Documents

Cleaning out drawers leads to discoveries. There is a metal file cabinet in the closet of my office. The top two drawers are accessed frequently to file paperwork throughout the year. The bottom two drawers have not been opened in many years. The access to these drawers were blocked by various boxes and assorted paraphernalia that gathered in the bottom of the closet. Since retiring, I’ve been sorting, organizing, and winnowing my paraphernalia so now I can discover what was placed in those file drawers years ago.

I have deduced last time the drawers were opened was 2014. I discovered my tax documents from 2009-2013 waiting to be shredded. There were also property tax receipts from 2003-2013. I thought our tax papers were stored somewhere in the attic. Apparently not. It’s a good thing we weren’t audited, as I don’t know if I would have looked in the file cabinet for the old tax papers.

I pulled the shredder into my office ready to begin the task of shredding. However, there’s an obstacle in the way of shredding. The tax papers are held together with heavy duty staples. I don’t think my shredder will be able to chew through these staples. At first I try pulling the pages apart to dislodge the staple, no success. The staple continues to grip the paper as if its life depended on it. I need to bring in a tool to get this job done. I cannot locate my favorite staple remover (a clever device that slides under the staple and lifts it out), so I must use the one that looks like a jaw with fangs. I wrestle with the staple and the jaws. I twist, turn, tug, pry. Slowly I extract each staple. It was a battle, but I won. The shredder chewed and devoured each stack of tax documents until all I had left was a bag of confetti.

Another discovery was found on my bookshelf, standing upright between books a clear plastic sleeve containing a telegram, a sample of my writing (have no idea how old I was), and my sixth grade class picture.

Here is the telegram my grandparents received after I was born. My father was in the Air Force and stationed in the Philippines.
I must have had an assignment to write about someone. I wrote about my grandmother. Don’t try to decipher the scrawl, it’s not very good. Here’s the beginning: “She runs around the kitchen on her tipytoes. What is she doing? Making donuts of corse.” Apparently, spelling was not my forte.
Notice the girls in the front row only have skirts or dresses. We were not allowed to wear pants. How sad that I only remember a few of the names.
That’s me in sixth grade.

I wonder what other discoveries I will make as I sort, organize, and winnow my collection of objects of my life.

Eventide

I stand on the balcony, watching the outline of the landscape slowly slip away. All that remains is immense vastness above. Tranquility descends and wraps around me as I savor this moment in time on the other side of the world.

Softening sunlight melds with the clouds creating layers, alternating light and dark on the sky canvas. The lingering glow dissolves on the horizon leaving a hillside silhouette as we travel away from the light.

Soon it will be time to rest and rejuvenate for the adventures tomorrow will bring.

I miss sunsets from our traveling days.

Gloaming nightfall somewhere in the Pacific Ocean between Australia and Papau New Guinea. December 16, 2018

The Call

My cell phone is sitting on my desk when the call comes in. I look to see who it is. Not a number I know. I pause before I reach out to hit the decline button. With lightning speed my mind says, “Answer it. It might be the call you’ve been waiting for.” Then the other part of my mind says, ” It’s a robo-call. Don’t answer. If it’s important they will leave a message.” Back and forth the thoughts fly.

I take a chance, “Hello?”

“Hello, this is (I don’t remember his name) from Wal-mart Pharmacy.” YES! It is the call I’ve been waiting for. My pulse quickens as I hope he says the magic words. “You are scheduled for your second COVID vaccine on March 17. Will that be alright?”

Will that be alright? “Absolutely!” I reply. Relief floods through every cell in my body. I’m set for the second shot! Hope begins to flicker on the horizon.

Life won’t change a lot. I will still wear a mask. I will still distance myself in public. I will still use more hand sanitizer than I used a year ago. I won’t be dining in restaurants until Dr. Fauci gives the okay. I will feel more comfortable being with friends who are also fully vaccinated. April 1 is two weeks after March 17, it won’t be a Fool’s Day for me.

Just Like That

One long year ago, I spent two days working with fifth and sixth grade teachers. I spent one day with a friend exploring the orchid show at the botanical gardens. I spent an evening in a crowded gym listening to Peter Reynolds read his new book and talk about books. I stood in line, surrounded by people standing shoulder-to-shoulder, waiting for Peter Reynolds to sign my book. After being away from home for four days I drove home. I didn’t realize that was the last time I would be able to interact with people face-to-face for a year.

In January, we were getting reports of an illness in China. Cities in China were shut down. I wondered, how does that really happen? In February, the reports were about cruise ships being quarantined and turned away from ports, I wondered what was going to happen to the passengers and crew. In March, the reports of how many countries and people being infected were frightening, I wondered what I needed to do to stay safe. By April, I knew life, as I had known it, was totally altered and I didn’t see how/when it would go back to “normal.”

Just like that we were in the midst of a pandemic. Nothing seemed safe anymore. I couldn’t go to the grocery store. I couldn’t go to a restaurant. I couldn’t get together with my family or friends. The world may still be spinning on its axis, but my orbit came to a halt.

Slowly, over time, some things changed or adjustments were made. Masks and plastic gloves made it possible to go back to the grocery store. Curbside pick up allowed us to eat food that I didn’t prepare. Zoom brought family and friends into my house. These adjustments are okay for now, but I hope they are not forever.

Just like that life changes and we have to change too. I may not like all the changes, but I will change so that we can get back to our “normal” life. This is what I know for sure.

Don’t you have a story to share?