Nov 11: Armistice Day ending WWI, as well as my late mother-in-law's birthday.
Nov 12: Veterans' Day (observed), Neil Young's birthday.
Nov 13: National Peanut Butter Sandwich Day. We all carried a lunchbox!
But today I have been very damped-down. Not only by the constant fretting that Hubby and Mama are doing over his unemployed status. He went to a job fair today and got a call about a contract position, but he really wants a permanent position that they've told him he's the top candidate for . . . he's agonizing over the amount of time it might take to fund that position. They're angsting all over the place. They have no trust that we will end up where we are supposed to be, and they're frantic for me to sell books (which I can't do--there's too much out there going for free, and no gatekeeper, so it's a really tough marketing challenge). I still don't feel that worried about money, as material goods are not the meaning of life. And they KNOW that. They're just as spoiled as cats. THAT may be my fault.
Why have *I* been solemn? Yesterday, I learned that my former co-worker and cubemate from the time I worked at DSC Communications (around 1996-1998) was killed in an auto accident. She was driving her elderly neighbor from the small town where they live (Celeste, TX) on one of our two-lane highways when an idiot in an Impala crossed the center line and hit them head-on. My former co-worker and her elderly neighbor were killed instantly. The other driver (44 years old) also died at the scene. My co-worker was only 65 and had three daughters and a couple of grandbabies.
She took me under her wing the day I started at DSC. I had been hired to produce reports that had graphs and charts in them--it was automated stuff that was done through MS-Access scripting, and the report generator would pull in text from Word, graphs from Excel, and data tables from SQL queries. It was kind of a neat little system, but very convoluted. She walked me through the first two weeks of this, as patiently as a tiger teaching her cub to stalk. Caroline was the nicest person you could ask for. She also had a lot of spunk. She went by her middle name, as did I throughout my school and work career. (We also had a third co-worker who went by HER middle name. It was almost a theme of that karass.) We were cubemates for almost a year, until the company expanded our offices. I felt as though I knew her daughters (one was a newlywed and one still school-aged, and the youngest would call every day around 4 PM to let her mom know she had gotten home from school safely and was starting her homework. Sometimes I picked up those calls.) We used to trade puns and wordplay.
The last time I spoke to her, ten years ago, she had called me right after I was laid off from the company to ask me how to run the reports I had just redesigned. I had left scanty documentation, but then I hadn't expected to be suddenly walked out of the building in the middle of the day. I declined to walk her through it, saying that it was too complicated to explain over the phone and that I couldn't exactly come over there to do it for her. She was pretty disappointed that I wasn't a doormat about that, although I know that's because she was so steeped in their corporate culture. Still, I hate that our last exchange was not completely happy.
It is so unfair. She was driving her elderly neighbor to a doctor's appointment on a road they must have taken almost daily, and suddenly they're in a head-on collision that was not their fault. I wonder if they realized what was about to happen? I hope not. I desperately hope that one moment they were chatting about Thanksgiving, and then there was a flash, and then they were going towards the light and into the presence of God. I'm sure the angels used Caroline's grandbaby who died young to entice her up there. "Austin! Is that you?" "Grandma!"
I know Thanksgiving is ruined from now on for her daughters. I can't express to them how saddened I am to hear about this. It really makes you appreciate life, and that you were some of the mud that got to sit up and look around, and that you got to live today and might get tomorrow as well. But none of us are PROMISED that.
Now my co-worker knows who was in her karass, and what their wampeter was, and all the good deeds and work of God that her karass performed without even knowing it. (I am a closet Bokononist, to some degree. This is explained in Kurt Vonnegut's masterwork--yes, I believe it is the masterwork, with SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE running a close second, which is topsy-turvy from the literary world's ranking, but so what--CAT'S CRADLE.) She is in Heaven and does not feel the pain of the long separation the way her family and friends will. Time is the only thing to ease the pain for them. I wish there were some other thing they could do (turn a crank, take a pill) to relieve the pain other than live through it; I really do. It's tempering by sorrow. I also wish we could have parted on less confusing and upsetting terms. But so it goes.
Hug your pets and friends and family today. Today is all we are promised. Let's live and exult in it while we have it.
And you might as well give in and start putting up your Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Solstice lights and decorations now. Everyone around here is already doing it, not just the stores, and I think it might make us all feel just a little bit better.
If you feel like doing a good turn, go read THE SPLATTERFAIRIES online and review/rank it. I'd love any kind of honest review. It's a brief story, and they have a little box that pops up for you to read it online (there's some fancy word for that, but I'm not up to thinking of it.) The site doesn't ask for a bunch of info from you, and they don't spam you. (Obligatory promo section ends here.)
Yay! We woke up alive today!! We rule. We have a responsibility to be happy in the moment.
Life is amazing. Enjoy it while you're here!