Tag Archives: Rain

Heaven on Earth

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth.
One is nearer to God in a garden
Than any place else on earth.

Dorothy Francis Gurney

The above is an exert from a poem by Dorothy Francis Gurney; I used to have a wooden plaque hanging in my garden with that verse on it.

Through the worst times of my life I have found comfort in my garden. When JC and I were at the resort I spent hours tending my garden, crying, praying for answers, praying for strength, praying for my son and my brother, praying to be given one more chance to save my boy, praying for serenity, and sometimes cursing God for giving me too much to handle.

I always came away from my garden feeling calmer, stronger; it was my refuge. It has been for most of my life. When I lived at the lake before I even met JC I would be out there with a flashlight and a glass of wine tending my garden. It seemed the harder the time I was going through the more beautiful my gardens were. Every year I dug up more sod for more flowers. The little English lady that lived across the street and could barely walk made her way across the road slowly with her walker and came up to where I was pulling weeds and she said, ” I want to thank you for your lovely gardens. I look out my window and your gardens take me back to my childhood and the lovely English gardens. You have a loving touch; I’ve watched you. I just wanted you to know you have given this old lady much pleasure with your gardens.” and she shuffled back to her house. I’ll never forget it and of course I cried.

When we were at the resort I couldn’t afford plants but all the neighbour brought over plants and bulbs as they thinned out their gardens, one brought over a filing box with tons of different seeds for me to pick from. It was a tough year emotionally, like I said, I did alot of praying. It was the most beautiful garden I’ve ever had.

Gardening is so community minded, it brings people together, gives them something to talk about. A person can be talking by and feel free to say, “Your garden is lovely”. Or gardeners are always so willing to share plants, advice, and ask questions. Somehow a garden removes fences, class distinction, age, and even gender, gardeners are all on the same team.

I missed my gardens this year, I planted gardens last year and got compliments but I didn’t take the time to enjoy them because I was on borrowed time there and was trying to work as much as possible. This year I did plant some, but lack of water took its toll.

I pray that someday I have a tiny place, nothing fancy, I’m easy to please. 400 sq ft would do me just fine, with a fireplace (there is nothing like coming home from a long walk on a brisk fall day and the house is toasty warm from a crackling fire) There are few things more rewarding than getting up in the morning to a cold house and finding a few red embers still in the wood stove because all that’s necessary is to pull ghetto damper and throw on a few dry pieces of wood and in minutes the house is warm again.
I want a kitchen big enough that I can cook a pot of soup or chilli or maybe a pot roast and have a few friends over to share my fire and a bottle of wine.  lots of windows to let the sun shine in and hang crystals in. And a covered porch to hang wind chimes and a wooden rocking chair so I can sit out there even when it rains. One wall of book shelves for all those books I keep moving with me and some day want to read, but they look good until then. 🙂 I love books.

A place I can paint. A freezer I can fill with baking at Christmas and maybe even some cabbage rolls and tourtierre. A bath tub I can fill with bubble bath and keep adding hot water to until I am pink and wrinkly.

And a tiny yard trimmed with gardens.

And never have to move; just grow old there, Grandma’s house. Where my son and grand daughter can come to visit and know there are cookies in the cookie jar and my son will go to the freezer and grab some frozen cookies and I can give him shit for eating them before Christmas.

That is what I pray for. Not much, nothing fancy; not a knight in shining armor to save me, no trips around the world. Just a little bit of heaven on earth. The sun for pardon, the bbirds song for mirth.

What for you pray for?

Why on Earth did I Stay

As his hands tightened around my neck I struggled but he was much stronger than I. I felt my body go limp as everything went black. My last thought was, “He is going to feel so bad when he realizes what he’s done.”

Then I was gasping for air. I was disoriented and realized I was on the floor of the truck and scrambled to get back on the seat. I expected him to be as shocked and horrified as I was over what just happened but he put the truck in gear and stared straight ahead not saying a word.

I was numb with disbelief, I wanted him to hold me, I wanted it to not have happened because now I knew I had to make a choice. I had always sworn if any man hit me I would be gone so fast his head would spin but now faced with the situation it wasn’t  that easy. When we pulled in the driveway 5 minutes later he said, “That’s it. I want you out, its over.”

I don’t recall what I said, I know I was shocked at the fact that we were both so calm. I felt I should be angry, or crying or indignant but all I wanted was for him to hold me. I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t as horrified as me. I don’t recall what I said  but I’ll never forget the look on his face or the tone of his voice when he said, “You ungrateful fucking bitch I shouldn’t have stopped when I did”

I was numb, confused, this was NOT JC, he was the most nonviolent man I had ever known. Sure we’d been having problems but he never even swore when he hurt himself working on the truck. He was unflapable JC never lost control. I didn’t know this cold, distant man that just told me he should have killed me. I was sure he must feel awful, I wanted to put my head on his shoulder and have him hold me, to look in his eyes and see love and not hate. So after a few hours I went out to the shop, he was cold and pulled away from me when I went to touch him. He refused to talk to me so I went back in the house. The next morning he took the house phone with him to work and I was home alone with my thoughts.

Stress, my God, we had so many things happen in the first few months we were together and he’d always stayed so calm, distant yes but not angry and hateful. I was sure with time we could talk like we always did and work it out.

In the first 6 months we had lived together we had made the deal on the house, he had been unjustly fired from his job at the resort (I didn’t know that JC gets “unjustly” fired from every job he has and never lasts more than a few months); I was his staunch supporter and assured him we’d get through it together. He proposed.

My brother confessed to the family something I am not at liberty to discuss here but it had been extremely traumatic for my whole family especially my mom who couldn’t handle it and washed her hands of the whole situation. So it had fallen on my shoulder to be support my brother and mother. My son had gotten involved in drugs and gangs and my family told me I had loved him too much when he was a child, I had spoiled and ruined him. My mom told me to forget I ever had him. JC held me and said there was no way I could turn my back on him now.

He was on the streets some where and I was frantic to find him. My mom kept calling crying about my brother and one day I said, “You know mom I am worried about my brother too but I also have a son out on the streets some where that I am worried sick about.” and her reply was,”but your brother has so much more to lose.” I asked, “So you are saying my son’s life is not as valuable as my brother’s?” JC held me when I cried.

With everything JC’s support was unwavering.

I lost my job 3 months after we moved in and then we got news that JC’S dad had cancer throughout his body and had been given only months to live.  JC got a job and his dad died 2 weeks later, he had flown out for 2 days, worked for 2 weeks and flown back for the funeral. He had been extremely close to his dad and I knew he must be hurting but he had hardly cried or talked about it. I wasn’t sure how to handle it.  He became obsessed about how much money I was spending and insisted I owed him thousands of dollars and that is what the fight was about when he strangled me. He was wrong about the money but I was sure it wasn’t the money anyway; he was hurting and I was going to figure out how to help him.

And that’s why I stayed at first.

I was making as much on unemployment benefits as I would have working and I didn’t mind playing the role of homemaker. I didn’t know it at the time JC was disabling my vehicle; as far as I knew it had mechanical problems and when JC said I couldn’t drive it I didn’t question it. There were no buses out to where we lived and there was never any printer ink to print off resumes so I worked fixing up the house. He seemed to like having me home and would often have me ride with him in the dump truck while he worked. We always had a great day when I did and I would feel so close to him again. He brought home a dump truck load of landscaping rock then soil so I put in rock gardens and a pond, he brought home a load of sand and I shovel and raked it making a lovely sandy beach in front of our house. He came home from work and supper was ready, the house was spotless, there was always fresh baking. I would try to set the mood and have candles lit when he got home hoping he would stay inside with me and not go out to his shop. Every night it was the same, he’d come home, go out to his shop, I’d call him in for dinner, some times I would end up taking his dinner out to the shop for him, if he did come in he would go straight back out after dinner. I would put on something sexy and try to entice him to come to bed and he would pull away saying he was dirty and I would make some comment about liking dirty men. His sense of humor was gone, he would say, “I’ll be right there” I would go to bed and end up falling asleep. Some times he would crawl in to bed about 4 or 5 am and we would make love but often times I would wake up in the morning and realize he hadn’t been to bed at all and I would cry.

I come to dread times we were close and loving because it seemed after an especially loving time he would be doubly cold and cruel to counter act it. I prayed alot, I didn’t know how to reach him, he seemed like he hated me most of the time.

I talked to a girlfriend who also lived at the resort and told her I thought he hated me. She was shocked, she told me that all he ever did was speak highly of me, he bragged about my cooking and all the work I was doing on the place, she said she had seen him bringing me home flowers and I felt bad for doubting his love and decided to try a little harder not pressure him.

We would discuss money, I would think we had sorted it out but within a few days he was on me again. He stayed up all night calculating how much he spent on me and presented me with an invoice of everything I owed him right down to the 25¢ he had given me when I was short of money for a slushy.

The next time he got physical was on my birthday. He forgot my birthday and called half way through the day. I had been snarky with him and then immediately felt bad. It was a day the car was working and he had called me and told me to pick up his cheque, cash it and bring the money to the track. I apologized for being snarky and he just brushed it off. When I got to the track racing was cancelled due to rain so I called to tell him and he said to meet him at work. I got there and he seemed fine, he hugged me and was joking about forgetting my birthday and how he was going to make it up to me by taking me for dinner.

When we left the office I asked him if I should leave my car there and ride with him and we could pick it up later or should I follow him.

JC – What the hell are you talking about?
Me-Dinner, should I leave the car here and we can pick it up later.
JC – I don’t know what you are doing but I’m going to the track.
Me – racing is cancelled, I thought we were going for dinner.
JC – are you buying? I don’t have money for dinner.
Me – I’ll will go with you to the track, I got my EI today I can buy supper.
JC – Just go home I’ll see you there.

I was not going to let him ruin my birthday so I went to the liquor store and bought a nice bottle of wine and a pack of tobacco. (I rolled my own cigarettes JC always bought taylor mades). The rain had let up so I went home, poured myself a glass of wine and went out to putz in my garden. I was not going to react, I was not going to ruin my day. He walked through the door about 10 with a carton of his smokes, a 26er of rye, a cases of his favorite coolers and a look on his face that said he was itching for a fight.

JC – I see once again you took care of yourself and didn’t buy me smokes or booze.
Me – please don’t start, I don’t want to fight.
JC – You don’t want to go there because you know I’m right.
Me – just last week you told me to just buy my own smokes and you’d buy your own so that’s what I did. Please don’t do this. Not tonight.

Poverty Is For “Other” People

Why don’t they get a job? You would never be caught dead begging for money or digging in someone else’s garbage. Don’t they have any pride?

That’s what most people are thinking even if they don’t say it out loud; and some do. Every where you look there are pan-handlers jockeying for position at the most lucrative intersection or the prime location; outside the liquor store. You can’t drive down a back alley without seeing someone climbing into a dumpster or someone pushing a shopping cart full of their possessions. It has become so common place you hardly take notice any more.

Why don’t they get a job?

They must be drug addicts or alcoholics, or maybe they have a mental problem; certainly they don’t have an education, children, or job skills.

These people couldn’t have been YOUR neighbor a few years ago, their kids couldn’t have been over at your house playing not that long ago. You don’t know anyone who would be reduced to begging for money, do you? Well, IF you did know someone in that position they got there by their own doing, they must have made poor choices; you know YOU would never be that desperate. It could never happen to you, could it?

What ever did happen to that nice young couple that lived next door? Such a shame their house got foreclosed on and they moved away; they were good neighbors, hard working, always friendly, they’d watch the house when you went away and such cute little ones; remember when the first one was born, all the neighbors got together and had a baby shower? Nice little family………wonder what ever happened to them. Well, you know how it is` every one is so busy these days; you promised to keep in touch, take the kids once in a while but just never got around to it. I’m sure they’re doing fine, they were young, they’ll recoup¤

Or when the company you work for was down sizing, what a shame “Stan” was laid off only 10 years from retirement, just when the kids were finished school and oh yeah, their daughter was getting married, that’s right and then they were going to concentrate on saving for retirement. Stan had 10 years to really sock it away, too bad……wonder what ever happened to good old Stan….he must have gotten a job somewhere by now.

What about the woman you always talked to when you both went to pick up your kids from school, she showed up looking like she’d been really crying a few times and kept to herself mostly but you and her had a few good chats, she was really nice and had a pretty smile. Then one day she wasn’t there any more, her kids had switched schools, then they came back but you never saw her again. You asked about her and heard she was in an abusive relationship and she finally left the asshole, good for her! She must be doing so much better without him, she must be happy now, just her and the kids without him beating her down emotionally and physically. Good for her she finally left.

That nice young couple? After they lost their house and moved into a rental, he was laid off from the job he’d had for 6 years at the mill and has been getting work off and on ever since, she is working two part time jobs, one at a big box store and the other one at a bank, she gets 20 hours a week from each place which means she doesn’t get benefits or her stat holidays paid and sometimes works 16 hours in a day because she gets scheduled at both places on the same day. They try to schedule their shifts so one of them is home for the kids because day care is so expensive and it’s hard to find a day care that will take kids for a few hours, they want full time children because they are only allowed so many children at one time and can’t keep a slot open for a few hours.

After the stores close he goes out dumpster diving, often times he finds things he can repair and resell at the flea market, sometimes he finds toys for the kids, or even food, he doesn’t make a whole lot of money but it is what keeps their heads barely above water and food on the table. They fight a lot these days, the stress is getting to them; the kids have started to have behaviour problems and the oldest one started school but hates it because some of the other kids saw their dad dumpster diving and now tease them at school.

Times are tough for everyone, I’m sure they’ll get back on their feet if they just work hard. Right?

Good ol’ Stan, didn’t you know?
He’s a greeter at WalMart, you know the guy who gets you a shopping cart, smiles and says “Hi” when you walk in.

He got unemployment benefits for a year and then they had to start using the little bit of severance package he got because you can’t collect welfare if you have any money and they had to sell one of the cars because welfare won’t pay if you own two cars over a certain value. It was so degrading for Stan to go into welfare, paid into it his whole life, always worked, and he was treated like a second class citizen when he finally got up the courage to go in because they can’t afford to pay for his heart medication on the little bit they make. He was choking back tears when he left the office. He sure didn’t ever think he’d be asking for a hand out, he believed if a person worked hard they would be ok. Everything they had Stan had worked damn hard for but they remortgaged the house for their daughter’s wedding while Stan still had a job and now they were afraid they are going to lose the house. Forty years Stan worked, raised his family, was a good provider, his wife had worked once the kids got into school and she has gotten a part time job now at a grocery chain store and often works until midnight. It bothers Stan that this is the time of their life they should be enjoying each other, kids out of the house, they’ve done their time, they struggled and they did it side by side; always looking forward to this day. He’s been looking for a good paying job but now a days every one hires over the internet and Stan never even had a resume in his life, he walked into places, asked to speak to the manager and walked out with a handshake and “You start Monday.” Now you don’t even see a person plus they look at his resume and see that he is almost 60, the companies he has talked to say he is over qualified, he tells them he doesn’t mind starting at the bottom but they don’t call back, so here he is at WalMart, putting a smile on his face and handing you your shopping cart.

The woman who left the abusive relationship? Well she isn’t doing so well, her ex husband decided to make her life hell and went for custody of the kids and won, she didn’t have money for a lawyer and he lied about her and got people to back his lies. Losing the kids almost killed her, she could barely function for almost a year and it breaks her heart that she lives in a one bedroom apartment in a bad area and she can’t provide a nice place for the kids to come and visit. They say it is ok they love her but she knows at their dad’s they have everything all the other kids have and even if they don’t say it she feels they are ashamed of her. She was with her ex for 10 years, she had a job but he wanted her to quit when the kids were born. She didn’t mind being home raising them, her husband had a good paying job and even though she had to account for every penny he gave her and never had money of her own; he gave her enough to keep the house and the kids looking presentable. As the years went by though he got more and more abusive and controlling, it seemed he was never happy no matter what she did and she was always walking on egg shells. Sometimes she could feel the tension in him building and she knew she was going to get hit. She would try to not react when he pushed her buttons but eventually he would blow and she would get punched in the head and told he’d had enough and wanted her out.

He did it one too many times and one day while he was at work she packed up the kids and her clothes and left, with no money, nothing. He tried to get her to come back, put on the “I’m so sorry, it will never happen again” routine she’d heard so many times in the past, but she was strong this time, she was determined.

He got reinvolved almost immediately and told every one that she was crazy and he’d suffered through years of hell with her and now he’d found a woman that understood him and appreciated him. He moved the woman into their house, just slid the new woman right into her role as his wife and the woman is so cocky and rude to her; she must believe his lies too. Sure someday after a lengthy court battle she should get ½ of the house but she can’t afford a lawyer and he’s got the best; besides she doesn’t think she has the strength to keep fighting him.

Maybe he was right; maybe she is nothing without him.

She is getting welfare, which barely covers her rent and food from the food bank but having the kids come and stay always put her behind financially and the hydro is going to be cut off today; so she puts on her coat and heads out in the rain to ask for spare change at the liquor store.

Hopefully she’ll make enough to keep hydro off her back for another week. It’s getting harder and harder to believe she is better off, maybe getting hit once in a while wasn’t so bad after all.

You don’t know anyone who begs for money or digs in other people’s garbage, it’s not your problem. Whose problem is it?

Posted by Carrie the Lady Witha Truck