Friday, July 18, 2008

Journal of a Living Lady #326

Nancy White Kelly

It is summer time. For some of us, the living is easy. Buddy is busy tending to the garden which is coming in big time. We put up cucumbers and squash yesterday. The green beans will be ready for canning later this week.
I am discovering that being retired can be defined as being tired and tired again. Other than the over-due ironing, the house chores are once again getting accomplished in spite of necessary senior siestas.

Our grandsons, Micah and Noah, ages 3 and 1, came with Charlie and Tori for a visit this week. It is interesting to watch your off-spring assume the parenting role. Charlie received several of Buddy’s good qualities. Thankfully he has my seldom flappable personality. Buddy worries about everything. I worry about little.

Charlie doesn’t over-react to normal preschool-age behavior. When the boys occasionally push Tori’s buttons, Charlie gives welcome relief and restores calm. He’s a good daddy. Tori is a good mother. They are the typical American family of four.

Bobby, the son we adopted out of the foster system at the age of ten, is atypical. His wife Ginger is an MP serving in Iraq. Though he was formerly in the National Guard, an unexpected fluke kept him from joining the army at the same time Ginger signed. Bobby has assumed the role of Mr. Mom.
They have two children, Mackenzie, age 8, and Alex, age 5.

Being essentially a single parent is tough. Bobby is in officer’s training at Reidsville prison, one of the toughest penitentiaries in Georgia. Bobby relates stories regarding life inside prison that are chilling. Already he has broken a prisoner’s ribs in self-defense. For no apparent reason, the inmate attacked him while serving a meal tray through a small opening.

Bobby loves the new job, but struggles trying to juggle child care in the military town of Hinesville. He faces an hour drive each way and must make arrangements to get the children to childcare and race back to get them before late penalties apply. School starts soon. Bobby may be required to attend four weeks of training in a town that is too far to commute. Unfortunately his good neighbors are moving away, leaving him without back-up support.

Bobby may be faced with giving up the best job he’s ever had and revert to being solely Mr. Mom. We hope not. But he is not alone. There are millions of single parents fighting similar struggles daily with no extended family living close by.

Summer time and the reality is that living is not easy for many. We must simply face each new day with renewed energy and optimism. That is especially true for us in the greatest generation. I have biblical reasons to be hopeful, but secular sources also confirm the benefit of optimism.

An article in the November issue of General Psychiatry stated: "A predisposition toward optimism seems to provide a survival benefit in elderly subjects with relatively short life expectancies otherwise.”

I would rather be the optimist who sees the light of the candle where there is none than the pessimist who runs to blow it out. The Living Lady chooses to believe that hope springs eternal no matter what season of the year or season of life.”

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Journal of a Living Lady #325

Nancy White Kelly

It took a year to get my school office to my liking with coordinated drapery, pictures, and knick-knacks. MACA was in brand new facilities and I wanted the administrator’s office to reflect both warmth and professionalism.

Almost everything in that office came either from our home or from boxes stored away in the attic since the early 90’s. That was when I first retired as principal. I am officially retired again and find myself with a porch full of boxes and nowhere to put it all.

One of life’s lessons is that no matter how empty a space is, in time it will become full and running over with even more stuff. The walls and shelves at home are all covered with replacements and the office decorations have nowhere to return. Some of it has gone to the shelters. Most likely the rest will end up in the attic for an eventual yard sale.

Though I have no thoughts of employment in the future, who knows what is down the road. My being asked to head the Mountain Area Christian Academy at a tenuous time last summer came the very same week we had our grand opening of Ye Old Coin Shop. Even with school responsibilities, Buddy and I have limped through keeping the shop open for business, mostly on Saturday and by appointment. Collectors are beginning to realize that we are open most of the time now as originally planned.

Conveniently, the coin shop is only twenty feet from our back door. With the assistance of security cameras, it is easy to keep an eye on the shop and attend to household duties in-between customers wanting to buy or sell gold and silver coins. In case you missed us during the transition, our phone number is 706-379-1488. We are located exactly one mile from Young Harris College at the corner of Byers Creek and Southern Rd.

While seeking to find room for the excess, I have come across interesting and forgotten memorabilia. The item that especially stands out is a well-worn autograph book belonging to my Aunt Georgia Rose. She was my mother’s only sister. Aunt Georgia passed away in the 70’s from a stroke.
The thin autograph book is dated June 6, 1918, and is filled with comments written in her 9th grade year at Humes High School in Memphis. Most were written neatly in stylish Elizabethan script.

These are some of my favorites:

“Yours till Niagara Falls.” Marion.

“When you get married and your husband get’s cross, pick up the broom and show him whose boss. Yours till Doom’s Day.” Mary.

“Georgia, Remember when you were a wee wee tot and your mother made you sit on a cold pot whether you had to pee or not.” Jane

“Love many, trust few. And always paddle your own canoe.” Margaret

“Life is like deck of cards: when you are in love, it’s hearts. When you are engaged, it diamonds. When you’re married it is clubs. When you are dead, it is spades.” Jennie

Aunt Georgia was a zany character who had no children. Her hair and make-up was always perfect. She wore classy clothes. Her house was spotless. It had a pleasant, but distinct fragrance which I could never identify. Thinking back, maybe it was the odor of very clean. In contrast, our humble home had five noisy children and the typical smells of family living.

The school autographs were eerily fore-telling. Aunt Georgia married my Uncle Diamond. She was boss. She paddled her own canoe. And she died.