No one is beat till he quits,
No one is through till he stops;
No matter how hard Failure hits,
No matter how often he drops,
A fellow's not down till he lies
In the dust and refuses to rise.
Fate can slam him and bang him
And batter his frame till he's
But she never can say that he's
While he bobs up serenely for
A fellow's not dead till he dies,
Nor beat till no longer he tries.
Edgar A. Guest
This has been some kind of summer! Most years, I yearn for summer. The sunshine, flowers, farmer's markets, Fourth of July picnics, etc. all help dispel the gloom after months of our grey, dreary winters and our too cool for comfort, rainy Spring seasons we have here in our neck of the woods! But this summer brought with it stress induced illness, my empty, lonely nest, my son's impending wedding, my daughter's expected baby in October and news that my job is changing to a new position which makes the less palatable part of my job, the primary function.
We returned Sunday from Alabama where we cleaned out my mother's condo because Alzheimer's Disease has forced us to move her to an assisted living center. The culmination of all this craziness was a terrible case of hives which rendered me pretty much useless. All my housecleaning and home improvement project plans were kaput. My usually upbeat optimism took a nosedive! Financial drains have made any kind of a vacation an impossibility. Woe is me! Boohoo!
As I went through the wrenching task of going through all the boxes of personal papers and photos at my mother's condo, I found this little poem by Edgar A. Guest which was in a little box of saved clippings and photos that had belonged to my paternal grandmother. Here's the clipping.
During the seven hour trip home, I reflected over how she had persevered through trials that make mine seem trivial in comparison.
My grandmother was born to a mother who made no secret of the fact that she favored her sons over her only daughter. She was abandoned by a cad of a husband before her only child was born. Old photographs portray a sad, forlorn child.
Left alone on the farm, remote from town, she lost both her parents before her thirtieth birthday. Her second husband who she married when my dad was nine, was put on notice by her that if he ever laid a hand on her son again, he would be out of the picture. When my dad was thirteen, this stepfather shot a man in a dispute over a tool, supposedly in self defense. She packed up her husband's belongings and left them on the front porch.
My grandmother and dad and moved to town where she bought a small house. Her brothers and former in-laws helped her a little. When my dad ran around with his wild bunch of cousins and played hookey, she paid a teacher to take him to school in the rural community they had left. She worked as a Home Extension agent, teaching women in a rural, Italian community how to can food. Her college education enabled her to work as a Welfare caseworker in later years. My father joined the navy during WW2 and was gone for four years. When I was five years old, she married a third time. It was NOT a charm. The sixty year old batchelor was more than eccentric. There was a dark side to his character of which I will write later! His second wife murdered him!
I suppose what most impressed me about my grandmother was her indominatable spirit. Although she was nervous and high strung in personality, she was also fearless. Only when she lay dying, did I see any fear rise up in her. She was also a forgiving person. When I was 13 she was actually going to remarry my grandfather who had abandoned her, against my father's wishes. Fate intervened and my grandfather died before it came to be. She was inconsolable for a while. But she picked herself up and went back to work.
When I ran across this little poem she had clipped out of the newspaper, I knew it reflected her philosophy of never giving up. So I'm trying!
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