Indra’s net or six degrees of separation

It has been six weeks since my fiftieth high school reunion.
I had the pleasure of staying a day with friends in the small town of Floresville,Texas about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio.

Bonnie and I were buddies our Senior year, eating lunch together almost every day, along with Claudia, another friend. We were, all three from military families, bonding over our newness at a school, where many had known each other most of their lives.
Social media reconnected us several years ago. Facebook it is good in that respect. When Bonnie and Charlie invited me to stay at their home, reunion weekend I enthusiastically accepted.

The Sunday morning after the reunion was a stellar early autumn day. We leisurely drank coffee outside under the trees and after breakfast later, went into the picturesque country town to visit a Nursery. Looking at plants, is always a favorite pastime of mine made even more enjoyable with friends.

The quiet, small town America I visited that day was brought to its knees yesterday, as a gunman murdered over two dozen people in a little Baptist church in the next community over. Two people among those who lost their lives were the people I met at the nursery-kind, pleasant good people.

When I read the message from Bonnie this morning, letting me know this, I was reminded of how fragile life is and how interwoven our lives can be. I recalled a Buddhist parable titled Indra's Web,which I read long ago. It speaks about the interconnectedness of us all.

The universal "we" of mankind made even more clear this morning in the aftermath in a small Texas town.
© Nancilynn Saylor
6 November 2017

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Heartbreaker 

Such a difficult decision to make; no easy choices and no right answers. An 8 pound  male puppy coming of age in a house with a three pound Chihuahua in heat

The alpha male in our home is Romeo. Tiny Chica is his emotional service puppy and the fight ran for months stretched from  weeks on end…

It became the.Elephant in the room-every room.

I begged  to have her spade. He would not hear of it- his poor little baby. I reminded him that Chachi would grow.                        He became Egyptian-and the waters of his  denial  ran deep. The friction of this dog fight shook the very walls of our little world.

This past week I scheduled the tiny, already now  pregnant  Chica for surgery. 

I also posted a request to re-home Chachi in our neighborhood web log. 

By the end of the day, on Friday,  both occurred. As Chica softly moaned on the sofa, a lovely  new angel rose up in our lives. “I never go to that group,” she said. She’d not had a dog in many years. The picture, below, she said, made her call.

Two  very sleepless nights, Romeo lamented. The missing pup infiltrated his dreams. Tears wracked his aging body.  Not to my credit, I seemed callous. It had all driven by him.                                                 His anxiety led me to contact the new momma owner to enquire about their bonding…was she as happy on Sunday as on Friday? I told her my alpha male had anxiety issues.

She just left our place, with Chachi, after spending over an hour here. He had been to Pet Smart and on several 30 minute runs. He has learned to sit on command. He was a calm pup truly enamored with his elevated status and his new mom.

Our lives were touched by this wild dog. He fed on the anxiety in our home . He is thriving in his new environment. He lives next door to a park. 

I loved him dearly. 

I loved him enough to let him go.

©Nancilynn Saylor 09 July 2017

Things about my son, Steve

The day he was born it was 113
He was born in Abilene Texas

He was a breach baby who was delivered by forceps before he could flip back to breach position

His hair was red.when he was born but turned blonde later

He was awake more than asleep as a baby

He wanted attention all of the time 

To get anything done I put a huge mirror beside his crib and a transistor radio in his crib

He preferred Rock music 🎶 

He had a great appetite 

He was so chubby he had trouble walking and my back hurt from carrying him

He started running as soon as he could walk

He weighed 30 pounds at his 6 months checkup 

He hated shots 

He would not eat mushrooms or onions

He had a wonderful laugh

He was very stubborn

His favorite toys as a child were guns 

He started smoking at age 14

He liked to be outdoors

His favorite birds were Cardinals

He had a knack of untangling things: necklaces, Christmas lights and 100foot extension cords

He loved to barbecue 

He loved swimming and jumping off rocks into lakes

(Or off rope swings into rivers!)

He was terrified of the swimming pool until age 6

It was hard for him to learn to tie his shoes

He had an imaginary friend when he was 3 & 1/2 -her name was Mercedes

He cried at the end of Bonnie and Clyde movie

His kindergarten teacher said he had ADHD

He had dysgraphia as a child and had therapy for a year

He had difficulty writing and spelled poorly

He scored very high on scholastic aptitude tests

He had difficulty following rules

He did not like authority

He said he learned best from his mistakes

He climbed into tree when he was 4 and hung himself with a rope he found there while playing cowboys

He had a short temper

He was an extrovert 

He loved his friends and family

He loved to read! Dune, Tolkien, and Harry Potter and always had book handy

His favorite movie was Dune

He always was a “people magnet”

He could make anyone laugh

He liked to cook

He had an AK 47 on the back of his kitchen door

He loved all animals and always had pets

He did not like hunting 

He loved to go fishing

He loved Drama in high school

He was not good in mathematics 

I tought him the multiplication tables when he struggled with new math

He had a great singing voice 

He was extremely patriotic 

He liked to smoke pot

He loved motorcycles

He liked to take a nap on my bed even as an adult

He liked dragons and unicorns

He loved red meat and beer

He said he was going to get “back- in- shape” when he turned 36-eat more salads and drink less beer

He was a loyal friend

He loved deeply

He was quite opinionated 

He was very sensitive

He loved Native American art

He liked heavy metal bands

(but also John Denver)

His room was usually very tidy

He loved watching clouds

His nickname in the army was Psycho

He wore his hair long most of his life 

He died from Sudden Cardiac Arrest at age 35

Today would have been his 49th birthday  

Happy birthday in Heaven, Steve!

©Nancilynn Saylor

  30 June 2017

Those I remembered on Memorial Day 

On this most recent Memorial Day weekend i spent sometime reflecting on the soldiers In my life. My maternal grandfather was a horse soldier in WW1; i have a photocopy of his draft notice snd a picture of him in uniform on a horse.

My father was in the Navy, the Army Air Corp and later the United States Air Force. He flew in planes in the Navy during WW11. He served during the Korean  conflict and Viet Nam war. He was in the military his entire working career.  

My uncle’s, cousins, brother, two husbands and my oldest son also served, as well as a niece. They all felt a call yo serve. 

A strong thread of patriotism is woven through the fabric of my life. 

No one in my immediate family died in war. My mother’s first fiance died in the second world war. A dear high school friend paid with his life in Viet Nam; another friend was one of the countless victims who returned as mere shells of the young men who left. Their minds forever scarred.  

When my father was in the last year of life the Navy awarded.him some medals 70 years after he earned them. All of his five children attended the extremely moving ceremony…he hated being in the spotlight but endured the event for us kids. Less than a year he was gone;  buried in the military cemetery at Fort Sam Houston. His was not the only funeral I attended in that place filled with a seemingly unending ocean of white tombstones. I suspect it will not be the last. The sound of Taps played on  bugle on a gray December after a twenty one gun salute will forever be etched on my heart. 

This  year I needed my flag hung early. Saturday we hung it over our front porch. The next morning at Mass, there was an elderly man alone, a few rows in front of me. He had a colorful shirt on , on a grey, rainy Sunday. I was startled to notice the naval planes and ships on the shirt on the word  “Midway” in red lettering. I left my seat when it was time to offer each other the sign of peace and walked up to where he was standing and touched his arm. He turned as I said “Peace be with you.” That ever present thread of patriotism  will always tie me to the military. I looked in his  aged eyes and saw another American hero.

Peace be with them all, now and forever.

©Nancilynn Saylor.                                      June 6, 2017

Wish you were here…

I awakened  after a night of restless dreams to a sweet text message from one of my late son Steve’s high school friends. He always adored Jo and they participated in theater arts together…he truly loved her for her beautiful heart.

I have a some sweet special friendships with many of his friends from high school and am happy to report that it is a positive result from FaceBook. Social media can have some positive benefits . 

My sons had a wild and wacky relationship growing up. They often fought like siblings can do, but would defend each other like knights, against the dragons of the outside world! 

I miss my oldest boy and know his brother, Mike, does too! 

So thank you, dear “JoJo” Daly-Di Nova, for this morning surprise picture from your ten year reunion. Love those beautiful smiles!

© Nancilynn Saylor                                         16 February 2017

The Final Frontier 

It  was 1957 and our whole family was crowded into our parents bedroom. We all crouched on the floor in front of the window, craning our necks as we searched the clear, dark winter night sky.Soon we saw it. It was a small fuzzy ball of light moving across the horizon- Sputnik, the recently launched Russian satellite,  in low elliptical orbit over Earth. My fascination with space was forever kindled in that cold viewing spot with my family in Alaska. I was nine years old. I would try to always catch as many launches of rockets, satellites and space capsules going forward in life on this planet with a keen passion for what was ” out there” beyond the confines of Earth.🌏

Eleven years later I stood watching the night sky on my birthday…running inside  to watch on television as Neil Armstrong stepped down on the surface of the Moon. Life would never be the same afterwards!

Some launches came before dawn and I would set my alarm to get up very early…missing sleep was no comparison to the excitement of a launch. There were many launches-not all as exciting but always breathtaking as the controller said “we have lift-off.”

Thirty one years ago today, I was in between patients at the clinic I worked in. Staff and patients alike hovered around the television as we watched the Spaceship Challenger launch. The communal gasp 31 seconds later when it exploded in the clear blue Florida morning sky will be forever ingrained in my memory. I am not sure how we worked the rest of the day with the grief so fresh, so raw. The lump in my throat and tears returned today as they showed film clips on the news.

As the evening news was about to sign off tonight, the meteorologist said the International Space Station was flying over Austin in about 3 minutes. In the chilly twilight sky we watched as it flew swiftly over our house and out of sight. It seemed a fitting close to a day etched with memories of space that will last a lifetime. Rest In Peace, space pioneers.

©Nancilynn Saylor, January 2017
Shuttle launch courtesy of NASA

stock photo of Atlantis 2011 launch

Weekend winding down

Today there were highs and lowsI went to see a high school musical this afternoon. My eldest son Steve was a theatre arts person in school and was very good at it. We spent lots of time over four years watching as the students learned their craft and bloomed on stage. Today, one of his classmate’s daughter was in the play-Morgan, a freshman, was wonderful in her role. I thought a lot about my departed son during the intermission. 

After the play, I hurried home to watch my team in the football 🏈 

playoffs. I had prepared homemade enchiladas for supper and Romeo had them in the oven when I arrived home. 

Now, it is nearing bedtime. The dinner was wonderful, the football game-not so much. My team lost. 

Go Pittsburgh! Next year will be another year for you!

I hope everyone has had a great and relaxing weekend. I’ll be back again tomorrow!
©Nancilynn Saylor, January 2017