Retired attorney from Pennsylvania.
Merlot the Mini Labradoodle
Jackie always loved dogs. In fact, she loved dogs more than most people! She lived a quiet life in a small town in Virginia. She worked as a nurse at a local nursing home and she absolutely loved her job. Okay, she liked some people...most certainly the residents at the home. She wanted to be a nurse since she was a young girl growing up in Ohio. Most of her family still lived in Ohio, which was one disadvantage to moving to Virginia, but she loved her job and her little farm house in rural Virginia. She did not plan on moving to Virginia but she was offered a great job with good benefits so she accepted it. She found out about the job while still in college. The nursing home located in Virginia was at a job fair in Ohio recruiting nursing students. Jackie attended this job fair in search of a nursing position, preferably at a nursing home. Since Jackie was interested in working at a nursing home she stopped at their table and submitted her resume. Jackie had a high GPA and she was very good with the elderly. Ever since she was a young girl, Jackie volunteered at nursing homes. She even had her dogs trained to be therapy dogs so she she could take them to the nursing homes she volunteered at. She found that dogs really brightened up the residents’ days and made their lives a little happier. It made her feel good to help other people because so many of the residents at the nursing homes were lonely. If anything can help with loneliness, it’s a dog.
Lessons I Learned from Beauty and the Beast
I have watched the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast many times. The first time I watched it was with my only grandniece. It was her favorite movie. She is 17 years old now so it was a cartoon when we watched it together. I only watched it because she loved it and I guess I never really paid much attention to the storyline. I can vividly remember her being very young, probably about three or so, and we were having a sleep over at my house. Of course, we had popcorn and she enthusiastically sang along with all the songs. She knew not only the songs by heart but the words to the movie as well. I think I was more impressed with all she had memorized at such a young age than I was with the movie. By the time the movie was released in 2017 starring Emma Watson, my niece was 13 years old and moved to another state. I thought it would be nice to take her to the movies to see it since we spent so many times when she was young watching the cartoon together. Unfortunately, that did not work out so instead I went to see the movie with my sister. Again, I enjoyed it but never thought about the deeper meaning of it. Yes, the most obvious lesson is that, beauty is only skin deep. I did pick up that much but recently I watched it again because I couldn't sleep and I was searching for a fun, more upbeat movie to watch during this depressing time in the world.
DEAL OR NO DEAL
Deal or No Deal is my all time favorite game show. I would guess that most people have heard about it or watched it on television. Megan Markle, who is now the wife of Prince Harry, was even one of the women who held a briefcase! It first started airing on NBC in 2005 before ending original programming in 2009. It did return for a brief time with a holiday special on NBC in 2018 and then on CNBC from 2018 to 2019. Just in case you have never watched the show, Howie Mandel was the host and it consisted of 26 briefcases being held by 26 beautiful models. Each of those briefcases contained a different amount of money ranging from a penny the whole way up to $1,000,000! The contestant had to choose one of those briefcases, which was then brought on stage while the other 25 briefcases along with the models remained on what I would describe as bleachers like you would sit on while attending a football or basketball game. Then the contestant would chose a specified number of briefcases to open one at a time. There was a "Banker" that sat above the stage who was never seen, only heard. He would always make fun of or tease the contestant and then he would offer the contestant a deal to buy the briefcase that they chose. He based the offer on the number of large amounts of money remaining in the briefcases that were not opened at that point in the game. If a contestant made it to the end of the game with only the briefcase they chose and the one still not opened then they would have to decide whether to keep their original briefcase or take the money in the briefcase still unopened. Additional details can be found at the following website: ttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deal_or_No_Deal_(American_game_show)
I grew up in a family of cat lovers so I didn’t know how much I loved dogs until I was older. I lost one of the sweetest dogs ever in May 2019. It was so unexpected. He was 11 years old and I thought he was healthy but he suddenly stopped eating. I took him to my veterinarian and he informed me that Damian’s kidneys were failing. He pretty much told me Damian’s chances of survival were very poor but I still decided to try to save him. They put him on dialysis and gave him pain medicine but Damian only survived the night. To say that I was devastated is an understatement. I love all my dogs but there was something special about Damian. Even though it has been almost two years now, I am having a hard time writing about him. I know other animal lovers will be able to relate to my pain. Damian got me through many tough times and I could just see the love in his beautiful brown eyes. He was there for me after a car accident that stripped me of so many things and left me with many health issues. And even worse than that terrible car accident was the loss of my grandmother. He was such an understanding and gentle dog...I was so unprepared to lose him. It might sound odd but I feel like we had a special connection, it always seemed like he understood how I was feeling. I could see it in his eyes.
A Little Blackbird Told Me
Moving to a new country is never easy but John thought it could also be exciting. After all, his grandfather always taught him "with risk comes reward". The new job came available so quickly and he couldn't believe he actually got it so he knew this was meant to be. However, he couldn't help but feel a little homesick and all alone and he didn't even move yet! John was from a small coal mining town in western Pennsylvania and his new job was in Bordeaux, France. So this was not just a move to a city...it was a move to another country. John was always very smart and picked up French at the age of eight. His mother always wanted him to have options so he could be whatever he wanted when he grew up so she signed him up for all kinds of lessons when he was young. He took piano lessons, singing lessons, French lessons, you name it, he studied it! He really didn't mind because he knew his mother was doing it to make his life better. Not to mention she always made sure John had plenty of time to hang out with his friends and play sports. Well, he really exceled at languages and not only was he fluent in French, but, also in Spanish, Italian and German as well. When he went off to college he was already fluent in so many languages that he decided to major in finance thinking excelling at both would give him an advantage and could lead to his "dream job". He knew he would have to move to the city to get the job he wanted but he was thinking somewhere like Pittsburgh but not the whole way to France! He really did love Pennsylvania for many reasons but the most important was that his family still lived there.
Ellie was never married and she never really dated much. She pretty much worked and went home and started all over again the next day. Yes, she had hobbies but they were probably boring to most people. She enjoyed reading, painting and gardening...not the most exciting hobbies and not really places you would meet people. She did enjoy her job at the local university but she worked in an office with only a few other people. They were nice but they were all women. Her co-workers went to lunch and out for drinks after work but not Ellie. She was a quiet woman in her late 50’s and she was shy, painfully shy. So, she worked during the week and spent the weekends at home. She lived in a small college town so there were lots of things to do but she didn’t go many places. Except every Saturday during the summer months she went to the farmers market. She loved it there!
Dear Gram: I know you are in Heaven now but I want you to know you are missed here on earth by so many people. You were such a strong woman who taught me so much. I was so lucky that you lived next door to me throughout my childhood and then when grandpap passed away we lived together until your death at the age of 101. You survived so many difficult times yet you were always fun-loving and kind. You were not only loved by your grandchildren but also by your many nieces and nephews. Guess what Gram? One of your grandnieces even named her daughter after you! I wish you were still living when she was born and had the opportunity to meet her. But you would be so happy to know that she looks and acts just like you.
Rather than choose just one embarrassing, cringe-worthy moment, I decided to write about a few instances that happened to not only me but to a few of my family members as well. Yes, they are embarrassing, but as time goes by they just turn into funny, cute memories that we often reminisce about.