I wish I had been keeping a journal back then, because it’s at this point where I have time gaps and get confused about the order of events. These logistical problems mean nothing to the reader or the value of the story. But as a person who really likes 100% accuracy, I’d really like to have it here. I think the reason I have fuzzy recall is because there were no monumental events at all. I didn’t do as many people do and dive right into any cancer support groups or cancer “walks”. I guess my situation of work and caretaking demanded too much of my schedule to involve myself outside my home and my parents’ home.
My son was about to be a senior in college, so he was finally realizing that his room at home was definitely his cheapest accommodations. We lived just outside Nashville, so he could commute within a half hour. He took his final part time job at a local shoe store and asked if he could rent out a downstairs bedroom to a college kid who worked with him there. Not only was he saving me money, but he was making me money. I liked the way this kid thought. It seemed such a short time since his freshman year when I would pack up his grandmother, an elderly cousin who loved baseball, our two poodles, picnic gear, and a lemon cake for the team and drive across town to the college campus where my son was announcing the games. We’d get there early and all those baseball players would come running. Now my son was a senior, and everything in our lives had changed. We had been through a lot, and I certainly won’t say he had come through it unscathed. But he had maintained a good GPA, kept his nose clean in college, worked hard to help me keep his tuition current and keep him in clothes, food and supplies. One of my friends was instrumental in getting an internship for him with a local sports radio station because of the four years of baseball and basketball games he’d announced in college. So at least this part of my life was looking good. His degree in broadcasting, his broad experience in all areas of sports, his smooth rich voice and now this internship dropped in his pocket almost insured his future. Thank you Lord.
I had not had a romantic interest since the end of my marriage. I had formed a companionship with an older gentleman who treated me more like his daughter than a girlfriend. He took me out to eat almost every evening, took me to all the ball games he coached, pitched with my son, which Chip was quick to point out, his father had never done, and got my car washed and polished every weekend. What he didn’t do was visit my parents’ home, show any interest in attending church services, or go anywhere with my friends or of entertainment interest to me. I also learned in time that he had a dark side. He never physically abused me, but he was moody and had mood swings. When he did he would just disappear for two or three days. His employer seemed to understand or tolerate this problem, but after eleven months of this erratic behavior, I didn’t understand and couldn’t tolerate it.
The regional administrators of the nursing agency I had managed over a year all had a not so pleasant surprise along about this time. The owner made a swing across the state one day telling each of us that his funds had run dry. He was relieving all of us of our duties and reorganizing the company. It was a horrible blow to each of us who had poured our hearts and souls into the new company. The funds that had dried up were the ones that had gone into his high living and luxury automobiles. The company had run in the black under our leadership, but his personal bills had to be paid “immediately”, and our salaries were apparently going to solve that problem for him. Not fair? I had spent the past few years in the “university of not fair”. I was ready to “graduate” and move on!
A friend heard the news about the agency before it hit the streets. She owned a business that was medically related to the agency, and she called me that day to ask if I would come and do pick-ups and deliveries for her until I secured another position. It was definitely a drastic cut in pay, but I never missed a paycheck, and since I had managed well, I was going to be okay.
I asked my Dad if he would let me move into their house and take full time care of my Mom, but he wouldn’t hear of it. I didn’t understand then, and I don’t understand now why he wouldn’t release the care to the one person who would do it best, but I had no choice but to obey his will.
Chapter XIII of SURREAL will begin the “best and the worst months” of my life. I must apologize for the length of time between writing chapters. My health has become a real issue for me in the past couple of months. We are hoping to get some answers within a couple of weeks and get back whatever our family calls “normal”. I just ask my readers to bear with me.
“Before you go to bed tonight
give all your troubles to the Lord.”
KRAFT Pumpkin, Caramel & Pecan Cheesecake
What You Need
1/2 cup chopped PLANTERS Pecans, divided
38 gingersnaps, finely crushed (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. vanilla
25 KRAFT Caramels
1/4 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
HEAT oven to 325°F.
CHOP 1/4 cup nuts finely; place in medium bowl. Add gingersnap crumbs and butter; mix well. Press onto bottom of 13×9-inch pan.
BEAT cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add pumpkin, spice and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.
BAKE 45 min. or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours.
MICROWAVE caramels and milk in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 min. or until caramels are completely melted, stirring every 30 sec.; spoon over individual servings of cheesecake. Sprinkle with remaining nuts. Serve with whipped cream.
Look for Chapter XIII Coming Soon……………..