Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

V: Undefeated! At Least I'm Trying

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!


Vickie said...

What a tough little determined woman your grandmother was! Boy, people back then (and even now) have such burdens to bear, and they stick it out and get through it. And you have her blood running through your veins, remember! Don't even think about being defeated V !!! Hang in there!

joolzmac said...

Hey V

Love the poem and clipping. I've printed it off and stuck it in my journal. I have lots of wonderful snippets saved in there. My girls will get a giggle one day when I'm long gone - they'll say "Geez, she was an eccentric old bitch, wasn't she?" Lol!

Cheers - Joolz

jan said...

What a story and what a life! I always marvel at those whose lives seem so hard, but when you ask how they did it, you often get the same answer - "I just did what I had to do". I guess that is what we all do. Thankfully, we are not all faced with the challenges that your grandmother handled with grace and spirit!

Susie Q said...

Wow..your grandmother was amazing. And you are certainly a chip off that block!

KathyB. said...

This is an encouraging post in spite of the very bad history that inspired it, and I want to read more of the spirit of "never give up" that pervades your life and those you love. Please?

P.S. I think you could give Lemony Snicket a run for his money in the good out of bad ( very unfortunate) circumstances , and you should write a book.Your humor comes through it all, and that is a talent.

Pat - Arkansas said...

In many ways, we are "wusses" compared to our parents and grandparents when it comes to dealing with life's ups and downs. That was a wonderful story about your grandmother.

You're not down and out yet, V.

Janera said...

V, you are so right! We sometimes get so involved in our glorious pity parties that we forget the kind of strong stock we come from. . . and we forget Who really is in control.

Good post!

lila said...

What great family history! It was not an easy life, yet she kept her family going!
Sandra gave me the link to your blog....I think I will be reading a lot here!

Queenmothermamaw said...

You two girls are amazing. I look forward to all your posts. I have similar stories of my mom and grandparents. Guess I will make that a post one day. I love that poem and would like to save it also. I found my mother's packet of love letters she received from a friend that wanted to marry my mom when they were in their 60's. My mom had been divorced for years, but because of her Catholic upbringing, she felt she was still married to my father. I knew about the friendship, but was totally unprepared for the passionate pleas of this man friend. Experience that brings serenity is one gift of aging. Ya or Nae. Blessings
QMM ♥♥♥

Parisienne Farmgirl said...

WOW. What a story!
Thank you for stopping by Parisienne Farmgirl! I appreciate it - gonna go check out the rest of your blog.

Eggs In My Pocket / Yesteryear Embroideries said...

What a heartbreaking story,.....yet inspiring to let all know...don't give up....there is always much worse going on in someone else's neck of the woods. The poem is just wonderful to build one's courage. I think it's tough and strong women like your grandmother that makes a family get through the tough times. Just loved reading and visiting. blessings,Kathleen

Farmchick said...

Truly a heartbreaking story, but what a strong woman! I love the quote and am printing it out to keep.

Queenmothermamaw said...

Yes C, I do remember that story of the little girl. The ringing of the bells can be for joy, that is the best kind of ringing.

Melissa said...

She sounds like quite the lady. Very special, indeed.

audrey y said...

Thanks for stopping by. Sounds as if You are out there doing a lot of living. I haven't the time to pursue your complete blog but it sure is tempting.

I've become an old lady, (78) when I wasn't looking, so lots of kids grandchildren and friends to write about.

For 12 years I wrote a humor column, "Down Home" for our local newspaper...and I use some of those in my blogs

I am fairly new to blogging and have a lot to learn. If you can overlook my lack of expertise I would love to have you visit any time.


Robynn's Ravings said...

Wow. That's a whole book right there just waiting to be written. How FASCINATING all that was. I wanted more! She and I woulda been friends. We would've understood one another!

audrey y said...

Hi, Girls. Tying my bean-pole mustang to the rail right here take a minute to say, "howdy."

Pleased me to see your explanation of your blog site. My young aunt and I used to sneak Grandpa's fresh-cut bean poles and tied a rope for the reins and, "Hi o Silver. My sweet Auntie is gone on ahead but I'll be joining her in that Great Roundup

Really liking your efforts.

Don't give up, you are soooointeresting


Leslie said...

Wow! It was nice hearing from you again. The poem is so appropriate. Like a little message to you from her. Your grandmothers story is very interesting. It always amazes me how some people seem to live what could be several lives in the time they are on this earth.

Lynn said...

This is my first time visiting. What a story about your grandma! It sounds like they could make a movie of her life. Neat that you found the poem and it was meaningful for you.

addhumorandfaith said...

V --It sounds like your grandmother really took that poem to heart. It's hard for us, even in our darkest days, to imagine what it would be like to live through the events she did, isn't it?

Thank you for this post. It touched me.

And, in regard to all that is going on with you right now, you are in my prayers, friend.

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