Tag Archives: Will Rogers

THE GIFT OF WORDS

snow on tree branches

 

 

 

Christmas tree picture

When a friend, a neighbor or an employee was in the hospital, at home recuperating, or suffering a loss, my parents did not send flowers. If it was at all possible, they personally delivered the flowers or the plate of cookies or the casserole. They believed that being present was the best present.

This post is a gift of words to you from my parents…before his Alzheimer’s and her dementia. My dad is gone now, and my mother is very confused about where she is and what is going on, but I’m going to share with you some of the quotes they would have used to nudge a smile or encouragement.

My dad thought Will Rogers’ words were both wise and humorous. This is an example of one of Dad’s favorites: “Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me. I want people to know why I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren’t paved.” And this was Will Rogers’ reminder to wait and see how things work out: “We must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.”

It’s difficult to explain, but when my dad began a visit with a light or humorous comment, he and the other person would laugh and shake their heads, agreeing it was right, and then Dad would pull up a chair, sit down, and they would have a genuine, relaxed talk.

In my mother’s case, as she put the flowers on the table, or set down the food next to the person, she’d convey the many best wishes from others. If she had a specific connection to the person—for instance, if they were in the same writing club—and the person was discouraged about being too ill or unable to write, etc., Mom would share something she’d read. This is one of my favorites: You know, I read something by Jack London that made me laugh.‘You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.’” Then she’d pat the person’s hand and offer to help her find a club when the time was right.

Coach Lou Holtz  summarized it best when he said, “A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.”   This Christmas, on behalf of my parents, I encourage you to sing your own song, and then be there for someone else and  share it, loud and clear.

sunset

sheet music

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Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, importance of doing good things, just doing the best we can, lessons for great-grandchildren, special quotations

WANT A HEARTBEAT AT YOUR FEET?

Before Alzheimer's took over, my dad loved to have talks with Fritz, who ran to meet him at the back door.  Fritz was from the Humane Society.

Before Alzheimer’s took over, my dad loved to have talks with Fritz, who ran to meet him at the back door. Fritz was from the Humane Society.

 

Our dog Maggie, a special member of our family for the past 12 years. Our police officer son-in-law found her in an abandoned yard. (Photo by Jim Warner)

Our dog Maggie, a special member of our family for the past 12 years. Our police officer son-in-law found her in an abandoned yard. (Photo by Jim Warner)

When we were growing up, my brother and I had numerous pets: rabbits, seahorses, an alligator for a short time, white mice, a parakeet, and eight dogs (one at a time). We never had kittens or a cat, but that was because my brother was allergic to them (I thought we should give up my brother so I could have a kitten, but my parents outvoted me.)

Five of our dogs were from the Humane Society, and our first dog when we moved to Fort Scott, when I was 3 and my brother was almost 5, was a dog that had been left behind by the people who rented the house before we did. Rather than shoo her off, of course Mom fed and took care of her. A month later Smokey had a litter of puppies, and when they were old enough, my mother put a sign on the gate of our fence: “Puppies, 5 cents each. To good homes only”  

We came home from church the next Sunday, and the gate was open.  A note on the back porch was weighed down with a rock and a dime. “We have a good home. We took the last puppy. You can keep the extra nickel. Thank you.”

October is “Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.”   This post is not a Public Service Announcement, but I can honestly attest to the joy of having dogs as members of our family. We also love cats; as soon as I had my own home, we began adding wonderful cats to our clan as well, but that’s another post.

October is also “National Popcorn Popping Month,” but a previous post was about microwave popcorn setting off fire alarms in my mother’s assisted living facility, so we’ve already covered that topic. It is also “Cookie Month,” so to play fair, I’ve included a picture of some October-themed cookies. But for the rest of you who might need a nudge for dog adoptions, here are some personal testimonies:

By writer Edith Wharton: “My little dog—a heartbeat at my feet.”

 “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” ~ Will Rogers

 “The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.” ~ Andy Rooney

And Rita Rudner said, “I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.” 

If you want to meet new people and have a heated discussion, you can get a bumper sticker like the one we saw on a truck in the parking lot of the dog park: “MY MIXED BREED DOG IS SMARTER THAN YOUR HONOR STUDENT”

October is also SARCASTIC MONTH, but you might want to use sarcasm carefully…

To be fair, October is also "Cookie Month" ~ so here are some samples.

To be fair, October is also “Cookie Month” ~ so here are some samples.

Our daughter's family adopted Duchess, a wonderful German Shepherd, from a soldier leaving Ft. Riley.

Our daughter’s family adopted Duchess, a wonderful German Shepherd, from a soldier leaving Ft. Riley.

Our granddaughter Grace reading to Maggie.

Our granddaughter Grace reading to Maggie.

 

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Filed under autumn lessons, Dementia/Alzheimer's, Fort Scott Kansas, lessons about life, making a difference, memories for great-grandchildren, special quotations

HEARTBEATS AT OUR FEET

 

Hi, Mom,

While I stayed with you recently, a frequent visitor to Presbyterian Village dropped by with his little Dachshund. Peaches moved slowly and had a graying muzzle, and you patted her like you two were old friends. After they left, we talked about dogs, and I reminded you about how you always fixed extra oatmeal on cold mornings because dogs needed warm tummies, too.

I told you about a man in Colorado Springs who walks his two huge rescue dogs in our neighborhood each day, and the greyhound that we took your great-grandchildren to visit at the Greyhound Hall of Fame in Abilene. When I reminded you of our dog, Maggie, who cheered up Dad when he was alive, I was careful to describe her recent surgery that left a line of stitches on both sides of her body where benign fatty tumors had been removed. I didn’t tell you that one tumor was so large that for a week after the surgery she had a shunt in her side for draining the fluids. Instead, I showed you only the cute picture of her clad in Jim’s old tee-shirt with her Thunder Shirt over that to keep her from scratching at the sutures. I said Maggie looked like a parochial third grader in her school uniform, and you laughed.

On your shelves you had a book of quotations, and I looked up dog quotes.  Gene Hill wrote: “Whoever said you can’t buy Happiness forgot little puppies,” and you said you grew up with cute puppies. I read more quotes, and the one you nodded and smiled at was by author Edith Wharton, who was also one of the first founders of the ASPCA. Wharton said, “My little dogs…heartbeats at my feet.”  Will Rogers wrote, “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” I said Dad was probably enjoying all our family’s dogs and cats and pets in Heaven, and you agreed.

Because of all the expenses with Maggie’s surgery, I laughed at a quote by author Jen Lancaster: “Owning a dog is slightly less expensive than being addicted to crack.” But I didn’t confuse you with that quote, nor the one by Nora Roberts from her novel The Search: “Everything I know, I learned from dogs.”

I also didn’t read aloud this one by Gordon Korman: “The dog always dies. Go to the library and pick out a book with an award sticker and a dog on the cover. Trust me, that dog is going down.” But Gordon Korman is also the author of No More Dead Dogs. Hmmm. I’ll check it out. It might be a good book for me to bring and read to you.

Or maybe we’ll just take a walk or wait for Peaches. We’ll do something special–we always think of something.   Love, Marylin

Maggie with shunt in side after surgery. Probably not good for showing to young children or old great-grandmothers.

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Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, memories for great-grandchildren, neighbors