Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!
Have you ever operated a jack hammer? Me neither. But I have heard one. Our parking garage at work is undergoing needed repairs and it sure sounds like they are using a jackhammer. I experienced the jackhammer effect Monday night as I was once again reunited with the MRI machine (my 4th experience). If you’ve ever had an MRI you know exactly what I am talking about. If not, you must lie perfectly still for at least 20 minutes in a tube, with headphones on, listening to your choice of Pandora’s music (I chose Yacht Rock), while a jackhammer sound surrounds you. Luckily for me, my appointment was at 7 pm and by the time I got in, I was so tired I slept through the whole thing! Probably helped that they gave me several pillows and put a blanket right out of the warmer on me. Proving that I can fall asleep anywhere, anytime!
I had the MRI on my right knee, which was recently considered my good knee, which has since become my bad knee, while my bad knee has become my good knee. Did you follow that? At first I thought I might have overcompensated my good knee while rehabbing the bad knee. Went back to Physical Therapy and we decided I needed to have it checked out. Which led to the MRI. Waiting on results and the new plan. And we all know how much I love waiting! In the meantime, running is not in my wheelhouse right now and it’s back to cycle. But that’s ok… I mean, it could be worse. And I’m making some early morning trips to my daughter’s 6 am cycle class in Richmond!
“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is.”
The new bad knee did not slow me down last weekend as I was reunited with lots of people, beginning with my sisters. My artistic sister was participating in an art show/sale benefitting Crisis Control in Winston-Salem, NC. My younger sister met me there Friday evening and together we supported and celebrated with our older sister who sold some of her art. I left my sisters to reunite with some high school friends. But first, I decided to stop in and see my Momma, hoping she would still be awake. She was and was sitting near the nurses station just hanging out before bedtime. And thankfully, her face lit up when I walked in which always warms my heart. “Les, you’re here!” Yep, there I was. I always love surprising Mom. Told her I liked her PJ’s and sweater combo, and she informed me she was NOT in her PJ’s in public! “Oh, I see, you’re just in your comfy clothes. I can relate…” Then told her I was going to a mini-reunion to see some of my high school friends and we talked about who would be there and who would not. She remembered so many of the names. I left shortly thereafter so she could go to bed and I could head to the reunion.
“You can’t make old friends… you either have them or you don’t.”
One of our crew had rented a cottage in Tanglewood Park and when I entered the park, I thought maybe it was December instead of October! Tanglewood offers a holiday “Festival of the Lights” starting November 15th and since it is so massive with over 150,000 lights on the 2-mile route, they start setting it up early. Therefore, many of their decorations were up, not lit, but up, and I found myself passing under snowflakes, driving by Christmas trees, beside reindeer (not to mention the live deer!), and of course, Santa. Needless to say, I was in Christmas heaven! It was like being in a Hallmark movie! Ok just kidding… it was 90 degrees after all (I was expecting cold weather – thank heavens I threw a pair of shorts in my bag!). Plus I had no idea where the cottages were, so I drove all over the park and got to see all of the Christmas decorations. Finally came across a park ranger and flagged her down to ask directions. Found I had just passed the turn off for the cottages. As I was driving down the totally unlit, unpaved road, many scary thoughts crossed my mind – scary like when I drove my car into water (except that was in daylight). Like, what if this road goes nowhere? What if I get a flat tire and there are no people around? Or worse, there are scary people around? My kids would kill me if they knew I was driving down a seemingly deserted road in total darkness! About that time, I saw lights – finally I had found the cabin. And friends! Old friends… those friends who you’ve known forever… from elementary school through high school. We’ve all aged, yet we haven’t. That’s what being with old friends is like. You share history… you knew each other “when”. Doesn’t matter what “group” you were in in high school, you’re all now in the same group. And so thankful to see each other. Lots of catching up and lots of laughs remembering “those times” from high school. There were several reunions from our high school this past weekend for different years. Proof that people still want to get together with the people they share youthful memories with. Well, at least the older set. My kids have been out of high school 10, 13, and 16 years and have yet to attend a reunion. Not even sure they have had one. I don’t plan to miss any of mine, and we get together yearly.
“High School Reunion Truth: Where everyone shows up older and then grows young again.”
As I said, my old classmates get together every year and every year my friend who organizes it gives me a present. I have received the December 2, 1968 issue of Sports Illustrated (when it cost 50 cents!) featuring Charlie Scott on the cover, a picture signed by Charlie Scott, and several Carolina books which I love! So this year, I was wondering if the tradition would continue… and it did! Received the book “Battle of the Blues” (Carolina blue vs. Duke blue). And of course, there is no blue like Carolina Blue! So why do I get these special presents? The guy who gives them to me is the one who introduced me to Carolina basketball, Coach Dean Smith, and Charlie Scott when we were in the 5th grade. Is he a prince or what!?! He knows I bleed blue!
“Southern by birth. Tar Heel by the grace of God.”
Saturday morning I stopped in to see my sweet Momma once again before heading to Charlotte. She was sitting with her buddies around the nurses station and when I walked in, once again she lit up. She had no memory of me coming by the night before, but I did show her a picture of us (I always take a picture with my Momma). I wheeled her down to one of the “visiting rooms” and we just visited. Showed her pictures of my kids, of my daughter’s new house, and of the reunion the night before. We talked and laughed and then I had to leave to get to Charlotte and see my kiddos. Leaving Mom is always hard. I know I’ll see her again this weekend, but still… just leaving her there is hard. Funny thing though, 6 of my high school friends’ parents are there with Mom, and one is on the waitlist. That is encouraging. Plus it is always fun to run into them when I go visit Mom.
“No matter your age, you always need your mom.”
Hello Charlotte NC! I have not been to Charlotte since moving my daughter there. I just love her apartment and its location. She does too. As much as I miss having her in Charlottesville, I am so happy for her being in Charlotte. Reunited with 2 of my kids as my son and his fiancée met us at my daughter’s apartment. We took the light rail uptown to have brunch at a wonderful eclectic restaurant, Haymarket. I am so happy when I am surrounded by my kids. Not just being with them, but watching them with each other. I am thankful that not only do they love each other, they like each other. That’s important. That afternoon, my daughter and I walked to a local brewery, sat outside enjoying the nice weather, and caught up with each other, before I headed back to Charlottesville. It was hard leaving my kids! But like my Momma, I know I will see them again soon. Still…
“Your children might outgrow the space on your lap, but they will never outgrow the space that they have claimed in your heart.”
One of my high school friends told me he and his wife read my blog on Wednesdays to see where I have been and what I have been up to. They felt my pain when they read I drove my car into water, and totaled it. A pain I never hope to repeat! Another friend said I need to put these weekly posts into a book… hmmm… interesting idea! But for now, I am just enjoying life day by day, looking forward to special, cherished events each week, and sharing my life and feelings with all y’all. I am eternally grateful for all of the kind comments, emails, and texts I receive. If I can make one person smile or laugh at my experiences, it is worth it. If I can give one person hope for their future, it is worth it. How about you? Are you enjoying life and making the most of each and every day? Looking for special experiences, time shared with friends and family? Just remember, there is fun to be had. Don’t waste a minute, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.
“The secret of being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most out of every day.”
PS Did you get your flu shot? One of my girlfriends and I walked up to CVS to get ours. Still freaks me out a bit that you get shots at the drugstore. Go get your flu shot people! Not just for you, but for all of those people out there whose health is compromised. Trust me, as much as I hate needles, if I can get the shot, YOU can get the shot!