Friday, October 23, 2015

A Story Walk

While walking Lucy the other day my mind drifted to my to do list waiting for me at home, so I picked up the pace only to have Lucy slow down, stop and back out of her collar.  Hump!  When I turned to replace her collar, I noticed the two women planting pansies in the nearby garden.  Their energy, at fire engine speed, fascinated me.  My list floated away and I became mesmerized with their technique and skills.

One lady was using a broom and sweeping out the fallen acorns, limbs, and leaves.  Hah! good idea I
thought then I won't tear up our mulch.  The other lady was planting pansies, two by two, with tenderness, nimble fingers, and focus.  Curiously, I stepped closer and spoke, "Excuse me, You seem to be planting two pansies together at a time.  Are you in a hurry or is there reason?"  Jack and I had just planted a flat of pansies the day before in our front yard, and still had another flat to plant in the back yard, rains were forecasted so I understood urgency. 

Like halting a horse in the middle of the race, the lady, Pamela, sat upright, took a breath then smiled at the pansies in her hand, "No, I'm planting pansies together so they will grow better and stay healthy. They like companionship."  Then her fingers began to touch the leaves and petals like she was gently caressing them.  

"I've never heard of that," I responded, but I did recall several pieces of folklore about the pansy. One story said to pluck one of the upper petals and your lover's future can be foretold. Another legend says the pansy was originally white, but turned bright purple where it had been pierced by Cupid's arrow. It was also called 'hearts ease' for people believed that carrying the flower or giving a bouquet of pansies would ensure the love of your sweetheart. 

"Oh, yes," she continued, "pansies love tenderness and partnership.  They should always be planted with a partner, so the two can complement each other's growth." In the ensuing minutes we talked about flowers, health, and healing.  "Did you know that plants grow better with music in the background, or for that matter if you talk to them."  I confessed to talking to trees, but never thought to chat with my plants.  Then her hands returned to the soil. My mind was whirling with ideas and questions.

Now, as I walked home, I noticed that many homes had planted pansies, but not two by two.  With industry and focus I went straight to the backyard and planted the remainder of my pansies, two by two.  Of course, it took another trip to the nursery to buy more to fill in the area.  Now I will watch
curiously as the flowers grow, to see if it makes a difference. To be honest it already has made a difference because I paired the pansies by various colors, and they truly complement each other.  

With my curiosity still peaked I remembered the novel I read last spring The Language of Flowers and how the young girl communicated through the meaning of the flowers she used in bouquets. The book's website offers a list of flowers and their meaning, <>

I did discover that music may indeed help flowers grow as long as it is easy listening or Beethoven and not hard rock and roll.  Some research suggests that the seeds sprout more quickly with 15-20 minutes of music a day.  Other researchers think external stimuli, like wind will induce changes in their growth. If it's wind they need then my pansies are in the right zone for that.  

My favorite piece of lore that I found said that the pansy was once called the Cinderella flower.  

The Language of Flowers did not mention the little pansy, but other sources kept my attention for hours. It is a fact that the word pansy actually comes from the French word pensee, meaning "remembrance" or "thought".  If you give a bouquet of pansies to someone you are saying, "I'm thinking of you."
Perhaps, that also means when I rush up my sidewalk this winter and am greeted by the pansies I will remember to think of someone else, or better yet, it will slow me down and give me the grace to live in the present. I hope this little flower that survives the bitter winters will inspire each of you to "think of someone special."  

Dedicated to my friend of many decades, who loves pansies.  I'm thinking of you, Julia Johnson Wood. 

A great website for the care and feeding of pansies is <> 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Toast to Moments

My husband and I were so fortunate to be able to drive away from our class reunion and enjoy another few days of relaxation and laughter.  
How better to celebrate a mini-vacation than with friends, a bottle or two of champagne, a condo on Grand Lake, and a total eclipse of the moon.

The sunset over water comforts my soul.  I can forget whatever ails me, the worries, the world, and I feel connected to the grace that God has given each of us.  Even when I'm not near the water's edge, my heart wonders there.  I never grew up near the ocean, but the call from those many Monday's on Grand Lake remains a dynamic connection to this earth for me.

Leah Jackson, Doyle Argo, Letty and Jack Watt
Our evening began with sunset, a toast, and dinner on the patio at Shangri-la. Shortly after dinner the moon gained our full attention. How amazing to look up to a full glowing moon across the waters and then relax, clear the mind, and just enjoy every
moment of the eclipse.  No, this is not my first eclipse, but it is the only one I've ever watched beginning to end.

The fun continued when we returned to our condo on hole #1 at Shangri-la.  The eclipse had begun, so we grabbed two beach towels, two bottles of champagne, classy plastic cups, and headed out to watch the moon disappear.  The moment we placed our towels on the golf course, the laughter began.  It seems as though the sprinklers had just cooled off the grasses, but the water didn't dampen our spirits only our clothes.  We did calculate that the sprinklers had passed, and that we would be safe, but we didn't take into consideration the passing of time and the delights of champagne. Fascination with nature allowed the four of us to travel in and out of conversation, but quiet was often the essence of the evening as we each silently slipped away into our own imaginative places, gazing at the lunar eclipse.  

If I were a photographer instead of a storyteller I'd show you the beauty of the moon, but alas, I can only relate how dark it became on that golf course.  With a couple bottles of bubbly drink we laughed at ourselves, and told  childhood stories, and stole a few kisses.  All the time the sprinklers continued to make their rounds.

The moon had nearly come out of the shadow when I heard a familiar sound and click.  Three of us leaped to our feet, leaving Doyle sitting on prime property for a midnight shower.  The giggles over took as we fumbled to gather our towels and empty bottles giving time for Doyle to stand and glare at our lack of sympathy.  Thanks to cell phones and flash lights we were able to run from the water.

But for that moment, as we ran and giggled our way avoiding the sprinklers instead of running through them butt naked, we felt like those wild teenagers we once knew, who used to sit down at the water's edge, drinking Purple Passions, and making memories, or was that making love?

I hope each of you found the time to enjoy this rare supermoon moment. 

Best photos

Images of the lunar eclipse around the world

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Coming to Together

Like art, this picture truly says a 1,000 words and signifies thousands of memories and hundreds of hugs and KISSES.  We still do that, even at our age.  

So much like the proms of our younger years, I didn't want this weekend to end.  Yet, here we are, once again, back to daily lives in homes from  Arizona, to Washington and nearly fifty states in between, We were grade schoolers when Hawaii and Alaska became states and Sputnik was launched. The race to space colored our lives with a sense of adventure, while we came face to face with issues of race in our nation. We were in junior high when the Arms race escalated, and we thought our young lives would be cut short by atomic bombs from Russia.  During high school President Kennedy was shot before our eyes, leaving our lives jolted and shaped by history.  Through it all we were kids, we had our friends, our clicks, our own ups and downs.  We grew apart. 

Fifty years jetted by us, and we came together as Wardogs, as one.

I've pondered how we lost track of each other, even best friends seemed to fade away. Why? How?  I asked. What happened?  My answer came on the first night of the reunion on a yellow bus ride out to the Spook Light.  
We all claimed to have seen
the spook light.

Sitting in front of us was a classmate I had not seen in fifty years.  He'd written us a letter for our 25 reunion, that I would never forget.  He said that he was researching medicines that might one day cure alzheimer's disease.  There we were on a yellow Miami Oklahoma school bus, bouncing down Highway 10.  I taped him on the shoulder, "Aren't you Tom Haskins?" I asked.  Instantly, we relaxed, introduced our spouses and all began to chat about how we'd met, where we lived, and what we were doing now.  Agreement was easy on one subject....retirement is the greatest.  During the conversation I wanted to know more about his research, but instead I learned the answer to my "Why, How, and What happened to us questions."  After graduating from TU where he met his wife, Vera, he couldn't get a job because he was eligible for the draft. One single word that changed our generation for ever, but never with the honor of our fathers'--the draft.  

March 8, 1965 combat troops landed in Viet Nam.  I had my answer. 

Larry Irwin, gives us the details of the
 historic Coleman Theatre.
Just like in life, between the tears of reality that the war had played an active roll in changing all of our lives, we also found time to come together, to laugh, to share pictures of families, and to genuinely listen to the lives of our friends, our classmates.  We've said good-bye to over fifty classmates, but for those of us who came to the reunion we created a new bond of friendship with each and every class mate we came in touch with, and even those who weren't able to come to the reunion were in our hearts and stories.  

We stayed out late at the spook light, sat up even 
later in the hotels and told stories. The next day
some toured the Coleman theatre, ate a  Ku-Ku burger, drove
Happy Birthday Sara
through old neighborhoods, played golf, celebrated birthdays, jumped into a hula hoop
Dena Anders, 100 years young and a living
reminder of childhood times.
Ann can still hula hoop.
to see if we could still twist and turn, relaxed on the patio, and then danced the night away at our Mutt Hutt reincarnation. Like Cinderella's coach and dress, our reunion nametags were for good the Mutt Hutt from Sept. 24-27.  

Saturday we laughed and looked tired, but rallied and talked all day long....By evening we came together and shared our grief with the loss of 56 classmates.  One by one their names were called, and tears flowed as we remembered their youthfulness, their energies, their time....
In memory 
C.J. and Randy

Letty and Bill Smith, neighborhood friend...

Candy, one of my new friends for life.

Roosevelt kids
The reunion provided us time to share our current lives and to be humbled by so many who have done so much in these fifty years. Roy Underwood and Bill Smith humbled us with their program that honored "All Who Have Served."  We were entertained by Wendy Songe, and Jana Jae while we enjoyed a delicious meal.  The night lasted as long as we could carry on, camera shots were flashing all around as the hours counted down.  
The Morning After:  Susan, Richard, Marsha

Yes, we said, "Remember when...." followed by laughs, giggles, tears, and awes, but more than that we discovered how much we've become like each other. Life has brought us closer with every fiber of our souls and hearts.  We truly came together as a class, apart no longer but wrapped together in the bonds of friendship.  

As Rev. Russ Martin said after every game, "When the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name, He marks--not that you won or lost--but how you played the game."

Thank you to all who made this fabulous reunion possible.  

**Look for a future story on All Who Have Served.

***No, there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease for our generation, but there are drugs being tested that might someday help those the age of our grand children.