Snakes Alive!

We haven’t had rain in six weeks, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when the black racer which I was trying to chase off my pool deck with a gentle spray from my hose seemed to welcome the shower. This is the second snake in a week we’ve had stop in for a visit.

I’ve been wanting to lead a more active lifestyle, but snake wrangling was not what I had in mind. More along my speed is my offer of assistance to a momma cardinal who is nesting just outside of our pool deck. I have chased snakes away from the area, and water and stocked birdfeeders are always in our yard. This is the first time in my life I have been up close and personal with a nest; and I am rather protective, which is why I propped open the rear door of the screen enclosure to usher the aforementioned black racer to an area away from the “nursery.”

I started out referring to the snake as “he” (probably because our last four pets were males), but I’m beginning to have my doubts. She seemed reluctant to leave, so I was forced to get the broom and gently offer two incentives for departure. It was ridiculous how much resistance I got from her! It was an effort to get her past each panel of screening. Several times she coiled up and did her best impression of a cobra.

I was not deterred. I was also full-on aerobic by the time the thoughts crept into my head as to why on earth wouldn’t she want to be out of the pool screen area as much as I wanted her out! I guessed she was stubborn or stupid.

Fifteen long minutes later, she finally exited. I watched her slither along the edge of the outside of the pool screen as I reached out and closed the door behind her. She stayed right up against it all the way to the corner, made a quick right turn, continued along the screen to the back of the house, and reentered the pool enclosure.

What the what! I was sweaty and tired. She just seemed to be getting started. There was no way that I was going to play this game! And that was the point when it hit me that I might be dealing with a female. Maybe even a mama. That was also the point where I decided that Bob should meet her.

The good news here is that we had discovered the entry point. Even better, it was on the opposite side of the house from my precious cardinal nest. But of concern was the fact that she had almost disappeared in our bed of river rocks. At first, I could barely see her; then she disappeared altogether. I knew she was there though, but why was she there? Why wouldn’t she want to be outside? Was she protecting something? Should I keep her in the pool deck to protect the cardinal eggs?

The answers to these questions are:

  • I don’t know.
  • I don’t know.
  • I don’t know.
  • Bob will think I lost my mind.

Of course, by the time Bob returned from work she was nowhere to be seen. There are lots of awesome hiding places for a snake on our pool deck. Bob checked them all and then he blocked the entry point that she used to get back in. Hopefully, she’s not trapped inside now. If she is just good at hiding, she has to come out sometime! Worst case scenario, I’ll know in 43-65 days if what she’s hiding is a nest of snake eggs.

Living in Florida has changed me. There was a time when I would have moved rather than defend my home against a snake or kill a palmetto bug or get close to a frog. Well, I still have to grow into that frog thing. I know it seems unlikely, but they really do act like they are out to get me.

As far as that snake goes, I don’t think she’s out there. Really, I don’t. Nope, she’s not there. I’m sure of it.

Graduation

There comes a time in every kid’s life when their parents embarrass them. (Many times would be more accurate.) But there are also times when that kid is ready for it, craving it, even welcoming hearing their name shouted by those who love them. Graduations are at the top of those occasions.

Mia

There was a discussion as to how our family would respond when our granddaughter Mia crossed the stage to receive her high school diploma. Would we whoop and holler? Might that embarrass her; was that our goal? Would there be instructions to save applause until after the last graduate? Would we follow those instructions? (Absolutely not!)

Mia’s was 33rd from the last name called on that sunny May morning. Having been an Anderson for over 45 years, I’ve grown accustomed to having our names called early, but our daughter Dena married a man that took her to the back of the alphabet. Talk about adjustments!

The “A” part of the alphabet was almost complete when the man in front of me jumped up and cheered. That sure looked like a proud papa! I patted him on the shoulder and congratulated him. Then I joked, “Are you going to duck out now?”

“Nope,” he replied. “That’s not my kid. I was just helping the couple in front of me.”

I didn’t even hear the couple in front of him.

Somewhere in the “J’s” he again cheered loudly. The lady and her son to our right gave a nice round of applause at the same time.

I asked, “Is that one yours?”

“Nope. Just adding support,” he said as he looked to my right.

“Who is yours?”

“Mine is Jenna in the “M” section. And I’m not her dad. I’m her uncle. I’ve been to all my nieces’ and nephews’ graduations.”

His sister looked at us and smiled. I’m not sure if she was prouder of Jenna or of her brother, who by now had a following of his own.

Jenna’s uncle

We joined them in shouting for Jenna M, and Jenna’s uncle helped us in our celebration as Mia crossed the stage. Mia heard us and there was no embarrassment, just a feeling of being loved and supported.

There was such a sense of community, mutual support, and hope as we sat on those bleachers watching the next generation. I am confident that Mia has a bright future in store for her with a lot of surprises along the way. She trusts in God, and that is the best way to walk into her future. We are so proud of her!

Bob and I with Mia – May 29, 2021

Generation Consternation

The labeling of generations has taken an ugly turn. I’ll admit to shaking my head at this one. It’s just plain wrong. What could be sadder or more confusing than the term: geriatric millennial.

For the record, I am comfortable with these two generational names:

The Greatest Generation

Baby Boomers

I think dubbing the post-WWII/Great Depression era folks The Greatest Generation is well-deserved. These people fought for our freedoms against unimaginable evils and made it through the darkest economic time imaginable. It’s a generation of heroes. And that generation of heroes celebrated a lot, which led to the baby boom.

I am a baby boomer. I don’t mind it if someone says, “Ok, boomer.” Yes, I know it’s mocking, but no, I don’t care. That’s one of the great things about getting older!

Generations X, Y, and Z confuse me. Especially Gen Y, who are also called Millennials. Why does Gen Y have two names? What name will be given for the generation after Gen Z?

I’m sure my questions have answers, but I don’t care to discover them. My focus today is on the newly named sub-group of Millennials – “Geriatric Millennials.” I learned about this on the local morning news. The anchors were flummoxed at why this name would be used. After much semi-thorough research, I have learned the following: This group is a microgeneration born in the early 80s. They have experienced both analog and digital forms of communication. (On another note, they seem to like microbreweries, but that may be a cross-generational thing. I digress.)

Should this anomaly warrant such an insulting moniker? My study group of people this age don’t like being called Millennials. Assuming they know what the word means, they must be rolling their eyes! Geriatric refers to old people, especially regarding healthcare or living arrangements. There is an entire specialty of medicine with this name. It is for older adults – adults who don’t particularly like the word elderly, pretty much hate being labeled geriatric, and still don’t know what a Millennial is.

Geriatrics starts around 65 for some, but for most the age is closer to 80. Do geriatric millennials know this? Do they care? Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?

Maybe they are the same people who are taking fashion to a new low at Target?

Thank goodness it’s only available for a limited time!

Note: Research study groups referred to in this post are largely exaggerated and manipulated to fit my personal views. Except for the Target fashions. Nobody should contest that finding.

Stamps of Approval

Tuesday was May the 4th, which is a nostalgic day for me. I miss the days of Star Wars frenzied kids fighting it out with light sabers and building death stars out of Legos. I miss stepping on Star Wars Micro-Machines hidden in the carpet. Well, probably not that, but you know what I mean. I miss my kids and grandkids.

I loved the time of my life when watching them play and seeing the delight on their faces as they watch a story that happened “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” was part of my day-to-day. I longed to see them and say, “May the 4th be with you!”

As days go, this one wasn’t totally uneventful. I did go to the Post Office. Everyone knows a trip to the Post Office is right up there with seeing a Star Wars movie with your grandsons. As I waited in line in that impersonal, government building, I read the rolling advertisements on the screen at the end of the counter.

Did they just tell me to ask about the Stamp of the Day?

Charles greeted me with a warm smile. I first met Charles at the Lockhart, Florida, Post Office back in the late 80s. I was a new Tupperware Lady and back then we mailed out a lot of party invitations. Six years ago, I was pleasantly surprised to see his cheerful face at, what is now, my local PO.

Charles told me that they do indeed have a stamp of the day. “Where are those May the 4th stamps,” he muttered to himself as he rifled through the drawer.

My heart skipped a beat. “May the 4th be with you, Charles! You have Star Wars stamps? You just made my day!”

The Post Office really does deliver! He plopped a fresh sheet of forever stamps on the counter and to my delight 20 droids were looking up at me. I would say the possibility of successfully finding a way to celebrate May the 4th at the Post Office is approximately three-thousand, seven-hundred and twenty to one! Thank the Maker (to borrow a quote from good-old C3PO)!

Bob Solves a Problem

There is nothing that blinds me to the empty calories in candy like the day after Easter. It’s the lure of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs on discount. Add to that the knowledge that they are going away for another year, and I always seem to find a reason to go to Walgreens.

I picked up the last two bags from the ravaged shelves and went home with my bounty. I was happy. Bob was happy. Sometimes it takes so little.

Well, it wasn’t long before our bounty turned skimpy and, wouldn’t you know it, I needed to go to the store for… something or another. Sadly, the shelves were bare.

There is a CVS in spitting distance from nearly every Walgreens, so I meandered over. I was too late. Some other desperate, I mean deal-hunting, people had confiscated everything but the jelly bird eggs. When did they stop being jellybeans? I digress.

The yellow and orange crinkly paper lining on this story is that it was date night. I knew we would be venturing a small distance to go to dinner. I could approximate at least four drugstores on our route. Bob has learned not to interfere with a woman possessed with finding chocolate and peanut butter, so we stopped and found success!

Success was one bag and I had to move some stuff to find that. I grabbed it up and headed home with a smile on my face. This time the smile was not for me. It was for my grandchildren. Most of my grandkids live out of state and I was excited to bring this special treat to our summer vacation with them. I had a little problem because the bag contained 14 eggs. Bob and I have eight grandchildren. I wanted to find another bag, but I knew that was a fool’s errand.

I could give each child one egg and give one egg to each of our children, but I’d still come up short. The simplest solution seemed to be, save eight eggs for the kids, and eat the rest. But I was hopeful, so I told Bob I’d throw the eggs in the garage freezer and figure it out later.

Two days later I opened the freezer and discovered an open bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs! I asked Bob if he remembered anything about our grandchildren, whom we love, and how I wanted to give the eggs to them. Did he remember how happy they would be to get Reese’s Eggs in the summertime? Could he picture their sweet faces and hear the surprise in their voices?

He was pretty fuzzy on that. All he remembered was – there are Reese’s Eggs in the freezer. I have to thank Bob for being the amazing problem solver that he is. He’s definitely gifted! He saved me from roaming around town looking for more Reese’s Eggs. He also knows I don’t really like dealing with numbers, so he saved me the time of dividing something that was not divisible by eight. He’s awesome.

As I peered into the freezer, staring in disbelief at that open bag, I realized something. An open bag is an eaten bag, so Happy Easter to Bob and me. Please don’t tell the grandkids.

Continuing in our Puzzlement*

*Just for fun: How many of the “banished” words of 2020 can you find in this post?

It’s been over a year since our nation took two weeks to try to level the curve regarding COVID. In all fairness, nobody I know believed the “two weeks” thing, but we were willing to see if we could “get ahead” of it. After all, those were uncertain times.

So, out of an abundance of caution, during these trying times, while adjusting to the new normal and starting to un-social distance ourselves from those we love, I’m offering a snapshot of my household, which consists of my husband, my mom, and myself. We have thankfully been spared of Rona and every other kind of malady which usually manifests itself over the course of a year. No colds, no flu, no nothing. Perhaps one of the positive things that has come out of this past year is that we now stay home when we’re sick. We have discovered that even though we think we are essential and perhaps even if some entity has pronounced us to be essential workers, we really are not. It’s good to stay home when you’re unwell.

As for supplies – I have a good supply of sanitizing wipes and cleaning supplies. We have a dozen rolls of paper towels on hand and a good 40 rolls of toilet paper. This number is not inflated by hoarding due to shortages. It’s a result of shopping at Costco.

We continue to ponder and puzzle over so much rhetoric and how easy it is to spread fear. We ponder how we could ever have thought of any days as certain days when all our days are in God’s hands and we know not what they will bring, but we trust in him. Uncertain times have always been and will continue to be, even though we thought of them as fairly certain. One never knows! Life is an adventure, after all, and we don’t control as much as we like to think we do.

Bob and I continue to do jigsaw puzzles as we consider it relaxing. When I last reported about our plethora of puzzles back in July, we had no idea how many we would do during the pandemic. The number was uncertain, but I don’t need to live with that kind of uncertainty. This morning I did some ciphering regarding the past 12 months of completed puzzles. Here’s my report:

40 – the number of puzzles we completed

7 – the number of 1000 piecers

1 – extremely unique and challenging Mystic Maze puzzle

8 – the number of Liberty puzzles (piece number doesn’t matter as much on these difficult, beautiful puzzles)

19,989 – number of pieces we put together

One of our favorites

We will continue to do puzzles until our eyesight and/or backs give out. It’s our new normal, and remember, we’re all in this together.

Our stack of puzzles which we received at Christmas. I think our family knows us pretty well!

A Lot Has Happened in Ten Years

This week I’m celebrating ten years of blogging! Ten years! That’s kind of a big deal for me. Of course, there are other things I have kept up for ten years.

  1. Marriage for 45.5 years
  2. Been in the same church for 27 years
  3. The same hairdresser for 25 years
  4. Same writers’ group for 18 years
  5. Dieting for the last 45 years, well, more or less.

In 2011, I never dreamed I’d still be blogging in 2021. I didn’t think much about what the next ten years would bring when my friend Debi (of The Romantic Vineyard) sat down with me on my back porch and helped me set up everything.  Thanks, Debi! And thanks to all of you who stop by. I’ve “met” some of the most interesting and kind people as I share life on the lighter side.

Ten years has brought a lot of change in my life. My husband and I have three more grandchildren added to the family. Plus, we have another daughter-in-law.

Five years ago we moved to our present home from our home of 32 years – the home where we raised our four children. We had anticipated my parents moving in with us and knew a new configuration would be helpful. Seeing to that and getting a home with a screened-in pool off the back of the house was the only way I could manage moving from all those memories. (We had lived in Florida for way too long without a pool.) Mom has been with us for over three years and has a part of the house that’s all hers. It’s such a blessing!

Here’s something that I would not have thought about ten years ago: Going through a pandemic and the attempted vaccination of every adult on the globe. Even one year ago I’d never have thought about that as we scrambled for toilet paper and jigsaw puzzles. Nevertheless, here we are. Thankfully, it is a decision each of us can make for ourselves.

I made my decision somewhat hesitantly. I thought I’d have a little more time to think about it and come to a conclusion based on all of the myriad of facts which Facebook and the media provide, but then, out of the blue, they lowered the age of eligibility. I was forced to talk to real doctors.

Hopefully I won’t have to keep wearing a mask for much longer!

Well, I had my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine last week, and I’m giving it one thumb up. I’d give it two, but my left thumb is killing me (too strong a word?). I read about all the possible side effects, and I cannot find anyone who has experienced thumb problems. They do mention possible joint pain or swollen lymph nodes, but no mention of swollen fingers, particularly left thumbs. Somebody has to be first. I’m sure our crazy, changing weather or my pruning of the rose bushes had no bearing on my problem whatsoever (she said as she pulled giant thorns from her thumb).

For now, I’m avoiding shuffling cards, thumb wars, and hitchhiking. I’m sure I’ll be fine. Maybe when I get the second shot it will clear up. I’m just glad I can drive myself to get it since hitchhiking is no longer an option.

Firsts and Lasts (and a movie review to boot)

This week Bob and I ventured back to the local AMC theater. This was our first movie in over a year, (thank you, COVID.) Frankly, I have not missed going to the movies, but Bob really has. That is why I conceded to go to a movie called Chaos Walking starring Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley. It also featured David Oyelowo, whom I loved in A United Kingdom. (You should watch that one.)

This was the best choice available for us; but as we watched it, I felt like we chose the runt of the litter. Yes, it was a movie and was pretty clean, but it was Sci-Fi, which would be okay in a lot of movies, but I lost track of the sci-fi-edness of it fairly early on.

What was it that I hated about this movie? As I’ve thought about it, my dislike of this film has grown since we saw it on Monday night. That night I thought it was just “meh.” I gave it a C-. By Tuesday I dropped that to a D+, and now I’m having to wonder why I was so generous in the first place.

To quote IMDb, this movie is “A dystopian world where there are no women and all living creatures can hear each other’s thoughts in a stream of images, words, and sounds called Noise.”

I should have read that before going, but I focused on Daisy, whom I liked in Star Wars, and Tom was a good Spiderman, so I was open to giving it a try. One positive note, I will never again struggle with what dystopian means.

I asked Bob later – what made us want to see a movie about an imagined world full of fear where you can hear the noise in each other’s heads? Don’t we get enough of that on the news and social media?

He did agree, but I know deep down in my heart that it was worth it to him to sit and eat popcorn with me in a darkened theater while safely distant from the other four people who plopped down eleven bucks for the same experience.

SPOILER ALERT: By the second act of the movie, surprise, women were found not too far away. They were running the show in their community because you couldn’t hear what the women were thinking. Selective communication was a big plus. The men’s thoughts were shouted from them in an annoying din. They separated the living areas by gender because the ladies couldn’t stand the noise. I get that – I felt the same way from my seat in the theater.

This was the only thing suitable to talk about after the movie. The “noise” had gotten on my last nerve. Sometimes I can barely stand the noise in my own head much less watch and hear the noise of every male in this movie. I surmised that maybe the women’s thoughts weren’t heard because as a gender we can have more of an emotional base. I don’t know; and whatever the reason if they even had one, they never told us. They didn’t even hint at it. Worse still, we didn’t care.

You’ve been warned.

That was my first for the week. I likely won’t return to the theater until the next James Bond movie debuts.

I also had a last this week, which ties to my age, and that age also means I get to sign up for Medicare this year. I thought it was a reason to celebrate, and I suggested that to my gyn after completing my yearly exam, but she had a full afternoon ahead of her. Aren’t we supposed to celebrate the little things? Yes, we are! Can you guess what was my cause for celebration and why I thought this was the fitting way to celebrate? (Hint, I don’t think it’s lady-like to mention this in mixed company or on a format that would make my sons roll their eyes and say, “really, Mom!”) Cheers!

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We Make Our Plans, But God Orders our Steps

What fueled my impromptu visit to my favorite birding place last Sunday?

It began on Saturday. It was a lovely day, and we had no plans. We decided to stay home and enjoy the quiet. By late-afternoon, I was restless. I wished we had gone outside on a bike ride or a drive or anything! But it was too late in the day to begin.

Sunday morning I checked my Facebook page and read that roseate spoonbills were spotted at the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive (LAWD). These tall, pink/white birds with a spoon-shaped bill are typically found in marshes along the coasts, so that got my attention. Also at LAWD, thanks to some amazing and giving artists, there are painted rocks to be found. I have been trying to find one for years, so between the spoonbills and the thought of finding one of those illusive rocks, it could be a good day for a drive.

I thought about staying home. Bob left at noon to play golf. My mom didn’t feel like going on the drive with me. Did I really want to go alone? It was too late to find a friend and get there with enough time before it closed. These thoughts didn’t sway me, so I headed to Apopka.

The spoonbill-spotter reported that they were seen about a mile into the drive. I set my trip gauge.

I have done this drive many times, and I have never encountered such a long line of cars. Were they all searching for spoonbills? Unlikely.

I don’t mind driving slowly there. The speed limit is 10 mph. The slower you go, the more you see. But this was crazy. At the half-mile point, I entered a pull-out and parked. Excitement was building inside me – surely all this slow traffic was due to people photographing the spoonbills.

View from near the entrance

The one-way road is not really made for walkers, but there’s room. On each side of the elevated road is swamp land and marshes. This is a prime spot for water birds and marsh birds, and it goes on as far as the eye can see. It is also frequented by alligators, though not as much as farther down. With so many cars, I felt safe.

This big boy was enjoying the sunshine farther down the drive.

I walked a quarter mile and became convinced that these were new folks who were not accustomed to the idea of pull-outs to allow traffic to move along. At that point I was passing the slow-moving cars, so I turned around.

I felt like Forrest Gump when he had been running around the country. Do you remember? Suddenly he just stops and says he’s tired and thinks he’ll go home.

Me at Forrest Gump Point, Mexican Hat, Utah, 2019

I walked maybe a tenth of a mile when right in front of my eyes, a car moving towards me, in line with the traffic, caught my attention. The driver’s door opened, and a woman fell out and rolled on the dirt and gravel road. Her car was still moving! I barely had time to process this, but I ran the short distance and jumped into her moving car. It has been a while since I felt that kind of adrenaline rush.

There were elderly people inside and the woman in the front had attempted to grab the wheel and steer, but she would have been unable to get to the brake. I got the car in line, applied the brake, and put it in park. Someone asked me what I said to the people in the car and I really don’t remember. I wish I had said, “Hi, I’m Bonnie, your new driver.”

The poor woman who had fallen out was trying to get up and brush herself off. Thankfully, she was not hurt other than road rash and a few bruises including her ego. She was probably ten years my junior. We introduced ourselves. Debbie thanked me profusely and told me that I had saved her life. I assured her that I had not saved her life. I pointed to her car and said, “maybe theirs,” with a smile.

Before I left Debbie, we had a conversation. I was oblivious to the fact that we were holding up traffic, but I had to tell her that I believed that God had me at that place at that time. There were no other people walking along the road. I had gone to the drive with no prior planning. I had wanted to take my mom with me, but she wasn’t up to it. I never would have taken that walk if I weren’t by myself. Anything could have changed the timing, but the timing was perfect for me (or whoever God used) to be at that place at that exact time. I had to praise Him.

As I walked back to my vehicle, I experienced a parade of thumbs-up and accolades from the cars and trucks I passed. I have never been called a hero before and it felt weird.

I saw Debbie and her parents a few more times at pull-outs. It was her first time at LAWD, and she joked about having another birding mishap. She thought she had put the car in park before getting out to take a picture. The movement of the car had knocked her off her feet when she attempted to step out. I told her that she did a perfect tuck and roll.

I can’t tell you how humbled I was that God would place me in that place for Debbie’s benefit. He orders our steps. Sometimes we don’t realize it. Sometimes we do.

The heart of man plans his way,
    but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

The blessings God had in store for me were not over. I stopped at a pavilion to observe the alligators across the way, and there was a painted rock!

Taco Rock

Then I ventured down the drive and at one of my usual stops, I saw the most famous of the resident birds. Meet Crooked Neck. He is a great blue heron who apparently has recovered from a broken neck. He is often featured on the LAWD Facebook page and is somewhat of a celebrity. Yet, until Sunday I had never seen him. Thank you, Jesus!

Crooked Neck and the incoming paparazzi

On the last part of the drive out, I saw a raptor fly overhead and land in a tree. I pulled over and observed a beautiful bald eagle. I watched him for five minutes as he soared above me. Breathtaking!

There is a lot to behold out there! Things that make my heart sing and lift my spirits. Things that get me out of my own head and humble me. The God and Creator of all this cares for you and me. I’m thankful.

Seasons and Sneezins (or Issues with Tissues)

When Bob and I were first married back in 1975, our budget didn’t allow for frivolous items such as Kleenex or napkins. We bought toilet paper and paper towels, and they did double-duty, i.e. paper towels were used for napkins and toilet paper was used for Kleenex. Of course, never reused, especially after attending to the “duties” of life. (I thought I’d throw the word “duty” in there for my adult kids who still smile or chuckle when they hear the word. Confession: I do, too. Duty.)

Kleenex, like the word Xerox, is a brand name, which I was not aware of until I had to shop on my own and realized there was a generic version of tissues at a friendlier price. I have retrained myself to call them tissues out of respect to all the tissues who were miscalled Kleenex. That’s a lot to bear for a product. I’ve been called by my sisters’ names for my entire life, so I know how they feel.

Early on, I only bought tissues for “company.” Bob and I continued to unroll T.P. whenever our noses ran, but I would draw the line at getting a roll out for guests wearing short sleeves who happened to sneeze while they visited us. That, my friends, is what hospitality looks like.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

By the time we were raising our four children, I saw the wisdom of having real tissue boxes instead of the kids unrolling toilet paper every time they had colds. I was smart enough to dole them out as needed.

When I became a grandmother and the kids or grandkids got sick, I would send care packages consisting of Lysol, Gatorade and tissues, because I knew they would not own a box of tissues. They had to go through the toilet paper for Kleenex stage of their life like all of us do. By this season of my life I bought tissues from Costco, so I always had plenty.

Fast forward: Bob and I became empty nesters in 2015. We kept that title for about eight months before a parade of friends and family lived with us off and on culminating in my parents moving in back in 2017. Mom continues to live here.

We’ve been helping support our elderly parents for ten years, and we’ve learned a lot. One of the most important things is that you can never have enough tissues and it better be the good stuff. None of this sandpaper-rough one-ply garbage.

Mom told me she was running low on Kleenex (she doesn’t use the word tissues and that’s okay). I pulled the remaining three boxes from the linen closet and gave them to her. Before I handed them off, I said, “You can take the box from the kitchen if you want.”

She likes having a box there. That generation likes having a box everywhere. I’ve learned that this is part of their wisdom. They don’t move as quickly as we do, and a sneeze can surprise you. Nobody wants that.

Out of curiosity, I thought I’d take inventory of our boxes that are in use. Now I, too, have had my eyes opened to the wisdom of having tissues around. Not only for sneezes, but sad movies and books, bad news on the phone, watching the nightly news – all of these can have me reaching for a tissue.

Counting the boxes was one of those moments of self-assessment and contemplation. I have lived through so many different tissue seasons in my life. I’ve gone from zero boxes, to one or two, and now to ten open boxes of tissues. Ten!

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

What has happened to me, I asked myself. I must be either a hoarder or we’re a family of perpetually runny-nosed people. There is a box in each of our three bathrooms. (Since COVID, I don’t want people using our precious toilet paper for anything except its designated use.) Basically, any place where someone can sit or lie down in our house has a trusty box of tissues right there.

Is this the person I have become? A hoarder or one who lives in fear of runny noses or errant sneezes and panics over the thought of unpreparedness?

Or perhaps there is a third option. Maybe I’ve simply entered into a new tissue season – one that could involve having tissues up my sleeve at the ready for whatever the day may bring.

Nay. I refuse to go there. I will never be that woman. I may be what Southerners call a “seasoned” citizen and I am a magician’s daughter, but you will not find me pulling anything out of my sleeve no matter what the future may bring.

I don’t mind getting older, but thinking that I could be on the precipice of that time of my life where tissues have such elevated importance is enough to make me cry, but no worries, I have tissues right here beside me.