Posts Tagged ‘bucket list’

I updated my End of the Beginning post and somehow none of it was saved, so, try, try again. The title comes from a song by my good friend and talented singer/songwriter John Flynn : http://johnflynn.net  You can hear the song there.

The lovely and talented John Flynn

The songs resonates with me because I realize there are far more years behind me than there are ahead. I have lost one parent:

Sterling L. Hornsby Sept. 27, 1920-Dec. 24, 2009

My mother is 90 and a half, and I don’t think it will be long before I become a motherless child:

Velma Ruth Stewart Hornsby, April 2, 1921-

Mother and Dad lived for 40 years in the old house where they watched 3 generations grow up:

family on the porch

grandchildren, great-grandchildren, even great-great grandchildren:


Jan. 2010 DFW Cemetery

The time came when Mother could no longer stay in that old house:

Our experiment with sending her to live in a fancy “assisted living” facility didn’t work out. After a mistake with her medication that almost killed her, my sister Gwen took Mother home with her.

Mother's lonely new home

So now I find myself at the beginning of the end, although I hope it’ll be a long time before I get there. John’s song says “The journey of a single step can begin with a thousand miles.” Here was where I started:

Shirley Jean Hornsby Sept. 1946

I grew up, went to college, got married:

Sept. 2, 1967

We had kids:

Baylor and Mom Oct. 1971

Jeff and Mom, Bangkok, July 1973

Then we had some grandkids:

Ashley b. Sept. 1, 1994

Amber and Autumn, Jan. 27, 1996

We got divorced, but later became friends again. I had some adventures, did a lot of traveling, met some interesting people and some great friends, mostly because of Arlo Guthrie:

Shirley, Arlo & Annie Aug. 1989

"Matterhorn" in Okemah, Ok.

Guthrie Center Fall Revival - Blunderites all

Guthrie Center 1996

John Flynn and the Flynettes, Okemah WoodyFest

To quote John again, I’m thankful “for old friends you can count on, even though their ranks are thinning.”

Alasdair and Shirley, Macchu Picchu. Miss you always

Dennis Lachappelle, best bus driver and best friend anyone could ever ask for.

Goodbye, old friend

There are others I dearly miss: dear, sweet Jack Dultz, Gay, who will always be sitting at the front table at the church, Gerry Harper – your daughter grew up to be as wonderful as you were, sweetheart. So many friends and loved ones gone but never forgotten.

Our sons grew up:

Baylor and Jeff

Our granddaughters are teenagers!

So, what happens next? I need to work on that Bucket list – maybe finish the mystery I started writing many moons ago. I have continued to write and get published – here’s the launch of the latest anthology from the Final Twist, Oct. 2011:

Shirley at Murder by the Book

Chorus of The End of the Beginning” “Oh, the journey you make, from the first breath you take, to your last dying day, the mystery will take your breath away …”

Kris Kristofferson, who accompanies John on this song, has a song with a similar line:

From the rockin’ of the cradle to the rollin’ of the hearse, the going up was worth the comin’ down. I do believe he’s right. Journey on …


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There’s a new movie out called “The Bucket List,” about a couple of guys who are facing their deaths, making a list of what to do before they kick the bucket. I’ve been thinking about mortality a lot lately. I am 61; my dad is 87, my mother will be in a few months. Most of my relatives, even those who didn’t live an especially healthy life, lived well into their 80’s. I could do the same – or maybe not.

April 13, 2007, my ex-husband, Don Wetzel, a larger than life, powerful man, was, like the commercials, felled by a tiny blood clot at the age of 61. Those of you who’ve known me for many years might be thinking, “hey, there were times when you wouldn’t have been too broken up about that” – but those times were long ago. I had forgiven him for the bad times, and I think he had done the same for me. We were friends again, enjoying our sons and our wonderful granddaughters. We were not finished with each other, but death doesn’t take that into account. Sure, his legacy lives on, in our progeny. Jeff has all the good aspects of his dad, Baylor has the hard-nosed analytic abilities. Our first granddaughter Ashley, now 13, has his beautiful blue eyes. But that’s not the same as having him around.

I’m working on my own Bucket List now, and thinking about who should inherit what, and planning to take better care of myself. One thing I can say about Don, he didn’t need that list. Whenever he decided he wanted to do something, he just went ahead and did it. His life was short on time, but he lived every minute of it to the fullest. Goodbye, old friend.


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