Just Yesterday

Dressed up in satin and lace, I walked slowly down the aisle of the church sanctuary. Strolling arm in arm with my father, I loved hearing the swish from my dress with each graceful step. My eyes focused on my to-be-husband standing in front of the sanctuary. He looked quite dashing in his black tux. Wasn’t this special occasion just yesterday?
Yesterday that transported into thirty-one years of marriage.

Well, it was just yesterday when I saw the item sitting on the shelf: a gift from my bridal shower in 1988. I recall opening the box and pulling out a white mini food chopper. A great gift, but did I expect to keep it for three decades? I thought for sure it would’ve been replaced with an updated version sometime between then and now. Yet, over the years, it has stood the test of time, still working, and the only change is its color; instead of a glossy white, it’s now faded into a pale yellow.

The question is: should I replace the little food chopper because it looks weathered? If so, shouldn’t anything old be swapped out for a newer version? Think about cars. They may have all the parts, their engines may roar when the key is turned, but if they’re scraped up and bruised, shouldn’t they be traded in for shiny new models? Let’s expand our thinking even further: Should spouses sprouting gray hair, wearing mazes of facial wrinkles be substituted with younger partners? Is the end-all goal a better-looking copy?

Let’s do the math: if that mini chopper has aged, so have I and I am not going to be traded in. Buying brand-new, shiny, and flawless is exciting and I won’t lie and say that I never have, but sometimes the memories deep within are more valuable than the “itemitself. Regarding life partners, what about the good memories: the laughter, tears, adventures, intimacy, and the love both partners felt in the beginning when that spark ignited? This is why my faded chopper still sits on the shelf, rather content with the cookie sheets and mixing bowls.

I don’t know how long the chopper will stay in the family, but as long as it does, I’ll remember that Saturday afternoon: women gathered to celebrate my upcoming wedding day. Silly games brought fits of laughter, deep conversations evoked precious memories, words of wisdom were spoken by women who had lived through the cracks and crevices of life. Most importantly, my faded gift reminds me of when my mom and mother-in-law were still in my life. They were two amazing women with more stories to tell and wisdom to share and I miss them more than words convey.

Mom on my right and
my mother-in-law on my left.

So, if you’re questioning whether you should toss that old worn-out item even though it functions perfectly, allow yourself to pause in the moment, to reflect upon the wonderful memories.

January 21, 1989

The answer could just be in one of them.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

A Silver Spoon and So Much More…

Matt and I pull into the parking stall of our camp sight, and our first task is to unload the car and dump our gear onto the picnic table. A slight breeze floats through the pine trees cooling us from the sun’s burning touch and the blue lake water invites us in for a swim. The invitation is tempting, but first the labor of setting up camp. I dig into the big green tub looking for kitchen stuff and my breath catches when my eyes focus on the old set of silverware. When I was a little girl, we had a cabin in Big Bear, California, which is where Mom used the silverware. After both of my parents had passed, the set came to me. It’s black and silver, service for six, a little faded, but I couldn’t believe how sturdy it was to have lasted over fifty years. At the time, I didn’t give it much thought, so I added it to our camping paraphernalia.

As Matt and I enjoy the stir fry dinner he prepares on the first night, the old silverware evokes fond memories. An image of our cabin on the corner lot enfolded by sugar pines comes to mind. I remind Matt of the time when our little brave dog, Duffy, climbed up the snow bank, standing on the roof as if to say, “I am King!” That cozy mountain retreat also held many kitchen-table conversations full of laughter. Although Matt never had the chance to see the cabin, he remembers Mom’s delicious cooking. We especially savored her lasagna that was contest-winner-worthy. I recall the aroma swirling around, enticing Dad, my sisters, and me as we were eager to capture it and dig into the mouth-watering dish. I line up evenly in my mind each nuance of those childhood memories with my parents – days of playing badminton under a cloudless sky and a blazing sun, and then tobogganing when the ground was blanketed in snow and the temperature was bitter cold.

I am wrapped in a sentimental blanket on this trip, thinking of Mom and Dad, wishing I could feel their hugs, hear their laughter, and listen to their advice one more time. But would one more time still be enough? I don’t wallow in sadness; instead, I revel in the good times letting the memories advance like pictures on a camera roll. Before Matt and I realize, the campfires, swimming, hiking, and reminiscing have catapulted time into lightning speed. Our trip has ended and in the blink of an eye, we’re home doing clean-up. It dawns on me that I don’t want this set stashed away again, hidden beneath pots and pans and forgotten until the next trip. These forks, knives, and spoons have their own stories to tell. I combine them with our sets and I’m not bothered that they don’t match our decor. Years ago, the difference would’ve mattered. Now, life is a far cry from when mom and dad were still with us, so as we sit at our table using this shiny silverware, the family tales continue. We smile, we laugh, and now and then, tears that we thought had dried up, slowly find their way down our cheeks again.

Maybe I didn’t see the true value when this set was given to me. Perhaps I was blinded by tears, existing in my world of grief where a dark cloud was parked above my head. It could be that I hadn’t processed the finality of their death. I would see them again, wouldn’t I? The phone will ring and I’ll listen to Mom’s, “I just wanted to hear your voice.” Or, they’ll be over for lunch next week. When enough time had passed, reality sank in: I acknowledged their passing for what it was and accepted the truth. So, the timing and how I stumbled upon this treasure was relevant. My grieving had ended, widening the gap for remembering all the good things that keep us moving forward when we lose a loved one. Even in this set’s simplicity, its silver clean lines prove to be a nostalgic gem never to be buried again.

The painting of our cabin was done by a friend in Big Bear and my sister has it in her house – a treasure to keep forever.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020


The Way it Was

Is there someone in your life who made a strong, positive impact? Someone who motivated you to step out of your comfort zone? My answer is yes, and this is my story:

The year is 1970…and tonight’s special performance takes place in my home where the center of the living room is my stage and an antique mahogany chair is my podium. A small cassette tape recorder rests on the floral cushioned seat. I wear a powder blue dress and my shoulder-length brown hair usually worn down is swept up into pigtails. I press play on the recorder and sing my heart out. My parents and aunt and uncle cheer me on from their seats, and following my curtsy when the last melody is sung, they tell me the show was phenomenal. That night remains as glowing as yesterday’s sunrise. I was nine years old but already knew I wanted to be a singer. Barbra Streisand became my vocal idol. Her voice wowed me the first time I heard it, and regardless of how often I listened to her, my arms would get goosebumps. During those years, I fell asleep each night with one of Barbra’s albums spinning on my record player, lulling me to sleep. Unbeknownst to the amazing singer, many a night we would perform a duet using my special hairbrush-microphone. I had a wild imagination and wanted to be just like her.

Whenever I had the chance, I held concerts in my room, imagining sold-out crowds. As a teenager, I joined school choirs, but it was not until my junior year of high school that I truly found the self-confidence to pursue my dream. That year, the music department welcomed a new teacher, Ron Perry. He was in his mid-twenties and became more of a friend to his students than a teacher. He treated us as equals, and over time, it was natural for us to call him Ron. During his first week, he focused on listening to us individually to determine what part we would sing. I was nervous when he called my name, but I managed to echo the notes he played on the piano, and was surprised when he praised my singing ability. I knew I could carry a tune, but to hear these encouraging words from the new teacher boosted my self-esteem. 

I became part of the alto section and the choir soon began working on a Christmas repertoire for the December concert. The solo offered was a jazzy version of “Silent Night” and I was one of several students who auditioned. I was thrilled to be chosen – this was my first solo. The concert took place in the school’s historic Louis E. Plummer Auditorium; with the plush red seats and bold red curtain, I felt privileged to perform a solo in this iconic building. Little did I know then that another big solo opportunity was on the horizon.

Ron continued his teaching outside of school as the director of his church choir. In the upcoming summer of 1978, the choir was going on tour to the east coast. He was generous to invite the high school choir to tryout if they wished to join the road trip adventure. I auditioned for the rock gospel solo but had not planned to, believing I only had a voice for ballads; the song was “Hallelujah” by the group, Seawind. Ron wanted me to tryout; he felt my voice would be good for the solo. My feelings were opposite. I told him that I couldn’t sing a rock song! I probably couldn’t even reach that high note! Despite my can’t-do attitude, I auditioned, executing that high note! I was one of three contenders, though – not a shoo-in, but the solo was mine. I was ecstatic and thanked Ron for nudging me. 

With auditions complete and summer approaching, the choir prepared for tour. Excitement bounced off the walls. Mostly teenagers, we traveled in a classic yellow school bus, leaving Southern California and heading across country. What a crazy, fun time that bus ride was, laughing and singing and getting to know each other while blazing through state lines. We had several performances on the calendar and we stayed in the various churches where the concerts were held. I performed “Hallelujah” in each concert and was exhilarated by the positive reactions.

When the tour ended, that rock solo led me to perform for a convention with an audience of more than 2000, and what an experience singing for so many people. Before I walked on stage, Ron told me that if I get nervous, to look above the heads and don’t make eye contact. He said that a smile makes you feel good, but a negative look can affect your singing. I must say, the far wall of the concert hall needed a paint job! Afterwards, the event planner praised my performance, and I held onto her words for what seemed like eternity. 

“Hallelujah” also paved the path to winning 2nd place in the senior talent show the following year. I have tucked vivid memories of that exciting evening into a corner of my mind. I opened up the second act singing the rock song. My pianist, Kathryn, started playing the introduction as the red velvet curtain rose. In spite of the butterflies in my stomach, I walked on stage into the limelight and began belting out the lyrics. Hearing the audience clap after I sang the last note whirled me into euphoria. I closed the act by singing Barbra’s “The Way We Were,” and the audience’s reaction was even more passionate than the first. So this is what it feels like, I thought. 

Lauren talent show 1979

Even though singing was my ultimate passion, my priorities shifted after graduation. I lived with my parents at the time but was ready for a taste of independence; however, the only way to make this happen was to quit college and begin earning a steady paycheck. I made the choice. I put this plan into action, placing my dream of a singing career on the back burner. Several years passed when I met the man who soon became my husband, and in the years to follow, our family grew when our daughter and son were born. But this life trajectory did not stop me from singing. My husband and children stayed entertained with my serenading around the house. I even joined local choirs. Eventually though, my time was devoted to family and less and less to singing. But I was proud when my daughter developed the same passion, adding harmony to those years.

Memories of listening to Barbra – becoming mesmerized by her beautiful voice and even her quirky, yet classy Brooklyn personality – remain a dynamic part of my youth. She inspired me to pursue something I truly loved and my high school experience was better for it. I was also fortunate to see her in concert at The Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim. When she strolled on stage in an elegant black gown, opening the concert with the song “As If We Never Said Good-Bye,” my eyes welled up. It was an evening of pure magic.

I believe most of us have a favorite teacher who made a great impact on our lives. Ron was that teacher for me. To say that he was influential sounds minimal. His way of encouraging me to try for those seemingly unreachable solos, jolted me into stepping out of my insecurities. Because of his faith in me, I danced into a world where if we try new things, pushing fear aside, there is a good chance for positive outcomes.

I had my moments in the spotlight. I felt the excitement and anticipation of walking onto that stage, listening to the inspiring buzz from the audience when I sang those first few words. I am grateful for this time in my life and I will always offer the sincerest appreciation to Barbra and Ron. If it were not for them, my passion would have fallen by the wayside without the chance to crescendo into such a memorable musical past.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

I hope you enjoyed my walk down memory lane, and if you answered yes to my question and feel like sharing even a snippet of your story, I’d love to read about it. ❤

 

 

 

 

Aglow

 

Image result for country road photo

On the little country road
to the country town we go
where hands on the clock
tick slow, slow, slow
leading to reflection
of memories that flow
where thoughts transport
to a time that stays aglow

Lauren Scott (c) 2018
Photo: Google Images

Their Year

Dear Grandma,

Before my life
began, your light
was growing 
dim.
You were going to

Heaven. I wish you
didn’t 
have to leave
because I never got
to 
meet you. I miss
you so 
much. I wish
we could’ve 
read and
played together. I wish
I could’ve held your

hand while we took
a walk together…
I can’t see your bright
smile 
that daddy told
me about or 
your pretty
brown eyes. I 
can’t hear
your voice, either, 
but I
know you’re my Angel in

the skies.
Sometimes, I want to visit
Heaven just to tell you,
“I Love You.”

(These thoughts are in memory of my
mother-in-law, Diane, who passed away

in January 1991 – written from my young
daughter’s perspective, who was born

later that same year.
Of course, Diane never met our son,
either, who was born four years later.
And even though that was a long time
ago, it still breaks our hearts that she
never knew her grandchildren.) ❤

Lauren Scott ©

Heebie Jeebies

Arachnophobia has had a grip on me since I was a young child, but I can’t recall exactly why. I only know the effects are real when spiders of all sizes have caused unwanted anxiety in my life. I’m not afraid of their bite or that they’ll hurt me, though. They indescribably creep me out with their eight legs, and if they’re hairy, the heebie jeebies escalate! 

Over the years, I’ve dealt with common house spiders like most of us do that I’m sure aren’t harmful. They have a tendency to pop out of nowhere and scare the living daylights out of me. One memorable event happened years ago that was anything but common…

I had noticed a big dark spot on the carpet while turning off the lights one night. I wondered what it was, and although I hesitated, I almost reached down to touch it. I’m ever so thankful I chose not to because I probably would’ve had a heart attack! So, I turned on the light and said a four-letter-word that caught my husband’s attention. Even though he doesn’t share my fear, he was surprised to find that big guy in our house. He also said that it looked like a California tarantula, harmless. Okay, first of all, how the heck did it get in the house? And harmless was a good thing. With a glass, he scooped it out and transported it outside where it belonged. Now, over time, my fear has calmed down. I’ve even saved a few. 

Fast forwarding now, a few nights ago, we found a big spider (uglier than normal) hanging out on the bottom of our bedroom door just as we were turning out the lights at the end of our day. Another nighttime adventure. It wasn’t a common house spider, and where the heck did it come from? Of course, I got my husband a glass again so he could place the arachnid in its proper outdoor accommodations. I could’ve done the glass thing, too, like I’ve done in the past. But…

I was so freaked out that it took me a while to finally fall asleep. My imagination fell into overtime, and my heart was beating fast. Clearly, this fear took control even though I tried deep breathing and thinking of the first happy song that came to mind…Jingle Bells. 🙂 (no explanation on that one)
In the meantime, my husband was so tired that he fell asleep seconds later. Thanks, Honey!

I finally caught some winks, but it was a toss-and-turn night where I just couldn’t erase that visual, and on our door, no less. Maybe it was another common house spider, but there was nothing common looking about this one. It also goes to show that fear becomes magnified at nighttime. When it’s dark out, when the sun isn’t shining its light and warmth, things that scare us become less controllable, less manageable.

For the days following that frightful event, the sun has been shining; it’s felt like spring even though winter needs to visit more, and I’m okay. I had a bad case of the heebie jeebies that night, which proved that even though my arachnophobia had calmed, there could be circumstances where it flares up more than I want it to. Since then, I’ve shed those heebie jeebies to the best of my ability.

Do you share this same creepy-crawly fear? 🙂
Do you have a different fear that you struggle with? 

p.s. No photos for this post, and I’m sure you understand. 🙂

 

By the Bay

We celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary (see my prior post) on the coast and lucked out with some sunshine, even though the wind blew and it was cold. Here are some photos we took, so much beauty to take in…

on the way back roads

We took the back roads going in and loved the green hills. Those cows
were also too darn cute!

hole in the head location (1)

The view was beautiful, but the coast is rugged at this time of the year,
with winds from 40-50 mph.

in bodega bay (2)

This pier was more narrow than we thought at first. I was taking pictures
with my cell, and all I needed was to drop it in the ocean. 🙂 But I didn’t,
needless to say. While walking out to the end, we saw a sea lion, but he
disappeared before I could click (probably camera shy). Our Inn was just
across the bay. 

taken from deck at The Tides Wharf Restaurant (1)

I thought the Christmas tree made for an interesting photo, not to
mention the entire composition (from my amateur perception).

Saturday night sunset (1) 

Watching the sunset from our room…

champage surprise from the kids

…and the icing on the cake was when we were told that our son and daughter
took care of all anniversary dinner charges, along with adding a bottle of
champagne. A touching surprise, to say the least…

Overall, it was a wonderful time together. Thinking back, we wore
backpacks 
and hiking boots the last time we went away, so this
trip 
was welcomed. I hope you enjoyed the sights, and Thanks again,
for 
all of your lovely anniversary wishes!!!

“Beauty sleeps on the calm dreamy bosom of the ocean,
or lives in the dance of its wild waves.”
~T.C. Henley, “Beauty,” 1851~

~ Lauren ❤

 

One December Evening

holding hands quote and photo 2014

I don’t know what other couples do, but my husband and I make it a point to remember those smaller events that led up to the wedding day, and today is one of them…our first date 30 years ago. We were 26 & 27 at the time, and we vividly remember that evening…the amazing restaurant for dinner, then driving up the mountain to The Baldy Lodge for dancing.

If you’ve followed me for awhile, you no doubt know that I’m a big hopeless romantic, and this night was definitely a magical one. During that evening of romance, we both experienced the incredible feeling that we might be “the one” for each other. That may sound silly, but…

As it turned out, we were “the one” for each other because six months following that night, he proposed. Then six months after that proposal, we were married. And here we are…grateful to still have each other and our two beautiful children, who are now 22 & 26 years old.

our wedding

This isn’t a post to brag though. We’ve experienced loss throughout our years together. So, we don’t take anything for granted because nothing is guaranteed. Instead, we cherish each moment of every day and continue to count our blessings. 

So, I’m wishing my Husband and Best Friend a very Happy 30th-First-Date Anniversary!!

🎉🎈🎉🎈

“I thank him for making my life the best and for bringing out the best in me. I love him even more now, and I hope we have the chance to celebrate many more anniversaries as the calendar pages continue to turn.” 

summer patio time 2016

❤❤❤

 

Little Beach Boy (A Shadorma)

I watch him
Sitting in the sand
His quest for
Adventure
Shines through the look on his face
Deep concentration

A slight breeze
Blows his light brown hair
As he digs
For treasures
My heart warms from his delight
A precious moment

Lauren Scott 2017
(I learned about this poetry form at Ben’s site,
https://bennaga.wordpress.com/ and he encouraged
me to try a Shadorma, as well. I couldn’t think
of a new topic, so I revised an old poem from
when my son was little. ❤ I hope you enjoy, and
thanks for the nudge, Ben. It’s always good to
learn something new.)