Baby It’s Cold Outside

Well I know I was a bore today without much chatting but let me tell you, my house smells good. I have two tea burners going. The smell of wood burning and cinnamon is filling up the living room.

Earlier the smell of Pine-Sol infiltrated every crevice. I ended up being able to totally transform the living room giving even a bigger area for the wheelchair to get through. I did clean all the fan blades on the ceiling. The window blinds are washed. The living room walls are cleaned. Every corner is free of any spider homes. The house is swept and I even had a free pizza coming for my supper.

I was going to save the pizza deal for another time but I am pooped I tell you, POOPED. Al and I had gotten a pizza last week and it was late on delivery, cold and rubbery. The restaurant said the next time we ordered it would be free.

I am sure Al is eating fine and most likely there will be some left when he returns. It should be good for two days. I am sore but I am proud. Our house is ready for the hatching down of windows, doors and anything outside. We are ready for the winter cold.

One of these winters I will not be here anymore. I love snow when I am inside watching. I hate being in it, driving in it, and freezing.

Old Man Winter

Old man winter

Comes to visit this way

He looks at me with those evil eyes

And says snow is on order for today.

He forces me to stay inside

He keeps me under my covers

There is nothing like the winters here

I swear there is no other

I live in the snow belt area

It snows from now til May

I only hope that I survive

To open the windows some day.

Written by,

Terry Shepherd

10/28/2013old man winter_4c5c07704689f
































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God’s Little Miracle

Grandma stayed to herself. She had raised her family and when the time came she took care of her husband. Her children were grown and lived miles a way from her. Oh they paid visits. Thanksgiving, Christmas or birthdays. Once in a while they would call on the telephone, but Grandma became frustrating to callers as she refused to wear her new hearing aid.

Soon the house became quiet. The telephone didn’t ring. The visits became more yearly with a card being sent at birthdays. Grandma had her fifteen year old cat, Sam for company.

Each week the closest neighbor and friend came to help Grandma fill her medicine box. Sara took Grandma to the grocery store when she went. Through the week days Grandma could be seen by neighbors using her cane and walking to get the mail.

If anyone was about she would stop them and ask them if they would like to come in for a quick visit; but kids are scared or unfamiliar with elderly so the answer was always no. The mail lady would chat with Grandma for a few moments but that was about the high light of her day as far as conversations go.

One day it was a beautiful fall day. Grandma wanted to sit outside in her back yard and watch the colorful leaves fall to the ground. She went through her back door and grabbed her lawn chair and scooted it to the precise point she thought she could get a good view.

She was enjoying herself. The breezes were nice. The air was warm but not humid. All she needed on was her cream-colored sweater. A gift from one of her children one Christmas.

She caught herself dozing off and soon decided she better get inside. Sam was going to be expecting his dinner and she needed to think about getting a bite to eat for herself also. When she tried to stand up she realized she had sat too long. Rising from the chair was not as easy as sitting down was.

The last time she rose the chair went with her. She lost her balance and fell to the ground with the lounge chair toppling over her. She caught her breath and  felt a small pain in her left hip.

She tried pushing the chair off of her and with great effort finally got it to lay on the side of her. When she tried to roll herself over to make an effort to try to stand the pain in her hip kept her frozen in spot.

She immediately looked around but this time there were no kids to be seen riding by. She was in her back yard. The sun was showing that it must be around four in the afternoon. She tried scooting herself but the pain was too great.

She lay there praying. “Dear God, please send someone to help me. Let someone see me laying here.” Minutes turned into hours. Shadows began to show on the branches of the tree.

She began to weep. Fear started creeping in. No one was going to find her. No one knew she was here. She lay there still and kept praying.

Someone was watching her though. From inside the house sitting on the window sill was Sam. Sam knew his master was in trouble. He mewed and flipped his tail. He jumped from the sill and went to the back door. He could see her but he could do nothing but howl.

Sam went from window to window. When he could jump on the sill he would and sit there howling. When he realized nothing was happening he repeated his steps, stopping to look out at his master.

On one of his stops he noticed that the window was open. He jumped up on the sill and sat there staring out the window. Soon he saw kids, the familiar kids that Grandma spoke to often.

He mewed and cried but they didn’t hear him. He rearranged his body and from the depth of his soul he howled like a lioness high on a mountain. Here are the wild cries the kids heard.

The kids came over to the window and were taken aback by the wildness in Sam’s voice. They got off of their bikes and crept a little closer. Sam jumped down and ran to the window where he could see his master. No kids came with him.

He ran back to the window where the kids He mewed again as loud as he could and then jumped back down and went to the other window.

After doing this three or four times the kids finally decided to follow the cat.

When they arrived they saw Grandma laying on the ground.

They reached  her and kneeling down saw her look into their eyes.

” Are you ok lady? Are you hurt?”

” My hip hurts a little. Can you go and get some help please?”

The boys stood up and raced to the front of the house. They got on their bikes and flew home as fast as their pedals would move.kids_on_diamondback_bicycles They ran into the house screaming at their mom that the lady down the street needed help.

The ambulance came quick. People gathered to see what was happening. The boys stayed near by to make sure the lady would be alright.

Grandma was treated and released back to her home with only bruises and mild pain. She was a little sore but God had answered her prayer. Nothing was broken and she was safe inside her house once again.

The beauty of this story is that within a week’s time Grandma met the mail lady and chatted a few moments before watching her leave. She saw the boys who had saved her life. She asked them the familiar question. ” Would you boys care to come in and have some cookies and milk?”

” Yes, mam, we sure would. We were just saying to each other we were hungry.”

Grandma smiled as the boys surrounded her walking back inside together. They all sat at the table smiling and laughing. The kids made Grandma feel young again. The boys felt like they had a second grandma.

Chapter 1, Parkinson’s Disease Journey

English: An IMAX theatre located in the Tennes...

English: An IMAX theatre located in the Tennessee Aquarium at Chattanooga.

You notice something. You can’t quite put your finger on it but you definitely feel it in your gut. Sitting together at the kitchen table you notice a slight movement of his head. The fingers tremble slightly.

Thoughts enter your head. Is he becoming sick? Should I make a doctor’s appointment? It disappears from your view and in your mind. Life goes as planned. I help him pick out his clothes. He gets dressed and I make sure he has brushed his teeth. All is complete and I run him down to the Day Program.

This isn’t any normal day program. This is a place for adults with disabilities to hang out. Al, my brother, has the chance to feel independence. He can hang out with his buddies. He meets new friends.

He learns to play pool and how to get along with others. With him basically being with me all the time I feel it is very good for him to have friends of his own. He learns that he can get free lunches if he earns them. He sweeps the floor after lunch  or maybe he will set the table for the noon meal.

Al loves to hoard his money. His idea of money is to keep what he can and spend it on himself. Spending it on others is not in his plan. I have worked with him for years about gift giving and he did give in to my wishes but not with smiles.

Al experienced so much at his Day Program. He was able to go see a movie at the IMAX Theatre. He was able to go to Tampa and see ballgames. He went to zoos and the planetarium. There was usually a specific activity geared for learning and enjoyment each week.

The city that we lived in was so big. There were many businesses that donated tickets. The main one was the Symphonies. Al was lucky to get to hear some great music during these years.

Every afternoon when I picked him up he chattered non stop about what he did that day. I would give anything to  hear that chatter today. To see the sparkle in his eyes. To see the smiles spreading from cheek to cheek.

Al and I usually visited a flea market on Saturdays. He would beam from ear to ear if he found a coca cola item for sale. Al didn’t care if he had several of the same things at home. His mental challenges only allowed him to understand that here was something for sale with the words coke on it.

I tried to teach him about running out of room and not buying the same thing over and over. We made some progress but even today now that he has ventured into the classic car collections, he still has the same desires but we try to work through them.

We always made a point to go out to eat on Sundays. We usually went for supper for his convenience. Al is very structured in his routine. I could count on a bad day if I tried to change things around. He had to have a nap each day. So on Sundays it was routine to get up and go to church. Go home and get something light for lunch. He would watch his TV programs until 2:30 pm and then it was his nap time.

He would sleep until 5pm and then he was up and ready to go to supper. I was always amazed at how he had an internal alarm clock. He knew when it was time to rise in the mornings or from naps with his own built-in clock.

He loved to go to a restaurant called Dutch Heritage. You have to understand one thing about Al. I started caring for him when he was the age of 51 years old. Because he had disabilities and mental challenges his whole life he wasn’t along so many times when the family went out to eat.

It wasn’t, I hope, that Mom and Dad didn’t want him along. I believe that Al just liked time by himself. He had some on going  issues with his Dad and I think he enjoyed the freedom of making his own decisions when he was alone.

So the Dutch Heritage was a huge buffet type restaurant. At first when we arrived there I got up from my seat to start selecting my food and Al sat there. I asked, “What are you doing bud? Aren’t you coming?”

He replied, “I don’t know what to do. I am scared.”  He started to cry and then it dawned on me he had never been to a buffet before. I sat back down and taught him all about buffet style and after our first visit to the place I never had to teach him again when we returned.

He took so much pride in choosing his own foods. I sit here and smile as I think back to how he would fill his plate. It didn’t matter how many times we visited, he ate in the same order. His food was arranged the same each time. He would get ham, macaroni and cheese, cole slaw and mashed potatoes and one big roll.

He only went up to fill his plate once. I think he always thought that if he went back twice he or I would have to pay a second time. After our meals were eaten, the waitress would always come around and ask what dessert we wished for. Once again Al would look me in the eye with his starry eyes and with big pride beaming from his soul, he would make his own choice.

Always the same though out of all the choices. Cherry pie with ice-cream on top. Oh those Sunday memories I have with him. Seeing him learning and enjoying freedom of choice were some of the best times I ever had.


In The Shadows


Darkness (Photo credit: Roberto F.)

She sat there on the edge of her bed. Watching the late night news, not realizing that someone else was watching the news also. She slipped off her nightie and reached over on to the night stand to get her lotion, that she put on her body each night before climbing into bed. He watched her also. Creeping a little bit closer, softly, quietly, not wanting her to know he was so near. She started with her arms and moved down to her legs, lifting one up at a time, massaging the lotion in. He was close enough that he could smell the odor and his mouth began to water. He moved a little closer to get into position. She finished with her lotion and got up, startling him, and forcing him to move back a few feet. He had been here before, a couple of times, just checking out the place, finding all the good hiding spots. Right now he was centered in one of his darkest, shadowed areas. Near enough to make a move, but not perfect enough for her not to see him. He had left on prior trips, that he had visited, because he was not hungry enough nor did he have the energy to do anything about it. He had a busy day. Gathering food, locating a new home location. He had just moved into the neighborhood. He had come this way, down this quiet street, several times, noticing that many of his friends had been steadily moving into the area. There didn’t seem to be too many children living around here, and the adults that lived here were older and didn’t move too quickly. He was quite sure, that he would be quite comfortable here and could have a long, healthy life. She sat on the edge of her bed again, and turned off the television. She laid down and covered herself up with her blankets, fluffing and rearranging her pillow so that it was the  perfect fit for her head. She clapped her hands together, and the ceiling  and dresser lights went off. Darkness was all around. The breezes blowing the curtains at her bedroom window, casting shadows on the walls. He moved over to the window, and laid very close to the window sill, taking in the night-time smells. He then went to the opposite side of her bed, and softly, ever so gently, climbed up the side of her bedspread. He was looking at her. Her eyes were closed, and the smell of her body, was making him excited as she began to settle down for the night, moving less and less. He moved a little closer. He could almost feel the breath coming from her nostrils as she laid  breathing. He moved up a little closer, reaching out and gently caressing her hair. Slowly scanning her head, and then moving on to her pillow. He laid there for a while, he knew he had time. Watching her ever so closely, waiting to make his move, she suddenly threw her arm over him as she turned her body over to the other side. It startled him and he made a hissing sound as he was forced to put himself into a new position. Once again he moved at the edges of her hair, feeling the prickles of each hair  touching his skin. He was getting a little agitated with her movements. He wanted her to lay  still. Not moving, making it easier to complete the task he had come here to do. He waited patiently, watching for movements to be stilled. He was patient once again, knowing that this would all pay off and the prize would be his in the end. After some time had passed, breathing was very shallow, he knew the timing was now. He was moving around her, positioning himself, about two inches from her neck. He got himself pumped up and was ready to make his move, when the lights suddenly became alive with light. He quickly moved away, moving above her head and quickly getting off the bed. He crawled on his belly, staying close to the bedspread, so as not to be seen. He moved to the corner and sticking his head out just enough to see what has happening. A man was standing there.He heard a sound coming from her body, some mumbling, that only the man seemed to understand. The man sat on the edge of the bed, and started to undress. This was not going to be a good night after all. He had to escape without being seen. His timing had been off, as he never expected another person to show up. He was going to have to get out of here NOW, and come back another night. He backed up, so as not to be seen, and the snake wiggled his way under the bed, and out of the bedroom door, and made it to the same opening he had come in through. He would save this for a new night.