The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Today we made a quick tip to the grocery store to pick up a few things in advance of a weather warning, including makings for sandwiches in case the electricity gets blinky or just because this local store has really good ham.  We did our usual find-and-consult routine, got what we wanted and were checking out, when we picked up on the conversation between our checker, a fairly mature woman, and a young man checking at the next register.  While I was fishing something out of my purse, the young man was saying he didn’t ever plan to get married because he wanted to get and stay financially stable, and the woman was teasing him that a cute young thing would come along and change his mind.  To which he replied that what did he know, he was only twenty-two.

Standing there with my mate of over four decades, I couldn’t help but laugh, and pointed out that statistics indicate that married men live longer.  “Although”, I continued, “some would say it only seems that they live longer.”  We all laughed and went about the business at hand, but there was so much more I wanted to share, if the time and situation had been appropriate.  For instance, sure, most young couples start out with very tight budgets or even with less than that.  And sure, some couples have one or both in the partnership who are spendthrifts, who incur mindless debt.  Of course, single folks have been known to be foolish, as well.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  I wanted to tell him that marriage can also mean two people working together for their future, enduring the difficult times, making choices together, sharing the joy, and building whatever stability is possible in a world that never has been, is not, and never will be fully secure or easy.

I didn’t have the time or opportunity to tell him all of this, but it doesn’t matter.  Whatever life lessons this young one has to learn, he must learn for himself, and neither we nor anyone can teach him.  One could say that experience only comes from experience.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Not everyone indulges in superstitions, but I inherited several from my mother that have become so deeply ingrained that I’ve managed to pass them on to our children.  For instance, Mother was fanatical that no laundry be done on New Year’s Day.  She believed that doing laundry on that day would signal a death in the family during the year.  What that generally meant was that we washed everything on New Year’s Eve, thus starting out the New Year with everything clean, especially our clothes, which, when you think of it, is not necessarily a bad thing.  So, like many superstitions, it seems to have a positive aspect.  Not walking under ladders definitely keeps one from a potential accident.

One particular superstition that we share with lots of other folks is that trouble comes in sets of three.  Like lots of other folks, we’ve managed to find that pattern in our lives, sometimes with just a bit of imagination.  Recently we started a set of three that was, as best we can remember, one of our all-time ‘interesting’ sets.  First, we managed to become victims of a nasty tummy virus that was ‘going around’, and one by one, we each got sick, suffered, then recovered.  Then a few days later, we found, after a wonderful, heavy, long-needed rain, that a leak had caused a small area of ceiling plaster to fall in our kitchen, in the middle of the night.  That was two.  And then the very next day, about midday, our son became suddenly, terribly ill, with scary pain, and we had to call for an ambulance to take him to hospital.  That was definitely number three.

The good news is that eleven days later our son came home, weary but mending, and while his illness was very serious and we were very worried, we have all tried very hard to find the positive aspect to each of these events.  The tummy virus has made us absolute fanatics about washing our hands every single time we touch a door or a shopping cart in a public place.  The ceiling leak means we’re pushed to prevent what could be a much worse problem.  And as for our son, well, we’ve had a firm reminder of what a good and kind man our son is, how precious life is, and that we must remember, every day, to live that life to the fullest.  To tell those we love that we love them.  To remember that every day is a gift.   And maybe this ‘set of three’ is complete, at least for now.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


They, the pundits and editors and bloggers and all that, say that the President has problems.  There is a problem with an irrational GOP in both houses of Congress.  There is a problem with the debt ceiling and revenue versus expenditures.  There is a problem with unemployment.  There is a problem with gun safety.  There is a problem with immigration.  There is a problem with infrastructure (ours is terrible).  There are concerns about education.   And there are problems not listed here because they are eclipsed by these.

But did enough of us ever stop to think:  the realities of those problems are out here where we live.  Oh, I’m not minimizing the difficulties, frustrations and responsibilities of the presidency.  It must be maddening at times to have what appears to be opportunity to make real differences where real need exists, only to be delayed or stymied by the tiny minds with enormous egos which make up much of Congress.  The President can and does propose all sorts of ideas, most of which are excellent and would be effective, but friends, when every proposal is forced down only because it has been proposed by the President, it looks as if it is we who have the problems.