Out of the blue. . . . . blood . . . . . .

I have a story today. It’s rather long, but stay with it.  You won’t be sorry

For a long time I had noticed little things I had in common with Elizabeth.  I had never met her but I had seen pictures of her and read about her. I knew that we were both born within the same year nd married within the same year. We both had our last child in 1964.  Although considered elderly now, we are both in good health and very active.

When I was in the hospital with my first child I overheard a conversation in the hallway outside my door and learned that Elizabeth’s father had died.. I  knew how much her father meant to her and knew how much her life would now change.

When we were young and again as we are old, with matching silver hair,we looked just enough alike at times, or from a certain angle, that people noticed. Once when I bought some bathroom tile I was asked to return the next day to pick it up, and to call for it in their office. When I walked into the office the next day I was greeted by name. I asked  the office manager  how he knew who I was, and he said the store clerk had told him to watch for someone who looks like Elizabeth.

Anyway I thought of her one day, out of the blue, and without a second thought decided to send her an early birthday greeting along with a copy of my book Playing Life by Ear.  I knew some of the stories and poems might interest her, if she read them.  And if she was not interested, at least I had wished her well, and I sent her a note to  say so.  I also told her, briefly, the stories I have just told you.

The other day a cream-colored envelope came in the mail and I didn’t open it until later.  I put it in the  advertising stack  because the envelope  was some kind of heavy paper and was simply addressed.  Toward evening I picked it up and tore it open with my finger while heading for the wastebasket.  What I drew from it was also on heavy cream colored paper, and as I started to read the message I realized it was a thank-you from Elizabeth.  Well, she had some help but it really was from her, and it bore her seal..  Here is the letter:

Dear Mrs. Markland,

The Queen wishes me to thank you for your message and the copy of your book entitled Playing Life by Ear which you sent as a gift in advance of Her Majesty’s ninetieth birthday.

Although unable to reply to you personally The Queen was most touched by your wish for her to share your memories and greatly appreciates your kind words of support.

I am to thank you, very much, for your thoughtfulness in taking the time to write to Her Majesty at this time and to convey The Queen’s warm good wishes to you.

Yours sincerely,

(A personal signature)

Lady in Waiting

Royal seal



Prolonging a Season . . . . .


The hibiscus is still blooming by my front door.  In October!  I think there are about 14 buds ready to open if the temperature doesn’t drop.

I can’t remember a spring and summer more beautiful than this year’s.  The lawns were plush and bright green, the the flowers exotic, the trees bright and full.  Just turning now, the leaves are drifting, a few at a time, but will no doubt go down in one fell swoop on a windy rainy day.

And on that day I will probably go to my desk and start writing again.  The past year has been taken up with the publishing and then the promoting of my book.

This week was a test, I think.  When I called on a foot specialist because of a toe problem he noticed a small brown spot on the sole of my foot and said that’s exactly what a melanoma looks like.  So he removed the spot, along with surrounding flesh for testing.  I am well bandaged and hopping about with that foot in a special awkward shoe.  Still, I kept my appointment to give a reading for a book club.  I invited them to have their meeting in my home.

Also this week, a routine checkup with my eye doctor produced evidence that macular degeneration has begun, and I was referred to a specialist. . . who saw me and confirmed I must begin treatment which consists of shots in the eye . . . no, in both eyes.  It will begin next week.  I try not to think about it.

But yesterday I had reprieve.  While cancer of the sole sounded ridiculous I was reminded that’s how Bob Marley died.  But that was not for me.  My test came back showing no cancer.  My eye treatment was postponed for a couple of weeks, so I’ll get used to the idea.

Then, a few days ago, I had a surprise.  I went to YouTube for something and noticed someone on my screen that looked exactly like me.  Whoa . . it WAS me . . giving a reading at the library in Elgin, Nebraska.  Someone had covered the event from their newspaper and not only gave me a fine review there but also posted a segment of the reading on YouTube.

What an interesting and informative experience it was to watch myself when I didn’t know I was being filmed.  I had to laugh.  I didn’t realize I was rocking in that office chair as I talked.  Oh dear, I keep adjusting my glasses.  Still, you can understand me, and the guests are reacting favorably to the reading.  A nice afternoon, with coffee and cookies later and people taking books home with them.

If you want to see it, go to YouTube and type in Doris Markland Playing Life by Ear.  I needed to put in ear buds to hear it, but you might not need to.

When fall comes, it brings some challenges along with its beauty.  Still, if you bring the flowers in you can prolong their life for a while, and losing leaves is just the normal process in pausing for a rest.

I will take myself in, out of the cold, in December when I go to Texas and then Hawaii.