Monday, August 13, 2018

Leftovers


HoneyBunch and I come from families who do not believe in throwing away food, ergo, The Leftover is sacred in our homes.
Any little scrap of food goes into plastic containers with tight fitting lids or gets wrapped in plastic with the same reverence as an Egyptian mummy. It shows up at the next meal either in its original form or under a clever disguise.  Handfuls of leftover vegetables get thrown into stews or soups; old fries get scrambled into eggs, and though not much can be done for a leftover enchilada, smothering it with soupy beans can make it edible.
When my own kids were young, I “forced” a weekly clean-out-the-refrigerator buffet on them but gave them fair warning.  They knew when I called them to the table, they’d better hurry because it was first come, first served. The last one to the table ended up making do with The Leftover Leftover, usually something doubly unrecognizable and inedible.
HB is really big on not wasting food, but I do set limits.  In its original state, if it came out of a can, the frozen section of the grocery store or a drive-through take out, it never even makes it to the refrigerator. It is not worthy of being labeled The Leftover since I consider such food has been handled enough in its lifetime.  It goes straight into the trash can. If it is homemade from scratch, it can make it as far as a third curtain call before it goes into the trash can, but if it changes color, emits odor, or winks at me, it goes into the trash can immediately.
I am all for not wasting food, but I do have standards.
I WILL NOT give myself food poisoning and all the discomforts that entails over neon-colored ham slices, petrified pizza, or a recycled pork chop.


Monday, August 6, 2018

My Favorite Twelve Verses From Bible Study

One year ago, I was finishing a year’s study of the Holy Bible.  Month after month, we trekked our way from Old to New Testament.
I underlined one favorite verse in each chapter as I worked my way through each book, and from those verses, I chose the following twelve as my most favorite, one for each month.
Because of this study, I developed a better understanding of God’s connection and the promise he made to his people.
You probably have your own favorites but here are mine.  
# 1. The Lord is my strength and my might, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.  The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.  Exodus 15: 2-3
#2. The Lord bless you and keep you.” Numbers 6:24
#3. You are the Lord, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all this is in them.  To all of the them you give life, and the host of heaven worships you.  Nehemiah 9:6
#4. O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wonderous deeds.  So even to old age and grey hairs, O God, do not forsake me. Psalm 71:17-18
#5. Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name.  When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them.  Psalm 91: 14-15
#6. I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121: 1-2
#7. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139: 13b
#8. For a child has been born to us, a son given to us . . . and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
 #9. Now the end is upon us, I will let lose my anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, I will punish you for all your abominations.  Ezekiel 7:3
#10. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light; but if it is not healthy; your body is full of darkness. Luke 11:34
#11. I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14:6
#12. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. 2Timothy 1: 7





Monday, July 30, 2018

The Three Widows by RM Martinez


All characters and events in this story are entirely fictional.

The three widows first met during senior aerobics.  They became good friends and were soon making plans to get together during the week.
The aging women went out to lunch, had their nails and hair done, and often found other things to do to pass the time.  They called them “outings,” and it pleased their grown children. It freed them from having to entertain their mothers.  When the three friends offered to take each other to doctor appointments as well, the children, especially their spouses, were even more delighted.
One day the youngest of the three, the one with emphysema from breathing in years of her late husband’s cigarette smoke, was called in to the police station for questioning. She had a real estate license so her fingerprints were on record with the state. On a random search, her thumbprint matched one found on a bat, the weapon at a gruesome murder scene.
When questioned about her whereabouts on the day of his death, she claimed two alibis, so her friends were also called in to the police station.  The oldest limped in with the help of her cane.  A stroke had left her with limited use of her right leg.  The middle-aged widow seemed the healthiest, the spryest. She burst into the station as if she owned the place and hurried over to the youngest to check the level of oxygen in her mobile tank.
The police questioned each one separately about their whereabouts at the time of the murder, but it all came to a stop when the middle one rummaged through her purse. She looked up through her thick bifocals and smiled at the female detective. Among all the trash at the bottom of her bag, she retrieved a tattered movie theater ticket. It had the date and time stamped on it along with some questionable chocolate smudges. The three were at the movies that day, she said.
But what about the bat?  The thumbprint?
The youngest had donated a bunch of old toys recently to Goodwill. She recalled several old bats that once belonged to her sons among the boxes of things.
Their stories all matched, word for word, so as the detectives studied the three elderly women through the one-way mirror, they agreed there was no way these feeble women could have overpowered a young man, six foot tall and muscular.  The three old widows were released to their children, and as they drove their sweet mothers home, they commented, incensed that anyone would even consider their dear mothers involved in the heinous death of a repeat sex offender.
 It wasn’t until the following Monday that the three widows ventured out of their houses again.  They showed up at the gym with plenty of time to warm up before their aerobics class.
“Don’t you ever forget your surgical gloves again.”  The oldest whispered into the youngest’s ear in case the gym was bugged. “You almost blew our covers.”  She turned to the middle-aged one. “Thank goodness, you never empty that garbage bag of a purse of yours.  It saved our skins.”
“I guess we better cool our outings for a while.” The middle-aged one replied.
“But the next one on our list is that lawyer who got acquitted for killing his wife for her money.” The youngest said. “The one who is already shacking up with the hussy who used to be his wife’s hospice nurse.”
“Give it time.  We have to be extra careful now that we've been fingered. Arrogance will be his undoing, and then we will go through with his outing.” The oldest ran an osteoarthritic finger across her throat. “Evil never sleeps and neither do we.”






Monday, July 23, 2018

The Cousins/Los Primos



July 23, 2018
          The idea began five months ago at my mother’s funeral.  Cousins from both sides of the family talked about getting together at a party of our choosing, instead of waiting for a death or a wedding to bring us together again.  We needed time to get to know each other; we needed time to share family history and stories.   
Only one uncle and one aunt remain of my mother’s entire generation, so it was up to us The Cousins (Los Primos) to tend to the family tree. Our parents and grandparents were brothers and sisters to each other, and we the cousins had once also been close, childhood friends, but marriages, careers, and travels had taken us down different paths. It took a small group of The Cousins (Los Primos) from my mother’s side of the family to take on the formidable task of hosting a matriarchal family reunion on short notice, but it was one amazing afternoon.  
We have an astounding history; we have memorable stories, and by sharing them with each other, we hope to inspire future generations.  
Because my mother’s family history was so important to her, I looked up what I could about her heritage, and I noticed a pattern of strong women:
-       a great-great-grandmother who immigrated husbandless with her children to Texas from the state of San Luis Potosi in Mexico,
-       a great-grandmother left penniless to raise four young teenagers during a time when widowed women were easily cheated out of their fortunes,
-       a grandmother who raised her five children alone during the Great Depression and World War II while her husband went off to eke a living as a migrant worker for months at a time,
-       and my mother who dropped out of school after the eighth grade to help her mother support her younger brothers and sisters.
There is a lot to be added to this history and to these stories, but the reunion has provided me with additional names and dates. There is a lot that needs to be revised. Genealogical records sometimes misspell or transpose names. They sometimes do not provide correct birthdates and dates of death. Hopefully, the information gathered at the reunion of Los Primos will help me fill in the blanks and send me in search for more information.
Most importantly of all will be the tribute to our antepasados and the stories of the grandmothers and their families, inspiring the future generations in our family to bravely strive for more. 
         

Monday, July 16, 2018

So I Prayed



          Walking into my fourth-grade classroom, the teacher announced a pop quiz over the history chapter she assigned for homework, the one I didn’t have time to read, because I had math homework, and science, and spelling words, so . . . I prayed and promised all kinds of things, if only He would help me get through the pop quiz without failing.
          My mom interrogated my baby sister about the pearl necklace she found in her jewelry box.  I was next, so . . . I prayed for forgiveness, not because I was going to confess my guilt since I was the one who played with it when it broke into beads, but because I was going to lie and weasel my way out of a spanking. By some miracle, my baby sister got blamed, no one got spanked, and I still kept my promise to be extra nice to her for a whole week.
          Fast forward a few years.
          I hate thunderstorms, heights, and scary movies.  They give me nightmares, so I pray and He sees me through my fears. Prayer also got me through the years of depression and grief when my first marriage ended and I considered suicide.    
          Every morning, I stood by each student desk in my classroom and prayed for the child who would sit in that chair. I prayed for them as children and for them as students.    
          I prayed every day on my way to work and on my way home for my own children, and especially for my youngest son while he was off being a Marine serving his country.
          I still pray first thing in the morning, and I pray again the moment I lay my head on my pillow at night. 
          Best of all, I prayed for HoneyBunch.  After my divorce, I was prepared to live the rest of my life as a single person. I was grateful for all my blessings, but if there was someone else “out there” for me, maybe He could send him my way. And He did.
          So, yes, I pray.  It is as natural to me as breathing or thinking or being. It gets me through the day.