Memorial Day Traditions #SOL18

It’s Tuesday and I’m writing along with the community over at Two Writing Teachers.  Feel free to join in the writing fun.

Memorial Day Traditions

When I was a little girl, Memorial Day was spent driving around the city of Worcester placing cemetery baskets on the graves of my relatives.  Many of these people died long before I was born so this tradition, while important to my mother and my aunt, held little meaning to me.  As I grow older I find myself repeating these traditions despite the unpleasant memories they may stir.  Old traditions are indeed hard to break and this is one of those traditions that nags at me and at times drags me down.

This year was no different.  I had put off visiting his stone all weekend long.  I filled my days with yard work, and grand babies, and everything fun.  But suddenly it was 3pm on Monday and I had some time.  Time to run to the local nursery and pick out a few flowers to plant.  I convinced myself this time would be different and that I could go alone and be fine with planting in his memory.  I shopped around and found his favorite, portulaca, the funny spiny succulent plant that blooms no matter what and are typically loaded with bright colors and happiness.  I placed the plants into the trunk and drove to the cemetery.

Once there I saw a familiar figure in the distance.  As I drove closer I realized that it was my sister and brother in law. How strange that of all times to go and then to see family walking near his stone.  I got out of the car and my sister immediately wrapped her arms around me, embracing long and hard.  We cried for a few minutes and then walked the hill holding hands and chatting.  She had just stopped on her way home from her weekend of camping and still smelled of fires and all things outdoors.  I loved the aroma, bringing me back to Memorial Day camp outs long ago with our kids in tow.  Once at the stone I looked down and immediately spotted a four leaf clover.  How strange to come across a lucky sign here.

After my sister left I thought about the serendipitous gifts I had just experienced: my sister and the clover.  I realized that this was all meant to be and that some traditions are meant to bring comfort like this day did.   I am not saying it is easy to visit the grave of your spouse, but when you come across loving family and pick up a four leaf clover of good luck, you realize that some things are best repeated.  I picked up my garden tools, snipped off a few sprigs of mint planted last Memorial Day and went home to make his favored drink – a mojito.  Cheers Dave. And here’s to tradition!

New Shoes, Old Shoes

It’s Tuesday and I’m joining the wonderful writing community over at Two Writing Teachers today.  Take a peek and consider joining in!

New Shoes, Old Shoes:

or Letting Go of the Old to Make Way for the New

Clip! Clop! Clip! Clop! Clop! Clop! Clop!

That was the sound of my shoes as I walked down the stairs dressed for work last week.  The sound was odd and I had to immediately sit down to investigate the clopping noise only to find that the straps on my favorite summer sandals had detached from the sole.  I was devastated.  I loved those shoes and I couldn’t think about summer without my go to pair of wedges.  They are my summer staples!  I made the quick decision to wear them to work anyway and headed out the door.

For the entire day I obsessed over the deteriorating condition of my foot wear.  Each time  I sat down I glanced at the worsening effects of my decision to keep the shoes on my feet.  I wondered if I could glue the soles back together using my handy glue gun.  Maybe I could make it through the summer with that quick fix.  I am not one to toss away items at the first sign of wear, rather I pride myself on making every attempt to fix things – a hold over from having depression era parents I guess.  But as I investigated the make-up of the footwear I realized that glue would be very temporary and not hold at all.  Once home I took off my wedges and made the big decision to throw them in the trash.

I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to retrieve those precious shoes from the barrel, especially after spending an hour searching online to replace them with the exact same pair of shoes.  A frustrating shoe shopping trip on Friday night had me thinking about not letting go.  I was desperately searching to find the same shoes and of course that style was no longer available five years later!  I just couldn’t see beyond those shoes.  My eyes remained closed to any new possibility for my feet!

I started to wonder if I am this way with teaching?  Am I afraid to throw out old habits and ways, fearing they will not be as comfortable? Am I open to trying out new styles or ways of looking at things? Do I hang on tight to my way of doing things?  Can I find a happy medium and incorporate some of the old with the new or should I start fresh?  My reflection revealed that sometimes new things are difficult for me, but when I can take  time to read and reflect my attitude of change changes.

Next year brings about many shifts to my role and my responsibilities.  I know this new position will be difficult and require me to embrace change and not fear the new.

blue nails
                     Not my “real” sandals                                     Photo by Kaboompics .com on

I will definitely need to be open to trying out alternative ways of learning and growing, and even be ready to trying out new thoughts and methods on the spot.  I am ready for the challenge!

And who knows,  by then I might even be sporting a new, stylish, and comfortable pair of sandals too!

Words Matter: Keep Your Smile #SOL18

Today is Tuesday and it’s time to share my slice of life story with the community at Two Writing Teachers.  Check it out and consider joining in the writing fun!

Words matter: Keep Your Smile

Last Friday as I was driving to work I noticed my gas tank was reading nearly empty so I decided to head into my neighborhood gas station to fill up.  I was feeling a little rushed, wanting to get to school early so I could finish up a few projects in the quiet of the day before the teachers and students arrived.  I didn’t want to take the time to stop now but thought it better to stop now than late Friday afternoon when I simply wanted to get home. I quickly rolled down the window and gave the attendant my credit card.  I heard the whoosh of the gas filling my tank and I decided to take the time to check my to do list on my phone. Soon thereafter I heard that familiar ‘click’ signaling my gas tank was full.


The attendant returned to my car window and politely said “keep your smile” as he handed me my receipt.  I was stunned with these words – “keep your smile.” The words rolled off the tongue so easily yet I don’t think I had ever heard the phrase said quite like the attendant had that Friday morning.

I thought about those words as I drove to work and as I walked into the building.   How would I “keep my smile” today?  I had much to do but those words just continued to pop up in my mind.  Everywhere I went and all that I completed that long Friday came back to the words “keep your smile.”  My attitude of smiling all day was definitely impacted by the words of the gas attendant earlier that morning.  The phrase uttered to me changed my day, put a bounce in my step and allowed me to accomplish all I had on my to do list – and with a smile. I was struck by the power of a stranger’s words said to me at a gas station, of all places.

I was left thinking about my words and how they can impact the students and teachers I work with. It was a quick reminder that everyone has the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life – simply by saying the right words at the right time.  How powerful is that: words do matter. 

How have words changed your day? What were those words?