From the Memoir-Part One

When I was three, my soul went missing.

Nothing could escape the heat that Fourth of July in 1969. Little feet would blister, and tears seemed to sizzle in the sand.

Outside, a sun-bleached shack sat in a naked yard. Inside, cheap perfume, burnt chicken, and two voices colliding filled the darkened living room.

My mother, a slim teenager with hair like a black waterfall, stood at the entryway door dodging a volley of shoes. Across the room, my stocky grandmother cursed and as she scrambled to reach for more, my mother made her escape.

“Mommy!” I hollered, leaping from a corner and stretching out my arms.

But it was too late.

I raced after her, my bare feet chuffing through gritty soil then slapping black asphalt.

There! Her green car idled at a stop sign. An eighteen-wheeler whooshed by, stirring the sweltering air. Just as my hand slapped the trunk, my beautiful mother’s black eyes met mine in the rearview mirror. I stumbled and watched in disbelief as she lurched and sped away along that lonely stretch of highway.

A crushing weight filled my chest, as salty tears stung my eyes and cracked lips.

Wave after wave of grief crested and crashed through my sobs.

Then a new tide rose inside.

Run! Faster! Run!

Wiping my nose and face with sweaty palms, I took off again after my mother.

If I could catch her, I could make her hold me. Make her comfort me.

Make her see me.

Optimizing 2019

The struggle is real.

How many ways can you say optimize?

Or write Twenty-Nineteen…Twenty-19…Two-zero-one-nine?

See what I mean?

Last night my hubby and I leaned into a fascinating conversation on the C-SPAN Network given by one of the greatest thinkers of our time. And not just because he has a captivating English (meaning he’s from the country of England) accent.

He was speaking about the difference between liberation and liberty.

“What does hegemony mean?” I said.

My husband shrugged. “Look it up.”

So I did.

And you can too.

How and where? That’s up to you.

I grabbed a revised and updated edition of Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary AND Thesaurus. Copyright 2014. The soft-cover pages are rolling-up at the edges like wizened scrolls. My hubby and I consult them often for overly-zealous competitions over a Scrabble gameboard.

Winning and losing is serious business.

I’m only half-joking.

Just Bing or Google it. (But don’t even think about asking Jeeves…)

As I ponder and pray about what’s most meaningful to you, there are so many directions I could go. So many, many search-engine-friendly words to type. Much like trying to swallow Niagara Falls in one gulp.

So. Let me leave you with what’s on my heart when I think of you.

If you’re like me, beginning a new year means taking stock of the one that’s ending.

There were some hard goodbyes.

The expected: Barbara Bush, Billy Graham, and an American politician who served as the 41st president of the United States.

The unexpected: Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, and a Washington State University quarterback named Tyler H.

Some easy hellos: A new fragrance in the Princess line by Vera Wang, Best Baker in America, Adam Young, and a mustache inspiring, Gardiner Minshew.

The last, a springboard for the very best…

Sweet surprises: Uplifting and unifying conversations at the gym and in line at a local grocer no matter whose team/side someone was on.

As we step into a new year, I’ll be on the hunt for the strongest stories and strings of letters to share with you no matter your corner of the world. All the while praying to that special Someone who not only cares the most about us, but is also the Creator of Language and Master Communicator.

Because, the struggle is real.