I was dressing for a date with Ken when I felt a sharp sting on my upper hip. How a wasp found his way into my bedroom will forever be a mystery. I screamed, interrupting the electrical current to the fan lights and cracking a glass on the nightstand. When the wasp flew into the bathroom, I slammed the door behind him. I felt great relief in the restored safety of my bedroom. Ken arrived and I handed him a flyswatter. He killed the beast I knew was bigger than the proverbial bread box. My hero!
KA DOORS—Ann’s 2016 Christmas Poem
[Ka (pronounced kah) is a spiritual entity believed to live within the body during life and to survive it after death. The ka and ba were spiritual entities everyone possessed.]
Egyptian mythology knew ba and ka,
and so do we who mind-wander
beside carved doors touching memories
as real as hieroglyphs in tombs.
Ka doors were false, opening only to the gods.
Weak-kneed and grieving, you held me up by the ka door more than once.
I am grateful for those of you who stayed, some for a lifetime.
My leaded glass door is hinged; “Come on by, y’all.”
If it is true that ka can be passed with a hug,
the Southern life suits enthusiasts willing their life force
into family, friends and kindred spirits.
Personal space exists for the lonely.
My west, front door is blue—fen shui incorrect.
Like the Irish rebels who refused to paint their doors black,
I love opening my blue door to my ka-hugging friends
who sing, laugh, love children, and live passionately.
New friends, I only have one rule in my home—
display good will or leave; the greatest betrayal is to be unkind.
Expressive, barefoot, and existentially relevant memories thrive in my NOW.
I chisel one hieroglyph in my ka door—thanks.
i can lie
in my head
on the silk
sheets of sound
i’m the sax
searched by hands
notes on fire
tongue on reed
speak to me
made to dance
and my ears
blue notes see
oh the force
of the rush
on the silk
sheets of sound
Poet, Ann Everett Hendrix
With all the noise from neglectful or abusive parents, caregivers, attorneys, judges and teachers, how can a child hear their own thoughts over the sound waves bombarding their senses? Throw in emotions and fragile dreams. Breaking through all the noise to be heard is overwhelming and requires the bravest of young souls. Root for children without voice! Vote! Volunteer! Speak kindly!
who I am and all I’ve known,
engraved experience on a fleshy pallet,
those bylines ᾽round my eyes
Ownership of and living happily with our aging process is existential. Either we have done our character homework over the years or we struggle to find joy and maintain relationships.
I have given this a great deal of thought with the political campaigns. Hillary Clinton was born 10-26-47 and Donald Trump on 6-14-46. They are not going to evolve into anything more than who they are. Character set. Game on. The best they have to offer us are their flamboyant examples of what happens to people who choose certain paths early in life and become exactly what they wanted to be. Goals accomplished. In the petri dish of life, we are viewing specimens who prove how set character is by this age.
I worked for a gerontologist years ago. He said the elderly are extremes—the happiest or saddest, angriest or kindest, most generous or stingiest, most judgmental or forgiving, absolutely honest or dishonest, loudest or softest, etc. When our beauty fades, intellect dulls a little, and the power afforded us by work or community involvement is lessened, all that is left is our personhood—the real us.
I have worried since my 20’s about who I was going to be as a grown-up at age 75 or 80. Some of my work has been successful and some of my character flaws were baked into my DNA. I’ve arrived at this senior status with gray hair and extra pounds—far from the 20-something in a bikini and shag haircut. I like this older me better.
My friends are present with wisdom, creativity and an interest in leaving the best world possible for the next generation. They understand we have two responsibilities: mentoring and expression.
The past cannot be rewritten. The future is short compared to where we were a couple decades ago.
Be joyful. It is good for who you are becoming.