Endearing Traits

I’m always surprised by Wednesday, especially when I don’t have a post ready for Thursday. Like today. I always mean to write several posts and schedule them. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Hello, Thursday Morning friends! I’m so glad you’ve stopped by, sparing a few moments from your busy, busy day to visit with me.

I just returned from a quick dinner out with my husband (Bob). He was uncertain what he wanted to eat and where he wanted to go, but we have dozens of good restaurants nearby to choose from. We’re driving and he says, “Hey, let’s go to that place with the big fan.”

I laughed, because this is classic Bob. He’s a smart guy, but he can’t remember names. Now, lest you think he’s on the road to memory loss, that might suggest he had something to lose. Where names are concerned, that is. It’s an endearing trait that provides ample opportunity for humor in our family.

We went to the place with the big fan. On the drive home, I was musing about all the other places he can’t remember. “Hey, how about the place with the horses out front?” Some of you may recognize that one.

“Let’s go to that place next to “chillis” (Chili’s—that’s another joke, but for a different reason). Chillis is how his mother pronounces the name of the restaurant. I guess the red pepper on the sign wasn’t an ample clue for her. It’s been years, but we still call it that. Bob doesn’t care for chillis, so we go to the restaurant next door.

Hey, don’t we know that guy?

It’s not only restaurant names he can’t remember. I often get an elbow in the ribs when we’re at church, or at a party. “Quick, what’s that guy’s name?”

I give him the “I can’t believe you” stare. “We’ve known him over forty years—he was in our wedding!”

“I know, but what’s his name?”

My favorite episode happened recently. We were sitting in a nice little Mexican restaurant when a friend walked in. She stopped by our table to say hello before taking her seat. We had to pass her table on the way out, so Bob wanted to speak to her. He punched me. “Quick, what’s her name?”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “Oh, my gosh. You’re kidding me.”

He frowned. “What’s her name?”

“Her name is Betty.”

“No, really, what’s her name?”

I leaned closer. “Betty.”

We cracked up.

We’d been married barely two weeks when he forgot my name, while introducing me to a friend. At the time, I was shocked. “Really, Bob? How could you forget my name?” These days, I just shrug and smile. “Classic Bob.” I squirrel it away to tell later, when the family gets together.

Oh, and he’s directionally-challenged, too. But that’s another endearing trait for another day.

Hello Thursday Morning Christmas Wish

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I’m enjoying my favorite Christmas coffee—right here at home—Sunergos Hearth Blend (a winter blend, think brown sugar, hazelnut & pomegranate). Yum!

This is a very busy week in most of our households. It is especially busy here. Mom’s birthday is the 21st—she’ll be 85. The 21st is also our 44th anniversary. Yes, not only did we get married close to Christmas, but on Mom’s birthday. How cool is that?

Not so great when the holidays come around and you have to hustle—really hustle to fit everything in. The anniversary? Sometimes gets forgotten, or pushed aside until another day or even another month. Not a big deal when you’ve been married a while. But it’s never forgotten or neglected completely because it’s very important to us.

Christmas is right around the corner. If you’ve been watching very many Christmas movies (or reading Christmas stories), you may be in for a let-down. Though some of those films are based on true stories, most of us don’t have the magical Christmases portrayed in those tales. Don’t let it discourage you. If you think about it, you’ll find those magical moments scattered throughout your life.

My prayer for you this Christmas is that you’ll be thankful, whether you have much or little, and that you’ll truly enjoy the season for all the right reasons. I pray for those who are suffering losses that you will know God’s comfort and the comfort of those around you. And remember, Christmas is a season that comes and goes. In a few days, a new year begins. Let the Word of God renew your strength—

…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.—Isaiah 40:31 NIV

If you especially enjoyed one of this season’s stories, share it with us! Leave me a comment with the title of the movie, where you saw it, and why you loved it. Here’s mine: Christmas Secret (2014) Hallmark. I know it’s an older one, but still my favorite!

 

Peace Through the Storms of Life

I have to laugh at myself, so this coffee pic seems appropriate.

Hello, Thursday morning friends! Thanks for stopping by this morning. I’m reminiscing again, but for a different reason.

NOTE: I accidentally entered the wrong date. This was supposed to post on Thursday!

Once upon a time, I had three beautiful aunts. Actually, I had one more out west, but I never met her. And oh yes, there is my uncle’s wife in Idaho I never met, too. But that’s another story.

My brothers and me with Aunt Edna’s kids, minus one not born yet. We were a handful!

Tennessee family. I had three lovely aunts, my dad’s two sisters, Jenny and Fran, and his brother’s wife, Edna. Growing up in a close family meant a lot of love. My aunts were like “other mothers” to me. Sometimes, I could talk to them more easily than my own mother. But, I always knew Mom would hear about it. They were all great friends who told each other things like that.

Aunt Jenny and Aunt Fran died several years ago, within days of each other. Aunt Jenny always looked after her younger sister, so I joked that she stopped by the nursing home on the way out and  took sis with her. And that was okay. Our hearts hurt, but we knew where they were.

This week, Aunt Edna left. She was a survivor. She survived colon cancer and lived with a colostomy for many years. She endured many losses in her life. But her love stayed strong. Though she was little, she was a fierce warrior where her family was concerned.

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Mom on left, Aunt Edna on right.

I like to think she passed that fierce love to all of her children—those she gave birth to, those she loved like her own kids, and the numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren who called her “mammy”.

My heart aches at this loss. But if the alternative is not to have love, then I say it’s worth the pain. I’ve experienced great joy in life because of these three women who loved me unconditionally. I think it would be a greater loss and heartbreak to go through life alone.

Aunt Jenny, always smiling.

A kiss going in, a kiss going out, and sometimes, a kiss just because. That’s what we said about Aunt Jenny, but it could easily be said of all the aunts. They never missed an opportunity to show affection and love, because they had learned the value and importance of physical touch, and making your feelings known.

Peace through the storms of life, that’s what unconditional love provides. A shelter in the storm. Knowing you’re loved and accepted somewhere, by someone. In this in-your-face, confrontational world, it may be an old-fashioned concept.

Aunt Fran & Me (I’m the little one).

Or, maybe it’s a southern thing. All I know, is I will miss their hugs and kisses.

I’ll miss Aunt Edna’s voice. But the love is still there, because she never missed an opportunity to pass it on.

So, now it’s our turn. The baton is in our hands.

Real Life and Romance

Hello, Thursday morning! Have you had your coffee yet? No? I thought you looked a little bleary-eyed. Oh, wait—that’s a mirror—I’m the bleary-eyed-one. Be right back.

I don’t think there’s any way I can top last week’s post. It was a winner. It’s apparent to me, my readers like real life stories, especially when it involves romance. Which may be why I especially enjoyed one of the reviews I found on my latest release, Rebecca’s Legacy:

Thank you, Caroline Gabor!

As a young reader, I enjoyed biographies. The real-life stories of some of my favorite people interested me. That’s the appeal of writing non-fiction, I suppose. Getting to know folks better, especially when extraordinary things happen.

Which is probably why I was always fascinated by my maternal grandmother’s life. I was only two when she died, so I have no memory of her. Only snippets of stories my mother told over the years. For some reason I was never privy too, my grandfather left her and his two daughters behind in Seattle, and moved to Los Angeles. Unfortunately, he cleared out their bank account before he left.

Right off, you’ll probably think how horrible that was, and figure the family hated him afterwards, but that’s not really what happened. He was angry when he left, because he wanted to move, and my grandmother didn’t. So he took all his hard-earned cash and went away, probably thinking she would relent.

He should’ve known better.

Grandma and Bernie Alonzo, 1952

Audrie Leon Packnett Christy (Alonzo), my grandmother, was of Austrian/native American descent (both came from her father). I hear she had a strong will. “Sit up straight, Joan.” My mother told me how she’d demand that her girls stand tall. Straight shoulders. No slouching. Walk like a lady. Maybe some of those demands are the reason my mother left home at an early age. She was still in high school when she went to live with a friend in a small downtown apartment.

Mom married at seventeen, her sister married at fifteen. My grandmother remarried around the time my mother left home. There are a lot of blanks in this story. My mother never talked about that time, and I’ve never pressed her to tell. I wonder, though, because my step-grandfather said of my grandmother, “She was the love of my life. I will never forget her.”

I know he was the one who drove my mother to the hospital when I was on my way into the world. My grandmother named me, and was the first, after my mother, to hold me. I think she created a bond that’s never left me.

I look through Mom’s old photographs and dream up stories to fill the holes. One day, I’ll tell the stories.

Henry Earl Christy, my grandpa, lived in Southern California until he died at the age of 75. His health was bad, but every photo shows him smiling, and most photos include a dog. He also remarried. My step-grandmother’s name was Viola, and that’s what we called her. Never Grandma, or any variation of it, just, “Viola.”

She smoked a lot and usually had an alcoholic beverage in her hand. She had a low voice, and she laughed easily. But, she also dictated where they would live. When Grandpa wanted to live in the Santa Monica mountains to be near a hot springs (relief for his Rheumatoid Arthritis), she put her foot down. It was too cold there. She preferred the valley, so they moved to Paramount.

In Paramount, Grandpa met some of the “movie stars” when they visited the hospital. There’s a picture somewhere, of Grandpa with Betty White. I hope I inherit that one someday. 🙂

He spent a lot of time in hospitals, sometimes as a patient, other times, as a volunteer. Volunteering helped pay the hospital bills. He also became a guinea pig, allowing them to try new procedures, hoping to help others overcome RA and Emphysema. After his death, he left his body to research. I try not to think about that. I’m sure he joked about it. Maybe they’d call him “Joe.” He’d hang out with the other cadavers.

That was my Grandpa. I didn’t know him well, because most of my life, I lived over here, and he was over there. But, he wrote almost weekly letters to my mother, so we knew about him.

Maybe someday, I’ll write that story, too. There’s a romance in there somewhere, I just know it.