As I write this blog, I’m looking out my window. My neighbor is mowing his lawn. Early May was the time when Dad and I would overhaul the lawnmowers. Change the oil, sharpen the blades, and shine ’em all up. With over three acres of land in Pennsylvania, we had two lawnmowers. One walker and one rider.
The rider was a John Deere. Dad loved that lawnmower. When we lived in Pennsy, we lived in a big house on an apple orchard, at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, along the famous Lincoln Highway. Along the long rows of apple trees, stood an old wooden bench. Dad and I would mow the lawn for about an hour or so, then we’d both grab an apple off of one of the apple trees, sit down on that old bench, in the shade of the apple grove and eat our apples. A golden memory that still shines brightly in the core of my heart.
That’s gone now. Dad’s in Heaven and I’m in Florida now. Yesterday, I bought a bag of apples at the grocery store and ate one while I watched an episode of the Andy Griffith Show. Barney and Thelma Lou were arguing because Opie was visiting Thelma Lou too much. Barney was just plain jealous over the whole thing.
The apples we grew in Pennsy were fully organic. We had nearly three dozen apple trees on the property. Eating an apple while watching Barney complain to Andy, rates high on the good things in life. Still, it ain’t the same as sitting on an old bench with your dad, in the shade of the apple trees, chomping on organic apples.
Dad and I gave away a lot of apples to neighbors, fellow church members, and friends. There was one condition though. The folks had to promise that they wouldn’t use the apples to bait deer. I know the good people of Central Pennsylvania, in Appalachian country, hunt to put food on the table. Still, Dad felt strongly against baiting deer. “It’s really not hunting, it just plain slaughtering the deer when a person puts out a pile of apples and waits for the deer, to shoot them.” I remember Dad saying that quite often.
When I lived in Central Pennsy, I had a great job as a writer at a big newspaper. I wrote feature stories, interviews and often was privileged to get my columns on the editorial page. Now I write technical stuff and work two other jobs to make ends meet. Newspapers are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. It’s time to say goodbye to the good life of writing for newspapers and move on.
Moving on in life is important. Adapting to these changing times is important also. But please don’t let anyone ever tell you that you should be over the loss of a loved one by a certain time. They don’t know what the heck they’re talking about. We all mourn in different ways, we all mourn for different periods of time. I know this is controversial to say, but I’m convinced that psychologists don’t have a clue to the real truth of the human soul. Sorry to be so bold about it.
Love one another. Try not to find fault with one another. Be kind to those you love. Be kind to the knucklehead who has 12 items in his carriage, when he’s standing in front of you in the express line at the grocery store and the sign clearly reads, “EIGHT ITEMS OR LESS.” Sure he is a knucklehead, but getting angry at him isn’t going to solve anything. Rise above the frustration, smile and compliment him on the shirt he’s wearing. He ain’t gonna go over to the regular line, no matter how mad you may get at him. So, why not be nice to him? Besides, it’s better to give someone a compliment than to get into an argument with them.
I miss my dad so much. From time to time, I’ll confide this to a friend or neighbor. Often they’ll respond by telling me that I should be over my dad’s passing by now. I simply smile and say something like, “that’s a nice shirt you’re wearing.” It works. It really works.