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Sunday, August 7, 2022

I Can't Possibly Need Reading Glasses... It Was Just A Pinecone

I hate to admit this. It's hard to type, as if the words coming on the screen can't possibly be true. Okay, so out with it. I'm going to be forty-nine this year. What? How? Where? Why? My brain asks these questions and I just don't have the answer. 

Yes, I agree, it is better than the alternative. Within those years has come an immense wisdom, like when my daughter asks if I will join her in flinging herself off the twenty five foot jumping rock into the lake. I no longer have to question whether or not jumping from extreme heights is a good choice for me. I immediately know that it is not. I don't have to sit and ponder it, I just know. This type of learned wisdom I do appreciate. 

What I do not appreciate is the need for reading glasses that seemed to oddly appear on the day I turned forty. No way, I thought to myself as I squinted to read the tiny ingredient list typed on a package of gravy mix. I admit, I have been in denial of this unavoidable sign of aging. This is something that happens to other people, not me.

Years ago, I had Lasik surgery which eliminated my dependence on any lens or contact. Three days after the surgery I was blessed with 20/20 vision and it was thrilling to be able to wake up in the morning and not have to fumble for my glasses just to be able to read the alarm clock. For eighteen years my vision was perfect, until it wasn't. I went into the optometrist to treat what I thought was allergies and he told me the bad news. I needed reading glasses. 

I am a stubborn person. Somehow, I feel if I don't allow my presbyotic eyes to become dependent on these darned reading glasses that maybe my vision of the elderly will improve. Eyesight is related to eye muscle strength. I'll just exercise my eyeballs and use the reading glasses for emergencies only. 

I'm able to make it to the coffee pot in the mornings without any obvious oversights. Yes, my sight is a little cloudy, and I probably step on more Legos than I should, but my visual field usually clears up by eleven. I've increased the size of the font on my phone and I feel like I'm completely stretching out my biceps when I have to hold instructions a mile away to actually read the inscription. How can it be that I need these glasses meant for old people? 

The other day Senia Mae and I were driving after a pop up summer thunderstorm. The road was warm and wet, debris scattered everywhere as the steam rose off of the hot pavement. I screeched on the brakes, causing her body to fling foreword in the front seat as I pulled into the nearest driveway to turn around. 

"What's going on?" Senia Mae asked. 

"I think I saw a turtle crossing the road." I said to my daughter. If I'm able and it is safe to do so, I will always stop and help a turtle get to their destination. I can't stand to think of those innocent creatures getting squashed on the road. It hurts my heart. 

As we drive closer to the brown object on the opposite side of the double yellow lines I find myself  squinting my eyes, trying to focus on what is ahead. Suddenly, Senia Mae is slapping her knee and laughing in the passenger seat. 

"Mama, that's a pinecone!" She's now in hysterics, chanting, Save the pinecones! Save the pinecones!

Maybe the pinecones, as well as the turtles, do need saving. This is something I may take the time to ponder or maybe its time to give in and start wearing my glasses!

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Which Cinderella Do You Prefer? Hair Metal or Disney Princess?

 Many of you know that I am currently working on my third manuscript, my first work of fiction.  A few months ago, I sent several chapters to my writing coach for revisions. My main protagonist, Shawn, has a memory of rocking out at a Cinderella concert in the late nineteen eighties. 

Getting the script back I see a red line through Cinderella with a question mark and the comment, maybe use someone more well known like Bon Jovi.  I wrote back, laughing as I typed, I realize that you may have been a little more refined, but in order to play drums with the fifteen year old boys I had to play what they liked: Dokken, Iron Maiden, Cinderella. I went on to explain that Cinderella was a huge band in the eighties and how I wore out the Heartbreak Station cassingle in my old, beat up  Chevy Cavalier. Shawn was going to stay true to character.

Fast forward several months. I am in what I call the end of summer panic, spending the last few moments of summer with my daughter, trying to cram in a couple more precious moments, special times that you only seem to experience during those two summer months when life moves at a slower pace. We were taking our bikes up to the Hardman to Helen Trail, which meant driving the curvy, North Georgia roads in the squeaky, old truck. The truck is our only remaining vehicle that still has a cassette deck. 

On this particular curve, the only radio station that would come in clearly was a classic rock station. I hear the throaty groan Don't Know What Ch Got, Til It's Gone and turn up the volume, flipping my curly hair back and forth in the wind.

"Mama," Senia Mae says, "You like this?" She turns to face me and has now begun to laugh because my entire body is swaying to the hum of Tom Keifer, the lead singer of Cinderella, feeling the pulse of an eighties true power ballad.

"What?" I snap out of my the memory of me forty pounds lighter and thirty years younger, remembering I'm in the truck with my witty, twelve year old. "I love Cinderella. Back in the day, this was my jam."

"They named their band after a Disney princess?" Senia Mae asked. "This guy sings like a dying pig!" She cracked up and tried to flip the channel. Listening to it now, his voice was a little unique, maybe not as smooth as other artists but look at Joe Cocker or Bob Dylan. They both had huge careers with uniquely different voices.

"I did love this band, but you can flip the station to something more modern." I said. She happily changed it to some pop station playing The Kid Laroi singing Without You. She leaves it on his crackly , unique voice and I joke, "you think this is any better?" 

"You might have a point," she laughs.

Little does Senia Mae know that before our next bike ride, I'm heading down to the basement to dig through my shoebox of old cassettes. I'm going to find the Cinderella Heartbreak Station cassingle. She'll be trapped in the truck with me as I belt out, Waiting at the station, tears filling up my eyes, sometimes the pain we hide, burns like a fire inside... 

When she asks why we don't get a new truck, I say the old one works fine. And for what its worth, its the only vehicle we own that can replay my high school memories in cassette form and I wanna rock....