Category Archives: waitress

The “C” Word Messages

Image

All

deserved

Life

NOT

Death

 

No

Age

Race

Religion

Culture

Income Level

Fill-in-the blanks

Discrimination

 

. . .

 

All

affected

One

Way

Or

Another

 

Divided

We

Fail

 

. . .

 

First

comes

the

Verdict

 

CANCER

 

No

One

Is

Left

Un-Touched

 

. . .

 

Fear

Fear

Fear

Anger

Frustration

Confusion

Questioning

 

. . .

 

“The ‘WHY?'”

 

Why my Mom’s Mom?

Why my Grandma M.?

~ Paula ~

 

Why my Children’s Grandpa?

Why my Mom’s Husband?

Why my Dad?

~ Robert ~

 

Why my Daughter in Law’s Mom?

~ Cricket ~

 

Why my Daughter in Law’s Step-Mom?

~ Chris ~

 

Why did both of my best friend’s Mom’s

have to leave us?

 

“Why Me?”

 

. . .

 

Fellow Bloggers

 

Coworkers

~ Terry ~

~ Jean ~

 

Neighbors

 

Friends

 

Loved Ones

 

Famous Ones

 

. . .

 

Light

Up

The

Fires

 

Cell Phones

Bic Lighters

Flames

 

. . .

 

Support

Write

Your

Checks

 

Donate

to

Science

Research

 

. . .

HOPE

Laughter

LIFE

. . .

 

“Take a Stand”

“Stand Up

For

Cancer”

 

. . .

“United

We Stand”

“Divided

We Fail”

 

Written by Robin O. Cochran

09/05/14

 

Last night, all the regular television channels aired, “Stand UP 2 Cancer.”

I felt moved to collect some thoughts in free form poem today.

My highlights of the show were Will Ferrill’s

Silly Ron Burgundy newscast,

with his asking,

“Why Cancer?”

“Why not Capricorn?”

(or any other

astrological

sign?)

Sofia gave

a tribute

to

those

who

are

or

were

the loving

caretakers.

Heartfelt

messages

from

around

the

World.

 

Please list

your

loved

ones

Names.

What touched you in the fight against cancer?

What are some of your fears?

Silence is okay.

 

. . .

 

Musical selection for Today:

“Tears from Heaven,” sung by Eric Clapton

“Calling All Angels,” sung by Jane Siberry and KD Lang

“The Rainbow Connection,” sung by Kermit the Frog

(associated with animals crossing the Rainbow Bridge)

“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,”  sung by “The Hollies”

 

 

 

 

In “his” shoes

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I was ecstatic! I could give my oldest daughter a nice pair of shoes, either

Fila or Dr. Scholl’s work shoes, and get any pair of either brand for just

one dollar, for myself! Don’t you love BOGO? (Buy one, get one for $1 is

almost as good as free!)

At the beginning of last week, I had purchased a pair of Fila Memory Foam

Utility Work shoes, for her,  at Kohl’s and guess what?

Unfortunately, they lasted only 4 days! While working at her place of

employment, Kroger Warehouse, she wore those poor ‘suckers’ out!  So,

getting my Kohl’s credit card a credit added back on, thanks to the wonderful

Kohl’s return policy, and (sad face here), giving back my $10 Kohl’s bucks

back, we headed over to Meijer’s.

 

Dr. Scholls Company was created by William Matthias Scholl, a podiatrist

from Chicago, Illinois. He started his company in 1906. It is now owned

by the British, who manufacture the United State’s designed foot-wear in

China.

My oldest daughter has money, but like me and other parents out there,

puts her children first.  It is just a plain old ‘fact of life!’  I was, like her,

needing a good pair of shoes. I hadn’t had a new pair for hiking or exercise

shoes, since my good friend, Bill, had given me a ‘forced’ pair!  He had

tricked me into going into a store, looking presumably for himself. This was

over 3 years ago, during the ‘Day Trips’ period of our friendship time.  That

beloved pair of Dr. Scholl’s shoes is made of brown suede leather with pink

edging and pink smooth leather stripes near the heels. Those dear shoes are

starting to fall apart from wear! There are stitches coming out and the nice

comfort ‘support’ system is definitely lacking any ability to pad the ‘bounce’

in my feet.

(By the way, I had one of my 10 photo albums of Bill’s and my trips, over at

the dentist’s office. Since staff were considering a team-building trip. I

recommended going down south on I-71 to a great corner of three states.

Madison, Indiana, Carrollton, Kentucky and Clifty Falls, Indiana, also the

Ohio corner meets up, where you can see the two state’s rivers from near

Carrollton, up on top of a gorgeous overlook. Seeing that confluence of the

two rivers, is an amazing sight! There are regatta races in Madison, so we

were able to see cool speed boats. I would recommend the restaurant at

Butler State Park, (where you can climb to see the confluence of the Ohio

and Kentucky rivers.) It is appropriately named, “Two Rivers.” There are

lovely natural sculptures and artwork in their dining room. You can see out

walls of windows, into the forests of this national park.)

 

Anyway, I need to tell you about my ‘affair’ with Dr. Scholl. I have had

his shoes upon my feet, for many years. As a server from age 15 until into

my forties, I wore his shoes. To help fill in gaps in my economic budget,

I could always serve people and make a small salary and big tips.

I can tell you Dr. Scholl ‘really gets me!’ (And my feet!! ha ha)

My new tan shoes have the adorable name of “Nikki.” They have orange

edges and laces, along with cute little tab things to hold my laces in

place. I cannot wait to walk to the library in them, oh I just did! They

felt so light and I felt so bouncy in them!

This is not a silouquiy on Louis Vuitton shoes, nor is it a rhapsody about

other high heel stiletto’s.  I have not gotten into tall shoes, for several

years. I have 3″ heels that are pulled out of my closet, in their protective

box, dragged out to put on, for forced situations where comfort and its

sister, durability, are not appropriate. The last time I got dressed up

was for going to that place, the LC Pavilion, where my youngest daughter

had to parade down the runway, with the likes of one famous Bachelor

and another wild and friendly Bachelorette. It was a Central Ohio fund-

raising event called, “A Date to Remember.” I believe my idiotic shoes

may have been made by Rampage company. It is definitely youth oriented!

Now, when I was in my twenties, I did not mind the look of Dr. Scholl’s

while I waited tables and served others, at Cedar Point’s Breakers’ Hotel,

the two country clubs, on to the North Olmsted German restaurant where

I wore lederhosen with my Dr. Scholl’s! And at my last job, I wore them

with a brown four star (****) apron at Cracker Barrel.

Dr. Scholl’s “comfort technology,” includes this wonderfully soothing

and cushioning gel pad at the heel.  No ‘heel spurs’ for me, so far!

The gel cushion ‘technology’ includes what they describe as a, “Gel dome,”

to absorb shock and provides cushioning comfort, with adjustable laces

for easy removal of shoes.

Definitely, in my teen years, I had several coworkers try to make fun of me,

using their teasing tactics. They ended up using those insistent singsong

chants!:

“Those Dr. Scholl’s shoes were made for Grandma’s, Robin!”

 

I ignored the intentional ‘jabs,’ and laughingly joked back,

“I haven’t met a grandmother I haven’t loved!”

 

Another job and different episode of teasing I responded by saying,

“My grandmother is quite comfortable in “his” (Dr. Scholl’s) shoes

and so am I!”

 

 

Childhood book verses (Summer)

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I have mentioned this little book, from my years of elementary school titled,

“Kate Greenaway’s Birthday Book.” I like to read the names (Susan, Sandy,

and Allison…) of ones who I knew back then and when their birthdays were.

I enjoyed reading and choosing little verses to share with you.

The pen and ink drawings, with watercolor details, were created by Kate

Greenaway. The verses in this timeless book of collected short poems, one for

each day of the year, were written by “Mrs. Sale Barker.” This book was published

first in London, England, followed by New York City, NY,  by Frederick Warne

Company, LTD.

Summer is a time to enjoy nature’s restful places.

All kinds of activity choices I remember from my childhood like. . .

climbing trees, sitting by a brook or creek, seeing fields of wild flowers

with bees and butterflies flitting above them. The luxurious feelings

of  being filled with a combination of warm sunshine followed by cool

shade.

It was a time of innocence, play and learning from everything around

us.

Hope you enjoy this collection of six Summer poems. After reading

through about 90 days’ of Summer verses, I feel these are the ones

you will enjoy the most! They fill me with memories and nostalgia.

 

~First One~

“I’m rather idle, as you see

I sit upon the ground;

And all the world seems made for me

As it turns round and round.”

 

~Second One~

“I lie beside the running stream,

And watch the clouds, and rest and dream:

A jug with water by me stands,

Which I have filled with my own hands.”

 

~Third One~

“Blossoms, blossoms on the trees

Swinging in the Summer breeze,

Lending sweetness to the air,

To be shed on children fair.”

 

~Fourth One~

“A pretty tree, a shady tree,

Just casts its shadow around:

And we can go and sit beneath,

If we don’t mind the ground.”

 

~Fifth One~

“Little flowers of the field,

To me you tell a tale,

Of blooms upon the hill side,

Of blossoms in the vale.”

 

In this fifth one, I remember how we would say we had traveled

up hill and down, ‘hills and dales.’ But, I had to pause a moment

to remember that “vale” means, ‘valley.’

 

~Sixth One~

“How I love the field flowers,

Blooming bright and gay!

How I love the green, green fields,

To wander there all day!”

 

I remember making rings of daisies for bracelets, necklaces and

“crowns” in elementary school. Later, in high school, when I was

not working as a babysitter or at Lord Nelson’s Restaurant in

Westlake, Ohio, I remember plucking daisy petals off, one by one,

saying the silly words, “He loves me, he loves me not. . .” while

throwing them into a creek. The field flowers I loved the most

were those blue cornflowers and Queen Anne’s Lace.

 

Did any of these quaint verses bring back any memories for you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

A Portrait of Garrison Keillor

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It is so hard to imagine life without Lake Wobegone or all the

assundry characters that Garrison Keillor created with his wild

and interesting imagination. He was born in August, 1942, in

Anoka, Minnesota. His dream was to be a ‘poet and a genius.’

Garrison Keillor is best known for his radio show and many

books written.

In Garrison’s plainly written words in the book, “The Keillor

Reader,” (2014, Viking Books, part of Penguin Group) you find

yourself looking up to him. You feel that he has wisdom to

impart. I think that Garrison could be considered a ‘feel good’

author! Listening to his stories can make you wish for the

‘good old days,’ where life was simpler.

While he describes the townspeople of Lake Wobegon,

“I invented a town where the women are strong, the men are

good-looking and the children are all above-average.”

In July, 2014, “A Prairie Home Companion” will celebrate its Forty

Years’ Anniversary!

This iconic Minnesota Public Radio Show caught my attention a long

time ago, when I heard it playing on our local public broadcasting

channel.

His program has been syndicated and listened to by people, around

the world!

Have you ever sat, with possibly your eyes closed, as I happen to

choose to do, and listened to Garrison Keillor?

I like to picture the various places in his town, with their clever

names like “Bertha’s Kitty Boutique,” “The Chatterbox Café,”

“The Sidetrack Tap (the local tavern), “Skoglund’s Five & Dime,”

and “Bunsen Motors.”

Garrison’s fine voice, with its unusual dialect, distinguished

in his readings to us. His words kept my interest, about the

people in the town that once had only been a figment of his

imagination. They must have been rolling around, among his other

young, diverse thoughts, just waiting to escape and come to life!

When Garrison applied for the early morning shift, he had been

one of only a handful willing to get up daily at 4 a.m.

His wry, ascerbic wit and sometimes darker version of the world

were not acceptable to those who were on their way to work, ones

who may have needed a second cup of java to get them going.

So, out of this understanding of his audience, Garrison became

“Old Scout,” the narrator and observer of a small town.

I liked the movie, “A Prairie Home Companion,” (2006) which believe

it or not, included Lindsay Lohan, amongst a wonderful, comedic

ensemble group! The list of actors and actresses alone, made it

worth watching this “B+” movie! I cannot help listing the ones

who were part of Robert Altman’s cast of dreams. (By the way,

this was Altman’s last film that he directed. His list of many

accomplishments is incredible! He died later in November, 2006.)

Here’s the list of “Who’s Who” in the movie: Lily Tomlin, Meryl

Streep, Woody Harrelson, Maya Rudolph, John C. Reilly, Kevin

Kline, Garrison (himself) Keillor, Tommy Lee Jones and Robin

Williams with his wife, Linda. There is an interesting “angel”

character, played by Virginia Madsen. At the end, when the play

is closed down and the theater no longer exists, there is a

special scene… (I won’t “spoil” this, if you choose to rent

this from your local library.) I just want to say, the scene

in a diner, was rather “fortuitous.”

I love Garrison Keillor’s book, I recommend it and it would

be considered a memoir, with some facts about his life and

the phases he went through, growing old while being the one

who told the world about the town that had once lived in his

mind.

I like to make lists so here are some of the things I learned

from his autobiography, including some quotations from his 2014

book.

“Life Lessons I learned While Reading Garrison Keillor’s Most

Recent Book”~

1. Incorporate a sense of humor in your day!

Garrison mentions the contrast of his own morning persona

compared to what was acceptable to his listeners.

“Irony and a dark world-view are not useful in radio early

in the morning…”

2. Be cheerful and it will help others to be happy.

Garrison explains why he created his character,

“Old Scout, who rallied listeners to rise and shine and face the

day with a smile.”

He goes on, “It was a good persona and in time I came to believe

it myself.”

3. Be nice in your town to friends and neighbors.

The town he invented has pleasantries, helpful and kind people.

Garrison’s people are respectful, despite their quirky natures.

4. Work hard, ‘make up for lack of talent.’ and forge ahead.

Garrison tells his readers,

“Soon I was forty, which is too old to die young, so I forgot about

immortality and headed down the long dirt road of longevity.”

5. Parents are important. Remember to thank them!

Garrison realizes,

“It dawned on me that the cheerful radio host I invented was derived

from my parents’ example.”

6. It is good to enjoy what you have and realize things could be

worse.

Garrison describes his parents,

“They were children of the Great Depression, John and Grace. They

knew how to savor their life and not complain.”

7. Don’t complain about how your children lead their lives.

Garrison reveals,

“They (his parents) never complained about me though I know they

hoped I’d go into a more distinguished line of work.”

8. Find what you like to do and continue doing it!

Garrison likes his life and his stories with comedy relief.

“I like it, (his choice of profession) though. Comedy does

give good value. There are so many discouraging facts around

for example, half of all people are below average, and jokes

relieve some of the misery.”

9. Sometimes making up parables can be amusing.

Garrison’s humor shows in this example:

“The race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong nor

riches to men of understanding, but time and chance happeneth

to them all.”

10. As you grow older, you truly believe ‘age is wisdom.’

Garrison says this example is the ‘essence of comedy’ in

25 words or less:

“You’re fast, you trip and fall down: you’re strong and you

poke your sword in your left foot; you’re smart and you go

broke.”

At age 72 this year, Garrison Keillor has reached an age that

his words ring with truth and wisdom, leading us on in our

creativity and encouraging us to keep trying to find our way.

When he came up with the town’s name of Lake Wobegon, I wonder

if he was thinking that it was “woe-be-gone.” Telling us to

leave our burdens and turmoils behind us.

These are the lessons I received from reading his book, “The

Keillor Reader.”

I felt so blessed to have had a chance to ‘visit’ for awhile

and ‘listen’ one more time to Garrison Keillor.

The Power of Determination

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A memoir led to the movie, “This Boy’s Life.” The movie came out,

to much critical acclaim, in 1993. It is well worth seeing all

over again, just to see how Leonardo DiCaprio began his career,

with such finesse and quality acting.

The movie tells the true life story of Tobias Wolff. The screenplay

was written by Robert Getchell. The movie was directed by Michael

Caton-Jones.

It all begins in the year, 1957, where a boy who is known to be

a troublemaker has been moved around a lot with a mother who has

her own issues. Toby is around the age of 13 years old. I could

relate to some of the subject matters, although I would have

only been two years old when the story begins.

Ellen Barkin plays a scattered woman with low self esteem, who

desperately loves her son, trying to always figure out ways

where they can be together. Her intent is for them to have a

good life. You can see how sincerely loving she is towards

her son, although you will probably wonder about her choices.

Their life has included a father who took off once Toby was

born, a boyfriend who is very controlling and then, an escape

from this bad situation.

They land in Seattle, Washington, with only a few suitcases

and even, despite Toby’s inquiring before leaving,

“Don’t you want to take the canned goods?”

His being accustomed to the packing and leaving sequence is

evident in that simple question.

A seemingly ‘perfect man’ comes along, playing a proper suitor.

The mother’s excited and so are her waitress friends. He is a

widower.

The ‘new guy’ displays some suave and sophisticated airs, like

lighting a woman’s cigarette, with a sweep of his arm and flash

of the lighter. Later on, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Toby,

imitates the ‘new guy’s’ tone of voice and flashy behaviors,

“to a T.”

While wooing the mother, played by Ellen Barkin, he is very

boastful of the town he is from called, “Concrete.”

I won’t tell you too many details, but Robert De Niro plays

the new stepfather who is jealous of his stepson. It becomes

apparent, when he marries her before taking her to his home,

to meet the three children, that he needed her in the role

of being a mother.

the mother to be there to take care of his own three children.

Once there, they find themselves in an attractive and well

kept house in the ‘boondocks.’ There is a moment where the

older son, Toby’s stepbrother, mentions that it is 40 miles

to get to school from their house in the country. His father,

who is argumentative and tyrannical in his behavior, argues

about this fact.

The true story is narrated by Tobias, Toby or as he wishes

people would call him, “Jack.” He gets in with the ‘wrong’

crowd, soon enough. There are moments where you cringe,

others where you feel the lyrical beauty in a story that

you just hope will turn out okay. It is a hauntingly and

painful story that unwinds until the credits roll, telling

you where each member of the family is (in 1993, when the

movie was released).

The carefully choreographed, spinning tale slowly unfolds

of a ‘punk’ or a rebel who realizes his only way out of

Concrete is to make it into Prep School. He takes his older

stepbrother’s advice, taking the admission test, fudging on

his ‘resume’ and actually getting a blank transcript where

he has the ability of using the old typewriter to fill in

the blanks.

This much you may have known from your first viewing of the

movie. I barely touched on the details that had faded in my

memory bank. This is a fascinating memoir which led to a

great movie of triumphing over obstacles. It is more than

any boy’s life, it is one of someone who had a rather horrific

childhood and overcame all the odds. I don’t think I grasped

the potential for death or realize that the harrowing escape

meant everything, when I saw, “This Boy’s Life,” for the first

time.

I highly recommend seeing this movie, if you haven’t seen it

in awhile! Or if you haven’t, If you would like to try an

engrossing and in the end, uplifting book or movie, borrow

“This Boy’s Life” from the library!

Let me know how you liked this, if you have seen it…

Love Started at Vacation Bible School

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My parents had several couples that they were close to over their

years of marriage. I mentioned my godparents in a story of their

having to testify in a court murder trial concerning a boy I knew

growing up. I also have two more stories that would be of interest

when examining life’s crazy foibles and love matters.

This story is about Amelia and Orrin. They met at Vacation Bible

School at age 11. This is special because their lives led away from

each other and then back to each other. I love it when there are no

perfect beginnings or endings; almost as much as stories with the

happily ever after right from the start!

My parents had this couple many times to our house and I reached

out to them when I was 16 while they were sitting in the living room

talking about some of their memories. I asked them, “When did you

meet?” When I found out they met at age 11, I was very happy because

I was still stuck on my most serious (second) crush ever! (I have

recounted my First Crush and Second Crush in posts.) I felt hope lifting

and rising in my chest as I sat enchanted by their love story.

When the two young people met, Amy and Orrin, they were as different

as night from day. Amy wore a long skirt and a ruffled blouse with her

sleeves rolled up. She had knee socks on, that covered the gap between

the skirt and her shoes. She wore plain black worn leather mary jane’s.

Some people may have had shiny black mary jane’s made of patent

leather for church. These were Amy’s only pair of shoes, along with a

pair of tan leather boots she wore with skirts for everyday wear.

Orrin was a tough and tumble boy who had been begged, prodded and

tricked into coming to Bible school by his grandmother. His parents

were having a “rough patch” and he was sent away with his younger

sister for a month. He had raggedy jean shorts that his grandma had

just cut from his pair of jeans this morning and he had a plain white

(at the moment) t-shirt tucked into his pants. His hair was slicked back

and he had a comb in his back pocket. Amy mused out loud during this

recounting the story, “I figure he must have seen an early James Dean

movie and took it from there!” (But James Dean was not yet popular!)

The Vacation Bible School was held at a Methodist campground and

once the kids loaded up at the church, they had a ride for about 20

minutes before arriving there. Amy sat with a friend that she knew from

her church and who also went to her school. She noticed the awkward

boy who did not seem to know anyone to sit with and watched as he

sulkily shuffled down the bus aisle and sat by himself.

Orrin was already regretting this but noticed his sister, Sue, was very

happy and chattering away with her newly found ‘best friend.’ He felt

a little tension ease from his shoulders and his heavy heart. He was

the oldest and felt compelled to worry a lot, especially about how his

parents would be once they went home later that month.

The first day, church volunteer members became teachers and the

bus load of children was divided into age groups so that there were

four groups. Sue was in the next younger group from Amy’s and

Orrin’s youth group.

The beginning of each day there was a big cluster of all the children.

They were asked to hold hands and join together to make the circle.

They would hear a prayer delivered by the minister. The songs were

easy, light church songs. One that Orrin and Amy liked, which they

mentioned to me, was “Morning Has Broken.” I was excited to tell

them that (at the time his name was this), “Cat Stevens sings that

song!” We all laughed at my excitement and rapt attention.

Do you remember family gatherings and someone older, a member of

the family sharing and telling stories of the past? I was a mature 16

year old who often would get these stories rolling, memories opened

and renewed. Maybe I was meant to write these down….

Anyway, as the week progressed, Orrin became the little troublemaker

or “class clown,” especially when the Bible was being passed around.

There was no way they would make him read that book aloud! His

thoughts were, “It is bad enough I have to listen, but would be so much

worse, if I had to try to read it!”

Amy loved to read and she made the words pour out fluidly and beautifully.

When it was her turn, Orrin paid attention and somehow, at age 11, his

heart started to care and melt for a young girl his age.

At the end of Vacation Bible School, a printed list of the children’s names

with their addresses and phone numbers was stapled together and passed

out. The minister said, “I have met some young people in my 25 years of

preaching that wrote as pen pals and stayed in touch. I would encourage

you to think about God, Jesus Christ and your fellow friends that you have

made this week as lifelong parts of a chain reaching from this city to

others as you grow, move and go off to college, possibly, someday.”

Those words sunk into Orrin’s head and he somehow thought about

Amelia at that time, too. Wondering if she had even glanced or

noticed him while he valiantly tried to stay awake at the camp!

On the last bus ride home from camp, Orrin turned to look back at

Amy and gave her a big smile. She had been chattering away with

her friend, only to look up at the toothy smile. Amy did what any girl

in their right mind would do, she smiled back!

There were only three weeks more to stay at his grandparents until

Orrin could go home and ask his mother what she thought of him

writing to Amy. He knew his father could care less and would not

give him good advice. His mother would listen, think, put a wrinkled

brow look on her face and then, agree with him that he should write

his new friend. He just knew that they would be able to communicate

better on paper than they had during the supervised, group setting of

church camp. He would need to use the dictionary or ask for help, but

it was on his mind even as his grandparents drove him the hour’s drive

back home. The house was all closed up, no windows open, but he could

see off on the farm field, his father on his tractor. Since the crops were in,

Orrin surmised he was probably bored and checking how high the corn

was up. His Dad would not be drinking this early in the day… yet.

When they got out of the car, their  grandparents hugged and started to talk

at the same time, “Now if for any reason you want to come back to spend the

rest of the summer with us, just get your mother to call us!” Since their mother

was off working at the dimestore as a clerk, Orrin said, “Now you need to get

back on the road, no need to come in the house.” For some reason, he felt

compelled to tell his only living grandparents that. He wonders why now,

from time to time, remembering how mature he was at that moment.

When Orrin and his sister, Sue, went into their home, it was a house still

in turmoil. A month without the children had not repaired their parents’

marriage nor did it seem to have helped anything at all. The house looked

like a disaster and the children worked together to wash the dishes while

they waited for their mother to come home. They went into their rooms and

unpacked what little they had taken that was all nicely laundered and smelled

of sunshine and light. Granny had hung their clothes on her clothes line.

Sue came into Orrin’s room and sat on his bed. She had been talking in the

car to their grandparents about her friend, Heather. She had written a letter

already mailed from her grandparents’ mailbox. They had put the flag up and

seen it picked up one day while sitting on the porch swing. They were drinking

the truly delicious cold lemonade Granny had made.

This story is going to take a wide curve so brace yourself. I have told stories

with no forewarning to the readers that everything seemed all ‘hunky dory’ and

later, got a little worried about the comments of shock or dismay. (The one about

my summer friend I made at the park, called “An Existential Man,” is an example

that I gave no forewarning about its ending.)

Their parents had a horrible fight after dinner. So, just as quickly as they could,

Sue and Orrin slipped back to their rooms. They were lying in their own beds,

sadly worried. Not too long later, Sue crept into Orrin’s bed and he held her

with a big, warm hug. He could hear her whimpering and tears were getting

his pajama top wet where she lay her head. He had tried to intervene before,

almost 2 months ago. In a similar argument, he had been slapped soundly

across the face by his father, as a result.

When the night got later, their house in the country got very dark. There were

lots of stars in the sky but no moon that night. Sue fell asleep, not too long

after in the quiet of the night, Orrin fell asleep, restless and stirring from time

to time.

Orrin heard a car engine turn over, he heard the car glide down the cement drive

until it turned into a gravel road where the distant sound was a little crackly and

then, silence.

Orrin retold this part with tears in his eyes. He heard a loud resounding shot in

the barn!

Orrin ran to the phone and called the operator, saying in a throaty scared voice,

“I am scared! Can you connect me to the police?” The operator asked his address.

She said, “Honey, don’t worry I will get the sheriff to come out that county road to

check on you and your family. You don’t know if anything has happened, do you?”

Orrin answered, “My Dad just shot his shotgun off, I have been hunting for over 4

years with him and I recognize a shotgun’s sound.”

Orrin made Sue sit on a chair in the living room, he did not really think about it

but handed her the Bible from its shelf. He said, “Read this and try to find the

passages from the Corinthians about love. Find something to get your mind off

of  this. It may still be okay!”

In his running across the back yard and through the wet grass, Orrin felt a cold

shiver spreading across his shoulders. He reached the barn and the eeriest thing

was; it was pitch black! Darn, he would have to find a flashlight or lantern. He

managed to open the doors of the barn, front and back. Still not enough light

to see, he yelled, “DAD!!” Where are you?!”

It seemed like an eternity but moments later, the sirens of both the sheriff’s

and ambulance’s vehicles raised a cacophony of sound waves. The sheriff drove

right up to the barn door with his headlamps blazing into every crevice of the

building.

Orrin’s father was hanging from a beam of the barn and below him, laying dead,

was his faithful hunting hound dog, Pepper.

After the funeral, Orrin, Sue and their mother moved down the street from her

parents’ house. They had found her a nice and neat little bungalow to rent, with

her first six months’ rent paid up from her parents’ savings. They said that once

the life insurance policy money came it would be needed to help catch up with the

bills that had fallen behind. Orrin’s mother became a waitress at a local diner

which was only 2 blocks from Orrin and Sue’s schools. Sue would be in 4th

grade and Orrin would be in 6th grade. Life had taken such a toll on these

young people but there was still a lot of love and caring going on.

Years passed on, Orrin applied for colleges and was thinking about University

of Cincinnati with pursuing science and the school of education.

While in the area of the young girl who he met at Vacation Bible School, he had

never attended church nor another Bible school camp. Despite his Granny trying

her hardest to persuade him to join Sue and her at church. He had felt he “lost

his faith in God.”

His sister had gone but Orrin was sure he was never going to pray again. Nor

would he need prayer since he would be a scientist or an engineer when he grew

up.

Senior year at U. of C. Orrin met my parents. He was the same age as my Dad

who was the “punk” who kept harassing my mother from when he had spied

her across campus, wet red hair and fiery green eyes. Her sister, Amelia, was

studying with my mother to become a teacher. My mother became a Spanish

and English high school teacher. Her sister, Amy,  became a high school Math

teacher. The two men finished their degrees, My Dad became a scientist and

engineer at NASA and my future uncle, Orrin, became a Science teacher to high

schoolers.

Amelia went on a “blind” date with Orrin as a double date with my parents.

You can do the math and put one and one together. Out of the tragic loss of his

father, Orrin grew stronger and more willing to help his mother and grandparents.

He learned to allow his sister, Sue, to bring a little giggling and happiness into his

heart. Orrin ended up being a very fine teacher, father and husband.

Orrin bought and  lived in a nice country home with his wife, Amelia. Their house

was always filled with three girls’ (my cousins) giggles and laughter.

By the way, my mother was older and chose to be one of the counselors at the Methodist

Bible School that year that Amy and Orrin first met.

Their blessed, long lasting marriage started from what they believe, allowing the “root

of Jesus” to take root and grow in their young hearts.

And they lived “happily ever after!”