Friday, March 26, 2010

The Show

The Vicksburg Art Association Spring Show opens tomorrow night. For this, my second art show, I have taken the risk of entering a series of watercolor paintings. These have been well received by artists (some of them professional) on my Flickr site and by my friends. I don't know if they will appeal to the art buying public here.

As my husband retires this week, I would love to be able to make some extra money with my art. My disability benefit is a blessing and I am thankful for it. But, public mental health counseling was not exactly a high paying job and my benefit is based on that.

So wish me a customer who likes "my" colors, has good taste, and wants to spend some money.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Jim

Although Jim was a few years older than me, our paths crossed a pretty good bit over the years. I mostly knew him from his playing percussion for church cantatas and little theatre productions.

Jim was also my mothers' pest control man. But he was more than that. He was her friend. Mama was chronically ill for the last 11 years of her life, often in severe pain, and had difficulty breathing. Jim would come spray the house and then sit with mom, have a glass of tea, and dish about the goings on in town.

Jim wore yet another hat. He was an EMT with the local fire department. On Christmas morning, 1990, Jim was driving the ambulance that responded to my daddy's 911 call when my mom could not be awakened.

The next day, the first person on my doorstep was Jim with the arms open to give me a hug and express his condolences on the death of my mother.

Jim was not perfect. He liked his alcohol. His marriages were not successful. He leaves a legacy of two pretty awesome teenage sons and memories of his kindness and compassion.

The last time I talked to Jim was a couple of weeks ago. He had called the house to talk to my husband about a coin he had found. He had been having some health problems, but was hanging in there.

Jim is in Heaven now, probably catching up with my mama and laying down a beat for the angels to dance to.

Rest in peace.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Via Dolorosa

After a week of waiting and wondering, it was finally decided that I will once again be able to sing the Via Dolorosa at my church during this Lenten season.

The Via Dolorosa (or Way of Suffering) is said to be the path that Jesus walked bearing His cross on the way to His crucifixion. The song, popularized by Sandi Patti, strives to put the listener into that scene.

I have been singing the Via Dolorosa in my church for at least 21 years. It has survived the comings and goings of 4 ministers now. People in the congregation come up to me in the weeks before I sing to tell me how much they are looking forward to it. And I get cards and letters afterwards from church members who are moved by the words and mood of this touching piece.

I know the day will come when I am no longer able to do this song justice. And I hope that I will have the grace to know when it is time for me to stop singing it. But I don't think that time has come. And, for that, I am thankful.





Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Retirement

After much agonizing, my husband of 26 years has decided to retire. I am alternately happy for him and terrified at the same time.

The nuclear plant where he has worked since before we married has afforded us a nice, secure living. By living a fairly simple lifestyle, saving for a rainy day, and giving back to church and charity, we have done well. Our house is small, but paid for. We have tried to make improvements that will last our lifetime and keep it fairly maintenance free.

But, this job is for younger men than my husband. The physical demands of working 12 hour rotating shifts is getting more difficult with each year. His job is physical enough to remind him that he is not 30 anymore. And the stress of being in the nuclear industry is crushing in and of itself. There is no room for error in this field!

Barring a catastrophe, we should be fine until we can tap the 401K. We will need to tighten our belts some. Even if he needs to work, he will not have to do anything nearly as stressful or demanding as his current job. We joke about getting him a job as a greeter at Wal-Mart.

We are going to have to set some ground rules. I am not cooking 3 meals a day. And he is going to have to let me have my afternoon nap! We are NOT watching the History Channel and Andy Griffith 24/7.

It is going to be an adjustment. Stay tuned.