God’s Gift

Early this past week my thoughts and emotions were morose. Peg moved to another low. She began sleeping twenty hours each day. She was not responsive, nor in a mood to eat or drink. Then, on Thursday morning she awoke before me and I received a good morning smile. She even spoke a few words. Her mood remained happy throughout the day. She even had a few moments of laughter. I was overjoyed. At three-thirty, her caretaker and I lifted her from bed and placed her into a wheelchair. As usual, I wheeled her around the house and showed her what a beautiful day it was. The sun shone brightly, it was warm, and there were billowy white clouds rising to heaven in an azure sky. The views of the 2016 Monet Vision-Patriots Dream held her attention as she gazed at the pond in what seemed like a stupor.

Finally, I parked her chair at the table and we had supper together. By seven-thirty she crashed while watching TV, and we promptly put her back to bed.

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Friday morning was the same and we enjoyed another glorious day. I played an Elvis album of gospel music while we held hands, and napped.

Today promises to be a similar day, however, her smile is missing and a frown on her face signals a bit of unhappiness, perhaps it is pain. I can’t tell for sure, and she can’t tell me, nor would she if she could. Before she began this journey, and I suspected she was in pain and commented she responded with “it is nothing I can’t take.”

I’ll take these good days and I thank God for them. I know there are dark days still ahead and there will be plenty of them to brood over, but now I bask in the sunshine of her smile.

 

Girl Number One

Today is a day of recollection. After posting this morning I reread an older post titled From Proms to Dear Johns.That little piece of history concerned my high school love affair. At the end of it I promised to write about Steve Star at some point in the future. Today is the future.

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Steve Star

My Grandpa Jim lived a solitary life on his little farm. To kill his loneliness and to make some extra beer money he took in a border named Steve Star, except his real name was Csillag Pista. Translated from Hungarian to English Csillag Pista becomes Steve Star. Steve worked doing labor in the pickle canning factory in Coloma near my Grand Father’s farm. Needless to say this is very seasonal work. Steve drove a very old Plymouth coupé, and drank cheap St Julian wine. He was a classic wino. I used his empty bottles piled high in the sand behind the barn for target practice with my 22 ca. rifle. He put them behind the barn to hide them from my mother who was anti-drinking on her watch. Steve was a drunk, stayed a drunk, and died a drunk. My mother had little effect on changing his habits.

After I got my Dear Joe letter in college I wallowed in a rut, and it showed. My friends began doing me favors by fixing me up with every girl that they could find. I resisted at first, but finally succumbed to my roommates tender of a string of dates from his fiance’s nursing school. It all began harmlessly as a series of letters to the girls suggested by friends that Steve Star take on a date. As a huge joke to myself I took the nom de guerre of Steve Star a hopeless cause. The letters became fodder for the school bulletin board, and unbeknownst to me, Steve Star became a mystery man who wrote stupid funny letters to the girls at Saint Anne’s. Eventually, Steve Star’s identity became known when I made a blind date with one of the girls during Christmas break.

It amused me when I sat in the parlor of Saint Anne’s waiting for my date to come down, and a nonchalant string of young nurses paraded through the room to look over Steve Star. The date went well, we had fun, and I got her back before curfew. I dated several more nursing students after that but not one rang Steve Star’s bell.

Later that year in July I had another blind date with a nurse who wanted to experience Steve Star. She was good-looking but not of model beauty. She stood about five-foot-four inches tall with short dark brown hair, and her waist was slightly thicker than the highly sought after women of the time. Her face was average, but she possessed uniquely sparkling dark brown eyes and a captivating smile. Her shapely ankles blended into calves formed like those of an athlete. She was off for the weekend so I picked her up at her home, and met her parents before she demurely descended the stairs.

Steve Star was a cheap skate and went on inexpensive dates, this time he enjoyed a Grant Park Concert on the lawn. The night was balmy, and the sounds of the cars passing by on the Outer Drive muted the precise sounds of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra. We spent the night sitting on that blanket listening but mostly talking about school, and our families. Her father was dying of colon cancer, and she and her mother provided his care. She was the one who finally told me about the scene the Steve Star letters had on the nurses at Saint Anne’s. She had read all of them, as had most of the other girls in her class. A cool breeze drifted in from Lake Michigan as we folded our blanket to leave. I dropped her off and promised to call her at school.

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My luck held out, and I dated another girl named Sabrina. Sabrina had the model beauty men sought after. Slightly taller at five six she had long jet black hair, and big black eyes with heavy mascara and eyeliner above and below the lids. Wow! We went to the movies and a snack.  She confessed to reading Steve Star’s letters, and we kidded about his antics. I dropped her off on the front porch. I said goodnight and turned to leave, but she grabbed my arm and pulled me into the dark foyer for a goodnight kiss. The house was entirely dark and quiet. Steve’s mind shifted to more kissing, but she gently pushed him away and whispered “my parents and six brothers are asleep we don’t want to wake them.” I very quietly got the hell out of there.

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Girl number one

In the meantime, Steve had called his first blind date (Girl number one) and was becoming very comfortable talking with her. She with him as well. We dated again, and the subject of Steve Star dating Sabrina came up. Steve sensed danger and dropped the subject quickly; he got the message.

Steve Star dated Barbara exclusively for the next two years until he married her. He remained faithful “until death do us part.”

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October 14, 1961

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circa August 17, 2003

Think System

This week, I had the pleasure of attending my youngest grand daughter’s band concert. She is eleven years old and has chosen the trombone as her instrument. It was comical when she walked out on stage with her band members because my Jenna is now five foot four and the tallest one in her class. The Music Man flashed back in my mind as we sat and listened to the best concert ever performed. I felt the same pride as the parents of the band taught by Howard Hill began to play. He taught using the Think System which didn’t require knowing anything about music. I know her maternal grand mother beamed down upon her with heavenly pride. My Barbara was a musical person who played and sang beautifully all her life. Her paternal grandfather who is over six feet tall beams with pride when he sees her height.

The flashback to the Music Man also brought back tender memories of my first love Barbara. The movie was current when we courted and when we saw it we fell in love with each other and the music too. We adopted “Till There Was You” as our song, and sang it to each other many times during our time together. I sang it to her as my last farewell just before she lapsed into coma. The concert brought me joy because I heard my grand-daughter play her trombone skillfully. It brought back fond memories of great times with her grand mother, and then it brought me into sadness as I remembered our last moments together.

In Memorium

The first day of spring came and went with a whimper. The weather was cool and somewhat grey. It was a good day for me, I finally wrote another chapter of my book British American Colonies. I washed some clothes, and did a few house chores. I am still reeling from the dry wall dust stirred up when Miguel fixed my disaster in the living room. At eleven pm it was time to check out and go to bed. As I always do, I plugged my phone into the charger. The screen lit up and I noticed a message from my son in Texas. I couldn’t go to bed without reading what he had to say. I read it and cried. I’ll share his message with you here:

Today was the first day of Spring as well as Rooke’s last day with us. We took him to the vet about 5pm and put him down. HIs condition, degenerative myelopathy really kicked in this week. He was on daily watch this week, and (we, sic) made the decision to take him today while everyone was home. We were all there except for Abbey, she opted out. He went peacefully with his family right next to him. He’s in a much better place now. Rooke (a.k.a “Rookis”, “Blue”) was the best dog I’ve ever had. His character, mannerisms, temperament and loyalty were truly amazing.

Rooke

Rooke, May 2005-March 20, 2015

 

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When I first met Rook ten years ago he was the cutest little pup one could imagine with floppy ears, a cocked head and a dynamo of energy. Rook grew quickly and became the meanest looking German Shepard I have ever seen. His black color and wide powerful chest gave him an air of intimidation. People stepped aside when Rook walked his Master. Trust me, no one would ever even think about harming a family member when this jet black patrol dog was on duty, and that was 24/7. The only white color he had on his body was the white of his eyes. As you can tell by the photo the white of his eyes were not visible very often. There is no way in hell I would have tested him by entering my son’s house in the dark.

What no one except us knew about Rook was his gentle side. He was a pussy cat with all of us. He loved to walk, and took his master’s for a three to five-mile walk nearly every day. When he wasn’t pulling them along with his chain link leash, he loved to chase a ball and play fetch. His favorite game with me was to bring a rubber toy, and drop it by my feet. Then he stared at that toy until I quickly kicked it from under his nose. Every time I kicked the ball he picked it off  within inches of my toe. It wasn’t until last June that I beat him a couple of times, and made him turn and run, but still he had the damn thing within six feet. He prided himself in not losing the ball, ever. He never tired of the game, and could play non-stop for a day, but I couldn’t.

Rook is the first dog I ever fell in love with. My family has owned and cared for many dogs of many different breeds, but Rook is my all time favorite.

 

Feel Good Story

Any story that makes me feel good is a gem. I love old cars, and emotional stories about man’s spirit and determination to succeed. This particular story has both elements. This husband-wife team are a prime example of why people get married. True love unites and joins the couple in amazing ways. He works to please her and she works to please him. Together they overcome  adversity to bring joy to each other. Watch this video and tell me if this couple doesn’t represent everything needed to succeed in marriage.

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