Death and Garlic

It all started with one bulb.

He was elderly with no family.  He gave me, direct from his garden, one bulb of garlic with specific directions to separate the bulb into cloves, plant on (exactly) September 4, lightly water throughout winter, and reap the benefits the following summer.

I was a little late on the planting date, but I got it done.  I couldn’t wait to show him my bounty last summer, but was unable.  He killed himself.  He had cancer and couldn’t bear the pain anymore.  He was alone and tired of asking for help.  He left a garden full of lovely vegetables, and a lot of questions never to be answered.

I was just someone he met through a fluke, and I loved listening to his stories.  I looked forward to his visits and flirted with him shamelessly.  He was buried in Arlington Cemetery but no one who knew him attended the service.  It was his greatest pleasure to be recognized as a Veteran.  He bled red, white and blue.  In his youth he’d been a cocky pilot during WWII.

I cried for hours when I was received the call.  If it hadn’t been for my horrific former boss, I would have still been able to be there for him.  She sure wasn’t.  He was just another person for her to use and discard when he quit giving her money.

I used the garlic last summer and saved two bulbs.  I gave one bulb to a friend (with instructions that upon harvesting, she too must pass on good karma and a bulb to be replanted) and separated the remaining bulb into cloves, planted them a little later (sorry Mr. M) than September 4, watered carefully, and again, am reaping the benefits of Mr. M’s generous gift.  I’ll always replant Mr. M’s garlic, and you can bet that every single time I use one of his cloves I say a silent prayer of thanks for knowing, albeit a brief time, this kind gentle man.

Maybe the title of this post should be Living and Garlic. . . .

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Ozarks Flood and Tornado of ’11

Pray. Just pray. Then donate.

The people of the Ozarks are resilient, but how much more can they take? We had over 30″ of rain at our house in about a week, but we’re the lucky ones.  These pictures are our neighbors:  two boat docks and a neighborhood all within “shooting” distance from our windows.

Now the people of Joplin are devastated.  Literally and figuratively torn apart from their homes and loved ones.  A tornado touched the edge of our property about four years ago while we were huddled in the only room in our house without windows: our hall closet.   A day after the Joplin tornado, we watched as another tornado skirted the skyline, crossed the river and, thankfully, never touched down.  God have mercy on the people of Joplin.  I cannot even begin to imagine the pain. . . .

“Thanks” to flood gates, the lakes are going down while the flooding on the river commences.  Will people rebuild and repair?  You bet they will.  They say time heals all wounds and no doubt this will be the case with this latest series of disasters.

Now, please pass on some good karma and donate no longer needed clothing, kitchen supplies, etc., to shelters to help those less fortunate.  Even better, pick up a new shirt at the store and drop it in the donate bin.  Mother Nature can be wicked; this could be you.

Forgiveness-Still Trying

Sometimes it’s hard being the better person.

One of my blogging friends, Sue, has an amazing post re: forgiveness.  I struggle with forgiveness, really struggle.  If you’ve read my blog, you understand this is one “item” I don’t handle well.

I had a horrific boss at the local college where I worked, and last year she hurt me in ways that not only illegal, but unimaginable.  To put it bluntly, one of my favorite quotes is by John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton:  “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Great men are almost always bad men.”   Except she is NOT great.  Bad, not great.  Very, very bad.

I encourage you to check out Sue’s post.  I am going to get a copy of the book (by Dr. Frederic Luskin) she discusses and see if it can’t help me in my struggle to define “forgiveness.”  I think it just might.

Hum, it must be sad to be my former boss and realize she’s lost virtually all her friends and self-respect.  I have so much more than she will ever have.  Karma is a good thing!

Red Devil Bullies

It ain’t pretty.

Adriamycin, aka The Red Devil aka The Red Death, is an extremely toxic drug that a large portion of chemo patients are all too familiar.   Bad to the bone; so toxic it can damage the heart and cause heart failure; so toxic chemo nurses really suit up to deliver this wicked-bad poison because one drop on their skin will cause immediate damage.   I can’t even begin to tell you all the side effects because honestly, it makes me ill just thinking about it.  Just when you think you’ve recovered, it rears its ugly head.  I endured Red Devil for the first half of my chemo sessions until it was obvious my body couldn’t handle it anymore.  Red Devil is the bully of the chemo world.

I’m at the point in my life where I have accepted that some people are Red Devils.  After enduring the chemical Red Devil, I was then blindsided by the walking Red Devil.  You know the type: you feel you should wear body armour around them because at some point, they will throw you under the bus.   I refuse to witness Red Devil bullying.  Three years after Red Devil was put in my body via a hole in my chest, I endured an indirect IV Red Devil via my workplace.  Hindsight is 20/20. . . .   How does one stop social-climbing bosses from bullying?  I implore every person to take a stand, pass on some good karma, and refuse to participate in back-stabbing, the spreading of gossip, the throwing of persons under the bus, etc.  Adult bullying needs to stop.   NOW.

Pears, Peaches, and a Painter

No Del Monte cans allowed here!

Our house painter’s name is Curley.  When our builder introduced him we were speechless.  Six years ago Curley was pushing 80, worked alone, and had this mop of white hair that was (and still is) unlike anything we’d ever seen!  Thus began our love affair with all things Curley.

Our house has loads millions of painting flaws.  Better Half “supervised” the building of our home.  When I’d point out a painting problem, BH would sheepishly shrug his shoulders and say he would mention it to Curley.  Nothing ever got fixed and BH finally fessed up.  Curley was always proudly asking, “How’s my painting?” and BH couldn’t bear to disappoint someone who could be his grandfather.  Ah.  I got it.  I still get it.

Curley lives in a teeny, tiny house near a railroad.  There is a big sign above his carport painted Curley Loves Here.  Yes, loves.  His living room is a Nascar shrine.  His kitchen is covered floor to ceiling (literally) with delicate teapots.  He gardens like nobody’s business.  The only spare spot in his home has been turned into a virtual food cellar filled with home-canned veggies and fruits.  I never leave his home without jars.  Good karma to Curley.

We like to stop by and visit with Curley every few months.   His innocence puts things into perspective for us.  His patriotic mailbox makes me proud all over again for Better Half, my oldest stepson, and Curley, the former Navy cook.  Sometimes we take Curley berries from our garden, or we just stop by to trade smiles, recipes, and laughs.  Haven’t you heard? Curley loves there.

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