Tag Archive | memories

A Milestone — My 301st Post

Here we going a blogging among the world of words!

Here we going a blogging among the world of words!

Today I celebrating my 301st post. I’ve been blogging for almost a year, and I am so happy I’ve explored this world of writing. The best part for me is the people I’ve “met.” The novelist, writers,  photographers, and poets. I feel close enough to some of you to call you cyber-friends. I truly hope we can meet in the flesh someday.

You’ve traveled with me through the highs of getting new novels published and the lows of my husband’s MS journey. You’ve tolerated my rants, and even thought I had a couple pearls of wisdom from time to time. You’ve cried with me with the passing of my father and mother this year. I’ve been happy to share my thoughts about myself and amazingly, you’ve been interested. I’ve been lucky enough to received awards from other bloggers and was honored to be “Freshly Pressed” once. So, this blogging journey has been most satisfying.

Since my childhood, our world has changed so much. When I was born, plastic wasn’t on the consumer market yet. Yeah, you youngsters out there in Internet-land, the years I’ve walked the earth say I’m old, but my heart remains young. When I was a kid, it was time to go home when the lightning bugs came out. When the fire siren blew at noon, it was time to go home for lunch. When mom wanted one of us, she yelled our names out the front door. We played outdoors all day, otherwise Mom threaten us with some household chore. We only played indoors when it rained. We had games where we moved little pieces around a cardboard platform and learned to play poker before we were twelve.We used unprotected,  two-wheel transportation well into our teens, riding miles during a day. Families only had one car, and Dad always needed it to go to work.  So  much of this world doesn’t exist any more.

Games no longer involve competitors who sit next to each other. Now games are played on Ipads, Smartphones or Laptops. Your competitors might be across the room or across the world. Heck, some competitors be smarty-pants computers! You’d never know the difference. Now Mom’s text their kids to come home instead of yelling their brains out. You wear helmets when you ride your bike–if you ride a bike.

A lot has changed. Some for the good — like the Internet where the world can be connected. Where like-minded bloggers can gather. Where research is at the touch of a keyboard. Where we can entertain ourselves alone.

Our connection technology also has a dark side, though. Our electronic devices  isolate  us so much, conversation is becoming a lost art. Meeting in parks for a pick-up game of baseball is unheard of any more, and playing outside without protective equipment is prohibited. We explore nature by reading about it instead of walking through the woods. We travel vicariously through websites instead of getting on a bus, plane, or train to actually experience the place. So many of us live our lives in our heads.

I never want to go backward because I am a progressive thinker; however, I do think we need to pick and choose when we use technology. I do miss the social interactions of the pass where neighbors knew each other and looked after one another. Where spontaneous cups of coffee were shared at the kitchen table instead of a coffee houses. Where raking leaves into a huge pile in the fall would become a playground for all the kids in the neighborhood. But there I go again, being nostalgic.

My mood must be due to looking at so many old photos lately or maybe it’s because I’ve begun researching my next novel. I just finished STEPHANIA IN AMERICA, and the manuscript is with my editor and proofreader, so it’s time to get to work on something new. As a historical romance novelist, I’m always looking back to the time when my parents were young adults. Perhaps after this book, I’ll take a look at my own childhood years in the 50’s and 60’s, after all, that time period is far enough to be history too, isn’t it?

Photos Protect the Good Times

I sit here in front of a blank screen not sure of what to write today. This week was full of activities and emotions that put me to bed early and drained my brain. Right now, everything I could tell you seems too trivial.

Independence Holiday will never be the same for me again; you see, we buried my father on July 3.  I didn’t feel like going to parades or fireworks. I didn’t feel anything but emptiness this year. I know it will get better as time heals the raw wound, but I’m an orphan for the first time in my life.

Being without parents is strange. I never thought I would have such feelings because for many years my parents pushed me away in favor of other children, and I wasn’t strong enough to push back. Whenever I tried, I always felt like the loser, so eventually I gave up. I would never reach their standard for me, so I grew up and set my own standard.  I know that sounds petty, and maybe it is, but I never had a closeness with my mother and my father followed in her footsteps.

His death dredged up emotions I realized will subside given enough time. The hurts of the past will fade away, and I’ll remember only the good times as I look at the photos that remain after their deaths. Unless your a professional photograph looking for art, most photos are taken during the happy times in life. I don’t think I have one photo where someone is crying. I don’t even think there is one photo of people frowning. Maybe that’s because before the snap of the shutter, we all say and think, “Smile!”

And maybe that’s how it should be. We should dwell on the happy times. In the end, it’s all we have left.

Saying Goodbye One Last Time

Today, my family buried my father who died about 10 days ago. We had hoped my brother John could come home from California, but his wife Wendy is suffering the affects of chemotherapy and he chose to stay with his wife. It was the right thing to do, but I’m sure his heart was right here with all of us.

My father lived 89 years in the same town; in fact, in his lifetime, he moved one block from where he was born. He served on the volunteer fire department for over 40 years as an active member and 25 more years as an honorary member. The fire truck he used to drive in the 1940’s led the procession from the church to the cemetery past the park where I played as a child, past the old fire station where he served (and played poker once a month), and finally past the home where he lived for over 65 years. It was a fitting end for a man who served others most of his life. At the cemetery he was honored as a World War II vet, with a 21 gun salute while the stars and stripes covered his casket.

One of my cousins asked if I would post the eulogy I gave at the funeral. So, as one last salute to my Dad, here are my final words.

Today we’ve come together to honor my Dad.

Because he lived such a long, rich life, many of his friends have passed before him, but I see their children sitting here today. His sisters Beverly and Ellie are here, and so are his nieces, nephews, and grandchildren and one of his two great grandchildren. I hope all of you realize you had a special place in Dad’s heart, even though he may not have said it in words. Dad’s long life touched everyone sitting here either directly, or indirectly through the friends of his children who are here to support us. I want you all to know how much our family appreciates your presence as we send our father off with honor and dignity.

My Dad was a good man. He loved his wife and his family more than himself. He served his community as a volunteer rescue and fireman for most of his adult life, and he also served his village on the planning commission to make Sturtevant a better place to live. His life was simple, but rich.

He was lucky to call a special person “friend” since he was three years old. Now most of us have had children that age, so it’s hard to imagine two little boys barely out of diapers becoming friends. But that’s what happened when Roy Stuart wandered down to my Dad’s house on 96th Street one day. It wasn’t long before Dad found Roy’s house, and their friendship has seen them through to this day.

Roy told me a funny story when we sat together at the hospital watching my Dad sleep. When the two of them were around eight years old, they liked to go the Herzog farm to go swimming. You see, there was a pond there, but before they jumped in, they had to chase the cows out. The swimming hole was muddy pond, but Dad said he learned to swim there. Roy said it was a miracle they didn’t die from typhus .

When I was born, my Dad was proud to have a girl. He proved it his entire life. When I was in first grade, I had tonsillitis much of the school year, and Dad would stop on the way home from work to buy me a chocolate milkshake at the new McDonald’s to soothe my sore throat. When he took me to the father/daughter breakfast at church he bought me a corsage to make me feel special. When I was thirteen, I needed a new winter coat. Mom budgeted $20 for the purchase, but we had no luck finding something suitable at that price. When we did find one we both loved, it was $35. One night after work, Dad took me back to Penny’s where we had found the coat, made me model it for him, and he made up the shortfall, so I could have the beautiful red coat. Every time I put it on, it was like getting a hug from my dad.  I never knew where he got the money until I was much older and my mother confessed he used his poker kitty to buy me the coat. Playing poker once a month with the guys at the fire station was one of the few things he did for himself.

As the oldest child, I was pretty much a test model, so Mom and Dad were stricter with me than John, Mark and Chris. But being the oldest did have a few perks. I got to go with Dad to pick out the Christmas trees, and every Thanksgiving I got to carve the turkey with him. Dad taught me how to play baseball as good as any boy, and how to oil my glove and mold a nice pocket. When I taught myself how to roller skate on the cement sidewalk in front of our house, he cried when he saw my black and blue butt. He ran beside me when I learned how to balance a bike and cheered when I took off on my own.

The most important thing my Dad did was teach all of his children how to be good people. He gave us everything we needed to live happily on our own. He taught the boys how to be good husbands and loving father’s by his own example. I learned how to love a husband by watching my own two parents be happy together.

Today, we say goodbye to him, and we’ll share our memories. Tomorrow we’ll go on without my him. But no one should be sad. Dad was ready for his angel wings, and I truly believe he’s having a great time getting reacquainted with old friends, his brothers Marco and Jimmy and sisters Mary, Rosie, and Josephine. And of course, he’ll dance with my Mom again.

He wouldn’t want us to cry; he’d want us to remember the words of his favorite Nat King Cole song entitled “SMILE”.

 

Smile though your heart is aching

Smile even though it’s breaking

When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by

If you smile through your fear and sorrow

Smile and maybe tomorrow

You’ll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness

Hide every trace of sadness

Although a tear may be ever so near

That’s the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what’s the use of crying?

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just smile.

Dad’s Final Journey

Marriage 001 (2)My father laid in a hospital bed for the past month. My brother, sister, and I traveled up and down a bumpy road as he journeyed through his last days. We laughed together. We remembers together. Sometimes I’d simply sit by his bedside and hold his hand while he dreamed things I’ll never know. As I sit, I listen to the hospital daily routine interrupt my memories. “Doctor So & So, dial 795.”

I think about times when I was small before my Dad got sick with heart disease. I was about seven when he taught me to throw a baseball and catch like a boy. He taught me how to hit, too, and together we broke several windows in the back of the house. I remember the day I got my first mitt, and Dad taught me how to oil it and mold a pocket. Then a floor washer goes down the hallway as loud as a street sweeper. Nurses and visitors scurry out of its way. I pardon the interruption of my thoughts and watch my Dad sleep.

He’s curled up on his left side, and I realize I sleep the same way. He appears so small right now. He’s no longer the man who was my hero most of my life. Now he’s become a child waiting like all children seem to do. The instant I think this thought he reminds me he’s a man by producing a hefty snore.  I giggle because it seems like he’s reading my mind.

The white noise of the television set on the wall fills the silence, along with the whispers of nurses outside his door. A squeaky wheel on a food cart goes by just in time because I feel a tear trying to escape my eye. I promised myself I would not cry when he can see me.

I pray his journey will have a happy ending and unite him to all of the wonderful people who filled his life. Hank, Paulie, Eddie, and his other volunteer firemen friends will reminisce about the fires they put out and the babies they brought into the world. His brothers Marco and Jimmy, along with his sisters Rosie, Mary and Jo can plan a family reunion. My mother will head up the party, her arms opened wide, probably asking Dad why he took so long to join them. All of these dear departed souls have filled my life, too. I smile as I picture them presenting Dad with his angel wings, and him taking his first test drive. They all will laugh and be young again.

This earthly journey Dad has walked for 89 years is nearly over. He’s fought gallantly for the past 50 years to live out everyone of the days he was given as best as he was able, but the time to rest has come. I kiss his cheek one last time and walk away. He’s earned his peace and from now on, I will carry him in my heart.

Scouting in Another Day

It rained last night. It was a driving downpour, but as it subsided and I lay awake, I remembered  when I was a kid and  loved sleeping in a tent, especially when a gentle rain fell at night. To this day, I can’t think of a more soothing sound.  I’ve tried buying CDs of water sounds, but the recordings never came to my memory. The saddest part is I’ll probably never hear the true sound of water falling on a canvas tent again because now I do  my best camping at the Holiday Inn.

Growing up in a small town in the 1950’s was so different from today. We never locked our doors. Neighbors knew each other and offered a helping hand when it was needed. Everybody, with the exception of a few, were on the same social economic status. Moms stayed home with their kids and most Dads went off to work in factories. Living like this was not idyllic, but it was stable. It was also safe.

girl scout calendar nineteen fifty five

During the school year, I had homework and Girl Scouts to keep me busy. The same girls I went to school with were the same girls in Troop #73. Together we learned about the outdoors and all its wonders and dangers. We learned how to build fires and how to cook on them. We learned to respect nature and never pick wild flowers. We learned how to have fun without spending money. We told ghost stories around a campfire and sang songs all of the time. In fact, by the time I was in seventh grade, we knew so many songs, we sang from our school to Madison, Wisconsin –about 70 miles — without repeating a tune!

Besides the fun activities, we always had service projects to do. At Christmastime we caroled at the homes of older people we called, “Shut-Ins,” and let a box of homemade cookies as our gift. We made party favors to brighten up the food trays for people who found themselves in a nursing home. We made lap blankets that looked like miniature quilts for the same seniors when we were in high school.

Growing up as a scout was the best part of my young life. What we gave was only a portion of what we received. One wonderful outcome of these years was learning how to solve problems creatively. If we didn’t have what we needed, we improvised a solution. We experienced sales and fund raising. We learned how to live within our budget. No one was allowed to fall back on their dues because it affected all of us. We learned how to  plan in order to get things done on time. We also learned the world didn’t revolve around us. We realized we were just a small specks in something much larger. Best of all, we all walked away as adults with friendships that have lasted a lifetime.

Of course, while we were sweating over a hot fire in the summer or hiking in the rain and cold because we were told to do so by our leaders, we had no idea of how the skills and experiences would benefit us when we became adults. We grumbled. We complained our assigned  tasks were stupid and wished we were swimming instead of cleaning the latrine. We were kids. We had the right to snark, but the responsibility to obey orders.

Now, when I watch kids isolated from each other with their electronic devices standing in as a best friend, I worry about them. They will argue that they are more connected than I ever hoped to be. But a generation who would rather text each other from across the room instead of walking over and talking to them — well, I just don’t get it. Perhaps I’m old, but it seems a lonely existence to me. No computer or Ipad or Smart Phone can replace giggling in the dark with friends while a gentle rain drops on a canvas tent. The real thing just can be duplicated. Best of all, the real thing will be remembered for a lifetime.

A Different Memorial Day

memorial dayToday is Memorial Day in the United States. Unofficially, it’s the official start to summer. We suspend all working activities of a Monday to go to parades, have picnics and for some people, travel to a destination far away from home for a vacation. The day is set aside to remember and appreciate the men and women who have died protecting our country. Many of us still do that, but today I find myself using my Memorial Day in a different way.

My father is lying in a hospital waiting for his angel wings. He’s at the end of a long, rich life. He’s dying.

And I’m remembering all the good times I spent with my Dad. Like going to several Christmas tree lots to find the “right” tree to decorate our living room. Like carving the Thanksgiving turkey and giggling as we both snitched little pieces of the juicy meat, while we piled the slices onto a platter for everybody else. Like the  rides we took on a hot Sunday afternoon. Like going to a father-daughter breakfast at church when I proudly sat beside my Dad and he treated me like his date for the day.

I’m feeling lucky I had such a loving father. He was strict, but he never punished with the slap of a belt. He sacrificed for his family in so many ways, and he protected us always. He built us a lovely home with his own two hands. He loved my mother with everything in him. He showed us how to be good people–to love our families, to give to our communities and to be independent.

Even though my father is a World War II veteran, he was never decorated as a war hero. Instead he has a more important distinction; he was my hero. And his time has come to leave, and we both know it. Now we wait until our time together is over. He will breathe his last breath very soon, and I will remember the good times alone.

Let Your Life Be

letting go

Real life doesn’t know shortcuts. –Willem Meiners

I read this quote this morning and it resonated with me. It’s true. We cannot not (yes, I intended the double negative)  live the life we were given. Or can we?

If you’re old enough, you have experienced having situations come up that you can’t control. Something big has happened to you, and you find yourself not able to do anything about it. You have to go through all the steps. No day provides a shortcut. You have to feel the pain. You have to suffer through the day-to-day stuff. You can’t avoid it. If you’re smart, you soon realize the situation will play out the way it’s supposed to, and you will be forced to stand on the sidelines to watch the world go by. If you’ve raised a teenager, you know what I’m talking about.

Letting go is so hard for some people. It’s a common theme in so many media–it’s a real biggie on the soap operas. There’s always a character with money and power who can’t help himself/herself to control what happens to other people. And guess what? It never works.

I was lucky. I learned this lesson very young. When I broke my leg in a tobogganing accident at age 14 and lost the lead of the school Spring Musical. I was heartbroken because my dream was to sing on Broadway, and this was my first chance to feel the dream. But I learned I was only miserable when I fought against what was happening to me.

Since then, I’ve tried to live my everyday life by being open to what is around me. I can choose to like it, or hate it ,or let it go. And I found out, letting things be what they want to be is a fascinating journey. It has brought me new experiences and opportunities I never dreamed I could do or could experience.

For instance, about 20 years ago, quite by chance I met a woman from the Boston area on a cruise ship. I was on the cruise ship because I took an opportunity that was handed to me. I was doing marketing for a small cruise-only travel agency and a FAM trip was offered to the business by Costa Cruise Lines. Airfare was included, too, which was highly unusual, but the owners of the business could not go–so it was offered to me.

Traveling was something I always wanted to do, but never had a chance to explore. And here was my chance, so I took it. Not only did I have a wonderful time on the trip, I saw myself in different surroundings. I was amazed that people gravitated to me when I wasn’t with my grumpy husband. I even met a woman would be a good friend for the rest of my life. Robin would introduce me to Jane from Maine, and over the next two years, the three of us became traveling partners. I was going through a miserable divorce at the time, had no job except freelance writing, and here was my chance to soothe my soul with travel and new friends. And travel we did — about every two months I was off exploring a new island. Jamaica, Bermuda, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Antigua, Aruba, Martinique, and more. I danced till dawn. I sang Karaoke. I met people from around the country and the world. I was having the time of my life. And I kept a journal.

As our friendship developed, I got a chance to visit both of my friends at their homes in the Boston area and the beautiful state of Maine. I met their families and children. And we got to know each other on a deeper level. And when Jane turned 50–we had a reunion with our new spouse, you guessed it–on a cruise ship.

My point is, if I would have been practical and  not have taken this chance, I would have missed out on so many wonderful  things that have enriched my life. I wouldn’t have met Robin and Jane. I wouldn’t have seen beautiful tropical islands. I wouldn’t have gotten to know other people from around the country and the world. By taking these trips at a time when I really didn’t have the money to travel, I opened my world. I didn’t put limits on myself. I started to write my own story.

And now, I’m realizing another dream by simply letting things go again. The last three years of Ken’s illness and my unemployment has put me in financial hardship, but I have a chance to finally write seven novels and numerous short stories. My daily blogging is a personal challenge to try to come up with something fresh someone else might like to read. This medium has linked me to other wonderful writers around the globe.

Am I an overnight success? No. Have you seen me on CBS Sunday Morning? Not yet.  But people are reading my stories and tell me they have enjoyed the experience. I’ve even had a gushing fan blush and tell me she loves all of my stories. That was a little uncomfortable at first, but I could get used to it. Someday, the big publishing contract will come because the more I write, the more my world grows and the more my writing improves. See how this works?

My point? The next time you’re tempted to control your life and all that is around you, let go. You might be pleasantly surprised what happens.

Appreciating A Sunset

I love sunsets. I love to watch the sky explode with beautiful color and then fade to black. The ebb and flow of exploding color always takes my breath away.  Sunsets are kind of like the fruition of a great movie. They excite me, then calm me, and leave me with something wonderful to take away. In fact, I’ve seen a couple of sunsets that I will never forget.

I’ll never forget the sunset I saw while sitting at a restaurant in the Miami harbor. In every direction there were vivid yellows, pinks, corals, and lavender, that blended with hints of blue. The color reflected off the water of the harbor and the whole area was alive. But I seemed to be the only person who was enthralled by the sight. While others shoveled down their meals, I sat with my mouth open looking out the window. I was in my own world not able to speak.Miami_sunset_3

The second sunset I’ll never forget was when I was flying home from Puerto Rico. This time, I didn’t have a picture window to view the amazing sight; all I had was the tiny window of the plane that revealed only a small part of the amazing colors. I sat with my nose pressed against the glass, my eyes darting from left to right to witness flying THROUGH the color. But again, I seemed to be the only person who was extremely excited by by the event.sunset from a plane (1)

In both instances, the indifference of people around me was a great annoyance. Was what they were doing SO important that they couldn’t pause for a couple of minutes and bask in the beauty? I don’t think anything is THAT important! After all, sunsets are fleeting moments of only a few minutes. The color fades away quietly without fanfare. So why do so many people take this amazing event for granted? Why can’t the sunset get its due appreciation?

I’ll never get the answer to that. I suppose it can be chalked up to people being different. Perhaps they see beauty in other places. Who knows?

All I know is, I will never tire of seeing an outstanding sunset. There’s nothing more romantic than sitting on a beach or holding hands in a restaurant while gazing out a large picture window, or even on a plane looking out the tiny window while mother nature paints the sky in a way no human can. It’s simply heavenly. It’s natural, but it’s a miracle. And it’s there for the taking–everyday. (Well almost everyday. Can’t count the rainy ones, can I?)

So the next time you have a chance to see the sunset, relax. Be quiet. Let the sun and the reflecting clouds fill your soul with excitement. After all, it will be over before you can get comfortable. And best of all, it’s FREE.

Photos and the Lost Past

clutterThe weather has once again marooned Ken and I in the house. During the last 12 hours, we’ve had about three inches of rain. South of here in Chicago, they’ve had closer to five inches. We’ve even had rumbles of thunder and a few lightning flashes. Where monsoons are prevalent, people would wonder why I’m even mentioning this fact. But here, where I live, it is more likely to have a foot of snow than two inches of rain. But this post is not about the weather, really. I just had to whine a little about getting cheated out of Spring this year.

Being stuck in the house so often by the curse of weather, I’ve developed strategies to help the time pass. Like cleaning. Every once in awhile, I get the itch to pick up clutter. I hate to do hardcore cleaning, but clutter drives me nuts. With that said, I decided a rainy day was a good time to pick up a pile of stuff that had been sitting on the floor of the spare bedroom for months. And guess what I found? I came across a whole pile of amazing old photographs.

I don’t know why these photos were in boxes and envelopes instead of albums, but there they were. Perhaps they were the outtakes–you know, they weren’t deemed good enough to make an album. Or perhaps they were doubles of photos that did get into albums.  Or maybe when I got them, I never had the time to put them into an album. But no matter, there they were, and it was time to do something with them. The first step was to look at them. Amazingly, I remembered the exact moment when the photo was taken. I could tell you the event and the approximate time they had been snapped, and some of these pictures date back to when I was 11 years old! I don’t have to tell you, that was a LONG  TIME AGO!

One by one, the photos showed me how rich my life has been. I saw my Girl Scout leaders and girl pals. I witnessed the 10th anniversary of my 8th grade graduation picnic. Then there were the rare photos of my Dad and ALL of his eight siblings at a family picnic. I think it’s the only picture that exists where all eight of them are together. Then there were pictures of my little girls playing in the bathtub with their boats and other toys. There were lots of photos of the first days of school taken by the same tree. Then there were pictures of family Christmases at different locations for both Ken’s family and mine, too. There was a picture of the night when Ken and I met for the first time.

As you might imagine, it was a lovely journey. But instead of cleaning out clutter, I spent much of the day going down memory lane. The question is now what do I do with them? That’s probably why this pile of photos was staged for a decision in the first place. I just CAN’T throw them out.

Digital photography is great in many ways–especially when it involves tangible clutter. But viewing digital pictures is an entirely different experience.  Finding a file of digital picture is not as emotional as unearthing a box of old photos. There’s something about touching them and remembering why and when the photos were taken. I think as a person gets older, it’s fun to see you were young and carefree as a child, teenager, young adult and then as a young parent. Most photographs capture the happy times. At least I NEVER take photos of the hard times or the sad times or the painful times. My photos show a joyful journey and a personal history.

So, the next time you are cleaning out your clutter, beware of those unexpected elements that can derail you from our original intent. And if you’re  as lucky as I was yesterday to find lost memories, enjoy!

Barb

A Bird Out Of Place

Eastern_Wild_Turkey_HenThis morning I had to make an emergency run to Milwaukee to pick up some very necessary medication for Ken. As I pulled onto the four-lane highway that would take me north to my destination, there was a wild turkey stuck in the middle of the road. The poor bird screaming and was running to and fro, not knowing what to do, which really isn’t surprising because you see, turkeys are not the brightest birds in the world. But, I’m happy to say motorists slowed down to give this confused bird a chance to think about his next step.

This lone bird must have lost his flock. Perhaps he slept late and missed the day”s excursion with his buddies. But there he was he was frantically wandering through the traffic, looking for a safe way out. His tail feathers were down on the ground. There would be no showy plumage today.

Can you image being that bird in the middle of such heavy traffic? All around there was mechanical behemoths whizzing by you. His terror must have freaked him out! But after a short time, he finally stumbled onto the boulevard which divides the north and south lanes traffic. Then the cars and trucks commenced moving slowly as they watched the lonely bird. I couldn’t watch what came next. I hope he found the courage to spread his wings and flew OVER the cars and land safely in a wooded area or around some pond. I hope he found his flock and was able to return with a good wake-up story. It’s not often you see a wild turkey in the city.

As I continued toward my morning destination, I thought this bird must have felt a little bit like I did when I walked the streets of Manhattan for the first time. I couldn’t get my natural bearings because the buildings are so tall you can’t see the sun. It took  me a while to realize the street signs gave the headings of east, west, north and south, so that helped. But I live in a place where there are no subways, taxis, and buses that never run on schedule, so everyone drives their own car to get where they need to go. So, like the bird I wandered to and fro from one tourist site to another, hoping I’d get good directions from helpful folks.

Luckily, though, I traveled with my girlfriends into the unfamiliar culture and big city. I made sure we stayed together and didn’t get into trouble because we might wander into an unsafe part of the city. I can only hope, the poor, lost wild turkey caught up with his family and friends and will rest easy tonight after a harrowing start to his day.