~Ruth McDonald Mair~
Last weekend I attended a memorial service for a man I did not know. By all rights bestowed upon me at birth, I should have grown up knowing this man. He was, after all, my uncle. I grew up not knowing him because with life being so unpredictable, my four siblings and I were separated when I was still a toddler. The five of us grew up, adopted out to different families, not knowing each other. The older siblings have a few recollections of our biological family, but I have none. Several years ago I got to meet this man, my Uncle Gerald. Upon our introduction, I remember seeing him wipe the tears from his eyes. We talked for just a few short minutes and he told me I was welcome to come visit him and my aunt anytime. I told him I would do that. Time got away, and a few years later, I read in the local paper that his wife, my aunt, had passed away. I had not gone to visit them. I knew where this man lived, and I cannot begin to count the number of times I drove by his street and thought to myself, “I need to go visit Uncle Gerald. I need to get to know him. I will do that soon.” A little over a month ago I was told that he was having some health issues. Again I thought, “I need to go see him.” The first week of July, I learned that Uncle Gerald had passed away. I had not gone to see him. I had not gotten to know him. Out of respect for this man, I attended the memorial service with one of my sisters. As we took our place among the small gathering of people, it came to my mind, “Some of these people are my very own flesh and blood…and we do not even know each other.” A man and wife, who were good friends with Uncle Gerald, stood and spoke about him to those of us who had gathered to pay our respects. They spoke about how he loved to watch the Tigers baseball games, about how he loved his dog, and about how he loved his family. Then they talked about how little family this man had, and how he would get lonely at times. A few other people took turns speaking, and I noticed a common theme in each of their sharing. Uncle Gerald was a good, loving, family-oriented man. The military honors were then executed, beautifully and pretty near perfect, giving me goosebumps with the twenty-one gun salute and bringing tears to my eyes with the playing of the taps. As I stood there reflecting, a lot of “why didn’t you’s” kept going through my mind, like, “Why didn’t you get to know him? Why didn’t you try to make a difference in his life? Why didn’t you save him from some lonely moments in time? Why didn’t you reach out to his grandchildren and offer to help care for him?” The only answer I could dredge up was, “I just did not take the time.” I know I could have taken the time. I just did not make it priority. Before and after the service, I had the opportunity to meet a handful of my biological cousins and second cousins. I do hope that in the near future I have a chance to be better acquainted with some of them. I know that if given the opportunity, I will not put it off until it is once again too late, and I have to learn second-hand about what a good person they were. In closing, I urge each of you reading this, if there is someone in your life that you think could use some help, some of your time, or just a few words on the phone, please do not put it off. Put forth the effort to make it happen. Don’t let life get in the way. Don’t let your busy schedule rule your life. Don’t pencil someone into your thoughts…put it in ink by making it happen. You just never know when you might make a difference in someone’s life, or even in your own, if you just take the time to put priorities in the right order. Rest in peace, Uncle Gerald. I may not have known you, but I will never forget you.
~Ruth McDonald Mair~
Last night I decided to go to bed early and get a good night’s rest since I have been lacking in that department lately. By the time I conducted all of my bedtime rituals (take Murphy out, brush my teeth, double check that the doors are locked, turn off all the lights, say my prayers and coerce the dog to the bedroom) it was 9:30 pm. I fell into bed, drifting to sleep almost immediately. Have you ever been dreaming and just kind of incorporate sounds and/or smells into that dream? Well, I do not recall the dream I was having, but all of a sudden, I was very much aware that the ghastly odor in my dream was actually in my bedroom. As I came back to consciousness, I realized that Murphy (who sleeps on the floor next to my side of the bed) had passed gas. I looked at the clock and it read 2:05 am. I knew I still had a little over two hours to sleep, so I laid my head back down on my pillow. As I tried to go back to sleep, the dog decided to release more malicious toxins into the air. I turned onto my other side facing my husband, thinking this would block the stench rising from the floor. I soon realized this was no solution, as not only did Murphy continue to give his body relief, he began to lick (quite loudly, I might add) various parts of his body. On top of that, my husband was snoring…loudly. And exhaling….loudly. When he snores, he exhales with a "puff", likes he is blowing away the seeds from a dead dandelion. To my dismay, he was facing me and "puffing" right in my face. As much as I love my husband, he has some really raunchy night breath! Over the next thirty to forty minutes, the dog’s timely odor escalated, while my husband’s snoring and puffing got louder and louder. I tossed and turned, not knowing which was the lesser of the two evils. I flipped and flopped, trying to imitate a beached whale in hopes of causing my husband to turn over and face the other way. It seemed to be a failed mission on my part. Then, as I was about to give up, my husband turned over and was facing the opposite direction taking his snoring and puffing with him! I looked at the clock again. It was now almost 3 am and I knew I could still get one more hour of sleep. Just as I was dozing off, my husband let out the loudest emission of human gas I have ever heard. Moreover, almost in tandem, Murphy decided to give one more blast of not-so-fresh air. I do not recall all the exact thoughts/words that flashed through my mind at that moment in time, but I am certain that when I say my prayers tonight, I need to ask God for forgiveness. I threw the covers back, turned off the alarm clock (didn’t need it today anyway), headed outside with the dog, all the while threatening him that he BETTER have to poop. Around 4:30 am, my loving husband came strolling into the kitchen to a hot cup of coffee waiting for him on the kitchen counter. He looked at me, smiled and said, “Good morning, Sweetie. Why are you up so early this morning?” I just very calmly (to my own surprise) told him that I woke up and could not go back to sleep. Perhaps when we get home from work tonight, if I am still coherent, I will try to explain to him why my Fitbit says I got 4 hours and 18 minutes of sleep last night.
Ruth McDonald Mair
I currently live in Michigan with my husband, Donald. I have three sons and one daughter as well as four grandchildren. For as long as I can remember I have had a passion for writing. I give God all the credit for allowing me to share my writings with you.