Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ruby Tuesday ---Christmas Memories

Welcome to Ruby Tuesday the day we show off our photos that contain some red.

I can't believe that it has been more than twelve weeks since I was last able to post to one of my favorite memes, Ruby Tuesday. Six weeks away on vacation and then moving and getting two homes situated. After making the new place presentable and mostly livable and getting the old place polished and staged as if the royal family would be our future buyer I am ready for some fun and relaxation. It is nice to have the holiday work behind me as well so that I can once again spend some quality time with my cameras and the old PC.

Our last holiday guest will be coming to dinner tonight and then I will be packing away our Christmas Tree for another two years. Yes, I did say two years. I have two trees with two different sets of decorations and I alternate them. This year was the year for the tree with the multicolored lights and all the old fashion, hand made and sentimental ornaments. So what better to feature for Ruby Tuesday than some of the red on this year's Christmas tree. After all, next year's tree will be more formal with white lights and crystal and silver ornaments.

I inherited this little Santa from my Father's collection. Santa is faded and some of his flocking is missing but he has been hanging around since the 1930's when he came attached to a small bag of candy beads in my father's stocking.
This little stocking was the very first stocking I filled for my then future husband back in 1965. The stocking is only three inches long but believe it or not I managed to find and stuff it with twenty-five very small items that could actually be used by him. I wish I had kept a list or at least had a photo of the contents to prove this to all the doubting Thomas's over the years.
Back in the early years when the number of gifts needed exceeded what we had to spend, we resorted to giving hand made gifts to everyone. This beaded candy cane is one of the survivors of the hundreds that I made one year for friends and family.
My sister was married on the 28th of December thirteen years ago and each place-setting at her wedding reception included one of these hearts she cut out of plywood and hand painted for the occasion.
I still have a handful of these cute flocked redbirds that I inherited from my mother-in-law. They were on her tree from the first day I came into the family. I have no idea how many years they hung on her tree.
This little decoration does not hang on my tree but it has had a place of honor decorating my bathroom since I received it from one of my bosses back in 1966. The holly is getting a bit ratty but I hope it makes it to the fifty year mark.

I hope your holiday season is full of treasured memories and I pray that this Christmas brings each of you faith renewed, joy rekindled and wonder reborn.

For more things red, or to join the fun visit Ruby Tuesday at WORK Of THE POET

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday Favorites # 36-The Man in the Window

Sunday Favorites is a meme that allows us to drag one of our old posts out of mothballs and into the light of a new day. After all, only so many posts can be on the first page and once they move down the stack they are seldom ever looked at again.

You can check out this Sunday meme at Happy to Design hosted by Chari. Heck, you might find some great stuff to read.

A few days ago I reposted a Christmas story I had written and posted in November of 2005 about my first husband entitled "Are you Really Him?" That story was originally posted as the second half of the story. Today I am reposting the post that was the first half of the story. If you missed it you will find the other post just two post below this one. Now here is my entry for this weeks Sunday Favorites.

The Man in the Window

Thanksgiving was fast approaching; the volunteer firefighters were out with the neon green hook n' ladder, hanging the big Christmas Wreaths with the lighted candle in the middle that would adorn every lamp post in town. The first heavy snowfall of the season had covered the ground during the night, the early morning sun was causing the tiny silver flakes among the solid sheets of white fluff to sparkle like diamonds, while a crisp wind blew feathers of icy flakes into the red cheeked faces of the children venturing out to enjoy the first snow day of the year. Snowmen wearing candy striped mufflers, with carrot noises and smoking corn cob pipes were starting to dot the front lawns as the first snowplow made its way around the circle of streets in the large apartment complex.

A gray haired woman at the wheel of a small black car was staying close in the wake of the snowplow, she was in a hurry to get home, tired and hungry after pulling another 12 hour shift at the only 24 hour Gas n Go in her small town. Her husband would be waiting for his breakfast, but she could not afford to slide off the road and get stuck in the ditch she new was hidden under the snow banks being left by the plow.

Safely in a parking space, and looking heavenward the woman said her usual prayer, thanking God for the nights work, the safe trip home, and the luck of finding a parking spot next to the already shoveled main walkway. The car clock told her it was 8:45, she was late, and he would be worrying. Grabbing the two heavy grocery sacks, she hastily gathered during a mad run through Wal-mart, she rushed down the walkway stopping to gather the mail, before climbing the nine terraced steps to the front door of building 21.

Once inside the lobby she placed her sacks on the floor, removed a half gallon jug of milk and went down the 5 steps to the lower level, rapped lightly on the first apartment door then left the bottle on the floor beside the door. Returning to the lobby she reclaimed her purchases and trudged up the stairs to her own door at the rear of the second floor. Once again placing the sacks on the floor she put her key in the lock, bowed her head in a brief prayer, took a long deep breath and turned the key in the lock.

Once inside the door she called out to her husband and once he returned her call she slowly released the breath, she did not realize she had been holding. Looking up she said "Thank you God" and the new day began.

With the groceries put away and the bacon laid out in the electric skillet, the woman poured a cup of coffee from the automatic pot, added it to a tray full of pill bottles and other medical supplies and headed down the hallway into the bedroom. Greeting her husband she placed the tray on the hospital table beside the bed, leaned over to kiss the cheek of the man that set on the side of the bed, and handed him the steaming mug. Then started the routine of dispensing that mornings 32 different pills and assembling the tubes and vials that would carry the medications that would open up her husbands airways and hopefully allow him to breathe for one more day.

Once the face mask was in place and the mist had started to rise, she began to tidy the small room, and went to open the blinds to let in the morning sun. Suddenly, she stopped and raised the blind and took another long look out the bedroom window to the yard below, were tramped in the snow in 3 foot letters, by the neighborhood children, were the words

"Hello, to the man in the window."

Wanting her husband to see the words the children had carved in the snow, before something could happen to them, the woman lead her husband to his chair by the window, as soon as his breathing treatment was finished. That day, the man ate his breakfast while looking at the greeting the children had left in the snow.......... just for him.

"Hello, to the man in the window."

Three weeks later the woman in this story walked into that same apartment to find her husbands body lying on the bedroom floor.

The date was December 4, 2003

In the complex where this story takes place, I am still referred too, by the children, as the wife of "the man in the window."


What a difference four years makes. Since writing this story I met and married the "Old Salt" and moved away from that second floor apartment so I am no longer known in my neighborhood as the wife of the "Man in the Window."

Saturday Photo Hunt---- Twelve

It has been a long time since I have had the right photo at the right time to contribute to the Saturday Photo Hunt. But this weeks theme is the number twelve and that one is a no brainer. I have to go with a photo of my twelve siblings.

Yes, I know that there are fourteen people in this shot but if you remove me (in the brown on the front row) and our eighty-three year old mother (in pink in front) you have my 9 brothers and three sisters remaining.

There is no greater honor in my life then to be the oldest in this large family. I have the best group of siblings ever. I love you guys. Thank you each and every one for always being there for me.

To join in the fun or just enjoy all of this weeks shots visithttp://tnchick.com/

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Are you really him?

I am having a hard time believing it has been so long since I have had time to spend on my blog. But, my tired and achy body tells me that it has been a long haul. Our life has been very hectic since returning from our "Last Hurrah" trip. We are finally moved and our old house has been completely painted, cleaned, and staged. We are praying that the new year will bring a buyer that is willing to pay our asking price. Paying double mortgage payments for too long will certainly drain our savings.

The main floor rooms of our new condo are now mostly presentable and certainly livable. The Christmas tree is up and all the packages are under the tree awaiting the family that will arrive in a few short hours. The pies and cookies are on the counter and the oven is full of turkey stuffing. So I feel as if I can take a few minutes to wish all my followers and faithful readers a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. I hope that this Christmas season will bring each of you faith renewed, joy rekindled and wonder reborn.

My camera has not been out of the case since our vacation and all of my creativity lately has been done with a paint brush so I would like to re post a Christmas Story that I posted in November of 2005. I wrote this story about my first husband who died on December 3, 2003. The only facts I changed were the address of the building. This story is actually the second half of the story. I will reprint the first half in a few days.

What a difference four years makes. Since writing this story I met and married the "Old Salt" and moved away from that second floor apartment so I am no longer known in my neighborhood as the wife of the "Man in the Window."


It was mid afternoon on Saturday, with just a little over two weeks left before Christmas. One of those cold, dark mid-west winter days that looked like the sky would open any minute and unload heaven only knew what; rain, sleet and snow had all fallen in the last ten days and the current guess was that soon all three would arrive at once. The yards were mired in mud and mounds of dirty snow mixed with decaying leaves left in the shadows of hibernating shrubbery. The melting remains of soot blackened snow banks lining streets and walkways sent small rivulets of dirty water running down embankments to the grated street drains.

Scattered around the yards lining the twisted circles of streets in the large apartment complex could still be seen the lopsided remains of melting snowmen. Sledding saucers and long vinyl toboggans were leaning beside doorways to the single family townhouses dotted between large multi family apartment buildings. Everywhere you looked there was a bustle of activity as people tried to beat the weather and prepare for the upcoming holiday; men hanging fairy lights along gutters, others unloading pine trees from the tops of automobiles, bags of groceries from SUV’s, and children running in and out fetching and toting for holiday burdened parents.

Suddenly a caravan of cars, vans and pickup trucks each loaded with furniture and packing boxes rounded the circle and pulled into the only off street parking area on the long block, there were so many vehicles that every available space was suddenly filled, leaving several to block the others in the middle of the drive. As if the sirens had suddenly blared at the fire house on the corner, the street and walkways began to fill with bystanders curious to see who was moving into the empty apartment at the rear of building 21. Children were spreading the word and soon it seemed that every child in the complex was milling in the street, the vehicle drivers began to congregate on the sidewalk; some checking their watches paced the length of the walk while others huddled in small groups, one man untied the ropes securing his overloaded truck and started to pass down ladder back dining chairs and empty dresser drawers to another man. Suddenly, someone said, " Here she comes." and everyone turned to watch a small green Ford Escort pull into the lot and enter the vacant handicap space in front of the building. A short gray haired woman climbed out from behind the wheel of the car and called to one of the men who joined her on the passenger side of the car, where he removed a large oxygen concentrator from the back seat and taking the key offered by the woman headed into the building. The woman opened the front car door and helped a very portly man with a bald pate and long white hair that reaching to his shoulders, a bushy white beard brushed the middle of his chest, and wearing an olive green jogging suit, from the car. The man waited while the woman removed a small oxygen tank on wheels from the car and taking the man’s arm began to lead him up the sidewalk where two men were waiting to help him climb the nine terraced steps into the building and then the long flight of stairs to the second floor apartment.

The moment the man stepped out of the car a small hush fell on the gathering crowd, after a few minutes children could be seen pulling on parents coat sleeves and small voices could be heard asking in awe “is that really him.” Before the couple could take a dozen steps a small boy ran up to the man and tugged on his sleeve; the man turned his cobalt blue eyes framed by round rimless glasses to the lad and politely asked “yes son, can I do something for you” when the child stammered “ are you really him?” The man leaned over propping both hands and his considerable weight on his gnarled and crooked cane with the hand carved gnome for a handle and looked the lad straight in the eye and said “Well Son, I don’t know which him you are referring to, but, I am certainly me.” Then rising he gave a loud and jolly Ho Ho Ho, before turning to continue his slow pace up the sidewalk. Suddenly, the small boy could be heard yelling he really is “Santa Claus!”

As the trucks were being unloaded several of the women in the group began to unpack the boxes while the gray haired lady directed the placement of the furniture. The first piece was a large high back rocker placed in front of the large bedroom window where the bearded man would sit for many hours each day, keeping tabs on the comings and goings of the large complex and watching for and waving to the children playing in the yard below.

For the next two weeks each time the woman opened the apartment door she would find a small pile of envelopes and folded pieces of ruled note paper lying on the floor in front of the door. Each was written in a childish hand. Some included a drawing of a jolly fat man and each began “Dear Santa”. It was only a matter of days before the children in the neighborhood began calling the man who lived on the second floor “The man in the window.”

That moving day was Dec. 8, 2001 and the next year shortly after Thanksgiving the “Santa letters” once again began to appear on the floor in front of the door of apartment 2E as they did again the following year. But, suddenly on Dec. 4, 2003 the man in the window was dead, and as the word spread notes, toys, flowers and Santa Figurines began to collect outside the door, and to this day the lady who lives there is referred to as the wife of “the man in the window” and she still gets asked if her husband was “really him” to which she always answers “Well, I don’t know which him you are referring to, but, I am certain that he was my him.”

Once the letters started to appear the woman hung a small basket beside the door filled with candy canes and a small “take one” sign. At some point a photograph of the man sitting in the window was attached to the basket, and since his death she now keeps the basket out and filled year round. The children now leave happy meal toys and other surprising items in the basket for the lady when they take the candies and each Christmas Season “Dear Santa” and even a few “Dear God” letters will still appear in the basket.