Thursday, April 15, 2021

A Tribute To My Sister

I am on the last day of my trip home, taking our time to stop frequently and rest. The trip to Georgia was fraught with calamity and I am sure that one day I will be able to laugh about it. Maybe. I am still raw right now. While HeWho drives, Siri must navigate, I am just not up to it. 

I have tried to sleep, read, play games on my phone, but find myself unable to concentrate. Left on my own with only four legged friends to talk to, I find myself crying on and off. My eyes feel like a butt with diaper rash. I see her as I last saw her when I close my eyes. She looked not at all like herself, making it even harder to believe she is gone. Her face looked bruised. I have no other words to describe it. It makes my heart hurt.

My Daddy looked peaceful. He was peaceful, by all accounts. since I didn't make it in time to him either. I can't blame that on HeWho was driving this time, I was at the wheel when I was racing to Georgia last time. 

I did something I never want to do again. I delivered a tribute at the service. I will write them all day long, but, this was hard to do. I kept thinking that I could hold myself together, if I could just stay mad at her for not getting vaccinated. All I had to do was read what I wrote. I told HeWho was sitting right there in the front row to do something stupid if I started to lose my composure and make me mad. Words seem to fly off my tongue when I am all riled up. He sat there, just watching me. That alone should have done the trick, but it didn't.

I managed to ad lib my way through it, as I did not wear my glasses. I was afraid they would fog up and make me look like Mr. Magoo. But, at least I didn't do the ugly cry where snot wants to run freely and you have sniff it up and in doing so, get the hiccups. I heard her voice in my ear all that morning, telling me how to put my makeup on and saying I could do this, it was just the words I had written, no biggie. She knew me better than anyone else. She knew me longer than anyone else, just like I knew her. All of her weaknesses and all of her strengths.

This is what I wrote:

Born August 15, 1951, Eva Paulette Schultze Courson. My sister, older by not quite two years. You all knew her as Paulette, to me she was Sisty. To my children, she was Aunt Sisty.

She will be mad that I am revealing her age. I can hear her saying, "You never ask a lady her age!" She did love being the very center of attention. Legend has it that she shoved my new born self into a trash bag, then instructed Daddy to take me out to the trashcan. Don't worry about me, I survived.

Some of my earliest memories revolve around strangers telling Mother how angelic and beautiful her little girl was. They were not referring to me. I cared not at all. I was content to be the background to her star. Not two peas in a pod, we neither looked nor thought alike. She cared very much about her image and how others viewed her. I never have.

Still sisters, though. She was allowed to tease and bully me, but you better watch out if you tried it! I was HER little sister and beware of my big sister if you messed with me.

We grew up and went our separate ways. I was always the homebody, while she loved to go ... anywhere. Ironic that I became the traveler while she stayed anchored here. I could always count on her to keep me sane, just a phone call away. I wanted to call her this morning to ask her what I should wear.

After Mother died and Daddy went to live in the veterans home in Mississippi, we would often coordinate our visits to him to see one another. Daddy's remarriage after five years of living lonely drove a wedge between us. I was forced to choose and I chose Daddy. I never wanted to choose, I wanted them both in my life.

We couldn't seem to bridge that gap even after Daddy was gone. We tried, but it was never the same. She was too hurt by my disloyalty to her, I now wish I had pushed harder, yelled louder and bullied my way back to her. You always think you have more time.

I almost chose not to wear makeup today. My sister would have been appalled if I did not have my best face on! She loved a big to-do with all the frills and dress up.

I told Joey to tell her that I loved her and that I was on my way. I like to think she did plan to wait for me. But, when she heard Prince Philip had died she just couldn't pass up the opportunity to hitch a ride with him to glory. I am okay with that. I am quite sure she is enjoying all the pomp and circumstance surrounding his passing and has decided it is for her, as well. She probably has convinced him that she needs a crown to wear!

I never told her this story and I wish now that I had. She visited the church we attended in Albany and I was directing my children's choir in a Christmas production. She was dressed to the nines, hat and all. She loved hats. She came backstage afterwards and one of the children asked me if she was a princess. I said the first thing that popped into my head. "No, honey, she is the Duchess of Pearson." At the time I thought I sounded mean, but she really was the Duchess of Pearson, wasn't she? I think she would have loved and taken on the new title! I am sure she would have started wearing a tiara!

Joey and Walter will never really know just how fiercely she loved them. Only another mother would truly understand. But the greatest joy in her life was Karagahn. Forget how upset she was at the prospect of becoming a grandmother. Saying she was far too young to bear that title. Already having the title of Gramma Kathy, I laughed at her. As enchanted as she was with my grandchildren, I knew better. She announced that she would not accept such names as Granny, Grand-maw, Mee-maw or even Grandmother. No, she decided that she was to be called GrandMa'ma. I laughed some more and told her she would be called whatever the child named her and that she would love it. She became GiGi, despite all efforts made to teach Karagahn her preferred name.

I was right, of course, but I am always right, just ask my grandchildren.


I wonder what she would have edited out besides her date of birth. I want to call her and ask her if this was okay, but I can't. Besides loving my nephews and her granddaughter, there is nothing I can ever do for her again and I am just so sad.   

Sunday, April 11, 2021

COVID KILLS

 I am in Georgia. After three days we finally made it. Thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers. My sister succumbed to COVID Friday afternoon as we were on the first leg of our trip. I was not surprised after listening to my nephew describe all that was being done and all that was happening.

Still, I was disappointed that I did not make it in time to tell her goodbye. We finally arrived here at her house and I kept expecting to see her come out the door saying, "Hello, my darling!". She didn't and now I am just sad and tired. The service will be Tuesday morning at 11 am. I should be pretty wrung out after that! In the meantime I feel much like Alice must have felt after falling down the rabbit hole.

Everything is surreal. After crossing the Georgia state line I have only seen one masked face. I am fully vaccinated, although I still have that two week period to fulfill to meet maximum immunity and I have a mask on!! Why? Because, even though my chin itches with irritation, and I hate wearing the thing, I am worth every precaution I take. If I ever doubted how lethal this virus is (I didn't), all I have to do is remember that this killed my sister.

I am too tired to jump up on my soap box right now, but I do feel a rant coming on! I need a nap and some dog kisses to rejuvenate. Then I will start my campaign to make my nephews listen to reason and get the vaccine. Anyone close by will also hear what I have to say about it. Like it or not.

You can all look forward to upcoming posts about this trip. So much blog material, it will take days to organize my thoughts. HeWho will have his ongoing starring role as I recount all our adventures, so, stay tuned!

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Destiny

 As I sit here in the wee hours, unable to sleep, I am remembering. Where does all the time go? I find myself day dreaming more as I grow ever older. A flash of a memory will capture my attention, most often just a whisper in my ear that will bring a smile to my heart. Sometimes lingering awhile, it might follow me through my day. 

Night dreams are more intense. They can ruin my day, the memory of an unsettling dream. Other times I will wake with intense joy to be alive as happy memories flood my waking hours. It is good to remember both the good and the bad, I suppose. You wouldn't have one without the other. I wonder if this is where all those mantras we give each other come from. You know the ones I mean. When one door closes, another opens. If it was meant to be, it was meant to be. Don't cry over spilt milk.

Days go on and life happens all around us. We have good days and we have bad days. We grumble and complain about all the little irritants life presents more often than we express gratitude for all the good life offers. We find it easier to complain than be thankful.

For the past several days I have been annoyed. Every little irritant magnified beyond what it should be. Maybe it is the constant headache I am besieged with, along with all my aches and pains that come with growing old. Just as many reasons for a smile come my way and I strive to be more aware of those. 

The feeling of satisfaction upon completing a task goes along with sore muscles. The soft fur of my dogs' ears as I pet them. The limp, sleeping puppy on my lap. The same puppy that just peed on my floor. The sweet smell of freshly laundered sheets blowing on the line in the sunshine. Bounce will never reproduce that particular smell. The same sheets I had to remove from the bed after I heaved the fat cat to the floor. Ying and yang, some might say.

Life and death. Happens every single day. You go along assuming it won't touch you, forgetting that it is destiny. You hear about the deaths of friends loved ones and you momentarily feel a pang of grief for their loss. If you know them well, the grief will be yours as well. No matter if you are expecting it, it is always a shock. 

My very first playmate in life  would seem to be approaching her date with destiny. I was blissfully unaware of this until this morning. I had no idea she was even sick. My sister will become another statistic of COVID. Either way, she will be counted among the victims. If she responds and wakes, or if she doesn't, still a number to add to the ever growing list of those affected by COVID.

I will delay my trip south to get my second dose of the vaccine tomorrow, then load the RV while HeWho attends to an electrical issue in the park. This is not the trip I wanted to take. But, take it I must. 

We had different views, my sister and I. We grew apart and became "polite" with each other, not able to find common ground. But when all is said and done, she was my sister. My one and only sibling. I would love nothing more than to have a big noisy argument with her right now. I keep hoping my phone will ring and my nephew will tell me her status has improved. I will still go, as she would come to me. I prefer to argue face to face, you know.

Knowing there is absolutely nothing I can do, other than pray is humbling. I don't know what to ask for, I don't know what she wants. We never talked about it, what she would prefer in her currant situation. I feel helpless and incredibly sad. My mother died suddenly, out of the blue, totally unexpected. My dad wasted slowly away and it still hit with the same intensity. You would think we would have talked about our own deaths more, but we didn't.

My first friend, my protector, my antagonist, my cheer leader and at times my enemy. My sister that I love for all her goodness and all her flaws, just like she loved me. I am just so very sad.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Teetering Close to the Edge!

 If I thought yesterday was bad .... this day is shaping up to rival it. Barely caffeinated this morning, just two sips in and the phone started up like it was in a race. Very first call was about a power outage on a site. I could have suggested a few remedies, but I woke HeWho fancies himself to be more knowing about such intricate doings. Actually, he is, but I was begrudging his peaceful sleep that had already exceeded mine by a few hours. The Excedrin had done it's job for my headache and just as I had known it would, it also denied me the ability to fall asleep.

I gulped the remainder of the first cup and refilled it. I NEED it. Several calls later finds me here pecking away at my story. During my foray gathering merchandise yesterday, I might have mentioned the phone, ever at my ear. 

Apparently one call was from a traveler looking for a one night stay for tonight. I told him reservations would not be necessary, to just show up and I would take care of him. I don't remember if he shared his identity with me, as another call was coming through and I promptly forgot the call. The ones requiring more attention were put on my call back list. This morning he must have had second thoughts and decided to have his wife call to let me know they were on the road .... using her first name to identify herself she relayed the information. I must have sounded vague because she then went on to give a replay of my conversation with her husband. I still don't remember the circumstance surrounding their need for a site, just knew I could accommodate them.

Good thing I can multi-task, even with a headache. The same headache is lurking in the shadows of my mind as my day moves forward. There is, indeed, an electrical mystery on the site from this morning. HeWho was dispatched discovered this and decided to move a very small 30 amp camper to another site. He was ready to head to the bank with a deposit when I heard him talking to someone in the store. We do not open until noon and it was not noon.

This is the explanation. "Yeah, I moved 3 to 30, I need to work on 3." I stared at the clueless man I chose to marry (my own fault?). "Why did you choose 30?" I ask. "Because it works" he said. Of all the empty sites in the park, that I am relatively sure have working electricity, he chose 30. 30 is my go-to site for big rigs. It is a easy in, easy out and can accommodate up to 75'. I would NEVER put a 24' camper there. Same site he would assign to EVERY reservation he took, sometimes doubling and tripling up on it and leaving me to fix it. This is why he is forbidden to assign sites. FORBIDDEN.

I had assumed he did it on purpose to eliminate himself from having to deal with reservations and check-ins. Now I know it is because he can't handle the THINKING involved in pairing the needs of a particular camper with a site. After all he had a deposit to make and that must have been weighing heavy on his mind. I know, I know, I have a mean sarcastic streak that pops up when I am particularly frustrated. But why do I have to always be the problem solver?

In case you might be wondering about dementia ... I already had him checked for that. He is just, for lack of a better word, lazy. Or ... he could be trying to send me over the edge. It is working, if that is the case! Teetering ever closer to he edge of sanity here!

Monday, April 5, 2021

High Hopes

 I think it is finally Spring. And yet, I seem to have lost the spring in my step. Last year spoiled me! I had so much time to myself to garden and do all the things I like doing ....

It is after 7:00 and I am just now sitting down to eat. I have been on my feet all day and my right hip is screaming. I finally finished merchandising the store. Last year I didn't even bother to move things around. That means this year was extra dusty and I am pretty sure I have touched every surface in the store. 

That done, I set out on a mission to finish stocking the store. I was all set to just do my shopping on-line at Walmart and take advantage of free delivery. I carefully perused the web site and ordered a hefty amount of stuff to fill my empty shelves. With the exception of two items, they were out of stock or the items were no longer available. Are you kidding me, I said to my computer screen! You won't be surprised to know that I got no answer. I was not happy. I sent a lot of time compiling my order and it was not cheap! If the item is no longer available, then why, I ask you, is it still listed on the web site?

I sent a carefully worded email to the Walmart powers that be and made the same query. I really do not expect a reply and so far haven't gotten one. I went to Walmart today and can tell you that shopping in person wasn't much better. I did manage to spend nearly $300 and load it into my car with a raging headache.

Is it just me, or does everyone have to experience unruly children of parents who would appear to be oblivious? Add to that all the nearly empty shelves and the lack of a friendly, helpful associate that actually knew where anything was. I don't work there, but I am willing to bet I could help a customer find something better than the workers I asked for help.

They have either eliminated RV supplies or moved them to a secret location that no one knows about. It is Spring. People get antsy and want to camp in the Spring. I am out of drinking water hoses and none were available on-line, leading me to believe that they had all been distributed to the stores in anticipation of Spring sales. I was wrong. 

It seemed that every associate working today was either stocking shelves and could not or would not make themselves available for customer service ... or they were blocking customer traffic while gossiping about management. 

I encountered three groups of young children in the wild throws of temper tantrums. One was locked in a battle with the mother who was trying to disengage him from a pole he had wrapped his arms and legs around. He was far too old to be acting like a toddler and obviously stronger than his parent. My store phone was ringing every few minutes with reservation requests and wi-fi questions from people already staying in my establishment.

My head started hurting as I was checking out. A two step affair, involving my personal items and tax exempt items for the store. I make it clear to the check-out associate (Walmart's description, not mine) that I have two orders and one is tax exempt. This always seems to merit a deep annoyed sigh from the associate. I apologize profusely for making her life so hard and no, it is not sincere. My head is pounding and I have to remind her THREE times to charge me for all the merchandise on the bottom of my cart. I could have left without paying for it, but that would be wrong. I am creating my own karma .... She all but threw my eggs to me to get me out of her lane. I wished her a good day and took my time wheeling the cart away. I was not thinking good thoughts as I left the store and encountered another screaming child on my way out. 

I loaded the car, thinking that I needed a drink. Ice tea was what I was thinking, although an alcoholic beverage might have made me feel much better. I stopped at McDonalds and decided a small order of fries wouldn't hurt. I had a banana for breakfast, but it was long gone. Naturally I ended up behind a van chug full of people and it was almost 2:00, so I didn't think it would be that busy.

I was wrong about that and by the time I realized it I was stuck between vehicles and could not escape. I ordered my half cut tea as I always do and was annoyed as I took my first sip of syrupy beverage. Too sweet, way too sweet. If they were going to forget to put one component in, I would have rather had them leave off the sweet and do all unsweet. The fries were cold and unappealing and far too expensive to toss, so I ate them as I made my way home.

I must admit that my head was easing off and I began to feel better ... until the last 10 miles of my trip when two cars seem to have appointed themselves speed monitors and drove side by side at 55 mph on a 70 mph interstate. During the ride, the store phone kept ringing and I had to tell them I would call them back.

Finally home, unloaded all the stuff in my car and put most everything in it's proper place and made all the call backs. I thought I would go outside in the nice sunshine and lose myself in a garden after I spoon fed the canines who were not so patiently awaiting my attention.

That didn't work out too well, either. I just took reservation #15 and it is now after 8:00. My headache returned with a vengeance and I had to resort to Excedrin, knowing the caffeine will prevent a good night's rest. I am thinking tomorrow would be a good day to train someone else to man this phone and I will go hide in a garden. I have high hopes!

Monday, March 29, 2021

Bo's Big Adventure

 Cujo here. Well, Mom took Bo to the vet. It took both Mom and Dad to put his harness on and then get him into his kennel. Mom said he was in rare form, being particularly difficult to deal with. We all watched and then Toni Louise thought it might be fun to jump up and try to get him out of Mom's grasp. We all joined in with barking. It was hilarious, I tell you. Toni was up on her hind legs, grabbing at him and he was using his toe nails to climb up on Mom's shoulders and over to Dad and back again. He had made up his mind he was not getting in the kennel.

Then Dad yelled at us dogs to "SHUT UP!!". We didn't. We aren't really afraid of him. Mom grabbed the fly swatter as Dad locked the door to the kennel. She held the fly swatter in the air and said "FLYSWATTER" in her no-nonsense voice. We all slinked back to our respective lounging places and got very quiet. As far as I know she has never actually swatted any of us dogs, but we have all witnessed her killing flies. I am glad I am not a fly!

As Mom was leaving, carrying young Bo in the kennel, I started to feel a bit sorry for him. I could smell his fear in that kennel. We usually go all together or in pairs to the vet and he was all alone. He came home a changed dog! 

He did stink of throw-up and Mom told Dad he had emptied his stomach on the way. Bo just got down out of Dad's arms and grabbed his favorite wooby and shook the daylights out of it. I tried to ask about his visit with the vet that I have not met yet, but he did not want to talk.

We all went outside with Mom, and Bo stayed quite close to her. He didn't try to chase his ball or jump up on our backs like he usually does. I was starting to worry! What did they do to him? He went down for a nap until Mom got our food ready. He ate every bite she gave him, but he didn't try to steal our bites. It was strange, this behavior from our old Bo.

Then he yelped when Mom touched his hind end. I heard her tell Dad that it must be his shot. They shot him?? I do not care for shots myself. Then Bo showed me his feet and whispered that they had cut his toe nails. He was really quite upset that this had happened. Wall-E felt the same way about his toe nails. Our old vet would give Wall-E a shot the minute we walked in. Mom said it was happy juice and Wall-E would stumble around until his turn. They would still have to put that thing on his mouth that Mom said was a muzzle because he hated it when someone messed with his feet.

Bo said he was already scared when he got there. He said a lady sprayed some stuff on his tail and legs to clean the vomit off and then Mom used a ton of paper towels to scoop all the vomit out of the kennel. Se said it was amazing amount of vomit from such a little dog. Bo weighed in at a hefty 11 lbs., by the way. Then he said the vet got down on the floor with him and tricked him into thinking she was nice before she shot him in the butt and then stuck a needle in him and stole his blood!

Okay, I have decided I am not going to go to see this new vet. No way! All that trickery! I will bite all of them, I tell you. Treat my little brother like that! I will show them who is the real boss. Well, it really isn't me, but I can trick them like they tricked Bo.

So, Bo is tired from his big adventure and Mom is working hard in the store. She told Dad everything had to be re-set on the peg fixtures, so he went outside. I think he was afraid she might ask for his help. She didn't, though. She told me that he had no sense of space and organization. I get that. Not to be mean, but he is sort of a slob. Okay, I did mean to be mean, but we all know how I feel about Dad!

I will be quite happy to see the end of this day.

Friday, March 26, 2021

I Am All She Needs!

Cujo here again. I have been eavesdropping as much as I can. Wall-E taught me that word and showed me how to do it. I just sit quietly by my mom and pretend to sleep. I hear everything they say. Last night Dad was talking about taking a trip! He wanted to leave Monday, but Mom said we couldn't because Bo has a vet appointment.

I hope they cut Bo's toe nails at the vet! They are sharp like needles. I heard Mom say he was getting a shot and that she needs to take some of his poop with her! WHY? Does she keep all of our poop in her car to take to the vet? Why would they want it? Do they makes dog sculptures out of dog poop? 

But, back to this trip they are talking about. I don't mind a nice trip. I sleep while we all ride. Toni likes to look out the window and Eddie does, too. Poor Wall-E was not a good traveler. Mom said he got dizzy with all of the world whizzing by out the window. Eddie informed me that he would not be sitting close to Bo in a moving vehicle. He tells me that Bo gets car sick and vomits! I will keep my distance, as well.

The strangest and most disturbing thing happened this morning. Us boy dogs get up with our mom every morning. We go outside and Mom makes her coffee. Then we come inside and settle down on the sofa with Mom. She gets on her lap top and drinks her coffee while Eddie and I snuggle close to her. Bo torments Martha, the boy cat, while this is going on. Martha has a lot of patience with Bo. They actually bite each other's ears and roll around making growly noises. Mom doesn't seem to mind that noise.

When Dad and Toni Louise get up and come into our space, things get LOUD. Toni barks, which makes us boy dogs bark. Dad yells for us to stop and Mom takes Toni and Bo outside. Then it gets peaceful again. Sort of. Dad looks scary to me and I bark at him. I can't seem to help myself. Mom will hold me close and tell me everything is alright, but I just can't stop until she lifts me and turns me around so I can't see Dad.

Today she was just about to turn me when HE PICKED ME UP! I was so indignant. I stiffened my entire body and did not stop growling and barking. He told me I was safe and that he loved me. DOES NOT! He loves Toni Louise the best and then Eddie and Bo. Remember, I know how to eavesdrop! I heard him tell Mom that I was annoying. Well, so is he. He makes baby talk to the others and I do not feel comfortable in his lap. I just want him to leave me alone and stay out of the house until bed time so I don't get my throat sore from all the barking.

He told Mom she had spoiled me. She said, "So?" I guess I am spoiled then if Mom says it is so. I don't mind it at all, if I am spoiled. Mom says I have to stop eating so much, she says I am getting too fat for my own good. So, now she measures my food and feeds me with a spoon. She feeds all of us with a spoon now. Toni Louise is a sloppy spoon eater and bits fall to the floor. If you are quick enough you can gobble them up. But you have to be fast to beat Bo! Us boy dogs have mastered the art of spoon feeding. If you hold your mouth open just right, Mom will tilt the spoon and all the delicious food will fall into your mouth. Toni tries to eat out of the spoon like it is a tiny bowl. I may have told you before that she chases her own tail, so I suppose this is the most we can expect from her.

The sun is finally shining again and Mom is seeding gardens and planting all the seeds she started in the window in the kitchen. Mom likes plants, she says they make her happy, that blooms are like little faces smiling at her. Okay, I guess, but she has me .... does she really need more?