My mom was an artist, she painted and crafted, and back when we were kids she ran a ceramics store and tried to instill in her students bravery to try new things.
I’ve often thought of her during this trip. I’ll shoot something and automatically think ‘mom will like that one.’ Most of these images don’t make it into a blog, because they’re not part of a story. These are just individual shots, not related to each other, that I liked.
Turns out there’s quite a few.
You’ll notice there’s not a single shot of Katie-girl, and that’s intentional. She gets plenty of blog time, and though she’s certainly beautiful this time it’s all about other pretty things.
I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed taking them. Though that would be hard to do, because I really really enjoyed being in the moment and capturing these beautiful places and things.
And after all, since mom was right there with me, I guess she’s already seen them. That makes me smile.
Sure the lake level is low, as it is every winter, making it difficult to enjoy this huge lake, but just our little part right here is beautiful.
And it’s always changing. The light moves and twinkles and shifts and the water ruffles and calms.
I have lots of time to sit and reflect as the sun goes down and the shadows lengthen across the slew.
I wish my parents were here. But the house is still filled with their presence. Not the same of course, as having them physically here.
But not as sad as it was in the beginning.
Lots of good memories flit through my mind as I watch the water shift in the changing light.
We’re lucky they left us this place. I think they’re glad we come to visit.
But I bet they miss us all too.
I don’t know how many of you have hit milestone birthdays. You know…the big three oh. Or forty when things on your body start moving south. Perhaps fifty, which they say is the new forty. Or…oh no….sixty?!
I was good up till this year, never really felt old. Thought I had escaped all those ‘old people’ ailments. Thought I was different, maybe had better genes.
But last spring I turned sixty. That seems like a really big number. I remember my parents when they were sixty and they were old. And now I feel old too, because all sorts of things are happening to me.
I used to be able to stand up and get dressed. I stood on one foot regularly, putting on pants or socks. Now I sway precariously as I try to get a sock on my foot and I don’t even try putting on pants the old way. I sit first.
I used to be able to read signs way down the road. Now I need to wear my glasses to see the television across the room. And I’m pretty sure I’ll have to wear glasses to pass the DMV eye test next time I need to renew my drivers license.
I used to run marathons. Not fast, but I got five of them done. Now I have trouble running for more than a couple minutes at a time. On a treadmill.
And apparently I have an impinged rotator cuff. I don’t know what I did to impinge it but I went to four weeks of physical therapy to make my shoulder stronger. It’s stronger but still impinged, which I am reminded of every night when I reach back to pull the blanket over me as I settle into bed.
I used to cross country ski to get through the winters. Now I hope to head somewhere warmer for the worst of the cold season. I guess that makes me a snowbird wanna be.
And surely that makes me old.
It’s 4:30 a.m. and Katie the dog wants to go out. Just like every morning, her timing is meticulously accurate. I shake the sleep from my eyes as she shakes the tags on her collar and together we stumble to the front door where she prances impatiently as I don shoes and coat and gloves.
And then we step out into the blackness that is early morning.
Deep silence surrounds us. No cars out on the freeway, no stirring in the neighborhood. Only the far away wail of a train intrudes on the thick blanket of quiet. I whisper to her, unwilling to pierce the silence myself, to find a good spot as we wander the yard.
Almost directly overhead is the big dipper, sitting upside down, spilling good wishes down upon us. Orion’s belt has long since gone to bed. “Hi Dad,” I whisper. “Here’s to a New Year. Another one starting without you and mom.”
And then I pause, a bit of happiness floating from me up to him. “Well, not really without you…I feel you right here. See you tomorrow morning…say hi to Mom”
Katie and I head silently back to the house. At the front porch she stands on her back legs asking to be picked up. I do, picking up her awkwardly lopsided bobble-headed cone encased self and give her a tight hug and a kiss.
“Happy New Year baby-girl, Happy New Year.”
Imagine you’ve lived on your own for over 100 years. Sure the only reason you could is because people helped along the way, but you had your own space. You had your own things around you, things that reminded you of places and people you’ve loved.
And then imagine the day comes that you can’t live alone anymore and you find yourself in a cramped and overheated space with strange sounds and sights, strangers in and out of your small space, other people determining when you sleep and when you are awake, what you eat, when you shower.
You are depressed.
Your things are gone, your space is gone, your pet is gone, your friends are far away. Only your family and your memories remain.
Your family tries to make it better but there is no better here. They remind you to get out of bed and move your feet and legs but you don’t want to. They try to entertain you when they visit but the visits are never frequent enough even when they occur every day. And they can’t change the reality.
You are tired.
You can’t see very much, can’t hear anything when your hearing aid is away being repaired. Your roommates change but are similarly confused and wandering.
You are scared.
There are noises in the hall that you can’t identify. You can’t tell when people are headed into your room or when they are just passing by.
You are dependent on strangers.
You used to be independent. You like to tell people that you always did things for yourself. You tell people you don’t like to be a burden. That you like to make your own decisions.
But you are allowed so few decisions now.
You recognize that your time is short. And you’re not sure if that isn’t a good thing. Because you can’t imagine your life moving forward like this forever.
You never imagined life ending this way. Or that the gift of living to be 101 could be so hard.
Just never imagined.
I wasn’t going to write about this. That today is another anniversary of the semitruck crash that took our remaining parent.
But today I seem to be blocked and unable to write about anything else.
And so I will mark the day so that I can move forward. Not move on, because that implies that I leave him behind, but forward.
Today I am moving forward with him, and mom, always with me.
My parents’ 1952 honeymoon was spent camping in northern Michigan. One of their favorite places was near Frankfort — Point Betsie and it’s beautiful lighthouse.
And so, over the years, it has become one of my favorite places too. I visit when I’m up in that part of the country, sometimes for only a minute or two, sometimes for a longer walk.
I stopped on my way home from Northport last week. It was a pretty day with blue skies and high white clouds. The waves lapped peacefully, the sun made the red roof glow. As always I spent a few moments imaging my parents there, years before I was born, enjoying each other and the beautiful lake.
I thought about how young they were, how they had no idea they’d have four children or that they’d run a small business. They didn’t know that someday they’d move away from the lakes and the state they loved, far from their family, and that they’d settle on another pretty lake in a faraway state and enjoy it almost as much. Way back then they never dreamed they’d live in the South or that most of their children would follow them there.
But I know they hoped they would live happy, contented and fulfilled lives.
And they did.
Today is their 64th wedding anniversary. I like to think they’re enjoying each other and a beautiful view — maybe even a gorgeous lake with a lighthouse standing tall behind them.
And I like to think they are happy with the way things turned out even though their lives were shorter than any of us wished. I know they are proud of us and happiest when we are happy. So I guess the best anniversary gift we can give them is to enjoy and be content with the lives we are living today.
And to make every day count. Because you just never know.
Happy 64th anniversary Mom and Dad.
We miss you.
Husband and I wandered through an “Orphan” car show this weekend down in Ypsilanti Michigan. No, these aren’t cars that were abandoned on firehouse steps, these are cars that are no longer produced. The Edsel, the Hudson, the AMC Rambler, the Studebaker and so many more.
Old cars from before I was born, and cars I remember from my teenage years. I learned to drive a stick shift in one like this years ago.
There were so many beautiful cars. The lines and details were amazing.
And that’s mostly what I focused my camera on. If you want to see whole cars you should stop by my Facebook page where my husband posted loads of beautiful photos.
Here I’m going to show you details. There are so many it’s hard to know where to start. So I’ll just put together a slideshow of some of my favorite colors and shapes. And the chrome! Oh my the chrome!
I hope you enjoy:
We had such a good time!
And then we walked back through the historic district and found a Hudson museum! It was originally a dealership for Hudson automobiles and stayed open until after the car was no longer being built, selling used Hudsons for years.
There were more beautiful cars there! And featured was a 1955 Hudson Italia built in Milan Italy, #20 of only 26 ever built. It’s the color of rich butter pecan ice cream and simply beautiful. Look at the lines, the shapes, the details.
I wonder. In 100 years, which of our cars will be sitting in museums for people to enjoy? Which ones will look like art?
I didn’t grow up as a ‘car person’ but over the years I’ve learned to appreciate beautiful design combined with quality function. I hope you enjoyed the tour, and maybe it will inspire you to stop by a car show near you.
Today’s your birthday, and I thought I’d take a moment to remember some of the fun stuff we did while growing up together.
You know…the swimming and skiing. Tree climbing and building forts. Chasing Sam the dog around the neighborhood when he worked himself off his leash. Planting the garden, mowing the grass, playing kick-the-can late into the evening.
Visiting the farm for a few days in the summer, playing with the barn cats, scratching pigs’ backs, driving the tractor. Seeing the country from the family camper, canoeing down rivers, climbing up mountains, crawling into kivas.
We had a lot of fun way back then…and lucky us, we’re still having a lot of fun when we get together these days! We’re even doing some of the same things! Well, not the kick-the-can. Guess we’re getting a little too old for that, but we’re still skiing and swimming and climbing mountains.
Have a wonderful birthday today! I wish we could all be together, but you know we’ll be thinking about you.
Happy Birthday brother!