Writers’ Page

My Friend

Diane Keneally

I spoke to my friend last night. A long, satisfying conversation, uninterrupted by family duties or needs interfering with alone time. This friend lives far away, 2500 miles to be exact and we don’t get the time or opportunity to talk often. We both have our own lives, busy and full. She and her husband are “aging in place.” Retirees who have stayed in their homes, and have not moved to sunnier climes to live out their senior years.

We catch up on news of each other’s family and health and commiserate over aches and pains and doctor’s visits, although we each feel we’re much too young to deal with these issues. We met in high school. She went through the public school from kindergarten. I went to a parochial school until 8th grade. We were friends from the start. I learned much from her, how big her heart was in caring for family, as she took on the caretaker role early in her life for a mom and dad and family members with physical challenges.

As we spoke, our conversation always goes back to our high school years. Years of youthful uncertainty. The teachers and their idiosyncrasies, the classmates we met at our 50th reunion, what they are doing now, and how OLD they looked … Somehow, though, we always talk about the fun we had. Especially, our competition for the front of the line in the cafeteria. Why we competed was never analyzed. I guess just something to take the boredom out of our day.

This one day especially made us laugh together until our sides hurt. As I remember, it was a hot, steamy day close to the end of our junior year. There was only five minutes to go until the end of the class. I start to put my books in order, only half listening to the assignment due the next day. The enticing smells from the lunchroom reach me, as I groped for the pen I dropped.

Glancing at the clock, I hear my stomach rumbling. I’m really hungry today, I should have had breakfast this morning instead of catching those extra winks. Now, there are three minutes to go. I see Katy out of the corner of my eye wisecracking to the boy next to her. I’m hoping to make it first today. As hard as I try, I’m never first, maybe today.

Two minutes to go. The droning of the teacher’s voice irritates me as I anticipate my moves. The clock ticks another minute away. Ready … Now! I jump up from my desk, the same time Katy does. I push my way to the front of the class, elbowing my way to the front of the room, passing the girls in the front row, squeezing by the two boys in the doorway. What were their names? Can’t remember now.

I made it! Running as fast as I can down the crowded hall, and down the staircase, I hear footsteps close behind me, hope they aren’t Katy’s. Uh oh! the chemistry teacher is waiting around the corner, I better slow down or detention is in my future, not lunch.

Oh no, it’s Katy, trying to pass me. I laugh at her and make a face, as I jump down the last three steps. Making a sharp turn, I charge like a bull toward my target. Head down, nostrils flaring, I make the last three feet at full speed, with Katy at my heels. I’m almost there now.

With Katy pushing me aside and I pushing back, we reach the doorway neck and neck. I inch ahead of her and just as I’m about to yell, “I win,” I’m startled by a sign announcing, “TEMPORARILY OUT OF FOOD – NO HOT LUNCH TODAY.”


Barbara Schwartz

When I am tired and cannot sleep

I count my Blessings instead of sheep

And I fall asleep counting my Blessings.

Truer words were never written by Irving Berlin and sung by Bing Crosby and Amy Grant.

But, what exactly are Blessings? According to the dictionary it is the act of words of one that Blesses; approval, encouragement; a thing conducive to happiness or welfare.

So now we have a meaning … but what do those words actually mean?

Every morning when we wake up we are rejoiced to find ourselves vertical and up and standing on our own two feet. We made it through another night. That is the encouragement of being Blessed.

On holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, Anniversaries we are truly Blessed on these special days. We should REALLY rejoice and give THANKS the other days of the year as well.

When a new mom gives birth to a child she is overcome with thankfulness and overwhelmed with Blessings for this child. It does not matter how she feels physically; being Blessed is the number one priority.

When the same mom becomes a grandmother, she is thankful for the lives of all her children and thankful her “Baby” is now a parent.

All babies are beautiful and all parents are – or should be – BLESSED.

All of this brings to mind the family in Southern California that has been in the headlines lately. They are parents of 13 children all of whom have been held captive and abused by these “parents.” There is nothing Blessed about this family. Thirteen lives changed forever by these ignorant people.

Nothing Beautiful about the parents in this case and very little Blessings to be seen.

I hope these children receive plenty of counseling and treatment and the parents are locked up forever.

There could be a slight BLESSING if this happens.

The Disappearance of the Greatest Generation

Ellie Clark

How blessed am I to be a member of the Greatest Generation; how sad am I that soon we will be gone. The Baby Boomers that we bore seem to have little or no interest in our mementoes, treasures or memorabilia, whatever you call them. I still look at a little vase, jam jar or the crystal powder jar with the silver lid and recall family, friends and my children.

Remember the pride Mom or Grandma took in setting the holiday table with her very best China and the linen tablecloth? Now that China is displayed in a China cabinet and the Boomer has no interest whatsoever in having it as a reminder of times past.

The turkey platter, the soup tureen, the crystal bowls, the punch bowl, pottery, crystal glassware, cake plate, with serving dishes to match. All of Mom’s treasures will be disposed of among strangers as they stroll about the house looking for a bargain at her Estate Sale.

These treasures are considered by Boomers to be “just stuff.” The utter joy I have enjoyed as a result of having this “stuff” around me money couldn’t buy.

Imagine future generations remembering fondly a beloved parent or sibling by looking at an iPhone or computer.

Oh well, at least future generations won’t have to try to find a place in the room for a curio cabinet.

Go Figure

Margaret Daniels

Growing up in our Northwest community the expression “Go Figure,” was not used. However, there were a few idioms or sayings that were sometimes expressed.

I can remember when my sisters and I were running around in the yard, my folks would say that we were running about like a “chicken with its head cut off.” We knew what that meant because my folks raised chickens for food and we saw them run all over the grass when their heads were chopped off.

We were not allowed to run in the house. However, this was really fun when my mother had just waxed the floors. If we got a running start, we could slide across the floor. The phrase we often heard was to stop running in the house like a “bull in a China shop.”

My dad worked in a customer service business. At times my dad would say that a customer or co-worker was trying “to pass the buck.” Another phrase that he used occasionally was when he was driving our car, he would call the careless driver a “fathead,” an expression used in the 1800s to express his irritation for doing something stupid. Only one word but we knew to be quiet.

While going to school, we would occasionally hear someone be called “yellow” because they hesitate doing a dare. Usually the action proved to be unwise and the student usually got in trouble. At other times a jealous student would comment that a certain person was “the apple of the teacher’s eye” when it seemed like the teacher was paying too much attention to that person.

One day my sister and I were at a neighbor’s house while my parents went to a funeral. It was the hardest rainfall I had ever seen. People living in the Northwest often said that it was “raining cats and dogs” when it was raining really hard.

While working, I would often hear people say that it is “a piece of cake” when their boss asked them to learn a new skill or project for work. In addition, the expression, “learn the ropes” was expressed when they start a new job. Also, you could hear “roll up your sleeves” to get ready for a job or project.

Parents in some homes told their children to “put your nose to the grindstone” when they wanted their kids to work hard. Lately, I have heard the expression “I’ve got to get cracking,” meaning they need to get moving or started on their next task. There are so many more idioms that are used, depending upon the area and time when a person lived. It’s a wonder that kids grow up normal and for the most part educated with so many sayings floating through the air waves. “Go Figure!”