Monday, February 02, 2009

Groundhog Day

No, I'm not talking about a silly movie.  I'm talking about the actual "holiday".  I'm still not sure about the history, but I'm sure there's something of solar importance to make today special.
Or, it could be a load of crock.
But, it's a good story at any rate.  This day will always be bitter-sweet for me.  Today would have been Gram's 86th birthday.  She was proud of "being a groundhog".

So, in her honor today, I will share a poem she shared in a talent show held at the community where she lived.  This is a very silly poem she wrote in 1978.  I hope you enjoy it.


Gather round me, all ye children
While I sing you tales of woe
'Tis the saga of the Spandex
And how it had to go

It was a dark & stormy summer night
But I was safe from harm
Safe to concentrate on other things
Like that rash upon my arm.

What could cause me such eruption?
Was it deodorant, or soap?
Was I allergic to synthetics?
Or maybe cantaloupe?

Thought I'd try elimination
of each item one by one
Bought a couple cotton blouses
Even made one, just for fun.

But the stubborn thing continued
Till both arms were very red
Then I sought a dermatologist
And this is what he said:

"Take your blouse off, Mrs. Chaddick,
Let me see the troubled spot.
And together we will figure out 
Just what it is you've got.

"Put your arms up, Mrs. Chaddick,
Now put them down.  Ah-hah!
Just look-it here, it seems, my dear, 
you're allergic to your bra.

"I'll just bet it's made of Spandex/"
And of course the man was right
But to further prove his theory
And to make his case airtight

He took up his trusty scissors
For the dermatolo trick.
Cut a patch out of the Spandex
And taped it to me double-quick

Said, "Go buy yourself another,
But that Spandex you must shun."
So I read a hundred labels
Till I finally found one

Made of good old fashioned rubber
But a super-structure style.
What a punishment to wear it
Even for a little while.

But alas the rash continued
Till it nearly reached my waist
And the patch-test simply told us
to cross Spandex off our list

What a let down for the doctor,
It was such a classic case.
You know, I actually felt guilty
As I saw the man loose face.

For while the cause was still a puzzle
And new plans were being made
Just as quickly as it started
The whole rash began to fade.

Now we'll never know the reason -
And after all that money too,
And time, and aggravation - 
Ah well, I'm glad it's thru.

Ruth Chaddick 14Sept78

See, I told you it was silly.  But that's Gram's humor for you.  I also want to share what Jackie wrote for her memorial service.  I'm not sure why I'm moved to share this today.  Maybe because it would have been her birthday today, or maybe just because I think it should be shared.  Or maybe because I really think it will give everyone a little insight into why I loved this woman so much and why so many others held her close in their hearts.

Be Alive

A couple of weeks ago I was helping dispose of Ruth's rather large collection of coffee cups.  Ruth had agreed that I should take most of them to All Saints' Episcopal Church where real, rather than Styrofoam, cups are used for coffee hour after services.  One of the cups had writing all over it and as I read the messages there, it seemed to me that they were describing the way Ruth lived her life.  As I read aloud the messages on the cup, see if you agree with me.

See a sunrise.  Listen to rain.  Trust life.  Have faith.  Enjoy
Reach out. Lest someone in.  Hug a kid.  Slow down.
Pick some daisies.  Share them.  Keep a promise.  Laugh heartily.
Make some mistakes.  Learn from them.  Explore the unknown.  Celebrate life!
Think freely.  Smile often.  Tell those you love that you do.  Rediscover old friends.  Make new ones.  Hope,  Grow.  Give.  Give in.

The most important words on the cup, in large letters, were BE ALIVE.  And that Ruth was, almost to the end.  She was a wonderful example to all of us of what it means to BE ALIVE.

So, yes, this post is now a permanent little glimpse into the person that my Gram was.  She was a very special woman who I will love and miss for the rest of my life.  We were all better for knowing her.

This is not meant to be a sad post, but a celebratory one.  So, Be Alive!  And Hug a Kid!  (Frequently and often.)

Peace to all and may you have someone who leaves such a wonderful mark on your heart.

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