Stripping away the rose colored glasses of denial concerning my reality. Getting in touch with truth. Reaching out to others in empathy concerning their reality and their walk to truth.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thursday nights

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Cooking for a homeless shelter has blessings and challenges. I'll be there every Thursday from now through March, when the weather warms. I always feel a strange weight on my shoulders, that first night. It gets better!

I stood there gazing up at a moon - dancing with the clouds.
The cold night air made me shake and I felt sadness.
Only ten people - ten homeless people came to eat and find warmth.
Where were the others?

They fear being trapped by some authority.
They think - maybe someone will not let them freely leave.
So many stay away and feel safer in the cold - hungry - but safe.
Why do we fear them?

I listen to their chatter - quick banter  - and then sudden silence.
They're not ignorant - not stupid - not lowlife.
The circumstances differ and yet sound the same.
Where do they find the smiles they share?

In the bathroom lounge I choke back emotion - I feel what I don't want to feel.
I might find myself one, maybe two steps away from their life - their lot.
It terrifies me until I rejoin them in the dining hall.
What gives them courage to continue?

The moon is rising higher - tears freezing on my cheek.
Snuggled up cozy they sleep more peacefully than we - if we sleep at all.
One day a week from now though next March - this is their haven of rest.
Where will they go for the rest of the weeks - of days?

As I said above, it gets better. This year Christmas day is a Thursday - we will be rocking!

Frank Sinatra - Let it snow

Mariah Carey - All I want for Christmas is you

Band Aid - 1984 - Do they know it's Christmas?

Faith Hill - Where are you Christmas? (The Grinch)

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Tangled Wing

It's not a story or poem about a bird caught in a tree.
It's not a story about the wind twisting branches over and under.
It's not a story of how lovely Christmas lights look outside in the snow.
It's not a story at all.

It's trivia time.
It's indigenous to Guatemala.
It's often called a Cashew Tree.
It's my favorite nut.

Thought you might like a break from reading that long story I posted yesterday
I'm off to decorate the fireplace mantle!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Long ago a silent night

Little Boy Blue - The Graphics Fairy

It was Christmas time 1984 - the same year Mannheim Steamroller brought forth their version of Silent Night.

At the time I was a dispatcher with the Deputy Sheriffs who were assigned protection of the city's 134 schools. It was a quiet night until we received a call. A child was missing. The child was five years old, and no one remembered seeing him get off at his bus stop. He normally walked with his sister ad other children down the road to his home. But his sister was at home sick that day, so he would have walked the last few steps alone. But no one could remember. The parents made calls to neighbors, school officials and the police... nothing. The sun was going down.

Normally there were 40 incoming phone lines I was responsible to answer. I might have four calls on hold while coordinating the movements and locations off 28 deputy sheriffs. But that night I would have only three calls.

The first call.

Would we coordinate with the local police to search for the child? Our officers knew those 134 facilities like the backs of their hands. Everyone converged on the school in question, searching every room, every nook and cranny. Hours passed and yet not a clue.  To add to the issue the child had not worn the clothes his Mom picked out for him earlier that morning. No one knew for sure what he'd be wearing. After four hours we felt like we were wearing blindfolds in the dark. I was grateful all civilian calls were redirected to another department. The last thing you need is the general public or media calling to find out the status of the search.

The second call.

I almost let this call go through but a gut feeling said, "pick it up." It was the school's janitor. He wanted to know if it was the same child that disappeared at the first of school? What? I had no knowledge of that situation because they located him so quickly. In fact the police were never called - the search was over almost as soon as it began. But yes, it was the same child. The janitor suggested going to the child's bus and searching it. The first time the child was missing, they found him asleep on the bus - parked in her driveway! The driver used to take the bus home but mid-year changed procedures. Now she takes the bus back to the school and drives her car home.

I relayed this information out immediately. You should have heard the background cheers when the supervisor radioed back that the child had been "found." He was up on the backseat waving to the officers. Waving and Laughing. They gave him his own flashlight. Why not - there must have been almost a hundred people there with one of their own. I sat back exhausted, knowing several officers would be coming into the station. It was now a matter of returning to the usual. Several checked off for coffee breaks. I looked over at that monstosity of telephone equipment and thought, "okay - do your thing." Not a moment too soon, the phone rang.

The third call.

My Mom was on the line! Wow, I wondered if she knew I needed her at that very moment. Who doesn't want Mom when the world is upside down?

"Dixie, are you listening to any music tonight?" (There's a question. I was afraid to have anything playing in the background - which normally wouldn't have bothered me.) Her regular station was a soft sound FM station. They were playing Christmas music, and she wanted me to hear her new favorite. I know she said the name of the group, but I was blank.

"Hurry, they're starting to play the entire album. Call me back when you can.  I love you, goodnight." (She knew I had 40 incoming  - what a champ - off the phone in two seconds flat.)

There was a magnificent sound system in the building, and so I cranked it up. Yes, almost midnight and Christmas music was about to be piped everywhere, including outdoors. I sat there, listening, tears flowing, couldn't stop. The night had been too silent. Deadly silent. All the voices were at that school. Waiting is hard. Waiting to hear anything, anything at all... is hard.

So when I hear this song I think of a silent night and the love of laughter. The officers arriving at the station loved the song. I could tell it touched them as well. And as tensions really eased they began to tell me about the child's infectious laughter. And we all laughed. And I think we  all cried.

Silent Night by Mannheim Steamroller - 1984

It is 5:14 minutes long. Return to listen later if you've run out of time. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


There's a tree in the forest that a-lights on it's own ~
you can visit at sundown and watch them come on.

There is no music playing but the wind makes a sigh ~
and the sound from the branches - a sweet lullaby.

Oh Auntie Em - it's me again

Short break, right? Well it was long enough for to realize I own this space. Might as well continue having fun. So I've dropped a few priorities, checked my attitude, and made some cookies - life is too short to let this space stay empty.

This is a season of perplexity sometimes. As a kid I could get into the worse battles with siblings. The threat of "Santa Claus is watching you," never phased me. For some reason, on some level,  I figured that was wrong. Why would an old man be watching me? What could I possibly do to get left off of the toy list? Then I would proceed to test the waters every other day. I had help - and two brothers.

It got so bad one year that my Mom decided she was taking a break from Christmas. What? What does that mean exactly? She wasn't going to shop, she wasn't going to bake, she wasn't going to play nice. The tree sat undecorated. The candles remained in the box. The cookie dough(!) remained in the fridge. This was serious. There had to be something we could do. She must have lost that holiday cheer. We didn't quite connect our behavior with her reaction.

I called my Aunt and had a long discussion. Took her all of ten minutes to give me the first clue. If you don't behave Santa is going to drop off sticks and charcoal, come Christmas morning. I immediately had conference with the brothers "Grimm" and we came to the conclusion that sticks and charcoal were passe.  Nevertheless it could happen, Auntie Em said so. She was never wrong.

Chores became joyous occasions(?). Dishes washed after supper and put away were greeted with happy smiles from Mom. Hmm? Maybe this would turn the tide? (What does that mean exactly?) Never mind - moving on. It took less than 24 hours and we had become completely different children. We now fussed over who would vacuum... well only for a minute... then we'd remember Auntie Em's warning: no fussing! We sweated it though. We took nothing for granted. We had respect for each then.

Time has indeed changed us so. I look for them but find sticks and charcoal.  I wonder what I did or if I did anything? But here again, there's no time to take a break. I keep moving on with what I can accomplish. I cannot make anyone like me, and at times that is a great relief. Maybe I did nothing at all... but it's convenient for others to have me think so.

Thanks Auntie Em - like you've always said: Open the door child, and let some fresh air in!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Winter bird - Winter rest

Oh Winter bird where will you rest
The old Oak tree that was your nest
has been cut down and limbs are taken
to heat the home of those forsaken.

But there you are in wooden pail
huddled close and without fail
you will survive this snowy day
and then be on your merry way.

A field of Pines await close by
and you will soon depart and fly
to build and shield you from the rest
of Winter's time inside  your nest.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dim All the Lights, Baby!

image source

I spent most of Sunday getting up the nerve to change out a dimmer switch in my living room. Not being an electrical sort of lady - the task appeared, well - scary, at best. But determined to have that really pretty chandelier working, pressed me forward. I hadn't had any luck conning anyone into helping me.(smile) It was do or die.

YouTube was a wealth of knowledge. In fact I was now more frightened but needed that chandelier working for the holiday season. YES, I had plans! This was going to happen. I would be dimming lights by Tuesday - uh, sure.

The chandelier is fine. The dimmer switch was broken or so I thought. Please pause and read that sentence again. On YouTube, this one video spoke of having two separate switches on two different walls. My mind suddenly came to a screeching halt. I have two switches. I have two switches!!! Is it possible that for the last three years the chandelier and the dimmer have actually been working but.... I stopped the video and rushed into the living room. Sure enough, the switch on the opposite wall was in the on position. That meant the switch I had been using to turn the chandelier on and off was not broken. I turned the dimmer switch to the right and hot dang! Lights! Hmm, dc, feeling dim?

To celebrate: Donna Summer - Dim All the Lights

How about a cute water bottle party chandelier?