Macaroni and Cheese

I like macaroni and cheese. In high school, that and baking a cake were the extent of my cooking. My mom even entered a recipe on my behalf for a church cookbook one year. Not a cake. Oh no, it was the instructions from the back of the Kraft macaroni and cheese box.

My kids also like mac-n-cheese. It was a staple in our house. Of course, I always tried to pair it with broccoli or green beans. Balanced meals, you know.

Some stories need to be remembered. Told over and over. Handed down from one generation to the next. And not just the ones considered to be pleasant. Also, the challenging ones. Those are the ones that show resilience, teaching valuable lessons.

This is one of those stories. And, of course, it involves macaroni and cheese.

My parents have always been hard workers. But like many others, hard work did not always keep hard times at bay. Some years were more difficult than others. And when I was little, money was tight.

My dad was a carpenter and was working on a house about an hour away from our home. One day, mom and I went along for the ride. Well, sort of. You see, he had not yet gotten paid for his work.

Macaroni and cheese…they had one box left. So, we went with him, taking the box along with us. While dad was working, mom cooked the mac-n-cheese on the job site in an electric popcorn popper. That way, all three of us would have something to eat for lunch.

That same day, the woman that owned the property retrieved a frozen chicken from her kitchen. And though my dad was a little uncertain about that chicken, it went home with us that afternoon, along with his paycheck. It was available that day after work.

Perhaps some would think of this as a sad story. Not me. I see the resilience of two people, able to keep going, making the best out of a difficult situation.

Anytime we talk about this time in our lives, Mom always reassures me. “No matter how hard things got, we always made sure you did not go without. You always had what you needed.” Without a doubt. ❤️

Truth is, not only did we survive as a family, but we also thrived! And though my cooking skills have improved a little, I still like macaroni and cheese.

Morning Thoughts

Leaving for work
This morning
Car packed for
A weekend
Road trip
Thoughts already
At the end of today
Think I’ll send
A text to Mom
See you tonight!

Little cardinal
Crosses my path
His brightness
Could not
Be ignored
His fluffy
Red feathers
Taking off
From the ground
Made me smile
Slow down as
I drove out of
The neighborhood
Rachel says every time
She sees a cardinal
It reminds her
Of her Papa

The Key

Room is quiet
Only a steady
Sound of air
Flowing from
A plastic tube
Occasional
Snore from Dad
Glass doors
Provide a window
To the hallway
Doctors walking past
Carts rolling by
With food, linens,
Cleaning supplies-
Right outside sits
The faithful one
Never far away
Caring for others
Keeping track of
Vital signs
Medication
Answering questions
Calming fears-
I know it is
A team effort
But I believe
Nurses hold the key

I wrote this poem while sitting with my Dad in ICU after his open-heart surgery. I was amazed by and thankful for the care he received, especially his nurses. ❤

Simply Sunday

Today I will be driving back home to Oklahoma from Arkansas. It is hard to say goodbye, but I am grateful for these past two weeks with my parents. I leave with a thankful heart. Thankful for doctors, nurses, family, and friends. Thankful my Dad will be going home from the hospital today. ❤

Love this tree near my parent’s house.

Sightline

Sightline is a common term in theater and art. It is also a buzzword in T.V. home renovation shows. As in, we must have a better line of sight to see the kids at all times. I understand the concept. And I can see the value at certain times.

Yesterday, I experienced a surprise sightline. One I never even considered. But once discovered, oh, so needed.

Due to COVID restrictions, we waited at an outside seating area during Dad’s heart surgery. Mom was the only one allowed in the surgery waiting room. Not complaining. We understand and appreciate the precautions.

However, the thought of her waiting alone…well, that was a hard one.

Of course, we could text and call, but nothing is the same as seeing, something we have all experienced during this time of the pandemic.

So, Mom calls:

“Are you still outside?”
“Yes.”
“I think I see you. Stand up and walk a few tables over.”
I walk.
“Yes! There you are!”
“Where are you?”
“Turn around and face the building. Now, look up toward the second floor.”

And there she stood, in the corner of the waiting room. We waved and laughed. It was a sweet turn of events.

A perfect sightline through several layers of glass and steel. An instant sense of joy and relief. A few moments of light-heartedness erasing the distance.

Update:

Dad’s surgery went very well! He is currently in ICU. This morning, he was sitting up in a chair. ❤ Only Mom can visit, but I was able to talk to him on the phone. So good to hear his voice.

Gone Fishing

I have not thought about going fishing in a long time. As a child, I used to go all the time with my Dad. He still calls me his fishing buddy.

Today, all I could think about is the chance to go fishing again with my Dad.

He is currently in the hospital. A test this morning revealed an artery blockage and heart valve problem. So, he will be having open-heart surgery on Friday morning.

I am thankful for a job where I was able to just pick up and go. I needed to be with my parents. And when I called to tell Mom we were on our way, what do you think my Dad mentioned? Oh, yes-his fishing buddy.

I saw him this afternoon. He looks good. We talked about what was happening and how much better he will feel after recovery. And I told him, maybe this summer we would have to go fishing.

The Missing

I am here
You are here
We are all here
Tomorrow we go
Our separate ways
But the missing
Begins today…
Even in the smiles
Currently creating
Memories to
Carry us thru
Days ahead
The missing
Finds its way-
Sneaking in the
Backdoor of our
Thoughts trying
To distract us
From the present-
Unable to steal away
The happiness of
Togetherness
It quietly tiptoes
Back outside-
Tomorrow there will
Be no denying
The missing-
We will welcome it-
A reminder
Of lasting joy
Rooted in yesterday

Last weekend I visited my parents for the first time in six months! We were so happy to be face to face, holding on tight.

This past year, we could not celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, or birthdays with them…to say we have missed each other is an understatement.

We knew the visit would be short, but that was ok. And even though good-byes may have brought a few tears, the smiles are what will last. ❤

Home to Home

I left home at the mature age of seventeen and, except for one summer, never came back. My mom often reminds me. 😉

Before college, I had lived in the same house my entire life. I attended the same school, first grade through senior year, and was surrounded by extended family.

And even though I needed to find my own path, the place where I grew up would always be home.

A recent visit with my parents caused me to think about the word home. Especially the idea that home has little to do with the actual place.

As I pulled up in the driveway, my dad was waiting under the carport. Mom came right out as if she’d been listening inside for my car. Soon, we were talking about everything from the kids to work, politics, church. And, of course, the pandemic and quarantine.

They’re so cute. ❤

As an adult, I enjoy this time alone with my parents. Being there by myself means my only role at that moment is a daughter. Even if this visit brought some adult daughter anxiety.

Due to the current pandemic, I had to be very careful about where I stopped on the four-and-a-half-hour drive from our house to theirs. My parents are over seventy, Mom a breast cancer survivor and Dad with diabetes and kidney disease. Their health is currently good, and I couldn’t bear the thought of exposing them to this virus.

My anxiety quickly faded as Dad asked, “How’s my little girl?” Mom said more than once, “I’m so glad you came.” At face value, simple phrases. Yet, they wrapped me in the love and security I experienced growing up.

When going to visit my parents, I say I am going home. And when it’s time to leave, I use the same phrase. I guess both are true. Home is about the people not the places.

I may have to leave tiny pieces of my heart behind when leaving one, but I know they will be refilled upon arrival at the other. Not the same, but new, and whole.

A sweet paradox, traveling from one home to another. ❤

Green Green Grass of Home by Claude “Curly” Putman, Jr.

The old home town looks the same
As I step down from the train
And there to meet me is my Mama and Papa…
It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home


For My Dad

My dad loves classic country music. Growing up, we would always listen to The Grand Ole Opry on AM radio, static and all. Sometimes, it would drive me crazy but thinking about it now makes me smile.

He also had quite a collection of 8 track tapes, all country, that we would listen to in his truck. Charlie Pride, Charlie Rich, Loretta Lynn, and Conway Twitty were some of his favorites. And though I don’t currently listen much to country music, I loved listening to it back then.

That love stemmed from two things. First, it was, and still is, great music. But more importantly, it was my dad’s music. And for that reason, it will continue to influence my life.

Music has so much variety, so many genres. Each new style influenced by the previous. Whether I like them all or not, I can appreciate them for their place in music history.

I have recently shared some recordings of myself playing favorites on the piano. They’ve included some Classical Scarlatti, Romantic Brahms, hymns and James Taylor. Honestly, no country songs crossed my mind…until now.

My mom called after listening to my latest recording. We chatted for a few minutes. As we were about to say goodbye, I could hear my dad in the background. My mom chuckled and said, “Dad says you need to record his favorite song.”

So, what is his favorite song? It is a piano solo recorded by country musician Floyd Cramer in 1960. If my dad ever has a music request for me, it is that song. I learned to play it years ago.

Why had I not thought to record this song already? I do not know.

Here ya go, Dad! ❤

Last Date

Special Guest

I am excited to have a guest writer on my blog today, my mom. ❤

When I was a little girl, my mom loved to write poetry. Sometimes for special occasions, usually written for or about an individual. She would share them with family and friends. Her words are displayed in frames in many of her siblings’ homes. But more importantly, her words have been stored in hearts.

She has not actively written in many years, but she has consistently encouraged my writing. Our current world circumstances influenced her to write again. She was a little nervous about sharing, so now I get to encourage her. 🙂

I hope her thoughts bring you peace.🌺

Break of Day

Birds singing
Break of day
Tune’s different
In harmony
This day

Flower Blankets
Covering ground
Soft colors
Fragile-Beautiful
This day

Gentle breeze
Dancing leaves
New life memories
New beginnings
This day

Joyful reminders
Hope and love
Steadfastness
Break of day
This day

Great Shepherd’s hand
Gently leads
On mountains
Through valleys
This day

Stand still
Know peace
Given by God
Break of day
This day

“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24