Author Archives: quiall

About quiall

I am a woman with a mission: to live life to the fullest. I will not let an itty, bitty incurable disease stop me. It may slow me down but like a ship dragging an anchor, I'll get there eventually. Walk with me at www.butterflysand.com

Daily Quip

Perfect, will always be inside the imperfection.

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Father Dearest

This is something a little different. It is an excerpt of something I wrote for my father’s 75th Birthday. I hope you enjoy it.

This book is dedicated to my father. He was a man who guided us and tolerated us, a man who was our dad, our mentor and our friend. A man who is not so bad for an old guy!

Thanks dad, we love you.

Lectures my father gave and don’t tell your mother!

My father always has been and always will be a man of honour, integrity and stature. He is also human. He is a dad and subject to all the idiosyncrasies of that idyllic state. In simplest terms, he ain’t perfect. Of course growing up I just assumed he was perfect. Aren’t all fathers? We used to tease my father about his lectures. You know all the usual ones that fathers give their children – drive from point A to point B, no ‘parking’, look both ways before you date. As his children we would roll our eyes and say “Lecture 37” or “Lecture 210”. And we would all laugh. But we didn’t disobey. Or, at least not openly. Oops, I don’t think my father knew that bit. Father laid down the law in our family. Of course, laws were meant to be broken, or at least bent a little. I read that somewhere.

My father may be a distinguished looking man but appearances can be deceiving. Take the yearly trial of showing a beautiful but willful dog how to use the dog door. My father had installed a ‘dog door’ in the screen door off the kitchen to make it easier for Samantha (a brindle boxer) to come in and out at her leisure. In theory, as in practice, it was a wonderful idea. Of course, it was not used in the wintertime. So every spring Samantha was once again offered the opportunity to use her door. Here comes the good part. I don’t know if she really did have a fear about using the door for the first time or she just enjoyed the specter of my very distinguished father on his hands and knees crawling through that door, several times. I must admit my mother and I always made sure we were nearby. I wonder why I never took a picture?

Ask and the answer shall be…….

Children with curious minds ask questions. My parents never tried to dissuade or put off our questions and they always tried to tell the truth. The truth can sometimes be a bit bewildering to a ten year old. Like the time I asked my father why the sky was blue. He told me. Really. Scientifically. Reflection and refraction. I nodded my head and tried to look wise. I was ten years old! I wasn’t mature enough to know what wise was! Fifteen years later I understood what he meant when I took a lighting course at university that explained light reflection and refraction.

When mom is away dad will play

Then there is the time I came home to find my father painting the two story stair well in their house using a short ladder, a rope and a very old, very shaky side table. Of course he was tied to the second story banister if anything went wrong! When I pointed out that he would have a fit if I attempted such acrobatics he smiled his tolerant smile and said that he was the father and that made it different. I was also vehemently instructed not to tell my mother!

Or the time he fell off a ladder in the back yard. I wasn’t a witness, the neighbours were. Mom was out of town and I called to check up on my father. I knew something was wrong. When I inquired, he laughed. He did say it was a bit of a problem getting out of the middle of a bush. He was sore and a little bruised, but I was not allowed to tell my mother! Aaaaahhhhh!

My father is a man of the nineties. The eighteen nineties!

He just recently learned how to actually open the dishwasher. He knew where it was, he just wasn’t too sure what exactly it did. He really is becoming quite capable. He can vacuum and do the laundry. He can also cook bacon and eggs, and beans (from a can. Good on toast?). Dad retired and donned jeans (only in the backyard of course). We are still working on the t-shirt, but he is perhaps still a little young for that. My sister is trying to wean him from the white socks and brown shoes. A child’s work is never done.

Drive/Don’t Drive

Driving with my father is interesting. Actually it is an experience. My father is a very good driver, he’s been at it for more than a few decades. Well, we all learned early on that it is a better world when one is a passenger in my Dad’s car, not the driver. There was a time when my dear sweet father requested that I drive home from their boat. My parents and I had just spent a wonder weekend at the marina. Great weather, good food, good company. Unfortunately perhaps it had been too good. Dad wasn’t feeling well and he asked if I would mind driving home. He did look a little peaked. At first I said no, but I did relent with one proviso, he would lie down in the back of the car and not raise his head above the bottom of the back windows. I figured this way he would not be the proverbial back seat driver. After all, it was only an hour drive. Boy, did I ever underestimate the power of a father’s abilities. It started out okay. Before we had driven a few miles my father started. “What lane are you in?” “How fast are you going?” “Are you checking your rear view mirror?”. Ah Dad. I eventually told him that either he was quiet or I would pull off the road and he could drive, sick or not. It was at that point I heard my dear sweet father chuckling. The rat! He was needling me on purpose! He is just too smart for my own good.

 

 

These are just a few of the wonderful memories I have of a man who helped to make me who I am today. I think he did a good job!

James Edmund Marius Read

August 24, 1925 – January 3, 2007

Little Doors

 

There are tales of little doors

And of creatures from the moors.

Fairies, leprechauns and trolls

In their hands their tiny bowls.

 

In dark of night when they do stir

You’ll never see more than a blur.

What’s for dinner? I don’t know.

They are hungry if they show.

 

Tiny heads and tiny feet

Laugh not if by chance you meet.

Stand so still and let them be.

Never fear what you can’t see.

 

Open wide that little door

Magic lives and it wants more.

Freedom such a pretty word

Deep within the heart it stirred.

 

Gently treat the magic folk

They may in you pure joy evoke.

Live together and at peace

And on life a brand new lease.

A Single Cardboard Box

Eloise sat back in her chair and sighed.   This would be her final move. It was a hard one, leaving so much behind. But it was time. She thought about her husband of 61 years, Elliot. He’d been gone for a while now but she was managing. He’d always loved that about her: her ability to adapt.

Hands clasped loosely on her lap, legs demurely crossed at the ankle. She had been taught to be a lady but she also knew when not to be. Something else Elliott loved about her. She smiled to herself. As she raised her head, her eyes caught the single cardboard box resting on the edge of the bed. How is it possible for 92 years to fit inside one single box?

There were so many memories. Dipping her toes into three oceans over her lifetime. That midnight buffet on the cruise ship. The smile became a chuckle as she remembered poor Elliot looking for his shoes in a strange motel after a very long night. He had eventually found them in the refrigerator! They had laughed all the way to Albuquerque. Good memories.

There were camping trips with four active and insatiably curious children. And then the children’s children, there seemed to be so many of them. She remembered the strange noises a sleeping child makes and the wild-eyed wonder when they saw something for the first time. Learning to read, learning to walk, learning to slow down. That was always the hard one. But they did it together. Eloise and Elliot. It had lovely ring to it. What a great partnership they had. And that partnership didn’t die when he did. She slept with a pair of his gloves under her pillow. He was never far from her.

She relaxed a little more into the chair, resting her tired shoulders. And she cast her mind back over her 92 years. She had earned her rest. Her memories of her childhood were all good. She’d had loving parents who had taught her to love the world and to respect what it offered. She had grown up with wonderful pets who had taught her humility and selflessness. She had friends who taught her the art of compromise and acceptance and French kissing. Yes, she had learned how to laugh early. And she laughed often. She had reason.

They had traveled the world together. Elliott was a wonderful traveler. Except for the shoes. When the children had come along they were initiated into that world. First traveling near at home and then farther and farther as they grew older and more capable of appreciating it. And then they too caught the bug. The world was theirs to explore.

As time inexorably moved on so did the children. And then she and Elliot rediscovered the wonders of each other. It was like a second honeymoon and they enjoyed it for many years. Oh, the children came back to visit. In the beginning it was quite often but as their lives became more and more complicated, that too dwindled off. That was to be expected.

Most of the children and grandchildren made it back for Elliot’s funeral. It was good to see them, to get reacquainted. But they had their own lives to get back to and in time Eloise was again alone. That was okay. She had much to occupy her. She had quite a vibrant social life and plenty of friends to keep her company. But there were adjustments. She moved to a condominium and hired a cleaning service. There were even a few male companions who were interested in more than just companionship. They were proper gentlemen when she refused. Her heart still belonged to Elliot. Besides he hadn’t been gone that long. But it was nice to have a man around to escort her to a dance.

The box caught her eye once again. It seem to beckon to her and to mock her. It was her box of treasures, precious memories, tokens worth more than any precious jewel ever could be. A single tear escaped her eye. She felt sad and more than a little proud. She wondered about the next step in her life. What was still to come? She closed her eyes.

*********************************************************************

The door burst open! A tall, young man, strode aggressively into the room.

“Where the hell is the damn thing?”

A few seconds behind him an equally tall woman sashayed into the room somewhat less aggressively.

                                    “They said it was on the end of the bed and you could pick it up                                             at your leisure. I think it’s important. What do you plan on doing with?”

The man became a little less forceful as he spotted the single cardboard box just where he had been told it would be.

“It’s just some old trinkets. What possible value could it have? “

 

 

the end