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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

I was married to an ostrich and never knew it.

The light of dawn, or in this case, the light of way before dawn is very enlightening.  I woke up at
4 AM this morning to begin the tedious task of sorting through my mind.  It is normally a scary process and today was no different.  Like many times before, I thought about my brother and how he died.  But this morning I also thought of my first husband and how he handled Jake's death.

It had been a few weeks since Jake's passing and I mentioned something about the event to Earl Duane, my first husband.  His response was simple.  "I don't think about it.  I pretend he has gone to another town and I will see him when he comes back or we go there."  Such a simple premise.  I often envied him of the ability to just ignore reality.  I wished often that I had taken lessons from him.  It has been 52 years and it is just as fresh in my mind today as it was back then.  I see him in the hospital bed in McPherson, Kansas, with his head propped up and his sandy hair falling across his forehead.  The scar on his right cheek was vivid.  He had no bandages because he was too injured to bandage.  He passed on October 31, 1965.  My dad had passed in February of the same year. 

I am not good at dates and can not tell you what day most of my family died, but Jake was like an extension of myself.  I do not know why I woke up with this on my mind, I just know it was not the first time and will probably not be the last time.  I do not remember any of my marriage dates except for Kenny.  Let me tell you, when I had to come up with all those dates for the social security I was one busy little girl!  I was on the phone with the Bureau of Vital Statistics for probably an hour while the man researched  the various marriages and divorces and separations and such. 

When it was all over , I thanked him profusely for his time as he had been a lot of help.  He knew more about me then most people and his last question to me was "I just want to know, what happened with old Earl."  For some reason that struck me as funny and we both had a good laugh.  But sadly enough, I have often wondered the same thing.  I did envy him his ability to completely disregard any thing that was not what he wanted it to be.  I am sure he did the same thing with our divorce.  He certainly was adroit at ignoring that little sentence about the child support.

Normally I do not talk about him as he is the father of my children and I respect him for that, but he had a different relationship with them from the one he had with me.  As long as we can all separate the man into two parts, we are good to go.  We did talk on occasion and he remembered me as the skinny little thing he married and nothing I did after that mattered.  In his mind I never left.  I was just gone into town to pick up some groceries.

So in closing, I want to say, my life is good.  My home is good, but way to big and way to much work for me.  I want to do something although I am not sure what.  I do know there are big changes coming in the next year.  It is going to start with a giant rummage sale in the Spring and then I will just see where the future takes me.  I have lived over half my life in Colorado.  For the first half it was Kansas.  Do I think about going back?  Sometimes.

For now, I am going to run through the shower and start a new day.  That is the best part of life to me, knowing that each day brings a fresh page and yesterdays are just that.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Now it is tomorrow.

Yesterday Al Franken resigned from the Senate.  That made me very sad.  To be honest, this whole mess has made me stop and rethink and wonder just what in the hell kind of mess we have gotten ourselves into with the "Me to" movement.  I woke up at 4:00 AM with this on my mind.  I guess this is just the one that pushed me over the edge.

You all know most of my story.  I married before I was 20 and had my first baby 2 years later.  That one was the first of 4 born in 4 years and then a short break and the 5th came along.  Sometimes love does not conquer all and I ended up a single mother with no skills with which to support myself and an ex-husband that did not pay child support because he did not want a divorce.  Needless to say he was my first "me to" although I can not say it was so much sexual harassment as just a case of a man trying to hold a woman and keep her in her place.  But that is neither here nor there and it is what it is and ended up in a divorce.  I was awarded $50 a month for 5 kids, but that was back in the day when a man could just move to another state and the child support was not going to follow him.  And that was what he did.

Of course, I had to go to work and the only work I had ever done was restaurant or laundry.  Laundry work is very hot, and very heavy lifting, so I opted for waitress work.  The night shift always had better tips, but I wanted to be home with the kids at night so I approached the boss about training me to be a cook.  That was better.  I guess the first time I ran into blatant sexual harassment was at the Holiday Inn.  It was not really harassment so much as just being paid half as much as the fry cook that I did the same work as and less than the salad boy.  When I complained the boss explained to me that it was just the way it was.  Men had families to take care of so they needed more money.  When I told him I had 5 kids to take care of he told me I should have practiced keeping my legs together.   Back in those days restaurants were not covered by any kind of wage control, so to make the money I needed I worked double shifts.  I went to night school and got a degree in accounting, but I was still a woman and did not make the wages I needed.

I lost count of how many times I was propositioned when I was a waitress and how many men tied the amount of my tip to how friendly I was to them.  Of course I also learned that the wife was prone to just reach over and pick up that tip if I were too friendly to her husband.  It became a balancing act of being just nice enough to the man that he would leave a tip and even nicer to his wife so she would not pick it up.

I am glad that things have changed and women can now actually support themselves.  Too bad I am too damned old to work now.  And I rather resent it when I go to the feed store and load my cart with 50 pound bags while the clerk is over selling a roll of wire to some farmer.  And I hate that I have to tell them at the counter that I need help loading it into my car.  Course when I get home I am on my own,

But back to Al Franken.  I loved him when he was a comedian and was happy when he was elected to the Senate.  I saw the picture where he appeared to be groping that woman and it was clear to me that was something from his comedy days, back when that was considered funny.  I do realize that there is a real problem with some men and their inflated egos',  but I do not think for one minute Al Franken falls in that bunch.  It is sad that we lost him in the shuffle, but I was happy to hear he will still be an activist.  I really expect him to make another run because the people in his home state know the character of the man.  And they know what an asset he is to our party.

So until our government figures it out I am just going to stay in my little house and when I need a repair man, I will call my son, because if I call the repairman, the house call rate doubles.  But that is not because I am a woman living alone, it is just how it is.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The dress code has definitely changed.

Thinking back to when I was a little kid back on Strong Street and I must admit, we definitely dressed a little different than the kids today.  Jake always wore overalls.  So did dad.  Church dress meant clean overalls.  As little girls, my sisters and myself always wore dresses.  As the poor family in town we were given a lot of "hand me downs" and that was good.  Josephine handed hers down to me and I handed mine down to Donna, Donna to Mary, and Mary to Dorothy.  By the time they got down to Dorothy they were pretty tattered.  But when one of the ladies from town showed up with a bag of clothes that her daughters had outgrown it was like a gift from heaven.  These were clothes that were brand new to our system.  Sometimes there were even shoes which was really great.

The way the shoe thing worked was we each got a new pair of shoes for the first day of school and we wore them until we could not get our feet in them any more and then handed them down to the next kid.  Some times we would finish out the last month or so of school barefooted.  I liked that best.  I hated shoes.  We had 2 choices for shoes; black or brown.  I think I was in 7th grade when I found out there was another choice.  That was "saddle oxfords" and they were for the very rich kids.  Those were white with either brown or black through the center part of the shoe  hence the name "saddle oxford".  If you owned a pair of those you had to put white polish on the white part and that was just a waste of money as far as we were concerned.

I know I have told you about how mother used to save feed sacks that were pretty fabric and make us dresses.  I told you how I thought my name was Gooch when I was a kid.  Now I want to tell you something off the cuff here.  I sell on ebay and several years back a lady gave me a big pile of those feed sacks to sell.  I think there were probably 40 or 50 one yard pieces.  They brought some very good bids.  One of them I sold to a lady in Korea for $48.00 plus shipping.  The lowest priced one brought $9.99.  That is for 1 square yard pieces of fabric.  Made some good money on that lot.

Jeans or slacks were NEVER worn.  Girls wore dresses.  That is what we wore.  Even in the summer there were no shorts.  Dresses.  That was it.  We played in the dirt and made mud pies in dresses.  We always kept the dress that was in the best shape for our "Sunday go to meeting dress."  No wearing the everyday dress to church.  That would have been sacrilegious.  We could shinny up the ladder to the hayloft and watch the cat giving birth in a pile of hay in our everyday dress.  We could pick corn and throw it on the wagon in our everyday dress.  But you know something?  I can not remember any dress I ever owned except one my Aunt Helen gave me when I was in 6th grade.  It was store bought and was a grayish green everglaze cotton fabric and it had a tie at the neck which had 2 white daisy's on it.  I wore that damn dress until it almost cut me in half.

When dresses got to the point that they were pretty much thread bare, the went to the rag bag.  Periodically  mother would empty the rag bag and take her scissors and cut out any good fabric.  This was then cut into strips and each strip had a slit cut in each end.  The strips were then laced together through the slits and rolled into a big ball.  When enough big balls were rolled up, they were taken to the weaver lady who would weave them into a rug.  The rug was probably 8-10 feet long and roughly 28-30 inches wide.  They were beautiful and I still like to make them today.  Back then the weaver lady charged $2.00- $3.00 to make and they were very sturdy and wore forever.

Back to the shoe thing.  I am sure we had socks.  I know for sure Josephine did because they came up to her knees and when she got out of sight of the house, she rolled them down so here legs were bare.  She always was a dicey female.  Oh, and we always had to wear a slip!  Our dresses were always cotton, so there was no danger of a boy seeing through and lusting after us, but we were always afraid that if we did not have our slip on that someone would know.  A bra was never anything that I ever needed because I just never had any boobs to speak of.

I must tell you, mother always wore a hat to church.  Well, any time she dressed up she wore a  hat.  Women were expected to cover their head in church.  She could have walked in stark naked and caused less of a stir then what would have happened had she not worn her hat.  Oh, and that damned hat pin was good for getting our attention should our shallow little minds wander!

Funny, looking back, that I remember so little about clothes when I was little.  I guess back then we were more worried about starving to death than about freezing to death.  I want you to know it could get cold back in those days.  But we could make snow ice cream with out fear of radiation fall out.  Course we knew not to eat the yellow snow.  We could snap an icicle off the eaves and suck on that and convince our selves that it was good and filled us up.  I would dry up and blow away now before I would eat an icicle.  God only knows what is in our atmosphere today and he ain't talking.

So, I don't know just what the point of this was when I started writing tonight, but I am pretty sure I am done.  Going to be a long day tomorrow.  Hope I have time to get my naps in before Jeopardy.  In the mean time, just be kind to each other.  You never know what kind of burden the other guy is carrying.

Peace out!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The road is a lot shorter than it used to be.

I think back to Nickerson and Strong Street and as I recall, my future stretched before me and the road was very long.  Days were filled with running up and down the dirt road barefooted and playing "Kick the Can" at night.  That was summer.  The sand pit was up the road behind the house.  We were not allowed to go there.  We knew that.  So where do you think we spent the hot afternoons?  Correct.  The sand pit was cool.  We knew we would get a lickin' sure as shit if Momma knew we were in that water, so we made sure we were dry before she got home.  Seems like the name of that sand pit was Vincents.  Athey's sand pit was over on the highway and Mummy's was outside of town near the Arkansas river, so this one had to be Vincent's.  It was not a working pit, so no one was ever around.  Of course there was a "No Trespassing" sign, but we were too little to read it and if we had been able to read it, we had no idea what trespassing meant.

I could not swim when I was little so I always stayed in the low part with the little kids.  To be honest I did not learn to swim until about 10 years ago.  Kenny did not know how to swim either and we took the boat out every weekend in the summer.  I think we were pretty na├»ve in that area, but it all worked out.  I had made sure that all my kids knew how to swim, but I never thought it was important for me to know.  About 10 years ago, I decided that I should learn the art of that and off I went to the warm water pool at the "Y".  I learned the art of survival and decided that swimming was not for me and I gave it up for other things.  I just never liked the water up my nose or in my ears.  Sorry.  Just not my bag.

I do not think most of you know just what Kansas weather is and how we survived back then.  It is hot in Kansas.  Hot and humid.  There were no air conditioners in those days.  The best we could hope for was to lay under a tree in the shade and with a little luck, a soft breeze would blow across our bodies and that was how we cooled ourselves.  Churches used to have cardboard fans in the rack where the hymnals were kept.  We were not allowed to steal those either.  It was not unusual for the temperature to soar above the 100 degree mark.  And of course on days when it was that hot and a cloud came up there was a damn good chance that it was bringing a tornado.  Feast or famine.  We knew if  a tornado came we were to run for the cellar, but I have already told you that no way in hell was I going down in that hell hole.

If we thought summers were bad, we knew winters were worse.  We had a wood stove in the front room, but it burned out in the night and had to be rebuilt every morning.  That was Jake's job.  Since we walked to and from every where.  When it snowed we followed in Jake's footprints going to school.  I do not remember having boots when I was little, but I do recall at one point Jake grew out of his and they were handed down to me.  Does anyone remember galoshes?  They were black and had 4 or 5 buckles on the front to hold them on.  I would rather have been caught stark naked in a snowbank then to be caught dead in those things.  Of course mother gave me that lecture on "pride going before the fall and a haughty spirit before destruction" and I wore the damn things to school.  In later years I worked and made enough money to buy my first new pair of boots.  I went to Warringtons Dry Goods and they had two pairs in my size.  One pair was brown rubber and the other was white with fur around the top.  I wanted the white pair so bad I could taste it, but I bought the brown pair so as not to be prideful.  What a friggin' moron I was in those days!

I recall mother making me a new coat.  It was light teal corduroy and had been something else previously, but she carefully took it apart and cut a pattern to fit me.  I was so proud!  I wore it to school as soon as it was finished and some boy said, "So you got a new coat.  It is still old and it is not pretty."  Kids are so mean at that age.  I would like to say it did not bother me, but it did.  Until you live in a world where everything is hand me downs, you can not know the feelings.  I tried to just be happy that I had a coat that no one had worn before me, but somehow the joy was gone.

When I entered high school it was in Plevna, Kansas and I lived with my Grandma Haas and Great Grandma Hatfield.  I stayed there for 5 months until Grandma Haas passed away.  Then I was moved back to Nickerson and enrolled in Nickerson High. 

I would like to say that my life got better and I was happy at school, but that would be a lie.  I do look back on my early childhood in Nickerson as the happiest time of my life, but not at school.  I was happy at home, but I was an outcast at school and I grew to resent the snobby kids.  My best friend all through grade school was a girl named Barbara, but when we left grade school she drifted away.  By the time I reached my Sophmore year I had new friends and weekends usually were spent sneaking into Duke Bankey's home brew.  We moved to Hutchinson the year I was a senior.  I dropped out of school and my formal education was behind me.  I was now an attendee in the school of hard knocks and I graduated at the head of my class although I was never sober enough to know it. 

And then life picked me up and spun me around and landed me here on the Mesa.  So here I set looking down a very short road at what remains of my Golden years.  Sorry, but that is such an asinine statement.  I am once more reminded of one of Mother's jewels of wisdom.  I was beating my chest once and she had told me I was my own worst enemy.  At the time I thought she was nuts, but as I contemplate that next hill I have to climb I hear the echoes of another of her adages and I think this was her best.  It was "Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind."  She was right.  I spent many years sowing the wind and now it is time for my harvest.  I gotta' say, it got here a whole lot faster then I thought it would.  Yesterday I was young, but the stop sign is coming up fast!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The hands of time are kind.

Has it really been 15 years?  Thanksgiving is a bad time for me, but then most days are anymore.  It was a couple days before Thanksgiving 15 years ago when my husband was taken to St. Mary Corwin hospital, brought back to life and started the journey to death.  There is no other way to put that and it was what it was.  I could not find his DNR so the rescue squad did what they do.  This has been a lesson well learned.  I have a copy of mine stapled to my head.  This began 3 weeks of ICU and then transfer to Colorado Springs to try to wean him off life support.  Needless to say that did not work and 2 months later I was a widow.  It has been a long 15 years.

I look back  on those years and it is almost like it was yesterday.  We had adopted Bret, so that kept me busy.  He was 10 or so when Kenny passed.  I sent him to public school.  I sent him to charter school.  I sent him to private school.  The little fellow kept me very busy.  I would have no doubt went nuts had I not had him, so for that I am grateful.

Being a 60 year old widow with a 10 year old son was not conducive to dating, so I did not do it.  After 9 years I put my toe in the water and met Sherman.  We know how that turned out and 3 years later he was gone.  I miss having someone to lean on, but I get by with a little help from my friends (I heard that in a song.)  There was one guy that I cared about, but he turned out to be not at all what he presented himself to be, so that fizzled out.

I think about dating some times, but not very often.  It would be nice to have someone that would call a couple times a week and maybe take me out to eat once in a while.  Or a walk along the levee.  I really miss that.  I have lady friends that I go to lunch with on occasion, but I still miss having a man to open a door for me.  I miss having a conversation where I say something and then he says something and then we both laugh.  A sense of humor is so important to me.

Kenny and Sherman were both very intelligent and witty.  They both loved me although not in the same way.  Kenny was fishing, bull riding, family, cooking, gardening, and country music.  Sherman was more high brow, sipping wine and old motorcycles.  We watched a movie once a week and one night we were watching "Cheech and Chong", which was my choice and he told me "Fiddler on the Roof "  would be wasted on you!"  I laughed at him, but I never chose Cheech and Chong again.  I did try to watch Fiddler on the Roof, but it bored me to tears.  He was right about that.

If I could meet someone like either one of those two, but I think God  broke the mold after he made them.

So, Thanksgiving is over for another year.  I had lots of company and they are starting to leave now.  Patty is going to stay a couple days extra so there is that.

I am changing my life and the process is already started.  I am sorting my possessions into 3 piles.  One is to keep and one is to sell and one is trash.  I guess there 3 more piles.  Those piles are "stuff" that belongs to other people.

There are books that belong to the college and are supposed to leave when the book sale is held in the Spring, but I hear the sale is not happening this year. Ever hear of a "book burning".

 Another pile belongs to a guy in Pueblo West and is stuff he wants, but not enough to take it home.  It has been in my garage for about 9 or 10 years.

 And then there are 2 piles that belong to a kid on the west side.  He wants his stuff, too, but not enough to come and get it.  I call it "garage sale shit."

I want to downsize.  Frank and Cliff brought me a roll off this summer and I filled it.  I may need another one of those.  Right now I am sorting and boxing.  I have a pile in the garage that grows every day.  In the spring I am going to have a junk sale and get rid of it.  What does not sell goes to the ARC.   My dogs are old.  If they make it to Spring it will surprise me.  When they are gone, I am gone.  This house will be put up for sale and since it is prime real estate, it will sell quickly "as is, where is, with all faults and weaknesses."

Some where there is a place for me in this world.  Course I come with a cat.  That cat and one suit case is about all that I need.  I suppose I can not completely change everything and I am sure wherever I am and what ever I am doing, I will pause for a run out to Los Pobres to see Sister Nancy and Rosie.  I expect I will still be gathering wax for the candles for the homeless.  I expect I will still have a crochet bag to work on, but who knows.  I guess I will just set back and see where the tides of life blow me.

In the meantime, if you see me on the street, I can sure use a smile and a hug.



Sunday, November 19, 2017

Over the river and through the woods.

Nickerson was always cold in the winter and snow was always very deep.  I do not know when winter started exactly.  It was some time after school started and before Thanksgiving.  We lived in a house out at 709 Strong Street.  I would like to say it was a "clap board" house, but I am not sure that was accurate.  I think it was called a "clap board" because somebody took boards and "clapped" together and then hammered in a nail for good riddance.  5 rooms and not a bathroom in any of them.  The front room had a pot belly stove that we built wood fires in for warmth.  The kitchen had a giant wood cook stove.

The front of our house faced east toward town and the back faced west toward the cemetery.  The front of the house was the "front room" and Dad's bedroom was on the south with 2 beds.  One was for him and the other was for all of us kids except the 2 little ones and mother.  The next 2 rooms were the dining room and on the right was Mom's bedroom.  The dining room had a built in cupboard and yellow glass dishes were there.  We had a whole set.  They may have come from the oatmeal and corn meal we bought.  I wish I had a set of those dishes today.  I would sell them and retire on a tropical island some where. 

The kitchen ran the whole length of the house on the back.  Well, that is not quite true.  The back door of the kitchen led to a back porch.  One side of the porch was for stacking wood and on the other side was a door that lay at about a 30 degree angle and covered the steps down to the dreaded cellar.  I am sorry, there is no pretty way to put this, but that cellar was the scariest place in the whole world and we lived about a quarter of a mile from the cemetery.  Mother stored sweet potatoes, apples, white potatoes and canned fruits and vegetables down there.  There were spiders down in that hell hole bigger than I was and deadly as shit.  Black widows loved that place.  One of the first lessons I learned was how to take a stick and poke a spider web.  Usually it just broke loose and floated off, but if it were the web of the deadly black widow, it was shiny and crackled when you pulled.  When that happened we were to get the hell out of wherever we were at.  Being a good daughter, I did just that.  It was called a black widow because after breeding and to provide nourishment  for the babies, mother black widow killed and ate her husband. Praying Mantis's do the same thing.  I guess the kid's dad was lucky, huh?

The kitchen was one step down and could be accessed either through the dining room or mom's bedroom.  The floor was concrete, which was one step above a dirt floor.  The wood cook stove took up the whole corner.  Of course we had a wood box, and an ash bucket there by the stove.  Very little cooking took place through the week.  Mostly we ate cereal, raw potatoes, apples, sweet potatoes or a bread sandwich.  Sundays we cooked.  We had either fried chicken or roast beef.  Supper was stuff like scrapple if mother was lucky enough to score a hogshead.  Fried carp was regular fare and apples in about any method were an everyday occurrence.  I ate raw apples, fried apples, baked apple, boiled apples, sliced apples, dehydrated apples and rehydrated apples.  I made up my mind that when I grew up I would never eat another damn cooked apple and I have managed to keep that vow.  Marriage vows were easily broken, but the vow to never eat a cooked apple has been respected and never broken.  For the record, I do not eat Carp either, but that is just because I never ran across one since mother used to seine for them in Nickerson.

I started this to tell you about how hard the winters were back home.  Our walls had cracks where the boards came together and some times when the wind blew snow came in.  Not very often because mother did paper the walls, but sometimes the paper cracked.  I can remember once when we drove to Hutchinson to have Thanksgiving with my half brother, Earl and his wife and kids.  It took us most of the day to go and come back.  The roads were very snowy, but the cars back in those days were very heavy and pretty much mashed the snow.  If we slid off the road, sooner or later someone would come along and help us out of our dilemma.  We were in turn supposed to do the same for anyone we found in a predicament like that.  That was the good thing about the good old day.  We helped each other.  The "haves and the have nots" were not so far apart as they are today.

The thing about going to Earl's was that he had a house with a furnace.  It was an actual furnace and blew hot air through a grate in the floor.  We were amazed at how hot the grate was and Gertie showed us one of the boys leg where he had been burned by it before he learned.  He had a series of little squares on his leg and we "oohed and aahed" at how lucky he was to be alive.  We then ate whatever we ate and after a little small talk dad "allowed as how we ought to get on the road for the long drive back."  ( I made the drive in later years and it took about 20 minutes and that was driving slow and gawking at everything."  Of course that was not in the old Studebaker now was it?)

Thanksgiving had been great that year.  I do need to tell you that back in those days at the family dinners the order of plates being filled was different than it is today.  First the men filled their plates.  Then the older kids.  Then the mothers fixed plates for the young kids.  At that time it was time for the women to get their food.  When the meal was over, the women folk washed the dishes, dried them and put them away.  Floors were swept and the kitchen "redded up" for the next meal.

I wonder if the kids today know how Thanksgiving came to be a national holiday?  It is this time of year that I pause to think about how the people who were living here in America and surviving for so many years welcomed the newcomers and brought them food.  Guess they kind of thought these people needed help to survive.  I am betting that if they had known then what they know now, there sure as hell would not be any Thanksgiving dinner on the horizon.  But here we are in 2017 in the land of the free because of the brave with racial bias and hate swirling like snowflakes looking for something to be thankful for and coming way short of the goal.

Damn, I wish I could go back to that little shack on Strong Street and get my tongue stuck to the flagpole just one more time.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The straw that broke the camels back.

I am a patient person.  Really!  Through my life I have tolerated things that went against my grain for the sake of  "peace in the marriage," "peace in the church,"  "peace in the job place, "peace on earth," and the whole nine yards.  I am generally a peace loving person, but when I get a belly full, I am done.  I tolerated my first husbands drinking and general bad behavior for 10 years and then I was done.  Kit and caboodle was out of there.  I lasted 6 years at my first job until the boss got under my skin one too many times, and out the door I went.  It took me 2 years to leave the church I attended for 15 years before I started attending First Church.  I was seeing a guy for the last 5 years, but then I reached the point where, "Nope!  not this time.  I deserve better than this."  So here I set reflecting on just what I am going to get sick and tired of next.

Mother taught me well, the lessons of life.  She always told me that "some day you will have a belly full of that and it will all change."  "Oh, but momma, I love him so." And when I came dragging in with my kids in tow, asking for a place to stay, she simply said, "So what was the straw that broke the camel's back?"  Reflecting back on that particular time in my life, I do not remember.  Like she said, I just got my belly full.  One indignity at a time, one day at a time, one word at a time and it all adds up to a load that I could no longer carry.

Same with the church.  I loved that church.  That church helped me over rough spots when I was first aware of the AIDS epidemic.  That church was there when we adopted our grandson.  And that church saw me through losing my husband.  But then one straw at a time, they changed direction and made choices that I thought were unfair.  I tried to right them, but the camel could not carry me through.  And so I left.

The jobs were always easy to walk away from, because I figure if I am working 8-9 hours a day in an environment where I am happy and feel appreciated, I can tolerate the customers and the demands, but I can not survive in an atmosphere of discontent.  Not happening.

As for the last boyfriend, he was just that.  Not going to try that again.  I can not blame him.  The personality that I perceived was not the personality that was his true inner self.  There are traits I must have in friends and I do not know if he changed or his true self came out, but either way, history has stepped in and that is water under the bridge.  It takes a helluvaman to walk through life with me.  And as the saying goes, "Many are called, but few are chosen."  (That one may have came from the Bible and not from Mother.)

So, now let's get back to looking for that camel I was talking about.  Right now, I am taking a hiatus from life as I know it.  I have been Don Quixote for too many years.  I have tilted my blade at Homophobics, AIDS, DACA, Homelessness, Poverty, the environment, politics, animal welfare, domestic violence, adoption, Black lives matter, all lives matter, Indigenous people, NFL kneeling,
and God only knows what else.  I have retired from Hospice, Posada, Save the Whales and am now setting at home and looking at the mess I have made of my life.

I have a house full of junk because I have ran through the gambit of ceramics, sewing, quilting, knitting, weaving, gardening, and any other hobby you can conceive.  I have every item ever needed to do any hobby you think could have been invented.  I am old.  I want a house I can live in that does not have 4 levels and a yard I can look at and not have to mow for 2 hours once a week.  My dogs are old.  My geese are old.  Cat: not so much.

I can close my eyes and see that little mother of mine looking down with her fingers over her mouth and the twinkle in her bright little hazel eyes and asking me,  "So what did you think was going to happen when you started all this?  And just which straw broke this camel's back?"

Thanks, mom!