Harry and Frannie

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

My name is Harry Cho. I’m what you might call a fat cat, living in luxury, high in the sky, Apt 19E. I have a doorman in a black suit; he opens the door for me when I pass by. I really don’t go out much, I am afraid I might get lost. You see I live in Down Town Philadelphia. Busy streets, lots of taxicabs. So I stay high in the clouds and stare out the window a lot. We are so high up I rarely see a bird. But when I do it is extremely exciting . I use to live in NYC, upper westside. Man I loved it there. We had two bedrooms and a huge living room. I had my own room. I could sit and watch pigeons all day. There were so many I use to dream about those birds. I had a fire escape off the front window and Mom would let me sit out there on occasion . I loved it, feel the wind in my hair Meow…………. . And oh boy sometimes a little bird would land near my window. What a thrill . I wanted to catch that bird so bad, I would ache. Yeow!

Mom married this guy named Richard. When I first met him I wasn’t so sure about him. I gave him the evil eye at first, you know what I mean. I sat and stared him down with squinty eyes. I let him know I would be watching him. I feel bad about that now, the way I treated him, cause you know what? He turned out to be an awesome Dad. We love him like crazy. We all moved to Philadelphia after the big wedding. Here we are, oh did I not mention Frannie. I live with my sister Frannie. We were both adopted by our Mom. She found us at the animal shelter New York City. It was love at first sight. We love her so much. She feeds us the best food and takes us to the Dr. when we get sick. She plays classical music for us. Gives us big hugs and kisses all day. Life as been so wonderful with her and then she met Richard. We were a little scared, she might get rid of us. It was apparent Richard was moving in. It was stressful the first few months after moving to Philadelphia, but we have come to love our new home. We do miss those pigeons. Yeow Meow

Life has been really good for us, however the strangest thing happened just two months ago. Our Mom and Dad left one day and then the Grandparents came to stay. Mom and Dad had left for good. Meow I wondered what had we done wrong? Why did they leave us? They have always traveled on vacations, but never gone for more than a week . This was different, they never came back . A month went by and we began to adjust to our grandparents. We were fed alot. I am sure I gained weight. It was hard for us at night. I always slept with Mom and Dad, but that grandfather took up the whole bed so there was no sleeping with him. So I let them know my displeasure by howling as loud as I could every night. Frannie helped me one night, we decided to move the furniture and reorganize the living room . We just couldn’t sleep so why should they. meow meow We drove the grandparents looney. I have to laugh, Frannie and I were really a pain sometimes to them.

There was a bright spot in all of this. .No one ever stayed up late with Frannie and I, but this Grandmother loved to watch late movies. So every night I would curl up on one side of her and Frannie and the other side. We would watch movies till all hours of the night. Grandmother would massage us, brush our hair, oh it felt so good. We loved it. At night it was just us . We had never been given so much attention in the midnight hours. Those late night hours were pure fun.

Six weeks went by and out of the blue the front door opens and there they were. Mom and Dad. the traitors, the people that had left us. There they were. I didn’t know what to think. Where had they been ? I just sat and stared at them . I gave them that squinty eye. I let them know I was not pleased. I know Frannie felt the same way.

Deep down inside I was glad to see them. I didn’t let them know. They had abandoned us, who did they think they were? How dare they! Not our loving Mom and Dad. Then I noticed something moving. Mom was holding a bundle and it was moving!! Another pet! How could they! I heard it cry . Meow what in the world? It looks like a small, actually tiny human. Meow meow they brought a baby home! Heavens to betsey, what are we suppose to do with a baby. Yeowwww.

Well let me just tell you. Things have changed in my life and Fran’s. We have watched our Mom and Dad fawn all over that baby. Oh did I mention they had the gall to introduce him to us as our new brother. Can you believe it? I confess I have been so jealous of that baby . His name is Preston and he is my brother. It may interest you to know Frannie and I have had to adjust. Adapting to this change we have come to the conclusion that change is not so bad. We have discovered,even though we felt a little left out at times, a new friend . Preston has become someone new to love and to love us. WE look forward to snuggling with him and all the joys of having a new brother. Brothers and sister should look out for one another you know .

Frannie and I have learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes change upsets ones life, but God means it for good. Just like rejection, everyone is hurt by rejection. We have discovered that rejections is God’s protection. Frannie and I were rejected by our past owners and we ended up in a homeless shelter. Our wonderful Mom would never have found us if we had not had the rejection and change in our lives. Now because of all that has happened, we have a Mom and Dad and a new brother. We are a purr..fectly happy family of 5.


Down the rabbit hole ……….

<why I love Kdrama>

One day my friend Sheila mentioned watching movies in bed on her iPad.  My ears perked up.  

That sounds like a great idea . I think I’ll try that.  I suddenly remembered that you could find movies for free on YouTube.  

Being the hopeless romantic that I am I’ve always reveled in a good love story.  That night I found an old Harlequin movie called a Leopard in the Snow.  It’s a simple story . Girl meets boy , they fall in love. There just happens to be an exotic Leopard in the story.  

I found other movies like A Secret Affaire starring Janine Turner and Paudge  Behan. Now that’s a love story for you.   

I found many others but one day a movie just popped up out of the blue called Seducing Mr Perfect . It was written in English as well as Korean.  It was about a Korean American  CEO that had offices in New York as well as Korea. He spoke Perfect English and Korean .   Having a son Inlaw that is Korean American the story line caught my attention .  I thought “ I’m going to watch this. Maybe it will give me something to talk about with Richard.   I love my son inlaw and thought this will be fun…. Good fodder for conversation.  Little did I know what I was getting myself  into.  

So I watched Seducing Mr Perfect.  It was a cute, fun Romcom.  It actually starred a well know America actor Daniel Henney . It was different than anything I had ever seen.  The story was fun, clean and a little quirky .  The next thing I knew another show popped up called My Little Bride.  Watching My Little Bride is when I fell down the rabbit hole to never return. 

Again it was clean and pure and full of poignant love between 2 lovers and their families. 

My Little Bride as most Kdramas is full of love, romance , comedy, spitefulness, vicious characters and a little slap stick thrown in.  It’s a 2 hour movie that you don’t want to end.  Full of sweetness and love that you rarely see in American movies.

Korean dramas are eye candy, filled with emotions that the viewer can relate to.  It’s called the Hallyu wave.  The Hallyu Wave refers to the Global phenomenon of South Korean entertainment culture.  It’s recognized as a form of  Soft Power. It’s an important economic asset for South Korea. Generating exports and tourism . Started in 1999 a Chinese Journalist coined the phrase Hallyu Wave.  It began slowly sweeping the country.

There is so much to say about it I don’t even know where to begin. 

The romcoms are my favorite.  The love stories are sweet . They hardly kiss.  Their hands may slightly brush each other.  The funny thing if they’re in bed 9 times out of 10 they are fully dressed in street clothing.  Ha That sort of drives me nuts . Sometimes I’m saying out loud. “ take your coat off for heaven sakes” or “put your handbag down, or hug her …..for crying out loud.” They leave the viewer longing for more.  And that’s one of the secrets to their writing. It’s done on purpose , they leave you longing for more and more. 

The OST is so much a part of the drama. The music can be both devastating and uplifting.  The well of emotions that the songs open up in the hearts of the viewers allows them to understand on a deeper level how the characters are feeling. The music for me reaches deep into my soul and again leaves you longing for more. 

The clothes , the makeup, the flawless skin. The gorgeous actors.  Some are naturally gorgeous , others have had their faces tweaked. And no wonder South Korea is the Plastic surgery capital of the world.  They are also famous for their beauty products . 

If you love high fashion clothes like I do, you will fall in love with Kdrama . It’s a fantasy for me. These actors are wearing on a daily basis wardrobes that I could never afford much less have any where to wear if I did have the money .  I lust over the long coats on the male leads. They are wearing coats that are $3000 and up.  And the female leads, if they are not portraying someone very poor they are dressed in the most gorgeous outfits.  One drama comes to mind called Playful Kiss.  There is a housewife in the show that is home all the time cooking and cleaning , her clothes are absolutely stunning .  She is wearing couture!  Who dresses  like that just hanging around the house doing dishes?  

There is a lot of product placement in the shows. 

They are selling expensive cars and instant coffee, jewelry from Tiffanys, and If I see another sandwich from Subway or they are always having lunch at a Subway ( Subway must be all over SK) I may throwup.  Subway must give them a whole lot of money but that’s ok I love the shows. They can advertise all they want I will not eat at one. 

One thing that stands out in Kdramas or movies is food.  In American shows do you see them talking about food.  No.  Korean shows are most importantly about food.  There is always cooking and eating.  Food is very important in Asian culture.  Instead of How are you ? It is very common for them to say have you eaten?  You learn so much about the culture watching the dramas.  Families eat together. After work it is very common for workers and their bosses to eat and drink together.   You learn that they do have a drinking problem in South Korea.  In Seoul for instance you can call a driver and someone will show up to drive you home in your car and hand you the keys back when you arrive. 

So many of the Kdramas are in my opinion Master pieces. Fantasy abound in many of them, others are very real and touch on everyday emotions that all people have.   As I said before the wardrobes , the colors the beautiful actors, the make up even on the guys are meant to enhance what you are seeing on the screen. In between each episode is beautiful art work and sometimes quotes which you do not see in American television or films.  For an example there is a drama on Netflix called Romance is a bonus book.   It’s a story for the love of books and what goes on in a Publishing House.  In between episodes you see pages turning and quotes moving across the screen such as:

“We are trees that branch out in solitude and bear fruits. We are beautiful trees with growth rings of our lives.    Pride in creating, trust, and happiness those are what it means to make a book . Only after finishing the book, I can see what I missed and life goes the same. “Everyone has their on Tunnel to Pass. “

“A Hand from others helps us forget out fear. “

“A book that inspires others may not always

 inspire you, so find a book that does”

‘When we exchange lines from our heart we cry, smile, and learn to love others.”

“IN life we face many hurdles . We use each other’s love to jump over them “

‘Loving someone is strange and amazing at the same time “

“. Your hand is always warm” “Because I want you to be warm “ 

“The Moon is Beautiful” Is a phrase that the famous Japanese novelist Natsum Soueki produced to express the Japanese equivalent of “I love you”

So instead of saying I love you. You say “The Moon is beautiful”

The cinematography is phenomenal.  The Kdrama Encounter was so stunning it made me want to travel to Cuba and the Story the Legend of the blue Lagoon is absolutely gorgeous. 

The writing is unique and extraordinary . All in all the shows are designed to pull you in.

I could go on and on about why I love Kdrama but you have to see for your self.  But be careful the rabbit hole is deep. 

Here comes the Sun!

I will never forget when my daughter was a crazy teenager how she was such a perfectionist.  Every thing had to be a certain way.  She had to have all her home work perfect and she took life so very serious. 

One of her curricular activities was playing the clarinet in her high school band .  She loved band and loved the clarinet.  It was one of her joys in life at the time. 

On one occasion that will always be stamped on my brain forever was an assignment / homework she was given from her music class. Now remember I mentioned she always took everything so…….so serious.   Well the assignment was to compose a musical score entirely original all to be turned into her teacher and played by her in front of the entire class. 

I will never forget she was hard at work on this project in her room . It was getting late and she was having a hard time with the project.  I would hear her play a few notes , then she would write them down on her musical score and then I would hear a moan and a slight “oh no” . Strange noises coming from her room . Then it started, the yelling, crying and absolute hysterics. She came out of her room , and she said “mom. I can’t do this, “. I would send her back with a “yes you can , just think a little harder. ”  I would hear yelling and slamming. I realized she was slamming her clarinet against the floor.  ” I can’t do this “she cried, “it doesn’t sound right.”And with that all hell broke loose. She had reached her limit. She began to throw herself down on the carpet , slam her instrument down sobbing and sobbing. It was killing her that the notes were not coming.  

I had come to the conclusion that I had to help her but how? I had no musical ability to write music or I would have done it for her.  My daughter was in great pain. Teenage girls have hormones that bounce all over the walls and sometimes you just need to get out of the way.  I just wanted to run.  She was lying on the floor in the living room in utter tortuous pain, she couldn’t’ get it together perfect the way she wanted the music to flow  .   She was actually throwing a tantrum of the worst form and making herself sick in the process. And it didn’t seem to have an end.  Mercy what was I do to? It was like her life was over that she could not write this musical score.  

I walked away from her and I prayed a quick prayer that God would show me how to help her.  No parent wants to see their child in such pain. 

I turned around, walked back into the room and laid down beside, stretched out even with her on the carpet and I quietly said. “Jennifer, I don’t care if you write that piece, in fact you don’t have to go to  school tomorrow . We can go to bed tonight and in the morning the sun will still come up. And we will all still be here and your Dad and I will still love you. And nothing will have changed . In fact you can fail the class, and the sun will still come up the next day and all will be well.  We don’t care. You don’t have to write another note or play your clarinet , the sun will still come up the morning and it will be a new day.  Life will not end. and you know it is okay not to write that piece. It is not the end of the world the sun will still come up in the morning.  The sun is always going to come up in the morning and you will go to college and graduate and the sun will come up in the morning. ” As the words rolled out of my mouth a calm came over Jennifer, she quietly picked up her clarinet that she so lovingly had been slamming on the floor, walked back in her room and the notes flowed out of her clarinet and on to her musical score, like the delicate wings of a butterfly fluttering from flower to flower.   

She made a A+ on that assignment and went to college, graduated with a degree in music.  Moved to NYC where she received a Masters degree from Fordham and was hired by Christie’s auction house as a Global corporate executive and had the privilege of seeing the sun come up in Beijing ,Paris , London, HongKong , MaCau and  New York City. 

In the beginning

I stepped outside last night  in the darkness to check my mail box. I noticed that my husband had not brought in the mail.  I discovered very quickly there was no mail, but something even better than mail.  I was standing on my side walk and looking straight ahead a great big full moon was greeting me .  I don’t know about you, but I am  constantly looking for the man in the moon.  I could almost see him last night, I strained my eyes to see his outline.   But what I saw was not a face, but another ball that gives us light by night.   I was reminded that I was standing on a ball aka planet and looking back at another ball that we call the moon.   In about 9 hours the sun will come up to give us light.  Without the sun plants would not grow and life would eventually cease to exist.   We get light from the moon that is actually coming from the reflection of the sun.  Of course everyone knows this , but do we really stop and think.   This has been going on for 13.8 billion years or more.   The sheer knowledge of this , forget DNA that’s amazing I find it mind boggling that people do not believe in God. How could one not.  It is very clear there is a great designer .   I am one that believes in the Big Bang . The Big Bang happened when God spoke the universe into being.   

It’s hard to fathom that there is a God for some people,but harder still to say there is not.   This world just did not happen.  It is not possible . Does a beautiful painting create itself ?   Someone had to put it on canvass. So I say to the atheist think what you will. It’s okay with me. But I say to the atheist look around you. Can nothing create the universe ,can nothing create the intricacies of our bodies. Have you ever studied how we see with our eyes ,think again. And if you don’t get it, go outside and look at the moon and think again.

  His name rides on the wind ,is on every blade of grass . It’s written in the blue of the sky , in the white of the clouds …..In the depths of the Rivers, Ocean and Seas.  His name is carved on every mountain top……..take a boat ride into the mist of Niagara Falls and you will see His face and behold His majesty. So I say think, and think again. 

Christmas 2015

Dec 20th, Late in the evening we picked up my daughter Jennifer, her husband and our precious package at the DFW airport. Their plane was late so in the airport we sat. Waiting ……waiting.  All of a sudden the double doors leading to the baggage claim opened. Out burst our precious package screaming “Dee Dee, Popo ……….hi”……running in circles and screaming with delight… It was as though the plane had brought Dennis the Menace to our city. We obtained their luggage and off we went.    Dennis  the Menace passed out straight away during the car ride home. Arriving home, he was put to bed and slept thru the night.  Whew!  It was a whirl wind of 9 days. I don’t know if I knew where I was or if I could think straight most of the time.  We just had a grand time having a very active and extremely smart 2 yr old in our mist.  My body will never be the same.  

He is destined to be a Musician .   He loved playing my piano, not banging but playing the notes carefully and swaying with such showmanship.  He has thoughts of being another Jerry lee Lewis I am sure, for he tried often to play the piano with his toes and his tush.  

Santa knew he loved music so he left him a Yamaha recorder, that he called his clarinet.  He was quite fascinated with our CD player and learned very quickly how to turn it on and most assuredly how to turn the volume up as loud as it would go to our deafening ears.   

I am so confused now it will take me a while to understand what just happened or where I am now residing.  I ran a fast food kitchen/ gourmet restaurant for 9 days.  Turning out Belgian waffles, fresh fruit, soft scrabble eggs with fresh spinach. Orange juice, coffee, sautéed fresh tomatoes and mushrooms in butter.  Brioche, with butter and apricot jam.   Lunch was pastrami and roasted turkey from the Central Market Deli. I made Homemade vegetable beef soup for my son in-law who loves soup. We ate out on some occasions.

Christmas Eve we attended an early candle light service thinking that this would work out for our precious package.  His extraordinary dad missed most of the service because a certain person in our party of 5 decided to throw a fit and lie on the floor and throw crayons at the lady in front of us in the church.  She was nice enough to offer a candy lollipop which she produced out of her purse and that was wonderful for about 5 min and then all pandemonium broke loose and wonderful daddy missed most of the beautiful service.  

On to Brio Italian restaurant where we had reservations for 5:15 for dinner.   I have never had dinner at 5:15 in a restaurant before and it was explained to me by my daughter that this was the kiddy hour for parents with young children that have a yen for eating out on occasion.  I have never seen so many children in a restaurant in my life.  This was truly the children’s hour.  Precious package actually cooperated and we had a lovely dinner with a bottle of sauvignon blanc , actually 2 bottles’. So all was not lost we had a wonderful Christmas eve.  

Since arriving at my home precious package never touched the tree or any holiday decorations.  He was fixated more on the packages and wanted to immediately open them.  I explained  maybe on Christmas eve he could open one.  Which he constantly reminded me of and kept saying maybe 2 presents.  On one evening before Christmas, as his parents walked out the front door to do some shopping. He immediately went to the tree grabbed a package and said   “ open.” I had to wrestle him to the ground to get the present away.  I thought it interesting that as the parents were out of the way , he just thought old Dee Dee would be fine with him opening up a couple of presents.  

As I said he loves music, so I got the great idea of taking our whole family, my son his wife and 2 sons and the 5 of us to the kitchen after dark  It was Frank Sinatra night,  we called ahead and requested a table on the side so everyone could see the stage and Preston, the precious one could be next to the wall and we could contain him.  Well let me tell you, I have never seen anything like I witnessed that evening. A 2 year old jiving to the tunes.  After the first song, everyone claps, well Preston clapped and he also yelled “ Yea !!!!!!!!” Well everyone turned around and all eyes were on Preston and our family.  The audience loved his energy, one lady ask if he was 4 and I said “no he is just 2 yrs old.” To her shocked face  . The vocalist sang more songs and Preston began to gyrate in a way we had never seen before, much less none of us had ever done.  His parents were speechless.  We were all entertained beyond our wildest dreams.   The music was in his soul right from the top of his head to the tip of his toes.

All good things come to an end and Preston loved being there, he did not want to leave  however if you choose to lie on your back on the floor under the table, it is not acceptable to some people. Namely Preston’s parents so off to home he was taken.  Screaming I might add that he wanted to stay , he loves music, and wanted to lie on his back and listen, now who could have a problem with that  he didn’t.

Christmas morning came and all the packages were opened that were under the tree.  Preston had so much to open he decided to ask his dad to open some for him for all he cared about was the very first package, and guess what it contained.  A guitar.  It is clear a musician is on the way.  Maybe not a child prodigy, but a musician in the works. 

After Christmas, we had lots of family time, which was fun, he loves his cousins Jacob and Garrett and great fun running through the house, he loved to be chased.  From the hot tub time , trampoline, to the piano, etc. He loved being at Dee Dee and Popo’s house. 

On one evening we were all asleep and He apparently  woke up and got out of bed with his daddy chasing him.  Preston ran in to my room screaming” Dee Dee….Dee Dee.” And I thinking it was time to get up started singing the Good morning song to Preston.  I later looked at my watch and it was 4 am.  

My daughter said she heard me singing and thought I had lost my mind.  I had no idea it was 4  o’clock in the morning and I am singing for the whole house to hear.    I made coffee , cleaned a little in the kitchen and went back to bed. As Preston and his dad had secretly crept away back to bed and slumber time.  We had a good laugh and a memory that we will never forget.  

On Dec. 29 we drove them to the airport . Everyone was hugged and my daughter Jennifer, Richard and Precious Preston  flew away to Philadelphia.  I got back in the car and cried………………………

I might add. He is 9 years old now and has been playing( for real ) the violin for the last 3 years . 


How many of you have ever wanted or wished you could write your memoirs 

I always wanted to. But didn’t have a clue as to how to start. 

I finally took a class many years ago. Which resulted in more writing classes and tons of stories. 

I’m going to give you some tips on how to get started. 

  1. Do a time line on paper. 1-10 
  2. Write about the first house you lived in. 
  3. Look around your home and find a treasured object. 

Something with sentimental value. 

  1. Write about an unforgettable experience.  It could be an incredible vacation, or it could be your most embarrassing moment . 
  2. You could write about a moment in school. 
  3. Write about the moment  in others words what happening now. 





How many of you have grandchildren ?

I was digging through some of the many stories that I’ve written and I came across a piece I had totally forgotten about.  And it’s a fun Memory for me. .  It was so much fun to read and relive the time . 


In closing-   





Born in Flower Branch Ga, my Dad at the age of 3 traveling by train with his parents and younger sister came to settle in Coppell ,  Texas . Coming from a poor family of farmers , all my Dad knew was to work. He was given a plow at the age of 8. As for as I know he never had a childhood. 

 He grew up and attended church in Grapevine, Texas where he met my Mom. She was  a 17 yr old girl, raised as an only child by parents that owned a boarding house in the then small town of Grapevine . 

My Mom said that the first time she saw my Dad , she thought he was the most handsome man she had ever seen .   Their first date was taken in a horse and buggy.   I don’t think they dated long before my Dad proposed and they were married in a double ring ceremony by a Justice of the peace in Fort Worth, Tx. 

She was 17 and he was 22 they began their married life on a farm south of the town of Grapevine.  Way before I was born my Mother said she churned butter and made her own sausage and sold it in the ,as Mom would say ,the little village of Grapevine.  They lived on the farm for 23 yrs before they moved into a nice brick home in town.

I have fond memories of my Mom and Dad fighting and yelling at each other and then making up right in front of us. They would tell each other they were sorry and hug and kiss in full view all the kids.  I think because of that I grew up with a healthy view of life and marriage and learned that just because you get mad at someone , you can still love them. I know I came to understand unconditional love through watching my parents and their great and unswerving love for each other. 

My Dad became a huge producer of milk for Lucern and Cabell milk companies.just to name a few. I remember the big refrigerated trucks pulling up to the farm to collect the milk.  He was to say the least a very successful Dairy farmer.  He worked tirelessly. He always amazed me. 

My Dad not only worked 24/7 but also served on the Tax equalization board for the city . 

He served on the Grapevine City Council for over 16 years  and was President of the Tarant county Texas Farm Bureau for many years. . He served as Mayor of Grapevine for 5 yrs. He was part of the board that issued in the DFW Airport,and the Trinity River board. 

I write these things because my Mom was the woman behind the man. It is a display of the love that they had for each other. My Dad could never have done all the things that he did and had the extraordinary life he lived with out my Mom. She kept him fed like a king. His clothes were always clean and his suits were pressed.  In other words she kept the home fires burning.  

Every morning they were up early before anyone else. You could hear them at the kitchen table reading the Bible ,having a devotional together and starting the day with prayer. Every night of his life my Dad would watch the 10 o’clock news and then go to bed.  My room was at the opposite end of the hall from their bedroom .  I fondly remember hearing my Mom softly laughing at jokes  my Dad would tell her in bed. In 2003 they moved to an assisted living in Plano,Tx. They lived in assisted living for 5 years. Every night they would fall asleep holding hands. Every day he would brush her hair in the back so it would lay right.

They were married for 73 years.  Their anniversary made several newspapers. My Dad died in 2008 at the age of 95 and a week before he passed I was driving him to the hospital, he told me he knew he was dying and he said “ Jan I want you to tell your Mom She was the greatest thing in my life that ever happened to me” 

Weather Alert

Weather alert……….ice and snow in Albuquerque .

  I had finished the week and was headed home to Dallas . I rolled my suitcase into the busy airport. Oblivious to the fact that people seem to be everywhere. I just thought it was a busy airport with business people all ready to fly home.  Happy to see there was no line. I immediately placed my suitcase on to the scale at the check in.   The representative behind the counter said “ ma’am this airport is closed” “ what ?”

What do you mean closed ? “  “ I mean closed there are no planes leaving this airport tonight . The runways are iced over. No planes coming in or leaving. 

I was given a voucher to a budget hotel. Please …….I said no thank you.   I immediately went to the pay phone and called the hotel I had just checked out of. Being the experienced travel that I had become I knew exactly what to do.  I had seen more people sleeping in airports in my life. I swore it would never happen to me.   After retrieving my wonderful hotel  room with the huge floor to ceiling window.  I preceded to try calling my nephew Kevin who lived there.  Out side it had turned to Ice and deep snow.   The drive in front of the airport was solid ice.  And the sleet kept coming down in torrents of ice.  Kevin never answered his phone. The hotel had a complimentary shuttle that would pick me up.  There were no rental cars available , no taxis were running.  Some lucky person probably jumped in the taxi that brought me to the airport. It must have been the last taxi out for the day. 

There was no transportation of any kind running.  The ice and snow was that bad. The city of Albuquerque had shut down.  The hotel had assured me that a big hotel shuttle would pick me up soon.  The sun was setting, outside it was growing dark and the snow and ice kept falling.  The shuttle never came. I went back inside and called the hotel “ where is the shuttle”. She told me one had already been back from the airport , they were sending another. So I waited . I was told i needed to be outside to catch it.  “Outside its freezing “ I lamented.  So I walked outside in the freezing cold. I was fortunate that i had worn a long wool coat with a big collar. However i had beautiful new black leather heels from Saks Fifth Ave that i had just newly purchased.  When I should have had on ski boots .  I stood outside in front of the airport under the roof .  I stood frozen as i watched another hotel shuttle leave without me.  I went back in and called the hotel again . The woman assured me another would come.  So i go out again freezing.   As i am standing there on the sidewalk. A gentleman pulls up in a nice looking Jeep dressed i would say Santa Fe style and rolls down his window and ask me if I knew if some flight had come in.  I said I didn’t know . I told him I would go in and ask, as he could not park and leave his Jeep.  He was there to pick up friends.  I came back and told him no.  All flight had been cancelled flying in and out.  We exchanged pleasantries and then he offered to take me to my hotel.  I immediately said “no thank you . I have a ride coming. “. He waited a few more minutes and ask again if he could take me to my hotel. He said it’s freezing and he hated to see me waiting and he could just take me straight to my hotel.  He felt bad leaving me.  It was so cold.  I’m sure i looked pitiful at this point.  I thought briefly that maybe God had sent me an angel, but something inside me said no, Never get in the car with a perfect stranger. I thanked him again for his kindness and assured him i had a ride coming.   He finally left.  I so wanted to slide into the warmth of his car, but something inside of me said no Jan don’t do it . I was so……..tempted. 

Ok let me just say I watched frozen as another shuttle passed me up.  I was ready to cry . I went back in called the hotel again.  She told me i needed to get out into the drive, so the driver could see me.  Mercy there were people everywhere.  The shuttle had been picking people up at the far in of the airport that i was not able to get to.     The drive was covered in slick ice.  “Me walk across the drive in these heels . You got to be kidding.”   I was starting to cry . With tears streaming down my cheeks I walked out into the darkness and stood as far out as i could go . Out from under the roof . My feet were frozen and my new heels were wet from the snow and ice.  I kept looking for that illusive shuttle that never came.  I finally looked up into the dark sky. With heavy snow and ice gently falling on my face.  i cried out to my heavenly Father. With a whispered voice laced with tears I said” Father I’m one of your children and I need you help.  I’m your daughter and I am freezing . Please help me. I want to go back to my hotel and I keep missing the shuttle and I don’t know what to do. 

I dont know how many minutes passed but all of a sudden one of those big parking shuttles pulled up right next to me.. The driver swung open the door and said “ Ma’am would you like to come in an sit.  It’s warm in here.  I said “thank you but I have to catch a shuttle and I keep missing it.  And I don’t know what to do.   He said Ma’am you come sit in here where it’s warm and I’ll get your luggage and stop that shuttle for you.  I couldn’t believe the kindness that man showed to me.  There were people all over the place.  He ask me to sit in the shuttle. I wont ever forget the warmth of that shuttle. And that precious man . He jumped out of the van and flagged the hotel transport down and put my luggage on.   There was one seat left on that hotel shuttle and as i boarded the driver ask me if i had a reservation at the hotel and i said exuberantly Yes I do. 

Finally arriving at the hotel that i had just checked out of hours ago. Checkin was easy as they had all my information and credit card. I went back to my old room that i had enjoyed and called my nephew. He didn’t live far from the hotel.  I honestly don’t remember how he made it to my hotel but I invited him up to visit.  He came to my room and we had a big pot of hot coffee and a pot of it tea delivered to the room .  We sat at my desk, Kevin on one side and I on the other and visited for 2 hrs at least we talked and gazed out the floor to ceiling window on the snow covered city.  We went down stairs later and had a lovely dinner.It was so much fun for me to have my favorite nephew Kevin all to myself for the evening.  Kevin was a sweetheart.  I had an expense account so I treated Kevin to the whole evening .  I even tipped a large bill to a hotel clerk to take Kevin back home that night in the big hotel shuttle van.   I will never forget that weekend . 

I was richly blessed to have had that time with Kevin. I loved him dearly . Kevin passed away a few years ago. He was in his 50’s and to this day I do not understand why God took him so young.   But I do know that God gave me that special time with Kevin.  He sent an angel in a parking shuttle, to help me.   As I write this now the question dawned on me.  Why was that parking shuttle there? He had just pulled up.  There was no one looking for a parking shuttle.  No one was driving anywhere and why did the driver ask me to sit in the van?  There were people standing around everywhere freezing.  I really do believe God sent me an angel. 

I told my brother this story and I said “ you know …..what if the guy in the Santa fe hat in the Jeep was an angel that God had sent. He looked like a nice man.  My brother looked at me as he shook his head  and all he could say was NO Jan. NO …………

watermelon dilemma

Waking up this morning, don’t ask me why. I had the funniest thought. Could you be arrested for cutting the heart out of a watermelon? I have fond memories of my Mom always cutting the heart out of a watermelon and handing it to me. I guess you could say I was spoiled, for I was not the only child. There were 4 of us. I was the first born girl , so that made me special , at least in my Dad’s eyes. We had watermelon all the time . My parent’s closest friends owned and operated a huge produce farm. I remember going at least once a week to visit them with my Mom. We would stay for juice and cookies or what ever wonderful desert Ruth would have in the kitchen. She made the best pineapple cake, dripping with pineapple icing that would melt in your mouth. We would visit and look through picture albums and sometimes I would play with their son Marvin who was a couple of years older than me. At the time he became my best friend. When my sister was born I was 5 years old. I spent the week with them while my Mom was in the hospital. Marvin’s room had 2 twin beds, so I slept in one and he in the other. We were great friends then. His mother would wake us up every morning by bringing 2 small glasses of orange juice on a tray to the bedroom. I loved the fact that she waited on us. It was a special week for me. I always felt at home when I stayed with them.

Getting back to the watermelon . We not only brought home watermelon but baskets of squash, greens, tomatoes, cantaloupe, corn, black eyed peas and I am sure other produce I can not remember. It was all wonderful. Thinking about the heart of the watermelon brought to my mind all the incredible meals my Mom cooked for us. My Dad was a dairy farmer. They don’t get a day off. The work is 24/7 . So my Mom had to feed him well. Every day we had fresh produce on our table. The meals that my Mom cooked for her family were unforgettable . Bowls of black eyed peas , fresh tomatoes, cantaloupe , fried chicken or what ever meat she was serving , turnip greens, fresh corn, and cooked apples. I could go on and on. All the above was on the table at one meal. Dinner was followed by pie. She would make at least 3 pies a day , mostly cherry and sometimes a cobbler. Her apricot fried pies were a thrill to my taste buds. I have often wondered how my Mother did what she did. She not only cooked constantly but she kept our house clean, clothes washed and managed to get us to church every Sunday and Wednesday nights. She did have help with the ironing. With 2 boys that also worked on the farm , it is mind boggling to me that she kept us in clean clothes. Dairy farming is dirty work and my Dad changed and showered at least 3 times a day. And my brothers too. Can you imagine the clothes?
I’m pretty sure the washing machine was going all the time. We didn’t have a dryer as I remember. I’m sure one was bought at some point. But I recall the clothes lines in the back and my brother Larry helping my Mom hang the clothes with the clothes pins. I don’t recall my brother Jerry helping with that chore at all. How he got out of that who knows. He was always the rebellious one in the family . And that’s another story for another day.
Getting back to the watermelon. Late in the afternoon Mom would cut an ice cold watermelon on our picnic table. It was always a grand afternoon refreshment, especially the beautiful heart. Reminding me of all the tremendous meals my Mom prepared for us. And it dawned on me, she was not only serving up fine food for us, she was serving up memories of love. Memories of laughter , around the table, of brothers and sisters, conversations, memories of fights over the wish bone and time spent together. She loved her family and took care of us . Nourished us not only with food but with love and happiness. She would have dinner parties for each of her children for their birthdays and other special occasions and invite out closest friends.
Mom did the best that she knew how by gracing the dining room table with a white table cloth and fresh flowers in the center. That was always a gift for me as well as my friends.
It was another time and place that we lived in. I think that the ridiculous thought of being arrested for cutting the heart out of a watermelon stems from the very world we live in now. It seems what’s right is wrong and what’s wrong is right. You have to be very careful what you say and do in the world that we live in. People are taken down by one person starting a rumor.
The night before I had watched a news item about marijuana becoming legal in New Jersey . It sited that for many years a restaurant owner had been selling marijuana, tons of it I might add out of his establishment that sat literally right across from a police station. People would line up like crazy to purchase the lovely weed. Officials would just turn their heads. No one cared. At the same time the news program showed a gentleman that had one stick of weed when he was 18yrs old . He was arrested and sentenced to 10 long years.
I’m getting ready to cut into a watermelon so if I get arrested for cutting the you know what out. It will be my husband that turned me in. For he is the only one that will witness it.


Like vultures flying over a dead animal and swooping in for the prize; so it appears at some estate sales. Dealers open the doors to what once was a private residence and set up shop. Price tags are placed on all. Strangers tramp through all someone’s belongings. Accruements that represented some ones life. That special chair that they used to sit in , they called it their own. The bed they slept in , dreamed in , woke up in to face another day . Memories of times spent at the dining table. The table and chairs are for sale now . Going to someone else . The dishes they ate off. The glasses they clinked . Everything they ever collected , sold to the highest bidder. Clothes are gone through, shoes as well. Favorite books , boxes of old photos. Is anything sacred? Lamps and mirrors, toasters, mixers, microwaves and flat screens, that special souvenir from Europe; all the things someone loved ………….going ,going , gone!

Look around you……….everything you own right now , the car you drive and the house you live in , one day someone else will own. You have it all on loan. For you are on a journey ……………….and you are just passing through.