Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Winter Linger

It's the last day of March, and we woke up to a new three-inches of heavy wet snow. That sorta pokes a hole in the old adage that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, doesn't it? Here in DuBois, Pennsylvania, March came bleating in at around 60 degrees and, as of today, is roaring out with measurable snow ...

I can't complain, though. As only a heavy wet snow can do, all of the limbs and branches of the trees are laden with the same three inches of winter. As I look out my windows on top of the huge hill we live on, I have a panoramic view of pretty much the whole town and it's beautiful.

As Robert was leaving for work a few minutes ago, I waved goodbye and noticed the snow on the garage roof. Like icing on a too-warm cake, the snow is slowly sliding off the roof, literally in tiers. I couldn't help making a human, yet metaphoric, connection.

Winter is technically over and yet Old Man Winter desperately hangs on, not wanting to step aside for spring "just yet". How like human life that is. When we reach the winter of our lives, we also do everything we can to stay here as long as possible. We exercise, we take our vitamins, but still, age takes it's toll and, like the wilting snow on the garage roof, our bodies eventually do a similar slow slide in tiers. Oh, there are things we can even do about that, if we have the means, but when our winter is over, it's over.

The biggest difference between Old Man Winter hanging on and humans who can merely stall for time is, winter knows it gets to come back again every year and, like a spoiled child, it still wants more ... as for me, I'm just grateful.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What to do About You

A Short Story
by CJ Heck

Jessie sat at her keyboard, staring at the small black words racing across the white screen. She had only met Donald six weeks ago, but she had to admit, it had been a wild ride.  She was both intrigued and enamored. He seemed genuine, although, can anyone ever truly know someone they've only known online?

Jessie read his lovely thoughts and felt the familiar surge of emotion as he deftly fashioned each keystroke into another perfectly worded seduction. She had to smile. Donald was very much an artist, only his canvas was the heart, his medium, words.

When he finally stopped typing, she sensed he awaited her reply. Gathering up her thoughts and all of the questions that had been nagging at her, she began ... "Donald, do I know you? I mean, do I really, really know you? Sometimes I'm sure I do -- at times, I think I even know you better than you know yourself. But there are other times, like right now, when I'm sure I don't know you at all."

Jessie hesitated a little too long and Donald began typing again. "Sweetie Pie, you have to go with the flow. You know me, Baby, you know you do. Someday, we'll be together, I promise.  But just for now, this is what we have. Talk to me, Sunshine. You know you feel it, the love.  I know I do."

Jessie took a deep breath, stretched her mind along with her fingers, and began to fill the screen with her own thoughts to send across the miles. "Something is happening, Donald, I will agree.  Your words have caught me up in something big and, yes, we've made a real connection here in a very short time. But is this love? I don't know -- how can I know? We've never even seen each other in person.  Why is that, Donald?"

Jessie paused to collect her thoughts and immediately, Donald's words appeared on the screen.  "C'mon now, Babe, you know I love you. This is how everyone should fall in love. You and me, we've learned to know and love each other on the inside first -- this way, looks can't get in the way. We love each other for who we are, not how we appear.  Get a grip, Babe."

If only Donald would say the words she needed most to hear: "I can't wait another minute. I'm getting on a plane this afternoon. I need you and I want to be with you. I want to look deep in your eyes and see the love I feel reflected back. I feel like I'll die if I can't hold you close and breathe you in, and fill up my very soul with you. I love you, Jessie, and I can't live without you for another day."

Jessie knew she would never hear those words, but still she tried once more, "Donald, do you really know me? I'm sure you'll say you do, but I believe you only think you know me because I'm a writer and you've read some of my writings -- but those are only little parts of me, just thoughts I've sheared off to rhyme or not rhyme. But that's not knowing -- at least I don't think it is.  Donald, we need to talk about what's important."

Jessie didn't stop typing this time. Her fingers flew. "One thing I do know, Donald.  Your wants and desires scare the hell out of me sometimes and all my instincts tell me to run and never look back. Why won't you come and see me? I need to hold you. Don't you feel that, too? Where do we go from here, Donald? What do I do about you?"

Jessie stopped.  Now she watched as Donald's thoughts filled her screen one last time. He was smooth, she would give him that. But now, reading fast so the tears wouldn't blur the words, she read something much different than what she needed, "Geez oh man, Jess, what the hell?  Of course I know you -- it's too bad you feel like that.  You know how I feel about you, Baby, but you're moving too fast for me.  Maybe we shouldn't see each other anymore ..."

Jessie had seen enough. The last words she read before clicking the Power Off button were,  "... so I'm sure you understand.  Just remember, Babe, it's your loss ..."

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Youngest Child

This morning, I was thinking about one particular day when I was young. I remember my Gramma had come to visit from out of town -- always a special treat. On the second day she was there, I saw this far away look in her eyes and just the hint of a smile. When I asked her what she was thinking about, she told me, “Oh, I was just thinking back a-ways, that’s all, sweet girl.” Gramma looked happy and I thought at the time, that’s what it must be like when you get old. You think about the past a lot.

It’s funny, I’ve never thought of myself as being old, but this morning as I was enjoying my first cup of coffee, (light cream, no sugar, thanks), I caught myself doing the very same thing. My thoughts had wandered “back a-ways …” I had gone back to a time when I was a young mother, and I was thinking about my youngest daughter, Heather, when she was three.

At the time, we were living in Woburn, Massachusetts. What a sweet and outgoing little girl she was, and still is now, even more so. She was a beautiful child and petite -- actually, she was considered tiny, by height and weight standards in those days. At three, she had only a few blond wisps of hair, and with her diminutive size, she looked much younger than her age.

I remember one special visit to the grocery store. I had just delivered her two older sisters to preschool, and Heather and I went to the grocery to pick up a few items. I seat-belted her securely into the child seat in my grocery cart. We were giggling at the cart, the cart I always seemed to get. It had a wheel with a mind of its own, turning mindlessly every which way while making a whomp-wiggle-wiggle -whomp-wiggle-wiggle sound.

We were still giggling as we whomp-wiggle-wiggled into the line to pay. Then it was our turn for the cashier to ring up our groceries. The cashier was smiling, and watching Heather who was still giggling. “Awww, she’s so sweet! How old is your baby?” She asked me.

I was about to tell her, but Heather replied, “I’m Heather and I’m not a baby, I’m three. Mommy is 31. Did you hear our wheel? It’s funny! What’s your name?”

... and she's still precocious ... I love you, Heather!

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