I turned the corner into the room at the Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC and I'm thinking my jaw must have hit the floor with an impressive thud.
Yeah, I'm sure people are sick of me talking about it. I'm not. (Bill types with a big grin on his face.)
I try and work into my story that I had been working on that dang novel for over 10 years.
And what gave me the idea for the story in the first place?
This story dropped into my Facebook newsfeed the other day. It's one of those universal tales that anyone who has cared for (a.k.a. "loved") a pet will recognize. CAUTION: Grab a few tissues; you might need them while you read this one.
Almost twelve years ago, I saw a flyer in a grocery store advertising a dog available for adoption. She was a year and half old, 35 pounds, and spayed after already birthing a litter. My wife and I met her a week after that. She was goofy and sweet, friendly to people, but couldn't stay with the multi-dog family who'd taken her off the streets. Any female canine within visual range was on her "kill" list. That's part of being born as a street dog. I brought her home in the passenger seat of my 2000 Chevy S-10 about two weeks later.
My wife named her Molly.
I had to update my iTunes programs the other day, and while I was waiting for the downloads and installs to complete, I happened to notice there was a new CD with music by Billy Ocean. And among those songs was the one I always think about when someone mentions his name.
"Get Out of My Dreams, Get Into My Car"
And cue the "way back" music. I started laughing and remembered the song he released in 1988 which I thought was one of the most clever pop songs I had heard. Even after almost 30 years it still is a toe-tapper - and just plain fun. Check out the fashions of the day!!
The first one I rode was the one that took us to grade school. It was driven by a neighbor. He'd pick my sister and me up a few steps from the front of our house, pick up a couple of other kids up the road from us, turn around in his own driveway, then head to the school.
Years ago we didn’t have residential trash pickup, a garbage disposal, or public sewer. So we had a burn barrel for what we could destroy with fire, our wet garbage was put in a garbage bucket and dumped on a hill away from the house, and sewage which overflowed from an underground drainage field had to sometimes be scooped from an outside grease trap and dumped in another part of the property.
Yeah, it wasn’t pretty.
I have long been intrigued by those who live off the land ("off the grid" as it's now called) - pioneers who for the most part were self-reliant.
I think it was the words of Henry David Thoreau which first set in my mind the challenge of such a life:
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
And then there was that day I went to see the movie "My Side of the Mountain" based on the book by Jean Craighead George.
There was something that appealed to me about living alone. There is a sense of life being lived differently, with greater awareness.
Some of that awareness seems to be echoed in the Northmen's Code of Ethics. Lots to ponder here...
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/henrydavid107665.html
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/henrydavid107665.html
Why? Because someone spotted me wiping away a tear.
Forgive me. Remember me. I hope I gave life meaning. An EMT shares his experience with people facing death...
I remember the night she watched her first Disney animated movie - "The Little Mermaid".
I remember her driving around in a little motorized car my Dad gave to her one Christmas. I remember their smiles - big, broad, and so full of joy.
I remember her first day at pre-kindergarten and the days afterward when she would ride along with me to school. Me a teacher, she sucking a binky and singing along to the Bible tune tape she loved to listen to.
I remember holding her in my lap - and wishing she would never grow up. How desperately we wish that time would stand still.
I remember the time I made her cry because of something I said. One of the saddest days of my life. It still brings a lump to my throat when I realize how deeply she feels things.
I remember her struggles in school and college - and how wonderfully she overcame them through hard work and incredible creativity.
I remember her greatest victories and her private little bumps in the road.
She's my niece - and today she becomes a bride...
Yes - it's Friday, and this weekend we remember our fallen men and women who died defending our country. Here is an emotional clip from one of Ronald Reagan's speeches reminding us that our brave soldiers gave up two lives - "...the one they were living, and the one they would have lived."
My dad’s old Amish shed sat unopened for many years. During that time, ivy grew up its northern wall and around the ground outside of it. Several holes appeared in its roof allowing rain to invade and rot the interior of the building. A rose planted in one of its raised beds began to resemble the demonic thorn bush Maleficent magically grew to prohibit Prince Philip from reaching the sleeping beauty, Aurora. A flowering shrub was planted to balance the rosebush on the front of the building and grew into a small tree. Groundhogs and rabbits and snakes and spiders and ants took up residence within its walls and beneath its plywood floor. A volunteer tree grew beside the building's south side in seeming sympathy – to keep it company and to shade it from the afternoon sun.
She is one of two stars of the British series, "As Time Goes By" - about two young lovers who allow the serendipitous misposting of a love letter from Korea to keep them from following their hearts - and many years later find themselves once again courting love the second time around.
I was coming home from plant shopping with my sister on Mother’s Day when I noticed people walking into my property as I was driving toward the house. I was about a half mile away from the property, so I couldn’t see who it was. Initial thoughts were that I had caught someone trying to hop the fence into the backyard.
When I pulled up to my property and tried to see who was invading my space, I had to laugh. It was my neighbor’s daughter Brooke, her husband Kyle, and their son Ryder. I rolled down the window and said hello.
“We were just looking into your back yard. A wild turkey just flew into it,” Brooke said. We started laughing and joking about the whole thing. I pulled around the house into the driveway and decided to begin the search for the turkey.
The saga of the garden shed is a story in itself. First there was a metal shed with sliding doors that dad and my granddad assembled – only they didn’t quiet follow instructions and it was about a foot shorter in width than it should have been. Dad never said much about it after it was built; the “short shed” was always a reminder to “read the instructions” from that point on.
It got old, and rusty, and dad had to tear it down in order to make way for the two-car garage he was having built. So after the garage was built, he had one of those Amish outbuildings brought onto the property to hold garden tools and other stuff. It had two windows, hunter green shutters, and two front doors closed at the center and trimmed in the same hunter green.
And then, he died.
How can I possibly celebrate Mother’s Day, when it’s a day that reminds me of all that I have lost?
And yet, it’s also a reminder of all that I was given. With every memory of her, You reminded me that she’s as close as You are. I can be close to her only when I draw close to You.
At the end of a full week, it was fun to sit back in my chair at my desk and be whisked off to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and watch the premiere of Disney's new fireworks show. This show replaces Wishes, which will always be my favorite nighttime fireworks display.
“Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
— C.S. Lewis