Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"I couldn't sleep at all last night" or here's my version of A Christmas Carol.

It is 11:00 p.m. I have had on my glamour mask for three hours and it is not working. My mind is spinning faster than that roundy-round sport that takes place up Talladega way. There is no way Jeff Gordon (or whomever is the current leader) to have more points than me.

I have already thought of at least 20 posts I'd like to make, if not more. Most of them are not about what is going on at the moment but are related. (Be it known that I can "chase a rabbit" in a conversation with the best of them but I'll try not to do it. For those of you who don't understand that term, it simply means "getting off track.")

So, on to my on personal version of "A Christmas Carol", with all apolo9gies to Charles Dickens.

Scrooge would have been an apt name for me the past several weeks. My best Christmas sentiment was truly "Bah, humbug".However, all that changed today.

Instead of three ghosts, I had three angels. And each of them represented all three of Scrooge's visitors, the past, the present, the future within themselves. Most importantly, these women are the epitome of strength and courage, humor, and good cheer. They came not wearing swirling robes or wreaths of holly. They came in tennis shoes and workout clothes. Strong women, I tell you, STRONG WOMEN.

My first visitor, the angel of "Christmas past" was Dana Taylor. I have known her since Jr. High and our birthdays are a day apart, though she is actually a year older. Dana had a twin sister, Deb, who died two years ago (Dana, forgive me for not fact checking the exact date.) Deb's death, was a tragedy that was just sort of the quintessential "hell on wheels" chain reaction of events, with the cause of death being laryngeal cancer.

But this wasn't the first time Dana had faed this sort of challenge. While we were in Jr. High her father, Ryan deGraffenried, died in an airplane crash while running for governer of Alabama. We were all stunned. We were 13 and 14 and NOTHING like this had ever touched or lives. We watched as Margaret Nell, her mother, gathered the children and pulled them together into a tight, strong family unit. Dana and Deb were watched over by their older brother, Ryan, Jr, who grew into an influential lawyer who would eventually make a career in politics.

Now down to Ryan and Dana, their mother having died a few years back, it was time to move on. But that was not to be the case. Within months of Deb's death, Ryan suddenly died while attending a conference out of town. I probably would have crawled back into a bed and not come out. Not Dana. She went back to work, painted rooms in her house to relieve the stress and now is as down to earth and the same Dana as before all this happened. Only she is stronger. I see it, I feel it. And she offfered that strength to me today. I will accept. I love you, Dana.

My next angel, Nanci Stewart, appeared a little later in the afternoon. While her appearance is slightly out of order with the story, I view her as the "angel of Chrsitmas future" even though she has a past with cancer. Twenty years ago Nanci experienced what i did las week. She got slapped in the face with the "C" word, totally out of the blue. Her prognosis was six months but she proved them WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Nanci is the epitome of "good attitude" and probably one of the sweetest people in the whole world. Her message was laughter and to learn that once you join the "C" club it is your responsibility to "pay it forward" by helping new club members cope with what they are most afraid of in the world. I look forward to being able to do that, Nanci. For the next twenty years, she and my husband played in a band together that was one of the highlights of their lives, and mine. You are the best. I love you, Nanci.

My last visitor was Beth Roberts. We have daughters the same age. Beth started teaching at Verner during the time i was sp.reading my wings with professional ideas and actions. All were not pleased. Beth was a kindred spirit. Today she shared a story I had not heard before. New to the school, the faculty, a new husand (she had been widowed when her oldest was three, her second child in the womb), she had , walked into my library where I was telling a story using an apron from which I was throwiing glitter or oatmeal (depending on the part in the story "The Lad and the North Wind") and realized she had reached a turning point in her life. That her circumstances, as bad as they had been, had lead her to meet people she would have never met. Ten years later she would lead me to my current career path by a simple sentence..."I bet you could make these". Another ten years later her strength would be challenged again as her mother faced cancer and died before her granddaughter's wedding. I couldn't have made it through that with the grace she did. She had her own scare with cancer, a divorce and is stronger than i've ever seen her. I love you, Beth.

What do you say to these women who have influnced your life in such profound ways, who offer to help even when you haven't been there for them in some of their down times. I don't deserve you? That is what I feel. Yet they come for me, to lift me up, hold me, love me, and make me laugh. I will love them forever.

If you have angels like these in your life, let them know how much you appreciate them.

These are not my only angels and you will get to know them all before it is over.

Ahhh, my eyes are droopy, my room needs to be cooled down and maybe my head won't spin for blogging ideas. Plus, a dose of Atarax might just do the trick.

Take care, my lovely friends and family.

I love you all.


Please forgive my typos.



  1. I think it is just the "excitement" of the day to come.... NOT!!!! Put on that purty mask and ask for a "nigh, night potion"... :)

  2. Sorry I missed your call was non stop, I was on long distance with another old teacher friend and then the doctor walked in, practically bouncing with excitement...or at least those were his vibes. After a call to Jonathan and an attempted one to Mom to let them know what was going on, I tried to sleep. Didn't work, gave up, and am about to give up again. Take care, love you.

  3. What a beautiful story Penny!
    I too am awed by those ladies.
    love mbd (aka "beachteach")

  4. Mrs. Mac, you have such a way with words! You have passed this gift on to your beautifil daughters as well. You all write exactly like you talk and I could read what you have to say for hours. You should all get paid to blog. I have been thinking of you daily and am so glad to read that you are positive and open about the fight that we all know you will win!


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