Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bourbon Whiskey in a Glass

It is remarkable how some of the things we have around us, items we look at every day, things we touch and use, wash and put away, how much feeling there is in them.  How many deep feelings these items can convey.  Various dishes I prepare can have the same effect, even preparing a certain food or food items can dredge up  the most tender or memorable moments.

The photographer received a hand blown glass, created in a small glassworks called Ulva Kvarn outside the city of Uppsala in Sweden, several years back.  A gift from Monica and Richard, my "big" sister and her husband.

The photographer and Richard have always had a very special relationship.  A kindred kind.  An easy and uncomplicated friendship.  They laugh together, a lot.

 It is unclear to me if the glass is of special importance due to the relationship or because of the gift giving gesture.  Probably both.  This glass comes out of  the cabinet on special occasions.  On an evening when the photographer feels he deserves an extra treat.  Or a special reward.  Sometimes because he is contemplative.  This glass is never used without  references of the two persons who sent it, always with  a bit of special emphasis on Richard.  This glass means a lot.

Sometimes it contains some very good gin, but more often a wee dram of Bourbon or two.

A couple of weeks ago, a late afternoon, that glass was filled.  The photographer snapped a picture, printed a card, gave it to me and asked me to send it off to the gift givers.  I am the one who enjoys sending cards with hand written notes, far and near, after all.....  The photographer takes pictures, prints cards for me to use, then I spread them all over the globe.  This particular card is still here!  Before it gets stashed away, never to be found again, I better get on the stick!

There are  many items here, that when used set off a string of thoughts, triggers memories and makes us think of various people, reflecting on, not only the past, but all sorts of  situations.

Treasures!  Our treasures!  Not because of monetary value..... but worth their weight in gold.
With Mid Summer Celebration upon us, perhaps that glass will be used this weekend again, lifted in honor of this years longest day and shortest night.... I will be happy to sip some wine, using one of my Mothers glasses.

There will be herring, potatoes with dill, eggs, smoked salmon and such...


..and oh yes, I better get on, writing a note on that card!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Matisse and the Magic Moment.

The photographer is sorting through old pictures.  Scanning and "forever-izing" each one.  We have shoe boxes full.  It is a long and time consuming process, evoking many memories, let me tell you..
Here is one of the most remarkable and emotional stories from a recent photo find.
Some of the facts (such as names) in this story,  eludes me since it was so long ago and much has happened since, but the essence of the story and the "revelation" is clear as a bell still today.

Our Family at a Hewlett-Packard Picnic

The time frame around 1986 to 1989... somewhere around there.  The story starts at  Hewlett-Packard MSD on Trimble Road in San Jose, California.  Working in the purchasing department.
My fabulous co-workers and I welcomed a new employee into our group, a woman by the name of Loreena who transferred from another department.  Loreena was to work as our file clerk.  Over time Loreena became ill.  To this day it is unclear to me from what illness she suffered, but her ability to perform her chores became harder for her as time went on as she was loosing motor function and mobility.  Eventually she needed to use  a wheel chair.

Loreena took some time off from her ordinary chores, went to Santa Rosa for training, returning several months later with a Service Dog.  Loreena's new assistant was a beautiful Golden Retriever by the name of Matisse.  Matisse was amazing!  He opened doors for her, handed her the phone if it rang, picked up papers and files if she dropped them and was her steadfast companion.  Matisse was even more help to Loreena in her home and in her personal everyday life, carrying groceries and helping with many household chores.  Truly an amazing and devoted partner.  Days and months went by. Time past.

All of us were looking forward to a 3 day week end.  Loreena was planning to go and visit a daughter who lived somewhere near San Francisco.  I remember this part as if it was yesterday.  She  had a van equipped with a lift for her wheelchair..... we all parted, went off in different direction on an ordinary   Friday afternoon, to spend our three days doing whatever each one of us had planned,  this particular  holiday week end.

Back to work Tuesday there was NO Loreena and Matisse.
Days later we received news that Loreena had been found dead.  The theory was, that she pulled off onto a small road,  on her way to the city, probably not feeling well and she died in her van.  Loreena and Matisse were not found until three days later.

How I wondered and worried about Matisse!  How was he?  What happened to him? Was he OK after such a trauma? Wondering. Worrying...
Fast forward.......... several years later.  We  had purchased a house in Mariposa, at first using it as a weekend retreat and vacation get a way.  Later still we were crazy enough to buy a little "hole in the wall"  feed store in Oakhurst, we sold our house, I resigned from Hewlett-Packard, we moved to Mariposa full time and on a wing and a prayer we were running a business.  Matisse would pop in to my head often.. where was he?  Was he OK?

Our home in Mariposa

Years later still, we had moved our store from one location to another, working hard to be successful, increasing our customer base and having a lot of fun with  regular trials and tribulations.

Then... one day a woman comes in to our store in the company of a Service Dog to buy dog food and some dental chews.  The, beautiful dogs name was Angel.  The woman who I had never seen before proceeds to tell me that she was a "start-up Mom" for puppies who were to become Service Dogs.
She tells me she became involved with these dogs and the Service Dog organization in Santa Rosa and the training program there, because of a life changing event in her best friends life.

Matisse in the center with his new family.

Her friend, a Mother of two boys in their very late teens, early twenties, one of whom due to a tragic diving accident became  paraplegic.  This young man simply lost his desire to live,  quit going to school, was severely depressed and despondent.  He had studied Art and Art History at San Jose State University.  His parents were at a loss as to how to give him a reason to live...... until he got a dog!  The dogs name was Matisse!  The young man went back to the university with Matisse in tow.  His life had meaning.  Young women were drawn to the good looking duo, like magnets they were ...  one of the first things the art student did, was paint a portrait of Matisse!

This entire series of events gives me goose bumps as I am sure the woman who came to Oakhurst Feed  to tell me this, she had been sent to me as a messenger!  To this day it is hard for me to believe that day when I, with tears rolling down my cheeks, was able to hear what had happened to Matisse. She later brought me these two pictures. The family with Matisse and a photo of the painting.

Angel ended up adopted by her puppy foster Mom as she did not pass the arduous Service Dog tests. She did become a Therapy Dog  however and spent a lot of time visiting children at the San Francisco Children's Hospital.  But that is a whole other story..