Sometimes words are left better unsaid. Photography credit: Barbie Perkins-Cooper. No photographs may be used by others.
Morning has broken and when it did, I cringed. My head was pounding with another dreadful sinus headache. Glancing outside, I noticed this morning was covered with another blanket of thick fog. If you read my post from yesterday, you will recall I planned to walk the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge today. That will not happen. Charleston is expecting severe thunderstorms today, so I will not take a chance…not with these headaches. Today will be a treadmill day!
Listening to the sounds of quiet, I hear fog horns in the distance, along the harbor. Oh, how I welcome those musical sounds. The long hum…hum… Sometimes, there are five fog horns sounding. Other times, there are three. I can just picture the ships gliding along the harbor. Hum…Hum…Hum. Hum…Hum…Hum…Hum…HUM! Those musical notes are so delicious to hear.
Suppose I’ll hop on the treadmill now, to beat this headache out of my head. Have a great weekend, readers.
This morning, I awoke before anyone in my neighborhood was up. At least, I say that because all houses within my community were dark. Not a light on anywhere, with exception of the street lights. I let the dogs outside to potty, reminding them they must be quiet. “The neighborhood is asleep,” I said. Sir Shakespeare Hemingway nodded, prancing off to find his special tree. Sandy Bear pranced around to find his spot. Prince Midnight Shadow danced around. Hank, my smallest schnauzer stood by my side. He does not like to be too far away from me, especially in the dark of night. I stopped to look outside. The skyline was extremely dark. I could hardly make it out, recognizing there was a thick blanket of fog outside. I stepped outside, walking around a bit, feeling the moisture of fog kissing my face, misting my hair. I listened hoping to hear my favorite musical sound of fog horns. The world outside was quiet. The dogs rushed to join me. They do not like the darkness of night, or the fog. Silly guys!
Another night of insomnia left me exhausted, so I rushed my special friends inside, telling them goodnight. Since it was still the middle of the night, I chose to go back to bed. My head was pounding with another sinus headache. Turning the television on, I replayed the events of the Sochi Olympics, hoping the sounds would allow me to drift off to sleep. Tossing and turning, I recognized I would probably miss my Weight Watchers meeting. I simply cannot cope when I have a headache and I am not exactly good company to anyone when a headache pounds like a hammer inside my head. When morning broke, I crawled out of bed, brewed coffee and decided to write for a bit. Instead of writing, I stared at the computer screen.
Seven days ago, the City of Charleston was cold. Many residents did not have power. We, within our community, were blessed. Never did we lose our power; however, today, I recognized I was fighting with depression once again. I could not process or organize my thoughts to write, and I was focusing on the darkness of a foggy morning while awaiting to hear the fog horns.
Later, I decided to write once again, rereading about 20 pages I’ve written this week. Looking outside again, I noticed bright sunshine and something I haven’t felt in a while due to the extreme temperatures we’ve had recently in Charleston. I chose to go outside with the dogs. The warmth of the brilliant sun hugged my body and I realized I was allowing depression to captivate me. I was not fighting like I do on most days. Depression runs in my family. My mother fought it all of her life and my grandfather was treated with several medications that our family refused to discuss. I suppose my family considered depression as a silent illness. I laugh now. Most of my friends fight depression. Maybe that is why they are my friends! Who knows.
Today, after a serious discussion with myself I realized that I had to find a way to accept depression, and to be grateful for life. Remembering the brilliant words of my grandmother, I recognized that I was focusing on the negative aspects of life, and not — LIFE. Right on cue, I chose to listen to life, hearing a welcomed sound of a bird chirping in a tree. I haven’t seen many birds lately. Normally I see mourning doves, cardinals and Carolina wrens. Lately, I’ve seen nothing.
Perhaps I haven’t noticed the beauty of nature lately because I’ve permitted myself to become incubated inside my home. On gray days, I’ve looked outside, deciding there was only grayness in life, nothing more. However, this afternoon, I discovered a much-loved and lost sight I haven’t paid much attention to, until today. Walking outside to get the mail, I noticed my tulip tree is blooming and the Carolina Jasmine is budding.
Yes, spring is in the air and I embrace it with passion. I want to wrap my arms around the freshness and beauty of springtime and never allow it to leave me. I cannot wait until the lawn dries out enough so I can rake the leaves, prune the Lantana and watch nature returning again. I haven’t walked on the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge since September 2013. If tomorrow is a reflection of today, I will walk the bridge, finding the freshness of an ocean breeze kissing my face, the warmth of sunshine, and most of all, I will find inspiration again. After all, it is the little things in life than mean the most to me. The scent of aromatic flowers. Roses. Sunshine. Good, loyal friends. A stroll on the beach, and a long walk on the bridge. I can hardly wait to embrace my inspiration tomorrow morning. Life is around me. I must embrace it with open arms!
How are you enjoying these incredible winter storms? I find it interesting that the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia is having temperatures in the high 60’s while the USA is freezing in many locations, including the mild climate of Charleston, SC. Early Wednesday morning at 4:00am, our signature, landmark bridge, Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge was closed due to the inclement weather — ice on the bridge. Today, it is Thursday, my Weight Watchers meeting day and the bridge is still closed; in fact, according to Governor Nikki Haley, it is the only bridge in South Carolina that is still closed.
What is the problem? Why can’t this bridge be opened. SIMPLE! The bridge has two diamond-shaped twin towers with approximately 128 cable stays. On the cables ice is falling onto the bridge. Would you want your car to be at risk due to unguided missiles falling from the cables? I think not. Two weeks ago we experienced this ice situation. Engineers and the SCDOT decided to open the bridge because if and when the cable stays thaw out, the ice will fall away from the roadbed. NOT!
After the bridge opened, the ice thawed, dropping onto several cars. Some of the windshields exploded. One woman reportedly suffered an eye injury when shattered glass fell into her eye. Thank God no one was killed! I can only imagine the lawsuits that will occur.
And so, we the residents of Charleston, SC await to hear the bridge has opened again. Many people are furious about the situation. Well, I’ve said it for years, and I will continue to say it here and in public — the antiquated city of Charleston, SC needs to build more bridges. We are having an amazing growth spell in Charleston now, but with growth we need more roads and that just isn’t happening.
According to news alerts I receive, the bridge is still closed at this moment, due to the ice falling from the cable stays.
I have lived in Charleston for many, many years. I haven’t seen many new roads built, and I doubt they ever will, but we definitely need more bridges. The only way out of Mt. Pleasant into Charleston is thru the I-526 highways, or if you take the back roads, you can travel on Highway 41. Just make certain you have plenty of gas because it is a long way to travel, just to get to your destination. Or, if you are in a hurry — just face the reality of the situation…You are in Charleston, SC — where things move at a slower pace. Yes, I love the city and the beauty, but we really do need to modernize and build more roads.
Somehow I doubt it will happen. People here are still fighting over the cruise ships in the harbor. So, fellow residents if you are looking for a way to cross the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge — just stay home, or take the Charleston Water Taxi, http://www.charlestonwatertaxi.com/
You will not be disappointed. The view from the water taxi is spectacular!
This morning I awoke to a sadness. The news alert on my cell phone read, “Shirley Temple is Dead At 85.” My heart broke.
I raced to my computer to read about Shirley Temple. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtHvetGnOdM
When I was a child, my mother cherished movies with Shirley Temple as the child star. The lovely golden curls. The beautiful dimples and that amazing child star smile. I was envious! My hair was straight. Yes, I have dimples and I have been told by many that I have a ‘beautiful, inviting smile.’ My mother spoke of Shirley Temple as if she was a saint. Occasionally, when a movie was on TV, I watched Shirley Temple, her acting, dancing and singing abilities. I wanted to be a Shirley Temple clone! I danced around the house, singing “Animal Crackers In My Soup,” and other songs.
My mother would laugh and point her finger in my direction. “You are NOT Shirley Temple,” she said. How I wanted to prove her wrong!
I lost my mother questionably in 2002. She was in a nursing home at the time, although I discovered later that she did not die in the nursing home. She was admitted to a hospital and no one contacted me until it was too late. When my sister’s son phoned me to tell me of her passing, the one question he repeated over and over again was:
“Do you think they’ll do an autopsy?”
I was sick on that date with acute bronchial asthma. The doctors prescribed Prednisone, a drug that truly makes me a zombie! The funeral was scheduled for early the next morning. If I had the time to rush to the funeral, I would not make it on time, and I was much too ill to drive. I did not make it to the funeral. When I recuperated, I told my doctor to never prescribe Prednisone to me. I have way too many side effects from it. One day when I was reminiscing about my mother, I remembered the question that echoed inside my mind…”Do you think they’ll do an autopsy?”
I’ve shared that story with several friends. They suggested there must be a reason why my nephew was so concerned. Over the years, that question still rings in my mind.
Today, I reminisce about Shirley Temple and the memories of her movies, singing and dancing rush inside my mind. Shirley Temple made my mother laugh. Something she rarely did. As a small child, I sang, “On the Good Ship Lollipop,” pretending to be Shirley Temple, but my dance moves and my smile did not make my mother smile or laugh. How I wish I could freeze her smile and her laughter and remember it for eternity, but — my mother did not smile often so those memories are gone.
Today, I honor Shirley Temple Black, still wishing I could sing and dance like she did. After my mother’s death, I saw a TV commercial about the Shirley Temple movies. The Little Darling movies could be ordered, just in time for Christmas. http://www.shirleytempletv.com/Default.asp?bhcp=1
How I wish I could order those movies and send them to my mother, but now she is gone. If I ordered them, the sad memories of my childhood would return. I don’t wish to remember those times…only the good times.
Perhaps now I will order those DVD’s — to remember Shirley Temple Black.
Today is a sad day for America. Shirley Temple Black grew up to become an ambassador, a woman to truly admire in a time where women were reportedly reared to ‘be a homemaker, wife and mother.’ Shirley Temple Black had a mission and a purpose. She was an amazingly talented child who became an impressive woman before her time. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/12/arts/shirley-temple-black-screen-star-dies-at-85.html?hpw&rref=movies&_r=0
How I wish I could turn the clock back, to bring my mother back so we could watch the DVD’s “Little Darling” so I could see my mother smile and laugh again…to watch the anger and bitterness she had until her death just disappear — at least for a moment. How I wish I could sing, “Animal Crackers In My Soup,” and pretend I had those adorable curls in my hair.
Rest in peace, Shirley Temple. Thank you for helping my mother to smile and laugh — just once!
“Animal Crackers in my soup…”
Today, according to my headline is “Heart Day.” Perhaps you are a bit curious as to why I say today is Heart Day. Allow me to explain. The morning of February 4, 1998 I awoke, dreading the day. My dad was at Roper Hospital on the 5th floor, fighting desperately and oh so weakly, for his life. Esophageal cancer was trying to take his life. On February 2, of the same year, my husband was rushed to Roper Hospital with suspected heart problems. After a cardiac catheterization procedure, http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cardiac-catheterization/basics/definition/prc-20023050 the cardiologist recommended heart surgery since four of Phil’s arteries were blocked. If my memory is correct, two of the blockages were at 90% or higher. I have to admit, my memory is a bit lacking where the statistics and medical diagnosis during this stressful time. Two of the most significant men in my life were now fighting for their lives.
On the morning of February 4, I remember driving to the hospital, arriving extremely early so I could kiss my dad good morning, and be with my husband during the prepping time for his surgery. What I did…who I was with…discussions…etc…etc… are a cloud of fog inside my brain, but I do remember praying, and I do remember going to the chapel — alone — so I could talk with God…say a prayer and light a candle.
All throughout the day I had friends drop by to see how I was doing. When they wheeled Phil to surgery, I remember walking along the gurney, holding his hand. I forced myself to be strong. “Don’t you dare cry…” I kept saying quietly to myself. “You have to be strong!” I did not have my immediate family with me. My son was out-of-town. Additional family members lived in Georgia, so I could not expect them to be with me. Besides, everything happened so fast. On February 2, I got a phone call at work, from ‘Karen at the doctor’s office.’ Funny, I thought. Why is Karen phoning me when Dad is in the hospital now. When I answered the phone, I discovered Karen was my husband’s doctor’s nurse. She was calling to tell me Phil was rushed to Roper Hospital. “This can’t be happening,” I whispered. “Both of my guys are at the same hospital. This must be a nightmare.”
There was a black cloud hanging over me!
On the date of February 4, as I kissed Phil bye, I wiped a tear from his face. I confess…I’ve never seen this man cry, until that day. I entered the cardiac waiting area. I asked someone where I could get a cup of coffee, recognizing I needed additional caffeine to get me thru this date. I was told we could not bring coffee, drinks of any kind, or snacks into the waiting area. Yes, it was a new, beautiful waiting room, but I ask — have you EVER sat in a waiting room, alone at the moment, without caffeine???
A few minutes passed. A friend joined me. Later, there were more friends…many…so many that if I listed all of them, I am certain I would leave someone out, and I would never want to seem ungrateful.
As the hours ticked away, I continued closing my eyes for a moment, to silently pray. I do remember one prayer. “Please God…I have two of the dearest men in my life fighting for their lives now. Please…God…give us all more time to be together. Please.”
I made a promise to myself. I had total faith that Phil would survive this day, and I intended to make this day — the Fourth of February, a special day for us to remember…February 4 will be our Heart Day.
For many years, I kept that promise, but like all things in life, the demands of life have a way of making us forget. This morning when I awoke I found myself contemplating — February 4…What is it about February 4 that continues to echo in my mind. I stopped for one brief moment, remembering that we lost our precious little Maltese on the 4th of January. Could that be the reason February 4 keeps ringing in my ears and brain?
On the way to get my nails done, the date of February 4 finally clicked! Today is Heart Day! I confess, its been years since I’ve bought a card, or wished Phil a Happy Heart Day, but today was a new day and I promised myself that this date would not slip by without a card, or some silly memento of the occasion. After all, not everyone gets a Heart Day!
Yes, Readers, you might call me silly, or a romantic…or someone who is so unpredictable that she would strive to make the most of something, especially a special day. I confess, I am definitely — silly, romantic, and unpredictable! Today is the 16th anniversary of my husband’s heart surgery. SIXTEEN YEARS! Still, his heart is going…even when he gets in his PTSD rages and I have doubts that he DOES HAVE A HEART. Nevertheless, today is Phil’s Heart Day.
Sitting on top of his computer in a bag is a silly little stuffed animal with a heart and “You Fill My Heart” inscribed. Yes, it’s silly, but what the heck. Isn’t that what life is all about?
Shouldn’t we all take the time to stop…for just one moment to cherish those important moments in our lives? Phil and I did not have a wedding, so getting married wasn’t exactly a precious moment. We’ve lived together for such a long time now that it is hard to remember exactly how L-O-N-G we’ve been married. I say I’ve been married ALL OF MY LIFE because in many ways it is true. I married three months after high school graduation. In all reality, I never had a life until I got married…so it’s no wonder I say, “I’ve been married ALL OF MY LIFE!”
So, for those most significant moments in our lives, we must cherish and strive to appreciate these precious moments, such as ‘Phil’s Heart Day.’
After his heart surgery, I was happy to know that Phil does have a heart. You have to get to know Phil to understand why I say that! Let’s just say, someone who has been to a war zone and saw the horrid things that happen in a combat zone, only helps to almost destroy the person who has seen the emotional scars of war. Phil suffers with PTSD. Yes, he has good days and bad days…but today is Phil’s Heart Day!
Sixteen years of heart surgery…Let’s continue hoping and praying for the best!
Happy Heart Day!
My last post discussed briefly the issues we endured in Charleston, SC during our ‘winter storm.’ If you recall, the ice on the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge was an issue…one the engineers did not believe would be an issue. Statements were made that the ice would melt and not fall on cars. Damage to cars was not an issue — to the engineers.
DUH!?! I ask you, must one have an engineering degree to have just a bit of common sense???
Living in Mt. Pleasant, I drive across the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge almost daily and I hated that it was closed for such a long time, but I did consider that ice on the cable stays might be an issue. Others disagreed with me; however, when the ice began melting and falling from the cable stays, my theory was 100% correct. http://www.live5news.com/story/24599717/ravenel-bridge-shut-down-as-ice-falls-from-diamonds
When the breaking news about the falling ice was reported, cameras on the bridge showed viewers how large and dangerous the ice was. Reportedly, drivers dodged the ice, while other drivers were not so lucky! Photographs revealing shattered windshields and damaged cars demonstrated the danger better than any reporter could.
I phoned my husband who was back at work for the first time since the crippling winter storm. I suggested that he would probably be in another traffic jam on his drive home since the authorities appeared to be scratching their heads about when the bridge would reopen. “Let us use our common sense, people…If the bridge is losing icicles, is it a good idea to reopen until certain the ice has stopped dropping?”
I do hope the engineers, SCDOT, and the authorities learned something about the bridge. Yes, it is beautiful. An amazing landmark for our beautiful city; however, when we have a rare occasion of ice and snow, those cables do freeze and it takes a bit of time for them to drop or melt from the cable stays. I doubt there is a de-ice that could be used. Those cable stays are not exactly easy to heat. Let’s not consider using a blow dryer! Mother Nature must do her job to allow the ice to melt. Perhaps next time a freak but beautiful winter storm comes our way, the authorities will remember the icing issues and keep the bridge closed UNTIL all the ice is melted. We are fortunate that a driver was not killed! Just picture it. You have a car with a sun roof. Ice crashes from the cable stays onto the sun roof. Would the driver actually survive this? I doubt it. The ice would be a missile exploding onto the sun roof, or windshield. We were blessed that God protected the city. All the engineers need is a bit of common sense while recognizing that no one can predict in what direction those icicles will drop. There are approximately 128 cable stays on the bridge. Next time, our city must be prepared. Yes, closing the bridge is an inconvenience; nevertheless, Charleston is not exactly a city known for bridges, or convenience along the roads. It took 10 hours during the last hurricane for my husband and I to drive 57 miles out of the city when we were told we must leave. Yes, I said — ten hours, to drive 57 miles! I love living in Charleston, but I do not like how this city does not plan for the future regarding traffic issues. If you move to Charleston, you must consider when we have storms, we are not as prepared as we should be.
Today, I am happy to report is a beautiful day of sunshine. No doubt the groundhog will see his shadow. Who cares! The weather in Charleston will change. Spring will soon arrive and all will be beautiful again. As for the bridges — only Mother Nature can control them or predict any dangers along the way. Happy and safe driving, Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge drivers!