Who you calling Grandma?

I was dozing off in my little house at noon the other day to the lullaby of a train whistle.

The tracks sit just a block and a half away.

When I awoke later, I smiled thinking my Grandma used to do the same thing in her own little white house that rested by the rails eighty miles west of here.

Grandma’s home was directly across the street from the elementary school where she worked as a teacher. I loved playing school while helping Grandma set up her classroom each August for the returning students.

Sharpening yellow No. 2 pencils was my job.

I’ve working now with elementary school kids, too.

Just like Grandma.

And I still love No. 2 pencils.

Grandma’s sweet little house sat two blocks south from the town library where we’d always check out as many hardcover books as we could carry.

My library today is the same short distance from my little white house and I’m still known to take more than a few great reads back home.

Traveling the sidewalks back to my place tonight with my latest bound ‘treasures’, I couldn’t help but think my own home looks just like Grandma’s little white house.

I wondered have I become my grandmother?

Could be.

I am a grandma after all.

Yet I do know for one thing for sure.

Grandma never rocked and rolled down in her basement.

Singing new songs

I’d nearly forgotten that it was two years ago tonight when my husband Richard passed until I saw a reminder on Facebook this morning.

I surely had forgotten how to celebrate Christmas in the days and years leading up to Richards’s death and right after.

But this year, I awoke from the ghosts of Christmas past to a new Christmas.

And it’s a simpler one.

The Christmas tree and the decorations went in a recent move. But they were replaced with a single garland, a string of lights on the mantle, and a handful of ornaments from my daughter.

I found it was enough.

I then went and bought myself a Christmas gift.

It’s a memoir by a local writer I once knew.

And I opened my door and heart to a new dog from the shelter.

That, too, was enough.

Or maybe more so. Time will tell.

And when I attended a crowded church service this week, I gave up my spot to a father and son who were late.

I’d already sung my carols.

It was time for the young.

After driving home on slick roads afterwards, I checked my mailbox for bills.

I found a small box next to it, covered in ice and firmly glued to the front step.

After carefully prying it off, I found a simple candle inside etched with a tree of life.

It’s bright and full of warmth when lit.

Tonight I see the light.

And it’s glowing right before me through that tree.

I have choral music playing softly on public radio.

And the dogs are at my feet.

Together, we’re singing new songs this Christmas.

Busy making our own kind of music.

Miracles of the season

Miracles of the season come in all shapes and sizes at holiday time.

And with dog breeds and ages as well.

For example, my newly adopted pup Rex.

Now I don’t know what makes up the other half of this 6 pound chi mix, but I’d been hoping my handsome man has a love for kids.

I have 3 little animal loving grandchildren who love to come over.

Christmas Day was the big test.

But I needn’t have worried.

As soon as Rex eyed the young trio, he was gifting kisses sweeter than the red and green Hersheys I’d put in the candy jar.

In fact, his kisses have been a bigger hit than my granddaughter’s new “Frozen” guitar, complete with Elsa’s image.

Now I’ll call that a miracle.

And I uncovered even more holiday magic this morning with the fresh three inches of powder overnight.

While putting the dogs out at 7:00, my lame corgi Maddie started flying through the air just like Rudolph. It was as if the snow acted as a cushioned springboard helping her leap from snow bank to snow bank.

Maybe I should call it jumping for joy.

Anyway, her face said it all.

What a gift for a girl whose 91 in dog years.

And oh, what a blessing!

A Christmas Cat Tale

Gray skies and a lack of snow wasn’t helping my Christmas spirits any. Nor did the probable diagnosis of cancer for my senior cat, Tiger.

A little holiday color could help I thought, as I slid into my walking shoes last Sunday at dusk.

My destination was the pretty tree lined street just past the railroad tracks. I’m new in town, but have already found it’s the kind of neighborhood where multi colored lights twinkle and living room drapes stay open so strollers can admire the decorated trees.

It seems right out of a page from the Norman Rockwell calendar they’ve been giving away at the local hardware store.

I eventually walked past the century old white steepled Episcopal church, then made my way towards an aging little brick building resting next to the crossing signs.

Odd, I thought. It looked like the place had been vacant for years yet it seemed there were furnishings still inside as I peeked through the dirty windows.

I knew it had been a grocery back in the 1920s and most recently an antique shop.

But that was decades ago.

I suddenly felt a breeze and a brush down around my ankles. I looked down to find a cat who started to purr softly. She seemed sweet.

And also friendly.

Yet she took off when I slowly bent down to scratch her ear, scampering towards the church.

There was something odd about her after all.

She looked a bit distressed.

And she was wearing her belly low to the ground.

I tried to follow her, but she’d disappeared.

Maybe she found her way back home.

I hoped so.

This Christmas Eve I made the same walk to attend services at the pretty white steepled church. Though tonight there’s finally a dusting of snow on the ground and flurries are falling.

I call it perfect snow angel weather.

Humming “Silent Night” after the service, I returned to the sidewalk to make my way back home.

I started to walk again near the little brick building, but soon stopped.

Something was moving inside.

Gingerly, I inched my way forward.

Once I reached the big window, I peeked in with the help of the full moon.

And there was the tabby I’d seen days before resting on a small tapestry rug and surrounded by hay from the church’s Christmas crèche.

But this time with eight newborn kittens for company.

I began again to make my way towards my house, crossing the train tracks.

I was worried.

Should I call the police to break in, and help out the new mother?

I looked to the stars for an answer.

But I found it instead stapled to the telephone pole before me.

It was an old and faded flyer for a lost cat.

The same one now in the vacant store window.

When I called the number listed, the woman who answered said their girl had been missing for months and they’d thought she’d been traveling the rails.

And the woman added their family lived right across the street from the little building and had a key, as the owners were currently out of state.

Once home, I checked in again on my own sweet tabby. She’s been doing better the last few days and is eating again.

Her eyes are even sparkling.

I wondered, could it be true that every cat really does have 9 lives?

Before turning in, I took the dogs out for a joyful run and I made a joy filled snow angel.

All the while singing softly, “all is calm, all is bright.”