Saturday, September 22, 2007

My Personal Story...Mom's Last Laugh

Consumed by my loss, I didn't notice the hardness of the pew where I sat. I was at the funeral of my dearest friend---my mother. She finally had lost her long battle with cancer. The hurt was so intense, I found it hard to breath at times. Always supportive, Mother clapped the loudest at my school plays, held a box of tissues while listening to my first heartbreak, comforted me at my father's death, encouraged me in college, and prayed for me my entire life. When Mother's illness was diagnosed, my sister had a new baby and my brother had recently married his childhood sweetheart, so it fell on me, the 27-year-old middle chld without entanglements, to take care of her. I counted it an honor. "What now, Lord?" I asked sitting in church. My life stretched out before me as an empty abyss. My brother sat stoically with his face toward the cross while clutching his wife's hand. My sister sat slumped against her husband's shoulder, his arms around her as she cradled their child. All so deeply grieving, no one noticed I sat alone. My place had been with our mother, preparing her meals, helping her walk, taking her to her doctor, seeing to her medications, readig the Bible together. Now she was with the Lord. My work was finished, and I was alone. I heard a door open and slam shut at the back of the church. Quick footsteps hurried along the carpeted floor. an exasperated young man looked around briefly and then sat down next to me. He folded his hands and placed them on his lap. His eyes were brimming with tears. He began to sniffle. "I'm late," he explained, though no explanation was necessary. After several eulogies, he leaned over and commented, "Why do they keep calling Mary by the name 'Margaret'? "Oh" "Because that was her name, Margaret. Never Mary. No one called her "Mary'" I whispered. I wondered why this person couldn't have sat on the other side of the church. He interrupted my grieving with his tears and fidgeting. Who was this stranger anyway? "No, that isn't correct." he insisted, as several people glanced over at us whispering, "Her name is Mary, Mary Peters." "That isn't who this is , I replied.." "Isn't this the Lutheran church?" "No, the Lutheran church is across the street." "Oh." "I believe you're at the wrong funeral, Sir." The Solemness of the occasion mixed with the realization of the man's mistake bubbled up inside me and came out as laughter. I cupped my hands over my face, hoping it would be interpreted as sobs. The creaking of the pew gave me away. Sharp looks from mourners only made the situation seem more hilarious. I peeked at the bewildered , misguided man seated next to me. He was laghing , too, as he glanced around, deciding it was to late for an uneventful exit. I imagined Mother laughing. At the final "Amen," we darted out a door and into the parking lot. "I do believe we'll be the talk of the town," he smiled. He said his name was Rick and since he missed his aunt's funeral, asked me out for a cup of coffee. That afernoon began a lifelong journey for me with this man who attended the wrong funeral, but was in the right place. A year after our meeting, we were married at a country church where he was the assistant pastor. This time we both arrived at the same church, right on time. In my time of sorrow, God gave me laughter. In place of loneliness, God gave me love. This past June we have been married for thirty years. Whenever anyone asks us how we met, Rick tells them, "Her mother and my Aunt Mary introduced us.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ode To My Bra

It came unexpectedly
although I should have known it couldn’t last forever.
I have only myself to blame.
After all I had worn it everyday
for the last 5 years.
It had a wisp of green paint smears
all over it from the time I painted the kitchen walls.
It no longer held my girls up
in their attention saluting position
but at least
it kept them from hitting my knees.
Some people feel best in well-worn shoes.
Me? I prefer well worn, stretched out elastic bras.
Some bra deaths are silent
Mine wasn’t.
It was abrupt
and harsh
and happened in the frozen food isle of the grocery store.
It was there the under wire finally snapped
piercing my right breast.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Confessions of a Serial Writer

My latest book came out July 2007. What a strange and wonderful feeling to see my name on the cover. Everyone should know that fabulous rush, at least once in their lives. The setting is my hometown of Delavan, Wisconsin. I based most of the characters on people who live there but then tweaked them just enough that they might not recognize themselves. If you visit that quaint northern town you will be charmed by the streets and fall in love with the lake (in the early days it was known as Swan Lake). But the town folk are the best part of it all. They make it come alive. I moved to Delavan when I was 13, escaping the navy blue and white garb of a private Chicago school. For the first time in my life I was happy. Delavan is where I learned it was safe to be me. I wish all my books could be set there....I hope you will take this writing journey with me...and now that I finally found out my password and login name, I promise to do better with blogging. After all, I am the serial writer.

God Bless All,