The Beauty of a Clock

A friend of mine on Facebook today mentioned an analog clock he and his wife have in a bathroom in their home. He mentioned how he could read it from the shower via a mirror.  My mind, as usual, went down a rabbit hole and suddenly I remembered hearing recently that many children and adults could no longer read an analog clock. At the time I thought that had to be wrong and hoped it was true. (I had also heard that children are no longer being taught cursive writing in school. Unfortunately, I have learned that that rumor is true. Breaks my heart, but that’s another subject.)

My husband and I have many clocks in our house, but the dearest, most valuable one to me is an analog battery clock set in a wooden frame that I bought for my dad many years ago at a pharmacy. His vision was rapidly declining due to macular degeneration and he could no longer read his watch. One day while waiting for a prescription refill, I saw a clock for sale for about $10 I think and immediately thought it would be perfect for Daddy. It even had the hands that glow in the dark at night, which would be perfect for Daddy when he awoke at 4:00 in the morning and got up to sit in the living room until Mother woke up. Of course, I bought the clock and I think it was Daddy’s Father’s Day gift that year. That same clock now sits on my bathroom shelf and I look at it many times during the course of an average day. Every time I look at it, I think of my dad fondly. He didn’t use it for years and years, but the time he did use it was precious to me.

I think the true usefulness and beauty of a clock is not in whether it is analog, digital or sand or even in the time it tells, but in the time that it keeps. Daddy’s clock, to me, will always represent the time I kept with my father in his last years and how special that time was to me. 

I have a grandson now, Milo, who is two years old. He has excellent parents who will, I have no doubt, teach him how to read an analog clock. Someday I will share with Milo the story of my little bathroom clock and how precious it is and someday further in the future, I will leave it to him so he can remember how his Grandmama Dee used that clock to keep time with her father and then used it to keep time with him, her beloved grandchil

Waiting on Baby, dVerse Haibun #29

I wake up slowly and the first thing that pops into my head is that I’m not only still pregnant, but I’ve seemingly grown larger overnight. As I try to extricate myself from the waterbed so I can go to the restroom, I find myself wailing, “I’m as big as a house and still no baby? Ugh! I’m so tired of being pregnant!”  My husband of two years reaches over to kiss me and automatically makes the same reply he’s been making every morning, “You’re not that big and eventually this baby will come…when he’s good and ready.”  He’s heard the same litany for weeks now and is inured to compassion or sympathy. He’s just as tired as I am of my final weeks of pregnancy. 

These weeks haven’t been easy on anyone. I try to be sensitive to his feelings, truly I do. It aggravates me to no end that I must rely on him to put on my socks and shoes, help me sit and get up again, and dang it, get out of bed!  I’m stuck between the water mattress and the side of the bed. “Honey, I hate to bother you, but can you help me out here?  I can’t get out of the bed.”  He looks over at me, sighs, and rises out of bed like a gazelle or something. He comes over to my side of the bed and starts laughing. I guess the sight of a whale-sized woman stuck in a waterbed is funny, but instead of laughing, I start bawling. “I’m going to be pregnant forever! I’m as big as a whale and keep getting bigger. I’m so tired of waiting! Why can’t this baby decide it’s time to be born?”  My husband stops laughing and leans down to envelope me in his arms. “Babe, you’re not going to be pregnant forever. You will deliver this baby soon I’m sure. Maybe even today! Here, let me help you up, ok?”  As I putter over to the restroom after I’m free of the cursed waterbed, I pat my overly large abdomen and whisper to my baby, “Ok baby, we’re ready for you, anytime to make your appearance. No pressure, but can we do it today? I can’t wait to see you!”

Winter arms are long.

Icy fingers hold too tight.

Trees start blooming, free and bright.
D. Elaine Wood-Lane

1/26/17


This week’s haibun prompt from https://dversepoets.com/2017/01/23/haibun-monday-29/ was to write about waiting. I’ve waited thousands of times over the years, but I can recall no impatience and discomfort more intense than waiting for my first child to arrive. Said child, a son, will be 33 in May, but I can recall instantly those final weeks of pregnancy and my frustration every morning at having to wait for him to be born. 

Try your hand at writing a haibun!  They are a fun challenge to mind and form.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into my worst “waiting” story ever. For more information and to take up the challenge, go to https://dversepoets.com/2017/01/23/haibun-monday-29/ for more information. 

From This Moment On-A Beautiful Tapestry of Life

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From this moment on,
Life will never be the same.
Broken hearts still beat.
Beauty still exists.
God is still love.
All weave a tapestry of
a beautiful life.

D. Elaine Wood-Lane
12/8/16

30 years ago on December 24, 1986 I lost the second of two my two brothers. It had been a really rough year and became completely unbearable on Christmas morning around 7:30 AM when my father called to let me know we had lost Joe in a horrendous, freakish car accident the night before. From that moment on, my life was completely different. I was no longer a 25 year old young mother of two whose primary worry was when to wake my two tiny sons for Christmas morning. I had survived many difficult things in 1986, but the news of my brother’s death cracked everything wide open. It is amazing, truly, what a heart can survive and what can grow in the cracks of our hearts.

On May 27, 1986 my 69 year old mother had a massive heart attack. It took two ambulances, four emergency medical technicians and a full hour to stabilize her enough to transport her to the hospital. I called my brother, Joe, and my sister, Judy, who both lived in the area, to let them know that Mother’s life was hanging by a thread and then prayed, prayed, and held onto Daddy’s hands like the life lines they were. We held onto each other’s hands. Joe and Judy came up to the hospital as soon as they were able and we all spent the night moving back and forth between the CCU waiting room and the garish lights of the cafeteria. In 1986 you could still smoke inside certain areas of the hospital, primarily the cafeteria, so we made regular trips there. You see, everyone in my family, except me, smoked at that time. In the morning, we had to make a decision to have an arterial line put into Mother’s upper chest so the doctors would have direct, immediate access to her heart.

Two days went by and Joe, Judy and I decided it would be wise to ask our brother John, in California, and our sister, Betty, also in California, to come to Texas and join us in our vigil. Betty was unable to come at that time, but John was able to come. John himself had been fighting cancer, but was supposed to be in remission so we were delighted to learn he could make the journey to Texas. Two miracles occurred when John came to Texas. First, Mother’s condition improved greatly. Second, after a seeming lifetime of bitter sibling rivalry, my two brothers reconciled. John and Joe made their peace and our hearts were greatly encouraged that things were getting better. Over the course of John’s visit, however, I realized that John’s cancer was not in remission and that he was in very bad shape. He begged me not to tell anyone else in the family. He came to say his goodbyes to us and he wanted it to be a time of joy and pleasantness rather than doom and gloom. I kept his promise and told no one.

About a month later, Mother had to have quadruple coronary bypass surgery in order to not only keep her alive, but to give her a chance to thrive once more. She survived the surgery and once again we family members made frequent trips from the CCU waiting room to the cafeteria.

On August 24, 1986 we received word that John had lost his battle with cancer and was gone. Joe cried more than anyone. He had just regained his brother, only to lose him less than 70 days later. Daddy and Joe traveled to California to attend John’s funeral and to say their goodbyes. That trip was remarkable because it was the only time my daddy ever traveled by airplane anywhere and it was the last time Joe flew anywhere.

Several months went by with many changes occurring within those months. My husband, Craig, my sons and I moved to a small town in the Texas panhandle and started a new life when my husband started working for the United States Postal Service. It was the first time I had ever lived so far away from my parents. Also, our family slowly started to heal from Mother’s cardiac issues and John’s death.

Life was looking up! My husband and I bought a lovely old Victorian home in Memphis, Texas. I was able to stay at home with our sons, ages 2 and 1, and finally, we had enough money that we didn’t have to decide who we were going to pay each month for the essentials of life.

Christmas Eve rolled around and I was so excited because my mother-in-law and her sister and sister’s husband came to Memphis to celebrate Christmas with us. My baby sons were excited because it was the first time they were even aware there was such a thing as Christmas. I remember for Christmas Eve supper I made homemade cheese soup and rolls. I was feeling so grownup and domesticated and…happy, truly happy.

I started experiencing extreme right flank pain around 7:45 that evening, immediately after supper. I ran a fever, started passing blood, and felt like I was dying. My happiness had evaporated within 10 minutes. I desperately wanted it back, but could not seem to shake my pain and malaise. For the remainder of the evening and throughout the long Christmas Eve night, I was in agony. Nothing seemed to help. I finally drank a gallon of half apple cider vinegar and half water mixed together in complete desperation. My baby sons were going to have their first fun Christmas morning and by golly I wasn’t going to let anything spoil that!

Finally, around 6:30 on Christmas morning, I passed what seemed to be a large kidney stone and the pain was gone. I went to bed completely exhausted. Around 7:15 AM our phone rang. I answered the phone to hear Daddy say, “Is Craig there? I really need to speak to Craig.” As Daddy asked these questions, his voice cracked. I immediately was alerted that something was terribly wrong. After a few minutes of wrangling, Daddy finally spoke the fatal words that changed my life forever, “Elaine, well, Joe has been in a terrible car accident. Please let me speak to Craig.” “Is Joe ok? How badly was he hurt? Daddy, please just tell me!” “Elaine, sugar, I’m afraid Joe didn’t make it. He was killed instantly.” Suddenly my hands were no longer strong enough to hold the telephone. As I dropped it, Craig picked it up and I started keening and wailing in agony. How could my beloved Joe be gone? It just couldn’t be true!

You know how you always read in novels that the hero or heroine has gone numb from grief and shock? I always thought that was pure hyperbole until that morning. After my initial wailing and sobbing bout, I realized I had a job to do. It was still Christmas morning and my boys were expecting fun! By golly they were going to get it too!  So, I took some deep breaths, wiped the tears off my face and went upstairs to wake up my babies. We had a great Christmas, from what I understand. Apparently I did all the appropriate things, but  I remember none of them.

So, where does that leave things now, 30 years later and staring Christmas Eve down as it looms closer and closer? The pain is still there. I still miss my brothers. In addition, I miss my sister Betty and my parents, all of whom I’ve lost in the intervening 30 years. My life never has been the same since Christmas day 1986. However, it hasn’t been all horrific either. I’ve learned we have moments of great joy and moments of great sorrow in life. They don’t balance each other out. They never become equals. What they do accomplish is weave a tapestry of a life wherein we know to cherish the joyous moments, however brief they may be, to know with confidence God will assist us through the agonizing moments, and the rest of the moments are full of the dreams that become beautiful memories.

The most important things I’ve learned from that fateful moment on December 25, 1986 is to love and trust God, to love people and tell them so, and to love life. There is no other way to find peace in this wild and crazy tapestry we call life.

Remember…

How do the years pass so quickly? 
How does the love never fly?
How do we keep on going,
Whenever a loved one dies?

The love is a blessing,
I thank God for it all my days,
It’s wonderful to have it still,
Even after loved ones part ways.

When we all get to heaven,
It will be a great reunion,
We’ll hug, kiss, laugh and cry,
A regular feast of communion.

Until that day, though,
We’ll hold fast our love,
We’ll remember our loved ones,
Living long up above.

We’ll hug, kiss, laugh and cry,
The loves we make down here,
Until the day that we die.

Elaine Wood-Lane

11/24/16

Haibun Monday: A Little Romance

I missed one day of work due to my little sons catching a bug at school and when I came back to work, I felt like I had mistakenly walked onto the set of the old Dating Game show. Just one day! I learned that three graduate students had been sent over to our clinic (the day I was out) to be interviewed for a semester long internship and I would be supervising the intern. I was given three resumes and application letters to review quickly. Every nurse, doctor and staff member mentioned the three intern candidates and which one they thought I should pick as I walked through the Dermatology Clinic where I worked as a Clinic Coordinator. I took the three applications back to my boss, Carol, and asked who she thought was the best. That’s when I learned she had already chosen an intern and he would be starting later the same morning! “Oh, and, umm, Elaine, he’s very handsome. I think you’ll really like him! Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. You should start dating!” I shook my head in frustration. “Carol! This guy is supposed to be here to learn and to help us! He’s not coming here to be set up with an over the hill divorcee with two little boys!” She just laughed and left.

Later that morning a tall, dark and handsome man walked up to my desk and introduced himself as my new intern. Dammit, he even smelled handsome! Carol just laughed at my mumbling, turned beet red after I glared at her and left us to it. I was pretty icy with him for the first couple of months. Then I thawed out to merely tepidly friendly. I didn’t want him to get any wild ideas while I was overseeing his masters project and thesis. At the end of the semester I proofread his paper and retyped it for him. Then he started asking me out to dinner to repay me for helping him so much. I kept saying no. Finally, one day he caught me overwhelmed with patients and I said yes without meaning to do so. I was sunk and he knew it. He laughed heartily and left before I could change my answer. We dated for 14 months and then I regained my sanity and broke up with him. He was too young, crazy and different for our romance to last, but our summer-spring romance ended pleasantly.

Spring and summer meet.
Flowers bloom, birds sing sweetly.
Chilly fall kills blooms.

D. Elaine Wood-Lane
8/8/16

Today at dVerse, the challenge was to write a brief, true romance story in one or two paragraphs followed by a concise haiku to describe the same story. This is my attempt. Yes, it is true. No, it is not the story of my romance with my husband. He’s a very private guy!  Go to: https://dversepoets.com/2016/08/08/haibun-monday-a-little-romance/ to read more haibuns or to leave your own!  

Hot Air

Sun shines down so hot,
Cotton field dirt burns bare feet,
The hot air shimmers.

Summer days of old,
Cousins playing on the farm,
Hot dirt, hot air…joy!

Huddled inside now,
Cool air, carpet, dimness here,
Where is hot air joy?

© D. Elaine Wood-Lane
7-31-16


I recall a time in my childhood, when Mother’s family would gather at Aunt Mary and Uncle Dolf’s farm. We cousins would go outside to play in the 106 degree heat and we loved it! We played outside, walking through fields in our bare feet, finding magical objects in the dirt like arrow heads and pretty rocks and we were in our glory. Those are some of my favorite childhood memories.

Shuu rin – Autumn Rain (A Haibun for dVerse)

Driving to work in the heavy autumn rains, it felt like the sun had escaped our view forever. Where the sun shines 330 days a year, when the clouds come and darken our world, we freak out a bit and depression and edginess spreads over the town like the plague. Nonetheless, after a soggy, cool weekend, I had dropped my boys off at school and was headed to work at the Dermatology Clinic at the Medical School. I got halfway there, talking and begging my old white Audi, Blanche, to hang in there until I made it to work. Suddenly she sputtered and coughed. I patted the dashboard lovingly, speaking gently and encouragingly to her. That’s when all the lights flashed on my dashboard and I felt Blanche die and start floating in the rushing river of water that Brownfield highway had somehow become. Yikes! I was really floating! Just like those people on the news in other places! I willed Blanche to coast right, twisting her steering wheel hard to the right, hoping it would help. I felt her tires hit pavement and steered even harder. She stopped, right in the middle of the busiest traffic in town. I was stuck in the middle lane of a three lane highway and cars were whizzing by like SST’s. What was I going to do? Suddenly a huge truck pulled up and stopped in front of me while simultaneously its emergency flashers started blinking. A huge, young cowboy climbed out of the truck and made his way back to me. I opened my door to talk to him. “Ma’am, has she died completely? I’ll pull her over to the side if you’d like me to do so. My truck can take her easily.” As I looked into the man’s deep blue eyes, I had an inappropriate thought that he could take me easily too. I didn’t say that out loud, though, thank goodness! I didn’t want to be a stereotypical divorcee, embarrassingly lonely and obvious. “If you could do that, I’d really appreciate it! I’m afraid I’m going to cause a stack up if I don’t pull her over. What do I need to do?” “Not a thing! Just sit tight and I’ll hook her up! Then when I signal, put her in neutral and guide her to the parking lot over there.” Sitting in the car and being pulled over to the side, I had to smile. West Texans might be a lot of things, but unhelpful they were not. As my car coasted into the parking lot and I put her in park, the young man jumped out of his truck and came back, leaned in over the open door. “Do you need a ride to work? I’m headed over to the main campus.” My day, even in the heavy fall rain, suddenly had sunlight.

Heavy, bruising rain,
Ice cold and relentlessly dull,
Making new rivers.

© D. Elaine Wood-Lane
6/21/16

The Haibun prompt from dVerse Poets (https://dversepoets.com) was to use one of the Japanese words for rain as the title and to describe the type of rain being written about. A Haibun consists of a non-fiction paragraph followed by a haiku to summarize and deconstruct the main point of the prose paragraph. This is my offering today as a memory came to me of a heavy rainy day when a kind stranger towed my car to the side of the road.

https://dversepoets.com/2016/06/20/haibun-monday-50-shades-of-rain/