Tag Archives: healing

THE LINE

THE LINE

It was a lovely spring day. The sun was warm, the birds were singing, and the wispy clouds added a touch of pastel pleasantness to the day.

Sleepy-eyed Abner rose early that morning perplexed as usual (the man had many questions) having just awakened with a REM time voice in his head, demanding, “Go stand in line”.

“Who said that?” inquired Curious Abner.

“Go stand in line.”

Befuddled Abner rose from his state of confused repose, made his bed and his breakfast as the memory of the command “Go stand in line” echoed in his head.

After a bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, berries and a touch of honey, Abner said to his  sleepy self “What a lovely spring day. The sun is warm, the birds are singing, and the wispy clouds add a touch of pastel pleasantness to the day. I’m gonna go lfind that line and stand in it.”

And he did; he went for a walk, that is.

Inquisitive Abner looked everywhere for the line.

“Where is it?” Abner inquired.

“Excuse me” said Ab to the first person he met. “Do you know where the line starts?

“I believe it starts right here” replied the stranger.

“Thank you” said Abner and the stranger went on her way.

Obedient Abner stood in line.

Eventually, Abner began to fidget. Standing in line apparently was not a great way to spend a lovely spring day.

Impatient and needing to do something, anything at all, Abner decided to return to his lovely spring day walk and he did.

Where is that line?

Eventually however, another stranger came along.

“Excuse me” inquired Abner. “Do you know where the line starts?”

“I believe it starts right here” replied the stranger.

“Thank you” said Ab and the stranger went on his way.

And once again, Compliant Abner stood in line.

And as before, Ab  observed  that standing in line apparently was not a great way to spend a lovely spring day…

But Stubborn Abner stood his ground.

Standing there Abner wondered to himself, “If this is the line where are  the people?”

Time went on. Ab began to fidget.

Eventually however, another stranger approached.

“Excuse me” asked Abner. “Do you know where the line starts?”

“I believe it starts right here,” came the reply.

“Would you like to stand in line?’ asked Sorta Social Abner.

“Thank you for asking” replied the stranger; “But this line is much too long” ; “have a nice day”.

Surprised at the stranger’s remark, Curious Abner turned around. Behind him was a line of people that seemed to wend its way into Eternity. All were waiting patiently, no one was talking to anyone.

Addressing the person now before him Abner introduced himself; “Hi my name is Abner; what’s your name?”

“My name is Rose” she replied and began to introduce him to several other people behind her. There was Xero Aticus,and his sister Gardenia and their centenarian grandmother,  Albinisia Mary.

Albinisia Mary had more stories in her lovely old head than Abner had questions. (And as we know, Curious Abner was after all, a man with many questions).

Within minutes this part of the line was starting to look more like a party, everyone utilizing the conversational opportunities now being made available to them.

As the line evaporated into groups of animated conversationalists, everyone involved gradually migrated to a nearby park.

By the end of this lovely spring day, the sun still warm, the birds no longer singing and the once wispy clouds having surrendered their touch of pastel pleasantness to the gathering cloak of darkness, Weary Abner decided to return home…

And he did.

As Sleepy Abner crawled between   crisp, clean sheets he thought about the day now departing and smiled.

The next morning Optimistic Abner crawled out of bed, ate a bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, berries and a touch of  honey and went out to greet another lovely spring day; the sun was warm, the birds were singing and the clouds though wispy, added a touch of pastel pleasantness to the day.

Curious Abner (the man with many questions who now had some answers) thought to himself “I think I shall go stand in line.”

And he did.

THE LINE

 

THE LINE

It was a lovely spring day. The sun was warm, the birds were singing, and the wispy clouds added a touch of pastel pleasantness to the day.

Sleepy-eyed Abner rose early that morning perplexed as usual (the man had many questions) having just awakened with a REM time voice in his head still demanding, “Go stand in line”.

“Who said that?” inquired Curious Abner.

“Go stand in line.”

Befuddled Abner rose from his state of confused repose, made his bed and his breakfast as the memory of the command “Go stand in line” continued to bounce around in his head.

After his bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, berries and a touch of honey mixed with six heaping teaspoons of steel-cut oats and a half cup of spring water heated for 90 seconds, Abner said to his still sleepy self “What a lovely spring day. The sun is warm, the birds are singing, and the wispy clouds add a touch of pastel pleasantness to the day. I’m gonna go look for that line and stand in it.”

And he did; he went for a walk, that is.

Inquisitive Abner looked everywhere for the line.

“Where is that line?” Abner inquired; there was nobody there to answer his question.

“Excuse me” said Ab to the first person he met. “Do you know where the line starts?

“I believe it starts right here” replied the stranger.

“Thank you” said Abner and the stranger went on her way.

Obedient Abner stood in line.

Eventually Abner began to fidget. Standing in line apparently was not a great way to spend a lovely spring day even though the sun was warm, the birds were singing and the clouds though wispy, added a touch of pastel pleasantness to the day.

Impatient and needing to do something, anything at all with his hurried, inquisitive self (Abner was a man with questions ya know) he decided to return to his lovely spring day walk. While strolling down the long sidewalk stretched before him Abner thought to himself, “You know, I probably received the wrong information from that stranger. Perhaps that was not the line, after all. It must be somewhere else. If I hurry to find the right place I may very well be the first person in that line; that would be a good thing, wouldn’t it?” He asked this question even though there was no one there to answer.

Eventually however, someone did come along.

“Excuse me” inquired Abner. “Do you know where the line starts?”

“I believe it starts right here” replied the stranger.

“Thank you” said Ab and the stranger went on his way.

And once again, Obedient Abner stood in line.

And as before, Ab eventually began to squirm. He observed once again that standing in line apparently was not a great way to spend a lovely spring day; what with the sun so warm, the birds asinging and the clouds though wispy, adding a touch of pastel pleasantness to the day.

And Stubborn Abner stood his ground.

Standing in line Abner wondered to himself, “If this is the line where are the rest of the people?”

Time went on. It was beginning to feel as though he had been standing in line forever.

Eventually however, another stranger approached.

 

“Excuse me” asked Abner. “Do you know where the line starts?”

“I believe it starts right here,” came the reply.

Abner thought to himself that perhaps he should invite this person to join him. That way there really would be a line.

“Would you like to stand in line?’ asked Sorta Social Abner.

“Thank you for asking” replied the stranger; “But this line is much too long” and continued on his way; “Have a nice day”.

Surprised at the stranger’s remark, Curious Abner turned around. Behind him was a line of people that seemed to wend its way into Eternity. All were waiting patiently, no one was talking to anyone. “After all” observed  Abner (the man with questions) “who wants to talk to the back of someone’s head?”

But as soon as formed the words, Abner realized that he was looking into someone’s face, someone who until seconds ago had been looking at the back of Curious Abner’s head.

“Hi my name is Abner; what’s your name?”

“Betty” she replied and began to introduce him to several other people behind her. There was John, there was her sister Jeanie and her centenarian grandmother had come along; Grandmother’s name was Albina Mary.

Albina Mary had more stories in her old head than Abner had questions. (And as we know, Curious Abner was after all, a man with many questions).

Within minutes this part of the line was starting to look more like a party. And others further back, noticing that the restraints previously defined by the unspoken rules of Linedom had now been broken, began to emulate the conversational opportunities now being made available to them.

As the line evaporated into groups of animated conversationalists, everyone involved gradually migrated to a nearby park.

By the end of this lovely spring day, the sun still warm, the birds no longer singing and the once wispy clouds having surrendered their touch of pastel pleasantness to the gathering cloak of darkness, Weary Abner decided to return home, a practical decision (a part of himself with whom he was not very well acquainted wanted to stay and talk with his new friends) and he did just that; went home, that is.

As Abner crawled between Egyptian cotton 400 thread-count, crisp, clean sheets and sank into the thousand or so individually pocketed coils in his eighteen inch thick mattress he thought about the day now departing and smiled.

The next morning Optimistic Abner crawled out of bed, ate a bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, berries and a touch of honey mixed with six heaping teaspoons of steel-cut oats and a half cup of spring water heated for 90 seconds and went out to greet another lovely spring day; the sun was warm, the birds were singing and the clouds though wispy, added a touch of pastel pleasantness to the day.

Curious Abner (the man with many questions who now had some answers) thought to himself “I think I shall go stand in line.”

And he did.

THE AMBULANCE DRIVER


Horace Dixie Broom 1918

 

THE AMBULANCE DRIVER

Jiggsboy called a couple of hours ago and told me about the PBS historical account of the early years of our previous century.

As he spoke, he sparked memories of Horace Dixie Broom, the man who became my father, replacing Robert Lee Oakes Senior, my birth-father, who had left me in charge of my baby brother and my mother Esther Mae Gettings Walton Oakes. He was already in uniform and I was now the Man of the house.

I was two and a half years old at the time and the Japanese had destroyed Pearl Harbor only two days before.

As Jiggsboy (John) returned to continue watching PBS, so did I.

And the things that I had forgotten of my knowledge of the GREAT WAR decades before my birth, returned now to consciousness,

Horace Dixie Broom was my father from 1941 until his death in 1976.  Never in all those years did he speak a single word about his memories of that war, but there were stories told to me by my new Mom, his wife, my Great Aunt Sadie Hannah Marie Oakes Broom.

And there were hundreds of photographs of this brave young man who like hundreds of others from countries everywhere found their own way to Paris France to head off the German soldiers who were destroying everything in their path.

There were no enlistment offices because officially there was no war.

H.D. Broom at age twelve took over the family farm near Bonham TX when his three older brothers and his sister, the only teacher in Bonham, had gone their way.

Soon after this adjustment Dixie was offered yet more decisions when the town physician, his father Dr William Broom, died.

He assisted Mother Broom in selling the farm and took what money he needed to get to Paris. It was young people from everywhere  who gave this war its name.

Dixie’s experience as the youngest son of a Doctor Farmer Scholar suited him somehow to be stationed at the reins of a mule – drawn covered wagon-ambulance which made dozens of daily trips to the front lines and back to an open air hospital for days months  weeks and yes, years, or so I am told.

Though I can’t be certain of his age he was born in 1898 and when he died he was five and a half feet tall. When I finished high-school and left home at age fourteen, I thought often of Daddy Dick, Father, Lovey, the man who as a boy must have looked lie a mere babe and who carried the injured and the dead to relative safety.

What must it have been like for this child-man with  no gun at his side, the man who lived to tell about the horrors of war but never did.

Git Along Little Dogie

lee_broom

“There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.”

~ Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

 

Learning from past experiences is okay.

Knowing that we made a mistake however is probably enough.

Knowing what we did wrong serves no purpose but to invite self-criticism.

And, beating ourselves for past mistakes only affirms and insures their recurrence.

Better to learn more productive ways of dealing with our problems and to move on.

 

 

When I was six years old I attempted the acrobatic feat of standing on my hands atop the swings in our back yard. I must have been about three feet tall compared to the swings which were probably three times my height.

I fell and hurt myself.

It was the weekend; Father was working in the kitchen and Mother had gone to the store.

I felt myself being cradled in my father’s arm and answered his questions about my physical well-being.

Eventually he asked me what I had learned. I replied that I needed to start with something lower to the ground and then work my way up to something higher. Father smiled and helped me to my feet. “Git along little dogie” he said in that Texas drawl of his, “Git along.”

 Lee Broom

TWO FRIENDS TALKING

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Lee’s Diary November 27, 2013

 

TWO FRIENDS TALKING

I could feel myself dying.

If my body has a trillion cells I was losing a thousand of them per second.

I called a friend. I walked as I talked, describing to him what was happening (or not), trying to find words in a brain that had been through this same identical experience only a week before but which I had shared with no one, not even after the fact.

“Am I dying John?”

“What does it feel like, Lee?”

One word seemed to fit, the word was “darkness” but it described a feeling – not a dimming departure of recently improved eyesight but a farewell to the welfare, which Life and Love may offer.

Inside me, throughout all of me, I was dark meat and I was growing darker.

The friend I had called was Jiggs’ Boy, John; we (mostly “I”) continued to talk.

“Will I live through this night?” I asked.

“Did I have a stroke?” I wondered.

“A heart-attack?” Perhaps.

“Did the darkness imply evil?” voiced “Little Lee”.

“Will I go to Hell?” I asked The Rest Of Me?

Talking and walking lifted my spirit and repaired the rheostat of the light within – my dying cells began a welcome revival.

I felt a Spiritual Presence and asked for a safe place for whatever was left of that which I think of as “Me” after this apparent departure from the material world had completed its metamorphosis and I wondered if my theories about God were correct.

Is The Creator of all things The Source of Love or the source of fear? Am I about to become a pillar of salt?

“Do you want me to come over?”

“I’m afraid I’m dying, John.”

“Do you want me to come over and watch you die?”

I laughed. Jiggs’ boy chuckled.

Note: This page from my diary will be in a forthcoming book,
WHAT A LOVELY SPRING DAY.

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Return to Sulphur

lafayette compound 012

 

Return to Sulphur
From Lee Broom’s memoirs Referencing October 1976

(Oodles and Lovie are Lee’s Mother and Father in that order)

 

When Oodles died last year I was unable to be there until after the funeral. Lovie and I had our typical Lovie and Lee talk. We walked mostly. Every few minutes one of us would speak up. And then we were back at the house. We sat on the front porch of this old home in the sleepy little former resort town of Sulphur Oklahoma and the five-minute interludes became ten.

As we sat there a squirrel came down from the oak tree by the entrance to the driveway. Halfway down the trunk the squirrel froze. Ears atwitch and head darting left to right, the reason for the rodent’s wary demeanor became evident as a creeping yellow furred miniature lioness stalked her prey. 

Lovie went into the house, returning quickly with a Smith and Wesson .38 revolver. The cat was still creeping. The squirrel was frozen in place. Not a twitch or flick of an eyelid to give it away. The kitty was not fooled; she had just begun to crouch when Father took aim and fired at exactly the same time that the ferocious feline made her leap. As she hit the tree, as her claws dug into the bark, the bullet missed its mark and as it buried itself in the tree a spray of tree bark morsels splattered into the face of the would be assailant. Miss Kitty yowled and leaped to the ground and on to the gravelled path to the garage. She leaped the fence into the back yard with me racing behind her and Lovie limping after me. The yellow speed demon ran headlong into the concrete wall at the back of the property (she must be bind, I thought), ricocheted off and back toward the garage, again running head on into the second building and fell dead.

But that was then and this was now. It was believed or so I was told, that Lovie had experienced an Alzheimer-like set of symptoms over a very short period of time, probably from twenty years of well-managed Parkinson ’s disease. I hurried back home.

Lovie was no longer Lovie to anyone but me. Oodles was gone, brother Bill was not a feelings kind of guy and his new wife was now in charge of the family home and apparently the family purse as Father’s persona withered.

A year or so earlier Lovie had asked me for permission to remarry and I said yes, of course. He immediately walked across the street and asked Clara the widow of four previous husbands for her hand in marriage. At the wedding one of her favorite topics of conversation was her nephew who had inherited or acquired the only remaining drive-in restaurant in Oklahoma City. It was still a popular place to have a hotdog and a malted with dinner being served by young women in short skirts and shapely bodies and who delivered the meals on a tray by scooting across the pavement on roller skates.

The other subject was those four men she had buried.

I picked up Clarabelle and we went to the nursing home to say hello or goodbye whichever the case where I was introduced to a father I barely recognized.

His only garment was a swaddling, thickly padded diaper and his personality seemed the exact age for such raiment. As we began to chat, the others left the room. As Lovie and I found ourselves alone I was at once inspired by a need which was triggered by an observation about my father’s seemingly scripted demeanor. If he was the two-year old child that he seemed to be, having lost all subsequent memories, how was it that he knew me? And I needed to talk.

I asked my father if he could come back to his normal self for a few minutes so we could talk. With the recent memory of my first father’s demise and his reaction to the letter I had sent him it occurred to me that this might be my last opportunity to make amends. I did not think he was putting on an act. But I did realize that there were probably random bits of surviving memories to tap into.

Sure, said Lovie; let’s talk. And we did. After listing some of my behaviors and attitudes that o regretted, I confessed that I had a drinking problem. I know, said Lovie.

He had my attention.

He described an event that I remembered very well, that occurred when I was about five or six years old. I had been sick with measles, laying in bed reading. Lovie had just come in from work and was inquiring about my status, How was I feeling? He felt my forehead. What had Oodles been doing for me? I described a horrible liquid concoction containing soda and lemon and water that most certainly came from the sewer because it smelled like rotten eggs. Lovie had said to me, Lee, what you need is a hot toddy.

What’s a hot toddy, Lovie?

A few minutes later my thoughtful papa handed me a drink in a short glass. It was sweet. There was something in it that seemed vaguely familiar. I knew right away that the familiar something was also in mother’s homemade grape jelly.

It didn’t last long. By the time I had emptied the glass Father was changing into some from his double-breasted suit into a pair of chinos and house shoes. When I yelled for more Lovie came back into my room as he loosened his tie and asked how I liked the medicine. Did I feel a little better? Yes I did. May I have another? The answer was No but as time drug on (probably no more than five minutes) my body demanded more and my voice insisted for seconds. When Father returned with another hot toddy, it looked the same; it was sweet like the first one but whatever it was that made Oodles’ jelly and Lovie’s earlier Hot Toddy so desirable, was missing. And I suffered.

Lovie went on to tell me that when I was eleven years old they had come home from work to discover me lying on my grandmother’s bed, smelling like whiskey. He told me that when he went to his hiding place that it took five years for me to discover, his quick inspection had determined that  though the bottle of bourbon was at the same level as before and had the same coloring as usual, it tasted as though it had been watered down. He added that in the kitchen the package of food coloring had been tampered with.

We chuckled together over this story and Lovie suggested that I do something about my problem and to not waste time; that my natural mother was an alcoholic and that she was drinking while pregnant with me. As he finished his statement I could hear Lovie’s brother, my Uncle Turner, coming down the hall toward this room where we were talking. And before my eyes I witnessed another transformation as my father returned to the child I had met minutes before. He asked if I wanted to play with his toys; they were scattered about the room. I said No, gave him a hug, kissed his forehead and left. He died the following day.

I was never notified of a reading of the will nor did I make inquiries. Within a few years, the restaurant with the skating waitresses had developed into a national chain.