I heard this song for the first time yesterday at a funeral service and found that it made me sit down and listen...it's simple...but so vivid. When I came home I looked on youtube for what I thought it should be named and sure enough there it was. Later that afternoon I was reading a post by Granny Smith ( I don't know how to link from youtubes site ) which sounded almost identical...not country, more urban. When I went to respond and read the other comments, there was a link to the song within Paisleys comment. I wanted to put this on my blog and here it is. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Twas three days before Christmas and gray was the sky
my thoughts were of presents that I've yet to buy
The stockings were hung on the mantle piece bare
in hopes that just someone might put something there
The pine trees were swaying and dripping with rain
the worst fear of mine was a late hurricane
With the wife in her bathrobe my head in a fog
it would be no weekend if I didn't blog
When out on the porch the screen door was banging
off in the distance were fire bells clanging
Tornado! she said, lets get under the table!
my only concern was the loss of our cable!
If I had known this I'd not moved to the coast
Please let me finish this half written post!
So as you can see daily life's become fast
gone are the days when this used to be last.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to my fellow bloggers!
Friday, December 21, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I choose to be who I am but this time of year is not too festive for me. Let me re-phrase that, this time of year, every year, invariably brings sadness into my life. While the rest of the world is running around preparing for the holiday, going to parties, wishing all that they meet a happy holiday, a merry Christmas, I'm still confronted with death everywhere I turn; there's never any escaping it. Who can I wish a happy holiday to when I know that their days are filled with sorrow and are the furthest from happy? Why would I want to remind them that the holidays are going to be void of that special person in their lives?
Death is death no matter when it happens but this time of year always seems to bring more sadness to the scene no matter who it is that has died. I'm not sure if it's a selfishness that causes this extra sadness or if there is some legitimacy to it. I realize that a death that's associated with any landmark date is always a bit harder because you can't ever forget no matter how hard the brain tries to let you.
I was at a memorial service the other day (whats new) and a mother of a 28 year old man was telling me what she had heard that morning. To preface this let me first explain that he had been killed in an automobile accident and for the first time since I had met her, four days prior, she wasn't grimacing in pain, no tears; she was absolutely radiant. There were many others who obviously didn't share in her feelings including his wife, four children between the ages of 4 and 9, grandparents and more but what she had heard somehow helped her.
Apparently she had been watching TV that morning and had tuned into a televangelist who was talking about the loss of a loved one at this time of year and how terrible it made one feel. She told me that he, the televangelist, made the point that we should not be thinking that this is our first Christmas without our loved one. Instead, we should be thinking that this is our loved ones first Christmas in heaven. She went on with a grin from ear to ear to tell me that she hadn't looked at it that way before then and when she finally did, she was able to be at peace. Everyone has a different view of what heaven means to them and if she hadn't heard it from a televangelist I would have wondered what her take was; but I know so there was no need to wonder.
I know there are many people who don't believe what she does, and rightfully so; it's their choice. However, I couldn't help but think at that very moment how wonderful it must be to have a faith so true. When we lose someone to death we all suffer separation anxiety, sometimes guilt, fear, despair. I have to admit that I don't have the kind of blind faith that this woman has and don't think that just a single sentence could change the way I would feel if I were to lose someone as she did. But, I envy her. I wish I did.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
HAD THE LYRICS HERE BUT YOUTUBE VIDEO IS GONE...SO!
When Queen was part of what I listened to regularly, this song was one that I particularly enjoyed. Maybe it was the lyrics, maybe it was the piano, the guitars, maybe it was Freddie Mercury. All I know now is that the older I get the more this means to me. We're all champions no matter what we've left behind, no matter what we never got to do; it's not over. We're all our own champions getting through each day as best we can....yet....going on, and on, and on. Believe me too, there are probably others that think of each of us as "champ" as well because they see what we sometimes fail to see in ourselves. Be proud my champion friends!
Friday, December 7, 2007
I don't know about you but I seem to obviously forget rather quickly.
Tonight I was in WalMart, no big department store, just the area superstore and I was looking for some shirts for the winter. First of all I have to say that when I went in the store I went out of my way to avoid the man from the Salvation Army with his Santa cap, bell and tripod holding up his pot for donations.
A couple of weeks ago I had gotten two shirts before we went away and they turned out to be really nice so tonight after we had gone out for dinner we figured we'd stop there and pick up a few things. You know, the typical stuff, shampoo, deodorant, a couple of magazines, some over the counter medicines... I was also able to get three shirts for myself. The whole place was decorated for Christmas and was filled with shoppers. I noticed a lot of empty racks where articles had been sold out. To the average eye it appeared as if they were doing a great business.
As we were standing on the check out line I happened to glance over by their optical store and there was a Christmas tree filled with these round paper ornaments each hung by a piece of white yarn. As we were passing by it on our way out to the car ( with $85.00 worth of shit in 2 small bags ), I decided to stop and see what this tree was about.
I'm not sure who the sponsor was but it was a tree of wishes. Each of these ornaments, which I know you've seen before, bore the age and gender on one side and on the back was their wish. There were various different ages and various different wishes yet none could have come close to being worth what we were carrying in these two little plastic bags.
I stood there reading them when for some reason, one in particular struck a spot in me. It was a seventeen year old male who was wishing, yes wishing, for a pair of pants for Christmas. The other kids were wishing for things like Spiderman pajamas, a game, cheap stuff, nothing major. And what did I do? I had the gall to stand there and tell my wife how sad I thought that was and then say "c'mon, let's go" and just walked out of the store.
After I left I thought about what had just transpired and if I wasn't headed for my dads house I would have turned around right then and there. I need tires on my car, I have bills to pay and gifts to buy but some of this is going to have to wait a bit. Tomorrow I fully intend to head back to WalMart with a couple of hundred dollars and I'm going to try to fulfill as many wishes as I can for these kids.
The first thing I'm going to buy is a pair of pants, waist size 31, medium length. Thankful? Am I thankful? Hell yes I am!
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Fact # 1 - I still can't believe I do what I do as a profession. There are times when I can say I've enjoyed it but for the most part...I wish I had the guts to just walk away from it with no regard to having to earn a living; maybe I could do something else? If only I could figure out what.
Fact # 2 - At 15 years of age I was arrested for burglary along with a friend (HA!) after we had broken into what I thought was an abandoned house. It turned out that the house was occupied but that didn't stop us. The friend was known by the police and was of course picked up, he after all being my "best" friend, led the police directly to me causing my arrest as well. Fortunately, all was dismissed and I never wound up with any kind of record after probation.
Fact # 3 - This may sound ridiculous but after moving to a beach community I discovered that I was deathly afraid of sharks. We were in the ocean one afternoon enjoying the water when out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw a shark. I can't explain the fear that I felt at that very moment. That was the last time I ever went in the ocean. I went out about a month later and contracted to have an in ground pool put in my backyard. Don't ask me why but sharks scare the shit out of me.
Fact # 4 - The catholic high school that I went to was aptly nicknamed "pill hill" and it was there that I learned how much I liked drugs. Call it peer pressure or call it plain curiosity, but whatever it was at the time, I can't name but a few of the newer drugs of today that I didn't try and like, even including Formosa Oolong tea when we were broke! Those days are long gone, not by choice at first, and I have come to know it was fun but also see how it may have hampered me.
Fact # 5- I try to portray this caring, loving, do-gooder but it's not always me. Sometimes I like to just forget everyone else and just think about me as selfish as that may sound. I enjoy being alone and surely enjoy giving to and thinking of only myself.
Fact # 6 - My favorite food has got to be Chinese. I could eat it day and night, every day, and I would be extremely happy. It doesn't matter if it's hot or cold, as a matter of fact I think I like it better cold, no matter where I am if it's available as a food choice that's where you'll find me.
Fact # 7 - I have epilepsy - it's completely controlled by drugs and almost nonexistent but I know it's still there. The fact is, I have missed doing so much my entire life because of always being afraid that a seizure would pop up. I'm tired of taking pills and I'm tired of constantly monitoring my behavior to keep it at bay. I wish I could live for just one week without it, again.
I obviously didn't give away anything that I wouldn't tell anyone but I know that these little tidbits are definitely "little known facts". I guess I have an obligation to pass this on so in due time three of you will be tagged. Until then, think of some things that you haven't already let us know.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
In the true tradition of swapping, I have a few that I'd like to pass this on to myself. These are bloggers, people, who really "own" their blogs. Blogs that I read as often as possible and look to for inspiration. Thanks again earth2karen and also a thank you to:
...why paisley? for all that you say, for making me think.
aningeniousname for your news items, for making me laugh.
GracefullyAbnormal for being grateful & graceful, for being.
Hop over to here and grab the code. It comes in 3 colors so you pick!
How to plan a funeral.............let me show a few of the steps
This is a little long so you might want to grab a snack!
The first thing that occurs with any funeral is of course "the first call". This can come at any time of the day or night, on any day of the week and will get my immediate attention no matter what I am doing at the time...use your imagination. It will most likely be from a hospital, hospice nurse, EMT, Police or sometimes a family member. When the family calls they have usually bypassed someone who can give authority to release the body to a funeral director so one of those people need to be contacted.
Next, someone, sometimes two are off to the place of death to retrieve the deceased person and bring them into our care. This is called "the removal" and is done by trained personnel who know the importance of this step and use great caution when doing so. Occasionally, some vague information is gotten at this point to assist us in the next step we are to take.
Depending on the time, either that day or the next the family is contacted by a funeral director to set an appointment for them all to meet at an arrangement conference. It is also at this time that the director attempts to get verbal authorization to embalm and explain what they will need to bring with them; i.e., clothing, photos, necessary information. All of these things may have been done by the removal personnel and if so this step is obviously skipped. If the family is opting for cremation it may change from this point on but this is assuming a burial.
The next step is to notify the preparation room staff if they will be embalming this person. If all things necessary to begin the embalming are in hand (such as dentures if applicable) we can begin, if not we wait until we have them. There are also times when we have to wait for tissue harvesting within the first hours of death or the completion of an autopsy which can sometimes take days.
At the arrangement conference, which can last for hours, information is gathered about the deceased for use on a death certificate as well as information that will be needed to write an obituary. Full name, dates, parents names, location of birth, addresses, education, doctors name, phone numbers, cemetery, grave location, SSN, military history, occupation, industry and maiden names are most of what's needed for us to complete our portion of the death certificate. I then need to know where and when the service is wanted, who the minister will be, songs that will be played, names of pallbearers, family members names, which of these are living or deceased, names of schools, degrees if any, branch of military and rank, organizations that the person belonged to or was involved with, hobbies, pets, likes, dislikes, accomplishments; as much information that is willing to be shared. Once this is all gathered it's time to move on to merchandise and prices are discussed. The family needs to select a casket; usually a vault, memorial folders, register book, flowers, acknowledgement cards, pallbearer cards, door spray, sometimes clothing. This is just the tip of the iceberg. When everything is finally discussed and all is selected it's time to move on to paperwork and signatures. By this time a family is usually exhausted and is understandably looking to bolt. Before they leave I let them know the next step for them and once again ask if they have any questions.
It's now time for me to take all that I've learned and put it to use. The first thing that I'll do is to prepare an obituary since we always have deadlines to meet. I always like to have a family member proof what I've written before I either fax or email it with an attached photo to the paper(s) to avoid any errors prior to press but this proof isn't always possible. This is why I recap everything with the family before we move on to merchandise.
Next I'll contact the minister and church to be sure that the dates wanted are in fact available; I also check with the cemetery to be sure there is a plot available for the burial. Once these things are verified I can move on to ordering the casket and the vault and begin preparing the memorial materials.
I'll now contact the military if needed, get the clothing to our preparation room staff if I have it, order a hair dresser if necessary, order a door spray and get the chairs and register stand loaded to bring to the families home.
Once the door spray is ready I can head over to pick it up on my way to the house; now is the time to pick up any information or items that may have been unavailable or forgotten at the arrangement conference.
After I've been to the cemetery to view the grave and to be sure it is properly marked I can now call our grave digger and alert him of the burial giving him dates, times and dimensions. By the time I've gotten all of this done I'm often into day two, the visitation is usually tonight and the funeral tomorrow.
Today I have to be sure that the casket arrives and the person is dressed, casketed and cosmetized for early this afternoon when the family is to be by for a first viewing. Somewhere in between here I need to get to the doctors office to try to have him/her sign the death certificate so that I can file it with the county and order the families certified copies. We also have to touch up the funeral home to be sure it's ready for tonight. When the flowers start arriving they have to be properly tagged so that they end up with the right family. Oops! I almost forgot to order the police escort for tomorrow.
People usually start arriving for the visitation around 5:30 or so and can often still be in the funeral home at 10. This is a time of socializing with the crowd and being sure that the family has everything that they want. It also allows me time to meet the extended family, meet with the minister to discuss his order of service for tomorrow, make any last minute changes the family requests and estimate the size of the crowd at tomorrows 9AM funeral.
The day of the funeral: We all get in at 6AM to prepare for the day, we remove all of the flower cards, jewelry that the family wants back, wash the vehicles, load the flowers, get the casket in the hearse, gather any paraphernalia we are to take with us and head to the church to be ready by 8. At the church we reverse what we've loaded, set it all up, be sure that the church is ready and head out to the parking lot to await the attendees and be sure that they are parked correctly for the procession to the cemetery. We are also off to the home to pick up the family and get them to the church all the while hoping the escort will be waiting for us. When the pallbearers start to arrive we instruct each of them what they will be doing and seat them all in tandem. When the family arrives it should be just a couple of minutes before the scheduled time of the funeral so that they do not have to wait around for the service to begin.
Once the service is over, we once again load the flowers and send the truck ahead of everyone so that the flowers are set up in the cemetery upon our arrival. The pallbearers place the casket in the hearse, lights on, I take one last look around to be sure that all is done and we're off to the cemetery.
At the cemetery the pallbearers now place the casket on the grave, we seat the family under the tent, the minister steps in and the committal service begins. Once this service is completed the military if in attendance does their part and upon completion of the flag presentation the director steps in to speak to the family. It's at this point that any announcements are made to the crowd and for the most part the funeral is over. Most times the family will stay at the cemetery and speak with all of those that were there before they are ready to leave. It is now time to have the casket lowered, the vault sealed and the grave refilled.
It's not entirely over yet because this afternoon or tomorrow or at the families convenience we are back out at the home delivering plants, picking up chairs and the register stand, removing the door spray if they so choose and answering any questions they may still have. I usually leave them alone for a few days before I call to check to see if there is anything that I can do for them and to be sure that all went as they expected.
All of the above happens in what seems like a whirlwind and is quite a lot to handle in just a couple of days. I have left out many details and just gone over what I feel are the most important steps although every detail is as important as the next. A "good" funeral is really like a well oiled machine; just seemingly smooth no matter what is actually going on. There are times when several funerals are taking place simultaneously and you very quickly learn how to adeptly juggle. No family should suffer in the least because I have too much going on at once and I hope they don't. I'm not the only one with my hands full at this time because the families themselves also have a lot to do and this I realize and try to help them with as much as I can. Then all I want to do is go to sleep before it starts again.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Today's family was a young group; I couldn't tell the ages of the parents but they have a just teen aged son, a 6 year old daughter, a 4 year old daughter and their stillborn daughter. I know the ages of the children because they were the first to arrive with an adult friend of their parents and while we waited for their parents we talked and joked about ages and spelling and mainly little kid stuff.
When their parents came in they had an entire group of their friends with them; one of which turned out to be the interpreter. See, they are Mexican and do not speak English well enough to understand all that we had to discuss, although their children spoke perfect English. Since I don't speak Spanish well enough either we were very fortunate to have a bi-lingual amongst us.
They had just lost their baby and on top of their feelings of loss they were also faced with what I'm sure were uncomfortable feelings having to deal with me; perhaps wondering what I was saying before they heard it translated into Spanish as I myself wondered the same only in reverse. As it turned out this family was not from the town I'm in and at first I had no idea why they had come to me.
I have dealt with many Mexican families before, both handling losses of children as well as adults who we have shipped back to Mexico for burial. In doing this in the past I have come to learn that there is usually very little money available for a funeral. There have been many times when the Mexican Consulate has been involved and quite often they pay a small portion of the funeral that takes place on American soil. When there is no other money to be had I accept what they have, sometimes nothing.
The interpreter told me that this particular family came to me because they knew of me. Knew of me? How on earth could they know of me? I actually asked those questions. The answer I received was on the lines of: "the Mexican community is very close and what you have done in the past to assist others has spread far, you have a reputation for helping us when others won't". At first this sounded great, wow, what a boost to my ego but as I was listening I was also thinking. So have they heard that I'm a sap? A pushover? Someone who will give you what you want for nothing if you claim poverty?
I didn't ask these questions nor will I; perhaps I don't want to know the real answers. Maybe I am a pushover, but I'd do it for anyone if I felt they needed it, it actually makes me feel good. Maybe deep down I'm really doing it for me but It's not hurting anyone it's only helping. Anyway, we are going to cremate the baby and it will cost me nothing but my time and some propane. It will cost them nothing but.....well, nothing; they were extremely grateful. I know they don't have much and have a family to try to raise, and we can afford it. So why shouldn't I just do it?
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Down the road a piece, man is not the only danger to Turkeys, livestock or pets these days. There is a new gun in town that has been dubbed the "Bolivia Beast". In the past years there have been sightings of the abominable snowman or Bigfoot or whatever you call him where you live, right here in this sleepy little community; perhaps he was a yeti trying to find a better way of life in his retirement. Footprints have been discovered and recorded in the mud, no snow here!
This new threat, the beast, hasn't been spotted in the flesh but it has left the sordid remnants of its havoc. There have been footprints and droppings found in and around the pens where it has killed its prey. No Chihuahua, hound, pit-bull or goat is safe in these parts. To date the only fatalities have been animals which are left outside overnight, but the fear is that the taste of animals blood may somehow lose its delectable attraction and the beast may come hunting humans. Halloween wasn't even the same here because of the fear that kids would be gobbled up! I know a few I should have invited but knowing them they would have been left on the buffet.
At first the press, yes even the local press have their noses in this one! Anyway the press was saying that it was a big feline yet there are no big cats in this area; people began thinking it was an escaped lion or tiger. There is after all a zoo nearby. After a fang count in the local zoo showed that none of its catty characters were missing the new story was that it must have escaped from a circus that was travelling through the area. So the hunt was on for the carnival that was missing its roar but that too proved nothing. Do they even have travelling circuses anymore? I'll tell you, the stories that they come up with around here are sometimes hilarious.
Bottom line is that this year, slightly different than others, we now have something new to be thankful for. We can now be thankful that the "Bolivia Beast" has not knocked on our pen and eaten the turkey that we have been fattening up for ourselves. After all, how else could we dispay or symbolize our thankfulness other than by eating a bird?