The white, snow-capped Pyrenees mountains behind the city of Lourdes, France, appeared at first to me as very white clouds. Then, as the bus neared the city, I realized the white was snow and that misty clouds concealed the bare rocky crags. The small city and its outlying farmhouses in the foothills below could be seen basking in the mellow, spring-afternoon sunshine.
In 1945 a movie titled, Song of Bernadette, told the story of Bernadette Soubirous, a fourteen-year-old girl, who saw an apparition of a beautiful lady at the grotto called Massabiele, near the city of Lourdes in 1858. The beautiful lady eventually identified herself as the Immaculate Conception. After visitors began to bathe in a spring which started to flow during one of the apparitions, unexplained healings took place.
As our bus turned onto a narrow, cobbled-stone street and pulled up to our hotel, I thought about the movie. How accurate was the story to the actual events that took place? I knew that many people simply believed Bernadette’s word. Others didn’t believe her even after the miracles. This made me think about the Stuart Chase quote, “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof will suffice.” Continue reading
Something was wrong with the outlet adapter. My curling iron blinked when I turned it on but wouldn’t heat up. Feeling befuddled from lack of sleep, I grumbled and fussed until my daughter plugged it into a different outlet, where it did work, but didn’t have a mirror near-by.
Getting out of the wrong side of the bed can happen even while on vacation. With our five-a.m. wake-up call, I’d only had five hours of sleep. Then, instead of taking a speed train to Lourdes in southern France today, as we’d originally planned, we were riding a bus. The French train workers were on strike.
Beneath all these aggravations, was the niggling, pinching, chafing realization that today would have been my 48th wedding anniversary if my husband, Arnie were alive. I felt sad and, in a way, abandoned.
Our early morning wake-up call was not only to avoid the morning commuter traffic in Paris, but because it would take our bus longer than the train to get to Lourdes. I picked up a boxed breakfast and a cup of coffee from the hotel lobby, trying not to spill or drop either as I took my seat on the tour bus. Continue reading
Strong gusts of wind swirled clouds of ice crystals over the crest of a huge drift between my house and garage. I stood at the staircase window, watching and waiting. This unexpected spring blizzard had already raged for nearly 48 hours. Surely it would end soon. As I watched, the day’s light slowly began to fade. Shielded by cold, gray clouds, our warm, bright sun was dropping behind the horizon.
My daughter Tammie stepped up alongside me and commented, “It looks like it’s still snowing.”
Nodding, I answered, “The weather report is that the storm will end this evening. Anyway, I’ve noticed the wind usually settles down after the sun sets. I hope the man who plows my yard will be able to come then.”
My daughter and I needed to be at Chicago’s O’Hare airport tomorrow to take a flight to Europe. It had been good luck and a quick, last-minute decision that allowed Tammie, who lives in the Twin Cities, to arrive at my house just as the blizzard began two days ago. We’d been snowbound ever since. Continue reading
Rain pelted down onto my car’s windshield. I leaned forward and stared at the rivulets of water. Were there a few ice crystals in some of those drops? I pulled out my phone and texted my daughter Tammie, “It’s started raining here already. My car’s thermometer shows that it is 35 degrees. Are you still planning to drive home tomorrow?”
All morning as I did my errands, I stopped often to text my daughter updates on the weather. “It stopped raining.” Then, “The rain has started up again.” Later, “I saw a few ice crystals in the falling rain.” I’m not usually so preoccupied with the weather, but the weather service had reported a large spring snow storm moving through the Mid-West for the last two days. Both my home and my daughter’s were in the center of its path!
Having a huge storm approach Wisconsin doesn’t usually bother me, but this time I had something important to do and didn’t want the weather to get in the way. My daughter and I were planning to leave for vacation in France, Spain and Portugal on Monday. But first Tammie needed to drive the three hours from her home to mine. She planned to do it on Saturday afternoon. I was worried that the storm would make the roads too bad by then. Continue reading
Tammie’s cell phone made a familiar ‘ping’! She glanced over at it from where she was sitting behind the steering wheel and said, “Mom, that’s probably Niki answering my text. Why don’t you see what she said.”
I gingerly picked up my daughter’s phone, afraid that I would accidentally press a button or somehow damage it unintentionally. The message had already disappeared from the screen. Not sure what to do, I hesitated.
Tammie encouraged, “Don’t be afraid to handle my phone, Mom. You’re not going to break it. You know my code. Go ahead and enter it to see what Niki said.”
Reluctantly, I did as my daughter directed. I suspected she was hoping that if I used her phone a few times, I would begin to want one for myself. Several years ago, she had asked me, “What would you do if your car broke down while traveling to visit me? You need to own a cell phone so you can call for help!”
I doubt what I did was what she had expected. I went out and bought a primitive flip phone. It doesn’t have dozens of bells and whistles, but I can make calls and take mediocre pictures. Continue reading