Village Times November 2022


Independence Village of Olde Raleigh Resident Newsletter


Finding Family Peace – By Phyllis Woolley  

As each day passes, and age overcomes my mind and body, questions arise each day that cause me to wonder have I done enough?

My most important role in life has been as a mother, a mom, and a grandmother. I know in my heart of hearts that I have done the best I could at the time. Every decision I have made in being a parent has been pure of heart, with certainty that it was the correct decision. Was it always? Probably not in many situations. But for those situations where I chose the right path, I celebrate with a special kind of peace. I have asked forgiveness for my wrongdoings and I have forgiven myself. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And just for the record, Dr Spock was wrong about a few things too!

As my children have become adults and have their own families, the most difficult thing to accept is that they don’t need me anymore. I know they love me and want me to have everything I need plus most of what I want. They are attentive and tell me they love me every time I speak with one of them or see them.  I also know I am one of the most blessed parents on earth. Am I bragging? Yeah. Not for what I did, but for whom each of them has become.

It’s no longer my business what they buy, whom they love, where they go or what they do. That’s hard to accept. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about those things; it just means I understand my place in their lives. And just like everything else I do; I have some success and some failures. But without both success and failure, you learn nothing.

I suppose that my purpose for telling you all this is because every day I talk to someone who is either at odds with one or more of their children or family, or to someone who is beating themselves up for mistakes they might have made in the past. The most miserable soul is the person who believes they did nothing wrong and can’t say and mean a simple

“I’m sorry”.

So if your children or family doesn’t come see you or keep in touch, and you long for a relationship with them, ask yourself this question. Is there a possibility that I am the one in the wrong?  Your honest answer might hurt a little, and if you think you did nothing wrong, apologize anyway.

Don’t waste another minute of your life angry with someone you love.  This also applies to your higher power. If you are angry with your God, apologize. The new relationship you build can bring the joy and peace of your lifetime. The end of our journey doesn’t have to be filled with anger and self-pity. We are retired from the hard work most of us did to get here. We are not retired from life.

Another Fishing Story – by Richard Smalto                                          

Out on the open water, in the Atlantic, using strengthened lines prepared the night before, we found our fish. The first to hook and fight our finned foe, twenty minutes later I reluctantly gave up my struggle to my brother who proceeded to land the large fish on the boat. While we were attending to our catch my brother’s wife, toiling with my idle rod and reel, cast the used line over the side of the boat and hooked another large fish. This fish was huge. The fight was ferocious. My brother’s wife withdrew; he engaged. Scrambling to recover loss of the terminal tackle, working the reel of the rod, the huge fish broke the spent line and went free.

Flowers – by Pat Simpson

(On Veteran’s Day please thank them for their service, to me and to you.)

These flowers were planted only yesterday 

underneath the trees, 

in the fields, 

by the ponds

marked off by stones.

“Look,” you say, “somebody wrote on the stones.  What did they write?”

I answered, “On the first stone is a quote from the Bible: Then Jesus said, come unto me, all of ye who are weary and heavily laden. and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).”

“What does the other stone say?”

“It’s a poem,” I answered:

Precious Lord, take my hand

Lead me on, let me stand

I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m lone

Through the storm, through the night

Lead me on to the light

Take my hand precious Lord, 

lead me home.’

“It was written by Thomas A. Dorsey,” I said, “a blues singer whose wife died in childbirth, then 24 hours later, their son.”

“Then,” you say, “Why so many flowers?” 

“The flowers? One for each child that fought in a war…each one somebody’s son – never to be forgotten. More flowers for veterans still alive who have no real life, who cannot have a moment of joy – injured forever by war they never anticipated or knew would be theirs.

Over the Hill – by Frank Howes

 Most people today would consider me to be “over the hill.” Not the people I live with – they average at least 80 years old. I am a youngster at 67 – but people outside the retirement complex where I live would consider me a senior citizen. And they are right, for I have seen the once-bright sun pass the crimson stage of its setting. Adieu. My day is fading, and I now live in a long Indian-summer gloaming. Dark, velvet night is coming fast, and my day will soon be swallowed up by the beautiful pinpoint lights of other children’s spark-like morning stars. I am happy. I don’t mourn other’s morning. It is their time now, and it is only now, as I approach the end of my days, that I am old enough to appreciate the beauty of even this stage of life. 

It’s time to turn and look back, to reflect on the mountain I climbed to get down into this lovely valley of surcease. I can finally appreciate the beauty of my mountain. My mountain is like a lovely cherished woman – I had to wait until she walked away for the last time to really appreciate the beauty of her back side. God, my woman and my mountain were lovely, in all their aspects.

Today, when I turn to look around me, I see other smoky highlands. They are not as familiar as my mountain, but to the people who crossed them to reach this vale of happiness, they are as beautiful as mine.  

Unfortunately, not all were successful in scaling their mountain; many people were unable to navigate the cliffs and crevasses. They lacked the strength, or the vision to see the top of the mountain as they climbed; they lacked the generous support of friends and family to helped them cross the difficult crags and gorges that were in their way. Pity these people. They will never have the satisfaction of overcoming their massif. They will never see our blissful valley of satisfaction.

I have a friend who drinks a scotch every afternoon while contemplating this valley of completeness, and the mountain he crossed to get here. He finds it restful and satisfying to spice his memories with a good whiskey. As for me, I season my memories with the written word, songwriting, or painting. Like all of the people around us, we have our problems, but our problems are relatively insignificant as we pass through the terminal valley into which we’ve descended. There are no more mountains I am compelled to climb; there is only the deepest place in the valley, the place where I will find eternal rest. Yea, as I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil – for there is none. I am thankful.

What is your dumber than dumb moment?

 Visit the little Christmas tree in the Bingo room. This little tree is our “Laugh for the Day” when you are having a bad day. Please write down your “dumber than dumb” moments that you have experienced. We will hang them on the tree for “Pure laughter”. Enjoy: 

  • I was talking to a friend and asked them what was Darcy’s name? My friend said “Darcy”.
  • I had to go to the bathroom. I accidentally went into the men’s room. I was so dumb I didn’t realize it.
  • While I was in the shower, I got a phone call from my granddaughter. When I answered it, she said, “Grandma, where are your clothes?” I’d forgotten it was a smartphone!
  • I looked for my glasses for five minutes until I realized I was already wearing them!

The 42nd Street Oyster Bar – by Margie Lewin

 42nd Street really took “the world is your oysters” to heart! Originally opened as a grocery store in 1927 in its former location, the time-tested pearl of a Raleigh vesta started offering steamed oysters in 1931— and after Prohibition ended in 1933, was the first place to start serving beer in the area. Re-established in 1987 by the late Thad Eure Jr. and partners, 42nd Street became Raleigh’s premier dining destination for fresh seafood, high-quality drinks and all-around exceptional dining experience — one that remains steadfast almost 100 years and keeps the City of Raleigh flocking or swarming to the hotspot to this day. In addition to the oysters and seafood the high-end Shuck Shack has managed to stand the test of time thanks to its consistency, customer service, quality of food and the family oriented feel the guys have while dining. 

To those of you who have never been try it just once; see what a lovely experience it really can be.

One Dark Night – by Fox Johnston

Some years ago, we used to frequent a local Mexican restaurant and cantina. The cantina was usually populated with a diverse cast of characters, many of the regulars from the surrounding neighborhood. Between the owners, family, the locals, and the other regulars, there was a real sense of community – something akin to the television show “Cheers” but a lot more colorful. It was at this local establishment where the following event took place one dark night. You see in those days; I was still a cigarette smoker. It was inevitable that after some of my favorite vittles, and at least one margarita, I was going to go outside. After patronizing this establishment for a number of years, it was no difficulty for me as a visually impaired person to make my way around the place with my white cane. Outside I went to have my cigarette on the veranda near the front door. Shortly after I lighted my cigarette I received a phone call from my mother, who was still alive at the time and living in Florida. So there I am on the veranda, standing next to a column that holds up the roof. To my back is the Mexican restaurant, and its door is about eight or ten feet over my left shoulder. With a cigarette in one hand and my cell phone in the other, my white cane was probably folded up in my back pocket.

A little way into the conversation with my mother, I suddenly hear a male voice over my right shoulder. The male voice says “Excuse me, can you tell me where is the door to the Mexican restaurant?” With my hands, literally full and thinking nothing of it, I pointed a thumb over toward the door on my left-hand side. After another minute or so in conversation with my mother, I hear the male voice once again asking, “Excuse me, can you please tell me where is the door to the Mexican restaurant?” Growing slightly impatient, I replied “Yes, it’s right over there,” and pointed with my left finger and returned to the conversation with my mother. After another minute or so, the male voice interrupted yet again, “Will you please tell me where the door to the Mexican restaurant is!” Exasperated, I told my mother to hold on, and marched over to the door to the restaurant without my cane, grabbed the handle and swung it open. Holding the door open with my left foot, I smacked the door with my left palm, saying “Here, here is the door to the Mexican restaurant! What’s wrong with you, are you blind?” 

The male voice replied “Yes, I am blind.”

And I exclaimed “Well, so am I!” And marched back to stand by the column. Returning the phone to my ear, I apologize to my mother. She laughed and said “You got admit, that was f… funny!”

I Miss my Mom – Marilyn Morgan

I miss my mom. I miss the woman she was before her brain cells drifted off like so many fallen leaves on a blustery autumn day. 

I miss consulting with her on matters of the home — cooking, money keeping, throwing things away. I miss her practicality and even her perceived sternness. I miss her rare but enthusiastic laugh. I miss her cooking and her kisses on my forehead. 

I miss her calling me “toots” and her unwavering belief in who I could be. I miss her quiet but incredible strength of character, and most of all I miss what she was to my dad; what a beautiful, envy-inducing, unconditional love they had for each other, and the warmth of that love was like a wool blanket on a cold winter night. 

I miss my mom. 

Mothers Without Custody – © Janice M.  Koehler (aka Janice Sapp)

(Excerpted from an article Janice wrote for Children Today magazine (March-April 1982). Ivor resident Janice is founder of Offspring, a support group for noncustodial mothers in the Washington, D.C., area. 

It’s haunting to be a mother without custody. It colors my existence; it leaves me feeling breathless sometimes and vulnerable. Noncustodial mothering is not the role choice I had in mind years ago. I had pictured myself a happily married wife and mother of two, living a suburban lifestyle and teaching my children’s friends in the neighborhood school system. The American Dream that I envisioned is not the one I am living.

Sometimes there is little comfort in knowing that I chose my non-custodial status. Even though I allowed my daughter’s father to have primary custody, there is no surcease of pain in missing her day-to-day growth and experiences. Bandaging the scraped knee, carrying the small shoes to the closet, tying the colored yarn around the ponytail, listening to her read—I miss all these aspects of my lost role.…

The hardest questions to answer about most mothers without custody are who they are and why they choose to be non-custodial. In my networking group for non-custodial mothers, I have talked to many women. Although their experiences vary, mothers without custody generally fall into two groups: those who have lost custody battles and those who choose not to fight for custody.

Women who lose custody battles seem to continue the fight, some even to the point of kidnapping their children. Mothers who fight for the custody of their children seem to feel, in many cases, that the children are critical to their identity. These women have been “raised to be mothers,” to believe that “children belong to the mothers.” Having custody of their children gives them a reason to continue with their lives. (It is interesting to note that several women who have been battling for custody have ex-spouses who take nurturing and generous care of their children.)

The “Head” Doctor – by Pat Simpson 

Remember the “good old days” when doctors used to make house calls? 

If you were sick, somebody would summon your friendly family doctor to your front door. Armed with a smile, a hat and his big leather bag, he’d treat you for everything from a broken arm to a case of influenza.  

So why was it that doctors made house-calls anyhow?

Well, for one reason, travel was slow way back then. Most people walked. Owning a horse and carriage, or any other horse-drawn vehicle, was expensive, and going to a doctor was not always possible.

If you were too ill to walk and no convenient transport could be found, it was completely impossible. Would you chance a ride on a horse in the middle of the night, when you’ve got a brain-splitting fever so bad you can hardly drag yourself to the bathroom? Or if you hurt so bad you can’t even stand up, let alone get on a horse. You’re so dizzy you’d break an ankle falling down the steps just trying to get to the horse!

And, by the early twentieth century, telephones were still not all that wide-spread. It was still before the days of ambulances and 911. In an emergency, a doctor had to be sent for. And he would have to come – in a hurry! 

 Because a doctor had to treat all sorts of things, most of them were general practitioners, meaning that they studied everything from minor operations and surgeries, how to deliver babies, how to take your temperature, or how to prescribe medicines for that head-cold you’ve had for four days.

It was this lack of a ‘middle-man’, the emergency-response system, that meant that house-calls were necessary. And, necessarily, doctors were general practitioners whose training and education covered a wide range of medicine. Even the vehicles the doctors used to get to their patients were specially-made.

But now, everything is digital. Doctors no longer make house calls.

Or do they?……

Dateline: Friday, October 7, 2022 – Around 10:45 this morning, as I was looking forward to a home visit from Dr. Silvia Sandee*, there was a knock on our door.

 I opened it, only to be greeted by an earnest young lady.

“Hello,” she chirped. “I’m Dr. Sandee’s assistant…. Meet the doctor.”

Where? I saw no one. But, on her shoulder, she was holding what I at first thought was a large photo.

Then the photo spoke and the lips moved. “Hello, Mr. Simpson. I’m Doctor Sandee. How are you today?”

I was rendered speechless for just about a second. Then I realized that the doctor was speaking to me from a laptop on her assistant’s shoulder.

The assistant was literally carrying around the doctor’s “head” from patient to patient!

“Fine,” I managed to say.

“Great, Mr. Simpson. My assistant will take your vitals and read them off to me.”

“Wonderful,” I said. 

Soon, the process was over and the assistant went on her merry way, carrying the good doctor’s “head” to the next patient – boldly going where no one had gone before!

Eat your heart out, Dr. McCoy (from the original Star Trek series).

Amazing — I had been visited by a virtual doctor making house calls!

Crazy, yes. No longer shocked or surprised – I’ve learned to just go with it!

* note: fictitious name to protect the doctor.