The Search

Of everything
There is so much more than a name
There is so much more than an age
There is so much more than what you see
There is so much more beyond me


Friday, January 30, 2009

Strings

String holds my “coverings” together, and there were always spools of every color around when I was little, as Mom made all of my clothes until I started high school on her old sewing machine……

I keep string in my little sewing cabinet for repairs, and I also keep a sturdier string in the kitchen for tying up meats, packages, etc….

String comes in all sizes of course and is used for keeping many things together, fiber optics, medical wires thinner than a human hair, all the way up to enormous cables made from millions of strings of metal used to suspend bridges and to connect the world….there are also the kinds of strings you can’t see or touch at all that holds our hearts together.

Another type of string is cat gut, used for eons in most musical instruments.

When my Mother was 7 years old, which would have been in about 1922, she came down with polio. She was very sick for several months, but unlike millions of others whose lungs were paralyzed, her legs seemed to be the only thing affected. My grandmother told of the long nights she would set and rub lineament on her and spent many hours massaging. One day my granddad attended a sale where he purchased an old pump organ and brought it home with him. Like any youngster would act, my Mom just could not leave it alone and was soon spending hours on it teaching herself to play. Having to pump it in order to get any sound to come out of it, it was wonderful exercise for her little sick legs and after time, it proved to be her savior. She never read a note, but It wasn’t long before she would hear a song on the old radio that my Granddad built, then she would march over to the organ, set down and play it. She was born with an “ear” for music. She also played the “fiddle”, and I used to think it was strange that some people called them violin’s.

For as long as I can remember, always-present in our house was an upright piano. The one we had all the time I was living at home was a massive piece of furniture, and Mom was most proud of its “solid brass harp”, it had a wondrous sound.
Mom played the piano at Church for years which, when they found out she could play, gave her an acceptance in the rural community even if she was oil field trash…

Also, for a year or so, probably when I was about 6, in order to supplement the household income, Mom played in a honky tonk band. Usually twice a month on Saturday night we’d leave the house around 7:00 and drive to one of 3 or 4 other small towns within a 20-mile range, go to the American Legion or VFW to spend the evening. My sis and I and Dad always went with her. Yes, believe it or not, in those days, kids were allowed in dance halls and no one took a second look. Sometimes, my sis and I would go to the movies, and Dad would come and pick us up and take us back to the saloon. Many hours was spent setting on the piano bench beside Mom. When I tired of that, I could bed down on some coats on the corner of the stage, or go out to the car and sleep. It was always my job when we first got there to tape the fingers of the base player. He carried a big roll of old white adhesive tape in his pocket and before every session, he’d have me wrap his three middle “slappin” fingers with the tape….. If this was not done, they would be bloody stumps by the end of the night. His name was “Moon”. If he happened to have a few penny’s in his pocket when I got them wrapped, I’d get paid……so that was really my first job. “Cotton” played the electric guitar, and sometimes I’d get to play a key for him while he tuned. They made a recording one time and unbeknownst to anyone, the electric cord used to plug into his old amp was laying under Cotton’s foot and all the way thru you could hear the tapping of his foot.

Dad would get paid extra some nights to be the bouncer in some of those clubs…. I also remember standing on Dad’s feet and dancing with him across the dance floor.

Mom never really liked playing in the clubs, and that’s why it didn’t last long, she said the worst part was that no one really appreciated the music! You’d set up there and play your heart out all night long, and the largest percentage of the crowd was drunk and didn’t know a good band from a bad one. She turned down a lot of invitations to play professionally, but she loved doing it for anyone who just loved to listen and got honest enjoyment out of it.

After she quit the band, my most wonderful memories were of the “jam sessions” at home….. Company would come over or we’d be invited to another musician’s house nearly every weekend and it wasn’t long before someone would walk by the piano, pick up an instrument, tighten the strings, hum a tune, and the party was on…… They used to love it when Mom would play “Del Woods” version of “Down Yonder”……No one could do it like Del, but she played a close second.

Through my life I’ve know a lot of musicians…..some good, some really good, and some pretty bad.. It didn’t take long to hear about anyone who moved to town that could sing or play an instrument, word got around fast and they would end up being regular visitors. They were all usually pretty good people and once in awhile we’d meet some real characters.

Sad to say I did not inherit my Mother’s talent for playing music. Oh, I can pick out a melody on the piano, and I still mess around with her old fiddle now and then, but a musician I’m not except in my love of music. During the years I took lessons, she would get the fiddle out and accompany me, It was always so neat when she would set down on the bench and start to play then have me guess the name of the song….. About 2 months before she passed away she got out a little recorder and set one afternoon at the piano just playing some of her old favorites……I do still have and cherish that recording.

We are for sure tied to our past with strings of all kinds, and If you’ve ever heard someone strike a B flat, (my favorite key), or “hit a lick”, or do a “turn around” or play a “minor in the middle”, you will feel the vibes like I do that can literally send a warmth through your body that can be compared to nothing else.

I love music of all kinds, jazz, pop, blues, classical, gospel, and of course I was a teenager with Elvis in the 50’s, but nothing can compare to the old time foot stompin tunes I grew up with. Old country music is still my favorite. I’ll take some “honkin hank” any time over bach. ☺ Hubby and I love to dance and can cut a mean jitterbug, but it’s Bob Wills swing that I first fell in love with. I can close my eyes and hear “Take it away Leon” on “Panhandle Rag” and not miss a beat.

Instead of "heavenly harps", I am sure my guardian angels tickle the ivory’s, fan the fiddle or play the steel guitar.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Real Mama Hen

Mama Hen





The pictures of Mama Hen are not of some rare geological specimen, it not a collection of specific minerals with long fancy names, but she is “my favorite rock”, and one of my closest friends.

Rocks have always been dear to my heart and a part of me. As told in an earlier story, as a kid I had a favorite rock I used to set on down beside the creek. When I found my first arrowhead in the pasture across from the house I was thrilled. I have collected rocks most of my life, and still have the first fossil I ever found. Later, when I discovered the beauty that rocks, (any rock) lends to our world, I also found companionship with those who wanted to come home with me. You just know when a particular rock wants to come and live with you, I have left many rocks lay where they were. There has to be a connection between the two of you, and you usually know immediately.

I do not claim any fame to being a gemologist, or a geologist, but instead I am just a rock lover….. Rocks are a symbol to me of strength, while their beauty is just frosting on the cake.

I found Mama Hen back in the early 80’s on a trip to the mountains. We had taken a back gravel road, narrow, and steep, from Keystone over to Montezuma when we pulled off the side of the road to just get out and wander the hills. I had climbed about half way up the side of the mountain when I seen the glistening tip of her head and back. Half buried in the dirt, I squatted down beside her to touch her beautiful coat. Scraping away the soil beneath her and finding her unattached to any other formation, I gently lifted her out…(all 95 pounds of her)… and right away she ask to go home with me. She was too heavy for me to pick up and maneuver down the mountainside while climbing down myself, so I turned her on her side and rolled her most of the way down the mountain, then Jim helped me lift her in the back of the jeep.

Those of you who are not “rock lovers” probably will not understand the relationship that is shared between humans and rocks. Rocks do talk, and rocks do listen. Years before “worry stones” were popular, I carried pebbles in my pockets. Crystals and plain old solid rocks hold many healing energies.

Walking with my head down when I’m out and about is just the way it is. Walking up to someone’s front door, down a driveway, out in nature, on the beaches, and in many parts of the world, my eyes are always looking for that special rock I may need or that needs me. I have rocks I’ve collected from every state and country we have traveled to.

Mama Hen was so named because of her unique shape. Viewing her from the perfect angle, she looks just like one of the big old laying hens that used to set in my grandparents chicken coop on the laying beds. She is there ready to visit any time I walk past her.

For many years now she had been the guardian of the back gate, placed thusly to be just enough of a detriment to any unwelcome visitor who does not know she’s there and who may try to enter. Each time I go outside she is there to greet me, never changing, and always ready for whatever subject I may want to discuss. Not only does she have the job as gatekeeper, she is a beautiful decoration to our yard, and always garners comments from folks who are invited in with a warning to step over or around her. She is a conglomerate of many minerals, crystals and solid quartz, mica, and always sends a sparkle out to attract attention even on the darkest of days.

Following my heart attack, I started my journey back with short walks around the house… Every time I went outside, there set Mama Hen. I had probably made three rounds when one afternoon I walked over to her and just set down on the ground beside her. She commented that she wondered when I was going to stop and talk, that she had been worried about me. In turn, I rubbed my hand against her rough, beautiful body and ask how she was doing, and how she stayed so solid thru everything she goes through. Sometimes I have seen her nearly covered in leaves as they’ve blown around her from the fall trees shedding. She has been buried in snow many times, she withstands the heat from the beating sun in the summer and the onslaught of bugs and water sprinklers in the Springtime, never losing or moving from her special position in our lives.

Her answer to me was that she came to be the way she is from the formation of millions of tiny particles coming together over millions of years of time. She reminded me that strength cannot and should not be hurried. I needed to hear that, it was a calm reassuring reminder that soothed my worries and led the way to my accepting the journey of getting well, not just being well.

Along the way, I will introduce you to some of my other rocks. Some I’ve bought at rock shops, most I’ve found, and many that I love. I literally have tons of rocks in our yard…. And through the years every time we have moved and changed locations, my rocks have came with us. I also have many rocks inside my house, I have bowls full setting on the coffee and side tables to run your hands through when you walk by or are just setting here. I have decorative rocks setting on the floor in almost every room of the house, rocks on the fireplace mantle, and many of them setting around on various pieces of furniture. Each one has a story to tell and each one is there if you want to share your story with them.

Everyone needs a Mama Hen, but if you don’t have your own you’re more than welcome to log in, look at her or some of the others whose pictures I’ll be posting in the future, and say hello to at any time. They love to listen and if the connection is right, they will talk back.

Monday, January 12, 2009

"Bites that Bind"

Hello world, (Again)… Though it’s only been a week, there has been much happen since I last posted.
Just when I thought I had the world by the tail and was ready to go out and conquer mount Everest, I rushed out to do warm ups for the trek up the mountain, and made it 5 times around the outside of the house and back, two days in a row, only to be knocked back on my butt.

Through all of this I could not get it thru my thick (and sick) head why I wasn’t like I used to be! To “push through” is all I’ve ever known and I think most of us are like that.

Not having the energy to move much else, I put my fingers to work and started doing “thank you” notes to friends and family who had sent flowers, brought in food for the family, did errands, and sent prayers and cards. I sent them to medical personnel who handled me with compassion & dedication, the helicopter guys, and even to my immediate family who “directed the show” and has been at my side through all of it. It was an emotionally draining task that needed to be done, that I wanted to do, and I did finally wade my way through them all even tho words do fail me and seem very inadequate.

I have finished now except, this thank you to my “cyber buddies”. “gegabites” that bind, people I have never met face to face before, strangers really. Most of you I met through the WM cancer board on the internet……Heidi, Sylvia, Heather, Melissa, Lori, Wendy, your words of encouragement and prayers have meant so much to me. I need to tell you how much you mean to me. Not only were you there to lend strength when I found out I had cancer, you’ve been there to encourage me thru this heart attack stuff. “Out there” has a whole new meaning since the internet was invented. Out there is only a “heart beat” away, as is friendship. Girlfriends, you more than rock, you rule! ☺

And a special thank you must be given to a couple of guys who I also met on that board.……Ed and Mark, each of them very unique in their own way. They have been through it. They have both been through enormous rehabilitation processes. They have both been through watching their bodies be attacked and they have had both had to rebuild and still work hard to continue rebuilding. They are both very stubborn and ornery, and caring, and they more than touched my heart. They understood like no one else understood. Because of their sincerity, they have threatened to come and set on me to keep me down, kick my butt, and torture me….they have lectured me on my impatience, they have yelled at me and cussed me out, they have sent tips for slowly coming back the proper way, both physically and mentally, they have cautioned me, they have instructed me, they have listened to me whine, they understood when I couldn’t share my frustrations with anyone else, they’ve helped me count the days, they have given me mind and body and spirit exercises, and they constantly have pointed out to me that I am a big pain in the ass but they have never stopped encouraging me. To Ed and Mark, “thank you”. I’m trying really hard to follow orders, and you know how hard that is, but I am trying. An even bigger thank you to their families for sharing them with me……Your loves have been my saviors.

I think this is all a part of my on-going recovery….. I am rejoining the world, albeit not as fast as I would like, but I am getting there nevertheless, and thanking everyone who has played a part in that, is part of it. I now know I cannot do it alone.

To all of you “out there”, you are an important part of my life. There is so much more I want to say but just can’t right now. We’ve never met in person, I don’t even have addresses to send you snail mail notes…..our “bites that bind” are in cyber space, but they are there and there are more of them than you can count. Bless you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Hello World!

Wow! Finally I feel like posting an update. Today I figured out is 2 weeks, that is 14 days since I had a major heart attack. Week one was spent fighting for my life, the next week has been one of returning to and adjusting to that life. One being almost as equally difficult as the other.

It also finds Christmas over for another year. Our family was able to get together here at the house on Sunday for our “belated” celebration. The kids brought a lot of food over for a wonderful meal together and we were finally able to exchange our gifts, it was a joyous day. Monday was spent recuperating, as even though I didn’t do anything, (everyone else did all the work) I am still a little weak and it was exhausting just from the talking and the fun I had.

Which brings me to this morning……. Status report: Worst problem is still the irritation and swelling of my airways & vocal cords from being on the ventilator for so long which in turn prevents me from talking normal…… If I use my voice at all it’s still a strain on it….so, as much as I would love to visit on the phone with so many of you, I just can’t right now. There is improvement every day though, so I’m hoping another week and I will be getting closer to returning to normal.

My strength is also returning, but not there yet. I have been walking, though I cannot use the word regularly yet. When I first got home I could barely make it from the car to the house. I am now able to take short walks around the house several times a day.

The bruising just from all the handling, wires, needles, tubes, emergency care etc. are beginning to clear up and the soreness is lessening.

I am anxious to see my doctor on the 14th, I have a lot of questions to ask him, and I’m really looking forward to moving ahead on into rehab with certain goals to meet.

Thanks to a couple of drill sergeants, I am getting advice on learning to “listen to my body”, take it easy on myself for awhile and allow me time to adjust to a new way of life. Not easy, but I’m going to follow orders and do as I’m told.

As with everything, there is so much more to say but I really don’t want to turn my blog into a heart attack site, so I promise not to let it over take my posts. As I gain strength and continue to improve, I will let you know but there is so much more to post about too, I just can’t wait until I’m strong enough to be on here for longer periods. For now, just know that I’m doing ok and continuing to improve……albeit slowly.

Life with oxygen is like a whole other world! I really can't wait to start living life again because it's going to be so different to do it feeling good. Hello World, I'm on my way!