Category Archives: Whimsical
As many of you know, I have a challenge called Lupus that limits my sun exposure. For a ‘child of the sun’, this is the one limitation that I find particularly hard to live with. I’ve always been the first one up in my household, the first one out into the sun, and usually the last one to go back in. Not anymore. I can’t be outside during the height of sunlight without paying some serious consequences. More than that, I still have issues with asking others to adjust their schedules to accommodate my condition. It makes me feel selfish, but I don’t have much of a choice in the matter.
On the first morning in Tybee, we all got up extra early, so I could avoid the mid-day sun. I felt a little guilty for getting everyone out of bed so early, but no one complained.
We went down to the beach near the pier. We sat out our blankets, our cooler, and my umbrella. We were some of the first people on the entire beach. As I sat there, I watched people skitter out to the beach like sand crabs, stop at one spot and then another, finally settling on one spot, put their things down, slather on sunscreen, and do what comes naturally – play tag with the waves.
Young and old, black and white, coiffed and unkempt, tattooed and tattoo-free: All the people did exactly the same thing.
As the morning wore on, I struck up conversations with several people on the beach. Some were from Russia, the Ukraine, the Midwest, Canada, and Jamaica. All of them were smiling as we exchanged stories in different accents and shared our experiences. Not one person on the beach refused to talk to me or became angry because I ‘disturbed’ them. In that one special place, we were all the same. We all had limitations, strengths, weaknesses, triumphs, and stories to tell.
As the sun climbed higher in the sky, I put on my Janis Joplin T-Shirt (it’s as hideous as it sounds and, yes, it’s tie-died), my flip-flops, my sunglasses, and I walked to the pier. It’s actually a large pavilion as well as a pier. I got a cool drink from the drink stand, sat at a table, and listened to Jimmy Hendrix blare out of the speakers attached to the roof of the pavilion. The radio station was paying tribute to 1967 – the year I was born. As I sat there, I recalled that I had been born the very year that Jimmy Hendrix and Janis Joplin ‘hit the big-time’. It was also the year that John Coltrane died. The summer of 1967 was the Summer of Love and the year that Woodstock ‘happened‘.
I got up and puttered around the deck. I was drawn to a plaque on the wall. Apparently, Tybee Island Pavilion Pier was a hot spot in its hey-day. People came from all over to hear big bands swing and dance under the stars. In 1967, the pavilion burned to the ground. Then it struck me, how so much tragedy and so much love happened in the year that I was born, and how so many events had to conspire so that I could be standing in that exact spot, in front of that specific plaque, on this particular pier, at this one individual moment.
Then, I heard another song on the speakers. It was ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ by the Spencer Davis Group. My hips automatically began to sway. I threw my hands up in the air, shifted my weight, bobbed my head, and danced with reckless abandon. As I danced, I looked around me. The little girl in the Barbie bathing suit, the old man with the ice-cream cone, the young black man with the tattoo on his arm, the white kid with plaid swim trunks, and the chick with braids were dancing too.
We all danced as people looked on. Some joined us, some watched us, but no-body tried to stop us. It was a beautiful moment. Titles, bank accounts, status, wealth, and things like Lupus did not exist.
When the song was over, we skittered across the pavilion to our own private places of thought – I to my table, the old man to his bench, the young black man to the ice-cream stand, the chick with braids to the water fountain, the white kid to the men’s room, and the little girl in the Barbie bathing suit to her mama’s arms. Then I realized every moment is a huge conspiracy. God has set so many things in motion to culminate into one single moment for us to enjoy. It’s not how we got there that counts, but what we do with that moment that counts.
Here’s to making special moments happen in your life today. Just be open to it, and love yourself enough to just let go. And, if you get the chance, dance like a maniac.
I’m always amazed that God gives us the ability to adapt and change in the most unexpected ways to overcome the challenges in our lives. Here’s a video clip to demonstrate that even God’s smallest creatures can adapt in unexpected ways:
Dexter came into my life a few short months ago. He’s little. He’s sweet. He’s cuddly. He’s ferocious, and he’s smart. Most days, I’m pretty sure he smarter than me.
I like to think I’m training Dexter, but it’s working the other way around.
How Dexter taught me to take breaks: I trained Dex to go to the door and scratch on it when he needed to go outside. He quickly learned that if he scratched on the door, whether he needed to relieve himself or not, I would get up and go outside with him, and he would start to play with me. Eh, nine times out of ten I needed a break anyway.
How Dexter taught me to pay attention: I taught Dexter to jump up and grab his pull toy when he wanted to play tug-of-war with me. I usually sit on the sofa when I type on my netbook. Dexter quickly figured out that if he jumped high enough he could tap the back of my netbook just hard enough to slam it shut on my fingers. That’s his way of saying, “Hello. I’m here. Love me.”
How Dexter taught me to stick to a routine: I try to make a habit of getting up at the same time every day, get dressed, and go about a routine even on days when I feel bad and need lots of bed rest. I may not be up long, but I get prepared for the day. I started getting sloppy about this during my last Lupus-flare. I was in bed or on the couch in my PJ’s most of the time. Then Dexter took off up the road at six a.m. , and all I had on was my PJ’s. Everyone was leaving for work and there I am looking like the Wicked-Witch of the West chasing Toto up the road. I quickly got back to my routine.
How Dexter taught me to shut up and listen: We have a sizeable yard for Dexter to wander in, but when he spots the neighbors, he’s off like a shot. He doesn’t discriminate. If they’re moving, he’s on the way to find out why. At first, you could hear me screaming, “Dexter! Get back here! Dexter!” Then, one day he made several trips over to my neighbor’s yard. He’s a wonderful man who is always quiet and easy-going.
Dexter took off again and headed straight for him. I couldn’t catch him, so I walked over and apologized. “I’m so sorry. Dexter hasn’t learned how to ‘stay’ yet.” I smiled.
He held Dexter out in his hand and said, “Dexter is young. When you’re young you just want to see what life is all about. Dogs do this when they’re young. Don’t yell at him. He will learn.”
Sure enough, when I stopped yelling and getting angry when he took off, Dexter starting returning to me when I called softly. I’m sure the neighbors don’t get startled as often either.
Who knew I lived next to the Dog Whisperer?
How Dexter taught me to be a better caretaker: Dex is crate trained. He stays in his crate at night or when he’s frightened. Most of the time the crate door is open so he’s free to come and go as he pleases except at night. When I let him out in the mornings, we have a routine. I sing “Good Morning” to him. (The Debbie Reynold’s version that’s on a fruit juice commercial now.) Once I sing to him, he stretches, he eats, he goes outside, and then comes back in and we play.
If I forget to clean his crate or I forget to sing to him, Dexter tosses his cell. He drags all his bedding and toys out of his crate and looks at me as if to say, “What’s your problem?”
Dexter is showing great patience in dealing with me. I’m trying to do the same for him.