Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Thursday, August 31, 2017

8/6/17 RMB Gulf Shores Reunion

8/6/17 RMB Gulf Shores Reunion


Dear Rita Mae Brown,

Big brother is getting better. Big sister too, although doctors advised she skip this reunion trip, so she is with us in thought, but not physically. About 20 of our nearest and dearest have gathered for a week in this three-story Gulf Shores rental home.

The skies shift, from clear blue to stormy, to blue again, thunder and lightning of yesterday long forgotten. Air conditioning and ceiling fans hold summer’s heat and humidity at bay.

We’ve all aged in the last two years, joints creak, breathing is labored. The young ones are old enough to be caretakers now. Some have moved on to branches of the service to be caretakers of our country, while others look after their parents.

Siblings visit, play games, walk on the beach, and catch up on each other’s lives. We get to know the ones that are now sharing their lives, husbands and wives, nieces and nephews, from the youngest of five who likes to ask, “What are you doing?” to the adventurous duo that arrived with inflatable kayak in tow.

We saw a rainbow, big and bold and bright, as we came out of a restaurant. My sister and her daughter wanted a picture of them in front of the rainbow. So, there we stopped, in the middle of the parking lot, to take photos that memorialized the moment. Then we scurried to find our respective cars full of natives from the south, not nearly as enchanted by the storm and the rainbow, as we Californians.

We all get along for a handful of days, finding common ground, and enjoying the best of one another.


Best wishes,

Loraine

Thursday, July 27, 2017

7/27/17 RMB Baja in Front, Texas to the Left

7/27/17 RMB Baja in Front, Texas to the Left


Dear Rita Mae Brown,

July is flying by. Birthdays, the San Diego Comic-Con, a family reunion, there is so much going on that days blend, weeks disappear, and the end of the month is here.

Driving home from work last night, the sun was just beginning to set, making shadows long and cooling the summer heat. Ahead of me the license plate read “Baja California”, and the car to the left of it had “Texas”, all surrounded by cars carrying “California” plates, mine included.

I had opened all the windows to let out the entrapped heat and rather than closing them and switching on the air, they remained down, the wind making a nice breeze through the car. It brought back days of riding in my 66 Mustang, which always had the window down because there was no air conditioner.

Elton John bellowed out Bennie and the Jets, while we cruised down Broadway, he and I, and Baja California and Texas. The moment felt surreal, as though the past became the present, youth paid a visit, happiness existed untethered to any cause but the present moment’s reality, air, sound, and the fellowship of vehicles from near and far, all moving in unison.

I suppose this is what Eckhart Tolle meant about living in the moment. Each one holds its own universe and all that we wish to include in it. By taking notice, we gather elements into our awareness, the air, the song, the neighboring cars.

I planned to write this letter last night, however the evening meal and ensuing exhaustion, waylaid that notion. This morning, the sun woke before I did. At 6:30 am, the day seems in full swing. Work and obligation tug at me. However, Baja and Texas hold stronger sway.

That moment sought to be recorded, and in doing so, became this one, where its specialness is documented, where the quiet of the morning occupies the house, the sounds of distant cars seep through my open bedroom window, and the cat lays sleeping by my pillow, where all of that and more, become an equally precious moment amidst the onslaught of summer days speeding by.


Sharing moments,

Loraine

Sunday, July 2, 2017

6/26/17 RMB Wonder Woman

6/26/17 RMB Wonder Woman


Dear Rita Mae Brown,

We walked into the theater early, before the previews, and watched as seats filled. The new Wonder Woman movie entertained us all. It excited and inspired us. Although quite different from the last film I enjoyed in the theater, Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson, what they had in common was a good story told well.

We entertain one another with stories, fiction and fact, in books, in theaters, over the phone, everywhere there is a story to be told. And each of our lives is a story in itself, each step taken is a move into the next chapter. Each struggle, a version of good vs. evil, or a walk into the unknown, or a debate between what is best and what is less, all ending in lessons learned or not, only to be taught again.


May our actions write many happily after all endings,

Loraine

Monday, June 26, 2017

6/25/17 RMB Summer Whimsy

6/25/17 RMB Summer Whimsy


Dear Rita Mae Brown,

Saturday evening, I retired to my room early, around seven in the evening, thinking I would write. Instead I rested on my bed with Mythology by Edith Hamilton. As the book lay beside me, I closed my eyes and I enjoyed the night’s cool breeze, offering relief from a hot summer day.

From my open window, I could hear mariachi music from a neighbor’s backyard party, accompanied by their laughter. I drifted off to sleep, lulled by the melody of my mother’s people. It was a most pleasant way to end a Saturday evening.

I woke after ten, rested and not quite ready to go back to sleep. I considered writing again, but childlike whimsy held sway. I searched for, and found, a small coloring book that I had last held months, if not a year or more, ago.

I gathered my colorful pens and continued where I had left off, as though not a moment had passed. One by one, objects on the page brightened, a blue boot, a green leaf, a red umbrella. I enjoyed coloring as a child. And now I sat as an adult, doing the same, as though not a moment had passed. Life is magical that way.


Enjoying summer whimsy,

Loraine

Thursday, June 8, 2017

6/8/17 RMB One Challenge

6/8/17 RMB One Challenge


Dear Rita Mae Brown,

Most nights of the week I watch one show, a one hour show trimmed to 40 minutes sans commercials. Our San Diego County Library system has a wide variety of movies and shows on DVD. That’s where vast majority of the videos I watch reside.

Work takes up many of my hours, commuting another one, and sleep, that gets squeezed in too.

Reading is allotted to an occasional lunch break, weekend or late-night indulgence. Audio books via my recently smarter phone accompany my meager work out. From Mythology by Edith Hamilton, to Hotspur by the one and only Rita Mae Brown, to America’s Hidden History: Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims Fighting Women and Forgotten Founders that Shaped a Nation by Kenneth C. Davis, to Summer Knight by Jim Butcher… I absorb the written words, the television shows, an occasional movie, and the bits of media and news that creep through my buffer too.

It is apparent that we are a people who enjoy a challenge. When we are not busy taking one on in our lives, we create and share them in our stories. We have been doing this since before the first written words to today.  

I continue to wonder how we can steer our nature towards a kinder sort of human being. That is one challenge we have yet to master.


Onward we go,

Loraine

Sunday, April 30, 2017

4/30/17 RMB Tarzan

4/30/17 RMB Tarzan

Dear Rita Mae Brown,

Today is the last day of April. It seems important to mark the passing of time, endings and beginnings in particular.

I am reading Hotspur, your second book in the Jane Arnold fox hunting series. I’m also enjoying errands here and there listening to As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes on CD in my car. By my night stand is Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman.

This morning I watched the latest version of Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan come to life in the film The Legend of Tarzan staring Alexander Skarsgard.  

What is all this leading to? The puzzle of it all, words, books, why we write and the stories we tell.

We can live vicariously through characters, experiencing far more than each of us will in our own lives. Conversely, words can energize us to reach further than we might have risked on our own, or provide us the knowledge to do so.  

Our match can be found in words of others, the one that mirrors what we are on the outside and the one that mirrors our insides. In discovering each other, through the imagination of our authors, or their research, we discover a bit more about ourselves, our world, and all of the possibilities breathing there.

This is a how we learn and absorb our universe, by watching the rising sun, the faces we pass, and the words we devour. We are a curious lot. Our duffle bag full of inherited traits, adjusted by what has been learned, provides us everything we possess to charter our course.  

It is all an illusion, though, what we see and how we interpret it are vastly different from what another sees and the effects on that person’s life. One may face eminent danger and another reads about “those people over there” (the very ones facing danger), their worlds being worlds apart.

And, whether fiction or fact, there is this tug, internal and everlasting, connecting one being to the other. Our heart goes out to Tarzan as he rescues Jane. Our awareness expands as the scientists uncovering fossils from ancient times re-write history.

And I am convinced that words will ultimately act as the bridge from here to there, one book at a time, connecting us to our past, future, and each other, our saving grace. Words feed the depths of our hunger.

Sincerely,

Loraine

Sunday, April 16, 2017

4/16/17 RMB Siblings & Easter



4/16/17 RMB Siblings & Easter


Happy Easter Rita Mae Brown,
The sun is setting here in California. The day was good. Easter brings back memories of pink dresses and family pictures while we were in our Sunday finest. It’s a nice day to entertain images and sounds of yesteryear. 

News from Alabama came that big brother is breathing on his own and from New Mexico that big sister is hanging in there. Two siblings hospitalized, one for pneumonia and the other for heart trouble, at the same time.

Although miles divide us, our souls remain connected. Today we rejoice in another day together, far away from one another, yet together still.

I remember washing big brother’s car, with two other sisters and another brother, on a hot Alabama summer day. It was parked on our front lawn and we played more than we washed. He took care of us all without complaint.

I remember my big sister flying to Orange County from New Mexico late one night to share our Mom’s last days with us. And later her doing the honors of speaking the words that accompanied Mom’s ashes to their final resting place.

We siblings were apart more than together, often residing in different states, the gaps in our ages, and general circumstances, made memories of us together rare and precious.

Family, from those in mine, I learned that you don’t have to be together every day, nor share or even know about each other’s daily lives, to belong to each other. Blood matters not. Distance matters not. We make our family by an unspoken vow, a determination.  Young or old, whether they be friends that came into our lives late, or relatives that were here to greet us when we were born, all that matters is that they are family. Family matters.


Taking one day at a time,
Loraine