Thursday, January 18, 2007

Journal of a Living Lady #290

Nancy White Kelly

"The time has come," the Walrus said,"To talk of many things:Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--Of cabbages--and kings--And why the sea is boiling hot--And whether pigs have wings."

These lines are from Lewis Carroll’s, Through the Looking-Glass, published in 1872. The strange combination of words has remained glued to my brain since fourth grade. They served me well many times during high school and college when I needed an introductory paragraph for an essay.

While I know little about ships and even less about sealing wax, I do know about shoes. Most women do. I have a closet full of them, so many that Buddy jokes about my being kin to Imelda Marcos. She was the former First Lady of the Philippines who was renowned for her extensive shoe collection.

Yet, the poem that comes to mind today is more sentimental. Written in the same century by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, it begins, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

Shoes and love. An odd combination of the tangible and intangible, but pertinent to my week.

My favorite shoes are leather boots. They are short, black and have side zippers. They weren’t expensive, but fit well.

This winter I could not find them. I searched the house, every room, every closet, every corner. The boots were nowhere to be found.

I gave up. Buddy didn’t. For hours he went through every black plastic bag and box in the shop attic, not once but several times.

When I emerged from the office where I write and conduct my numismatic business, I was delighted to see one of the boots on the dining table. I clapped in glee and held out my hand for the other one. Buddy is such a tease. Unfortunately, there wasn’t another one.

How that lone boot got in the garage loft is an enigma to us both. I haven’t climbed the ladder to that attic in years. My arthritic knees hardly allow me to climb two steps. Other than returning the Christmas decorations, Buddy couldn’t recall any recent trips up there either.

Still one boot was of little good and I was disappointed. Buddy wouldn’t give up. He went through every closet in the house. On the third round, he found the match for the singular boot.

I was elated. I almost had my boots again. He wouldn’t let me have them back until he had polished them to a shine only found in the military. He proudly presented them to me, his queen, like a knight in shining armor which he is.

Those boots are symbolic of our relationship. How much does Buddy love me? Two boots worth and then some. How much do I love him? A kiss and a peck and a hug around the neck? Somehow that doesn’t cut it. Words can’t describe love. It just is.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Journal of a Living Lady #289

Nancy White Kelly

How can it be 2007 already? Just yesterday we were preparing for a new millennium. A lot of water has gone under the bridge in seven years.

In the last month of 2006, three notable people were buried. I have a personal note from one of them. No, it wasn’t from Saddam Hussein or James Brown. However, President Ford wrote me once. He was aware of my then precarious health and wished me well.

Maybe I should be sorry that he is dead. Honestly, I am not. He lived to be 93. That is a ripe ole age in my book. President Ford regularly attended church and spoke often of a relationship with God. His health had declined and it was time to cross the great divide. That time comes to all of us. The Bible says so plainly.

In high school, I memorized a portion of a poem written by William Cullen Bryan. It was entitled Thanatopolis. This is the last part.

“So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan which moves
To that mysterious realm where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged by his dungeon; but, sustain’d and soothed by an unfaltering trust…”

I liked that poem so well that I penned it in my then new Bible. Now the loose leather covers, with its dilapidated pages, reside in a sealed plastic bag among other memorabilia. My name that had been printed in gold is barely visible. Maybe one of my sons or grandsons will someday read the margin markings and notes in the back and be inspired.

This brings me to our best news of the New Year. We are going to be grandparents again. Charlie and Tori are expecting their second son in April. Micah will be two in February. Despite a tenuous start, he is doing fine and is an adorable specimen of the Kelly family. If I sound like a doting grandma, I am.

Lives end. New lives begin. It is the circle of life.