On the wings of an Eagle

 

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I recently found myself in a depressed state of mind after the loss of a dear family member. Now, the interesting thing about this is, I thought I was doing a pretty good job of hiding it. Well, not so. One night not so long ago at work, a co-worker pulled me aside and asked me what was wrong, when I confessed the severity of my emotional state, the color pretty much drained from her face. She and another co-worker sat me down and talked with me about my feelings and offered words of strength and encouragement.

Since then, I have taken steps to regain my joy. I’ve spent more time studying my Bible, I get out more and do at least one thing per day that I enjoy. I listen to positive messages and watch positive videos.  And I can feel the happiness beginning to bubble up inside of me again.

Tomorrow will be the first time in many years I won’t be able to phone my dear family member and wish her a Happy Birthday. To celebrate her life, I’ve been thinking of things I can do. Her favorite thing was Butterflies, so I may go out and find a Butterfly pin towear. Or I may buy a cake and have a Butterfly placed on it and share it with friends. I’m not quite sure yet. There is, however, one thing I’m definitely sure of and that is, she liked Butterflies but I like Eagles.

I once visited a zoo that had a area where Eagles with broken wings were rehabbed. As I gazed at them through the enclosure, I couldn’t help but stand in awe. Despite their condition, the posture of the Eagles was as regal as ever. Although they are birds, they seemed to hold their heads high as they patiently waited to heal.

As a part of my fascination with Eagles, I’ve often watched videos of them and to me nothing is more splendid than an Eagle taking flight for the first time after the mending of a broken wing. Looking back, I realize for the past nine months, my wing has been broken. I have grieved the loss of someone very dear. Tomorrow, in spite of the fact that I will always grieve her loss to some extent, my soul shall once again take flight.

In celebration of her life tomorrow, whether I buy a cake or wear a Butterfly or simply sit in quite reflection, as Isaiah 40:31 says, I will once again “mount up on the wings of an Eagle.” That which was broken has now been mended and maybe, just maybe, I’ll give a Butterfly a ride.

Savannah J, she adds a little sass in every page.  

www.thesavannahjpublications.com 

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Memories of my dad

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As Father’s Day quickly approaches, my mind has been filled with lots of wonderful memories of my father, the late Herman P. Jackson Sr.. He was truly a unique guy and well loved  by our community. The thing I remember most about my father was his sense of adventure. 

Looking back, I realize, we grew up having  most of what we needed and a little of what we wanted. My parents had a way of making it seem as though we were wealthy and so I didn’t realize the struggle until I was a grown woman. I believe one of the reason’s things seemed so rich was my father’s sense of adventure. He could make a trip to the corner store seem exciting. For example, in the summer sometimes, my mother would give my brother and me our baths and then help us put on our pajama’s. My father would then, put us in the back of the car and drive us up 95 North to a rest stop not too far from where we lived and buy us a canned soda. Now, that may not sound like much, but my dad had the ability to make that ride up the road the The Hot Shops seem like a trip to New York. 

I remember one year we had a big snow storm which wasn’t uncommon back then up north. Once the snow stopped, my father helped us put on our snow suits and boots and we walked to a 5 and 10 Cent Store about five or six city blocks away. The snow was too deep for my brother and meto walk on the sidewalk, so we walked in the street. Along the way, my father stopped and spoke to neighbors who were clearing their sidewalks or digging out their cars.

During the school year, my dad took us to school and picked us up daily. He was involved in the PTA and any other activity our school had. Back then, we had Homeroom Mothers. They were the mother’s of a student in a particular class, who usually didn’t work outside the home. Well, I didn’t have a Homeroom Mother, I had a Homeroom Father.

My dad was a barber by trade, and the owner of his shop. On days we had field trips, he would close the shop for the day and accompany us on wherever we happened to be going that day. Now, my father not only did these things for me and my brother and older sisters but he was a mentor to other children in the neighborhood as well.

I have fond memories of Saturday and Sunday outings to local parks. My father would load up the car with as many children as he could fit (this was before seat belt laws) and take us to the park and play baseball or kickball or some other game. The children in the neighborhood affectionately called him, Mr. Herman.

Young men in the community who didn’t have the means to pay for a haircut got one at no charge. My dad did not like seeing any man child not looking their best, especially during the school year.

Many years have passed since my father’s death, but he was and will remain my hero. As I said earlier, he was well loved and well respected by our community. His death not only saddened our family but extended family and friends as well, even our teachers were affected. The day of his funeral the church was at standing room only.

My brother and I have tried to pass on Dad’s sense of adventure to our families; I believe we’ve done a good job. I hope I’ve given you at least a small glimpse of the wonderful childhood my father created not just for his children but all the young people who came in contact with him.

If your father or grandfathers for that matter are still living, enjoy Father’s Day with them, give them a special Father’s Day gift. As for me, I plan to do something adventurous to honor the memory of my dad, that will be my Father’s Day gift to him.

Savannah J, she adds a little sass in every page. 

www.thesavannahjpublications.com

Good business phone manners! Is it me or am I just getting old?

 

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I’ve taken this week to write a few tributes to my father in honor of Father’s Day, but today, I want to talk about something that really bothers me. One of my biggest pet peeves is receiving a business call from someone I’m sure is young enough to be my grandchild and having them address me by my first name, without asking my permission. To say, I cringe each time I answer the phone and  hear, “may I speak to Savannah? Savannah this is…” is an understatement. 

I am a proud Baby Boomer, who falls  somewhere in the middle of my generation based on my birth year. As a child I was taught to address those old enough to be my parents as Mr./Mrs. Doe or Mr. John/Ms. Jane. If I made a call to someone I didn’t know or was not familiar with the same applied for phone manners. 

Now, I’m sure somewhere in orientation, these young people are taught to address the client by their first names, probably to breed some form of familiarity, but I find it highly offensive. I may be a bit “old school,” but I believe we should ask permission to use a person’s first name as a part of good business phone manners. For all we know, Jane or John Doe may be seventy, eighty, or ninety years old. Is it me or am I just getting old? 

Lately, when I receive a business phone call from those whom I do business with, I politely stop whomever is on the other side of the line and remind them, I did not give permission to them or anyone else from their organization to use my first name.  Recently, I had a young lady ask me if it was okay for her to address me by my first name and I was so shocked, it took me a minute to respond. 

I’m not sure if my perception of good business phone manners is becoming a lost art, but I do hope companies will begin to take a look at what good business phone manners entails from a public point of view. Although, I am not considered old by a long-shot, the seniors of this world deserve our respect. They have paid their dues to society and the world and for that alone, I believe they deserve to be addressed by their last names. After all, to me, that’s just good business phone manners.

Savannah J, she adds a little bit of sass to each page. 

Comments welcomed; I’d love to hear your take on this.

www.thesavannahjpublications.com

Mr. Herman-ism #2 “Hang on like Sloopy!”

IMAG0235Often times when we hear someone say, they are at the end of their rope, we will tell them to tie a knot in it and hold on. It’s our way of reassuring them things will improve. My father, the late Herman P Jackson, Sr had a different way of encouraging people to hang on.

In 1965 a song titled “Hang on Sloopy” was released by a group called, The McCoys. The song went on to gain the number one spot on the music charts that year. After the song’s release and hit, my father adopted the tag line as his way of encouraging family and friends  that no matter what, things were going to get better. I can hear him as if it were yesterday telling our pastor “Hang on doc, hang on like Sloopy.”

There will come a time in everyone’s life when we hit a low point, no matter how strong we are or feel we are or no matter how well we feel things are going. Sooner or later something will pop up that will take us by surprise and send us spinning off balance for a while. It’s at those times we need something or someone to help us through.

My father used the simple words from a song to encourage people to never give up. He wanted them to know, help was on the way; that if they could just hang on a little while longer, things would surely work out. Perhaps you or someone you may know is in need of encouragement and strength today. Well, in the words of my dad, “Hang on like Sloopy,” because situations do improve.

When you feel as if you are going down for the third time, perhaps you imagine a rope with a knot tied to the end of it. For me, I see the hand of God reaching down from Heaven holding my wrist in the life-savers hold and me gripping Him back. It’s at those times, when I imagine God pulling me out of the waters, I hear my father’s voice using his nickname for me saying, “Hang on Tootie, hang on like Sloopy.”

The next time you feel yourself overwhelmed by life’s circumstances, remember the words of my father, Mr. Herman as he was affectionately called telling you to “Hang on, hang on like Sloopy.” 

Savannah J, she adds a little bit of sass to every page.

www.thesavannahjpublications.com

Mr. Herman-ism #1 “Just follow the white line”

As Father’s Day approaches, I’d like to share some of the wisdom imparted to me by my dad, in hopes that it may bless you as it does me.

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My father the late Herman P Jackson Sr. passed  away when I was only twelve years old. Although that is mighty young for a child to lose a parent, he left me well prepared for the future with his wise sayings. Let me tell you about one instance involving a white line.

My family and I were headed on vacation one summer when I was probably about eight or maybe nine years old; old enough to pay attention to what was going on around me. My father was driving and as we were moving along a terrible rain storm came up. The rain was so hard my parents could barely see beyond the nose of the car, or what vehicles were behind us. I remember my mother panicking and frantically asking my father to pull over. His response to her was profound in many ways and has helped me through many a tough situation (including a bad rain storm) in life. He said “Sugg, never pull over in a storm. I can’t see what’s on the side of the road and just like I can’t see, neither can other drivers. If I pull over, someone else may try to pull over, not be able to see us and hit us.” He went on to say, “Whenever you’re driving and you can’t see the road ahead of you, see that white line along the side of the road? Well, just follow the white line.”

As I grew older, for some reason, I never forgot that day, or what my dad said in the car in the midst of that terrible storm. I’ll never know if he, too, was afraid or if he was as calm as he appeared; I only know he used wisdom to keep us safe. The story doesn’t end there, God used those words about just following the white line to prove the immeasurable depth to that statement.

Once the storm lifted and a service station came into view where we could stop, my dad pulled over. As we got out of the car about five more vehicles pulled in behind us. Each of the men driving those cars got out and approached my father. The first gentleman to step forward extended his hand and thanked my dad for leading the way. You see each of those men were following us. Although, like us, they could barely see, they could make-out the tail lights from the car in front of them; unbeknownst to my father, they had formed a convoy and were following his lead.

There is a moral to this story. Sometimes in life we encounter storms, some worse than others. Many times in those storms we lose sight of our way, it’s at those times we need the wisdom of a guide. If you find yourself lost in the storm, remember there is always a white line along the side of the road. Don’t pull over, take a deep breath, blow off the spirit of fear and just follow the white line. You  never know you may find someone was following your lead.

Savannah J, she puts a little sass in every page.

www.thesavannahjpublications.com

Grief

As Father’s Day approaches, I thought of writing a few blogs to honor my father’s memory, but then, I decided to write those another day. Today, I want to share my journey through the grieving process of losing one of my closest cousins. I always figure, we are never the only someones going through something and maybe my story will help someone else.

My cousin, Jeannie and I are the children of two brothers. We were born 3 months apart, to the very day. When I got the news that she had passed suddenly, I literally felt her when she left me. I can only describe it as feeling as if I’d lost my twin.

If someone were to ask me to describe my grief, I’d say it feels like a heavy blanket. When the blanket first covered me, I felt as though I may suffocate. As time has progressed, I’ve found a corner of the blanket that I can lift to breathe and see the sunlight. Although it’s been a few months, I know it’s going to take a long time for me to get to a place where the pain of losing, Jeannie becomes a dull ache. You see, every now and again, I lose my grip on the blanket and again it covers me.

I am fortunate in that I have a strong faith and belief in God; He is my Higher Power and sustains me in my lowest times. I am also fortunate to have a strong support system of family and a few good friends.  There are some however, who are struggling through a grieving process alone. Perhaps they’ve reached out but no one is there.

They’ve made phone call after phone call and no one picks up. They leave messages and no one returns their calls; for whatever reason. These are the people who end up in a state of disrepair. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve made my share of calls and couldn’t reach a soul. But it’s at those times, I dig deep and rely on my faith. In this case, as in any, I know to pray first and then call someone who loved Jeannie like I did.

I remember when she first died, I was speaking with a man who called himself a friend of mine. He asked me how I was coming along; now mind you, we had just buried Jeannie two days prior to this phone call. When I told him I was struggling, he responded I should be happy that Jeannie was at peace. I went on to say, I didn’t feel happy and I was having a rough time of it, he replied that I was going to have to figure out how to deal with her death on my own. I didn’t hear from him for five months after that.

You may be wondering by now, why am I’m sharing all of this with strangers. Well, as I mentioned earlier, we are never the only someones going through something in this journey called life.  If, by sharing my pain and the fact that although the blanket covers me from time to time, I am able find that corner and pull it back, will encourage someone, than it’s well worth it to me.

In closing I’d like to say, perhaps there is someone you may know who is going through a challenge. Maybe this individual has reached out to you or maybe not. Either way, take a few minutes of time and check on them. You may be the someone who is going through; you feel all alone, you’ve reached out and no one reaches back. To you I will say, speak to your doctor, get yourself to a counselor, don’t just suffer alone.

I have fond memories of Jeannie and me and it’s those memories I will hold onto and cherish. It’s those memories that will once again help me to find that corner of the blanket of grief and pull it back. Allowing me to breathe and bask in the beautiful sunshine, just as I know she would want me to do.

Savannah J she adds a little sass to every page.

www.thesavannahjpublications.com