 1 – How could you possibly stop them?

Voice 2 – Well, as one, you can fear, you can fight, you can make earnest efforts alone.

Voice 3 – I’m so scared, since they usually roll right over you, yelling and screaming at you! And they even try to hurt you.

Voice 1 – But two people fighting back to back have a better chance.

Voice 2 – Yeah, I remember that termites can bring down a huge structure.

Voice 3 – Three can keep each other sane, giving support, inspiration, conviction, and hope.

Voice 1 – With four you can play games, start a committee, and sing in 4-part harmony!

Voice 2 – With six you can delegate responsibilities and start gathering ideas to further your cause.

Voice 3 – And with seven you can alert the public, caution the prejudiced, and even scare the powerful into taking you seriously as I did on the six o’clock news three times so far.

Voice 1 – It starts when you take the frightening risk of standing up and doing something.

Voice 2 – And when you do it again after they say no, refusing to stay in the victim position.

Voice 3 – It grows when you say we.

Voice 1 – And each day you live in the knowing that you are painting a better world.

                                                        

                              The Happy Pariah

I stood up and said No to Seniors Bullying; a friend stopped visiting.

We suggested a change toward a more legal condo association;

Folks liked things the way they were, so they voted us down.

——————–

I wrote a letter explaining the legalities; hate notes against my family showed up on each of the 15 bulletin boards.

It was supposedly in the name of frugalities; one even mentioned the name of the Lord among some other not-so-nice words..

——————-

We went as the Minority Voice of our condo; we were yelled at, called names, and told to go home. But we are home, we said. We want to live together as neighbors.

——————-

My family has been bullied for far too long. Yet the sunrise still makes me sing a song.

We were two, three, seven, now more. Eventually they’ll let us have the floor.

——————

We’ll stand up for justice while watching our back. The State investigators are on the right track.

I’ll keep working my way through my day. No matter what avoidance game they play.

—————–

But I’ll not stay in a victim position. I’ll watch the trees dance, then do what I can.

And if a pariah it seems I must be: I’ll dern well be a Happy Pariah!

Yes, a Happy Pariah I’ll be!

==============================

Welcome and Milestones: Member of Board of Trustees

AffirmationToday we’re thinking about standing for something. So let’s start by standing for our faith.

Love is the doctrine of this faith.

The quest for truth its sacrament.

And Service its prayer.

To dwell together in peace

To seek the truth in love

To the end that all shall grow in harmony

Thus do we covenant with one another.

“May we have the strength to stand our ground. Please be seated.”

ReadingTime for a Jesus Story

When Seniors Bully: Time for a Jesus Story

Friends who know me remember how I have always used stories in my over four decades of teaching as well as in other spheres of my life. It didn’t surprise them that I would use similar tactics in retirement.

However, it did surprise and shock me, though, to find my lovely retirement condo embroiled in struggles which involved bullying by a number of seniors directed at my family and several others who were trying to get our complex to comply with the law. Prejudice against gays was also a real factor.

I had moved here to be near my son and his partner since a decade of being a caregiver for my disabled husband had worn me down a bit, and I knew there would be times I would need their help,.

Among the seniors who showed blind loyalty to resisting change was a lady who really valued her friendships with the snowbirds who had been returning for many years to this lovely spot near the coast.

On January 3, 2014 she opened her apartment door and started toward the stairs. Her neighbor (my son), was struggling his way up the stairs on his crutches.

He needed a couple of minutes to make it to the top. She stood at the top and impatiently remarked, “Don’t worry. I won’t knock you down the stairs.” Well, that wasn’t exactly a threat, but it wasn’t exactly friendly either.

Then she went on to the yearly owner’s meeting, complaining loudly to me that he wasn’t friendly enough to her on the stairs. I wondered, but gently reminded her it took a bit of concentration to make it up the stairs on crutches.

Meanwhile, since our family was being bullied, we had started a buddy system to help curtail the opportunities for harassment. This was based on the idea that abusive behaviors occur more easily with privacy. So I was determined to shine the light on any places where a victim could be caught alone. This included the laundry room, mail area, parking lot and hallways. That meant my being there whenever humanly possible! I even started wearing a Go-Pro camera to document incidents.

A week or so later my son and son-in-law were in the laundry room, following the plan of avoiding being alone to reduce the bullying. This same lady walked up and said, shaking her finger pointedly, “I like you. I don’t like you. I really don’t like you.” As she barked out angry words, she pointed at my sister-in-law, my son-in-law, then at my son.

About then I returned from the restroom, right in the middle of shocked expressions. As I opened the door I was a few inches from her angry face. She seemed surprised to see me and stopped mid-sentence for a second.

I had been clued in by phone on my way down the hall, so I knew what had happened. I looked around, then said to the woman, “I think it’s time for us (me and her) to go on.” I was relieved as she headed upstairs to her apartment.

A couple of weeks later I spotted her alone in the parking lot. I knew this was my chance!

After a friendly greeting I asked her if she went to church. She answered, “Not often enough, but I’m very religious!”     Here was my opening.

I said, “I’ve been thinking about something Jesus said. His words went kinda like, “If you do it unto these my children, you’ve done it unto me.” At that point I held my heart and my voice quavered with real heartfelt emotion.

She recognized the near-quote from the teachings of Christ. I reiterated, “You see, when you do something to my son or members of my family, you’ve done it to me  .   .   .” She could feel my motherly emotions through my voice and piercing yet sincere eye contact.

I added, “You’re a mother — you know, don’t you?” Then she reached out to pat me on the shoulder and we both teared up a bit.

She had not bothered us since that day. About once a week I would see her and give her a firm yet caring look. My aim was to cement our agreement while showing respect.

I’m aware that this peace was tenuous, yet it is far preferable to the previous state of bullying. Too bad the other senior bullies involved weren’t open to words of peace. She still stands on the side of being loyal to those who vehemently resist change here in our complex, even when it means supporting illegal activities.  Yet for a while we had a mother’s arrangement.

Perhaps peace is a thin thread which must be nurtured to keep from breaking.

But all stories do not have a happy ending.

Unfortunately, with her associating daily with her friends who have a pattern of constant bullying of us, she eventually lapsed back into the hateful behavior. (A neighbor across the hall witnessed her calling her gay neighbor “A–hole” which was one of many similar actions which continue to this day.)

A few steps forward, and then some back. But on we go:)

Hymn: Love Makes a Bridge.   # 325                                                                                                                 Please stand on the side of love as we sing verses 1, 2, and 3 only. 

SERMON: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO HILDRA: STAND FOR SOMETHING

Near Seattle, living on a houseboat, a UU minister named Robert Fulghum said all he really needed to know he learned in kindergarten. He even made that into a wonderful best-selling bookl

He inspired me to admit that most of what I ever needed to know I learned from gospel music of my youth!

What I took from being raised in a fundamentalist tradition was simple strains of hope and words to live by. Some were like a lullaby for my soul while others were almost Rock and Roll.  Yup, some foot stomping and body swaying is quite in order for some gospel tunes! They charged me to find a calling for my life, to imbue my days with meaning. 

I always say tradition is like a buffet table where we bring what we can and take what we need. What I left on the table of Christian zealots was the drawing of circles that excluded some of God’s children, hateful behaviors and self-righteous habits and even some of the lyrics which you may notice have at times been adjusted. (I always found the first verse seemed truly inspired whereas the others were at times just finishing a product–arggh! including enough blood and guts to please the less inspired fundamentalist powers that be.)

Gospel music usually included some foot-stomping fun. I carry fond memories of touching lyrics and tunes right beside the humor and good times of singing with others. At our UU church, of which I was a founding member, one year we started a quartet. Ha, there were three of us, but we aspired to finding that 4th singer!

This love of gospel music doesn’t mean I cherished ALL my religious heritage. I also left on that table of tradition sternness, guilt, fear, exclusivism, the meanness of abuse and an unforgiving spirit since I took a personal stand that being a Christian for me should involve living in a Christ-like manner. These things I left behind are a little too obvious in the news these days. 

The juxtaposition of hope and harangue, yen and yang, rings true to my heart as real life is filled with such dissonance. In that spirit I might add that poetry bares the soul and music feeds the soul. I think of friendship and making music together as a form of “God’s Psychiatry”.  

We’ve all heard about the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Well, it’s time you heard mine. I was taught that the word “gospel” meant good news. In my youth, I was in dire need of some good news, and I found it in song — thus the Gospel According to Hildra. You may notice I changed a few of the words on these public domain lyrics to fit my heart’s inclinations.

The music and lyrics of my past took me from the depths of human feeling and pathos to dangling before me the charismatic possibility of hope for the future. I somehow even learned that I could make a difference in my world, using my free will. Never underestimate the subliminal and long-lasting effect of music and words on a person’s psyche! 

Sometimes the titles alone give the lesson summary; other times I just had to share some lyrics! No doubt the chorus of each tune stuck fast in my mind, and I love repeating them.

THERE ARE MANY LIFE LESSONS I LEARNED FROM GOSPEL MUSIC:

I learned the value of telling stories: 

I Love to Tell the Story

Tell Me the Story of Jesus

Wonderful Words of Life

This is My Story, This is my song, thankful for life’s gifts all the day long. Life is before us, all shades and hues. Grace is amongst us whatever our views. Sometimes we hold hope square in our hearts. Then we move on, each taking our part.

On the Jericho Road – My late sister, late brother, his dear wife and I always sang this when we were together–in 4 part harmony of course!

Then I learned how important it is to sing when you can:

He Keeps Me Singing as I go:

There’s within my heart a melody 

    And it whispers sweet and low

    Though sometimes the path seems rough and steep

    It’s all part of life’s ebb and flow.

Truth, care, understanding, sweetest words I know.

            Fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go.

I learned to sit right down for a lullaby:

Blessed Quietness on  the stormy sea, speaks to me and the billows cease to roll.

Fall Fresh on Me

Be Still My Soul

Take Time to Be Holy]

Tread Softly (Be silent, a whisper is heard. Be silent, treasure each word.

Tread softly, wisdom is here. Tread softly, it bids us draw near.)

In The Garden (I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses…

what a picture for the mind… the voice I hear falling on my ear. . . and

the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.) {I made my sister a CD of old songs we used to sing around the piano, to shape notes, no less.  She enjoyed it during her last few weeks while she was in hospice. She loved that.}

Now the Day is Over, night is drawing near. Shadows of the evening steal across the sky.

And then there was my mother’s favorite song, Do Lord.  My sister and brother and I sang it at her funeral. The words “Do Lord, oh do Lord, oh do remember me” made me chuckle, wondering if the songwriter thought God had a memory problem!?!

I learned to be part of a community and keep each other company: 

Abide with Me

A Beautiful Life  – Each day I’ll do a golden deed by helping those who are in need.

My life on earth is but a spell, & so I’ll do the best I can.

Blest Be the Tie

Brighten the Corner

Dear Hearts and Gentle People

God be With You Till we Meet Again, by His counsels guide, uphold you. Put His arms securely round you. God be with you till we meet again. (My older brother remembers hearing this as we left our church to walk home every Sunday evening.)

Somebody Needs Your Love. Out in the darkness of this Planet Earth. Somebody needs your love. Led by your kindness your soul finds its worth. Somebody needs your love 3x . Someone’s in sadness, yearning for gladness. Somebody needs your love.

I learned to love nature and seek the light.

Fair are the Meadows. Fairer still the woodlands. Robed in the blooming garb of spring. Love will I cherish, truth will I honor. Thou my soul’s glory, joy and crown.

Heavenly Sunlight. I sang this for a number of churches that my daddy preached at. That was when I was only 3 & 4 years old, before a life of abuse made me shy. Walking in sunlight, all of my journey; over the mountains thru the deep vale. . . Walking in sunlight, sunlight of love.

Beyond the Sunset

Let the Lower Lights be Burning

Sunlight, sunlight, in my soul today. Sunlight sunlight, all along the way. And of course,

I’m on the Sunny Side of Life!          

Peace be Still  – (I wrote these lyrics as we sat in the Chocolate Porch and took in the wonders of nature.)

A summer evening is time to play. I saw two rabbits right here today.

When we’re outside we can feel the breeze, and sometimes our allergies makes us sneeze.

One day we found a four-leaf clover, and dragonflies the whole yard over.

Chorus:  The world is out there. Look if you will. Peace, be still. Peace, be still.

                   Looking outside can be a thrill.  Peace, peace, be still.

Here in the woods you see hummingbirds. Hush, no words, watch the birds.

The wonders of nature are everywhere. Just look outside in the open air.

The rabbits and squirrels and mockingbird; they’ll all come by but don’t say a word.

Repeat Chorus

 

I learned Don’t worry — Be Hopey!

Peace in the Valley: I’m weak and I’m weary but I must go along till life comes and calls me away. Through the night dark and gloomy I will look for a light and watch darkness turn into bright day. There’ll be peace in the valley some day, though life seems so hard some days (so many ways). No more sadness, no sorrow, or trouble I’ll see. I will make peace in the valley for me (and thee).

Wayfaring Stranger

Be Thou My Vision

Balm in Gilead

In the Sweet Bye and Bye

Whispering Hope   (Didn’t Emily say “Hope is a thing with feathers.”)

It is Well with My Soul

Written by: Unknown, Copyright: Unknown

Climb, climb up sunshine mountain
Heavenly breezes blow;
Climb, climb up sunshine mountain
Faces all aglow.
Turn, turn from sin and doubting,
Look to God on high,
Climb, climb up sunshine mountain
You and I.

I learned to be grateful for what you have.

Showers of Blessings

Count Your Blessings, count them one by one.

Bringing in the Sheaves

Bless These Gifts

Precious Memories

I learned to stand up and serve others

Dare to be Daniel. Dare to stand alone. Dare to have a purpose firm. Dare to make it known.

Send the Light

My Faith Looks Up to Thee. My faith’s a melody. We sing in harmony. This is our choice. There is just one of me. I share my faith with thee. Join in this song with me, rejoice and sing. (with thanks to Shirley Locke with whom I coordinated on the words.)

Standing on the Promises

I Would be True, for there are those who trust me. I would be true, for there are those who care. I would be strong, for there is much to suffer. I would be true for there is much to dare.

A Beautiful Life: Each day I’ll do a golden deed, by helping those who are in need. My life on earth is but a span; each day I’ll do the best I can.

YOU MAY NOTE THAT I CHOSE TO HANG ONTO THE WORDS, NOT NECESSARILY THE ACTIONS I SAW AROUND ME. It took a number of years for me to become assertive enough to stand up. The examples of women in my life pointed toward what we now call “victim behavior” of accepting one’s lot in life with no thought of being a change agent in my own life. I had to learn to stand on the side of love while saying no. My heart still remembered those gospel songs which whispered to me of hope.

Active Standing Meditation

The famous starfish story (it made a difference to that one) taught me I didn’t have to solve all problems, but I could hold my head high if I made a difference!  Like I taught my boys in scouting, leave your campsite better than you found it.

But, oh dern, I thought I could stand up once and it’d be over. I learned it was like green living. Putting litter in its place was not enough. It took staying with it, so don’t give up, rinse and repeat! (Ahem, they even say standing up can be good for your health…)

Albert Einstein said the world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.

So, for this Standing Meditation, you are welcome to stand if you wish.  We stand in reverence for making a difference. Then you may choose to either close your eyes or look at a window or other object to help your mind focus.

Think on these things while you ponder or pray, as is your personal preference:

Have you ever been kind to someone when no one else seemed to be?

Have you ever stood alone, maybe even while being criticized or attacked for your ideas?

Have you ever stood up for justice in matters either big or small?

Have you ever questioned an unfair bill?

Have you ever spoken out when hearing the toxins of prejudice being spewed forth? (sometimes this can involve friends)

I recently had to stand up as a witness and victim of hateful bullying. It was truly hard,  particularly with the many months of intense witness intimidation, but worth it to be an assertive advocate for change. 

Standing doesn’t have to be an angry act–in fact it works better if done calmly.

We stand in our truth, knowledge and kindness. 

We stand in our courage, and even in our fear.

We may even stand while shaking, hoping, or praying.

We stand in kindness and love, even for our opponents.

Stand up in peace and calm conviction.

We stand alone, but others may join in, or we may join another who stands.

We stand to make the world a better place. We don’t have to be perfect, or even always consistent. But we can spend time standing for something. We can stand up to be patriotic following your own conscience. 

Consider your daily life. Look for opportunities to stand for what you hold dear.

MLK said “The ultimate measure of people is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand in times of challenge and controversy.”

Remembering that quote may help you when you weary of standing, standing, standing for something!     

Please be seated as you continue to stand for what you believe, standing in both respect and love. 

These wonderful Summer Singers will inspire you now. Let the hope whisper to us for comfort and courage. Then let your days stand for something! That’s the Gospel According to Hildra.

Sharing of Responsibility Offertory

Summer Singers present Whispering Hope accompanied by Darko Varga

Closing Words:

As a teacher, I can’t resist giving you an assignment. Our homework is to spread hope and caring. Now go in peace while you rock with the saints both past and present!

Postlude

Darko Varga plays a resounding When the Saints Go Marching In.


Copyright 2017 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.

 

Posted in Presentations, Sermons, and Other Public Musings | Leave a comment

Deep Breathing Moments: My Macaroni Meltdown

Walking on macaroni  became the theme of my weekend. I didn’t intend it to be that way for sure!  As I said, it wasn’t my choice. The macaroni just volunteered!

Obviously the week isn’t over yet! My run of bad luck is rushing downhill quickly aargh!

First I laid out stuff for lunch. Then I proceeded to knock over the macaroni all over the floor. Due to my recent eye procedure I couldn’t see it well enough to clean up efficiently. When I used the broom I couldn’t see the mean-spirited macaroni, yet when I laid the broom down and leaned over I could see it was still causing trouble on my floor!

I couldn’t find my CanOpener and there’s not very many places it could escape to. Oh well it must’ve fallen in the trash sometime. I saw it last on the edge of the cabinet–probably not a good place to lay it down.

Oh well I  changed the tuna out to one that would open with my finger. However, even that proved to be a trial since my finger wasn’t really strong enough to make it open. I finally succeeded with a screwdriver and knife! I realized  I wouldn’t be able to put peas in my tuna and pasta since they require a CanOpener.

There’s only a few more hours left in this week week I’ve had enough!

To clarify, I’m one of those people who NEVER loses anything, so my feelings were hurt! I suddenly hurtled into a pity party long enough to put my complaint on Facebook. A wonderful Texas friend Rebecca responded with “Eat a meal and then SIT DOWN.  Take several deep breaths…You are safe. You are loved. You are strong enough to eat tuna without peas and a reduced amount of pasta. As all things do, this too shall change. Xoxoxo.”  As I read this, I realized I had already done the first three things. However, the rest of her wisdom reinforced that as well as reminded me the pity party was over.

As I relaxed I realized the old can opener actually didn’t work very well anyway since it usually made me get cut. It wouldn’t open all the way around no matter how many tries, so I often had to pry the open half up at the risk of a bloody finger.

I noticed my reasoning was improving as my blood sugar level returned to normal. Guess what, even caregivers need food, ahem, especially when a straw to break the camel’s back turns up. Also I had forgotten that this eye procedure messes with my blood sugar, arggh!

After I took food to my disabled hubby I rested some more. My younger son has often said when something goes wrong there may be a lesson there. So I spend the mental energy earned from food and relaxing to look for what this outburst of aggravation could teach me.

I found two jewels in the pain of the day: 1) Sometimes a seemingly bad event can yield a positive fruit. In this case, I really needed to get a new can opener so I could quit getting cut and taking unnecessary risks since my blood thinner tended to encourage unwanted bleeding.

2) This minor tragedy was not the event–it was only a pointer telling me my stress level needed an adjustment. After all, every once in a while we all need to renew our subscription to reality, don’t we? My reality was that I needed to stop and renew, turn on the AC, and give my mind a little vacation. So I grabbed the moment since my patient was snoozing in the other room, teehee.

The week ended with no more unwanted events and I even caught a relaxing snooze too:-)

And just when I thought it was “only a memory” my good friend and former neighbor and fellow caregiver Dorothy had a package delivered to me. As I unpacked the box of goodies I saw a note inscribed on it saying “SNACKS THAT DO NOT REQUIRE A CAN OPENER” and came full circle into another Macaroni Meltdown–into raucous and belly busting  laughter.

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Copyright 2017 by HIldra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.
Posted in Deep Breathing Moments: Meditations for the Unpremeditated, Matters of the Heart: Grief and Other Feelings | Leave a comment

Sons and Mothers and Others: Retired Into Bullying!

 

Since I retired to Florida I’ve been shocked to see the level of antagonism portrayed by seniors who bully–especially when working as a group. The “social” bullying described in the recent article is truly bad, yet when loyal friends bully in concert together it is more akin to the Mafia than to even the worst playground behavior. The group dynamics of several people bullying together intensifies the effect, and can cause them to show more aggression when their bravado is bolstered by buddies.

We live in a wonderful place, but the coop’s “politics” could use some revamping, since there is a board-approved pattern of clear, intense, and repeated rejection of anyone who suggest changes. In this case, several owners are only wanting the coop to be run in compliance with the law! Our coop is managed by Board President who is acting as a Community Association Manager, but as he is unlicensed the State has ordered him to Cease & Desist, but with full support of many owners he continues this illegal practice.

There is great concern about looking the other way while a few seniors bully both younger and older residents who are part of the minority voice seeking change toward becoming legal. This involves yelling slurs, screaming at owners who express differing opinions, hate notes on residents’ doors and official bulletin boards, as well as making the laundry room into an unsafe place for these individuals.

Even the parking lot has been a background for bullying. Yelling epithets, standing behind cars trying to pull out, and one senior even biked circles in front of a gay couple trying to park their car in order to enter their home while several people watched and did nothing to help. One of the main bullies even told a dissenting former board member she’d “sure better sleep with one eye open”!

This pattern over several years has caused some to tiptoe around quietly, avoiding conflict or even taking abuse at times, while some others have decided to band together to work for change. According to public records, Broward county found our president guilty of claiming homestead in two states, and the State of Florida has sent the case about defying the Cease and Resist order to the General Counsel for possible criminal prosecution. (DPBR case # 20013032379). Other investigations are ongoing.

There is a vital need for programs to be developed to help with prevention and awareness of Senior Bullying. It is my hope as a teacher that the program also will include the possibility of criminal prosecution since some who bully are not concerned with the feelings of others. Some who bully don’t realize their loyalty to each other could become criminal. Perhaps a good training target for the prevention programs would be to work with the Boards in an effort to help them see the possible roles they might play in either discouraging such bullying, or by overlooking, enabling mistreatment of certain residents.

Such intimidation not only affects the emotions and health of those being bullied, but when the seniors doing the bullying have power over their victims as in condos or coops, it can destroy the feeling of being welcome and safe in your own home! Since a Board of Directors has the power to threaten residents with fines and can enter homes at will, their actions can bring life-changing fear which takes a heart-rending toll on the very lives of their victims. When Board members turn from advocates for the owners into adversaries, they can wield frightening control of large sums of money and the quality of lives of others.

I loved the place I live when I moved in, and I still love it, but how much better it could be if the bullying becomes a thing of the past.  There has been some improvement but more is still needed in terms of transparency, etc. in order to make this a place where people feel safe to be themselves. Our goal is to live together as neighbors in peace.

My retirement has been a joy for me each and every day. I’ve had time to do things I value, like write, join interest groups, care for my disabled husband, spend more time with family, etc. It has been wonderful living near family in order to have support when I need help in health and other matters. The only thing I don’t really want is for me or anyone in my family or friends to be bullied. That doesn’t seem too much to ask of my retirement years.

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Of These My Children: An Election Brings Conflict Revolution

My job as a teacher, or chief thought catcher, in this small private school brings sunshine to my soul.

As the day starts the students begin the process of settling down. A gal noticed my efforts at taming the crowd and she hollered, “Guys, she’s trying to attack someone’s attention.” Her shrill voice attracted everyone’s attention for sure.

Children are so insatiably sensible. Often their ideas make much more sense than the way things are.

Just after I admonished the students to show responsibility, one budding scholar told us his mom was laughing at a Saturday afternoon broadcast she likes to watch. “That Garrison guy was talking about a church called Our Lady of Perceptual Responsibility. Just tell me what’s funny about that!” I imagined Mr. Keillor had said “perpetual” but this kid was telling it according to his perception.  No doubt, such perception is a responsibility for teachers and students alike!

Social Studies class covers both history and current events. The election year brought lots for the children’s brains to process.

One young lady arrived to class saying her mom was upset about the Stress Conference with all the back and forth between candidates. It’s a sure thing reporters with the press certainly felt a lot of stress! 

There was the day when a guy mentioned that CNN had a brown table discussion. He wondered why the color of the table really mattered. That afternoon we spoke of ‘almost rhymes’ like round and brown. 

Then when the fall election finally came, students had to learn about the President Erect. There was so much information overload on TV and in the air that the children found themselves perplexed at times. It was enough to make all of us suffercate just trying to sort it all out. 

A year like this causes our Social Studies class to last a bit longer since the kiddoes are so full of relevant questions. The week of the general election was that kind of time. A child claimed, “The President got neglected yesterday.”  I realize that some folks thought he should be neglected, but I had to clarify that he got elected! 

One day we worked with oranges, using plastic knives to cut them in half to show the hemispheres of the earth. The object was to learn that we live in the Northern Hemisphere. However, before I was able to solidify that concept, an argument started when a gal swore she “was a southerner so it’s obvious we live in the Southern Hemisphere!”  Who among you want to take a turn at clearing that one up?

Part of following the election in a classroom is learning about the states. One guy was shocked as he was working a United States puzzle. He yelled out, “Hey, I found a state named Vomit! Who would want to live there?” I have a strange feeling the Chamber of Commerce folks in Vermont would want me to clarify that in a hurry.

Students never completely forget that they will have grades, so one gal mentioned that her grandma lived right by “The Evergrades over in Florida where she retired.” That day we learned all about The Everglades. 

A child walked in the room and said, “Last night on the news they talked a lot about Medicine, Wisconsin.” Instead of passing out pills, I wrote Madison, Wisconsin on the board and we had a chat.

The puzzles had landmarks and symbols to show special points of interest for each state. My ears perked up when I heard, “Hey lookee here, I found Old Fateful, see it?” I know the election process may have seemed to be sealing our fate, but I still thought it necessary to take time out to explain the word faithful. The students really enjoyed setting a timer for every few minutes so they could get the hang of Old Faithful doing its geyser thing on a regular, or faithful, schedule.

Speaking of fate and such, a young man said his dad likes to read history stories about the Revelation. (I know it’s been a tough year, but I sincerely hope we are not looking at the End of Times!) So we had a short lesson about The American Revolution. I’m a bit tired, so I think we’ll study conflict resolution another day.

Well, it’s been a long election. Some people are happy, and some are dismayed. A girl in my class has just the right answer to folks who are weary of the election year. She confided, “Since Mom says I’m too old to play with my dolls, I play with my Invincible Friend.” Some of us who are really tired of politics might just decide to play with our Invisible Friend  too.

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Copyright 2017 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.

Posted in Of These My Children: Infamous Sayings of Insidious Intellects – Humor | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Old Age May Bring Memory Problems

Why did I go into this room? What am I doing here?

Must I once again retrace my steps to find my way?

I’ll stand here just a bit.  I feel like having a fit.

But it won’t help me reach my goal, so I’ll start over from whence I came.

Now, I’ll try again. Focus, don’t stop along the way.

Get it done, the battle’s won.  I hope I don’t get lost any more today.

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Copyright 2017 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.

Posted in Savor Our Seniors to Grow Bold Along With Me – The Rest is Yet to Come | Leave a comment