The Thursday Dream Came True

Smudged gold through a grubby windshield.                                                                             
A Sunday city sunset so bright, it’s blinding.

 

 

When you drive into the sunset on a Sunday evening, the glare of gold is blinding and your heart leaps at the glory glowing all around you …

The golden glory of that late-winter city sunset.

When you walk into a room doused with late-afternoon sun and run for your phone to get a picture.  To freeze the moment, that sense of wonder that washes over you …

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Seconds of sudden sunshine spilling into a dim room 
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Me with sun and shadow on the doors of the hall closet. Those golden, glorious, unexpected moments …

 

When a bar of sunshine spills all over the closet doors and your shadow slides into the panoply of light and shadow …

Moments of unexpected, unsolicited joy that whisper voiceless words of  wonder and promises of marvels to come.

 

This is my dream box –

The dream box sits in a corner of my bedroom, by the door. The first sight that meets my eye when I wake up in the morning.

 

 

 

It overflows with two decades of journals, the pen-and-ink record of significant moments — worst, best, lovely, ugly.  And all the dreams of course …

I was born to write. Write, I did.  All my life.  

 

So  Thursdays With Harold , a journey that commenced some years ago on the writers’ website, fanstory.com  , is finally a reality.

A ping on my phone one evening some years ago, alerts me to a message from Judy Starritt.  She’s found this blog and read the first teaser chapter of Thursdays With Harold.  She asks for more.

Judy has ALS , is paralyzed and has lost her power of speech.  She still has marginal use of her hands, however, and can read and type on her Ipad.  She’s a hawk for typos.  The teacher in her connects with the teacher in me.  We become fast friends and communicate daily via Facebook messenger. Her joy and determined vitality are infectious. She’s intrigued by Harold, the main character in the book, who is also an ALS patient.

I email her six chapters at a time.  

 Judy sent me this picture of her manuscript of Thursdays With Harold, which her husband printed for her to read.  It lies against the backdrop of the sheets of the bed she lay in. There’s a rainbow on it. We shared a mutual love of rainbows.
 Judy Starritt, wife, mother, grandmother, retired math teacher, an irrepressible, inspirational, vital, clever woman, who blazed a trail even through her ALS journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judy comments  –

I finished your book about 3 hours ago.  Would you like to know my thoughts about it?

This book is TOO good to be tucked away.  THIS IS A BOOK THAT SHOULD BE READ.  A book club and discussion sort of book.  A PERFECT book club book that would lead into wonderful discussions.  A book that stays with you.

Is this book at a publishers? 

It is time for it to come out of the closet … or drawer… or hard drive.  How can I help with miracles? This SO needs to be published. 

There is such an awareness about ALS now. I could be in charge of East Coast publicity. I have learned that anything is possible.

Judy in the final days with her newest grandchild.     

Judy passes on some weeks later.  I’ve never met her in person, this woman who’s become such a dear and intimate friend.  I fly out to eastern Canada to attend her funeral in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

The hospital bed in which Judy spent her last years, set up by her bedroom window. On the bed lies her Ipad.  It was surreal to visit Judy’s home the day after her funeral in January 2018, to meet her family and experience the overwhelming sense of a woman I’d known so well, but never met face-to-face

The dream she’s rekindled refuses to die.  Anything is possible, she said …

But I need a cover design.

I reach out to Avril Borthiry, a talented Canadian writer of medieval romances.  We got acquainted on Fanstory.com when she was creating her fascinating novel, Triskelion

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, child and closeup
Avril Borthiry, talented writer and amateur cover designer par excellence, author of several novels,  My favourite is the haunting Triskelion.

“Who does your covers?” I asked.                            

“I do my own,” Av said. “I could design yours!”

It’s lovely when artists are generous with one another. 

Triskelion: a legend continues by [Borthiry, Avril]
Triskelion, by Avril Borthiry. A haunting tale of medieval Cumbria.
Avril produced a cover that read my heart.  She pushed me to persevere.  She sent me tips and links, made suggestions and critiqued. 

“I loved Harold.  It’s a story that must be told,” she said.

And so, the dream came true.

Thursdays With Harold is  available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon –

(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084YXJRDS…)

Also as e-book on Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Indigo, Apple, Baker & Taylor, Bibliotheca, OverDrive and 24 Symbols.

(https://books2read.com/u/mKDxvd)

This is the story of Thursdays With Harold —

Thursdays With Harold: cover design by Avril Borthiry

Harold Stedman, a quirky sixty-something suburban lawyer with a crooked smile and zany sense of humour, is retained by Fiona to represent her in a bizarre case of copyright theft and wrongful dismissal.

Shortly into the legal proceedings Harold is diagnosed with ALS. Within months he’s lost his power of speech, but he’s determined to see the case through.

Fiona makes weekly visits to Harold’s office as attorney and client make a united effort to laugh their way through the harrowing circumstances

Lorraine, Harold’s wife – a strong, stylish professional – and Fiona become friends as time ticks by and the case drags on. Then Lorraine Stedman turns nasty. Very nasty.

There’s a trial looming and finances are depleted. An ugly cloud hangs over Fiona. Will there be a way out?

Charged with pathos and fun, unexpected twists and convolutions, this is the compelling story of an unlikely friendship, misplaced trust and the mad scramble to wind up an ill-fated lawsuit.

Come on in and visit with Fiona on Thursdays with Harold …

 

Thank you, Judy Starritt, for believing in this novel.  I’ve dedicated it to your memory.  You came out of nowhere, reached out through cyberspace and helped me believe the dream was worth pursuing.

Thank you, Avril Borthiry for sharing your time, talent and expertise, and for convincing me to see this project through.  Without the crucial, final detail of an eye-catching cover Harold would never have hit the public forum.

Remember how your mum would tell you not to judge a book by its cover?  Not true in this demanding digital age!  The cover counts big time.  It’s the reader’s first exposure to the author’s work — to tempt or to turn away.

So this dream’s done and dusted off.   And now, there’s a brand new one simmering on my mind!  

I believe the best is yet to come.

Until next time,

Excitedly yours,

Judy sent me this picture. “… and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true …”

In The Nut Aisle

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There is the occasional time when discouragement slithers in under the guise of common sense, and hisses, “Sorry babe, it ain’t ever gonna happen!”

Such a weight of deflated dreams descended on me for no particular reason last week, right in the middle of  grocery day.  Feeling grim and bereft, I tossed items into a supermarket cart, and wandered around until I found myself looking at this enormous fabric creature perched on a stack of plastic storage bins –

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Smile …

 It  didn’t belong where I found it.  Someone had set it down there,  just in time for me and my mood.  The red heart and goofy smile felt like a love letter of reassurance. My spirits rose.  Cart and I continued on and rounded a corner.  The caption on an outsize shirt shouted  –

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The load of doubt dissolved and I smiled in spite of myself. How could I help it when the very space around me seemed to conspire in my favour?  [My friend, Rosalyne, calls this phenomenon Universal Synchronicity.)

It’s amazing how a single special moment can

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My mum used to say, 

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Look at this –

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Never too old …

Radical, thrilling!

IMG_20151217_095934that


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I wouldn’t be able to bear it.


I took this picture last week – 

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, chuckling at memories of a friend who once told me her family tree was composed entirely of fruits and nuts!  I grinned and remembered a recent moment at the bulk food store, when I unintentionally eavesdropped on a brief conversation.

“Could you tell me where the hazelnuts are?” a man asked.

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, sir. In the nut aisle,” the assistant replied. 

My mind boggled as I began to visualize the faces I’d find on the shelves of the nut aisle.  

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Who??

 Pretty much anyone who thinks

Normal is boring!
Normal is boring!

  , I suppose, and that would include me, for sure!


There are three kinds of people in this world –

(1) The IMG_20160318_112602706_HDR(2) The non-dreamer

and

(3) The dream-killer

  • The dreamer – that’s you (if you’re a nut!)
  • The non-dreamer – the one who  regrets his inability to dream big crazy dreams, and might enjoy living vicariously through you
  • The dream-killer — the practical, down-to-earth sort of person who feels duty-bound to tell you that it’s time to grow up and stop wasting your time.

Here’s the deal – _20150709_210453

Of courseIMG_20160306_194453

and believes in the dream.

Dear fellow nut, do you know you have a

_20150601_161507

IMG_20150829_141934

IMG_20160103_210108

 Of course,

_20150710_101223

so _20150513_184057

and 

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IMG_20160223_112959

Above all IMG_20160223_113111

_20150423_190234


So …_20150428_144734

_20150618_150842

_20150623_101344

At the end of life’s journey, I want to be able to say,
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_20150709_222614

Well –

IMG_20160305_154647396


_20150610_172835IMG_20151101_231727

 

IMG_20151020_122322

IMG_20151101_231402

IMG_20160101_173732


_20150621_145229

, but big or small

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A toast to all the dreaming nuts (and fruits) out there –

IMG_20160213_090632
IMG_20160319_103212

_20150324_184251

 

sincerely

Love Language

IMG_20151217_093016

_20150701_155151

_20150701_155207

Family and out-of-town cousins eager to open presents. Four grown up offspring eyeing plump stockings dangling from the mantelpiece.  IMG_4793

The Beloved (aka  _20150623_101400

) wields a mop with vigour.

Sis-in-law is puzzled. “Why is he sweeping the floor?”

“He’s mopping,” I tell her.

Sis-in-law looks around. “But the place is clean.”

“I’ll be

_20150623_142052

 

,” The Beloved announces.

Sis-in-law laughs. “  _20150617_155007

my brother-in-law sweeps while the stockings and presents are waiting.”

“He vacuumed. He’s mopping now,” I interject. “And one man’s oddness is someone else’s love language, you know!”

I’m on a roll. “  IMG_20151125_212546

.  A spotless house and  washroom is his gift of love.”

The giggles cease.

Love language, huh?  Hmm …  IMG_20151225_001929

A light bulb comes on.  I hear daughters’ voices , then mine, in my head –

“Why do you spend so much time folding napkins and arranging cutlery?  It’s just a table, Mom. Who cares?”

Who cares?  Who cares??

“I care. It’s  how I show my guests they are honoured and appreciated. It’s my gift –  IMG_20151228_095649

that only I can give  

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, and I

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giving it.

I begin to wonder.  Is love why I spend hours

– Decorating the Christmas tree

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– Creating a one-of-a-kind gift  IMG_20151214_183645308

 

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– Setting a table for my guests

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– Making my garden a

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to relax and rest in

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– Preparing for a surprise birthday party  IMG_2280

Is love why hubby vaccums and mops like crazy when

_20150618_161515

?  Daughters and nieces squeal over sundry items in their stockings.  A   IMG_20151227_162535529

washes over me.  I

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My eyes  smile into hubby’s.

We’re the

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, darling!  I

_20150621_143824
Some folks won’t

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.  Crazy compulsions in others’ eyes – his love language and mine.

What is your love language, Reader?  IMG_20151228_101931

, right?  So  

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Well, here’s to what’s left of

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and to dreams come true in 2016.

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and happy New Year!

PS –

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and  _20150701_153025

sincerely

 

 

The Famous Grouse

 

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–  me again!  It’s been a while …

 Something’s changed.  I can’t put a finger on it.  Words like these –

_20150621_143956

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 bring on a  half-guilty sigh.   I’ve wondered why.

 There was once a time when

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would have been a sublime goal and aspiration. Not anymore.

 Lately, I find myself planning a

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 meal and

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   I’ve grown weary of keeping the home_20150620_120107

, often reminding myself that

_20150710_162708

and it can wait.  (Unless

IMG_20150814_145326808~2, of course.) 

I can never cease to

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at all you

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who opt to

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to the exclusion of all else.  My family and home have been

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of my life, and  I’ve cherished my role as

IMG_20150801_183607, and yet if felt like something was missing.  I seemed to be approaching

_20150716_201952, sort of

_20150716_202123

, you know .   I began to wonder if I needed to 

_20150713_200324

of the icing on the cake of my life – something that would make me come alive.

 I  voiced  my thoughts one evening at the dinner table.

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 ,” I announced.

 Parents often assume their

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and disinterested  in general.  To my amazement and delight, mine were listening..

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,” I went on. “I love words .  I

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 with them all over again when I wake up each morning. If I could

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with my words, and everyday for the rest of my life, then I think I’d be fulfilling my purpose. 

“So do it!” they said.

I was taken aback.  “Do what?” 

“If you have a 

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, Mom,  it won’t just dissolve and

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 , right? 

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. It’s

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So why not start a blog?” they said.

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,” I squeaked.

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 and

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with the internet.”

 

_20150710_164512 with you,” they said.   “We’ll help you find  your feet.  We’ll sort of be your

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We’ll teach you how to navigate the social media stuff … and stuff.

But you’ll have to_20150612_105139

–  the bulk of it, anyway, because

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So why not

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?”

“But

_20150716_202656 ,” I mumbled.

“Oh,

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, Mom?  Okay, how badly do you want to

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?

“Really badly …”

So

 

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for it, Mom!  But don’t

_20150612_105108

just yet, okay?  (Muffled

_20150612_105554

– the cheeky things!)

“What do I blog about?” I ventured.

“You always have

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. Mom.  Write about your

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, about

_20150612_105707

or just

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,” they said.  “Use the pictures you keep taking.  And whatever you do, Mom, don’t

_20150606_221741 

and

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.”  I became

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Suddenly, I was

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“Okay,” I said.  “I

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there’s aIMG_20150724_205245373_HDR

for everything, and

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From now on I’m going in

_20150701_140553

 

– I’ll

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and I

 

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And thus began a journey.

Dear reader,

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of my list  below –

   –  (1)  Be IMG_20150801_185557

             because

IMG_20150815_005528

  • (2)  _20150709_221852

 

  • (3) IMG_20150814_230618

     –  (4) 

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(four times over, and then some more)

  –  (5)  _20150712_162605

 – (6) IMG_20150716_122030891_HDR

  • (7) 

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                                                                             …   xx   …   xx   …

 

 There’s_20150503_132608

 in the dream department.

_20150618_160922

…   xx   …   xx   …

_20150324_191928

…   xx    …   xx   …

_20150710_172854

IMG_20150801_201006

Behind The Dreamer …

_20150506_134302Behind the dreamer – no matter how old – there’s often a mother who cheers and dreams alongside.  Sometimes  the embers of the dream might only remain alive  because of her. 

Such a mother makes you feel –

_20150506_130144

 She is –

_20150506_125747

 by everything thing you do, no matter how trivial.  She may well be your most ardent and only fan!

That was my mother. 

Mum taught me that –

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So, if someone  asks

_20150503_130934 I might evade the question – be honest, who hasn’t? – but I’d never lie. 

I know Mum would say –

_20150506_124401

… so I won’t! 

She often said –

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 On March 28th, 2015 – just weeks ago – my mum’s earthly journey was done.

It’s Mother’s Day today. 

This deluge of mobile-phone digital moments is for you, Mum.   Every picture on this page was taken because it reminded me of who I am, and what I’ve become because of you.

Thank you for teaching me that –

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 And –

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 For helping me to understand that to –

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a dream might require a touch of the –

IMG_20150409_081248654 You showed me that –IMG_20150325_213110812 So I must –

_20150428_145350 always.

 Thanks to you, I will –

_20150417_191954

 And within me I will remain –

_20150417_191844

 … always young.  Never too old to dream

You’ve said, over the years, in many different ways –

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 Thank you, Mum.   Thank you for the power of your words. 

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I miss you so much.

I’ll never stop dreaming – I promise.

 Happy Mother’s Day!

_20150423_185556

 

 

 

The Moment

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There are moments in life when the universe comes to a shuddering halt, stands on tiptoe and holds its breath.

They are either good or bad moments.

My moment came one Christmas eve, when a friend rang the doorbell and thrust a package into my hand with a wide smile and a cheerful ‘Merry Christmas’. 

From a swathe of tissue paper I extricated a small plaque with two words on it –

Dream Big 

Here it is – 

IMG_5138
Merry Christmas, Love Maureen

A spine-tingling moment of eureka … 

From then on, similar phrases leap at me wherever I go.  They squawk, they screech and scream!

They hurl themselves  from random objects, plaques on walls, store shelves, fridge magnets, billboards, songs playing on the car radio.   

I recently got myself a real phone, so I’m able to digitally immortalize  these moments.

Like this one – IMG_20141220_173116873

Look at this  –  IMG_20141220_173311571

See the words in small print at the lower right hand corner? 

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE

I think I’m finally beginning to get it. 

Now is the time 

NOW IS THE TIME .