Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ths will probably be my last party

"This will probably be my last party"

That was what Betty told us when she was eighty years old.

In 2005, when we moved into this neighborhood, we held ourselves a welcome to the neighborhood party. No-one else seemed to be interested in throwing us a party, so we had our own and invited all the neighbors, and the few family and friends that we had here in town.

One of the neighbors that joined us was Betty. It turns out that it wasn't her last party.

Betty has some family around in Washington and Phoenix, but she couldn't spend too much time with them. They were kind of far away, and she was getting older. But, she was able to come next door, to our house.

So, Betty joined us, whenever she could, for our Holidays. Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas brunch, birthdays, and the random parties we sometimes throw just so I can see people. At one party, Diane offered her a drink. Betty let Diane know that her Doctor told her she really couldn't do anything like that anymore. Fortunately for her, we didn't have much in the way of alcoholic beverages at this party, so she happily took some tea, or water, or lemonade, or whatever we were serving. 

 She made sure she kept up with what the kids were doing and always wanted to hear news about their events, activities, progress in school.

She would give us books that she thought were interesting, and discuss others that she had been reading when she came around.

She even joined us for an eclipse viewing party, where we all took turns looking through the telescope, my night vision goggles and binoculars at a solar eclipse.

From meeting them in person, sharing times with them and hearing her tell us all about them, we got to know her family too.

She became part of our family.

In the past few years, Betty's health began to deteriorate. We were on the list for calls in case of emergency, and we had to meet the firemen next door a few times for transports to the hospital. At the end of last year, we visited her a few times in the rehab center after she appeared to have had a stroke. Her daughter came to stay with her for several weeks and she had a round the clock in home caregiver.

Finally, her daughter went back home and, not long after, Betty followed to go stay with family.

Last week, Diane got a call letting her know that Betty had died. She was 92 years old.

We are grateful that we got to spend more than one party with our neighbor and that 2005 wasn't the last party she ever got to go to.

Goodbye Betty. We will join you again for that "last party" one day when someone who knows how to throw better ones than we ever did is the host. Until then, we will all miss you!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Who prays for the Daughters of David

This one is still a progressive work, but I wanted to express some thoughts about meeting some people on my journeys.
And I know, the meter is a bit off, as is the rhyming sequence. I call it free form-ish
And I know, it's usually son's of David and daughters of Zion.
It's irony.
Try to hear what it is saying:

We've all heard the story
time and again
Of the wayward one that ran from the fold.

And how God intervened
To keep them safe and bring them back 
Before they grew too old

And all through those years
They knew in their heart
That someone had kept them in prayers that were constant 
 and prayers that were bold.

We should pray for the peace of Jerusalem
Jerusalem Shel Zahav,  Jerusalem of Gold

Shalu Shalom Yerushslyem 
Or that is what we are told

And then, perhaps, God's spirit will revisit that land
And maybe warm the hearts that, for so many years
have grown so very cold.

But I  will continue to wonder,
Perhaps until I am old,

Who prays for the Daughters of David and the Sons of Zion
With a name that can be told

And who remembers not the place, but the person, 
And asks that they find the peace
That can neither be bought nor sold.

When your knee hits the floor
 whose plight do you remember, 
whose story do you uphold

With your hands lifted high,
when you utter a sigh,
for that blessed City of Gold 

Do remember a friend from the land they are in, 
And ask on behalf of that one specific heart 
that God alone can remold?