Wednesday, July 27, 2016

In Memory Of My friend

Today we are mourning the loss of our dear friend and neighbor Helen Lowery.
After a four, month, courageous battle with Stage Four Lung Cancer her fight ended late yesterday evening, July 26th just two days before my birthday. Four months ago this beautiful lady was healthy as could be. She was going to the gym, walking her dogs, active in her church, on jury duty, etc.  We watched her pass by our house every day or walk in our door with that beautiful, trademark smile on her face that always cheered me up on my darkest days. She was always bringing me something or just stopping by to chat a while and it made my day. 

She’s always been one of my biggest supporters besides God and my husband throughout my long term sickness, my writing and anything else that went on in my life. She’s always been there to help in any way possible and bring sunshine to a cloudy day, even if it was to call and check on me or bring me something I could eat.

Besides my husband she was my biggest supporter when it came to my writing. Every poem or story that I’ve ever written has been passed by her after my husband read it. They were always my first two critics. She always called me the Poet Laurete of the Community, LOL. She always had so much encouragement and instilled in me that I could do anything I set my mind to do.

She taught school for 26 plus years in the state of Florida before she retired as she called it, but she never did retire. She kept on teaching all along her life’s journey. She helped many get their GED (High School Equivalency) for many years at our local community college and she even tutored others on the side and in her spare time. There’s no telling how many lives this lady has touched along the way in one way or another and all of her students including me will never forget her and the time she put forth to make us all feel worthy and deserving.

She was an avid supporter of my Blog and frequented it quite often and always sung high praises for my work. She was the one that proof read my first book and would have done the second one if I’d asked her. She always said, “I’m never to busy to help in any way I can.”

She was so active in her church and her community and gave God the Glory for everything in her life and was a huge inspiration to us all. After she found out she had Lung Cancer she encouraged us all by her words and her attitude. She told me she had laid it in God’s Hands and what would he think if she picked it back up. She put her full trust in him to handle it and that he did. The day she told me it gave me a different attitude towards my own sickness in ways I can’t explain.

She was so proud of her family and her face would light up like a Christmas tree when she talked about them. She loved all of them so much and was their biggest supporter. She loved her husband so much and stood by his side and they were like two, newlyweds. If she’d lived till September they would have celebrated their 58th Anniversary. What a blessing to have someone in your life that long.

 She talked a lot about her son Bryan and his untimely death and her daughter in law Belinda, her daughter Michelle, her granddaughter Jenny and her husband Daniel and her little, great granddaughter Zoe. Every time Jenny sent her pictures of Zoe in an email she’d forward them on to me to have copies as well. I have a whole folder of little Zoe from the time she was born till now. I’ve watched her grow so much in the almost three short years of her life and I cherish them so much. She and her husband Marvin have always said they thought of us as family and we’d tell them we felt the same. She was as close as a blood sister to me. 

We’re so used to seeing her pass by our house or knock at the door or hear her voice on the phone. It’s so sad and lonely not to have that honor anymore but we know she’s in a better place than us and her suffering and heartaches are over but our lives will never be the same without her.

Now her family needs us more than ever. She was such a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother, friend, neighbor and mentor and we’ll never forget her. She left a legacy behind and some mighty, big shoes to fill.
We’re all so Blessed God placed her in our lives to bring us so many blessings and happiness if for a time. I know our hearts are saddened today but I can hear her now, “don’t cry for me, rejoice and I’ll see you soon.”

We Love You Helen and we will see you soon and we are forever grateful for your friendship, love and examples you set before us. You taught us well my friend. 

                                    With Love Always, Susie

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Down An Old Dirt Road

Old country roads remind me of walking to church come Sunday morning and walking back come Sunday night. They remind me of walking to the little country store with mama's list in hand. Those early morning walks to catch the school bus and walking back in home at end of day, stopping long enough take our shoes off and wade across the little creek come warm weather, is priceless.

The fresh morning smells of honeysuckle, wild roses, mountain laurel or crabapple blossoms drifting in the spring time air, or walking in those big snows that were knee deep in the winter, rolling in the snow and throwing snowballs at each other along the way.

Taking refuge under a big tree come a hard, summer's rain and still taking a wetting and loving it to no end. Then we ran through mud holes with our bare feet, busting em wide open, never thinking about getting the toe itch till it was to late.

Ahhhh, how can I forget the huckleberries and that sweet taste. We knew exactly where they came up and picked em fast as they ripened, along side the road.

And those delicious blackberries we picked for mama to can and looking forward to that fresh blackberry cobbler, all the while eating more than we picked. Never thinking twice about the chiggers or poison ivy till it was to late.

Climbing over barbed wire fences and ripping our clothes to pick poke salat for mama. She didn't take to kindly to the ripped clothes or the dangers of getting snake bit but the poke salat changed the subject really quick.

  Riding an ole, rusted bicycle around every curve and bend, with nary a brake knowing we'd hit the ditch or the creek. It's a wonders we hadn't broke our neck or worse.

And trying to outrun the others to get the mail every day and stumping our toes along the way. They never did have a chance to heal. When cold weather settled in and we had to wear shoes we'd still hobble down those ole roads.

I couldn’t count how many trips we made to and fro carrying gallons of milk from the neighbors when we were between cows, hungry for some good cornbread and milk to go along with supper, sometimes making a complete meal out of it.

 And how can I forget taking a few poufs off of a cigarette butt after snatchin it outta the yard when daddy threw it down. Ahhhh, the sickness and turning green that followed, I'd sure like to forget and is still a reminder today. I said then and there, "never again.” Whewww.

It didn't matter the season or the weather, we made memories to last a lifetime and those ole dirt roads paved the way.

There's so many memories that still linger. I go back quite often and listen to the echoes of a childhood full of many seeds that's been sowed. How can we ever forget an old dirt road.

                                               © Susie Swanson, 2016

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Old Country Store

She’s seen many a season come and go
That old country store was one of a kind
Those big welcome doors were always open
It was the place to go and buy on time

A watering hole for the community
Meeting up with the locals was a daily trend
They traded many stories and bartered too
A way of life they all came to depend

A weekly, anticipated trip to the that old store
To pick up supplies or pay on a bill
Was a pleasure that could never be denied
To everyone that came, it was certainly a big deal

 Wagons carried chickens, eggs and cream
That good homemade butter was the best of all
For a pound of coffee, sugar, a sack of flour
They were all in it for the long haul

Many rabbits came straight from the traps
In exchange for tobacco or a Christmas gift
Those big bolts of yard goods looked so good
To the women folks, their spirits did lift

Oh how those candy jars stood out the most
Sitting on the counter so large and tall
That array of penny candy sure looked tasty
Plenty of children would still recall

Or those big barrels sitting in the corner
Filled with pickles, potatoes or seed
With a little extra money in the pockets
A chance for some much needed chicken feed

That old pot bellied stove sitting in the middle
 Became a familiar sight for all to see
Always surrounded by plenty of chairs
And the famous spittoon and its popularity

And that old building acquired so many names
The local post office was in the back
Many jobs for the proprietor surely did grow
Even an undertaker, nothing did he lack

That weathered old building gave so much
A useful, old place where wonders never cease
Where skills became plentiful for pulling teeth
Or when the need arose, justice of the peace

The welcome sign was always there
From the time they entered till closing of day
 A busy, old place filled with warmth and cheer
Open Monday through Saturday, closed on Sunday

Now it sits empty and feels so all alone
Knowing things will never be like it was before
Where many came and went and the living was good
And anything could be found at the old country store

© Susie Swanson 2016

Sunday, July 10, 2016

We Walk In The Midst

We walk in the midst of beautiful flowers
They will return again come another spring
Though winter’s breath has quietly stolen
There is promise of new birth in everything

We walk in the midst of deep and darkened days
Of some that has become each our very own
The sun will shine through and return again
There will be another break of dawn

We walk in the midst of century old lands
As old fields do through storms and question why
Beneath the blinding sun and bitter rain
We too, should draw new strength as the years pass by

We walk in the midst of grassy hills, so green
Where the mighty winds of heaven blow
Straight from the breath of God, cool and clean
As anything the soul of man can know

We walk in the midst of memories and reflections
From another place and more simpler time
Hung upon the walls of many forgotten days
Are pictures of our ancestors they left behind

We walk in the midst of much anger and hatred
A thousand words can not describe
The soul is barren without peace and love
Hatred should never be inscribed

We walk in the midst of tears and heartache
Where pain, grief and suffering has no name
Without wings against the wind we tremble
For what else may come or still remain

We walk in the midst of blurred eyes and weeping
Crying out with hunger and homelessness
In a land where milk and honey flows
There should always be plenty and never less

We walk in the midst of wars and rumors of wars
Fulfilling the Bible more each passing day
The mercy of God is the most powerful sword
If we but only turn to him and daily pray

We walk in the midst of patience, trying to understand
And wonder how good is material things of earth
When we are gone, all of these will still remain
Just as it is from birth to death, what is it’s worth

We walk in the midst of each upturned prayer
Though agony may be to great for tongue to say
Even the unvoiced prayer he surely answers
If not in our way, in some better way

We walk in the midst of a troubled and lost world
Dying more and more with each passing day
Waiting for someone to unlock the chains
That someone is here, the stone has been rolled away

© Susie Swanson, 2016

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Best I've Ever Seen

                                                    Come sit with me
                                                    Beneath the weeping willow tree
                                                    We'll talk away the hours
                                                    In summer's peaceful tranquility

                                                    We'll watch the beautiful sunset
                                                    Sinking low over the horizon
                                                    Feel the breeze blowing gently
                                                    As the whispering branches liven

                                                    A bright full moon is shining
                                                    Casting shadows oh so bright
                                                    What more could we ask for
                                                    On this perfect summer night

                                                    Come sit with me
                                                    On the treasured, old porch swing
                                                    We'll swing away the hours
                                                    Listening to the crickets sing

                                                    The fire flies are dazzling
                                                    A perfect summer time show
                                                    Smell the honeysuckle blooming
                                                    With sweet fragrance to grow

                                                    We can listen to the whipper wills
                                                     As they make that unique sound
                                                    They never fail to please
                                                    My home is their stomping ground

                                                    Come sit with me
                                                    At the break of a new dawn
                                                    Say hi to the morning glories
                                                    Hear the birds sing each new song

                                                    The roses are cascading
                                                    A round every curve and bend
                                                    Pretty flowers are covered with dew
                                                    The mornings so happily send

                                                    Apple trees are blooming in the lane
                                                    Oh how sweet they can be
                                                    Decked out in pink blossoms
                                                    Waiting for you and me

                                                    All the cows are in the pasture
                                                    Nibbling on the fresh, green grass
                                                    Happy as can be in the sunshine
                                                    Basking in the warmth in high class

                                                    Come sit with me
                                                    On the bank of the little creek
                                                    We'll sip on a tall glass of lemonade
                                                    Then jump in with both feet

                                                    We'll enjoy every moment of the day
                                                    The nights are wonderful too
                                                    Here in my simple, country home
                                                    I promise it will all come true

                                                   There is splendor all around me
                                                   The sky is big overhead
                                                   I live in a heavenly paradise
                                                   Oh what a beautiful spread

                                                   The taste of heaven is sweet
                                                   The air is cleaner here
                                                   If you reach up your hand
                                                   On tip toe heaven is near

                                                   Come sit with me
                                                   In my paradise so green
                                                   This summer time country living
                                                   Is the best I've ever seen

                                                    © Susie Swanson, 2016

I may be stretching it a little with the summer heat baring down so hot and dry as a bone but I sure can't complain.. Some are being flooded out and I pray for them everyday. Dog Days began the 3rd of this month and they go through the 11th of August..All the older generation always said if ye don't get any rain during Dog Days it's gonna be a dry summer. I hope not cause I'm afraid it'll be a wet Fall and I love the bright, blue skies and cool, crisp nights . Oh well, it's a good thing we can't control the weather. Hope ya'll are having a nice summer and staying cool in your neck of the woods.