Meandering Thoughts

Meandering Thoughts

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Fathers Hands

Hands have been something that I've always found attractive about people, some people look at eyes, I look at hands.  Girls who have dainty pretty hands, with longs slender fingers and nicely shaped nails, they can wear pretty rings on both hands.  I always wanted hands that were pretty and girlish looking, it wasn't to be.

My hands are short, square and the knuckles are knobby.  They have been hard working hands, they've had callous from hanging on the monkey bars at school, blisters formed every new school year.  I was rather proud of those callouses on my palms.

There were other blisters acquired when helping move wire hay or straw bales in the hay mow each summer.  Or from hoeing weeds in my vegetable garden.  I am proud of my hands and the work they have done.  Dirty nails were not uncommon when digging around in the flower beds.  I never thought of them as pretty girls hands however.

My hands are softer now, maybe my spirit is too.  I don't have to prove my strength by the blisters on my palms.  My strength comes from other places now, more from my convictions in what is fair and just for all people.  My callouses are gone or maybe just unseen, those callouses are from learning life lessons the hard way.

My hands now take time to feel the cool stream water, to write a letter, to wipe away a tear or to even hold the hand of another, with love.  My hands enjoy picking up a paint brush or a carving tool for my next gourd project.  They are rarely blistered these days.  I wear rings of silver and turquoise on my short fingers and still admire people who can wear dainty little bands with pretty stones on both hands.

I often wondered where these hard working hands came from.  My Mothers hands are a different shape, though no less hard working.  Her fingers were longer and more tapered.  My sister has hands like our Mother.

Just recently I sat beside the hospital bed of my father.  I'd only just discovered this side of my family, I had not seen my father in over fifty years.  I sat while he was unconscious and on life support from his stroke, speaking to him, holding his hand and longing to know this stranger, to make some connection to tie us together as father and daughter.

Then before my very eyes, I noticed the hand I held and my heart nearly jumped out of my body!  My hands look just like my fathers hands!  I had my fathers hands!  It was an unexpected gift, a connection to this stranger, a connection to my father.  The question I had pondered all my life was answered that very moment. 

Later I sat with my brother Mike, I remarked about this little discovery.  Mike and I then compared our hands together, they too look the same, even our life lines are the same......   As we compared our hands, front and back, I found that I will no longer think of my hands as anything but beautiful, they are linked to my family, I am linked to my Dad and my brother and that is even more beautiful.

Friday, August 19, 2011


I love the forest trees high up on the ridge.
I'm in Hocking Hills, where the ancestors lived.
Hocking Hills

They surround me now, as I linger
Having my coffee, I try to remember.

Allowing myself to become a part of the sounds,
as I close my eyes and listen.

I hear the birds morning songs,
making known to the world they have risen.

Each leaf quietly moves with every gentle breath,
providing cover and shade for all to enjoy and become a guest.

The sun rises silently over the hill,
sending it's rays into secret places.

Can you see them hiding in the rocks and mosses,
the ancestors faces?

Cynthia McDonald   -    July 11, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Ancestors Gathered

So much has happened, keeping me away from the world of blogging.  My focus has been on family, the one that was never a part of my life.  I understand better now the reasons for this disconnect and know it is not my baggage, things happened long ago that really have nothing to do with me.  It is what it is and that is all.

Not knowing my birth Fathers family is loss to me and it can't be fixed.  I do know,  I would change nothing about my life.  My brother and I were in the care of a young and struggling mother, who provided the best possible care.  We grew up with an amazing step father, I looked at him as my Dad.  I honor them both, they are the reason I am who I am today.  I grew up learning to be responsible, independent, and strong, not so unlike my Mother and Dad who raised me, my brother and my sister. 

I look at my life as a wife and mother, I learned life skills well, I cooked, sewed for my family, I gardened, and love my family and to those around me.  As I journeyed through adulthood, running kids to school events, living on a farm with critters to care for and being involved in other outside activities, I didn't think often about the father I never knew, I was living my life.

I'm in my sixties now, the children grew up and are living their life with their children.  I know I have been blessed, our children are wonderful, they are also responsible, independent and strong.  They too are loving and caring, something I hope they learned before leaving home.  We have wonderful grandchildren that we see as often as every ones schedules will allow.  It is ALL good and amazing.

At this stage in my life, I began to wonder about my birth father and his family.  I didn't have much information, it seemed to be something "not talked about".  I feared asking, wanting not to hurt anyone, wanting not to show any disrespect.   I started doing a little searching.  It didn't take long, a door was opened and there was no way to close it, as information about my DeRemer ancestors tumbled out, the more I learned the more I wanted to know. 

Not only did I discover the ones who are no longer of this world.  I found the ones that are here now!  I spoke a couple times to my birth father by phone, it was not very rewarding, his hearing wasn't good and I am sure it was rather shocking to him to hear from me.  He had just turned 80 at the end of May.  I don't know exactly what I expected from this man that hadn't been in my life since I was small.  I do know that I longed for something, to be acknowledged, accepted and maybe even to know I was loved........  Doesn't everyone want that?

Maybe the greatest gift my father gave to me was the name and phone number of his oldest son from his second marriage.  I learned that I had a brother and I knew his name, calling him was another matter, my insecurities were showing.  How would he feel about me, did he know of me, what would he think?

My saving grace was contacting him on Facebook, no personal phone call, I could not handle that possible rejection, I could not think about how to talk to this stranger who was my brother........
Well, the rest is history, written about in an earlier blog, my heart has never been happier for meeting my brother Mike.

I know I am meandering a little and will now to get back to the Ancestors Gathering..... 

My brother Mike called me on July 16th to tell me our Dad, whom I haven't seen in more than 50 years, has had a stroke.  My logical brain said, "Okay, they are in Texas, I'm in Ohio, I may never get to hear my father speak to me, there is nothing I can do."  In a day my heart began to speak, even yelled at me, "You must go to Texas, now!".   Thankfully my brain listened to my heart and I called Mike to tell him I needed to come to Texas.  He ask me when I was coming....  I will be forever grateful for his response.

I was blessed to spend three days with my three Texas brothers, Mike, Mark and Mitch, at our Dad's bedside.  It was wonderful to see their tender loving way with our Dad.  I am so grateful by their acceptance and love they shared toward me.  The gifts of those three days cannot be measured, it changed my life, I will never be the same person I was before that trip to Texas. 

I left Texas with a heavy heart, I knew I had to come home.  My friend and I played flute prayers for my Ohio family and my Texas family the morning I left for Ohio.  With my eyes closed the tears streamed down my cheeks.  I saw the ancestors gathering, they were in a large group, looking toward my left, there was someone closer to the bottom of this "picture", I knew it to be the one helping our Dad make his journey into the spirit world.  Even though I did not "know" these people on earth, I knew my Aunt was helping and my Grandmother stood out in the crowd of ancestors, waiting to greet her son and our Dad with such joy.  Our Dad died on July 28, 2011.

Stephen Guy DeRemer  ~1931 - 2011~
Graveside services were held at Ft. Sam National Cemetery, in San Antonio, Texas on August 3, 2011.  Full military honors were performed that morning on August 3rd as the family gathered around. 

There is something about this little story, it is all about "Divine Timing".  Everything happened just as it was suppose to, everything came at the moment it was suppose to come, only to prepare the way for the next "moment".  It is only when it is over that we see all the connections, a big web, each strand important to last and the next.   My heart cries that it took so long and yet, I would have changed nothing.  The good and the bad of it all these events brings balance, acceptance and a heart filled with love.   I am grateful and blessed.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Empty Pasture

One by one they have left us,
     as they journey into the spirit land.
I hold in my hand, from your tail
     a braided strand. 

I long to see you again
     racing in the clouds.
Bucking, rolling, running
     head and tail held proud.

You've left my pasture of blooming clover
     for another place.
You have joined your trail buddies
     on the other side for yet another race.

I'm left behind with my pictures
     and many memories.
They will stir in my mind with
     the slightest of a breeze.

My horses grazed in their quiet pasture
     for years it seems.
They were contented here, in our barn
     and in the grasses green.

A time of rest, after years of work,
     they ambled along in the warm sun.
I loved to watch them scratch each others
     backs, kick and play and run.

They have left me now, Swift, Gypsy, Trudy, Feasty, Chance, Bones and Knipper,
     one by one.
As they journey to another place to
     have their eternal fun.

The pasture is empty now
     of my Equine friends.
Someday I'll find you and
     this pain in my heart will end.

I stand here now listening,
     in the distance I hear thunder.
Is it them joyfully running a race,
     I wonder........

I am waiting for something to happen
      with this braided strand of hair.
My pasture is empty of my best horse friends,
      I hope they know I still care.

                                                    Cynthia McDonald,       8-3-11

In memory of all my wonderful horses, who taught me life lessons along the way. 
Lessons in love, responsibility, freedom, travel and trust..............