I finished my painting project yesterday. Everything went well.
Aside of an assortment of bruises brought about by moving heavy furniture and long stretches of ladder leaning, I completed the job, in good order.
My porcelain beauties are back in their glass showcases. Paul's oil paintings are in view. Everything looks ship-shape, including the large framed M. Donegar print of the USS De Moines, the heavy cruiser that Paul served on during his tour of duty with the Navy.
Old, new and gently used living treasures, keepsakes and heirlooms mesh together well in my freshly painted room.
Tootie Mae has adopted the beautiful chair that once belonged to Martha and Mary Ann Pedlar. The fancy chair dates back to 1863, but the neat little piece of furniture with pearly white china castors is new to Tootie Mae. She puts her little front feet on the arm, peers through the sheers and watches for Paul to return home from work.
The watchdog is not aware that a life-like porcelain doll in a snowy white satin dress occupied the seat before she moved in.
Toot is into leather. She loves to chew on shoes. Need I say more?
When the alarm sounds and he is halfway from the garage to the little blue house at the end of the road, she heads for the back door, lickety-split.
Our little apple's happy feet and wagging tail move to rhythm of her tiny heartbeat. True emotions unfold.
A couple of times, Paul's arrival brought on a quick release and relief to Toot's kidney concerns. She handled that like water under the bridge. There was no time for "the look" or an assessment of the damages.
She enjoyed watching me decorate the tree with beautiful keepsake ornaments, gifts from family and friends. She loves gifts (treats in shiny paper).
I am in the mood to celebrate the season.
In fact, Santa Claus is already on the holiday guest list. There will be no red tape. I give the jolly old fellow clearance to land here, for Tootie's sake. Without question, he is welcome.
Therefore, now I am ready to spruce up the rest of our home sweet home.
Starla will be in Indiana for the Christmas holiday. She will arrive Dec. 18.
Our youngest, Lori Ann Patrick, will spend the holiday at home in Denver.
Shopping is very taxing to the minds and bodies of most seniors. If they shop at all. The family grows and grows. Money does not come in easy and buying power changes with the seasons.
Still, our hearts are as free as always, bigger than our shrinking stash. We aim to plase, our way or no way.
I take tomorrow into consideration when "shop until you drop" tickles my fancy.
I prefer to select meaningful presents, instead of purchasing gift certificates. However, those little cards save the day when the fog sets in.
Suggestions are helpful and sometimes not. My handy shopper often steps up to the plate, for my sake. Paul does a lot of our shopping at Sears.
My mother always worried about satisfying everyone on her list. She shopped the dime stores. The Lynch kids were always thrilled with her selections, the best and most memorable gifts of all. She shopped for dresser sets, scarves, gloves and sweaters, etc. I looked for pencil boxes, books and card games too.
Oh, it is so grand to revisit those simple Christmases of my childhood, if only for a little while, the joy is mine. I can hear our voices softly singing those traditional Christmas carols and uplifting hymns around mother's piano on Christmas Eve. A good feeling like that is hard to duplicate.
Everyone in that room, except my little sister and me, are gone now.
Tomorrow, I will go to Restlawn Cemetery and place wreaths and poinsettias beside the headstones of mom and dad and my three siblings.
Memories surface tonight of those wonderful Christmases, will again out of my memory store when I stand before them and hear that old piano. In my bittersweet moments, my heart will sing.
My little 7-year-old sister died in 1943. Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" was Etta Ann's favorite song. The little sick girl learned it by heart shortly before Christmas 1942.
My mother played and sang her song every year thereafter, during the season. Even when Alzheimer's butted into her business and guided her steps, her music remained intact, to have and hold.
The last Christmas Eve that we gathered around her paino was in 1991.
She sang many songs, including Etta's song. Her beautiful angelic voice was clear, the lyrics were perfect, the music, as before. I shall never forget that special time.
Then she got up from the bench and walked away, as if we were not there. She died in my arms January 1992. Love lives on.
I can be reached at 446-4852 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.