The Memory Power of a Chocolate Hostess Cupcake

current events, essay, non-fiction No Comments »

Just this morning, I am grateful for my friend Dee Meyer, again ~ we were on hold for a conference call, when we started discussing Hostess possibly going out of business…then we chatted about the fact that as adults we cannot remember buying twinkies, ho-hos, snoballs, etc. It was then that I shared a powerful memory I have as a child and Hostess Cupcakes.

I was 8 years old when my biological father took just me to Sunday Mass on this particular Sunday. After Mass, we went over to a drug store breakfast counter. Daddy ordered us both coffee (mine mostly milk). I was on cloud nine to have my father all to myself (I was the oldest of four children at that time.) My father asked me what I’d like for breakfast. I wanted the package of the chocolate Hostess cupcakes (my mother would have never approved of this choice~love you, mom, despite the lack of junk food in my life :) ). While waiting for cupcakes to arrive, my father held open the newspaper and I modeled his behavior by opening the comics. The cupcakes arrived and my father asked me if he could have one. To which I said, “No. I want to take the other in my lunchbox tomorrow.”

Four months later my father died from a 9 year battle with cancer. That morning, when the news finally sunk in that my father was dead, I ran to my mother, “I’d do anything to give Daddy that cupcake.” For years, I had that thought.

Well, as Dee and I continued to chat on this phone conference where no one else ever showed up…Dee said, “It’s never too late. Put one of those cupcakes on his grave.”

“Oh my God, Dee. I’ve never thought about that. Thank you.”

Seriously, Dee, thank you…

And I learned some years back that my father was not sitting on a cloud judging me, but at the same time, this offering of the cupcake to him feels like a wonderful healing gesture.

Ah the beauty of a good friend and a conference call where no one showed up but that good friend ♥

nannette rogers kennedy
November 21, 2012

Share
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Where Do We Start?

current events, non-fiction, poetry 2 Comments »


First we cry.
Then we hold on
to one another
for the help
of continuing
to stand.

Then…

Not unlike the first
piece of rubble
picked up after
NYC’s twin towers came down…

Not unlike the first
chunk of cement
removed after
the earthquakes
in Japan and Haiti…

Not unlike the first
bags of water
helicopters dropped
on the 2012 wildfires…

Not unlike the first
boards and walls
pulled away after
the Joplin tornado…

we begin with reaching
for the first
downed branch
floating dish
passing chair
ruined & cherished photos
old family paintings
& worn letters
yellowed baby books &
black & white home movies
and so much more
that hurricane Sandy
stole and blew away
with the ease
of a breath…

We begin again.
That’s who we are.
We human beings
refuse to remain
battered.

nannette rogers kennedy
October 30 2012

Share
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We Buried My Mother in an Elephant

current events, essay, non-fiction 8 Comments »

I am a recovering Republican. It’s been nearly 12 years. Even before my recovery, I did not vote a straight party ticket, nor did I always vote for the Republican presidential candidate.

My great-grandfather on my mother’s side became a Republican as a very young man and eventually worked his way to becoming a United States Congressman from the state of Pennsylvania.  This is not the Republican party of my great-grandfather…and I dare say it is not even the Republican party of my dear departed mother and it is definitely not the Republican party with once I used to affiliate.

Several years before my mother died, I was at a G.O.P. event with her where John Ashcroft was the keynote speaker (a man my mother knew well, and this was before John Ashcroft was the U.S. Attorney General).  At one point  John Ashcroft said something, that I cannot now even remember, and everyone in the room got on their feet, screamed, whistled and applauded in approval.  I so did NOT agree with what had been said, that I remained seated.  My mother looked at me and asked me to stand up.  I remained in my seat….this was the beginning of the end of my Republican affiliation.  I adored the ground my mother walked on, but the light bulb went on fast and bright, and not even the love and loyalty for my mother was going to keep me with a party that less and less resonated with me.

My mother worked over thirty years for the Republican party, for the most part as a volunteer.  She was very loyal to the G.O.P. even in times when the G.O.P wasn’t loyal to her.  Having grown up with my active G.O.P. mom, I used to be loyal to her political world view.

My mother’s love of the U.S. and it’s democratic process were of the utmost importance to her.  She was a very proud American.

Voting rights for all Americans were very near to my mother’s heart.  I sat at my mother’s elbow hundreds of times in G.O.P. campaign offices which she ran. I listened to her when she spoke to people on the phone during election times.  When speaking to someone who had clearly told her that they were a Democrat and they were voting for the Democrat, she would always say: Thank you for your time and remember, it is important to exercise your right to vote no matter the candidate.  If my mother were still alive and heard the words out of Pennsylvania state House Republican leader Mike Turzai’s mouth about making it harder for Democrats (primarily blacks  & other minorities) to vote, she would have dropped dead. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuOT1bRYdK8).

Respecting and taking care of our military was extremely important to my mother.  She never, ever missed an opportunity to thank any military person she saw anywhere she was.  Often times, her thanks came with tears in her eyes, because she knew of their sacrifices, having been married to two veterans and having a son-in-law Vietnam vet.  When the Republicans last month voted down the veterans’ job bill, my mother would have said something I heard her say more than once in my life, “That is the biggest case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.”  Then she would have dropped dead.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2012/09/23/senate-gop-obstructionists-throw-veterans-under-the-bus-vote-down-bill-to-help-vets-in-need-of-jobs/

On overturning Roe v Wade.  My mother, though quiet in this view, did not believe Roe v Wade should be overturned.  She believed that in the case of rape, incest and the life of the mother, abortion should be legal.  My mother knew that I wouldn’t be alive if abortion wasn’t legal in the case of the life of the mother.  She would not want to see Roe v Wade overturned.  Since this hasn’t happened (yet), she would not be dropping dead at the possibility, but she would drop dead if she lived to see this.  Though, I can say with some conviction that Todd Akin’s statement about legitimate rape and shutting “that whole thing down” could have easily caused her to drop dead. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fetFNTgqE6o)

My mother volunteered her time to the elderly, to orphaned children, and any lonely person she ever met.  She gave of herself without complaint throughout her life.  She cared about the poor, the underprivileged and believed that compassion for others was the rule and not the exception….

The turn the Republican party has taken would have horrified my mother~and made her deeply sad.

The news of my mother’s death was announced at the Republican National Convention in 2004 on national television, and it was mentioned how much she would be missed. Barbara Ladesich, would not have recognized her G.O.P. today; she would have missed the party she used to know.

On the primary election day in Missouri, 2004, my siblings and I buried our mother’s ashes in an elephant cookie jar.  Now we are having second thoughts…

Share
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’d Be Dead

essay, non-fiction 7 Comments »

It’s about balance.

Just over 20 years ago, I married Mike, whose wife had died very young and very suddenly. Mike and Susan had two young children when Susan died.  Michael was then 8 and Mary was then 4.  Having lost a parent at a very young age myself, I speak with authority on knowing how devastating this loss is…young children who experience a parent’s death are catapulted out of childhood into a strange kind of adulthood in the body of a child.  No longer is there the youthful comfort zone of “that can’t happen to my mom or my dad.”  That door is slammed early and forever.

I eventually adopted Michael and Mary and love them with all my heart and am extremely honored to have been the woman who was chosen to pick up the parenting after Susan died. I also knew Susan and understood how very much she adored her two children, how she wouldn’t have left this earth at if all possible.

Three years after marrying a family, and life moving forward again for Mike, Michael and Mary, I became pregnant.  I jumped up and down as I watched the pregnancy stick show positive.  And at the same time, anxiety shot through my nervous system as I’d miscarried twice before.  This time I made it past the first trimester, a huge relief for both Mike and me.  Then I shared with Michael and Mary that a new baby, either a new brother or new sister was on their way.  We were all happy and excited.

Late in the middle of the night, in my 14th week of pregnancy, excruciating pain in my lower abdomen woke me and paralyzed me.  Our neighbor, Jan, came to our home to drive me down and out of the mountains to the hospital in town.  Mike stayed home with the children.

Once in the emergency room and after the nurse removed the blood pressure cuff, she loudly called out the blood pressure reading 62/58. Suddenly everything moved in a rapid-fire rush.  Two different techs inserted I.V. lines for fluid and nurses and doctors were prodding, running ultra sounds and talking to me, asking me to count, to say my name, say where I was, etc.  All the questions confused me as I felt very conscious, in pain, but very conscious. I kept repeating that I was pregnant and didn’t want to lose the baby.  Jan, looked at me and whispered that she had to call my husband, that he needed to be there…then I began to get frightened.

By the time Mike arrived at the hospital I’d been through several tests, one of which showed that I was bleeding to death internally ~ definitive reason unknown.   The look on Mike’s face is a look I will never forget…he whispered, “We can try again.”  I went into emergency surgery knowing I may lose my much wanted pregnancy.

As it turned out, I was not only carrying a pregnancy in my uterus, but I also had been carrying a pregnancy in my fallopian tube, otherwise known as an ectopic pregnancy.  The ectopic pregnancy caused my fallopian tube to burst, the cause for bleeding out internally.

I am blessed that I carried the pregnancy in my uterus full term.  I was very saddened to learn that nothing could be done to save the life of the ectopic pregnancy: leaving the ectopic pregnancy inside me would have killed me and the pregnancy in my uterus.

Now Roe v Wade and legalized abortions are in question.  In some circles on the right, “there is no exception for abortion in the case of rape, incest or the life of the mother.”  In fairness, one can  find plenty of articles stating that many people, including pro-life draw the line in circumstances when the life of the mother is at risk.  One can also  find a plethora of articles supporting “the no circumstances for abortion” view held by many in the pro-life movement.  Further, one can also find dozens of articles where the life of the mother consideration, the case of rape or incest are simply omitted, leaving these situations unclear at best.

Then there is H.R.212 Sanctity of Human Life Act – Declares that: (1) the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human and is the person’s paramount and most fundamental right; (2) each human life begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, at which time every human has all legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood; and (3) Congress, each state, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories have the authority to protect all human lives.  If the law goes down the road that life begins with fertilization, it stands that abortion in any case equates to murder.  I don’t think this risk, though some may believe this risk is small, is worth the ramifications.

In my case, if H.R. 212 Sanctity of Human Life Act had been voted into law, not only would I not be alive, nor my unborn son, but my two older children would have lost a second mother and my husband would have been widowed twice.  You may argue that it didn’t happen that way for me (for which I am very grateful).  Rest assured, I have not been the only woman standing in those shoes and guaranteed, someone you know, friends,  sisters, daughters, granddaughters and other mothers will find themselves in similar circumstances in the future.  And if the future brings in three conservative Supreme Court Justices in the next four years, those who experienced what I did, may not have the choice of life for themselves.

Do we want to turn back the hands of time and prevent women who have been “legitimately” raped, or who have been the victims of incest or the women who have life threatening pregnancies have no choice?

I know that tensions run high during political campaigns.  For many of us, things which we hold dear, are at stake.  Therefore a great lot of us take the campaigns and that for which they stand very personally.  At the same time, I think that some people are very quick to judge others.  Some are very fast held to their beliefs without thought.  Now of course this is my opinion.  But sometimes I think that people aren’t thinking issues through.

And finally, what business is it of the government (or anyone else but the woman, her family and God) on whether a woman takes control of her body?  Think, please think….Don’t let there be three new conservative supreme court justices take us back to the days of coat hangers and knitting needles.  What is it that is said about judge not?

This is one of the reasons that I think sharing our stories with one another is powerful.  Powerful enough that we might possibly be capable of compassionate understanding.  No. It doesn’t always mean that we will agree, but it may shed insight and possibly, just possibly, may let someone see an issue from a different point of view, see some balance.

There are many reasons I am voting for President Barack Obama. His concern for women’s reproductive rights and, thereby women’s healthcare, are only two.

Note: I’ve written this piece from my heart. If you choose to respond, please do so through your heart.  Any hate speak or hate-filled responses will be deleted. Hate is part of our divisiveness and I want nothing to do with hate.

In peace,

nannette rogers kennedy
October 2012

Share
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Fifty Sutchers of Gratitude

non-fiction, thoughts No Comments »

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul~Henry Ward Beecher

Thanks to everyone who has been sending prayers and thoughts our way. As some of you know my 17 year old son, Casey, was riding his bicycle to work on Friday morning and was hit by a car. The great news is that Casey will make a full recovery. He knows how blessed he is to be alive, have his brain still in order and that he has not lost any limbs and has no spinal injury. He has over 50 stitches in his face, two teeth on the upper right side of his face are jammed up into his cheek bone, which broke the cheek bone, he has a concussion, his left knee is seriously bruised, and he is fairly well covered with road rash from head to toe.

The accident was actually Casey’s fault and the man that hit him was only going 15 miles an hour (another thing for which to be grateful). The man that hit Casey came to the hospital during the 8 hours of emergency room treatment to make sure Casey was doing ok. Casey managed to tell me that he wanted to hug the man for not leaving the scene of the accident. I met the man, who had tears in his eyes, while standing in the emergency room waiting area. I told him that Casey was going to be fine and that Casey wanted to give him a hug, but that I’d have to deliver the hug. I hugged the man and we both cried….

While this event has been an extraordinary ordeal, Casey, myself and the rest of our family are very aware of how blessed we are. We are very grateful for all the ongoing prayers….thank you, thank you, thank you and thank you God.

And thank you, Dee Meyer for helping me keep people updated ♥

Much love and gratitude,
nannette, Casey and family

Share
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Day Two of the Fire in Northern Colorado

non-fiction, Photo No Comments »

2012 ~ The wild fires continue on. In an article I read this morning, the cause of the fire is unknown…yesterday I’d heard that it was a controlled burn out of control…apparently that is not known at this time. One thing for certain is that the air here, is filled with smoke. I took this picture of the sun this morning around 8am ~ let’s think rain ~

To read about the fire: http://www.timescall.com/news/ci_20823380/dry-heat-fuels-wildfires-growth-west-fort-collins

Share
Tags: , , , , ,

Eternal Embrace

non-fiction No Comments »

taken in Portugal, May 2012

 

Blessed and complete Source, Divine One, Life, God, keep us ever mindful that we are always in your embrace. Only we can feel that we have wandered from you because in our hearts we understand that you never wander from us. We will try our very best to keep in the forefront of our thoughts that you cradle us every moment of every day. It is we who sometimes forget that our heads always rest upon your heart, that you continually and constantly hold our hands. For this, we are grateful~nannette kennedy

Share
Tags: , ,

Peaceful Sheep

non-fiction, poetry No Comments »

One day while in Portugal for the Humanity’s Team Global Council Meeting (we stayed on a farm) I saw this fine sheep. It was raining. I could only think of two things when I saw this lovely animal. The first thing I thought of was the movie “Babe” where Babe meets Ma for the first time and says, “My what a strong, sturdy face you have.” And the second thing I thought about was why don’t sheep shrink when their wool gets wet ~
photo taken in Portugal, May 2012 

Share
Tags: , , , , , ,

Ewe on the Loose

essay, non-fiction, Photo No Comments »

This sheep had some how escaped the fenced in area at the farm where I stayed in Portugal last week. I was very, very, very close to it…maybe 6 feet. While looking through the lens and snapping this picture, I had a flashback from about 25+ years ago when I was backpacking through the Canadian Rockies. I was standing extremely close to several beautiful and large mountain goats. There were at least thirty or so other people standing around looking at these impressive climbers and taking pictures, myself included. Apparently, I’d gotten just a little to close to one of the kids, as through the lens of my camera I could see an adult goat, with head down and horns aimed in my direction.

I think this was one of my first real experiences of “fight or flight.” Embarrassingly, and out of my control, I turned and ran right over a woman standing behind me. Thankfully, she was not injured, and she explained to me that she was turning to run at the same second herself…we actually laughed about it after we pulled ourselves back together. And great thanks that the goat didn’t ram anyone…so as this memory was floating through my mind while taking the picture, I decided to back up from this “loose” ewe, just in case.

nannette rogers kennedy
May 2012
photograph of ewe May 2012, Portugal
photograph of mountain goat, June 1983, Alberta, Canada 

Share
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I Will Remember How You Made Me Feel

essay, non-fiction, Photo No Comments »

There are a myriad of reasons NOT to honk your car horn at people…you never know what is going on with the person in the car in front of you. I’m not talking about the short “beep” to alert someone that the light has changed. I’m talking about the extended honk that can actually cause a car accident at worst or add stress to someone’s day at best.

In the words of Maya Angelou…I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ♥

 

Share
Tags: , , , ,