Keys…

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Keys

Old keys tell of forgotten keyholes

Their intricate beauty beguiling

Speaking of secrets yet to be found

I have one such small key

Matching keyhole found in my mother’s old cottage

It gave me the name of my missing father

Would that I could find him

The stories, the secrets he could tell

To fill the empty spaces in my mind

Where he should be…

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Beloved…

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

Beloved…

She looked at me with salt worn eyes

Tears of a thousand years

Her pain I could not imagine

Her years are old, she has lived too long

Old memories haunt her days, her nights

A plait crowns her beautiful grey hair

Her hand small and gentle, touch my face

Her smile almost invisible, too hard

Her pain holds it at bay, yet I remember

that her smile lit her eyes like night stars

She will forever be my beloved Oma…

Anita Signature

Love Really does Make the World go around…

 

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

This week I have been thinking about all the different kinds of love there are, and how many I have had the good fortune to have shared. Unfortunately, this also highlighted the ones I haven’t or made a complete hash of, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, right?  At least I can’t.

I miss not knowing my dad, and I really wish I had never known my mum. (but that’s another story altogether!) Then there were two husbands one after the other that I’m glad I don’t miss in the slightest.

I was told once long ago that I have two brothers somewhere, and they are possibly who I miss the most.  I watch Anita’s son and daughter sometimes and really envy their relationship. They do fight and argue sometimes, but they are always there for each other, instinctively knowing what each of them needs and offering it before the need to ask.

It would appear that missing things is one of the saddest aspects of growing old and I don’t care for it too much.  I don’t want to spend any of the time I have left complaining about this and that, bemoaning what was and what could never be.  My life has been what I could make out of it, good or bad, and I’m not really the kind of person who will waste any time worrying about all the ifs and maybe’s. What’s done, is done.

 

I was wondering what to write about this week, and then I started thinking about all the things I love now. (And I did need the reminder).

Which was a nice change from all the problems and mini-disasters that have been depressing my family and me of late and it lifted my mood considerably.

So much so, that when I ventured outdoors yesterday, battling against strong, chilly winds to run an errand, I began to notice things that I might not have seen last week. Mother Nature’s presence was everywhere, and I wondered if the weather would be kind and not ruin her efforts. But it was good to see them nonetheless, proving that Summer really can’t be far away after all.

 

Back to all the things I love at the moment…

I love having the strength of my family around me.

I love that I still have most of my health and some of my mental faculties. (More important than I ever knew it could be)

I love that I have learned so much this year, mainly from the people I meet online every day. (And I thank you all from the bottom of my heart)

I love that I am enjoying writing my books and loving every frustrating minute of it.

I love all the people (and I am sure you all know who you are) who, with their advice, patience and humour have inspired us so much.

watermark xjj

 

#Throwback Thursday ~ The Italian Thing by Patricia Salamone @Pattisalamone #memoir

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Join me in my hilarious recount of how I explored my heritage during a more-than-memorable trip to Sicily. I detail our adventures and misadventures as my husband and I visited our relatives in Naro. I share how we got to know the locals, their customs and lifestyle, and how everyone seemed to think that “everything will be fine” no matter what troubles they were in. During those weeks, we went through culture shock despite the fact that we are both Italian. In the end, it was “the Italian thing” in all of us that made ours an unforgettable trip!

Our Review

I have always wanted to visit Italy, such a timeless and beautiful country with so many interesting places to visit.

Reading “The Italian Thing” will be like going there and seeing the country through someone else’s eyes, I thought, expecting to find a country I was already familiar with. I was looking forward to the trip of a lifetime and the book did not disappoint. It was well written, full of all the wonderful scenery and architecture I have come to expect of the country.

However “The Italian Thing” isn’t about the country, not really, it is about the people and family. About the lives they live and the glorious food they eat.

“Everything will be fine” is the Italians hilarious answer to everything, and is the key to understanding their very different way of life.

I loved the touches of humour, the very descriptive narrative, and the loving but feisty relationship between Pat and Mike. Two people who were out of their depth and up to their eyes in food of every delicious description. How they came home weighing less than before is remarkable!

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Biography

Patricia Salamone was born in New York. Raised in the borough of Queens. She had five siblings including one brother that passed away in August of 2003.
The Italian Thing is her first published book although she has been writing since the age of 8 years old.
She married and has three children who are grown with families of their own now, and they have blessed her with grandchildren.
Patricia retired from AT&T in 2008 and was able to concentrate on her love for writing, hence “The Italian Thing.”
The Italian Thing is available on Amazon Kindle worldwide and also available in print (English only).

As Patricia puts it, “No awards yet, but there is always tomorrow.”

 

 

 

 

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Another memory of the Falls…

 

St. Nectan’s Falls

 

On one of our trips to Cornwall, we decided to seek out St Nectan’s Glen.

Not realising there was a short cut, we took the long walk through the fields along a small path to get to the Falls.  Single file small!

There were cliffs to one side, the other a sheer drop that was full of trees, nothing soft to break a fall. I moaned all the way there, to find the waterfall at the end, the most wonderful sight.

Jaye had stepped into her own paradise, her love of water. It was plain to see, her face lit up as if the sun shone where there was none.

We noticed people high on a ridge, at the top of the waterfall.

Jaye has a fear of heights, but that day she conquered it, to get as close as she could to the top of the Falls. I am not kidding when I say that there was barely room for a pigeon on this ridge. There we were, my entire family, along with any future grandchildren I might have, vanished in fear.

Squeezing past people coming down was the moment I realised just how dangerous this was. Even now, when I think about it, I remember the nightmares I suffered. I still believe we were fools to have climbed up there.

We found our way to the small hut where St Nectan lived out his days. We signed the visitor book. Back on the flat ground, I gave a sigh of relief. Never again, I said, more times than I can count.

The thing I remember most was the deafening sound of the water and how cold it felt. Would I go again?

Maybe, but taking the shortcut, and no climbing high…

 

 

(This was Anita’s memory of the day I posted about HERE  )

Golden Memories…

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Due, I suspect, to the arrival of our Great Grandchild three weeks ago, an air of nostalgia has descended upon our household. All the old photographs have come out of hiding, accompanied by much reminiscing.

We thought we would share some of these golden memories with you…

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It was like having a time machine, going back to all those times and remembering them as if they were yesterday…

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Do you ever take a walk down Memory Lane?

AAAAA

 

My Father…

 

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

 

My Father

What would I say to my father

should he pop up like a ghost from the past?

I want to know where you were when I needed you.

I wait for his answer, to pounce,

to shoot him down in flames.

“It was the war, sweetheart.”

That deserved a slap. My hand itched

but I didn’t move to land it.

“Have you ever heard of writing a letter?

Sending a photo that I could identify myself with?”

“Time,” he told me, “Life, gets in the way…”

With an ocean between us, it must

have been easy to forget the things done

when age hampers the mind.

His voice, absent throughout my life

Still nothing much to say, now he is in front of me

It would have been nice, growing up

to know which part of my face belonged to you.

My mother did say I had your bottom lip

which isn’t much to go on.

What part of my mind, is from your DNA?

I am left to wonder. There is no answer.

Maybe you truly are a ghost

with no trace left behind…

AAAAA

 

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Everything is Upside Down…

 

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This year has been a series of difficulties. More downs than ups, to be honest. So it should come as no surprise to anyone to see a Christmas tree, seemingly floating upside down in mid-air in our front room.

Being white, it looks ethereal, the string it is suspended on almost invisible as it moves slightly on invisible air currents.

It wasn’t easy to do, for these trees are not designed to be upside down, and the top part parted company with the base at the most awkward moment, almost resulting in our giving up on the idea and being conventional after all.

Beneath the tree, looking remarkably like Miss Havisham’s abandoned wedding feast from Dicken’s Great Expectations, we have created a display to reflect the dinner we will not be having in our house.

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The idea came to us because this Christmas will be like no other we have ever had or imagined. For the first time in the history of our family, we will not be here on Christmas Day. Relatives will not be arriving, full of Christmas cheer to share our carefully prepared feast of turkey and all the trimmings. There will be no fun and games at the table when we don’t pull the crackers.

There will be no toasting the cook or pulling the wishbone, not in this house, anyway.

We will all be somewhere else…

 

The next generation in our family is now of an age to change things, to take charge of traditional celebrations and create new ones of their own. This is the way with families.

It came as a bit of a shock for me and for a while I didn’t think I welcomed the invitation. For nearly fifty years, I have been cooking the turkey and mince pies, and I suppose I thought it would continue. I mean, what would I do with myself?

I have accepted the idea now, and the notion of someone else manhandling an uncooperative turkey into an equally uncooperative oven is making me smile.

It will seem odd to have nothing to do on Christmas day, but you never know, I might like it so much I will arrange it for next year too!

 

 

 

A Story for Christmas… Two White Mice

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A cold wind rattled the window frame and whistled through the cracks, lifting the faded cotton curtains like a summer skirt. It was dark outside, but Ruth hadn’t noticed, so intent on keeping warm.

The last of the coal was gone, nothing but ebony dust in the scuttle. The embers were nearly cold. Time to go to bed, she thought, at least it would be warmer there.

A loud knock on the front door made her jump, but she made no move to see who was there. It was probably those rotten kids from the Council estate again. They were always knocking on her door and running away.

There was another knock on the door, followed by another. This was unusual, she thought. They didn’t usually knock twice. But who else could it be?

Pulling the old knitted shawl closer around her shoulders, she shuffled in her shabby slippers to the front door. She peered through the peephole, but its field of vision was quite small and distorted. But even in the darkness, she could see there was no one there. She turned and made her way to the kitchen, thinking a nice cup of cocoa would set her up for a good night’s sleep.

As she passed the living room doorway, her mind played the same familiar trick again and she saw Jim, her husband, sitting by a blazing fire. His snow-white hair flopping over his eyes the way it always did. As she opened her mouth to ask if he wanted any cocoa, he slowly vanished; taking the blazing fire with him and her heart sank. She missed him so much, especially at this time of year.

They had never made much of a fuss about Christmas. Something nice for dinner, and maybe some shop bought mince pies. And every year without fail he bought her two white sugar mice. She had confessed her love of them when they were courting and he always managed to find some every year since. This would be her first Christmas without him.  She prayed every night that she would be allowed to go to him, but no one was listening and every morning she woke up in an empty bed.

 

Ruth had no family and no real friends. Days would pass when she wouldn’t see or speak to anyone. One of her neighbours would wave if she saw her at the window, but that hadn’t happened lately.

Sipping the hot milky cocoa in her chair by the dead fire, she listened intently, hoping to hear the carol singers again, but all was silent. Not even any traffic to prove she was not really so alone.

She sighed and struggled to her feet, intent on rinsing her cup in the kitchen. Just as she reached the hall, a muffled sound from outside the front door drew her attention. Two more knocks and she moved slowly to have another look. Again, there was no one there; at least she couldn’t see anything. But someone had to be out there, for she could hear something.

Then a very small voice said, “She must be asleep,” followed by a giggle.

“Knock again, and then we’ll give up…”

From where Ruth stood, she could hear small scrabbling noises, moving up the door to the letterbox.

Up close, the door echoed with another knock, accompanied by several giggles. She looked through the peephole again and saw nothing. Convinced she was losing her mind, she turned towards the stairs. The sound of the gate swinging shut stopped her. Someone was there. What on earth did they want at this time of night? Knowing they were probably gone now, she slowly opened the door.

On the doorstep was a small boy, clutching a small pink paper bag that had reindeer on it. Another child, a girl by the looks of it, was swinging on the gate. “I told you she was in,” she said, and as she smiled, a dimple appeared on her left cheek.

“These are for you…” the boy said. “Me mum made ‘em.”

Ruth reached out and slowly touched the paper bag. It had been used before and was wrinkled and soft. He pushed the bag into her hand and let go. Ruth didn’t know what to say. What should she say? That it was far too late to be banging on her door? Or would a simple thank you be enough?

But it was no good. The emotions racing through her mind had rendered her speechless. That someone had thought of her and brought a gift, overwhelmed and saddened her in equal measure and her eyes filled with tears.

When Ruth looked up, she noticed the mother, standing just a few feet away on the other side of the hedge. She looked thin and worn out, but somehow peaceful, watching her children with a small smile on her face. “Come on now, you two,” she called. “Say goodnight now.”

A chorus of good nights and they were gone, leaving Ruth standing there, suddenly stupid for not saying anything. She should have said something.

As she closed the front door, she wondered what was inside the bag. In the kitchen where the light was better, she opened the crumpled paper and looked inside.

What she saw made her heart leap with unexpected joy.

Inside, lying next to each other, were two white sugar mice…

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