She sat quietly on the porch, watching the spring begin to blossom and the day beginning to dawn. Drinking a cup of coffee in the chilly early morning light, Wacie Ann knew that as sure as the spring brought new life to the Plains that with it came a new life for her. She had been married for more than half of her life and that was gone. Everyone that she held dear had come and gone from her life it seemed. The children were off creating a life of their own, the husband that she had spent nearly twenty years with had hardly given her any trouble out of the divorce, and her mother had been gone only a few months so all that remained on the big ranch was Wacie Ann and her father.
Wacie had been up since 3 am feeding the 200 head of cattle, the chickens, the pigs, the horses and milking the handful of cows that they had kept. Breakfast would have to wait until the eggs and milk had been put away and coffee had been consumed. As she took the few minutes to enjoy the quiet of the morning and the hot aromatic brew in her cup, she planned the rest of her day. The winter wheat was nearly ready to harvest, the garden needed plowed and planted, and those two hogs needed butchered but more pressing was to take that bull over to the Bar-J. The ranch had been a family affair, one that everyone had their part to play. But at 40 years old Wacie found all the chores were hers and hers alone.
“Daddy, I am going to do chores! Dad! I am going out to do chores,” the words echoed through the big house. The house had been her home for several years, since Wacie Ann had moved home to help her mom care for her aging father and help with the ranch. She had closed her business in town and moved back to the country. Hoping that her savings would last long enough to start her business over, Wacie had put her camera away in storage and focused solely on running the ranch. The big wooden screen door slammed with a loud bang in the early morning darkness. The stars twinkled above as she made her way to the barn. The cold spring air nipped the exposed skin of her face. Dressed in jeans and boots, her tank and long sleeve button down covered by her denim jacket and her hair pulled back tight in a ponytail and all shoved up into her toboggan, she wasn’t there to impress the cattle. The dress clothes and make up of a business woman traded for more rugged work attire. Make-up took time to put on as well as the jewelry that she usually adorned and her life was all about time and hard work now. The business woman had been replaced by a pair of pliers and good leather gloves.
As she opened the barn and stepped in out of the chilly wind she was greeted by Bubba and Tiny, the barn cats. Closing the door, Wacie talked to the pair. “Morning guys are you hungry? Breakfast time has come again, huh? Did you catch me a mouse or two?” The cats rubbed lovingly around her legs until she reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out the package hidden there. She opened the newspaper and laid the chopped steak left over from supper on the floor and gave the pair of cats loving pats. “You two are worthless mousers, you know that? Probably because I spoil you so.”
Wacie looked up at the loft in the barn; the hay was stacked neatly there. Climbing the latter, she was thankful that she had parked the one ton flatbed truck in the barn last night. Wiggling her fingers into the pigskin gloves, she picked up the first bale of hay and tossed it down onto the flatbed below. She repeated this process for ten more times before stopping to breathe. Perspiration dripped down her face and she began to unlayer. Her jacket and toboggan taken off, she began again. Ten more bales over the edge and the button down now lay with the other clothes. Years of office work had turned muscles soft and this hard work taxed her very being.
Wow. Some days I wonder if people actually read, if they actually listen, if they actually believe. I do realize that hope is a very powerful thing, but so is the power of suggestion. Rapture today? I seriously doubt it, my bible says, no man shall know, I will come like a thief in the night. Well, if it is predicted then that kind of takes the whole no man shall know part out of the equation. Everytime some fruitloop predicts it there is alot of hoopla and people believing this has got to be it. Where does that faith in God go? Is that faith in God just a convenience? Stop and think about this, some where every second of every day someone meets their maker. How rapturous that is. To let go of every earthly worry, need, want, or desire and to stand there face to face with your maker. I am learning that those earthly worries that we all have do nothing but make a person old and unhappy. No, I am not perfect. God didn’t make me perfect but he did give me the mind and heart to believe that he made me perfect for what he has in mind for me. He has let me stumble my way to find and believe in him. But I have never fallen, for he always catches me first. I still have much to learn, but I face it with an open mind and an open heart. I long ago quit judging people for what that host body looks like, look at your own soul, then look at other people’s souls. A person is so much more than what is in a body, they have a mind, a heart, and a voice. Look, listen, touch and be so blessed beyond words that it opens you up to a whole new world. Rapture today? No there will not be a rapture today but I guess it does give people a reason to laugh. Laughter is what the songs of angels are made of, it raises the spirits and heals the soul. Just my view point on the rapture thing……
Today my dad had missed my momma so much, then it dawned on me what today was. Today would have been their anniversary. My daddy grew up in Slaton, he had been married before. He was working as night auditor for the Holiday Inn in Clovis. Momma grew up in the Portales, NM area. She had been married before too. Daddy had two children from his first marriage and had custody of Andy and Dana. Mother and her sister had a double date that night. Daddy and his friend were drinking a little. Okay the friend got wasted, the sister decided she didn’t want to hang out because they were drinking. That left Mom and Dad on the date. Two weeks later my parents were married, five years later I was born. Meant to be?? I would defiantly say so. They still held hands, they laughed, they loved, and they accepted each other completely. I watched them succeed, to struggle, to watch each other through sickness and in health. I learned so much from both of them. Don’t tell Momma, but Daddy is the one that taught me to cook, but it was Momma that taught me to bake. Daddy taught me to fix things and Momma taught me to sew. Both of them taught me to work hard for what I wanted and to seek those that could teach me what I need to know. They taught me to live to love and to be patient. Okay, somedays too patient but I have learned that too. Daddy today has been a wonderful day listening to you remember. I love your stories always and I love you and momma always too. Daddy said earlier that death had ended the counting process, I don’t think it did. I don’t think the loved they shared will ever die because it lives on in me.
What an awesome morning!! First it rained….I could have done without the hail but what an awesome sight for the ground to be wet!! Then Daddy was going back to bed for a nap. One of our favorite times, he sits on the edge of the bed and I curl up across the end of the bed and that is our time to chat. This morning he was sure missing Momma. But it is at those times when I get to hear the best stories of their life together. This morning he was telling me about them courting. I guess you could call it courting, they knew each other two weeks before they got married!! My momma always wanted me to think she was this prim proper girl. I knew better, but it was always fun to let her think that I thought she was. I mean, my momma used to race cars when she was younger, drag racing. Daddy looks at me this morning, laughing he says, ” She asked me to marry her. She hated when I used to tell that.” I said, ” Momma asked you?” Yeah she did!! My parents were married 44 years. I had told Daddy that I was pretty sore today, this is what started our chat. He looks at me and smiles big and says, “Funny the things we will do to take care of our kids.” I told him yeah it was and I was so glad that he taught me to be that way. He told me about how hard it was on him physically. He said that he had forgotten his parking tag so he had to park away from the hospital. That he would walk a little while and have to stop and catch his wind. Said that most mornings it would take him about half an hour to get to the lobby. Then he would have to sit for awhile to catch his breath again. He would sit at the hospital all day with no oxygen. He said that he hated that because he would dose off and not get to spend that time with Momma. Then he looks at me and says, ” I am sorry that I made that time harder for you.” What?!?! Harder?? I don’t know what I would do without my Daddy. He didn’t make it harder, but him being there and seeing what true love is all about just made me such a much better person. Oh Daddy, never ever think that you have made anything harder, only made me better!! I have watched that man struggle through so many things in my life time and I have always admired how he handles each and everyone with such love and compassion. I am so proud to call him MY Daddy!!! I take great pride and honor in doing so. He has thought me what love is, he taught me to dance, he taught me to work on the car, he taught me that no matter how dark things get to search for the good in everyone and everything. It is a wonderful Friday!!! What blessings I have in my life.
Some times when the care of others is thrust upon you and you are doing your best even then it isn’t good enough. Some days it just seems to drain every ounce of feeling you have from your very soul. You hold yourself to a higher standard because they deserve the very best. You try to do for yourself but feel torn between your dreams and your responsibilities. Left wondering if you are being selfish to work on yourself. Then when there is a break and you look more closely to those you love, and see that ground has been lost sometime in the night when you were not looking it breaks your heart. To realize that you cannot be all things to all people but have instead to be what you can to who you are.
I so wanted to take a break yesterday, to go and let my hair down. But alas responsibilities come first. Some times it is like banging your head against the concrete and you wonder if any of it really matters. Makes you look at what is really important, who is important, and teaches you to be patient, kind, loving and never jealous. Yet there are times when I am jealous. Jealous to the point of tears.
So, time to start walking it off, find something here at the house to occupy my time, my brain, my physical being. Look to a future time that I can run away for a day and feel a little freedom. Life sure has a way of kicking you in the teeth and then opening up something awesome……
So, time to do something to keep the boredom at bay and put a smile on that kind, gentle face that never complains, never gripes and loves me just for the fact of being. Pull up my boot straps and be the adult that I know I am supposed to be.
What are we teaching our children?? Botox injections for an 8 year old? Really? Why on earth is an 8 year old worried about wrinkles? Wrinkles are beautiful! I used to hate that I had wrinkles but taking care of the elderly you quickly learn that wrinkles are a sign of living life. Those laugh lines they are called that for a reason. I laugh alot, why should they not show the happiness I have seen. Those deep cuts between my eyebrows, I got those from worrying and loving those people in my life that I would give my life for. Worried at 8 about wrinkles…..what is our society coming to??? My mother always told me when I asked her if she thought I was pretty that beauty was skin deep but ugly goes clear to the bone. I thought at the time that she thought I was the ugliest person on earth. As time passed, I came to realize just how true that statement is. For now I know that what my mom was saying was that looks are far from everything. I know people that are absolutely beautiful on the outside but you can’t stand to be around them. I know people that are far from that stigma that I think are the most beautiful people on earth. But we seem to be a world of looks and we can’t see past the nose on other people’s faces. That is incredibly a sad thing. Thanks mom for teaching me that beauty is so much more than what one looks like. I am beautiful. Not a bombshell, but beautiful just the same…..
I hit my knees this morning and said a little prayer, for God to tell you mom Happy Mother’s Day! I told him to thank you for all you did and those you touched. To tell you that I love you today and everyday. I called your sisters this morning and told them all the same, and through the phone line came their love for you the same. You may live within my heart today and everyday, but I am also learning that you are a very part of my physical being and you take every step I take. Yes, I miss you dearly, the physical it seems, holding your hand, braiding your hair, and hearing your voice. But Mom rest assured that you wrote on my heart in love and that your memories live forever in every person that you touched. Happy Mother’s Day Mom!! Forever and Always.
I will not chisel my life story in stone but rather write it gently in love on your heart. In doing so, may my story live on long after I am gone. I finally found what I was searching for….success isn’t that which you leave upon this world, but rather the love and memories that live forever. 😀
God gives each of us gifts that he expects us to use. Will I ever find that gift and figure out what to do with it? What is my purpose in life and will I ever figure it out? Do I need to be still more and listen more? Is he telling me, showing me and I am not paying attention? It seems everything I have done up to this point in life has been in failure by some strange twist of fate or another. What am I missing? What have I not seen? I am thinking that it is time for some down time to better evaluate. He has given me the gift of writing but to do what with? He has given me the gift of taking care of others, what do I do with that one? He has given me a gift of seeing people for the wonderful spirits that they are beyond what ties them to that of the world. What do I do with that? It is like I spread myself too thin and don’t focus on just one thing. There always seems to be a million things pulling me in a million directions. I have grown so much in the past two years, have realized that I am. I am so much but now what? I don’t know any more I don’t know where to take what I have found, what I have learned, what I have seen. So now is the time to hit my knees, to work harder, to take some time to search out what I am being told. Do other people wonder these things? I guess my wondering today is simply this…..now that I have it how do I put it all together??
Some times living in central Texas has its drawbacks. As I head home everytime, I crank the stereo and absorb all the good music I can for when I get outside of Ballinger I loose the Angelo stations. Today I am flipping looking for a channel that will come in clear. I get to Santa Anna and I found a very strong station. I sit listening closely for the voice talking is barely understandable. But that in itself catches my attention. He says in 1967 my momma had to have surgery. It was to be a simple surgery on her neck. The doctor came to talk to our family with such horrible news. He said, ” I give her six months at the longest. She has cancer.” The voice on the radio in strained voice says “I thought no, no! She can’t go to heaven. She is the only one that loves me!! She is the only one that doesn’t make fun of me!” I did the only thing I knew to do, I hit my knees morning, noon, and night and I pleaded!! PPPPLLLLEEEAAASSEEE! You can’t take her she is all I have. Everyday until October of 1968 when I watched my Momma take her last breathe. I was devasted!! I stayed in bed all the time with tears coming out of my eyes. Everyone gave up on me, except for one sister. She wanted me to go to school, I didn’t want to go to school, why would I want to do that they called me everything but my name…. Someone gave a saying once…..Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me……BIGGEST LIE I EVER HEARD!!! Words do hurt. I told her to give up like everyone else because I wasn’t worth it. You have to love stubborn sisters…she said, ” I don’t know what I am going to do with you right now but I know one thing…I will never give up on you. So we are going to church.” I really didn’t want to go to church. I was a was a preachers son. I had been going to church since 9 months before I was born!! No I don’t want to go to church!! I was tired of being called everything but my name being stared at and laughed at for my limp for my speech. Have you ever heard the song Row Row Row your boat? Sing the last part for me…”merrily down the stream. Merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream” Sing it again please? The congregation sang again. ” Now there is a really big LIE!” Life is not a dream!!! It is a nightmare. It is a nightmare to each and everyone of us at some point.” But to get his sister off his back he agreed to go to church. “There I sat, looking at the minister thinking, ‘Pleeaassse!! Just shut UP!’ ” The congregation let out that “been there” laugh. “YEAH!! You have been there too huh??” the slow hard to understand voice growled. I took a lot away from that day at church though. We were a “BIBLE” family. King James version only. “HA HA HA! yeah we were that kind of family” That day there was a good old fashioned calling in that little church. I was surely down front and on my knees. “Now before I tell you exactly what I learned that day, I want you to repeat after me. I am not okay, but that is okay because God loves me anyway.” The congregation humors the strained voice on the radio. Not with gusto but just that mumbling of repeating. ” I learned that day that no I am not perfect, I don’t have the perfect body, the perfect voice, the perfect heart or the perfect personality. I am by no means perfect. But I am loved by God! ” I went down front and hit my knees, I said GOD! I don’t have much to offer you. I have a heart that is shattered in a million pieces! I have a body that is not perfect but GOD plllleeeeaaaassseee come into my heart and love me!” His already unstable voice trembled and he said, ” Now turn to your neighbor and repeat after me…….’I AM NOT OKAY, BUT THAT IS OKAY BECAUSE GOD LOVES ME!………………..EVEN IF YOU DON’T, GOD DOES.’ and as you said it this time what did you FEEL?” The congregation laughed. A good hearty laugh for most of them were telling this to loved ones. The hard to understand voice on my radio laughed too. “Made you realize that it wasn’t just the people in your lives that loved you didn’t it? Life is full of roadblocks, people that are going to disappoint you, people that are going to hurt you. But there is a higher power that has a plan just for you and loves you enough to never leave your side.” Looking out at the congregation he says, ” I see a congregation of individuals. Of people that need to know that kind of love. Once you figure out that you are loved and I mean really loved, then you can look at each other and accept all that God accepts of each of us.”
I had gotten into the driveway at this point, I ran in the house to check on Daddy, pick up the grocery list to head into town to fill that list. Now you have to remember that most radio stations down here remind you of listening to an old AM radio, kind of staticy, the fade in and out with the topography of the hill and dale. This radio station was as clear as if this man and the congregation he was talking to was sitting it the car with me. I run back to the car wanting to hear what else this strained voice had to say. I cranked the car and my eardrums vibrated with the sound of utter loud static. Nothing, no sign of a radio station anywhere! I got up this morning and wandered out to the car to see if I had just been mistaken or if I had just happened to have run out of the listening area. I drove back towards Santa Anna in hopes of finding this station….it is gone. Like a dropped napkin in the West Texas wind gone. No commercials to tell what station, no commentary to give me the name of the man that I was so moved by. As a general rule I cannot recall verbatim what someone says especially when I am as tired as I was yesterday and especially if I have slept on it. But I can hear that strained voice as clear as if it were recorded on my brain and in my heart.
I see so much hate and abuse in this world. I see people searching for love and friendships. But I also see that they nearly never look in two very important places. They never look to themselves for love and they never truly accept that there is some higher power that loves them unconditionally either. So today in your travels, look at the people that you encounter, accept them at face value. Don’t look at anything except that they are a being that isn’t okay and love them just the same. Remember to touch lightly that may be their saving grace. Those of you that know my momma’s story of cancer know why I couldn’t turn the station. My momma went in to have a lump removed from her neck. Benign the surgeon says as he talks to us after surgery. That was in October. A month later he called back and told us that it was late stages cancer a tumor that had separated from a main cancer and that she had until December 21 to live. I too hit my knees and prayed……