1halffull's Blog


The Kiss that Missed….

January 11, 1969. A day that will live in….what? My mind? My heart? The front porch?

It lives on in all three as the day Dan thrust his class ring into my hand, slid a kiss down my cheek and fled.

Let me start at the beginning….

It was the summer of 1966. I was enjoying summer with my cousin and friends.

At the time, I had a faithless boyfriend that I would soon be rid of. What a jerk. At the same time, my cousin was seeing a boy named Tim. Tim’s side kick happened to be Dan. If we lived closer, he’d still be Tim’s sidekick – one of those enduring relationships.

Dan first saw me swimming in the park pool. To his credit, he didn’t run away screaming. Instead, he asked my cousin ‘Hey, is Page (my last name) going with anyone?’ How’d he even know my last name? I had no idea. Tracy told him the bad news that I was seeing someone else. All very high stakes for an eighth grader, don’t you think?

Life moved on and I didn’t see Dan again until we both ended up on the school newspaper.  Dan’s brother Rich was also there.  Even though Dan and I are the same age, he was in 10th grade.  Apparently he was some big smarty pants, or else his birthday just happened to land him a year ahead of us. :0)

Rich and I became pretty good friends while Dan behaved like the typical, shy 10th grade boy. He’d do what I like to call ‘the rooster dance’. The rooster dance worked like this: He’d talk to me for a week or so, then he’d retreat and act like I had the plague. Then he’d talk to me again, etc. Very annoying and not an encouragement to hang around much.

Rooster Dance nothwithstanding, I decided to invite him to the upcoming Sweater Hop (it was girl’s choice).

I called his house and Rich answered. He had some idea that I was calling to ask him to the big dance and was very surprised when I asked to speak to Dan. Unbelievably, Dan said yes and we went shopping for our matching sweaters. After the dance Dan resumed his position as rooster and didn’t ask me out again.

So I got another boyfriend, Chuck.

While I dated Chuck, it was not uncommon for Dan to make drive bys of my house with Tim. Later he would say that was because they were on the way to Tim’s house. If that was true, they were taking a completely round about way to get there. The truth was that he was spying on me and would usually see Chuck and me on my front porch. Served him right.

Freshman year ended and sophomore year found me in chemistry class with guess who? Dan and Rich. I was really uncomfortable with this state of affairs.  Since I was still dating Chuck, I contemplated changing to another class.  That never happened and I later learned that Dan also contemplated the same action. Had we both changed to the other chem class, we’d still have been together, just without Rich!  Weird, huh?

Class was uncomfortable, but I tried to ignore who was there. Chem class was so hard for me that I didn’t dare do otherwise.

In early December, Chuck and I broke it off. When he learned what happened, guess who swooped in with an invitation to midnight mass on Christmas Eve?  A more beautiful night I don’t think I’ve ever seen.  It was very picturesque with lightly falling snow, candles lit in the church and the music of the Christmas choir all around.

The next day Dan went with his family to Lorain to visit grandmas, aunts, uncles and cousins. While there, he used his tape recorder to make me a wonderful audio tape of their activities, including interviews with family members and my favorite piece of all, his Uncle Nemo singing ‘Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.” It was the sweetest and funniest gift I’d ever gotten.

Although I don’t remember the specifics, I’m sure we went out a couple times during Christmas vacation and met at the Youth Center after a couple basketball games. I know we talked on the phone because my folks limited my talk time to something ridiculous like 10 minutes. Did that mean 10 minutes on with two minutes off? LOL

On the evening of January 11th, Dan called about 9:30 to ask if I could take a ride with him in the car. Hey, why not? What else was I going to do, watch paint dry?

When he arrived, he came bravely up to the door to get me. We went out and drove around town, just talking about life and beliefs; I don’t remember, but I’m sure there must have been some sports talk in there somewhere.

After driving around for an hour, he brought me home. It was 10:30; I remember looking at the clock. He opened the car door for me and walked me onto the porch to my door. As I opened the door, he thrust his class ring into my hand as he said, “Will you go steady with me?” and bent down to seal the deal with a kiss. Just as he did that, I turned my head and the kiss went sliding down my cheek. I think I giggled and he dashed off the porch, leaving me to wonder what had just happened??

In that moment, Dan went from doing the rooster dance at me to doing what has become a lifelong run of many forms of dance with me. In our lives, that is a moment that lives in infamy and is celebrated every year with at least a ‘Happy (year) Anniversary” and a kiss that doesn’t miss!

Advertisements


The Surprises of Life…
April 4, 2010, 5:05 am
Filed under: Change, Dad, Friends, God, Happiness, Humor, Jesus, Kids, Legacy, Life, Love, Memories, Nostalgia, Parents, Travel

For the average person, there are very few really big events that take place in our lives.  You’re born – but you probably don’t remember that.  You learn to walk – don’t remember that either.  Your first day at school – maybe.  Your first visit from the tooth fairy – yep, pretty sure you remember that.

 The first date…the first kiss….the first ‘real’ boyfriend.  High school graduation then college.  Getting engaged then the big (or small) wedding day.  The birth of your first child, and every child after that.  The death of your mom, then your dad; your grandmas and grandpas if you were fortunate to know them at all.  There goes your favorite aunt and suddenly you’re so much older than you’d have thought you could get when you were 20.

 For me, most of that happened in the first 30 years.  It was a lot to pack in there.  They were all a big deal at the time….some remain a big deal in my heart, my head, even now.

 Someone once said that it’s the little things that sneak up and grab a hold of you.  They were right.

 Some of my ‘little things’ include, in random order….

 Going fishing with my dad and catching more fish than him.  He let me.  I loved the lake.  Still do.

 My friend deciding that I wouldn’t be able to deal with a club meeting when I got home after my dad’s death.  She put herself in my place and took care of it so I didn’t have to.  A little, but thoughtful thing.

 My dad poking his head into my room, handing me a $20 bill as he told me that he knew all I’d been doing around the house to help out.  Demonstrated appreciation that meant so much to me under the circumstances.

 Aunt Betty who invited me to visit her in the summers and allowed me to see myself as a valuable person like few others did.

 Learning that my friend Avis daily sang ‘I have decided to follow Jesus’ in the final weeks of her life.  I’d always hoped she would.

 Playing a game of ‘keep the car moving till the light turns green’ when taking kids home from church – it’s a fun game – you should try it.

 Having a mother-in-law who patiently listened over the years, didn’t butt in, and has spent hours on the phone with me, talking about anything and nothing.  If we were running the world, it would be a much better place.  Thanks, mom.

 Going to the beach with the whole clan; all the kids playing together; sunburns radiating.  Sea creatures scurrying out of the bucket of sand while one child screamed and the others all laughed.

 My sister-in-law and I in the ocean – without our contacts in – screaming at ‘jaws’ coming for us then laughing our faces off when we finally could tell they were just shadows.  Another time laughing ourselves silly so hard in the card section that a man ‘just had to come see why we were so hysterical’.  “There are two sides to every divorce” the outside of the card said.  “Yours and the s— head’s.” (not my words – but how we howled and promptly sent it to a sibling who may still have it today)!

 Two little faces pressed against the window waving and calling ‘bye mommy’ as I’d pull out of the driveway on my way to somewhere else.

 The surprise 40th birthday party my husband gave me where I was totally surprised.

 The kids so excited to sleep in the van the night before a vacation started.

 All the Christmas videos we made that could be Christmas any year except for the changes in sizes, hairdos, glasses and voices.

 Howling at the moon from the causeway with my daughter.

 Taking my son for his first tattoo.

 Oh, the list goes on and on and is my way of saying, let the little things grab on to you and you hold on tight to them.  In the end, they’re really the only things that matter.



The nostalgia of love
July 21, 2009, 12:35 am
Filed under: Death, Friends, Love, Memories, Nostalgia, Parents

This past week has been filled with nostalgia for me.  It came from a strange place – Back Yard Bible Clubs, or more accurately, the kids who participated in our church’s Backyard Bible Clubs.

The theme was ‘God Always Wins’.  The homes the clubs were held in were just typical houses where some kids lived.  Those kids invited their friends and some friends of friends.  All told there were about 60 kids attending each day.

The clubs made an impression on many of the kids.  One little boy, Rhys (pronounced Reese) talked his dad into delaying the summer parental visitation with him so he could continue to come to the club.  He even gave up his camping trip with his dad so that he wouldn’t miss a day.

I wasn’t there daily to witness what went on, but  I was there on Saturday night.  All the kids gathered with some of their parents at our church for the carnival wrap up event.  We served food and then everyone got together for an awards presentation to all kids for the good things they’d done and experienced during the week.

What turned me nostalgic was their singing.  It wasn’t just singing.  adam-godIt was an expression of joy.  They were singing about and singing to, Jesus.  They were exuberant as they sang, hands, arms and bodies experiencing the music through the motions they’d learned during the week.  All their voices joined as one happy chorus to the God who always wins!

It reminded me of another time, 42 years ago.  My mom died in March; I was 16.  I’d met this girl, Becky, in my science class.  We’d become friends between September and that fateful March.  I’d never been to her home; never met her family.

One day, after I’d gotten home from school, Becky came to our door.  She brought her mom, Glenda, with her.  At first I thought it a bit odd but quickly got over that.  I already liked Becky and it wasn’t hard to like Glenda.  She was warm and caring; they both cared about me and wanted to express love to this girl who was bereft.

It wasn’t long until I was a regular hanging around their house.  Becky’s dad was a minister at the local Baptist church.  They invited me to come and I did go a couple times; I belonged to the Christian church already.  Becky talked to me sometimes about this relationship she had with Jesus.  She wasn’t pushy, just talked in conversation.

That summer Becky invited me to go with her to church camp.

I’d gone to ‘my’ Camp Christian every summer.  It was funny because my mom had told my dad after the previous year’s camp that I couldn’t go back there.  Something they said or did wasn’t to her liking.  My dad didn’t forget it, though, so when I asked to go back there, he refused.  But when I asked to go with Becky, he didn’t see why I shouldn’t go, so I did.

It was a great week.  We had a lot of fun with lots of other kids, playing sports, doing crafts, having morning devotions, swimming, just acting like kids.  The preacher that spoke to us at the evening service was amazing.  I’d never heard anyone like him.  He drew a big mural, illustrating his message, then awarded it to some lucky kid at the end of the message.  No, I didn’t get a mural.

On Thursday, Becky talked to me again about having a relationship with Jesus.  I remember telling her that I just wasn’t ready for that yet.  Little did I know.

That night, I sat with another girl from our church during the preacher’s message.  As usual, it was awesome; it really touched me.  When he offered the opportunity to come forward, I wasn’t going to go.  But my friend asked me to go with her; she wanted to go but was afraid to go by herself.

I felt drawn and I got up and walked her to the altar.  The moment I got there, I knew it was me that Jesus was calling, me He wanted to have a relationship with.  I said a big ‘YES’ to Him right then and there.  Becky came and prayed with me and we hugged like crazy!  I felt Jesus with me as I hadn’t experienced before.  I didn’t feel alone anymore.

That night was the best night of my life.

I have not lived a perfect life; I am far from a perfect person.  When I fall down, God is there to pick me up, give me a second chance.  Through the hard times, through the valleys, He has never left me alone.  When I am in the dark, He leads me home.  When there is a need, my kids are sick, there’s a worry about something, I only have to ask Him for help.  I know that He hears and answers every prayer.  He answered Becky’s prayer for me; I believe He’ll answer my prayer for you.



How many snacks does it take to feed a Bible Club?
July 12, 2009, 12:50 am
Filed under: Food, Friends, Humor, Snack bags

It takes way more than I can begin to count.  Well not really.  After working on them all afternoon, I know exactly how many we made:  300.

brown-bagThat’s what my two friends and I did today.  Made up lunch bags full of mostly junk food snacks – the best kind, of course – for unknown numbers of kids who will attend our church’s first Backyard Bible Clubs next week.

The fun started last week when Dan and I went to several stores to price items that might be used in the snack bags.  It was an all-afternoon adventure that left me with five pages of notes about what kind of items I might use, how many in a container, prices, and flavors.

Friday morning this week, my dear friend Connie took me to Sam’s Club (I don’t have my own membership) so we could get everything we needed.  I figured it would be pretty simple, because I came with a full list of items that we’d need for each day.Publication1

I did fine on all the pre-counted items but hit a snag when we got to the bulk items we agreed to purchase and bag up ourselves.  I picked up a box of Oreos and read that there were 10 individually wrapped packs inside.

“Gee, Connie, how many of these boxes do you think we’ll need?”  “I don’t know, June,” she responded.

“I wish I new how many cookies were in this box,” I said as I turned it upside down, round and round as though it might speak up and give me the answer.

I watched as Connie picked up a box and flipped it to where the ingredient list was.  “It says here that a serving size is three pretzelscookies,” she told me.  “It also says that there are 45 servings in this box!”

Well, DUH!  How smart was that!  I sure felt dumber than a fifth grader at that point, but oh so glad Connie gave me my answer.  It made the rest of the shopping go like clock work!  We were out of there in 37 minutes.

Today we got together to assemble the 300 bags.  Kathy joined us around our kitchen table and we all bagged up the food items.  Next came the assembly process.  For awhile, we each worked individually for awhile which seemed to take forever!  Finally, Connie (again) sped things up when she organized us into an assembly line!  I wish I’d thought of thatsnk_austin_wheat_cheddar_crackers_45ct – we’d have been done so much sooner.

Everyone persevered to get the job done.  My dining room is filled with snack bags just waiting to be handed to some lucky child.  Hopefully, they’ll learn at least as much in the Backyard Bible Clubs as I did in the Backyard Snack Making Club.