Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Journal of a Living Lady #301

Nancy White Kelly

The tiny pink and blue shopping cart sits idle. I am observing it from the den recliner where I am pasted with inertia. My weary eyes catch a green triangular blob wedged under the settee in the corner. It belongs in the yellow tub for teaching shapes. Somehow it escaped clean up time.

The house is so quiet I hear the murmur of lawn mowers in the distance. This is a far cry from the last two days.

Charlie and Tori left to go back home after church yesterday. Following lunch at a nearby restaurant, I couldn’t help but smile. A very few years ago they were starry-eyed college students. This day Charlie was standing outside the family van, hunched over the seat of the driver’s side. He was struggling to put a fresh diaper on Micah, our two-year-old grandson. Tori was standing on the passenger side attempting to diaper two-month old Noah. What a difference five-years of marriage makes.

The little family came Friday afternoon and the whirl-wind began. It was as if our old house groaned.

“Again!” said the screen door. “They were just here Christmas. Guess I am going to be swinging big time. Hinges, get ready.”

The guest bath tub chimed in: “It is out of retirement for me. Here comes the yellow duckies and maybe even bubbles.

The waste cans became diaper disposals. The kitchen counter burgeoned with infant bottles, formula, fever drops, and other myriad items necessary to keep little children fed and comfortable. The den couch runneth over with diaper bags, child seats and enough toys for an army of little boys. It turned out that Micah much preferred the outdoors. Our big green yard, with its flowers, rocks and flitting honey bees, fascinated him. And so it was. For about 72 hours Buddy and I participated in parenting again.

Teas from the Heart ministries invited Tori to a special tea for new mothers. It was a treat and welcome respite from her non-stop days. She connected with other young women losing sleep and juggling household tasks between baby naps.

On the way back from the tea, Tori and I stopped by the home of the Browns who are dear friends. They presented our grateful daughter-in-law with a hand-made ABC book, originally intended for grandchildren that they themselves never had. Little Noah was born on April 9th, the exact birthday of Mrs. Brown. This petite, white haired lady beamed with joy at finally finding a home that she considered worthy of the hand-stitched booklet.

It is Monday. I must resume life now. My usual Sunday nap turned into a nine-hour coma. I feel like I have been on a Saturday night binge. Actually, I’ve never been on a binge on any night, but it must feel something like this.

For those who responded to my survey in the last column, the volume of calls, emails, and cards were heart-warming. Votes to continue Journal of a Living Lady came from as far as Canada and even South Africa. Apparently I have reader friends that I never knew existed. The rewards of writing are often not measured in money.

And, the Ye Old Coin Shop? It is coming along. Hopefully we will have our grand opening on August 4th.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Journal of a Living Lady #300

Nancy White Kelly

Count to three-hundred. That is the number of this Journal of a Living Lady. That doesn’t include the fifty or more computer-related columns written in the mid- nineties.

Journal of a Living Lady started out as Journal of a Dying Lady. I was in the terminal stages of cancer. The Sentinel publisher, who was and is a personal friend, discussed over lunch the intriguing idea of playing out this cancer journey publicly. No whining, just realistic dialogue about what it is like to finish life from a first-hand perspective. Though there have been a few touch and go episodes that brought in the family, obviously I didn’t die as expected. Miracles happen.

This column was published weekly for several years. Then it became bi-weekly as the events of my life seemed, at least to me, rather mundane. You have read about weddings, babies, random encounters, as well as the on-going battle with cancer.
An unexpected notoriety occurred, especially after appearing on the Oprah show and being photographed with Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer.

Then there was the book containing early columns compiled from this Journal of a Living Lady. Most often it is given as a gift to someone needing a spiritual lift or a bit of humor while battling serious disease themselves. (The book is available at most Sentinel offices, on-line at, at Ingles in Blairsville, and several bookstores.)

It has been my long-time plan to stop writing this column after number 300. Buddy and I are in the process of remodeling a cabin beside our home in Young Harris. We will be opening the Ye Old Coin Shop in a few weeks. I will be buying and selling old coins, paper money, silver and gold bullion as well as numismatic supplies. Buddy, no doubt, will be entertaining, and distracting, customers with hangar flying and chicken stories.

For those who have no interest in coin collecting, we will carry a few interesting odds and ends, including glass paperweights and war memorabilia. After the coin shop is well established, we may expand to include an eBay consignment shop.

Why would a 75-year-old man and a stage-four cancer patient start a new business at this point in our life? We are frequently asked this. Let me explain. This is more information that you probably need to know, but it relates to whether I should continue Journal of a Living Lady. To write or not to write. That is the final question.

Buddy worked for Eastern Airlines which is now defunct. When he began retirement in 1994, we no longer had company-subsidized health insurance. Those unplanned high insurance premiums made a huge dent in our finances.

Years ago we made a commitment to Charlie to pay his way through college if he did his part by being a good student. He was. We never borrowed a dime and Charlie began his career of teaching without any odious student loans.

A steady check, which has been a major source of our modest income, is ending soon. Our plan A is to off-set that income with the coin shop. Though I have the numismatic knowledge and credentials, Buddy is the necessary brawn. He has contributed many hours of sweat equity to make Plan A happen. Believe me, he has high hopes. Plan B is for him to stand on the corner with a “Will work for food” sign.

This is a personal fleece to the readers of this column. Will you care to read about our new adventure? If so, please email or call. (706-379-1488). I am not looking for a pat on the back, just affirmation that this column has continual hopes of being worthwhile to you. Regardless of the answer, it has been a wonderful journey.