Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mama I Was Born on the Wrong Planet Please Come Get Me


Mama, where are you?  I was born on the wrong planet to the wrong people no doubt.  Why have you not come to get me?  It took me a long time to know that I was in the wrong place, but surely I must be.  I know that I cannot belong here, because they tell me so ... show me so.   

When I was young I kind of felt at home.  I love the beauty of Earth.  At first adults and kids seemed to like me, but as I got older, and especially now, I know that I must have been mistaken.   
I accepted God early, but it took me a long time to become a Christian.  I did not believe in the Immaculate Conception for one.  Later, however, I realized that God can do anything and that he does not make mistakes, but did he make just one with me?  Did he put me on the wrong planet with the wrong family and with the wrong people?  People I can no longer call friends, because we cannot seem to agree about a single thing.   

It would not be so bad to disagree … if they would listen to me.  I listen to them and I try to understand them, but I cannot; although, I do love them.   

If you came to get me would you ask me how we were so far apart on things?  I would hope so.  Would you, and those of your kind, understand me?  I would hope so.  Would we want the same things?   

Would you understand these things?  I want peace.  I want no genocide.  I want people to be able to stay in their homes and to be safe.  I want them to have work and with that work to make enough money to be able to support their families and to have food and clean water and a roof over their heads.  I want us to take care of the poor and the disabled.  I want us to be kind to one another and generous.   

I want mothers and fathers to get along and to treat each other and their children and families and neighbors with respect.  I want to see joy.  I want all their children to be able to go to schools where they are safe and can learn.  I want them to feel valued in those schools by everyone who is there, and I want them to do the same.   

That is called the Golden Rule here.  Is it the same there on your planet?  The one where surely I belong.  Where are you mother?  Where have you always been?  Are you looking for me to bring me home to the place where I belong with a planet full of people who long for the things I long for?   

Jesus said it best in Mark 12: 30-31.  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”   

Mother, does that not mean exactly what it says?  Are we not supposed to believe these two commandments?  Perhaps, you and home will only be in Heaven and not on another planet.  I wait.

© Patty F. Cooper   November 3rd, 2015 Elizabethton, TN   

All Rights Reserved   

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Mother’s Day Secret

Mother’s Day is celebrated the second Sunday in May in the United States.  It is a big deal and mothers are put foremost into the minds of the populace and supposedly their children.  There is, however, one very big secret—and it is not what their children are getting them or doing for them on Mother’s Day.   

The big secret that is not supposed to be thought or spoken is:  Not all mothers are deserving of a special day.   

Yes, I said it out loud and in written form—not all mothers are deserving of a day, because there are many mothers who are terrible mothers.   

Okay, I get that I may have just lost a huge number of my readers.  To those of you who are still here, that unfortunately probably means that you know what I am talking about.  If you know what I mean, then I am truly sorry if that means that your mother or someone you know deserves a day of unrecognition.   

What mothers am I talking about?  Some examples are mothers who abuse and neglect their children.  They can verbally or sexually abuse or otherwise use their children.  There are mothers who kill their children and there are mothers who kill the souls of their children.  Feel free to insert your own examples from your own life here.   

That said, everybody realizes no mother is perfect.  All mothers have made mistakes and many have been forgiven by their children for their deeds or their omissions.  Perhaps, they recognized their shortcomings and may have apologized to their children.  I think that is one of the signs of a good mother.  A person who is willing to admit those things that nagged their conscience.   

I am writing this to say to children, young or old, who have suffered terribly under their mothers be they alive or dead, you are not alone.  You are not the only person who hates this day and wishes that it wasn’t on the calendar.   

Maybe your mother is still alive and you go to the store trying to find a Mother’s Day card that doesn’t say anything.  Or maybe you go to the store and buy a card that is all gushy and says what you know is a blatant lie, because maybe you are still trying to fit in, or be accepted or keep peace within your family.   

Maybe you do not want your friends, extended family or coworkers to know that you are or were abused, neglected or an unloved child—even if you are an adult.   

I am not judging you for whatever choices you make regarding this day.  Anything that helps you through it I am for.  More power to you.   

If you are an individual who decided to leave and not to participate with the person called by others your mother … more power to you, too.   

I just mainly wanted all of us fellow suffers to know that there are those of us who share the lifeboat with you.  It is a sad place to be when you know that you were unloved, unwanted, uncared for or any other combination of circumstances.   

I pray, that you do not shoulder the guilt your mother tried to lay on you and that you have been able to learn to love yourself and those around you.  I hope that if you, man or woman, have children that your mother taught you exactly how not to be a mother and that you have been able to pattern yourself after a much better role model and that you can or have become a wonderful mother, father, aunt, uncle or friend to your own children or the children of others.   

To the young people who may be reading this, I hope that you will seek out women who embrace you and see you as the person you are and can become.  I wish you a fulfilling life surrounded by people who love you.  I hope that you learn to love and to be loved, because you are a human being a person who deserves a spot on this planet we call Earth.  You have a place just because you are and I pray that you can shrug off the guilt your mother tried to place on you.   

For those of you who are or were privileged to have good mothers be thankful and may you enjoy this day.   

For the rest of us, God bless us one and all and thank God we have a whole year before we get back to Mother’s Day.  May you, and I, gain a greater degree of strength by then.   

© Patty F. Cooper, Elizabethton, Tennessee, May 10th, 2015
All Rights Reserved


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

May My Favorite Month

May has always been my favorite month even before the birth of my first child.  Maybe it was because it was always warm, but not too hot.  Maybe it was because there were always so many beautiful flowers in bloom or the fact that school was nearly out.  I really do not know why I always loved May so much.   

My oldest son’s first birthday was on my first Mother’s Day.  How special is that?  Now that I am older May has become my bittersweet month.  One of my favorite cousin’s birthday was in May and he died last year.  Some years ago my beloved father died on May 21st a date I always loved.      

When I was young I proclaimed May 21st as my favorite day of the year.  I remembered that even after my father died, so it became a day of sadness and a day of hope, because of how special it had been to me.   

This year, May 21st will become one of the most poignant days of my life, because it was the day my precious great granddaughter, Avery Grace, was due.  She died an intrauterine death in February.   

So, as May approaches I hope that I can remember what a spectacular month it is and I hope that I can celebrate my son’s birthday with unabashed joy.  I hope that I can see the beauty of May and that the many good things about the month will serve to give me hope amidst my sorrow.   

I pray for my grandchildren who lost their baby daughter, and for the rest of us who loved her so much.  I picture my father in heaven holding her and rocking her along with my baby brother, who only lived three days.   

I am reminded of the love and sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ who lived, died, rose from the tomb after three days so that all who believe in him and the Father may have eternal life and be extremely blessed with the hope of being reunited with our loved ones someday.   

© Patty F. Cooper, April 28th, 2015, Elizabethton, Tennessee   
All Rights Reserved  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

School Year 1955-1956: Segment seven from the series Uprooted

Segment seven from the fictional series Uprooted, about an Appalachian family living in south Florida from 1955 through the 1960’s.   

Daddy loved to read the newspaper, and he said that there were really good ones in south Florida unlike what he called the “news-less near-nothing” that he got in North Carolina.  One got delivered to the house every day and he read every word of it.  Every single word, meaning every article, every ad, every obituary … everything.   

At the supper table he would tell the family about what he read in the newspaper; including local news and news from all over the world. He said that south Florida was in what was called a “boom.”  That meant that lots of folks like them had moved there.   

He told the family that the schools were overcrowded.  Rebecca and Robert did not know what that meant but they were anxious for school to start, because they wanted to meet more kids.   

Daddy was afraid that the children would get lost, because the school was a long way from their house.  He made both Rebecca and Robert memorize their address, because they had no telephone, and he made them memorize the phone number at Uncle John’s store.   

They were going to ride the school bus.  All they had to do was walk down their road to the bigger road to catch the bus.  “No,” mama corrected.  “You walk down our avenue to the street.”  Rebecca had forgotten that in Fort Lauderdale that the roads were called avenues, streets, drives, places and boulevards, but not roads.  So far as Rebecca could tell there was only one road in all of Fort Lauderdale and that was State Road Seven.   

It was confusing to her, because all those differently named things sure looked like roads.  Anyway, they met the school bus and off they went.  The farther east they went from where they lived the bigger the houses got.   

Rebecca helped Robert find his second grade classroom and she told him that she would pick him up there after school and take him to the bus.  Then, she found her third grade classroom.   

By way of introduction, Rebecca’s teacher said that they would go around the room and tell their names, where they were from and what they had for dinner last night.  Rebecca knew that dinner didn’t mean dinner, but supper, because Aunt Lou had taught her that.   

She was sitting on the front row of the classroom, because she was small.  A few kids spoke before she did.  One was from Ohio, one was from Michigan and one was from New Jersey.  They all talked real funny and when they said what they had for dinner, Rebecca had no idea what they had eaten, because she had never even heard of that stuff.   

Rebecca told her name and where she was from then she said, “We call our dinner supper.  We eat our dinner at noon.  Last night we had pinto beans, corn bread and arsh taters.”  The other children laughed.  Rebecca did not say anything.  She did not know what was so funny.   

Her teacher said, “Rebecca you had pinto beans, corn bread and Irish potatoes.”   

“Yes ma’am, that’s what I said.”   

Her teacher just smiled at her and went on to the next student.  There were thirty-four students in the classroom which was in a little building called a “portable” off from the main building.  There was not one kid in Rebecca’s class from Florida or North Carolina.  They were from places Rebecca had mostly not heard of and to a person they talked funny.   

At recess a little girl named Linda from New York asked Rebecca what pinto beans were.  Rebecca had never heard of a person who did not know what pinto beans were, but none of the kids knew.  So, she told them it was a dried bean that turned brown when you cooked it.   

Most of them knew where North Carolina was, because they had passed through it on their way to Florida and some of the kids started teasing Rebecca because she came from there.   

Rebecca just puffed up and told them all:  “I am sorry that all of you all couldn’t a come from North Carolina.  It is such a beautiful place and everybody knows that when God decides to come back that is where he is going to settle … out of every place he created on earth.”   

“How do you know that?” asked a boy named John from Pennsylvania.   

“Because,” Rebecca replied, “where I am from everybody knows that North Carolina is ‘God’s Country.’”   

“Oh,” replied the other children impressed.  Rebecca just crossed her little arms across her puffed out chest and smiled.   

“North Carolina didn’t seem so special when we passed through it and how do you know that God is going to settle there?”  The argumentative John wanted to know.   

“Did you come through the mountains of western North Carolina?” Rebecca asked him.   

“No,” the boy replied.   

“Then, that’s your answer,” said Rebecca.  “It’s the mountains, the streams, the rocks and the woods that are so special.  Why one mountain not far from Turkey Tail is shaped like a real big table.  That’s where God is going to sit down and eat.”   

“How do you know that and how do you know that God is going to settle there when he comes back and not were any of us are from?” Linda asked.   

Rebecca paused a minute thinking, then she replied.  “Well, I don’t rightly know how the secret got out that God was going to settle in our parts, but it is easy to understand why when you see it and his table is there.”   

John asked, “Then why didn’t anyone I know say why he wasn’t going to settle in Pittsburg?”   

Rebecca pondered her answer then replied, “After all he is God.  I guess that he just didn’t want to hurt y’all’s feelings.”   

The teacher, Mrs. Johnson, had stood by listening to the conversation.  She just smiled and realized that the little southern girl was going to be all right.   

After school Rebecca picked-up Robert from his classroom in the main building.  Robert was so proud.  He had only gotten into trouble three times that day for talking.  “Don’t tell Daddy,” he begged.  Rebecca didn’t and the rest of the school year went along about the same.   

© Patty F. Cooper, Elizabethton, Tennessee, April 14th, 2015   
All Rights Reserved   


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Summer Tragedy 1955: Segment six from the Series Uprooted, (About an Appalachian family living in south Florida from 1955 through the 1960's.)

We settled in the new house and after the new furniture was in place we had just enough room to walk around.  Daddy set up the TV in the living room and put up an outside antenna that he could go out and turn depending on which station we were going to watch.  We were so excited, because there were three stations that we could get out of Miami.  Three stations!   

One day in August we got terrible news.  One of Daddy’s older brothers used to live next door to us in North Carolina.  We were real close.  His wife had died of brain cancer when Rebecca was real little.  Now, there was just him and his son, Lin.  Lin loved airplanes and made models and hung them by fishing line from the ceiling of an outbuilding that his daddy had given him to use as his own workshop.   

Lin was real quiet, but he would always let the children in to see his planes and he joined the service about a year before the family moved to Florida.  He was stationed in Germany.   

Rebecca and Robert were not called to supper.  That had never happened.  They always pushed coming in from play to the last minute, but when they weren’t called they got curious and went home.  

They found daddy sitting on the couch.  Just sitting there.  He hadn’t cooked supper and mama was still at work.  He looked up but he didn’t say anything.  Both of the children realized that he looked funny.  “What’s wrong Daddy?” both of the children asked in unison.   

“Lin is dead,” he replied.   

“Dead?” both children said at once.   

“How, Daddy?” Rebecca asked as she slumped at his feet.   

Robert sat down beside daddy and buried his head against daddy’s arm already crying.   

Mica told the children what he knew.  “He was flying in a plane they call a boxcar and his plane and another one collided in mid-air.”   

Rebecca jumped up saying, “But, Daddy that is not possible.  Look up at the sky.  There is just so much room up there that it would be impossible for two planes to hit each other.  That can’t be right.”   
“Rebecca, it would seem that you should be right, but they did hit head-on and all aboard both planes were killed.”   

“Well, when are we leaving for North Carolina for the funeral?” Robert asked.   

“We aren’t going,” Daddy replied.   

“Not going to the funeral ….”  Rebecca couldn’t believe what she was hearing.  “But, Daddy everybody always comes to the funerals from no matter where they are.  Always.  You know we all have to bring food in and sit with each other and pet Uncle Ice.  We have to go.  We always talk and are all so sad together then we begin telling stories about the person and start laughing at those stories.  We always help each other.  Then we go to the funeral and to the graveyard and cry all over again.  Then we go back to Aunt Pet’s house and eat and the out of town folks start leaving.  Daddy we just have to go.”   

Mica replied, “I know, Rebecca,” he began stroking her short brown hair.  “I know, sweet girl, but we just can’t swing it right now.”   

Aunt Lou and Uncle John decided to go to the funeral so daddy rode up with them.  He took the children aside and told them to behave while he was gone.  Mama stayed to work and while she was at work Rebecca and Robert had to stay home by themselves.  They were not allowed to go outside until mama came home.  The children felt abandoned and they also felt that they had abandoned all their kin.  They didn’t even misbehave or fight with each other while they were home alone.   

They laid on the bed looking at the clock.  Robert would ask Rebecca, “What are they doing now?” Rebecca told him, from her memories of previous wakes and funerals, what she thought the various family members were doing.  “Do you think Aunt Betty made a banana cake?” he asked.   

“Of course she did, Robert.  You can’t have a proper sittin’ without a banana cake and lots of other cakes and pies.  There’d also be green beans and potato salad, ham and chicken, sandwiches, every kind of sandwich that you can think of, there’d be pickles and beets and deviled eggs and many other things.  About everything there is to eat would be there for all the family.  Friends and family and church people see to those things.  The church ladies see to the dishes being washed up and everything else that needs to be done.”   

“Do you think the men go out for a snort?” Robert continued.   

“You know they do,” Rebecca answered.  “I guess they are putting what’s left of him in the ground ‘bout now,” Rebecca said.  Then they just laid quietly on their respective beds saying nothing.   

When daddy got back he told them that it had been very sad.   

Patty F. Cooper, April 4th, 2015, Elizabethton, Tennessee   

© All Rights Reserved    

Friday, April 3, 2015

Our New House

From the series Uprooted,   
Segment five   

After having endured a horrible summer after arriving in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Rebecca and Robert’s mama and daddy started looking for a new house.  They lived with Aunt Lou and Uncle John, but as kind as they were it was time to establish their own home once again.   

The children were excited about getting a new house.  They also loved shopping for furniture and just could not wait until they had their own house and rooms once more.  That was until mama and daddy showed them the house they bought.   

After going through it, Rebecca innocently asked, “Where is the rest of it?”  The house was so small and all the rooms so small that she actually thought that the house was her new playhouse and she excitedly ran out the door looking for the main house.  Instead she saw another small house feet from both the front door and the back door with a smelly garbage dump at the back of the small lot.   

“This is the house,” mama said when Rebecca came back in with a questioning look on her young face.   
“But where is Robert supposed to sleep?” Rebecca innocently asked.  “There are only two small bedrooms.”   

“Well,” daddy said, “You will share this room,” he said pointing to the larger of the two small bedrooms.  “You will each have a brand new twin foam rubber bed.”   

“Oh,” Rebecca responded as she sadly lowered her head.  She realized that this was the best that mama and daddy could do, but she once again wondered why they had sold their big house on the big lot in North Carolina to come here to live like this.   

She innocently asked, “But, where are the orange trees.  I thought that there were supposed to be orange trees everywhere.  There are no trees whatsoever or even grass in the yard.”   

Daddy replied, “See those little sprigs of grass?  They will grow together to form a solid mat of grass.”  Rebecca and Robert shot looks to each other saying that they neither one believed him, but as time went on those shoots of wiry grass did intertwine to form a green lawn, but the grass was sharp and not soft like North Carolina grass and it became just one more thing about South Florida that the children did not like.   

At least the children had greater freedom once moving to the new housing development.  There were at least a few other children there and they could play on the mounds of powdery white sand where the pine trees and palmettos had been bull-dozed before the land was once again leveled to build more of the tiny houses.   

They even went with daddy foraging into the dump that started at their back yard and they were amazed at the good stuff they found that rich people had thrown away.  At least that was something.   

To be continued ….   

Patty Cooper, Elizabethton, Tennessee April 3, 2015   
© All Rights Reserved  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Not Everybody Has a Valentine

Not everybody has a Valentine.   
Some left.   
Some died.   
Some never appeared.   

Some who have no Valentine are fine.   
Some not.   
Some glad.   
Some sad.   

I have a Valentine.   
A real one.   
Based on real love.   
Not pretend.   

I have not always had a Valentine.   
I remember.   
Someday, through circumstances we do not control.      
It may be so again.   

Then, I will remember today.   
© Patty F. Cooper, Elizabethton, TN   
February 14th, 2015   
All Rights Reserved   

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I Hate Winter

I mainly hate winter because it is cold.  That makes me sound so superficial and spoiled.  Maybe that is true, but what is to like about being cold even with warm clothes and in a warm house?  One reason is that many of my neighbors, mostly unknown to me, do not have what I have.   

They live in sub-standard housing with the heat being on again off again depending on whether there is money to pay the bill.  Lots of folk think this is all right—even my friends, but I do not.  I hate the thoughts of children and the elderly not having what they need.   

I do not care if the children’s parents are addicted to drugs or what other reasons may cause the circumstance.  I want them all warm, fed and housed in good conditions.  Actually, we do not know what causes some people to care so little about themselves that they would let this happen.   

I always wonder if there is anything that I—as a single human person—can do or say to help them have a hand up.  I have tried many things over the years with many people.  Some things have helped, others not and mostly the results are unknown to me.  Yet, I feel making an effort is worthwhile.   

I know many other people feel as I do, but just not most of the people I know.  That makes me feel very sad and alone.  I feel like I am always an outsider looking through a different lens at a different world than most people.   

I hate winter and it is not just because I am chilly.   

©Patty F. Cooper, Elizabethton, TN January 7th, 2015

All Rights Reserved