Featured

Leaving

When I was a child, I sat on the edge of a single bed and listened as my father told me how he was going on a business trip. He never came back. He was, in fact, moving out.

The nuclear family I had been born into died that day. The funeral was the day all of us kids were seated around a lawyer’s conference table when the divorce was final. They gave us odd lemon cream cookies. The sweet stale taste cemented that day in mind.

There is a lot more I don’t remember from those days. Trauma sometimes bestows the gift of memory lost. I don’t remember yelling at my mother blaming her for his absence. Or how things changed. One day they were just different.

I don’t remember even fragments of the first time I met Papa. Pictures remind me of the day that he married my mother and how he took me to college, all of my things packed in the back of his truck. He came to get me in the same truck after graduation and took me to Florida and a new life.

I was there the day he sold that truck. He was so happy that the man who brought it told him what his plans were. His beloved truck was going on to be a farm truck. The truck that had moved our family time and time again would be working gain.

Papa came into my life when I was 14 years old. He gave my mother back to me. He gave me another big brother in Eric. He gave me the family I lost in my parent’s divorce. I understood living with him after college that family life while scared isn’t easy and as he taught me what it was like to have a dad, I taught him what it was like having a daughter.

I was his daughter. My sister’s children his grandchildren and he adored them.

Papa died today in 2018. His life ending in Orlando, Florida surrounded by Momma, my brother Eric and myself. Three years and my heart doesn’t ache any less.

It aches even more for Momma who lost the love of her life. For my nieces and nephews who lost a grandfather loved them unconditionally.

Papa, I love you. Thank you for being my dad and healing parts of me that I didn’t know where broken until you were gone.

Remembering Papa

Today, one year ago in the early morning hours in Florida Hospital Orlando, Papa ended his fight.  He was 71 years old.

Here is the obituary that I wrote for him. It wasn’t published in his hometown paper. A shorter more mundane version was published.  Momma didn’t think his Pennsylvania family would get it.  She was probably right.

13015292_827551220683527_6139950154635756402_nDennis “Papa” Teets 

Dennis “Papa” Teets died in Orlando, Florida on January 8th surrounded by his family at the age of 71.

He is survived by his mother, Beatrice, sister Cindy, his brother Dale, his wife, Patricia, son, Eric, stepchildren, Katherine, Marie, Frederick and Lucinda, grandchildren, Fredrick, Thomas, Emma and Anika. He is preceded into death by his beloved cat, Rambo.

He was born on April 14th, 1946, in Uniontown, PA. It was said when he was born, you could see the devil in his eyes.

He proudly served in the U.S. Army and spent a career working for the GSA. He was a slayer of demons and rescuer of damsels in distress, unless ocean waves were involved.

He wasn’t a perfect man. He didn’t always have the right words, but he loved his family and hated when he hurt them.

His family was his world. He liked to cause minor mischief reserving major mischief for leap years or when no one was looking. No one was good enough for his daughters and he always wondered where the second half of their skirts went to.

On August 3, 2018, he was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery .

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Writer, the Move and Death

This last year has been rockiest of my life.  In early July 2017,  I wrote about my heartbreak when my relationship of over a decade ended.  By early August, I had decided to move.

It was a long time coming; little of the move had to do with my Ex. He only helped in determining the place.  My beloved fairy godfathers had offered several times to help me move back to Virginia and get settled.   Looking around, I realized that there was nothing holding me back anymore.  Well one thing, telling Papa that I was going.

September came with Hurricane Irma.  My little yellow house, my precious little house survived the night. The power lasted until 5:20 am.  It flickered on and off until going out with a crack. It stayed off for four days, I was out of work for a week while they worked to restore power.

On the second day after the hurricane, I got a roommate and lost my office. It’s a long story and only parts of it are mine.

One causality of the hurricane was my purple PT cruiser.  The hurricane froze the brakes then electrical system decided it wanted attention.  For two weeks, I had to pop the hood every time I stopped the car to remove a fuse.

My incredibly wise sister convinced to go looking for a car.  I came home that day with a new car.   The man who sold it to me turned out to be a distant cousin. (thanks again, Cousin Martin)    Papa was there helping me make one of the biggest purchases of my life. It was one of the last times we went out.  The next time would be my birthday.

26730918_1332491186856192_3940329174071836752_n
Momma, Papa and Me – October 2017

Since May 2017, Papa’s was growing worse.  His cirrhosis which we were lead to believe was treatable was not so willing to be treated.  He was and out of the hospital. The road ahead for my parents looked bleak and was bleak.

My second year as a middle school teacher wasn’t going any smoother than the first year.  Mentally, I was checking in and out at work knowing that I won’t be at the school for another year. Professionally, I had a lot of things to do to prepare for my move. Motivation to move was strong. The motivation to do the things necessary for the move was not.   The paperwork for my new teaching license was left to the last minute.

Eventually all the change meant putting my plans to start a page on Patreon on hold.  I was writing, but not finishing much of anything. I couldn’t see myself asking for me to support my heart if I wasn’t producing it.  Starting and not finishing projects.  My mind was too scattered.  My life was being to be summarized by a series of things that I couldn’t get myself to do.

Thanksgiving came and Papa was in the hospital.  We celebrated our last Christmas as a family and then Papa went into the hospital for the last time.

He passed on January 8th of this year. Momma, my brother Eric and I were with him.  The whole night remains surreal.

img_4296Two weeks after he passed, I reconnected with an old friend. Not only did I have a mini adventure on Sanibel Island, but I am now planning on going to France next summer.

 

June 15th, I moved back to Virginia. Papa wasn’t told I was going. It was an open secret before his death.  Before I left Momma handed a framed picture of Papa to me.  It sits on my writing desk.

I feel at peace here in my new writing nook looking out the mountains. There are walks everyday. The writing routine that was pushed aside is coming back.

I still miss Papa. I don’t think I will ever stop missing the man who choose to be my father.

This Thursday, Papa will be interned at Arlington National Cemetery.  Our family hero will be laid to rest with dignity and respect.  I can not thank my friends and family enough for their patience, love and understanding this last year.  The brightest spots in the year were because of all of you.

 

 

 

 

 

A Good Man Died

A good man died today, or maybe it was yesterday.

News of his passing just reached me today

A good man died

And in his honor I’m drinking some whiskey

Some sweet Jack that he would have liked

My heart weeps and my world quakes

But its foundations still hold firm

I may weep and I may wail

But my world has not been shattered.

My grief does sting , but it cannot, will not eclipse

That of those

Who held his heart their hands

Who lost their sun and moon today

To them and for them

I hold my glass up high

And weep still more tears

For grief, I cannot comprehend.

IMG_2859

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will miss you, Chris.  Be at peace, you are loved. You are remembered. 

Scattered

There are clothes tossed about the floor. My clothes, my floor,my bedroom floor. This isn’t the way things should be. This isn’t how I live or how I have been living for the last three years. Things get picked up and put away. Everything in order. My sleeping chamber a place of peace and tranquility. My haven within a haven.

Now everything is scattered about. Trashed. It isn’t so much the clothes. Although they are annoying, more annoying are the shoes. How is it that shoes never make their way back into my closet. They have homes there. Each and everyone of them a place, a home of its own. Still they are constantly wondering about. Just like the clothes now adorning the floor.

But I just can’t think with the smell you create. It makes me want to flee every time I come home.Into the room, I dash as soon as I get home spaying air freshener and get out of my work clothes. Then I drag  myself back out to the shed and get the machete.

Everyday, I chopped another bit of you off.  It has been quite difficult to dismantle you this way. I’ve had to boil some of you and break the bigger parts down with a hammer. Most days I am so tired afterwards, I barely have time to scrap you out from under my nails before bed. But rest assured, you won’t be a bother for much longer another couple weeks and I will have my room back and you will be returned to the earth. One doggie bag at a time.

Lu Friday’s Bookshelf

Misc 081Well, dear readers, I once again have a Kindle thanks to the generosity of a friend (Thanks Mr. Scott).  I have finished one book and am half way through another one.  In the morning before work, I am sitting down with my coffee and reading as I finish my breakfast. It is a relaxing way to start the day. I admit that leaving my books has been pretty hard this week, but to work we must all go.

Entera Files by Leanna Renee Hieber ~ A week in and I wish there was more time in the day to read.  Unfortunately, there is this little thing called work that gets in the way.  From the days after the assassination of  Abraham Lincoln to the streets of London, this story continues to delight and intrigue me. I can’t wait to see where it goes. The language is beautiful and the imagery amazing.

Here is the description of the book from Amazon:

London, 1882: Queen Victoria appoints Harold Spire of the Metropolitan Police to Special Branch Division Omega. Omega is to secretly investigate paranormal and supernatural events and persons. Spire, a skeptic driven to protect the helpless and see justice done, is the perfect man to lead the department, which employs scholars and scientists, assassins and con men, and a traveling circus. Spire’s chief researcher is Rose Everhart, who believes fervently that there is more to the world than can be seen by mortal eyes.

The Demise of Foxy Jack (Adventures of X Pirates of Book 1)  This is the latest book by Edward Medina and I can’t wait to read it.  Medina writes with the zeal of  showman and the talent of Shakespeare. You can find an excerpt on his blog, Just Sayin’.  The Demise of Foxy Jack follows up where the Murder of Crows left off. The second installment of the new X-Pirate series is coming out soon and I can’t until the next one and I haven’t even read this one, yet.

Want to add my book to your pile, Blood Child? It is available on Amazon. What’s on your reading pile? Come one, don’t leave a girl hanging…

A New Lonely Mountain

There is a place in Central Pennsylvania where the trees are weeping and the mountain itself is sighing.  It’s protector, it’s guardian is dead, passed into another realm to be reunited with his lady love, my grandmother, Honey.

Yesterday, my grandfather better known to his family and friends as Popper or Pappa, passed into the Summer land.  I am sure that at this moment in time, he is ignoring all the angels instructions, just holding on to my grandmother and kissing her.  No matter what happened in their marriage, he always loved her even if he didn’t always like her.  They fought, but in the end they always worked things out.  Forgiveness was a part of the paradigm that made their marriage work for over fifty years. Not sweating the small stuff was another.

They had known each other since they were in grade school.  Everyday, when my grandmother came down the mountain  my grandfather  was waiting for her.  They walked to school and spent the rest of their lives walking hand in hand through diversity, war and heartbreak.  They outlived three of their children and watch their son and grandchildren grow into prosperous and independent people.

There are so many stories I could tell you about him and the lasting effects he had on my life, how he touched the lives of all his grandchildren and great grandchildren.  I pray in the coming weeks that I will be able to tell those stories with the help of my family.  For now, I am taking comfort in the fact that Popper’s life was an excellent example of a life well lived.

 

Papa (Flash Fiction)

**Update – 7/26/2013 –  Please note this is a bit of flash fiction I wrote. My own beloved, Papa, is home.

Papa died in the morning and in the modern fashion he was buried two weeks later on a muggy afternoon ignoring every command he gave.  People wept, wailed and their eyes were dry before they hit the parking lot. His wife, children and grandchildren huddled by the grave until the director had them leave. Insurance purposes, he said.

He said it, but it was a lie.

Now you have Papa’s liver and I have to tell you something. He was an alcoholic. Drank a twelve pack a night sometimes more if his team was losing, it was just cheap beer, Milwaukee’s Best,  mind you, but the liver really doesn’t care if you drink the good stuff or not. They should have told you as well that it was harvested just past the expiration date; meaning Papa was cold when they cut him open. So really I am doing you a favor.

Yes, a favor. This liver won’t have lasted.  It has already begun to poison you.

Now, Papa, he wanted to be cremated Viking style on the Indian River and all I could afford was this old dingy which I am not even sure will burn.

So breathe deep. I am told asphyxiation is like dying in your sleep.

Papa, he died in his sleep.

Letting Go..

deadeverafterRecently, I discovered that one of my favorite authors was ending a series that I have been reading for the better part of ten years.  It saddens me, but I get it. She needs to me move on and it is time for us to let go Sookie Stackhouse and her fangy friends. Charlaine Harris‘s series has been going strong since 2001.  There have been bums along the way, but fans have been eating the books up.

So much so that some fans have threatened to kill themselves if she goes ahead with her plans.If you are one of these fans please seek help immediately.  Serious, do not stop on go just get help now.

As readers we get attached to characters and tend to forget that there are living breathing people behind them.  I haven’t always agreed with what characters in my favorite books have done.  (Richard in the Anita Blake series is lucky I couldn’t bitch slap him.) The people behind the keys giving life to our favorite stories are the ones that create the worlds we love. The worlds I aspire as a writer to make. And since my style of writing is akin to Ms. Harris, I feel sympathy for her situation.

It may be easy to say to an author that they should continue to write because they are making money, but writers like teachers don’t do it for the money. We do it because we are can’t help ourselves. And yes, I said we, because regardless of whether or not I reach the level of success as Ms. Harris has I will continue to write.  It is our passion and when the passion begins to fade for a storyline it is time to move on. Maybe we will come back to it in time.

Mercedes Lackey said this about her long running series “Hey, everybody needs a vacation, even from the best job. So, until I come up with a story set in Velgarth that is as compelling as the ones you’ve enjoyed in the past, I’m taking a break. The last thing I want is for my own favorite series to start limping along and go out with a whimper.”

Authors need breaks to recharge their creative juices and while I will miss the Stackhouse Series I understand.

Fellow readers I know that you are upset, but give Ms. Harris some room. She has been writing this series for over ten years.  She wanted to end it years ago, but kept going when the HBO series took off. She has already gone on after she wanted to quit for you,me, and the almighty dollar so let her be. The quality of the books have suffered.  As much as I loved them somewhere after book four, I got lost. She tried it your way and she still wants to go. Let her.

And while you are at it pick up some of her other great series.  Lily Bard, Aurora Teagarden and the Harper Connelly series are all excellent. (My personal favorite is the Aurora Teagarden series.)

Stalking and taunting your favorite author into producing something won’t work the way you want it, too. Trust me, when people have gotten unpleasantly freaky with me I back off.  So let us take a moment, be thankful and let Sookie go.

Thank you, Ms. Harris, I look forward to your next series or book and I am so very grateful for your stories.

Love, Hugs and Moo’s,

Lu