When every piece fits . . . . .

cupcake jigsaw

If I do a jigsaw puzzle these days I do one that’s fun. No more green forests or blue oceans where the pieces all look alike. No more red barns.  In the same way I think I am choosing life puzzles that are  more interesting, more rewarding, and perhaps easier. . No more deciding what is right for everyone but looking at the business of my life and deciding what is right for me.  As it ought to be. A piece of cake.

My royal dad . . . . .

New respect today for my father Archie Peterson. I never knew he had a royal name!

But he was royalty to me. He was a farmer and dearly loved the land. His father had come to Iowa from Sweden in late 1800’s  and Archie was born in 1899.  He inherited a farm in his 30’s but that farm was deep in debt because of the depression. It took him years, but he paid off that debt with his hard work and good humor.

He was a rather quiet man, so when he spoke people listened. And they listened because his words were sometimes gems. He had a remarkable sense of humor that often appeared quietly and unexpected.  He was the Methodist who gave the annual laymen sermon. He was president of the church board and the Farmer’s Elevator and the local Lions Club. Because he was thoughtful. Because he was a hard worker. Because he was fun and funny, in his quiet way.

He was bald, so people sometimes called him Archibald, not realizing that is an actual name in history.  There was an Archie in the comics and an Archie Bunker on TV. But he wasn’t like them. He was funny but not silly.  He respected everyone and I never knew him to hold a prejudice. He welcomed and gave help to the gypsies who came up our road every summer and parked their black closed cabin at the end of our lane. They knew he would allow their horses in our pasture for a few days and would furnish water. He was the one who invited the black quartet from a southern sister church to stay in our home and take their meals with us during the yearly crusade.

My mom never called him Archie. She called him Arch. And in the community everyone called them Arch and Claire. And just as he was chosen president of boards and clubs she was chosen president of the Ladies Aid and women’s clubs. Their two names went together because they were always together. They worked together, played together and laughed together. And my life at home with Arch and Claire was ideally harmonic and often hysteric. We didn’t cry much at our house. We laughed a lot.













The great great smile . . . . .

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Evelyn Apr - Copy

I had a visit today from my great great grandaughter. I think her picture shows what a joy she is, and her father Justin told me this seems to be her natural disposition all the time.

Just looking at her face makes me feel good.

Her name is Evelyn.

What’s old fashioned is new again. The name and the great great smile.











Honolulu City Lights . . . . .

Sara's Vjiew

And so, about this time of day, I left Honolulu as I had left it every year since 1978. Well, not quite in the same way.

Last Friday, late afternoon, Sara drove me to the airport. We made quick work of goodbyes and then Sara turned me over to a uniformed man who wheeled my wheelchair into the building and quickly through the boarding process. I waited just a short time in the boarding area and then my “driver” lined me up to be the first one taken aboard. I was feeling so lucky. There really are some perks in being old, even in being crippled.

Suddenly my phone rang. It was Sara. She asked where I was and then told me that a rescue squad and a fire truck were on their way to the airport to find me. Although I had disconnected and packed the device for my alert system (Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!) it had gone off. No one at my residence could tell them anything except that I had checked out and would be leaving the city.

And now I remembered that the device was a new, improved one that works not only in my home but wherever I happen to be. It was now in my purse for the trip and must have been struck or squeezed in some way.

And so the rescue squad and the fire truck left my building and were now screaming through the the downtown on their way to the airport. It was quite upsetting but I kept my calm and asked a nearby airline employee to notify airport security of my perfectly healthy condition and my perfectly safe environment, now seated in 6A.

Through the years, as we vacationed there, we had come to know very well Mahi Beamer, a wonderful pianist, singer, dancer, whose grandmother had written many of the Hawaiian songs. We spent our Saturday evenings at his piano where he played and sang and friends gathered. . . locals mostly . . and sometimes other entertainers, like Robert Cazimero, after they closed their shows,

One year, on the very night we would be flying out, Mahi was performing a special stage appearance downtown. Promptly at 11:00 (we were later told) he stopped playing in the middle of a piece and said ” I want to sing this for my good friends who are leaving the island at this moment.” And then he played and sang our favorite song . .

“Looking out upon the harbor lights and the stars above the ocean, got my ticket for the midnight plane and it’s not easy to leave again. Took my clothes and put them in a bag, try not to think just yet of leaving,  looking out into the city night, and it’s not easy to leave again. Each time Honolulu city lights stir up memories in me, each time Honolulu city lights bring me back again. You are my island sunset. You are my island dream. Put on my shoes and light a cigarette, try not to think just yet of leaving, looking out into the city lights and it’s not easy to leave again.”

That was sometime in the 80’s. Now in the year of 2019 I was leaving again on a beautiful evening, looking out upon the city lights. And again I’m being thought of and escorted out, although in quite a different way.  Sirens, even, and honks at the corners.






Gliding . . . . .

Green glider chairWhen I arrived in January, there was such a nice surprise waiting for me in my apartment. My daughter Sara, who lives in Honolulu, had found this delightful glider chair for me.  Both the chair and the footstool glide together so that it is effortless comfort.

When I was a child and visited one of my grandmothers I always sat in her gliding rocker. I thought it might one day be mine, but when she died I was not near. A few  years ago I bought a glider chair for my widow-home. And then I found a new one for sale at a Salvation Army store and bought that one too.

There’s something about gliding. So little effort So much comfort.

Life should be like that.


Becoming golden . . . .

IGold Buildings

Pardon me for not posting for a while but I was busy coping with computer problems and getting used to new challenges having to do with my aging back. But I’m still here and I’m alive and grateful.

In my first days here I woke up very early because of the time difference, and I stepped out onto the lanai. When the sun first pops up it turns all the buildings gold a little at a time. It is magic. One might think, for a few moments, he is in a magic city or . . . . . heaven?

Some people think of Hawaii as heavenly because it is really beautiful, with its gentle palms and beautiful flowers, yet it has it’s problems, as do all cities. Taxes . . homeless . . climate changes . .politics . . etc. Visitors don’t have to deal with that stuff, though so they have a good time here and their visits help to keep the island functioning. There is so much to do here, so much to see. Oahu is my favorite island. The others are beautiful but very quiet.

I live here in an apartment Gene and I bought in 1978. When I’ m not here it is managed  and rented by a hotel. But when I’m here it is my home. One 3-room apartment in a two-building complex made up of 800 units. We are one block from the beach, close to nice hotels, the zoo, the big Kapiolani Park.

It has been hard to watch the scenes from Nebraska on television. My heart just goes out to all the people who lost their homes, their animals, everything. I am glad it was no worse than it was in Norfolk itself.

I will be home in a few weeks and have hopes of seeing progress there and hints of spring, even flowers. They always come. You can’t keep them away, no matter what the world did to you.









From the islands . . . . .

Carlos guitarist 1After postponing my annual trip to Honolulu I finally did arrive here on January 21. I have spent these weeks settling in, going to a few appointments, meeting up with old friends, spending time with daughter Sara, who lives here and son John who flew over from California.  Er, also a few medical visits to  some fine doctors here who found some good new answers for me.  i arrived here with cough and a limp. . . and I still  cough and   limp, Oh well. Maybe that’s what old people do. But the eyes and the heart are getting good care.,

One evening recently we were invited to the high penthouse of a gentleman whose visiting guest agreed to give a concert for his friends.  Turns out the visitor is a world-famous touring concert guitarist. I was fortunate to sit beside him as he played for a roomful  of people, It was delightful. His name is Carlos Barbosa-Lima.

Yes, that is a street lamp in the room, There are also small airplanes hanging from the ceiling, and collections of all kinds of interesting things in various rooms.

Meanwhile, we had a severe stormy day here yesterday.   High winds. Very high winds., The ocean was one huge white frothy scene and the wind blew huge old palm trees down, one lovely one gone right beside my building.

Actually, I have spent little time with TV news and maybe it’s a respite for my health. I went for lunch, however, with Canadian ladies to a most delightful Hawaiian lunchroom, open to greenery, flowers, the sounds of birds

We stayed for hours and we talked. Canadians are very interested in our politics and I suspect they are more up on it than we are. We always find things we are puzzled by, things we agree on, things we can learn from each other.











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