Category Archives: kismet

Gratitude Wisdom

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“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is

like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

(William Arthur Ward, American writer, 1921-1994)

There is something called a ‘Gratitude Challenge’ going on around

the world. There is an organization called “Kindspring,” which

brought together 11,000 people from 118 countries. This site is

at:

http://kindspring.org

This is great since it includes a ‘start up kit’ which is designed to

help community organizations sponsor their own challenges.

Apparently, each location has their own philosophy and ways to

promote gratitude. Whenever this happens to find its way to my

own reading material, I like to spread the happiness around to

others like you.

Gratitude has helped unlikely businesses like banks.  In Canada,

there have been four of the bank called TD, where they turned

their ATM’s into “Automatic Thank You” machines by providing

high value personalized gifts to the longest lasting customers.

This is to thank them for their loyalty to the bank. Any business

can be creative in showing appreciation in meaningful ways to

their customers.

I liked this quotation from the ‘grateful kickstarts’ in November,

2014 “Natural Awakenings” magazine:

“As with any new skill or habit, gratitude needs to be exercised

until it becomes second nature. Simply writing a page a day in a

gratitude journal or saying a morning ‘thank you’ prayer can help

maintain the momentum.”

 

Showing appreciation to strangers always makes my heart feel

warmer. Those unexpected ‘gifts’ or smiles are so welcome in

this busy life. Our family members also deserve some of this

shared gratefulness for their special ways that make us feel

loved. Sometimes, (I am guilty of this) we are kinder to those

we don’t know than those who are close in our daily lives. We

often take them for granted.

 

I get motivated by other’s thoughts and words so hope you will

find something meaningful in one of these three participants’

in the “Gratitude Challenge:”

 

>Lisa Henderson Middlesworth shared,

“I have started a gratitude journal that I write in every day. When

you run out of the ‘obvious’ blessings, it makes you dig deep and

see all the small things. I commit to do my very best to never take

anything or anybody, good or bad, for granted.”

 

>Colleen Epple Pine shared,

“A town can be such a blessing. Neighbors always pull together when

there’s a tragedy or natural disaster. The boundaries diminish and

yards become one. . . we eat in each other’s kitchens, supervise each

other’s children, share a vehicle and generally watch out for each

other. I believe it is God’s way of reminding us that we’re one family

and each of us provides the strength and foundation for the other.”

 

>Joanie Weber Badyna shared,

“My losses have given me an inner compass by with I live my life.

While I would not wish the tragedies I have experienced on anyone,

I am eternally grateful for the blessings. I do not waste time, and I

know how to love without fear.”

 

I like how each shows their own way of handling this challenge.

No one is ‘right’ or ‘better’ but all are powerful parts of a movement

for change.

I feel this is personal and hard to open up to share my inner gratitude

and what changes I will make. I related to the first woman, Lisa.

 

Robin’s challenge:

I need to be better at finding the ‘good’ in every one I meet.

I would like to be more open to showing my appreciation to

those who may not always be nice.

I am sure it will improve their outlook, as well as my own.

This is due to recently my youngest daughter pointed out,

I tend to be overall positive, but sometimes will say things

like, “I wish that server would bring me another cup of

coffee” or “I would have liked more tissue paper in the gift

bag from that specialty shop.” In both cases, I did not say

anything or let the person serving me know my complaint

or wishes. I didn’t even notice this within my own character,

which is odd. I know this sounds ‘self-serving’ to ask for

these things, but really you are showing more gratitude to

the one helping you, which makes them feel ‘valuable’ my

daughter said.

 

Then, it all made sense. I think being grateful is also letting

others join in, making them feel part of this good feeling. By

being able to let others know when you are uncomfortable you

can potentially prevent having to rant later about not having

things turn out like you expected. Putting your expectations

out there prevents passive aggression. Also, being nice and

friendly is a part of the whole kismet or karma/kharma circle.

This is also known as ‘paying forward.’ I want to tie this whole

gratitude challenge in with the happiness project, which I have

already written a post about.

 

Do you feel this is difficult to tell your own personal gratitude

challenges?  Are you willing to ‘put it all out there?’

Found Wonders

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Two weekends ago,

during our exciting

Arts Festival weekend,

I visited the library’s

Annual Book Sale

and Fundraiser.

Searching carefully,

sifting through dusty piles

and carts of tossed books,

I found ones tucked nicely,

waiting for just the

‘right’ owner.

Limited spaces

requires diligence

to limit additions.

In a unique and lovely book,

I discovered the perfect

June poem to share with you.

Serendipity,

kismet and karma

wrapped up into

the sweetest

bundle!

Always fantastic

to find treasures

in amongst forlorn

discards’ bin!

“Fancy’s Hour,”

Hardly-aged cobalt blue,

gold engraved witch

adorning the cover.

Scarcely read book?

While an engraved

gold fairy perches

on its binding.

The author, Norman C. Schlichter,

had written two other books.

One was called,

“Children’s Voices”

and the other one was,

“Voices of Joy.”

Oh, how ecstatic

I would have been

to have found those

other two books,

among those

tossed aside.

Publication date of 1922,

proceeds “Fancy’s Hour.”

What antiquities!

My brilliant blue book’s

copyright date is 1924.

The Publisher,

C. Winston Company,

Philadelphia.

Thumbing through book,

playful and exquisite,

this poem caught my eye

and enchanted my heart.

Instead of saving it,

for all the men out there

for Father’s Day,

Here is my own

Personal Dedication:

“This is for all those inquisitive boys

who grew up to play important roles in

the lives of curious children.”

By Robin Cochran, 6/1/14.

“When I Was Little”

by Norman C. Schlichter, (1924)

“When I was little, I wanted to know

The how and the why of the beautiful snow.

Why this was this, and that was that,

And all there was inside of my cat.

I wanted to find the giant purse,

That held the pennies of the Universe.

I wanted to know who lighted the stars,

And the destination of railroad cars.

I wanted to know what elephants knew,

And to see a mountain through and through.

I wanted to know why birds had wings,

And more than a thousand similar things.

And, now that I’m older, and grow to be

A man of ripe maturity.

There are things and things that I want to know,

And, like a child in the long ago,

No one can tell me them here below.”

This seems like a kind of Sunday message that fits our 84 degree

weather day. I walked in the brilliant sunshine, observing flowers

and green everywhere. Cars bustling and people sitting out on porches.

My oldest daughter had just stopped by to pick up the boys, heading

off to Mingo pool. The library’s coolness upon my warm arms, gave me

shivers. I sat for a moment, reflecting about the weekend and children’s

wonder of things. In their curiosity, over the Saturday hours we

spent together, Skyler and Micah had been interested in playing at

Mingo Park. They had wondered why people would run in half and quarter

marathons when you are ‘allowed to walk?’ For the cause of the American

Lung Association, Delaware had sponsored “The New Moon Half Marathon

and Quarter Marathon,” on May 31, 2014. During our normally short trip from

their home across town, we had been circumvented and rerouted, to get to the

park. The boys had been fascinated by an intricate spider’s web with its white

‘nest’ of babies found nestled in the low branches of a pine tree. They had

been picking up pine cones, seeking the coolness in the shade of the trees,

away from the Big Toy, where they had made friends and chased them, in

endless games of “Tag, you’re ‘It.'” Too many other questions and thoughts

to cover, the spider’s web led us to the subject of books. Skyler asked,

“Did you ever read the book, “Charlotte’s Web,” Nana?”

I smiled, nodded and responded back,

“Third grade was a perfect time to

read that book! I am so glad you

know about that, Skyler!

Please tell me about it.

Tell me all the things

I may have forgotten.”

One Who Served and Many Who Serve

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Today, May 21, 2014 is a day set aside for “Wait Staff Apreciation.”

By celebrating servers in the food industry we may improve their

self images and produce great service. It is always a wise choice

to be friendly to the ones, going in the kitchen to pick up your food

orders! Smile!

So, please appreciate all those men and women who try valiantly to fill

your food orders. They do, most of the time, try to act pleasantly and

give you time to look over the menu!

Tomorrow, is a day to remember Mr. Rogers. Fred started his long run of

being a kind neighbor to the younger ones in our world, back on May 22,

1967. Now, Wikipedia doesn’t have the correct date, as I found this in a

reliable source!

His show, “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood,” continued until 2001. Fred

passed away in 2003. In his lifetime, he received the Presidential

Medal of Honor, over 40 other special awards and the Peabody Award.

I felt Fred’s gentle soul, soft spoken ways, his daily routines were

quite soothing and comforting to my toddler children. I realize that

these days, with high technology and such fast-paced lives, most of

the small ones would find his show, “Boring!” I liked his changing

his jacket into a sweater, his puppets in the Land of Make Believe

and his male role model in a society, that even when my children

were little, did not have many male adults on television that tried

to ‘reach them.’

Another man who served his country well, is my good friend and coworker,

Melvin. He was walking out of the building today, telling me a funny

story about the Jack Russell terrier that lives next door to him, out

in Delaware County. It was a great one, where I wished (and he does, too)

that he could have captured this on film!

The story of his neighbor’s dog, “Ignat” is interesting and such an

amazing story that you may not quite believe it. I would not, if I

didn’t know this fine man, Melvin, who served his country from 1975

until 1997. His Army days have been fun to listen to, including his

serving in Germany, (maybe you remember he bought me a special wine

that they serve on the streets of Germany, warmed up in little cups

for the shoppers at Christmas?) You may remember his annual trips to

meet his Army buddies and the time he paid for a bunch of them to

have lobsters and crabs in Massachusetts. Also, he is the man who I

‘chase’ and he ‘chases’ me, around the area on the second floor of

our warehouse, called the Mezzanine.

Before you ask, ‘Why aren’t you thinking about Melvin as a future partner,

Robin?’ I will tell you that he is a very devoted boyfriend and lives

with a woman who has had serious surgery, sometimes he has cleaned out

colostomy bags or helped bathe her.

The best parts of Melvin, are his incredible patience and heart!

Oh, and having served as a cook, he is an outstanding guest at our work

potlucks! Melvin is getting geared up to be the caterer of a good pal’s

daughter’s high school graduation. He was out, recently, pricing pork.

I may or may not have told you, a weird thing is, most places don’t

keep the skin on the pig! So, he had a ‘heck’ of a time locating one

that he could put on a pit!

Another part of my ‘verification’ of his abilities to not only work hard;

but be truthful is that he has always ‘called them like he sees them,’ no

matter what. In any conversation, whether it is about “Duck Dynasty,”

musical tastes or whether or not he likes a certain movie or song, he

will impart his ‘wisdom.’ I sometimes will include him in my ‘lunch time’

survey of opinions to include in my stories about work.

Anyway, Melvin was out in the yard, looking around the barn where he had

seen a large, lumbering raccoon go into. He also was looking out at the

field, where he had just seen a young doe. He was smiling, while recounting

about seeing the white tail bobbing up and down, as it leaped over some of

the remains of weeds that had grown up in the neighboring farmer’s fields.

He says, that he shouted to “Ignat” (possibly the shortened name for

Ignatious?) We cannot figure out why this dog has this name and Melvin

is sure of it, since he has bent down to feed him a dog biscuit and

read the little brass circle that holds his name. Melvin calls him

“Little Big Man,” in remembrance of Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of a

wizened, stooped version of a Native American and why that makes him

think of that, I am not sure…

Anyway, I digress again!

Back to the rest of Melvin’s story, he whistled to the neighbor’s

roaming dog, and he would not come to him. He was gazing off into the

distance at the doe, sure enough, there was a blurring motion of the

dog, as it took chase after the doe. Melvin says that they would go

‘aways,’ the dog’s energy would start to wane, and “Ignat” would slow

down. The doe, he insists, would slow down to ‘wait’ for the dog to

catch his breath. Melvin insists that the doe even stopped from entering

the nearby woods, turning her direction to head a different direction!

“Ignat” would then zigzag and head off, speeding up to catch the doe!

Melvin says he would ‘swear on a Bible’ that this was a true incident!

When he got tired of seeing if “Ignat” would catch the doe, he looked

up at the window of his barn and lo and behold!

Another ‘minor miracle’ occurred!

Melvin saw four little baby raccoons with their tiny little paws up

on the window pane! He did not see that for too long, since the Mama

Raccoon must have ‘shooed them away from the window.’

“Melvin, are you sure, double sure, that you aren’t pulling my leg

now?”

He repeated the part about ‘swearing on the Bible.’

Wasn’t this more than enough to entertain me,

and you, today?

Time is of the Essence!

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“Perfect Timing”

by Robin Cochran

Plane arrivals and departures,

cannot always be counted on.

The precious view from a distance

of a loved one’s approach, forgives

the inaccuracy in timing.

Dance recitals, a couple who share

their dance moves in a seamless

and singular motion.

Comedy sketches, where the comic

can deliver the powerful ‘punch

line’ with impeccable timing.

“Care packages”, sent with love,

just when you are about to get

homesick. (Away at camp or school.)

Mail arrival, when the letter and

written correspondence cheers you

up and out of a blue mood.

Money enclosures, arriving just in

time, to keep your checking account

out of the ‘red!’

Meeting someone new, either at work or

out in public, almost an ‘other worldly’

connection.

Theatre stage actors, delivering their

lines with power and strength, grasping

the audience in their timing.

New loves, when everything falls into

place, from the very first moment.

(“Across a crowded room…”)

Florist deliveries, full of pleasure and

wonderful scented arrangements that bring

apologies, in their arrival.

Musical partners or groups, who match the

beats and harmonize, while performing.

Unexpected phone calls, from distant and

long lost friends, filling in the gaps.

While moving out of or into a house,

people showing up, just when you needed

them.

Every time a hug is received…

Chores, completed within a certain rhythm

and gleefully unexpected moments.

Two cars, meeting at the same destination

arriving at the same time.

Send in the troops, the necessary back up

force while energy and strength is flagging.

Arrival of a new baby, whenever, however

unexpected it may be.

Jobs, where being there at the right place

and the right time.

The two acrobats, one ready to release from

the bar, the other ready to catch.

Home run ‘hits,’ football ‘goals,’ and other

sporting great moves!

Meals, while juggling varied dishes,

completion results in all at the same time.

Encouraging signs given, when least expected.

Some may call them, the Hand of God, Karma,

Kismet, Zen or Serendipity.

When has something in your own life, seemed

to be perfectly timed?

“Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall”

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I have had what seems like “lifelong friends,” that have

known me at my ‘worst,’ and cheered me on at my ‘best!’

I would love to hear about your friendships that have

endured time, travel, moving away from each other and

other trials and tribulations.

Thirty years ago, plus some ‘change,’ (1980), I went to

my first Welcome Wagon meeting. I had moved to Lancaster,

Ohio and had to turn down a continuing teaching position.

My ex-husband ‘couldn’t find a good job in Toledo area’

and had been working as a bartender through my subbing

and then, getting a wonderful and ‘perfect’ position.

His lateness, although irritating, never had bothered

me too much, until the birth of our daughter in March,

1980. I had ‘complained’ to my grandfather, who set

my ex up with a trip to Texas to interview for Armco

Steel Co. My grandfather had been an engineer and

written a worker’s manual for the company many years

prior to this time. He was concerned, as was I, of

the impact of drinking in my first husband’s life

upon a family. Anyway, Dave got the job for National

Supply, located in Logan, Ohio and it was apparent

to him, as he drove through Lancaster on his way

there and back, that we would be most happy in a

larger town than Logan. I ended up subbing there

and Rockmill, too. Little towns were fun to visit

and substitute in, but no, we were ‘city people.’

(He was from Cincinnati, I was from Cleveland, as

you know, met at college on the first day of school.)

Once we relocated to Lancaster, I read the Lancaster

Eagle Gazette’s headlines, “60 Teachers Laid Off.”

Oh no! I ended up choosing to advertise to babysit

other people’s children, also finding someone in

our townhouse area who would sporadically have me

watch her daughter, too.

I desperately needed an ‘excuse’ to make friends

and get out of the house! When I entered Welcome

Wagon, this will come across strangely, but I saw

Nancy from a distance. She was blonde, big blue

eyes and had this open looking face. When I approached

her, she beamed with the prettiest smile. I know, this

sounds like two future ‘lovers’ rather than the best

friends we became. We exchanged phone numbers and

within a week or two, we had our first coffee girls’

night out ‘date.’ We met at Frisch’s, two quite

different people, actually, at the time. I was a new

mother of a six month old, she was a working girl

and a computer ‘whiz.’ We chatted about Akron where

she was from, family and why we both needed to have

friends.

I had chosen to start going to the Presbyterian Church,

was inquiring if she would like to go. Interestingly

enough, she is the frequent church goer in that same

town, while I was great as a wife and mother, then

later, even better as a single mother of three, she

and her husband (now ex) were not interested in

attending. Her present husband is wonderful and they

have a lovely home, his daughter, fully grown and

her husband and their granddaughter, Giada.

What kept us going through all those years? We had

become leaders in the organization, I was President

and Nancy was Treasurer. (Or were you Vice Pres.?)

Anyway, we had card club gatherings and progressive

dinners, but always we had our Wednesday nights out

at Frisch’s. It was so nice to hear about her busy

life, and she welcomed comments about my daughter.

We shared the humdrum of our lives, each fascinated

by the other’s plight in life.

When she and her husband got divorced, I begged her

to stay in the business where she was in the computer

data field.She stayed and not too many months after

her divorce, her second husband, also working in that

field, asked her out and they became a couple, then

husband and wife. She and her second husband came to

my second child’s birth, hours later, at the hospital.

They also, attended my second marriage and saw my third

child, shortly after she was born.

There was a card I once saw, that had a mobster on the

front, it had a caption inside that said something like

this:

“You and me… we have to stay friends forever!

You know too much!”

That is how our Nancy and Robin days have been, there are

too many special occasions, memories shared, with

Nancy and Mike coming to Delaware to see graduations

and my son’s wedding…

What is most unbelievable, to both of us, plus others

who hear of our friendship, is that we have not lived

in the same town since 1986! We travel over an hour,

each way, to meet at the halfway point. You may have

read in a before Christmas post, that we used to meet

at a halfway Bob Evans, then one windy, snowing morning

early December, we drove into the Bob Evans’ driveway, up

to a chain that blocked entering, and I suggested going

back across the bridge over 270 and go to a Frisch’s.

Then, one June (we like to meet halfway through the

year), we drove up to the Frisch’s restaurant and

alas, it was closed! It has been about four years, 8

trips later, that we have been meeting at a Tee Jayes.

It is very nice and we have non-stop, ‘catch up’ talks

that make us seem very hyperactive, bringing bags of

books in the summer and gifts to exchange in our

“First Christmas” of the year time. We both exclaim,

“The Christmas Season cannot begin until we see each

other!”

My friend, Patrice, has been a longtime friend, she

and I were living in Batchelder Quadrangle, at BGSU

when we met. I have mentioned meeting her this past

summer, we had not seen each other more than three

times since she and I were at my first Wedding and

she was my Maid of Honor. We use our cell phones to

keep in touch and we have had two great visits, one

up in Charlevoix, MI and one in Lakewood, Ohio, where

Patrice grew up and I drove to meet her at her male

friend’s apartment. She stays, as a guest, in the

suite, not with her male friend from BGSU.

All of this trio of friends, has something unique

and permanent in their ‘true blue’ natures. I am

sure I must return something that is also rare and

special, for they have put up with me for all these

years! They are tied in First Place for Best Friends

of Robin!

My local “best” friend, I think, has to be considered

the one I get to see weekly. When we go more than a

week without seeing each other, we hug and exclaim,

“It seems like forever since I saw you!” We have that

kind of strong bond, that just happened over time.

When we first became friends, we met at an American

Association of University Women picnic at Mingo Park.

Believe it or not, I was supposed to be greeting

newcomers. (I am being facetious, since this is my

favorite role of all time! I was Miss Congeniality

in high school and never stopped that habit of

chatting and getting to know the ‘new face’ in

the room!

I did approach her, with a special smile on my face!

I know this is crazy, especially twice in my life, but

I just knew that Jenny would be a great friend! She

had short, attractive blonde hair and blue eyes. Isn’t

that weird that my Lancaster friend and my Delaware

friend look similar? Well, they also have fantastic

husbands, so I have seated them together at Jamie and

Trista’s wedding, at Felicia’s high school and college

graduation and Carrie’s high school graduation, too!

It is like a miracle that they have ‘stayed with me’

through my more than second time around marriages. They

have stopped and stayed forever and a day with their

second and best choices for husbands. While I just

sojourned on, with the third one and divorced again!

The card that makes me cry when I open it, is the one Jenny

gave me for my 58th birthday last Autumn. It has a notebook

lined-paper look, with a light mint green on the front. I

did not bring it to the library but the essence of this

awesome and unforgettable card says this:

“You were not with me in elementary school to play out on

recess. You were not my best friend when I was in high

school, so we couldn’t pass notes back and forth. You

are my best friend now, you will be my best friend

tomorrow and forever.”

That is a meaningful message for me. I can “count on

her,”

through thick and thin,

and all the Seasons…

“Winter

Spring

Summer

and

Fall…” (James Taylor song)

for the rest of my life!

The Truth

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It seems like this word, in itself, could fill journals about

its meaning and consequences. The lack of it, definitely present

in society, individuals and often in companies’ actions. It is a

hard thing to come by, these days, it seems, to find an honest

person. Everywhere you turn, media in all its glory, flashes on

the falseness, the liar, and the unfaithful people. Businesses

have false advertising and people who hold C.E.O. positions are

often taking the brunt of the lies, sometimes knowingly promoting

them. Politicians are not to be trusted, or so the media often

publicizes the ones that are the worst, anyway.

“White lies” or “fibs” are what you would normally expect among

friends, loved ones and family. It would be great if that was the

“worst” you would have to face on a daily basis: someone telling

you look “nice” when you are recovering from the flu or that

dress “fits you,” when it has different areas pinching you in

all the wrong places!

It would be fantastic if there were no lying going on. I loved

the wit, satire and sarcasm of Ricky Gervais in the “The Invention

of Lying.” Poor, beautiful Jennifer Garner’s character is the “foil”

for a lot of the jokes and being so sincerely sweet and innocent,

believing Ricky’s character’s bold faced lies!

The song, “You Can Count on Me” comes from the adorable animated

children’s film, “The Fox and the Hound.” It is a great song about

how friends can count on each other. It was written in 1982, by

Burt Bacharach and has been performed by Rod Stewart, Dionne Warwick

Stevie Wonder, and many more. This leads to my second favorite

song about friendship, it begins with those infamous words, “Winter,

Spring, Summer or Fall…” (“You’ve Got a Friend” sung by James Taylor.)

Both of these songs are talking about your friends being there for you,

through thick and thin. I would like to say, that most people also

assume their friends and lovers will be honest, too. I mean, why would

someone say they are your best friend, or “You are my best friend” and

then, turn around and lie? Also, who would expect someone to say the

wedding vows, then within months, turn around and cheat on their new

bride or groom?

I have a “belief system” that I have “paid” for my mistakes in not

always being honest, if I have misjudged someone, or when I omitted

the truth. This is when I feel “karma” has come into play. Maybe

some would think God would punish the lies. I am not sure about this,

I prefer to think payback comes in time, “what goes around, comes

around.”

As I get older, though, sincerely to tell you the truth, I find it

easier to keep my ‘facts straight’ and to stay on the ‘straight and

narrow,” by just telling the truth. Isn’t that a mouthful? But, I

think you may understand, when you ‘make up excuses’ for not attending

a dinner, helping a friend move or something even more serious, you

don’t feel like going to a funeral, if you don’t just say, “I don’t

feel like it,” inevitably you will be caught in this “lie.” You will

be running out to get milk and you aren’t really “sick” as you had

given for the excuse out of a dinner with a somewhat irritating

friend or relative. They catch you and then, not only is their mistrust,

but you must pay with a bunch of guilty feelings!

While discoursing, without much factual backing on this subject, I had

to tell you that the famous line, Jack Nicholas’ character belts out

in the great movie, “A Few Good Men” echoes in my mind:

“You can’t handle the truth!!”

This can also happen, in your life, you are hiding your head like a

turtle, sheltering your heart. You don’t want to know that the person

you loved is unfaithful to you. You don’t want to really know your friend

cheated on her income taxes. You don’t want to… fill in the blanks of

when you would rather hear a lie. You would rather be comforted with the

blanket of untruthfulness.

Have you ever met someone who could look you straight in your eyes, without

batting their eyes, and they could tell you a lie? I have had two men in

my life and a girlfriend do this. It is heart breaking and also, strange when

you look back, seeing that there were threads left dangling, there was some

unraveling going on and you chose to ignore it.

While watching a rerun of “Criminal Minds” I found out that a man or woman

can take the lie detector test and still “pass it” by biting the inside of

their mouth. By creating a painful moment, their can be irregularities in

those “spikes” where the reader can see the lies. But, it can be artificially

created in intervals with little tricks like biting the inside of your mouth,

taking big, deep breaths and exhaling to give your pulse and reactions some

time to relax.

When people are put on the witness stand, they place a hand on the Bible,

then they say those famous words, “I swear to tell the truth, the whole

truth, so help me God.” Wish we could just go around in our lives, being

able to trust our friends, neighbors and loved ones. Sometimes this is

not possible. When you have to face a person who lied to you, how easy

is it for you to forgive? Are their different “levels of transgressions”

that would help you to decide how soon to give out forgiveness?

A serious subject and a diversion from Christmas. Far from the happy

posts, recently, and I hope you will forgive my “breaking up the party”

for these few moments…

Lying.”

Chasing Shadows of the Past

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While studying the photographs on the Veteran’s Day board at my

Mom’s senior apartment building, I pointed to a tall, gangly looking

young man wearing an Air Force uniform from the WWII era. I asked

Mom if she recognized the name of the man. She looked at his face,

then the name and said, “I think I knew him!”

I turned to her and saw a rapt emotion covered face. I told her that I

had asked about the name of the man not if she knew the man. She

asked what did I mean by that? I told her that one of her favorite

Westlake High School 1971 graduates shared the first and last name

of the man, but the picture resembled him. I exclaimed with some

verve in my voice,

“That resident of Westlake Village Senior Living Apts. may be the

father of the young man from your World Lit and Spanish classes!”

She looked at me, kind of a funny expression, “Well, that would still

mean I may have met his father, too!”

We headed off from the main part of the building towards the “C”

building part. This is the area where the residents may have some

form of disability and more challenges in their daily living skills.

As we headed off on our “wild goose chase,” Mom, her dog, Nicki

on her leash, (patient saint of a little dog,) and I down the quiet

corridors towards the door I reflected back on the numerous times

over the years where Mom would cross paths with her students. Some

had ended up living in Vermilion (where Dad and she had retired),

some were living in Westlake, and we would see them in shopping malls

and stores around the western suburbs of Cleveland.

This particular student, who may or may not be one of her students,

had been one of MY favorites, too. He had gone on to Cornell University.

Jim had come home over holidays and during my four high school years,

I had written to him, along with my Mom’s enclosed letters. When I went

off to BGSU, I heard he had moved on, gone to medical college somewhere,

but we had lost touch. Mom had more new favorites to write to. I have only

his high school graduation picture, had his old address at Cornell, and did

not carry his torch once I met my first husband on my first day of college.

I thought of how paths twist and turn, criss and cross, I had some bubbles

of hope float up to greet me.

A silly song, kind of old but a “goody” starts out,

“Slow down,

You move too fast.

You’ve got to make the morning last,

Just kickin’ down the cobble-stones,

Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy…”

Song, “The 59th Street Bridge Song,” otherwise known as “Feelin’ Groovy.”

Written and performed by the legendary folk music duo of Simon and

Garfunkel, 1966.

I had the true feeling of “Anticipation,” another great song, by the special

songstress, Carly Simon. She sang this song the year the young man, my

Mom’s past student graduated, 1971.

We went to a door of a man who had a flag and another copy of the young,

handsome uniformed Air Forceman’s photo on his shelf outside his door.

This shelf is one I like to decorate for Mom, using some of my seasonal

decorations. I am glad to remember the servicemen around the world

who dedicated their lives to their countries.

I hesitated for a moment, then decided to knock. I heard a waverly and

faint, frail sounding man’s voice ask,

“Who is it?”

I said, “My name is Robin and my Mom lives in B building. We were

wishing to talk to you.”

The male voice gave a little louder reply,

“Wait a minute… I am coming!”

When the door opened, a tall, handsome but much older, slumped version;

a “shadow of the man in the photograph” answered the door.

I launched into my introductions, telling him enthusiastically that we were

hoping he was the father of a man my Mom had taught. I identified which

high school, the one that is only two streets over, in the same town as her

senior apartments was. He repeated the words,

“Westlake High School… my son attended one in another suburb of

Cleveland. He named it.”

I said that his name, James, with his last name was the same as one of my

Mom’s “favorite students.”

He leaned against the wall by the door, having forgotten, I imagined a cane

or a walker in his rush to open the door. He was very pleasant and regretful

of being the “wrong” James or Jim.

I looked at him, decided to give him a big hug for those thoughtful words,

and he imparted some information that may or may not be helpful on

the further investigation to where in the world is Jim or James…

When my son moved to Medina or Mentor, I forget which city, he would

get his mail mixed up with another man with the same first and last name,

who was a doctor.

This new “lead” on the man in my memories and my Mom’s held some

possibilities. We both thanked him very much, he seemed reluctant to

have us go. We mentioned we hoped to see him sometime in the future.

I took his whole name with the middle initial added to it, thinking that it

may be able to be traced or followed with a little internet help.

I have not done this yet.

I am a little afraid, maybe might seem like a “stalker” but I have a little

glimmer of hope. You know why, don’t you?

Maybe, it will be kharma or kismet…

I can always hope this may lead me to my happy ending.