Posted in Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, postaday, Stories of my life, writing

A Can of Corn

I saw something on Facebook last night that got me a bit upset. Now, I know Facebook is good for that. Upsetting people. What I saw last night I took a bit personal and I’ll tell you why.

Someone made a Facebook status about shopping at the grocery store and the checkout lady asking if they wanted to donate to the food bank. They joked about it. One of their followers said something along the lines of….’they could donate a can of corn, at least whoever gets it will have their poop decorated for Christmas’.

 

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Meaning that corn is hard to digest and the poor person who ate the corn will have something decorated for Christmas. I’m sorry, but I found the whole thing in very bad taste in more ways than one. I thought about it most of the night. It was on my mind first thing when I got up this morning. So I decided to write a post on why this was wrong and why it upset me.

Normally I don’t let things on Facebook bother me. I’m not on it that much and well…..people are stupid a lot of times. I don’t tolerate stupid that well.

The husband and I get a food basket from our local food bank every month. Yeah, I’m that person who will get that can of corn. But hey, at least I’ll have something decorated for Christmas.

Or it could be that nice elderly lady next door or across the street. You know the one. The one who always smiles and waves at you and the kids. Who gives you homemade cookies every Christmas. Yeah, that nice old lady.

The one whose husband died a few years ago and now it’s just her and her cat. The one who if you went in her house and looked in her cupboards you would find most of them empty of food. Because she can’t afford to go to that nice grocery store and stock up. She gets a food hamper every month from the food bank. If she didn’t do that, she would go hungry. Even that can of corn is welcomed in her home. It’s something to eat.

Sure, she gets retirement money every month. But it’s not enough to cover the bills and food. The bills come first. She doesn’t want to lose the house her  husband and her worked so hard all their married lives to have. They even had some savings. I nice little nest egg for their retirement years. That got ate up when he got sick suddenly. Then he died. The nest egg gone. The money she has coming in is now half of what it was. Just enough to pay the bills, if she keeps the thermostat down.

Most of the clients of food banks are the elderly. Did you know that? It’s true……look it up. I did.

473283

As for the old neighbor…She gives you those delicious homemade cookies every Christmas because she hoards what little sugar she gets from the food bank. Maybe the flour too. She likes to make cookies for your kids. As she doesn’t see her kids or grandkids that often. So she hoards through the year what she needs for baking and eats what she can.

Let me tell you a bit about food bank hampers. Every food bank is different because it depends on donations. What you get depends on what’s given. Like that can of corn. A typical food bank hamper for me and the husband consists of this:

  • boxes of Kraft dinner (usually 3)
  • cans of baked beans (usually 2)
  • can of spaghetti sauce
  • bag of spaghetti noodles
  • cans of soup (usually 2 or 3)
  • sometimes a box of cereal
  • if we are really lucky…a dozen eggs
  • small bag of flour (most times not)
  • bag of dried beans
  • small container of juice
  • can of tomatoes
  • bag of oatmeal
  • can of vegetables (corn, green beans or wax beans)

If we are really lucky we get some kind of meat. Usually not, though. We might get a package of hotdogs, or a pound of hamburger. One time we got a single piece of chicken. Which we had to throw away because when we thawed it out…it was spoiled. We’ve thrown away most of the meat we have gotten because it was rotten. Yeah, we are living high off the hog.

That’s what that old neighbor gets too. Maybe she is diabetic like I am. Oh, then we get a special bag of goodies from the food bank. It is always the same. Always.

  • two small plastic bags of oatmeal
  • two cans of pineapple chunks
  • two tiny containers of applesauce or jello (you know the kind, usually you can buy them 6 to a package. I get two of the six.)
  • plastic bag of dried beans

Why they insist on giving a diabetic cans of pineapple is beyond me. They are very high in natural sugar. Duh….diabetic.

So, when someone makes fun about giving donations to food banks….think a little. Because of medical issues the husband and I can’t work. Or we would be working. We don’t like having to get food bank hampers. We  hate it. But, we have to eat.

So does most elderly. Oh yeah, that neighbor? She has a cat. The cat is her only companion. It’s company on long lonely days and nights. It’s warmth on cold winter evenings. So on the months she might get a couple of cans of cheap tuna. She feeds her cat the tuna. She doesn’t eat it herself. The cat has to eat too and it usually does before she does. Because that’s what we do.

So, enjoy those homemade cookies.

We’ll be looking forward to that can of corn. At least something will be decorated this Christmas.

 

Posted in Blogging, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, poetry, postaday, Stories of my life

Aging ~~~ A Poem

source
source

Aging

 

I sit, looking at my reflection in the mirror
One year older, another year added
Age is just a number they tell me
Nothing to be concerned about
It’s how you feel inside that matters
Then some days I must be 105

I see the silver in my hair
New lines in my face
Wondering how did I manage to get this far
What happened to all my plans? Dreams?
Now I seem stuck, here in the land of numbers
Neither can I go back nor forward, yet.

Life has not been easy, still I have been blessed
I am alive, able to see dreams become reality
No matter the number in my age
My dreams never fade, not really
Some just become more important than others
They shift, like the sands in my internal hourglass

I may be older, we all age if we are lucky
It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but to be proud
I have reached an age where I may move slower
I still question things, still look in wonder
That never ages and never will
Life is to be savored at any age, not taken for granted

So here I sit, a year older, still dreaming my dreams
I look at the wonders of the world, the tragedies.
Still glad to be alive, even if things are tough
As I have the ability to change things still
To live for another day, week, month, year
Gives me that much more time to make my dreams real.

My journey continues, till when? I do not know
I’m just glad that it does. For I have many dreams to fulfill
More adventures to have, people to meet
Never be afraid of aging, that is what I have learned
It’s a lesson I take to heart, one I never forget
As I move a bit slower, but ever onward in life well met.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Daily Post Writing Challenge, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, Stories of my life, writing

WRITING CHALLENGE Honey versus Vinegar

Weekly, Daily Post Writing Challenge: Honey versus Vinegar

Small moments of kindness peek through our everyday lives, from your neighbors’ “Good morning!” to a surprise “I’ll take care of that for you” at the office. This week, we want you to explore what that kindness means to you, and share it with others.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

She had white hair, a round wrinkled face, kind blue eyes and a big toothless grin. I was a skinny, shy kid with white hair, an angled face and inquisitive gray eyes and a big gap toothed smile.

We were best friends.

Her name was Minnie, I was told to call her Aunt Minnie. She lived two doors down from where my family lived. We had just moved into the house that week when I met her for the first time. I was about 6 or seven, she could have been anywhere from 60 to 90. I know she was old when I first met her. She always wore dresses, silk stockings that she would sometimes roll down to her calves. Clunky, serviceable black shoes with think rubber soles. She wore glasses to read, otherwise they lay against a sagging bosom from a silver chain around her neck.

When she hugged me tight she smelled of dusty lavender, face powder and that morning’s breakfast.

She was married to a man who was a quiet soul. He would sit in the living room and read the newspaper as Aunt Minnie taught me the ‘proper’ way to take care of the house. She was the one who taught a shy little girl how to sweep floors, dust, and iron clothes. As we worked side by side, she would tell me about her only child. A daughter she would tell me, just like me. A cherished child that drowned when she was 12, many years ago. Aunt Minnie never got over the death. She never had any more children.

Aunt Minnie said she had me now, that’s all she needed.

This kindly old lady befriended a small skinny child who needed a friend so much. She must have seen something in me one day that I didn’t know about. I was living a nightmare I couldn’t tell anyone about. I was living a hell of sexual abuse, also my mother and I didn’t get along. So I clung to kind Aunt Minnie as much as she clung to me.

I would help her with her chores, while she taught me so much. She taught me more than she ever knew. She taught me to have pride in what work I did. To have pride in myself. She taught a quiet, introverted book nerd that it was all right to make mistakes. She was patient, kind and never scolded if I did something wrong. She taught me that even if there was many years difference in our ages, two lonely people could be best friends. She taught me to trust again. Hesitantly, but trust her I did.

Aunt Minnie also taught me that it’s the kindness in yourself towards others that will fill a void, a need. Not nastiness, not jealousy, not hatred. Kindness was something that brought us together, a young child and an older, wiser woman who had so much love in her to share. A child who soaked that kindness up so many, many years ago and now that I am older, is trying to give some of that kindness to others that might need it now.

Thank you Aunt Minnie for being kindness personified.

 

Posted in Blogging, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, postaday, stories, Stories of my life, writing

My Story of Dad

I posted this story last year in honor of my Dad on Father’s Day. I liked it enough that I am posting it again this year. 

Happy Father’s Day to all those who celebrate it today!

 

 

My Dad was a man of mixed impressions. He could be quick to anger and yet he loved animals of all kinds. He was soft-spoken yet when he did speak it was with authority and conviction. He was a meticulous man, very neat in his appearance and surroundings. Everything had a place and it better be in it kind of man.

He wasn’t particularly mechanical. He wasn’t the kind of man to tinker with cars. His passion was gardening. I think my dad could grow anything. I remember the time he and I had a contest with each other. Who could grow a certain kind of plant the best. We gave each other a month. I had a room upstairs and was growing plants, he had a room downstairs where he grew his. He won of course. The man just had a special touch with growing things. It was a fun contest though with lots of laughs and good times.

My Dad, Russ.
My Dad, Russ.

 

My dad died of prostate cancer years ago. He died on Father’s day weekend that year. He held on for as long as he could because he always took care of my mom. He was afraid of leaving her alone. In the three months he was in a hospice dying slowly day by day my mom never missed a day visiting him. Through all sorts of weather, my mom would be there as soon as visiting hours started till they kicked her out at night. Every day my dad would tell her things that she needed to do around the house. He would tell her what bills she needed to pay. Who to talk to about insurance when he passed. He tried to ready her for when she would be on her own.

That’s the kind of man he was. When he died, I was 1500 miles away and not on speaking terms with my mother. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out my father had passed till sometime in September of that year. It broke my heart in more ways than one.

My dad was the kind of man you could count on. He was reliable, thrifty, and smart. I don’t think he ever saw himself as smart. But he was. He was always reading something. Granted, most of those books were westerns.  His favorite author was Lois L’Amour. But he had a small library on organic gardening also. He was organic before it was ‘cool’. He was always trying new natural ways to keep pests out. He didn’t like chemicals in his garden.

My dad and I had a lot in common. Or I should say I took after my dad in many ways. I too love to read. I always feel more comfortable inside a book than socializing. That was Dad too. I’m on the quiet side, until I get to know you. My friends may be laughing about this one, but it’s true! I also unfortunately have a quick temper like my dad. I flare up, burn out and never hold grudges. Like Dad. I have my eyes and hair from my dad too. He was 100% German. I got his coloring and not my Native American mothers.

I used to love having discussions with Dad. We could talk about anything. From discussions about God or no God. Discussions on having sex before marriage (for the record, he was all for it… ha-ha). Nothing was taboo. I loved that about him. I miss that about him.

Him and I could be in the car together going someplace and not say a single word. It was okay. We didn’t have to say anything. It was a comfortable silence. Him and I communicated when we needed to and were all right with that.

I know I disappointed my Dad too many times in my life. But, I also think he knew I tried the best I could. I don’t think he was disappointed in me as a person, just some of my personal choices. Like my ex. Oh boy, my dad did NOT like my ex! He never said anything to me though. It was all in HOW the quiet in him was, his body language. It was different when he was disapproving, then when he was just his usual self. I remember when I finally decided to divorce the ex. I went home for a while with my parents. To sort my thinking out. To get away from the ex. My dad never said anything but this,

“You have to do what is right for you, even if others don’t understand.”

I never told my dad about the abuse I suffered from my ex. I never told my family much of it at all. He would have been so hurt by it and I wouldn’t do that to dad. I loved him too much. My dad was a firm believer in that a real man never hits a womanno matter what! He lived by that rule. I remember when my sister, then I, turned 13. My dad told us that we were young ladies now and that ladies didn’t get hit. After that we never so much as got a swat on the butt if we were bad. Believe me, his disappointment was enough punishment! That and his yelling. hahaha

Today is the day for Dads. If my dad was still alive, I would have called him this morning. And if I was lucky he would have talked to me on the phone, at least long enough to tell him “Happy Father’s Day!” My dad hated talking on the phone. Today would have been a good day for both of us.

I love you Dad.

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Blogging, Daily Post Writing Challenge, nonfiction, poetry, postaday, writing

Things That I Appreciate Now That I’m Old(er)

The other day I had visitors. A couple and their 3-year-old daughter Jazzy (Jasmine). She’s into asking “what’s that?”, about everything! As younger children are she’s very curious and full of energy. My dog Sam loves her as she is always eating something and is more than willing to share! LOL

But after they left, I sat and thought about her innocence and her curiosity. I thought how I envied her those things and wish sometimes I was that innocent for just a little while. Then I thought about getting older and what I appreciate about that process. The things I’ve learned, seen, felt, done.

It made me feel better actually. I’m aging and that’s ok. I’m probably older than most of my readers think I am. That too is ok. I’ve done a lot in my life. I’ve HAD a life. (Not that I‘m done with living yet! Far from it.) Now it’s Jazzy’s turn and I wish her a life full of adventure, love and learning.

Today’s Daily Post weekly writing challenge is called ‘List Lesson’This week, girl in the hat writer Anna Fonté challenges you to write a list that transcends its orderly or numbered format.

So my ‘list’ is going to be all the things I appreciate now that I am old(er).

 

whenyouareold

 

Things That I Appreciate Now That I’m Old(er)

The beauty of nature in all its forms
The fluffy white clouds in azure blue skies
Gentle rain on the roof, or thunderstorms
Flowers swaying in a breeze, diamonds in the snow

Quiet times, lazy days, a book in my hands
Music to set my foot tapping, daydreaming
Messages from friends, far away or near
Slowing down enough to appreciate just being

That first cup of coffee, a cold drink of water
A long hot shower, no place to hurry to
Memories of childhood, letting go of anger
Wisdom well-earned, not having to eat peas

Silver in my hair, yes, I even appreciate that
Learning to say no, being out of debt
My father’s wisdom bless his soul, saying thank you
Having time to write or to watch a sunset

Accepting myself as I am, it’s ok to be me
Knowing my mistakes past is just that, in the past
Not caring if my house is a bit dusty
Making decisions on my own

Living this long, there were days when I didn’t think I would
Love, companionship, trust, kisses, holding hands
Poems well written, stories well told
People I’ve come to know in other lands

I appreciate being old(er), when you are young you take
living till you are old for granted, when you reach this age
you no longer take it for granted, you just appreciate having
another day, week, month, year to keep getting older yet.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Blogging, Fiction, Photo Challenges, Serial story, stories, writing

Picture Writing Prompt ~~ On The Run ~ Part 3

Good morning/afternoon/night everyone! Hope you are ready for another installment of my ongoing Picture Writing Prompt story, On The Run. Today is part 3.

The pictures that were voted on can be found here.  The first installment of the story featuring these pictures can be found here (part 1). The second installment can be found here (part 2).

This is the picture for the third installment and the continuing story follows. Hope you enjoy!

On The Run

 

promptsforwriters.blogspot.ca/
promptsforwriters.blogspot.ca/

 

Amber, sandwiched between Edith and Myrtle continued down the sidewalk toward home.  She was pretty confident that they had lost Donnie at the park.

The young woman, in the wet dress and bare feet listened to the older ladies with half an ear. Biting her lower lip she worried about what she would do once she got home. Should she call the police? To say what? She didn’t hear anything that was illegal. Amber thought it was illegal whatever Donnie and Alesky was up to, but she had no proof. She didn’t even have proof that Donnie was after her!

As for the ‘merchandise’ that Alesky was waiting for, well, that could be anything! Worrying her bottom lip between her teeth her mind was awhirl wondering what she should do.

“Amber? Amber honey! Did you hear what……”

“Edith asked you dear? Can we…..”

“Help in any way? We would love to if you let us! We might be old, but…..”

“We still have minds, my dear!”

“Thank you ladies, but I’m not sure what I’m involved with myself. If it’s dangerous, which I’m thinking it might be, it would be better if you weren’t a part of it.” Amber stated firmly.

She wouldn’t be able to live with herself if anything happened to these sweet old ladies. They were a bit peculiar with the way they finished each others sentences, but they were nice ladies.  Anyways, Amber wasn’t sure if she was in trouble! Now that the rain had stopped and she was out of that dark alley, she wondered if she just had an over active imagination. Though she couldn’t discount that it was Donnie there in the park.

Amber shivered in her wet dress now that the sun was starting to set. Her feet felt sore and she was sure she was going to have blisters later. All that wasn’t her imagination.

Finally, they came to the apartment building that Edith and Amber lived in. It was glowing with a soft red light as the setting sun shone on its facade. It was an older building but well-kept and had a small tidy front yard. There were only six apartments inside. Three on each floor, the manager, a Mr. Kendell lived in the bottom right corner apartment. He was a good manager and kept the building in tiptop shape.

Edith lived in the bottom left corner, with Amber above her. The other apartments were occupied by an older man downstairs next to Edith. No one ever saw much of him as he was a loner and kept to himself. Amber did know he liked classical music as she had heard the beautiful sounds coming from his apartment on numerous occasions.

The other two apartments upstairs were occupied by a young newly married couple next to Amber, and tucked in the corner above Mr. Kendell was another elderly lady who favored the color purple and feathered boas. Amber had run into her a few times as she collected her mail downstairs. The woman’s name was Star LaMont and she was a retired actress. That’s what she told everyone and she certainly dressed the part thought Amber. Ms LaMont was a very talkative and highly strung individual but harmless.

As the three women walked up the stairs to the door of the apartment building, Amber thought about her neighbors and hoped she didn’t bring trouble to their lives in the form of two dangerously intimidating men.

Amber left the two friends and knocked on Mr. Kendell’s door. As she made excuses why she didn’t have her key and asked Mr. Kendell for the extra key she knew he had for her apartment,  she vaguely heard the older ladies whispering to each other in the hallway.

By now Amber was shivering and her feet were too sore to pay much attention to the friends. She grabbed the keys that Mr. Kendell held out to her and thanked him, assuring him that as soon as she found her own keys she would return them to him.

Amber hurried up the stairs to unlock her apartment. As she turned the key and opened the door she heard the older ladies right behind her. Turning in the doorway she tried to smile and assure the ladies she would be fine now and they needn’t worry over her. She just wanted to take her wet clothes off and have a hot shower and decide what she should do next, if anything.

“Amber why don’t we just come in and make a nice hot cup of tea while you get cleaned up? Myrtle and I would love to…..”

“Help you! You can tell us from the beginning what is going on and we can put our heads together to……”

“Come up with a plan.”

Amber looked at those two earnest and eager faces with their smiles and bright eyes and didn’t have the heart to turn them down. And she wasn’t sure she couldn’t use their wisdom right now.

Opening the door wide, Amber waved them in.

“Come on in ladies and make yourself at home. I’m going to take a nice hot shower and then we’ll talk. I wouldn’t mind the help to be honest.”

“Splendid my dear! Myrtle and I used to be quite the detectives in our youth, isn’t that right Myrtle? Why we helped many a……”

“Friend and neighbor with problems! Remember in that old shanty town where we grew up Edith? Remember the time dear old Mrs. Collins was looking for…..”

“Who kept stealing her eggs from the hen-house! I remember now Myrtle. She thought it was old man Wilson from across the road! He was a…….”

“Mean old man! He was always yelling at us kids when we would play kick ball in the road. Told us……”

“All we were doing was kicking up dust! And didn’t we have chores to do or something? Remember that day when….”

“It rained all day and night and into the next day? Why that old road was just about flooded! Old man Wilson chased us with his cane when we wanted to run in the puddles!”

Amber listened to the memories of her new friends as she got out her old tea kettle and pulled down her tea from the shelf. Her feet were killing her and she was sure now she had a blister on the bottom of her right foot.

“Here are the tea fixings ladies. Help yourself. I’m going to get out of these wet clothes and take my shower. Then I’ll tell you what is going on. I promise.”

As she set the tea-things on the counter she glanced out her window. She felt frozen in place as she spotted Alesky across the street! She could never forget that tall, large form of the man! He found her! But how? It was Donnie that chased her, how could Alesky be here then? She was positive it was him as he stared right at her. It was him!

Amber’s heart pounded as she watched the large man across the street. It was getting dark but there was no doubt in her mind who it was standing so casually under the tree. Finally at what seemed like hours, but in reality was only seconds, Alesky bowed to her. She sensed his smile more than saw it, as he bowed from the waist in acknowledgement of her.

Her arms went around her and hugged her waist as she shivered. Whether with fear, cold or something else, she wasn’t sure. Amber watched Alesky bow, then turn and walk away. As he walked, the sun made its final way below the horizon and darkness fell.

He knew where she was! Now what?

 

 

( Well it looks like our heroine as found some allies! It also looks like Alesky has found her. But how? And now what will he do? Stay tuned folks as the story continues next Tuesday! So what do YOU think will happen?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Blogging, Fiction, Friday Fictioneers, Photo Challenges, postaday, stories, writing

Friday Fictioneers ~~ September 20, 2013

Yes, yes I know it’s not Friday, but I just had to get this written today. A story popped into my head the moment I saw the picture and it won’t let me go till I write it!

So I thought I would do it today instead of waiting till Friday. I’m sure you won’t mind.

Thanks go out once more to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for her mighty hosting abilities. If you would like to participate in this weekly fun or just want to read more stories based on the same picture please just click on Rochelle’s name and read read read!

THE CHALLENGE:

Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and an end. (No one will be ostracized for going a few words over the count.)

THE KEY:

Make every word count.

Copyright - John Nixon
Copyright – John Nixon

 

 

Genre/General Fiction – 101 words

 

“See you next week!” Gramps called from the doorway.

I waved him goodbye. I first met Gramps a year ago.  His wife was sick he explained. He wanted to try to entice her appetite with special tidbits that were more than he could afford. I was happy to help him out, after all I benefited too from the wonderful things he brought me. I asked him once where he got all the beautiful items. He told me he had always been a collector.

Gramps got in the car, turned to his nephew and said, “Well boy, let’s go hit the next house.”

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Blogging, Daily Prompt, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, postaday, Stories of my life, writing

Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause

Daily Prompt: Blogger With a Cause

If your day to day responsibilities were taken care of and you could throw yourself completely behind a cause, what would it be?

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Today’s daily prompt tied in nicely with what I wanted to write for this post today. Warning: I am going to get serious on this one.

I usually stay away from controversy on my blog. Not that I’m afraid of a little debate, I’m not. I want this blog to be about positive things. Good stories, good friends, good times.

Something happened this past weekend that made me sad and worried. It’s something that I’ve thought about on and off, but never seriously, till now. I have to admit I never thought seriously about it because it never hit home before. This past holiday weekend it did. In a major way.

This issue is becoming an epidemic in Canada, United States and elsewhere. Elder abuse.

http://www.clker.com/
http://www.clker.com/

Elder abuse is a growing issue and it looks like it is growing more and more each year. I know it is  for a fact because I’ve seen it in action. I wish I could say this was a fiction piece I was working on. It’s not. It’s real and it’s damn scary.

From what I’ve read on the internet elder abuse can happen in various forms. I saw it personally in the form of threats of violence. A son threatened physical harm to his father. Here is the story. I will just use initials for names to protect the innocent and myself.

There was a group of us that got together over the holiday to have a few drinks, talk and have a good time. We were in the backyard just enjoying the day.

The homeowner’s son showed up on his motorcycle with his girlfriend. Now this son is 40 years old, works in the oil field and makes damn good money. He came over uninvited. He also came over looking for a fight. Why? Only he knows.

Now *R (the father) is 60 and crippled up with arthritis and emphysema. He is certainly no threat to anyone. He hadn’t seen his son *J in about a month because he was working way up north on an oil rig. R was happy to see J.

Everyone there could see J was angry about something the minute he showed up. He was on his phone trying to get hold of a buddy he was angry with. It just so happened this buddy of J owed R some money. The buddy bought something months ago from R and never paid him. R just innocently asked J to ask his buddy when he could expect payment for the item.

J went off on his father spoiling for a fight. R just looked at J in surprise and told him “I just asked a question.”

That’s when things got out of control for no good reason. J looked at his father in the meanest way and told him, “I don’t give a f*** what you asked. Maybe I should just go over there and smash your face in with my fist!”

The rest of us just stood or sat in shock! Believe me J meant it, you could see it in his face. J issued a few other threats and when a few of us stood up to get between R and J, he decided he better leave. Afterward we still were shocked that R’s son threatened him in the first place and we all believed he would have done it!

Now I know for a fact R has only been good to J. He has bought him stuff and I know he has borrowed money to J lots of times. J likes to party, a lot. He comes home on his days off and it’s one big party. By the time he has to go back to work he is on the phone to R, borrowing a couple hundred for gas to get back to work. It’s crazy! R is on a fixed income because he is no longer able to work. J makes a lot of money every month, but is continuously broke.

I know J has been totally disrespectful to R for months. R talks to me about it. Now threats of physical violence. It’s scary to think what might have happened if the crowd of friends had not been there.

The more I thought about what happened the more I wish I could have helped in some way. Elder abuse doesn’t get the attention it deserves in our news. We are focused on women and child abuse. Believe me I think those issues are very important! Don’t get me wrong. I hate it when I hear stories of women, children or animals being abused. Nothing gets me angrier faster.

The world’s population is getting older. Soon the elderly will be the majority. We need to address this issue soon, before it really gets out of control!

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

I looked up a few statistics.

Violent Crimes Against Seniors on the Rise (from: http://www.carp.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Elder-Abuse-Brief-Jan-2012.pdf)
• Up 14%: Data from a sub-set of police services in
Canada show that the rate of family violence
against seniors has increased by 14% since 2004.
• 7,900 seniors were victims of violent crime alone
between 2009 and 2011 (not including financial,
emotional, psychological abuse and neglect).
• Perpetrators are Mostly Family, Friends: Of the
7,900 reported acts of violence, the perpetrators
were likely to be family, friends, or a stranger, a
trend the CARP Poll™ confirms to be true for most
cases of elder abuse.

I also found an interesting statistic page. It shows that most abusers of the elderly are repeat abusers and they are white. Take a look for yourself. I think you will be surprised. You can find it here:

http://statisticbrain.com/elderly-abuse-statistics/

This is research done by  the National Center on Elder Abuse, Bureau of Justice Statistics in the United States, dated: Research Date: 6.18.2013

I’ll post some of the statistics found, if you want to read the full report go to the link above.

  • Number of elderly abuse cases in 2010    5,961,568
  • Percent of elderly population abused in 2010    9.5%
  • Percent of white victims     66.4%
  • Percent of black victims      18.7%
  • Percent of Hispanic victims 10.4%

Aging Statistics (USA)

The older population–persons 65 years or older–numbered 39.6 million in 2009 (the latest year for which data is available). They represented 12.9% of the U.S. population, about one in every eight Americans. By 2030, there will be about 72.1 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2000. People 65+ represented 12.4% of the population in the year 2000 but are expected to grow to be 19% of the population by 2030. The information in this section of the AoA website brings together a wide variety of statistical information about this growing population

You can read more here: http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/Aging_Statistics/index.aspx

Canada

The Canadian population is aging. In 2011, the median age in Canada was 39.9 years, meaning that half of the population was older than that and half was younger. In 1971, the median age was 26.2 years.[1]

Seniors make up the fastest-growing age group. This trend is expected to continue for the next several decades due mainly to a below replacement fertility rate (i.e. average number of children per woman), an increase in life expectancy, and the aging of the baby boom generation. In 2011, an estimated 5.0 million Canadians were 65 years of age or older, a number that is expected to double in the next 25 years to reach 10.4 million seniors by 2036. By 2051, about one in four Canadians is expected to be 65 or over.

You can read more here: http://www4.hrsdc.gc.ca/.3ndic.1t.4r@-eng.jsp?iid=33

 

We as a people need to start addressing the issue of Elder Abuse now before it gets out of control. I’ve seen it and it’s ugly people. I want to do what I can to help in any way I can. After all I am a baby boomer and will be considered a part of this group soon enough.

I’m scared.

 

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Blogging, Daily Prompt, Fiction, postaday, writing

Daily Prompt: Life Line

Daily Prompt: Life Line

You’re on a long flight, and a palm reader sitting next to you insists she reads your palm. You hesitate, but agree. What does she tell you?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As I settled myself in my seat next to the window I noticed an elderly lady making her way up the aisle. She was dressed all in lavender. With her white hair and deep blue eyes it was a great color for her. She had a billowy scarf around her neck that floated out behind her as she made her way closer to me.

I was hoping she would sit next to me as she looked like someone who had led an interesting life.  It was going to be an even longer flight if I didn’t get someone worth talking to next to me. I’m not much of a talker myself, but love listening, and elderly people usually have the most wonderful stories to tell.

I smiled as she walked and slowed down, she glanced at her ticket and then at the number on the seat and smiled back at me.

“Guess this is my seat.” She said to me with a sweet voice.

I noticed that with her words there was a faint accent in her pronunciation.  I couldn’t quite put a place to the accent, but that was okay. Maybe she will tell me without me being rude and asking.

The plane was filling up  fast, as my companion for our flight sat down and made herself comfortable. There was still an empty seat between us and I frowned to myself hoping it wouldn’t get filled with some loud mouth. Or worse yet some old guy who would fall asleep five minutes after take off and snore the whole time we are up in the clouds.

I held my breath as the plane door was closed and it seemed I was going to get really lucky and have the seat right next to me remain empty. What luck! As this very rarely happens. We all sat through the instructions for emergency landings and I watched out my window as we lifted off the ground. One of my favorite times is at liftoff, where you feel your stomach fall to your feet and the slight pressure in your chest as we headed straight up into the blue sky. I closed my eyes and relished the feeling of freedom.

http://travel-babel.com/
http://travel-babel.com/

As I sat with my eyes closed wondering how I could open a conversation with the lady on my left, I began to hear humming. The lady was humming to herself as she rifled through her purse. I glanced over curious. She looked up and smiled and pulled out a dainty little white lace handkerchief. A handkerchief! I haven’t seen a woman use one of those since my grandmother was alive years ago! How quaint!

My companion continued to hum as she stuffed her purse down in the seat next to her slight body. She sat there with folded hands, the handkerchief peeping out under her fingers. I looked back out my window and then felt a small warm hand on my arm.

“Excuse me my dear, but I would love it if you let me read your palm.”

I raised my eyebrows in surprise. Read my palm? She was a palm reader? Now that I wasn’t expecting! I’ve got nothing against palm readers. In fact I’ve had my palm read once before, years ago. It was pretty accurate, almost frightenly so.

I gazed into those sharp blue eyes and found myself holding out my hand, palm side up towards her. She held my hand with both of hers and one thumb gently rubbed over my palm.

There we were, heads almost bumping, hunched over my hand in hers, being held over the empty seat between us. We were silent as she looked my palm over. Then she began to softly speak.

“You have led an interesting life so far, my dear.”

“Your lifeline is long, so you have many years to go yet.”

The old woman took my right hand and turned it over and then back again. She bent my fingers back slightly, then turned my hand palm face up again.

http://alatheia.com/
http://alatheia.com/

“You have decisions to make about your future.”

“You love beauty and create beauty. You are a very creative person.”

I didn’t say anything to what she was saying to me. Her voice was soothing and mesmerizing. I just watched her face and felt her warm hands covering mine.

“You have many loves in your life. You will be loved many times.”

“There is also great sorrow. Something in your past troubles you still. You have been hurt and continue to hurt because of what was done to you.”

I bit my lip but kept silent. All she said was true. But that could have been said of any number of people. You cannot live a life without sorrow coming into it.

“You can become quite stubborn. You have strong beliefs and will fight for them always.”

“You also have much more potential than you have shown others. You have the power to be whoever you want to be, just believe in yourself enough.”

Again I almost shrugged my shoulders, as it could have been said of anyone. I was beginning to feel let down a bit. I sighed softly as I tried gently to take my hand back.

She gripped it tightly and looked me in the eye.

“Never lose sight of what you want to be. You will attain it. You are strong and strong-minded. Do not let yourself get side tracked by the unnecessary things that will fall in front of you.”

http://www.etsy.com/
http://www.etsy.com/

“My dearest Jackie, you have a destiny that must be filled. One that will be full of excitement and wonder. Do not ever forget that”

With those last words she put that lace handkerchief in my hand and closed my fingers over it. Then she leaned back in her seat and closed her eyes. She suddenly looked tired to me. I sat back and looked at the handkerchief peeping out of my fist and gripped it harder. I still hadn’t said a word. Then a thought flashed through my mind.

I never told her my name.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Daily Prompt, Humor, Mi Vida Loca, postaday, stories, Stories of my life, writing

Daily Prompt: Comedy of Errors

Today’s daily prompt is: Murphy’s Law says, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Write about a time everything did — fiction encouraged here, too!

I might be cheating just a tad today, because I am going to re-post something I wrote a while back on my other blog. It fits this prompt to a T! Also, it’s pretty funny and it’s a true story!

Readers that have followed my food blog for a while have read about this particular instance. (Actually 2 instances….so far). So please forgive me, but I think it bears repeating for those who haven’t read it.

Here we go………..Instead of sending you to my other blog, I’m just going to copy it here in its entirety.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Adventure of Grocery Shopping (or how I got run out of the store by a little old lady)

 

Today I had planned on posting some cool off treats to help with the heat wave that many are experiencing. But,  I have a story to tell. It happened last Tuesday at the Safeway supermarket. Now my neighborhood Safeway has a promotion going on,    the first Tuesday of the month is Seniors Day. They get a percentage off of their purchases and it can be quite a savings. And no matter how early you go to the store there are literally busloads of Seniors! Now I  try to avoid going to the grocery store on the first Tuesday of the month, not because I dislike old people.  Quite the contrary I adore old people! After all if I’m lucky one day I will be one of them!

Nope, I avoid going because, well, this is going to sound a bit strange. I avoid going because I am an old people magnet! Yup, you read that right. I attract older people like….like…..the ice cream truck attracts kids. They are drawn to me, always have been. Even when I was a child, I would draw old people.  And they wouldn’t  pinch my cheek and tell me how cute I was (although I have to admit I WAS pretty darn cute!) Oh no!! They would tell me their life stories! Not that I minded really,  they always had some interesting stories to tell. It used to irritate me just a bit back then, but as I grew older I came to appreciate those old people and their stories! And, after last Tuesday I just might have some interesting stories to tell some kid when I get old!

 

Now this is how it went……….

I was in the pasta aisle. I wanted some gluten-free pasta and was looking to see what  was available. I had a taste for pasta…..I wanted pasta……but I had no gluten-free pasta at home. So there I was, minding my own business and wondering if I wanted the rice noodles or should I try the brown rice spaghetti. Out of the corner of my eye I see this old woman coming down the aisle using a walker. I remember smiling to myself because she was one of those old “characters”, you could tell just by looking at her. She wasn’t one of these typical  white-haired “old ladies”. This one had flaming red hair, obviously from a bottle, but still I couldn’t  help but admire the choice of red on top of her head. It was eye-catching to say the least. She moved pretty slowly and her face was made up with powder and rouge and her lips were a deep red. Her blue eyes behind her large black framed glasses had a sparkle to them, so you just knew she had some stories in her!

I smiled at her as she approached and moved a bit closer to the pasta to give her plenty of room to maneuver that walker around me. But, instead of going around me she stands next to me and gives me the biggest smile! It was the kind of smile that if you were having a bad day, that smile would cheer you up. She notices the gluten-free noodles in my  hands and in this sweet high-pitched voice says “Now what would you want with those make-believe noodles? You want a good dish, you gotta use good old egg noodles.”

I bite back a laugh and tell her that I’m doing a gluten-free lifestyle.

“What kinda lifestyle?” she shoots back at me.

 

 

I explain that I’m changing my lifestyle to get healthier.

She looks me up and down and says in her high pitched….oh and did I mention CARRYING  voice……..”Honey, why would you want to change your sex because of health???”

I kind of laugh and state, I’m not changing my sex. I’m changing my lifestyle!

“Well I just never could understand these sex changing people. If God made you a woman why would you want to change into a man??!!” she asks. “You make a pretty good-looking woman, so stay that way!”

Now, I can feel myself blushing , because several other people have entered the aisle and of course were eavesdropping shamelessly. And they were all staring at me like I was something they had never encountered before.

“I bet your mama would have something to say about you wanting to change into a man!” she says.

“I DON”T want to change into a man!” I state quite firmly and  can feel a bit of hysterical laughter bubbling up.

She looks at me earnestly and says “From what I have heard it’s not want you might WANT…but what you feel you have to do to feel good about yourself”.  And in her carrying voice she whispers to me loudly. ”I will pray for you, and I will tell all my friends to pray for you too!!”  as she pats my  arm.

By now I am ready to run out of that store and never come back!  But I don’t. I stay and try to defend myself against a little old lady in a walker. And of course more and more people are entering the aisle. I mean who wouldn’t right? They probably heard her on the other side of the store and wanted to see the lady who wanted to change her sex!

So I try AGAIN to explain to her that I am NOT changing my SEX, that I am staying a woman! I realize I am saying this in a bit of a loud voice. I think to more convince all the other people in the aisle then to convince the red-haired old lady. I’m not angry, actually I find myself wanting to laugh hysterically and bite my lip so I won’t offend her and do just that!

I start slowly moving down the aisle hoping to end the crazy conversation and get out of the store with some dignity intact! With each step  I take she takes one with  her walker. All I can remember thinking is, I am NEVER coming again on the first Tuesday of the month. I smile at her and tell her I have an appointment (which I didn’t)  and have to go. And I tell you, for an old woman using a walker, that lady could move when she wanted to!! She is pretty much keeping pace with me as I move out of the aisle and to the registers to check out. Now I didn’t  get everything I wanted from the store and realized I had both the rice noodles AND the spaghetti noodles in my hands, but all I could think was escape!! So I get checked out and I can hear this sweet old lady behind me talking to some friends about the woman she met who wanted a sex change.

As I finish checking out and grab my bag of noodles and start for the door I hear behind me, in a high-pitched and CARRYING voice, ”Now don’t go getting that sex change operation without talking to your mama first!” As I risk a look behind me, there is that nice old lady and a big group of her friends, AND the cashiers all looking at me. Some had smiles and some looked confused, but they were ALL looking at me!!

I just dash for the door and the safety of my car. I get in and breathe a huge sigh of relief and just start……laughing! I couldn’t  stop laughing!!! I’m laughing till tears come and I glance out the side window and see this poor little old man just staring at me and start laughing even more! He’s probably thinking I’m crazy, but hell all the others thought I was crazy too. So what’s one more????

So the moral of the story is this……watch how you word what you say to old lady characters, or it might just land you in the situation I found myself! (But I still laugh about it, and no….I AM NOT going back on the first Tuesday of the month!)

 

 Now is that not a comedy of errors? 

Posted in Blogging, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, postaday, writing

American Indian Heritage Month

Bo Zho!

That is Potawatomi for hello! As I am part American Indian Potawatomi I wanted to write something of my own ancestors for American Indian heritage month.  A lot of people haven’t heard  of the Potawatomi’s. They aren’t as famous as Apache, Navajo or many others that we have heard about through books or movies.

The Potawatomi Indians or Bodéwadmi as they call themselves were a part of a long-term alliance called The Council of Three Fires with the Ojibwe and Ottawa . The name Bodewadimi means “keepers of the fire”.

The Potawatomi are first mentioned in French records, which suggest that in the early 17th century, they lived in what is now southwestern Michigan. During the Beaver Wars they fled to the area around Green Bay, Wisconsin to escape attacks by both the Iroquois and the Neutral Nation, who were seeking expanded hunting grounds.

As an important part of Tecumseh’s Confederacy, Potawatomi warriors took part in Tecumseh’s War, the War of 1812 and the Peoria War. Their allegiance switched repeatedly between the British and the Americans as power relations shifted between the nations.

Today, the Potawatomi are a thriving community. They provide health services and education to the people, with revenues generated from the tribe’s gaming and other business operations. I remember when I was young, the Potawatomi community were quite poor. They had issues with drugs, alcohol and health. Now, they have active programs to deal with the  drugs and alcohol issues. They also have very active health programs. I know that within a relatively short amount of time they went from being the poorest tribe to  the third richest tribe within the United States. In part because they  got leadership that looked toward the future of their people.

The Forest County Potawatomi (FCP) have lived in Forest County, Wisconsin, since the late 1800s. Around 1880, groups settled in areas near Blackwell and Wabeno and have lived in that area since, as well as in the Carter and Crandon (or Stone Lake) areas. My mother was born and raised in Wabeno, Wisconsin, she is now one of a short list of elders of the Forest County Potawatomi tribe.

I have always loved being part American Indian. My mother used to tell us stories of when she grew up and even as an adult. There were lots of restaurants, bars and stores that would not serve Indians. They had signs up that said they wouldn’t. Much like the Afro-Americans in the south there was much prejudice about Indians. In some places that prejudice still survives. It always seem so hypocritical to me. The American Indians were here way before anyone else. Yet we were looked at as savages when  the white man killed us at every chance,  took our lands away and herded us like cattle onto reservations where  we would starve to death over the winters. Now really, who were the savages??

Here is a timeline of the Potawatomi tribes movements.

In the beginning, the Neshnabek (Original People) settled along the shores of the great salt water (Atlantic Ocean), near the mouth of the St. Lawrence River.

1,000 Years Ago

Movement began towards the Great Lakes.
1500’S

Near Saulte Ste. Marie, the Neshnabek split into three groups – the Ojibwe (Keepers of the Faith), the Odawa (Keepers of the Trade), and the Bodewadmi (keepers of the Fire). This relationship is known as the Three Fires Confederacy.

The Potawatomi moved towards Southwestern Michigan.

1634

First encounter with Europeans: the French explorer Jean Nicolet visits the Potawatomi near Red Banks (Green Bay, WI).
17th and 18th Century
As strong allies of Nouvelle France, the Potawatomi control the fur trade in the Western Great Lakes.
1789-1867

In 43 treaties, the Potawatomi were forced by the US Government to cede all their lands between Wisconsin and Ohio.

In the 1833 chicago treaty, the largest land cession contained 5 million acres.

1838

After the signing of the 1833 treaty, most Potawatomi were forcibly removed west. This march became known as the “Potawatomi Trail of Death”.

1851
Simon Kahquados, last known Chief of the Wisconsin Potawatomi is born at Black Earth Village in Kewaunee County.
1890’s
The Reverend Eric Morstad assists several strolling Potawatomi families near Wabeno, WI homesteads under the Indian Homestead act of 1884.
1907
W.M. Wooster, b.I.A. Special agent conducts census and reports 1,972 Wisconsin Potawatomi Indians.
1913
Through the efforts of Charles Kishek and Reverend Eric Morstad, 11,786 acres of land is purchased using treaty monies.
1924
Native Americans are granted U.S. Citizenship by act of Congress. (The irony of it boggles the mind!)
1937
The Potawatomi Tribe is reorganized under the Act of 1934 and officially become the Forest County Potawatomi Community.
1988
Forest County Potawatomi lands granted “reservation” status
. National Indian Gaming Act (N.I.G.A.) passed.
2005
A four tribe alliance of the Potawatomi, Oneida, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and Viejas Band of Southern California build a partnership venture and open the Residence Inn in Washington D.C.
We as people have come a long way through out history.  It’s nice that we have a month for teaching about our heritage. It is a rich and vital one. We are people who are tough and resilient. We needed to be. The traditions and rituals have kept us strong. The cornerstone of those beliefs is the Circle of Life that parallels the seasons of nature. The Circle of Life is a demonstration of the Potawatomi reverence for all living things and nurtures the belief that they are a self-reliant and self-determined nation of people.
Bidgek (welcome)

 

Posted in Blogging, Humor, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, postaday, Stories of my life, Uncategorized, writing

A Conversation With Mom

My mom and I have had a relationship problem most of my life.  We never got along when I was younger. Truthfully we never got along until my father died 8 years ago. At different times in our lives we have gone years without  talking. The longest being 7 years when I was married to my ex. She never liked my ex, and well I was too stubborn to say she was right, till after my divorce. We are both very stubborn women. Looking back I think one reason we never got along is because we are two peas in a pod. According to her, when my dad was dying he told her to  make up with me and to surround herself with her kids, because life was too  damn short to keep fighting. I think she took those words to heart, because we have been friends ever since. My mother is sometimes so funny. You have to stay on your toes to keep up with her.  This is a typical phone conversation with her. I called her this morning and here is how it goes. (Mom is  83 years young)

Ring!  Ring! Ring!  (me calling mom)

“Hello? Hi!”

“Hey mom, how you feeling?”

“I’m doing good. I got a new gadget!”

“What you got now mom?”

“It’s for my blood pressure. It’s kind of  like my heart pacer machine. I take a reading of my blood pressure and it goes right to my Doctor’s office!”

“Wow, something else to play with”

“It’s really nice. Hey, your brother got a new job! He’s babysitting some kids.”

“That’s good.”

“Your sister’s been sick though. I’m thinking she had a small stroke, but she don’t believe me.”

“A stroke!!  You kidding??”

“Her doctor said she has a case of palsy, but I think he’s wrong and I told her to get a new doctor, but she never listens to me.”

“Mom you scared me!”

“I got a fox living under my front porch, and someone is stealing my apples!”

“You got a fox?”

“Yeah, he got rid of those hundreds of rabbits I had in the yard.”

“I guess that’s good?”

“Just wish he would get those damn squirrels! I hate those damn things.”

“I know you do mom.”

“If I find out who’s stealing my apples they are going to get their car windows shot out with my BB gun!”

“Um, mom I think that’s illegal.”

“So is stealing my apples! I  get hold of them they are going to wish I didn’t!”

“I’m not sure you should shoot at them mom.”

“I told your brother-in-law what I was going to do. He gossips with all the men in town. Word will get out, so it’ll stop!”

“That’s better than shooting them.”

“I told your brother I’m making an apple  pie  this afternoon. But  I need to go to the store to buy the apples, because my apples aren’t good this year.”

“I thought they were stolen anyway?”

“Not all of them, but they aren’t good for pies. But I like to feed the deer with them.”

“Okay, I got it now Mom.”

“I’m going to clean out my closet today. I got about 50 pairs of shoes and I need to re-arrange things.”

“50 pairs??”

“Yeah, I noticed I didn’t have any green shoes though. So I might have to buy some green ones, so I need room.”

“You going to give some away then?”

“No! I don’t want to give any away. I just need more room. ”

“You can only wear one pair at a time.”

How’s things in Canada?”

“Things are going pretty good here mom.”

“Hey, I’m going to have to hang up for now, I got to go to the bathroom.”

“Okay mom, I’ll call you later this week.”

“Okay, bye!”

 

My  mom might be old, but she is sharp as a tack. And she has no fear. She lives in a very small country town near a large lake, so she has all sorts of critters wander through her yard. She loves animals, except squirrels. Her and the neighborhood squirrels have a running feud. Sometimes they win, sometimes she wins. Most times it’s a draw. I have to laugh every time I talk to her because she is just so…….her! She 4 ft 11 inches of toughness. I love her dearly. And I hope to goodness if I am like her, that when (or if) I get to be her age I can age as gracefully.