Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Bon Voyage (09/05/05)
- TITLE: Daisies Make Me Smile
By Laurie Glass
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Beth, such a sweet gal. Yet I feel that she talks down to me a bit at times. No need to think about that right now, though. “Oh, I’m doing just fine today. I was looking out the window and enjoying the daisies this morning. They always make me smile.” Answers like that seem to pacify her.
As Beth and the others continued to ask me questions about my meals and my care and such, I smiled and nodded and told them everything was just fine.
“We’ve noticed you don’t usually participate in the activities here, Mrs. Johnson. Is there a problem or is there an activity you would be interested in that we haven’t offered since you’ve been here?”
“No, Beth, there’s no problem. I guess I just have other things on my mind.” Thus ended the care conference. I believe in being polite, but the truth is, why in the world would I want to weave a basket, play bingo or spread peanut butter on pine cones so I can roll them in birdseed to feed the birds?
My lifetime has been filled with activities. I feel as if I’ve been on a dead run until now, in fact. Otis worked long hours at the law firm for all of those years. We raised three children and put each of them through college. When I think of all of the birthday parties, banquets, programs, committee meetings, sporting events, church activities and such over the years, it still makes my head spin. Even after Otis retired, we were busy doing volunteer work and we traveled so we could visit our children and grandchildren and go on the trips we had always dreamed of taking.
I realize Beth and the others think that getting me involved in activities will keep my mind sharp and prevent my brain from shriveling up. If only they could see the vivid images in my mind, though. I remember the first time I saw Otis. We met at a bon voyage party that was held by a mutual friend. When I saw that handsome man in his navy blue suit with that silly daisy as a boutonniere, I thought I would simply melt into a puddle right then and there. And when he walked toward me, my knees felt weak and my mouth went dry, but I couldn’t have felt more pleased. After an evening of light conversation and a bit of dancing, I could picture myself with him for the rest of my life. Two years later we were married. That was the most beautiful day of my life. I can still see my dashing groom as he stood waiting for me at an altar full of daisies. From that day on, it was always Otis and Ethel Johnson. I couldn’t have asked for a better life really. I can remember the first time I saw each of our children – David, Daniel and our precious afterthought, Delilah. All born with a head full of matted down dark hair, red and wrinkled, but all I could see was a miracle.
Otis was a great provider for our family and he treated me like a queen. He carried me over the threshold on our honeymoon, gave me daisies every year on our anniversary and we had 53 of them, and we prayed together every night.
Now a year after cancer took him away from me, I can still see the sparkle in his eyes, his kind smile and that little bit of hair he had left. Things have changed since I lost my love. I’ve also lost my home, my health and my independence. So I cling tightly to my memories. It seems that with each phase of my life, I finish one journey and begin another. Now is the time to enjoy my memories and I can’t help but think that as I get older, I may lose them, too.
If they could see what goes through my mind in a day, they would be assured that my brain isn’t turning into a raisin. So, for now, bingo and basket weaving can wait. I look out at the daisies every morning and they make me smile because they remind me of my wonderful life and I take time to reminisce. I need to cherish my memories while I still have them.
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