"" Writer's Wanderings: April 2005

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Teenaged Memories

Saturday morning is time for breakfast at our favorite spot--The Diner. It's a little New York style place with vinyl seated booths and music piped in from the 60s--my kind of music.

This morning they were playing "Put Your Head On My Shoulder," a tune that was popular a bit before I met my husband. It brought back memories of someone else. I remembered dancing to that song with him. We couldn't have been more than 15 or 16. He was my first kiss. The boyish face, the big grin, the eyes that crinkled when he was teasing--all belonged to a young teenager. I never saw the man that he became until a few years ago.

My brother shattered the teenage memory. We were at my nephew's graduation and my brother brought a middle-aged, graying man with a slight pounch over to meet me.

"Know who this is?" he asked. I stared at the man in the baseball cap and sunglasses. There was no way I was going to guess.

"Here," the fellow said, "let me take these off." He removed the hat to expose more grayed hair. Then he removed the glasses. Still no sign of recognition.

"You don't remember, do you?" my brother egged me on. Little brothers are like that no matter how old they are.

The man before me suddenly broke into a grin and his eyes crinkled with that teasing look.

"Oh, my gosh, Tom!" I hugged him. But as I stepped back to look at him again, I wondered. What was he seeing? A middle-aged woman whose hair was lighter because she covers the gray, with a few more pounds that the skinny girl who needed meat on her bones and a face that sagged a bit from years of weather and, well....years.

This morning I remembered the boy. It was a nice memory. It also made me happy I chose my husband to grow old with.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Mothers-in-law

Two of my friends are about to join the infamous and much aligned group called mothers-in-law. One's son is marrying the other's daughter. Knowing the two families, I have every confidence that it will be a great blending of two families.

Mothers-in-law are often greatly maligned and become the target of bad jokes, psychoanalysis, and movie plots. (This week, I believe, Jane Fonda becomes the Monster-in-law to Jay Lo at the cinema.) Perhaps some deserve it but I have a feeling most do not.

The announcement of the engagement of my friend's children, brought to mind two wonderful women we met on a cruise once. They called themselves "the mothers-in-law"--one's son had married the other's daughter. They were from England and could have been the ship's entertainment for an evening. They were hilarious. Their husbands didn't like to travel. So once a year, the two of them would leave their spouses to fend for themselves and go off together for an adventure somewhere else in the world.

They said they were great mothers-in-law because they wanted nothing more than their children to be happy together so that their travel adventures could continue.

But then, after more thought, they concluded that it didn't matter. Even if the marriage didn't work out, they'd stay together as mothers-in-law.

Friday, April 15, 2005

The Pit of the Stomach

It sits on the counter in the kitchen. All it needs is postage and it will be on its way to an agent. It's lurking there just waiting for me to pick it up and lug it to the post office. It's dangerous. It contains hopes and dreams that could be dashed in the SASE that's enclosed. Am I ready to steel myself for that?

The old fears return to squelch the enthusiasm, the excitement, the exhileration of the new found story I have created. Is it good enough? No. Never. There is always more to do. I could reread and rewrite a hundred times and still find something I'm not satisfied with.

What is it I fear? I've been rejected before. Somehow this is different. I've grown more fond of this character who has brought me joy each day, caused me to laugh, and caused me to cry. I fear I might not have done her justice.

In the pit of my stomach I feel that gnawing that clutches my inner being and gives a yank each time I go to pick up the 9 X 12 brown envelope that is all addressed and ready to go. All it needs is postage. I'll try again.

Friday, April 08, 2005

New Life

While I know I do a lot of complaining about winter--the snow, the cold, the gray skies--I realize that without winter to compare it with, spring would not be as significant as it is. This morning the sun is shining and the few warm days we've had have brought out the daffodils. The buds on the trees are ready to burst open with the new life within them. What a change it is from winter where everything looks dead.

We have friends who moved to Ohio from California. They were both born and raised in California. The first early spring in their new home was disappointing because, as she walked through the yard, Janette thought the bushes were dead. She was going to call the landscaper to have all the azaleas pulled out and the dogwood tree cut down. It took some time to convince her that they were just dormant and would blossom into glorious color in a few weeks. (I don't think she trusted us at first because we told her husband he had to oil his snow shovel before he used it.) In a few weeks they had a hedge of color in their back yard and a dogwood tree full of pure white blossoms.

Spring always reminds me of the new life we find in Christ. Someone can appear to be as dead in sin as one of those bushes but when Christ enters their life, His promise bursts forth into glorious bloom.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

E.L. Doctorow

Last night I had the privilege of hearing E. L. Doctorow read from one of his latest works thanks to the generosity of a friend who is also a manager for our county library. His words are like eating rich choloclate cake for dessert. You want to savor each one and let them play in the imagination.

After answering a few questions. he ended his time with us by giving us his feelings about the use of the library. It went something like this:

A drivers license gives you the opportunity to explore your state and the surrounding area.
A passport gives you the opportunity to explore the world.
A library card gives you the opportunity to explore the universe.

While it seemed clever but not terribly deep at the time, after contemplating his statement, I came to realize that what he was emphasizing was the importance of words--the importance of books and their influence on the minds that read them. What a sense of responsibilty that should give writers when putting pen to paper.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Daddy Hair

"I'm gonna be a daddy," our three year old grandson, Tyler, announced as he strolled into the restaurant to meet us for lunch.

I immediately looked to my daughter-in-law. Was he making an announcement? Were we going to add to the growing list of grandchildren? A grandmother is always looking for another.

"You can thank your son for that idea," Lori said. "Ron told him that when he got hair on his chest he would be a daddy. The other day day he noticed he had hair on his legs and he figured that was good enough--he could be a daddy."

"Well if we shaved the hair on his legs, does that mean he could be a mommy?" I asked. To her credit, Lori politely asked me not to plant that idea in his head.
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