Life Is One Long, Long Sentence

With nary a period . . .

Life is one long, long sentence, and I am not speaking in prison terms, but a sentence that is used in speaking or writing. And to me. the beginning of My Sentence started with The Big Bang, whatever that was, and continues on.

There are no Periods in this Sentence.  Not a one.  There are thousands of commas, semi-colons, dashes, exclamation points,  pauses, and all else, but not a one Period.  No end to this Sentence we experience.

Birth, as when I slipped from an unknown Room into this Room where I dwell as Ethel Ohlin Bradford,  was not the beginning of my Sentence, but prefaced, perhaps by  a Comma, or Dash,  a Semi-colon.  Who knows?

And when what we call Death arrives, it will only be the end of the body I’ve used these long, wonderful years, and that part of me that never dies will just  slip quietly (joyously?) on into the next Room.  There will be no Period, maybe an Colon?  Exclamation Point?  I don’t know, but certainly not a Period.

I know, well, not first hand, but many times my husband told me of when as an 18 year old, he became ill with pneumonia  and died.  This was before the Wonder Drugs has been formulated, and he was deathly ill.  So sick, so tired, and lay a bed in the upper west bedroom of the Bradford home, and for days there had been a Registered Nurse by his side.

Oddly, my older sister, Amber Ohlin Bodine, then worked at Thornton-Anderson Drug Store at the northwest corner of State Street and 4800 South, and where it was easy to hear any doctor’s conversation with the Pharmacist, and she came home one night, and at the dinner table told that the ‘Bradford’ boy would not live through the night. I did not know ‘the  Bradford boy’ or certainly not that he would one day be my husband.  But I remember her words.  Life is odd.

But my husband much later on, told me that ‘suddenly’ there was Light.  A soft. wonderful Light, and with it, all feeling of sickness and weariness were gone. Forgotten.  He was himself  again, with not even a memory of sickness, for suddenly he was joyous, happy, running free, and   overwhelmed with surprise and joy. Joy, he repeated, what Joy!  The Light enclosed and  permeated his every cell.  Said he had never felt such utter happiness than what was his.

But then there was someone, something(?) wrestling with him, trying to pull him away from that Light.  He fought back, but the one he wrestled with was strong, and then he was shocked(?)  and taken further out of the Light, by a sudden sharp bitter taste in his mouth (what mouth(?), and he found the wrestler and the horrible taste, had taken him out of the Light and he was back in a his bedroom, his bed, his sick body, tired, weak, and unhappy.  And the ‘unwelcome’ Nurse was gripping him.

He said, “My first thought was that it had been a struggle between me and another force, and that force had won the match. I was the loser.”

How marvelous that Next Room must be when an 18 year old would fight to remain There  rather than here.  For the rest of his life, he remembered that Next Room, the Room of Light that he had been a part of, and then been ‘pulled’ back from it.

He later found that the nurse had poured a spoonful of whisky(?) or some alcoholic stimulant between his lips and the glorious wonder that had been his only a moment before, was gone.  And he repeated, “She won.”

So, with his story, my own experiences, and having the blessing of Classes with Dr. Arya, I found that for me, there is no end to this Sentence that I am living right now.

I’ve had flashbacks (we all do) of happenings (dreams?) that were ‘me’,  but in another body that were of different nationalities, cultures, and ages.  Sometimes I was male, sometimes Female.  And many different roles, such as  Kind, unkind.  Pure, sinful. Wealthy, poor. Ruler, serf.  Warrior, farmer.  Sailor, store clerk. I’ve ‘clicked’ into many, and they were all Me.  No, not the ‘Ethel’ me, but the Inner Me, we all have.            

Joel Goldsmith, penned a wonderful book entitled “A Parentheses in Eternity” and his words made me more certain that my ‘flashback memories’ were valid, and that this life really is a parentheses in Eternity. 

When we are in bodies, as right now, we are wearing Blinders.  We can not see (except in wonderful moments) what we were ‘before’, or what we will be later on.  And it’s the answer of when we meet some ‘stranger’ and know that we know each other.  The answer to so many unanswerables

And, my idea, not Goldsmith’s, or Arya’s or any other spiritual book or Teacher,  but Einstein, the supreme Physicist of our time, told the same in his writings, using words I had to read and re-read to understand, but according to him, along with my Teachers, that when I have learned enough, become wise enough (who knows what the requirements are?) but  we will experience the reverse of The Big Bang, and become again One with The Source of All.

I write of my experiences, and today of my husband’s, telling of how  our lives are  one long, long sentence, with many punctuations marks, but nary a Period.  Even the event  I wrote of in the last paragraph, will not be the End, but a most  wonderful continuation. 



New Flannel Sheets

And memo to Sylvia . . .

This past month  was the coldest January we’ve had in decades, and so was an ideal time for me to start using new Flannel Sheets.  Well, I guess as an infant my mother tucked them around me, but who was I to appreciate anything back then except clean clothes and a full tummy?

It was my niece Sylvia who casually mentioned that she and her husband sleep twixt flannel all year long, and in answer to my surprised eyes, explained, that “If we lived in Utah, I’d go for the cotton “cold” sheets in the summer, but here in the Puget Sound area, we seldom break 90 degrees, and with the nights in the 60s, a flannel sheet is the perfect blanket. Cool fluff in the summer and nary a cold corner in the winter.”    

And I, who considers a heating pad to be a standard equipment for all beds, no matter what the season, perked up my ears, tucked the idea in a  handy mind-corner, and in a week or two, when I saw sheets on sale at a local mart, I halted and without missing a breath, asked if they had Flannel ones.

“Why, of course”, was the answer, and in a trice I was facing a shelf of Twin size sets for $15.99 and  $22.95. Now I’m not one to walk past a bargain, and  even though the patterns weren’t what would have been my first choice, I figured, what the heck, that’s why they’re on sale.

And for the difference of only $7.00, decided to go first class, bought a $22.95 bundle, was off for home, and almost before taking off my coat, had my bed stripped, the package opened and was re-making my bed, with  that soft, fluffy stuff.  Absolutely heaven on earth, and was already planning on an early bedtime hour to test them out.  And going further, saw myself with a book, a dinner tray and music in the background.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

The fluffiness made the sheets seem bulky, but I soon found the  bottom, ‘fitted’ sheet and saw it was different than the usual ‘four corner’ fitted ones I use, for this one had just one big ‘rubber band’,  like a 1/4 inch rope, that was in a casing that went around the entire four sides.  Like a big cap.  That’s  nice, I said and pulled the sheet from side to side until the mattress was encased and that circle of elastic, on the under side,  kept it tightly fitted. Not bad at all. 

Then I reached for the top sheet, and found it really was large.  Too large.  Too wide.  Too long, and belatedly knew that I’d bought sheets for a larger bed. Way off from what I needed.

But I wasn’t to be beaten, and was soon pulling that huge sheet far to one side and began tucking it in, and in, and in, and in, until I had the right amount of overhang on the one side, and the other??? Well, there was over  a yard of tuckage on that  side, and the same at the foot of the bed.  But out of sight, out of mind and as long as that great big rubber band kept the under sheet where it belonged, I could manage the top, and all was well.

And there’s a good side to it, too, for now making the bed each a.m. is a ‘piece of cake’.  The sheets on the ‘that’ side are so well anchored they can’t  budge, and the other is just right.  And all that’s beside the point. I love them.  No more cold spots, and surprise of all, although I keep it handy, there is no more need for the Heating Pad.  Everywhere is that soft, welcoming warmth.

And so,  if you think  the comforting fluffiness of Flannel is for infants only, think again. You’ll have no regrets,  but, glory be,  take  more time than I did, and get the right size.  I can anchor that top sheet, but must admit that only that tight ‘rubber band’ on the lower sheet, saved my life.  There’s an old saying that God takes care of drunks and fools, and I’m not a drunk, ergo, you know what I must be. 

So Sylvia, lots of love and thanks are speeding to you, straight  from Ur Ant Ethel.

Pretzels, Pretzels, Pretzels

If you’ve ever eaten home-made pretzels, you’ll never again want to eat those which ‘come in a bag’.

     While today we think of pretzels to be eaten while drinking beer or maybe with soup, the original pretzel was made, surprise, surprise, surprise, in a monastery where no beer or wine was allowed. So they must be good with soup.
     The chef in charge of baking, was busy making their unleavened Lenten bread, and, like all cooks, ended up with some small strips of left over dough.  Hating to toss them out, he crossed two thin strips of the dough on a floured board, and then twisted and shaped them until they looked like arms crossed in prayer.
     The custom then was for a person in prayer, to cross his chest and rest his hands on his shoulders.  The ‘praying arms’ were an instant success, not only at the monastery, but with the children of the area who were given them as a reward for learning their prayers. And soon home to their parents and eventually to the local market where you and I can buy them. But try these first.
     Pretzels kept their religious symbology as they spread through Europe and the three holes came to represent the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  They even found their way into the coffins of the dead during the fifth, sixth and seventh centuries.
     Soon the pretzel was even copied in stained glass windows, representing the marriage knot and ‘wishing upon a pretzel’ became a common marriage custom.  From then on, the story of pretzels grew.  They came to the New World and then…as we Americans are wont to do, the religious symbology was cast aside and they found their way to the beer houses.  Today we eat them everywhere and with everything.

1 ¼ cups warm water.
1 scant tbsp active dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
3 to 4 cups flour
1 ½ tsps salt
2 tbsp oil
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp milk, for glaze
Toppings:  coarse salt; poppy, sesame or caraway seeds

     Place ¼ cup of the water in a bowl and stir in yeast and sugar until dissolved.   Let stand until bubbly, about 5 to 10 minutes.
     Combine 3 ½ cups flour and salt.  Add remaining water, oil and yeast mixture. Stir.  On a lightly floured board, knead until smooth and elastic, adding flour if necessary to prevent sticking.
     Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly grease 2 heavy baking sheets with shortening of some sort.

     Divide dough into 24 pieces and roll each into a thin strip about 10 inches long.  Shape into pretezels by crossing the ends to make a loop, then flipping the ends back across the loop.  You’ll see how to do it in a second, but be sure to give the ends a light pinch so that they don’t flip open when baking.
     Place on the prepared baking sheets.  For chewy pretzels, cover loosely with a towel and let them rest in a warm place until puffy. (about 15 minutes).  For crunchier pretzels, bake them immediately, not letting them rise.
     Either way, however, when ready for the oven lightly brush the egg-milk glaze over them and sprinkle each with a pinch of salt or seeds.  Bake until lightly colored (about 15 to 20 minutes).  Makes about 24 pretzels.
     Books could and have been written about the history of pretzels, and I could fill this space for the next six months, but enough’s enough.  Just remember, some long ago monk made the first one and were the Monk’s treats for ‘good boys and girls’, right there at the monastery.  Little did he know, little could he have guessed they’d end up in homes in a land he never knew or even heard of.