To My Children

Picture 1979

To My Children
When my body leaves this earth
and you think that I am gone
go out and touch the rain
and you will know that I live on.
Throw your hands into the drops
and splash the rain on your face
that will be my hugs and kisses
blessing you all over your space.
When my body leaves this earth
rainbows will reflect my smile
coloring the sky for you
for just a magical while.
When my body leaves this earth
and you think that I am gone…
I will be the pink in the sunsets
I will be the puffs dancing in the clouds
I will be the dew that kisses your flowers
I will be the orange butterfly by your side
I will be the tiny bird who sings
outside your kitchen window
because my love will never leave you.
My love will live forever in you…
on and on and on…
Just be still and you will find
my love in all the things I loved
when my body leaves this earth
and you think that I am gone.

When Toilet Paper Was King

I thought I had experienced it all.
I lived through hunting for Cabbage Patch dolls, Strawberry Shortcake dolls and Transformers for my kids at Christmas. I had to drive around all day looking for Power Rangers and Alf for my youngest.
Star Wars, Tickle Me Elmo, Bumble Bee Transformers, special Lego sets and Furbies for the grandkids. Each decade has arrived with its own challenges. The ultimate goal was to put a smile on a child’s face.
I never dreamed that one day, I would be hunting for plain, white toilet paper.
At least we got to find out what is number one in people’s mind when they go into survivalist mode.
I had always thought that the survivalist supplies people hoarded would be guns and ammo.
I’d like a truck that wouldn’t be affected by an EMP. Coffee. Food. Coffee.
Honestly, if I had to pick between coffee and toilet paper, coffee would win butt down.
I could always get in the shower to wash the poo off because my shower is one step away from my toilet in this little RV, but there is no substitute for coffee and there are no cognitive skills without my morning coffee.
When I first moved into the RV, I bought Scott’s RV toilet paper for RV’s. It cost $6.00 for 6 rolls and it was quite a price shock after buying Wal-Mart toilet paper for years.
The manual said to get RV toilet paper so it wouldn’t clog my toilet tank, and guess what?
It clogged the heck out of it. You haven’t seen a poo mess until a man snakes the toilet inside of 2-foot bathroom.
I always had OCD and I was a clean freak until I got into my high-end middle years when I began to take medication which did not cure my OCD, but certainly toned it down.
If that weren’t the case, March 2020, would have pushed me right over the flipping edge because there’s no way to catch all these germs.
I have to say I’ve been wiping things down with bleach cloths my entire life.
My first houses, I deep cleaned every day but eventually, I managed to slow it down to once a week. Now, I’m praying I don’t take twenty steps back. I am already notorious in my family for overcleaning, and they are just starting to forget.
I do feel bad for the people who pick their nose in traffic. (We do see you, ya know.)
They could end up in a viral video because this social chastising is the new normal.
Talk about not touching your face, someone should have included…and don’t pick your nose.
Funny, my mother taught me to wash my hands before eating, after every activity, and to not pick my nose ever. EVER.
I guess not everybody had a good mother like mine.
In closing, may I suggest hiding brightly, colored rolls of toilet paper, instead of Easter eggs, this year?
Someday, when my great-grandchildren are grown, they will be telling their kids about the days when Toilet Paper Was King.

The Affair

I went for a walk tonight and I knew.
I knew I should have stayed away from that place, our place, but I was drawn back by an invisible, physiological tug.
I was aching for you, longing to touch you.
The passion, the thrill, the afterglow. I wanted it all, just once more.
Of course, that’s a lie because once has never been enough.
When we meet, we do it, over and over again and that’s what I really want.
As I walked around the corner, you were there. Just waiting for me. All I had to do was ask, hold out my hand and be willing to pay the price.
I wanted to take you home with me for the night, just one night, so that’s what I did.
It’s been four days and we have been together many times. We show no signs of stopping.
We’re about to go at it again in a minute, just as soon as I catch my breath.
I can’t lie anymore.
I know we’re going to do it again. And again.
It’s been bitter, and it’s been rough, but I need your hot smoky haze, so I just don’t care.
Slow and easy, fast and hard and everything in-between, touching you makes me forget all my pain, for just a little while.
When I’m tasting you, touching you, holding you, nothing else matters to me.
We do it, over and over and over because even a thousand times could never be enough.
Despite the odds, my fears and my past failures, I promise myself…tomorrow I will try to let you go again.
I’ll live a quiet life, lonely, longing, remembering the good times.
I’ll forget the emotional security I felt when I touched you and I’ll forget the extreme danger that thrilled me. I’ll turn away from life on the Wild Side.
But how do I give you up my best friend? How can I allow the love of my life to just fade away, especially knowing that we could meet down at the corner, anytime I want you?
Not a thousand miles away, no just down the street, waiting for the touch of my fingers and the warmth of my lips.
Burning for your touch, begging you to ignite the fire, so empty without you in my hands, in my bed, in my mouth.
Pretending I don’t miss you and pretending I can give you up when I don’t even want to stop.
Every nerve in my body is screaming for you, forcing me to walk back down to the corner.
I think that lust is the most dangerous passion of all. My entire body yearns for you, the very scent of you gets me tingling, shaking, hot and sweaty.
As I remember the taste of you in my mouth, the anticipation triggers the need and I race to you, running, crying and shaking.
How do I let you go when I love you still? Even though all you do is hurt me, I still want you every minute of every day.
I swore never again, never again and here I am once more, sneaking around with you.
I go home and try to wash your musky scent from my mouth, scrub you off my skin.
Damn you, Marlboros, you’ll be the death of me yet.

If Only, If Only…A Bunch of Baloney

She is speeding, forcing her car to race through blinding sheets of rain, all the while knowing that she can’t possibly get there in time. Refusing to accept defeat, she recklessly accelerates. The rain is falling so hard that her wipers are useless except for the rhythm they slap out as they snap back and forth.
Her mind isn’t on the highway ahead of her. It’s on her daughter and the cell phone beside her. She has it set on speaker phone.
“I’ll be there soon, just don’t answer the door,” she says.
“I won’t Mum, please hurry. I’m so scared.”
“Are the police still there?”
Through the tiny speaker she hears the insistent banging on her daughter’s door and that’s her answer. Frustration and panic roar through her veins as she stomps harder on the gas pedal instead of slowing down.
Her car swerves all over the road as she passes a dozen vehicles that have pulled over to wait out the downpour.
She glances in her rear-view mirror and sees the red and blue flashing lights flying up behind her through the wall of water.
“No, no,” she cries. “Not now, please God, not now.”
The cruiser zooms up beside her, edging her over to the side of the road, trying to get her to stop. He is so close now that she can see his face, read his lips, “Pull over, pull over!”
With a sudden motion spawned by her lifelong enemy, “I’ll save ya” panic, (no thinking required) she shoves the gas pedal to the floor and surges ahead of the cop. She keeps track of him in the rear-view mirror. “Damn it, he isn’t giving up.”
Her exit is just ahead, and she doesn’t dare slow down. As she flies around the sharp curve on two wheels, the steering wheel grows a mind of its own and it is violently wrenched from her hands. The tires scream as she loses control.
Right until the millisecond when her car goes flying over the guardrail, she still thinks that she will save the day; she still has hope that somehow, she can make this come out right.
As the car plunges to the concrete below she realizes that she is wrong. Dead wrong. Her last bit of confidence dies as the car hurtles toward the unforgiving concrete surface.
With so little time left to breathe before she hits the cement, her mind fills with him. He is all that matters now, too late, too late, she knows. How many times has she hurt him by trying to save her kids from themselves, how many grandbabies has she brought home and failed to rescue?
His heart will be broken; but he’ll be relieved too because her war, the war he is always drawn into, the war he claims no part of although he ignited it, her war will finally be over.
His face, his arms, his warm body against her every night for twenty-seven years, the pain he’ll feel when he sees her broken and twisted body, this is all she can see in her mind’s eye as the car plummets.
This is her last battle and she has lost. This is it and there is no way out.
She senses rather than sees the cruiser plunging to the ground behind her. The cop has made the same error in judgment that she has, attacking a wet curve at high speed. Each of them trying to save the day, each with their own agenda.
Her car explodes on impact.
Excruciating, flaming hot pain and then she’s floating above the fiery mess on the ground. She knows she must be dead, but all she wants is to go home, run home to him.
The young cop is floating above his mangled cruiser, shaking his head in disbelief. He glares in her direction. Guilt floods her so hard that she can’t look at him, so she turns away. She closes her eyes and thinks of home.
As soon as she visualizes it, she’s in front of her house. She sees her sunflowers standing proud beside the porch, the Rose of Sharon covered in purple blossoms as it reaches for the sky behind the sunflowers. She wonders if she can go inside and if she can still touch things. She grasps the doorknob and it turns. As she pauses in the doorway, she smiles down at the hand that still works. Stupid movies. They always show the dead person’s hands going through walls and passing through anything they try to touch. Guess the directors never interviewed a real live dead person.
Dinner is on the counter, all ready to go in the pre-heated oven. Stuffed cabbage, his favorite.
She had just finished preparing it when the call came. If only she hadn’t answered the damn phone. She hears her mama’s words in her head, “If only, if only…a bunch of baloney.”
She lifts the pan full of cabbage rolls and to her delight, she can place the pan in the oven, and she turns on the timer.
She sets the table and then she walks out to the garage. She wants to watch him as he works on his racecar. She loves that little boy on Christmas morning expression he gets on his face when his hands are buried in the engine.
He isn’t there. He should be there.
“Where could he have gone?” She asks the empty garage. No answer of course, she might be dead, but she’s not crazy.
She walks back to her cozy little kitchen and plops down in her favorite chair, the rocking chair Mama had bought her when her first baby was born.
She doesn’t even know if he’ll be able to see her when he comes home. She closes her eyes and when she opens them, he is walking into the house with his head hanging down.
He pauses in the doorway for a moment and then he slowly looks up. Stares around at the kitchen, not understanding the aroma of stuffed cabbage as it simmers in the oven and then he sees her sitting there.
Time stops as he rushes toward her, cradling her in his arms like so many times before. Sobbing, he buries his face in her hair, inhales the scent of her and then he holds his breath, terrified that if he exhales, she will disappear.
She sees the horrifying images he has just seen because they are still flashing through his mind as he holds her to his chest. High def at its boldest, the blood so vibrant, the devastation so real.
He holds her tightly, not sure if she is real, but unwilling to let her go just in case his touch is all that ties her to his life.
She feels his grief, she sees her body scattered across the road, her head on one side and her legs on the other.
She sees the tangled, bloody mess that just minutes ago was the young cop. His wife driving home from church and passing the wreck. Slowing down as she approaches the flashing lights. She knows it has already happened, but still she moans, “Oh God, don’t let her stop, don’t let her stop.” But the wife does stop.
The wife screams in anguish when she sees her husband’s patrol car, number 2730 still visible on the twisted metal and she screams even louder when she sees his body entangled with what’s left of his cruiser. She sees it all before another cop pulls her away.
The grief-stricken wife wails, “What happened, what happened?”
Her husband’s commander is there. He manages to tug her over to his cruiser and he gently guides her as she collapses on the passenger seat.
With the car door open, he kneels on the wet, muddy grass in front of her.
“A grandmother racing to save her baby grandson from DHS,” he explains. “They were taking the baby away because the mom is a drunk.”
The cop’s wife always feared for her husband’s life when he left the house to go to work, but she’d always thought a drugged-out teenager’s bullet would take him from her and she had never dreamed that his cruiser would be his casket. She’d never dreamed that a good woman, a mother, a panicked grandmother with what she felt was a just cause, would kill her childhood sweetheart while she sat in church with her babies on a rainy Sunday morning.
The accident scene fades away and the kitchen begins to blur although she can still smell the simmering stuffed cabbage and she can still feel his arms holding her tight. She can still feel his tears burning her as they stream through her hair and down on her face.
She wants to tell him how sorry she is, how she would undo it all if she could.
“I’m so sorry,” she begins. “It was always you, only you.”
Somehow, she knows that it doesn’t matter anymore. Sorry won’t fix this mess.
Still she keeps whispering the words over and over. “I’m so sorry; it was always you, only you.”
She panics when she realizes that she is no longer in the kitchen, she no longer feels his arms around her, or his wet face buried in her hair.
The worst of it all is the sick gut-wrenching knowledge that she didn’t have to run out and drive like a maniac through the rain.
She closes her eyes.
Mama had been right. “If only, if only…a bunch of baloney.”

What I Learned Blogging On WordPress

I started blogging here because I am a writer with a newly published book, (Have to plug it! Women Who Think Too Much, available at this link { available here } but that’s not what I’ve learned on WordPress.com. I already knew that fact. It’s also not why I stay.
Let me begin at the start, but I don’t promise to continue in chronological order.
I used to blog on Google and I enjoyed it. Until I received a hate letter concerning one of my articles I had written about my mother, a letter from a beloved family member.
Delete, unsubscribe, run away, lock every window on the internet where my writing was residing, that’s what I did and I’m not proud of my reaction. No excuses, but it hurt and I was shocked and I was stunned. Ok, I need to take a deep breath. Whew.
That was over two years ago.
Since then I have held my writing close, sharing only with family I trusted and my writer’s group whom I totally trusted, my Pineapple Girls. My girls are invaluable, far beyond the one night a week when we meet and way past the exquisite meals we cook for each other. (The meals may be a minus since I’ve gained twenty pounds!) Another plus to belonging to a writer’s group? I have written more creative essays and poems since we started meeting about three years ago, than I have in the last twenty-years. I also finished a book.
I struggled and whined all the way through editing Women Who Think Too Much, but my muse insisted I finish before I could move on and my muse is a very powerful entity. She obviously expressed herself to my girls.
These writing friends held my hand, dragged me past the hardest spots with words of encouragement, dried my tears and made me laugh, edited, read and challenged me until my book was finished.
My editor, whom I met in the writer’s group, is my best friend and my surrogate sister.
She spent thousands of hours guiding me and editing my endlessly updated manuscripts. She even learned how to format a manuscript on Smashwords.com, for me.
For months, she lived and she breathed my book, never pushing changes on me, just suggesting. I rejected hours and hours of her changes and she was okay with that. She is a one in a million editor. Still, many of her suggestions worked, because she could detach from the emotions and focus on structure and grammar so much better than I could. In the end though, I think she was so deep into my book that we were equal on the emotional involvement.
(If you want to know any more about what I went through finishing a twenty-year old project read, “Hi Mom, This Is Me” on my blog.)
https://womenwhothinktoomuch.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/497/
Anyway, back to what I have learned while visiting your blogs here at WordPress.com.
Today I learned what the word Lepidopterologist (Noun) means. I am a butterfly lover and a collector of butterfly pictures but when I saw this word on Theresa’s blog, dba Third Hand Art, Butterfly In Clover, I just had to stop and look it up.
Lepidopterist: Butterfly collector, bug-hunter, bugologist, entomologist, a zoologist who studies insects, the branch of zoology dealing with butterflies and moths. WOW!
I have come upon other unfamiliar words here, but what I’ve learned is far beyond new words.
I’ve learned that writers, artists and creative people are as a whole, generous with their praise and liberal with their encouragement. Many writers are as crazy as I am, but they are proud of it and accept it as integral to who they are and they use it to their advantage in their intensely moving writing.
You make me think, you make me laugh and you make me cry. Thank you.
The stuff I have hidden for twenty-years in draws or in computer files marked “Personal, destroy if I’m dead.” can now come out of the dark and play with others on WordPress.com.
I want to thank each and every blogger I have visited; you have each touched my writer’s spirit in one way or another. Thank you for not hiding as I did. Thank you for sharing your joy, your success, your pain and your disasters.
Thank you for commenting on my stuff when you are no doubt as pressed for time as I am, thank you for noticing what I post, whether it’s noontime or midnight.
I have learned that while I’m sometimes different in my approach to writing, I am not unique. My writing is not outrageous, as most people in my family have told me. (Family members who have encouraged me, you know who you are.) Sometimes my writing is raw, but it is always honest and sometimes it’s funny. That’s me and that is okay. You taught me that.
There are so many incredible writers and creators on WordPress.com that my only regret is that I don’t have enough time to read every line you write, to absorb every picture you post.
I have learned that there is a place where I can belong, a niche made just for me, and it is here, with you. I came to try to build a platform and I stayed to share who I am, to meet you and to enjoy your work.
Thank you, Jeanne Marie
https://womenwhothinktoomuch.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/journal-excerpts/
PS We call ourselves girls because when we are together we are girls, laughing and playing.