Thursday, February 16, 2017

Lessons From Life

Good Morning sweet friends, (wordy entry)
I had such a surprise when I went out to the pond this morning. I was out to welcome in the day and I saw a blue heron on the far shore. As I got a bit closer I saw the white Egret closer to me. I crept closer and then I saw the miraculous site of the two birds in the picture with the duck. What a shot. This doesn't happen all the time and it was such a gift to see them today. As I looked more closely at the other side, I saw a baby and I sighed.
This is the lesson from 2008...
I took my walk today and the world was quiet except for an occasional birdsong, telling me to keep moving forward, when I would so love to step back. To retreat into my aloneness where I feel most safe, but I can not. I am a new creature now and strong. Strength continues to move forward into the now and tomorrow.
Fear is a strange mistress. It can paralyze, or it can motivate. A wise man once told me that "there is no bravery in the absence of fear" and I believe that.
I strolled to what is left of my beloved lake this morning. Closed my eyes and sought peace. Slowed my breathing and listened to my heart beating within my chest. Alive and strong.... That is what I have become on this journey. Alive and Strong... That is my gift for the many nights I cried alone in my pain. That is the gift for the many holes I stepped in along the way to becoming who I am.... That is the gift for any of us that struggle to heal our hearts and rise again......
As I closed my eyes and thought of what got me to where I am and the gratefulness I feel each day for that, something told me to open my eyes.. I had been there for 10 minutes with my eyes closed. I had not heard anything fly in and yet when I opened my eyes, the small heron was there. Watching me and me watching him..... This was the child, a little older now, growing with life’s lessons and becoming an adult with new eyes.. And that was me, an adult , becoming as a child, with wonder for all things, and with thankfulness in my heart for them... My heart is pure, full of love and light, able to love all things, able to play with the box and see the gift in that..... And I am so thankful.. The tears filled my eyes as I watched the child play in the water and thought of me playing in the water as I do, when it is within my reach, or when it rains on me...
May we all become as children. Able to forgive hurts and move on.. Able to see the wonder in all things as it should be each day..... Able to love without past hurts binding us, and keeping us prisoner..... Able to walk forward into each day and think what wonderful thing will happen to us today..... Able to hope, dream, and grow with the lessons of that new life..
Find your heron today and see one thing today as a child..
Take a look at the photos and feel the healing power of nature as I feel it everyday.. Sending you all love and light today, Kimmee

Monday, January 9, 2017

My Children are my heart

Dear friends, ( warning long post from Facebook)
I am not a political person and usually do not voice my views on politics or share much of the lives of my children but I read something today and it broke my heart so I will share and some of you may delete me as a friend and that is ok, cause I will go on loving all of you with all my heart. It is the only way I know to be.
I have two gay children, one daughter and one son. I have three children and two of them are gay and I love all of them equally and am proud of all of them equally. And my heart breaks when people judge them, or hate them because of who they are and I will never be one of those people because I believe in love. Of all people no matter what!
That is what Jesus means to me, LOVE. He demonstrated that with Mary Magdelene. He demonstrated that when he said" let he who is without sin cast the first stone".
I consider myself spiritual, in tune with nature and our Creator and I accepted him into my heart when I was 14. I did not know at the time what was in store for my life.
I had grown up in a hard, alcoholic household and out of that I grew to value love of humanity and forgiveness for shortcomings and I also learned not to judge because I was judged all my life. My mother , my status as a divorced woman several times and through all of that, I loved and believed in love because I knew that I was loved even though people around me judged me.
God did not judge me. He took me as I am, warts and all and loved me. And I loved him and every one else.
I revere the Nature he gives to us, the lessons he has taught me about myself, about love. How when I got sick, I lost every thing I had gained and collected over 35 years and what I gained instead of material things, respect for myself, I learned the strength of asking for help. I saw the good in people and I choose to do that.
Some say I go through life with Rose colored glasses and thank God I am one of those people, those half full kind of people.
My children will never be less than and I will never make them feel less than.
They are my hero's.
They work, pay taxes, have children, own homes, and take care of their sick Mother and they love people. They help so many.
As a geriatric Nurse,I have cared for so many elderly people that had children that did not call them or visit and we became their family.
I often wondered if I was going to be one of those people as I moved from place to place without money, selling everything I had to not be a burden on others and who came to my rescue, my daughter and daughter in law.
They gave me a place where I can live out the rest of my days because I was taking care of others and not taking care of me and I got sick.
I thought I might die and I wanted to make amends for the wrongs I had done, or the hurts I had inflicted. Death has a way of making you get real about yourself.
I know myself and I know the Creator I believe in. I see him every day in the good around me and I pray for all those that have less than I am blessed with. I have people that love me every day, hug me, feed me. give me two rooms in which to house my temporary treasures, but the real treasures are my children and the people in my life that love me and that I love.
Life is short, temporary and I was shown what I am a few years ago The creator.
I was trying to walk.. after being so sick.. And just as I started out on a cool crisp morning a deer walked out of the woods.. I thought that was it.. And then 3 more followed of descending sizes. It hit me like a thunderbolt . That was my life... I had lost my health, (the big deer), My job, my home and contents, and finally my husband left me cause the meds made me gain weight and I could not support him as I had the past 19 yrs, cause I got sick. I had lost so much and gained so much.. AND. I was still walking, beautiful like the deer. A thing of beauty walking free. a child of God and he loved me..
I love all of you too,. I am going to take some time away today to revel in life and the love of my children. I am one of the blessed... I am a Native American/Scottish/English/ Quaker, mother of children.. I am one of you.. And my children are of me and I am so thankful for them in my life.Love each other...
Love to all, Kimmee

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Nephews Visit .. Part One

My Nephews Visit.. Part One
It was close to wintertime in the North Country, but no snow had fallen yet. My nephew and his family wanted to drive up and visit and we said, "come on up." They had planned a two week stay including travel, and it ended up being a month.
The house was like that. It called to your spirit. The work was hard but it was honest. One of my friends today, said it was like the pioneers and it was in a way. Our mode of transportation was different, but many things were the same.

We did the laundry in the tub for many years. I hung it outside in the summer and often in the winter. They clothes would be as stiff as a board on the line and I would be up to my knees in snow, hanging it up and taking it down. We ground our own meat that Karl had hunted and put in the freezer. We canned from our vegetable garden every year. We made our own bread and butter some of the time. We used wood for heat and we froze to death every year. The ice was on the outside but it was also on the inside. The kids could not touch the walls upstairs or they might stick to it from the ice. This was the world that Greg and his family came to visit, and I watched him fall in love.
My nephew Greg and his wife and two kids arrived bearing gifts a couple of weeks later. They had the largest basket I had ever seen filled to the brim with goodies from home. My oldest sister sent me a quilt. Cathy, (Greg's Wife) made me a basket. Jar after Jar of jams, Jellies, homemade fudge and the best thing to me was the bundle of yellow pine. Cathy had also made me a wreath of leaves from Daddy's place, pine cones, some cotton bolls and cotton. I cried when they told me where the items had come from. It made me feel closer to my childhood home in Jay.

Greg was an outdoors-man and he wanted to hunt with his son. He is also a taxidermist and he wanted a Canada Goose, a big deer, and a snowshoe rabbit to stuff. He got them all and we got to enjoy the meat. It was hard work and a couple of weeks later it snowed, giving him and the kids a wonderful opportunity for a snowball fight. He was in his element and each day sought out the experiences of the 83 acres that we owned.

One day he left before light to hunt. I did not expect him back all day but in the afternoon he came running back to the house. He said, " I need you Aunt Gloria. There has been an accident with an Amish buggy rolling over and children are hurt." I grabbed my medical kit and we got into the car and drove down to the Yoder farm. I knew them a bit, but had never been in their home.
They invited me in and I assessed the children. The small girl had a goose egg on her head and my immediate thought was concussion, but she was responsive so I watched her as I assessed the boy. He was a worry because he had a deep gash on his forehead. I cleaned it and saw that it was deep. It really needed stitches but they usually don't go to the dr except for childbirth, sometimes. I told him that I would do the best that I could but it really needed stitches and it may not heal pretty. I also told him that he would have a scar and all of the girls were going to think he was tough and handsome. He shyly smiled at me with that big ole gash and never whimpered as I cleaned it until I had to pull it together to butterfly it. I was hoping if I could get the edges neat, that it would not heal too badly. A silent tear fell as I used the tape to get the edges nice and neat to heal. Then I wrapped his head.
The third child, another boy, was holding his wrist and it was starting to swell. I worried that it was broken but could not convince them to go for an x-ray. I talked to the Father and told him that If I splinted it and wrapped it, that he would have to take it easy with chores. The father asked, "how long?" When I said 6 weeks, he just looked at me. I was adamant about the boy resting the arm for fear of doing further damage. I said he can rest it now and let it heal or he can work and injure it further, and maybe lose the use of his arm. That got the Fathers attention and he acquiesced with my recommendations. I told them I would have to change the bandages on the gash everyday, and that the girl would have to be awakened every hour all night and if there were any changes to come for me, then I went home
For the next 10 days I was there every morning making sure that they were healing. The father wanted the boy to work, that had the broken wrist, but I stood my ground. At 3 weeks, I said he can help with dishes with his good arm but to keep the other one dry. They were all getting better and the family was so grateful. The children never forgot what I had done and came to visit me often. I would always give them a Pepsi and sometimes a candy bar, which they loved.
My nephew loved every thing about the Amish, because they were like him. They did not mind hard work and neither did he, but he did mind that I had not had a toilet to use for two years. We used a bucket because our entire iron pipe system had frozen and collapsed in the basement. ( I had come full circle in my life. An outhouse as a kid and a bucket and the outdoors as an adult)
My husband would not let me call anyone in to fix anything, because he said he was going to do it, but he never did. My children and I never let anyone know the conditions that we were living in. I had bailed the septic day after day before it finally froze and was gone and my nephew was going to fix this, if it was the last thing he did.
He extended his stay and proceeded to prod and browbeat my husband into doing something that he said he was going to do. I was so proud of him, for I did not have a voice at that time.
I was too tired for too long.
I suffered guilt for years for not being able to be stronger in deeds and just get a furnace, get the bathroom fixed, make life easier for all of us, but I did not. I was trying to survive, keep my children fed and a roof over our heads.
Greg made Karl dig a trench for the Leach field. He told him that no man would let his family live like this and he kept it up until we had a working toilet. We had a beautiful bathroom, it just wasn't hooked up. I had bought all new fixtures two years before but they had no water to them and could not be used for elimination.
Procrastination was Karl's mantra and mine was a hard life.
Greg bagged a large deer that year. I think that the Lord brought him a big one, so that we would have food for a while. He also got his Canada Goose and Snowshoe Rabbit. He was amazed at how thick the fur was versus a Florida deer. They needed the warmth up North so deer had adapted to survive.
Karl stayed primarily sober while Greg and his family were there because he wanted to put the best foot forward. He needed people to think he was wonderful and then when he had them convinced, he could go back to being who he really was.
To be continued tomorrow....... All my love, Kimmee
(the photographs are of Greg and his goose, deer, snow shoe rabbit, the large wreath that They brought me and the basket of goodies on the table Greg grinding deer sausage. Charity licking the cake bowl. It was Greg's birthday while they were up and I made him a Carrot cake which Cathy decorated.)

The Nephews Visit.. Part Two

The Nephews Visit  Part Two
Greg delighted in simple things like peeling an apple without breaking the peel.   We had a little contest and he tried to do it and he did pretty well,   but I could do it time and time again. His son said, "that doesn't look to hard" and he tried without success. Greg said to me, " show him again, Aunt Gloria" I did it time and time again for them. It was a source of amusement for Greg. lol.
I worked during the day and Cathy cooked and did the dishes and made sure the children were clean. It was my  first time of having someone help me with the house,   and it was heaven.  Greg stoked the wood stove for me,  so that I could actually sleep.  It was the first and only time that I was not stoking the wood stove every hour or two,  and then going to work the next day.

We had cookouts, made bon fires at night and soaked up what could be,  if life were different for me  than it was.

I hated when it was time for them to leave but knew that they could not stay forever, although I think Greg wanted to.  Our lives returned to our "normal" when they left.

I still had the Amish, my work as a Nurse Manager and I was the Historian for my small village. I had kind of fallen into that job by visiting the local celebration days and getting to know the present Historian Adelaide Steele. She was an awesome older lady that was so eager to have anyone show interest, much less someone that had a working knowledge of research and documentation. She and I became good friends. I wanted to harness every thought she had in her mind. It was full of historical antidotes of the people and of life. She was there when the Amish first came to town and she documented every sale of a home or land to them. It totaled over a million dollars when they came.

This Ordnung ( Order)  was the strictest of all of the Amish Sects, the Schwartzenruber clan. They spoke German and they conducted all of their business within the culture itself. They made their own clothing, grew their own food, governed their own crimes within the group, and they dealt with the English by selling all of their handiwork in outside little booths. A lot of it was on the honor system.
 A jar or locked box with an opening on top was there for you to pay for what you might buy and I never heard of anyone stealing this jar or box.

They did not allow their picture to be taken and any dolls that were made did not have faces because they felt a photograph may take the spirit of the person away. They were superstitious and that was ok with me,  because I grew up that way. Salt over your shoulder, dropping a fork and someone was coming,  cut a wart off and pin it to an old stump, dousing for water with a forked stick, cures for warts by touching, and so many more from my German  and Scottish immigrant parents of many years ago. Some of the things had stuck through the   generations and we were exposed to them on a regular basis.

Turpentine on sugar for a tummy ache, tallow for the lips, Castor Oil, poultices for the chest for colds to name a few.  The Amish are mostly independent of the English and I am so happy that I was afforded a peek into their lives. Their homes are beautiful inside with the most amazing furniture that they make themselves. Their homes are really clean and children do have toys to play with after their chores. The children are quiet unless spoken to,  as I was when I was a child. They do use corporal punishment for infractions and the children are taught to have manners.  They pretty much keep to themselves but do shop in the supermarkets, especially the younger generations and they work 6 days a week.

When it is time for the church gathering, you can see buggy after buggy clop clopping down the road in their Sunday best. I miss this sound very much. They are friendly but very private hardworking people. They like to laugh and have fun too. If you pass by their one room school houses during recess, you will see the children laughing and running to play.  I am so thankful that I was afforded this look into their lives because I learned so much about the quiet way they lived and worked.

Meanwhile my life continued.  Karl drank and continued to injure himself time after time.  One time he hit his thumb with the ax and came inside to show me. The blood was pooling in the thumb and I grabbed the first pressure dressing I could find, a kotex, and I wrapped it around his thumb and took him to the ER once again. They knew him by name there and one of the doctors said, "what did he do this time?"  Karl held up his thumb and I thought the Dr was never going to stop laughing. He said it was the best field pressure dressing he had ever seen, as he laughed his fool head off.  Karl  was not sober enough to be embarrassed.  I had long gotten over my embarrassment of the situation and was gaining strength.

Two years from that time, I ordered a propane heater for the kitchen. My husband was mad but said if he could put it in, then it would be ok.   One more bitterly cold year went by and I called Hacketts and asked them to send out a service guy to put in our heater. I ordered two huge propane tanks and it was in the house and running by the time Karl got back from his drunk.

We were warmer,  for the first time in 15 years.  We had a working bathroom, heat in the house, and then as luck would have it, I became very ill.   I was a  Registered Nurse for only 7 years,  when my life  drastically changed again.

Our almost 20 years there, the many breakdowns of the cars, the accidents that narrowly had us escape with our lives, the  struggle from having one income, the lack of help at home,  the endless hours of stoking, shoveling, bringing in wood , baling the septic tank and  working took its toll on me and I paid for that with my health.

I had been a Nurse,  a Deputy Historian  then Historian of our Village, a mom, a wife and then I was just sick..... I could see no way out of my predicament but God could....

Sometimes I say that getting sick was the best thing that ever happened to me. It forced me to make a decision that my oldest daughter had been begging me to make for years. I was leaving the North country and my home. I thought my heart would break clean into, but as it turns out it not only survived,  but it flourished in Florida.

My husband left me because I had gained weight under the medical regime to save my life, I lived in a little RV on my daughters land and for the first time in 33 years, I was in charge of my life. It was a heady experience and allowed me to heal a little away from the negative and abusive influence of my husband.  I learned to care about myself for the first time. My daughter helped me so many times in my life and she is doing it once again. She never forsook  me and continues to be my hero, as she has all my life.  She gave me something to be better for.

I can't thank you all enough for reading these snippets from my life. It shows such honor and caring for another and I am so glad that it was me. I Love you all so much and pray that life will always treat you kindly.  Always, Kimmee

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Upstate Nurse

This is a true story and one that shows us with a great deal of certainty, the truth of Maya Angelou's statement , “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Life was so hard in upstate NY. I was married to an alcoholic that did not like to work and the start to our living there had already been rough. My daughter started Nursing school at age 17 and when she graduated, I immediately began.
I knew that I had to do something if we were going to survive.
The next 4 years were a blur. I had a 3 and 9 yr old at home and had been taking care of my 2 yr old grandson until my daughter was working and on her own. Then I immersed myself into my study, because I felt it was the only way to be able to make it and assure my children had what they needed.
There were many days that I worried that one or both of us would die, or our children. The Beaver Fever, whooping cough, the badly broken ankle of my husband while cutting wood and having to crawl through the snow, out of the forest for a half mile, my incident of skidding on the ice in my Mustang and my oldest daughters 3 accidents in as many years, the Ax that chopped through my husbands foot between the 1st and 2nd toes and the burn , but we made it somehow.
One day in summer just as I was finishing up my LPN School, I was outside and saw a truck coming down the road, steaming to high heaven. It was about 1/8th mile away, but I could make out a man in a t-shirt getting out and opening the hood.
I could hear myself saying, "don't open the radiator" and just as I formed the thought, he did. I heard him scream and watched him tear off his shirt. I quickly ran inside to get my huge tube of silver sulfadiazine cream that I kept on hand in my emergency kit. I put my youngest in the crib and I ran down the road to see him.
It was bad but he was not crying or screaming other than the initial reaction. I could smell the liquor on his breath and was thankful for it, because it helped to dull what I knew he must be feeling.
You see, I have had experience with burns. I visited my Daddy in the hospital when he was burned while working for Alger Sullivan Lumber Co. He had done a heroic thing and saved another, at peril to himself. It was so hard for me to look at the blackened and browned skin that was my Father at the hospital but he was not complaining of pain. It got him mostly on his neck, arms and some of the face. It took many weeks to recover, but he did and went back to work. I believe my sister told me that the man that he saved, survived for a time and then passed. (Maybe she can talk to this in the comments and add anything that she may remember that I do not.)
It happened again when I was a co-Apt. manager in National City, Ca.. One of the tenants set himself on fire. He was drinking and smoking and fell asleep in his wheelchair. The cigarette fell onto his slipper and it caught on fire and spread across his body.
When the neighbor and I grabbed a blanket and threw it over him to extinguish the flames, he never made a peep. He was awake after we threw the blanket off of him but he was also not feeling any pain, Thank God. He also did not survive his wounds. I could tell you why, but it would make you as sick as it did me, to witness it.
I was in college getting my credits to become a Nurse and I said aloud to the paramedics, "I never want to be a burn nurse." It was horrific and has stayed with me from 1975 to now.
The third time I had experience with a burn was with my own husband. He worked for a local cheese factory for a few months and on one of the nights when he was cleaning the huge vat that they kept the Whey in, the hot water hose doused with chemicals, exploded onto his body. He called me from his late night shift and I went to pick him up because he said he was not going to the hospital and downplayed what had happened.
When I arrived and took one look at him, I rushed him to the hospital knowing that it was only going to get worse. He had burned the right side of his face, his right shoulder and arm, and his chest. He was still burning from the chemicals and they could not treat him at the ER right away, because they did not know what chemical. I was so upset because of his pain and at thirty minutes in, I said to the Nurse, "bring me a tub of silver sulfadiazine cream. I took responsibility for my decision and slathered it all over the wounds as he flinched and was in pain. That action soothed the burning long enough for him to stand it until they found what chemical it was and could treat him. Many dressing changes, surgical meetings and months later he healed and I had become the burn Nurse that I never wanted to be.
This last hot water burn was bad. The skin was a bright red and blistering as I watched. I had him sit and with gloves on, I covered him in the Silver sulfadiazine cream. He was uncomfortable, but I knew that he would be more so if I did not, so I continued while talking to him about his life, about where he lived, about who I could call. He refused to let me call anyone, but did allow me to put a clean shirt on him and gave me a promise that he would go directly to the hospital in his town, 20 miles away. It was the best I could do with what I had and he was sober enough to make that decision.
I thought I may never hear from him again but a few weeks later, he showed up on my doorstep with eggs, bread, and fresh milk. I asked him to come in and he told me that the doctors wanted to know who had treated him. I told him I was a Nursing student and he told me , that they had said my quick action saved him. I wasn't looking for anything for doing what any human being would have, but he brought me what he could give and he continued to do so until one day, he didn't. A few months later, I read that he had died.
His son worked in the nursing field with my daughter and he found out what I had done for his Dad. He called me and thanked me for what I had done. I was just in the right place at the right time.
This type of thing happened several times during my stay in Upstate. I ministered to the Amish during a really bad buggy wreck, during tooth aches, during various other assorted illnesses and I never thought a thing about payment but in every instance, they gave me what they had. We had fresh milk often, and the girls and I would skim the cream, put it in a mason jar and I would shake it while sitting on the couch, til it made butter. I did not have a fancy Butter churn. My arm was the churn and the butter was delicious. Sometimes I flavored it with honey and sometimes with garlic and we always put it on homemade bread hot out of the oven.
I could continue writing forever on our life there but I really wanted to say, that we never know how the way we treat others will come home to roost. In my case, it was fresh eggs, bread and milk. It was being invited into Amish Homes that the English rarely saw, and having them treat me with respect.
My sister Donna witnessed some of this when Grandma Miller signed the quilt I bought from her. That was never done because it was prideful, but it was done on the quilt that I bought.
I am so thankful for the 19+ years that I lived there. They were hard working, cold numbing, heart shattering years, but they taught me so much about who I am and want to be.
These people told me that I made them feel safe and that every thing was going to be alright. I am sure that they barely remember when I was saying while tending them but they remembered how they felt, when I was there. That is what mattered to them.
Ghandi said to be the change you seek and I pray for that every day. Much love to all, Kimmee

Monday, December 19, 2016

My Brother and Vietnam

Excerpt from my book, " Ripples In The Lake"  Chapter 20
That word could strike terror or incite excitement in all the boys around me. You either wanted to go to war or you didn’t. Most of the boys I knew wanted to go and soon in 1968, my middle brother Cliff was drafted.
He was only a 19 yr old kid but was going to do his duty. At that time, protest was going on around the world. Kids were burning draft cards, running away to Canada and being put in jail for refusal to serve. Some mutilated themselves so they would be a 4-f instead of an A-1 which would send you to a quick boot camp then over seas.
Cliff went to boot camp and special ops training as a Green beret, then off he went to war. I don’t think any of us had any idea what he was encountering or how it would forever change him, but it did.
We would write to him and I remember us sending him a couple of boxes of home made and store bought goodies. At Christmas, we received a package from him. Inside were army boots, tea, and a few other things that he had around to send to us. I cry as I think of it now. How terrible his life was, but how much he wanted to send something, anything, home to his family. It was a connection with something other than blood, guts, and gore. I can only imagine based on the many images I have seen of what terror lived in his heart night after night, awaiting certain death. It did not matter if it was a physical death; it was death in every sense of the word, emotional death.
A few months later we got the notice that he had been blown up in a tank and taken to Tokyo for recovery. We were not able to communicate with him and then a few weeks later, we got a letter that told us he had been sent back to war. Their patch him up, ship him out motto was alive and well. He came home at 13 months when his tour was done and they tried to get him to re-enlist. He had been promoted to Spec 5 or 6 in this short amount of time. I once complemented him on his quick promotion to which he replied, that he was promoted because they were all dying. It was a shock to me a 16 yr old but it was a reality of his world.
He was not the same boy when he returned. Vietnam had forever changed him into something, that even he did not understand.
I wrote this for him:
My brother went to Vietnam at the tender age of 19
He came back a man changed for all the things he had seen
He walked off that plane proudly, ready to kiss the soil
They spit in his face and jeered, as he thought about what he had toiled
His wife left him for another, as he served his country dear
She took that hope that kept him safe, and made him feel most near
But still he gave some of himself, though they tried to take that too
But when he stooped to kiss the ground; that hope left him anew
He lost himself in a bottle, and trust deserted him
He tried to clear his head, but could not find the way
He had no one to turn too, certainly not the VA
He felt alone and found a cell, the only way to cope
Would he give his life for county again, my guess is that it would be nope
We who stay safe in our homes, and live without a care
Never know the ramifications, of what they lose to dare
To feed the dream we were raised on, and taught back in the day
That thing that became known as, The American Way
He lives in solitude, he cries when he is alone
He asks for nothing, and gave all that he could
I wonder if we were asked to serve
If our answer would be, we would
Now he is but a shell, of that teen who went to fight
To save our freedoms for us, and to give us the right
To vote and walk on the street, safe from all strife
To live and love inside your homes, with children and a wife

(Photo courtesy of his son, Cliff Jr) 

(Photo courtesy of my sister Donna, given to her by Cliff Sr) 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Winter Angels

A friend of mine shared her experience with us recently about Angels. She had a real life Angel experience and I have too. Today I am going to share how my Angel protected me against the elements.
I used to work as a 3-11 pm Supervisor at The St Josephs Nursing Home. The shift ended at 11 PM but I was never out on time. I needed to make sure that the night was running smoothly before I left and sometimes it was 1 AM before I left to go home. Any other time it would be about a half hour or so to get home in winter, if the roads weren't icy and or snowing hard.
This particular night it was really cold, 10 above zero and I had made it to Heuvelton, 5 miles from home when my car started acting like the entire electrical system was going out. The lights on the dash panel kept flashing on and off and and I thought for sure it was going to die right on the spot, but I gave it some gas and sped through the village praying that I would make it home. I crested the hill and coasted to my turn off on East road and the car decided to give up the ghost, just as I turned onto my road.
It was 1:30 in the morning on a weeknight, and there were no streetlamps on my road. It was pitch black , except for a tiny sliver of a moon and it was brutally cold. I knew that I could not walk the 4 miles home in my thin Nursing uniform, even though I had a coat. I would surely freeze to death and I was kicking myself for not putting a blanket in the trunk, as I had said I would.
Hindsight is always 20/20 and I thought this might be the last mistake I would make in this inhospitable climate. I was really wishing I had a cell phone like my friend Janice, but I didn't. It would not have done me any good to try to walk the mile back into the village because when the village closed up, it closed up. No 24 hour supermarkets, no Walmarts nor coffee shops.
The prayer had started the minute my light panel had begun flickering and it continued for the next 10 minutes. No one came by and why would they? It was 2 o'clock in the morning and people were snug in their warm beds.
I sat in my car for a bit, then decided that I may as well walk out to the main street and pray that someone would be driving by this early in the morning, but not expecting anything. I walked out and saw the house at the top of the hill but I hated to wake anyone up. I was kind of surprised that I wasn't colder than I was and was really starting to think I could walk home.
I walked back to my car and just as I did, I saw lights coming down my road. I was shocked and the truck stopped when they saw me. It was a lady and she was on her way to work that morning and she had a cell phone. I called my husband and he said he would be right there. She stayed there with me and wanted me to get inside so I could warm up, but I declined. Something else was warming me up on the inside and I was barely cold.
We did not know each other but she lived at the other end of our road and we had already introduced ourselves when she said, " I don't normally go into work until 4, but I was awake and could not sleep, so decided to go on in." I felt a flood of warmth on my body when she said that. I knew that it was no accident that she had come to help me. She wanted to wait with me but I told her that my husband was only 5 minutes down the road and she left me with a thermos of coffee and went on her way.
Before her lights were gone, I saw another car coming down the main street. This was crazy. Cars were not out at this time of night. This was an elderly man and woman and they were coming from the hospital. His wife had not felt well earlier and they had gone to the Dr and were on their way back home. They stopped and asked , "could we take you home?" and I replied, " no, my husbands coming and he will be here any minute." They seemed reluctant to leave me also but I said to his wife that she better go on home and get to bed where it is warm. They insisted on leaving me a blanket and they went on down the road.
I watched their lights as they drove and before their lights disappeared, I could hear my husbands Van coming.
He arrived and we had decided to push the car off the road so no one would hit it in the dark, just in case anyone came by and then something hit me to try the car again so I did and it started, just barely. The lights would not come on but it was running and my husband jumped in his van and turned it around to provide light for me to see the road. I followed closely behind him and kept saying in my mind, a few more feet, a few more feet. We passed the forest, the most beautiful part of the drive where the trees were laden with white snow, we turned the corners and the few houses and trailers came into view. Ours was the 9th house on the road but it was 4 miles in. With each 100 feet that we drove, I just knew my car was going to die but it didn't, not until I pulled into my driveway.
That was the longest half hour I had spent in some time and I had spent it in the elements and I was not overly cold.
No one can tell me that God did not send that lady to work early, or that elderly couple to give me a blanket or that my husband would hear the phone or that his hand was not in my making it home, without lights.
I had so much to be thankful for that night and many times since. It could have gone so differently and someone may have discovered me the next morning 5 or 6 hours later, frozen in my car, but not that night......
I love each of you very much and pray that when you need an Angel, one will appear... Love always, Kimmee