Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

I am on the side porch writing this evening. I have all the Jack-O-Lanterns and skulls lit with candles in preparation for the trick or treaters that will most likely not come. They never come. We live too far out in the country for most kids today. They opt for high density neighborhoods with Mercedes and Lexus' in the driveway. We always prepare and occasionally when a trickster does come by, we load them down with all kinds of goodies. Looks like word would get out and we'd be swamped but that's just not the case.
A while ago when I first came out, the sky was a little overcast but you could still see rays of the setting sun peep through the clouds. As I sat here, I noticed a sound that was pleasing to the ear. It was whispering pines. Clouds as thick as pillows had moved in and the wind began to blow through the tops of the trees. The chimes on our porch started tinkling. I thought we were in for a blow, but it moved on to the east as quickly as it came in.
My older sister Mary Lois is still vacationing in Burma (Myanmar) and won't be home until the weekend so today was my shift to stay with my mom. She's low maintenance because she spends a great deal of time in bed. At 9 a.m. it was time to give her medicine so I made her a cup of coffee and took her a Buddy Bar (that's what she always eats). I went to get her a wash rag to wipe off her hands and when I returned she said "you'll have to open my Buddy Bar." I noticed tears in her eyes. She had tried to open the wrapper but she couldn't manage it. Her voice broke and took on a tone that in the past I only heard when her heart was broken. "I can't do anything for myself any more," she said. Those words along with the sound of her voice and the tears in her eyes broke my heart. I got a lump in my throat and it was hard for me to say anything. I did manage to say "well Mamma, I just about had to use my knife to open the darn thing." I sat with her while she ate in silence.
It is very difficult seeing you mom drifting away. Up until just a few years ago, she was as strong as a horse. She cut her own grass with a push mower and she cooked massive amounts of food...chicken, cornbread, potatoes, and deserts. You rarely saw her sitting.
Then she went into the hospital (only the second time in her life) because she became violently sick to her stomach for some reason. When they got here in there, they checked her heart and before you could say diagnosis, she was having open heart surgery and a pacemaker.
Not long after that she broke a hip, and then the other hip and then had a stroke. It was the stroke that cut the deepest. It sapped her strength and took away her mobility.
She spends her days now watching TV at volumes that approach the level of a jet aircraft on takeoff. It's hard for my sister to keep her pictures from vibrating off the wall.
But that's OK with me. Watching a loud TV is a small price to pay.
I hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween.

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