Oh Where, Oh Where Did “Mare” Go?

Having been absent from my blog for almost three weeks, I was thinking (danger, danger!!) about how to begin this entry.  Then from out of nowhere, this childhood tune entered into my head and I began to play around with the lyrics just a tiny bit and it came out like this  :

Oh where, oh where has Crick’s crazy “nut” gone?

Oh where, oh where has she been?

When the power went out and the family moved in

Oh where, oh where did she go?

If, as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, then these few pics tell the whole story of the past several weeks.

A day after the last post, we had a thirty minute violent storm pass through central Ohio bringing with it 70-80 mph winds which toppled hordes of trees and brought down power lines all over the area.  Within minutes, nearly every single family member with the exception of my brother Tommy & my sister Kathy had lost all power.   Up until the “great” snow/ice storm and power outage of Christmas, 2004 in which power was out for days, and in some cases, weeks; we had never worried too much about losing electricity as the power was usually restored in a matter of hours.  Then, in September, 2008 we had the effects of Hurricane Ike bring hurricane force winds into Columbus and all electricity was again lost for up to seven days.  When we lost power at that time, Crick had gone on craigslist and purchased a generator, because I moaned and complained that I just had to have my hair dryer!!!! (Heaven knows I could have cared less about not being able to “boil” that pot of water LOL).  Now here is the great question I have been pondering, was Crick pleading with God on my behalf so that I was spared the loss of electricity and the use of my precious hair dryer, or, was there some serious bargaining going on between him and God, so as to make sure that each one of our adult children, as well as Christine and Mike, lost their power, thus making my house the “go to” place for refrigeration, laundry, showers,  electronic charging station, television & video viewing, eating a hot meal and hanging out (Stephanie, Joe and the 3 grandkids……..were there really only 3…..were here for five days………..was it really only five……..Joe, I am just kidding!! ????).   Is Crick really getting the “last laugh”????!!!!  It remains a great question :).

Eventually, Stephanie, Joe and kids moved out (LOL) as the AEP crews, having worked long hours in incredible heat, restored power and returned everyone back to the 21st century.  We were then able to celebrate the birthdays of Olivia, Katie and the USA before heading to Kure Beach, North Carolina on July 7th with a contingent of 27 family members  (unfortunately, Steph, Joe and the kids had to pass this trip up as Stephanie is in her next to last quarter of nursing school………..I do believe Joe was silently breathing a sigh of relief………having spent five days living under the same roof as his “nutty” mother-in-law, another seven days may have sent him over the edge!!  LOL).  We were fortunate to find an affordable 12 bedroom duplex which accommodated our large group very nicely.  There was access to both sides off of the upper deck and so all of the younger kids found great pleasure in playing hide and seek between the two sides when they had had enough of the sun and surf.  The pier was just up the road from the house where the kids could get an ice cream cone and play arcade games in the evening.  Everyone was free to come and go as they pleased and sort of “do their own thing”.   No matter the time of day, there always seemed to be someone who was ready to ride the waves, search for seashells, play some beach volleyball or a game of wiffle ball, sit down for a game of euchre, “pass the trash” or catch-phrase.   On Tuesday, Todd, Tom, Mike, Leah and Erin got up early to embark on a four-hour fishing trip during which time they caught over 50 Spanish mackerel, some of which then became our dinner for that evening.  As they were all discussing the events of the morning, I couldn’t help but remember how Crick loved to fish, although “catching” fish was something that often eluded him.  I used to say that it was a holiday for all sea life whenever Crick headed out somewhere with his tackle box and fishing pole :).  He did manage to bring back a little “surprise” for me when we were at North Topsail Beach a couple of years ago.  He had apparently been waiting very patiently for me this particular day to come up the stairs, and then when he heard me open the door. he presented me with his “catch” of the day (someone (Jessica) just happened to have her camera ready)…………….it was only a little old sand shark, but it was still alive and wiggling, and as you can tell from the picture, I wanted nothing to do with it!   You see, sand sharks are but one reason why I don’t venture very far out into the ocean water…….squishy, gritty sand under my feet, sand in my suit and in my hair, and salt water on my lips are several others.  My bird phobia also served to provide a bit of family entertainment as I tried to relax in my comfy beach chair while gazing out at the beautiful blue and aqua water, for I was continually startled and tormented by low flying sea gulls.  This may seem quite inconsequential to more seasoned beach goers, but I nearly fell out of my chair ducking and weaving  to avoid being in their flight path.  Not only did these sea gulls seem to single me out on the beach, they also targeted me while we were dining out on a pier one night in Wrightsville Beach.   The particular sea-gull in the picture seemed to delight in circling our table as we were eating, occasionally landing precariously close to us on one of the umbrella tops or wooden posts, and at other times vigorously flapping his wings as he hovered over a nearby railing.  He did this so many times that I would have sworn Crick had come back reincarnated as the pesky, annoying sea-gull :).   I admit that I really am a big beach sissy, but perhaps a few more trips to the ocean and I may actually conquer my fears and wade all the way into the ocean up to my waist and bring along a picnic lunch for the birds!   I do, after all, consider myself to be still a work in progress!!  Wait…………………..did I just say p-r-o-g-r-e-s-s…….. that  sets off a little bell in my brain, as in p-r-o-g-r-e-s-s-i-v-e, which leads to the dreaded “p” word!  I will apologize right now for continuing on this hazardous path, but while I had “Oscar” (laptop) with me and internet access, there was always too much going on to devote any time to keeping up with the “outside” world.  Now that I am home and have re-engaged with the blogoshpere……I find my “obsession” has reignited.  I just want to let you all know, that as I was quite innocently walking down to the pier one evening with the grandkids, I was taking note of all of the various beach homes and as I came to this particular house what do you suppose stared right back at me?????  Not just one, not just two, not just three, but 5 Barack Obama posters and signs strategically placed in the windows on all three levels of the house…………….they could hear my “ranting” all the way back to our duplex LOL!!

I do have a little confession to make…………I donated to Obama’s campaign……………G-A-S-P!!  Better make that a double G-A-S-P!!  I think the devil made me do it.  You see, I received an e-mail from the Obama campaign stating that if I donated to the campaign, I would be entered into a raffle and if selected, I would be invited to have dinner with the President as well as select his dinner partner.   I just could not pass up this opportunity and so I clicked on the donate icon and entered in my $1.00 donation………………….it was rejected!!!!  Apparently, the minimum donation is $3.00, and so I mulled that over for a moment, held my breath, waited for lightening to strike, and then clicked “donate”.  The “deed” was done, but then the fun part came as I was directed to a page with an insert designated for typing in the name of the person being chosen for the President’s dinner partner.  Very carefully I began to type in…………………………..G-L-E-N-N  B-E-C-K!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh yes, that $3.00 was a very small price to pay for the momentary pleasure that one act provided to me!!  And now, that I have managed to sneak that name into my blog, this seems to be a great opportunity to give a “shout out” to Chris, Jessica, Sophia & Sydney who decided to take part in Beck’s National Lemonade Stand & Bake Sale Day in June which raised almost $400.00 and was split between two charities (Mercury One, provided 600 pounds of food to feed the needy and the Peletonia/One Goal, a bike tour which raises funds to fight cancer).  It was so encouraging to witness so many people willing to give generously on behalf of those in need – one gentleman handed Christopher a  crisp $100 bill!!

      The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.          Mahatma Gandhi

Looking back, as I am want to do these days, over the past few weeks especially, thinking of all of the recent family moments………….the birthdays, graduations, showers, weddings, the lemonade stand, t-ball, baseball & softball games, the beach vacation and even the power outage……..it gives me pause to reflect yet once again, how very blessed I have been and how very grateful I am for all of the wonderful people in my life, be they family or friends.  When I close my eyes at night, I can truly say that I am at peace knowing that I have my Faith, I have my Family, I have my Friends and I have Hope :).

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.  God is awake.                          Victor Hugo



P.S.  I owe a great, big thank you to Jay for insisting that I bring my car into his shop to have the oil changed (one of those jobs Crick always took care of and one that I definitely will not be taking on), and while checking over the tires, he found a large bulge in one of the rear tires.  He set me up with a brand new tire which made the journey a safe one :)………..if you are looking for a trustworthy mechanic, I highly recommend Jay’s NASCAR Garage!!

P.P.S.  Another first for me was that I drove the entire way home from North Carolina, something I would never have needed to do with Crick around……it was always much more fun for me to be the “backseat driver”………… and I could sure “drive” him crazy without ever touching the wheel!!! 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????