One Last Time

Twenty and some years ago Hubby bought our first house on Memory Park in Mission Hills. It was a nice sturdy 3 bedroom on a quiet little street with big trees. Our next door neighbors were an elderly couple and their son, who was near our age. We saw the son often as he worked at the local grocery store where we did our shopping. Yes, we actually used to shop TOGETHER back in the day. We'd see Al, the father, outside taking care of the dichondra lawn. We never saw his wife. I don't even recall her name. Turned out she was quite ill- I recall hearing her coughing, and she passed away.

Several months passed, and I began seeing two elderly ladies visiting Al on occasion. They were bringing him dinner and generally checking in on him. One of the ladies was named Marian, and her late husband, Jack, had been good friends with Al. Their friendship grew and they were married soon afterwards.

We were newlyweds and they were newlyweds. We shared lovely moments together in Al and Marian's back yard, eating the coffee mousse he had prepared and admiring his orchid collection. He let the lawn die, and he and Marian went to Hawaii, and Europe, and out to dinner. Oh the sparkle in her eyes. Happiness just radiated from her being.

About a year after they had been married, they went out for a seafood dinner, and Al had eaten some creature that didn't agree with him, and the ulcer he didn't know he had, reacted. The doctors could not stop the bleeding and he went into a coma and passed away shortly thereafter. It was all quite unexpected, but shortly before he died, he had a moment of lucidity and requested that his son let Marian continue to live in his house. Unfortunately for her, she wasn't yet listed in his will, and all of his properties and life insurance went to his distraught son, who immediately bought a very expensive car and took up traveling the world and gambling to distract him from his distress.

Marian and I developed a friendship and enjoyed our coffee together. When I was getting close to delivering the twins, she would bring dinner over for hubby and me. Oh how I wish I had gotten that recipe for the wine chicken stuffing cheese dish. Hubby and I would wave to her while changing the twins as their changing table had a window above it facing Marian's laundry room window. She'd come over and help out when the boys were colicky and crying and hubby was working nights.

Her distraught stepson's wild ways soon became too much for her to handle, and when the opportunity presented itself for her to move into an assisted living building where her step grandaughters' other grandma resided, she jumped on it. We kept in contact with frequent phone calls and letter writing (we didn't own a computer back then!) Instead of dissipating, our friendship continued to grow, and so began our tradition of fancy dinners. We could always count on a darling set of identical outfits for our boys from Marian for their birthday and Christmas. They got the clothes and she got the dinners. I made it a point never to do a repeat. The first dinner I cooked was Coq au Vin. I did my best to make it special, with fresh flowers, wine, appetizer, dessert.

And so it was for 18 years. Marian enjoyed remarkably good health and metal clarity. She was the primary caregiver for the other grandma who passed away shortly after Marian's 93rd birthday. Though she sometimes complained about having to manage Sidona's shopping, meals and laundry, I noticed a difference in Marian once that care-giving role was no longer necessary. I was concerned about her.

We'd visit by phone from time to time and write letters, and enjoy the lovely meals several times a year. This year we weren't able to set a dinner date prior to Christmas, so we scheduled it for the week after. We usually got together around Christmas, Easter, and a few times in the summer to celebrate our kids' birthdays..

I sent her a Valentine and was a bit concerned when I didn't hear back. I had every intention of calling her, but I didn't make the time to do it. Then I got the call I knew was on the horizon. Marian had taken a fall and was hospitalized and had since been moved to an after care facility. I didn't get the call until two weeks after the fact. It was awful not to be able hear her voice one last time. I could tell that she was in a lot of pain even though she was unconscious. It reminded me of a butterfly working to emerge from the cocoon. Breaking on through to the other side. She passed away later that evening.

Her final wishes were to be cremated without a service of any sort. She didn't want anyone to fuss over her. And she's gone gone gone.

I wonder how many lives she touched in her 94 years on this planet. She spanned an era of horse drawn carriages to electric cars. Made it through the depression. She didn't marry for the first time until she was fifty, as she worked to support her parents. Her mother was mentally ill and Marian's childhood was one of loneliness and hard work. She ended up with a pretty good job at Art Center and married Jack, a widower with two daughters, when she was about 50. They had 10 happy years together and then Jack passed away. Marian spent the next 20 years alone. Then she had the one glorious year with Al. One year. She never missed an opportunity to remind me how fortunate I was to have married such a wonderful husband. I'd see a bit of that sparkle in her eyes when he poured her wine and walked her to the car and kissed her goodnight which was her highlight of our get-togethers. She certainly was a special lady.

I don't know why I am writing such a downer on Easter- day of Resurrection. I'm not quite sure what my most recent message is, but it seems to be something along the lines of don't wait until it's too late. With so many irons in the fire, it becomes easy to lose track of some of the important ones. We can't be all places at all times. Have to do our best to prioritize and take care of the most important and time sensitive things first. It's not that I am sad about her death. I know she was ready to go. I just wish I could have talked with her one last time.

Happy Easter- Enjoy the flowers!

Egg Trivia

borrowed from www.goodegg.com

*** This is dedicated to you, Jean!***

Europe has had domesticated hens since 600 B.C.

Chickens came to the New World with Columbus on his second trip in 1493.

Eggs were colored, blessed, exchanged and eaten as part of the rites of spring long before Christian times.

While it is customary to throw rice at weddings in many countries, French brides break an egg on the threshold of their new home before stepping in- for luck and healthy babies.

At the time of the French Revolution, the clever French already knew 685 different ways of preparing eggs.

About 240 million laying hens produce some 50 billion eggs each year in the United States. That's roughly one hen for every man, women and child in the country.

There are now 200 breeds of chickens.

White shelled eggs are produced by hens with white feathers and ear lobes. Brown shelled eggs are produced by hens with red feathers and red ear lobes. There is no difference in nutrition between white and brown eggs.

An average hen lays 300 to 325 eggs a year. A hen starts laying eggs at 19 weeks of age.

A lot goes into an egg. The hen must eat 4 pounds of feed to make a dozen eggs.

To produce one egg, it takes a hen 24-26 hours, and to do so, she requires 5 oz. of food and 10 oz. of water. Thirty minutes later she starts all over again.

Occasionally, a hen will produce double-yolked eggs throughout her egg-laying career. It is rare, but not unusual, for a young hen to produce an egg with no yolk at all.

Artificial color additives are not permitted in chicken feed. Yolk color depends on the diet of the hen. Feed containing yellow corn or alfalfa produces medium yellow yolks while feed containing wheat or barely produces lighter color yolks.

During the packing process, eggs are separated by size. Minimum weights per dozen are : Jumbo (30 oz.), Extra Large (27 oz.), Large (24 oz.), Medium (21 oz.), small (18 oz.), and Pee Wee (15 oz.).

As a hen grows older she produces larger eggs.

Did you know a mother hen turns over her egg about fifty times per day (so the yolk won't stick to the sides of the shell)

Eggs contain the highest quality protein you can buy. Egg protein has the perfect mix of essential amino acids needed by humans to build you own tissues. In addition, eggs have thirteen essential vitamins and minerals

Eggs contain the highest quality food protein known. It is second only to mother's milk for human nutrition.

Egg yolk is one of the few foods that contain Vitamin D

Egg yolk is the major source of the egg's vitamins and minerals.

A large egg contains only 75 calories and 5 grams of fat.

The largest single chicken egg ever laid weighed a pound with a double yolk and double shell

The most expensive egg ever sold was the Faberge "Winter Egg" sold in 1994 for $5.6 million.

During the spring (vernal) equinox (about March 21), it is said that an egg will stand on its small end. Although some people have reported success, it is not known whether such results were due to the equinox or to the peculiarities of that particular egg.

The entire month of May has been declared "National Egg Month". This is the time of the year to celebrate the many benefits of the egg.

American Egg Board's Howard Helmer, Omelet King, topped existing Guiness Book of World records for omelet making in 1990. He emerged with 427 two-egg omelets in 30 minutes.

Next Post date: May 3, 2010
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April 5, 2010

Quotes:

"The wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages are perpetuated by quotations." Benjamin Disraeli


Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right...
~Phillips Brooks, "An Easter Carol"

***

Celestial spirit that doth roll
The heart's sepulchral stone away,
Be this our resurrection day,
The singing Easter of the soul -
O gentle Master of the Wise,
Teach us to say: "I will arise."  ~Richard Le Gallienne

***

Let every man and woman count himself immortal.  Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection.  Let him say not merely, "Christ is risen," but "I shall rise."  ~Phillips Brooks

***

The fasts are done; the Aves said;
The moon has filled her horn
And in the solemn night I watch
Before the Easter morn.
So pure, so still the starry heaven,
So hushed the brooding air,
I could hear the sweep of an angel's wings
If one should earthward fare.
~Edna Dean Proctor, "Easter Morning"

***

The stars shall fade away, the sun himself
Grow dim with age, and Nature sink in years;
But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,
Unhurt amid the war of elements,
The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds.  ~Joseph Addison

***
On Easter Day the veil between time and eternity thins to gossamer.  ~Douglas Horton

***
Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.  ~S.D. Gordon

***

Where man sees but withered leaves, God sees sweet flowers growing.  ~Albert Laighton

***

But from this earth, this grave, this dust,
My God shall raise me up, I trust.  ~Walter Raleigh

***

For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new born.  ~Alice Freeman Palmer

***

We live and die; Christ died and lived!  ~John Stott

***

Those have a short Lent, who owe money to be paid at Easter.  ~Benjamin Franklin

***


See the land, her Easter keeping,
Rises as her Maker rose.
Seeds, so long in darkness sleeping,
Burst at last from winter snows.
Earth with heaven above rejoices...  ~Charles Kingsley

***


Once more to new creation Awake,
and death gainsay,
For death is swallowed up of life,
And Christ is risen today!  ~George Newell Lovejoy

***

Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and weakness and despair to strength and beauty and happiness.  ~Floyd W. Tomkins

***


There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Thou - Thou art Being and Breath,
And what Thou art may never be destroyed.  ~Emily Bronte

***

And he departed from our sight that we might return to our heart, and there find Him.  For He departed, and behold, He is here.  ~St Augustine

***

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