Fridays With Dale: Send Me Flowers

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

 


Send Me Flowers

By Dale Angel

She said, “Son, give me flowers while I’m living, not after I’m dead and can’t see and    smell and touch them.”

He was helping to build space equipment, an exciting time of his life and he couldn’t stop. He married a girl from the East Coast of a military family.  They lived there—a busy life unable to get beyond their own doors.

She waited by the phone covered with a blanket. He said he’d call. She wrote poetry about her love and how precious he was and waited and grew weak.

They sent school pictures of strangers, little miniature beings of themselves once a year. Occasionally he remembered and sent a card on his way from distant parts of the earth. He meant to visit someday. He was flying on assignments and the planes passed over her, but she imagined his presence.  She wanted to look into his eyes and hear his voice and pass family history to his children.

It’s a history of the great depression; a starting point for defenseless people, who got caught in a failing world. Futility drove people to migrate on hope of finding a better place leaving behind property with only a few dollars owed on the farm. It broke families apart. There was no place to escape.

The grandchildren grew up knowing only the same busy world of today’s life, their perceptions of only the moment. Their doors were closed with ‘too busy.’

She wanted them to know about their dad, a history of him as a little boy who ran across floating logs at a mill pond a game little boys played.

To earn money, he gathered pink lilies from the forest to sell to the mortuary. They had to be six feet tall to cover the casket. He gathered Cascara bark to sell to the drug store.

He forged his name to ride a calf in the Pendleton Round Up among every tribe of   Indians representing the largest in the world. In the distance, he could see wild horses running along the mountain tops while standing on top of the fence.

He climbed up the ladder to the cab in a train while the engineer was in the depot and pulled levers. They promised jail. He was seven and scared.

She didn’t just want flowers. She had things to share, a library of family history.

That man in the picture hanging on the wall rode on the side of the wagon with his dad at the Oklahoma land rush and watched as men with guns took away their stakes. They rode on until they came to the river and planted them. Distant relatives are still there.

That women beside him had early Texas history. A town is named for her family with cattle and chasing Indians for white captives from the Goodnight Ranch. Books tell the story.

The wagon train journey was a driven desire to find a place to call home. The red hair came by way of Ireland to his children.

She wanted them to know the family had affection and was fair with their slaves and gave them inheritances and invited them to come west, some did.

When she died a history died too, left unsaid.

He sent a large bouquet and came with his children to the west. She didn’t get to touch and see the flowers or hear their voices.

Son…send me flowers while I live. I want to see them feel them smell them and hear your voice. Don’t wait. 

Dale Angel


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Fridays With Dale: Pea Patch Peer Pressure

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

 


Pea Patch Peer Pressure

By Dale Angel

 

I pick up the basket and sit it up on my shoulder and place my hand under the bottom. It topples off. Why am I standing in an auction barn trying to balance a pea hamper?

As a child of the Depression Generation, we did pick the crops, and peas were included. Were the rows really a quarter mile long?

Pea vines grew on elevated mounds so irrigation water could flow in the low places. Placing your knees into the soft dirt mound and pulling the crisp sweet smelling, squeaky vines over your lap, the mature peas fell uniformly. Holding the vines in one hand, you grabbed handful after handful and threw them in the bottom of the basket. In a few moves along the row, the basket filled up quickly. When it was full, you were ready to lift up the basket, sit it on your shoulder with your hand under the flat bottom to balance, and start for the scales.

Many children worked in the fields, and all eyes scanned who was going in full and who carried their load with precision and balance. It was a test against ourselves among the kids.

Pea patch peer pressure?

This stance didn’t allow you to bring up your arm over your head and adjust for balance. You walked swaying with and against your load. It was a personal triumph to make it all the way to get you basket weighed without adjusting. When you arrived, you then brought your arm over your head to help swing the full basket on to the scales. It must weigh thirty two pounds. Placed in your hand was a fifty cent piece and a dime and another hamper–either a short fat one, or a tall narrow-bottomed one that was wide at the top. Walking back to the line you had drawn in the dirt where you had left off, you set down the basket step across the rows and handed the coins to your mom, who dropped them in a sock with a tinkling sound as they found their place. It never occurred to us it was our money. Kneeling again, you scan who is going in balancing without adjusting, with eyes of approval, and begin to strip large sweet peas and continue your day dream…

The auction is about to start.

 

Dale Angel


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Fridays With Dale: It’s My Job

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

 


It’s My Job

By Dale Angel

 

‘Grandmother’ is a titled position. Their duties are varied and executive in nature. You can’t run a company without experts, and Grandmothers are…especially at such things as the irrelevancy of what matters.

Think how deprived you’d be without parental re-enforcements, or as the case may be, undermining the house rules. If youths are to be individuals, they have not been educated unless the Grandmother has…re-evaluated situations…asking old outdated questions like “Who’s going to pay the freight?”

She is at liberty to ask questions no one else will touch, and when it comes across as ‘personal’, it can with confidence be laid to the dotty old grandmother who has not learned to text. What does she know?

Only, the blood lines during your life time all the family secrets and situations no one else will go near, like if it was a power struggle to wash the graffiti off the walls at three, why at fifteen it’s called ‘art’, and it’s ok to mark up your body with it?

Then, there’s the sweet question—do you believe that? It’s a snow job. This is where reverse challenging is often useful to weak kneed parents to help them cope with that infectious disease common to most youths…hearing loss. Parents need comforting and reassurance it will return in a few years….Reminding them… theirs did.

How privileged to have a Grand Dame in the family. As a practicing Grandmother, it’s my job to undermine and dismantle some present day errors, like if I’m paying, I get to dictate and say “No, I don’t buy sweetened sodas. You may have milk or juice.”  If the princesses and princes have no concept of what no means, the whining follows with threatening intent. These darlings are skilled negotiators… I yield… and offer choices …’’ lake water, spring water, mountain water, or…. river or stream water?…. the most popular.

 By the time we have gained Professional Status, this power diminishes. The texting thing does damage and out date ones credibility.

 Like all CEO’s… Part of the perks is, I get the credit for all successes and none of the mess’s left behind for the next in line for this job. …  

Dale Angel


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Fridays With Dale: Precious Time

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

We ring in the New Year with a new story from Dale Angel.


Precious Time Eating Up Life

By Dale Angel

 

It was a small place in need of repairs, sitting near the road. Scattered across the yard were unfinished projects, small endeavors that could be done with little strength: landscaping out of control, small piles of leaves and twigs raked into mounds, little stacked rocks waiting to be the next project.

 

The empty porch furniture, comforting only to the neighbors cats. Few come to sit there. Propped up awnings and taped, improvised temporary make do’s…. years past remembering what needed to be fixed.

 

The family’s bloodlines could fill a village,

 

The news, of the many trips across distant parts of the earth, miles traveled to beaches and mountains and vacations and their lives busy to visit others.

 

Only a few miles away sat the little house ….unvisited.

 

Weak hands trying to open jars, frustrated tears. It makes happiness to be remembered   personal interest. Where are you?

 

Decades are passing in 24 hour increments. Precious time is eating up life spent in activities of detachment from the frail breaths, whether living under the bridge, or dark rooms with little recognition of their existence, maybe a perfunctory ‘hi’ from acquaintances.

 

A whole village size of humanity is asleep as invisible life breathes and feels the…isolation. A third and fourth generation grow, unacquainted with their heritage.

 

A world in turmoil are passing laws to force, under penalty, acts of kindness toward family throw-aways. Can love be legislated? We cry out at the cruelty of others we see on TV, yet practice it ourselves with self-soothing reasoning. “Someone else is there to care.”

 

The mornings come with acceptance. Today will be better. Maybe someone will bring the most expensive gift: time.

 

Waiting on a park bench, or someone waiting in the house along the road with repetition of old rusty mind sets and outdated information, that’s as new as yesterday to them, Will you tolerate it? Or…

 

Look in their eyes, you may see flames waiting to catch fire with experiences you never knew existed. There is a heart living nearby.


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Fridays With Dale: How to Make the Corporate Black List

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

Today’s story from Dale is a sequel to an earlier piece, Revenge Cup, which posted last July 24. Click on the link if you would like to reread that story.

How to Make the Corporate Black List

By Dale Angel

 

It’s such a big organization. Thirty-eight thousand franchises. I never expected a personal reply. I wrote to share a good experience built on a bad one.  The Beings there took issue with a little humor.

I offended them. They misread my short note and assumed I had used their coffee pot for thirty-eight years. (Their count; not mine)

An executive with a quick draw is going to right a wrong? I won’t use her name because she probably has enough problems trying to crack the glass ceiling.

They have a computer Web Site called ‘Feedback’. I used it. I wrote to commend the gracious morning manager, who serves me coffee in my revenge cup. He knows its history.

My falling from grace may have been when I used the name of my cup. I thanked them, told them I had used their cafe for many years as a local meeting place, and enjoyed their food products.

They fired back to stop my free coffee, which they assumed I had been getting for thirty-eight years. Free.  

Here’s what happened…

While de-cluttering, I found the cup in my cupboard where things multiply. I pulled it out to try for the promised free coffee. I remembered. Be careful about your memory. It can be off, and you certainly don’t want a misunderstanding with corporate. It was a couple of free cups of coffee, not thirty-eight years of free coffee! I used the incidents to write my story about my revenge cup.

I tried to defend the misinformation but found I can no longer use their advertised feedback site.  Have I been placed on terrorist list?   It took away the sunshine from my office meeting place and coffee lost its flavor.  The owner of the local establishment went to my defense.

After all, he poured my free coffee

I would recommend executives take off the corporate mantle and replace it with personal interest and humor. The first bad experience and this second one tells me to put away my pencil…but the thought of a pencil in my hand overcomes sensibleness.

The next sequel could be entitled ‘Old Woman with Cane Climbs Corporate Ladder and Gets on the Black List.’ Or ‘Terrorist List.’ That’s what Homeland Security calls it.

PS: A day later, my email sprouts a lovely note written in corporate-ese ‘sort of sorry,  admitting nothing’ form letter. And the executive referred to above owns the glass ceiling.

I may take up knitting.

 


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