Major Pleasures--Follow-up

Major Pleasures--Follow-up

The initial focus on Present Major Pleasures skidded onto missed aspect--Past Major Pleasures--as the responses indicate--the importance of reminiscence--especially healthy, pleasant and entertaining for Seniors.

Nature is one of my lovely pleasures. No matter the season, by myself or with someone. Birds singing, leaves rustling, insects chirping, water rippling, breezes blowing, clouds drifting, savoring emotions, memories and fragrances of all kinds, reminding me of the past being outside with family, friends, cousins, vacations, events. pleasures of every sense, savoring emotions and memories. As a teen,

I’d put a record on as I lay on the floor, my head centered between the speakers, and turn the volume up, like in a concert hall, and sing to Camelot pretending I was Julie Andrews’ understudy. In Amsterdam I saw the famous Rijksmuseum of The Masters' paintings, exquisite works. Breathtaking! B.

 When I look at old pictures which were all such a part of my life, it is amazing the inner pride and pleasure of seeing and knowing how my children and grandchildren are living their lives today. One time, I was tickled that our 3-year-old grandchild was going to stay overnight. She was in a bunk bed in our room where I could see every move she made. She slept for a while, but sat up and said “I want to go home, NOW!!! “We took her home. As I get older, I realize just how precious memories are! H.

 Personally, I’m in the throes of Major Past Pleasures again this week as several local family members who traveled 1800 miles or so to the Ward reunion in south Texas, without me--my first miss; a wise decision based on my physical welfare.

Kay’s first photos were on her first early morning walk—which I always took with her—around the circle of homes with cacti, tumbleweeds, rocks, scampering deer and a view of the lake way below. Pictures of the big blue sky just waking up with pink around fluffy clouds and the sun peeking through brought back precious memories. I loved that daybreak walk. We often dealt with bees as we walked through their territory. One year we spied a skunk in the road up ahead. Reluctant to walk close to or around it, Kay heaved good sized rock which scared it into the sandy desert terrain in the opposite direction.

Another day, Kay arranged a zoom-phone call, allowing me to see and speak with several of the thirty-five from all over Texas who had gathered for the week. I caught glimpses of the mantel with familiar pictures of Jim’s parents, and the long dinner table that Jim built in high school shop with Papa Ward’s (Grandpa’s) assistance and the living room furniture, that Jim’s sister and I, years ago, purchased always trigger laughter and fun-memories and hearing Sis’s tale that occurred about our spontaneous venture.

Several years ago, just Jim’s siblings were present which was very unusual.  Out of the blue, Sis and I decided to go to town to look for replacements for the shabby and uncomfortable living room furniture. Sis said, “Who’s going to pay for this.” I said confidently, “We are!” She accepted that. At the last minute, our other sister-in-law said she’d like to go with us and that she had plans to replace furniture in another room--her gift. We were pleased with what we found. When delivery guys arrived later that afternoon, they asked what we were going to do with the old stuff. We had no plans. “We’d like to have it,” they said. So that made our purchase even more memorable and generous. Jim never questioned my purchase and we laugh every year as we recall that wild day. Everyone seems to enjoy the comfort of the new furniture.

Son, David and his son moved our stored equipped camper from the car shelter to the other side of the house that should get less wind. I always enjoyed helping Jim set it up--cleaning and making beds—sleeping room for five. With a small AC window cooler and a fan, it was cool enough for night sleeping.  Memories like this have flooded my heart and mind this week with Past Pleasures with Jim’s family.  

Many Seniors who are unable physically to make road trips or flights to attend family and friends’ special events usually enjoy sharing past memories. A reminder to you and to myself, to give Seniors--or younger people who miss out on trips because of medical problems--time to share and vow to show genuine interest in where they traveled and what they saw, resisting the urge to one-upmanship in telling a bigger or better personal story.

After we retired from pastoring, Jim and I made 3-week fall trips to the Ward lakehouse. October was cooler walking; Jim enjoyed fishing any time, and with just the two of us, I was needed. I even fished a bit, but mostly watched him bait the trot-lines and pull the fish in the next time around. I learned when to hand him the net and find other things he needed. We took evening boat rides and watched the sun sink behind the lake. Jim enjoyed making repairs in and around the lakehouse and especially spent time organizing the tools and fishing poles in the boathouse/garage as he called it. I had time to straighten drawers, closets, write, read and work on photo albums brought from home. Those are pleasant past memories that I cherish.

I’m thankful that years ago when Mom took trips with us, I interviewed her about her parents, siblings and childhood memories. Mom rarely just began to share spontaneously, but once she began to reminisce, her joy was obvious in verbally sharing her memories, and a delight for Jim and me to hear.

Jim’s mother shared that when she was young, they went West in covered wagons. I wasn’t in on those shared memories, but wish I had been there to take notes. Some friends mourn the fact that they put off interviewing their parents until dementia made it impossible.

Reminiscing is not the same as ‘living in the past’ as some prefer, rather than making the best of their present circumstances. Recalling happy times and about loved ones who’ve preceded us in death are good topics for our children and grandchildren to hear. If someone you love and listen to seems to be ‘hanging in the past’ in order to ignore the present, changing the subject with a comic, short story, walk and pictures are good subject changers. We all know people who will not accept the present, so no amount of one’s ingenuity may get over that hump, so respectfully, giving attention to their worn-out story for a brief time is a small price to pay for their involvement in communication.

Please feel free to share one of your special memories from childhood or with your elderly parents using the email address above.

I’ve appreciated the symbolism of life being compared to that of being on a tightrope--glancing to the left, looking ahead for balance, then glimpsing the right while stepping carefully and gracefully making progress. Walking on a tight-rope, one cannot linger too long at one spot.

The tight rope I’m on right now, is anticipating the same spinal surgery done four years ago on the other side which had an easy recovery. If you don’t see a blog, you’ll understand. Physical restrictions may keep me from my desk.  I accept that I will probably be slowed down, but the proposed improvement will be well worth it. My attitude toward anything that stops me, like the Shingles that I still have after five months, is that I will learn something new about myself, grow spiritually and be acutely aware of the Lord’s constant presence and His unfailing love.

I’m working on Appreciating the Middle Child; if you are one, were one, or have one and have a good story, my email is at the top.  I want my blogs to be helpful and fun.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:3-6

For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Tim. 1:7 (NIV).

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. Eph.1:13 (NLT).