Thursday, March 24, 2022

SOL 24/31: A Retiree Rambles Along

Retirement is tough on me. I have more time than I should and it's easy to get lost reading slices and then ramble down memory lane. I try to set deadlines, but they're not real. I miss the days when I would sit down at 10 pm or 11 pm to pound out my day's slice before the midnight deadline.

My daughter gifted me a subscription to Story Worth for Mother's Day last year. It's been interesting to watch my response to the questions she sends me. I have a new understanding about how hard it can be to respond to a specific prompt. Our memoir writing group likes to have a prompt for our monthly gatherings. Here are the prompts I shared for March. Doesn't everyone like having a choice?

  • What stories have you been told about yourself as a baby? You could begin with one of the stories and see where it goes from there. (This question was the genesis for my spider slice.)
  • Or share a collage of baby stories you remember others telling you about your baby self.
  • Or write about what's on your heart.
    They're all good possibilities.  

I don't like the questions about my "greatest" whatever because that requires decision-making which has never been a strength of mine. But today I decided to share some of the thoughts I stumbled onto during my meanderings while reading slices. I can't label these as my greatest or most or biggest because as soon as I did that, I know I would remember something greater or bigger.

A disappointment: When I was a missionary in Hong Kong, I wanted to be selected to sing with "Sound of the Saints," a missionary choir that traveled around Hong Kong and performed almost daily during the month of December. I auditioned, but I wasn't selected. However, that disappointment led to a greater joy because I returned home in time for Christmas.

A joyful time:  Christmas 1978! Everyone was home for Christmas. We are not one of those families that gathers for Christmas, but that year my sister Kay and her husband and almost one year old baby (whom I hadn't met yet because of my mission) came from California, my sister Velma and her husband and three children came from Texas, and my brother came from Shawnee. It had been my dad's greatest wish to have everyone home for Christmas that year. We made an even dozen, a full house in Mama and Daddy's three bedroom home. Some of us might have stayed at Granny's, but I think Dad wanted all of us under one roof. The hardest part was sharing the one and only bathroom. Thank goodness, we had Granny's house, across the street and down two houses for those times when someone couldn't wait any longer. We cherish the memories of this Christmas together because our dad died, very unexpectedly, in the summer of 1980.

A regret: My refusal to help Daddy pick strawberries because I was in the middle of averaging six week grades for the end of the year.  There are many of you who have never sat down grade book and calculator in hand for this onerous task, but I've never forgotten this refusal to help Dad. He died less than a month later. I have always regretted not joining him in the strawberry patch. I hope he's forgiven me. 

This post was not completed without a few calls to my sis Kay who, thank goodness, inherited Dad's razor sharp memory.


  1. He forgives you! I know he does and maybe you will sing to him when you meet him again in heaven. There is always time for forgiveness. Ramona - I always get so much out of your posts. Thank you!

  2. I always love to find your slices as they always get me thinking and connecting! I share the challenge of specific prompts - but I do like they way they force thinking and memories. I too have regrets and wish I had been with my parents at the end...I know in my heart that what matters is the sum of our days.

  3. I echo Joanne--he forgives you. Thank you for the reminder to take joy in the small things and to see the happy accidents even in disappointments!

  4. Sometimes prompts are helpful, at tother times they leave me feeling I have nothing to say. The detail of strawberry picking, the calculator in hand, and your father's death so soon after made the regret extra sad. I hope you have forgiven yourself.

  5. It sounds like you had a rich childhood with so many experiences. Regrets are the worst because you can't go back. But you can make sure you pick those strowberries with someone you love to make new memories.

  6. This is an interesting format. I bought my mom Story worth a couple of years before she died, thinking she would really enjoy it. It turned out she loved telling stories, but didn't like writing them down. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn't take on the scribe role for her, because now all of the stories are gone.