When the manuscript for Nothing to Lose came back from my favorite copy editor, one passage was marked “Trite but allowable under the ‘What Mothers Say’ Exemption.” ‘Pride goeth before the fall’ was certainly one of my mother’s all-time favorites. In AA parlance, I could have entitled this blog ‘Falling off the Wagon,’ meaning I’d just had a slip in my sobriety. Or I could have just said, ‘The wheels came off the bus.’ All three of those are trite but accurate.
On Friday of last week, I bent over in search of an iPad connector on the floor. In the process, I tweaked my back. When I straightened up, I had a back spasm that literally ‘took my breath away!’ (Also trite, but in this case absolutely true.) I already had that day’s steps ‘in the bag,’ as it were. See what I mean? That’s the whole problem with those little catch phrases. They work. They ‘get the job done.’ I don’t know about you, but I’m laughing now. How many more of those little devils can I ‘pull out of my pocket’ in the course of writing a single blog?
What I learned is this: In my natural state, I barely get 3000 steps a day. Over the next two days combined, I didn’t hit 10,000. Yesterday, I got may ten barely, but I took it in slow, measured steps, a thousand steps at a time. I’m better today, but still a bit glitchy.
Because I’m calendar-challenged, I didn’t realize until this morning that I should have written my Thanksgiving Day blog last week, in order for it to arrive in a timely manner. ‘My bad! ‘ Yup, there’s another one.
And so ‘a day late and a dollar short’ I’m going to tell you a few things for which I’m thankful. (Thanks to Anne Medigovich, my high school English teacher, I put that preposition in the right place!) After all, ‘prepositions are NOT to end sentences with.’ There’s another one.
I’ll start with my husband. Bill and I are coming up on our 37th anniversary, and I’m thankful for him every day. Our first date happened to be the grand opening signing for my first book, and he’s been one hundred percent supportive of both my writing and me from that moment on.
I’m thankful for my kids and grandkids—the ones the ones that were here for Thanksgiving and the one’s who weren’t. With most of the others living on the far side of the Cascades, not having them drive ‘over the rivers and through the woods,’ to say nothing of braving the snow and ice on Snoqualmie Pass seems like … well … ‘a no brainer.’
I’m grateful for my dogs. Mary and Jojo, my long-haired dachshunds, keep me grounded. There’s nothing like cleaning up a little doggie doo-doo to keep you from ‘getting a swelled head.’
I’m thankful for my very loyal book readers who have followed me and my characters through sixty-three books and counting. I’m grateful for my many blog readers whose comments have kept me connected to the outside world during this time of enforced isolation. And I’m also thankful for the fans who write to me. Some of the things people share with me are deeply touching.
This week I heard from a man in Louisana who said that during the pandemic (I refuse to capitalize pandemic!) he was introduced to my books by his father who was a great fan of mine. The son, Brent, became a fan, too. Sadly, his father passed away from Covid in December of last year. Brent is now such a die-hard fan that he tracked down a short story I wrote long ago, one of which I no longer had any record. Second Fiddle was published in an anthology called First Cases, edited by Robert Randisi. My files on that story disappeared when I moved from Microsoft Windows to Apple’s Pages, but Brent and his wife have now tracked down a copy and are sending it to me. And I know that, from now on, whenever Brent reads one of my books, he will be reminded of his father.
But my exchange with Brent brought up another long-ago story. A woman named Erin came to an early signing asking for me to sign a book in memory of her mother. It seems her mother, one of my devoted fans, was in the hospital. Erin purchased a copy but decided to read it herself before taking it to her mother’s hospital room. When her mother passed away, Erin found the book with her mother’s book mark only half way through. “I wish I’d taken it to her first,” she said. Sometimes book signings can be tough on mascara. After hearing from Brent, however, I wrote to Erin as well and had a lovely reconnection with her.
The combination of those two meaningful communications this week left me feeling ‘all warm and fuzzy.’ (By my count, that makes eleven.)
Over the next few days, if one of your kids ‘steps out of line’ and you’re forced to tell him or her, ‘If you think you can get away with that, you’ve got another think coming,’ just remember it’s allowed—under the “What Mothers Say Exemption.”
And now, sit back and enjoy the rest of Thanksgiving weekend.
It may be the day after Thanksgiving, but I’m still thankful.