Once Upon A Blog

My husband and I started blogging on The Romantic Vineyard in 2008. It was an extension of our marriage ministry and was initially meant to be a reference site for our friends and those who live locally for date night ideas and great resources. It didn’t take long for it to become much bigger than we ever expected. With the growth came new friends who also had marriage blogs–couples who shared the same vision and passion to see marriages become all God intended and to last a lifetime.

These couples ended up becoming friends. We read each other’s blogs regularly. We encouraged one another and did all we could to help as well. We even ended up meeting most of them in person. What a joy it was to finally meet face-to-face.

We saw a need as many new marriage bloggers became discouraged in their first year. They struggled with either lack of technical understanding, or difficult responses to posts they had written. Isolation made many call it quits. So we formed the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association. We have a statement of faith we all believe in and it’s from this creed that visitors to our blogs know if we line up with their beliefs too. It has broadened our community and we are thrilled at what God has done.

When we began in 2008, there were very few Christian marriage blogs available offering help and good Biblical advice. Now, fourteen years later and there are too many to count. And many are so helpful.

When we were prompted to share the blogs we follow regularly, I knew I had to include the background in order for you to understand how I came to know and respect these bloggers/now friends.

We have a Core Team. These consist of the 6 couples who began the CMBA.

I also love to read good writers blogs. Some of the following are friends and some are columnists. But I read every post.

  • Life on the Lighter Side – Bonnie Anderson has been a friend for as long as I can remember. We share many interests, which makes any time we have together a blast. Her blog is inspirational and humor focused.
  • Not That Big A Deal – Roxanne Chin is another dear friend who always makes me laugh. Her humor is usually pointing inward on something she said or did. And I think she’s a pretty big deal.
  • Sean of the South – Sean Dietrich’s biography linked here has enough credentials to draw you closer. His storytelling skills are unmatched. I look forward to his posts; I will laugh, cry and think about what he’s written for a while afterward.
  • The Power of Story – Mitch Teemley found our marriage blog and commented. Which let me find his and I am so very grateful. He is a fantastic storyteller. His Fool’s Odyssey series is one hooked me. You can start this with his first post, My Big Epiphany in London

This is my 20th post in The Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in November.

Four for a Dollar

This post was originally shared on The Romantic Vineyard blog in November 2010. I thought it was worth sharing in the UBC on Day 19. Enjoy…

It was the week of Thanksgiving, and I was set on trying a new creamed corn recipe for the holiday.  Having a large extended family I was going to need a lot of corn – 24 ears to be exact.  I knew that the grocery stores would be too expensive for such a large quantity; so my husband and I headed towards a roadside vegetable stand.   I was sure that their candy corn, as it’s called, would help me duplicate the dish I had so enjoyed at a New Orleans’ restaurant, Commander’s Palace.

Off we went.  We stopped at the first stand we came to, and I scouted out the market to see if they had what I needed.  They did and at the right price, too; four ears for a dollar!  My husband stayed in the car certain it would only take a moment to make my purchase.

I bagged my corn and took it to the man working the checkout counter.  He looked a bit odd, but seemed friendly enough.

“Hi!” I smiled as I placed my corn on the table in front of him.  “I have 24 ears of corn in the bags.”

He looked at me while figuring my total in his head, “That’ll be $21!”

“$21? The sign said that the corn is four ears for a dollar!

“That’s right – $21.”  He said with a toothless grin.

I knew he just wasn’t thinking, so I attempted to help him with his figuring.  “The sign says four ears for a dollar – that’s eight ears for two dollars, twelve ears for three dollars…”

I thought he would have stopped me by this point, but it was obvious by the unbelieving smirk on his face that he still wasn’t getting it.

I continued, “sixteen ears for four dollars, twenty ears for five dollars and twenty-four ears for six dollars!”

“Naw! You’re tryin’ to cheat me!” was his reply.

I couldn’t believe it!  Was he joking with me?  Was there a hidden camera somewhere? He was serious and so convinced in his mind to the point that he wasn’t going to sell me the corn!

I asked, while looking around, “Is there anyone else that works here?”

Before he could answer me I saw a couple of men sitting at the far end of the stand. I walked up to them and asked if they worked there.

The owner replied, “Is he giving you a hard time, darlin’?”

“Well, he’s trying to sell me 24 ears of corn for $21.” I still couldn’t believe this was actually happening.

“Man, he hit his head yesterday and must’ve hurt himself worse than I thought.  Come with me!”

I followed him as he approached the checkout counter.  “Mac, I want you to sell this lady her corn for $6, ya hear?”

He took my corn from under the counter and still hesitated in taking my money.  He kept staring suspiciously at me, and when his boss had walked away he said under his breath, “You must’ve really winked your eye at him!”

With that I took my bag of corn before he could grab it from me and quickly got in the car.
As I closed the door and took an exasperated breath, my husband said, “What took you so long?”

“You won’t believe it…”

Do you have an unbelievable story to tell?

A Family at Feud

Photo Credit You Tube

It seems only right that I should share this with you now, on this week before Thanksgiving. Family Memories are what this holiday is all about and we have one that may outlive us!

My sister-in-law, Sherry, called with an idea to do something we’d never done before. It would include my daughter, Tracy, my daughter-in-love, Ashley, and my niece, Amy. Five total to do it.

The application was made and we waited.

When the call back came we were told to make a video telling them why we wanted to do this thing we’d never done before.

Since we live in the tourist capital of the world, we loaded up in one car and drove to Universal Studios. What better place to make a video?

We laughed more that night than we ever had. We kept asking ourselves, “What in the world are we doing?“

We turned in our hilarious video and we waited.

We received another call that they wanted to see us in person at, of all places, Universal Studios! Now it all seemed possible.

And it was. In 2010, the five of us appeared in the inaugural season of Steve Harvey’s Family Feud. All of our spouses watched from the audience as we attempted to answer ridiculous questions as the Top 100 survey respondents would.

Embarrassing to say the least.

The TV audience never sees what happens when the camera is ordered to “cut!” That is when the “comedian Steve Harvey” appears and shares stories not meant for television.

Many times I thought the producer of the show was going bust from laughing so hard. Steve was unpredictable when off-script and unleashed. She had to let him flow with his stream of thought or he would bust.

And we watched it all as our daughter was many times the brunt of his jokes. He called her “Crazy Tracy” mainly because she knew how to play and answered how she thought the those surveyed would answer. Not how she personally would.

We ended up being on 5 episodes, won the car and $25K. Those five shows were replayed over and over for years! We haven’t received any Facebook messages recently with the familiar, “I just saw you on Family Feud!” so maybe after 11 years it’s settled.

Are we glad we did it? Absolutely. Knowing what we know now about how it went would we do it again? I’m not sure. But we made a lasting memory in our family, and I got new bedroom furniture with my part of the pot. Not bad for 5 hours of embarrassing moments.

You can watch one of the outtakes on You Tube here.

This is my 18th post in The Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in November.

My Top Twenty Loves

Today’s prompt is a great post to follow yesterday’s, I Hate Pandas, post. What do I love? This could be an entire month’s challenge because I have so many. I’ll give you the list first and then hone in on one of them.

  • God above all else. I spend the first hour of the morning with Him and reading His Word through the You Version Bible app on my phone. It is free and full of great devotionals too.
  • My husband of 42 years. Besides God, He is my why in all I do.
  • My three grown children and their spouses. I call them my “in-loves” because I love them, it’s not just a legal connection.
  • My nine grand-children. They are each unique and I couldn’t enjoy being involved in their lives more.
  • My hometown. Orlando has changed dramatically since I was born here in 1959. But it’s still home to me.
  • My extended family and the history we all share, including our grandparent’s 32 acres of groves west of Orlando.
  • Writing: Books, articles, blogs, newsletters (both neighborhood and Nana’s newsletter for my kiddos)
  • The beach
  • The mountains
  • Traveling and/or Road Trips
  • Birding
  • Photography
  • Planning events like parties, neighborhood events (the pandemic provided me with lots of opportunities to help with all of us being homebound.
  • Baking is my first love in the kitchen. My Mom wouldn’t let me cook since she used the pressure cooker to make meals fast after a full day at work. So I learned to bake. Favorite thing to bake? Pies
  • Cooking and having themed dinner parties. Favorite meal to make? Anything my husband loves. One of his favorites is Chicken Cacciatore.
  • Golf.
  • Reading, but this one often takes a backseat to all my other loves. I can get completely lost in a book, so it always feels selfish to block everything out to read.
  • Researchiing about things I don’t know–geneology, history, song lyrics I may remember wrong 🙂
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

When Tom and I were first married he worked in retail. He was the area manager for 3 jewelry stores and I hadn’t yet found a job. I spent much of my time in our yellow-carpeted condo alone. Being such an extrovert this was hard. And I had moved away from another one of my loves–Orlando–to Bradenton, 2.5 hours away on the west coast of Florida. I was lonely and homesick.

The couple who managed the property where we lived was always home. She was such a kind lady and one day she asked if I’d like to come over and bake bread together? I jumped at the chance to have something to do and baking was always a favorite.

She started with helping me learn how bread dough should feel after kneading it. She was a hands-on teacher and this is how I learn best. I caught on quickly and was soon making homemade bread, hamburger buns and more. You just can’t beat the aroma of bread baking in the oven on a chilly day.

Next she moved on to a more challenging lesson – the art of making a flaky pie crust. She even shared her family recipe with me. I had no idea how this one day and this first pie would define my baking life. i.g. our family always celebrated birthdays with pie instead of cakes. It became our dessert of choice and for good reason. Mrs. L’s pie crust recipe is amazing.

So of all the pies I’ve baked, which is our family’s favorite? Apple Pie. It even won the blue ribbon at our county fair.

Debi Walter’s Blue Ribbon Apple Pie

INGREDIENTS

  • 6-8 honey crisp apples
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 T. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. ground cloves
  • Nutmeg, freshly ground, about 1/8 t.
  • Butter
  • Milk and Sugar for the top crust

DIRECTIONS

Preheat over to 400.

Roll out pie crust and line the bottom of a 9″ deep dish pie plate. Core, peel and slice thin the apples in a large bowl. Pour sugar over apple and stir to coat. Pour in flour next and stir to coat. Add spices and stir well. You can add more spices to your liking. We like a lot of spices in ours.

Fill the lined pie plate by layer the apples one by one in a circular pattern starting from the outside to the center. Repeat this layering until you have filled the pie using all the apples. Dot with butter.

Roll out remaining pie dough and cover the apples, sealing and crimping the edges.

With a pastry brush lightly brush top crust with milk making sure it doesn’t pool. Sprinkle lightly with sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 45 minutes until bubbly. I keep a watch on the pie and usually lay a large sheet of foil over it to prevent over-browning.

Let pie cool completely before slicing to have a nice and neat slice of pie. But if you can’t wait, it’s great warm out of the oven with vanilla ice cream.

Bon Appetit

This is my 17th post in The Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in November.

I Hate Pandas

Please share

Now before you click away, let me explain. I am an animal lover and panda bears are the cutest. I was even able to visit the National Zoo in Washington D.C. as a kid to see the two pandas China loaned to us in the 70’s.

So why do I hate PANDAS? It is an acronym for what our 12 year old granddaughter came down with in the summer of 2019. It stands for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Strep. That is a mouthful for the most horrific time in our family’s life.

When we were given the prompt to talk about an adversity we had endured, I knew what I would write about. I’m just not sure I can tell the whole story–partly because this is my granddaughter’s story. It’s her’s to tell when she is ready and old enough to process it all. And partly because it’s hard to go there. So for the sake of getting the word out about this disorder and to help other’s who may be facing it and not know it yet, I will share my Nana’s heart on the matter.

I got a phone from my daughter telling me how concerned she was about her oldest daughter. She told me she woke up one morning paranoid, crying, in severe pain and unable to get herself dressed for school.

You must know a little background: she is a driven young lady, makes good grades, plays volleyball and loves the independence she is gaining as a pre-teen. But suddenly she reverted back to a 6 year old. She couldn’t write in cursive. She no longer remembered her multiplication tables and she stopped eating and drinking. She had an unfounded fear of water, so she wouldn’t wash her hair, brush her teeth or drink it unless forced.

In a few short weeks she was unrecognizable and we were all afraid.

Our daughter and her husband were frantically seeking the medical community’s advice through multiple ER visits and pediatrician appointments. But she was declining so rapidly it became impossible to get her to leave the house. She lost 14 pounds in just a few weeks time because she wouldn’t eat. She was fading from us. But God.

Finally while searching for answers, they found a 20/20 special on ABC that featured a story about this strange psychotic response children were having after having strep throat. Our granddaughter had just recovered from a strep infection a couple of weeks before this began. They were drawn to finish watching to find out more, and it was hard to do. The way this disorder effects different children is like having a front row seat to a horror movie, but the characters are children you love.

This show was the answer they needed that led them to a pediatric neurologist in Washington D.C. (ironic given my first paragraph). Miraculously they were accepted by the doctor and she cleared her schedule to see our granddaughter. She said that our granddaughter was one of the worst cases she had ever seen, but since they got her to treatment quickly she was confident she would recover. She also added, but it might take two years.

The most frightening part of all this was not being able to rely on the medical community for the help she needed. Several times the emergency room doctors wanted to admit her to the psychiatric ward. They even questioned our daughter and son-in-law’s quality of care. It was hard to know who to trust. Unfortunately, many still haven’t heard of PANDAS, and insurance doesn’t cover the expenses either. It was difficult on so many levels. This is why I tell my part of the story as often as I can and to whoever will listen.

It has now been two years and our granddaughter is fully recovered, like her doctor said. It took time, treatments and lots of donations given by friends and family to see her through. But God! He orchestrated every detail and every step. He carried us through this dark valley of the shadow of death and rescued her from the grip of PANDAS.

For more information on PANDAS please visit the Pandas Network website. And if you know of any children who suffer with strep on a recurring basis, make sure they get retested after their initial round of antibiotics to make sure it is gone. I hate PANDAS and will do anything I can to get the word out. Please share this post if you feel so led. This Nana is grateful our precious granddaughter has recovered. Not all children do; their nightmare continues…

This is my 16th post in The Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in November.

Photo by Fabian Centeno on Unsplash

Many Publishing Options, Which One To Choose

Our prompt is to share with you something we have to offer. Hmm. I had to think about this for a while. Then, I realized that I haven’t finished telling you the story about my experience in publishing my first book.

I shared about how I needed to hurry to publish my book in my post, 10 years. What I didn’t tell you is how I ended up with my new publisher, Prevail Press.

My first publisher made my book available, but I had no help in the marketing aspect of the book, other than ideas on how to tell others about it. It was discouraging to say the least. All that work yet no one could find it. I ended up giving away lots of copies with the hopes they would tell others which would lead to more sales.

Mind you, I never wrote this book with making money in mind. I just wanted to recap how much money we spent on the initial print, which was significant. And I wasn’t anywhere close!

I have been a part of a Writer’s Group for nearly 20 years. It was my involvement and growth in this group that led me to the next step in my publishing journey.

Rob Swanson, who leads our writer’s group got the idea to begin a publishing company that doesn’t work anything like a typical vanity press or self-publishing company.

First of all, he is selective on the quality of writers accepted to publish through Prevail Press. He does this to protect the reputation of his company. Good books draw good customers. And a relationship of trust grows.

Secondly, by switching to Prevail Press I didn’t have to buy hundreds of copies of my book. My book was now available in a print on demand format as well as an ebook, so the overhead cost was minimal. An added benefit when you don’t have a lot of money to invest in the first place.

Thirdly, I make more royalties per book than I did previously. There really are so many more benefits with this method than my previous publishing experience.

Finally, Prevail Press is a micro-publishing company and is in my opinion the BEST OPTION for up and coming authors, unless you are able to secure an agent and go the traditional publishing route. Not all authors who make a submission to Prevail Press are selected, but you can begin the process by reading the Submission Guidelines.

We now have two books available through Prevail Press–Through The Eyes Of Grace, an historical fiction, and Cherishing Us – a book by my husband and me offering 365 healthy marriage tips to help your relationship grow.

In case you don’t know, Tom and I have had a marriage blog, The Romantic Vineyard, for the last 14 years. It has been our passion to help marriages grow strong to last a lifetime. We hope you’ll stop by and visit there when you have the time. We offer date night ideas, date night questions, and lots of resources to help you succeed at loving your spouse well.

I also encourage you to check out the other authors published through PP. There are some outstanding books you might really enjoy. Check out the offerings here.

This is my 15th post in The Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in November.

Pause

Photo from LAWD in Apopka, FL

Lake Apopka is one of the largest lakes in Florida. It just so happens that we live 15 minutes away from its shores.

A few years ago our state began an extensive cleanup of this lake that was overgrown with algae. This was caused by the muck farms that lined the shores of the lake for decades.

The work began by buying the surrounding land and turning it into a wetland project to naturally filter the polluted lake.

All this effort is working.

On Friday, Saturday and Sundays as well as National holidays, they open the area for nature lovers to drive through the 11 mile restoration project. The speed limit is 10 mph and the road is a one-way gravel road. Photographers and nature lovers come from all over the state to slow down and breathe in the restoration—of the lake and their own souls.

This morning my husband and I decided to take the drive. Our life has been quite stressed and it does us both good to hear nothing but the gallinules calling through the wetlands.

Today was different for we woke to dense fog. We weren’t sure how much we would see, but we needed to try.

What a surprise was waiting for us. Normally we see over a hundred Gators prowling the waters. We see water fowl of all kinds and turtles and fish. An Eden of sorts with all kinds of teeming wildlife.

Fog. It settled on the water allowing glimpses of the beauty we normally don’t notice. Since we couldn’t see the details we observed the landscape as a whole and it took our breath away. I’ll let the photos draw you in to our experience. I pray your Sunday will be blessed through my lens.

If you ever come to Orlando, please reserve time to visit the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. It will refresh your soul and enrich your mind. We all need to take a pause from life and let God help us focus our gaze on His handiwork. It is marvelous in our eyes!

“…wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” – Psalm 139:14b ESV

This is Day 14 in The Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in November.

Misunderstood

Our blogging prompt was to share a song lyric that means something to me.

There are too many to even begin to share, so I decided on a twist. I’m sharing the song lyrics I misunderstood as a kid and only recently discovered the correct words. I must admit this is embarrassing, but it’s understandable. I was attached to my record player as a pre-teen. I listened faithfully to Casey Kasem’s Top 40 list every Saturday. Once I heard the #1 song for that week I would get on my bike and ride it to the Five and Dime store (T.G. & Y.) to buy the 45 rpm before it sold out.

Music was my companion and my 10 year old friend’s companion too.

I remember us turning around in circles to the EP version of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly. Why? Because we were kids and we had nothing better to do. I had a crush on Davy Jones of The Monkees and loved his British accent. My BFF loved Mike Nesmith and his beanie hat. Life was simple for us.

You have to realize we didn’t have Google in the 70’s. If we misunderstood a song lyric, the only way to find out the correct words was to buy the album where the lyrics were printed on the paper sleeve inside the cover. I didn’t have that kind of money, so I improvised, often at the top of my lungs I’m afraid to admit.

I gave my older brother, (who was a huge tease and my biggest nemesis), lots of material to mock me. And mock he did! I can laugh about it now, but as a ten year old I was humiliated more times that I can count.

Songs with lyrics I misunderstood:

  • “Hold me close I’m tired of dancin…” by Elton John is actually titled, Tiny Dancer, and was released in 1971. The line really says, “Hold me close, tiny dancer.”
  • “Blinded by the light. Wrapped up like a douche…” by Bruce Springsteen originally, but this version of Blinded By The Light was recorded by Manfred Mann in 1976. The line actually says, “…revved up like a deuce…” A deuce coupe more specifically. A fancy way to describe a sports car.
  • “I’ll light the fire. You place the flowers in the bras that you bought today.” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Our House was released in 1970. The song has nothing to do with putting flowers in a bra. Haha! As a pre-teen I had never heard the word vase pronounced with an “ahh” sound. The song makes more sense as written, “I’ll light the fire. You place the flowers in the vase that you bought today.” And finally one more…
  • “Had a F-___ing nightmare, and a little thunder.” I almost didn’t share this one, but this will probably garner the most laughter from you. I know it would have from my brother. Yeah, I really thought that’s what this line said from Steppenwolf’s, Born To Be Wild released in 1968. I have never been one to cuss, so I would always skip this line. I could never understand how the radio station back then was allowed to broadcast such language. It never occurred to me I might have misunderstood the lyrics. The song actually says, “I like smoke and lighting, heavy metal thunder, Racing with the wind, And the feeling that I’m under.” How in the world I came up with those lyrics instead I’ll never know. But I’m grateful to be able to sing the entire song now if I so choose. And with a clear conscience.

I’m curious. Did you ever misunderstand the lyrics to a song? I’d love to hear your embarrassing story–I promise not to mock you. But I might laugh. We can all use some laughter these days.

Speaking of laughter, check out this video I found on You Tube from The Holderness Family. Apparently I’m not the only one who has done this. These are hilarious!

This is post #13 in The Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in November.

Photo by Eric Krull on Unsplash

Ave Marie (Broadmeyer)

I remember walking into her disheveled room not sure if she was any good at what she advertised. Her name was Marie Broadmeyer and she was to be my new vocal coach. Although in the 70’s the term was called “voice teacher”.

My Mom had signed both my sister and me up for lessons. We are six years apart; at the time she was 20 and an alto–I was 14 and a soprano. Together we had the sweet harmony that happens when sisters sing together.

Music comes naturally in our family; my Dad’s father had a beautiful baritone voice I’d only heard on a 45 rpm record made of one of his church solos at Roger Williams Baptist Church in Rhode Island. It was rich and soothing as he sang. He always said he loved singing so much he hoped he would die in the church choir. Prophetic, that’s exactly what happened. He gave his final solo performance, sat down in his seat and had a massive heart attack. I barely knew him, but I understood his love of music.

Back to Mrs Broadmeyer.

She was a large, old woman from Germany. Her strong facial features supported her rich contralto voice. We learned she was lauded all over Europe by reading the hundreds of newspaper clippings taped to the faded wallpaper surrounding her baby grand piano.

We had only 30 minutes with her per lesson, so there was no time to hear her story. She had us warm up with vocal stretches that always made me feel self-conscious, but what 14 year old isn’t self-conscious? After she was confident our vocal cords were ready, she would have us sing, O Danny Boy. Her baggy eyes watered as our voices filled the musty room. I used to believe our voices are what brought the emotion, but now I wonder if it wasn’t memories this song brought to mind.

I’ll never know.

Last night I went on-line to see if I could find any information about her life. Was she married? Did she have children? How did she end up in America? Was she born here or did she immigrate? How did this famous soloist end up in a dilapidated row house in downtown Orlando having to squeak out a living by giving voice lessons?

Once again, my immaturity didn’t lend me to ask such questions.

I did find out that she died in 1977 here in Orlando only four years after our time in her living room. She had 4 children, as far as I can tell, the last one dying in 2015. She was born in Germany in 1908 and died in 1977 at the age of only 69. I guess she wasn’t as old as I assumed.

Her husband who was 16 years older, proceeded her in death in 1969. She was widowed only 4 years when we started our weekly visits. I also found several arrival and departure dates of when she sailed to New York Harbor from Europe and vice versa. All in the 50’s confirming her frequent tours to Europe to perform.

This memory was vague as I started to write. But with a little research I was able to piece together quite a story.

Revisiting the lyrics of her beloved song, it seems appropriate to honor her memory with this final verse…

“But when ye come, and all the flowers are dying,
If I am dead, as dead I well may be,
You’ll come and find the place where I am lying,
And kneel and say an Ave there for me.
And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me,
And all my grave will warmer, sweeter be,
For you will bend and tell me that you love me,
And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me!” – – O Danny Boy

I’m grateful to have known Mrs. Broadmeyer. This ave is for her. May she Rest In Peace.

This is post #12 in The Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in November.

Kindness Is Appreciated

It was an awkward moment in July when I called to see if a friend was still on for providing dinner for our family. By his answer I knew he had forgotten. We had to kick into gear since there were nearly 30 already gathered at the home of my niece to eat.

We stopped at Publix and bought all the chicken tenders and macaroni and cheese from the hot deli, as well as Cole slaw, potato salad, Hawaiian rolls and baked beans. I felt bad for the customers waiting with the next number to be served at the deli. Their stares revealed their anger that we were taking all the available hot food. I avoided eye-contact because we had no other choice.
I managed to hold back my tears. We pushed our heavy cart with our heavy hearts to the cashier, which is when it happened…

Friendly Cashier, “Hello, You must be having some party!”
Me: “Actually no. My brother just died on Monday from Covid and the person who offered to bring us a meal tonight forgot.”

The poor cashier. I don’t remember what he said, but all the blood drained from his face.
Why did I do that? He didn’t deserve my blunt response, but I couldn’t help it. My emotions had been building all day and he happened to be there at the wrong time to be the recipient of my outburst.

Of course, I apologized, through tears. I tried to explain that I’m not normally like this, but I think the damage was done. He was embarrassed.

Harsh words are like that. Once spoken they can’t be taken back. Oh, we can do all we can to apologize and make it right, but if it’s not in the heart of that person to forgive, the relationship may never be restored.

We live in a harsh world right now. So many fling words on social media without thought. It’s hard to think the best when we’re hearing the worst.
But we are better than this. We don’t know what someone is going through unless they explode the reason in your face. I hope my obvious heartache and loss helped this poor guy give me sympathy instead of anger. But it’s his choice.

We all face heartache from time to time. It’s in these moments when kindness is appreciated.

This is my 11th post in The Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in November. It was originally published in our neighborhood newsletter, which I began in 1999.