Thursday, December 16, 2010


Dawn S came as I put Cedar on the bus and we left directly for Pine River. It was a lovely ride over good roads. I did two programs and they were well attended. Both groups gave us a full house. Several dear and loyal friends showed up and it was a great treat to look out at their smiling faces.
When I got back home I emptied the mail box of its exciting contents. Cards and notes and a package from Carla D in France. She had sent me four envelopes of postage stamps. Cedar and I will open them tomorrow when she gets back from school.
Flo also sent a package with me and it contained a beautiful doll! There was also a caddie, can of chocolate and a bag of Jasmine tea. What gracious generous friends!
This is the final journal entry and the last blog for Seven Decades. I've enjoyed this so much that I plan to begin a new blog Jan 1, 2011. I'll keep a daily journal and a weekly blog. Thank you who have followed the blog and left comments. Perhaps you will join me again after Christmas.
Good bye for now.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


While going through photos I am setting aside those of my pet friends so Cedar can see how real they are. Now they are but names and stories without breath or bone.
In spite of serious temperature dip the goldfinches are still coming to the feeder. I think they should go south as they are too aggressive for the chickadees. How can the cheerful friendly little ones survive such fierce competition?
I went out early to meet the bus so I could take a ten minute walk. I tried to step in nonslip spots but impossible to avoid ice completely. When I got to the bus stop I was so tense my whole body was a clenched fist. But as I stood in the sun I was soon so warm I pulled off my scarf and removed my old tattered mittens.
Brandon said these were "the mittens you love". He'd noticed that I'd patched them with red felt hearts. I'd embroidered a smile on one of the hearts and he noticed that, too. Not much escaped his quick bright eyes.
I have so many photos of him and twice he has looked up out of an image and brought tears to my eyes.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


"Politics is about the improvement of people's lives, lessening human suffering, advancing the cause of peace and justice in our country and in the world." Paul Wellstone.
Did you know that friends and I visited Marjorie Rawlings home at Cross Creek, FL? Yes, and the oranges were ripe. So each guest was allowed to pick and enjoy a fresh fruit from the tree near her house. Just think of that! My cells were nurtured and restored by Marjorie Rawlings and a single orange. In my life so far I can remember only two such special oranges. The first was found in the toe of my Christmas stocking in 1945 on Franklin Avenue, Mpls, MN.
Today I have spent hours looking at old photos before I lock them away for storage. I think I might never look at them again. How beautiful the children were and always dear and sometimes sweet. Those were my golden years. Then came the grands. But Brandon left so suddenly. Now I have Cedar to love and she is my new gold. And how she appreciates my old stories. She opens both hands to receive them like the black plums of summer.

Monday, December 13, 2010


What a dream! I was at a party with my dog, Armand. We were having a good time. Every time something fun or funny happened he laughed! He was not large. He was not small. He seemed to love me very much but abandoned me later. He had short hair of a dark chocolate color and his ears tipped over at the top. As we tried to leave the party through the back door I discovered two cows blocking the way. They were dead and frozen. It was a shocking sight so I decided to seek another exit. I met a woman who was also trying to leave and had seen the cows. We were walking together when we met my dear old friend Bing (she is long gone to the other side). I told her about the dead cows. "Pooh, pooh!" she snorted. "I am not afraid of such things." She led us out. But Armand would not pass the cows so I went home without him. Soon a young man in a short black jacket was at the door. He wanted to see the stamps I was trying to sell. I showed him a portfolio of stamps and he selected an exquisite strip. They were fairly large, printed on gold paper and the art was highly colored. He went out to get his money from the car and never returned. When I became suspicious I looked into the portfolio and found the coveted stamps were missing.
Cedar came to spend the day with me as she was too sick to go to school. Yes, they do not want such children in the classroom sharing their germs. Only grandmothers can tolerate such children. She spent a lot of time playing with my stuffed dachshund collection. Later she worked on a chalk art project for Laura and wrote two short stories entitled "Bender's Tail" and "The Brave Snowman". I was her stenographer.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I have received several holiday letters. I find they are missives of the highs and lows. Friends sharing grief and joy at the end of 2010.
I kept myself busy all day. I got a lot done as soon I will be gone again. Gloria brought me a bag of buns and a loaf of bread. I think I will make tuna salad sandwiches tomorrow.
Myrna called and we had a good visit. Now I am so tired again. Where is my energy?

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I enjoyed a wonderful continental breakfast, read my e-mail and suddenly Dawn S had arrived. We went to the Brainerd library. Some very old friends showed up. I'd known them 30+ years before. I nearly wept. I devoured them with my eyes so long hungry to rest upon their beauty. It was a good crowd. Some had brought books for me to sign.
Then Dawn and I were off to Pine River. We picked up her husband Joe. I had another terrific group with some familiar faces. We had late lunch on the road and very fine conversations, They brought me to my door and returned to the long highway home to Brainerd.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Dawn S came to pick me up and we had a pleasant journey over good roads to Wadena. At the library I told 4 stories to 80 6th graders! It was a full house. Afterwards we went to Baxter where a nice room was reserved for me at Hawthorne Inn and Suites. We talked about meeting for supper. But I took a hot bath, called and said I would go to bed early and meet her at 9:30 AM in the lobby.
I dreamed of falling trees. I held the hand of a child in mine and picked our way safely through the trees. When I looked at the child I saw Brandon smiling up at me. I went on avoiding the trees falling around us. When I looked at the child again... it was Cedar. She looked up at me with worried eyes. When I felt sharp sticks strike my face and arms I woke up in a strange room and heard someone running down the hall with heavy feet.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


In the quiet morning I read a bit of Wendell Berry and he wrote that God is showing us mercy when he does not allow us to see into the future. On my long drive to Walker I was on icy #8, then on a very snowy #200. Visibility was poor at times and the road had disappeared under the snow. I thought, "If I had seen this road in my future today I would have stayed home." At the library I waited. It stopped snowing and 60 third graders entered all rosy cheeked and bright eyed. I had a wonderful time telling stories to so many good listeners. As they left several came to thank me. How gracious of them.
Now I am quite exhausted. I feel like I pushed an elephant all around Leech Lake. Yes, I returned on #371, got on #2 and found myself circling Leech Lake on a stormy day.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Today is the anniversary of the day John Lennon was murdered and the international celebration of his extraordinary vision of a world without war.
I worked on the puzzle for about an hour in the community room. C. came to apologize for not attending the pie party. She went on to tell me she is quite sick and does not expect to see Christmas! I was stunned by the suddenness of this terrible news. I stammered my dismay as she backed out of the room. I really can't tell you what images followed her to her room, touching her vital organs and licking her shoulders with a long cruel tongue.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I was at Longville library today (the smallest town in the state with a library). I had another nice crowd. Cameo gave me a beaded buffalo pin. She'd brought her son Joseph, a charming lad who said he would try to tell one of the stories to his father. I keep asking myself, "Which one?"
Cedar came for supper and fell asleep on the love seat. Annie took Geezis to IHS teen clinic in Cass Lake. She has breathing difficulties and painful knees. As predicted, nothing was done but she received a prescription for pain medication which can be purchased at Target without a clinic visit.
Gloria, Randy, Ed and I are still decorating our corridor. Annie came up to get Cedar and said our hall looks better than first floor. "What have they done down there?" I asked. "Nothing," she replied.
While at the Longville library an elder man asked if my books were there. They had one but it was out. The librarian offered to put him on a wait list. He agreed. The librarian soon discovered the man had no card. So she signed him up, issued a card and he would get the book ASAP. What a wonderful moment! A library patron had been created by his desire to read MY book! Wow!

Monday, December 6, 2010


I dreamed a woman... not young... not old... I suppose she was an eternal creature. She walked in silence and came to look at me on the bed. She smiled, held out her arms and embraced me. She looked at me for a long time then leaned down and kissed me. I felt her hair fall across my face. She paused at the door, looked back and smiled in her wonderful way. I think that smile is part of my forever. I have been wondering about her all day.
I'm still working on "Uncombed Hair" and thinking about that early visitor. I think she was some part of me that decided to leave. I think today I am not quite the person I was yesterday. At first I considered if that was good or bad. Now it doesn't matter. It is what it is.
Today I had so much on my plate that I forgot to get Cedar off the bus. When I got home there was a note from the police stuck in my door. "I have Cedar," was all it said. Annie called to tell me the grim details of the fate of the forgotten child. I am forgiven by one and all (but I have not polled the PD).

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Pearl has loaned me a small artificial table top tree. I put it in the front window and how delightfully it reflects its bright beauty against the dark glass at night. The light is produced by bundles of plastic needles.
Today I began work on re-editing "Uncombed Hair", a collection of poems formerly published by Loonfeather Press. I'm going to reissue it as a kindle book. I find myself making small changes. I also find new ways to understand those early works.
Gloria and I put up lights in the 2nd floor hall window. We also put lights in the community room window and hung a wreath.
May S, "Everyone at a certain point in the pre-Christmas shuffle must long to push it all aside and think quietly about friends and loves and ways toward renewal..."
At Stillmeadow Gladys T wrote, "The air is so full of birds one could think them larger snow flakes."
The pigeons swoop in like kamikaze pilots. There are at least 20 of them now. They are quite lovely with their various colors shining iridescent as they strut across the snow.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


I had made a beautiful apple pie. Gorgeous! I considered taking a photo. Too vain, I thought as I slipped it into the refrigerator. To make room for the second pie, the less attractive sweet potato pie, I moved a jar of orange marmalade. It slipped from my hand and PLOP it fell, crushing the most perfect apple pie I had ever made.
Did I scream? No. Did I curse? No. I wept for 3.5 minutes. I really have no time for regrets. I wasn't going to tell... but at 4 PM I must present it to those who come to our pie party in the community room and someone will certainly ask, what happened to the pie.
Cedar and I have heard from the Elephant Sanctuary. Jenny, our favorite, died in 2006. Lottie died recently but Shirley is doing well.
The pie partY was a great success. We had several guests from outside the building. I had three guests and Dorothy had two. We ate only half the pies and no one asked for seconds. We sat around talking for almost three hours! It is strange that we don't socialize more because we really seem to enjoy gatherings. Good pie, good friends, good night.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Cedar asked for the broom maker story but we only got to the point where the three thieves follow him and his little girl up the mountain.
I have been awake too long and at 1:30 PM I am already tired. I was unable to sleep due to painful ankle. The goldfinches were sending me pinched and crabby thoughts because there was no food for them on yesterday. This pettiness has settled in my foot. I must accept full responsibility for my pain because I failed to measure out their little seeds and feed them for a day.
Before I go to meet the bus I'm drinking a mug of green tea. We have had a conversation. "I am aware that green tea is a healthy beverage," I said into the mug. "I am sending your health benefits into all my cells. Please pay close attention when you arrive at my right eye. For you see it is quite challenged. You will find macular degeneration and a lemonade cataract. Do your duty." The tea was brief, "I always do."
Getting ready for our pie party tomorrow. I have an apple pie in the oven and a sweet potato pie ready to enter the heated chamber. Pearl is preparing a pecan pie and Gloria a pumpkin. I hope four pies will be enough for all of us.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Instead of taking the Armand book to the bus stop we stood on the cold corner and I told Cedar a story I'd made up about a broom maker, his daughter and three friendly wolves.
May S had visited the Great Smokies and remembered seeing several wild deer "and the dragon tails of mist lying among the hills." Gladys Taber had enjoyed the first snowfall at Stillmeadow. "The old greystone walls silver over, the swamp wears a mantle whiter than foam."
Van Gogh the lonely genius wrote, "I shall not avoid meeting other people - neither shall I seek them." Apparently his brother Theo had written that Vincent had offended their father and urged him to repent. To this Vincent wrote, "No, I really have no time for repenting."
Last night I had supper with Pearl then we walked across the hall to play cards with Evie. Then for the first time I heard Evie complain just a very little about the arthritis that is stealing her hands, her feet, her arms, her legs. "I get angry because I cannot do the things I want to do."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Nov 30. On this last day of November a dear young friend wrote on facebook that she had dreamed of me. We were together dancing in the snow with horses near us. A beautiful image for me to enjoy all day.
Cedar and I had a terrific breakfast of cheese, toast and grapes. Then to the bus stop with a new book to read. It is "The Family Under the Bridge" by Natalie S Carlson. Of our hero Armand we discovered he is an elder man of limited means. Of children he grumps, "Starlings they are. Witless, twittering, little pests." However, he welcomes adventure and I am sure it is upon this peg the tale will turn. One of the things Cedar and I appreciate about Armand is that he lives in Paris.
I knew the weather would be challenging so I decided to leave for Cass Lake at 1 instead of 2. My library program began at 4. Wallis came with me and it was fun to see her grinning from the back row. We had a small but appreciative group in the basement of the library. Some new faces and some old friends looked back at me. I had a good time.
I tried to stay up to greet Chey and Gene on their return from Seattle honeymoon but I was too tired. Under a dark sky with snow falling softly all around I slept and dreamed. I was caught up in a great task of creating a huge beaded hanging table. All night I strung beads.

Dec 1. In the morning I awakened with the great glittering cut glass creation hung before my eyes. The colors were shades of turquoise, amber and sparkling black,with silver and gold, too. It was designed to suspend a circular plate of glass. How beautiful it was. But I lamented all the hours of all the days lost in the creation of such a lovely, fragile useless thing.
I heard happy voices and got up to join Wallis, Chey and Lamaya. Soon Wallis was preparing breakfast and I held a cup of hot coffee in my aching hands. "Why do my hands hurt so much today?" I wondered. It was because of how I'd clutched the steering wheel as I'd crept toward Cass Lake the previous day. I remembered how I'd watched the great hands of the cold winter wind polish the ice before me. Then I'd held that hair thin beading needle all night. I rubbed my hands and told them, "Now we must drive home."