Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Plans for a glowing future were laid;
As two small boys on bended knees,
God's benediction--they happily knelt there.
And curly-haired sister,
In peace 'neath the maples
And home--a far vista.
These dear ones of ours, so staunch and so true.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Let me take you back to the WW 2 kitchen in which I spent some of the first years of my life. As we entered the doorway, immediately to the left was the end of our black cast iron cooking stove. Four round lids covered the left end of the top of the stove. These were divided by a section fitted around them that could be removed in order to fit larger pieces of wood once the fire had been started with kindling and paper. The other end of the stove held a tank of water.
Diagonally across the kitchen from the stove was a long sideboard, in the middle of which was a dry sink. To the right of the dry sink sat two pails of cold water that my daddy, my two teenage brothers, or sometimes my mother, filled from the well. In the sink we had a small white porcelain washbasin we used for hand and face washing. It was old and had been used so often that porcelain had chipped away from the bent edges leaving black places. This many years later I don’t recall the additional things that covered the countertops, but the things that matter to my story I do remember, so let’s move on to those.
There were occasions when I was one of those things on the sideboard. After three sons, my mother was delighted to not only have a daughter, but also to have one with “thick, curly hair, the color of a new penny.” On shampoo day, the only running water came about by Mamma’s racing with an aluminum cooking pot full of some of the stove’s heated water over to the sink to be mixed with cold water already scooped from the pails by a long-handled dipper into another cooking container. Then as I lay on my back on the countertop with my head hanging over the edge of the sink, she poured the mixture over my head. Being an uncooperative age 3-or-4 years old, I squirmed mightily as I kept telling her, “But I’ll get soap in my eyes!” Mamma was not about to let a little thing like that stop her progress. She was prepared with a dry folded washcloth for me to place across my eyes. It worked quite well until she started rinsing the soap from my hair. That’s when I think her efforts and the efforts of others like hers, must have planted the seeds of thought into the head or heads of whatever child or children who eventually matured into the adult(s) who came up with the idea of waterboarding. That rinse water washed over not only my hair but also onto my face and I was sure it was going to go not only into my eyes but up my nose and into my mouth as well!
I know I’m not the only child to have had such fears. I am sure my own children went through similar visions even though by their young lives they were laid down in a bathtub, partially filled with warm water. Like my mother, I gave them a folded dry washcloth to put over their eyes. They lay on their backs, keeping their elbows bent to hold their upper backs and heads higher than the rest of their bodies, as I poured warm rinse water that I, unlike my mother, had run from a single mixer faucet into a four-cup plastic measuring pitcher. Oh, my! By cleaning their hair in that manner, am I and other mothers guilty of planting waterboarding ideas into the heads of our children? Well, so far that is one thing for which my children have not blamed me, so perhaps I’d better hide this message where they’ll never see it lest they think of the possibility every time they shampoo while in their showers!
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 10-18-2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
I was quite surprised to read in a friend’s e-mail that the card I snail-mailed July 19th for her July 23rd birthday from San Angelo, Texas, had just reached her yesterday, August 9th, in Andersonville, Tennessee. She sent the message to tell me she hoped I didn’t think her rude or uncaring in not thanking me earlier, along with her explanation as to why. She said she was “taken aback” when she noted the postmark date.
I e-mailed back to say I thought no such thing as her being rude or uncaring, that I am thankful the USPS finally found their way from San Angelo to Andersonville! I added, “Your message has given me pause for thought: perhaps I need to prepare your husband's October 13th card and get it in the mail ASAP in order to assure timely arrival!”
We’ve all been hearing laments and excuses of the USPS: cut Saturday delivery, consider expansion of self-service kiosks, close small branches, increase postal rates…again. Judging from our personal Monday deliveries, I’d say cutting Saturday deliveries would simply make Monday workloads expand. Would cutting Saturday deliveries get a snail mail October birthday card from Texas to Tennessee more quickly? Expanding self-service kiosks…now there’s an idea; however, there are already complaints about what we are doing for ourselves…Internet and text-messaging. I suppose that's mixing apples and oranges though. Okay, will closing small branches aid in getting the mail delivered more efficiently? One could hope something will help, but I really don’t think that is the solution. Our small branch postal workers are friendly folks trying their best to do their jobs and they do it well. Somewhere, someone is really letting them down.
More questions than answers, so back to our computers.
Let me just finish by saying I am thankful it was a birthday card, not one expressing sympathy, that was so long in being delivered.
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 8-10-2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
I don’t remember how old I was when I started, but I do recall an almost abrupt end when we moved away from the village into the country where the houses were farther apart, then later into the city where, I had also grown older and the customs were different. Some families celebrated hanging May Baskets only on May First, others every day throughout the whole month of May. Our family and our little village celebrated through the whole month of May.
In my childhood, both boys and girls took part in coloring, cutting, and learning how to weave strips of heavyweight paper to form small basket shapes. Some of the woven baskets were square, some rectangular. Sometimes we folded colorful crepe paper in origami fashion. We were then able to make scissor cuts in it, so when it was opened it formed a little hanging basket nest, where we placed a few goodies. Whether it was the woven basket or the crepe-paper style, we made handles that we glued on. We made three folds of the heavyweight paper, before cutting the right length to form the handles for the woven baskets. Because the crepe paper was so flexible, we could braid it for those handles. Waiting for that glue to dry was the hard part!
The “goodies” we put inside, cushioned with tissue paper, might be store-bought candy, homemade fudge, or some little trinket we were done playing with that we thought the recipient would find delight in having. Once the little May Basket was filled we’d try to sneak to the home of our unsuspecting friend, quietly hang the May Basket on the knob of their most used door, yell, “May Basket!” and run away, hiding from sight as fast as we could. Sometimes they could guess by our voices who had left the May Basket, sometimes by the contents.
When I was in my mid-sixties, a friend made and mailed a May Basket to me! Apparently I didn’t, but how I wish I had taken a picture of it. Some info she included about May Baskets I’d not previously realized, was that the hanging of them by children is an old New England tradition. The original idea was to announce “Spring and Good Cheer”. The information pointed out that May Baskets were given as an expression of love and friendship not only to children but also to loved ones, pointing out particularly “invalids and shut-ins.”
This morning as I wished my husband a happy first day of May, I thought about my childhood and the hanging of May Baskets. I asked, “Did you used to hang May Baskets?” He said he doesn’t remember. He grew up in the city and, as I stated earlier, I learned the customs there were different, so I suspect he didn’t even hang May Baskets.
For me, it is such a happy childhood memory. Like so many things, I can only wish such a memory for everyone, so if you want to try something new with your children, grandchildren, neighbor kids, or school kids, why not introduce them to a new variation of the old New England tradition of hanging May Baskets?
If you’re trying to think of a way to bring cheer to a shut-in, how about making your own May Basket and filling it with a goodie or two of your choosing? It doesn’t have to be candy; a little plant would bring spring cheer!
What a Merry Month of May you and your May Baskets can make it!
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 5-1-2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
It was the summer of 1948. I was eight years old. My mother and I were invited to go to Augusta, the capital city of the State of Maine, for a special afternoon celebration of the Three-Quarter-Century-Club.
Since I have already explained my age, it should be obvious, that the three-quarter-century, wouldn’t describe my mother, but if you guessed it to include one of my grandparents, you would be correct. My Grandpa, William Herbert Glidden, had celebrated his seventy-fifth birthday on May tenth of that year; therefore, he was eligible to be a member in good standing of the Three-Quarter-Century-Club.
As we approached the Augusta Armory building that lovely summer afternoon with Grandpa and my Aunt Charlotte, who drove us there, I had no idea what to expect, but I soon realized the place was filled with a huge crowd of very happy old people! The folks milled around with greetings of those who hadn’t seen one another for long periods of time. I overheard conversations and witnessed hugs that told me of family connections from different parts of the state.
Even at my age, there was joy in observing these reunions, but to my delight there were more surprises to come. A hush fell as everyone found folding chair seating in that huge building. Attention was directed to the stage. The men who stood there fit the three-quarter-century (and more) qualifications, as they cradled their well-tuned and warmed-up fiddles, ready to start the entertainment of the afternoon. And what an entertainment it was! Fiddle-playing at its finest was presented to the constantly-smiling, foot-tapping, (sometimes foot-stomping!) audience. All too soon it, like all good things, had to come to an end. As I write this, I am fully aware that the fiddle-playing of those particular men has also ended; however the memory of the joy they gave this girl that warm summer afternoon of her eighth year lingers like the resonant sounds of a bow on the strings.
Three-quarters of a century seemed old to me that day. Today, it doesn’t seem so old. Today, my brother, Kent Wilmer Libby, celebrates his seventy-fifth birthday. Although he says the winter has been a rough one, he definitely is not as old as the long-ago men who played those fiddles! If the Three-Quarter-Century-Club is still around, Kent is eligible to be a member in good standing, just as our grandpa was, but times and people have changed. I doubt the club is still in existence. An Internet search provided no information about it. Of course, there are still wonderful gatherings of great fiddle-players who bring crowds of happy folks together to help create memories for new generations, but whether we celebrate with fiddles or phone calls, three-quarters of a century is still something marvelous to celebrate.
HAPPY THREE-QUARTERS-OF-A-CENTURY, KENT!
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 4-13-2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
She married at eighteen and gave birth to ten children, eight of whom lived.
The first time I saw this picture, I, too, had just celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary. Having also married at eighteen, I was very close in age to Grammie as I was seeing her now, not as I remembered her shortly before she passed away when I was eleven. I was stunned at the resemblance between her and me. I had always known I was born into the family, was named for her, my mother, and a great-aunt; however, this was the first time I ever felt the true belonging that reached into my soul.
Years have passed since that unforgettable experience, but as I age I continue to seek signs of belonging when I look in the mirror. I have aged more gently than Grammie did. I have had a far easier life. But, Grammie, I wish I could tell you that no March 21st ever passes without my thinking about you. And I wish you could know the great-granddaughter and great-great-granddaughter, each of whom have been named after you as well. They know about you.
(C) Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 3-22-2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Train rides were common during my husband’s and my earlier years. During World War II, we saw family members come and go regularly by train. The depots were in small towns and larger cities. It remained so even after the war for a number of years, eventually giving way to bus, personal, and air transport.
John and I married in January, 1958. We used train travel between Boston, Massachusetts and Bangor, Maine. In order to be near him and prepare things for our marriage, I had moved in with a Brookline, Massachusetts, minister’s family the end of November the previous year. This gave me opportunity to find a job and get to know the area. John had found a job with a sporting goods store as a shipping clerk in downtown Boston. (Loved those Joe and Nemo’s hot dogs for lunch at that little hole in the wall across the street!) We found and reserved a furnished corner basement apartment in a three-story building that went from 89 to 99 Marion Street in Brookline. We were ready to be married!
The weekend prior to our marriage we took the train back to Maine to take care of the necessary pre-wedding legal paperwork. A little bit of time for personal visits with family but soon, we had a train schedule to keep so we headed back to the Bangor Depot and Boston.
The following week we were on the train, once again, heading north on another Friday. Upon learning of our wedding plans, one of the male passengers, felt it necessary ask, “Why get married? It’s a terrible way to ruin a friendship.” Strange…that remark still sticks so firmly today.
Our wedding was small, but love was there. The following Sunday afternoon, my dad took John and me to catch the train at the little town of Newport where I, as a child had said happy hellos and sad good-byes during World War II to my two older USN brothers. This time, though, I was on the train that rumbled down the tracks taking my brand new husband and me off to our married life in Brookline.
A few months later, Beth received her first train ride although there’s no way she would remember it. At that time, she was what is today commonly referred to as “a fetus.” We called her, “a baby!” With the thoughts of approaching parenthood and remembering what having grandparents in our own lives meant to us, we wanted that family fellowship in our child’s life, too. We decided to move back to Maine.
When you hear the term, “kit and kaboodle” that pretty well describes how we traveled back to Maine, by train. By that time we had acquired, Honey, an adorable little honey-blonde Spitz-and-Spaniel dog from the pound. She was leash-trained and allowed on the train along with our (you’re not gonna believe this!) ironing board, packed boxes of household goods, whatever we had. Don’t ask me how we managed it all. I have no idea. We must have put it in a baggage car somehow. Sure wouldn’t get away with such today.
Beth’s next train ride is one she won’t remember either, but if she looks in her baby book, I think she may find a flattened paper cup with the train company logo on it. (And Chip, please don’t start again, about Beth has a Baby Book and you have none! At least you were cared for! And loved! Don’t forget loved!) John had to go to Chelsea Naval Hospital for medical assessment, so we took advantage and made a family trip out of it. I was so proud to take our Baby Beth back to introduce her to the people I had worked with. They were properly impressed with our then five-months old daughter.
One of my favorite co-worker/friends, Mary Pasyanos, a Greek lady, just a bit older than I, wasn’t at work that day, but as I recall left word for us to please come to her apartment. She gave us ten dollars in shiny quarters for Beth. They had some special Greek meaning for a new or, I think first, baby, but I cannot tell now what it is. Perhaps it is written in the baby book. After our visiting, we returned to Bangor…another train ride.
It’s no wonder train travel holds happy memories for Beth. She has had many more miles traveling down the tracks than she likely knew!
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore
Friday, March 18, 2011
Toys that once would have covered the childhood bed now line a closet shelf and have been replaced by two real, live Yorkshire Terriers.
Instead of climbing the stairs to the bedroom, naptime
is frequently found in a favorite recliner that sits either in the great room or the office of a one-story patio home. There’s not a lot of room in that recliner, but if either of those two little dogs sees me picking up a lap covering, they know I plan to relax for a while. I start to sit down and before I can make a lap, a bundle of busyness starts its leap-and-land process, leaving little room for me, book, laptop computer, and/or most important, the second doggie.
With my thoughts on lap coverings, etc., I want to tell a bit more about the Scottie-dog described in the earlier post. Charlotte, my mamma’s sister, made it. Aunt Charlotte and I wrote back and forth to one another with some regularity, especially the last few years before she died. She sent me a picture of herself with a quilt she had made. That brought my Scottie-dog quilt to mind so I wrote to tell her how much it had meant to me. It had been a very long time and she didn’t even remember having made it! I was so glad I could remind her. It would be a nice thing to have an actual picture of it, though in my mind’s eye I still do.
One day while we were visiting, I told the Scottie-dog quilt tale to my husband’s sister, Mary, an avid quilter. She delighted with me over my memories as we looked over her quilts and plans for more projects. Because she lives in Florida and we in Texas, we didn’t get to visit and muse that often. Once I was home I forgot our conversation, but she didn’t. In December, a few weeks later, our doorbell rang. There was a neatly wrapped package addressed to me from Mary. I confess. I do love packages in the mail, surprise or otherwise, but surprises are the absolute best!
Upon the opening, this surprise was magnified. There lay a twin-size Scottie-dog quilt with a special message tag sewed on it: “Sue’s Scotties II” Mary had tucked a note inside stating in part, “I’m sure this quilt bears little resemblance to the one you remember as a child. Since I could not replace that one, I decided to interpret and update it a bit. Hope you’ll be happy with the results and that you’ll be curled up under it with a good book very soon!”
Later, in response to my thank-you, she said, “I’m getting pretty fussy (in my old age) about whom I create for, but I felt sure Sue and the Scotties would be a good match. I hope you will spend many a happy winter together.” A few winters have come and gone since then. Not only have I been warmed physically by “Sue’s Scotties II” but also emotionally by the loving memory-connections it conjures up from generations past and present.
Thank you, Aunt Charlotte. Thank you, Mary.
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 3-18-2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
With the writing prompt to write about a quilt or a blanket, it took little to get the memories moving.
She was a cute toddler with coppery-colored curly hair and eyes. She lived in a two-story house. When it came time for a nap, her mother took her by the hand as they started to climb the stairs and made a game of learning while they counted the steps as they went up…one, two, three…
Once in her room her bed greeted her with a line of dolls and toys that lay from the wall side of the bed all the way to the other side. Her pillow was covered so there seemed to be no place to lay her head. Since a nap was one of her least favorite things to do laying her head down was in the same category. She sat with her back towards her toy-laden pillow and covered her lap as she studied the handmade quilt that warmed her legs and encouraged her imagination.
Her aunt had made the quilt from 9” squares of white muslin using four-inch
deep rose-pink sashwork to frame each square. At the same time the design created vertical and horizontal lines making a rectangular quilt of three squares across by four squares down. It was just the right size for a little girl and her single bed.
Why would such a quilt inspire imagination in a small child? The answer lay in each square. A silhouette of a Scottie dog made of feed bag calico was centered in each square. Each was made from a different calico print and outlined with hand-embroidered black buttonhole stitch. Each Scottie dog had a black circle eye made from the six-strand embroidery floss as well.
As the little girl sat in her bed she would look down at each Scottie dog and choose a “Favorite of the Day.” Since she had a Favorite Favorite, he was chosen a lot more often than the rest. Sometimes she felt rather bad about choosing him so often. On that day, she’d choose another just so that one would not feel left out.
Finally the eyes of the little girl would grow heavy. She’d lay her coppery curls on the empty space on her pillow from where she’d taken her dolly to cuddle in her arms. Now she and her dolly would each snuggle under the warmth of the little quilt while the other toys would watch with wishful eyes as they heard the little girl teach her dolly, “One, two, three…”
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 3-16-2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Mine came following what was the most difficult decision-making time in my life: that being admitting my aging mother to the care of a nursing home. In the few weeks she had been there, it had already been a rough time. I was dealing with emotional and physical pain. Necessity caused the physical pain to win out.
It was approaching Thanksgiving. My personal care physician ordered a sonogram that showed gallstones necessitating immediate surgery. My pain had already told me something had to be done soon. I went for the requisite pre-surgical procedures only to learn there was concern regarding my heart. What? I was too young to have heart issues. The medical staff assured me it was probably nothing but a precautionary extra step. Still, with no warning, my dad had died from a massive heart attack just prior to his fifty-seventh birthday. I was assured the surgeon would do his utmost to swiftly get me in for those tests and the surgery.
My husband and I waited for the expected phone call but none came, so we knew we would be held up past the Thanksgiving weekend. More pain and no tasty, filling meal of turkey and gravy for me, that was obvious. Friday morning following Thanksgiving, our phone rang. It was the surgeon. He explained he had been unsuccessful in several tries to reach us, but our line was continually busy. Apparently after a phone call with one of our family members, we inadvertently left it off balance. He explained he had made arrangements for the heart doctor to meet us at the hospital ER, to do the necessary tests on me if we could be there before noon that day. If everything checked out okay, he would do the surgery first thing the following Monday. Relief was in sight!
We scurried to the hospital. I successfully passed the tests and was cleared for upcoming surgery. With orders in hand, I looked forward to Monday morning. Surgery was swift and successful. Pain was gone, except as my friend has said, a new pain was temporarily in its place.
After I was once again on the road to good health, it was with much pleasure I wrote a thank-you note to the surgeon. He had been so thoughtful in taking time out of his holiday to see to it that I got good care as soon as possible. Having learned he had a son following in his footsteps, I also commended him for the exemplary lifestyle he was setting for future generations. Imagine my surprise when almost in return mail, I received a thank you for my thank-you! He explained that it was infrequent that he heard such, that it was more often he heard the other side, and he was so pleased that I was happy with his care.
How could I not be? After all, even though he was a human being, Dr. Gabriel (really his name) was to me an angel wearing a doctor’s coat.
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 3-12-2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
When our grown children visit, that’s a phrase I frequently hear when our son is reminiscing about his upbringing and how I, as a mother, chose to discipline. Need I say his memory and mine differ?
I neither deny nor doubt using that phase but I definitely deny using it as frequently as he recalls its being touted. Could it be that he, as a child, seldom listened, but when I pulled out the big guns, so to speak, he knew he’d better listen…or else?
One reason, I know I didn’t use it as often as he seems to think I did is the fact I did not believe in passing the buck. I was the mother in the home and as such, I was Johnny-on-the-spot. When I saw a wrong, it was my job to correct it. Even though I joke about my having been the youngest in a family of four and the only girl, and having learned well the art of tattling, I didn’t choose to bring that art into the raising of our children. No, just waiting to tell dad wasn’t my choice of discipline. “Nip it in the bud,” as Deputy Barney Fife has oft been heard to say.
Additional reasons “Just wait until your father gets home” wouldn’t be particularly effective include:
1) When our son was approximately three to five years old, his dad was working two fulltime jobs. During that time we had no car, so that meant we used the city bus, walked, or after his late night shift at a radio station, the dad in our family took a well-deserved cab-ride home, arriving around 1 a.m.
Waking that kid at that time for punishment sure seemed like exactly what he needed, but I always tried to be a woman of my word, and if I had said, “Just wait until your father gets home,” surely I would have meant it, so-o-o… Oh, no wonder he remembers it with such clarity. I wonder how it has slipped my mind so completely.
2) Following that, eventually we did have a car. My husband’s job took him out of town to manage an ice cream shop. He left early in the mornings and came home late many nights. Eventually, job transfers allowed us to make moves, but those were after we’d spent two summers living in a tent in order to be where his job was.
3) That brings us up to our son’s being approximately age ten when we spent a summer in England where Dad went to work in the morning, came home mid-day for a long lunch, then spent the afternoon up until ten p.m. or the wee hours of the following morning at The Fitties, what we would call an RV park, helping introduce the equivalent of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
“Just wait until your father gets home”? I think not!
4) Oh, but wait! Teen years were yet to come, right? Oh, yes, the teen years. Travel was introduced when summer vacation arrived. Son was up early in the morning and off in the car beside dad. They made quite a pair as they sold fruit and produce to restaurants along the east coast of Maine on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, then the southern coastal areas on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays!
Oh, yeah, right; “Just wait until your father gets home!” (And brings you with him!)
5) By this time, our son had spent too much time with his dad. He had learned too well the art of teasing. One day I was seriously aggravated with him. He was trying to laugh me out of it as he looked me straight in the eye and said, “I’m not afraid of you.” I was so taken by surprise. I lost it. I laughed! At that very minute, I knew that from now on, whenever discipline was to be dished up, I would have to say,
“Just wait until your father gets home!”
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 3-3-2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
She’s out shopping when she sees a book to buy. She picks up two, one for herself, but one for her friend…me. Later she sees another book she likes, but after a thorough search, realizes there’s only one. When telling me about it, she says she is planning to share. We go to another store in the same chain, look on the bookshelves, and after a search she calls out in delight, “Here it is!” I reach for it, planning to add it to my purchases. She grins as she hurriedly moves to hug it back to her body, as she says, “No, I said I was getting it for you!” We both like to write and both books are about…you guessed it…writing.
I’m sitting at home. The doorbell rings. I had no idea: they’re thinking about me, these friends of mine.
As I start to open the door I see the mailman or one of the deliverymen has left a package by our door, but no, my friend who is standing there, bends to pick up the tall, rather large box. On it is the picture of a lighthouse. Oh, yes, indeed, they’re thinking about me, these friends of mine! Inside the box is a solar-powered lighthouse that will glow in the dark of night. The two who are giving me this gift see my heart’s love for the coastal land of my birth. She is here to give me their gift, to tell me they know this should be mine. This is not the first such gift from them.
As I look around my rooms, the many gifts given with smiles are frequent reminders of friends of mine. I am thankful for the mementos, but I am even more thankful for dear friends who are thinking of me.
“I thank God in all my remembrance of you…” Philippians 1:3 (NASB)
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 2-24-2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
One such thing occurred just two days ago. I went into a local chocolate shop called Sugar Daddy Desserts. I thought I was strong until the owner was ready to wait on me. When he looked up to ask, "May I help you?" I broke as I said, "I'm hurting." You see, I knew the background story of his life. He had lost his wife, the mother of his children, to breast cancer. The story was recently written in our local newspaper.
I pulled myself together enough to show him my friend's picture, explain the circumstances, and say I had hoped the young woman I'd seen working in the back room could tell me what kind of chocolates my friend usually bought. He said, "Just a minute," as he scurried to get her." In what seemed like seconds, they both returned on my side of the counter, loving empathy in their eyes. He said, "This is my daughter, Michelle."
I explained I'd known her from having met her years before at the church we attend, but I didn't realize she was his daughter. The tension of the sorrow was somewhat relieved as he lightly joked about their keeping that a secret. She expressed her sympathy at my circumstances, while adding regret that she didn't recall my friend's choices. I said I'd look for something to take anyway. After asking my friend's favorite color, Michelle excused herself "to the back room for a few moments." I heard her dad quietly say something to her, finishing with, "Do whatever you want."
In the meantime, I found a chocolate block to take and selected a wooden rose, and waited. The shop gives a wooden rose to each lady on each visit, so by now my friend had a pretty good collection.
When Michelle returned, again to my side of the counter, she carried a beautifully wrapped, in florist-style, bouquet of at least a dozen of those wooden roses...shades of pink...my friend's favorite color! When Michelle had asked earlier, it had gone over my head as being perhaps some special chocolate treat trimmed in pink she was preparing for me to take to my friend.
I once read something to the effect that you have to weep before you can dry another's tears. These people certainly knew how to take a gray day and add sunshine. I am thankful and wanted to share this message with you.
If you would like to say thank you to them, too, you can access their e-mail by visiting their site through this hyperlink: http://www.sugardaddydesserts.com/
©Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 1-28-2011
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
We arrived at the restaurant at 11:50 a.m., promptly requested a table for seven and were told there would be a twenty-minute wait. Elderly friends who have been married a year longer than we have been alive, that being seventy-two years for them, went in just ahead of us. They must have been led to their seat in a hurry because they disappeared right away. Another friend appeared from the recesses of the restaurant, thinking it was just my husband and me standing there, waiting. He was planning to invite us to sit with him and his wife. They had just been seated in a booth for six.
After forty minutes had passed, we questioned the hostess and she said she’d check the table they had in mind for us. Oops! The people had just ordered dessert so it’d be another twenty minutes…sorry. When we had been there approximately an hour, my husband asked if it would be possible if two tables for four emptied, they could be pushed together to make room for us. An agreeable nod led to nothing more than a hovering consultation at the hostess stand that we were forced to witness as we continued to wait while those with lesser numbers who came in after us were continually called.
In the meantime, our out-of-town guests were very patient considering they had planned to eat lunch, then get headed back towards their homes, a four-hour drive once they were on the road. The longer the wait, the deeper my embarrassment grew. As each minute ticked off, I tried to avoid joining in like manner. In the meantime, our elderly friends came through the lobby with a to-go box in hand. The sweet lady asked, “Are you still waiting? You can have our booth.”
Finally, we were given a choice: we could wait for the dessert-eaters to leave (we were informed they had just asked for to-go boxes) or we could take two small round tables pushed together in the bar. My husband selected the bird-in-the-hand. We headed for the bar area and climbed onto the high bar stools. Thankfully my precarious Parkinson’s imbalance wasn’t working overtime and since there was little elbowroom on which to lean on the tiny tables, I managed to plant my feet quite securely on the ring surrounding the stool’s lower edge.
The manager, whom my husband had asked to speak to earlier, miraculously showed up this time…not the same manager who had been involved in the hostess stand conference as before….hm-m-m-m. He personally delivered chips and salsa and cheesy dip that was no charge “because he knew we had had a long wait.” Oh, he had no idea! He also promised that Stonehardt (name changed lest I be sued) was “going to take good care of us.” Once again, he was mistaken. Stonehardt showed up with what appeared to be a chip on his shoulder. (Not the kind served with salsa! Maybe Santa cheated him out of that sports car he really, really wanted…but, hey! Don’t blame me. At this point, do I even slightly resemble a jolly fat man in a red suit?)
In the meantime, our friends who had planned to invite us to sit with them came searching for us in this hidden nook, saying they thought we must have left. They saw we had just been served our water and cokes, and were interested in our story of how their tee-totaling friends ended up in the bar. Since they realized the already-long wait we’d had to be seated, they left with a few hugs and smiles all around.
Once Stonehardt realized we weren’t out to make him pay for the hold-up out front, he seemed resigned to do his job in a less surly manner but certainly not in a glad-you-are-here way. He was busy, but without customers such as we were still trying to be, where would he be?
Our meals were a long time arriving and once there, my sandwich, which should have been warm through was barely so, and cool in places. Our granddaughter’s meat was rare instead of cooked well done. The waiter did offer to replace it and when she said, “No, thanks,” he removed the cost from the ticket.
When we had completed the meal and asked for to-go boxes, Stonehardt brought them immediately, along with the bill, but then, the wait began once again. The bill is time-stamped 2 p.m. It had been a long afternoon already. We were thankful to have had good company with whom to spend it, except we knew they were eager to get on their way. Eventually, my husband asked another waitstaff to get the manager (who did not appear) but Stonehardt did, carrying food for another table. Finally, well over two hours after our arrival, we were able to pay and be on our way.
I was just glad our guests were the ones who had made the decision to go to that restaurant. Of one thing I am pretty sure: even with free chips and salsa, upon their return to our city, they’re not likely to ask to go there again.
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 1-3-2011