Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The New Orleans Saints

     I went for my morning walk today and as usual, no one knows what thoughts will be entering my head. This is so true because why on earth would I be thinking of the New Orleans Saints? Decorating, yes. Baking, yes. Organizing, definitely yes. But, the Saints? Go figure that one out. But true to form, this is what came to mind.

     Is it safe to be from Louisiana, more specifically South Louisiana, and not be a diehard New Orleans Saints fan? I was contemplating the validity of this thought and decided that I can dare say it can be quite intimidating at the very least.                I found one sure fire way to stop an animated point by point, play by play conversation cold in the middle of the church aisle (a Catholic church at that) was to interject an excited statement of my own about the joys of going to a movie or shopping and having the theater and stores all to myself (it’s not that I don’t like people, I just prefer the quiet.)The looks of complete and utter bewilderment I received were worth putting my life in peril. 
     At this point, I will stop to thank the Saints for making it to the playoffs. People who would not speak to each other are now holding each other in rapturous conversations. And did I mention the ear-splitting, window-rattling rendition of The Saints Go Marching In that followed the bedazzled priest out the door after mass. Who would have ever thought we'd live to hear a priest include a prayer for a football team and a “GO SAINTS” in his final blessing before joyfully marching down the aisle to the above mentioned song? Not me!
     It almost isn’t safe to attend church if you are not a Saints fan. Who knew there was so much Saints paraphernalia that could be worn, held, walked on, spit on, listened to(you get the picture)? One enters the church these days with much trepidation. Even the prim and proper little old ladies are sporting Saints t-shirts under their jackets while giving out Holy Communion as well as sporting Fleur-de-le earrings in their sagging earlobes!
     Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I am not a fan of the New Orleans Saints; I am just not a fan of football. I, for one, am more than a little happy that football season has come to a close for the year. Fans have finally begun washing  their well-worn lucky t-shirts and are placing their lovingly folded clothing in the drawer for a much needed break before next year’s season; at which time those Who Dat’s will surely spur up the emotions of South Louisiana once again.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy Cows

     I just went for my morning walk, okay, late morning walk.  As much as I would like to be a morning person, I just am not; unless, you want to consider taking all of my late night, early morning hours in to count. If I had my druthers, the day would begin somewhere around 10 in the morning and run until 2-3 in the morning. Now, that would be a perfect day! I somehow accomplish more in the hours between midnight and 3am than I do any other time. Anywho, getting back to my walk, the weather is cold. Not so cold that a warm jacket, hat and gloves will not take care of the bite. There is something about the crispness of the cold that makes you feel like it is a whole new start to life. Just breathing in the cold air is cleansing.
     After my wonderful walk, I came in and did what every other red-bloodied American does, I turned the television on. Happy cows. Now there is a topic worth discussing. How do people know that happy cows come from California? Do they smile differently? My favorite of the Happy Cow commercials is one of the earlier ones. "Do you think cows are pretty?" I suppose it is a favorite because I consists of a few too many pounds myself and somehow find myself commiserating with this happy cow. I simply can't help asking my husband while spinning around in front of him, "Do you think cows are pretty?"  Is it too much to ask for him to say "yes?"
     I do have a couple of other favorite commercials. I could sit all day long and watch Miss Piggy get hit in the head by a 2x4. Deranged I know, but for some strange, unexplainable reason, it makes me laugh out loud. I do try to redeem myself by not laughing when impressionable children are around. The other commercial is a Windex commercial. Two birds ring the doorbell of this poor unsuspecting man who is sunning out by his pool. Meanwhile, they have closed the (you guessed it) freshly Windex'ed (made this word up) patio door and he runs straight into it. Not ONCE, but twice! And yes, I roll on the floor every single time.
     Why do some commercials just hit the mark and others don't? I guess we all have our own sense of humor. So, here's to Happy Cows (and guess what? They don't all come from California!)


Yesterday, (February 11, 2009)
     Yesterday, all my troubles seem so far away, now it looks as though they’re here to stay….….the priest caught my attention for a few moments in church this morning when these words, made popular by The Beatles in the 1960’s, came blaring through the speakers. I sat up straight and listened for a few minutes before drifting off into my own little world once again.
     And with my train of mindless wandering broken, new thoughts began to emerge. I have lived these lyrics for many years without a second thought, and today I came to realize that my life has moved past these words. I no longer think of the yesterdays with such an all consuming passion and even the tomorrows have ceased to exist. I have begun to live in today, and I find myself thanking God each evening for the little things that make up my life; the love of a good man, a dear friend, and the precious smiles of two small children whom I am so fortunate to love and to receive love from.
     To think of yesterday would be dredging up pain and attaching it to long ago sweet memories of my own two children. To think of tomorrow would be hoping for reconciliations that today seem impossible. Either of these scenarios would bring gloom into a sunny day. I think I finally understand, or I am beginning to understand, just what is meant by the popular phrase, “Live for Today.”
     To live in the present, to live for today, is at the same time both easy and difficult. Living in today takes both extreme concentration and focus for me to accomplish. It resembles a well choreographed dance. My first sleep-filled thoughts in the morning are of my husband when he gently kisses me good-bye as not to wake me before leaving for work. As I drift back into slumber, I thank God for bringing such a wonderful person and partner into my life. As the sun rises and beckons me out of bed, I offer up another prayer of thanks for my dog. Having her insures that I do not loll around in bed thinking of reasons not to get up. After all, she can not feed herself. After breakfast it is my walk time, and I am thankful for the ability to walk, as each step and each breath give me the daily strength that I require. I offer another prayer of thanks for the blessing of a wonderful home and peaceful sanctuary where I am fortunate to reside. And with many, deep, cleansing breaths, my day continues.
     To think of the yesterdays would be to think of the unhappiness and discontentment of an ill-fated marriage, and the anger and disillusionment of parental alienation. To think of today brings thoughts of happiness and contentment, peacefulness and tranquility.
     ….and all my troubles seem so far away. Some days they do, and when that happens, the day is good. I am not sure if that is what the priest meant for me to come away with, but it has worked for me.

     "The answer God has for you might be right in front of you - have you been overlooking it?"

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Twisting Knife

I began this story at the Anhinga Writer's Conference in Gainesville, Florida in August 2009. I finished work on it in December 2009. The lecturer was an animated woman by the name of Beverly. She was very good at getting us to think and to write on the spot. This is my story. I guess I should also add that I write nonfiction.

The Twisting Knife (December 2009)
      The lecturer stood poised behind the podium and for a moment looked as though she were about to begin her lecture. Suddenly, she pulled a butcher knife from under her notes and began wielding it at the class.
     As she stepped from behind the podium and began advancing towards us, a demonic look overcame her ordinarily placid face. Her mouth was moving and from previous experience with this lecturer, I knew she was giving instructions to write, but my mind had already taken me elsewhere. As I was fading from the present I imagined what direction my fellow writers might take, already knowing my mind was taking me somewhere far different.
     As I watched her advancing towards me, my eyes were transfixed by the blade of the knife gleaming under the intense fluorescent light. It was as though the knife was set on its own course and that course was my delicate heart.
     The sounds around me began to vanish as the blood began pulsing in my ears, my vision receding as if I were barreling backward into a dark tunnel. I was being transported back in time to a place long since hidden away in the recesses of my very being. The knife appeared to leave her hand set on reaching its destination; and as it pierced my heart, it began to twist and the remembrance of emotional pain taking my breath away as it had that night so many years ago. I began to feel dizzy as I was transported, if only for a moment, to a place in my past and the voice I was hearing was that of my abuser, his words tearing apart my heart. As swiftly as the knife penetrated my heart, it was also withdrawn, leaving me breathlessly in the present.
     As the others began to read their hastily written, humorous stories, I knew I was right. Mine would be very different.