It is early in the morning. I made a pot of coffee and turned on my favorite music, sat down in front of my computer with no writing plan. This happens at times and frustrates me until suddenly, from out of nowhere, comes a message, and I know exactly what I want to say.
Can you believe summer has come and gone and Fall is about to turn into winter and the holidays? Can you believe the massacre of a few days ago at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg?
Have you counted your blessings as of late? I know many of you do, and so do I, every day. I wonder what the percentage is of how many people take their lifestyle for granted versus how many give thanks?
Have you thought about how you spent your time during the summer of 2018? Did you waltz in rhythm through the glorious days of summer or were there occasional hiccups between your steps? Were you creative and innovative? Did you have any ground-breaking events? Did you make significant decisions and most importantly, were you grateful?
I thought about my summer turned fall and kept a thoughtful record in the mind of my memorable experiences. We suffered no hiccups through the summer months so I would sum up my summer of 2018 as glorious. When nothing serious happens, just the day in and day out of life experiences, I say to myself, “I am so grateful. So what if this was not perfect. My life is glorious.” I hope you do the same.
The summer of 2018 saw calm waters for my ultimate concierge and me. We shared many happy occasions and experiences.
Fall-ing for America
We welcomed into our life, America O. Good, our now four-month-old soft coated Wheaten Terrier. He is a hoot! At four months I have nicknamed him, the Mayor of Pearson Street because his actions remind me of a politician running for office! He has to meet every pooch in the neighborhood. America tugs on his leash with no fear of the other dog’s size. He sees the horses pulling carriages down our street and draws me to meet them, waging his waggy tail. America loves people, kissing everyone while he waits for their adoring pats. He has acquired the nickname, Mr. America. And, those who now know him shout out, “Good morning, Mr. AMERICA.” He is a lover, covering me with licks as I laugh and laugh. He is a handful yet so enjoyable. My ultimate concierge thinks he is the cat’s meow.
Summer with the Grands
We traveled to Paris, Giverny and Normandy, France with some of our grand, spending a few days in Paris and then into an SUV to Monet’s Garden in Giverny, then to Mont St. Michele, the town of Hon Fleur and the battlegrounds and the American Cemetery at Normandy.
We ended our trip in Versailles with a tour of the Palace of Versailles, its beautiful grounds, and Marie Antoinette, Petit Palace. The experience of seeing, learning, doing and the togetherness of our family made the adventure a trip to remember. A thank you note received from Annie, and Logan Good was filled with enchanting words of appreciation and love.
We found out the news while traveling that Katie and Scott Good are expecting a baby boy in June, capping off what was already a wonderful time. I was secretly so happy for my husband that the Good name would be around for a long time because I am blessed to be a part of this beautiful, respected family.
We redid our storage room in our condominium! What I thought might be difficult turned out to be a very pleasurable experience. We used California Closets. The room is organized and stylish and turned out just as we hoped. I would recommend the company.
Believe it or not, I had my first ‘night out with the girls’ in twenty-six years of marriage. We played canasta in the afternoon and then went to Erie Street Café for dinner. I wish I could have secretly videoed how some of the women handled the bill. It was a hoot for me as a first-time participant. I just sat back, watched and chuckled as all was settled and all were happy in the end. I loved the feeling of friendship.
Sunday morning is brunch at the Good’s, and it is always nostalgic because I prepare brunch for my mom. Well sort of. My ultimate concierge takes a walk to Einstein Bagel a few blocks away from our Condo for a lox and bagels takeout. Of course, as a Jewish woman in the kitchen, more is always more! So, I add extra lox, capers, onions, and tomatoes to the delicious bagel and I do serve fresh fruits with a variety of nuts, figs, and dates with juice and coffee. The best part of our breakfast is just watching my mom, sitting across from me. Unfortunately, she can no longer be my confidant because of short-term memory loss, but I sit every Sunday, keeping my own counsel, as I think of the lessons my parents taught.
A Trip Back Home
We took our road trip to Kankakee by the Sea for our yearly lunch with some of my high school classmates. I look forward to sharing this day with my friends and my husband. We have lunch and then my ultimate concierge, and I take a trip down memory lane. We pass the home I grew up in and lived in for 18 years and then pass by my grandfather’s house — still standing — with its memories. Next, we pass my cousins’ homes; I have 14 first cousins from Kankakee by the Sea. Lastly, we pass the synagogue I attended as a little girl for Sunday school. I dreaded going but learned to appreciate and love Judaism as I matured, so much so that I had my Bat Mitzvah when I was a grandmother.
Daily, during the summer months, I would awaken just before the sun began to rise in the East to write my musings. And, every day as I glanced out at the sun as it rose above the calm waters of Lake Michigan, I would happily welcome a new day in my condo in the sky, grateful for my husband’s love and grateful for the multitude of kisses from America.
The summer of 2018 was perfect.
Nothing, I have learned, lasts forever. We have hiccups. Our extended families have hiccups. Our friends and strangers and even our Country have hiccups. We must do our best with hiccups. We must enjoy and be grateful for the good and learn and be brave for the bad, making lemonade out of lemons as best we can.
A Fall Tragedy
That brings me to the Fall of 2018. The word Fall has never been a favorite word of mine.
Members of our family are faced with health issues and strangers of my Jewish faith, have suffered the unnecessary loss of loved ones.
The first thought that went through my mind as I listened to the awful news is that the Tree of Life Synagogue’s name is so beautiful. There is an uplifting meaning to the Tree of Life, in all religions.
“The meaning of the Tree of Life as perceived by peoples from different faiths, belief systems, and cultures resonates with a simple yet strong message of staying connected through cosmic energy and that humans should live in harmony with the rest of the world,” Spiritual Ray Staff.
The Tree of Life is Universal
In Christianity, the tree of life is a tree that bears fruits which grant immortality. The Mormon religion belief is that the Tree of Life represents love. In Chinese mythology, a dragon and phoenix are incorporated in the depiction of the Tree of Life. The dragon represents immortality. Even Darwin proposed a Tree of Life which symbolizes the common ancestral origin of all living things. The concept of the Tree of Life, as understood from the Jewish faith, is that the Tree of Life sustains and nourishes life. God planted a garden that bore fruits, and the Tree of Life was at the center of the garden.
How could such carnage be committed against a religious group of people who harmed no one? A people who were rejoicing and welcoming a new Jewish baby boy into the world?
The symbol of the Tree of Life represents qualities like wisdom, strength, protection, redemption and our Creator. Let us pray for the well-being of those who are suffering loss and let us never hate.
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