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Showing posts from May, 2018

Narrative Point of View: Staying in Your Lane

When my daughter-in-law first moved here from China, among the first things she wanted was to get her driver’s license. She had never driven a car; she had never even been in the front seat of one. I told her learning to drive looks differently depending on where you are seated inside the car. To prove my point, I gave her a quick driving lesson. First, I verbalized all the steps I took, both physically and mentally, as I cruised around our three-acre property. Next, we changed places and I walked her through all the same steps while she drove in between the house and the other four buildings on our place.I helped her ease around corners, made her stop, start, reverse, and change direction and course. The last trip around, I told her to drive the car and I would not say a word until I told her to stop. As the final step, I asked her to sit in the back seat while I drove into town on an errand. It was too soon to let her do anything but observe, but I hoped she was more aware of what it…

The Passionate Pseudologist

When I was eleven, my teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up.I pondered that question with all earnestness and narrowed my options down to three:doctor, writer, teacher. She suggested I might want to narrow my choices further for the sake of the essay we were going to write, so I asked her for advice.She said one should choose with passion; one should look forward to going to work every day. I nixed “doctor” when she asked me how I felt about cutting people open, the sight of blood, and caring for the sick and dying. That was eye-opening and I quickly switched my essay topic to something less “passionate” - teacher, and years later, saw that become a reality. Fast forward thirty-seven years, and I retired from a career where I was required to work twelve to fifteen-hour days, seven days a week. I spent my “vacation” time taking classes, compiling research, and writing curriculum units without pay. Only those close to me witnessed the hours I dedicated during my time off …

A Mother’s Day Without My Mother

This was the first Mother’s Day without my mother.I tripped when I wandered by mistake into the grocery aisle with all the cards, the candy, the flowers, but I soldiered on and browsed at all the pretty things, knowing some other Mommy would be enjoying all those little trinkets. I always bought childish cards for my mom though I haven’t been one in a long, long time.She would get a kick out of my nonsense.She would giggle and show it off over and over. “Aye, que muchacha.” These last few years I stopped buying her presents and enclosed money, cold hard cash, into her envelope.We never said it out loud, but we both knew she wouldn’t live to see things wear out, so why not spend it NOW, since she couldn’t take it with her?I also learned my lesson the year I spent hours and hours (and a big chunk of change) selecting a present only to find it on her sales table at a garage sale two months later. We laughed about that and her audacity at trying to sell it back to me “for a price.” “Te lo d…

White Carnations

When I was a child, I remember the men’s society at our church would sell carnations before and after Mass on Mother’s Day weekend. My dad, always the gentleman, would buy a carnation corsage for my mother and another for my grandmother (his mother-in-law), and they would in turn buy him a carnation boutonniere. They would fuss and giggle as they pinned them on each other. I always asked for a carnation, either a tiny corsage with a sprig of baby’s breath or a long-stemmed beauty, but my mother would scold me that they “were for grownups only” and hurried us into the church for Mass. One year, as we walked out of the last service for the day, the men’s society announced that a few flowers hadn’t sold and were free to anyone who wanted one. I ran to claim a freebie before my mother could hold me back.While others chose a corsage or boutonniere, I plucked a lonely, long stemmed carnation that sat by itself in a bucket filled with water. I would have preferred a red beauty but I was happ…