Journey 111: The Wheels on the Mower Go Round and Round

 
Today’s fun journey may seem small and insignificant. However, it was a first for me, and the outcome was beneficial for another. 

Greg and I have been in Arkansas all day. We wanted to check in on Greg’s dad and also check on the condition of his yard, after days of rain. With the sun out today, I could almost hear the grass growing. Dad Moore has a big corner lot, with numerous tall oak trees. At one time this hard working man tended his yard with great care, planting lush grasses and growing beautiful vegetables in his garden.  

Now in his 90’s, just looking at the grass wears him out. We slipped into his garage while he was still resting today and began some much needed  yard  work. I started with the weed eater while Greg got the riding mower started and made a few passes. And then, to my delight, we traded. 

It may sound silly, but in all my years, I’ve never mowed with a riding mower. Whenever the opportunity arises to try something new, I do my best to say yes! With a few instructions, off I went. It’s an older mower, and it has its quirks, but who doesn’t? Remembering where to put my feet to keep the whirling blade engaged occupied the first few minutes. It seemed I was going too fast initially, which later made me laugh, so I slowed down. Once I got the hang of what I was doing, I sped back up and had a great time, mowing in the abundant sunshine. 

Eventually Dad Moore caught on to what we were doing and came out to sit in the porch swing. It is still difficult for him to see others doing “his” work. Greg and I traded around on mower, weed eater and sitting with his dad, until the work was completed without too much fuss from him. 

It is a lesson to me to be with this dear older man, seeing the shifts in life through his wise eyes. As we visited while Greg took a turn on the mower, Dad conceded that perhaps at age 94, he should be slowing down. And he remembered that he had helped his aging father with yard work, just as Greg was now helping him. I pointed out that when Greg was older, son Nathanael would in turn help him…and someday his kids would help him, and so on. Dad Moore grew thoughtful and then replied, “I guess that’s why it’s good to have young ‘uns!” It’s good, indeed. 

It’s been a wonderful day, and I loved that my journey went around and around today, leaving neatly trimmed grass in its wake. I enjoy every moment with Greg’s dad as well, hearing his stories, holding his hand, loving on him and being loved on in return.  I’m stockpiling memories during these little visits. And that’s the real journey. 

  

Journey 51: Bob Moore is 94!

Dad Moore 2

Today’s journey was all about celebrating a man with a beautiful soul, as Greg’s dad turned 94. I have known Bob Moore since I was 16 years old, and I have never met a more kind-hearted, compassionate man, nor one filled with more mirth and mischievousness. Born in 1921, he has lived a full life, serving as a young man in the United States Navy, marrying his sweetheart, raising two sons. He owned and operated a hamburger and barbeque drive-in in Noel, MO, that drew hungry patrons from three states, and later took to the air as a private pilot for Peterson Industries in Decatur, AR. He has been an amazing and loving Papa to my three children.

The first time I met Greg’s dad, I was a shy 16 year old, invited to Sunday dinner at their home. I was surprised to find Bob cooking our sumptuous meal alongside Greg’s mom, Leta. I was seated next to Bob at the dining room table, enjoying that meal, when I noticed this jovial man had a dab of mashed potatoes on his cheek. I was too embarrassed to mention this fact, and tried to look anywhere but his cheek when he spoke to me. At last, Greg’s mom noticed the glob of potatoes, and admonished him to wipe his face. Suddenly those bright blue eyes looked straight at me, as he grabbed his napkin, and he asked, “Did you sling potatoes onto my face?” I was mortified! I know I blushed and stammered a denial. Then his eyes crinkled up and he laughed. He was teasing me. I laughed too, relieved. And all my feelings of shyness melted away.

Dad Moore as a young man

Bob while in the navy. His bride Leta and friends in the background.

Bob has been a second father to me. He taught me about being good-natured when faced with the inevitable, as when I begged him to let me buy a fishing license on the way to the lake. He didn’t think it was necessary, no one was ever checked….and paid my fine with a smile when the game warden headed straight to our fishing boat in the middle of Beaver Lake. I learned from him how to bait a hook and fillet the fish I caught. He taught me about not sweating the small stuff when I borrowed his car and put a scratch the length of his Pontiac down one side. I learned to trust, flying with him in a small plane, with my two babies aboard, through thunderstorms over Texas. He taught me about generosity and not keeping score, as he helped those in his community without any expectation of return. And playfulness as he crawled on the floor with his grandkids.

Most of all, he has taught me about love and sacrifice, tenderness and faithfulness as I watched him care for his wife of 50 plus years as Alzheimer’s slowly robbed him of the woman he had loved for so long. He kept her home with him, and was at her side, holding her hand, when she slipped away. Three years later, he brought his elder son home and cared for him as well as cancer snuffed out his life. Caring is not a big enough word for this man. He knows the value of investing deeply in the lives of others, checking on elderly friends, driving a former boss around for hours to ease his restlessness, responding to calls in the middle of the night when his 97 year old neighbor woke up confused, taking care of his remaining family. He never lost his joy, his sense of humor. Even now, as he walks in the twilight years of his life, he jokes and teases, and his blue eyes, which are dimmer now, still crinkle up when he smiles.

Dad Moore eating birthday pie

That was a lot of pie…

Today Greg and I, and Greg’s cousin Pam, met at Bob’s house and took him to lunch. We laughed together and chatted as we enjoyed catfish dinners. Although his short-term memory is a little faulty, he easily remembers stories from his youth, and shared some of those tales with us this afternoon. Back at home, we had birthday pie, a decadent chocolate cream from Big R’s in Joplin. Although he protested over the size of his slice of pie, he ate every bite. At 94, he is independent, some might even say stubborn, and reluctant to accept help. However, his generosity knows no bounds. I’m still learning from this man…to live each day, to not complain, to find the good in the situation and see the best in people. From watching him, I’m learning how to age well and when it is time, approach death with calm dignity and grace.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Beautiful young people are accidents of nature. But beautiful old people are works of art.” Bob Moore is a work of art, a lifetime of joys and sorrows, triumphs and challenges overcome, woven together into a marvelous, beautiful tapestry of a life well lived, and shared, without holding back, without regret. I love you, Dad Moore. I am grateful for you, your wisdom, the love you have showered on me, and for journeying with me, from an insecure young woman who didn’t know who she was, to a mature woman with grandchildren of her own, who knows exactly who she is. Happy, happy birthday, dear man.

Dad Moore

With cousin Pam.

Day 341: Treasures Discovered…at the Perfect Time

treasures found

I absolutely love when unexpected things happen that remind me that the thoughts and desires that I send out are energy. And they will find their way back to me,  manifesting in their own time. I am delighted and amazed also when an image pops into my head, another form of thought, and shortly after that, the image becomes reality. For my first today, I acquired two items. One I have been searching for since early April. The other just came into my awareness last night.

This afternoon, I traveled to Arkansas with Greg to visit his dad. I dearly love this kind, gentle man. At 93 he still cares for himself and has a sense of humor, although by his own confession, his energy levels are low and at a soul level, he is even more weary. It is always a pleasure to visit with him and help him in small ways, which are all he will allow.

After lunch, we stopped at the grocery store to restock essentials for him, and Greg picked up a couple of packages of bite sized candy bars for his dad to snack on. Dad Moore doesn’t eat a lot, but he still has a sweet tooth and enjoys an occasional treat. Back home, while Greg and his dad were looking at old photos and reminiscing, I rummaged through cupboards, looking for a little candy dish to put the chocolates in. I saw the corner of a small plastic bag sticking up and curious, pulled it free of the dainty bowl it was tucked into.

I know I made some kind of sound of surprise! Something akin to “Oh my goodness!” Within the sealed plastic bag were three wooden teaspoons, from Taiwan. Ever since I visited Teavana, the loose tea store in Springfield, back on April 2, I have been searching for wooden teaspoons. I have my loose tea that I purchased in clear mason jars. I measure out the tea by the teaspoon, and I’ve wanted tiny wooden spoons just because they look so much more earthy than having a plastic teaspoon stuck in the jar, as I do now. I’ve looked in several retail stores in Joplin, without success. I eventually decided I’d find them someday, at the perfect time. Which….happened to be today! Those spoons have been in that cupboard for at least 15 years, since Greg’s mom passed 15 years ago next month and Greg’s dad has left every item in its place, unchanged. I’ve never seen these spoons before and have no idea when Mimi received them or what the story is behind them. I only know she had the spoons tucked away, and now I have them. Dad Moore, generous man that he is, told me I could have them. I am thrilled.

treasures wooden teaspoons

After a wonderful afternoon of visiting with Dad Moore, and running some errands, we prepared to leave. Greg paused in the kitchen to get some info from his dad, and asked me to turn on the overhead light. As I flipped the light on, my attention was caught by an item hanging on the wall, directly above the light switch. I know my head tilted to the side, like a dog who is trying to understand the words being spoken to her. Last night, as I was decorating my house for Christmas, I created a small coffee table vignette, for the first time, I might add. I liked the simplicity of it and the way it looked. And yet….it needed something. It needed a wooden tray beneath the grouping. As I headed to Arkansas today, I was thinking about that wooden tray. I have one in my bedroom, on my bed, holding a book, a teacup and my great-grandmother’s hankie. I could use that one, I mused…but in my mind, I saw a lighter colored tray with shorter sides. Perhaps a bamboo one? The image I had was very clear.

Now, standing in the kitchen, while Greg and his dad discussed eye doctors and appointments, I was stunned to see the very wooden tray that had popped into my mind, hanging on the wall. I had literally walked by it five or six times this afternoon, without seeing it. The light illuminated it for me. It could be that the image of that particular tray surfaced in my mind because subconsciously, I have seen it there in the kitchen many times without registering it. I don’t know. I don’t care. The tray I had been thinking about, since last night, was right there before me. I removed it from the wall and turned around with it in my hands, perhaps with my head still tilted to the side. Again, Greg’s dad graciously gifted me with it, with a smile and a wave of his hand.

These items now have a place of honor in my home. I will enjoy the tray and the spoons, and I’ll smile every time I scoop out tea or arrange a vignette or serve tea on the tray. Even better, I cannot look at those simple reminders of the wonders and mysteries of the universe without giving thanks and expressing joy.

treasures wooden tray

treasures wooden tray 2