Month: September 2011

Life is…a poem to help a friend today

Life

Life is not quiet, it is not peaceful, and it is sometimes a struggle

Life is a beginning, it is a celebration, and it is the first step to being with God

Life is a baby crying, children playing, people talking

Life is bills to pay, houses to build, cars honking

Life is kids growing, love happening, moments remembered

Life is picture taking, it is watching home movies, and it is birthdays

And it is love

The most misunderstood part of life is death

Death is the next step to living, and it is not the end

Death is a beginning, it is a celebration, and it brings us one step closer to the Lord

And it is love

This week has been a difficult one here at work. Two days ago, and old friend of mine passed away after one year of battling Pancreatic Cancer. He was only 42 years of age, and left to mourn his wife and children. His struggle was a tough one, filled with hope and disappointment and finally tragedy.

Today, my co-worker lost a dear friend of her family, her husband’s uncle. Being from a close family myself, I know how she must feel. I wrote the poem for the families of those people.

Irked on a Friday

While at the local Bank last evening, I witnessed an incident that really made me think. This lady stood at an ATM machine for a good five minutes, staring at the screen like she was waiting for her favorite soap opera to come on. She then took out her debit card, (complete with the password written clearly on the front of the card with a sharpie marker) and tried to force the debit card into the slot where the money would come out. An onlooker told her that she had to put the debit card into the correct slot, which she then managed to do.

The welcome screen came on, startled the hell out of her, and caused her yet more confusion. Another five minutes passed as impatient onlookers (such as myself) waited for her to complete the transaction. Having only one ATM machine working is bad enough, but having to wait twenty minutes for someone to make a transaction, while there were several HUMAN tellers waiting at the counter is just annoying.

When she finally got to the stage to deposit her money, She put the actual money (bills and later coins) into the deposit slot, but not in an envelope, just in the slot, causing the machine to jam up and go into safe mode. Twenty five minutes waiting, and NOBODY could use the ATM machine. I passed there this morning, and it is still broke, plus the lady lost her money she tried to deposit, at least for the time being…lesson here? If you don’t know how to use an ATM machine, and you see me behind you, in an outrageous hurry, please go and use the old type of banking system…The HUMAN kind!!!! GEESH!

Daily Funnies

A fellow blogger mentioned that this day was dirty joke day. Since I cannot remember jokes five minutes after they are told to me, I drove my friend insane by getting him to recite the joke very slowly so that I could write it down. Here goes….

The only cow in a small town in Ontario stopped giving milk.  The people did some research and found they could buy a cow in Newfoundland for $200.00.

They bought the cow from Newfoundland and the cow was wonderful.  It produced lots of milk all of the time, and the people were pleased and very happy.

They decided to acquire a bull to mate with the cow and produce more cows like it. They would never have to worry about their milk supply again.

They bought a bull and put it in the pasture with their beloved cow.

However whenever the bull came close to the cow, the cow would move away.

No matter what approach the bull tried, the cow would move away  from the bull and he could not succeed in his quest.

The people were very upset and decided to ask the Vet, who was very wise, what to do.

They told the Vet what was happening.

“Whenever the bull approaches our cow, she moves away.

If he approaches from the back, she moves forward. When he approaches her from the front,
she backs off. An approach from the side and she walks away to the other side.”

The Vet thinks about this for a minute and asked, “Did you buy this cow in Newfoundland?”

The people were dumbfounded, since they had never mentioned where they bought the cow.

“You are truly a wise Vet,” they said.

“How did you know we got the cow in Newfoundland?    The Vet replied with a distant look in his eye, “My wife is from Newfoundland!”

the more things change the more they remain the same: a list

This fall, I find myself with yet another of life’s challenges, working at a high school.Not just any high school, but the high school I graduated from thirty one years ago. as a former student, I can list many changes that I see, but as I did not realize, there are many similarities as well.

  1. Being good at sports is still a great status symbol, but not quite as important as it was while I attended high school (I sucked at sports)
  2. Despite the fact that bullying is not tolerated, it still exists. Bullying has evolved into many forms, such as cyber-bullying, verbal bullying, and of course, the one I was most familiar with back in the old days, physical bullying. I have to admit, I was probably the test mule for all types of bullying, which usually led to spending entire class time barred in my locker, head first in a trash can, or hiding somewhere so the school bully could not find me. I was also bullied by the teachers, particularly the Gym teacher.
  3. Speaking of teachers, they are still good looking. When I was in school, I crushed on many of my teachers, and judging from the teaching staff at this school, today’s teens are no different.
  4. The school itself has not changed much. The trim and colors are different, but the overall structure remains the same. I knew my way around the first day of work, despite the fact that I often get lost in my own home sometimes…go figure.
  5. The students. The students have changed, but you still have the same groups, such as the ‘cool/in crowd’ who smoke, are always in the office or in detention; the geeks (my old crowd); the bullies; the jocks; and the kids who didn’t fit into any of the above. Like I said, some things never change.
  6. The curriculum. While students of today have more choices, it seems like their attitudes towards the curriculum has remained the same. Most students still hate school. I actually enjoy it now ( I hated it back in the day, particularly to bullying!)
  7. Cafeteria food. Sadly, this has not changed at all, still the same aftersmell.(think I just made up a new word, aftersmell, but that is what it is–Hours after the food is all gone, the smell lingers)

There you see it, school today is virtually the same as it was all the way back to 1980, when I vowed never to enter the doors of this building again…funny how things change!

Slow down, VCR ahead

On the way home from Port Aux Basques, I either witnessed genius or extreme laziness. There he was, sitting on the hood of a rusted out Chevrolet Cavalier, with a proud grin on his face. In his former life he was a flags-person, a very demanding job where you only duty was to stand out on the highway and turn a sign that said ‘Slow’ on one side and ‘Stop’ on the other. The inventor, a fat lazy looking man whose safety jacket was far too small for him, had come up with a method of doing his job that made his job far less energy consuming. He had rigged the sign so that it stood into the tip of one of those orange safety pylons. This obviously took tremendous thought and work, I could tell that from that look on his face, and the way in which he leaned across the hood of his car. What is next for this guy I wonder? Will he bring his lazy chair to work and sit next to the sign in the pylon? That would be even better.

When it comes to inventions, I would say that laziness is the prime reason the thing was invented in the first place. Take for example the remote control. My parents came from a world where you didn’t have a television, let alone a remote control. When they bought their first TV set, it was one of those huge black and white jobbies, where the only way to change the channel was to get off your keister and change it yourself. Of course in those days, there was only one television channel anyway, CBC, and you didn’t need a remote.

When we got really futuristic, we bought one of those new VCR contraptions; the one with the pop out compartment on top where you put in the tape. I remember this unit, as it had the first remote control I had ever seen, a wired remote control that my little brother always tripped over, causing the VCR to stop mid movie and also cause much grief to my parents. This particular VCR was the VHS model, thankfully. My parents first came home with the Beta-Max model, which was supposed to be the wave of the future, but it was klinky and difficult to work, plus it didn’t come with that cool wired remote control.

When we passed the inventor on the highway, I had to comment on his wonderful invention. “Great idea” I hollered out the window of my Corolla, He didn’t hear me, he was fast asleep on the hood of his car, while a dump truck headed up the highway on my side of the road, I hollered and sounded my horn, causing sleeping beauty to wake suddenly. He quickly turned his sign to stop and went back to sleep. If only he could hook up a wired remote control to get the sign to turn, but that would take too much work….So much for technology I guess.

All The Marbles…Marbles??? What are Marbles?

photo courtesy of emarbles.com

When we were kids, we used to play marbles. From the minute the snow melted in spring to the time the snow started falling again, we played marbles. The other day, I asked my 9 year old if he wanted some marbles, and he did not know what they were. What’s going on with kids these days?

The snow had finally melted from the school playground. Fortunately for us kids, the ground was now soft, and perfect for digging small holes. I remember digging with my hands, dirt gathering under my fingernails as I prepared the area for the first game of marbles of the year. There were several variations of the game, but my favorite one was ‘Potsies’ which consisted of a smooth flat runway with a hole about ten feet from the start line. The object of the game was to take turns shooting your marbles towards the hole. If your marble did not reach the hole, you waited until your next turn to take another shot, from where ever your marble stopped.  Once all the marbles were in the hole, the last person to shoot his or her marble into the hole got all the marbles.  Now it wasn’t as easy as it sounded, because just when you got ready to shoot your marble, your opponent yelled “Four Fingers Flat” which meant that your four fingers had to be held flat on the ground while you flicked the marble with your thumb. I just tried the old Four Fingers Flat, and lost the marble under my desk…obviously my fingers are not as agile as they were when I was eight.

There were other games as well, such as the basic game of marbles where your opponent shot his marble and you shot yours and tried to hit his.  we called this game ‘Onesies’.  Hitting your opponent’s marble resulted in you winning his marble. I always had a pocket filled with marbles, which looked cool in the marble circuit, but not cool whenever I sat down…ouch.

There were also several variations of marbles. The basic marble was the plain colored glass one, with only one color of swirl. Everyone had those because they were the most common in the bag when you bought them. At twenty five  cents per bag, you did not want to waste or lose your marbles.

The next type of marble was the ‘cat’s eye’ which was similar to the basic marble, except the swirl was two or more colors. These were more desirable, and when an opponent had one of those, you worked hard to make him lose all his basics so that he would play his cat’s eyes.

The most treasured marble was the Shooter. The shooter was a solid colored marble (or if you were really lucky, it was a clear glass, or a see through but different color marble). You had to buy about ten packs of marbles in order to get one of those, and it was rare that a person played these marbles. I won one once, but the school bully put me head first in a trash can and took it.

Marbles was a gender thing. The boys played marbles and the girls played hopscotch. Any guy caught skipping or playing hopscotch was dealt with severely, by the school bully. I was much better at hopscotch than I was at marbles, but it was easier to bug my parents to buy me marbles than it was to enjoy a game of hopscotch and then get beat up by a bully.

The school bully always had the most marbles, and he used to love potsies. He would wait for unsuspecting kids to gather all their marbles into the holes, and then grab all the marbles and run away. I was once challenged by a bully, I still remember that day. I had just received a new bag of marbles from my grandmother, and I was proud to go to school and show off my latest possessions. I had ten basics, five cat’s eyes, and one shooter.  The shooter was solid blue, and I marveled at it all weekend. I planned to keep this one, unless I was challenged at a shooter game. Just my luck, Howie the bully (can’t remember his name, just the size of his head. What a big head he had, I guess when your head is that big, you have to be tough and mean) came to school and challenged me to a game of shooters. This was a basic game of marbles except that we had to play with our shooters. If we did not have a shooter, the loser in the competition had to give the winner five of his best marbles.

Everyone in school gathered for the game. The other kids knew how much I treasured my shooter, and they were surprised when Howie pulled out his shooter. It was cold black (like his heart, I thought) and it was a Boulder. Did I mention the boulders?

Boulders were giant marbles, around the size of a quarter in diameter.  Boulders came in the same variety as the smaller marbles, and were even more sought over. You never played a game of marbles with a boulder against a regular marble, unless you played against a bully, where you basically did whatever he wanted or he either stole your lunch or beat you up, or both. On this day, the bully insisted I play against him and his boulder, using my…..shooter. He chose the game type, a game of onesies.

The crowd oohed and awed as the game got under way. I made the first shot. The worst thing to do was be first, as you opened your marble up for the second person to aim at. Howie was next; I thought for sure I had lost my shooter the minute his marble left his fingers. He may have been a bully, but he was one fine marble player. Thanks to a small bump in the ground, his huge marble missed mine, barely. My shot came next, and I too missed his marble.  It must have been close though, because I could see he was already planning on the kind of beating he was going to give me.  We shot one for one for about two minutes (It seemed like an eternity to me), when suddenly the world shifted. I hit his boulder (Of course I hit it, the boulder was huge, and everyone know that the bigger the target, the easier it is to hit it)…and won the game. Everyone cheered, and so did I. Howie was so surprised that he got up, grabbed one of the spectators, and hit him. I think that he took out all his spite on that guy, because he let me keep his boulder (which was a shooter boulder) and he also let me keep my life. What a day that was. I kept that boulder with me for years afterwards, until my younger brother found it once, and used it as ammo in his slingshot. Oh well, at least I have the memories.

The Versatile Blogger Award

I must say, I am honored to be nominated for this award.  After watching all those TV award shows, I should be prepared for this moment, but I am not. I guess the first thing I should do is thank all those who are responsible for me being here, so here goes, in list form.

  1. My fifth grade teacher (who is no longer with us but I never forgot her) Mary Vickers. She is the teacher who made an impact on me by assigning me only one assignment for the entire school year, which was to read 200 books from September to Christmas. While the other kids were in shock with this, I was in awe. We also had to write book reports on each book. Before this, I did not read at all, but I can assure you, this little experience opened my eyes to the literary world more than anything else. I shocked her when I passed in my assignment three weeks before it was due, a giant binder filled with 500 book reports. While you may be in shock to hear that I read 500 books in just a few months, I have to let you in on a secret that I have held dear for many years. I did not read all those books, instead, I wrote book reports about books I made up; complete with fake authors, story lines, plots, characters, and publishers. I got a great mark on the assignment and thought I was home free, until she expressed an interest in some of the books, and asked if I knew where she could get copies.
  2. My Grandmother Emma Blanchard, who wrote as often as I do, and if she were still with us, would blog as often as I do.  My mom said that when she was a child, Nana (as we affectionately called our grandmother) would sit and write whenever she was stressed by her eleven children and alcoholic husband. She wrote a lot! After her death, we found a journal she kept where she wrote about life in the old days. I hope to compile all her writings and someday publish them. I miss you Nana.
  3. Rosemary Finn. Rosemary was my typing teacher in an accounting program I did once. I never remembered how to do accounting, but thanks to her method of teaching touch typing, I am still a great typist. She used to blindfold us, and then dictate what she wanted typed. We didn’t have the convenience of electric typewriters or computers, so we used old manual typewriters from Sears. This is the reason why I mash the keys on my computer and why I wear out three to five keyboards each year.
  4. kayjai. A former co-worker who I miss very much. kayjai and I explored the world of blogging together, and using this blogging site, we figured out how to put in images and change fonts, and do the entire blogging thing. kayjai is my only link to the blogging world. Keep writing kayjai, I love your work and I am awaiting the day that I purchase one of your works for my Amazon Kindle.
  5. My cat Killer, gone but not forgotten. Killer used to curl up on my lap while I wrote things in an old journal. One day, he ate my journal, causing me to seek out new and more interesting (and durable) methods of writing things down. WordPress was that new medium.

One of the requirements of the award is that I must thank the person who nominated me. Check out number 4 on previous list for that one.  Check out this link for some truly amazing work: http://kayjai.wordpress.com/

Another of the requirements is that I share seven facts about myself. Here goes:

  1. I like cats even though my girlfriend is allergic to them
  2. I love kids, puppies, long walks on the beach (wait a minute, this is not a dating site)
  3. I am a storyteller
  4. I am a nerd in a world where it is cool to be a nerd (not like when I was a kid when it was not cool to be a nerd and I got beat up every day because I was a nerd)
  5. I have an Amazon Kindle (My brother gets excited over a new motorhome he bought, I get excited over an ereader…go figure)
  6. I have a great need to put words to paper, computer memory, trees, walls, or whatever medium is available at the time
  7. I am a Human Dictionary (at least that’s what my son says). I hate misspelled words and spell check (spell check makes monkeys out of all of us)

As for passing on this award to 15 blogging friends, I cannot do that, I only have one blogging friend, but since she is a super blogger and a future best selling author, I think she deserves 15 awards. While I cannot nominate her because she was already nominated, I would like to cast my vote for kayjai (http://kayjai.wordpress.com/)

Okay Okay, just to follow the rules, here are links to 14 other bloggers (in following those rules, I found some pretty interesting sites!!

  1. https://cryandhowl.wordpress.com/
  2. http://thechristiangazette.wordpress.com/
  3. http://15minutelunch.blogspot.com/
  4. http://heellisgoa.com/
  5. http://talltalestogo.wordpress.com/
  6. http://www.farewellstranger.com
  7. http://terri0729.wordpress.com
  8. http://www.mybrownnewfies.com
  9. http://www.makeupmerriment.com
  10. http://northernnarratives.wordpress.com
  11. http://the-writing-life.blogspot.com
  12. http://capnjohnsblog.blogspot.com
  13. http://omgrey.wordpress.com
  14. http://www.dogspelledforward.com

To everyone else who was fortunate enough to be nominated for this prestigious award, Congrats to all of you.

Where is the rest of my chocolate bar?

I was craving for a chocolate bar this evening. I know, a ‘no no’ when you are diabetic, but hey, we are human too. I dropped into the gas station on my way home from work and there and behold, right in front of me, was a huge rack of chocolate bars. I was so excited about eating a chocolate bar (my girlfriend was not around to explain how dangerous it was to eat chocolate when you are diabetic) that I grabbed the first one that was familiar to me, the Dairy Milk with Fruit and Nut. Mmmmmm!

Getting back to the car, I quickly unwrapped this little package of sweetness and devoured it slowly, being sure not to miss the magical sensations that chocolate is rumored to expel. I was surprised at how quickly it disappeared.  I was also disappointed at how much I did not enjoy this little snack. Hell, there was nothing to it, just a few squares of mostly raisin and only a microscopic piece of peanut. I was ripped off!

I come from a time where you could buy a bar, a coke and a bag of chips for a quarter, so spending a buck fifty on this tiny candy bar did nothing to impress me or my craving for chocolate. I know what you are thinking, a quarter for all that food? This person must be from the stone age. Not so, I am less than half a century old, and still remember going to the convenience store with fifty cents, coming home with a Bar Six, (remember those? Nowadays, it would probably be known as a ‘Bar three! You don’t get anything for your money these days) a bottle of Coke, (not one of those tiny bottles of watered down cola flavored syrup we find these days, but an acid filled if-you-shake-me-I-explode sodas that were so delicious back in the day) a bag of Hostess potato chips, (the ones in the foil bags that always tasted fresh and crispy and had enough salt to kill an elephant) a Hostess Twinky, (kids these days have no idea what I am talking about) and with the remaining ten cents, twenty Crystal candy (hard candy that was heavenly and stuck to your teeth and sometimes pulled out your fillings…awww to be a kid again).

As you can see, back in the good old days, you got ‘Bang for your buck’, even though a buck was difficult to come by. One would think that with today’s booming economy, a chocolate bar would be big enough to satisfy at least one craving. These days, they downsize a bar because it is better for you, but they charge you the same price as the full sized bar it used to be. You can buy ‘Family sized bars’, but who wants to buy one bar for the entire family? Plus this bar is twice the price as the single serving bar. I say they should do a chocolate bar inquiry, maybe then we can find out where the rest of my bar is.

Yikkes! My dog has kittens

I had a weird childhood filled with weird occurrences. Take for example the time my dog had kittens. We took all precautions when we decided to get her. Mom argued that we didn’t need another dog, not after the last one, but we assured her that as kids, we would promise to take real good care of her. I promised that I would use my newspaper money to get her fixed, my brother promised that he would make sure she was well fed, and my two little sisters said that they would look after her and kiss her and pet her and….

So mom agreed. Dad was never a problem when we wanted a new pet, he loved them all. I remember at one time, when my sister was small, (is it only us newfies that refer to a toddler as ‘small’?) our cat had four litters of kittens in one summer. Tammy would walk around with two baskets filled with little kittens. Where was I..oh ya, our dog and her kittens…

Anyway, we got the dog, and she was female, which sent mom all kinds of negative signals. “What if she has pups?” she asked. Mom liked animals but I don’t think she loved them. She could take them or leave them. Dad, who was as excited as us kids were said that as soon as she was old enough, we would make that trip to the vet to have her fixed. (The dog never forgave us for that act of kindness).

We all worked hard to name the dog. At the time, Star Wars was just out, and there were these cute little creatures named Ewoks. One of the Ewoks was named Wicket, and so our little furry bundle of poop was then known as Wicket.

Wicket was a good little dog who got into the usual mischief that dogs with long coats of fur get into. Once she came home as stinky as a skunk. She was elated to smell the way she did, and we could only guess that she had gotten into raw sewage. Mom nearly dropped as Wicket ran from outside and jumped into Mom’s bed. I still hear the loud scream that my mom let out when a furry, messy dog smelling like sewage jumped on top of her in her bed. Poor mom. Poor us, My brother and I were voted to wash the dog. We used some of Mom’s old clothespins on our nose, and we each wore one of Dad’s sanding masks on our mouth, but even with those precautions, the stink was overbearing. eventually, with the help of a pair of scissors and two bottles of sunlight soap, the little dog was stink free. Ugly as sin, but stink free.

Wicket did many things that made Mom mad, but one thing she did impressed the hell out of Mom, Dad, and virtually everyone in the neighborhood. She had kittens. Got you interested now, don’t I?

Wicket was the kind of dog you did not want sleeping in the house. If she slept in your bed and you happened to move in your sleep and disturb her, she changed like Jeckyll and Hyde and came at you like a wild animal. Ask my little sister Cindy, who woke up do discover that the dog had clamped her teeth into her jaw one morning. Scary stuff. So the dog was sent to sleep in the old dog house we had built her.

I remember coming home from school once, to discover Cindy inside the dog house. Cindy had crawled inside the tiny door to attempt to put shag carpeting in the dog’s house. Cindy always had a soft heart for every animal, including bugs, flies, and fish, and of course dogs and cats.

One morning, we noticed a stray cat hanging around the driveway. Stray cats usually follow my dad around in hopes of moving in.This cat, who we named snowball was a strange looking feline who must have been inbred way too many times. Her nose was off centered and her face just wasn’t right. She was a nice little cat though, even though she was pregnant at the time. When Mom noticed that, we were forbidden to be nice to her, Mom figured that once we befriended this cat, we would be stuck with a litter of kittens that we did not want. So the cat moved in with Wicket.

Okay, we didn’t brag that our dog shacked up with a cat, but it was amazing anyway. One sunny but very early morning, we were awaken by the sound of screeching tires. I looked out the window to discover that snowball was no more. All I could think of were her yet unborn kittens. At least I thought they were unborn. When I ran to see if the little weird cat was alright, I  noticed Wicket washing what looked like balls of fur wrapped in sand. The cat had given birth to her litter in the driveway (I did say she was weird, didn’t I) and Wicket came to their rescue. At first I thought the dog was eating them, but she was actually cleaning them, like the mother cat does at the time of birth.

Here we were with four little kittens and no mother to feed and nurture them. My dad’s first instinct was to rush to them and take them away from the dangers of the dog’s sharp teeth and instinctual hate for cats. This was not the case, as Wicket guarded the little furballs with her life.

Things changed around the yard after this day. Wicket, who was usually silly and playful became protective over her kittens. A miracle happened as well, as despite the fact that she was ‘fixed’, she managed to feed the little ones. One morning, we noticed that one of the kittens grew weak. Wicket cared for the others, but neglected this one. We called the vet to ask what we should do, and we were informed that the mother cat focuses on the healthy kittens and leaves the sick to die. The vet went on to say that we should let nature take it’s course and let the mother cat alone with her kittens.  We tried to tell the vet that the mother cat was a dog, but she ignored us (probably guessing that we were crazy).

The vet was right, as the next morning, there were only three kittens left. The kittens were large for their age, and they did not act like cats at all. when Wicket barked at passersby, so did the little cats. Well, they didn’t actually bark, but they let out a sound that was definitely not a meow. It was more like a ‘MeowARK!!”

We loved playing with the kittens when Wicket allowed us to do so. Of course, we wanted to keep them, but we also had Mom to deal with, and that was not happening. When the kittens were old enough to give away, we placed ads in the local paper. We got a call from the owners of a farm in a nearby community. They had been looking for some cats to live in the barn behind their house. They wanted to know whether the cats liked to chase mice, as that was the reason they were looking for three cats. We made them promise to take good care of the cats, who we named butch, fido, and snoopy. We sure got funny looks when we told them the names of the cats.

A few years later, I met up with the people who took our cats. I asked how the little critters were, and I was not surprised with their answer. “What kind of cats did you give us?” They asked, adding that each time a car passed, the cats would run from the barn to the road, letting out a sound that sounded like a cross between a meow and a bark. They went on to say that they still had the cats, but that they did not chase mice at all, just cars, and that each time a pack of dogs passed by, the cats would join them.

 

Nothingness in a Dark Room

I wasn’t always this way; I wasn’t always here, sitting alone in the corner of a crowded room in a chair where I couldn’t feel my feet. I didn’t always feel like a burden to others, and I certainly didn’t need anyone to tend to me this way in the past. I didn’t always spend my days in bed, sleeping far after the sun came up, existing for the sense of existing, waiting for the sense of waiting.

Someone turned on the television, that box of bad news that screams nothingness loudly in our ears;”The old ones love this” one of them said, in her phony caring voice that I hate to hear. They try to dress cheerful, with clothing filled with flowers and sunshine. Sunshine in a dark room screams pain to my old eyes, and I already have enough pain, so go away and leave me to my misery.

Misery is the only thing that is certain around here, the only thing you can count on each day. Misery doesn’t take you from your own home, a place where  you lived, where you raised your kids, where you loved and you were loved, and where you cried. Misery doesn’t take you miles away from your home to a  place where you are a stranger, and misery certainly does not forget you, it does not forget your birthday, and it definitely does not forget you at Christmas. Nope, misery is there for all those special occasions, and even the other events in your life when everyone else forgets that you are even alive. In this place, misery is your only friend.

They wheeled a new one in here yesterday, or was it the day before? No matter, who cares anyway? Just another person to share nothingness with. Did I mention the food? Probably not, sometimes it is better not to talk about that stuff, just sit and wait for one of them to feed it to you. It all tastes the same anyway, or my taster isn’t working, wouldn’t be the first thing not working today, each day, something else stops working.

I close my eyes and darkness fills the air. No pain, no noise, just darkness. My eyes are hurting now, it is morning, and one of them is in the room. One of them is smiling, like she has something to smile about. She has my meds. Pills some quack gives us to prolong this nothingness even longer. We are guinea pigs in a lab where morons work to make this life keep us longer; but we take the pills just to shut everyone up. Why am I still here, why can’t I remember where I used to be, Why can’t I go home?

Home. Now that was a good place. I think I built it myself from sticks and nails from an old house someone had abandoned long ago, or was that just a dream? Was I dreaming a dream about a man and a woman and children and a farm and animals or did I live it? My mind plays tricks sometimes and fools me to think I lived once. This is not fair, Give me back my mind. Right now, I would even trade misery for my mind, if only for a moment. A moment would prove that I wasn’t always a crazy little old man, living in a dark retirement home with people running around pretending to care only because they are paid to pretend to care. A moment would take away this crazy embarrassing disease that has stolen my life, my memories and my past from me; and let me be the man I think I once was. If only I could have that moment. Right now, I would kill for that moment. I would even die for that moment, but this damn disease won’t even let me die; so I go on dreaming.

Alzheimer’s is a thief. The disease has stolen my grandmother from me. This disease has stolen my dad’s mother from him. She cannot remember her husband, her kids, her grand kids, her friends, or her life. She is at the point where she is playing with a doll who she thinks is her baby. A baby without a name. She is afraid of her children and their children. She doesn’t know her own home. She gets confused easily and needs someone to help her with the bathroom. She cannot cook the splendid suppers she was famous for. She forgets who my grandfather was, all the times he made her smile, all the times he made her laugh, and she forgets when he died. Damn you Alzheimer’s! Leave my grandmother alone!

My Grandmother has Alzheimer’s, so did my spouse’s grandfather. Today, I tried to put myself in their place, and try to explain how they feel. Hopefully the darkness of this work did not scare anyone, or maybe it would be great if it did, that way, we would be more empathetic to the poor souls stricken with this disease and even worse, their families, who feel helpless.

Update: My grandmother passed away a few years ago. She finally beat the disease! Prior to her passing, she became so childlike that she carried a little doll, which she named ‘Henry’, my dad’s name. She was afraid of Everybody, even her own reflection. On her death bed, it seemed as if everything came back to her for one brief moment. She said goodbye to all her kids (She named all eleven of them), smiled, and passed away peacefully. God Bless her heart.