But I Love Him

Garden Angel

Garden Angel

Saint Peter sat at the pearly gates when AJ showed up. She asked for entry. Saint Peter asked her to tell him her life story.

AJ began. I was born to fabulous parents, they never fought nor argued, they brought me up a loving, gentle, caring person. A couple of years after I entered the picture, my parents presented me with a glorious gift, a sister. Sis was my responsibility to get to school everyday. That sounds easy doesn’t it? Well, it wasn’t, Sis didn’t want to go, so I would up shoving her while I held the back of her collar.

During high school, I had an admiring boy friend, Elwood. He wrote poetry and left it in my books. He wrote about his true love for me, but somehow, I didn’t think Elwood was my type.

After high school, I got a job and took a bus to work everyday. One day, the bus driver a handsome dark-haired man a little older than I struck up a conversation. Soon we fell in love. We married. We went on a honeymoon, it was wonderful. We came home and my problems began. He beat me. He left me helplessly black and blue, but I loved him. I thought, I will become a better wife so he will treat me nicer, but he continued to beat me, but I love him Lord.

A couple of years later the beatings continued. I became pregnant. What a happy day it was when my son was born, now I loved two men. The beatings continued. My family wanted to kill my husband, but my mother put a stop to it, because he loved me.

As my son grew older, he watched his father beat me, I couldn’t leave him now Lord, because he loves me. My sister came to my rescue and took me to her home, but he called and told me how much he loved me and how sorry he was, and I went back to him, because he loves me.

My son started drinking and taking drugs in eighth grade. I didn’t say anything, because he had such a hard life watching his dad beat me so often. I couldn’t leave them both now could I, because I love them?

Sis got a phone call from a stranger, a woman, asking if she could get in touch with me. The stranger was in the process of annulling her marriage to my husband. How could he? He loves me.

My son is a man now, but he is always stoned and always in trouble with the police, but he loves me. Eventually, sonny boy commits a felony and gets caught. He spends time in prison, while his father continues to beat me. I can’t leave them Lord, they love me.

Eventually, I got smart and filed for a divorce. It was hard because my religion doesn’t allow divorce. He calls me on the day I get the decree, Free at last, except he tells me how sorry he is, and I go back with him, and he physically hurts me, but I love him.

Years go by and I finally disappear, I left them without telling him or my son where I am, but they love me Lord, and it is hard to live without them.

They find me. My son needs a place to stay, he has no job, nor does he want one. I love him Lord, so I take him in. Then my son tells my ex where I am, and he shows up. He loves me Lord, but now he has my son who is six-foot three and two hundred pounds standing between me and him. He doesn’t beat me anymore, but he certainly gets verbally abusive. I tell him to get the heck out and he goes away, for a while. He returns with gifts to make amends, and I let him visit, because he loves me.

Life is bearable for the first time in sixty years. Sonny lives with me and protects me, but I am very forgetful now, and Sonny must watch me constantly. My ex comes and goes, and every once in a while I throw him out, but I love him Lord.

My son disappears at times after his welfare check comes. I suppose he is off buying and using drugs with his friends. He comes back when he is out of money. Sis tells me again, and again to throw Sonny out, but I love him.

Sonny disappears again, and my memory is failing me Lord. I don’t have food in the house, and I am hungry. I knock on my neighbors doors asking for food. My friends share with me and I am happy. They tell me to kick Sonny out, but I love him Lord. A few weeks later he leaves me again, this time for a week or more. I walk out of the condo to find some food and help. I walk to the priest’s home and ask him for help. He promises to send someone soon. The police come and take me home, but I still don’t have food, and I am hungry Lord. I begin knocking on doors in the neighborhood asking for food. Many doors slam in my face, then the police come. This time they take me to a hospital, and they admit me. I don’t remember where I live anymore, nor my phone number. I remember Sis, and her name, and where she lives. The hospital calls Sis. She comes to visit, I can’t tell her about Sonny abandoning me because he loves me. Sis knows anyway, I didn’t have to tell her.

Saint Peter, for the first time in my life, I found a place where I am happy. Sis, and the Public Guardian found this place where nuns take care of me. The best part is that my ex and Sonny didn’t know where I was, but I know they love me.

Within a month, they found me again. They began to visit, and sweet talk me like they did before. This time, though the sisters are aware of their intentions and they watch the visits. I am truly happy, I go to mass daily, I have food three times a day, I have met new friends, and once a week, Sonny comes to visit. Sometimes he brings his father with him. I love them so.

Lat week, something strange went on in my head, and I fell smashing my head and hurting it even more. Then, I had a stroke which left me completely limp and in a coma.

Sonny has been with me right up until the time I saw the light where I saw Jesus standing at the end waving to me. I lifted myself up from the bed and walked toward Him. He took me by the hand and walked with me. Now I find myself talking to you.

“Why didn’t you ask us for help,”  said Saint Peter.

“I kept forgiving my ex and my son because that is what the Lord would do, and because they love me.”

“AJ,” he said, “Prepare yourself for some excitement.”

“What kind,” she asked?

The pearly gates began to open and there behind the gates a huge crowd cheered, all clapping, whistling, and shouting for AJ to come in.

AJ stood in shock, but soon a smiling woman she recognized stepped out of the crowd and ran toward her with open arms.

“Mom,” I yell, “he loves me.”

“AJ, you are home at last.”

Watermelon Salesman

     Thank you, Dan Rather. You gave me this inspirational idea. Do you ever really know what you are getting when you purchase a watermelon?  It has a very thick skin that is very solid and green. It can look very tasty from the outside, but are you ever sure of how ripe it is on the inside? The watermelon is a perfect example to explain the current healthcare plan that Congress is pouring down our throats for our own good. Who knows what evil lurks inside the two thousand plus pages of the gobble-de-gook language of a Harvard lawyer. It may be the best thing ever presented to the American people, or it can be the worst. How do we know? How will we know? When will we know?  I guess we will have to believe just like the followers of one Jim Jones, and swallow the cool-aid to find out.

     This morning, I got a rude awakening from a health care provider. It is no secret that I have Medicare as my primary insurance. Ii carry a secondary private policy to cover what the wonderful Medicare does not. I would prefer to buy my own healthcare insurance, but when a person turns sixty-five in the USA, it is his obligation to swallow Medicare. That is wrong, I am not obligated to take Medicare, but since I pay for it with my taxes, I feel that I am entitled to get it. I am not rich enough to buy it on my own.

     I called the healthcare provider to order diabetic testing supplies.  I have some experience with diabetes, having raised a child from the age of five who had type-one diabetes. I know the value of testing blood to determine where the sugar level is. Also for years, I preached to my son on the value of knowing his blood sugar so he could adjust his insulin level appropriately. When I became diabetic, I decided I had better walk the talk. For the past five years, I have tested myself three to four times a day. I use my sugar level to decide when to eat, how much to eat, and what to eat. I have maintained a normal A1C level (long-term blood sugar level) for five years.

     Why do I do this? I do it because diabetes is the scourge of the human body. It is the number one reason for new blindness in the United States. It is the number one reason for the amputation of a person’s foot. It is a cause for kidney failure. Diabetics are almost guaranteed to suffer a stroke or heart attack. The list of body damage and collateral diseases is long. I figure that it is much healthier to live with testing and adjusting my diet than it is to let the disease go rampant. My quality of life is much better also.

     So, this morning when my provider told me that Medicare only pays for a single blood test every day, I became incensed. What will happen when Obama care cuts another five hundred billion dollars out of the Medicare budget?  I shudder to think of what will happen if you are a type-one diabetic and Obama care dictates to you how often you can test.  It is my prediction, that with universal health care and the shortage of doctors it will create, and treatments it will dictate we get, that diabetes will be a death sentence like it was before the invention of insulin.

     There is nothing like moving backward a hundred years in the name of CHANGE and improvement.

Wanna buy a rotten watermelon for a hundred bucks?

What About Bob?

Pinewood Derby TrackKiller-93A couple of weeks ago my grandson Joey, son-in-law Jeff, and I had a terrific day building pinewood derby cars. Joey is a Cub Scout, and his Pinewood Derby was coming up. The Cub Master had a special “Outlaw” event for Dad’s and grandfathers. Unlike Joey’s event, the Outlaw race had no rules. Of course, Joey, Jeff, and I worked diligently to build a first class racer for Joey’s event.

For those of you who are not familiar with a Pine Wood Derby race I will describe it as simple as I can. It is a father-son project to build a miniature race car from wood. Each scout buys a kit with all the essentials; a block of wood, four wheels, four axles, and a set of directions. The cars race on a track provided by the Cub Scout Pack. It is usually made from wood. The track is about thirty feet long with one end raised four feet above the ground. The first quarter of the track goes downhill and transitions into a flat section. The cars are placed at the top of the track and restrained by a starting gate. A wooden strip defines the lane and keeps the cars from crossing into each other, or from leaving the track. A typical race lasts for about two seconds. The starter pulls a lever which drops the starting gate and the cars begin the descent. It is amazing to watch them descend and then coast to the finish line.

Joey designed his own car. He came to my house with his sketch in hand. Grumpa Joe helped him transfer the design to the block of wood and to cut the shape on the band saw. After the cut was completed, Joey went to work with sanding, shaping and adding details. He painted the car in his favorite colors, green and silver. While he sanded and painted, Jeff and I were polishing axles and truing the wheels. In between those tasks, Jeff and I spent time on our own Outlaw creations.

The day went by quickly. We were mesmerized by the activity. We envisioned our cars coming across the line ahead of everyone. Joey and Jeff went home with very little left to do. I had to finish the wheels and paint. The race was the next day; not too much pressure.

Race day came, and Joey’s Den was last up. The rocket car blazed to a win. His little car easily beat two others. In the next heat, he was up against the winner of another round. Joey’s rocket car finished just a few inches behind. He ran his last race. It was disappointing to say the least. It was Joey’s last time as a Pine Wood Derby Racer until he has the pleasure to work with his son in about thirty years.

After the Cub Scouts raced, the Cub Master called for the Outlaws. Jeff’s car and mine ran in different heats. We were eliminated immediately. We had fun being together and giving it our best. After all was done. We put our cars on the track together; Joey was first, Jeff a close second, and Grumpa Joe a close third. The three cars finished within six inches of each other.

A week later I had the most wonderful dream. I saw my buddy Bob in the dream. He was the starter for a pinewood derby race, and I was at the finish line as a judge. I never saw any scouts, but I did see lots of cars racing down the track. Bob was dressed in his grey sweat suit and smiling as he let each set of cars go. It made me happy to see him this way. Bob’s life and mine had many parallels. He was involved in Scouting as was I. He was an engineer, and made a career out of running a machine shop, my own engineering career involved running a machine shop. Our wives died about a year apart from each other. The deaths of our spouses really cemented our relationship, and we became fast friends.

Bob and I were good therapy for each other. We ate supper together at the local dining room several times a week. Often we closed the place down. After his wife died, a year before mine, he began meeting with a group of men. They were all widowers. It’s funny that he knew so many men who lost their wives about the same time. He asked me to join the group. I did. We went to supper every Tuesday night. The evenings were filled with discussion about anything from politics to technology. The group still meets, but without Bob.

I asked Bob to be the best man at my wedding. He was the best best-man he could be. After our wedding, we continued to meet on Tuesday, and also as couples. Bob paired with a widowed lady friend. About eight months after my wedding, Bob suffered a stroke. He became paralyzed on one side. While in rehab, he suffered more strokes. They impaired his memory.

Bob’s only son lives in Portland, Oregon. The son commuted to care for his father. Bob’s friends kept looking in on him at the nursing home where he settled. Eventually, his son made the decision to take him to Portland to care for him there. It was the right thing to do. I lost Bob as my best buddy.

Two months ago, Peggy and I traveled to Portland to visit Bob. It was the first time we saw him in two years. New strokes had debilitated him further, but he recognized us immediately. We had a beautiful visit.

The dream with Bob is on my list of “warm and fuzzy moments.”  How strange it was that my brain worked to connect Joey’s pinewood derby race to an old friend who also built pinewood derby cars with his son.

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