Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Tattered Christmas Stocking

He followed the path the footprints made, not knowing where they might lead.
Not caring where it was he wandered on this snowy Christmas Eve.
The Christmas spirit eluded him this year as the one before.
He placed no tree by his window, or wreath upon his door.

There was no joy this Christmas time, nor could there be Christmas cheer.
It had died with her, with her last breath she took that Christmas year.
What had brought him out on this snowy night, he didn't know, nor did he care.
With a hollow heart he just followed steps in the snow that he found there.

The steps lead him down by the river, then down along the tracks.
He followed them in his misery, never stopping to look back.
He followed them down a dark alley to a makeshift tent at the end,
and stopped where a small boy was standing by a firepit warming his hands.

The boys clothes were dirty and rumpled. His young face was smudged and thin.
He stood looking at the man and the man looked back at him.
"What are you doing out here alone?" "Who wants to know?" The young boy said.
"Why are you out in this weather? Why aren't you home in bed?"

"Where do you think it is I'm at?" The young boy acted tough
"This right here is where I live and this is home enough."
"Where are your parents?" "They both died. I'm a man now on my own.
I don't need anybody.  I do well enough alone."

The man glanced about the campsite and amid the makeshift mess,
a simple item caught his eye.  It stood out from all the rest.
A red, tattered Christmas stocking hung against the wall.
Here in the heart of an orphan boy, Christmas wasn't void at all.

The boy still believed in Christmas and the hope that it might bring,
and the magic to mend a broken life and make the dark take wing.
Years came in and years went by and the boy became his son,
and every year at Christmas time they made certain this was done.

They hung the tattered stocking so the man would not forget
he had found the Christmas spirit in the steps that lead to it.
So this Christmas time should circumstance cause our belief to stray,
Let's just look close in a child's heart and let the Child lead the way.

Copyright - 2008
Susie Whiting

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Desperately Seeking Susie

     I think I knew who I was in high school.  I was "sweet Susie."  Anyway, that's what everyone who wrote in the back of my yearbooks said.  They always referred to me as being "sweet" and they had known me for almost eleven years, so they should have had an idea of who or what I was.  Isn't that true?  I don't think most of them knew I was shy back then.  I covered it up by the friends I kept, and as long as I was with my friends, I was okay, but if I was left to walk down the main wing of Provo High School by myself, I lost my confidence.  Safety in numbers, so I surrounded myself with my wonderful group of friends that kept me from the humiliation of just being myself.
     When I married Danny, he was my security blanket, so to speak.  I was Danny's wife, and when we went out, he took control of the conversations which was fine with me.  I was happy to relinquish the job to him, not thinking that perhaps I might not be coming off as being shy but as being something else all together.
     Then along came my seven children, and anyone who knows them can understand that their personalities pretty much out shined their Mom's.  But again, I was content to be Susan, Shannon, Daren, Sheree, Mark, Rainee and Haley's mom and let them shine.  Still, I didn't think people would think I was anything other than shy, but I was to find out differently.
     I had been having my nails done by a gal in Payson for quite some time.  Her parents lived not too far from where Danny and I lived.  One day she told her mother she needed to hurry home because she had a client coming for a manicure.
      "Who's coming?" her mother asked.
      "Susie Whiting?" she replied.
      "Oh.  She's a real bitch isn't she?"
      "No!" Lainee replied.  "She's very nice."
      Lainee laughed when she told me her mother thought I was a bitch.  When I asked her what I had done to make her mother think that, Lainee said I had done nothing she could think of; that her mother just didn't know me.
     At the same time, my daughter's friend was working at a convenience store in Payson.  I pulled in for gas one day when her friend was working and the manager of the store said "Oh here comes the rich bitch." (Referring to me.)
     "Who Susie?" Haley's friend asked?  "She's not a bitch! (For the record, neither was I rich.)
     "Do you know her?" The manager asked Haley's friend?
     "Yeah! She's like a second mother to me."
     Haley's friend told Haley and Haley told me and I was again faced with the fact that for some reason, people were thinking I was being bitchy, when I really didn't mean to be.  The truth was my shyness was shouting out one thing when I felt an entirely different thing. That has been about twenty years ago and I haven't changed and there are probably people out in the world who think I'm a bitch when I am still just shy. My shyness has kept me from wanting to participate in a lot of things.
     So I was driving over to my daughter's a few weeks ago.  The drive took a while and it gave me enough time to chastise myself.  I'm seventy years old.  Perhaps being shy shouldn't be an excuse any longer to not get out and get going.  I could go to the senior citizen center and learn line dancing.  I could take some writing classes.  I could take some art classes.  I love the law, I could go to BYU and take some of the law classes they offer senior citizens.  By the time I reached Susan's I had gone over a myriad of ideas I could involve myself in and by the time I drove into her yard, I had reached another conclusion.  I didn't want to do any of them.  I'm content to do none of them.  But then I felt guilty for feeling that way.
     I went in and laid down on Rainee's bed and waited for her to come, the whole time thrashing myself for letting me get the best of myself.  Rainee came in and crawled up beside me.  "What's the matter, Mom." she asked.  And I told her.
   "Are you  fu*!ing kidding me!" She said. "I can't believe you!  Okay, so the fact is you are socially inept.  That's a given.  So you are not comfortable going out and being around a bunch of strangers at this point in your life.  Fine! You've always been that way.  For almost fifty years, you took care of dad.  You were there for him day and night and you were there for Daren day and night.  And you've been there for some of the others of us who have needed you pretty much constantly.  You did dad's books for him for forty-five years.  You took us to singing lessons, dancing lessons, karate lessons, swimming lessons, ski lessons.  Then, you were the pitch hitter for twenty-five grand kids.  You were there when we needed you to run them to school, or pick them up when they were sick.  You went to every school play or performance they were in along with all the pageants some of us put our girls in. You went to their soccer games, baseball name it you were there.  And now you're telling me you feel guilty because you want to rest?  You've got to be fu*!ing kidding me."
     I told her to stop saying the F word and we went out to see what we were having for dinner.  I felt her put her arm around me and I knew I was okay.  I might not be all I could have been, but I've been all I should have been...wife, mom, and grandmother.  I will just keep trying to prove people wrong. I will try not to be the bitch they might think I am.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Who are the Teachers

Who are the teachers
in this school that we call life?
Who do I learn from?  How do I measure
what I'm taught is wrong or right?
Where does the knowledge come?

From he who owns the mansion on the hill,
the one who's trained to heal,
the preacher from the pulpit,
are they right?
Or is it the homeless in the park, the addict in the park,
the lost soul walking aimless in the night?

Who are the teachers?
Who are the teachers?
Who do I learn from?

Who will teach me,
 to judge another isn't right?
Who will teach me,
the candle that I hold, deep within my soul
can bring forth light?

Teach me to be kind,
to find the path that winds,
back to where I came from long ago.
Who are the teachers?  Who are the teachers?
I need to know.

Who are the teachers
in this school that we call life?
Who do I learn from?  How do I measure
what I'm taught is wrong or right?
Where does the knowledge come?

From one who wears success upon his sleeve,
who never seems to grieve,
the banker, or the lawyer or the such?
Or is it the child in the cold,
the lonely or the old,
the one who doesn't ask for much?

Who are the teachers?
Who are the teachers?
Who should I learn from?

Who are the teachers?
Who are the teachers?
Who should I learn from?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

My Man

He lay looking out the window as I sat down by his bed.
"What is it that you're looking at?" and this is what he said.

"Look up there at those mountains, that I have ached to climb.
I just can't seem to make it, with these old broken legs of mine.

There are ragged tops a waiting, meadows in different shades of green,
The monarch elk's a bugling where the wild eagles scream.

There's a five pound lunker, swiming in a deep blue hole.
I know that I could catch him if I could carry up my pole

and turn over a rock in cold wet dirt, and gather a worm or two.
But I'm a little worn out.  I've got some restin' I must do."

So he closed his eyes and I held his hand and I saw him faintly smile.
"I'll get the camp fire burning," he said "and I'll wait for you a while.

There's no need to hurry.  It's okay to take your time.
I'd wait for you forever; my green eyed girl of mine."

I lied on the bed beside him.  He kissed me on my cheek.
I didn't feel another breath, but I didn't need to weep.

For looking out the window, I could see this man, my love.
Climbing up that ragged mountain towards the clear blue sky above.

Susie Whiting~ 2015

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Those little Things

I didn't know.  I didn't think I took things for granted but now I know I did. I think I could find all kinds of excuses for why I did, but now the excuses seem like my enemies. They have robbed me, but the valuables taken weren't missed until when it's too late to get them back.

For example. I remember standing at the front room door. Danny is headed off to work and I have seven children to get fed, dressed, and off to school. There's commotion in the background and because there is, I hurry. He gives me a hug and I kiss him goodbye, but it is ritualistic. I'm angry that it was.I should have let the world stop for a moment and taken time. I should have paused to feel his hands on my waist. I should have paused and looked deeply into his eyes. I should have taken a deep breath and captured the scent of Irish Spring soap on him topped with a splash of Elsha 1776. But I was in a hurry.

Had I not been, I would have felt the crispness of his work shirt and appreciated how his Levis hung on his hips. I would have paid attention to how he brushed his moustache and how his kiss tasted like Colgate toothpaste. I would have paused and felt his arms around me and laid my head on his chest and listened to the beat of his heart.

But I was in a hurry. I didn't stay by the door and watch him walk to his truck giving his belt a little tug along the way. I didn't watch until the taillights of his truck disappeared before turning around to face my day.

I didn't know how much I would miss all those things I took for granted but oh how I do.

I hold a pillow tight and pretend just for a minute it's Danny; long enough to tell him I love him and miss all the Little things; the tiny seemingless unimportant things that together made up our life together.

If I had my life to live over again, I'd take nothing for granted for I know now how important they all are; those little things.