younger than springtime – solc 2019 #31

Yesterday I had the occasion to visit briefly with an important person in my life. As always, time spent with him is uplifting and encouraging.

Brother Mike Dawson came to be the minister at our church when I was a teenager. He was 36 years old at the time – I remember that because, for all the years he was there, my mother continued to say that he was 36 years old. It’s no wonder – he never ages. His vim, vigor, and vitality are endless.

He went to pastor another church when I was in college, but returned to perform the ceremony when my husband and I married. We had the required counseling sessions prior to the wedding, too, all filled with wise Godly counsel, helping us start off our marriage on the right foot. Still so vibrant and supportive.

Years passed. We would see Brother Mike and his precious wife Mrs. Jolene from time to time, usually at weddings or funerals. The churches he pastored along the way were large and growing. His family grew into Christian servants just like their parents. Yet Brother Mike never aged.

Meanwhile, at the church where my husband and I were members, things weren’t going so well. As I prayed about this troublesome situation, I felt the urging to pray for our current conflicted minister AND to pray for the next minister that, someday, God would direct to our church. Can you believe that it turned out to be… the STILL youthful Brother Mike Dawson!

We moved to a nearby town shorty afterwards, but as before, we still saw him from time to time. Two years ago he led the service when we had a “youth group” reunion at my childhood church. That congregation is now a bit stagnant, and he brought life back to it not only at the reunion Sunday but also afterwards, by meeting with the pastor there and offering encouragement to him. At the reunion, everyone had aged – but not Brother Mike.

He’s always been there for important moments in our family – weddings and funerals and other occasions. Yesterday we saw him at a prayer service for a friend who is ill. Retired now, but still available for people in need. People he loves. People who dearly love him.

Brother Mike may have gray hair now, but he is still younger than springtime. When he talks with you it is as if there’s no one else on earth. He remembers everything about you and your family. He offers encouragement and he radiates the love of God.

I have been blessed beyond measure to have this man of God as such an ongoing influence in my life. May we all be more like him – and like Him, the God that Brother Mike so faithfully serves.

it must be time – solc 2019 #30

a whisper of sound, a passing whoosh – and nothing more

a soft touch, a tiny dimple – then gone

a scent, powdery smooth – only air

a fresh taste, springlike flavor – nothing there

a bulge, with swollen tip – just empty space


it must be time, I thought, but I was wrong

only my hopeful imagination


but no…

the next morning there they were

awakening the senses

so alive and ready, wiggling in the wind

just like that, growing before my eyes

sparse at first,

each day swelling, accumulating

and now a cloud, an inflated flurry

expanding in the space, completely full

exactly right

filling my heart,

welcoming spring,

the season arrives at last

doing the right thing – solc 2019 #29

In my Bible study group this week, the leader talked about faithfulness – doing the right thing, over and over and over and over and over. Even without noticeable results. Just doing the right thing because it is the right thing.

Easier said than done.

As an example she shared a story of her younger days, when their family was trying to save money, and she would go to the grocery store and buy chicken that was on sale. Limit three per family. But in addition to the three she was purchasing, she gave money to her children, sent them to separate checkout lines with three chickens each, and got a great deal to feed her family. Only it wasn’t the right thing. She said she realized that she was stealing those chickens from the store because she wasn’t doing the right thing. And she did it even though she knew it was wrong. She repeated parts of this story over and over and over and over.

Overkill, I thought. Or maybe not.

Yesterday I was ready to post my slice and I discovered that today’s SOLC#29 was already available for posting. I checked the date and found it was still the 28th. In my time zone. Ah, but the SOLC rules state clearly to post by midnight Eastern Time. I posted yesterday’s slice on the 28th, but when it comes time to turn in our names if we wrote every day, I can’t do that. I didn’t technically follow the rules.

It isn’t the right thing to do.

Today I spoke with a friend whose supervisor asked her to do something that she had originally agreed to, but had recently provoked second thoughts. As she discussed it with a couple of other coworkers, they came to an agreement that it would violate copyright laws. It wasn’t easy to tell the supervisor that she wouldn’t do it, especially when the boss became defensive and made it clear she was disappointed with my friend AND that she didn’t see anything wrong with it. But my friend expressed herself well in a written statement that she wouldn’t be able to do this task.

That was the right thing to do!

Those small little things that seem so trivial creep into our thoughts and can set a pattern of poor choices if we don’t ALWAYS do the right thing. Over and over and over and over. NOT overkill. Those right decisions set the foundation of a strong character that makes it easier to make better decisions in the future.

A worthwhile lesson repeated in several situations. It must be the right thing.

truly madness – solc 2019 #28

I played basketball when I was young and our son played when he was in high school. I love to play the game and I love to watch it even more.

But I do easily lose myself and get caught up in the excitement. When our son played my husband would sometimes not sit with me.

I get a little vocal with the referees. My father was a referee for years, and I know they have the hardest job on the court, and I could never do it myself, and all that – but honestly – sometimes I wonder…  And I often express my questions and concerns out loud.

I have not kept up with teams much this year but tonight I sat down to watch a televised game between two teams that do not mean much to me.  But soon I chose sides.

”How can that not be a foul? Of course he missed the shot.   That guy was in his face like a gnat,” I shouted at the TV.

“A gnat?” My husband muttered.

”Look at that! Yeah you better call a foul. He was over his back like a hood. Just go ahead and cover his face, why don’t you?”

”A hood?  Really?” my husband said as he shook his head.

I still got it.  Madness comes out in March.

too much sign language – solc 2019 #27

When we ordered breakfast this morning, my husband had trouble understanding the young girl who took our order.

Yes, he does have a little bit of hearing difficulty. But that wasn’t the only problem.

This young lady spoke as so many people do these days. A bit of a nasal pitch, with the end of each sentence rising as if everything said is a question.

But he was able to get enough repeated to finalize his order, and as we waited at the table for our meal, we reminisced about our college speech professor.

Dr, Woodruff (Woody) was very dramatic. Plus his voice reverberated throughout the classroom. From time to time he would suddenly use his gruff tone that rose from the gravelly depth into a higher pitch in the course of a sentence stating a rule of proper speech-making that he wanted us to be sure and remember.

”I wonder what Ole Woody would think of the way people talk these days.” I said to my husband.

He laughed and said, “I’m sure he wouldn’t like it.”

Then he reminded me of one of those important public speaking rules Dr. Woody tried to instill in us.

Don’t use your hands too much. Better no hand movement than something distracting. And his example was a line from an old hymn:

  • When (point to wrist where watch is worn)
  • the roll (rolling hands over each other in front of you)
  • is called (hands to each side of mouth as if shouting)
  • up (point upward with both index fingers)
  • yonder (point out as if to the distance)
  • I’ll (point back to self with thumbs)
  • be there (point index fingers down to the floor in front of you).

Good teaching, Dr. Woodruff.  We remember this well.

tree tunnels – solc 2019 #26

Today we were talking to our granddaughter in the car on the way back from gymnastics.  We travel a small road that has two places where the trees form a canopy over the road.

”Look, Madison, the trees are starting to get their leaves.  They are tiny now but they are growing each day. Soon they will be filled out completely.  Then the trees will be covering the road. It will be nice and shady underneath.”

”That’s right, Nan. Then we will have tree tunnels!”

Yes we will, precious child.  There will be tree tunnels before we know it.

And you are growing each day.  It seems to be as fast as lightning.  How can you be almost five years old?

Time moves quickly these days.

moving forward – solc 2019 #25

So, yesterday was post number 500 here.  Now what?

I have been able to take the Slice of Life Challenge for eight years now.  I am so thankful for that opportunity, made possible by Two Writing Teachers. The act of writing has strengthened and encouraged me in so many ways.  It’s a great habit to write every day.

But even though I have the BEST intentions, my daily writing ceases after March.  Every year.  I want to keep it up, but I just don’t.

Perhaps it is too ambitious to to publish a piece every day. Perhaps there is a better way to continue writing – successfully.

I have been pondering this dilemma, and I have come up with a plan. (Here we go again…)  But I think this MIGHT be one I can stick with.

  • Write something every day.
  • Determine to publish two posts each week.  An original one for the Two Writing Teachers Tuesday challenge, and, on Friday or Saturday, a revised version of one of the many quick writes I have posted along the way.
  • Respond to the comments I have received on my writing pieces. As much as I enjoy and learn from these, I seldom reply.  Now I can go back through these and express my thanks, at the very least.
  • Comment more on others’ writing. I have developed a list of writers who “speak to me” in their posts, and I want to visit their sites more regularly and interact with their wonderful words.
  • Organize my posts.  I have never used tags, and it is time for that to be done!
  • Evaluate my dream of publishing a book and decide 1) if I truly want to, and if yes, 2) how to get that done.

To make these ideas work, I will need to spend time writing each day. Not publishing a post every 24 hours, but carrying through with a writing activity with regularity.

I am putting this here to remind myself of these ideas and plans. And I welcome any suggestions that YOU might have, dear readers.

Wish me luck!

a milestone – solc 2019 #24

We are starting to plan some upgrades and possible additions to our cabin at the lake.  Our first step in this process will be making a comprehensive list of all the things we already love about the property. And there are many!

With my writing I am going to try to be more consistent after this month of challenge and growth is over.  I have said I wanted to do this before… with INconsistent results.  But before I make my plan to move forward with my writing, I want to stop and list the things I already love about what I have done. And there are many!

  • This is the eighth year that I have participated in Two Writing Teachers’ SOLC in March.  Eight Years!
  • Some stories of important family history for my children and grandchildren to remember are now written down for them to keep.
  • On occasion, I have found just the right words, phrases, and cadences that make hearts smile.
  • I have become so much more cognizant of the beautiful world around me.
  • Connections that I have made between small daily occurrences and larger life lessons have enriched my thoughts.
  • Some amazing writers have crossed my path and I have been awed by their work.
  • When I publish this piece I will have 500 posts here on fireflytrails.  500!!

I have said many times that writing makes me more of the person that I long to be, closer to who I am meant to become. So I have been thinking of ways that I can continue to write more consistently and live a more writerly life.

That post comes tomorrow.  Today, for #500, I am celebrating all the worthwhile and fulfilling ways that writing has made my life more complete.

And I am thankful!

more than a survivor – solc 2019 #23

“This is my book,” she said to me with an ear-to-ear grin and look of humble pride and joyous satisfaction.

I’m not sure how the conversation shifted from our discussing her health and chronic cough to showcasing her book, but it was there in her hand and she was so happy to talk about it. And I was very interested to hear more.

“It says, ‘Not for Resale’ because this is my author’s proof copy from the publisher.  It’s the first time I have seen it in actual book form and held it in my hands. I am going through it and finding a few things to change and correct.” She flipped through the pages and I noticed some red marks here and there – not a lot – and I was mesmerized.

“There is a lot of your heart and soul in there,” I told her. “You must be thrilled!”

She had a look of realization that I was someone who knew just a bit about putting your life into words. So she proceeded to excitedly tell me about the book.  The words and revelations come from the hard parts and places of her life, and in her chapters she shares these situations, as well as how she got through them (the subtitle is My Journey to Healing through Forgiveness).

“There’s a Bible verse for each section, and then the story.”

I looked at her straight in the eyes then, and wondered what she had been through. You would never know from her appearance now. But isn’t that often the case? She has obviously found a way to overcome so much. “Oh, I want to read your book!” I told her. “Do you know when it will be available?”

She explained about getting an ISBN number and a tiny bit of the process, and then she said, “One chapter is about Ted Bundy being my babysitter. Of course I was told then never to talk about the things that went on.”

Chills spread down my spine.  Oh my.

“Well, I can’t wait to read it. And I am so proud for you to have told your stories in this positive way. And now you have a published book!  That’s a dream of mine, but I haven’t followed through on it like you have.”

As it turns out, she is a singer songwriter and also belongs to a writers’ group at a local church that has offered her lots of encouragement. They read pieces to each other, as writers’ groups do, and offer constructive criticism. Songs, stories, poems, and books. I shared with her about this Two Writing Teachers community and how thankful I am for the opportunity to be a part of it. But I know I have a long way to go.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who support each other as writers, and I say to us all, “Let’s never give up on our dreams.”

spring break angst – solc 2019 #22

When I was in high school, and then when my children were in high school, and even as a teacher, Spring Break was a tough time.

In my own school days, my private school was often on a different schedule from the public schools, and when my church youth group planned a trip, it wasn’t during MY break.  How could I miss? And yet, how could my mother call in each day and lie about where I was and why I wasn’t there?

Such a dilemma.

During the years that our children were in a private high school, again, often on a different schedule from my own public school teaching break, we had trouble coordinating trips, not to mention that we often couldn’t afford the high dollar trips many of their friends took. Sometimes we came through for them, but it was always a source of concern.

Such a hard decision to make.

Even when our children were grown, I would enjoy my relaxing spring break at home, loving every minute of my own time, but then come back to tanned students. Ugh. I, on the other hand, still had my winter-white complexion.

Such a contrast.

In the grand scheme of life this is a very silly thing to remain in my memory and to have even been dwelt on in the first place. But I am reminded of it this spring break 2019 week. I see those “left behind” walking down the street or wandering aimlessly at the mall.  Waiting for their friends to return and talk endlessly about the wonderful escapes they have enjoyed.

Or maybe today’s kids are smarter than me. I sure hope so!  We have had a beautiful week of spring weather here at home. And we live in an area with no lack of fun things to do.  I hope the children who didn’t take trips this week found lots of excitement and fulfillment right here!

Hopefully spring break angst is a thing of the past.

cute – solc 2019 #21

Truly thankful for the gifts God gave me and for the person He made me to be, I am also grateful that it is definitely what’s inside that counts. I try to care for my appearance even with all the new wrinkles that show themselves these days. Smile lines, perhaps. Yes, I am comfortable with being me, and so I can honestly say that I have never been …     “cute.” Thankfully I have family and friends who don’t seem to notice what’s on the outside, but who love me for who I am within.


I am still crazy about Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. When my second book club read it last month I did something I never do – I read it a second time. In so many ways, it was even better than the first time I read it.

Haven’t read it yet? Stop right now and go get you a copy!

But I digress…  At our book club the discussion leader said the author emphatically stated that when the movie is made (Reece Witherspoon has bought the rights!), the actors who play both Tate and Chase have to be …    cute.

Of course they do.

In writing her book about loneliness and acceptance, and in her own personal life, the author knows how hard it is when someone doesn’t fit in. And when you are young, being cute is definitely a foot in the door of acceptance, whether we like to admit that or not.


As teachers, we have all seen how hard it is for the “different” child to fit in. Although I am thankful to say that I think we are improving as a society on that point as we embrace and promote individuality. But still, not looking like everyone else can be hard. It is often much easier to be …    cute.


A young friend of mine has recently had her first child. She and her husband had to face some tough realities during their pregnancy. Their strength is inspirational and encouraging. They knew their child would be born with some disabilities. Actually, several problems. And he was.

While she was pregnant, she went to a baby shower for a friend and came home telling her husband how everyone went on and on about how cute the baby was. “What if our child isn’t cute?” she asked him. Yes, even with all their other concerns, she couldn’t help but want her child to be …     cute.

Her telling me this broke my heart. Then I looked at her precious son in that hospital bed and said, “Honey, he is SO cute!”  And he is.

Then she told me this story:

In their first days at the NICU (it’s been 2 1/2 months now) she noticed that each morning the nurse would list goals for the day for her baby. Things like, “Rest well,” and “Breathe deeper,” and “Gain weight.”

One morning the nurse put “Be cute” on that list, and then beside it put a big green check mark.  ✅ Done. He had already accomplished that goal!

”She will never know how much that meant to me,” said my friend. “I know it seems trivial, but I am so glad that my baby is cute. He will have enough to face without that to overcome.”


I am glad, too. And I pray he has friends like mine, that see with clear eyes to focus on what is on the inside. That’s where his strength really lies.

I am praying for you, my little friend, and for your mom and dad, too, and I ask God to help you stay brave, and strong, and …    cute.


still here – solc 2019 #20

We kept our grandchildren yesterday and had such fun. At the end of the day we took them home, and in usual fashion, upon entering her home our granddaughter quickly took off her shoes and socks.

But instead of staying barefoot as she usually does, she put on her gold sandals. Strippy-strappy with shades of white, yellow, and pink gold in varying sheens and finishes. So special and stylish. And comfy too (according to her).

“Those shoes remind me of Meemom,” I told her.

Madison’s old enough now to know who Meemom is, even though she never met her. “That’s your mommy and my mommy’s grandmother,” she reminded me.

Yes, sweet child, that is right. Oh, how Meemom would have loved you. Just like she adored your mother when she was your age. And yes, just like she treasured me, too.

Today would have been my mother’s 98th birthday. She has been “gone” for sixteen years. But there’s a part of her that is always still here with us. Her uniqueness, her style, her influence, and her love continue on.

Just like when Madison puts on those strappy gold sandals that she loves.  Meemom would love them too.

spring break – solc 2019 #19

It is spring break for the two school systems in our county. That means that 50% of our population is away on a trip.

You think I exaggerate. I do not think I do. I promise that if you are in Destin, Florida this week you will see multitudes of people from Williamson County, Tennessee.  And of course there are lots of other “natives” travelling elsewhere, too.

But I am home and happy to be here. The weather is a bit cool, but the skies are filled with sparkling sun all day.

If you sit still outside long enough, you can see the ground, plants, and trees growing and greening. It is delightful!

And there’s another plus – hardy any traffic.  It’s like our town was twenty years ago. Also quite delightful!

We do live in an area with lots of growth. And we have an abundance of stores, restaurants, and amenities to meet the needs of all those people. I do like the convenience of this. But from time to time it is nice to remember how things used to be and be able to go from one place to another without getting stuck in a traffic jam.

Even though I am retired, I am savoring this delightful spring break!

chickenfoot – solc 2019 #18

My husband retired on December 31, 2018.  He worked hard for many years, and he also planned his retirement for a long time, too.  He had countdown calendars on his computer AND in a notebook. He has been enjoying his new lifestyle very much.

Many people have asked, “What are you doing with your time?” and “What plans do you have?”  He’s been very smart and is leaving things wide open. You never know what will present itself to your new frame of mind.

I have been retired for (almost) five school years.  There was a time when I thought I had to know my “next steps” before I could let teaching go. But as it turned out, I have been a bit more open minded myself, and it has been wonderful.

I knew I would work on the Library Foundation, and be active in church, and enjoy my two book clubs (although I still don’t always get the books read on time), and spend time with family, and enjoy the new grandchild that was on the way when I retired. And since then there have been two more sweet grandchildren. I am thankful for every moment I get to spend with them.

What I didn’t know was that I would be a part of another special group that is right out my own front door!

There is a group of five neighbors who get together regularly. We began by taking day trips – out for lunch, shopping, and exploring. Then we started playing dominoes. Starting at 3:00 pm, we play two rounds, with snacks, drinks, dinner, and lots of visiting woven in.

What a gift this group has been to me! Such an unexpected surprise, a real treasure.

And today is dominoes day – we play a version called Chickenfoot.  And it is my turn to host. And it’s almost 3:00.



lucky day – solc 2019 #17

“St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time – a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.” A. Cook

It is a beautiful day here in Tennessee, with a splendid forecast for a dry week with lots of sun. I’d say the luck of the Irish has come our way.

St. Patrick’s Day is such a festive time to me, and I am neither Irish (well probably I am a little bit- aren’t we all?) nor Catholic. But I love the joyous spirit of the day, and the hints of magical highjinks, and the promise of a rainbow with that elusive pot o’ gold at the end.  I loved “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” as a child, and I showed my classrooms how to do an Irish jig when I was teaching. I still display a leprechaun or two in my home today.

The shamrock typically has three leaves – one each for faith, hope, and love.  If there’s a fourth, then that’s for luck!

It is such a day of good will and friendship! What’s better than that?  Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all!

A wish that every day for you

will be happy from the start

and may you always have good luck

and a song within your heart. 

Irish Blessing

a high point – solc 2019 #16

We had dinner at High Point last night.

This restaurant in Monteagle, TN is in an old stone and brick house with lots of gables and chimneys. The website explains:

The 1929 mansion with original hardwood flooring and authentic light fixtures, presumably financed by Al Capone, was put on the National Register of Historic Places in December of 1997. The three-story compound once had escape hatches on the roof and underground tunnels in the basement used by Capone for the transferring of liquor in the twenties and early thirties. Local legend reveals tales of Capone and John Dillinger lounging outside on the mountain stone patio having drinks and playing numerous hands of cards.

We sat by a multi-paned window with dark, ebony stained trim that looked out on that same mountain stone patio, now lit with festive strands of small hanging lights. It was the same table (and server) that we had on our last visit. The floor was made of worn, one-inch planks of oak, and the fixtures were old brass with modern/vintage Edison filament light bulbs. We entered this room through another that held a bar, a fireplace, and a few tables. The first time we came, we were seated upstairs in a small alcove (tower?) room.

So much history in this place! If only the walls could talk.

The food was absolutely delicious, plated beautifully and served under a metal cover ceremoniously removed by the “charismatic and courteous” server to reveal the “delectable creations” we had ordered. (Quoted phrases also from the website.) The swordfish (with orange bourbon glaze served over a crispy corn cake) and the “black and blue” filet (with peppercorns and blue cheese butter) were incredible. Not to mention the butter lettuce salad, lobster bisque, roasted butternut squash with maple bacon butter and toasted pecans, and a real baked potato with a generous helping of butter, sour cream, and fresh chives.

Such variety and creativity in these meals! Is your mouth watering yet?

Our room held six tables situated in a horseshoe shape around the edge of the room, all taken care of solely by the same attentive server who called everyone “baby.” The other diners held stories (mysteries?) of their own:

  • One table was a mother-daughter pair who arrived separately and each wore flip-flops despite the cold weather. (Did they always wear flip-flops?)
  • Another table held a couple that came in right after us and had drinks, an appetizer, bread, and were finally ordering just as we were leaving. (They sat right behind me but I hardly heard a word out of them. Introverts? Gourmands? Blind Date?)
  • The larger table had two young couples, barely 40 if that old, who talked incessantly of large houses, spreads of land, designer clothes and jewelry, and bullied children. When they ordered, for most it was “the usual,” which the waitress knew without question.  (Regulars? Apparently so, and well-to-do, as the meals were expensive.)
  • Another table seated a slight, pale woman in a mousy-colored business suit with wavy auburn hair piled loosely on top of her head, accompanied by a slightly younger man, crew cut and glasses. She ate most of the food and did most of the talking. (What was their relationship?)
  • The most interesting were a man with long, slightly graying 70’s hair and big mustache, with a butter yellow coat and brown tie that matched his pants and shoes. He was with a woman with long dark hair (they both wore wire rimmed glasses) a gray, floppy-brimmed felt hat, a crocheted sweater, shiny silver slinky slacks, and silver-and-white animal print short boots. They had the server take their picture with a digital camera. (Sonny and Cher?)

Such character in these diners!  Each unique and very interesting.

Of course the best part was being with my husband and enjoying this tasty meal together. We took our time, too, and discussed things we were thankful for, along with hopes and dreams for the future.

My husband worked with a man whose great grandfather was a cab driver in Miami, and would drive Al Capone from Florida to Chicago (yes, in a taxi!).  I have no doubt that he, too, was familiar with this place. I’m not sure the food was as good back then, though.


maybe she’d stop for this – solc 2019 #15

I grew up in East Nashville/Inglewood, and for the first nine years of my life my parents and I lived in an upstairs apartment over my grandparents’ house. One day, a few years ago, my daughter was driving us around and we were looking at places where I, and other family members, had lived.

One spot we visited was this first home of mine. Admittedly, the area had “gone down” quite a bit in the fifty years since we had lived there.  My grandparents’ house, after it was sold, actually had quite a bad fire and had to be almost totally rebuilt. So as we drove down that one block street, I was curious to see what had been changed and what remained that I could recognize.

“Hey, slow down,” I told my daughter. “I want to get a better look at things here.”

“This is NOT a good neighborhood,” she said without even slowing down. “I am getting us out of here as fast as I can!”

And that was that.

Yes, admittedly, it was not the same as it was fifty years ago – and not the same as my memories.


Some time later I saw this post on Instagram:

Look at that! Right on the street where I used to live. Not my old family home, but one just across and down the street. What a cute house!  Looks like the neighborhood was being revitalized, just like much of the East Nashville/Inglewood area. Now I really want to see my grandparents’ house again.

Maybe my daughter would slow down the next time – if I ever get her back there again. Still, I probably need to drive next time.

forget me not – solc 2019 #14

I took this picture almost two years ago.

What you see is the “peephole,” the opening in the blinds we made for our dog so she could look out to the front side of the house and watch the cars go by. She had a full length window to view the backyard, but she liked to see where the action was.

She had always had her run of the house…until… she had gotten older and her bladder wasn’t too reliable. And there were other ailments, too. So we decided to contain her in our kitchen. All hardwood floors, outside views and sun coming in, plenty of food and water, her comfy bed (you can see a corner of it in the picture), and when we were home, the place we spent the most time.

We even started staying there in the evenings after dinner – watching a tiny TV from the easy chairs that replaced our kitchen table. Just to be with her (and keep her off the rugs in the other rooms).

We were just making her comfortable, we told ourselves. Changing her diet to soft food (which ran right through her), giving her calming pills and a diaper so she could continue to sleep in our bedroom at night, helping her (or carrying her) up and down stairs because of her bad hip.

And then one day, we suddenly knew. She wasn’t comfortable. She wasn’t happy. She just wasn’t well.

Maggie wasn’t with us for long after that. We have missed her from the depths of our hearts. She was, as we said so often, “the best dog.”

You will never be forgotten, sweet dog. We so frequently find ourselves saying, “What would Maggie do at a time like this?” or “Remember when Maggs did …?” And when I see pictures like this one I am reminded that we did all we could but it just wasn’t enough to make her truly comfortable here any longer.

We have considered getting another dog, of course.  But when we lost Maggie, we were soon to have 2 new grandsons, and then we embarked on a year long remodeling project, and quite frankly, right now we have gotten used to the lack of responsibility and planning that those without pets are accustomed to.

But even if we do get another dog someday, Maggie, you can rest assured that we will “forget you not.”

layers – solc 2019 #13

Isn’t this a beautiful candle?

Usually I purchase a candle because I like the scent.  But this one was so pretty.  My favorite colors, all stacked and swirled just so.  Lovely!

Nature likes to layer things as well:

A field of sedge grass, hills with blurry and brown winter trees in the background, even a sprinkle of bare limbs reaching to the milky sky. But there in the middle – that’s where hope lies!  Trees with blooms of white and leaves of green. Spring is coming!

And look how the sun illuminates these layers:

A cold blue sky over a hill covered in leaf-fall, punctuated by sleeping trees waiting for more temperate days. And then that life-giving stream, unfrozen now, and the short grass awakening and starting to green, promising those warmer days to come.

Sometimes the layers are on the ground right in front of you:

The stone, the fallen petals, the baby grass.  Well, in truth you see an old driveway, mostly weeds, but still the fallen petals blown into a line and dividing the space. Lovely layers, no matter what you call them.

Fog or mist makes wistful layers:

Dividing the ground and trees, it seeps in and slips away. The sky lights in layers, too.

I also think of people, the many layers of years they carry, the layers they display and the ones they hide.

Here’s a quote for the writers in all of us:

“Tree trunks are composed of layers of growth. Meaningful expressions are composed of layers of words. Say something meaningful.” 
― D’Andre Lampkin

I continue this quest to find just the right layers of words.


a visitor – solc 2019 #12

We are spending the week at our cabin at the lake. We are looking forward to our daughter and two of our grandchildren coming to spend some time with us here.

Yesterday we heard the unmistakable pitter-patter of little feet – two days early!

NOT the little feet we wanted to hear. Somewhere in the crawl space between the first and second floors.  Ay, yi, yi.  (Or however you spell it…) We have an unwanted visitor in our house.

Actually thee may be more then one.  AARGHHHH!!  Thankfully they are quiet at night.

I think it (they) is (are) in the ductwork. At least I believe they came in that way.  There’s no evidence outside of any other entry point. And the man who came today for the spring HVAC checkup said he saw evidence (nuts) under the unit.

He also said they usually cover the access holes with metal strips when they install a new unit (as they did here two years ago.) “I guess we just forgot,” he said.  Great…  After the animals are removed they will come back and put those metal strips on – “free of charge,” he said.  Good!

Yesterday I called our pest control company.  They can come tomorrow for a free inspection. If it is mice or other rodents they can take care of it.  If it is wildlife we will have to call someone else.  Of course we don’t know what it is, but we are having them come for the inspection.

Meanwhile we called a wildlife removal expert who can come NEXT Wednesday.  He is out of town through the weekend.  He can’t help that, but they may be dead and smelly by then.  Anyway he thinks it is squirrels, too. Or chipmunks.

If squirrels and chipmunks are considered rodents then the pest control company can “take care of them” tomorrow. But my guess is they will be considered wildlife.

I am truly sorry for them and I know they also would like to be out instead of in. But I also hope they don’t do any damage.  And I really hope they don’t “stink the place up.”

This post is scattered and wandering – just like the critters are behaving right now. Maybe after this is resolved I can use this experience and write that first children’s book I have dreamt of publishing. The critters would be very sympathetic characters, of course, and there would be a happy ending for all.  A fiction book, I’m afraid.

But right now I’m not feeling it.  I just want them gone!



After I originally published this post, I looked out on the deck to see this:

When I walked out he/she scrambled across the yard and over to the fence line.  Then when I came back in I heard rapid footsteps up above in the ductwork space. Did it come back in???  I think this one may be trying to rescue another one. Or babies? Another exciting chapter of that sweet story – BUT – for now I just want them GONE!