Monday, November 13, 2017

Marital Blitz


Both in our fifties, HoneyBunch and I met on an Internet dating site.  It matched us by age and interests. We married after three months, so there was no time for HB to learn the truth that all of this was not natural beauty.
After the wedding, I kept up appearances for a while by disappearing one day each month to visit my hairdresser.  It wasn’t until I got sick and couldn’t keep my appointments did he learn the truth - I dyed my hair, grew a healthy, robust unibrow, and had an unruly cowlick the size of a Category 5 hurricane.
As we near our eleventh anniversary, all my beauty secrets have been lain bare. All of this has been nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
He tries not to laugh each time I have had to prepare for a colonoscopy – smiling at him one moment, running to the bathroom the next. He cautiously fed me Sprite and soup the week I contracted the Asian flu – fluids went in and flowed out from every orifice. Then there was the time I had my rotator cuff surgery and I slept sitting up for six months, and learned to bathe and comb my hair with the “good” arm.  He helped me with the contraption I had to wear that made me look like a cross between Igor and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. There was no combing the cowlick during any of this.
As I get older, it gets harder and harder to keep up all of this.  Most often it takes all the energy I have to look presentable, much less attractive, and nix trying for sexy, so God bless HoneyBunch for sticking through it all. 
While I am confessing all my physical shortcomings, I might as well admit I snore loud enough to set off a car alarm.  I have the propensity to lead when HB and I slow dance, and I have a serious milk allergy that makes me no fun to be around.

Last week I got a fever blister the size of Rhode Island. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

From Genesis to the Gospels


In a few weeks I will have completed one of my New Year Resolutions for 2017.  I will have read the Bible.  Every book, including the additional, apocryphal chapters included in the Catholic Bible. 
It is not the first time I have done this but it will be the first time I have done it with such purpose and intention.  I am nowhere an expert, but I consider it a good start into the study of the Good Book. I might do it again in 2018 just to get a better look at its message.
Thanks goes to the friend who coordinated the Facebook online group.  The guide we used broke it down into weekly reading assignments which made it manageable, but it also presented the readings in chronological order.  We started at the beginning but often jumped ahead several hundred pages to other books that “happened” at the same historical time.  For instance, while reading Genesis, we skipped ahead and read Job, then came back again Genesis.  The Psalms were interspersed wherever they fit into the Old Testament. It gives a better look at the historical timeline of the Old Testament.
We are presently in the second week of November and reading the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  Jesus has been arrested and next week’s readings will take us into his passion and crucifixion. It is interesting reading the Gospels simultaneously; the story repeats itself four times, but it is told in the different styles of each of the Apostles.
Folks ask if reading the Bible has affected me in any way.  Burning bushes?  Apparitions on mountain tops? Angelic visitations?
I hate to disappoint anyone, but – no.
One thing I can offer is that all the books really do lead to Jesus.
Another is that we humans are a predictable, disobedient, and arrogant lot.    We continue to wander away from God and He continues to offer redemption. Every generation must have thought it was the last one and the end of the world was imminent, but we are still here. The sad reality is that one day we will run out of chances and the Apocalypse will happen.
As I near the end of the books in the Bible, I feel a true sadness.  I know how it ends – the death and resurrection of Jesus – and though I know the necessity of this sacrifice, I feel a true loss that someone so magnificent gave his life for me and you and for all of creation.  
I am glad I did this for myself. Doing it over the course of a year, gave me time to think and meditate over the words. I have pen and pencil marks all over the pages, notes in the margins.  I have a notebook full of verses and questions and summaries.
But the best part of all, is the indelible mark it made in my soul.



Monday, October 30, 2017

Home Delivery By RM Martinez


As I headed south on the interstate, the sky was more white than blue.  Not a cloud for miles.  I consulted the weather app on my phone before leaving the house, and there was a storm forming in the northern part of Mexico but it wasn’t due in southern Texas for another twenty-four hours.  I should reach my destination and head back home while it was still daylight.  A single woman my age always planned ahead when traveling alone.
I raced alongside hundreds of other cars on the highway, and the drive was uneventful except for the persistent pounding coming from the trunk of my sedan.  It was nothing of consequence so I turned up the radio.
As I crested a small hill, thunderheads rose up ahead.  The sky to the west was clear all the way to the horizon, but by the time I neared my exit, the storm clouds were overhead.  I cursed the weather app and stepped on the gas pedal.  I really wanted to make this delivery in the daylight.
When I exited the interstate, I turned off the radio and I heard the pounding again.  I passed only a handful of cars on the state highway, but when I turned left onto an unmarked, farm road, I was the only one in sight.
I drove on for a bit before I stopped the car.  I put it in park, grabbed the tire iron I kept on the floor by the passenger seat, and popped the trunk open.  I stepped out onto the gravel lane and looked up and down the road and into the fields on both sides.
I waited until the trunk lid lifted all the way and I could see the shrouded bundle clearly.  It was still intact.  It looked like a very large holiday ham wrapped in old rugs and bound together with tightly knotted ropes.
I was always careful when filling deliveries.  I purchased my supplies with cash at Goodwill stores.  I did all my research at libraries far from my residence and wore old pairs of white gloves when I paged through the books.  I made sure not to leave fingerprints, neither physical nor digital.  Should anyone tear into my computer, they would find nothing in its history except for bread pudding recipes and pictures of my grandchildren.
The bundle writhed and I hit at it with the tire iron.  I hit at it and hit at it until the movement stopped.  The rain started as I slammed the trunk shut and ran for the cab of the car.  My destination was close by, another ten or fifteen minutes, so the delivery would still be fresh.
By the time I pulled onto the property, the rain was coming down in sheets.  The only light visible was a thin shaft that poured out from the front door of the old farm house.  It illuminated the rickety, wooden porch, and a tall, thin man dressed in overalls and work boots.
I circled the yard so that my car faced out, and I could get away easily.  I made sure my doors were locked, and I reached for the gun I kept tucked in between the front car seats before I popped the trunk open.  I watched as he limped over and lifted the bundle.  He hoisted it onto his shoulder as if it weighed nothing.  It did not surprise me.  Even though I pretended to be feeble and elderly, I too could bench an impressive amount for my size.  It was a necessity in my line of solitary work.

He slammed the trunk closed and started back toward his house.  Neither one of us acknowledged the other, and I pulled away almost immediately.  It would take me three hours to get home, maybe more in this infernal weather.  If he was happy with his order, there would be a deposit of money waiting in my business account by then, and I prided myself in pleasing my home delivery customers. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Broccoli Wrapped in a Corn Tortilla.


HoneyBunch had been single and alone a tad longer than I had when we first met. His sons went off to college and only came home for short visits; two of mine had come back to live with me so I was rarely alone.
On the rare occasion I did not have to cook for five, I indulged in Pop Tarts and cheap bottles of wine for my dinner.  HB talked about steaming broccoli in the microwave and wrapping it inside a cold corn tortilla. He talked about yogurt and hot cups of green tea for breakfast; I feasted on pancakes and mugs of coffee.
He could not go a day without tomatoes and salad for lunch.  The only time I tolerate tomatoes are when they are tucked inside a hamburger. As for his broccoli tacos, I would have smothered them in cheese to help make them palatable.
We were culinary opposites, but we still fell in love with each other.
Once we settled into married life, I pulled out my calendar and sat him down one evening to discuss my hectic work schedule. I sometimes worked six days a week; sometimes I worked fifteen-hour days.  He would have to fend for himself on those days, but I promised to make it up to him and cook for him on all the others. I would make sure he never ran out of his favorites, but there would be other things to eat as well. He would have lots of healthy and delicious options.
I outlawed microwaved broccoli in corn tortillas.
He sat there and blinked. After a few seconds, he smiled at me.
For the first time in almost thirty years, someone wanted to take care of him instead of expecting him to always care for them. When he said this to me, I mentioned that he was my corn tortilla.  I felt safe wrapped in his love and care and wanted him to feel the same.
He asked if that made me his broccoli. As much as he LOVES the stuff, I am flattered.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Me and Moses


When I attended a Catholic university to get my BA many, many years ago, I was required to take twelve hours of religious studies.  I took several courses on the Bible, but I remember little of it outside of the more popular books.
Since then I have tried reading the Bible on my own on several occasions but somewhere between Judges and Ruth, I lose interest. After wandering around like Moses in the desert, lost and bewildered as to how to get this done, I joined a group last year committed to reading the Bible in 2017.   
The leader is a Facebook friend and fellow writing buddy, but my commitment is not as much to her or the group as it is to my own belief in God. If the Bible is the book of my faith, I should be able to proudly state I have read it cover to cover and am familiar with its contents.
Here I am ten months into 2017 and I have just now finished reading the Old Testament and have started into the New. Some OT books were lyrical and uplifting; others were drab and painful.  No matter how much I tried I had a difficult time reading them, much less gleaning a spiritual message from them. 
I am more familiar with the New Testament – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, so the reading is easier so far. I have noticed a different tone as well. It will be interesting what my final assessment will be when I finish and look back at the total endeavor.
So far, I am surprised at situations in the OT that apply to modern times. We seem doomed to continuously repeat the same mistakes in our relationship with God, but I also see His unconditional and everlasting love, His promise of forgiveness and grace through the ages. 

Moses and I have a lot in common as our wandering ends. I see hope at the end of the journey as I seek God.