Ethel continues her rehab time and looks forward to writing again.  Soon we hope she will be hitting the keys of the computer, and we can get more of her fresh (99 years of experience) stories and wisdom.  In the mean time . . .

Some of Ethel’s helpers have had to learn a few things, very important things, like how to make a proper Woffee.  We are all particular about certain things, and Ethel likes her Woffee.  Here is her take on the stuff.

One of these days some smart cookie is going to open a Woffee House and it’ll be a popular place.  I, in fact, will reserve my own personal table, and as I look around, I doubt if I’ll be the only one choosing it as first choice.

And if you aren’t aware of what Woffee is…well, you just don’t know Ethel Bradford very well.  See, Woffee is one of my most favorite drinks.

The whole thing started several years ago when my boss, Jim Cornwell, came upon the fact that I like coffee, yes, but to me it’s a mixed drink.  Half a cuppa coffee and half a cuppa water.  Jim’s the one who named my watered-down brew, Woffee.

So it went.  Day after day Ethel drank her Woffee, and, although my coffee has long been Sanka or one of its decaffeinated counterparts, it still comes to me as half and half.  Woffee.

But, little by little the idea took hold and then, one day I chuckled, for, as I walked through the shop I heard Nedra, one of the neat gals I work with, call out to another gal, “Hey, while you’re going that way, will you  bring me back a cuppa Woffee?”

And everyone knew exactly what Nedra wanted, and with no one even batting an eyebrow, she got her Woffee.

My friends have long known of my Woffee habit and simply think it one more of my oddities.  But now I find Jim’s name for my morning drink is getting around.

It’s like this.  I drop into a certain Coffee Shop quite often in the early a.m., and while there getting my breakfast, I also get my usual half-a-cup-of coffee and half-a-cup-of water.  The most agreeable clerks are more than willing to get the water for me.  Quick to oblige.

Doesn’t take long before they know exactly what I want to go with whatever else I order, and matter of factly bring me a cuppa plain ole Woffee.  Well, the other day I buzzed into the familiar place, wended my way quickly back to the always-filled coffee pot, and. before I could even begin to serve myself, the gal greeted me with “You want a large cuppa Woffee, don’t you?”  And I saw that she was already fixing it for me.

And, yes. I laughed and answered, “A large cup will be fine.”

See how a good thing gets around?  So, if you’re in some fancy restaurant and hear someone order Woffee, don’t be surprised and don’t put the blame…or credit…on me.

I only drink the stuff…Jim Cornwell is the one who named it.  Woffee, wanna join me in a cup?

Routines Can Be A Life Saver

Ethel continues to gain in health and is able to walk about and have some regular food.  There is a road ahead to recovery, but we are hopeful she will be able to live at home again soon.  But as life goes, we never know.  What will be, will be and we shall accept.

Also I am hoping she will be able to take some phone calls and email soon, will keep you posted.  Ethel thanks you for the wonderful thoughts and love.

Here is one of her blogs we have had “on file.”  During this health crisis, Ethel has often been asked how she managed to live to be 99 and take care of herself in her own house.  I think having a routine, a schedule, a way to remember all that needs doing each day is one of the keys, so here is her Routines Can Be A Life Saver.

We all hate schedules, and yet, dang it, everyone, no matter how young or not-so-young. has a routine for their days.

To begin with, a newborn infant immediately has a schedule of food, sleep and bath, and which during all of childhood gently but constantly changes, and before long, schooling arrives, then jobs begin, and before we know it, adult Life itself sets in and we have become so ‘routined’ that we ask, “When will I ever get a little Free Time?”

But, unconsciously we like it, for after the freedom of a day or week’s vacation, we snuggle back into our routine with a comfy ‘home again’ feeling. And so it goes, until e-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y Retirement, enters our mind, and when it actually becomes real, after the first month or so of ‘no routine’, we not only miss, but need having something to do with our days.

The smart ones see this coming and begin exploring hobbies that, long ago, had been set aside for lack of time. Or we recall some skill we always wanted to learn, such as wood work, a new language, plumbing, farming, writing. We all have long-buried ‘itches’ and finally know that retirement is when they can blossom. At last we have the time to do what we want, not must do. Nice.

I once took some Buddhist classes and found those old Zen Teachers were wise, wise, wise. Their thoughts are from a thousand or more years ago, but they knew about human nature, and that life was life wherever   or whenever lived. Among much else, those classes told me of the absolute necessity of a daily routine to use, and to revise as changes come. And, we were reassured, changes will come.

It was stressed to keep it simple, for our days can’t be, or should never be, ‘carbon-copies’ . Can’t be, because, the phone rings and right then, our day can change, or unexpected company comes, an illness or accident happens, you get a headache, and so on, But, the need of a pattern for our days, was still stressed, for like it or not, that’s how life is. Always changing, and after the shock of small, large, joyous or heartbreaking ones, we adjust, flow with life and this adjustment happens mainly because we have a firm foundation, our routine to fall back upon.

So, the good Teachers advised a written Routine, and mine fits nicely on one side of a type sheet, kept in my computer where it’s easily up-dated, and so can print out a few when needed. I then keep them in a loose-leaf where I can make notes for coming days, and refer to what went on a week or two ago if wanted.

On one side of the sheet I have a list of what I plan to put into this ‘machine I call Ethel’, to keep it ready and fit to accomplish what I plan to do with it. This list includes all Medications, plus Vitamins and such, And if I can get those Vitamins from Food or a Capsule, matters not, Just Get Them into my Machine. And this means keeping track of my cups of water, too

And inasmuch as each item, when done, is crossed OFF, there’s no more wondering if I did or didn’t take that pill. It’s there on the sheet.

On the To-Do side, I list my Meditation, or prayer time, plus exercise, tidying the house from yesterday’s leftovers, making phone calls or email that’s needed. Appointments made, walking forward AND backwards, shopping trips needed, etc., bathing, proper care of the body, taking care of daily garbage, my meals, massage and so on.

These lists use about half of the sheet but they will vary as time goes on, but include my writing, which is to me is both my work and joy. And I tell myself how much time is spent with that writing and what it is about. I keep track of what and when I eat, and if I might feel unwell, I can look back to see if it was something I ate, or didn’t eat.

I include walking, forward and backward (no fooling, keep that skill, for it helps keep your balance in good condition)  Yes, and the care of toe and fingernails. Be as picky as you choose, and if some of the actions are   on a weekly or daily schedule, still put them down anyway.

Keep your daily sheet where you see it often during the day , and it will not only be a reminder to you to walk, exercise, or meditate, because, if I feel lost, or moody, I turn to my daily routine and see what I might not have done for that day, and right then and there I go and do it, But any way, it’s either writing or meditation I turn to, . but choose your own, and you’ll find your mood will change. Just like that. The technique wouldn’t have lasted through the ages if it didn’t work, and speedily, too. Sure worth a try.

Going Home

Some of Ethel’s readers may know she recently suffered a health set back and has been hospitalized.  We thought we lost her at one point but Ethel is a tough lady and is now resting and in rehab, but she won’t be doing too much writing for a while.  Her mind is alert as ever and she is a study in how to handle life’s bumps in the road. We expect her to be around for a while.  I will post updates here about her, and if you want to leave a note for Ethel please do it below this post, or email to me bill@k7ea.com

Thanks to all and in the mean time . . .  Here is one of Ethel’s recent writings.

Everyone wants to go home. The infant, far too young to know anything about home, is still aware that in a certain room and in a certain crib, he relaxes and sleeps better. The school boy, visibly glad to be home, tosses his books aside, reaches for the milk and cookies and tells his mother of his day.

Or the sick, weary in body and soul, se resolutely maintain that “I am sick, and I may even die, but if such must be, please let it happen in my own home and bed”.

And each of us knew exactly what Jacqueline Kennedy meant, when knowing her days were numbered, asked to be taken home, and John, her young son, did so and, only days later, she died in her own room, surrounded by her books, music, pictures and people she knew and loved. Ah yes, and it’s a sorrow that her son, John, couldn’t have had the same for himself, rather than a plane crash in the cold Atlantic.

Every bride and groom rightfully glory in their own home, but , (remember?)   it’s a long, time before there’s no mix-up when one of them says, “Let’s go home for Sunday dinner.” Whose home? Her childhood home? His parent’s home? Their home?

In fact it’s not until children come along that the difference is clear, and even then, it’s a compromise, for then is when their old childhood homes become known, not as theirs, but as Grandparent’s homes. Yeah, you’ve seen these changes in your life, too.

And a definite feeling of ownership remains long after we’ve moved. We wouldn’t ever want to live there again, but we see where others have cut down a tree we planted, have done some repainting, or even some remodeling, and, as we pass by, can’t help but stare, and become, for the moment, the ‘one’ who once called that place home. And we wonder, that if the new owners change the outside, just what have they done to . . . oh, the kitchen, living room, or if that favorite spot by the fireplace is still there.. Yeah, we chose to no longer live there, but, ln a certain part of our heart, that place will remain forever, ‘home’ .

And though it’s been decades since I lived as a member of the Ohlin family, at the NW corner of 7th East and 4500 South, in the Salt Lake valley and no matter how high the apartment buildings now rise there, to me, as I pass, I see old irrigation ditches, barns, Dad’s cornfields, and the sheds for coal, animals, and even Grandma’s small home. Yeah, it was and remains , Ethel’s basic Human Life home.

We look forward to vacations, but when the trip is over, and our eyes turn homeward, some bit of tension deep within us (tension we weren’t even aware of) relaxes and the closer we get to home, the more at ease we become. And , if driving, once we start on our way, the milestones come thick and fast. First we see the mountains rising out of the flatlands of the Midwest, , then we reach the State Line, and before we know it, there’s the county line, the skyline of the city we know so well. Then every bit of the scenery is known and then . . . . then home. Yeah, and no matter how we joyously planned the vacation, we inwardly rejoice, for finally we want to be home again. Home, home, home at last.

And if you’re like me, for some reason I must then check each room to convince myself that I’m really home and everything is still all in the right places, too.

Yes, ah yes, there’s something within the heart of each of us that craves the security of home. And though at times, each of us wishes for the money and time to travel whenever and wherever we please . . . we know that those who do nothing but skim the world, and have no place they have as a base, . . . are the ones to be pitied, not envied.

The   ailing want to go home and it’s a proven fact that we do recuperate faster at ‘home’. And when death comes   it comes with greater peace and dignity when met in the person’s own home, surrounded by his own possessions, in rooms he has lived, worked, and loved in.

Yes, we go home for holidays. Home to see Mom and Dad. Home to visit friends and home to have the new babies blessed in the old family church, with familiar people in charge.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if our deep yearning for home will only be satisfied when the trials and joys of life are over and Our Father calls us to our Real Home.

Only there, me thinks, will that ever-constant yearning for ‘home’ be satisfied for only when we become One with the Source of All, will we find peace and contentment.   Home, our Real Home. Our Final Home, God’s Home..

Our Inner Flame

No matter what your life is, or where and how you are living it, you can look back and find people whose impact helped form the person and life that is now ‘yours’.

Away back I remember Elizaberh Harding, English Grammar teacher at Granite Jr. High. We groaned when we found we were assigned to her class and I’m sure she did her best to teach us all we could understand or were ready for, but unbeknownst to her (or me) she gave me far more than the language rules.

See, there was one long ago afternoon and I can still see that drab room, smelling of chalk dust, with its four tiers of seats, and the exact place where I sat.

Miss Harding, for some reason, was reciting ‘Columbus’, Juaquin Miller’s poem, “Sail on, Sail on, Sail on and on”, and suddenly she was no longer a boring school teacher, but was ‘alive’ and in those moments, it surprised and comforted me to find there are deep hidden fires within adults as well as within such as I knew were within me.

And her Fires touched me that day, for I still see and recall, her passionate words spoken as she strode back and forth, “Even when all hope is gone . . . Sail on, Sail on, Sail on and on”. And, thanks Miss Harding, those words still live within me, and I wonder if she could even guess that she changed at least one life that day.

Then there was Gram. Of course there was Gram, and though in name, my mother in law, she became infinitely more. She, as we all do, had reasons ro be sad and bitter, but she was neither. and in her way, taught me how to keep a calm dignified attitude under all or any circumstance.

In the days of her final illness, Gram quietly spoke of how difficult it is to be aware of finding yourself slowly lose control of one’s mental, emotional and physical selves. Yes, in so many ways she taught me how to live, and with her death, she showed me how to die.

Of course, we all are changed by our own offspring, I have ruefully found mine were/are Teachers, but we, as parents, are so accustomed to being in control of all changes, that it’s a surprise (shock?) to find, that, as they have matured, they, have acquired wisdom that did not come from us. And, if we can be humble enough, in a most unexpected, turnabout way, we learn from them. TYG, TYG and TYG.

And then, Dr. Arya. a man, who was born in Bengal, India, chose to spend his life teaching, with his headquarters in the U.S.A., and I found his classes. He not only changed how I spent my days, but blessedly also gave form and meaning to my Inner Life And for years, his letters, coming from strange places around the globe, brought joy and light to me and I read them over and over before tucking it into my treasure box.

And then, and I hesitate to mention it, but I spent several hours a week for several years, in the Men’s Medium Security Section at the Point of the Mountain,  es, the State Prison and those men brought many surprises to me.

When first asked ro teach there, I was hesitant, but decided to ‘give it try, that I might be able to do some good.’ And I shiver now, in disgust to recognize that kind of thinking was from Ethel’s great, big overgrown ego. For the truth is, that I found a lot of caring wisdom and understanding within those walls. And it was a rude, but badly needed, awakening of my pride, arrogance and judgmental mind, to find that, yes, I talked to them, but also gave them time to talk to me, and I could listen to their thoughts and actions. And it was good, for while in our give-and-take of ideas, I hoped they learned from me, for I found, to my surprise, I learned from them.

It’s there I truly found that there is no “you . . me . . these . . . those . . . or that kind of people’. But that we’re all just people. God’s people. People trying our best to cope with the different, often difficult and sometimes horrible experiences that come to us.

Like all of us, there have been many more who have changed me, but this small space can’t contain them all. And so, to Miss Harding, Gram, the author, Pearl Buck, my offspring, Dr. Arya , the men at the Point . . . and AW. . . . I deeply and humbly say thank you.