Friday, December 25, 2015

"Orange You Glad It's Christmas" Gina Waite

I must admit, I AM A SPOILED GIRL! I’ve almost ALWAYS had everything I needed and just about, darn near, everything I wanted too. It’s disgusting and fantastic all at the same time! I’ve never known what it’s like to have ONE change of clothes, or have to wear shoes too small for my feet (ONLY out of sheer VANITY have I experienced having my toes pinched.) With the exception of occasionally (okay the better part of my 42 years) being on a diet…I’ve been blessed with tasting a cornucopia of colors, flavors and fantastic foods.

For the most part, and I realize it could change any time, I’ve lived during a time of economic prosperity. For example, I’ve ALWAYS been able to buy fruit and eat it whenever my little heart desired. An orange, a basic staple at my house and yet, to Grandpa Waite during the year 1933, it would be the greatest treat a person could have! Here, let me allow Grandpa Waite tell his side of the story:
“Now I lay me down to sleep” were the words I usually started my evening prayers. This particular night was Christmas Eve and I was so looking forward to celebrating Jesus’s birthday the following day by receiving some gifts in remembrance of the greatest gift of all - Jesus’s atoning sacrifice.
Before going to bed, my Mom, Dad and two older brothers, would light the candles on the beautifully decorated Christmas tree that our family had gone into the nearby mountains and cut it down. We would string popcorn onto a thread to make long white strands of garland to encircle around the outer edge of the Christmas tree. We always had a bucket of water at the base of the tree in case the lighted candles would cause a fire.
We carefully hung our well-worn, clean long stockings in the hopes that Santa would remember to fill them with goodies. Early in the morning a thoughtful father made a fire in the pot-belly stove that provided warmth for the entire our three room log home built by early pioneers. One living room, one bedroom and a small kitchen where a cook stove provided the heat.
Upon waking up, my brothers and I were delighted that Santa Clause had not forgotten us. Each boy had a toy with other gifts of clothing that our dear mother had sewed. Though grateful for the little green truck that I had received, I couldn't help but wonder why Santa gave my friend next door a “big” red truck and my truck was so little?
To our delight our stockings were filled with hard candy and nuts and at the toe end of the stocking a large beautiful orange. Oh, what a delicacy…A REAL ORANGE. Very carefully the orange was peeled and each piece slowly consumed tasting every ounce of vitamin C it contained...but wishing I could have one more.
To my great surprise, almost a month later, the boy sitting next to me at lunch had a great big orange to enjoy as his treat after lunch. Needless to say my salivary glands, now on heightened alert, let me know I couldn’t leave without having a piece.

I got bold and decided to go around about way of asking if I could have a piece by saying, “I like oranges.”

His reply…“ I do too, it's SO delicious!”

My boldness continued by saying, “Wow it would be great if I could have a piece.”

I watched as my friend replied, “I can understand why…it’s very good!”

I did not have the audacity to say, “Look Bud, you give me a piece of that orange or I’ll give you a knuckle sandwich!”

Instead I said, “May I have the peelings?”

Looking at me as though I was rather stupid, he agreed to give me the peelings. I decided he didn’t deserve a “thank you.” As I sat there craving that beautiful orange from EVERY cell in my body, I decided when no one was looking, I would carefully slip each torn piece of the orange peeling into my mouth until they were gone…and that’s exactly what I did.”

When Grandpa Waite first related this story to my children at Christmas dinner several years ago, both of my kids sat speechless…completely unable to say anything. Their own Grandpa…reduced to asking someone else for their orange peeling to satisfy the need for vitamin C and a craving that no other food would suffice…my children felt humbled, and aware of the blessings they had been so accustomed to. After pondering for several minutes, my son pushed himself away from the table and went directly to the pantry. Upon returning, he walked directly to his Grandpa and held out in his hand a most perfect orange and said, “Grandpa, I wish I could have been there all those years ago as I would have loved to give this to you! Thank you for your story…I will ALWAYS think of you when I see an orange.” As I watched my children exchange words of love and understanding with their Grandpa, realizing a principle they could have ONLY learned from him…I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Orange you glad it’s Christmas!”
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!
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Monday, December 14, 2015

"I Believe" Jim Terry

Well it’s HERE! The CHRISTMAS SEASON! And it is still one, if not THE favorite, time of year for me.   I think part of my excitement for this time of year comes from all of the classic—at least in my mind they are classic—Christmas movies that HAVE TO BE part of my evenings during the month of December.  Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, Miracle on 34th Street, The Christmas Carol and The Grinch who Stole Christmas, to name just a few, are always a must see for me. And just so you know, I only watch these movies to “enhance” my Christmas spirit not because I don’t have any. I’m kind of like, and very similar to, Buddy the Elf in the movie Elf when he hears that Santa is coming and he screams to the top of his lungs “Santa…Santa is coming!” But of all of the Christmas movies I watch each year, there is one that I really relate to and sticks out in my mind. Have you seen or heard of The Polar Express?  If you have not, basically it’s a story of a doubting young boy who needs to confirm what he already knows in his heart...that Christmas is real if you just believe.

As a young boy there was never a time that I didn’t believe in Santa and the Christmas season. It wasn’t until about the age of six that I started doubting and became like the young boy in The Polar Express…a doubting Thomas.  I was at school one day and some of my friends had been discussing that “Santa wasn’t real” and “how could one man deliver toys to all the kids of the world in one night?”  I still remember, to this day, how that made me feel. I was upset…I was mad…I was confused…and well…I was also now disappointed. How could something that my parents taught me not be real?  This is when my quest, in determining if Santa was or was not real, began.

I started with asking questions to my siblings. I figured if they had been taught the same things that I had been taught, that they would be honest and tell me if something wasn’t true.  And as a young child you, of course, look up to and confide in the older siblings…so I approached my older sisters Angie and Lora with this question, “Is Santa real?”  I can’t remember their exact responses but it still didn’t console me, so I continued my pursuit in finding out the truth…I asked other classmates at school if he was real.  I consulted the almighty encyclopedias—hey we didn’t have internet back then.  I even wrote a letter to Santa asking him if he was real.  All of which still did not console me and provide me solace or the comfort I needed.  It wasn’t until early Christmas morning of that same year that I finally received my answer.

Remember how LONG Christmas Eve night felt like when we were young?  It seemed to last forever didn’t it?  The anticipation of Santa coming, wondering if you had been naughty or nice and the gifts you would receive made minutes and hours turn into, what felt like, months and years.  Well, this particular Christmas, I obviously had drank way too much of something before I went to bed.  I can’t recall what time it was, but I really—REALLY—had to get up and go to the bathroom.  Some may ask, “well why didn’t you just get up and go?”  The reason why I was hesitant to go to the bathroom is because we were always told to stay in our rooms.  And if we ever saw Santa, and he saw us, then he would not leave us the toys he brought for us regardless if you were naughty or nice…A very clever idea, I might add, from parents who ended up having eight kids. 

So as I sat there in the dark trying to “hold it” for what felt like hours, I finally opened my door, ran down the hallway and made it to the bathroom safely without any “accidents.”  I then reopened the door to the bathroom, glanced to the right and then to the left making sure the coast was clear and noticed that the lights were on in the family room. Had Santa come?  I had to find out.

Creeping carefully and quietly down the hallway past the spiral staircase, I was finally able to get a glimpse of the downstairs family room.  The warm hue of the multi-colored lights from the Christmas tree filled the room. The stockings that were hung “by the chimney with care” were filled and noticeably there were more gifts, distinct and picture-perfect, that were placed carefully underneath the Christmas tree. The lingering smell of Christmas in the air from my Mother’s cinnamon potpourri and the faint, indistinct warm glow and quiet crackle from the fireplace created, what one may perceive as, “the perfect Christmas setting.” But where was Santa?

It was at the conclusion of my observations that I heard someone or something coming down the spiral staircase.  I was so terrified, that if I saw Santa or if Santa saw me, that I wouldn’t get anything. So as quickly as I could, I did the best tuck and roll maneuver you may have ever witnessed any action hero accomplish in any given Hollywood movie and landed perfectly hidden underneath the spiral staircase.  Also to make doubly sure I didn’t see Santa, I not only closed my eyes but I quickly covered my eyes with my hands as if I was playing hide and seek.  It’s one of those moments when time slows down and you find that your heart is pumping so hard, you feel as though it is going to jump right out of your chest…“Thump, thump, thump” is what I heard from my heart and from the steps of the person(s) who was descending down the stairs. 

Also to better understand my situation at that time, I want to point out one more topic from The Polar Express. The young boy who doesn’t believe in Santa not only meets Santa in the movie but also is given a magical bell that rings or jingles when shaken ONLY if you truly believe in the season.  The character in the movie tries once to hear the toll of the bell by shaking it, but hears nothing.  He tries twice…but it isn’t until the third time he tries and once again says, “I believe” that he finally hears the ring of the bell. 

As I crouched there in silence underneath the staircase confused, afraid and as a non-believer at that time, all the while covering my eyes, I couldn’t help but to let my curiosity get the best of me…I just had to know.  So as I slowly parted my pointer finger from my middle finger far enough to get a quick peek of what I hoped to be true in my heart and slowly opened my eyes, this is what I saw. I saw a man bearing gifts and dressed in red with a Santa hat on.  Now I’m not sure, but I think I may have gasped when I saw him and this in turn allowed Santa to turn around in my direction in the warm dim light "to see what was the matter."  As he stood there scouring his surroundings, he finally saw me. A small young boy hunkered down underneath the staircase, that was scared to death.  He then looked at me with his kind and loving eyes and then let out a gentle “Ho Ho Ho.” 

"Wow," I said in a soft subtle voice. "He is real!"

It was then, at that same moment, that Santa was able to witness a young boy—now a believer—scamper and RUN as quickly as he could back to his room, lock his door and hide under his covers for the rest of the night. And if there would have been a tape recorder near my bed that night, all that would have been heard over and over again from the quiet whisperings of a small boy is..."I Believe!"  

Over the years, I have reminisced, thought and contemplated about that moment in my life several times now.  How did it make me feel? What did I learn?  Well since it is the Christmas Season, I felt it was appropriate to liken this experience as an amazing parallel to what Christ has also given to me in my life.  He gives me challenges in life to make me a better person; sickness, job loss, and death just to name a few. But at the same time he has also given me many gifts, in spite of my faults, to help me get through my life virtually unscathed: family, charity, love, kindness and salvation.  A Father's love or Christ's love, to still give his child something in spite of doing something wrong on a cold Christmas Eve night, or throughout our lives, is a very valuable lesson to be learned. 

So whether you need to believe in Santa, in Christmas, in Christ or whatever you might choose during this holiday season or in life, there is a quote to remember which comes straight from the last two lines of the aforementioned movie..."And though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me. As it does for all, who TRULY BELIEVE!”



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Thursday, November 26, 2015


Such a great time of year to be THANKFUL for all that we have. For instance..."THANK YOU" to all of the readers of our blog for your support over the years now. It has not gone unnoticed. We are so grateful for you and simply could not have done it without you.    

Holidays are also always a good time for thought and reflection. Attached today you will find this cute portrayal of how and why Thanksgiving began and the history behind it.  Remember why we celebrate this holiday...Remember the sacrifices that were and are given on a daily basis for us to live in this great land...And remember all of those things in your life, especially family and friends, that bring you joy and happiness and make sure to tell them, "thank you" and "I love you."  

               HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Something As Simple As A Footprint In The Jim Terry

Ahhhh alas, another beginning of a holiday season is upon us with the first of four holidays in the next two months!  So I will say, “HAPPY HALLOWEEN,” since it falls on a day later this week…It always perplexes me how each day, as I grow older, seems to become but seconds, a month becomes but minutes and a year then turns out to be only a moment in time. For instance, it seems just like the other day when I was learning an influential lesson from my Mom about lying and vacuum patterns in the carpet.

Those of you who knew my Mom, knew of her love for life, her delight for adventure, her fondness for the holidays but most importantly her ability to run a tight ship and keep a house clean in spite of eight children.  There wasn’t an instance, when anyone at anytime could come to our home and visualize what most might think would exist with eight kids…a mess, clutter or untidiness. In spite of my Mother working, being a great Mom, an excellent seamstress and a remarkable wife to my Dad, there never really was a time I can remember that our home was in disarray.

We, as kids, all had our chore lists. One week you might have to do dishes every night after dinner. One week you would have to do the laundry. Another week you may have to clean the bathrooms, vacuum or take out the garbage.  We also had to make sure our beds were made every morning before leaving for school.  In our household, there was also one room in the house that was generally saved ONLY for special holiday occasions and “off limits” to enter without permission from my Mom…The formal dining room was the room that fits this definition. I can only imagine now, but I’m sure why my Mom didn’t want us in there was due to the fact that there were a lot of breakable and valuable things that she didn’t want to get ruined. Also if we stayed out of there, it was one less place for her to have to constantly clean.

I was always surprised by my Mother’s ability to know if we had gone into the “forbidden room” a.k.a. the dining room.  How could she know that I, or one of my siblings, had done this time and time again and always be right?  Did she have eyes in the back of her head? Was she psychic?  I even used some of my best stories over the years trying to justify the reason why I was in there but again, how could she know?  It wasn’t until later in life that she explained her secret to me…a footprint. 

 Have you ever had the type of carpet that when you vacuum it, it leaves patterns in the carpet?  I’m sure most of us have seen this at one time or another in our life.  The pattern that develops while vacuuming is similar to a “V” as you efficiently push the vacuum back and forth and to one side or the other.  All it would take for my Mom to know if we had gone against her wishes and entered this room is for one of us to step on the before mentioned vacuum pattern and leave a footprint.  I admittedly and undoubtedly lied time and time again about entering this room…it was just so “cool” for some reason to go in there.  So what I initially thought was rocket science or some sort of unearthly power my Mom held in knowing each time we went in there, simply turned out to be an observation of a kid sized footprint in a place where it should not be.

Just yesterday, I was cleaning my home so I can head home this coming weekend to participate in the annual Terry pumpkin carving contest still inspired and started by my Mom, but now kindly hosted by my sister Mary. So while vacuuming, I couldn’t help but to allow my mind to wander a time or two and think of my Mom, the formal dining room and the lesson she taught me while just a young boy…“a lie can be easily exposed and discovered by something as simple as a footprint in the carpet.” 

After reminiscing and completing my task of vacuuming,  I then took a moment, glanced around the room and once again witnessed the perfect “V” pattern in the carpet. I'm sure my Mom would be so proud of me to see she taught her son well and that I followed her example. And as sure as "old habits die hard," and because I am still that same young boy at heart, I went over to the perfectly vacuumed carpet and gently placed a footprint or two right in the middle of the perfect pattern…it was then, at that same moment, that I formed a gentle smile on my face, had a twinkle in my eye and then looked to the heavens above and said, “Lesson learned and YES Mom, it was me!” 

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

"Yo Mama...WE DID IT!" Gina Waite

I’ve come to realize that life is what you make it! Taking what you’re given and doing the absolute BEST with what you’ve got, is a decided direction and talent I hope I’m headed toward, and currently cultivating! It’s the “Rocky Balboa” we must find in all of us that decides that in spite of ALL the obstacles…we’re going to succeed and finish! Cuz’ EVERYONE deserves their “Yo…Adrian” moment of loved-ones’ recognition…that’s the BEST part!!!

For nearly two years, my siblings and I have tried our BEST to keep “In A Nutshell,” moving forward. After the sudden loss of our Mother, we scrambled together to try to keep it going EVERY SINGLE WEEKDAY! This proved to be a reflective and appreciative moment for the accomplished writer my Mother was…but, after about six months, we decided to scale back and accomplish an attainable goal of a once-a-week post.

We’ve accomplished that for over a year now and have come to another phase in our appreciation of our Mother…she could reflect and write a clever problem and anecdote for just about ANYTHING that happened to her. Through written word, my Mom was able to work through solutions and recognize the hilarious process that life is…time and time again, she pointed out life was what she made it! We've been writing...and have worked through a solution for the long-term efforts of "In A Nutshell."

It’s with great happiness that we, as a family, move to the next step in our anecdotal decision. A consistent once-a-month facebook and blog post. We may, from time-to-time, recognize certain momentous occasions in addition to the once-a-month posting…but graduating to this step in honoring our Mother’s legacy is a lovely, and sustainable, goal. We recognize ALL the family and friends who’ve supported and contributed so well to “In A Nutshell,” AND hope you’ll continue to offer us support. For me, my brother Jim Terry, my sister Mary ( Ben Hazlett), our guest writer-sister, Angie Terry and our wonderfully talented photographer-brother, Mike Terry….writing/posting has been an expression for the joy we find in life, our family and friends and most decidedly…our Mother…(“Yo Mama…we DID it!)

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

"If My Mother Were A Season...By Gina Waite

Autumn is so beautiful. The Earth truly manifests itself as the glorious, changing living thing that it is. The bold and beautiful hues that express the last Hurrah of earth's magnificent palette...connect with my soul so completely! Some of my fondest memories of my growing up years were spent with my family, in Autumn. One thing I am certain of, if my Mother were a season, she would have been Autumn.

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Monday, September 14, 2015

"Graduated With Honors" Gina Waite

Life changed for me last week. A person who I've grown to love and call family, passed away! My friend, George Quinton: veteran, father and friend to ALL...graduated this life with honors and moved on to the New-Years-Eve-inspired party that most assuredly was waiting for him on the other side. As I'm preparing plans to help with his funeral and the patriotic-themed luncheon that will follow, I'd love to re-post the Nutshell I dedicated to my friend. It's entitled, "Thanks just isn't enough." Please read it and share in my friend's honor!
(Love and miss you Gorgeous George!!! Wednesday dinners won't be the same without you!!! ~From one of your many squirrels!)

"Thanks Just Isn't Enought" Gina Waite
(orginally posted 11/11/14)

“You never judge a book by its cover”… at least that’s what my Mom always taught me! You have to crack that sucker open and read through the first 50 pages BEFORE you decide whether or not to finish the book! Mostly because you don’t want to invest your time into something you don’t find of any value…whether it be educational or entertaining! I think this same idea applies to people…you can’t fully value a person until you've invested time in their story. …And if their story is ANYTHING like George Quinton…believe you me…you’ll be happy to invest your time!

My friend, George Quinton, born December 18, 1921 grew up to be an avid adventurer in the 20 acre farm off East River Road in Idaho Falls. His growing up years passed quickly and realizing that he would most likely be drafted into the armed services, George made his way to Boise, Idaho to enlist for the Navy in June 1942! He was accepted and inducted into The United States Navy then traveled to San Diego for military training. After the completion of Boot Camp, George made his way to Pearl Harbor (just months after the infamous Pearl Harbor bombing) by way of former luxury-liner-turned-military-transport ship. George recalls witnessing the aftermath of the horrific events of December 7, 1941…he told me, “as much as those good ol' boys had tried to clean up after the bombings…I could still see the destruction of Pearl Harbor…including the four inches of oil that had seeped out of destroyed vessels that sat atop the water’s edge.”

George was a dedicated petty officer third class! His scope through the entirety of his naval career found him as boatswain for 35 and 50 foot boats running to and from surface vessels with much needed division detail making sure the exterior structure of the Makin Island (converted escort carrier) surface vessel was in working order. George would refuel, transport supplies and shoot the gunnery on the ship which made his time in the military pass quickly! Like many great American Soldiers George found great passion for boxing and while serving in the Navy (and unbeknownst to him) was elected to box someone against his will…his opponent breaking George’s nose in the process. That was all it took for George to get up off the ground and knock out his opponent…winning in front of his fellow shipmates! George was revered, respected and noted for his ability, just as in his boxing match, to pick himself up off the ground and succeed in the face of defeat! I think I would call that extreme resiliency! This same resiliency that would be necessary, much later in George’s life, in aiding him to lovingly care for his wife while she battled Alzheimer’s disease. The same disease that accelerated her graduation into the spirit world…for which George patiently waits to be with her again!

As my family and I have had the good fortune of visiting with George frequently and the possibility of his presence at Thanksgiving Dinner…we decided to write him a note of thanks! These are some of the sentiments we've included in our letter that writer, Cathy Maxwell, offers ALL Veterans’ on this, our Veteran’s Day:
*Thank you for enlisting and stepping forward when so many step back.
*Thank you for playing mediator between us and danger.
*Thank you for delaying plans for college, marriage, and other opportunities and choosing to serve.
*Thank you for braving the horrific and unspeakable horrors of war.
*Thank you for sacrificing time with your families and missing those significant milestones the rest of us take for granted.
*Thank you to spouses who live nomadic lives, often far away from the comforts and traditions of extended family.
*Thank you to your children who live most of their lives without your presence recognizing they must share you with the rest of the nation.
*Thank you to your parents who can only prayer for your safety and hope for the willingness of the citizens of our country to offer the best we have for you.
*Thank you for giving our country a conscience.
*Thank you for showing us who we are and what we have the opportunity to become.
*Thank you!!!! Knowing that thanks…just isn't enough!!!!
 Hope you'll Honor our Veterans AND share YOUR stories and photos with us at:"

Monday, September 7, 2015

"In Your Dreams" Jim Terry (Author of Calvin and Hobbes Tribute, samuraitiger19)

Today is Monday and for some of us that are lucky enough to have the day off due to the Labor Day holiday, I say, “ Happy Labor Day and enjoy it like none other.”  It comes but once a year and it seems that a lot of us get caught up with life and its responsibilities and we all sometimes forget to just stop, breathe and be in the moment.  Today is definitely one of those days I intend to “be in the moment” for a couple of reasons.  

First…my sister Lora is getting married to a gentleman named Glenn.  And from what I have heard from her, Glenn and those around her, she is genuinely excited and hopeful for her future ahead. 

Secondly, the seventh of September always holds a special place in my heart, as it is my Mother’s birthday.  She would have been a young seventy-two years old today.  “Happy Birthday Mom! We miss and love you!”

So while reflecting on what this day means to me and the events that will transpire with my sister's wedding, I also ran across a touching story and lesson to be learned that was written in honor of a thirty year old cartoon strip that we all may know or at least have heard of…Calvin and Hobbes. If you are not familiar with the comic, it simply is a young boy, Calvin, and his stuffed tiger, Hobbes, and their adventures together, which are generated from Calvin’s imagination. 

I often caught myself reading these books while hanging out with my younger brothers when we were all still young and at home.  I always found them to be fun and entertaining. The best thing about reading this comic strip was always the message contained within it…the message generally was one of joy and happiness.  I have come to find out over the years, and even though I also "grew up" like Calvin does in the story below, that an imagination goes a long ways...I have conquered many mountains in my day with my imagination...I have leaped tall buildings in a single bound in my imagination...I have become a captain of a ship and sailed the seven seas in my imagination...And during those times when I might feel a bit somber, because I want to be closer to family for events like weddings or birthdays and I can't be there, or realize that my Mom is no longer here with me when I want to call her on her birthday and tell her, "I love you," I take a deep breath, find my imagination once again and quickly remember that anything is possible..."in your dreams."



"Calvin? Calvin, sweetheart?"

In the darkness Calvin heard the sound of Susie, his wife of fifty-three years. Calvin struggled to open his eyes. God, he was so tired and it took so much strength. Slowly, light replaced the darkness, and soon vision followed. At the foot of his bed stood his wife. Calvin wet his dry lips and spoke hoarsely, "Did... did you.... find him?"

"Yes dear," Susie said smiling sadly, "He was in the attic." Susie reached into her big purse and brought out a soft, old, orange tiger doll. Calvin could not help but laugh. It had been so long. Too long.

"I washed him for you," Susie said, her voice cracking a little as she laid the stuffed tiger next to her husband.

"Thank you, Susie." Calvin said. A few moments passed as Calvin just laid on his hospital bed, his head turned to the side, staring at the old toy with nostalgia.
"Dear," Calvin said finally. "Would you mind leaving me alone with Hobbes for a while? I would like to catch up with him."

"All right," Susie said. "I'll get something to eat in the cafeteria. I'll be back soon."
Susie kissed her husband on the forehead and turned to leave. With sudden but gentle strength Calvin stopped her. Lovingly he pulled his wife in and gave her a passionate kiss on the lips. "I love you," he said.

"And I love you," said Susie. Susie turned and left. Calvin saw tears streaming from her face as she went out the door.
Calvin then turned to face his oldest and dearest friend. "Hello Hobbes. It's been a long time hasn't it old pal?"

Hobbes was no longer a stuffed doll but the big furry old tiger Calvin had always remembered. "It sure has, Calvin." said Hobbes.

"You... haven't changed a bit." Calvin smiled.

"You've changed a lot." Hobbes said sadly.

Calvin laughed, "Really? I haven't noticed at all. "There was a long pause. The sound of a clock ticking away the seconds rang throughout the sterile hospital room.

"So... you married Susie Derkins." Hobbes said, finally smiling. "I knew you always like her."

"Shut up!" Calvin said, his smile bigger than ever.

"Tell me everything I missed. I'd love to hear what you've been up to!" Hobbes said, excited.

And so Calvin told him everything. He told him about how he and Susie fell in love in high school and had married after graduating from college, about his three kids and four grandkids, how he turned Spaceman Spiff into one of the most popular sci-fi novels of the decade, and so on. After he told Hobbes all this there was another pregnant pause.

"You know... I visited you in the attic a bunch of times." Calvin said.

"I know."

"But I couldn't see you. All I saw was a stuffed animal." Calvin voice was breaking and tears of regret started welling up in his eyes.

"You grew up old buddy." said Hobbes.

Calvin broke down and sobbed, hugging his best friend. "I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry I broke my promise! I promised I wouldn't grow up and that we'd be together forever!!"

Hobbes stroked the back of Calvin's hair, or what little was left of it. "But you didn't."

"What do you mean?"

"We were always together... in your dreams…' ”

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

"Back to School" Gina Waite

I know not EVERYONE feels the same about the day their children go back to school for the year...but my Mom and I were completely simpatico on this point and I had to take the opportunity to share what I'm feeling today. On behalf of my Mom, myself and anyone who can sympathize with the feeling of loss (even thought it may be loss of organized chaos) ...I'm posting these Back-to-School sentiments...Today:

Monday, August 24, 2015

"Reflecting in Flip Flops" Gina Waite

“Summer afternoon--Summer afternoon; to me those have ALWAYS been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ~Henry James

Amazing how quickly time passes. It seems like yesterday I was expecting my first baby, Jordan. I remember reading ALL the parenting books I could get my hands on and felt very ready to take on the adventure of becoming a parent. My Mom would tell me to enjoy the time I had with my baby because time would pass quickly and before I knew it…he’d be graduating from high school. I’m not sure I believed her when I was up to my elbows in Dirty Diapers and Desitin….but reality has recently set in.

I’m a Mother of a senior in high school. Time passed WAY too quickly…and I’m visualizing the next 9 months that I’ll be much like the Grinch who, after realizing all the terrible things he’d done, dug in his heels and clung to the sled that contained all the Whoville Christmas treasure. I’m going to hang onto these last few months I have with my son! I don’t want him to grow up…AND…I’m so excited for him, that he can grow up! A conundrum that I’ll be reflecting on for the next year!

The summer has been wonderful and I hope it continues to be for everyone! As it’s the last week of summer break, I’ll be talking with my children about their favorite memories of summer 2015. I know I’ve got mine…visiting my sister in Washington, gardening with my daughter, my boxer-briefed son rushing to my rescue to detain satan’s squirrel (it’s its own Nutshell), reflecting and reading while watching the sunset, attending an Imagine Dragons Concert with my kids notably watching my son in the mosh-pit-of-madness (it NEEDS it's own Nutshell), finding the PERFECT Americana flag to place on my Mom’s grave knowing how much she’d love it, watching a 90-year-old Grandpa experience the Flying Aces at Lagoon, watching my children dance together at a summer ballroom camp…Awwwww the list goes on AND on! As much as I agree with Mr. James’ quote above, it’s Kellie Elmore that I’m relating to right now, “Some of the BEST memories are made in flip flops.”

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Monday, August 10, 2015

"A Squirrel, A NUT And A Nutshell" Gina Waite

Life has a funny way of helping you stay humble.  It never fails that the moment I feel confident that I’ve crossed all my “t’s” and dotted all my “i’s”…in reality I’ve probably crossed and my “i’s” and dotted all my “t’s”!  It’s humbling, and very necessary, to realize that we really have very little control over all areas of our life.  However, we DEFINITELY can choose how we THINK and REACT…and I wish I could say I thought and reacted like an “adult” about a month ago.  All I can say is it started with a squirrel…

Love my home…love where I live…and while we were gone for a short get-away to visit my family to the West…an area squirrel  moved into my flower beds and echoed my sentiments.  Imagine my disappointment when I found most of my east-facing flower bed had been victim to a series of underground tunneling…the likes of which could ONLY been compared to Alcatraz!  With much trepidation my family helped me uncover huge holes and underground chambers that were deep enough our biggest concern: the squirrel had possibly laid siege on our food storage in the cellar-like crawl space on the east side of our house. 

Our crawl space…a fantastic storage area that is clean, leveled and well-lit…and on that day, completely void of any tunnels!  However, was also completely under about a half-inch of water!  After the screams of water-discovery, the deductive reasoning that a pipe had burst, a quick emergency call to our trusty plumber and a well-used ShopVac’s magic…the freshly drenched crawl-space was back to its pre-Bellagio state…now back to that squirrel.

Further investigation proved that our newly-acquired neighbor had done damage in EVERY SINGLE GARDEN BED that borders our property!  The destruction to the gardens was such a disappointment to this plant-loving princess that I had to retreat to my house and start unpacking.  As I wheeled our empty luggage to our mechanical room/gym…I was overwhelmed at the sewer-like smell coming from under the door.  As I opened the door, I realized that our sump-pump strap, that had loosened over time, had finally gave way to the pressure that shot unmentionable waste into the sewer system and had loosened a connection that gave way to disgusting sludge on our painted concrete floor.  Scream of discovery then ensued, another quick emergency call to our plumber, quite possibly an entire GALLON of Lysol concentrate, AND a well-used ShopVac’s magic returned the floor to its pre-poop state…now back to that squirrel.

As I called our pest-control servicer and became more aware of the difficulty in finding a pest control servicer that would deal with a squirrel, the beads of sweat began to pool and trickle off my head.  I realized our day had been filled with excitement but it seemed unusually warm and void of any fresh breeze from our air conditioning system…because surely our air conditioning system (tried and true and void of any problems EVER before) was perfectly intact…or was it?  The shock and disbelief that another technical malfunction has besought our recently vacationed household was so acute…I got in my car to drive to the nearest store to by squirrel-bait.  En route to my local Walmart, and minutes after the discovery that my normally smooth-as-silk driving Cadillac was riding more like a Jeep, I pulled off the road and called my mechanic.

As I parked at the mechanic I realized I had only ten minutes to call and schedule a repairman for our air conditioning unit…a unit we were in desperate need of as we were hosting a wedding open house in just three short days!  My phone call to the secretary started off normal and cordial…but as she communicated the difficulty in getting a repairman out BEFORE the open house…I lost all sense of sanity…I BECAME A NUT!  They say about three-quarters of the earth’s surface is covered with water…ABOUT HALF OF THAT CAME FROM MY EYES AND NOSE THAT DAY!!!  As I sat at my mechanics shop, relating the happenings of the day, our dependence on a lovely and cool setting for a wedding open house AND Satan’s squirrel (I actually think I used that definition)…after a long pause and quite possibly phone-covered laughter, that secretary took pity on me and a repairman was scheduled first thing the NEXT morning!

That next morning, cleaning up my bedroom and in full view of the backyard…I can neither confirm NOR deny that seeing the state of his mother, and knowing of her dependence on a squirrel-free environment, that my son (clad only in boxer-briefs and holding his paint ball gun) recognized the squirrel had surfaced in the backyard garden directly under his window and had a brief opportunity to take him out.  Out of the corner of my eye, recognizing the scantily-clad, stealthy-stalker, the realization that ALL my neighbor’s teenage daughters were in view of said stalker, I ran to the backyard to better understand the situation…only to witness the demise of the squirrel.  Now I realize these were ALL first world problems I was experiencing that weekend, and I suppose it’s a necessary evil to understand how blessed we are in having modern conveniences to NOT have them for a time…but what I DO know with a surety…that weekend inspired how a squirrel, AND a NUT, became a perfectly entertaining NUTSHELL…hope you agree!!!!!

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