Have you ever kicked your shoes off in your dentist’s office? Up until yesterday, neither had I. After the truly technological marvel of having my teeth xrayed by this machine that moved around my head like R2D2 doing a waltz, one of my shoes litterally fell off, plunk, while the technician was cleaning my teeth. Next thing I know, my other shoe is on the floor, too. I actually wiggled my sock-clad toes.
Now, that “make myself at home” feeling isn’t all I like about my dentist’s office. My dentist NEVER hurts me, and neither do the hygenists. Past the really friendly staff, I love the music. On any given day, I can keep the rhythm of Jimmy Buffet or Billy Joel or a whole bunch of other wonderful. Not only that, there are cool things sitting on ledges and surf boards up against the walls – yeah, really. I have this huge space between a couple of my teeth that picks up everything except boys and money. Some dentists would say, “Man, we need to remedy this.” Mine said, “Yeah, my wife’s got one, too. As long as it isn’t bothering you, just keep cleaning out the food.” He also talks to me about books and travelling. I love it.
Once a year there’s pirate day. I actually got to go that day once. Everyone is dressed like a pirate, and the dentist sings the “Yo ho ho, and a bottle of rum” song on his way in to check your teefies. To join in the festivities, I placed a gold coin on my tongue just before he entered and displayed it when he asked me to open my mouth. That was fun.
Yesterday, I also got to pet Rasta, the therapy dog. Oh my lord, what more could you ask in a dentist? Dentist heaven, just sayin’. Thanks, Fletch!
Way back in 1968, a thin, blonde, blue-eyed man asked a hippy, brunette, green-eyed woman to marry him, for the third time. This time, she said yes. Phew! The man was the hubs, better known as “Bake,” and the woman was, you guessed it, me.
I had had this principal in high school, Mr. Carson Wilcox, of whom I was terrified. He must have been ten feet tall, and he definitely had the brow ridges of a neanderthal. Bushy black eyebrows and jet black hair. I turned and hurried the other way every time I saw him coming down one of the hallways of Mariposa High. It was rumored he had been a wrestler before he went into education.
As life will do you, he became my Sunday school teacher. Correct, I had to sit within ten feet of him every Sunday. I found out on those Sundays that under that screechingly fearsome exterior beat a heart of compassion. He played devil’s advocate every Sunday to help us strengthen our faith in Jesus.
I bring Mr. Wilcox up because he and his wife offered to throw an engagement party for us. And we accepted. So the plan was that on the day of the party I would meet Bake at Judd’s Jewelers in Merced, where we had found my rings. We had looked in what seemed like every jewelry store in three counties. The ring I chose, and love to this day has three gold leaves, with the diamond set like a flower at the top of them. I love gardening, nature, the outdoors, and it spoke to me. Loved it then. Love it now.
But I digress. I drove down to Merced on the appointed day to meet Bake at the bus station. But he wasn’t there. so I thought maybe he’d walked over to Judd’s. But, he wasn’t there. So I asked Mr. Judd if he’d seen him, giving the above description. Nope, hadn’t seen him. So I drove back to the bus station, thinking I’d missed him. Searched all over among the benches and travellers. No Bake. Drove back to Judd’s, and asked again. This time, Mr. Judd said, “Oh yeah, a young man did come in here. He left this suitcase.”
About that time, the bell on the door rings, and Bakes slows from a dead run to a screeching halt. With a Mickey Mouse grin I have come to recognize as he’s been up to something, he said, “I lost track of time, sorry.”
“Where were you?”
He hesitated. … “Playing pool down on the corner.” He pointed in the direction he had come. We got the rings and headed for Mariposa.
Okay, so I got over it, we had a wonderful engagement party and a year later, a little earlier than we had planned, in the midst of his enlistment because of Vietnam, we got married. Two weeks later he was in boot camp. At Christmastime that year, I lost the ring. I looked everywhere. Turned out it had fallen off in the backseat of the car when I was bringing home a Christmas tree. I got it sized.
You can kind of see my new diamond in this pic of our 50th anniversary party.
Time passes, lots of time, like 40 years. Bake decides the ring needs a new diamond. He wants to give me a marquis diamond for our anniversary. So we take out the old diamond and put in the new. I don’t see any point in having a daimond laying around in my jewelry box, so I give the original to Maryann, my oldest daughter.
More time passes, ten years, and this year, 2019, the year of our 50th anniversary, Maryann’s oldest son, Ethan, proposes to the love of his life Elena.
He needs a diamond, and there just happens to be one. This diamond is the symbol of true, lifelong love, and we’re delighted that our grandson put it in the engagement ring he gave his fiance just the other day when he had graduated from Modesto Junior College. Who knows where it may go from here.
Friday is launch day for my new novel, Rogue Wave! You can preorder the Kindle version on Amazon now. See if this sounds interesting:
Bonnie O’Sullivan turns to put apples in her shopping cart to find her daughter, Fallon, smiling toothlessly–but her best friend’s daughter vanished. Disappeared into nothing, and never found.
Bonnie rescues sea otters as a biologist at Monterey Bay Aquarium, but her love of adventure doesn’t extend to her daughter as Fallon matures. Haunted by the kidnapping, Bonnie confines Fallon to Seascape, their ranch stronghold. Red-headed Fallon responds by perfecting rebellion. Now a shadowed gunman has fired at Bonnie from a ridge on the ranch. Who is he? Why is he shooting at her?
Quinn, Bonnie’s ocean-hopping Irish husband, is no help. He easily dismisses Bonnie’s fears and believes it’s time to give their daughter more freedom. After the shooting, he and Fallon find a gold coin where the gunman stood on the ridge. What does it mean?
- Does Graciela Castaneda, Fallon’s beloved nanny, have any part in the mysteries?
- Will Fallon barrel race herself to freedom?
- What will a courageous, but overprotective, mother risk to provide her daughter a safe harbor?
Rogue Wave, the first novel in the Seascape Saga, answers the question, “How do we find the courage to face fear?
How’s that for a broad subject? Perhaps a little narrowing is in order.
The older I get the more I think I don’t know anything about anything. Now there’s the topic.
I’m a writer, at least most days. Sometimes I get published, and sometimes I don’t. Am I still a writer when I don’t? Should I just smile and wash the dishes instead? And since the Bible says what pleases God is when we love each other, care for widows, orphans, immigrants, and so on; are slow to anger, etc., does writing – or any other occupation – even matter? Maybe I should just smile and feed an orphan. I don’t know. My mentor, Ethel Herr, who now looks at Jesus face-to-face, said our books can reach love, acceptance, etc. to a whole lot more people than our small circles of influence. So if I glue my face to my computer and knuckle down, what happens to the hubs, the kids, the friends? Ecclesiastes even says the writing of books is endless.
Maybe it’s about balance. Except, my days can blow up in a phone call. Sometimes the writing bite is huge, and sometimes the relationship bite is huge. Wait, am I starting to see something here?
Or how about truth and grace? I used to think telling the truth could hurt the people I love or cause them to get real angry. So I didn’t bother with telling it, thinking I was giving them grace. I guess I have learned one thing. Grace isn’t grace without truth, and truth isn’t truth without grace. Only, now I have to figure out how to tell the truth in grace, and I don’t even think I’m capable of figuring that out. Wretched woman that I am.
Maybe what’s really going on is that my plans aren’t God’s plans, and my understanding of life, or any part thereof, is way smaller than God’s understanding. What to do? What if I consider interruptions, not interruptions, but redirecting from on high? But wait, am I just making excuses? What if when I don’t have a clue what to do, I ask God? What if He doesn’t answer? Reminds me of when the grownups used to say, “We’ll see.”
Okay, here I go again. I used to come up with great ideas and go into implementation phase before checking in with Him. I’d look over my shoulder, having left Him in the dust, and say something like, “What do you think, God?” He put up with that for a lot of years. Over time, I found myself confused and exhausted a lot. What’s the verse, “Come to Me, you who are weary,” etc.? I finally noticed the “Come to Me” part of the verse. Take it from an old broad, it’s much better to check in first, get your marching orders, and then strike out. If there are no marching orders, stay put. That’s easy. Writing this conclusion at Christmastime seems supremely appropriate, now that I think about it. Merry Christmas, every one!