Secret Admirers

Today’s writing prompt from The Daily Post:You return home to discover a huge flower bouquet waiting for you, no card attached. Who is it from — and why did they send it to you?”

It was there on the back patio when I returned home. A bouquet of pink alstroemerias, dark red carnations, white gladiolas, and a single yellow rose, surrounded by baby breath flowers. No card attached. None was needed. I have received this identical bouquet from my “ride-or-die-front-line” friend on my birthday, for the past 10 years. Our tradition of having lunch on each of our birthdays had become impossible since my move to Texas. She substituted that tradition with this one.

The first bouquet she sent included a card with a note that explained the meaning of each flower: allstoremerias represented friendship and devotion and its leaves, which grow upside down, twisting as they grow out from the stem, symbolized the twists, turns and growth of our friendship. The dark red carnations spoke of our mutual deep love and affection which had developed over the years. The single yellow rose was a symbol of the uniqueness of our friendship. The baby breath flowers were included because, somewhere during the early “getting to you know” season of our friendship, I had mentioned how much I liked them. I smiled as I reached for my cell phone to call her, thankful once again for my dearest of friends and the fact that our friendship continued to thrive, despite the physical distance  separating us.

The Name’s The Thing

Today’s writing prompt from The Daily Post: Have you ever named an inanimate object? (Your car? Your laptop? The volleyball that kept you company while you were stranded in the ocean?) Share the story of at least one object with which you’re on a first-name basis.”

Sweet Mary Jane. That is what I call her. My second car. Interestingly enough, I did not name her until she was more than nine years old. The naming was my way of expressing appreciation for what I had too long taken for granted, e.g., the fact that I had put the key in the ignition thousands of times and she had responded. Until the day she did not. She refused to start.

Her first refusal occurred in a fairly safe place – the parking lot at work. The AAA technician came, said it was the battery, jumped started Sweet Mary Jane, and suggested I take her to AutoZone just to make sure all was well. She must have chuckled and said silently, “I know something you do not know Mr. AAA,” because she shut down about 5 minutes later, and not in a convenient place. This time it was on a street corner while I was waiting for the light to change. She did so without a sound.

I cannot remember the diagnosis given by the mechanic at the dealership where Sweet Mary Jane was “healed,” but I will never forget standing in the cruel, relentless heat of the Texas sun that summer afternoon, waiting for the AAA technician to come again. Sweet Mary Jane had to spend the night in the hospital and I missed her. I named her when she was returned to me. Every so often now, I tap her dashboard lightly and say, “Thank You, that my car started without problems one more time.”

New Wrinkles

Today’s prompt from The Daily Post is, You wake up one day and realize you’re ten years older than you were the previous night. Beyond the initial shock, how does this development change your life plans?

I woke up this morning. No, not the usual awakening after sleep. I mean I really woke up and saw my life. I had sleep walked for a decade.

The alarm clock, the catalyst responsible for my waking? Finding the personal mission statement  I wrote and laminated ten years ago. It was dated August, 11, 2004. Holding it in both hands, I thought, “I took the time to write, print, and then laminate this. It must have been important to me then. How did I lose track of it?”

An image crossed my mind: I was kneeling and taping shut a box where I had placed the statement on top of several journals, as I prepared to move from Texas to North Carolina. This box was one of several boxes I had positioned “temporarily” in the basement room I claimed for my “official” writing space, when I first moved into my new home. Instead of a writing space, the room had become a storage place for unfinished projects, such as the family photographs with the albums in which I had planned to arrange them by dates or events. Right.

I slid down to the space next to the bookshelves I had purchased at a garage sale, intending to refinish them for my writing space. I read the mission statement, once, twice, then again. It was during the third reading that I woke up to the truth of my life. Little of what I had accomplished over the past 10 years or so had been intentional. I realized that, after the first two years or so in North Carolina, I ceased being active in my own life. I had gone with the flow dictated by agendas created with little input from me and certainly not guided by the mission statement I held now.

I felt hot tears of regret rising. “Enough!” I shouted out, and sprang to my feet. I thought of and armed myself with the words of my blogging friend, Sarah Lowther Hensley,* “Let’s do it! Let’s do it! Let’s start right this minute! It’s time for me to begin!” (This line is her rewrite of the classic line from Annie, “Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya, tomorrow! You’re only a day away”). Snatching the color poster I had taped to the side of one of the bookcases three years before, I power walked to my car, keys and purse in one hand, the poster clutched in the other. My destination? A local hardware store to purchase paint for the bookcases, and whatever else was needed. Yes, there were weightier issues I needed to address but I purposed to begin with a task that I could complete today.

* http://homeamongthehills.wordpress.com/