anonymous letters, friendship

Gone But Not Forgotten

I miss my best buddy. Every last little detail of our relationship.

The days at the gym seem lonely and just empty knowing you are not near. Our Wordle battle of the minds is now a checklist instead of a morning challenge.  The work days bring another level of hollow to my soul. I miss your goofy snaps. Losing that human connection is just as devastating.

Life is full of craziness. Life can keep you busy. Life can let you miss the fine details of how much your value the presence of an individual. When suddenly they are gone it hits you like a ton of bricks. Maybe even it feels like a Mack truck ran you over a couple of times. An unexplained weakness.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Take the pictures. Capture the smiles. Make the memories and do crazy shit while you can. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone. Treasure today. It’s that simple. Luckily I have a photo reel but what about those who don’t?

I’m in a fog while I adjust to my new normal. It’s not much fun. It could be far worse I know. For now I breathe deeply as I give myself grace. I close my eyes and hope for peace around my valued circle. Then I cling to hope that one day I’ll be back to funny snaps, silly photos and adventures. It may look different when that time comes but I’ll hold on to the hope of it all.

One day.

Some day.

Not today.

That day is not today. That day is someday. Hope tells me it’s one day.

As I reflect on my loss I reflect at the same time on what I still have. How to show appreciation for what is in front of me. What I can control. The rest of my energy will seek hope for that day on the horizon.

As an Irish girl on St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll try to find luck today to offset the sadness. Not sure a scratch card will do the trick so maybe toast or shot will be a better honor for my buddy that I miss.

adventure, friendship

Breakfast Time

It was time for breakfast on a sunny Sunday morning. Visiting a new town and not an egg in the house. Time to eat out.

Off we go online for reviews. We find a local place in town. Palmer’s Cafe on St. Simons Island. It was a cozy place in town. There was a line outside which was a good sign.

Then there was the menu:

Well this is just one page to highlight and really the reason for this post. I wanted an omelette but I was just unsure what to order. They sparked my curiosity but sounded weird too.

I went with the chicken pot pie. Partly because of the name but also because I just had to see what it was like. Let me me just say it was delicious from the first bite to the last. I made a happy plate for sure.

My omelette was not the only tasty one. Everyone at the table opted for a different one which enabled us to share. The Local, the Hooch, even the special of the day with brisket was amazing. This is a must visit place if you ever are on St. Simons Island.

I can’t even stop at the omelettes. They have delicious pancakes as well. One was even named Buddy and it was a banana pudding pancake that had banana goop oozing out the sides. I’m not a fan of oozy banana flavors but everyone else at the table was nibbling and savoring the flavor.

All the while I was polishing off some grits. Not just any grits. They were pimento cheese grits that were extremely tasty. Another staple to try if you make it to St. Simons Island.
Enjoy my tidbit for your tastebuds. Hope you don’t get too hungry reading this.

family

Mystery Envelope

A self-addressed stamped envelope on the kitchen table. (Who even does that anymore?) My own handwriting. A return address sticker with a name I didn’t know. Confusion.

Opened the envelope to find a letter and some photos. A pile of very old and very unexpected memories.

It was her very first plane ride. A whiplash trip to Naples, Florida. Me and my little baby.

Took the 8am flight out, the 8pm flight back. Nothing but a car carrier, diaper bag, formula, a ton of diapers, my little front baby pouch, and some food. Her Great Grandma was nearing the end of life, and I wanted them to meet each other before Great Grandma passed away.

We took a shuttle straight to the nursing home. Met her Great Grandma during recreation time. She sat in her wheelchair. My little Anne, still wobbly on her feet, reached up for her. Great Grandma was deep into dementia by then. I’m sure she didn’t know me, she didn’t know Anne. But still, even through the fog and confusion, Great Grandma’s face lit up. A sweet little baby, soft and curious, reaching up to be held. Their smiles echoed each other’s – wide and cheerful.

We spent a couple of hours. Just talking about nothing in particular. Great Grandma hadn’t been my family for very long. She was my Grandpa’s fourth wife. He had been her third husband. He passed away first, leaving my little known new Grandma to handle his affairs. This wasn’t an easy process, but my Dad loved and accepted her because she had been his Dad’s choice. He still called her every week. But she hardly knew me. I hardly knew her. There was just a lot of smiling and playing with the baby.

We flew home. I wrote her a letter and sent her photos of the visit. As I wrote in the letter, I knew she didn’t have much use for clutter in her tiny single room. So I sent a self-addressed stamped envelope in case she wanted to return them.

Fifteen years later, 2021, the envelope, the photos, appear in my mailbox. My sweet baby in the photos now drives her own car. Still has the blond hair, but she’s five foot nine. She still reaches up. She still smiles, and brings smiles to many.

A letter from her daughter came with it. She had just found the photos, with my letter and envelope, in a long packed away box of photos and keepsakes. Obviously Great Grandma wanted to keep them, she wrote. What can you do but wistfully smile at fate and memory and times long gone?

I got to share the story with Anne, and the pictures. Shortly after that visit, I learned that those were the very last photos ever taken of Great Grandma. Her own children appreciated them, and cherished that we took the time to visit.

Across fifteen years, a whisper from a daughter I may have met once. A memory of an experience that mattered, even if Great Grandma and Anne wouldn’t have known it at the time.

When I think about it, it was kind of crazy. Take a baby on a plane? By myself? Twice in one day? Just to see someone who probably won’t recognize me? Who may not even know why we are there? Yup, I did that. I’m still that kind of crazy. The kind of crazy that will drive hours out of my way for a hug. That will go over and above just to do something little. The little things are the big things.

Take time for people. Take time to write. To chronicle and share. To connect and care.

family

Fresh Air, Fresh Hair

Don’t underestimate the value of fresh air or fresh hair. Today I had a little of both. This weekend I had a plan for me and my mom. Normally my weekend involves toting kids to activities or getting to point a, b and c at set times. This weekend was different. No have tos. Only want tos.

First event was sunrise yoga. I got a fresh start on crisp morning with some wonderful gal pals. This step was important. I stepped outside first thing in the morning. I had clarity of the mind. I was all-around peaceful. Ready for the rest of the weekend.

Stop two was a pick up. A kidnapping of sorts. I got to grab the beautiful, one-of-a-kind mother of mine. I was taking her from her home to get some fresh air and a haircut. 12 weeks she had been cooped up thanks to Corona. The opportunity was there and I took it and her. Off we went. The haircut didn’t take long but how she enjoyed the shampoo and the cut. She felt like a million bucks. Even if you can’t go places often feeling good about yourself is important. She needed and wanted the hair cut for that sole purpose: to feel good. I felt amazing for making it a reality.

We didn’t stop there. We packed up for a mountain escape to the amazing cabin in the woods. A short drive but one that yields gorgeous views.  From icicles on the rock formations to mist on the mountains, it’s part of the experience. She doesn’t like to eat in the car but I packed her some sweet treats for the ride and it made for a perfect picnic. No crowds in a restaurant to worry about. Just yumminess to go. 

The weather was perfect. The cool mountain air was just what was needed. Fresh air. No smog. No mask filtering the air. Just fresh, crisp mountain air. Secluded. Peaceful. Surrounded by amazing views. What more could we ask for on our escape?

We baked a chicken. We made a salad fresh from the garden and it was ever so tasty. Fresh bread warmed in the oven topped off our meal on girls weekend. Off we went into the darkness to view holiday lights. First stop was the small town decorations. Then into the hidden homes that each played 20-minute light shows set to music. It was a new, fresh holiday treat for us. Windows were down, fresh air flowing, holiday music was blaring and lights were flashing. A great way to make new memories in a new place away from the crazy of life the dark shadows 2020 had cast on many.

Tomorrow is not guaranteed. I never know how much time I have with my mom. For now, I enjoyed the peacefulness of fresh air and many smiles and giggles with the woman I have adored for years.

Many I know don’t have the luxury I have of still having their mom. I share mine when I can so others can have a sliver of her wisdom, her personality, and her sweetness. Getting to your 80s is a milestone. Still moving about and experiencing new things and places is a gift. Living through a pandemic and bending and flexing to rules and lockdowns is draining. Fresh air and fresh perspective can put the fog of tomorrow in the rear view, even if it’s just temporary.

family

Take the Detour

I had a weekend getaway on the books. About a 4.5 hour drive. Not super excited about it but the dynamic duo was on the move. In the car. Gassed and ready to go go go.

The departure time wasn’t set in stone but time was on our side. No rush rush rush. We had a cushion built into our drive. How would we use our time? What would we do when we arrive?

There was a stop for gas. A stop for a coffee. Then there was a spontaneous adventure. A detour that took longer than the drive itself.

A quick chat at the coffee window led to a sweet downtown spot with some unique shops to browse. We may have been masked indoors but outdoors we could enjoy the fall weather and stroll in the quaint city.  We walked. We talked. We browsed. We never bought anything, but we looked at many things. We smelled the crisp fall air. We went in stores with so much flair. We people watched. I’m sure we were watched.

 As the evening arrived, We smelled all the scents of restaurants prepping for dinner. We explored a new city. A small city tucked away off the highway path. It was just what we needed.  We smiled. We giggled. We enjoyed our time. We snapped a few pictures. It was fun. Oh how fun spontaneous turns can be.

We can all get bogged down from time to time. Find a way to step away and enjoy what’s around you. Take the unplanned path. Visit a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Take the scenic route to your final destination. 

The hotel was still there when we arrived. We didn’t miss a beat but it seems we missed a lot of traffic. Roadway construction it seems. Our unplanned detour saved us some time while yielding many memories. 

Thank you coffee guy. You added some extra sunshine to my travels unexpectedly.