Today is the 90th anniversary of my father's birth. I'm guessing that this photo was taken somewhere around 1920. After a 4+-year battle with emphysema and asthma, he died in 2000 at the age of 82. The night before he died, I wrote this poem about him. Those of you who've been with me for a long time may have seen it before.
Four Years and Change
They 'gave' you three months;
With characteristic stubbornness,
You held out--
First hours, then days, then weeks
at a time...
until three months was a memory,
and there you were,
celebrating your 50th anniversary
with the woman who so long ago
devoted her life to your happiness.
On your 50-foot oxygen 'leash,'
you walked outside to sit in the sun,
providing handfuls of birdseed
for the cardinals, the doves,
especially that one who came close
and ate from your hand.
Before the cataracts
made your sight grow so very dim,
you gazed out to the greenery
of the garden
where you could no longer
offer guided tours,
pointing out each new plant,
each new flower,
each new vegetable--
the garden that once was
your monumental task
our daily bread
Didn't, couldn't, go much further--
Entrusting your breath
to the portable tank
only long enough to see
George the Barber,
who now pays house calls.
You move about the best you can.
Once strong and sure,
now you shuffle with baby steps
through your little corner of a world
becoming ever quieter
Coughs wrack your body
Every breath an effort.
No more the easy laughter
with buddies on the riverbank
bringing home fish for the family,
extras for Sam the Cat.
No more the glistening of sweat
after a hard day's labor followed
by another day's work in the garden.
bragging to family and friends
about the best cook in the world
being your personal chef...
nothing tastes good any more.
Three months parlayed
into four years and change...
I've always been fascinated with color and texture, but my interest in creating jewelry started when I noticed an ad for an arts-and-crafts shop opening in a local mall. I had lost one each of a couple of pairs of my favorite earrings and decided to try my hand at making my own. I bought some hoops and a few beads, put them together and had some left over... bought a few more to go with them... picked up a pair of pliers, some earring hooks, a little of this, a little of that...
And the rest, as they say, is history.
I'm a Carolina country girl transplanted to the Ile de France - a resident tourist, an amateur photographer, and a teacher for a very large international language-teaching company. We provide English lessons to French businessmen (and women) who need it to compete in this global economy.
Visiting France was a lifelong dream, but I never imagined I'd live here one day. Now I'm living in a Wrinkle-in-the-Outskirts of Paris with my husband and soulmate DiGi - about eleven miles from the center of the city.