Monday, November 10, 2014

Taking things for granted

There is a bouquet of zinnias in my bathroom in a tall ivory vase. They are red, purple and burnt orange. The color is more vivid than a Kodachrome slide.

They appear there every few days during the summer, almost as if by magic. I’ve never seen them wilt. While I’m running around chasing story leads and interviewing people, a new arrangement of flowers finds its way onto my vanity.

This morning as I straightened my collar, before heading out to a noon luncheon, I noticed a new arrangement.

Leaning down, the gentle fragrance of the fragile flowers drifted straight through to my brain sending me back 50 years to my great grandmother’s porch.

Closing my eyes, the color came back in a rush of memory, and I realized how easy it is to take things for granted.

I never have to think of clean towels, tissue in the dispenser or toothpaste in the antique Old Spice mug that holds my toothbrush and toothpaste. It’s always there within easy reach.

I tell my lovely wife Jilda thank you frequently, but is that enough? I wonder.

It’s hard for me to imagine my life without her, though as a younger man the thought never crossed my mind.

This week I’ve been researching a story idea and had an opportunity to talk with some WWII veterans.

All three had been married for over 55 years, and had lost their wives in the recent past. The voice of one cracked a little when talking about losing the love of his life.

“I live alone now,” he said. “There are people who come in to cook, clean, and check on me, but I miss my wife more than anyone will ever know.”

There was an indescribable sadness in his voice. I paused for a moment before moving on. During the silence, I thought of the flowers on my vanity and got a lump in my throat as well.

If he’d taken her for granted when she was alive, I’d be willing to bet he’s given that a lot of thought since she passed on.

The conversation with the elderly gentleman, and the sadness in his voice weighed on my mind for a long time.

Jilda and I have arrived at a time in our lives where we don’t have the luxury of taking anything for granted.

You can’t flip through the paper without seeing obits of men and women our age.

Jilda still weighs about what she weighed in high school, and looks much younger than her 62 years.

When people learn that she’s struggling with a chronic lung issue that forces her to take five-hour infusion treatments each month, they shake their head in disbelief. “You don’t look sick,” they say.

But few have seen the side effects of a serum that looks as thick as Karo Syrup dripping through a plastic tube, and marching through every vein in her body. It’s not pretty.

But thankfully, she has an appointment later this month with a doctor that specializes in her condition and there’s a good chance he can make recommendations to minimize the side effects in the future. We’re both grateful and excited.

It is not my intention to get preachy in this column, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned that I would like to share with you all it’s this — Don’t take your loved ones for granted.


  1. I agree Rick ... never take our loved ones for granted, we never know what the future holds...

  2. I often joke to My wife about how nothing seems to run out in our home. There is always sugar in the bowl, coffee creamer in the pantry, we never have to fill the salt and pepper shakers, or the cinnamon or any spices, or toilet paper, toothpaste soap dish and shampoo containers are always full along with many other things.

    She simply responds "Funny how that happens."

    I think she knows she is appreciated.
    Great reminder...great post!

    1. Oh, here's hoping the new treatment works well.

  3. Beautiful message! Praying for good health for Jilda!

  4. Anonymous12:05 AM

    So true, Rick--& I wish the best for Jilda!!

  5. Beautiful sentiments... it's wonderful when we have someone we love so much in our lives, we can't imagine life without them... that's why today, the present is so important. Live every day to the fullest, so tomorrow you will have no regrets!

  6. Lovely. It is so true Rick.

  7. You're a rare breed for even noticing such touches.. much less showing your appreciation for them. It sounds like you and Jilda have a beautiful thing together. I hope the appointment proves beneficial for Jilda.

  8. Oh yes, age brings on appreciation, at least to the thinker. And no one knows the journey until they have spent some time in those shoes. I understand the age thing in relation to my loved ones, but thank goodness not the reality you guys face medically.. Good stuff for a reader.. Nice visit to start my day....

  9. An excellent thought--don't take loved one's for granted. Thanks for calling it to mind.

  10. Dear Rick, I am so glad that I read this post! I must say that old saying of you never know what ya got till it's gone... It is really a very sad quote; and I do not want to live my life like that at all. May Jilda have a breakthrough on the side effects. I love you both and I have never met you! But you have painted a picture for me through your words. I think,
    "she knows" Love is a verb right?
    Blessings all the days of both your lives, Roxy

  11. Prayers you will find answers...hugs to you and Jilda~

  12. Too bad so many only find that out after it's too late. You're on the right track and you're a good man. My wish for Jilda is that she gets better so she can grow old with you.

  13. I'm reminded of one of my DIL's favorite sayings: "Time is a thief."
    Great reminder ... great post!

  14. When Willy Dunne Wooters takes me out for dinner, I always thank him. He said it wasn't necessary. I told him that it's necessary for me to remind myself not to take him for granted.


  15. You made my mascara run this morning...what a sweet and so true post. I don't want to think about the possibility of one of us being alone..I really don't want to think I wasn't grateful enough either. So saying how much you love your family to their face each day is most important. I want to say thanks to you for serving our country too! Hugs and prayers for Jilda.

    1. Thanks for your kind words Yaya.

  16. Sounds like you're a lucky man. Prayers for Jilda,


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