Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Story of the Rose

Everyone has a story. Some stories will make you weep. Some stories will make you sing with joy. Some stories are better left unwritten or unspoken. This story will probably only touch the heart if you're like me - the lady who cries over the old Hallmark card commercials.

This is simply....the story of the rose.

On 27 July 2008, my beloved Riley & I celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary. Yes, there is indeed an account written of our 37th. On the day before he was to leave to go back to Iraq, he disappeared for several hours. No explanation before or after other than "I have something to take care of". Sometimes it is better to just leave things as they are.

On the first Tuesday after his departure, there was a knock on the apartment door. I opened the door to find myself facing a middle aged gentleman who held out a single red rose in a vase and with my answer "Yes" to his question "Are you Sharon?", I found myself holding the vase - befuddled and confused. I read the note twice..... "24 Tuesdays left! This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Love, RileyD, nwJ". In the event you are wondering what "nwJ" means....simply nothing without Jesus. As to the scripture....this is the one we would say in unison as one of us would drop off the other at work. Every. Single. Day. Monday. thru. Friday. Until the day I retired.

On the second Tuesday after my beloved's departure, a single rose in a vase was once again delivered. The note read "23 Tuesdays left! You are my life mate, my wife, my love. Love RileyD, nwJ".

And every Tuesday, this has been going on...a single rose in a vase.

Now comes the TRUE story of the rose.

Riley had disappeared for that period of time on the day before he left to visit Ed Smith Florist....a florist we had used for many years. His quest was a simple one - how much to have a single rose delivered to his wife every Tuesday until he was reunited with his wife. The lady replied "30 dollars, sir". Riley, the ever conservative, said "is there a way I could have this done a little cheaper - maybe $20 per week? I have enough here to do that". Now "here" meant, his spending money I had put aside in an envelope since he left for Iraq. Yes, even at our mature age, we are on a budget and we allow each other $50 every two weeks for spending money. The woman said she would have to call her husband who was working at the base. After getting her husband on the phone, she held the phone out to Riley - he wanted to talk to Riley about his request. Riley then explained he was heading back to Iraq tomorrow and was there any way they could possibly deliver a rose to his wife every Tuesday for $20.00. That was the most he could afford with money in hand. This wonderful gentlemen then told Riley they would do this for him for $10 a week and God bless him for protecting our country. Now, I might not have gotten this entirely correct - but the essence was captured properly - of that I am sure.

The story of the rose.

And so it goes. Today is Tuesday...."16 Tuesdays left! Once again, love blooms new as we separate. Love, RileyD, nwJ".

Praise God for putting this man into my life - and putting me in his life.

We are truly blessed.



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just Thoughts

Today at 6pm, I will be hugging my beloved once again before he flies back to Iraq.

This time - it's a little harder to say 'see you soon' than it was in July when he was home. Perhaps because his dad isn't with us any longer - or perhaps because we just enjoyed being together so much.

We saw a touching movie "Fireproof" yesterday. This is a movie that every married couple should see - or anyone thinking of getting married. Yes, it's a faith-based movie and it carries a beautiful message of what marriage is meant to be.

This movie gave me pause to think about love. Love transcends all - and if there's always love in thought, word & deed, how could we not succeed ? No one said it would ever be easy. You'll always face someone or something that demands more love than you think you could ever give....but if it's there, deeply cemented within, the more you give - the more you'll be filled with it. I see now that my beloved husband has a love that's firmly fixed within...no doubt about it. It's love that enables you to see things from a different perspective. Love enables you to see things a little clearer. It's acceptance - it's understanding - and it's patience. Love isn't just a feeling .... it's something much stronger.
Go see "Fireproof". See if it moves you as much as it did me.
And yes - the photo is of my beloved & me on our 37th wedding anniversary.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

On To a Better Life

On Thursday, 9 October 2008 at 6:30am, my cell phone rang. I knew in my heart this wasn't going to be an ordinary call. No "good" calls come early in the morning. Indeed, this call was not a good one. It was my mother-in-law. It's time to try to get Riley, my beloved husband, home from Iraq as soon as possible. The hospice nurse believed dad had less than 48 hours left.

Red Cross was contacted by 7am - information relayed as best I knew. A call was placed to Riley's unit - Riley was contacted and the cell phone was ringing off and on for the next five hours. Riley's stateside company was called .... phones were buzzing all over the world to get Riley on a plane home. I decided I would leave early Friday morning. That plan was quickly cancelled. At 4:30pm, the call came through from one of Riley's brothers. Dad was gone. By 5pm, our son & I were on our way to Wellington, with a quick stop in a suburb of Columbus to our daughter's & son-in-law's home. Daughter quickly packed up her things....jumped in the car with me, son-in-law followed with their daughter in their car.

The drive up there was somber - yet, we recalled a few humorous dad/grandpa incidents. Riley was on his way home - not knowing his dad had already passed. Sobering thought.

The night was spent with phone calls - lots of phone calls and people stopping by. Around noon, my cell phone rang - it was Riley. He had made it to the Chicago airport - next stop was Cleveland. All I could do was to say quietly, "Dad is gone". There aren't too many words that one can say that will have such an impact. The man who taught you so many things about how to work with others is gone. The man who you loved so very much is gone. The man who has been your father for your entire life is gone. The man who worried more about mom being taken care of more than his own pain - is gone.

And I am filled with emotion. My dearly beloved husband is home again - yet, not for the reason I ever thought would happen. Yes, our dad has been ill for quite some time. Emphysema is a taker of lives - just as bad as cancer devastates one's life. But I knew in my heart that dad wouldn't go as quickly as others believed. We had such a scare almost two years ago. We quickly gathered up and drove to see him in the hospital. And yet - a year later, he was with us. One year turned into 14 months - then 15 months....and finally, no more time.

Visitation times have been set for Sunday - 12 October 2008 from 2-5pm. The service is set for Monday, 13 October 2008 at 11am.

Yes, dad is gone. But the memory of him will never be gone. He has left behind a legacy not many can ever boast of. The friends he has left behind aren't just friends - they're family. I believe there's not a single soul who hasn't met Claude & Docie Louise Driver for the first time that didn't leave feeling they have become part of the Driver family. Yes, it will be very hard for mom to carry on without him. But her strength will pull her through this - along with the incredible group of people who are simply "family". What a legacy.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Traveling Around...

On the 30th of October, my sister & I went to the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Now there's a drive for you. Yahoo directions took us through scenic Ohio, then Indiana and then Kentucky...or was it Kentucky, Indiana and back through Kentucky? It seemed like a very, very long trip - a scenic one though.

It's a beautiful place - very clean, very well done. A little pricey ($23 for adults.... but children under 5 gain free access - but I imagine they have to be with their parents....!) And to the right of the building is the botanical garden.

We were there for perhaps three hours or more - saw everything that was to be seen - including the bookstore and a great 22 minute film entitled "Men In White". Film presented a good case for creation vs evolution. It was shown in a reality theater. Never having the pleasure of being in a reality theater before, I was quite startled when the seats moved when thunder on the screen rolled - and when it rained on screen, we were spritzed with water. Have to admit, that does wake up one a bit.

Bookstore prices - well, as with all museums - pricey. Very pricey. Sis bought 2 postcards....wise decision. I walked away with zero purchases.

I have more photos of the museum on my webshot page.....which were painstakingly put in chronological order .... until I uploaded them. Darn.

More photos of the museum.....

The drive home was challenging....winding our way back to Dayton through rush hour traffic and of course, the never ending road construction. Timing is everything.

Looking back, I enjoyed the museum. While there is no doubt in my mind that indeed God created this beautiful world, I wanted to see the efforts of this museum. I thought it to be a little overkill for believers ... but for those sitting on the fence, I couldn't imagine anyone walking away without falling a little to the believing side - if not all the way. Well done.

I haven't been sewing too much lately - so I need to get back to the sewing table and finish a lovely quilt I started about a month ago. A dear friend supplied the pattern and sent me a lovely quilt for Christmas last year from the same pattern.

I quilt!