Friday, November 25, 2011

The Evening Star -was it a sign?

It was a cool fall afternoon in Floresville when I went to the Ortiz home on Plum St., not far from our house. I had met the sweet couple about a month ago. My friend Liz Lopez took me by to meet them one day. I started out wanting to write a story about El Mesias Methodist Church and it’s origin and had contacted Liz who was the historian of that church. As many know, my grandfather founded the church about 1908 as little mission church. It then joined the Methodist Episcopal Church South around 1914.

I am still working on that story, but I got sidetracked when I met Lillie and Liborio Ortiz that day. They are such a special, sweet interesting couple I had to write a story about them.

One part of the story has already been published in the Wilson County News. The second part is going to be in the paper next week. I wanted to let them look over the story before I sent it in.

Liborio was sitting in a chair on the porch and he invited me in. Lillie and Liz Lopez were sitting at the kitchen table playing cards. The game was like a double solitaire type of game. They finished playing the game. Lillie won, laughing delightedly.

Then we sat for about an hour talking. I read the story to them. They loved it, and I made a few corrections. But in that hour I found out things about those two women, I didn’t know before. Both Lillie and Liz have a mentally challenged sons. I met Lillie's son when he walked through the kitchen with his laundry. He does his own laundry. He is quiet and doesn’t talk much. He is in his 40’s and has a job with the city of Floresville. He loves his job and the city says he does a good job. He drives a car, but prefers to walk everywhere. He walks miles a day. He is such a sweet man.

Liz’s son is autistic. He is about 18, I think. He loves video games and spends his days playing video games. As Liz told me about what his life has been like for 18 years, the challenges she has had with him, and what his gifts and talents are,(they never knew he could read so well, he read the bible in the church and he read it so fluently the whole church was amazed).

As she told me about the time when he was in Head Start, and she found out that he had not been eating his lunch because he didn’t like it and would only eat chicken nuggets for every meal, and was getting skinnier and skinnier, she wept as she remembered that time. But they had not told her that he was not eating. She took him to get chicken nuggets every day at McDonalds. When she found out.

Both Liz and Lillie are such strong Christians and they love the Lord and don’t say, “Why us Lord?”

They laugh and love God and love their family and their church.

As I sat there talking to these women in the warmth of that kitchen I felt so much love and kinship with them.

We walked out to our cars in the twilight and we saw the evening star bright in the sky, and one of them said, “What is that bright light?”

I said, “It is the evening star”.

And they remarked how bright it was and maybe it was a sign that Jesus was coming again and soon.

I said to them, “I feel so at home on these streets on Old Lodi Town, like I am coming home, and I feel a warmth that I don’t feel on the other streets of Floresville.”

Liz said, “Maybe it is because you feel your grandfather and grandmother’s presence here, because they used to live on 2nd St for all those years. (almost 100 years ago).Their spirit still lingers on.”

I think she is right! That Evening Star was a sign for me, that I am in the right place at this time my life.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Looking forward to Thanksgiving

When you get my age, and it is Thanksgiving time, you begin to remember so many past Thanksgiving Days. I have written about them all I think, my favorites especially. I haven't had Thanksgiving dinner at my house for several years. Since 2007. It has been four years. But I am so happy because this Thanksgiving I will have Derek and lil Red and Kristi and Chuck here along with Julie.
I have been feeling very sad and lonely lately, I don't want to go anywhere, just hibernate at home. I don't know if it is me, or the time of year, the holidays.... when I feel so ...I don't know what it is...alone, and for some reason I am missing Eddie more and more .... I wish I could cry...but i can't ...
I am so happy when someone comes to our house to visit. Makes me feel like old times, when our house was a gathering place for so many events, for our family and friends. I will have my kids home for Thanksgiving, that is all except Trent and Chary who is far away in Bolivia. Wish they could be here too. Kristi and Chuck will come Thursday morning, I think.
I hope it will be Thanksgiving weather. It is so warm and yucky and cloudy and oppressive today.
Other than going to church Sunday, I didn't get out of the house, all weekend, or all week, except to go to HEB for some things Friday. Which I detested! So crowded. I do not like crowds.
Bob called me Saturday night to tell me Poth High Girls Volleyball, won State!! They are #1 in the State of Texas for 2A girls. And also the Poth Boys Football team won in the playoffs! They will play Refugio next Friday in the quarterfinals. He and my brother Sammy went to Victoria to the game. My brothers are avid fans of Poth High School sports. I am too! ha. But I don't travel that far to watch games!!! If the girls play in Poth I will go is only 5 miles away.
Now I am going to follow the Poth Girls Basketball team.
My column in last weeks paper about Lillie and Liborio Ortiz was a big winner. People evidently liked it very much. Their daughter wrote me on Facebook to say how she loved it and thanked me, and Lillie Ortiz called me to say her phone had not stopped ringing. I am so glad. It makes me feel so good, to know that people read it. I have the second part of their story ready to send today. I think I will go to their house and have them proof read it today.
I have not been in the mood to start another story these days. I have so many leads and people to interview but I just don't have the energy...I just want to go back to bed.
So, looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. I thank God for my children and my grandchildren. They are the best!
And I thank God for my brothers and sisters who are all still alive and kicking. My brother Donny just got back from a cruise. Good for him.
I was thinking of how Lacey always said Thanksgiving was her favorite holiday. She loved it so much she didn't want to miss it that Thanksgiving day she and her aunt Susan flew to Paris and her grandma brought her to Julie's house for Thanksgiving Dinner with the family, before they went to the airport. Was that her last Thanksgiving with us? I forget. I wonder if they have Thanksgiving in heaven?
Kristi's kids are having Thanksgiving together at Stephanie's boy friend, Trent's house. I know Kristi will miss being there, but I am so grateful to the Lord that she and Chuck will spend it with Julie and me. and Derek and Laura.
She is a wonderful daughter. And her kiddos are jewels, and they love each other so much and I know that is because of the way they were raised. They may have their differences but they always work it out. Kristi and Bill did a wonderful job. Eddie and I spent so many wonderful Thanksgivings at their house and Trent and Sandra's house too. O God I have so many good memories...enough to last a life time. OK I am having a nostalgic moment.....
So, now I wonder what the future holds? Well, I won't go there. I will just live for today. Next year I will be 80 years old by Thanksgiving. WOW, that is old!. No I am going to be 79 from now on. 80 seems so old!!! I am always going to be 79 and holding!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Times they are a-changin'

Come gather 'round people, wherever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth saving

Then you better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'

Wonder if anyone ever feels like this? I seem to be waiting for something to happen. It is sort of an apprehension of something bad, but yet something good. It is so weird. Good things are happening all around me, in my family, my town, my life, and I am in good health, so what is wrong? I am not as interested in the things I usually do, like watching TV (most everything is boring, except maybe old movies), and Parenthood and Survivor and Amazing Race. Other than those three, yuck!!! I still like reading, and I have three books I am reading. Two are about women who write about the hol0caust, their diaries and one I read in one day, called "Heaven is for Real" about a little boy's story about going to heaven and back. It is so real and makes me want to go to heaven.

So I wonder what is going on? What does God have in store for me, for us? I am thinking something. I often think how I wish things were like they were before, like when my kids were little, and my life was so simple and I loved being a wife and mother. You should enjoy your life and don't think about tomorrow. I didn't. If I had known what was ahead of me I would have been very unhappy. So now I won't think about that. I want to enjoy each day. Do what I want to do, don't worry about everyone else, just love them and let God handle their situations. Trust God to know what is best. And have hope for tomorrow. And keep praying this darkness lifts from me.
But I sense things are changing. That is what I keep hearing this morning in my head. "Times they are a changing". Like this Bob Dylan song. I looked up the lyrics and it really hits the nail on the head as far as my America goes. I think that is what God is warning me about. America is changing, and many of the changes are not good. So we need to be prepared. Stay close to God, and lean on Him....and I know Heaven is for real.

Come writers and critics who prophesies with your pen
And keep your eyes wide, the chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon, for the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who that it's namin'

For the loser now will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'

Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled
The battle outside ragin'

Will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'

Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
And don't criticize what you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly aging

Please get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'

The line, it is drawn, the curse, it is cast
The slow one now will later be fast
As the present now will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin'

And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'

Monday, November 7, 2011

Old collectible books are jewels

I was reading my one-hundred-and-twenty-five old book that I have in my collection of old out-of-print books.

The book is called Higher Lessons in English, a work on English grammar and composition. It was published in 1877, and the copy I have was published in 1885. It appears to be a textbook for higher grades like colleges. There are 165 chapters and the last chapter is “How to write a theme”. I gently hold it in my hand and look at the name written on the inside cover … or names. The names are W.M. Adair, Antonito Cola, May 15 – 1894.

This is one of my treasures. I looked through it this morning and had a great time remembering when I loved school and anticipated the time when we would have grammar - as it was called in Kasper School, the little country school I attended for 9 years. I went to Poth High School for three years and graduated there - a little high school with 52 students total in Poth, Texas!

As I read through the book today, it got me to thinking. I wonder why people do not use good grammar these days. I notice that so much. The high school kids these days do not know good grammar, and don’t speak good English. Is it because they don’t teach it any more? It has been so long since my children and grandchildren were in high school, I don’t remember. I think my children were taught good English and grammar. All four of them like to read and are all good writers. The four of them could write a book, I am sure. But my grandchildren, I don’t know. A few of them like to read books. But do they like to write? I hope so.

I have several pet peeves. I imagine lots of people have their pet peeves. One of mine is that people do not like to read or write or know how to write with good grammar. Why is that?

And the young people that talk on cell phones, or by texting or even on Facebook, do not use good grammar or English. They shorten words by abbreviating them, so they look gibberish. I guess it is a sort of shorthand. Good Lord, we are becoming an illiterate people here in America! And no one writes letters any more. Even my e-mail letters from people are getting few and far between. I loved it in the old days when we so looked forward to the mailman to see if we got a letter! It is so personal to read a letter that the

mailman has delivered to your mailbox.

Maybe it is because I loved books and reading. English was my favorite subject in school. Both literature in high school and grammar in grade school were my favorites.

Do they still teach kids how diagram sentences? I loved to diagram sentences. Does anyone still remember the difference between a subject and predicate?

Do you remember what is the meaning of a noun and a pronoun? Noun is the name of anything. Pronoun is a word used for a noun.

A verb denotes action, being or the state of being. Words like walk, dance, talk, and work are action verbs. Adverb is a word used to modify a verb. Or describe the verb. It is so interesting to me. I guess I am strange that way. Probably people think it is boring. But I don’t care. I love it.

I think I will go diagram a sentence now. Hope I remember what a prepositional phrase is or a dangling participle! But I do know how to conjugate a verb! And diagram a sentence! But that may be a mystery to some people.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Was Mary Todd Lincoln's marriage happy?

I just finished reading three books about Mary Todd Lincoln. I remember reading abut Abraham Lincoln and Mary Lincoln when I was in school. But I didn't really get interested in Mary, before I saw a documentary about them and their marriage. It was so fascinating I wanted to know more. So I looked them up on the internet and saw there have been hundreds of books written about Mary Todd Lincoln and Abe Lincoln. Finally I selected three to order.

O my, the books were so interesting! I read all three books in three weeks. And two of the books were long, one being over 400 pages and the other nearly 350 pages.

Abe Lincoln was a different kind person than Mary. He was prone to melancholy and depression and was not an outgoing person. Of course we all know he was of poor circumstances and raised in a long cabin. She was of rich, aristocratic families in Kentucky. She was smart, outgoing, and made up her mind to marry him before he wanted to marry her. She pushed him to be president. She yearned to be a president's wife.

She was prone to anger fits and sometimes embarrassed Abe in a crowd of people, when she was angry with him. She was bossy and domineering and made many enemies when they were in the White House.

But it seems Abe loved her till he died. He was gentle, kind, and never raised his voice at her. He had a way to handling her tirades and anger.

The third book about the Lincolns was by Elizabeth Keckely who was a African American seamstress who came to be Mary Todd Lincolns best friend! She kept a diary all those years (about 4 years) and there are lots of pages from that diary in this book. That was my favorite. It is not long and more personal And she tells it how she saw it, and heard it ...their marriage. I loved that book.

And what happened to Mary Lincoln after Lincoln was killed, what happened to her, was the most interesting thing and surprising things that I never knew. She never got over her husband's death. and didn't have much money to live on.

She also had three sons die, the third one, her baby, died when he was 19, after he and his mother came back from living in Europe for a year or two, where she went to escape the newspapers and the terrible things they were writing about her. She was a sad woman and I don't really think she was ever happy most of her life.

Her one surviving son, Robert, had her committed to an insane asylum when she came back from Europe and then her third son died. But she wasn't crazy, and later was released from the asylum. Mary Todd Lincoln she died a lonely woman. Not many friends or family left that liked her. That made me so sad.

Abe Lincoln always wanted the simple life. Living in Springfield and being a lawyer, and having a home and a wife and children is all he ever wanted. But Mary and others kept pushing him to be more, and when he was president, he fought for the black people to be free. Maybe that is what God wanted him to do. His wife was from Kentucky and people accused her about always "sitting on the fence" as far as slavery was concerned. She had brothers who fought in the Confederate army and lost their lives. But a black woman ended up being the only good friend she had.

Mary thought being the President's wife would make her happy. But did it?