Sun Lakes Writers’ Group

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Lois Grotewold

As she walked into the children’s hospital ward, the children who saw her thought she must be an angel. She was beautiful, dressed all in pink, a lovely dress made out of some kind of flowing material that fluttered as she walked. She stopped beside Nanette’s bed.

“Hello, Nanette. I’m from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I’m here to find out what your wish is.”

Nanette knew she was coming, and she had talked to her parents, and it was decided. Her parents stood on the other side of her bed.

“I would like to ride on a merry-go-round, and I would like all the children on this floor who can to go with me.”

The doctors wrote down seven children’s names, children who were, like Nanette, terminally ill, but were still capable of such a trip. Their parents were notified, and a date was set one week ahead.

The lovely pink lady appeared again the day they all were to go to the amusement park for their rides on the merry-go-round.

Three vans pulled up to the hospital, and the eight children and their parents, plus two nurses piled into them.

Nanette and the other children were in good spirits and excited, especially when they were taken to the ornate merry-go-round. Several of the children were in wheelchairs, but were able to walk with assistance onto the carousel. They were lifted onto horses and other animals and they were strapped on. Nanette chose a large white horse with bright red and gold trim. The boy ahead of her was on a snarling tiger. The Make-A-Wish lady asked the parents and nurses to stand on the side and assured them that the children could not fall.

The merry-go-round started with a peppy march playing. The children waved as the pace picked up. Soon the carousel began to accelerate. The parents and nurses became alarmed.

“It’s going too fast. Can’t someone stop it?”

But instead of slowing down, it picked up speed and kept going faster and faster, then faster and faster until all the parents and nurses could see was a blur. The carousel began to melt into the ground as the speed continued to accelerate. In horror, the parents watched as the carousel sank into the ground as though it were in quicksand. All that was left was a large melted round area. It looked like a huge shimmering pool of mercury. Everyone stood in shock, too frightened to move.

Then a tiny voice could be heard. It was Nanette’s voice. “Wow! That was fun!” Nanette appeared, first her head, then body, then legs looking as though she were climbing out of a swimming pool. She was followed one-by-one by the other children. There was something different about them. They appeared flushed and healthy. Their movements were firm and energetic. The parents ran over to find the Make-A-Wish lovely lady, but she was gone. In wonder, they all walked to the vans surrounded by a brilliantly pink sky, pink as the lovely lady’s beautiful dress.

The Ladder of Life

Margaret Daniels

Hardships are like a ladder in life. The side rails of the ladder are the path that a person takes. Each person has their own course in life that they are designed to take. They are given a set of skills or talents put within their DNA.

Each step is designed to assist them to reach their goals and dream within their life with passion. With each step a person becomes stronger in their skills and talents. They eventually become the person they were created to be.

The space between the steps are the hardships that could occur throughout life. There are many spaces in the ladder between the steps a person has to pass by in order to get to the next step.

Some people think the hardships of life are a bad thing. But in reality, they help strengthen the character of the person. The hard task is to keep positive while rising up to the next step of the ladder and not let bitterness take hold of your life. These challenges may not be fun but, as time goes on, a person can see the value of those experiences especially if handled with a confident attitude.

However, if the step breaks, the step needs to be repaired before going to the next step. It is important not to wallow and get stuck in the hardships and trials. It matters how those issues are handled in order to reach the next rung on the ladder.

The wonderful thing is when a person looks back, they can see that they are stronger than they ever thought would be possible, just by going to the next step with a positive attitude.

You need each part of the ladder, the rails, and the steps placed with just the right amount of space in between to make it useful. Despite the hardships, getting to the next step a person can achieve what they were created to be an individual: A wonderful tapestry. Then you can say, “Yes! I climbed the ladder of life and received a beautiful, fulfilled life filled with thankfulness and gratitude.”

Boxes

Diane Keneally

I’m sitting in our dining room this morning and hear the rustle of boxes being opened in the garage by my husband. You know the sound I’m talking about, the crinkle of paper and the snap of that bubble wrap that seems to grow and give birth to yards of it, never seeming to end no matter how many times you toss it away.

I’ve opened many packages and boxes in my life. Most I’ve looked forward to opening; birthday presents, Christmas presents, shower gifts of wedding then new birth, gifts from children, grandchildren, friends and husband.

There’s something about these boxes though. They speak of letting go and settling in a new home and environment and they also speak of the past. We’ve moved six times in our 51 years of marriage, not many in comparison to some. Local moves when we were just starting out. A major move buying our first house to raise our two daughters in, and when that grew too small, moving to a larger house where we settled for the longest time, 22 years. Our two daughters had moved to San Diego during that time. A marriage for the oldest, a baby girl born. Then the second daughter graduated college and wanted to start her career in San Diego. After that, retirement to coincide with the second granddaughter born. What should we do? All our girls were in San Diego. Naturally, we did what the so-called retirement experts say not to do, move where your children are!

So, after 22 years, we packed up and sold most everything. We had a two-day garage sale where my husband encouraged the buyers with a two-for-one bargain. He was pretty bold, telling them, if you want to buy a shovel, you can have a rake for free. The looks he got were quite funny; surprise, a “what are you, crazy?” look, then finally resignation and gratitude. Actually, we were the grateful ones; we handed off our “stuff” and made our load lighter. At the time, it was very freeing. Years of trying to get my husband to clean out the basement and finally he did. He asked a friend to clean it out with the promise of whatever you clean out you can keep. A bit like Huckleberry Finn, don’t you think? Those boxes of unopened nuts and bolts, wires, unused and dusty tools, packing boxes from household items never broken down and thrown away. Good riddance I say!

Now, here we are, another move, more boxes packed and unpacked, leaving a daughter in San Diego with her now grown and growing daughters, and the youngest daughter, living close by, who married a Phoenix native and who will NEVER leave the desert.

In unpacking this time, I find items I forgot I had. These boxes were packed and stored away for most of the 15 years we were in San Diego, so opening them now is like getting a new present. Filled with surprises and memories.

Besides hundreds of pictures of family and friends, I found a small China elephant that was my grandmother’s. You know the kind, with the trunk curled up onto its head, an opening in the back, for what? flowers? trinkets? a plant? It’s much too small for anything that I can think of. But, here it is, a memory of her. Why did she collect elephants, I wondered. In researching, I find that it is an Irish superstition that they bring good luck to a home, but only if the elephants have upturned trunks.

I remember visiting her and my grandfather in Brooklyn. They had a two-family house, with my grandfather’s brother and his wife living downstairs and my grandparents living upstairs. As we climbed their stairs, they would creak and groan from age and use, and as we reached the landing, on the small hall table was this elephant.

Not alone, but with others, all facing in the same direction. Was it east, west, north or south? They must be as confused as I am, living here where every direction given is, “it’s on the NE corner, no it’s on the SW corner.” I am still turned around, for to me the east is the Atlantic Ocean and the west, well I did get used to it being the Pacific.

There were two small and two large elephants. Almost a family you would think. They were all lined up, trumpeting and marching to some invisible leader. I think about that family of elephants comparing them to my journeys, seemingly still for a time, then heading in directions unpredicted, but always eager and excited and together, and I think of my grandmother. Did she wish and hope for the same things I do? Looking at this elephant family every day, did she hope and dream for her family too? I never did know why she liked these ceramic elephants that she would collect and want them in her home? I don’t even know if she knew the myth surrounding them. Now, one of them is in my possession. I will wish and pray for my family the same as she did. Maybe her prayers and wishes did come true after all. I wonder what I’ll find in the next box.