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Sharon Canfield Dorsey – Food is Love

Some of my earliest memories are of my mother building a fire in the big, iron cooking stove so she could sizzle bacon and eggs and bake fluffy, crisp-on the-bottom biscuits for our early morning breakfasts before school. I also recall my grandma dressing me in an apron that dragged to my ankles, then perching me on a stool so I could carefully cut boiled eggs in half to make deviled eggs. I was six. I didn’t, at that age, equate it to love, but it was.

            My first date at “sweet sixteen” was a school dance followed by hot dogs and pineapple milkshakes at the local drive-in. My future husband and I repeated that meal every Saturday night during our high school romance. Those two foods still conjure up memories of first love, although the actuality now would probably result in acute indigestion!

            Looking through old scrapbooks recently, I was reminded of a favorite pizza place where my kids and I gathered with their friends for birthday parties or sometimes, just a day out to celebrate good grades or commiserate over disappointments. Pizza was love. Still is. My daughter and I couldn’t spend Mother’s Day together this year because of coronavirus distancing. So, she brought me a pizza from my favorite restaurant, eyes misty over her mask as she handed it to me. It was the perfect gift.

            Our lives are filled with examples of love celebrated with food – wedding cakes, ice cream birthday cakes, luncheons with friends, popcorn with family movie nights, neighbors bringing casseroles when a loved one is sick or dies. At Eastertime this year, a neighbor and her children made egg-shaped cookies, decorated them and hung bags of them on our doors. Love!

            As I watch the dreaded newscast every night, I am touched by the many food-related love stories…

     …Volunteers working long hours to fill food boxes and bags for the jobless.

     …Farmers donating produce for which they no longer have markets, to fill those boxes and bags.

     …Restaurants and school kitchens cooking meals for the hungry.

     …Ordinary, extraordinary people paying for groceries for the person behind them in line and walking away, expecting nothing.

     …An out-of-town friend ordering a special meal to be delivered to his buddy in an assisted living facility, who hasn’t been allowed to leave his room for weeks.

     …The aroma of fresh bread wafting across the land as we return to our baking roots, (evidenced by current flour shortages in grocery stores.)

            No doubt about it – food is love.

SHARON CANFIELD DORSEY is an award-winning poet and author of four children’s books, a book of poetry, Tapestry; a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains;        and a travel memoir, Road Trip. WATCH FOR A NEW POETRY BOOK, WALK WITH ME, OUT THIS SUMMER. Her books are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, High Tide Publications and the author.

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Susan Williamson – Uncertain Spring

I mourn with all of those who have lost loved ones or whose health has been permanently damaged by the pandemic. I grieve for all of those suffering economic woes. As our strange spring continues, however, I do see some hope. I rejoice for the families I see biking and hiking together.  Gardens are sprouting up all over. Children are learning about nature and gardening and enjoying time outside.  Families are together, and while there can sometimes be too much togetherness, I expect it is mostly a blessing.

Our neighborhood is beautiful, everyone has more time for flowers. Neighbors are walking, with their dogs and their families.

Our granddaughters are spending lots of time outside. They help with outdoor chores and planting the garden. Our squeamish granddaughter actually held a salamander. The company where our daughter works does custom embroidery and screen printing. They are ramping up to screen print masks.

I see local restaurants organizing efficient ways of curbside service.

Creative and caring teachers are finding new ways to engage with their students. I taught online classes as an adjunct professor and found that I often learned more about my students and interacted with each in a more personal way online than in the seated class.

People are sewing masks, volunteering in new and amazing ways. I think we are all developing more appreciation for our health care workers and for all those working in drugstores, and groceries, firemen, police and first responders.

Clergy are finding ways to stay connected and encourage.

More pets are being adopted, because people are at home with time on their hands. And pets will ease isolation.

We use Facebook chat to connect with our daughter and family. It helps to see their faces. We write letters and send an interesting magazine article.

 Horses are, so far. neither carriers nor victims of the disease. We can visit our horse and ride or drive in a socially isolated way.

Our trip to visit my brother and other vacation plans are on hold and I regret that. Aer Lingus and Amtrak have been good about vouchers for the future, but as always, none of us know what the future holds. But this uncertain future may help us to appreciate the blessings of our present.

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Susan Williamson – Motherhood

Our two children are the result of three pregnancies and one adoption. So, you can assume that there was heartbreaking loss involved, but having the privilege of being a parent is one of my greatest joys.

Although, the day our son mowed my blueberry bushes, the day he pulled up my herbs, the day he wrecked his car or the day he stopped attending community college classes, etc.  are not among my fondest memories, I never regret the day we agreed to become his foster and then adoptive parents. He was five years old when he came to us. Before he entered the foster care system he had been living in a car. He had witnessed things no five-year-old should ever see.

He had severe behavioral issues, determined to be the result of his early years. Gradually he and we overcame them, a few steps forward and a few steps back. I know there are things we could have done differently, but I think that is true in raising any child. He has had many ups and downs in life, but we are very proud of the man he has become—he has a good job that he likes, a loving wife who helps him stay on track, faith and caring for others.

Our daughter was easy. We decided God thought we needed a break. Parenting her was more about building confidence, encouraging and being there for her disappointments. She didn’t want to leave our horse farm for college, but two weeks in, she was loving it. She married a wonderful guy and they are the super parents to our lovely granddaughters. She has been successful in her career and other endeavors and I can’t help but wonder if the experience of living with her brother didn’t give her inner strength.  I know she sometimes wished she were an only child. She has a big heart and a strong faith that she puts into action daily.

Our children aren’t perfect, although I’ve bragged on them—that’s a mother’s prerogative. They have had very different lives and started with different handicaps and talents. But, they’ve learned how to love and how to work and I feel lucky to be their mom.

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Cindy L. Freeman – Looking Forward, 4/30/2020

Don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not complaining. BUT! I need to get something off my chest.

I miss… kissing my husband. Yes, he wears a mask in the grocery store. Yes, he washes his hands upon returning, and yes, I sanitize the kitchen counters and door handles, but since asthma puts me at high risk, he’s determined not to expose me to Covid-19, so we settle for air hugs and kisses blown from a safe distance.

I miss… hugging my children and grandchildren. Not that we’re able to be together that often normally, but because both families live in rural areas, virtual options for connecting are limited.

I miss… seeing my students and colleagues. Zoom classes just aren’t the same.

I miss… going out to dinner. These days, our romantic date nights consist of dressing up in our best sweats to cook then eat dinner while sitting in our recliners and binge-watching “Heartland” on Netflix, followed by washing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen. But, since there’s no kissing involved…  

I miss… going to real church instead of virtual church, being greeted by friendly faces and firm handshakes, and joining in robust hymn singing.

I miss… visiting nursing homes. My heart aches for “my ladies” and others who must be feeling lonely without their usual visitors. 

I miss… observing people in public settings where I get my best ideas for stories and characters.

I miss… concerts and baseball games and sharing a glass of wine with friends. 

No, I’m not complaining. Rather, I’m looking forward to the return of simple, everyday activities. When thousands (maybe millions) are suffering, dying, and mourning, I’m reminded to be grateful for good health, daily walks, family, and this extra time to read, pray and write.

Until the return of normal, let’s use this time of waiting to pray for the physical and spiritual healing of our country and our planet, and let’s boost each other’s spirits with hope and faith for new and better normal.

Cindy L. Freeman is the author of numerous award-winning short stories and three published novels: Unrevealed, The Dark Room and I Want to Go Home. Website: www.cindylfreeman.com; Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cindy.l.freeman.9. Her books are available from amazon.com or hightidepublications.com 

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Sharon Canfield Dorsey – The Gifts Real Moms Would Like for Mother’s Day…

…a pair of legs that don’t ache (in any color except purple, which I already have).

…arms that are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle.

…a waist, since I lost mine some where in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

…fingerprint resistant windows and walls.

…a refrigerator with a secret compartment where I can hide to talk on the phone.

…a television that doesn’t broadcast any programs with talking animals.

…a recording of Tibetan monks chanting, “Wash your hands,” and “Don’t hit your brother.” My voice seems just out of my children’s hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.

…a talking doll that says, “Yes, Mommy!” to boost my parental confidence.

…enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning.

…the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature.

…a law declaring ketchup and ranch dressing vegetables.

…a suggestion for coercing the kids to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

…some proper writing materials. I’m composing this on the back of a receipt with my son’s red crayon.

…I would gladly give up all these gifts for a safe world where we all have jobs, children can go back to school and we can all hug each other again.

SIGNED: Every Mom

SHARON CANFIELD DORSEY is an award-winning poet and author of four children’s books; a book of poetry, Tapestry; a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; and a travel memoir, Road Trip. WATCH FOR A NEW POETRY BOOK, OUT THIS SUMMER, TITLED,  WALK WITH ME.