Bits Of Gypsy

Memories, Miracles, and Laughter


Published my second book today. I am really excited about this one because so many of the stories are so close to my heart. Childhood memories mixed with adult remembrances.


Profound Quote

“Don’t let someone get comfortable with disrespecting you.”

I just saw this quote today and thought how often I’ve let this happen.  Silent to avoid confrontation when I should have spoken up the first time it happened.

When you let it go on too long, your anger sets in and the offending party is stunned that you feel they’ve done anything wrong.

Speak out at the first offense and request treatment they would expect for themselves.

Memory of Grandpa Atkins

Photo by Shirley Dilley
Photo by Shirley Dilley

Grandpa Atkins holds a cozy little corner of my heart. Even though he left this earth when I was just a small child of four years, he pops up to remind me of his love frequently.

Grandpa owned a small cabin on the Illinois River outside of Peoria, Ilinois where many happy moments were enjoyed by the entire family. My father was the oldest son in a family of four. His siblings, their spouses and children gathered there many times each summer to fish, laugh, and enjoy family get-togethers along with Grandpa.

My cousins and I loved to climb the ladder to the loft to bed down in our sleeping bags and listen to the adults laugh and tell stories while playing cards down below. Every few minutes one of them would holler for us all to “settle down and go to sleep.” We never did until Mr. Sandman finally wrestled our eyelids to the closed position.

In the mornings, we would race up and down on the floating dock and then act silly trying to walk on the firm ground, waiting for our wobbly sea legs to disappear. The morning that carved the special memory in my heart, I was running off the dock and tripped. I landed flat on my chest and a large ‘whoosh’ sound escaped as my entire lung’s capacity emptied. Anyone who has ever had the wind knocked out of them knows how frightening it can be.

Unable to breathe, I was frantic. My grandpa observed the situation and ran to my rescue. He knelt down and scooped me into his arms. He held me close, rubbing my back, and assured me I would be alright in a minute. His pipe, that rarely left his mouth, remained in place while he whispered soothing and comforting words to me.

Today, whenever I smell pipe smoke or view someone smoking a pipe, this delicious memory pops into my brain’s happy room.

Thank you, Grandpa.

Interesting Life Lesson

Photo by Shirley Dilley
Photo by Shirley Dilley

When someone has consistently treated you in a rude manner, beware when he/she makes the offer of a ‘clean slate’ for the relationship.

True, you won’t need an eraser. You performed no unkind act or word. Your behavior never even needed a slate.

But, the rude party is the winner. He/she gets a free pass for all past bad behavior without so much as an apology.

Sue City Sue

Photo by Shirley Dilley
Photo by Shirley Dilley

Five years and many days ago, I set off to meet a friend for coffee at a local fast food restaurant. Since I was early, I walked over to browse in a department store located in the strip mall behind McDonald’s. After wasting a little time, I crossed the parking lot and was nearing the restaurant when my shoe stuck on the pavement. The momentum propelled my body forward, knocking me to the ground. My bifocals’ frame split apart on impact and became a weapon. Raw metal ground into my eyebrow. I returned to my feet and hurried inside to wait for my friend. Bleeding profusely, but moving under my own power with a painfully twisted hip, I asked the manager for some extra napkins. He brought me some bandages to cover the wound and asked how he could assist. I informed him my friend was due momentarily and would drive me to the emergency room.

Now the fun begins, of course.

First, I must tell you I ONLY speak English and everyone in this story speaks English so the problem must be a lack of listening skills. In the emergency room, I was asked several questions about my accident.

“What happened?”

“My shoe stuck on the pavement and I fell forward.”

“Were you dizzy? Did that cause you to fall?”

“No, my shoe stuck on the pavement and I fell forward. When my glasses hit the pavement, they broke and cut my eyebrow. I, also, twisted my left hip.”

Did you hit your head when you fell?”

“No, like I said before, my shoe stuck on the pavement and I fell forward. When my glasses hit the pavement, they broke and cut my eyebrow. I, also, twisted my left hip.”

“Have you ever had a stroke?

“No, like I said before, my shoe stuck on the pavement and I fell forward. When my glasses hit the pavement, they broke and cut my eyebrow. I, also, twisted my left hip.”

It wasn’t until after the tests I saw the diagnosis on the order sheet for an x-ray and MRI.

“Diagnosis. Dizzy from possible stroke-fell and hit head on pavement.”

Not only was there no concern or testing for the injured hip, where did that description come from? Now before you think I’m picking on the medical community, let me assure you, I’m not. The victim in this saga is a retired intensive care nurse. The experience was a total lack of listening at the healthcare worker’s interview.

Stitches were inserted and the ER co-pay was paid with instructions to follow up with my personal physician. Please do note that there is still no concern for the messed up hip of an elderly patient. At this point, I had so little confidence in their concern or capability that I just wanted to leave.

They, evidently, submitted their bills to my insurance company ASAP, because in no time at all, I received a questionnaire regarding the incident. It is interesting that it now became an incident with the insurance company, instead of an accident.

One of the sample questions, after asking where the ‘incident’ occurred, follows.

“Was there trash in the McDonalds’ parking lot that needed to be removed by management, causing you to trip and fall?”

“No, my shoe just stuck on the pavement and I fell forward. It was an accident. It happened behind McDonald’s in the parking lot of the shopping center.”

“Were there old wads of gum on the McDonalds’ parking lot that should have been removed by management causing you to trip and fall?”

“No, my shoe just stuck on the pavement and I fell forward. It was an accident. It happened behind McDonald’s in the parking lot of the shopping center.”

I fully expected them to ask me the brand of chewing gum if I had answered ‘yes’ to that one.

Two weeks later and another questionnaire.

“Who owns the shopping center where the incident occurred? Were there cracks or flaws in the paving causing you to trip and fall?”

“No, my shoe just stuck on the pavement and I fell forward. It was an accident.”

“Who paved the parking lot?”

“I don’t know and it has nothing to do with the ‘accident.’

 I decided to go a bit further to show them how ridiculous their efforts were to try to manufacture a party to blame and sue for my medical bills. I added the following information.

The party who owned this land prior to the development of the shopping center can be located by researching the address with Pinellas County public records. Possibly, they didn’t have the ground graded properly prior to building and paving, causing me to trip and fall.

Prior to their ownership, the land was inhabited by the Seminole Indian tribe. They may have left traps on the property or applied voodoo-type spells on future visitors causing me to trip and fall.

Prior to the Seminoles, an early caveman may have left his stone hammer or axe lying on the ground, causing me to trip and fall.

I hope you can find the responsible party to ‘sue’ for my ‘trip-and-fall incident.’

Oh, and by the way, you’ve never asked the brand of shoe I was wearing. Sloppy detective work, don’t you think?

A Day’s Walk In My Size Eight’s

Photo by Shirley Dilley
Photo by Shirley Dilley

I just challenged my writing partner to write about a day in our lives.  Below is a typical day in mine.

Some days I smell the coffee brewing. Some days it’s the weak bladder screaming, “get up or you’ll be layin’ in a puddle, lady.” Whatever signal wakes me and forces me to stagger out of bed, you can be sure it’s still dark out, my arthritis forces me to walk like a 100 year old woman, and I’ll be groggy as a drunk on a two day binge for another hour or two.

After the relief in the bathroom, my teeth get freshly scrubbed so the coffee won’t taste like the bottom of a dirty garbage can. Now, the first chore is ready to be tackled. Step on the scale and, more often than not, utter the first few curse words of the day. Whoever invented the scale hated his wife, hoarded evil in his soul, and surely had a death wish. If I ever meet up with him, I might just oblige.

Now I’m off to my hubby’s office on the far side of the house. This is always the start of the best parts of my day. As I enter through the doorway, he hears me and literally hops out of his computer chair to hug me close and tell me he loves me for the first of many times each day. He feels so warm and snuggly. If I couldn’t smell the coffee brewing that he got up early to have ready for me, I might stay here for another hour or two. However, that first ‘cuppa’ must have some voodoo in it cause I need it like a druggie needs that fix after a long, dry spell. Off I hustle to my cozy little office.

Plopped down on my loveseat recliner with feet up, laptop on my lap warming up both its internet and my lap, I await the rescue. Aha. Here comes the cavalry. My hubby arrives with my coffee laced with Italian Sweet Cream. Life just got a whole lot better. Between the coffee and another kiss, this queen is one happy and contented old fogie.

Checking into all my regular writing sites, email, and family Facebook pages is the norm for this mandatory morning routine. My knight rides in on his white horse once more to refill my coffee mug. Every queen’s subjects should be this attentive.

“Hey, honey, you ready to get in the hot tub?”

Is Santa Claus fat and wear a red suit? When wouldn’t I be ready? That warm water soaking and bubbling gets my bones and joints pretending to be younger than they are. Walking and moving become less torturous after thirty minutes or so.

“Be right there.”

“Where should we go today, sweetheart?”

This is the standard question from my hubby after hot tub duty and breakfast. I think I’ve neglected to mention I’m married to a go-go boy. A stay-at-home day to him is like a prison sentence. I’ve learned to sneak in laundry, cleaning, meal prep, etc., in between car trips. One of my wifely duties is to maintain a list of different and unusual places to go or do to entertain him. We know every city, county, state park intimately, as our cameras have recorded them on a regular basis. Now we are revisiting during different seasons. This is not an easy thing to do here in Florida when most everything appears the same year round.

Since I’ve located and provided the morning’s entertainment, I am treated to lunch out. Sounds quite fair to me. No cooking and no clean up.

The garage door closes and into the house we go. We both head for our individual office spaces and preview the photos obtained on the morning ‘shoot.’ Later, we watch each other’s contributions and continue to marvel at the fact that we take pictures of the same things but always come up with different shots. Don’t we see the same things? Obviously, not.

What’s next, you say? Of course, put the coffee on, right?

Coffee on our lanai in front of the fire pit. We’re in the middle of a cold spell right now, in the sixties. Sorry, northerners, I couldn’t resist that.

Wandering around our porch admiring our newly assembled cactus garden provides much pleasure.

Nap time arrives for the oldsters and then back to the porch for margarita time and happy hour.

Homemade soups or a fruit plate are almost always on the dinner menu as we try to eat light in the evening.

We enjoy watching a couple episodes of old TV series on Netflix accompanied with a snack of ice cream. Then we’re off to read in our bedroom recliners. My sweetie always gives up the ghost first and starts to nod off. Even if I’m still not sleepy, I join him. Those bed-time hugs are just too precious to miss.

Goodnight and thanks for tagging along with me today.