Sunday, October 28, 2007

Which ones are the Jugheads?

Happy Halloween everybody.

May all your tricks be magical

And all your treats be sweet!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Life and Death

That's my mom's name on the stone. Agnes Julia Meehan Scobey. My brother, Mark, named his first two daughters after her. They are both happy, kind, hard working women with an easy laugh and gentle disposition. Their grandma would be so proud of her namesakes. She was loving and generous and everything a mom should be but she died before I could express my appreciation for all the intangibles she left to me. She died forty one years ago, on the 19th of October in 1966. On that day she also gave me one of the greatest gifts anyone could receive. She showed me that there is life after death and that it is beautiful to behold. Mother, (that's what Mark and Paul and I called her, surprised us in March that year by being admitted to the hospital with none of us knowing that anything was wrong. I was twenty four and working as a County social worker and living at home with mother. Paul was 26, not yet married, Dad worked near Chicago and would come home on weekends. Mark and Alice were married and living at Kincheloe AFB, Michigan. It wasn't too odd that we didn't know she was sick because our family really didn't share confidences or feelings much. We just all got along fine and worked out any problems on our own. There was a deep abiding love and respect for each other but no hugs or spoken words of endearment. When she entered the hospital, she was told that she'd have to have an operation to remove a grapefruit sized tumor in her abdomen or pelvic area. The operation was on March 19th, St. Joseph's Day - patron saint of a happy death. The finding was that cancer had spread to the liver and there was no chance of recovery. She lived at home while she died and death was never mentioned but we saw it come as she got weaker and weaker and her valiant efforts to eat and stay active failed. She never whined or whimpered as she suffered excruciating pain near the end. She was skeleton thin on her last day and the seven months of living with the murderous disease had contorted her face to one of agony acceptance. Dad and Paul and I gathered in the bedroom equipped with a hospital bed and we watched as she drew her last breath. I had read a book describing death and it mentioned there would be a death rattle and the whites of the eyes would turn black and we heard and watched that happen. But then, as we stood, her face relaxed and the most beatific smile appeared on her face and my faith told me that I was witnessing my mother reaping the benefits of her well lived and God loving life. The smile, for me, wasn't just a relaxing of muscles which had been tortured. It was the smile of a soul reuniting with its maker. It has sustained my faith whenever doubts crept in and it still lingers in my conscious mind, giving me cause to shout a loud amen inside my head whenever I hear of the promise of everlasting life. Thanks, Mother.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pondering Time

From Lisa Funderberg: ( I don't know who she is. I copied this quote from her but don't remember when!)

"Faith, among the faithful I know, is not about perfection. It's about knowing...that there is an inextinguishable light inside everyone that is holy. It's about valuing the holy in the face of the flawed, about leaving room to grow, to fall down, then get back up again, all with equal dignity."

There is a word. "Namaste", which means, the Divine in me honors the Divine in you. That's so nice that a word can convey such deep and enlightened meaning regarding the connection of all humans. If only we could remember namaste in our daily interactions. If only there would be a universal recognition of namaste and people would act accordingly.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

From Our Crescent Lake Newsletter

Here's my article that went out with our Crescent Lake Newsletter for this quarter. I just have to write a feature article now instead of doing the whole newsletter as I did in the seventies and eighties and early nineties. They've named it "Message from Eileen"

"Hi Lake Neighbors.

Fall has officially arrived in the Northwoods and it's an artistic masterpiece. Every season that comes along on Crescent Lake seems to be the best. The reds and oranges and rusts and ambers and golden falling pine needles create scene after scene of soft natural beauty. The lake sparkles in appreciation and we've had the added pleasure of finally getting some rain to shore up our lake water levels.

It was a good summer here on the lake. Plenty of very warm days and lake water in the eighties provided the swimmers, skiers, fishermen and pontooners reason to get out and enjoy the water.

Our lake was in the news a couple of times recently too. There was an article in the Rhinelander Daily News about the Crystal Rock Roller Rink reopening. That's a business at the intersection of Hy 8 and South Rifle Road and it was built in the fifties by Frank and Pat Loduha of Crescent Lake to host bands. The article mentioned that two of the entertainers to play there were Buddy Holly and Johnny Cash. It also said that Buddy Holly almost drowned in Crescent Lake. I wonder if anyone on the lake knows "the rest of the story."

Story number two in the paper was about the recently held Salmo Musky tournament which offers a first place prize of $20,000. The tournament offers its participants a choice of a cluster of lakes in the area from which to fish. The Muskies are caught, measured, weighed and released. One of the clusters was Oneida, Hancock and Crescent lakes. Crescent proved to be the best of the tournament. Six of the top ten finishers in the tournament fished Crescent. Just think, there are probably a lot of irritated Muskies out there now. Maybe the Fall colors will soothe them.

Take time to get outside and soak up the energy of Fall. Within these beautiful forests and treasured lakes lies the age-old wisdom and secrets of tranquility and survival."

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Golden Days

Some people love to walk, some people love to run, some people love to bike. I love to weed and rake. We live in an ideal place for weeding and raking. Our little corner of the world is cut into a forest. This is such an excellent time of the year for weeding and raking - nice temperatures, no mosquitoes. Our yard is ringed by about forty White pine trees that are about seventy feet high. The White Pine loses fifty per cent of its needles every Fall and our Birches, Oaks and Maples drop all of their leaves. It's a rake junkie's paradise. The weeding is constant also as we have thirteen flower beds, one herb garden, one grape vinyard, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, asparagus, and rhubarb patches, besides the main garden.

Every Spring and Fall I rake our hillside down to the lake and I deposit the leaves along our meandering path and the needles on various places that can use their acidic content. In retirement, it is so great to get out every day for two or three hours and fiddle around. Connecting with nature and its healing powers is so good for the soul. Gratitude to God for all our blessings sings from my soul as my senses are bombarded with the warmth of the sun, the kaleidoscope of color, the crunch of fallen leaves and the soft gold carpet of pine needles. And as I rake, my meandering mind rests on the abundance of pine needles. One mature tree must drop millions of needles each year and these needles contain acid and is there a use for the millions of needles that fall every year. Could they be used to make gasoline or trigger energy of some sort? Maybe this has already been studied but maybe not. More food for thought as this generation is now really looking into new uses of our natural resources.