Lowell, MI – As I look back at 2016 like into a colorful kaleidoscope that keeps changing when I move it, I see a clear picture of the past.
I move it again, and I can see how the little pieces are transforming into the future, that is the upcoming year 2017.
Sometimes I shake that kaleidoscope violently, so that the picture changes into what I want it to be.
Well, it never is what I wanted it to be. Just like the molecules and atoms in space keep fusing and defusing, so do the events that these little pieces form not always to our liking.
And I have to quote Mr. Albert Einstein:
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
As in years previous, I looked deeper and deeper into what I saw around me. At times, experts call this,” being aware.”
Things lost and found in 2016, things old and new
On the last day of January in 2016, I rediscovered the power of the church in the christening of grandson Dominik Ludek Pala at St. Rose Catholic Church in Hastings, MI.
I had broken away from the church for many years. As I watched the christening rituals and both of my adult children, Emma & Jake, standing at the altar with the baby at the center of attention, I realized something big was happening inside and out.
My brother Vas was sitting in the first pew to the right, Dominik’s uncle, war veteran Tony was holding the baby, and my daughter Doc Emma Chavent flew in from Dijon, FR to be the Godmother to Dominik.
The church united us all together regardless beliefs, distance or occupation.
Things lost for 10 years: the church, but not faith
In February, I rediscovered Florida, that some people Up North lovingly call southern overrated “Hicksville,” either flooded by tourists or college kids on their spring break.
I’ve been going to Venice, FL for writer’s retreats since 2009. This time, our entire group led by Doc Emma went to Saint Petersburg. And I loved it. I loved St. Pete for its cosmopolitan feel, culture and secluded historical beaches.
Things lost: St. Pete’s city pier that has been rebuilt many times was gone to make way for a new one.
In March, I observed my son Jake’s birthday too sick to go to Hastings. On March 8th, which is International Women’s Day, I gave accolades to all the women who are making a difference in this world in my popular series on EW Emma’s Writings “Inspiring Women.”
Also my favorite feature post on March 19th is “Czech Name Days” honoring my grandpa Joseph along with millions of Josephs around the world.
We celebrated Easter on March 27, still without my parents Ella & Vaclav, who winter in Venice, FL.
I wasn’t even a CEO (Christmas, Easter, Only) visitor to church on that festive Easter Sunday, when most of the women wear white dresses.
However, I wrote about the age-old custom, the whipping of girls and women in “Memoir highlights Czech & Slovak Easter Traditions” in Czech Republic. The post generated incredible controversy about being evil to women.
April to me signifies spring, here in the North. I gave it salute in many different ways: April 8th, according to Czech calendar is Emma’s name day. Throughout the year, I write posts about Czech name days wondering why Hallmark has never jumped on this social occasion. Many countries around the world celebrate name days, not just Saint Patrick of Ireland.
My daughter Doc Emma was also born on that day in the old country Czechoslovakia.
Her birth certificate is now a historic document, a testament to the changing times in the former socialist country. It reads, born in Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia. The Moravian city Gottwaldov no longer exists under that name. It took back on the old name from the capitalist times under the industrialist Bata, and that is Zlin.
It was also the 45th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22. I usually write the post “Earth Day” to honor Mother Nature. Locally, the sign by Wege/Wittenbach Environmental Center in Lowell best expresses my feelings at any time of the year, and especially now as we enter 2017:
“May Peace Prevail on Earth.”
May is big, anyway you look at it. It’s “Mother’s Day” and the earth blossoms to honor all mothers. I celebrate my birthday on May 9th with my family and my friends. The annual get together on our three-acre ranch surrounded by lilacs in northeast Kent County is the highlight of my year.
May 9th also coincides with the “Czech national holiday” that celebrated the freeing of Czechoslovakia from the Nazi occupation in 1945 when Soviet troops arrived in Prague.
The modern calendar changed it to May 8th when the Americans freed the beer city of Pilsner in western Bohemia.
I call the change in the date of the biggest Czech national holiday, a farce in history, depending on who you are currently serving. Actually, it is a little piece in that ever-changing kaleidoscope.
Naturally, people critiqued me for using the real date of freedom for the Czech national holiday. For me it was a lot like changing the American Fourth of July Independence Day to let’s say July 3rd.
History, and the way we live it and change it to our own fancy, is an endless source of inspiration to me.
On May 13, 2016, I picked back up the “Greenwich Meridian” memoir which was the reason, why I started blogging in the first place in January of 2013.
I call June the month of the Geminiand the Summer Solstice. I write about both in my posts. Three of my great friends are all Geminis. I don’t know if that is a coincidence or some kind of a card trick that I could use.
In June of 2016, I found a friend that I thought I had lost a long time ago. I found her in such a way that even a kaleidoscope couldn’t put a picture like that together. I am sure I will write about this in 2017.
Right now she is calling me for the fourth time, so I am wrapping up the first half of the year 2016.
Written also in response to the Daily Post Retrospective
Lowell, MI- As we draw closer to this Christmas, which here “up north” in Michigan, is white and cold, thoughts of peace resonate inside me.
In spite of the world’s aches and pains including my own, I have been able to put myself in the Christmas spirit.
Every year, Christmas for me is different. I can’t say that I have a consistent attitude toward this time of the year. It actually runs the gamut; from being tired of the ubiquitous commercialism and exploitation of the Christian holiday to embracing it in its entirety without fighting something I cannot change.
That is human nature.
I cannot change that parents are desperate because they can’t find the latest fad in toys the Hatchables, and that some woman hoarded them somewhere in her closet.
I am sure that problem will have been resolved in the next 10 years.
I cannot change that people are dying in Aleppo and that people died in the Berlin shooting at a Christmas market on Dec. 19. I cannot change that the Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was assassinated in Ankara on Monday. I cannot change that electors have indeed confirmed president-elect Mr. Donald Trump as the next 45th president of the USA in spite of the ongoing protestors who are in denial of reality.
I cannot change the consequences of the above mentioned actions because I am not in any place that would slightly resemble power.
Except for one: the power of the written word.
Historically, the power of the written word and its transformation over the centuries into different media platforms has influenced the thinking of most.
The first thing that comes to my mind is the most read book in this world, and that is the Bible. According to accounts, many authors took part in composing this book.
This year, some motels and hotels took the Bible out of their room furnishings not to offend anyone. Money talks. After all travelers are of all religious denominations and atheists.
But, I took offense. What if I only wanted to read the Bible for comfort of a weary traveler or for inspiration of an inquisitive writer? Thank you for reminding me, I know I have my cell phone, tablet and a laptop with me in the various hotel rooms. I can also get the Amazon or Google talking “Bubble.”
After all some stories in the Old & New Testaments are very violent.
The next thing that comes to my mind are the Greek mythology mega-works such as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey that have inspired a myriad of films. I deeply love all of them for the magic minds behind these works.
Some stories in Greek mythology are very violent.
The third thing that comes to mind in the powerful word trio are the works of Italian poet Dante Alighieri and French novelist Honore de Balzac.
Dante’s “Divine Comedy” with depictions of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven has inspired generations of artists.
Balzac wrote about the human experience in “La Comedie Humaine.”
Some stories in these epic accounts are very violent.
While perusing through modern works of art or living them, I arrived along with millions of others to the following conclusion:
Most stories in modern works depict prolific violence and human suffering.
“Why,” the public asks, “are all the stories even around Christmas violent?”
Because of the never-changing human nature.
“All the people around the world are the same,” my dad Vaclav says.
According to accounts from universities, my mom Ella’s and my own observations, my dad is a very smart man.
The overwhelming saturation of violence in the media has come to a point where some networks instituted an inspiring finale story that leaves us all with an overall good feeling that erases the previous footage of horror.
“Hail to them, because it works.”
I’d rather leave for bed with a story about a gentleman who finally got his degree at 80 or the Hungarian socialite Zsa ZsaGabor dying at 99, than with a story about a wedding party being trampled over by a tree or Kanye (the husband of Kim Kardashian) having “some kind of a mental breakdown.”
The social media and the Internet have designed a class for a group of people who influence others: the Influencers.
Although, we cannot ignore the realities in this world, it is our choice what we focus on.
As we head both into the happy and sad time of the year known as Christmas, I have to quote my Gemini friend:
“Life is for the living, we’re only ants on logs.”
Election 2016 is the biggest political upset in generations
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Grand Rapids, MI- I am no stranger to dissent. I participated in the demonstrations leading up to the Velvet Revolution in former Czechoslovakia in November of 1989.
The historic protest was against the dictatorship of the Communist Party, its leaders in the Czechoslovak government and their hardline policies instituted after Prague Spring in 1968.
The demonstrations culminated on Nov. 17, 1989 when students and actors took to the streets of Prague, followed by 10 days of chaos. Those 10 days in the history of Czechoslovakia led both countries, Czech and Slovak republics to freedom.
Flabbergasted, I watched the demonstrations in downtown Grand Rapids last night. Just four days ago on election eve, hundreds lined up on the bridge crossing the Grand River for Mr. Donald Trump’s last rally of the 2016 presidential campaign.
“This is our Independence Day,” he said to the crowd on Monday, Nov. 7th at 11 p.m.
On Thursday night, hundreds of unhappy people took to the streets waving signs that read: “Trump is not my president.”
“Why are they protesting?” asked the TV anchor.
“We want to show other people that they are not alone,” said a protester in the streets.
“Alone in what?” asked the reporter.
“That Trump is not our president,” the guy said. “My vote didn’t count.”
The guy was referring to the fact that Presiden-Elect Trump won the electoral vote, but not the popular vote.
In other cities in the USA and Canada, the demonstrations mostly in front of Mr. Trump’s properties, turned into riots accompanied by violence.
Facebook has always been a good gauge of public sentiment. On election day, 700 million posts were election related.
“I didn’t go and protest when my candidate wasn’t elected,” posted G. E. “And I didn’t even vote for Trump or Hillary.”
In 2000 when Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore got the popular vote, but not the electoral vote and George W. Bush won the election, I didn’t go and protest.
I accepted the results of the democratic election process including the electoral college that propelled Mr. Bush into the White House. I don’t remember other disappointed people protesting either.
Actually W. was the only sitting American president whom I saw in Chicago at the Saint Pat’s parade after the 911 horror. I was happy to see the president of the USA. I didn’t care that he was a GOP president, that it was brisk and cold, and you had to go through security or that W. walked only a few hundred feet.
I never lost that respect to the office of the President of the USA., no matter who holds it.
In an interview with the founders of Americas Community Voices Network (ACVN) Donald & Ronald Brookins of Tampa, FL I asked the question:
“How will you accept the results either way whether your candidate wins or loses?”
“I will respond in the same way,” Donald said, “God bless our new President and God bless the United States of America.”
““The winner will be my President and the leader of the free world,” Ronald said.
The polls had major influence on the decision making of most voters.
“What kind of an impact did the polls make on your decision?”
“The polls created a sense of urgency that it was critical to vote and to encourage others to vote,” Ronald said.
“The polls allowed me to decide who was winning the election, “Donald said. “They are a good indicator of possible results.”
In the end, it was the huge turnout in the rustic belt of America and rural voters, who felt the current administration was ignoring them.
Previous GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney did not get the same numbers that Mr. Trump did in the rustic belt states known as the firewall.
“He’s the people’s man,” said a woman in a small community in Pennsylvania.
I had the same feeling, as we drove back home from the Gerald Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids through the rural communities on Tuesday evening. Voters were streaming into the Lowell Township Hall, into churches and the city halls., all bundled up and sporting patriotic colors and jackets.
This was the people’s election. It was the voice of change from the obsolete Washington self-serving bureaucracy, its institutions and non-functioning apparatus.
The people have spoken. They boldly stood up to the lies of the establishment.
White educated female Democrat votes red for the first time
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Grand Rapids, MI- Reeling off from the historic “unprecedented & unpredictable” Election 2016 with President-Elect Donald Trump soon to take residency at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, I admit that I am glad it’s over.
Wearing a red sweater for the occasion, I cast my ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 11 a.m. at precinct no.1 at the Vergennes Township Hall on Bailey Road. I couldn’t find a parking space. After voting I took a selfie with a selfie stick in front of the township hall. It was windy and cloudy. I was shivering, and not just from the wind.
I didn’t expect Trump to win anyways much like the media, the polls and the political pundits.
“You’re an idiot,” my mother Ella yelled at me on Wednesday, “just like the rest of the people who voted for him. The whole world thinks that. The stocks have gone down.”
Okay, thank you mom.
Coming from generations of Liberals, I was supposed to vote for Secretary Hillary Clinton.
After all I am a white educated female Democrat who started her blogging/design business Emma Blogs, LLC on the WordPress platform in 2013.
But, my business and entrepreneurial spirit have nothing to do with my vote for the 45th president of the USA.
I consider myself a people’s woman and I have always voted Democratic until now. I would have voted for Bernie Sanders, if he had stayed in the race.
But, not for Hillary.
As a victim of politics of the Prague Spring 1968 in former Czechoslovakia when the Soviet tanks invaded the country, I do not put up easily with lies, tactics and establishment.
And I write about my encounters with politics throughout my life in the memoir “Greenwich Meridian.” (c)
Thus, I am more keen and sensitive when someone is lying to me and to other billions of people around the world. Hillary’s private server, erased e-mails, Wall Street speeches and funding of her presidential campaign from the Clinton Foundation, didn’t resonate well with me.
It takes a lot more than a polished lying lawyer sporting a blue or white suit and a great blonde haircut, to convince me.
Lies were the biggest issue that the voters had with Hillary and they expressed it in the following keywords:
“I made a mistake,” she said on the theme of the proverbial private server and the erased e-mails.
I should have been more graceful and forgiving, we all make mistakes.
But, I wasn’t. Considering Hillary’s political history and my political history, there was not enough grace left in me.
On the other hand, I should have been offended by Trump’s misogyny and his rough language at the debates and rallies around the country, his bullying and overall disregard for some human values.
His language did offend me, but there was a grain of forgiveness in me.
I separated the former bully from the agent of change. That apparently struck accord with the majority of voters; that is Trump’s promise of change.
I watched him defy the establishment of both parties, while mocking the media all along. Hillary would have only been an extension of President Obama’s policies. And I voted for Obama twice.
President-Elect Trump didn’t bypass the importance of the rural and blue-collar votes in the Midwest. I love rural America. It’s been my home for 20 years. Michigan became one of the battleground states in the pivotal hours of the election.
On election eve, Trump made his last stop at DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids at 11 p.m. with 10,000 people present.
“This is our Independence Day,” he said to the crowd.
On Wednesday Nov. 9 at 2:45 a.m., I watched his victory speech starting out with tears in his eyes.
“This was tough,” he said about the campaign. “It’s complicated business.”
Spreading his arms wide to the audience and looking directly into the camera, Trump said.
“I love you.”
Let independence from old establishments, institutions and biased media ring around the world.
Good luck and God Bless Mr. President-Elect. Protect the freedoms and independence in this great country.
Note: The reason I put this post on my mostly Greenwich Meridian (c) memoir related content blog is because it relates to my past. My husband Ludek Pala and I met at the ZDS school in Stipa, former Czechoslovakia.
Last Saturday, after 41 years, we again sat behind the desks inside the same school together. This time it was at the one room Fallasburg schoolhouse for a ghost hunting (EVP) Electronic Voice Phenomenon session for the Fallasburg Historical Society.
“You get me to all these weird things that I would have never gone to, if it wasn’t for you,” Ludek said later.
“You should be grateful then,” I said. “Who else would get you into something like this?”
Speaking about a time machine…hmmmmmmmmm
“Does it exist?”
“This could become our Halloween tradition.”
Pss…photos from the EVP sessions currently not available due to ghosts. Stay tuned for the pics later.
By Emma Palova
“Put your cell phones in the airplane mode,” advised Edwin Lelieveld, Michigan Paranormal Alliance (MPA) team member.
It was a spooky Saturday night before Halloween at the Fallasburg historical village.
The Michigan Paranormal Alliance (MPA), the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) and their followers conducted a paranormal investigation inside the Fallasburg museum buildings.
“This has been two years in the making,” said Tina Siciliano Cadwallader, FHS event organizer.
Cadwallader put the first time event together as a fundraiser for the historical society.
The MPA started with an introduction inside the Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse museum. We filed in the old creaking and squeaky desks much like the students did some 150 years ago. The classroom filled up and there was standing room only.
The ghost detecting equipment such as gauss meters, temperature gauges and nitrogen goggles laid on a separate table by the old piano.
After 41 years, my husband Ludek Pala and I were inside the same school again. This time in the Fallasburg one room schoolhouse for some ghost hunting. Our teachers were the FHS president Ken Tamke and the MPA members. Our classmates were members of the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) and other organizations.
And overlooking it all was the principal, that is the ghost of Ferris Miller.
The MPA team set up laser purple dot grids and EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) equipment at each location of the paranormal investigation. That is the Fallasburg one-room schoolhouse, John Wesley Fallass House and David Misner House, all of which sit on the Covered Bridge Road. An MPA team member was at each location to interpret the recordings of the EVP sessions.
We divided into three groups, each led by an FHS docent.
The Fallasburg Covered Bridge.
Ludek and I were in the BCBS group with Tamke as docent. We walked down the Covered Bridge Road lighting our way with flashlights. We briefly paused at the Tower Farm, better known as the Tower House. We could not go inside because of its dilapidated interior.
“Two sisters lived here,” said Tamke. “At the time it was normal.”
According to Tamke there have been reports of haunting at the Tower House.
Local resident Addie Tower Abel, who went to the one-room schoolhouse, said there has been a lot of activity.
“I know about the Tower House, I lived there. So, did my son, they saw a lot of activities,” Abel wrote on Facebook.
Lie Kotecki of MPA conducted the EVP session inside the 1842 John W. Fallass house. The temperature gauge in the middle of the completely restored living room showed 66.6 F. According to the MPA, the temperature drops when ghosts are present causing cold spots. The ghosts also give out electromagnetic fields.
“Drop the temperature if you are inside the house with us,” challenged Lie.
The temperature dropped slightly to 66.2 F.
“Did you live in this house?” she asked. “We have no bad energy.”
Tamke explained the historical facts at each paranormal investigative location aka museum building.
“The furniture was built from the lumber out of a sawmill at Fallasburg,” he said. “Orwin Douglas built the Tower House and John Waters built the David Misner House.”
Back at the schoolhouse, Rosemary Leleiveld reported various ghost encounters.
“I felt a female spirit here,” she said. “Missy or Melissa…..”
But, Tamke said it could have been the ghost of Fallasburg resident Ferris Miller, who had died within the last five years.
The next EVP session followed at the Misner House. The MPA members usually turn off the lights for the sessions.
“The atmosphere veil becomes thinner,” said Peggy Kotecki, MPA team member. “We use radio frequencies and cameras,” she said.
Jason Kotecki, IT engineer at VanAndel Institute, analyzed the EVP recording at the Misner House and reported about other findings. The MPA team conducted an investigation in Allegan.
“Have you been to the old Allegan county jail?” Jason asked.
“Not yet,” said Ludek smiling.
“Well, we heard a giggle there,” he said.
Peggy, a nurse at Spectrum, said that sometimes she questions her sanity.
“It’s mostly a boring thing to do,” she said. “We do a lot of recordings and a lot of listening. But, you go for the whole package and you relive it.”
During the EVP session, Peggy asked questions:
“What is your name? Did you live here? Did you have children? Did they go to the schoolhouse down the road?”
The MPA does not solicit business and the paranormal alliance does not charge for their investigations.
“The purpose of the investigation is two-fold,” Rosemary Leleiveld said. “We do ghost hunting and we have ghost hunting equipment at each location. You do a ghost walk and learn more of a history of a location. The architecture draws me in.”
I am back home in the USA from a writer’s retreat in France. Follow me on EW Emma’s Writings on http://emmapalova.com for stories from Provence, Burgundy and Paris. Pictured is Paris from a rooftop bar in the historic Le Marais quarter. To the right is the flashing Eiffel Tower. Every full hour the Eiffel sparkles in lights along with the blue beam that illuminates parts of Paris near the river Seine.
The fabulous panoramic “Les Nympheas” paintings inside the L’Orangerie Gallery were a gift from Claude Monet to the people of Paris.
Stay tuned for stories from Provence, Burgundy, Jura region and Paris on EW Emma’s Writings on http://emmapalova.com.
Villages of the Luberon Mountains Continued from Provence most beautiful villages at By Emma Palova EW Emma’s Writings Provence, FR- After a morning writing session on Sunday in the large Provença…
Continued from Provence most beautiful villages at https://emmapalova.com/2016/09/02/provence-most-beautiful-villages-2/
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Provence, FR- After a morning writing session on Sunday in the large Provençal social room with a view into the garden, we relaxed by the pool surrounded by the Aleppo pine forest with rosemary shrubs at the base.
The “girls” Emma & Selene had just completed a 10 kilometer hike to the Gorges de Regalon. The network of gorges and canyons plunges 30 meters deep and a magnificent forest of oaks, maples, Aleppo pines, cherry and fig trees shelters it.
“We met a guy who had flip-flops on and asked us how far of a walk it is,” laughed Emma. “Then he asked if his t-shirt was alright for the hike.”
In the afternoon, we explored another village of the Luberon, the artsy Lourmarin with population of 1,300. Lourmarin lies in the triangle formed by Avignon, Marseille and Aix-en-Provence.
The new château in renaissance style was restored by industrialist & philanthropist Robert Laurent Vibert in 1920. He was killed in an accident in 1925 leaving behind a foundation for young artists. The château overlooks the delightful Lourmarin with three belfries reflecting on the diversity of religion.
The right wing of the castle is fully furnished according to the renaissance period. We walked up the wide stone stairs leading into the main chambers of the castle. I especially loved the music room with music instruments from four continents, the library and the ladies room.
The castle serves as a major venue for the annual summer music festival from July 11 through Oct. 8th.
The kids delighted in the castle garden with sculptures and a pond with koi fish. A short walk down the hill led us into the bustling village with tourists, a festival and a market.
Fashionable shops and galleries lined the streets in the center of Lourmarin along with wine caves, endless restaurants and cafes.
Sitting at a sidewalk café on Place de l’Ormeau, I did as the Lourmarions do every day; I watched the pedestrians and an occasional car navigate the cobblestone narrow streets Mediterranean style.
A chic proprietor of a bed& breakfast sporting high heels was awaiting her guests at the cobblestone l’Oarmeau square adorned by sculptures with a water fountain. The water fountain with fish kept our youngest team member Sam, 2, calm. Ivy completely overgrows many of the bastides at the Place de l’Ormeau.
In one of the galleries, I found an amazing 3-D bluish yellow collage picture of the Last Supper. Emma loved the slick modern lamps, as well as the retro art in a gallery across the street. I didn’t want to leave Lourmarin.
But, we had one more village on our schedule: beautiful Ansouis, pop. 1,057, with French terrace gardens and the dominating castle at the top.
A jazz band used an opening in the castle walls as a stage with the setting sun behind for their light effects. Behind the spectator crowd, a couple danced Charleston on a sloping street.
And there was a syrup stand; not a wine stand but a booth selling the old elixir, which Emma and I know so well from the Czech Republic. Long before coke, sprite and other pop arrived massively in Eastern Europe, there was an equivalent: the good old home-made syrup from local fruits.
“Syrup is big now in France,” Emma said.
No, kidding. I encountered the syrup-diluted-in-water concoction at our other tour locations such as St. Remi-de-Provence and Poligny in the Jura region of France.
This is the first post in a series about family relationships that have inspired me to write the memoir “Greenwich Meridian where East meets West” (c)
Some time ago, I wrote the post “Two sisters still at war” about the friction between my mother Ella and her sister Anna aka Anyna. The derogatory version of the beautiful name refers to the relationship between the two aging sisters. Notice that the word Anyna is missing on the greeting card for Anna’s Day.
Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” and Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” kindled my inquisitive mind to further explore relationships and psychology.
Watch as I pick up on the tension between the two sisters. Check out the post at the following link:
Lowell, MI- I have just found out that small things matter, that destiny exists and that life is frail.
Three times in life I had close calls when death was reaching for me with her long arms.
Once, I almost drowned even though I am an apt swimmer, not like Michael Phelps but close. Just joking. I feel lucky when I can swim a 50-meter pool once and not the butterfly style.
The second time I almost got killed in a car driving on a rural route from one small town to another small town in northern Michigan.
The third time I fell down straight on my face due to low blood pressure, heat and dizziness from medication at the height of summer on July 14th.
A one-night stay at the Metro Hospital on M-6 cost us $10,000. My husband Ludek also spent one night at what we call “Hotel 6” with heart problems. That also cost us $10,000.
We came out of there alive unlike our neighbor Ted aka “Teddy Bear” who never made it out of “Hotel 6” after a 2-year struggle with leukemia.
“At least he lived it up,” said my daughter-in-law Maranda Palova.
No matter what you call it whether living it up, bucket list or living your way because you think you’re going to die soon, you can’t escape destiny.
And yes life is frail at all its stages.
I am breathing again freely with new wisdom. I found out why I didn’t die in any of those close calls.
It’s my French granddaughter Ella Chavent, 5. She will turn six in September. Ella is staying with us for the summer. At first I had butterflies in my stomach. I worried about this international experiment not knowing where it will take us. We didn’t know Ella that well because we’ve seen her in six years only six times.
Ella’s parents left for France last Friday taking along her two-year old brother Sam.
“Did Sam leave?” she asked me.
“No, he’s living under the roof in the attic,” I said seriously but laughing out loud afterwards.
And we’ve played that joke ever since. Ella keeps telling everyone that her brother lives in the attic. That simple joke broke the ice when Ella started crying for her mami after coming home from St. Pat’s summer school.
Normally, I hate Mondays but this time I didn’t. I took Ella to school in the morning. She carried her tart cherry pie for her friends. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have made that cherry pie. I would normally not go to St. Pat’s Church. I would just lounge around all Sunday morning.
But, with Ella going to a catholic school, I felt compelled to go to church. Ella wouldn’t go either, but she wanted to see her friends from school.
After dropping her off this morning, I felt an urge to drive to Smyrna to see if the work on Whites Bridge replica has started.
Instead, there was a stronger pull to go home. I kept looking around over all my stuff; things that I used to think mattered so much.
At first I wanted to do the laundry, so I went upstairs to pick up Ella’s clothes. Picking up stuff off the floor in what was my daughter’s room in the nineties, I realized there’s a greater cause than just dirty laundry.
Without taking down Emma’s posters from the white walls, I started re-doing the room Ella style. I cleared the shelves for her souvenirs from the Ionia Free Fair and from Picnic Pops fireworks and concert, that she enjoyed so much over the weekend.
In the corner of the room, I created a work station for her. Our neighbor Catherine Haefner gave Ella a “computer” with books and a tape. Ella tested it out at the open house for Katie Haefner.
Then I went to the balcony to water the flower boxes. I looked at Ella’s little garden made inside a cut off milk jar. Her chicks and hens started already growing.
Next to Ella’s miniature garden is a bigger black square pot with mums. I forgot to water them during the June heat. So, the flowers died. I wanted to pull out the plant and throw it out. Something wouldn’t let me.
I looked closer at the plant after watering it thoroughly for the last three weeks. With all the rain we had, I found new buds coming out on the leafy stems.
To me, the new buds symbolize new blood and a fresh new outlook on life.
There was a reason why I didn’t die in one of those close calls.
Thank you universe.
Note: This story ties into the earlier post “Immersion English” or “International Experiment” found at https://emmapalova.com/2016/07/14/international-experiment/