The Cadillac and Tesla Men

When I moved to Alabama some 15 years ago, I had no idea what I would be faced with. When hubby and I left Colorado, we thought our stay would only be about two or three years at most.

Daddy’s wife had passed away and he was showing signs of melancholy. We thought we’d go for a time to cheer him up. Mother was not that far away, only about two hours north in Nashville. Even though I was born in Alabama, I’d really never live there for any length of time. Hubby worked from home and we’d visited Dad several years before and he liked it there, so we thought, why not?

Our Alabama Home – Mom is in the window somewhere.

Well, we were there nine years.

Daddy seemed to be doing fine, but the following summer, mother’s husband had died at her feet while watching TV. She had Alzheimer’s and could not be alone. So, we brought her down with us and for a short time, she came to live with us and Daddy again after some nearly 50 years. That did not work. So we put her in a very nice assisted living facility in Birmingham for awhile, until other arrangements could be made. I was busy, working, prepping her house to sell, getting formal custody of her, trying to get VA benefits and a whole mess of other things. Half the time, mother didn’t know who I was and when she did, it was either curses and sit down strikes.

Eventually, my sweet sister who recently passed away, came up from Florida to help me and we were able to bring mother home. We bought a two story house, really neat, that was perfect. Downstairs was outfitted with safety features for mother, locks for escape prevention and danger. No stove knobs, locks on fridge and all kinds of gizmo’s that we had social services approve of before she could be allowed to leave the facility. My sister lived in the upstairs apartment and had daytime duty. I worked and took night time duty. Hubby stayed at our regular home, one we had bought before all hell broke loose, at least until we sold that.

Daddy, in the meantime, didn’t live from that home and we learn his cancer came back. He didn’t let us know right away though. It was rough.

Dealing with VA, courts, and well, everything imaginable such as mother hiding things in the toilet and stopping up drains, calling out the plumbers, pacing nonstop, screaming abuses, telling hubby, to “watch out for her, she’s a slut!” was painful. I was on an emotional roller coaster and no matter how many people told me it was the dementia, it didn’t help. For one, she was like that before. Once when my brother was visiting, we left Daddy in charge while we went to Trade Day. She decided to get stark naked and lure him to bed. We found him standing at the back door facing away from the house. It was kinda funny actually – seeing daddy like that, I mean. In the meantime, she had no clue and had forgotten what she’d been about and was now trying to figure out the shower when I found her. Like I said, no knobs, so she couldn’t accidentally hurt herself. So that was my life. Each day was an adventure and one never knew what another day would bring.

As I mentioned, I worked. I had a long, but pleasant drive, 38 miles each way. Each day, depending on how things were going at home, I would scream, cry, sing Amazing Grace along with Il Divo or pray all the way to work. God and I had some mighty fine chats and rants. He didn’t care if I cursed at Him for the burden I was shouldering, He took it rather well. By the time I arrived to work, I’d be at peace.

On my way to work each day, I was fortunate enough to be traveling through small towns and farmland. At least my travels were beautiful and peaceful. I’d often pass a few cars going in the opposite direction. One blessing sent my way was the Cadillac. That’s when I noticed the Cadillac man. Each day, he’d wave as I passed. At first, it was nothing more than the common farmer one finger wave, later it would become the half hand over the steering wheel wave and once when one of us had either been away a few days or something, it would be a full on wave, like “happy to see you again”. Sometimes, he had an older woman with him and at other times a small child. Mostly, he was alone and each day we got to looking forward to seeing each other.

I remember telling my sister about him and we would make up stories about who he was, what he did and where he was going each day. I even wrote a short story about how he showed up suddenly at the open house of our little coffee shop/bookstore/tea house, that she and I had always dreamed of having. He was either a doctor, lawyer, an architect or some such. It was always comforting knowing he would pass me by each day just before it was time to come into the clinic I worked at. I think God put him there just for that. After I got transferred closer to home, I saw him only now and again, as his route went through the town I lived in, but he didn’t know me outside of my little red car, so he never waved. I did get a closer look and he was an older gentleman and I wondered if he missed that little red car that used to pass him by each day.

The Tesla.

Now I have a Tesla man, only I’m not sad or depressed, but… he is still inspiring. My Tesla man is a young man, who waves each day as I pass by on my walks.

I need him right now. A couple of months ago I determined to be in the best shape ever for my 75th birthday, so I committed myself to walking, since gyms were closed. Each year, I give myself a new challenge. Last year I jumped out of an airplane. This year, I will do hang gliding and by my next birthday the video. Unfortunately, I tend to lose interest in any regular exercise routine and as luck would have it, my knee gave out and the pain has been at times debilitating. Good excuse to quit, right?

No! Not good. Not good on two counts. One, I could be crippled and two, my project would be impossible to achieve. As it is, the elaborate moves I had in mind have to be modified. My goal when I started out was to trim down, so I could do an energetic dance video, beginning with showing the process from out of shape to in shape and then the routine. If my legs don’t work, there’s no video. Getting out each day at Odark hundred was going to be challenging enough. This could have been the end of that dream, except for the fact, that my Tesla man, whether he knows it or not, keeps cheering me on. His waves, not unlike the Cadillac man’s are my hope and inspiration to keep at it. I know that at 7:30 am each morning, just like the Cadillac man, he will pass, smile and wave. I just can’t let him down. Like the Cadillac man, we will probably never meet, but it doesn’t matter. It’s my catalyst, my impetus and hope, giving me the determination to keep at it.

Maybe I’m his too. You know, I was thinking, and perhaps it’s worth pondering over, but none of us knows how a small gesture like that can inspire or comfort someone we don’t know or may never meet. Think about that.

I’m sure these two guys have no clue.

For all I know, the Cadillac man had a failing wife or aging parent he had to take into the city for treatments too.

Maybe the young Tesla man, has a frustrating, high pressure job and wishes he could be out walking too. My smile, my wave, who knows? They may help him start his day as well.

One never knows do they?

A Heart Broken

 

I was sitting here trying to get motivated to work on my movie scripts.  Two of them. So I turned on my record player and started playing records. Everything from Henry Mancini, Neil Diamond, The Pointer Sisters (for my work out) and migrating to the Beatles. The Beatles ’65 album was great. The nostalgia thing was going well, so, I dig through my collection for more.

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Isn’t it great when you can listen to an album and get transported back in time, even to a time perhaps you shouldn’t have?

There are great times in the past and maybe times best left in the past. This may have been one of them, but then maybe not.

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I sat here smiling at A Hard Days Night, remembering the time a bunch of us kids got into a friends ’53 souped up Chevy ala “American Grafitti” to go to a drive in, ala “Grease”.  I sat in the front with my friend and I do mean just friend. We piled in several others into the trunk of the car to sneak them in.  Once we got situated, they’d pop out the back seat.

Then a series of songs came on and I was overwhelmed.

Have you ever had your heart broken and have the pain be so excruciating that you think you could die?  Well, that’s what I was experiencing now. How can an album do that?  How can one song especially do that?

 

I was at first in so much pain just now, I could’t explain it.  I didn’t know what the how was I just knew it was something that happened in the past. Then it all came gushing forth.

As I listened to this song it was as if I was transported back to that time and the tears began to spill and fall and it was all I could do not to blubber. My heart was broken all over again. I had loved and lost, not once but twice in a row in just one year and I remember feeling lost and oh so unloved. For awhile, I was that kid again.

I’d not only lost love but now I was pregnant. I remember fretting about how I would tell mother.  I was pregnant and no father. I knew what she’d say. It was my fault – I was “no good”, “a tramp” nad “who’s gonna love you?” “no decent guy would have you”!! It was true, I was unlovable.  It couldn’t have been more agonizing.  But, I would had to face the music alone. It was the 60’s and good girls didn’t get in “trouble.”

My mother was pregnant already with my little brother and now to drop a bomb like this.

I managed to keep it hidden until well into my second trimester until my brother was born, then braced myself.

I was an embarrassment to my family, a disgrace to the church and my young man gone.  People wouldn’t even acknowledge my existence. In the church I belonged to at the time, not even God loved me. No shower was thrown. They couldn’t show acceptance. To throw a shower would send the wrong message to other teens.  No balloons, no banner or congratulatory responses. I was shunned until her arrival like she was a disease.

I would do my exercises and listen to music and cry. More often my tears were more in query. I so wanted a boy to treat me like I saw them treating other girls. Special.  I never had a boyfriend go to bat for me. No, my “boyfriends” lasted a couple of months and then they’d throw me away like yesterday’s garbage.

What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t anyone love me?  It had to be me. I’m not good enough, I’m the scourge of the earth.  I’d go to the delivery room with a scathing mom who in the end transferred any love she was capable of having to my child. She would claim her as her own.

If you’d seen or known me then you’d never have known the weight I was carrying because that’s what I do.  I survive. I hide the hurt and the pain inside and keep on truckin’. Inside I was feeling such pain you could not have imagined but it all worked out.

At the time, I would reconcile myself to love and being loved by my beautiful daughter. She was gorgeous and she was mine. No one could take her away.

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Thanks for listening y’all.  I must be in a mood.

Eventually, I was reconnected with the lost love that gifted me my daughter and we are now good friends and… at 45, I finally found my true love and a very good friend in my husband.

It had never occurred to me then that all those years of physical and emotional abuse as a child had created a very needy person. I did, in time learn that I am lovable and now I feel like Sally Fields when she won her Academy Award, and burst out with “You like me!”

So even though I had an nostalgic meltdown, which I’ll chalk up to perhaps aging, I must confess,  I have a great hubby, a supportive family, friends and blog community so truly now, I am blessed with no complaints. It’s all good.