cronechronicler

You don't know where you are going. You don't know how to get there. And you arrive just the same. Ghanaian saying

Happy Birthday in Hard Times

Raise your sails high
But don’t pull up anchor
Keep dreaming and planning
This can’t last forever

Keep flow in your life
Laugh, enjoy your friends
Family spirit enfolds you
With love and uplifting

Amazing new things
Bloom in our culture
Hard times’ bestow change
Endurance conquers

Rejoice in small moments
Taste your good cooking
Connections are precious
Zoom where you will

I love you, Bobby
You’re so dear to me
Stay safe and healthy
Until good times roll

For my grandson on his twenty-first birthday

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Repurposing in Time of Coronavirus

Hardware store shut doors to business
Customers garden, fix own plumbing
Stay home and learn to improvise

Customers of bank next door
Wait in cars for drive-up teller
Since bank’s closed to indoor commerce

Store’s parking lot soon filled again
Bank customers found space inviting
Great place for cars to wait in line

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Nero Fiddles On

At breakfast time this morning the noise began. Lately the hardware store that backs up to the street behind my apartment has been repairing damage caused by a van making deliveries to the Dollar Store next door. The side mirror of the van clipped one of the wooden posts supporting the roof of the hardware store’s loading dock and the roof collapsed. But this noise sounded different.

One of my favorite things about the apartment building I live in is the swimming pool behind it. The word game ladies and I play at a table under a tree beside the water, people do group exercises and swim laps, children splash and some people just sun bathe. It is getting old, like so many of us. The concrete surrounding the pool is broken and wobbly to walk on. The management has decided to build a new pool. The noise I hear is the buzz saw breaking up the cracked concrete around the pool.

We didn’t know when construction would begin. And here in the middle of the week when the stock market keeps threatening to crash, and our ordinary days have been restructured to keep us home and safe from the coronavirus, they are breaking ground for our promised swimming pool. It is an unnecessary luxury, though it keeps construction workers employed. And it somehow brings to my mind Nero fiddling while Rome was burning.

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Unfolding of a New Lifestyle

Last Monday I received wonderful news that I did not have a serious health problem my doctor had tested me for. It was like I could begin the process of a positive new beginning. Then by week’s end the coronavirus arrived in Cleveland and life made an abrupt about-face.

This past Saturday the newspaper reported a run on toilet paper and other necessities at the big box stores. I dropped the paper, put on some clothes and headed to a nearby drugstore. I was able to buy a six roll pack of toilet paper and thought that would tide me over. I noticed employees checking partly empty shelves and making lists. Curious. The next day the Sunday paper did not include the usual advertising circulars. And there was a front page story of the empty shelves at drug stores and groceries all over the city. Empty shelves explained the absence of advertising. I went to the grocery store and got one of their last packages of toilet paper – along with bread, milk and grapefruit.

Sunday afternoon the usual six or seven women gathered to play our Scrabble-like card game. We decided that with so many of the places we regularly go being closed to help stop the spread of the coronavirus we would play our game every afternoon. We put up a flyer inviting others to join us, offering to teach people how to play if they didn’t know how. Finally, a bit of sanity and fun.

Checking my shelves for things I would need to stay healthy I found I had ninety individual packets of hand sanitizer left over from my travelling abroad days. And lots of toothpaste and soap. I found a silver lining to Amazon’s selling many things only in bulk.

My son told me his way of being safe in the grocery store. He suggested I use the hand sanitizer they have by the front door and then put on gloves to wear while shopping. I must discard my gloves and wash my hands after I leave the store. I tried this with only one hitch. When checking out, after I put my credit card in the slot, I must press “yes” to say I agree with the amount they are charging me. I couldn’t make the device respond. The cashier told me I had to take off my glove and press it. I did. So much for being germ-free.

Lastly, here’s a final note of changes to come as I live into my new lifestyle. I received an email from the person who cuts my hair saying she is closing her shop for the duration. I have worn my hair quite short for longer than I can remember. I’m really curious to see how it will look whenever the duration is over.

I am praying for people everywhere frightened of the days ahead and for people and their families who become infected by the coronavirus. I pray for myself to stay healthy, and to not become a carrier. I mourn the dead.

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Episode Number Two: The Wonderful One Hoss Shay- 2019 Model

Behind the scenes my primary care doctor was monitoring the action. He noticed that my eye doctor’s concern about a stroke resulted in my appointment with the retina specialist. When the specialist made the call that I have macular degeneration and began treatment, the plot veered away from a possible TIA. My doctor picked up the loose string and arranged for me to have MRI’s of my brain, eye and neck. The results were that I did not suffer a stroke. However, I do have narrowing of the blood vessels in my brain. The next step is for me to see a neurosurgeon.

Up to now I have been weathering this weird series of my having a problem, a doctor making a diagnosis and passing me on to a specialist who instead finds something different and the next specialist coming up with another possibility – twice. The thought of having narrowing blood vessels in my brain begins a new chapter, if not a whole new book. It is scaring me. And my appointment with the neurosurgeon is three weeks away.

My problem with pain from sciatica and arthritis in my knee is ongoing but getting better. I began physical therapy last week. In my assessment the therapist asked me about my recent medical problems. I gave him my litany. When I got to my brain MRI and the diagnosis that I had not had a stroke… but, the therapist broke in and said, “They found narrowing of blood vessels in your brain.” Like this is normal. He explained that they will keep a watch on me from now on to see if anything develops.

Finally things are coming full circle. I think I’m in good enough shape to go another ten years. This One Hoss Shay is not ready to collapse just yet.

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Episode Number One: The Wonderful One Hoss Shay – 2019 Model

July 14 was a wonderful day. I joined the small church where I was once pastor for the 175th Anniversary of its founding. My son, who had spent many weekends visiting me there, was my escort. It was a lovely travel back in time. By the end of the month I was in quite different territory.

Toward the end of July while typing the newsletter for the apartment building where I live – along with the word game ladies and the wonderful patio occupied by oak trees and squirrels, I suddenly saw bizarre forms marching across my computer screen. Upside-down vee’s and scallop-like humps decorated the page. This went on for several days until I finished my task. Then my vision returned to a new sort of normal. I thought stress had done me in. Typing was never my strong suit.

About a month later, on the day after Labor Day, I awoke with horrendous pain in my right knee and down my leg. I had experienced pain from sciatica before, but never like this. My doctor prescribed pain medication which took care of things until the RX ran out. The next step was x-rays and a visit to an orthopedic doctor. He told me that my knee had almost no cartilage left. In due time I’ll be a candidate for a knee replacement which this doctor specializes in. Nice to know but I think I’ll wait. Instead I’ll go for Physical Therapy.

At a regular check-up with my eye doctor I reported the strange vision I had experienced in July. She said if I had notified her when it happened she would have sent me straight to the ER to check me out for a TIA. Instead she sent me to a retina specialist. This doctor diagnosed me with age-related macular degeneration, the wet kind, and gave me an injection in my eye. During the hour I had spent in the waiting room I heard a woman talking about having such injections for the past five years with the result that she could still do most of the things that mattered to her, including driving. Never dreaming that I was about to discover I had the same problem, I nodded to myself that that was a good thing. After I received the diagnosis I thought that I would probably be able to see until I was ninety.

My primary care physician received reports concerning these visits. Wait for the next installment to see where that led me.

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Haiku: Weather Amnesia

Tarp covering pool
Lounge chairs stored for the winter
Declare summer’s end

Yet hard to believe
Squirrels still gathering acorns
Fall sunshine beams warmth

Not a bad trade-off
Bright colored leaves and white snow
Will come in due time

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Haiku: Hope Is the Thing With Feathers

Changes are daunting
Signs of aging surround me
Not for faint of heart

Surprises yet charm
Emanating from strangers
Delight and joy

Days that begin grey
May hold moments of newness
I’m not giving up

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Haiku: Exploring Everyday Life

For five years or so
I sought and found poetry
Alive all around

Once fertile places
Barren of inspiration
Poetic muse fled

World news tells stories
Unjust uses of power
Death and climate change

Writing unconquered
More essential than ever
Has stories to tell

My bailiwick calls
Ordinary life a poem
Alive within self

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Dancing Lessons

Many days I feel there is no poetry in the world to explore. The pink stripes in the sky will reappear with Winter. What will they say to me? The patio has gone through its Autumn transformation. The iron furniture has been stored and the pool is empty. Summer was not the same with endless days when the thermometer hit 90. I don’t mind that it is over. Spring is a distant memory.

Four years ago I wrote of my magical experience watching acres of tulip bulbs being plowed under after they bloomed in the Spring. The soft brown fallow fields shared with me their wisdom. Though the fields were bare they were rich with everything necessary to nurture tulips next season. I felt the pull of being fallow. I wanted to empty my life of all that had busied it and let what was already within me bear fruit. I found freedom and an unexpected gift. I could write poetry.

After moving to be near my family, the new roots I put down have taken firm hold. Life at the Greenbriar is good. I believed I was settled-in once and for all. Now the world has changed in ways I have no words to describe. I’ve stepped back to take a longer view. My mind is awakening to old histories and possibilities of new hope for our future. Once more being fallow will allow me room to grow.

A small miracle happened Sunday while we celebrated World Wide Communion at church. The last hymn of the service was “We Are Walking in the Light of God”, an African Freedom Song. The last verse of the hymn reads “We are dancing in the light of God”. As we sang people began to move about. A friend pulled me from my pew. She and I began to dance in the aisle, making it up as we went along. Other people gave us space. I think they were amazed that two seasoned women were so uninhibited. When the music stopped she and I couldn’t stop laughing. I still feel the glow. The world has surprises I never imagined happening when I am alive to the moment. My new way of being fallow dances to a different beat.

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