But not this. This is sweet!

My last class is 1st grade. As they lined up at the door and I stepped out one little boy cried out Ms Z! You’re back!!! He ran up and hugged me and said Are you feeling better? We missed you! And then they sang happy birthday to me. (Bday was yesterday. I am ancient) At the end of class, as they were lining up, a little girl siddles up to me and whispered – I prayed for you ever night I remembered! I’ve missed you sooo much!

I missed them too. I had a great week!

When I first moved here and I finally figured out the best short cut, I came across this rather dilapidated building with a sign on the property saying that this was my tax dollars at work.

For some weeks I found it funny that my tax buckies were paying to keep this old building propped up. Surely there were betters ways to spend the money the government steals from my paycheck! Then came the day in late fall when Spawn and I stopped to take pictures so I could properly make fun of it. It wasn’t until after we stopped and pulled over that we found the brown sign and discovered why our tax dollars were being collected.

Seems the place was the first Black American funeral home at the turn of the century. Basically, Black Americans would pay .25 to $1.00 a month into an account for themselves and when they passed away, they were guaranteed a funeral, a coffin, someone to dig the grave and fill it, pall bearers, a preacher, and professional mourners. There was a place for food for dinner afterwards. I’m standing in front of the sign and crying, because this is something most of us take for granted. I know I have a death benefit from my school board if I kick the bucket (and everyone will cheer I’m sure) that should be enough to pay for either a bare bones funeral or at least a cremation and I’ve told Spawn to take me either out in the ocean and scatter me or up in the mountains of West Virginia and do the honors. Don’t cry for me, I’ve lived a full life and I regret nothing!

but I digress.

As I stood in front of this falling down building, it dawned on me that life is fleeting and you never know when it’s your turn. I thought it was my turn a time or two in August, and apparently a few of my friends thought so as well. And for some time, people considered the fate of their loved ones after the fact and how they could afford a decent burial. Here you are. And so rather than a source of laughter as I drove by twice a day, 5 days a week, it became more of a beacon and a reminder – your days are numbered. Are you prepared? Kinda morbid eh? I take it as a reminder to live life to the fullest and try to better myself and honor my beliefs and love on my loved ones. Also, that would only take a strong puff of wind to bring the whole thing down.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, we apparently had some ugly storms in our neck of the woods on Friday. We had consistent rain on the way home on Saturday. We arrived after dark and simply brought in the cats, their food dishes and waited until morning to bring in the rest.

One of my neighbor’s trees took a lot of damage. Large dead branches on their roof, the yard, in our driveway. I was glad my car wasn’t there as it would have been hit. There were branches down in the yard – pretty fierce winds obviously.

It wasn’t until I made a trip to our board office to make arrangements for my reentry into the work force and I passed the old building or church or funeral home that I realized how harsh the weather had been.

Spawn was driving and his response was – you know, I knew this would happen sooner or later. I wished it were later and somehow the county had figured out a way to keep it propped up, restored it. I agreed. I was in shock and numb, but… you know… you never know when it’s your time. It’s sad, really. I had hoped to see this building restored to its former glory. Or at least standing. Oh well.

I am decorating my house this year. We didn’t last year – all of the holiday fixin’s were literally buried in the garage. We have slowly dug out a few things –

This is about half. I can’t reach my other tree (the 9 footer. This box is the white tree) or the other train, or several Christmas boxes – especially the one with my older Christmas ornaments. I can’t find my big light-up wreath. But it’s okay. I have the white tree, I have both the purple ornament and light set, the blue ornament and light set, the music garland and my angel topper. I have my car Rudolph stuff and all of my Christmas headgear for school! The stockings are up and most important (decoration wise) we have Santa Moose already up!

I realized Santa Moose is 30 years old. My angel topper is 59 years old. But it doesn’t matter how old anything is. Spawn and I are blessed. We have a roof over our heads, food in the pantry and Spawn can bury me if things gets stupid. And believe it or not, that’s a weight off my shoulders.

Have some Richard.