Sunday, June 12, 2016

Ties and screwdrivers

Men. What to do. What to do. A tie? A screwdriver? Golf balls? Maybe a new plow! What do you buy Dad?

When working at Hallmark, I was very aware of the lack of gift ideas for Dad's Day versus Mom's Day. Gag gifts. Signs with stupid sayings on them that would eventually find their way to the closet or garage sale. Dads. Men, you are impossible.

Gifts for my dad were impossible. June always got Dad a new tie for dad occasions. Peg went for the shirts.  I honestly think I probably bought hankies. He had tools. His hobby was farming. His job was farming. I certainly couldn't buy him a new tractor or other implement. Argh! Men.

Father's Day is spendy. The golfer, the photographer, the sportsman, the sports groupy. Tickets for events, gift cards, ways to spoil our men comes with a healthy price tag....that is unless you are me.

Years ago I decided to write letters to those I love. I figured that words and feelings were the best (and cheapest) gift I could give. The idea came to me through a letter I received, a letter from my father. Never had my dad written to me. His handwriting was terrible, and so he did not write to his children. The letter came at a time when life was difficult for me. I was stunned when it came. It was a letter from a father telling his daughter how much he loved her and wishing he could be nearer to help her. A letter tucked away in a special place. Well, two places. The most important is the place in my heart.

I never wrote a letter to Hollie Stager or Victor Lavy. I did write to the men in my family and to Junior Shuff who was like a brother. I did not give something money could buy or something that just filled the space in gift giving. The older I get, the more I realize the power of words, the sharing of feelings. Yes, I am a hugger. I cannot give a deeper gift than that of myself.

Father's Day love can heal and perhaps open new doors. I find that when men reach an older age, they often want to have that love but by then are not sure how to process it. I have hugged many an old farmer to find that he had no idea that I cared, that I carried memories of him from the child I was.

Happy Father's Day, my friends. May you receive many gifts of love. Add mine as well.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A place in the heart

The car may not know where it is going, but certainly the women in the car knew the way. Time may pass, still the path does not. We cross the state line and something changes. Anticipation? Dread? What are the feelings for they are many. The dread of coming back with our home gone as well as our parents? Anticipation of seeing loved ones again? The missing of a childhood?

It had been 16 years since we had been in Darke County together. So what drew us back? First and foremost we wanted to spend time with our dear cousin Alma Lea Gilbert. Some people bring a smile just thinking of them. Such was our time with Alma Lea.

Walking into the BRC felt very strange. Doris and Victor Lavy are gone. Margaret Stager is gone. No longer could I give them hugs and tell them how much they meant to me. Those from Neff Road are gone. Time may have robbed me, but memories embrace me.

After we said our good-byes to Alma Lea and Duane, we made another stop. A knock on the door. Popping my head into the room. "Pauline, it's the Loxley girls." There are moments in your life that are forever captured and held in your heart. Pauline Aukerman's loving embrace of two girls she had not seen in decades was one of those moments. Pauline is one of my church moms. One of my favorites.

I have thought a lot about those visits over the years to the BRC. Yes, I stopped in to touch base with those people I love, but it is much, much more. It is not what we give to them. It is what they give to us. I am given tenfold of what I give. I am blessed beyond words with the loving affection I receive. We are not placed on this world without purpose. Our blessings are not in what we gain for ourselves. It is not necessarily what we give to others. I truly believe it is that reaching beyond what is earthly to a place that is sheer love.

My heart is fuller for this visit with those who found a space in their time to see me. It truly is something to pass on.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Another Chapter

Should I write? What will I write? Who wants to read what comes out of my empty head anyway? Questions I have asked myself over the last seven years. Thanks to Carol DeMaio and dear friends and readers, my questions have been answered.

Last Friday Carol set up a meet and greet for me, so I could catch up with friends and meet some of you I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting. Only coming in for one full day did not make for a variety of times to choose from. I told Carol that she and I would probably be the only people there drinking coffee for three hours. Much to my surprise we had people waiting for us to arrive. To each of you who made the effort to come visit with me, thank you. Your lovely faces mean the world to me. I only wish I had more time to visit with each of you. And for those of you who just stopped in to thank me for the column, you are a blessing.

I had the honor of hugging old friends and renewing old acquaintances. The past flew to the present. Those of us who grew up on or around Neff Road are once more given a chance to begin again. Those of you who traveled a distance thrilled my heart. Aren't we lucky? All we have to do is reach out to others and find that they are just waiting to reach out to you in return. It is a fine place where I spent my childhood days.

Per requests. we will do this again in the not so distant future. You have convinced me to continue to write Neff Road. And, even more exciting for me, I have decided to finish two books I have been sitting on. Of course, one is the writings from Neff Road and the other is A Grandparent's Voice. Soon I should be out of a cast with my newly renovated thumb ready to type up a storm.

Yes, I feel this is another chapter. Readers, you are my inspiration, my history, my future. You are the ones making memories for your families. A history written every day. Again, thank you for embracing me so warmly. I am not worthy and so very humbled. Please do email me. I love hearing from home.