Author Archives: semmerich55

About semmerich55

Susan Emmerich is the author of A Girl on a Bike: Musings on Life, Loss, and Hot Flashes. Available through Second Wind Publishing and amazon.com

CRUMBS

Back in May, I fell in love with the city of Portland, Oregon. Forget that it is visually stunning, has miles of biking trails, or that it’s home to VooDoo Donuts. I fell in love with Powell Books; a one square block, 3 story book store that I wandered through for hours. Tucked in the back, I found a small journal style book that asks a different thought provoking question each day. Is that perfect for me or what? It’s set up as a 5- year record of random thoughts, so that on this day next year, I answer the same question and see how I’ve changed. Over the past few weeks, the questions have ranged from: “Write the first sentence of your autobiography” to “If your mood were a weather forecast, you’d be…………”   Some days, my responses have been immediate, and on others, I have had to ponder it throughout the day and write my answer later.

Yet, none of the questions have gotten me reflecting as much as one that came from my sister, Barbie. It was a random text that said:   “Please explain how silverware dividers get so dirty if all you put in them is CLEAN silverware.” I nearly fell out of my office chair laughing, but I quickly thought of my own need to clean the kitchen drawers. Now, understanding that the obvious answer was that crumbs fall on the counter and then get brushed into the drawer, I came to realize the far reaching implications of her observation.

I have a history of being fairly organized and neat. Each year since my divorce, I’ve become a little less OCD. I have found there are far better uses of my Saturday mornings than ALWAYS cleaning the house. There are bike rides and meeting friends for tea, lounging in bed with the paper, and watching my niece play basketball. Singing in the shower beats cleaning the shower every time. I will never let things get so out of control that I am embarrassed to let someone in the front door but there are times I would never let that visitor open a closet or look under the bed!

The bigger question is: how, if we are living a good life and following the rules, do things get so messy? Why is it we never see the crumbs until they have accumulated to the point of needing to be swept? I mean, I don’t see the mess in the silverware drawer on a daily basis, only when it looks gross. How did I miss what was obviously collecting all along? The simple answer, trite as it sounds, is “Because”.

Because life, at its core, is messy. Because our lives are complicated by emotions and relationships and those cannot be divided like the forks and knives. They are not separate and distinct, but a constantly revolving collection of needs that bump into each other. They rarely nest together in a neat pile and none of us gets out of this life without spills and breaks. But we can learn how to clean up the mess before it gets overwhelming. It is a matter of how we choose to frame the problem.

We don’t know fear if we haven’t felt safe. We can’t know anger if we haven’t previously felt peace. How do we know we feel sick if we haven’t had days of good health?   Anxiety does not come without acceptance. And we certainly do not grieve, if we have not loved.

For some reason, when we are struggling, we quickly forget the times when our lives were easier, or at least smoother. All we can see is the problem in front of us. That is the moment when the crumbs sneak into the drawer. Taking advantage of our distraction, they slowly pile up, slightly out of sight, until we pay attention; until we stop focusing on our own misery and look beneath the surface.

I love starting my day with the silly question from my new journal, such as: “Water, ice or steam?” But what I love more is how I am choosing to end my day. In the same journal, there’s enough room to also record something good that happened that day: the movie that made me laugh, happy hour with friends, a walk with Julie or a good workout are all daily opportunities to feel grateful. Those small events add up over time and can balance out the struggles.

I don’t have an answer to Barbie’s question. It is a dilemma well known to us all. I do know that at the end of the day, we do not get crumbs unless we have eaten cake.

Susan Emmerich is the author of A Girl on a Bike: Musings on Life, Loss, and Hot Flashes, now available from Second Wind Publishing and amazon.com She can be found riding her bike around Cleveland OH making observations on a most interesting life.

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Jumping Frogs and Canteloupes.

I grew up and still live in the suburbs. All the conveniences of city life are right down the road. Major sports teams, museums, and restaurants are all within minutes and there is never a lack of new places to explore. As a kid I watched as new development took over the spare lot, and kick-the-can games got re-located to the school baseball field. Independent shops got swallowed up by malls and the corner ice cream store became a real estate office. Making life easier seemed to be the goal. Suddenly everything was open on a Sunday. At the time we thought it was great!

But I am genetically wired to love small towns. Both my parents were born and raised in little farm communities and grew up ice-skating on frozen rivers.  Even though my dad could not wait to escape, he had lots of stories about hiding in bushes when his girlfriend’s father caught him on the front porch way past curfew. So when I moved to a small town in Central PA in the late 80’s, I was drawn to the slower pace, the town square, and the corner butcher. I was intrigued by the news stories highlighting the daily activities of the citizens (who won the blue ribbon at the fair), and I was hooked when I saw my first Halloween parade. Kids in costumes riding their bikes, families walking toddlers in decked out strollers, and fire engines tossing candy into the streets. I was home.

I loved the years I lived in Carlisle PA. and I loved the sense of community. When my husband, daughter, and I returned to city life to be closer to family, I kept searching for that same feeling, same sense of connection. Block parties were the best I could do until I discovered the allure of festivals – the floats with high school queens and bad for you funnel cakes.   It started with the Duct Tape Festival, grew with the Milan Melon Fest, and became addicting with the Port Clinton Midnight Walleye Drop on New Year’s Eve. At each I found people with no other agenda than to have fun and relish a silly tradition.

In this year of 60 things to do before I turn 60, there were three festivals that made the list, three that I had wanted to experience but had always missed. The Medina Ice Sculpture Festival and the North Ridgeville Corn Fest each lived up to their names with beautiful works of cold art and dozens of fresh roasted ears. Both drew people to communities that benefited from the hordes of people flocking to their squares. But the grand-daddy of them all was the Valley City Frog Jump. I marked it on my calendar months in advance, determined not to miss this one day extravaganza of all things frog.

My friend Pattie, her 5-year old daughter Carolyn, and I arrived early to ensure that spots would still be available. Also in tow was my daughter Julie, our official frog handler. But something took over as we approached the registration table. I decided I wanted my own frog. I knew if I remained a spectator that I would later feel cheated I did not compete. So eight bucks later my frog, appropriately named “Sixty,” was rented and being held until it was my turn.

I knew this event was special when the competition started by the singing of the National Anthem. What better way to kick off an athletic event of this magnitude! Everyone in the park, those close to the jumping and those buying frog cookies, stopped, and with hands over hearts joined in the singing. Afterwards I walked the area outside the competition ring and smiled as I looked around at the families showing off their prized amphibians, kids playing frog corn hole, and basketball. Some of the critters had escaped and kids bounced through the grass retrieving their athletes. Carolyn found her challenge with frog putt-putt as we patiently waited for our ‘flight,” or division to be announced. As she found the bounce house, I stood on the edge of the observation area, looking to glean some tips.

The rules were simple. When your flight was called you reported to the holding area to receive your frog in a bucket. Warnings were given to leave the lid on until you were called to the jumping area, and those who ignored the warning found themselves startled by escaping jumpers. Once in the center of the parachute, the frog was to be placed in the green circle. After placing the 4-legged star in the ring, the handler could no longer touch the critter, only encourage by slapping the cloth behind the bug-eyed athlete. The frog would be given three jumps. Then a team of assistants would run out and measure the distance, scooping up the contestant in one hand. Winners of each flight would compete in the finals at the end of all the rounds. Like I said…simple.

Tucked in my pocket was a pair of gloves as I had been warned that frogs always pee in your hands. But as I waited my turn, I realized I would be booed out of the ring if I wore them. I decided to suck it up and peeked into the bucket, bonding with my entrant. “Sixty” stared up at me, almost daring me to remove the lid. I felt a moment of panic…worried that he would jump into my face! But before I had a chance to talk myself out of the whole thing, the referee was handing him to me and directing me to the brightly colored parachute cloth.

Placing him in the circle, I quickly stood back and watched as the long-legged guy took off. In his three jumps he covered 9 feet, 2inches, flying through the air in three great arches. I broke into a smile, clapping at his success, proud of his distance. It wasn’t the longest, but it certainly not the shortest! I had known him for less than 30 minutes but felt an odd sense of maternal pride! Sixty was quickly put back into the bucket and returned to the rental table, where he was then taken back to the cool waters of the river bank. Job well done!

After bonding with some anti-bacterial gel, we headed to the food stands to enjoy a celebratory lunch. Unlike many events, the choices were not local food trucks or vendors who travel fair to fair. Rather, each stand benefited a local church or athletic team or scouting group. Alice, Marge, and Judith sold cookies carefully decorated as frogs and slices of berry pie. Ed and Joe were in charge of the roasted chickens and rib platters. There was Italian sausage, popcorn, and ice cream. All homemade… all local…all simple. Which is the whole point.

It is that flavor, that simplicity that makes me love these festivals. Yes, they are a bit quirky, yes they are silly. Whether prom dresses are being made out of duct tape, or kids are bowling with cantaloupes, what these festivals have in common is the desire to connect and have fun! Simply have fun. While I appreciate the advantages of living near the energy of a city, it is the energy of people that draws me to these small town celebrations. They feed my soul.

The summer is far from over. Hot air balloons, baskets, and grapes are all waiting for their day. I will watch queens get crowned, try to dunk the high school football player, and eat funnel cakes.   I will chat with the church ladies who have crocheted dozens of dish towels, play bingo, and watch sack races. I might even get my caricature drawn. At the end of the day I will return to my home in the suburbs, content in the knowledge that despite the pace of my daily life, I can always take a break and rent a frog.

Susan Emmerich is the author of A Girl on a Bike: Musings on Life, Loss, and Hot Flashes, now available from Second Wind Publishing and amazon.com She can be found riding her bike around Cleveland OH making observations on a most interesting life.

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Liza and Me

I am not exactly sure when I came to love Liza Minnelli. Maybe it was when I knew she was Dorothy’s daughter. Maybe it was when she stole the show in “Cabaret.” Or maybe it was when she loved the crazy right out of Dudley Moore in “Arthur.” But I do know exactly when I wanted to BE Liza Minnelli. It was the moment my friend Jim sent me a photo of the dancer taken years earlier.  A stunning black and white shot of Liza wearing only a black coat on a rain soaked highway, it captured an incredible sense of freedom and abandon. With her head thrown back, Liza appears lost in the moment, oblivious to the world, joyful. I remember sucking in my breath, determined to one day feel that emotion, feel that sense of freedom. I told Jim that I planned to replicate that photo.

I began to show the picture to friends.   Everyone who saw it agreed that it was indeed stunning. Some people laughed at my desire to don a coat and take the photo. Others shook their head, trying to wrap their thoughts around how my brain works. A few jokingly offered to take the picture, but I sensed it was to make fun of me. I just nodded patiently, sensing I would know when the time was right. That time came while I was painting furniture in my cousin Mary’s garage.

Mary’s daughter Katie has a knack for taking thrown out pieces of furniture and making them beautiful. She had agreed to help me with my first attempt to take tables passed down from Aunt Winnie and make them fresh. While up to our elbows in brushes and glaze, I spoke of the photo, expecting the same head shaking. Instead, Katie looked at the image on my phone, broke into a smile and said, “That is so cool, no wonder you want to copy it. I’m sure my brother Joe could make it happen. He’s a great photographer.” A few texts later and Joe was on board. But lots needed to be done to prepare.

First, I needed the right coat. Not having Liza’s stunning legs, it needed to be long enough to cover my cellulite, short enough to hint that I work out. I raided the closets of friends and relatives, checked out Goodwill stores, and did a few more squats! In one of those raids I stumbled on my own old raincoat hiding in my sister’s hall closet. I had not seen it in years, and when I put it on, I found it generous enough to hide what no one needs to see while slipping easily off my shoulders. I threw it in the trunk of my car, silently preparing for an unexpected rain storm. Next came finding the location. I left that to Joe. As he lives in a fairly rural area, I was confident he could discover a less traveled road that would allow for a photo shoot without dodging traffic. He mentioned not only needing the right road, but the right pavement, the trees. These were details only a photographer would consider. I felt all I needed was the coat!

Joe and I agreed that spontaneity would determine the best opportunity. The shadows in the picture suggested an early morning or evening, which required the willingness to wake up before dawn or cancel evening plans. We had a few false starts – a cookout where rain threatened but didn’t happen, a morning where it was pouring at my house but dry at his. We patiently waited, watchful whenever rain was predicted. So, when a humid Saturday dawned with thunderstorms, I was hopeful that we would get a window of lighter rain to snap the shot. We did.

Driving through a downpour, I worried that it just might be raining too hard! Barely able to see the road, I knew if it didn’t let up, Joe would not be able to take the picture. When I arrived, he was tracking the storm and felt that a break would occur in the next hour. My anxiety began to climb, the anticipation building as I imagined myself dancing across the road. Right on cue, the rain slowed to a soft drizzle and Joe grabbed his camera, directing me to his car. Two minutes later, my hair wet from the rain, I stepped out onto the pavement.

How hard could it be to float across the roadway, to simply walk on my toes and throw my head back in joy? How hard could it be to let the coat fall where it may but not reveal what was underneath? Actually it was damn hard! What Liza made look effortless, like walking on air, was because she was probably 20 years old and a dancer. My lack of balance let me know that I needed to get back to the yoga mat, and my stiff neck reminded me why I keep Advil close at hand! It felt as if my head was thrown back far enough to see the trees behind me, and each attempt to stay on my toes left me falling over in frustration. A voice in my head began to chatter on about how ridiculous this was to attempt.

But the point of taking the photo was not to look like Liza Minnelli (that’s impossible), but to capture the emotion, to feel that sense of freedom, to let go. As Joe directed me to relax, suggesting I enjoy myself, I began to laugh. I walked across the road with him snapping away. I stood on my toes, lost my footing, and stood on my toes again. The rain stopped and I needed to re-wet my hair in a puddle. A few cars came down the road and stared, probably thinking I was crazy. Yes, trying to replicate the photo was ridiculous, but I have earned the right to be silly. I have earned the right to not care if others think I am nuts.

An hour later, gathered around Joe’s computer, we quickly deleted several of the photos. Then Joe pulled up the one that he said caught my “juju.” I don’t know what that means, but he said it was a compliment and it did make me smile. Made me feel beautiful. It appeared that I had held the pose long enough for Joe to get the shot. In truth, I was about to fall over. I don’t look a thing like Liza, but I do look joyful, do look like I am having the time of my life. Taking the photo was a blast.

I like to imagine that I know how Liza felt when she took her photo. I like to imagine it is the same way I felt, which was glorious! I doubt I will ever get to meet Liza Minnelli, but we share space on my wall. The framed photographs hanging side by side make me smile every time they catch my eye. They are a daily reminder that those moments when I allow myself to let go, to lose my balance, are when the best things can happen. Even when it is raining.

Me as Liza

 NOTE: The original photo of Liza can be viewed at: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/531072981032120403/, or by searching images for “Liza Minnelli in the rain.”

Susan Emmerich is the author of A Girl on a Bike: Musings on Life, Loss, and Hot Flashes, now available from Second Wind Publishing and amazon.com She can be found riding her bike around Cleveland OH making observations on a most interesting life.

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Fast Times, Fast Cars

Sometimes I think I was born 10 years too late.   If I had arrived in 1945, I would have grown up living “American Graffiti” instead of just loving the movie. Poodle skirts, bobby socks, and pedal pushers would have filled my closet and Bill Haley would have blasted from my radio. As a teenager I felt drawn to Elvis (even went to see him in concert) and I often imagined myself dancing on American Bandstand.   All I wanted to do was to race into adulthood – fast times and fast cars called to me. During this time, I had my share of bad boys and it was one of those “bad for your heart” guys that first introduced me to the idea of drag racing. It stuck with me and when I created my list of 60 things to do before I turn 60, I was quick to put driving on a race track near the top of the list. I was thrilled to learn that it was possible to drive your own car at a local speedway and scheduled an evening to test my skills.

My companion for the evening, Art, was a car guy who had agreed to use his muscle car instead of risking the transmission on my leased Hyundai. He allowed me to drive the hour to the track to get a feel for his car. I was only interested in being behind the wheel and learning how to accelerate and brake. Art rattled on about the track, the rules, and something about the tires. While he used terms like “reaction time,” “stage area,” and “time slip,” I listened patiently, only wanting to get there and go fast. I nodded my head, asked a few questions, and channeled my inner Danica Patrick.

Arriving at the speedway I immediately began to take in the culture. More men than woman, more leather than denim. There were pick-ups, corvettes, and motorcycles. Young couples, old guys, long hair, and flag bandannas.   People knew each other, hoods were up as they chatted over carburetors and spark plugs. The evening air was chilly and the smell of gas was everywhere. The constant drone of racing engines provided the backdrop for the guy reporting race times over the PA system. When he wasn’t shouting results, the music ranged from the Beach Boys to Alan Jackson to Styx. A little something for everyone.

I was excited as we approached the line of cars, eager to take my turn.   But that anticipation quickly turned to frustration by the long wait…at least an hour before we could turn the corner onto the track. Really? Two cars could race at the same time, less than 20 seconds per run…what could take so long? It was a bit like being stuck in a traffic jam, not knowing what was causing the delay. I was anxious, eager to get going. I used the time to check out the group of guys gathered around their motorcycles. Greying beards gave away their ages and I imagined them as a group of accountants and attorneys also playing out their fantasies. I could almost see Pinky Tuscadero strutting her stuff among them, stomping out her cigarette with the tip of her stilettos!

Once we got to the front of the line, Art wanted to go first; it was after all, his car. I tried to memorize the details, the light signals that told him to hit the accelerator. Art sat patiently; knowing the exact spot from which to start. When the light turned green, he hit the pedal…hard! A concrete barrier separated us from the car in the other lane, so there was no chance of a collision. I watched the strip of pavement stretched out in front of us, watched as we sped by the grandstand. In just 15.25 seconds we hit 90 MPH and crossed the quarter-mile mark…the end. A brief thrill, slightly less than a roller coaster, more than a toboggan run. Would it feel different when I was behind the wheel? Would it be more of a thrill being the driver rather than the passenger? I would have to spend another hour checking out the businessmen in leather before I would find out.

Finally, it was time. As we turned the corner to take our place on the track, I noticed three young men sitting on the side of the pavement. They seemed surprised to see a woman my age in the driver’s seat but they smiled, waved, and offered an encouraging thumbs-up. I was nervous, worried when I rolled over the starting line and had to back up. Nervous when I looked at the light panel. That’s when it hit me. This wasn’t only about holding on to the steering wheel, it was also about holding on to all the excitement that surrounds me every day. It was about embracing what is in front of me and enjoying what happens on the way to where ever I am going. I gave a thumbs-up in return, and turned my attention to the race. When I got the green light, I gripped the steering wheel tight, pushed that pedal to the floor and took off!

It took me .6 seconds longer to cover that quarter mile than it did Art. But who cares? Not once did I look in the rear view mirror; what is behind me is behind me.  I paid no attention to the car in the other lane, because it wasn’t about winning the race. It was about taking notice of what was in front of me….what is in my path! In 15.85 seconds, I freed myself from my own expectations of what I should be doing at this point, freed myself from acting my age. It felt glorious!

The following week when I was enjoying dinner with Art, we reviewed the night at the speedway. I shared that I wanted to go back, but this time on his motorcycle! He smiled and held my hand as he congratulated me on a successful race. We did a couple of shots of hard whiskey to toast knocking drag racing off my list, and made plans for fly-fishing, hot air balloons, and shooting bows and arrows!

Maybe I was born in the wrong decade. Maybe not.   But as I approach my own 60’s, it is about living the life I have and not looking back at what I don’t.   Pedal pushers are now capris, saddle shoes are now Keds. I often dance the twist in my living room and I have tickets to see the Turtles this summer.   So much waiting for me….and I don’t need to get there fast.

Susan Emmerich is the author of A Girl on a Bike, available through Second Wind Publishing and amazon.com. Sometimes serious, other times humorous, this collection of essays on life transitions invites the reader to ride along on a journey that includes adjusting to an empty nest, aging parents, divorce, and again seeking love. The author resides in Cleveland OH where she continues to discover miles of new bike trails.

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VISITING SPIRITS by Susan Emmerich

I remember the year I got the Ouija board. It was my 10th birthday, All Saint’s Day, and the day after Halloween. Spirits were everywhere! The box was mysterious, the contents simple. Just a board and a plastic triangle used to direct the hopeful fingers to the requested answer to life’s questions. My sisters, friends, and I spent hours spelling out the names of the boys we would marry, lighting candles and waiting for the spirits to blow them out, and screaming when a breeze through an open window brushed our skin. Sitting in dark closets tricked us into believing it was night though the sun was still high, and slumber parties became séances. If brothers or neighborhood boys knew the board was being used, you could count on sticks being tapped against windows and strange noises coming from the yard.

I longed to believe that it was possible for my deceased mother to enter the room, touch me on my shoulder, and let me know she was always watching. But I never felt her physical presence and came to realize that the board was indeed just a game…shared anxiety and nervous energy moved the triangle across the letters. When I bought a Ouija board for my daughter Julie, I was unprepared for the backlash from the parents of her friends. Mothers called to express their anger that it was in my house and wouldn’t allow their daughters to participate. I wanted to scream, “IT’S A GAME!” but held my tongue and buried the board in the attic. A good friend was convinced I was keeping evil in the house and reminded me it was there when my marriage came tumbling down. Really? Did it actually have power? I do believe that spirits are all around us, believe that the universe is shared, but I was not convinced that a piece of particle board was capable of harnessing their presence.

I came across that old game during my recent move and held it momentarily, wondering if I should pitch it. After all, the triangle was missing and my fingers did not tingle when I traced the letters. I also paused and wondered if tossing it was bad karma. I was about to move into the first home I could call my own in close to 10 years. Maybe instead of pissing off the spirits, I should light some candles and sacrifice a virgin to a full moon! As I carefully packed away the board, I decided that a recent invitation to an upcoming “medium party” was timely.   For 20 bucks, I would get a 20 minute session with someone who could communicate with the dead! If I believe that spirits are present, why shouldn’t I believe that there are those among us who are gifted with being able to listen?

As excited as I was, I was also skeptical. Having visited my fair share of bar stool psychics, I had limited expectations. I was aware of the tricks, the way a psychic can get you to expose information so that you feel it came from them.   “You have a dog?” may seem like an innocent query, but if you respond in the affirmative, you are described as kind, patient, loving. If you deny any love for critters, you are likely to be told that some special pooch is about to enter your life. I’ve been told more than once that my great true love is just around the corner, but here I sit alone on another Friday night! So, I kept my expectations low and hung on to my skepticism while I waited my turn.

After a brief introduction, I sat down across from Jane, an average looking woman who appeared normal. No turban in her hair, no long flowing dress or dozens of bangles on her wrists. She gently held my hand as she prayed to her “spirit guides” to give me what I needed. Looking me in the eye, she quietly stated, “There is a woman standing behind you. Does the name Jean mean anything to you?” With that question, it took less than three seconds for the tears to begin and for me to know that this woman was indeed able to sense the presence of the spirits.

Few people know of my love-hate relationship with my given middle name of Jean, and most of them are related to me. None of them were at that party. My mother had her reasons, which I will never know, for cursing me with that name. She shared her own middle name of Ann with my two sisters, but gave me Jean. I dumped it when I got married, did not pick it back up when I took my family name after the divorce. Of all the names that Jane could have plucked from the air, none would have told me my mother was in the room as much as “Jean.” Jane went on to say, “She loves the roses.” It wasn’t a question, but a statement, and I silently nodded as I thought of the four fresh cut blooms I have left at her grave each Memorial Day weekend for the last 20 years: one for each of us she loved.

What followed still has me spinning. “A gentleman has entered the room….Mike?” Again, of all the names Jane could have come up with, she just happened to know my dad’s name? He was worried about me, but happy I was moving back to the town that he loved. He was soon joined by two women, who, when described to me by Jane, could only be my other two guardian angels, Aunt Mary and Aunt Winnie. Jane knew details about them that could not have been discovered by a Google search and I smiled as I envisioned them all together.

At no time did I feel the physical presence of these lost loved ones, felt no hand touching mine or brushing the hair from my face. I know they are here with me when I barely avoid a car accident or only get scraped when I fall off my bike.   If a friend calls when I am lonely, or Julie has a success, I am convinced my spirit guides are doing their job. Sitting in the room with this unassuming woman, I was blessed to have Jane give me reason to hold on to the knowledge that I am watched over and loved.

I was unprepared for Jane’s last intervention. “Would you like to ask a question?” Not having anything planned, I quickly spit out, “Yea, did they like the book?” Jane looked quietly at me. “Do you mean the one you wrote?” I smiled as she did not know I was an author and silently nodded my head. She sat back, closed her eyes, reflective. When she opened them, she smiled and said: “Pride is an understatement. A thousand angels are singing.”

That broken Ouija board is packed away at the bottom of a box in the garage, along with a thousand other memories. I’m settled into a home that holds no ghosts, but filled with photos of those guardian angels. As a kid with a game, I hoped and prayed for a sign that my mother was in the room. I didn’t get it back then. But on this night, I did. On this night, Jane shared her gift and in 20 minutes she gave me 20 reasons to confirm my belief in a shared universe. Yet, one question lingers. Should I take back the name Jean?

Susan Emmerich is the author of A Girl on a Bike: Musings on Life, Loss, and Hot Flashes, now available from Second Wind Publishing and amazon.com She can be found riding her bike around Cleveland OH making observations on a most interesting life.

 

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