“Show me your friends, and I’ll know what you are!” ~ Grandma Puffer
I remember hearing my dear Grandma Puffer telling me that, and I always believed her. I can’t say for sure, but I’ll bet that she never told a lie. And her daughter, who was my dear Ma, had lots of sayings, too. And although I can’t say for sure, I’d bet my life that she never told a lie, either. Regrettably, I’ve said a few lies in my life but none on any of these pages!
But this story isn’t about lies or deception.
Someone, other than Grandma Puffer or my Ma, made up the saying “sticks and stones, may break your bones, but words can never hurt you!”
Over the years, I’ve broken my arm, collarbone, and leg and remember wearing a cast or sling for an extended period but I can’t remember the pain. The last bone I broke was my leg, and that was when I was in Grade 8. And although I’m sure it hurt when it happened, I didn’t cry because I didn’t want my buddies to laugh at me. But broken bones didn’t make me stop playing football or climbing trees – I just learned to be more careful.
But ‘words’ can hurt you, and the pain can be much worse and last longer than the pain from a broken bone. Don Henley, of Eagles fame, expressed it best, in a song by the following verse – “sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can break your heart!”
Recently, I was asked by a friend why I wrote stories. I started to explain but stopped when I realized he wasn’t listening to me. I shrugged and wondered if he’d ask me again – but he didn’t.
But I don’t consider myself a writer – any more than I think myself a senior. The writing began when I was diagnosed with stage 3 throat cancer and given only a 40% chance of surviving. I never told my family because I didn’t want my Ma to know – the news would’ve killed her. Besides, there was nothing she could do for me, except maybe give me a hug and some loving words of support.
So, my writing began at the same time my radiation and chemotherapy treatments ended in December 2009. It started as a long letter to my family and friends, but I never mailed it – because there was so much I wanted to say…
Say it, forget it; write it, regret it!
So, I decided that I would never write about politics or religion – or anything contentious, despite the current state of the world. I wanted to amuse my readers, rather than to cause additional stress in their lives – so I decided to write about my memories – current and past. Funny, but I can remember things from fifty years ago, better than where I left my car keys last night!
There was one other reason for writing stories about my life’s experiences. I have always hated the thought of being buried in the ground with a tombstone marker that gives my name, date of birth, and time of death. I want my ashes spread on land and sea.
My stories are my tombstone – and hopefully, in a hundred years, someone will come across these stories, and that will be the same as a tombstone in some forgotten cemetery.
Hope you find them interesting.
Today’s tune (from Danny’s library of purchased music):