Warning…………..Soap Box Ahead!!!!!

(I came across this “blast from the past” (2014) and just had to share one more time!)

calvin & political philosophy blame voteAnd so it begins…………………….. the writing of my 49th “diaryofanut” post!!  I vowed to myself last night that I would tackle this writing task today no matter what interrupted my day.  I must admit that the “interruption” I had in mind had more to do with taking care of, or being visited by, my grandchildren, but what actually threatened to derail my commitment to this blog was the political e-mail I received this morning followed by a political article that I read!!  I can clearly hear the collective sighs issuing forth from all of my long-suffering family.  I know that they are all praying that I will “fall off of my political soapbox” before I write something that will further stigmatize me, and by association, them as well.  You know, I honestly have been trying very, very hard to quell my “ranting” about politics these days.  I also know that my family has been trying equally hard to prevent any utterance of a political nature when they are around me, lest I lapse into some incoherent tirade.  It seems that my genetic make-up is one which precludes me from “sitting on the fence” and just “‘letting sleeping dogs lie” when I find a cause to which I am totally dedicated.   At this point, it seems appropriate to give a little shout out to my very dear Aunt Evie (who departed from this life in 2010 at age 94) to whom I owe my “great awakening”.  You see Aunt Evie was an avid talk radio listener who possessed an insatiable curiosity about everyone and everything………….oh, and by the way, she also thoroughly enjoyed her nightly “cocktail” and smoking her Virginia Slims Ultra-Light Menthol 120’s!!!.  I usually called her every night to chitchat about the day’s events, and so it was that in April of 2008 as the two of us were engaged in our typical light-hearted discussion, she became very insistent in asking me who was this person, Bill Ayers, whose association with the then Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, was the top news story.   Now at that particular moment in time,  my radio dial was set to 1460 AM which happens to be our local sports station, and the only thing I knew for certain was that Bill Ayers had absolutely nothing to do with sports!  Beyond that, I had no clue as to who he was or why he would be deemed newsworthy.  At any rate, I promised her that I would Google his name and report back to her the next evening.  That, my dear readers, was the beginning of the saga of this “right-wing” nut!!!  I think even Aunt Evie lived long enough to regret having ever asked the question that unleashed the “sleeping giant”!!  LOL  I do know from my sisters, that Aunt Evie would occasionally confess to them her worry that I was going to make myself sick if I continued to become so animated and upset about politics.  Aunt Evie…………..I truly do thank you……your thirst for knowledge compelled me to become more inquisitive about the who, what, when, where and why of some of life’s most perplexing issues.  ♥

Aunt Evie on a motorcycle in the game room at the old Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe.
Aunt Evie on a motorcycle in the game room at the old Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe.

Switching gears entirely…………….Easter 2014 was a truly a unique experience for even the Clark family.  Christine unwittingly put out an e-mail invitation for an Easter dinner gathering at the old homestead.  Do you think she was surprised when she received replies that 67 of her closest family members RSVP’d that they were happily attending??!!!!  More to the point…………….was Mike surprised????????  We all thought Christmas at 104 could never be topped, but I do believe this Easter gathering was one for the record books.  Fortunately, the weather cooperated and the front porch, the backyard deck, the basketball court were all put to good use……..even the Easter egg hunt went off without a hitch!!

clark family picture easter 2014
Who are all of these people and what are they doing in my yard????? was asked by #1. Christine #2. Leah/Erin/Katie/Tori #3. Mike

I have a question…………………..do you suppose there is any way the powers to be could come up with a way to speed up the game of baseball????  I know that the MLB went in exactly the opposite direction this season with the new “instant” replay (now there is an oxymoron, if I ever heard one!!!).  Everyone knows that I love the Yankees, but even at that, the plodding slowness of the game from the rituals the pitcher goes through before he throws the pitch, to the rituals the batter goes through before and after he steps into the batters box, to the ritual of the catcher, the pitching coach and/or the manager when they walk out to the mound to talk to the pitcher…………omgosh…………it sometimes makes me want to scream for mercy!!!!!!!!!!  Oh dear, I am beginning to feel the “Carole syndrome” :) coming on as the whiner and complainer in me is showing, but it is only to defend myself for feeling guilty about not wanting to hang out for the seven or nine innings of the grand-kids’ games.  Megan called me at 6:30 PM the other night as I was planning to catch one of Natalie’s games which was slated to begin at 6 PM.  I was just pulling out my driveway when my cell rang and Megan asked if I had forgotten the time of the game (she worries about my memory!!  sheesh!!).  Anyway, I told her I was on my way and she replied, “Well, it’s already the second inning!”……………….bingo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  My plan was pretty well thought out unbeknownst to Meg………. or so I thought.  I had been told that there was an hour and a half time limit for 4th graders and so I figured that if I left my house at 6:30ish, I would catch the last forty-five minutes of the game (which was still stretching my attention span!!)  however as the clock slowly ticked down to 7:30 PM, I learned from one of the parents that it was actually a two-hour time limit!!!   As I am now feeling a twinge of guilt for my lackluster enthusiasm, I hereby offer all of my grandchildren an apology for not fully embracing the opportunity to see each of them play an entire game.  And truth be told, I sort of feel the same way about soccer even though at least the players are constantly moving (sorry Sophia and Sydney!!).

Have you noticed that there is no theme to this blog post?  I sometimes just go wherever my mind takes me and apparently the mind had “no particular place to go” (some old timers might remember that little phrase was the title to a 1964 Chuck Berry song)……..Hey!!!  I think I just inadvertently identified myself as “old”!)

I  can’t neglect to give one more  “shout out” …….this time to Megan, who having worked full-time while also attending school full-time, earned her RN degree last week and who will also now be diagnosing every little ache and pain and memory lapse her Mother has!!!!  LOL…………just teasing you Megan!  Her compassionate and caring nature will ensure that her future patients will never want for empathy or quality of care. With a fire-fighter/EMT and now two nurses in the family, I should be medically well cared for in my older age (to which I have really and truly not yet arrived,  FYI!!).  In preparation for the graduation ceremony,  Megan somewhat reluctantly joined a few of her classmates in decorating their caps in order to be better able to identify them in the midst of the multitudes of graduates.  She ended up doing such an artful job that when she approached the President of the university to receive her diploma, he kept her up on the stage for a moment longer to inquire about her cap and to comment that if there had been an award for the best decorated graduation cap, hers would have won hands down!!!  A picture of the cap actually made it on to the university’s website the following day.

Outlined in blinking white lights!!!!
Outlined in blinking white lights!!!!

Interspersed with the joy of Easter and the celebration of Megan’s most recent achievement was the sadness the Clark/Heubel/Scully families experienced upon receiving news several days after Easter that our Aunt Phyllis had passed away from a sudden heart attack.  Aunt Phyl (married to my Mom’s brother, Uncle Herm) was well-known in our families as someone who, among other things, enjoyed bridge, golf and parties!!!  She was particularly at her best when telling stories on herself.  One of my all time favorite stories had to with her turning her car completely around………………. while still in her garage!!!  How in the heck did she do that?????  None of us knows to this day, but I figure she must have put the car in reverse, turned the steering wheel, then shifted gears to go forward, turned the steering wheel again, then back to reverse, then turn, then forward and repeat………….probably a hundred times!!!!  LOL  If only there had been cell phone video back then, she would have received at least a million hits on you-tube!!  Aunt Phyl………….thanks for the memories :).  Oh and one more memory…………a family classic……..the Christmas of the matching p.j.’s!!  If memory serves me correctly, Mom & Aunt Phyl unknowingly discovered the same Christmas sale at one of the department stores and purchased……………matching red pajamas for the entire family…………..even Dad and Uncle Herm!!  OMGosh, those really were the days!!!

Johnny, Cecilia on Aunt Phyl's lap, Mom at piano, Kathy, MM, Jan & Jimmy
Johnny, Cecilia on Aunt Phyl’s lap, Mom at piano, Kathy, MM, Jan & Jimmy

You know, as I continue on this journey of mine, I never cease to learn many more important life lessons.  And while I admit that I have not always been a quick nor a compliant learner, the struggles and the losses I have encountered over the years I now strangely see as blessings.  For each event has served to provide me with an opportunity for a  greater appreciation and understanding of my need to continually seek God so as to find His presence in my life.  I was reflecting on this while watching “The Bible” during Easter week.  One scene in particular has stayed with me…………..it was the time when the disciples encountered a frightening storm while out in their boat and they suddenly saw Jesus coming toward them, walking on the water.  This terrified the disciples who thought they were seeing a ghost.  Jesus told them  “Take courage! It is I.  Don’t be afraid.”  Peter replied, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”  So Jesus invited Peter to come.  Peter got out of the boat and began walking on the water toward Jesus.  But when Peter took his eyes off Jesus and saw the wind and waves, he began to sink.  The point of my retelling this story that I know all of you have heard many times before, is that it was, for me, yet another “aha moment”.  Keeping our own eyes on Jesus requires the continual seeking of Him through prayer and, for us Catholics, in the sacraments.   It is when we take our own eyes off of Him and trust in our own capabilities that we struggle.  Ohhhh…………………we control people are very, very hard-headed!!!  Perhaps this passage from another devotional I am now reading will bring this all together:

Keep returning your focus to Me! I am always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.  You, however, are only human, and you will lose sight of Me at times.  I know how hard it is for you to stay focused on Me, especially when you are feeling weak or weary.  So receive My grace whenever you realize your mind and heart have wandered from Me.  And waste no time in returning to Me by praising Me in thought, word or song.  even whispering My name – reverently, lovingly – can be worship.

Let Me have all your worries and cares.  This may sound easy, but it is not; you are accustomed to worry-thoughts roaming freely in your brain.  So you must train yourself to bring all your cares into My Presence, trusting Me to help you.  Remember that you are never alone in your struggles.  I am always aware of you and your circumstances.  I can help you because I have all authority in heaven and on earth.  As you come into My Presence, let go of your worries and cares…..so you can cling to Me in childlike trust.          from Jesus Today

Let God have all your worries and care, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.  -1 Peter 5:7



P.S.  I started this post on my “political soap box” and ended on my “religious soap box”…………guess I had a lot on my mind today!!!!!!!  LOL

Calvin & Soap Box


In Remembrance of a Life Well-Lived


The reality is that you will grieve forever.  You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it.  You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered.  You will be whole again, but you will never be the same again. Nor should you be the same…….nor should you want to.  –Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Today our family will pause to remember Crick at a Mass said for him on this eighth anniversary of his death.   As I continue to feel this need to chronicle and preserve the story that was uniquely his, I am once again sharing this video I made seven years ago.  In addition, I have included several recollections from family and friends which speak volumes about how one “glass half-full” life has touched so many.

The heart, like the mind has a memory, and in it are kept the most precious keepsakes.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“I remember when Crick took us outside one winter to build, not just a typical snowman, but our very own igloo!!  We built it so big it lasted until almost spring!  He also helped me to buy my very first car, it was a stick shift and he helped me learn how to drive it and, after many hours of practice, he suggested that we take the car for a test drive up Cooke Rd. to see if I could handle it on a hill.  Well…..I couldn’t make it up the first hill and we kept drifting backwards toward the car behind us.  Finally, Crick put his foot over mine on the accelerator and away we went.  I think his exact words to me were, “Well, you can always sell this car to someone else!”.  He would always beg me to walk on his back and promise to give me all of the change in his pocket.  Boy, was I naive, thinking I was going to make a lot of money.  But……..he did teach me the value of a quarter!!!  Over the years, Crick would put a lot on his back for our family.”

“I started thinking about how long I have known Crick…………it has been basically my whole life!!  I remember sitting in our living room on Oakland Park and talking into a reel to reel tape recorder to say “hi” to him when he was stationed in Korea and then he would send the tape back to us so that we could hear his voice.  Crick was also there for Jimmy……there was the day that Jimmy was hiding in the bushes in front of our house and Crick went out to gently remind Jimmy that he was at home and not back in Viet Nam.  Who else but a veteran like Crick could have known what Jimmy was going through. Crick was also there when I was going to enlist in the Army Reserves and he was going to make sure that I ended up in his unit so that he could watch over me………..he even went to the commander to make sure this would happen.  For some reason I never did enlist, but I always knew that Crick was going to be there for me.  Crick has been and always will be one of my brothers!!”

“It seems like a long time ago that Crick and I were standing on the field at St. Michael’s in our wildly unprotective football gear……paper thin shoulder pads, helmets with no face guards or chin straps, and for me,…………fearing the fact that I would have to tackle his older brother, John as he came blasting through the line. Life seems to warp into hyper-speed as we grow older. I must say that although Crick and I were never terribly close growing up, I have fond memories of him: caddying with him at York Temple, the fact that he seemed to instinctively know how car engines worked, and how he always exuded this sort of Gary Cooper type…….tall, dependable, good-hearted vibe, even as a kid. And if his presence is still felt by someone as distant as I am to him, I can only imagine what his presence means to all of those who are truly close to him. It speaks volumes about how Crick has journeyed through this life.”

And so it is that as another year passes, our family continues to honor Crick’s memory by drinking of the “glass half-full” and being “grateful that we are able to put two feet on the floor”.

May his soul, and the souls of all of the faithful departed on this All Souls Day, rest in peace.  Amen

TGW (the good wife)


Don’t Know Much………..Edition III

Wanting to once again commemorate the wedding anniversary of the union of the DH (dear husband) and TGW (the good wife), I have chosen to re-post this blog from 2013, along with the accompanying video. This year (our 45th) as the anniversary date approached, I realized that I did not have the time to create a new post, nor could I find better words to express the emotion that is always, always, always front and center in my mind and in my heart.  I did, however, happen upon yet another song that speaks to the comfort that my faith provides when sadness intrudes in those still unsuspecting moments and decided to upload some rare photos of just the two of us (we all know how much Crick despised having his picture taken) and have added this short video to the blog.  It does seems as though I have this “need” to continue to add more material with each passing year since Crick has been gone…….if I continue this each year, I may break the Guinness World Records for lengthy anniversary blogs!!!!   You will find the “editions” in the P.P.S. at the end of the post.   

Top row: Jimmy, Joy, Jay, Feller, Johnny Middle Row: Cecilia, Kathy, MM, Crick, Lee Bottom Row: Christine, Tommy
Top row: Jimmy, Joy, Jay, Feller, Johnny
Middle Row: Cecilia, Kathy, MM, Crick, Lee
Bottom Row: Christine, Tommy

MM in Mom's wedding dress with Ce 1959
MM in Mom’s wedding dress with Ce 1959

MM and Cecilia 11 years later
MM and Cecilia 11 years later

Someone apparently told Crick to say “cheese” LOL

Memory can only tell us what we were,
in the company of those we loved;
it cannot help us find what each of us, alone, must now become.
Yet no person is really alone;
those who live no more, echo still within our thoughts and words,
and what they did has become woven into what we are.
~ Jewish prayer 

2012-09-04 15.45.23

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This week I have been on a bit of a sentimental journey as today is the 42nd anniversary of the day when the “glass half-full” wed the “glass half-empty” and an incredible journey was begun.  I have countless memories of the “good, the bad and the ugly” (which brings to mind the actor, Clint Eastwood…..which brings to mind an empty chair…which brings to mind a certain political convention……but for today, I will stay on topic, so that you may all rest easy!!  LOL).  The little strips of typewritten paper which I inserted above were several of thirty-eight which Crick had attached to thirty-eight roses he had placed throughout the house to be discovered by me when I had returned home work to celebrate our anniversary four years ago.  Without a doubt, this was the single most romantic idea he had ever conceived!!!  As you can see from the “new-found political activism” mention, the year was 2008……the year I became, not just any “nut”, but a ““right-wing nut!!!  And of course, you will notice the words “stubbornness” and “ways you get mad” (I do believe, he just might have been recalling the “King’s Island Main Street incident”!!!………which, I must confess, was unfortunately not an isolated event!).  I am  quite sure that Peggy and Mark will take particular note of the “NOT my fishing and camping partner”, for no matter how awesome Crick tried to make the idea of camping out in a hot, stuffy tent, sleeping all too close to terra firma, among the creepy, crawling insects, the squirrels and raccoons, and those pesky, chirping birds; I have always, always, always preferred the creature comforts of home.  And foremost among those thirty-eight for which Crick was expressing his gratitude, were our children and grandchildren, for whom we both always, always, always agreed were our greatest blessings.

2009-04-22 15.24.48-26As I was looking through some pictures, I came across the lease for our very first apartment which was on North High Street just up the road from St. Michael’s where Crick graduated from grade school.  Along with the lease I also discovered that I had kept  our first checkbook ledger and thought that, as one of  the slips of paper above indicates, I was the family “financier”, I should share how far $400/month salary would take you back in 1970.  I was struck not just by the fact that our rent was only $100/month, but that our very first check was to Columbia Gas for $2.56.  Looking further down the list I took particular note that there was a check written to Ohio State University for $255.00 which was to pay for Crick’s tuition for fall quarter that year!!!  Today, that amount would hardly cover the cost of one book!   I also noticed that a check had been written to Agler-Davidson (a once popular sporting goods store) and now recall that the amount was to cover the cost of some football equipment as Crick and a couple of my brothers had this cockamamie idea that they would join a local semi-pro football league which was being tried out in Columbus.  Crick and Johnny played for the “Blue Angels”……………what? you’ve never heard of them??????  Not surprising, the league went bust shortly thereafter, but what I do remember is that there was this little tiny bit of a………. dare I say………..  “discussion” between the newly wedded, blissful couple about the wisdom of spending money on something so unnecessary as football equipment!!   So now, you all know why I became the “financier”!!  LOL  I just know that Crick is pacing back and forth up there in the heavens telling anyone who will listen to him that he knew this would happen one day………..that my hanging on to letters and incriminating pieces of the past would come back to haunt him.  I still have in my possession, almost three years worth of letters that he wrote to me when he was in the Army……..Fort Knox, Fort Sill, Fort Carson and Korea……….yep, whenever he remembered my box of his letters, he would go on and on about how I should get rid of them because, you know, they were just dust collectors and a lot of ancient history.  Welllllllllllll,  I have always loved history and now one of these days I am just going to have to re-read all of those letters and really tick Crick off!!!!  :)

I actually have been on a mission of sorts the past two days to put together some pictures from forty-two years ago, as my own small way of honoring this day and all of the memories attached to it.  And as I was sorting through the various photos, and a few of the cards that I had kept of anniversaries past, I remembered something.  One year, probably twenty years ago (gosh was 1990 that long ago???), Crick and I had surprisingly presented each other with the very same gift!!  Now this is even more remarkable because we did not always exchange gifts as money was usually tight (due in part to a very stingy financier!!!).  This particular year however, we shockingly presented each other with…………………a cassette (CD’s were just becoming popular, but we obviously were not on the cutting edge of new technology !!!) of  a hit song by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville titled “Don’t Know Much”.  It seemed to touch us both in the same way about how we  each viewed our relationship………and so I listened to it again for the first time in quite a while and realized how perfectly it suited us.  I decided to see if I could put the pictures and the music together and after a lot (A LOT!!) of trial and error this is how it turned out.  (click the arrow on lower right hand corner of video for full screen)



P.S.  Remember that last wedding picture in the video??  This was a re-enactment forty years later……………………………….you just can’t account for “maturity” LOL!!!

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P.P.S.  A few weeks ago, I was driving home from running an errand and I happened to be not too far from Resurrection Cemetery and so, out of the blue, I decided to redirect my homeward destination.  Now, I couldn’t begin to explain the rationale for this sudden change in plans except that there was this inexplicable desire for me to do so.  There is one thing about cemeteries……………..they are very quiet :)…………..and perhaps that is exactly what I unknowingly needed.  Anyway, after spending some time in reflection and prayer at the grave-sites of Crick, my parents and my two brothers, I got back into my car and drove home.  Several hours later, still in somewhat of a rather pensive mood, I was searching in my wallet for an appointment card when I discovered this:

dear husband DH

Call me crazy……………..(and many do!!!!)………..but I have no recollection of ever having placed this pocket-coin in my wallet.  In fact, I can’t even remember purchasing such a coin and the only explanation for me having it would be that I gave it to Crick when he went over to Kosovo with the National Guard in 2004.  Over the course of our marriage, there were few situations which would have triggered the giving of such a sentimental token, except for just such a dire situation as his leaving me and the family for nine long months!!!  (LOL)  However this coin came into my possession remains a curious question……….and it matters not the how I came to find it, but the why.  The mere fact that its appearance came on the very day that I had been in need of feeling Crick’s presence, brought me comfort, not only in that amazing moment, but the sheer memory of that moment, has continued to provide me a sense of peaceful contentment.

And so, on this 44th anniversary of the DH and TGW, I hold onto this thought of Marguerite’s from the book, “The Five People You Meet In Heaven”:

“Lost love is still love.  It just takes a different form, that’s all. You can’t hold their hand, you can’t tousle their hair. But when those senses weaken, another one comes to life. Memory. Memory becomes your partner, you hold it, you dance with it.  Life has to end…………love doesn’t.”

charm mm crick 2

The Absent-Minded “Loser”

As the Schultheis family once again begins the process of healing from our most recent loss,  I will attempt to refocus this blog on the more mundane aspects of the Clark/Schultheis saga which more often than not reads like a script from the sitcom, “The Middle”!!

Nate, Dylan
Nate, Dylan

Back-tracking several weeks, I must share these photos that I discovered had been taken on my camera “in secret” on Thanksgiving Day by niece, Chelsea (who shall one day pay

Jo, Tom
Jo, Tom

dearly for this infraction!!).  It seems that she seized an opportunity to borrow (a.k.a. steal LOL) my camera in order to pull a prank on me, aided by these quite willing accomplices, by providing a little “surprise” when I downloaded my pictures!!!!  The irony of the “loser” hand motion shown in these pictures is that after she had taken the pictures, and before I became aware of her mischief, several of the “co-conspirators” sat down with me to play a card game after Thanksgiving dinner.  Throughout the card game, I unwittingly used this very same gesture to  show my “superiority” to the other players when the cards happened to be falling my way.  It seems that just like Rodney Dangerfield………………”I don’t get no respect!!!”



Chelsea.............whose "dreams" shall henceforth be forever "crushed"
Chelsea………….whose “dreams” shall henceforth be forever “crushed”

Anyway, despite the fact that there are apparently some “losers” :) in this family………….the younger crowd sought to make up for them by embarking on their own card game…………………..5 card stud!!!!!!  They were aided and abetted in this by the Dads………..Chris, Jim and Joe.  We could hear shouts of I’ve got 2 pair………look at my hand – 3 of a kind……….I’ll raise you two………..all coming from the mouths of kids ranging in age from five to thirteen!!!  Whatever happened to Crazy 8’s and Old Maid??

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The "pot"
The “pot”

The day after Thanksgiving dawned blustery, damp and cold for the 3rd Annual Clark Turkey Bowl leaving it to the hardiest Clarks to vie for the honor of winning the best

There is that dreamcrushed Chelsea again standing over me........next time I see that girl I am going to have to tie her hands behind her back!!!
There is that dreamcrushed Chelsea again standing over me……..next time I see that girl I am going to have to tie her hands behind her back!!!

of 4 games.  This year I begged (LOL) to be a “captain” putting me in charge of choosing the players for my team………………thus guaranteeing that I would not end up being one of the very last players to be selected (as I have been for each of the previous years…………..could it be because I am old and slow…………and………… because I notoriously duck whenever the football is thrown anywhere near me???????).  Anyway, the powers to be ended up granting “captain” status to the four Clark sisters……….me, Kathy, Jo and Christine.  I am proud to say that my team came in second, thanks in large part to my infamous propensity for staying out of the way of the ball!!!!   LOL.

Those of you who grew up in Clintonville in the 60’s & 70’s are sure to appreciate this conversation which took place between granddaughter Natalie (age 9) and me on Thanksgiving morning.  About ten years ago, Crick and I began another one of our rituals………………….attending Mass on Thanksgiving morning and then going to breakfast at the only restaurant open in the neighborhood on Thanksgiving Day………………..Tee Jayes Country Place.  In recent years, Jennifer, Jim and their kids joined us, and so it was again that this year, as we were placing our orders for breakfast, I mentioned to Olivia, Sam and Natalie that “back in the day” when Crick tee jayesand I were at Watterson, after many of the football and basketball games, there would be a mass migration of students from the school to this exact location which at the time was known as Jerry’s Drive-In.  I related how we used to “walk” up the alley way from Cooke Rd. to the Morse Rd. location in small and large groups (note: small groups would be the “couples” who happened to be dating at the time) (additional note:  I was always part of the large group……………..Crick was more often than not in one of small groups LOL!!!!!).   Anyway, I was telling them all about how it was back in the day, and also sharing my memories of the old pizza restaurant, “Riccardi’s, which sat on the opposite corner of Jerry’s Drive-In.   Riccardi’s was rather small and the wait for a table could be quite long …….your group just might be asked to leave (a.k.a “thrown out”) for taking up a big table and only ordering colas and no pizza!!!!  I think eventually Olivia and Sam lost interest in the story, but I still had Natalie’s attention and I soon found out why.  When I had finished reminiscing, she chimed in that their third grade class had just recently learned about Jerry’s Drive-In during a history lesson on Clintonville…………………………..oooohhhh nnnnoooo…………………..my high school memories are now incorporated into my grandchildren’s history class!!!!  How did this happen?????  (the following you-tube video was taken in 1985 at one of the occasional “cruise-ins” just before Jerry’s closed forever, and gives a pretty vivid explanation of how “historical” those days have become!! )

Actually, this all should come as no surprise to me……………I prove my age every day by my forgetfulness!!!  Case in point………………..a couple of weeks ago I was over at Jay and Rayne’s and we were discussing how we all seem to be experiencing more and more frequent occasions of misplacing items or stopping mid-sentence to search for a name or a word, or, in my case……….showing up for work at the wrong office, or on the wrong day!!!!  Well, after I had said good-bye and had driven home, I walked into my house and saw that my phone was blinking, indicating that someone had left a message.  My ears perked up when I heard the voice…………………it was Rayne trying unsuccessfully to control her laughter……………….it seems that I had left my cell phone on their table!!!!!!!! :).  What can I say??  I have no defense!!!!  And to make matters even worse………….. the very next day, I woke up late and so I called Dr. Lori to leave a message that I was running a few minutes late and also phoned the office leaving a message there as well.  As I was driving (a.k.a “speeding”) up I-71 towards Sunbury, my cell phone rings and it is one of the front desk staff………………………………………….. “Mary Margaret??  We listened to your message…………………………………………………………………….. do you think you are working today??!”  Oooohhhh nnnnoooo!!!  Yep!!  I did it again, I was one week early, and as the next freeway exit was still ten miles up the road, I had to continue all the way to Sunbury, thirty miles from my house.  One might think that incidents such as this would be cause for some embarrassment on my part, however, these days, pride has given way to humility!!  LOL   That surrender came some years ago when I called to schedule a check-up with my dentist.  Priding myself (darn that pride!) on having committed the phone number to my memory, I heard the voice on the other end ask if they could help me (oh, if they only knew!) and so I said that I had wanted to schedule my cleaning appointment.  There was a bit of a pause, and then the scheduler began suggesting certain dates and times.  I chose one, and then as she repeated the date and time back to me, she stated that this appointment would be with Dr. Harmon.  Suddenly, a little tiny light went on and I repeated back to her, “Dr. Harmon??” ” Didn’t I just dial 885-@#@?”  She said that yes I had dialed that number, and then I began to explain that I thought that I was calling my dentist’s office…………..from the other end of the phone all I could hear was her laughter.  She proceeded to tell me that in all of the years that she had worked at the front desk, she had never had anyone call their office asking for a “cleaning” appointment……………and further stated that I had just made her day and she could not wait to share this moment with the other staff!!  If you are family and you have heard this story before, you know very well that Dr. Harmon happens to be my doctor………………………………………………and………………………………………. an OB/GYN!!!!!

Unfortunately, one cannot just make this stuff up!!!  LOL

On a much more somber note, in closing this post, I would like to share an excerpt from an article I read as I  know how everyone’s minds and hearts are with the families and children of Newtown, Connecticut:

This is not a time for political noise. It’s a time for compassion and introspection. There’s nothing more to be offered than heartfelt prayer for all of the families and the innocent school staff and children who were murdered, injured, and traumatized by a madman devoid of respect for life.

One of the most moving stories of heroism involved the music teacher who hid her students in a closet and prayed with them in whispers to keep them calm.  Faith has come under fire so frequently in the schools.  Yet, under fire, it is faith that sustains eternally.

We as individuals, and as a nation, will always have moments of darkness, when everything seems hopeless and life events seem overwhelming, but the Scriptures are a reassuring source to remind us of God’s presence.  God is always, always, always with us in our joy and in our sorrow.  His steadfast love and faithfulness are promises to which we can cling.  God alone will never let us down.  He promises His strength, His peace, and His comfort.  All we need to do is to trust, to believe, to hope and to depend on Him.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them……….the Lord, who remains faithful forever.                                                            Psalm 146: 5-6



P.S.  One day I will figure out how to correctly add pictures to my blog without all of the irregular spacing which seems to occur between some of the sentences, but for now……………. what you see is what you get :)!


I am temporarily (as in the next few hours!) leaving behind the political world of the “right-wing nut” (although I guess I do have Neil Cavuto on my television screen right now :) ) so that I may focus on the day-to-day life of just a “regular nut”!!  As my poor, weary, harassed family and a few “lucky” friends are all too well aware, the looming election has me revved up and stuck in overdrive!!!!  LOL  So, I am forsaking politics for the moment to pull out of my hat some hopefully entertaining topics to take all of our minds away from the seriousness that surrounds us.  I was asked recently how I remember from one blog to the next what went on in my life a week, two weeks or even a month ago, and the fact is,  that I can’t remember.   For instance, I might have forgotten all about Tommy, Stephanie and the “shark tooth incident” if I hadn’t put a “note to self” in a word document that I keep on my computer desktop.

One thing that I can quite vividly remember is that I celebrated my 64th (oh!! that kinda hurt to write that) birthday on the 19th, a date which I now share with Mayce who was born on my birthday two years ago.  Josh turned two on the 12th and so the three of us celebrated several times with cake and ice cream over the course of the week.  By the time we had arrived at my celebration, the candles (minus about 54!!!) were placed on a half eaten birthday cake which was what was all that remained from the day before when Dr. Lori and Dr. Ira had thoughtfully surprised me with the cake at the office.  Jenn, Meg, Steph, Chris, Jim, Joe, Jess and all of the grand-kids made certain that my birthday was a joyous one.  I received a pair of much-needed shoes (athletic, tennis, walking, aerobic…………..not sure what to call them…………………I just know not to call them “running” shoes!!!!!), a “Go Bucks” Pandora charm, and a Jewel Kade necklace (JK is a  Party Plan vintage jewelry company that Jennifer began selling for part-time).  As you can see the two-sided charm has the S monogram on one side and our wedding photograph on the other.  Now I can always have Crick’s  “goofy”, but always engaging smile close at hand :).  My grandchildren also honored my birthday by restraining themselves from commenting on my “short, poofy” hair, my boring “black and white” wardrobe and my “wrinkled” face!!!!! (each of these telling observations have been highlighted in previous blogs).  And………………..speaking of grandchildren …….they continue to prove to be quite an entertaining group.  Since the beginning of the new school year I have added a couple more TGIFriday kids and now have to switch cars with Jessica or Stephanie as my Altima cannot safely accommodate eight of them.  I actually only have six of the grand-kids at I.C., but Tori (my niece and Christine’s daughter) is in Sam’s class and Tommy (the “shark tooth in the head” almost five-year old) didn’t want to miss out on the action.  Given their varying ages (from 13 down to 5) and their very different personalities (Sam, the “teaser/instigator”, Natalie, the “actress”, Olivia, the “unflappable”, Sophia, the “director”, Tori, the “commander”, Luke the “mastermind”, Sydney, the “informer”, and Tommy the “rookie instigator”) it usually isn’t too long before battle lines are drawn!!  LOL  The other day when they were all here, they found any number of plastic baseball bats and a few badminton rackets in the garage and were seen circling the outside of the house with bats and rackets raised……………………..no one was crying and I saw no blood……………………..and so I remained inside to enjoy the temporary peace and quiet.  I later learned that they had been playing “Hunger Games” (??????????)………………..and yes, in case you are wondering, I was puzzled as to the purpose of their “game”, but I decided, for once, to remain blissfully ignorant and asked no further questions. LOL!!!

You know, my wise, very wise Mother once told me when I was probably “whining and complaining” too much about the frustrations of motherhood that you can try to mold your child’s personality, but you will never change that personality.  Oh my gosh, she was dead-on!!  I have been an over-anxious, OCD  “nut” my entire life…………………..I have told this story on myself more than once………………….when I was about eight or nine years old we were living on Chatham Rd. in Clintonville and I was walking with some of the older neighborhood kids to the rec center which was just down the street.  We were waiting to cross High Street and when the traffic cleared, they all started to cross, but I wouldn’t budge.  They came back to get me, but I said that I wasn’t allowed to cross there because there was a sign that read “Presbyterian Crossing” and I, of course, was a Catholic.  Now I don’t remember exactly what they said, but I am quite certain it was something like, “Ma-ry Mar-ga-ret……..you are…………. a “n-u-t”……………………. a “nut“!!!  That sign reads Pedestrian Crossing, not Presbyterian!!!”  I don’t think I was even embarrassed, more like…………relieved………imagine what my life might have been like if I would have had to become a Presbyterian just to get across that road!!!!!!!

Another little observation about the “from birth” differences of my entertaining grand-kids concerns the communication skills of Mayce vs Josh (there are, of course, exceptions to this but you know the saying…………………………basically, men are from Mars and women are from Venus!!!)  Mayce and Josh are the youngest of three in each of their respective families……………Josh started walking at eight and a half months, was running by his first birthday and climbing all over everything in sight shortly thereafter. Mayce on the other hand didn’t start taking steps until she was beyond her first birthday and running came quite a bit after that, as for climbing….well, let’s just say she is still very cautious.  However, when it comes to verbalizing……………Mayce was all over that milestone………………..she was talking in coherent sentences at just about the time Josh had figured out how to climb out of his crib!!  Meanwhile we were all left wondering when Josh would finally begin to let us know what exactly was going on inside that head of his.  Until a couple of months ago, he spoke in some foreign language known only to himself but now, he is slowly revealing those innermost thoughts to all of us (hint………it’s short and swe………………well, it’s short!!!)

After watching that video if you are curious as to whether Josh has any words other than “Dad” in his vocabulary, I can assure you he has acquired quite a few now.  Just last week Jessica picked up Josh after I had been watching him for a short period and she said that when they returned home, Josh blurted out this entire sentence to Christopher…………………………………”I had fun with Nana……………………..I cleaned” (ya’ gotta’ get them when they’re young………………after age seven, they’ve learned that “cleaning” is no longer any fun!!!!! LOL).

One last reference about my age……………………………….. I was given a survey from Bob Evans this week to receive a free coffee, and when I got to the end of the survey, one of the last questions you are asked is what age group you are in………………I was appalled to learn that I am teetering on the very edge of the last and oldest group!!!!!!!!!!!!  Seriously though, when you are fortunate to live over sixty years in this world, you discover that God blesses you the most with lasting personal relationships which impact you all throughout your earthly life.  As I have stated many, many times over the course of the past two years, I have indeed been richly blessed!!!   And as my life continues to unfold in unexpected ways, I have grown more attuned to seeing how God works in the world each and every day to reveal Himself to us through the kindness and goodness of those around us.

I am perpetually with you, taking care of you.  That is the most important fact of your existence.  I am not limited by time or space; My Presence with you is a forever-promise.  You need not fear the future, for I am already there.  When you make that quantum leap into eternity, you will find Me awaiting you in heaven.  Your future is in My hands;  I release it to you day by day, moment by moment.  Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow.

I want you to live this day abundantly, seeing all there is to see, doing all there is to do.  Don’t be distracted by future concerns.  Leave them to Me!  Each day of life is a glorious gift, but so few people know how to live within the confines of today.  Much of their energy for abundant living spills over the time line into tomorrow’s worries or past regrets.  Their remaining energy is sufficient only for limping through the day, not for living it to the full.  I am training you to keep your focus on My Presence in the present.  This is how to receive abundant Life, which flows freely from My throne of grace.               from Jesus Calling

So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.                         Matthew 6:34



P.S.   The narrow Buckeye win not withstanding…………it has been a very good sports week…………………I am 3-1 in my FFFL league and in second place!!!  The Yankees have at least clinched a play-off berth and still lead by one game over the Orioles!!!   If the Reds and the Yankees end up, by some miracle, in the World Series, I am going to have to re-mortgage my home to get tickets…………….Crick against me…………..what could be more of a contest?????!!!!!  LOL

You Would All Be Right

Guess to whom this saying refers!!!

I was sitting here pondering over the gazillion thoughts darting back and forth inside my head, searching for a way to begin this blog, and then I remembered the mug I had removed from the dishwasher earlier today.   A daily reminder that “the jig is up” as, apparently, over many years,  I have been revealing way too much of my strong-willed, somewhat stubborn, some might even say, “controlling” personality (LOL…….you are laughing about that controlling part, aren’t you?? ) to way too many family members  (it may have begun unraveling around the time of the highly touted King’s Island Main Street “incident” …….a not so quiet, very public stand-off that Caringbridge followers may remember occurred between Crick and me on a corner of a street in the amusement park on a blistering hot summer’s day over where to eat lunch……….outside of Restaurant #1 at a picnic table sitting on hard wooden seats with the sun beating down on us in the company of several different kinds of pesky insects…………..ooooorrrrrr…………….inside of Restaurant #2 sitting on soft padded chairs to be “waited on” in air-conditioned luxury and comfort!!!!!).  Now perhaps you are wondering who in the world  would feel a relationship with me to be so secure that he/she felt this sort of mug gift would not prove to be offensive??  Well, besides Crick (who secretly may have been wishing he had thought of it first…..LOL!).   Think sibling, think youngest female, think “Clark Culinary Queen ” (I taught her everything she knows about boiling water!!!!!!!), think person who is married to “Crick Jr.” (a brother-in-law who bears that title proudly)……………………………………………………………………..

Christine,………………………………………. you may take a bow as I am sure all family members are now applauding the Lucy likeness to moi :).  However, I would like everyone to remember that, regarding the “Great Pumpkin”, Lucy was right!!!!!!!!

As the previous blog was taken up with the details of my “heaven” encounter  (and, by the way, I have now read the book and, having many years ago read of others’ NDE’s (near death experiences), I can attest to the comfort and hope provided by these revelations),  I will detail just a few of the highlights of the activities of the past month.:

  •  In late May, I paid a visit to Glacier Ridge Elementary to return a book that was presented to me at the funeral home which the Glacier Ridge library had decided to dedicate in Crick’s memory.  It was a touching story of a Grandpa who was just the sort of character and mentor that Crick had been to all of the school kids.  Ann, one of the school’s secretaries gave me a copy of the 2011/2012 yearbook which had a touching memorial dedication on the first page.   I took with me two small gifts for Lauren and Maureen, teachers at GRE whom Crick had teased mercilessly about their politics (imagine that!!).  Back in October they had brought a huge bag of handmade Get Well wishes from students from each grade to the hospital along with a gift from Maureen of a red “Beanie Baby” elephant and some of Crick’s favorite “mints”.  She told Crick there was a companion blue donkey, but that she had kept that one for herself!  LOL  Anyway, I returned the elephant to Maureen so that she could remember which way to vote in November (jjjjjjjjjuuuuuuuussssstttt kidding!) and I gave a Barack Obama bell with a  tiny GOP flag to Lauren!!  (If only the election were not such a deadly serious topic)…………………….don’t worry, I am not going there :)
  • I have been most fortunate to have been visited by a couple of very dear high school friends in the past couple of weeks……………………I was treated to breakfast at Bob Evans with Tim Lavelle who was on his way, via motorcycle, from Florida, crossing the USA all by his lonesome…………quite an adventure and one Crick would have been quite envious of.  (oops, there’s that darn preposition again!).  Tim was encouraged by his son to write a blog of his journey (http://timlavelle.blog.com) and, as Tim is a funny guy, his blog is quite entertaining and filled with some amazing pictures of the beauty that is the USA.  While at breakfast, Tim had mentioned to me that he was thinking about heading to the Grand Canyon.   I immediately thought of Crick who, because of his “dreamcrusher” wife, missed out on, according to Crick, “the opportunity of a lifetime”!  Fifteen years ago, Crick and I had an occasion to visit Arizona for four days, compliments of the dental practice I was working for at the time.  We had a rental car, and there was a discussion among the small group of us, about taking a day and driving from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon.  Now, not only am I afraid of heights, but it was also the thought of driving hours to get some place just to see a “bunch of rocks” (I know, I know, I know…… I have seen magnificent pictures of the grandeur that is this national treasure, but at the time………………..the lure of the resort’s swimming pool just seem way more relaxing!!!).  Anyway, forever after that trip, whenever there was any mention of the Grand Canyon, I would get an earful of how I had deprived DH (dear husband) (who had only this one chance to travel West to God’s country…… his definition of Arizona and Colorado) of seeing “up close and in person” THE GRAND CANYON!!!  Therefore, I suggested to Tim that if he did choose the Grand Canyon route, maybe he could give a shout out in Crick’s memory……………………..well, Tim did one better than that………………….he made it his “mission” to go to the Grand Canyon taking a memento of Crick’s that I had given to Tim and placed it on the rocks in the south rim of the canyon overlooking some magnificent scenery :)  Hats off to Tim!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The other visit was from Beth who stayed overnight coming and going from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis to visit family.  We were able to catch up on our families and had long, long discussions about religion and politics……………………..the perfect combo LOL!!!!!  I nominate her to defend me in a court of law should I ever happen to be impugned for my writings as a “right wing nut”!!!!
  • The Clark family gathered in Granville for Shannon and Dave’s wedding on the 16th of June.  Nephews Jake, Sean and Matt came home for their sister’s big day.  Matt drove up from New Orleans, Jake flew in from California, but Sean topped them both…………..he surprised Shannon at the rehearsal dinner flying all the way from South Korea where he is teaching English!!  Now that is true brotherly love, don’t you think???   And what a great time we all had dancing to Shout, Sweet Caroline, YMCA, etc., and the little kids all loved the rendition of the Chicken Song.  Thank goodness, my left foot was completely healed so I could stay out on the dance floor till the very end (and no, it wasn’t pretty, but it was great fun!!).   The one song that has become a Clark tradition since Jennifer and Jim’s wedding 15 years ago is The Piano Man………………..from youngest to oldest this gets them all out on the floor forming a gigantic circle singing and swaying to the music of Billy Joel.

My word counter is telling me that it is time to wrap this up, besides I have a lot of “homework” to do now that the Supreme Court has made my life more difficult……………..sorry, I can only hold it in for soooooooo long :).  That being said, this is a good time to reflect on a reading from a few days ago.

“Stay calmly conscious of Me today, no matter what.  Remember that I go before you as well as with you into the day.  Nothing takes Me by surprise.  I will not allow circumstances to overwhelm you, so long as you look to Me.  I will help you cope with whatever the moment presents.  Collaborating with Me brings blessings that far outweigh all your troubles.  Awareness of My Presence contains Joy that can endure all eventualities.”                                    from  Jesus Calling

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul. He leads me in right paths For His Name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;
For you are with me;
Your rod and Your staff – they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord My whole life long.”
[Psalm 23:1-6; ]



P.S.  Did you notice the new blog style????