Never Give Up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lord

I’m just going to be honest with you

I don’t like myself today

My leg feels like a gang of Ninja Turtles

Is stabbing it with knives

My house is draped with cobwebs

The laundry is piled to the ceiling

My flower beds are crawling with weeds

The dog needs a bath

The car needs washing

And I’m too tired and depressed to care!

Could I please have a new body

And a new brain

Because I’m not feeling the joy right now

Maybe I will tomorrow

Or the next day

Or next week . . .

What’s that you say?

Get off the pity pot?

Not what I wanted to hear

But you’ll have to help me up

Because of my leg and all

And you’ll have to help me to keep

Trusting you because you know

How easily distracted I get

Like when I walk into a room

And start doing something

And walk into another room

And start doing something else

Till the whole house is torn up

Driving my husband nuts

And keeping the dog confused

So help me to stay focused

And to remember the countless times

You have helped me in the past

Through harder times than these

And give me strength to endure the pain

Because mine is all used up

Give me a heart of thanksgiving

Because sometimes the darkness overshadows

The beautiful blessings that surround me

But most of all when clinging to the edge

Of the jagged treacherous cliff

And my fingers are cut and bleeding

And my hopes plunge to my toes

And help seems miles away

Help me to trust and believe in who you are

And the things you have done

And the promises you have kept

And help me above all else

To never ever give up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was the worst argument ever!
My husband, sitting in his big black
Fake leather recliner, suddenly
Metamorphosed into the Incredible Hulk.
Not to be outdone, I parked my broom,
Plopped on the couch
And began shaking my long,
Crooked finger from across the den.
The battle of the wills was vicious.
Like being in a house of horrors,
Angry words went flying around and
Screeching like a bunch of demented bats.
Even the dog ran and hid.
I couldn’t take it anymore.
I grabbed my broom and flew out the door.
I almost went back, afraid of driving
Without a license, but I didn’t.
Stupid wasn’t out of my system yet.
I needed to run away. Be by myself.
Just like I did as a kid when the screaming
And shouting began at home.
Run and keep running till I collapsed
Under a tree and cried a puddle of tears,
Wishing I never had to go back home again.
Since it was too hot and I’m too old to run,
I hesitantly took the car.
There was no place in mind I wanted to go,
just away. I wasn’t liking my husband
Very much right then, and I even wanted
To crawl out of my own skin.
I pulled into a vacant lot surrounded by trees,
Under the shade, far away from people
And cars and cops. And there I finished
Spilling my guts to the glaring windshield,
The dusty dashboard, the trees dancing in the wind,
And the birds flying by. I think God was there too,
Reminding me that life is too short
And we’ve been married so long
And the argument was completely fruitless
And that I push too hard, expect too much,
And my husband can’t take it anymore!
“But I need more help with the yard,” I bawled.
“Pulling weeds and trimming trees and bushes
Are too much for me now. And besides,
He’s the one who wanted that gigantic yard!”
Three hours and a million tears
And unanswered questions later,
I turned on the ignition and slowly
Drove back home. The long way.
Through the winding country roads
Where cops seldom tread.
I pulled into the long, tree-lined driveway,
Parked the car, and grabbing my broom,
I flew back into the house.
“Do you know what a chance you took?”
Mr. Hulk flared.
And jutting my long pointy chin toward
The popcorn ceiling I screeched,
“Jep! But right now I don’t care!”
Before the sun went down like we always do,
We talked things out, going through the I’m sorry
Scenarios and how much we hate arguing,
The shame and regret that we felt,
The hugs and kisses, reassuring one another
That we will get through these hard times of
Running short of money before the end of
Every month; that God is and will continue
Taking care of us; that the VA is going to help him
With his PTSD and the horrific nightmares,
And that I will try to be more understanding . . .
And talking and working things out
Is why we’ve been married forty-five years,
Why we haven’t left each other,
Why we haven’t killed each other,
Why we understand each other . . .
So life is short and it’s tough and unfair,
Married or single, rich or poor, young or old.
But real love always wins out in the end!

Emergency Room Horrors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because I could barely move and felt as if someone
Was bludgeoning my back with a baseball bat
My husband called for an ambulance
No sirens
No breaking the speed barrier
Just an ambulance
Didn’t want to alarm the neighbors
During the bumpy twenty-minute ride to the hospital
Visions of angelic faces and a big happy
Giant painkiller danced through my mind
I could just see the nurses and doctors rolling out the red carpet
Rushing to my side
Covering my writhing body with layers of warm fuzzy blankets
I could almost feel the pain ebbing away as I floated off to la la land
Finally
We arrived
But worse than the persistent pain radiating from my hip down to my toes
Was the ear-ringing slap of reality across my face!
As if plagued with leprosy
Or something even worse
I was whisked away into a cold
Isolated room with flimsy curtains for walls
Rolled onto a rock-hard bed
Covered up with a skimpy heated blanket
And left there
For hours
No angelic faces
No painkillers
No hope that I would get out of this alive
Just me
And my husband
And my pain
Finally
Three hours later
And upon my husband’s threats to gouge out someone’s eyes
An x-ray technician rushed to my side
Nearly jerked me out of bed and rushed down the hall
With me limping a mile behind him to the x-ray room
Suddenly
He turned around and asked
Do you want a wheelchair?
I nearly bit off my tongue to keep from screaming
Do you want a punch in the face?
And as if he hadn’t tortured me enough with his first set of pictures
Making me stand on a cold floor
Half naked
Writhing in pain
Posing in positions my body couldn’t remember ever doing
He rushed back into my room
Told me to lift my rear and shoved a board under my back
And in spite of all my groaning and crying and pleading
He shot a million more pictures
Well
Maybe it was two
Then he left and it was just me
And my husband
And my pain
And my tears
And my wanting someone to cut off my head!
Another hour and a few more bloody threats from my husband
And a nurse charged beside my bed
Stuck a plastic cup under my nose containing one little lonely pain pill
And whispered, “Chew it up, It’ll work faster.”
The minutes dragged by
Like a one-legged old man running a three-day marathon as I lay on my side
Waiting for the stupid slothful pill to do something
Anything
Just do it!
From another curtained room I heard a man’s pitiful cries for help
Louder and louder he cried
Then came a nurse’s flippant retort,
Tell him to take a deep breath!
Now things are starting to roll
The x-ray technician came bouncing back into my room
And with a big fat smile on his face, he beamed
No broken bones!
And I wanted to pull out my long sharp pointy horns and say,
I could have told you that, Einstein!
Then came the nurse with a long needle dripping with steroid
A few crippled apologies that needed a wheelchair worse than I did
And sent me home with a chewed up pain pill that got lost somewhere
Between my mouth and my brain
And a few prescriptions that I swear were laughing at me!
Limping beside my husband down the long dark depressing hallway
He helped me into a pathetic looking chair beside a paper-cluttered desk
And hustled out the door to get the car
But Hell’s fury wasn’t done with me yet!
In front of me towered a heavyset woman wearing a brazen-faced glare
And with a resonate whip-cracking voice
She demanded that I move
Because someone else needed to sit there!

Till Death do us Part

I didn’t want another pet

Not that I don’t love animals

I do

As a tender-hearted kid

I rescued a skunk once

And wanted to keep it

Till it sprayed me

Then there were the two baby squirrels

That in spite of all my efforts to save them

They died

And I will never forget the huge tomcat

 With a nub for a tail

That completely stole my heart

He went on the prowl one night

And never returned

And there were puppies and kittens

And hamsters and guinea pigs

And a talking parakeet

All mysteriously went missing

Except for the parakeet

That got sick and died

Then

Not that long ago

Fate delivered to my doorstep

A rambunctious homeless mongrel

That wriggled his way into my heart

And broke it to pieces when he died

 That’s why I didn’t want another pet

You love them then they go missing or they die

Yet

Here I stand gazing into the dingy cage

Tears streaming down my face

Falling in love

With a floppy-eared

Skinny

Long-legged

Thirty-pound mutt

Her wet nose pressed against the heartless cage

Her soulful eyes pleading

Her tail wagging ferociously

And in spite of all the what if’s and’s and but’s

That stormed across my mind

My heart told me I couldn’t leave her

In this stinking noisy prison

Where her beautiful life

May soon be put to an ugly end

So I brought her home with me

To care for her

To play with her

To protect her

To stretch my patience to the outer limits

Through all the chewing

And pooping

And peeing on the floor

And the frenzied running and jumping

And boisterous demands

And to promise to love her

Till death do us part

The Downside of Getting Old

old-people-4

Not only is it inconvenient

Old age comes at a bad time

With little or no benefits

And lots of aches and pains

Doctor’s appointments

And drugs

And BenGay

And laxatives

Most of our friends are either dead

Or in nursing homes

Or just don’t remember us

Teenagers think we’re from another planet

Middle-aged people wish we were on another planet

And the rest of society just doesn’t care

Bit by bit we lose our independence

Our eyesight

Our hearing

Our mind

We pine for the good old days

Pray for another day

And hope to get through the day

But I’m thankful that I’ve lived this long

I really am

I just wish I could have done it

Without getting old

~ Sandi

Dee Dee Voltron

voltron

When I’m jogging I’m thinking. Thinking about the good old days. Thinking about the movie I watched last night. Thinking about soaking my feet when I get home. Thinking, thinking, thinking. Sometimes I’m in such deep thought that I can’t remember jogging up the hill I just came down. Now that’s scary!

Today I thought about Brandon, my first grandchild and how he picked out names to call all his grandparents, except for me. For some reason, he couldn’t decide on a name for me. Maybe, because I was the youngest, in his mind I didn’t fit the typical granny image. Maybe he just couldn’t figure me out, I don’t know. Whatever his reasons, he didn’t have an endearing, grandmotherly name for me.

Then, one Sunday afternoon my daughter-in-law smiled and said, “Brandon’s picked out a name for you. It’s Dee Dee. He was trying to say Sandi but it came out Dee Dee instead.”

“Well okay then. Dee Dee, it is.”

Brandon loved for me to tell him stories. In the car, at the mall, in the grocery store, on the porch swing . . . everywhere! All I’d hear is,”Tell me a story, Dee Dee! Tell me a story!”

Now, there’s just so many stories a granny can make up about the two of us riding on Mrs. Eagle’s back over the highest mountains or talking to Mr. Tree in the enchanted forest or creeping into a really dark, really spooky house deep in the woods. But if I didn’t make up something he’d drive me crazy until I did. That’s the way it works for those of you who haven’t figured it out yet. 

His most favorite story was when the two of us teamed up with Voltron and battled all the bad guys. We’d wield our shiny swords, conjure up our magic powers and fight till the bitter end. Then, we’d crawl into a cave where we’d regroup and strategize our next sneak attack.

 Suddenly, in Brandon’s eyes, Voltron was no longer a plastic action figure. Voltron was me, his hero, the one who came to his rescue, who bandaged his wounds and killed all the bad guys. Never again would I be just plain old Dee Dee. I was Immortal. I was invincible. I was Dee Dee Voltron!

And after all those battles I had to fight, and all those stories I had to conjure up, I earned that title and wore it well . . . at least in Brandon’s eyes.

Brandon’s now grown with a family of his own. And, although he no longer begs me to tell him stories, he remembers them all so well and still fondly refers to me as “Dee Dee Voltron!”

Be Your Own Cheerleader!

cheer

Dragging my exhausted, sweaty body through the front door, I excitedly told hubby, who’s still laying in bed, that I jogged an hour and a half!

Barely raising his head off the pillow he murmured,”That’s good.”

That’s good? I felt like jerking him out of bed! If he only knew how my feet burned the entire time and how difficult the hills were and how many times I just wanted to stop!

Disappointed in his half-hearted response I started a much-needed  shower. Then, as if he had cleaned the entire house and mowed the lawn, hubby yelled from the bed, “I cleaned the commode!”

Sometimes we have to be our own cheering section. Not everyone is going to jump up and down for our accomplishments. Not everyone is going to share our enthusiasm. And if that’s the only reason we do something, then we’re doing it for the wrong reason.

And to let hubby off the hook, he is my biggest fan, he just doesn’t always cheer as loud as I’d like him to.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Old Woman

Mirror mirror on the wall

I am my mother after all

My face is lined and wrinkled

My eyes are growing dim

My throat looks like a turkey’s neck

And hair’s growing on my chin

My butt’s the size of a barn

And my belly’s not far behind

All my body parts are sagging

And I’ve nearly lost my mind

I hope I’ve finally made her happy

As she looks down from heaven on high

To see that her fateful words came true

Before I roll over and die

~Sandi

Squirrel Capers

Squirrel By Colin

Every morning he amuses me

Scrambling up and down the tree

Chasing his buddies

Jumping from limb to limb

Sitting on the ground

Eating from his tiny hands

His white belly glistening in the sun

He’s so cute

Until he jumps on the bird feeder

Chases all the birds away

Costing us a fortune

Dumping birdseed on the ground

That’s when I want to wring his scrawny neck

Cut off his bushy tail

And hang it on my car antenna

For all his fellow critters to see

Instead

I let the dog out

He likes squirrels

As much as I like snakes

Like a raging bull

He charges out the door

Barking and growling

His hackles sticking up

His Iron jaws clamping down

Barely missing the little guy

As he scrambles up the tree

Where he belongs

Where I wish he’d stay

Forever

But then

I’d miss all the fun

~Sandi

Never Give Up!

Every Halloween the supermarket where mom shopped in Newark, Delaware held a contest. The store manager challenged local school kids to draw scary Halloween pictures on the store windows using soap. There could only be two winners, a girl, and a boy, and the grand prize was a spanking new bike for each one.

I entered the contest, not because I was a great artist, and surely not because I was overflowing with confidence. Quite the contrary. I dabbled in art as an outlet. And I was so shy and timid that I rarely participated in group activities. I felt more like an outsider than a member of the human race.

But a million times more than I was afraid, I wanted that bike.

My brothers did a number on my old, rickety bike. Every time I’d go to ride it I’d find the seat missing, or the handlebars or fenders. One day the chain was missing. Not gonna happen if I win that new bike. They’ll be lucky if they even get to look at it!

With paper and pencil in hand, I knelt on the living room floor and leaning against the big round coffee table that daddy made, I sketched the best picture a thirteen-year-old could conjure up. Little did I know that I was making lasting impressions on the beautiful pine table. All I thought about was winning that bike.

It was freezing cold and dark, except for the lights outside the store and parking lot. Like a tiny mouse, I stood before the stark, towering window, wondering what I had gotten myself into. Ignoring my doubts and chattering teeth, I removed my glove, picked up the bar of soap and began my masterpiece.

Giggles and laughter pierced the night, warming my spirits and coaxing me through the bitter cold.

About an hour into my drawing, my fingers were so numb I could barely feel the soap. Most of the other contestants were finished and horsing around and scribbling on each others windows, being totally annoying. But I wanted that bike. And I wasn’t going to quit if it took me all night long to finish. Stealing a glance at the boy to my right, his face etched with determination, I knew he wasn’t going to quit either.

Several hours later, I was finally finished. Much to my relief, mom and daddy had arrived, and feeling like the abominable snowman, I climbed into the toasty warm car, wondering if I’d ever thaw out.

The day finally arrived. On the way to the supermarket, my heart pounded with anticipation wondering what the next few hours would bring. With mom and daddy by my side, we stood shivering in the parking lot, anxiously waiting to hear the winners names announced. The sun was shining. The growing crowd was buzzing. And I was dreaming of riding my new bike.

Finally, a tall, slender man walked to the podium. I couldn’t tell you what he was wearing, if he was bald or what color his eyes were. But I can tell you his voice was that of an angel when he heralded through the microphone, “Sandra Baylis! Come and receive your new bike!”

I could have kissed a frog that day!

As daddy carefully secured my shiny blue bike in the trunk, I noticed a boy pushing his shiny new red bike. The same boy who was persistently drawing at my right.

When mom told me that I didn’t win because my picture was the best, but because of  my persistence, I was not discouraged. I was not crushed. I was empowered with the knowledge that, in spite of my weaknesses, I have a strong determination to reach my goals if I don’t give up.

My message to you is, never give up. Believe in yourself. And when the going gets rough . . . keep going.

~ Sandi