Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Letter to Danny - December 31, 2011

Hello :

Happy New Year Darling.  I never would have dreamed last year at this time as we were enjoying having our family over and celebrating the New Year that this year it would be without you

My mind is traveling back to December 31, 1972.  I had been to Albertsons and picked up food for that night.  It was while I was shopping that the labor pains started.  At about 12:35 the morning of January 1, 1973 our Rainee was born.  We had decided to name her Rainee because I loved the rain so much.  It was also ironic that it was raining that morning.  It was after we were home from the hospital and were watching "A Star is Born" that we decided to have her middle name be "Content" after the Susan Hayward character.  She would later tell her friends that we were hippies and that is why we named her so.  Unfortunately, she was not the first baby born so we did not get any prizes.....except for her.

There was another "first" that year.  You changed your first diaper. didn't really change it.   You had Shannon change it for you but you were the one who's not didn't supervise......Oh well,  You tried honey.

You probably didn't know that something you said last year meant the world to me. One day when I came home from work you said "I don't know how you ever did it; taking care of all of our kids and the house and doing my books for me too."  Thank you Honey for recognizing what I did.

I have to admit to you though Honey that taking care of our kids was never a problem for me.  I was so blessed to be able to stay home and be with them.  I was only able to do that because of how hard you worked for us all.

I have no idea what this year is going to bring.  I will continue to pray for the health and safety of our family and that God will help us all to do those things that He would like us to do.

My prayers will still be for you too Honey; that wherever you are, whatever you are doing that God will bless you also.  And my Darling, if it is possible, please watch out for us too.

My love will be with you throughout this New Year


Far Beyond the 12th of Never.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Letter to Danny - December 30, 2011

My Darling:

Not all memories are good.

I recall the words, thrown from my mouth like daggers cutting the air...finding their target...the one I loved the most in life.

It matters not at this time if they were said in anger, or hurt or frustration only that they were said.  And now they boomerrang,; coming back to slice across my mind and my heart.

Words.  Is there anything more powerful?  Joined together they create love songs or they create heartache.  Once they find their way onto the air, they cannot be taken back.  Their meaning holds the power to build or destroy. 

If God would grant me one wish my love it would be this, that I might be able to erase all words of untruth and hold steadfastly to those where truth is born and survives...that being that I love you Danny.  I will find comfort in knowing that love stories are comprised of words and in the end, ours was just that.

Far Beyond the 12th of Never

My Jewels

And as I prepared to leave the pre-existence, I gazed upon my Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother knowing that it would be a mortal life time before I again came back to the comfort of Their love.

"But" I said, "You know how it hurts me to be along.  I am afraid."

It was then my Heavenly Father laid within my hands seven jewels.  Their radiance outshined the stars in the heavens.

"These are yours my child."  my Heavenly Father said.  "With them you will never be alone."

And then my Heavenly Mother took the jewels and placed them in the spirit of my being and they came to rest just below my heart.

"Now go my daughter."  I was told.  "Know that at a time foretold, each of these jewels will be born of love and you will recognize each as Our gift to you.

Jewel # 1 - Susan

And as foretold, my jewels came and she was lovely.  A complicated gift of God, so full of life, so full of love, so mystical that she even scares herself at times; so knowing that she has a special purpose on this earth that she grows impatient to wait as we all must do, to be molded by God's great plan until we are what we started out to be.

She gives love.  She is beautiful and I am not alone.

Jewel # 2 - Shannon

An image of myself is born; full of bubbles ready to burst in laughter.  She makes me feel warm inside; and with that warmth I feel peace.   I look at her and I feel as though I have a special chance to be the things I have not yet nor ever might be.

Through her I shall live forever.  She gives me "me" and I am not alone.

Jewl # 3 - Daren

Oh precious jewel, you are composed of so many things I do not understand; Full of desires I shall never know except by you unpon this earth.  And so I am given a gift by you, to seek out those things of which I know nothing.  Because of you I will gain wisdom.  How blessed I am to wear such a jewel in my crown.

I feel your strength and I am not alone.

Jewel # 4 - Sheree

Full of sweetness she is.  So ready to express the abundance of love she feels inside.  There is no pretense.  She is what she is and I learn from her to like myself.  She will fill my soul forever with love and honesty  She is here and I am more alive.

I feel her joy and I am not alone.

Jewel # 5 - Mark

Oh precious, undemanding jewel.  You teach me patience.  How many times you have waited silently.  But presense can be felt through silence as can strength.  You are there and I feel the presense of your being.

Your gift of patience I accept wtih love.

And I am not alone.

Jewel # 6 - Rainee

Oh precious one, so full of energy, so full of life, so ready to run life's race before the gun goes off.  You make me feel alive.  Your confidence is catching and through you I feel nothing is impossible.  You're full of smiles and expectations  You give me hope that the best of life is yet to come.

And I am not alone.

Jewel # 7 - Haley

Jewel full of tenderness.  How much wisdom hides behind those still young eyes.  Understanding without words, you know what fills another's heart.  You are wise and teach me that wisdom does not necessarily come from the age of one's life--but the age of one's soul.  Your wisdom I accept with love.

And I am not alone.

Yes, as foretold, my jewels came one by one.  My preciouls gifts carried within my being from a pre-existence hidden beyond the veil.  Each came and each gave to me things that without them I would nevern have known.  How precious they are.

And I am not alone.

A Letter to Danny - December 29, 2011

 Hello Honey:

The new year is just about here leaving the old in the past once more.  Remember last year we had all of our Alaska children and grandchildren at our house enjoying Jereme's prime rib and crab legs.  After dinner we gathered outside, bundled in quilts watching Jereme set off fireworks.  I had no idea that this year I would be without you.  If only I had held you tighter, smiled more and told you over and over how very proud I was of you.

"If" is for children spinning daydreams" though.  "If Only" deepens the void I feel inside.  So I will push what should have been to the back of my mind and think of what was.

We had decided many years ago that New Year's Eve would be spent at home.  We would have seafood and steaks and watch TV until the ball fell in Time Square.  That tradition is now practiced by our kids as they too like to spend their New Year's Eve in the comfort and safety of  their own homes. 

Remember Honey when our kids had married and left home and I decided that instead of spending Christmas Eve with us as they had always done, they might like to stay home with their own families instead.  So we had our family Christmas party on the 22nd of December to allow for it. 

Christmas Eve came around and Daren called and asked "What are you and Dad going to do tonight?"  I told him that we were just going to stay at home and he said "Well maybe we'll come over and join you." 

I told him that would be great and in just a few minutes the phone rang again.  It was Mark.  "What are you and Dad doing tonight?"  He asked.

"Well."  I responded "we are just going to be here at home.  Daren, Andie and the kids said they were going to come over. 

"Well maybe Dawna and I will come over too."  He replied.  The phone rang.  It was Rainee.  She said she and Shane and their kids would be over too.  When I hung up, I called the rest of the kids and told them our Christmas Eve was on.  So that year......we had two family Christmas parties. 
As we were gathered in the family room that night, you leaned over to me and smiling, said "I thought we were going to have a quiet evening at home."

Didn't the years go by fast, Honey?  I remember Daren and Mark falling asleep behind the Christmas tree when they were little, hoping they would catch Santa.  (Mark said he and Daren are going to try it again some day.....he just said that the other day.)

"Once upon a time
a boy with moonlight in his eyes,
put his hand in mine,
and said he loved me so.
But that was once upon a time.
Very long ago.

Once upon a time
we sat beneath the willow tree,
counting all the stars
and waiting for the dawn.
But that was once upon a time
now the tree is gone.

Once upon a time
the world was sweeter than we knew.
Everything was ours
how happy we were then.
But somehow once upon a time
never comes again."

I love you Darling.

Longer than the 12th of Never.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Mansion of Manor Hill

Majestically it towered
upon spacious Manor Hill.
There in all it's glory
it stood, gallant, bold and still.

The very best was used to build it,
at not one expense was spared,
from its massive marble staircase
to its chrystal chandeliers.

There within its mighty pillars
there was but one man left alone
to abide in all its glory
in this mansion made of stone.

Down along the "south side";
the wrong side of the tracks,
there stood a little three room house
not much more than a shack.

But there within its rail-tied walls
was a family some called poor.
They had furniture of orange crates,
beds of blankets on the floor.

But the joy of childrens' laughter
that through love had given birth,
made this little shack a mansion
a part of heaven here on earth.

While within the mighty pillars
where only loneliness would dwell
turned the gracious mansion of Manor Hill
into a living hell.

So fill your home with love and laughter
and on this you can rely,
you'll hold far greater treasures
than all the wealth on earth can buy.

Susie Whiting
Copyright 1980

A Letter to Danny - December 28, 2011

Hello Honey:

I was just talking to your old friend Gary Clayton.  He has been so kind to call and email me his memories of you.

As he was talking tonight, he told me about a trip you took with him, Dennis Sorensen and Kenny Johnson.  He said all of you decided to go deer hunting above Bridal Veil Falls up Provo Canyon.  The hike up included climbing across the face of Bridal Veil.  He said that if you looked down from where you four were climbing, the cars looked as big as pin heads.  He said you had made it across the face of the falls which consisted of climbing over frozen shale; one bad step and you probably would have fallen to your deaths. 

Gary said his memory of you that day has stayed with him for over forty-five years.  You made it across, but as Dennis Sorensen started across, he froze; unable to move forward or to move back.  But Gary remembered what you did.  You kept calling out words of encouragement to Dennis along with your advise on how he should place his feet and how he should proceed across the frozen shale.  You kept telling him you knew he could make it. He did and your hunt was a memorable one.   You probably didn't know at the time that your words of encouragment and advise would stay embedded in Gary's memory for the next four decades. 

As I listened to Gary's story, I pictured you being wherever it is you are now.  You have crossed over the frozen shale of death and I know you are calling out to me words of encouragement as I stand frozen in place by my grief of losing you.  In my times of a quiet mind, I will listen to your promptings of encouragement and I will listen for your words of love.

I love you Darling.

Longer than the 12th of Never.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Letter to Danny- December 27, 2011

Hello Honey:

It's seven in the morning and I have been awake for some time now thinking of you.  You are the first thing on my mind in the morning and the last thought of my day. 

I think I have learned more of life since your passing a month ago than I have learned before.  I always felt I was a spiritual person, but losing you has put me to the test.  Grief is the price one pays for loving.  I know that the grief I feel will never go away.  I will just need to become stronger to bear the weight of it.  I will become stronger Honey because it would be such a disservice to your memory for me to do anything else. 

I believe one of the greatest "healers" in dealing with grief is the ability to forget.  If one doesn't remember the good times, one will not mourn  them.  If one does not remember wrongs done, one will not have regrets.  It is as if one could have a spritual amnesia.  Unfortunately, I have a wonderful memory.  I don't want to sacrifice those memories for the sake of grieving less for it is afterall those memories that are the remnant of our life together, of the love we shared.

I believe Darling that God in his infinite wisdom planned for our prayers to be heard.  How many times did you say to me "How does God hear and answer all the prayers put out by all the people of the world?"  I told you I believed God had His way and I believe He utilizes our loved ones who have gone before us.

I believe that it is our loved ones that hear our prayers there and work with us in this life to overcome the obstacles that we must overcome to obtain spiritual growth.  With this belief, I feel you are still with me.  You are there to help me during this time of need and through whatever times I will need you in the future.  Honey, do you realize what comfort that gives me.  For I can think of no one I can depend upon as much as I can you.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are there, in my corner.  I know you will not give up on me.  I know that you will not allow me to be less than I can be.  I know that you will attack this new job of yours the same way you attacked everything in this lifetime.  You will stay focussed, diligent and you will not walk away from me or our children.  It all makes perfect sense to me now. 

How can I or our children not succeed spiritually when you have our backs?

I love you Darling.

Far Beyond the 12th of Never.   

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Susie Story - In the Pre-Existence

The pre-existence was a lovely place and not one I was anxious in leaving, although I knew according to "The Plan" that was what I was about to do.  I dug my heals into the clouds resisting departure.  I heard that humans said that "eyes were the windows to the soul".  Well there in the pre-existence eyes were not necessary because there I stood with my soul in plain view, clearly relaying the fact that I did not want to leave, that I was fearful....that I did not want to go alone.

As my Heavenly Father and Elder Brother approached me, I didn't try to hide my fears.  It's no use trying to hide anything from Them.  Without speaking, They understood my fears and were compassionate towards this weak spirit.

"You don't seem to be ready."  My Heavenly Father said, seeing my hands clenched into a tight ball.

"Not really."  was all my quivering voice could respond.

"You fear being alone.  Don't you?"  My Heavenly Father said as he stretched out His hand and placed it on my shoulder.

"One's not a good number."  I said.  "It's a very lonely number."

They looked at each other with such compassion, but I also noted a glimmer of humor.  Just then I felt a hand slide into mine.

I looked to my right and standing next to me was a beautiful spirit.  She stood poised and confident and she squeezed my hand.  I responded by squeezing hers.

Holding onto her other hand was another beautiful spirit.  I glanced at her and instantly saw a replica of myself.  I looked down to see her heels dug deeply into the clouds.  She smiled at me and I returned her smile as she looked to her right.  I followed her glance.

Holding on to her hand was a tall, handsome spirit.  He stood tall and protective and you could tell at once how very much he loved the spirits he was with. He was ready to protect them.

He glanced to his right as he held the hand of another beautiful spirit.  She was a calm spirit full of love and knowing.  She smiled at me and I returned once more the smile.  She glancned to her right and there stood another handsome, stalwart spirit. 

He was tall and one could tell instantly, filled with integrity.  He stood as did the first male spirit ready to protect those he loved.  He looked to his right and beheld another beautiful spirit.

She was so full of energy, it was all she could do to stand still.  Her long hair floated in the heavenly breeze.  Holding onto her hand was the seventh beautiful little spirit.

She was a nervous little one....battling a weak stomach.

"Would you feel better if they went with you?"  My Heavenly Brother asked.

I counted....1-2-3-4-5-6-7.  "Seven's a good number."  I replied. 

A small laugh escaped my Heavenly Father.

The love I felt for the seven beautiful spirits was more than I could have imagined.  "I would be so happy to have them go with me."  I said.

With that, my Heavenly Father embraced me and whispered in my ear.

"Go then.  For they will soon follow.  There is another spirit already waiting for you on earth.  He is a good man.  He will love you completely.  He will take good care of you."

He looked into my eyes and with a glint of humor said.  "He thinks you're coming alone."

A Letter to Danny - December 26, 2011

Hello Honey:

Christmas Eve was full of family.  Susan, Rainee and their families gathered at Mark's house for lots of food.  You know how our family get togethers are.  I always worry there will not be enough food and we always end up with an abundance.  Sheree and her family stayed home in Idaho.  Our Alaska kids all gathered at Haley's for prime rib and crab legs.  Remember how much we enjoyed that same meal when we were there on New Years and then set off fireworks over the frozen Salcha River?

I made it through the day alright but when everyone went home and I was alone with my own thoughts, I had a melt down missing you so much. 

You know what the one thing I miss most about you is?  I miss looking into your eyes.  I miss having you look back at me and being able to see your love, frustration, and yes even anger there in your eyes.  How many times have I looked into them over the last fifty years.  I never realized then that I would be missing that ability so much now.  It's strange; all the little things we take for granted.  I miss the way you pulled your pants up around your waist when they slipped down, how you would straighten your hat and how you would inevitably button your shirt wrong each time you put it on.

The other day, I slipped on one of your shirts, rolled up the sleeves and went about doing housework.  After a while I looked in the mirror and sure enough....I had it buttoned wrong. 

I know, my love, that you are now enjoying your garden in paradise; the garden grown from the seeds you sowed while on this earth.  While I spend so much of my time grieving for you, I know that I am not a victim.  I am simply a student.  I am learning the lessons I need to learn resulting from your passing.  I will admit my Darling that there are days I would just like to drop out of it quits.....not get the diploma.  I would just like to lie down and wait for you to come and get me but we both know I won't do that.  For one thing, I can't do that to our children and our grandchildren.  They expect more and deserve more than that from me.  And for another thing, I know you would be very disappointed in me if I did not live the rest of my life to the best of my ability. 

So many times over the past two years, you have told me how proud you were of me for my strength.  You have told me that my mom (Mother McCree to you) would be proud of me. 

Honey, it is so hard to be strong right now.  It was much easier being strong when I had you to come home to.  But you are there waiting for me to come home aren't you Darling?  That is how I will make it through this.  I'm not really home now.  I will be staying with our children knowing that you are still there at home waiting for me.  When I think of it that way, I believe I can make it.

And so my Darling, the rules still stand.  You have to have the dishes done by the time I get home so when I get there I can fix dinner.  You know how I hate trying to fix dinner when there are dirty dishes in the sink.  And yes honey, the first meal I will fix for you will be tacos...."No one makes tacos like grandma's tacos."  You would tell the kids. 

I love you so much Honey

Until the 12th of Never

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Letter to Danny- December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Darling.

Again today I did as I did once forty-eight years ago:  I drove along listening to "I'll Have a Blue Christmas Without You.  I couldn't help the tears that fell so I reached across to your side of the seat and held my hand out and imagined you placing yours in mine as you did so many times before.  The pain of love can sometimes seem unbearable. 

"Merry Christmas."  I know that at times the words seem hollow to me this year but I am trying to imagine what Christmas must be like where you are at.

In my mind I see you listening as angel voices sing "In Excelsis Dio" or esquisite melodies so beautiful that we here can not imagine.  I try to capture the joy felt there, as all in paradise celebrate the gift of the Holy One.

This will be your first Christmas there since seventy-one years ago.  Did you recall the celebration?  My Christmas wish this year my love is that wherever you are, you are surrounded by loved ones, you feel the joy of the holiday season and that somewhere up there you can find yourself a piece of mince meat pie. 

Our Alaska children are gathering at Haley's tonight.  They are missing us this year but they will make the best of things.  That is how we raised them.   Our Utah children will gather at Mark's tonight and our Idaho family will spend theirs in the warmth and comfort of their own home.  We are all well Darling.  As you know, the homes of our families will be loud with talk and laughter and antics and if you were here I can hear you say "What a bunch of loons."  But you would say it smiling  as you reached over and took my hand. 

You enjoyed the holiday season so much.  I recall when you had a company party back in the 70's how you had me sing "This is What Christmas is All About" to your friends.  You made me so happy with the pride you had in me for the songs I wrote.  You always let me know you were proud of me.  What a wonderful gift for a man to give his wife...pride in her. 

Well Honey.  It is getting dark outside.  If it were many years ago when our children were little, they would not be able to get up Christmas morning until the street lights had gone out.  (Another memory). 

You blessed me with a wonderful gift each and every Christmas for fifty loved me.  Thank you Darling for your love.  Wherever you are this holiday season my love for you has followed you there.

Merry Christmas Honey.

Far Beyond the 12th of Never.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Christmas Watch

            Large snowflakes floated and danced creating a panorama of pristine white; a small breeze twirling them into small tornadoes spinning around the feet of holiday shoppers. Children, bundled warmly, laughed while sailing snowballs towards each other and occasionally towards an innocent passerby.
On the corner, a Santa with a bucket rang his bell in time with the church chimes that pealed through the crystal night. While one offered sanctuary, the other asked for help, but both offered hope. 

A cardboard box served as a cover for a man holding a sign. “Homeless. Please Help.” The coffer before him sat empty. 
Cars passed by in a never-ending parade sending slush upon the walk and occasionally upon the unsuspecting. 
The street lights sparkled green and red keeping with decorations in every window. 
The sounds of carols echoed through the night along with the giggles of the children sledding down the hill of the park. 
Had they not all been so busy, being wrapped up in lives of their own making, they might have noticed him.
 He sat against the building, snuggled close against the steps. His hat was pulled down as far as it could be pulled. His collar stretched up as high as it could stretch. His knees were pulled close to his chest and tucked under the worn coat that concealed his hands and arms. They were all so busy, but so was he. He watched as though an empty sponge, absorbing all that was going on around him. 

He watched as the limo pulled up to the curb. The chauffer opened the door as the couple slid from their seats. The gentleman adjusted his top hat and helped the lady to her feet. She lifted her gown to keep it from being soiled. He tucked her had around his arm as they past; as they past the Santa with his bucket and as they passed the homeless in his box. 

He watched as the family walked by, weighted down with brightly wrapped packages. They didn’t smile. A small son ran along beside them, crying out his list of what he expected Christmas to bring him and being pacified by his parents that he surely would receive all that he requested. And they passed by the Santa with his bucket, and the homeless with his coffer, and the child on the corner with worn shoes. And he watched. 

They were businessmen and as they left their office, they talked of all the deals that needed closing. Christmas was such an inconvenience. There was work to be done and there wasn’t enough time. Neither was there enough time to notice the Santa on the Corner, or the homeless with his coffer, or the child with worn shoes, or the old woman without a shawl.

Across the street, the small café was closing. She took off her apron and counted her tips. It had been a slow day. She would have to get more hours in next week if she was to make her rent. As she turned the sign from “Opened” to “Closed” she noticed them. The Santa on the Corner, the homeless in the box, the child with worn shoes, the old woman without a shawl, and the man sitting at the bottom of the steps in the ragged coat. 
         The wind blew snowflakes into her eyes as she closed the café door behind her. Horns honked their disturbance as she crossed the slushy street. 
She dropped a portion of her tips into the bucket of the Santa. “I wish it could be more.” She whispered. 
To the homeless she handed a warm meal in a paper bag and thanked him as he said “God bless you.” 
She traded her shoes for the shoes of the child, amazed that they seemed to wear the same size. 
She wrapped her own sweater around the shoulders of the old woman. 
But when she approached the steps where the man and been sitting, she found only a coat lying in the snow. She picked it up, amazed at the warmth escaping it. 
As she reached her hand into the pocket she found her fingers clasped around a tiny wooden manger and a tiny wooden cross wrapped in a note that said: “For I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was weary and you gave me rest; I was naked and you clothed me”. 

May we all celebrate this Christmas Season, each with the knowledge of who is watching. For it is through the seeing of others, that we find Christ.

Susie Whiting

Copyright 2007

A Letter to Danny - December 23, 2011

Hello Honey:

It's almost first without you in 47 years.  There are Christmas lights and Christmas trees and packages wrapped up and tied with bows.  We have finished shopping for groceries for Christmas Eve but this year Honey, something besides you will be missing......mince meat pie.  None of us shares your passion for it.

I sold my car in Alaska and with the money was able to get one down here in Utah.  I hated not having you there to know what to look for in a used car.  I had Mark check it out and Lola's son Lane did too.  After they looked it over and drove it, I took it to Pep Boys and had a diagnostic run on it.  Everything checked out so I bought it.

Driving to Payson, I recalled another time....June 9, 1977.  It was our anniversary and you usually weren't very good about buying me presents.  Instead, you would tell me just to go out and buy myself something I wanted.  Honey, do you remember how many disagreements we had over that.....(about 46).  I would try and explain that it wasn't really the gift that mattered, but the idea that you would take the time and thought into buying me something.  Which you jokingly would respond..."Well I thought about it and it's the thought that counts."  You couldn't understand why I didn't find that funny.  Well this particular day, you did think.  I went out to find a brand new Mercury station wagon with a big bow on it.

We went on many wonderful trips in that wagon.  It was perfect for the nine of us.  I remember our first trip was to Flaming Gorge to my family's reunion and then on to Yellowstone.  We would return to Yellowstone four more times as a family and you would pay the kids a dime for every animal they saw.

I just had a memory that made me laugh.  Remember when we went to Knotts Berry Farm and you got on a ride with the kids.  You were riding in old cars.  When you bought your ticket you thought you would be able to drive the cars.  Instead they went around and around on a track.  The look on your face when I saw you come around towards me sitting in your little car, as you circled around on a little track was priceless.  You looked so disgusted as you reached up and spinned your little steering wheel that twirled around in a useless circle.  You wouldn't go on another ride until more than twenty years later when the kids and I talked you into going on the Matterhorn at Disney World in Florida.  We erroneously (Alright.  We kind of lied.) told you that it wouldn't be scary.  

How I treasure the memories of our trips in the big red station wagon.

Do you know what my greatest regret is right now Honey.  It is that I wasted so many precious moments of our life by being angry or upset over things that don't even matter today.  I wish God would let me have a "do-over" and I would not waste a minute knowing what I now know and missing you as I now do.

I am constantly thinking of you Honey.  You continue in my thoughts and you are still included in my prayers.

I remain loving you

Far Beyond the 12th of Never.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dear God Above (My First Poem Written When I was 9 Years Old)

This was my first attempt at writing.  I wrote it when my father died when I was nine years old.

Dear God above to thee I pray
To tell you my problem at the end of this day.
I sure do hope that You can hear
because it's about my Momma dear.

You see Daddy died.
A man we all love
but I guess you know that
since he's with You above.

Well anyway God
it makes Momma sad
and to see her that way
really makes me feel bad.

So send Momma a message
and seal it with love.
Well good night Heavenly Father
Dear Lord up above.

Susie Whiting
Copyright 1955

A Letter to Danny (2) - December 20, 2011

Hello Honey:

As I sit here writing you a second letter in one day, I remember again when you were in the army.  I wrote to you every day and sometimes twice a day.  You would tell me later that days would go by and you would  not receive any mail from me.  Then the mail master would come and dump a pile of my letters on your cot.  You said all of the guys in your squadron were jealous that you got so much mail when they didn't.  So honey.  If there's a mail master where you are now, you can expect my letters to be dumped once again on your cot.

I wish there was someone I could be mad at over your leaving.  I wish I could rant and rave at God, but I don't believe it was God that took you.  I can't claim your leaving to be unfair, when everyday others lose those they love.  Instead my Darling, I choose to believe that it was in the pre-existance that we wrote the stories of our lives.  We wrote each page including the joy, excitement, sadness, disappointments, successes and failures that we would experience in our living out the pages.  I believe it was in a time before that you decided you would see me walking to school and decide I would be the one you would love.  And I would accept an invitation for a blind date and know that this boy would be the one I would want to spend the rest of my life with.  Not just this life but any I have. 

I am thankful for the God that I believe in; that He allowed us to live the life written.  That He allowed us to make our choices both good and bad and that through that experience I would walk my life with you. 

So my love, since I have no one to be mad at, I will simply wait.  I will wait for the pain to subside.  I will wait for time to heal.  And I will wait until I am with you again.

Far Beyond the 12th of Never.

A Letter to Danny - December 20, 2011

Good Morning Darling:

I was just listening to Carol King sing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and knew that would not be happening this year. 

You know I have lost many people that I have loved.  I've lost my Dad and Mom, four sisters and two brothers along with your family that have passed; and I have felt grief before, but nothing like I have felt in losing you.  Your leaving me has created a large void inside me and it's strange but the void does seem to be right around my heart; an emptiness that I cannot seem to fill with memories of the past or happenings of the present. 

Last year at this time, we were preparing for our son's surgery to repair brain aneurisyms he had.  We had the ambulance insurance put into place in case Daren needed it before his surgery was performed.  Honey, I never dreamed it would be you that would use that service. 

Daren and I flew to Anchorage and you drove with Jereme, Haley and the boys.  We were so thrilled when the surgery went well and felt the joy of a Christmas miracle. 

This year, I sat writing you a letter, not knowing where you are; empty inside wishing for lost chances and opportunities with you. There were times I let those chances and opportunities slip through my fingers like sand through an hourglass, not even recognizing the importance of them. 

Life is an optical illusion; what being seen as important differs so much from what is reality.  We hang on to the illusion though, not knowing that the time will come when we see it as it is; when we will wish we had noticed all the fog and gadgets of the aberration and looked past it to the truth:  The truth being that if a thing will not mourn you, cry for you, or love you, then it is not important.  Cling first to those things that will.

I miss you Honey.  You were my truth.

I'll Love You Far Beyond the 12th of Never.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Angels

Christmas Angels
     The cold wind blew against her face as she helped her daughter take her luggage from the trunk.  She smiled at her in a mother’s attempt to hide her breaking heart.  Her girl would be spending Christmas at her father’s this year.  She would be left in a strange city, alone.  She hugged her daughter, kissed her goodbye, told her to have a good time at her Dad’s and then watched as she disappeared into the plane. 
     She watched out the window as the plane taxied and then lifted into the cold dark air.  The intercom played “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” as she tied her scarf around her neck and put on her gloves. 
      “Not a chance.”  She said to no one as the automatic doors opened and the cold wind met her again.
     She had used what little money she had to buy Christmas gifts for her girl to take with her.  Hopefully, her ex-husband and his new wife would see that Santa came and provided her with more than what her meager wages had allowed.
     She had moved here with hope that it would be good for her and for her daughter to start fresh.  It had been to hard staying in a place where old memories were a constant reminder of her failure; failure of a woman and failure of a wife.  She was combatted with “if only” a hundred times a day.  She had left not realizing she was running away from and not running toward.  She pulled her old car in front of the café where she worked.  Bright green and red lights framed the windows and doorway.  She had not decorated their apartment.  Why decorate when her little girl would not be there to enjoy it.  She knew it would take more than decorations to brighten her spirit this holiday season.  The sounds of the church bells rang through the air, but to her they sounded mournful.
     Her apartment was chilled when she returned home.  She had turned down the thermostat in order to save money.  After all, the girls would not be here so she didn’t need to keep it as warm as usual. 
     Her feet ached so she switched on the television and covered herself with the worn afghan as she watched as the angel got his wings in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.” 
     “Where’s an angel when you need one.”  She said to herself as tears flowed uncontrollably from her eyes until sleep took over.
     She woke to the sound of someone knocking on the front door.  She opened it to the light of morning and to a notice hanging from the door knob.  If the utilities weren’t paid, they would be shut off.
      “Go ahead God.  Hit me again.”  She cried out.  “If you even exist, then where are you?  I’ve yet to see an angel come into my so-called wonderful life.”   Her bitterness had taken the place of her broken heart.
     She walked to work.  The walk would do her good she reasoned and besides it would save on needing to pay for gas.
     He was sitting on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. 
     “A penny for the poor?” He asked as he reached a silver cup up toward her.      
     “I don’t have any money.”  She spat out the words. 
     “I asked only for a penny, Ma’am.”  He said again.  “Certainly you have a penny.”
     “Yes.  I have a penny,” she said reaching into the pocket of her coat.  “But what good will a penny do you?”  She asked as she heard it clink to the bottom of the empty cup as the man gently rose from his sitting spot.
     “Oh.  It’s not what it will do for me.”  He replied.  “It is what it will do for you.”
He smiled a warm smile, winked and walked away.
     Her shift was almost over when she saw the old lady walk in and take a booth.  She wore an old coat, so frayed that at places, shine gave way to holes. She sat her bag on the bench beside her.
     “May I take your order?” She asked 
     “How much would a glass of water cost?”  The old woman asked, taking off her worn cotton gloves and revealing ancient cold, bony hands.
     “Twenty five cents is what we’re told to charge.”  She answered.
     “That much, huh?”  The old woman replied opening an empty change purse. 
     “That’s okay.  I’ll get it.”  The waitress replied and returned with a cup of hot tea. 
     “Here.  Drink this.”  She said.  “It will do you more good than a glass of water.”
     “Thank you my dear.”  The old woman said as she smiled up at her.     She drank her tea and as she opened the door to step out into the night, she smiled at the waitress.
      She started her walk home.  Her feet reminded her that she had already been on them for eight hours.  She saw the small boy sitting on the curb.  His newspapers he was to deliver lay strewn around him.  He was holding a hurt foot that had been caught in the spokes of his bike wheel.   
      “Are you okay?”  She asked as she picked up his papers and returned them to his newspaper bag.  “I hurt my foot; it’s bleeding.”
      “Why don’t you go home and get it taken care of she said, placing the last paper into the pouch. 
      “I can’t.  I have to get these papers delivered or I’ll lose my paper route.” He answered.
     “Where do you deliver them to?”  She asked.
     “To the end of Main Street.”  He replied.
     “Well, go on home and get your foot bandaged.  I will deliver these papers for you.  You can come to that cafe down the block tomorrow and get your bag.”
     “Thank you Ma’am.”  He said as she helped him stand up and watched him push his bike off into the night.
     She picked up the bag and started on the paper route.  She was thankful her feet had stopped hurting her and she was surprised to feel something else.  It was something inside of her; something in the area around her heart.  It was a small feeling of happiness.
     The morning brought a fresh blanket of snow.  She tied her scarf around her neck and pulled on her boots.  She placed her work shoes into a sack to take with her, and made certain to take the newspaper bag so the young boy could pick it up.
     She blinked against the brightness of the sun sparkling on the new fallen snow.  It crunched beneath her feet as a cold wind blew small tornadoes of white around her feet.
     She saw the young girl, standing next to the lamp post.  She stood on one foot struggling to hold the other in air as she placed a piece of cardboard into the bottom of the shoe she held.  The sole was worn so badly that the cardboard would be all that kept the girl’s foot from the snow.
     When she reached the girl’s side she replaced her boots for the work shoes in the sack and then helped the girl slip into the boots she had removed.  
     “Thank you so much.” The young girl said with a smile that melted at the remaining bitterness she had been holding onto.
     “You’re welcome.”  She said as she watched the girl walk down the street.
     “She heard the church bells ring.”  They sounded beautiful in the crisp air.
     The bell above the café door twinkled announcing the arrival of another customer just as the café was about to close.   The gentleman making the entry slid into a nearby booth. 
     “May I take your order?”  She asked when he put down the menu.
     “Yes.”  He replied.  “I know that it’s about time for you to close up shop, but I have two colleagues that are meeting me.  Could I bother you to stay open a while longer until they arrive. 
     “Yes.”  I think that will be alright.”  She said.  “Can I get you something to drink while you’re waiting?”
     “Coffee, please” he answered.
      His colleagues arrived shortly and after dining and collaborating, they left.  She cleared the table and found the tip he had left her would more than pay her utility bill.
      She walked into the night air of Christmas Eve.  She saw the Christmas light twinkling and marveled in their beauty.  She stopped at the street lamp on the corner to listen to the carolers sing of peace on earth and good will to men.  She heard the laughter of children sledding down the hill and it was then she realized….her bitterness had been replaced with joy and hope.  The spirit of Christmas had found its way into her heart.  It had broken down the walls of her own- making and it began by giving a simple penny.
     God did send angels she realized, and it was all so simple.  Angels came in the form of everyday people who had love and caring in their hearts. 
     She thought of how she, herself had been given an angelic opportunity.  She had given a penny to the old man, a cup of tea to the old lady, helped the paperboy deliver his papers and gave her boots to the girl.
     She stopped to admire the Christmas tree in the town square and heard the bells on it tingle.  She smiled as she remembered the line in “It’s a Wonderful Life” that said “Every time you hear a bell, an angel gets his wings.”  She giggled as she looked over her shoulder to see if any were sprouting.

Susie Whiting
Copyright 2009

Christmas Peace

In a little town in Europe
 in 1942
Laid a world at war, no peace in store.
There was no hope in view.

In a war-torn cottage, she lived alone.
Death and grief lay all around.
Her home stood amid the rubble
of a devastated town.

Within her walls, two soldiers sat.
Their guns beside them lie.
Nervously they waited.
They were the Allied side.

A table sat before them.
She'd share her meager meal.
It was Christmas Eve.  She knew Christ's love
and this would be His will.

A knock...a pound..came at her door.
The two men jumped in fear.
She raised her hand and bid them calm.
They would not find trouble here.

As she unlatched her door, two Nazi's stood;
stern but very young.
She bid them enter her humble home,
but would they first lay down their guns?

It was Christmas Eve and for just one night,
Christ was commander here.
The world at war was left outside her door
as the four met and felt no fear.

It was Christmas Eve as four young men
set their differences aside.
They shared a meal, blessed by God's will
and each felt peace that night.

They slept the four, upon the floor
and as the morn brought Christmas light.
Shook hands and bid a sad farewell;
now friends..not foe in fight.

'Twas Christmas Eve not so long ago
that the spirit of Christ reigned true.
God grant us all the peace that lived
in that cottage in '42.

Susie Whiting
Copyright 1995

A Letter to Danny - December 18, 2011

Hello Honey:

Rainee and I are sitting in the Airport waiting to go back to Utah. I talked to Daren yesterday and asked him how your dog Izama was doing. He said he and Christian are taking good care of him. They have put him on dog food instead of table scraps. He said he is doing fine, but that sometimes he lets out sad little whines and they know he is missing you.

Once upon a time before we were married, my mom told me if I wanted a good man, to choose one who was good to animals. I did as she told me and married you. I have never known anyone who was better and kinder to animals as you are; from the ones you had as pets, to the game you killed and reverently appreciated as you took care of the meat.

The only animals you didn't care for were sheep, so the day you came home and told me you were going to get a ram and an ewe surprised me. You admonished the kids and I not to make them pets and told us we were not to name them.

We assured you we would not name them nor make pets of them. You didn't take your own advise however. By the time you got them home, you had named the ram Thadeus and the ewe you had named Lady. Needless to say, we never did have mutton or lamb on our dinner table. Just before you died you mentioned that you sure had good dogs in your life to which I responded "Honey, you have had good dogs because they have had you."

Mortgage payments, credit scores, bank balances; none of them are important now Honey.  So much of life is so trivial when it gets down to it.  So many unimportant things take up so much of our time.  So many truly important ones we set on the back burner waiting their turn in line behind stuff that doesn't matter.  What I wouldn't give to take back all the times I spent worrying about the trite in life.  I would gather up every second of every minute and spend them with my arms around you, holding on for dear life to that which is truly important.  I am so sorry for lost chances.

Our life together has been a patchwork of colors bound together with cords of love. Loving you so much and watching you grieve when your Dad died,  I wrote this poem for you:

Carry On

I know that when your heart is full of sorrow
as though the dark of night may never see the dawn,
it's hard to bear the burden squarely on your shoulders
and say "He's gone, but I must carry on."

I know for every drop of rain, you see no rainbow;
for every bird you see, you hear no song.
I know it hurts to face the coming morrow;
but I am gone and you must carry on.

So face the future bravely, head held proudly.
Make every dream we ever dreamed come true my son,
for though you see me not I'm always with you
and with calloused hands I too shall carry on.

So please hold back your tears and feel no sorrow
for it's here in heaven that I now belong.
There's work in God's Holy Habitation
and with a happy heart I too shall carry on.

How easy words come to hard it is for me to find comfort in my own making right now.

I'm loving you Darling, Far Beyond the 12th of Never.

I believe the true spirit

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Letter to Danny - December 17-2011

Hi Darling:

Well Rainee and I made it to Boston and then to Salem yesterday.  We visited the home of your about 11th great grandfather Nathaniel Hawthorne  How I wished you could have been there with us.  I know you would have enjoyed everything about the trip. 

The days are slipping by honey.  I don't know where you are in the vast unknown of heaven, I hope wherever you are you are feeling well and are happy and are surrounded by all of the people who love you.  I have wondered if you have felt the need for me.  You know honey, being with each other for so long, there have been many times when we have needed each other.  I wonder if my being there would have made your transition easier or harder.  I guess it doesn't matter wondering though does it Darling.  We are where we are and all I have the power to do is to love you continuously...which sure doesn't prove to be a problem with me. 

Christmas is just a week away.  I hope everyone will forgive me if I'm not in as festive mood as they are used to seeing me in at this time of year.  How I have loved the Christmas' past.  Without you though, the Christmas present will not be the same.  I keep hearing that time is a great healer, but somehow I am afraid to heal.  I'm afraid if I do, it will just separate us more and being further from you is more than I can bear at the time.  Time.....we will see.

Wherever you are my love, whatever the process you are going through, know that here in this time, here in this place is the woman whose heart you still carry with you.

Far Beyond the 12th of Never.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Life with Sophia - Show Time

I remember the first movie I ever saw. It was with Henry Fonda. I can't remember the name of it, but I remember the song that was in it: " Write me a letter. Send it by mail. Send it in care of the Burmingham jail"

I recall going to the Isis theater in Green River (It was the only theater.). Tickets were ten cents but we didn't always have enough for everyone to have a seat, so we would often set two to a seat. (That was permitted back then.) I can remember that as much as I enjoyed the movie, I enjoyed the fact the whole family would be there together. I recall one time my brother Chris came in after the lights had gone down.  Instead of walking up and down the isle looking for us, he got up on the stage with his arm full of boxes of popcorn and yelled out "Hey Mom...Where are you."  When he saw us sitting there he proceded to throw boxes of popcorn at us. 

One time we went to see Doris Day in one of her many musicals.  At that time, they had "Follow the bouncing ball" where the words to the songs would show up on the screen and a ball would bounce from word to word keeping in time with the tune.  This one movie had "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" being the song and Chris once again got up on stage and lead the entire audience in their singing. 

When we moved to Provo, movies were still our biggest means of entertainment, but we went to the outdoor drive-in theaters then.  If I said we were much to honest to ever sneak anyone in, I would not be being truthful.  We did. 

One evening, Mom, Lola, Lola's boyfriend Bob Hout and once again Chris and I went to the drive in movie.  Bob and Chris were kneeled down in the back seat with a blanket over them.  I was sitting on the seat.  Just as we got to the ticket counter, Chris made Bob aware of the "gas" he had been holding.  Poor Bob.  He held his breath as long as possible, came out from under the blanket with a red face and gagging but not before Mom had purchased the tickets and we were well away from the counter.

It's funny what decides the memories we will keep and which one we will hide in the recesses of our minds.  I'm just so very thankful that I have the ones I have to keep me company.

A Letter to Danny - December 14, 2011

Hello Honey:

I went to New Hampshire with Raineee today.  I knew you would want me to go. That's how you've been for such a long time now.  You just wanted to make me happy and guess what succeeded. 

Rainee was sleeping as we were on the plane.  It gave me time to remember some more.  I thought of your trip in 2009 to England and Scotland.  First of all you had never expressed any desire to go to a foreign country.  You were content to head to the mountains or go on road trips where ever we decided to point the car. 

We had so much fun touring London with Rainee and then taking off by ourselves to see Scotland.  Little did I know then that you were carrying with you a clot that would cause a heart attack three months later.  I love thinking about us walking in the rain in Glasgow and boarding the train that would take us to Edinburgh.  I never dreamed you would enjoy going on a tour bus, but how you loved our tour through the Highlands.  I still smile when I recall our stopping at Loch Ness and you telling me you were going to use me to troll for "Nessie".  Knowing you, had we gone out fishing for "Nessie" you would have been the one to catch her.

When we boarded the plane, I wondered how you would like the flight across the ocean but I was so surprised and happy to see how much you enjoyed everything.  But after all Honey, that is one of the things I loved most about you....your ability to love everything.

I think about your building your carving shed up in Alaska.  You wanted and needed a place that you could get in to do your carving that would protect you from the -40 degree weather in winter so you decided to build your own shed.  I was concerned about your taking on such a project when you weren't feeling well, but you never let it get you down.  Some people might not understand that in Alaska people don't sit their garbage out on the curb to be picked up.  Instead, they take it to what is called "Transfer Sites"; an enclosed area where the animals can be kept at bay.

 Everyday you would take a trip the to Transfer Sites and every day you would bring back items discarded by others with which to build your shed.  I have always been in awe of your ability to set your mind at something and then be steadfast in seeing it through.  You proved this true once more as piece by piece and bit by bit you collected and put together discarded items and turned them into the cutest little carving shed complete with a barrel stove.  

I am still in awe of how you lived your life and the determination you had.  When others would give perservered.  When others said it couldn't be done, you did it. 

I love you my darling.  I was proud to be your wife and I am still.

I'll love you Far Beyond the 12th of Never.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Lettter to Danny - December 13, 2011

Hello Darling:

It's been a month ago today that you left me. 

Rainee is taking me to New Hampsire tomorrow.  I'm certain it's her way of trying to help me get past  all this.  We are going to drive down to Boston Massachusetts and go through your ninth great grandfather's house (Nathaniel Hawthorne).  If you can make it, meet us there.  I want to show her some of his pictures.  He had the same eyebrows that your dad had.  I was reading his biography "The Inward Sky" and so much about him reminds me of you.  His great great grandfather was one of the judges during the Salem witch trials.  Nathaniel changed his last name so he could distance himself from that man.  He hated the hipocracy of the people back then just has you hated it in your generation. He even suffered from depression in his time.  If you see him there where you are at, tell him your wife admires his writing very much.

It snowed today.  As it was coming down I remembered all the times you cleared the snow from our driveway with your Massey Ferguson.  Then when you were done you would go to all the neighbors and push their snow too.  I remember the year it snowed so much and we had to go down to your shop and shovel the snow off the roof.  Remember when you built the huge snow hill at our Payson house and the grandkids all came over with their sleds and went down it.  They were so surpirsed when you climbed on one of the sleds and went down too.  I remind them about the story you told about when you were young and your dad built a ski run off the outhouse.  I married into a colorful family didn't I?  It's surprising how many beautiful memories can be conjured up with a simple snow storm.  I only have those beautiful memories because of you Honey.  You blessed my life in so many ways. 

I wish I would have could have bottled each memory, placed each one in a jar and put it on a shelf so today I could pick one up and look through the glass and relive each one again.  I hope when I am with you again there will be a way we can recall them all once more.

The only way I have made it through this past month honey is because of our kids.  They have been an incredible support to me.  We made a good family didn't we darling?  Looking back honey, there's not one material item that we possessed over the last forty-seven years that mean a thing to me today.  Someone else lives in our houses.  Someone else is driving our cars.  The equipment we had has probably turned to rust.  None of it matters now.  What matters is that I was married to the man that I loved with all my heart and through that love we gave life to seven incredible children and then they blessed us with twenty-five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.  Nothing else in this world matters to me now except our family.  Love, Family and Memories; that's all that matters.  Those are my riches.  Those are my treasures.  I grow old being a very wealthy woman.

I love you my darling.

Far Beyond the 12th of Never.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Letter to Danny - December 12, 2011

Hello Darling:

I just posted "The Christmas Shack" on my blog.  Now that you are where you are, you will probably know what a blog is now.  Remember how you wanted to learn to use the computer.  I just didn't have enough time to teach you did I honey? 

When I posted "The Christmas Shack" I was remembering when I wrote it.  At the time, I remember feeling the loneliness...and the sadness of the old man I was writing about.  Maybe a part of me could feel what I am feeling now without you. 

Honey remember the Christmas Eve we had kept the kids' Santa gifts over at my mom's house.  Remember, she went up to Lola's in Bountiful and when we went over to get the presents, we found she had locked all her doors.  You had to break into her bedroom window.  I was standing outside the window laughing, hearing you swear as you tipped over the night stand and lamp. 

Then there was the time we hid them in the trailer house down at the shop.  We went down on Christmas Eve to get them to find we had lost the trailer house key in the snow.  There we were in the middle of the night looking for a key in the snow.  Those were such fun memories honey.  But then we had a lot of them didn't we.  I loved it when you painted Christmas candles on our front room window and I loved how you decorated the bushes at our Provo house and "Charlie" too.  Remember you even named a bush.  A bush named "Charlie." 

You always kidded me about putting up five trees in our Payson house but you were always the one to invite everyone in to see them. Thank you honey for allowing me to do all the things I did; when the kids and I turned our garage into a room where we could have our family parties, when we turned our basement into a spook alley, when we took your carefully stacked bales of hay and created a spook alley maze out of them.  You learned your lesson then didn't you. honey.  You had simply mentioned to me that we should have a "little party" for the grandkids on Halloween.   You should have known that your girls and I don't do "little" things.   For the next three years, your house was turned into spook alley's that would rival the commercial ones.  You would look at us and say in your sweet little term of endearment "What a bunch of loons."  But you would be the one out on your tractor building a cemetary for us and helping us hang "bodies" from your horse walker. 

Thank you my love for all of your support.  Thank you for your patience and your understanding.  Thank you for your encouragement.  Wherever you are tonight, again know in your heart the love I have for you is with you

Far Beyond the 12the of Never.


The Christmas Shack

His back was stooped.  His hair had turned to gray.
His memories lay back in yesterday.
Recalling times the way they used to be
brought only loneliness this Christmas Eve.

From his Christmas box he unwrapped each Christmas past;
a winter scene in a Christmas ball of glass.
How his child had laughed when he turned it upside down
and watched the snow fall gently to the ground.

One Christmas he had made this wooden train
and set it up around the Christmas tree.
As he held it now, he could hear his young son laugh.
Yes, that was how Christmas was meant to be.

His son grew into a man  The years slipped by.
And with the years there also came a war.
His son marched off in pride to serve his country
and with that march his laughter was no more.

For fifty years, he and his wife shared life together.
They faced the future loving, come what may.
He thought his heart would break apart with longing
for God had called her home last Christmas day.

He reached deep within the box down to the bottom
and brought up her scarf and remembered days afar.
He took out the brooch she had worn upon their wedding
and hung it just below the Christmas star.

A teardrop fell as he gazed outside his window.
Then he saw them jump from the train into the snow.
The wind blew hard as they huddled close together
It was toward the shack they seemed to go.

He recognized a man, a wife, a child.
Times were hard.  He'd seen many pass this way.
The temperature outside was falling quickly.
The shack was cold on this dark pre-Christmas day.

Then he heard deep within his spirit.
A voice that said to gather, and go fast.
To take to them the things they be in need of
and to take to them the things of Christmas past.

They heard the knock and with fear the door they opened
of the cold but sheltered little shack.
They found his gift sitting on the doorstep.
The wind blew snow across his shuffled track.

He'd given them his blankets made of wool.
He brought to them his pillows fluffed with down.
He brought to them their food for Christmas day
and placed with love on top his gift they found.

For the man an envelope filled up with money.
"Merry Christmas" was all the note would say
and "I hope this in some small way will help you
find your family home on Christmas day.

For her a scarf of lovely tatted lace
pinned in place by a wedding brooch of gold.
There was a Christmas ball that held a Christmas scene;
and a wooden train for a small child's hands to hold.

He pulled close his old rocker near his oven
and felt the warmth as he opened up the door.
He felt himself fill up with Christmas spirit.
He smiled, not feeling lonely anymore.

"Merry Christmas Dad." He looked toward the voice.
He saw his son and that he was not alone.
With out-stretched arms she smiled through her tears
as she said "Merry Christmas Dear.  Come...we're going home."

Copyright 1995
Susie Whiting

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Letter to Danny - December 11, 2011

Hello Darling:

One more day has gone.  One more day of missing you so much that I find myself breathless from the hurt.  I wish I had kept a journal all of our years together.  I know honey.  I've kept one for the past twenty years, but I missed the first twenty-seven.  So much time forgotten.  So many regrets for not remembering.  I saw a young couple at the store today.  They had an infant in a carrier and I wanted so badly to say to them "Remember today.  Remember this moment.  Don't let it fade into a mist of times considered so insignificant they aren't remembered.  Not a moment is insignificant, we just allow them to be forgotten."  And so I try to capture moments of our life together....simple moments.

I can almost smell the scent of the paint you used to paint your equipment.  I can see it yellow around where your face mask ended.  I can smell the diesal and oil and gas of your shop and I can picture you repairing your trucks or machines.  I can see you on your tractor out in the fields baling hay.  I can hear the chugging of the baler as it spits one bale out and then another.  I feel myself keeping my balance as I sat on the side of your tractor as we go out to change the irrigation dams.  My one had holds on the the tractor while my other holds on to you.  I've held on to you so many times honey.  I've held on to you in so many ways.  When bad dreams invaded my sleep, I would roll over and put my arm across you.  Your warmth and the steady rhythm of your breathing would lull me back to sleep.  I never dreamed you would not be there for me.  I never dreamed  I would instead reach out and pull your jacket close to me in your place; pulling it tight trying to capture you once more.

I was talking to your sister Sandi the other day.  She had written a letter she wanted to read at your service but couldn't bring herself to stand.  In it were memories she had of you.

She said when she was a girl, she was asked to the prom and didn't have a dress to wear.  She asked your dad if she could get a new dress and he told her "no" that she had one that would do.  It was you who bought her a new prom dress.  She said it was you who walked her down the isle when she was married.  She said it was you who told your siblings to dress appropriately when they went to school.  She told me it was you who put your fist through the door separating the front room from the kitchen because she was going out with a boy you didn't feel she should go with.  She told me she ended up not going with that boy.  She said she looked up to you....that you were her knight in shining armor.

I remember being told about a time when you were down at your Provo shop.  You had told one of your employees to carry a bundled wall tent up the stairs that lead over your office.  The kid told you he couldn't, that it was too heavy.  So you picked the wall tent up in one arm and then picked him up in the other and carried them both up the stairs.  "I can't" wasn't a phrase you accepted from others or from yourself.  Even during the last two years of your life when your health issues might have caused another to quit, you did not.  You were not a quitter.  And so my darling, in my writing those five words "You were not a quitter" I realize that you would expect me to not be a quitter either.  I will not quit my darling.  I will keep going no matter how hard the path.  I will live the rest of my life as I have lived the past forty-seven.  I will live them loving you, praying for you, being thankful for you and working to make you proud of me. 

Wherever you are my love, whatever you are doing I am loving you Far Beyond the 12th of Never.

Life with Sophia - Franny's Lesson

One of the houses (yes there were a few) that we lived in while in Green River, Wyoming sat all by itself across the Green River.  It was a better than a shack but some might say by not much.  I recall it being covered with green tar paper and having black tar shingles on the roof.  We had no running water and we had an outhouse.  We would haul water from the Green River in buckets to do our laundry, dishes and bathe.  We would go the the pump house and get five gallon cans of water for drinking and cooking. 

Mom would build a fire outside and we would sit our washtub over it and fill it with water and cut big chunks of the lye soap Mom had made out of pork fat and lye into the hot water.  A scrub board would be inserted and that would be how we would do our laundry. 

There was a trestle bridge that connected our house to town and under this bridge would often be found vagrants or hobos.  One day while the girls were going to school, they found a drunken indian banging his head against the sides of the bridge. Not having a telephone or any other means of communication, Mom devised a strategy to insure our safety while walking over the bridge (especially at night when she was not able to watch us cross.)  The girl coming home would reach the bridge and call out "YOO HOO" and Mom would respond in kind.  This would go on until the girl was safely home. 

One day Fran decided to go to her friend's house after school.  This was done without our mother's permission.  Mom knew where she was at, since Fran went to school with her sisters but still Fran did not have permission and she was to be taught a lesson.  It became dark and Fran reached the town side of the bridge.  She yelled out her "YOO HOO" but got no response.  She continued across the bridge and her "YOO HOO's" got a little louder and closer together, and a little more desparate:  Still no answer.  Mom and her sisters had heard her and knew she was alright, but for Fran it was a pretty disquieting, long walk until she reached the home. 

Life with Sophia - Moving to Utah

It was the year I turned six that Mom decided we were to move to Utah.  The alkali laying all over the ground was having a bad affect on Dad's health so she decided we would move.  Dad was in the hospital in Rock Springs at the time.  It would be a while before he could be released to come to Utah with us.  He suffered from a myriad of health issues most of them resulting from a coal mining accident that left him with only a portion of a lung that worked. 

Like most things that pertained to our Mom, our trip to Utah was....should I say....colorful.  We had an old station wagon at the time and that was good since those going on our road trip were Mom, Mary, Emeline, Jearldine, Francis, Lola and I, two dogs and a pet rooster named "Doc".  To get the full affect of the picture I am painting, close your eyes and picture all of us in this station wagon.  Mattresses are piled on top of the car, along with a table strapped to them.  Chair legs are sticking out the windows and "stuff" is piled inside.  And we are off with Doc perched on the steering wheel.  He would crow each time Mom turned the steering wheel too far to the left or right.

That was the year of the big flood in Utah and Provo Canyon was not accessible causing us to detour through Salt Lake City.  There was no freeway at the time so our route included traveling down State Street in Salt Lake. 

Mom took note that everyone we passed pointed at us and started laughing.  (I can't fathom why.)  She would find her answer when we got to Utah.  Emeline had taken white shoe polish and had written across the sides of the car "Ma Kettle moves again."  For those who don't know who Ma and Pa Kettle were.....Google them. 

Provo had now been blessed(?) with the Seyersdahl/McCormick Clan and I'm certain Green River breathed a sigh of relief.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Child

She tipped her head down a littler further.
As she walked, she pushed against the storm.
The bundle in her arms she pressed against her.
Hoping that somehow she'd keep it warm.

She pulled her tattered coat around her infant.
And thanked her God in Heaven the child slept.
She had no milk.  She had no means to feed her.
Her shoulders shook as in the night she wept.

The house stood supported by two mighty pillars.
She leaned against one as she sat to rest.
She pulled away her coat and oh so gently
removed the sleeping infant from her breast.

She made sure the babe was wrapped up tight and shielded
from the icy wind of the cold December storm.
She slipped her coat from off her trembling shoulders
and laid her child upon it to keep her warm.

On the coat she pinned the letter she had written.
"Please love my baby as if she were your own.
I have watched you both and have often seen your kindness.
Please provide my child with a home.

It's Christmas Eve and I've not a gift to give her.
With all my heart I love my child true.
Please in your kindness grant a wish this Christmas.
Let me give my child the gift of "you".

You've no children of your own I hear it rumored
and to have a child you'd give all that you own.
So please bless my child with the love you have within you.
Please bless my child with a happy home.

Once in a different land; once in a manger,
it was at that time a Child was given too.
The heart of God the Father I'm sure was breaking
more than my own as I give my child to you.

He with greater love than I could ever fathom
gave to all a Child of His own.
The hurt He felt my aching heart cannot imagine;
To give His Child knowing what was known.

So please accept my gift of love this Christmas evening.
With the thought of Him, I know I'll be strong too.
To my child I say "I love you so my darling."
and now I pass my child's life to you.

The years they came.  The years they passed and on each Christmas
she walked by the house sitting mighty on the hill.
Within the walls she would hear her daughter's laughter.
"It was right."  The voice inside her whispered still.

Then one Christmas Eve as she sat beside her fire,
she heard a tap so faintly on her door.
She lifted up the latch to have the snowflakes
dance with the wind across her kitchen floor.

A young girl stood upon her step, her shawl pulled tightly.
"Hello Mother." She said as tears filled in her eyes.
In her arms she held a tattered coat so gently
With the same note upon it pinned from days gone by.

"Each Christmas Eve I've watched you from my window.
as you walked by my home that sits upon the hill.
A voice within my heart would always tell me
that of all my gifts you were my greatest still.

All these years I've wondered how it happened.
To love a stranger walking in the snow.
Tonight my parents gave to me the answer
in a box of blue adorned with a silver bow.

I found this weathered coat folded up inside it
and lying upon it I found a yellowed note.
Deep in my breast the love swelled up inside me.
as I read the Christmas letter that you wrote.

I've lived my life in a mansion on a hillside.
I've had all the things that a child's mind could dream.
I've always prayed and thanked my God in heaven.
It was impossible to have more or so it seemed.

Until tonight as I watched outside my window
as once again you came as I knew you would.
I turned.  My parents smiled to me and nodded.
They handed me the box and understood

that tonight was the time that I should follow.
My destination tho at times I didn't know.
Sometimes when I had felt that I had lost you,
I'd find again your footprints in the snow.

How can I be so blessed I found me asking
to the cold and darkness of the evening sky.
To be so loved when I've done not a thing to earn it.
To be so blessed and know not even why.

I recalled again the words within your letter.
How great was the gift from the Father from above;
that to all the world He gave His own Begotten.
The only reason for His Gift was out of love.

I cannot give back to God nor to the Christ Child
nor in this life can I give back to you.
To repay would take more time than life will offer.
I found myself asking what to do.

And then in the night within my heart I heard it;
the answer sweet and simple as a song.
Love is not a thing that you can owe and pay back.
All you do with love is simply pass it on.

How blessed I was to have you as my mother.
You knew well the lesson and now pass it on to me.
Without knowing of this truth passed down from heaven.
Life would lose what life was meant to be.

They stood..embraced this daughter and her mother.
Their tears and laughter mingled hand in hand.
May all be blessed with the gift of love this Christmas
And by passing it on bring Peace on Earth to man.

Copyright 1995
Susie Whiting