“The Shinneries”

As I was driving home from work yesterday, I glanced to the right and noticed a small grove of wild plum trees in full, white bloom. Immediately, I was taken back to their sweet fragrance and how the slightest of breeze moved their petals. Many years ago, way northwest of the farm where we lived was a grove of these trees, in the “shinneries” mom would say. “A plum thicket momma called them”. Every summer when they began to ripen, we could be seen traipsing through the fields. Each kid had a pot, pan or some sort of bag. We were most assuredly barefoot, hillbilly acting children usually are. I can still feel the heat of the dirt and sometimes the grass burrs that stuck a little too deep to be rubbed off the bottom of the foot. They weren’t nearly as bad as pulling out a goat head though. Between mom and dad telling us to watch for snakes all the time, it’s no wonder my grand aversion to them. After we had made our trek to the grove of plums, mom would always say “Now watch out for snakes, they like it under these groves”. The thickets were thick, and thorns were everywhere. Mom with her long-sleeved shirt on could reach the higher ones, but the thorns still would go through the shirt. That’s a lot of love when someone gets scratched up like that to give it to someone else. It is a wonderful scenery in my mind right now. Nearly everyone I ever knew is still alive, mom is young, the plums are sweet and as we pick our pots full, our stomachs are as well. “You kids are going to be sick, stop eating all those plums”. Those words fell on deaf ears, but she was nearly always right. When we had eaten our fill and had picked enough plums, we would all follow mom back home, usually three or four little ones and the twins, because the older boys were usually in town doing something for dad. We would get home and mom would dump all the plums in our pots, pans and bags into a wash tub, fill it with water and wash and rinse the plums. After that, she would bring them inside. If not late into the evening, by next morning early, mom was already up boiling those plums. Here we go with another of mothers “receipts”, although I have no clue. (This would be a good place for a bit of trivia. If any of you ever saw Downton Abbey, the kitchen help called recipes “reciepts”. I find it interesting that several of the words and things my mother did definitely came from the old country). I just remember mom lifting the heavy pots, and boiling the plums and the bursting of ruby colored bubbles. She would strain the plums, leaving behind dark red water. That must be what wine looked like I thought. Back on the stove it would go in a big pot to boil some more, with sugar added. She always used something named Sure Gel. All I remember is it helped thicken up the jelly. The girls were up after a little while, all the beds were made, the house was straightened before helping mom. They would put lids on the jars, place them in hot water in a pressure cooker. Somewhere in there I remember some wax being used. Maybe that was my grandmother, hmmm, I’m not so good at “putting up garden goods in a jar”. After X number of jars were in the cooker I remember the lid being twisted on the pressure cooker and a heavy gauge that would whistle was put on top. Steam would come out of the top of it like a steam engine. Oh, the simplicity of life to remember such things that were the delicacy of my life. These may seem menial and even trivial to some, but these memories I see with my eyes closed can’t all make it down on paper. Fleeting memories of smiles, laughs and obedience training to get out of not only the kitchen, but the house in general. Momma taking the jars of jelly to the cellar for later use. The old framed in screen comes into view with that little hooked latch. I remember pulling on the screen. It made a slight slamming noise and here would come one of the twins with a “fly swat” as momma called it to run us off. With all that said, it is these stepping stones of memories that make us who we are, that help us live up to our own expectations and reward others with the joy of potential. If I wanted to be really graphic, mother has sweat on her upper lip and the sides of her hair. Her hands are busy as her mind must be as well. Often mother was busy to keep her mind from thinking too much, for idle hands were the devils workshop you know. All of this just goes to show that children as we were; hear, see and remember more than we realize as adults. One must travel back in time in order not to forget what the future will become.

Copyright @coffeewithcharles.blog (Charles D. Grant)

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One of His Own

Sadly, all cups of morning coffee cannot hold back memories etched and sewn into the heart for a loved one that has passed. This will be an emotional story for some and much shorter than it could be. It is emotional beyond words for me, but one I feel deserves a moment in time. In an earlier blog, I wrote that my sister Brenda was destined to be forever young at the age of 27. The last time I saw her was on Easter Sunday, April 14, 1974, I was 15. I can see my small nephew, not quite six years old dressed in his Easter suit hunting Easter eggs with my baby sister Cindy at the community Easter egg hunt at the city park in Paducah, Texas. David was only six months older than Cindy. Brenda seemed well and was always happy to be with her family, except that she was a little too thin and was four months pregnant. She was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, but the doctors didn’t seem to be alarmed at the time. She was excited to be having another baby and couldn’t wait for my nephew David to have a playmate. My nephew was the love of her life and it is sad that she didn’t get to live long enough to raise him so that he could see with absolute recognition what I write. She and her small family lived in Childress, Texas. Brenda had beautiful straight teeth with a smile that could make the sun go down. None of us knew at the time how lucky we were to have one of God’s own in our presence. But, this day she looked beautiful. It was an era of Marlo Thomas hair. Her hair was a chestnut brown, not quite shoulder length and slightly flipped on the ends with a thick hair band. Her eyes were blue, and her skin was virtually flawless. Isn’t it strange the beauty we are allowed to keep from those who have long since gone? It’s like a ghost that can’t find its way back to them. I’m glad it can’t find its way back to her, for she left such an impression, it is impossible to forget. She was my sister, yet she was my mini-mom too. I miss her. Brenda was a little thing, and although she told everyone she was five feet tall, she still lacked a fraction. So, my last memory of her is one to be cherished. For on Saturday June 29th, 1974 we notice a ritzy looking black car coming down the old dirt road. It was going too fast, with billows of dirt that looked like a sandstorm following it. As it approached the house, we knew it would be no ordinary day. Two men stepped out of the car, all dressed up in what looked to be their Sundays best. They came up to the house, stepped up on the tall, cement porch and told us Brenda had died that morning. We didn’t have a phone, so I guess this was the alternative used to inform people of bad news. Immediately part of our world had ended. The two men returned to their car, their job had been done, only to return about an hour or so later, I’m not sure, it’s been a while. One of the men came to the door and told my dad that Brenda was still alive but was in a grave condition. You see, Brenda was six months pregnant and her gestational diabetes had turned into full-fledged Diabetes Mellitus. I remember staying at home, not going to the hospital. I stayed home I suppose with the younger brothers and little sister. Rodney was never told he was her favorite, but we all knew he was. That was ok, she always had plenty of herself to go around, besides, going to the hospital wasn’t somewhere we needed to be. The story goes like this, Brenda awoke that morning feeling really bad. Her husband had already gone to work. Brenda called her sister n law and asked her to take her to the ER. Why she waited in the ER so long has always been a mystery, for she walked in, but didn’t get to walk out. As she was admitted into the hospital, she slipped into a diabetic coma, a darkness that had no light switch to turn on. After mom and dad got to the hospital, Brenda lived about eight more hours. She didn’t have the chance to say goodbye and neither did we.  David will never know the void she left and how much space her little body took up in our lives and hearts. It will soon be 44 years; the closure has not completely come, and I still hear I Don’t Know Who Holds Tomorrow nearly every day. “Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand- But I know who holds tomorrow And I know who holds my hand”. These are the words I know Brenda tells us in the stillness of her memory. When we say the old or ill see the light to Jesus, I know part of that light is her, I just know it! What Brenda gave us when she left was the ability to accept loss, the ability to rebound from the unimaginable and the necessity to always say “I love you one more time”. I love you Brenda!

Copyright @coffeewithcharles.blog (Charles D. Grant)

Move!

For those who know me, know I am not afraid of many things. Many things I respect but do not fear, like stray dogs, wild animals or spiders. However, as this story progresses, it will leave little to your imagination as to what my cause for trepidation is. I remember being about ten years old, it was morning, probably mid-morning. Dad had several of those old metal rocking chairs around the shade trees. I remember I had moved one in the sun and for whatever reason, I had Randy in the rocker with me, just sitting, rocking and chilling. Randy is about two years old and starts saying a word that just sends chills all over me, a chill that is hard for Steven Spielberg to do. To my horror and ultimately to his, there is a huge snake about 10, maybe 15 feet behind our chair. I am in some type of paralysis, except the blood curdling scream resounding from my mouth. I am sure it was heard from every rooftop within 30 miles. Out of the house comes my mother to see what the problem is. Of course, she sees the snake and in just a flash she is outside with my dads 22 rifle. I don’t think the woman had ever shot a gun before, much less knew where it was. Before the story gets remotely interesting or funny, one must know where I have sat the chair. There are two 1957 Ford Fairlane’s directly in the line of fire of the 22 rifle. They were my dad’s. One of them was black and white, the other was solid black. Now, I don’t know what I’m more afraid of, the huge snake that’s about to come and devour me and my baby brother, or the wild-eyed woman holding that rifle, because she sure didn’t look like Annie Oakley. As mother starts screaming for me to move, get out of the chair and get away with the baby, my emotional stress and dilated pupils are on high alert. As I hear the first gun shot, I’m out of that chair in a flash, headed to heaven, I don’t know, but I’m gone. A couple of more rounds are heard, and Buddy comes from the south side of the house screaming at mom. Finally, the savior has arrived again. Buddy finally got the rifle out of mom’s hands. He shot the snake, but way to late to do CPR on those cars. She had shot the tail lights out of one of them. She hit the gas tank in the other one, and it had a hole shot  through the back bumper of the black and white one. If you have not guessed it, yes, snakes are to be revered by me. At this point, I’m just glad we’re all alive. None the less, dad was less than accepting of the excuse that I was afraid of the snake, and even more agitated that his cars had been blown up. Dad was lucky there were windows and tires left on them. I’m sure when my older brothers read this, if they do, those old memories will return. I had a revelation in 2015 about my yard. Late one night we had let the dogs out to do what dogs do outside, when our little dachshund is jumping backwards and high. I could hear it, the fear before the snake. It was rattling like a dozen maracas needless to say. It was dark outside. I glanced for the snake but did not see it, nor did I want to, so we are back inside in an instant, no more dogs out for the night. I used to always have flower beds, pretty ones. I would spend a small fortune on my lawn every year, etc. Well, the morning after the incident with the rattler, out came all the lawn equipment I could find, and except for the vines that grow on the fences around my house, every flower, shrub, undergrowth or semblance of ground cover was mowed down, chopped down and thrown out, all the while looking for the snake. I’m sure it would have all gotten done a lot faster if they didn’t play hide and seek. The first year looked more like a nuclear blast had hit my yard rather than a well-intentioned change in scenery. I have a few potted plants that I bring in every fall now. And yes, I am afraid one will crawl in the pot, but that’s about as green as it gets at my house. I have hope that one day I will have grass I want to mow and a flower bed I want to clean out, but for now, my potted plants are working just fine for me. It may be sad to say, but for me, the only good snake is a dead one. Yes, I know the environmentalist don’t like that kind of talk, just look what it’s done to the Everglades. The only moral to this story I suppose is, move when momma says move!

Copyright @coffeewithcharles.blog (Charles D. Grant)

The Best Guy I Know

My younger brother Randy has been on my mind and on my heart lately. He is a great man, although in his 50’s now, I still wanted to call him a great, young man. Ever since I can remember, from the day he was born, Friday August 5, 1966 and brought home on that stormy Saturday morning, he has been a great brother, the best! He makes me proud. We already knew he was a boy, because Linda couldn’t keep her big mouth shut. LOL. She takes great pride in sharing her name with him. His middle name is Lynn, of course after her. From an early age, Randy wanted to be in the middle of everything we did, he wanted to learn everything and so it is today, there is not much he cannot do. I am the older brother and often, I am the one going to him asking questions. I remember he had bluest eyes for a baby we had ever seen. Randy was and is a kind man, and a peace keeper. He holds a temper well, when most of us do not. Being the last son, he had a lot of watching to do. Several short memories come to mind when he was a little boy. Besides being a baby, the first memory that comes to mind is; Keep in mind we had a lot of hogs at our farm. We had an electric fence that went almost around the whole thing. The fence was probably about 12-16 inches off the ground. One evening, late while feeding the pigs, we hear the shrillest scream we had ever heard. Running toward the scream, it was Randy, little bitty boy, still in a diaper. He had tried to follow us out to feed the pigs. From watching us straddle the fence to get to the other side he had also tried and of course couldn’t make it. He had one leg over and the fence was shocking him every few seconds. I remember running to him, jerking him off that hot-wire fence. He grabbed me tight and all I could think of was how much that must have hurt. I have been bitten by the hot-wire many times, but have never been straddled across one like that, needless to say, I don’t think he ever did that again. However, there was nothing that boy wouldn’t try to do. I was afraid he was going to be a pyromaniac. Every time dad started a fire to burn the trash, wood or anything, Randy was there. It hypnotizes him, and he loves it today. I had written in a former blog about running to the neighbor’s house to use their phone to call dad because he had gotten burned. What he did was to drop a struck match in a gas can, the flames billowed out and burned his arm pretty bad, as well as his face. Again, even though dad had been called, he wasn’t taken to the doctor. Back then we were told to run cold water over it and use butter on burns, well I understand that’s not the thing now. Changing gears, a little; every Saturday, Randy was up and ready to go to work with my dad, he absolutely loved it. I guess that’s why he’s a diesel mechanic today. Randy loves his grill and can be seen often cooking on it, using mesquite or pecan wood. He is an awesome cook and believe it or not can make the best pecan pie in Cottle county. When I see my brother, I still see that little boy, that little boy that grew to be a wonderful man, husband and father. Those are his two most passionate hobbies, to be a husband and father. He is soon to be a grandfather, he will be awesome! He’s not too fond of being made over, but I felt the need to let everyone know what a great child he was, the man he is and what an even greater role model he is, not only for the young, but for me as well. Without a doubt, he is the best guy I know.

Copyright @coffeewithcharles.blog (Charles D. Grant)

It’s a Wonder I Lived to be Grown

Who has never had the flu? No one that I know of. All the hyped-up remedies and prescriptions they have us taking now is for the birds, there are too many to count. How many of you took the flu shot this year? I did and have for years. I have been fortunate during my almost sixty years to be afflicted with little sickness. But if the flu “this” year counts, I thought I was a goner. Mine started out as just a whisper of a cough and a slight heaviness in my chest, nothing to give me a clue about what I was to encounter in a few more days. I know I called on Jesus to take me home at least three times a couple of weeks ago when I had it. I don’t think I hurt as bad as I did for those three painful days in my life. It felt as if someone was pulling me apart, slowly had they attached my ankles and wrist to pullies and began pulling slowly.  The pain started as deep, uncomfortable, but bearable. After a day or two, it was as if every joint in my body was screaming and the fever was unreal, 103.4 on the worst day. Too late for the docs to do anything about it. I could not get warm, even with a heated blanket and blankets atop of that. The residual days were bearable, but still took about two weeks to feel half-way human. I said all this because when I was a kid, we got smeared from head to toe with Vick’s Vaporub when the first cough of the season started. I can still feel the mini-moms rubbing Vick’s all over my chest, and my back, just to have mom come along and stick globs of it up our nose in our mouths and rub our feet with it at night when we went to bed. Covering our heads with towels over boiling water to breathe in the steam. I guess the vaporizer is a great invention, especially since one can add the Vicks to that as well.  Other medication in the cabinet was that nasty, black draught syrup, God help us all if anyone was constipated. When Spring time, it didn’t matter, if you had them, knew what they were, how you got them or not, you got pin worm medicine. Daddy made sure of that every year, which reminds me of a time when little sister Cindy came in the house with purple slobber all around her mouth.  Mom and Dad where frantic trying to figure out what she had gotten in to. When finally, little brother Randy told dad she had been in his car and had gotten the worm pills out of the car pocket. I guess she thought they were sweet, none the less, she lived through it. Mom always had a bottle of Bayer, baby aspirins in the cabinet. They were orange and we liked them, sometimes just for the heck of it because they were sweet. My dad didn’t believe in going to the doctor, one would have to be almost dead to go. Anyway, this story is gross, just so you know. One of my uncles used to keep some of his pigs on our farm. Since we lived out there, we usually took care of them for him. One afternoon, Buddy and I were feeding my uncles hogs. He had a small barn with his feed stored there. To have known us back then, we were always barefooted. Anyway, I step in the little barn to grab a bucket to start feeding when I stepped on a double-edged axe. My left foot was sliced wide open, I can see the blood running everywhere. There is no telling what that old axe had on it to get an infection from, but that’s not the half of it. There was an old tin cattle trough used to water the pigs. Inside it was mossy, pretty much green and probably had wiggle tails in it (baby mosquitoes), which were probably the least of my worries. Buddy runs over, helps me to that old trough, sticks my bloody foot in that gross, probably stagnated water and began to remove the blood. I remember he took off his shirt, wrapped my foot with it and helped me hobble back to the house. It was about a quarter of a mile from the house. I get home and my mother is livid. I was afraid to see her, because I knew what the remedy for that was. She took me outside, washed it out with the water hose, it was still bleeding profusely. After rinsing and rinsing, here comes the bottle of rubbing alcohol, talk about anticipating the worse, it was! Mom packed it the best she could and wrapped it real tight, blood was still trying to come through the home-made bandage. Not long after the incident, dad is home from work and mom tells him that she thinks I need to go and have some stitches put in my foot. Dad takes me outside and Oh My GOD! He takes out the packing and shoves my foot into the sand. “Now it will stop bleeding”. Of course, after a while, it did stop bleeding. I can look on the bottom of my left foot and still sport a tightened scar, one that I can still feel when I walk because of the way it healed. I guess I was one prone to accidents, because I was the one that always seemed to test the fate of Tetanus. Again, probably that summer, I was climbing over a wooden fence inside one of the pig pins “of course a nasty pig pin” and a nail that was sticking straight through on the other side of the board, tore a whole in my left inner thigh, I still sport a widened scar there too. This isn’t to mention the time when I was four years old, I was climbing on top of the cabinet to get a glass to get a drink of water, when I slip into the sink with that glass in my hand, breaking it and slicing my right hand to the bone. Sliced badly enough that mom ran me from the house where we lived to the clinic. I can still feel her holding me tight and feel the jog as she is running. I can still hear her heavy breathing and out of breath talk she is giving to Dr. Pate. Today, and for the last 55 years the right side of my right hand is paralyzed with the inability to even bend my right pinky finger. I guess that could be a good thing since I’m 48% British, and none would be the wiser if I liked to drink tea from a cup. LOL….. Sometimes, I wish it had been removed, but oh well, it’s just a reminder of youth now and occasionally continues to poke me in the eye when I’m combing my hair. To end this blog on a somewhat funnier note, for you all, not for me, especially at the time. My dad used to raise game chickens (fighting roosters), illegal today and probably was then too. Anyway, I was to go gather eggs in this hen house, separate from the regular chickens. Now, here’s the fun part for y’all. I come running out of the hen-house as fast as I went in, for one of the fighting roosters has decided I am his target for a fight. I wish I could have this on film as it is in my mind. This rooster is on top of my head, flogging the begeebies out of my forehead, blood running down my face, into my eyes when thankfully, along comes Buddy, seemingly my savior in misadventure. I am running, and this darn chicken is on my head. Buddy is trying to knock it off of my head with a stick. Can you even imagine? This must have made for some great comic relief somewhere, but of course I bear the scars from that as well, right in the middle of my forehead. I lived, the rooster lived, and I can still see Buddy today with a stick chasing me with a rooster on my head. I guess it’s a wonder I lived to be grown.

Copyright @coffeewithcharles.blog (Charles D. Grant)

Mother’s Candy Cake

I wish I had a piece of my mom’s candy cake right now. I’m watching as she takes out her ingredients. Its art really. The table is her easel her hands the paint brush. I’m little, I don’t really understand how its made, only that it is wonderful. She stands at the table, all 5 feet 5 of beautiful, my mom. As always, her natural curly hair coiffed just right, her nose powdered and her lipstick on. As I watch, I can still see her gentle hands with the pointed fingernails as they crack a couple of eggs in a bowl, while adding other things from her palette to make it colorful, often using food coloring to make different colors for her layered candy cake. I can still see her wrap hard candies, peppermints, jolly ranchers, and butterscotch into a towel, take it outside on the porch and beat it with a hammer until the candy was broken into little chips. Adjusting her easel, she empties the contents of her towel into the bowl of blue batter. I see specks of all colors of hard candy inside the batter. As she makes another colored layer to her cake I see the muscles in her upper arm contract and relax as she beats and folds in the candy. What mesmerized me was that after the cake was done, the candy had melted into the cake and became gooey and never hardened again, it was scrumptious. I see the old, round cake pans she is using, they are floured and there is a metal handle built in to the pan or something. It can be turned  360 degrees to unstick the cake from the pan when it’s done, before turning it upside down. How cool is that? This was artwork at its finest. After about three layers of cake she begins to make a frosting, sometimes just a simple sugar syrup made by boiling water and adding sugar, letting it condense down with a little vanilla and then pour it over the cake while it was hot. Sometimes she would make a caramel-like icing. The skillet is cast iron, again dark from use. She pours in, I don’t know how much sugar. My brothers, and I would watch it melt. As it began melting, mom would add butter and milk, made from powder to it. While we watched it boil, she would stir it over and over, so it wouldn’t seize up. The sweets she could make sometimes were outrageous, and the candy cake was a beautiful piece of art. I can see her slicing the cake with the over-sized butcher knife, putting the pieces into mix match saucers. The colors from her canvas coming to life with swirls of, yellow, green, white, blue, orange and more. With mouths watering, mom finally says it is cool enough to eat. She has made a gallon of milk from the dry powdered milk we used to get from the basement of the court house, from the government commodities issued once a month, but that’s a different story. I have not had a piece of that candy cake in years now, since mom has been gone. Nothing I have eaten or tried to make has tasted like hers, I don’t suppose anything ever will. I know my sister Cindy has the recipe (or receipt) as mom called it, written in my mother’s hand and if anyone could come close to replicating that masterpiece, it would be her. When you have a mom, everything is perfect. I know mine was for me. So many thoughts, feelings, pictures and feelings rush home to me, the tranquil spirit she exuded, the safety of her little house as we became grown. No where could you fall to sleep faster than moms. Her bright light still shines in memory and mind and in my heart’s window. I’m startled from my trance as the dog starts to bark, remembering I am not there, but it felt as though I was. Maybe my dog thought so too. I could feel her presence as she talked to me in my daydream. I felt her muss my hair as she did so often and said “now go out and play”. My eyes are open now, my visitor gone, leaving behind the lingering smell of Mother’s Candy Cake.

Copyright @coffeewithcharles.blog (Charles D. Grant)

The Prelude

It is my hope that the stories, nostalgic memoirs and struggles I tell of my life are somehow relatable to all who read them. For some it will instill a more patient, tender heart and make some more appreciative of the life they lead and were given. Maybe it will let them know the sacrifices their past gave for them in some small way, not to have had to experience the unrealistic sound of realism I write. I want those who had a materialistic view of life to realize that all relationships were not as dysfunctional as mine. I understand that no family is perfect and in no way am I trying to diminish the struggles you, the readers have been through, for you are the only one who knows your story. It is my intent to let you know that things are and can be ok. My childhood was a season in my life that took many revolutions of the sun to turn into Spring. I suppose this story should have been the prelude to understanding my life’s journey. When I write of nostalgia, it is just that, for nostalgia is a time that I long for and I miss. Writing about a memory could mean different things, a tale of feeling the impending doom that obsessed me as a child, from fear of either not being good enough, being looked over, passed over, or being the rotten apple in the basket. But, life has been good to me, despite weathering many storms. It has taught me to look forward, to live and to forgive. No, I am not, nor will I ever be a saint. Have I always made good decisions? Absolutely not. Has the past affected the panoramic view I have of society and people? Yes, without a doubt. Panoramic because maybe I didn’t take the time to know you, the time to understand your problems were deeper than the surface. When we take a panoramic view of life, we only see the surface, not what made you or me how and who we are. I have been shown the good when I couldn’t see it myself, through others. I have been knocked down by the ignorant, intolerant, entitled brats of my childhood as many of you have, only now to recognize their life’s pressures that show the strain of life’s struggles through their actions, change in lifestyles and the dents they display on their once familiar, immortal chassis. I speak of my childhood, my brother’s, sister’s and parents often. They are the base and pillar of my existing memory, for they were always the constant in my life. As I see less days ahead of me than behind, I honor their sacrifice, as menial as it might have seemed yesterday, as monumental to me in the present. Many were the day that the black cloud hovered over our house, became what seemed stationary and then moved on, just to return with more effort in each of us to endure and compartmentalize. Compartmentalize because as a child there is nothing left to do but to accept this is life, a life that cannot be changed without learning a behavior and self-belief in that one day the stifling soot left behind can be lifted, if not through someone, through one’s self. For during my life as a child, I’m sure I was called every name ever written that a poor kid could be called. Words that cannot be unsaid by people you thought would never say them. But more than that remembering the look of disgust on their face because in their minds, they felt as though their life was grander in the scheme of things than mine. Now, don’t read anything into this story that wasn’t written, there is no room for feeling sorry, or poor things they had it so hard. Because, my siblings and I are a testimony to the test of faith and belonging to a clan that lifts one another up when their down. I am on top of the world. I have a nuclear family and we possess more compassion for life and what’s in it than many people can absorb. I don’t miss the subtle things anymore, I read the signs of life and struggles easily, as if my second language. They are written in my soul and I am thankful for that. I am certainly no mystic or fortune teller, but once educated in life’s negative forces, they are easily seen in others. I come from a family that is positive, strong and able to ignore those negative forces; these attributes I gladly leave as a legacy.

Copyright @coffeewithcharles.blog (Charles D. Grant)