Old Abandonded Weathered White House

The darkened sensuous whisper. The persistent reaching. The waving shadows they pester me as night’s damp sleepy embrace slides the tips of his chilled fingers along my small warm arms. I jerk away clamoring to capture in my hands, my mind, my soul, one last ray from the slowly descending sun. I cannot leave you—alone.

As a child I ran those fields stomping on tiny, wild yellow flowers until the lightening bugs appeared. I captured as much of that light as those jars would hold, but even glowing mason glasses couldn’t stay away the night. Whether friend or foe it came knocking just as timely as the whistling evening train.

Not that the night was all bad, but the day altogether better—the time when I’m most alive. It’s the part of me that never dies—craving the light with an urgency to capture it into an extended hug, to squeeze it until it begs to stay.

So here I am, the day has fallen off the landscape and I’m left with a certain regret that I didn’t make better use of the light. Too many suns have come and gone while my list remains just that, a list. I check-off a few items, yet many more tasks remain. I don’t know where the day wandered off to.

Perhaps, there’s tomorrow and it will once again give me an opportunity to work with renewed vigor. I’ll say what I intended to say, write what I hoped to scribble down on paper, and call my brother. I’ll begin to read another book. And I’ll encourage a friend. I’ll text my granddaughters. If the light continues to shine, I’ll sit out back in my pajamas and watch those crazy golfers attempt to hit a ball.

Jesus walked through the valley of my despair, right into the night of my sorrow, offering me another chance to redeem my wasted life. He breathed sun into my soul and sent me soaring. I’ll be forever grateful for this opportunity. It’s a sort of second chance among many to seize the day, to bottle the light, to bring it inside for a little while longer.

These Boots

Woman zipping up high-heeled tan leather boots
My affinity with boots refers back to my long bony-legged teen years when, as a part-time shoe store clerk, I owned a pair of almond-colored leather Dingo boots whose cost, more than thirty-years ago, compares with today’s prices. For three months I gladly made weekly installments toward their purchase. Not even a rainy day could delete the smile from my face when I strutted through the door, for the first time, in those creamy delights.

Eventually, I purchased an entire wardrobe to accompany them. Denim skirt, plaid orange blouse, Dingo boots. Bright red pantsuit, Dingo boots. Wide-brimmed hat, beige suit, Dingo boots. Dingo boots. Dingo boots. I wasn’t concerned if others thought my footwear collection was insufficient, but then neither does a child her new red slippers. Nightly, with the scent of wax and leather in my nostrils, I buffed them to a bright sheen with Dad’s wooden handled, fine-haired shoe brush, anticipating the next day’s wear.

Even though living in Virginia, I should have known not to wear them in a knee-high snow pile, but my love for the boots outweighed intelligence. My angst to restore the pair to their former glory, forever ruined them. Any desire to replace the boots was shoved to the back of my small, pale green closet.

In recent months I plowed the soil of Florida malls in search of medium-brown leather, low healed, and comfortable boots. Yes, the kind my denims would slide into. I’d like to say I saw them on a shelf in a department store, but it’s more like they walked up to me with a smile and a firm handshake.

The moment seemed surreal from the unzipping of the leather parts, to the actual slide of my polka-dotted clad foot up and onto the sole. Standing, a spark of youth sizzled in my inward parts, as I was transported to the day I flipped a hula-hoop around my waist while tossing a twirling baton in the air. Glancing in the mirror, my hair sparkled as if sun washed in gold whereas my face held a certain glow cosmetics couldn’t duplicate. I was eighteen, standing in Dingo boots.

Time doesn’t sleep in dwellings like closets, bedrooms, or church buildings. It moves along from sunrise to sunset, whether or not we’re willing participants. Yet, every once and awhile time, like God, weaves an unsuspecting embrace into our narrative reminding us of the day when we caught fireflies in a jar. We’re utterly astounded, so deep and so wide, we’re speechless with delight. Something like ordinary boots lands in our lap and it’s not a special occasion.

These boots will not be easily surrendered, even when they do their dance to a foreign Florida heat. Somewhere between craving the cold and Mother Nature’s addiction for adding logs to her fire, my boots lose sync of time or season.

I suppose one night while sleeping someone will attempt to pry these boots from my stinking feet and I will release an animalistic roar. What’s a Cinderella to be without her glass shoes?




The Day I Died

Country church in the prairies

I left the doctor’s office for a routine medical exam, the kind a woman moans about in whispers to her best friend. Since there was another hour before a nail appointment, this seemed to be the perfect opportunity for a quick nap. I arrived home, laid down on the couch, and no sooner had fallen asleep when I woke with a mere five minutes to get there. Dazed, I grabbed my favorite purse, the one Mom once laughed about, saying it looked as if it came from a bargain basement sale. I ran to the car, and raced to the salon around the corner.

These days a four-year-old memory haunts me every time I park in front of that salon, along with dread and a sort of creepy desperation akin to fear. I still can’t believe this is my story and not another’s to tell. Yet, heaven knows I’ve earned a certain right to share.

In a hurry, I swished my silver Hyundai into the parking space directly in front of the salon window. I braked but felt mush under my foot. My helplessness mounted with every pounding of the pedal, yet my car barreled with the speed of a racing train up and over the curb, barging through the window. I grabbed the gearshift, shoved it into park, before the car came to a jarring stop in the middle of the waiting room. Something similar to disbelief plagued my senses. I never got the “what-to-do” instructions for this one.

Still seated, I grabbed the cell phone to call Robert, my husband. With rapid speed I shouted, “I ran my car through the window of the beauty salon.” I look up to a choir of mouths opened wide enough to shove in a pan of cornbread.

Robert said, “You did what?”


“Never mind. I’ll be right there.”

My audience held iPads and cell phones taking pictures while people came from up and down the sidewalk to do the same. Before the hour was out, the digital airways were hot with messages shooting across cyberspace. In the days, weeks, and years following, my beloved town knew me in a way I never wanted to be known.

Sweet trembling folk helped me from the car, friends who had known me for as long as I had lived here. I stepped over crunched glass and splintered wood to find a seat in the far corner, while I waited for Robert. I shrank down, listening to the chatter and whispers, some not so quiet. The city’s broadcasting system was working well. I heard voices and clips from conversations of folk wandering into the salon to inquire.

“Was anyone hurt?”

“Nope. But someone almost was.”

“It sounded like a bomb exploded.”

Laughing I heard someone say, “You must have really made her mad. What did you do to her hair?”

“Was she drunk?” I cringed.

“I don’t think so, but she could have been.”

“Who did it?”

“The pastor’s wife of that big church down the street.”

I slumped down further in the seat. They know me! Now they’ll feel terribly sorry for my husband who married the town’s drunk who crashes through unsuspecting businesses.

The jokes continued when the inspector came with his clipboard. He tossed his hat, plopped down onto a stylist’s chair, and broadcast his announcement. “I want to go on record as being the first person who had his hair cut at the town’s first drive-through hair salon.” He chuckled so loud and deep he coughed all over the stylist.

My cheeks burned. At least nobody died. Well nobody, but myself.

For me, life became “me, before the crash” and “me, after the crash.” If I had an ounce of pride before that day, it was now ground and scattered like slivers of glass all over the city, cutting away any futile argument that I wasn’t a bit touched in the head.

Once the reality of my situation settled, I laughed. What’s a woman supposed to do? Yet, I’ve discovered there are benefits to being labeled “touched” in the head. Perhaps, I’ll surprise a few folk with a clever remark now and then.

Yes, Lisa wants a new car—someone has said, “the kind that will go anywhere.