Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Not So Long Ago

Today would have been my Granddaddy's 85th birthday. He passed away at too early an age, at a mere 65 years. Although young when he died, I have vivid memories of my Granddaddy from as far back as I can remember...and each memory confirms the solid and unique character that I've been told existed in every aspect of his being. I remember his love for golf, his warm smile, and the way he loved. The way he loved--each and every person around him. I never heard him speak an ill word about anyone, and the way people magnetized towards him proved that this love I witnessed was received and reciprocated. Genuine. He was a genuine man, and I'm blessed and proud to call him my Granddaddy.

One of the most precious gifts I've ever received was the gift my Mimi gave my family after my Granddaddy passed away. She wrote a short story highlighting special and defining moments during their almost 40 years spent together. It's in letter form, beginning with "Dear Jim" and reminiscing on the time he returned home from war, her spotting him from the choir loft at church. She was then 18, four years older than the 14 year old girl that watched the handsome James May leave for WWII.

"You were in uniform and my heart skipped a beat when you took a seat near the front, looked at me, and smiled."

Their life together, like any, held highs and lows. Times of rejoicing and times of heartache. The one thing I'm certain of is that no matter what season their life was in, their love for each other never wavered. And I know that simply by the way I saw them look at each other, and by the way my Mimi's eyes look when she speaks of him today. I am thankful for the example they set, and I take pleasure in knowing that love can be just that. A memorable journey together, forever to be cherished.

Every now and then I will take out the story which she entitled "Not So Long Ago" and re-read details from their journey. I can't help but tear up every time I read the last chapter of the book....

"Before I finish this, I need to let you know about some of my favorite things, concerning you, and sometimes both of us, and then I will let you rest in peace, until that wonderful day when I see you again......

I loved the fact that you were my best friend, as well as my husband, that we liked each other, as well as loved each other. I truly believe that ours was a match made in Heaven. I loved the fact that you were kind and gentle, but you were firm when you needed to be. I loved the fact that you always set the right example before me and the children. I loved the fact that you were so dependable, no matter what! Like the Rock of Gibraltar. I loved the fact that you were a family man, and so generous. I loved the fact that you read your Bible every day, regardless of what else might be going on. And the way that you always took it with you on trips. And I loved the way you always dated the passage after you read it. I loved your sense of humor, probably most of all, and between us, there was always laughter in our home. I loved your complete loyalty and devotion to the Vols, and to the Yankees! It was so much fun, watching the games together on TV. You taught me first to love baseball, and later, football. I cherish the times our family would rush home from church to "catch" a game. Even to keeping boxscores, keeping up with batting averages, and homeruns . Everyone said your blood would run orange, if you were cut. I loved your devotion to duty. Whatever you did was done well, and you didn't start anything that you didn't finish. I heard a song today entitled "What Will I Do With Me?" and I related to it, because I am asking myself the same question, now that you're gone. And yesterday, I turned on the car radio, and the first song I heard was "Danny Boy" so I had to change stations. Naturally, I thought of you, and everytime I do, this big, huge lump comes in my throat. But I will think of you each time I hear "Ten Thousand Joys" as well as "Let It Snow." And when I think of you, I'll also be thanking you for all the wonderful memories you have left me. But for now, I will just say "Goodnight, My Love" until we meet again. Love you truly, Dorothy."

Happy Birthday, Granddaddy. And thank YOU for gift that I received through your life, and for the blessing of your example....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This Green Eyed Girl..... hoping you are wearing your green!!! Happy St. Patrick's Day! I've always loved this day of the year. Maybe because my favorite color is green, maybe because I've had an ongoing love affair with Ireland ever since my visit there, or maybe because this particular day just seems to bring back numerous memories of comfort and awe.

My mom always downplays her creativity, but for as long as I can remember she has ignited my life with creative acts of love--and my first real memory of St.Patrick's Day is a direct result of that. I remember her helping us make homemade t-shirts to wear to school one St.Patty's Day in elementary (probably to help us avoid any unnecessary pinching that might transpire from lack of properly colored attire). Well, right when I finished adding the final touch of puffy paint to my 4-leaf clover, Taffy (my cat) jumped onto the t-shirt and left a paw mark right in the middle of the clover. We tried our best to fix the mess, but ironically enough there was no luck for THAT clover. So I did what any artist would do....wore it proudly and called it abstract art.

Since then I've had only wonderful memories of St. Patrick's outings in Syracuse, NY with some of my dearest friends....street parades in Dallas filled with friends, laughter, and fine music....annually held office crawfish boils....all of these leaving lasting memories on my heart, which revisit me with every green return.

And then there was Ireland. While my visit did not take place over St.Patrick's Day, the holiday fell shortly after my return. The smells, tastes, and wonders of that country will never leave me. In an effort to share some of that wonder with you, I've dug into my photographic archives and grabbed a few of my favorite images from that trip. Hope they add a bit 'o cheer to your day!!

Happy St.Patrick's my friends here AND across the pond!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

March Madness

One of these days I'm going to slow down, I promise. It does not appear as though this will be the month in which that happens, however. Currently, if you Wikipedia the word "travel" you will find a picture of me. Only for this month, though, so do it while you can!!

Glad for every bit of these adventures I'm on. Straight off a cruise and into the presence of family that I've been missing. I'm hanging out in San Diego right now...Dad, Dana, and the girls all came out to CA and we are staying with Kirk, Rachel, and Dustin. It baffles me how quickly these kids grow up. My baby nephew is now a boy, and my little sisters are even more teenage than they were the last time I saw them. Not sure if that's good or bad. ha ha. We spent the first day together in LA at Disneyland....first time for both Dustin and myself. Luckily, he doesn't have a camera so most of this documentary will be of him... :)

(click on this picture to get personal with those pretty blue eyes) :)

XOXO's from wherever I find myself next.... :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Yo Amo Cayamo!

I'm home, safe and sound, and don't even know where to begin. So please be patient, as it will take me multiple entries to even come close to touching on the events of the past week. "YO AMO CAYAMO!" :) We were encouraged to shout this at any time we felt so inclined while on the Cayamo cruise. You can be sure I participated--and you can be sure I'm still walking around saying it.

I have lots to catch up on, so I'm going to keep this one short and sweet. BUT, I just have to say that I spent all of last week absorbing some of the best music I've heard in a while...and meeting some new people that I hope to remain in touch with. A few random and funny encounters? I met a man who used to work for my step-dad in Memphis, and also met the cousin of my old high school basketball coach. ha! You just never know who is beside you.

Cruising along....we began our vacation at the DoubleTree Hotel in Miami, the day before the ship departed. Beautiful weather allowed for us to lay out by the pool before enjoying the poolside kick-off concert. The view from our room wasn't too shabby...

The next morning, we loaded up on a shuttle and headed towards port, where we would happen upon The Norwegian Dawn--our home for the next 7 days. With a departing view of Miami, an over-sized chess game, and an afternoon concert on the deck...I happily called it so. MI CASA CAYAMO! :)