On Father’s Day


I was thinking about my dad today most especially. I know many reading this blog have commented and written something about Father’s Day or  their respective fathers. I think about my father all the time. But today I wondered what he would say about all the stuff that is happening in our world. I know he was an environmentalist because he loved the earth and taught me to listen to the sounds of nature. He conserved and recycled. He lived through the Great Depression so I think that influenced his habits early on.

He bought American made cars which he said were the best. I wonder how he would react to self parking cars or hybrids. He was a great communicator and taught us to love books, poetry, art, and the theater. I wonder if he would like Twitter, texting, Facebook or even blogging. He wrote letters and had beautiful handwriting (actually used calligraphy). I was always so proud of his signature on my report cards.

Conversation was an art and people actually talked at the dinner table. He was open to new ideas but always demanded respect for the opinions of others. He read the newspapers and listened to the radio. I wonder what he would say about “fake news”, or “alternative facts” (a George Orwell phrase that my dad would have known because he had read the book). I wonder what he would say about selfies. He loved self-portraits of the great masters in art. He kept pictures of us in his wallet. I remember he kept one in particular of me. I was about four years old. But he would show that one to people anyway. They were always surprised when they met me and realized I was way beyond four years of age.

What I would give to have a conversation with my dad about these and many other things. Father’s Day is bitter-sweet. I have a husband, and a son and a father-in-law who are all great dads. But for me, my dad will always be the best dad ever. Happy Father’s Day.

Inspiration Lives On


A few years ago I wrote a piece titled Don’t Die Wondering inspired by a quote by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. I published it on a website called Divine Caroline which is where I started submitting essays and poems as a guest blogger.  I would get so excited when I received an email from the site telling me my poem or essay was accepted for publication. I have read almost all of Dr. Dyer’s books. He has been an inspiration for many years now. I feel like he was my mentor and teacher. I’d  go back and read his quotes and my notes in the margins and use them to inspire me when I got writer’s block. I was always in awe of how no matter what book I’d pick up or what page I turned to, the message that caught my eye was so proper for the moment I was living.

Sadly and to my surprise today I read on Dr. Dyer’s Facebook page this message posted by his beloved family. “Wayne has left his body, passing away through the night. He always said he couldn’t wait for this next adventure to begin and had no fear of dying. Our hearts are broken, but we smile to think of how much our scurvy elephant will enjoy the other side.”

I was in shock. Just a few days ago I was ready to sign up to attend a conference in New York City on November 14 where Dr. Dyer would have been a keynote. He is considered a self-help guru and most of his books are listed as New York Times best sellers. Once again he is a source of inspiration to me. I will never get to meet him in person as I had hoped during the fall conference in the Big Apple. But I had the privilege of reading his work which was also an education in philosophy and cultural perspectives.

I shared his books with friends and most especially my beautiful mother-in-law who is also my inspiration. She is 87 years old (please don’t tell her I told you how old she is) she really doesn’t look a day over 50. She nurtures her soul and spirit with positive thoughts and good energy. When I told her our dear Dr. Dyer had passed she said, “He must be in a place surrounded by butterflies.” It was a reference to one of his books where he appears on the cover with a butterfly in hand. I got goosebumps when she said that. We would talk about his books and make references to his thoughts and his philosophy about life all the time. As soon as I ended our long distance phone conversation I went to the book shelf where I had stacked most of his books. Among them was Inspiration:Your Ultimate Calling.  I opened the book and saw where I had underlined a quote I loved.”

“Dedicate your life to something that reflects an awareness of your Divinity.”

I hope I can live up to this suggestion. Dr. Dyer was “a creative master” and he encouraged his readers to “express their Divine nature.” I could see that he “must be in a place with butterflies” similar to the Monarch that flew into his hand one day as he thought about his friend Jack. He wrote, “As God is my witness, the butterfly made a U-turn and not only headed in my direction, but landed right smack on my finger! … I felt a deep affinity to this precious living being.”  He used a picture of a butterfly throughout the book. He teaches us in the book the benefits of living an inspired life. Dr. Dyer was the greatest example. I can almost picture the scene when he meets God and where he can surely “see clearly now” across heaven.

In his memory I drew a butterfly. I have asked for inspiration to write a poem within the next few days to honor his memory as well.

Butterflies are Free 2

Dr. Dyer

The Hair Pill


His boss was not pleased that he had come to the big presentation without preparing anything in advance. He forgot to shave and his shirt looked like he had slept in it the night before. Little did anyone know that he had not slept at all. His presentation was supposed to sell a product that has been approved by the FDA as a miracle hair growth pill. Finally someone has discovered the perfect combination of vitamins and herbs that guarantees hair grow almost immediately after taking it. Hard to believe, right? Well Harry decided that his presentation would be somewhat of a reality show. A show and tell about this miracle pill so he decided to try it himself. As it turned out the pill kept him up for two days. He was prepared in a way. He tried shaving many times the morning of the presentation but every time he looked in the mirror his beard and mustache grew back in. The pill had given him insomnia as well. He tried calling his boss to tell him about what had happened but could not reach him in time. He had no other choice but to walk into the presentation room looking like wolfman. Harry set up his laptop and started explaining how the product works. He had recorded a series a clips that clearly showed when he shaved as he set up a clock in the background. He pointed out the time and the members of the meeting could see he was telling the truth. Harry’s boss congratulated him. Unfortunately, no one would backup the product. No one wanted hair at the cost of loosing sleep and having to shave every five minutes.

This is in response to prompt posted on Today Author   https://wordpress.com/read/blog/feed/23173364

On Success


“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the beauty in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded”

Thirty years ago I had the privilege of sending off an extraordinary 8th grade graduating class to high school. I used this quote by Emerson as an opening to my farewell speech. At the end of the ceremony, I was approached by some students who told me they would not forget me. Well, I did not believe them at the time. Recently, destiny has allowed me to bump into a few of them who recognized me right away. I must confess, I had to look deep to try to see the faces of those 12 and 13 year olds to recognize them. One of them, recited the quote and said, “Remember me, I never forgot what you said at graduation and I often think about you.” Then the memory lightbulb sparked; this was the student that told me he would never forget me. I became very emotional. Now that I am retired I think about many of my students. I remember the bright ones of course but I also wonder about the ones that struggled the most.

The new school year will begin soon. I could not believe it when he told me his daughter would start college this year. The best thing was when he told me he had written Emerson’s quote on an index card and slipped it into his daughter’s wallet to remind her about what it means to succeed. He thanked me for the inspiration and said, “You have succeeded.”

I want to wish all new teachers who will start their journey as educators of young people a wonderful and fruitful school year. Hopefully one day a student will walk up to you and express the sentiment my student did when you most needed to hear it.

The Flower of My Town


The flower of my Town

There is a song my mother sang

about the flower of her town

apparently it sprung up all around,

All you had to do was look at it

and it would make you smile.

The claim is no one who lived there

ever carried a frown.

Old wives told her that the reason

why hummingbirds loved to hover over

was because as legend had it

the flower was a long lost lover.

The magical bird and the beautiful red flower

had been human at some point in time

but the wrath of one mythical god

changed them forever

for no reason and no rhyme.

The bird destined to find its beloved

hovers over every red flower it sees

hoping one day it may recover

the love it lost and could never get over.

My mother the romantic believed that a love so true

had to end in happiness like in a fairy tale.

So she planted her favorite flower

with hope that maybe someday

the hummingbird would find its long lost love

which would mean that love is here to stay.

The flower of my town, exquisite and almost royal

awaits the humming of the one bird

that has always been so loyal.

The flower of my town is a story

my mother told me

when I was very young;

and I pass it on every chance I get.

a story of love and nature

that I cherish

and will never ever forget.

Melba Christie (C) 2015

Great Essentials of Life


I now have lived long enough to know the real essentials in life. The reminders flow into my life constantly. All I need to do is look at a photograph of my grandsons or look deeply into the eyes of my husband or children and everything is put into perspective. I find myself researching my roots and trying to remember memorable events about my childhood. I don’t think it’s a baby boomer mentality. A friend told me that baby boomers go through a similar experience.

My journeys continue. My goals remain stronger than ever. My bucket list grows longer by the day. I suppose that is a good strategy to keep yourself in check. I still hope for world peace. I believe in the wonder of Santa Claus. I believe in God above all things. I even believe in myself lately. I ask myself about destiny. I wonder about if there is another side. Although I still ask the why questions about things, I think I figured out some of the  mysteries about my soul.

Joseph Addison, an English essayist, once said, “The great essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.”

I think I have most of these covered. However, I believe there is a continuum. You have to shift the focus every so often. You also have to be grateful for everything in your life. Some experiences will be magical, inspirational, and others will bring you done like a roller coaster out of control. But that is what makes up this thing called life. It is what makes us alive. To live is to learn. Your heart will tell you what do each time you are in doubt. Just listen. Don’t let doubts creep up on you and fill you with fears. Be still and you will find the answers you are looking for.

The essentials to happiness are clear to me now. I listen to my feelings and take notes. I try to hug the people I love a few more counts of Mississippi. I take deep breaths to avoid getting upset over nothing. I take longer breaks for me to be me. I pray more. I send out blessings into the universe for anyone who may need them. I visualize only as far as I can see. I locked my ego outside of my heart. I forgive and forget.

The essentials of happiness begin with every new day. This is what I have learned and will live by. I imagine a field of Daisies waving hello and greeting me. That always puts a smile on my face.

 

 

PHOTOS FOR KEEPS 469

Did you hear? Daily Prompt: You’re a Winner!


I am at the lottery office cashing in on my ticket; I am a billionaire. It must be a practical joke but the check looks real and best of all I have no taxes to pay. I have told no one yet. I want to surprise people like the guy on that old 60’s show: The Millionaire.The first thing I will do is hire a guy that looks just like him (Marvin Miller). I will open accounts for each of them in various banks close to where they live. Hiring a top-notch accountant would be at the top of the list of things to do. I would need someone to skillfully handle my accounts.

The first surprise visit will be to my children’s homes. They will be told that an anonymous benefactor is giving them a million dollars each. The carrier will wear a hidden camera so I can see their reaction. Two or three weeks later I will give them a call and let them know I am indeed the benefactor.  I guess they will call me first to give me the news and perhaps to offer me some of their new-found wealth. If I do not hear from them I will be heartbroken. I know exactly what they will do with the money. They have always been practical and careful with their money but I want them to go a little crazy. The grandchildren I want to spoil like never before.

My husband, sister, brother, nieces and nephews, and my parents in-laws who I love like my own parents would get their surprise immediately afterward. They’d receive a personal invitation to
meet me at their favorite store. Opened exclusively for each of them they would have the opportunity to take part in a private shopping spree.

Then I will have the carrier go back to my former workplace to distribute checks among the employees. I always told them that if I ever hit the lotto I would send a few helicopters out to hover over the building and have a police escort announce over a loud-speaker the names of the people who would need to come out and board the copter. They would be taken to a Caribbean island and given their checks. They would probably know it came from me. I promised them so many times I would share my winnings.

Then of course, I would give money to my favorite charities and create a foundation to help children and education. There is no doubt I would buy that Mercedes I have always wanted. I would commission my son to build me the house of my dreams. Like the commercial says, “It only takes a dollar and a dream.” The best for me would be to see the faces of the people who would be millionaires instantly without having to buy a ticket.

This is a response to a Daily Prompt:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/prompt-winner/

Writing prompt Challenge for Today’s Author


This is in response to a Writing Prompt challenge at http://todaysauthor.wordpress.com/

 

The Bus Driver

 

The bus driver looked familiar, but she couldn’t figure out how she knew him. Anna dropped six quarters into the coin slot and as she walked to take the first available seat, she remembered. It was Mr. Davis, her former piano teacher. Her hands started shaking. She caught him looking back at her through the large rear view mirror. Anna slid in her seat and took out a book from her tote to cover her face away from his stare. Could he possibly have recognized her after so many years? After all she was only eight when it happened.

Anna could not understand how he managed to be out of prison so soon. She was 28 years old now and his sentence was supposed to be for thirty-five years, after his conviction for molesting another girl he tutored privately. He was a fantastic teacher and she never could understand how he could have done such a horrible thing. He was always a gentleman with her. But that other little girl told her parents what he had done. Her dad almost killed Mr. Davis when he found out.

Anna anxiously waited for her stop. In her head she planned how she would get off the bus. She was closer to the front but she did not want to face him again. But she hated to leave through the back of the bus; it was a short walk but she always stumbled and was afraid of falling. Anna wore a brace; one of her legs was shorter and it made her so self-conscience.

The bus stopped before she could pull the cord. Did Mr. Davis know this was her stop? She trembled at the thought. She had lived in the neighborhood all her life. Anna finally reached the rear door as the bus driver pulled the lever and lowered the bus to let her off. She stepped down slowly trying not to look back.

As Anna walked towards the cross walk the bus was still stopped at the corner. She walked as fast as she could and suddenly she heard a strong raspy voice call out to her. It was Mr. Davis. He said, “Anna, I just want you to know I did not do it. My case was reviewed and I was found innocent and let out. I just wanted you to know.” He smiled at her and waved. She never rode the bus again after that day. Anna did not know what to believe although deep down she wanted to believe he was innocent. Mr. Davis had always been so kind to her and he was such a good teacher. Anna sat at her piano that evening and played Ludwig van Beethoven’s No. 4, G Major, Op. 58. It was the piece she had mastered and was a favorite of Mr. Davis.

“Don’t Die Wondering!” Did you hear that?


 
I am a great fan of Dr. Wayne Dwyer and have read all of his books. I love reading anything inspirational. Most recently I read his book, Inspiration. One phrase caught my attention and has resonated in my mind: “Don’t die wondering.”
I just celebrated my sixty-first birthday and I never thought I would spend the day in such a stupor. It seemed that I should have stayed in bed until the day after my birthday. My birthday is never a big deal to me. It is just another year that has passed by with the reminder that I have not yet done some things that I promised myself I would do before I die. So as I read the words’ “Don’t die wondering” inevitably I began to wonder about the future and my mortality.
This particular birthday reminded me of my dad; he died at fifty-four. His dreams were not completely fulfilled and he spent all of his life working so hard to make sure that we would not suffer economically. He never missed a day’s work until he became terminally ill. He did not last two months. So in comparison, I outlived his longevity by seven years and after working very hard all my life, unlike my dad, I was able to retire. The question is for what? I definitely have a bucket list. But I wonder if there is still a special calling for me. And I also think about my contributions to life up until now. What did I really
do?
What I now know is that my dad did so many things that were gutsy, adventurous, risky, inspirational, and people loved him for his generosity, humanity, ingenuity, great smile, hardy chuckle, and love for nature. He built a house from scratch during his vacations, days off, and birthdays. He shared George Washington’s Birthday on February 22, which was celebrated on the actual day and was a true holiday. He always got that day off to celebrate: the company he worked for had a policy that provided its employees with birthdays off. He was always kidding; he told people he had an extra day off because he knew the President and that he too was an important person.
I reminisced about all these things and asked myself the dreaded question; what have I accomplished in my sixty-one years of life? Then, I for a minute I thought I had heard his distinctive tenor type voice warning me to not die wondering and to live the now. I was shaken and brought to tears. I sobbed and started feeling sorry for myself. Then suddenly,
I snapped out of it.
I remembered all the reasons why I should be thankful. I have great children: they are accomplished and successful. I can’t stop smiling when I see my new grandson’s adorable chubby face. I just received a letter from my other grandson in his own cursive handwriting. The oldest is almost a man and is the tallest one in the family. They make me so proud. I have a husband who loves me and gets me at least four our very sentimental birthday cards that always say how much my life means to him and others. I have my older sister who has been my rock and like a parent to me but also a best friend. I have my parents’ in-law who I have adopted as my very own parents. They are always there for guidance, support, and inspiration. My family is unique and all of them inspire me one way or another. My mother taught me very important life lessons and her strength and
perseverance have been a source of inspiration my whole life. She also worked hard all her life. She adored her family and for her family came first, second, and third.

I looked out the window and saw the most glorious deep blue sky. Images floated in my mind as once again I heard the words, “Don’t die wondering.” I yelled out, “I won’t!”

I made a new list of the things I would do because I do not want to have any regrets. They are not the frivolous things I had written before like learn how to drive a race car. I do not want to wonder about the possibilities anymore and later perhaps even blame others because I did not get to do the things I proposed. I know now that nothing can stop me. I just have to get up earlier and just start.

The next time I write on this topic I will give you an update of what I have accomplished. I will probably surprise a lot of people I know. Most of all, I hope that I surprise myself. I hope I will have inspired someone to do the same. Surprise yourself and “make of yourself a masterpiece.” It would be sad to die wondering.

Memories of a Passing


English: John F. Kennedy, photograph in the Ov...
English: John F. Kennedy, photograph in the Oval Office. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office on...
Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office on Air Force One following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Dallas, Texas, November 22, 1963 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone who was old enough to remember will be able to say exactly where they were and how they reacted to the news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

I remember that afternoon vividly. I was in the sixth grade and our teacher, Miss McCann would teach us math after recess. She was very stern but we loved her dearly. I remember her distinctive gait and posture. She was very proud of her Irish heritage and thanks to her I know a few Irish songs and blessings by heart. That tragic afternoon, she walked into the classroom at a very slow pace and she tried to hide her face. Her blue eyes were blood-shot and her hair was disheveled. Everyone looked at each other wondering was was going on. She usually walked in the room swiftly asking us if we were doing something productive. There was always a mischievous smile on her face.

Everyone was unusually quiet. There was dead silence in the room. She looked confused and bewildered. She did not say a word for a few minutes. Normally five of us would have been sent to the chalkboard to solve a math problem during the first five minutes of class.

All of a sudden she began to weep frantically. I for one cannot see anyone in tears. I get misty eyed almost immediately. She sat in her chair and just stared at us. She snapped out of her stupor when a boy in the class had the nerve to ask her what was wrong. With a huge lump in her throat and watery eyes she finally told us. “Our President is dead boys and girls, she whimpered. Some of us cried and others remained very quiet and in shock. It was not as if we had not experienced death before in our lives. We had lost a classmate earlier in the school year. He had died from Leukemia. So collectively we had suffered loss. She finally calmed down after a while and the principal came in to ask us how were coping. His eyes were a little red also.

I remember getting home and turning on the television right away. All the programming on the major networks was in reference to the president’s assassination. There were no cable channels or CNN but the reality of this national tragedy was all anyone could think and talk about. It went on for days.

It’s amazing how a tragic event makes us see things differently. You are more appreciative of the simple things. My mother hugged me extra tightly that evening. I saw my dad in tears. He had cried in my presence once before when I was very ill with a high fever and the flu. The doctor would make house calls and he must have said something to upset my dad and I heard him crying. It was not until years later that I knew why he had broken down. Apparently the doctor wanted to admit to me to the hospital because I had such a high fever. The fever subsided and I never did go to the hospital.

I watched many of the tributes today on the television and heard and read accounts of how people were affected by the untimely and tragic death of our beloved president. I remembered my teacher and my dad most especially. We were all family then. It was a time to mourn and reflect and fifty years later I suppose it still is.

Memory of a Sale


 

 

Memory of a Sale

 

 

 

by Melba Christie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a crisp and sunny day in October. Columbus Day to be exact and she had the day off because her boss was a native Italian from Genoa and he had made it a tradition to close the small men’s clothing factory where my mother worked for twenty years. I was off from school and mom wanted to get in on the Columbus Day sales at her favorite department stores Alexander’s and Hearn’s. This shopping spree of sorts had become a ritual and I looked forward to getting a new pleaded skirt and maybe a new pair of shoes. Barely a month shy from my birthday my mom would be able to afford an additional gift for me if the price was right.

 

 

 

We started out early in comfortable flats. We would arrive in time to actually stand in line for an hour along with a few hundred other shoppers ready to race into the store. Mom planned the trajectory for the stores we would visit and strategized for getting to the right store at the precise time. She scheduled the first store based upon how many bargains she could get in one stop. Factored into her plan was the original prices of items and how truly discounted they actually turned out to be. She was astute and knew that many times prices inflated a few days before the big sales day and then was suddenly reduced to 50 or 75 percent from the original price. Her shopping afforded no luxuries. The budget was slim and she was disciplined enough to buy only what was needed. Dad had passed away a year earlier so we needed to be careful not to go over. Mom always bragged about how she learned to be a great accountant without having stepped a foot into college. She had survived the Depression and knew that every penny counted. Widowed twice and left with very little resources taught her many lessons about managing her money and economics in general. I still cannot imagine how she ever survived those hard times. People complain about our economic woes today; well my mom could have been a consultant.

 

 

 

That one day though she had secretly planned to visit another store. I managed to talk her into getting me a new pocket book and I couldn’t wait to get home to stuff it with things. But as usual we stopped to eat at Nathan’s. She loved their fries. I loved their hot dogs. After lunch she detoured from our usual route and nonchalantly announced that she wanted to go into the furniture store and ask about the French provincial chair and sofa that was on display. As we walked into the fancy store I wanted to remind her that we could not afford any of the furniture. I thought she had lost her mind. But I remained quiet because I knew that once she had made up her mind about something there was no changing it.

 

 

 

She walked straight to the golden brocaded sofa. Her hand caressed the fabric and for the first time in many months I saw her smile again. A few minutes of silence ensued and she proceeded to sit on the edge of the sofa slowing sliding her body onto the back of the sofa. A soft sigh slipped out and she asked me if I liked the sofa. It really was not the type of thing I could fully appraise at the time. I was barely fourteen but I could tell she was in love with it. My brain did not realize that I had started talking and I heard myself saying, “I love it mom.” Another smile adorned her face and I say this because when my mom smiled (which was very rare) it seemed that the whole world was waiting for it.

 

 

 

The salesman walked over. I had caught him watching my mom’s every move from a few feet away. He was going for the kill. He knew that an affair had begun and that a sales pitch would not be required this time. My mom was smart. She had done her homework. She was determined to get the sofa and the chair for the lowest price possible. Little did the salesman realize he was up for a trading battle. I watched as she masterfully haggled down the manufacturer’s suggested retail price to two hundred dollars less. She filled out some forms and the next thing I know is that they were arranging the delivery date. It ended up being what would have been her wedding anniversary. The whole thing was bitter sweet. The day it arrived she did not sit on any of the pieces. She sat in my dad’s old raggedy arm chair and stared at it. Come to think of it she never sat on the sofa. However, she loved it when company sat comfortably on it. She sat on the green brocaded French provincial chair. She’d come home and sat on it like one of the women chosen queen on the daytime show. It was in that chair that my son was first introduced to famous children’s stories from her native Puerto Rico. I sat on it only a few times. Most times I just squeezed in beside her side during those very special mother daughter moments. I finally gave it away one day years after she died. It remains very vivid in my mind though. It was a chair most definitely fit for a queen.

 

 

 

 

 

Chair
This brocade pattern is very similar to the one on my mother’s French provincial chair.