Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

A Longer But Later-Than-It-Should-Be Update (Sorry!)

September 10, 2013
We are blessed with wild turkeys this year.

We are blessed with wild turkeys this year.

Well, here I am at last, over three weeks post-mastectomy.  I’m sorry to be so long in posting, but sitting at the computer was (and still is) a bit tiring.  In addition, despite being neurotically careful in my clicking and anti-virus software, I got a really nasty computer virus called a rootkit that rendered my computer unusable.  I’d never even heard of a rootkit, but trust me, they are very, very bad indeed.   I couldn’t help but notice how much rootkits are like cancer cells—they spread in a particularly insidious and stealthy way.

The truth is, I’m not even sure what to tell you about how I’m doing.  I really don’t know how one is supposed to feel three weeks post bi-lateral mastectomy, so I’m uncertain whether discomfort and pain (which I am still experiencing) is to be expected at this point.  I will say that my breast surgeon (whom I like very much, by the way) certainly appears to have sewn my incision very tight indeed.  I hope what she tells me about how much our skin can stretch is true.   I actually was feeling better after my surgical drains were removed, but unfortunately developed something called a seroma, which occurs when fluid collects in the surgical cavity.  My surgeon drained it, but it began to fill again only two days later, and the discomfort is discouraging.  I should mention, too, that during surgery, my heart went pretty wonky and, unfortunately, it continues to be so, which means I’m having to take heart medication that works well, but keeps me from sleeping.  A heartbeat regularly in the 150 BPM range along with poor sleep are not optimal for healing, I suppose.

I’ve always bounced back quickly after injuries, surgeries, childbirth and such, but this has been different.  I thought I’d be doing more by now than lying about like a big, useless slug.   It’s been humbling.

The funny thing is, I often feel like people are disappointed when I don’t say, “Great!” when they ask me how I’m doing.   I feel like apologizing for the fact that I’m still hurting, that I’m feeling tired.  But then I feel annoyed.  Why should I have to put on some kind of happy-face front when I’m not feeling that way? I’ve got breast cancer, for Pete’s sake.  It’s not that I’m being negative—those who’ve been around me since the mastectomy would tell you that I’m been quietly cheerful and positive.  I still feel enormous joy when I walk up the driveway and see the goldfinches, with their funny, squeaky-toy twittering burst forth like bright sparks from the sunflowers, outraged that I’ve interrupted their sunflower seed snacking.  Yep, for sure a positive attitude helps…but it doesn’t change the fact that I feel weary.

Despite the seromas and such, I’ve had good news, too.  While my pathology report wasn’t perfect, I was thrilled to read that the lymph nodes that were removed during surgery were clean.  That was very good news indeed, and I’m grateful for it.  I know I have further treatment in store, but I’m not certain exactly what it will be.  I was a bit unhinged when I saw the medical oncologist last week, and he mentioned that dreaded word “chemotherapy.”  With the clean lymph nodes, I thought I might avoid that.  We should know more in three weeks after yet another analysis (called on Oncotype DX) is performed on my tumor.

Meanwhile, I’ll continue to take pleasure in the good things—in having unfettered time to read, in the hint of fall in the evening air, and in still being able to laugh.  And I’ll be forever thankful for kind and loyal family and friends who listen and allow me time to grieve and feel sad, while encouraging a positive healing spirit.  As always, I’m grateful for goldfinches, for sunflowers, and for the cool, cleansing breezes blowing through our open windows—somehow making me feel that everything will be okay.

A Very Brief Update

August 13, 2013
sunflower (2) (799x800)

Tom planted sunflowers for me this year. This one bloomed first—on the day I was diagnosed with cancer. I went out to clear my head after the doctor called, and this was the first thing I saw.

I am very grateful for all of your kind expressions of love and concern—they mean a great deal to me.   I am especially thankful for the prayers going up on my behalf and all positive thoughts sent my way.

I’ll be having a bilateral mastectomy this week—on Tom’s birthday, in fact.  I hate that the surgery fell on his birthday, but he says the best birthday present for him is having the hope that the surgeon will find and remove every last cancer cell.

I am very sad and very scared, but also more than ready to get this cancer out.  I’m looking forward to seeing the faces of my three beloveds when I come out of the recovery room.  Not only will my three favorite people in this world will be there, but Ariel will stay with me at home for a week and Benjamin will be there for several days.  That in itself will be healing I’m sure.

I would appreciate your continued good thoughts and prayers.  As soon as I’m coherent enough to do so (pain meds make me really dopey), I’ll let you know how things are going.

A Somewhat Less Than Cheery Post

July 26, 2013
A little chipper I captured earlier this spring

A little chipper I captured earlier this spring

Well, I’m still here, more or less, for better or for worse.  I apologize for not commenting more on your blogs.  I think about you often, but the truth is, I haven’t felt well for a few months now, so I’ve saved my energy for the countless chores the summer season brings (gardening, mowing, weeding).   Commenting (and writing emails) has always been very hard for me anyway—it literally takes me hours—because in the same way that I find talking difficult (and I do), I find commenting so, as well.  It’s too much like talking.  I can write an essay more easily than I speak.

I assumed it was just my heart acting up again.  I’ve had arrhythmias in the past (and had catheter ablation surgery for it), so I worried that I’d have to have that again.  It finally got bad enough that I went to the doctor for the first time in nine years.  They did find heart irregularities (mostly related to sleep apnea) for which they gave me medicine, but they found something else, too.

They found breast cancer.  Invasive lobular carcinoma, in fact.  Unfortunately, lobular is a sneaky kind of cancer—it tends to not show up on mammograms.  Mine didn’t.  It showed on ultrasound just enough to do the biopsy. Next week, I’ll have a breast MRI (which is the most definitive imaging technique for invasive lobular carcinoma) to see if it’s also in the other breast (which loblular often tends to be).  This will help me decide what kind of treatment to have.  I have hard choices ahead.  Surgery is a certainty—either lumpectomy with radiation or a mastectomy, depending on what the MRI shows.

Initially (in fact, right up to this very moment ) I wasn’t going to share this on my blog.  I honestly felt I couldn’t bear to write about yet another crisis in our life.  After a while, you start to feel like a freak—like there must be something seriously wrong with someone who has such bad luck, and you feel something close to shame.  So you withdraw—at a time that you most need a loving hand to hold.  I’ve told very few people so far—mostly those I’ve known for years, whom I trust to love me no matter what.  I’m afraid I have no words of wisdom or inspiration right now.  I’m all spent.  Truthfully, I’m posting because I want to sincerely ask for your prayers.  Or if you aren’t the praying type, your very best thoughts.  I think I’ve never been in more need of it.

It’s funny that I say that because I’ve never felt more angry at God than I do now.  There, I’ve said it.  Might as well–He knows it anyway.  And I can’t seem to pray for myself.  I can pray—easily—for others (and I do).  But not for me.  Every time I try, I start crying and can’t stop.  But, despite my anger (which, in part, is born of faith—how could you be angry at someone you don’t believe exists?), I still believe in prayer.

And yes, yes, of course I know I should be thankful for all the good in my life.  Trust me—I am.  I’m human, so as humans, we’re subject to crazy, conflicting feelings.  “What the heck, God??” can co-exist with “Thank you, God.”   So along with my screaming “Why?” I whisper, “Thank you.”  Many times a day.  In fact, just now a mockingbird, still young and breast-speckled, landed in the shrub next to the window, looked in at me, and cocked his head.  He looked so comical, I laughed out loud.  And said, “Thank you.”

I don’t know when I’ll write again.  After the MRI, when they’ve gotten a better look under the hood, I expect things to start moving pretty fast.  So if you write me, and I don’t write you back, please don’t think I don’t appreciate it.  It’s just that now, I’m trying to stuff my addled head with enough information about breast cancer treatment to make an informed decision about my own care.  There’s a lot to read, and it’s hard reading.  Not only because it’s full of medical terminology that makes my head spin, but because the stories that so many brave ladies tell on the Breast Cancer Discussion Boards break my heart.

So, if you’ve read this far, I thank you for not turning away.  And I’m grateful for every single good thought and prayer for me you send into the firmament.  I can’t seem to bring myself to plead my cause with God, so I need you to do it for me. Please.  I’ll take all I can get—greedy supplicant that I am. And I thank you with all my heart.

Grateful Praise #2: The Star–My Christmas Story (and A Love Story, of Sorts)

January 31, 2013

The sun outshines it (2) (800x576)

It’s been almost three months since I last posted, and as is usual for that situation, I’ve made an already long time longer yet.  That’s because the more time there is between posts, the more I feel that I must write something brilliant to make up for my slothful ways which means, of course, that I become paralyzed because, well…nothing I write seems brilliant enough.

But who wants to hear yet again about my silly neuroses?  How about a Christmas story?

Yes, I know that Christmas was, like, over a month ago, and possibly no one wants to hear a Christmas story in almost-February, but that’s what I’m feeling thankful for right now, so I reckon a Christmas story is what you’re getting.  Even worse, I suppose, haha, it’s not even a fresh Christmas story.  It happened two years ago.  Nevertheless…

Longtime readers of my blog know that we’ve had a bit more than our share of hard times, so I won’t rehash those.  Suffice to say, it’s sometimes been a challenge for us to stay hopeful, though we have remained ever thankful for our many blessings.  So, two years ago a few weeks before Christmas, when Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I said, “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe some good luck?”

“I’m afraid I’m fresh out of good luck, ma’am,” said Tom.  “But how about some elf magic in the workshop?”  (As most of you know, Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man is a carpenter and handyman, and I have more than once been the lucky beneficiary of his handiwork.)

I thought for a second and said the first thing that popped into my head.  “Well, you know I’ve always wanted a star.”

We’d talked about it before.  Ever since we lived in Roanoke, Virginia, known as “Star City of the South” (because of the huge illuminated star that shines over the city from atop Mill Mountain) I’d been yearning for our own star.  But we’d had a lot on our plate since then, and there had been scant time for star building.

Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man frowned.  I could tell he had something a little more modest in mind.

I was about to tell him it was okay—something else (maybe some shelves?) would be fine, when I thought No.  A star—a big glowing, shining, radiant star—was exactly what I needed.  What we needed.  Something to remind us that there is always hope, to help us remember to always keep our eyes steadfastly on the light.

Tom sighed. “Okay…sure.”  He’d seen that look in my eyes before. “A star it is. I’d better get started.”

It took him a lot longer than he thought it would.  Stars—at least the kind that perfectionistic carpenters that take great pride in their work make—are harder than you’d think to construct.  Thank goodness we had a couple of crackerjack mathematicians in our family to consult about angles and such (Thanks, Benjamin and Cameron!)

I stayed out of Tom’s workshop in the weeks it took him to make our star because I wanted to be surprised.  I actually had no idea what it would look like, although I did know that this was not going to be some quick cardboard cutout covered with tin foil.  All I had asked was, if possible, to make it so it’d still look pretty in the daytime.  And to make it at least big enough that our neighbors could see it.  You know, in case they needed a little hope to hold onto as well.

When he brought the star out, his smiling handsome face shining right in the middle of it, I cried. It was splendid.  It was beautiful.  It was absolutely perfect.

The stars of the show! (2) (590x800)

Star Man--My hero (2) (587x800)

We got it up just in time for Christmas that year.  And after Christmas was over, we couldn’t bear to take it down.  So now it stays up year round.

We illuminate it, of course, during the Christmas season.  After all, that’s what inspired it.  The bright, shining star that led the shepherds and Wise Men to the baby Jesus is a beacon of hope and faith and salvation to many.  But we turn it on at other times, too.  It shines to show friends, traveling in the dark, the way to our home, and it glows to welcome our children back to the fold.  We turn it on to celebrate happy times and we turn it on to give solace in sad.  But mostly, it’s to inspire hope.  To help us (and perhaps others) remember that even in the gloom, there’s always a light somewhere.  To remember always to keep our eyes fixed on that light.  To remember that God is there, even when we can’t feel His presence.

And, too, when I see it, I think of who made it for me.  Anyone who’s been through extended hardship and pain will tell you that it can bring you closer to those you love, but it can also push you apart.  To be honest, it’s been a little bit of both for Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man and me.  I’m not ashamed to say that—to pretend otherwise would seem disingenuous.  Looking at the star and remembering his dear face right in the middle when I first saw it reminds me of the love that brought us together twenty-six years ago.  I know that that love is still there, even when obscured by weariness, by sadness, by pain.  Sometimes, it’s a matter of remembering and focusing on the good, on the light.  Sometimes, love (the lasting kind, that is) is a conscious and committed choice.

I say “sometimes” because, as someone who stayed longer then I should have with an abusive man, I am painfully aware that sometimes, the only healthy choice is to leave, when you can clearly see that there is no light left in your relationship.  My years with Tom have been hard in many ways, and there are cracks, but…oh!…there is so much light shining through those cracks!  And I believe that when you both choose to turn to the light and remember the good, to be generous and forgiving, love and hope can and usually will prevail—love over hate, light over darkness—shining even in the darkest night.

Bright and shining star (2) (800x600)

478 Words About Why I Can’t Write

October 11, 2012

Several weeks ago, I read Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, a memoir by Anna Quindlen, a well-known journalist, columnist, and novelist.  As I always do with a library book (since I don’t have to decide whether or not to buy it), I waited until I’d finished it to read the reviews on Amazon.  I like reading reviews after I’ve read a book.  Sometimes, it’s a little like being a fly on the wall at a book club, and reading other’s thoughts on a book often gives me insight or clarity that I’d earlier lacked.  Besides, if I read them before, it can color my own opinion.

I liked the book quite a lot and was amazed—since our lives are so radically different—at how many of her reflections and observations I could relate to.  She’s famous.  She’s wealthy (with a “summer” house).  She’s well-educated.  She’s had a pretty easy life.  I’m not.  I’m not.  I’m not.  And I haven’t.   Nevertheless, I found myself smiling and nodding in recognition a lot as I read.

So, I was very surprised to read so many negative reviews (although there were lots of folks that felt as I did).  I was struck by how many people seemed to feel that her life of privilege rendered her incapable of relating to ordinary people and that ordinary people would be incapable to relating to her life.  I can say that as a very ordinary person myself, I didn’t feel that way at all.  And since she lives a life of fame and privilege, I don’t find it particularly surprising that she writes from that perspective.

But the thing that struck me most was how many people said that the writing was “egocentric” and “self-centered.”  One person said that it was all about “me, me, me.”

People.  Hello??  It is a MEMOIR.  It’s supposed to be about me, me, me!  (Or in this case, her, her, her.)

Anyway, for some reason reading all those negative reviews made me think about my recent Thirty Days of Grateful Praise.   I started wondering just how many people might have thought that about my writing.  That is, that there is too much “Me, me, me” on my blog.

This notion, of course (since I am a ridiculously neurotic person and have felt particularly neurotic lately), sent me into a state of being unable to write anything on my blog.  Hence, the lengthy blog silence. I do apologize.

So…haha…I have just written over 400 words to tell you that I can’t write.  Only to discover, to my surprise, that perhaps I can.

Nevertheless.   I WAS going to simply post photos of the last month here at the Doublewide Ranch, so even though I’ve now written more than 450 words, I’ll post the photos anyway.  Then, there will be 6,478  words.

Yes, I know.  As we say here in the South, I’m a mess.  :-)

(30) Thirty Days of Grateful Praise: You

July 31, 2012

These springtime bluets seemed to be growing right out of the rock. They look delicate, but they are tough little buggers.

If you click on my “About” link, you’ll see where I mention that I started my blog in 2007, in part, as an attempt to re-awaken my muse.  Going through repeated hardships can sure suck the juice out of you, and that’s pretty much what happened to me—my well of inspiration went bone dry.  The last straw was when my abusive ex-husband’s third wife contacted me out of the blue in late 2006 and asked if I’d help her.  I must admit—I didn’t want to do it, but I did because they had a six-year-old son together, and he was the one who was suffering most.

Helping her (and she was a lovely person) was even more intense and difficult than I thought it would be.  I relived not only my own abuse, but I heard of the egregious lies he had told about me.  I don’t know why the outrageousness of his lies surprised me—I certainly knew he was capable of it—but it did.  It seems I am constantly blindsided by the depth of meanness that people are capable of.  I never seem to learn.

Anyway, I’m not sorry I did what I did because she finally found the courage to leave him, and she and her son are doing very, very well now.   But going through that, on top of everything else, somehow killed the spark in me.   My creative spirit was a dried husk of a thing.  So I decided to start a blog, hoping that being forced to write often might squeeze out whatever juice was left.

And it did.  I learned that I could write, that my muse was only sleeping, not dead, and that there were people who actually wanted to read what I wrote.  Imagine that!   But even better, I’ve made connections through my blogging that have helped to sustain me—in so many ways.  Your kind words not only have given me more confidence in my writing, they have restored some of my faith in the goodness of people.  And, oh! how I needed that.

So…thanks, y’all.  Thanks especially to those who have stuck by me as my family has gone through yet more hardships—your kind comments have meant a great deal.   And I’m thankful, too, to those who read before, even if they no longer do. It’s always difficult to know why folks stop reading your blog, but I’ll have to say that I’ve grieved every reader I have lost, because I do think of y’all as friends.  But no hard feelings—I know they had their reasons and I respect that.

But my heartfelt thanks to you, dear friends, who continue to read my rambling, raving, and ranting writing.   And who put up with silly puns and possibly excessive alliteration. :-) To y’all—who continue to help me believe both in myself and in the kindness of people.  I am deeply grateful for you.

(28) Thirty Days of Grateful Praise: Imagination

July 29, 2012

Imagination is a wonderful thing. It enables you to see things that others may not see.

There’s no way I can describe in just a few paragraphs just how essential my imagination has been to me (even to my very survival) but I really can’t end my Thirty Days of Grateful Praise without mentioning it.

No need to rehash it here, but my childhood was difficult in many ways, and I cannot tell you just how many times I found refuge in the realm of my imagination.  I was often called a “dreamy” child, but it wasn’t so much that I was dreaming, but that I was inhabiting an internal world that was infinitely more friendly and easy to live in than the tumultuous world outside my head.

I go there often, even now, though I’m no longer a defenseless child.  It’s still a pretty wonderful place to be.  Imagination is a place of such unlimited possibilities; you are not limited by what you see with your eyes.  Because sometimes what you don’t see is even more interesting than what you do.

With my imagination, I am never alone.  It’s a lively and often entertaining place.  Several  years ago, I wrote a post where I compared the thoughts that constantly go through my head to the cars of a runaway circus train.   Almost anything I see or hear will inspire a constant parade of images in my mind.  Just recently, for example, I was reading someone’s account of the vacation they’d spent on a farm.  She wrote of just how much her children enjoyed getting eggs from the chickencoupe”.  Which, of course, should have been chicken “coop”, but thank goodness it wasn’t because the phrase chicken coupe triggered the most delightful image in my mind of a couple of well-dressed chickens tootling down the road behind the wheel of their lovely chicken car.  The rooster was wearing a bow tie and fedora; the hen, a flowered hat.  Poultry in motion.  The image made me laugh and laugh.

And now I’m imagining that you’re laughing, too, because you’re envisioning your own silly images of chickens in a roadster.  And I can tell you that imagining that makes me very happy, too.

(23) Thirty Days of Grateful Praise: Kindness

July 24, 2012

Morning light shines through a morning glory leaf

When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people. ~Abraham Joshua Heschel

Sometimes someone says something really small, and it just fits right into this empty place in your heart. ~From the television show “My So-Called Life”

As long-time readers of my blog know, I am immensely proud of my children and their accomplishments and have bragged shamelessly on them from time to time.  But there’s something else about them that I’m far prouder of, because I believe that there is no attribute more important.

And that attribute is kindness. I am so proud that they are kind.  I am thankful that they are tender-hearted.

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these. ~George Washington Carver

Instead of expounding on kindness, I think I’d rather tell you about one of the earliest acts I can remember of kindness shown to me.  I was only about six at the time, but I’ll never forget it. It seems such a small thing, but its effect on me at that time was profound. And then, I’d love it if you’d comment about an act of kindness YOU remember, something that perhaps “fit right into this empty place in your heart.”

When I was six, one of our distant relatives who was a piano teacher offered to give my brother and me piano lessons in exchange for him mowing her yard.  I believe that she was a good person at heart, but she was rather short-tempered.  I think perhaps she wasn’t meant to teach children.  When I didn’t practice enough and made mistakes, she would begin a tirade that started with yelling and ended with her grabbing her cat, dropping him on the keyboard (whereupon he’d do a dissonant dance across the keys then leap with a yowl out of the room).  She’d then yell, “That cat can play better than you!”

I’d usually hold in my tears until I could escape into the yard as I waited for Mama to pick me up.  One day, after the teacher had a particularly awful outburst, I ran into the yard as usual.  It was pouring rain, but I stood out there anyway, sobbing in the cold rain and shivering as it soaked my hair and clothes.

Suddenly I felt a hand touch my shoulder and heard the snap of an umbrella being opened.  I looked up to see Bascombe, my teacher’s husband, who was as gentle as she was caustic.  He never said much, but always seemed such a kind presence.  And now he was standing beside me, still saying nothing, but holding the umbrella over me to keep me dry.  There he stood for a very long time, getting more and more soaked himself, but quietly making sure a little girl was sheltered as she cried her heart out in the rain. He never said a word.  He didn’t have to.

What small acts of kindness have you always remembered?

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ~Leo Buscaglia

(21) Thirty Days of Grateful Praise: An Unexpected Phone Call from an Old Friend

July 22, 2012

Kevin gave me this concrete frog years ago. Mister Frog likes to play his guitar for the birds and gnomes. We’ve been through a lot together—Mister Frog and me. I love him dearly.

I don’t particularly like talking on the phone, but I’ve had to develop a tolerance since that’s the main way we keep in touch with old friends and family.  There’s email, too (which I suppose, being the tongue-tied sort, I prefer) but I do like the immediate response—the give and take—of a phone conversation.  Of course, we do visit each other from time to time, but time and/or money are often short.

My old friend Kevin called last week.  We’ve known each other for 34 years now.  I actually met him fleetingly when I was a teenager and he played a folk concert in our town.  I went up afterwards to tell him that I loved the way he sang the shaped-note hymn, Devotion.  It was a pleasant conversation, but I never dreamed we’d become close friends years later when he came as a North Carolina Artist-in-Residence to our small community near the Pamlico Sound. We had a mutual love of yard ornaments, with a particular penchant for anthropomorphized frogs, so spent many happy hours driving in the countryside there where yard ornaments adorned almost every yard.

It had been a while since we talked, so I was especially glad to hear from him.  We both love corny jokes, and he always manages to make me laugh. This time, he told me about his upcoming retirement from the library (he’s now a librarian), what was blooming at his house, and about the two young sisters who often bring him homemade cookies at the library.

It was lovely, and I hung up feeling happy.  I value all my friends, old and new, but a friendship that has stood the test of time and distance is special. I am grateful for friends, old and new and for happy phone calls from friends that come out of the blue, often just when you need them.

(20) Thirty Days of Grateful Praise: Birds

July 21, 2012

Here’s a rather bedraggled and disheveled-looking cardinal holding an unidentified avian food item in his beak. He’s still beautiful, though. I think he’s a young fellow.

In my last post, I used the phrase “songbird sanctuary.”  I meant, of course, that I like to think of the Doublewide Ranch as a refuge for songbirds, where they are loved and appreciated and where I plant shrubs and flowers specifically to provide berries or seeds for their dining pleasure (plenty of juicy bugs, too!)

But when I think about it, it’s a sanctuary for us, as well.  When the ways of the world don’t make sense (and they’re really not making sense these days), I can think of nothing more soothing and peaceful than wandering about, watching my avian friends.   I know I’ve written about it many times, but It’s worth mentioning again since there’s no way I can make a list of Thirty Things I’m Grateful For without acknowledging the joy and tranquility that birds provide. And I think the word “sanctuary” is appropriate in more ways than one.  There’s nowhere I feel more of a sense of the holy than outside watching birds dart and soar in the heavens.

I’m going to miss my fellow bird lover, Benjamin, when he leaves eight days from now.  Not only does he share my pleasure in watching birds, but he can almost always name the bird we’re seeing or hearing.  And since I gave him my camera, he has taken some amazing shots and videos.  Here’s one he made of two pileated woodpeckers in our back yard. (No, that’s not our house you see in the background—wish it were.  And, by the way, the “Mr. B” who composed and played the “Woodpecker March” was none other than Mr. Benjamin himself).  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZIdZ6btiLg&feature=context-gfa

I am grateful to the songbirds who make the Doublewide Ranch a sanctuary for us, where our spirits are revived and where we find peace and solace for our weary souls.


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