The Aviator Cap

Mrs. Green got up early on Tuesday morning and crawled way back in the deep closet in the guest room. She had to climb over shoes and boxes of clothes. When she got to the very back of the closet she sat on the floor with a flashlight in her hand. She opened a blue bin. She pulled out Windy, her very favorite doll from when she was little. She pulled out a stack of books snugly tied together with a ribbon. She carefully pulled out a package, neatly wrapped in tissue paper. She gently pulled back the folds of the tissue paper. She ran her fingers gently over the contents, held it up to her nose, and took a deep breath. It was an aviator’s cap. It was special.

Mrs. Green’s mother had made the cap for her. It had long ear flaps and a leather strap to go under her chin. From the time Mrs. Green was six until she was about 10, she wore this cap all the time. She climbed trees in it, dug in the dirt, stomped in puddles, built forts, and rode her bicycle up and down the street for hours. There was something wonderful about this cap with the long flaps and the leather strap. When Mrs. Green put it on she felt free. She didn’t care what people thought of her. She didn’t think about who was watching. She got lost in her imagination. Mrs. Green worked out everything that stirred inside her in this cap.

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This Tuesday morning something was stirring inside Mrs. Green. When something stirred inside Mrs. Green, she could not ignore it. It was not in her nature. Mrs. Green did not ignore anything.

Mrs. Green took the cap and with just as much determination as when she was six, she put it over her gray crazy hair, sticking out from the sides and twisting and turning in every direction. She climbed out of the closet, put on her jacket and her long leather cloves that reminded her of Amelia Earhart, and went outside. Mrs. Green hopped on the wonderful three wheeled bicycle Mr. Green had given her for her birthday. Up and down the street Mrs. Green peddled in the cool air. The flaps on her aviators cap flew back behind her ears. Mrs. Green leaned into the wind. Her eyes watered, her hair blew.

No one knew what Mrs. Green was working out as she peddled up and down the block. Just one thing was clear. What ever the stirring was inside of her, she would not ignore it. On this Tuesday morning,  Mrs. Green  was determined to feel free. She didn’t care what people thought of her. She didn’t think about who was watching. She got lost in her imagination. Mrs. Green was working out the stirring inside of her, just as she did when she was six.

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Copyright Terri Neagle Donaldson 2015

Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Afternoon Party At The Green’s House

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Mr. Green was out. It was raining. Mrs. Green still had a cold. School was letting out three hours early. Sue had a key. Before Mrs. Green knew it her living room was full. Sue, and Evelyn made Mrs. Green some soup. Mike and Steve were playing impromptu songs on the piano. Mrs. Green was quizzing Carson on his spelling.
A car drove up in the driveway and everyone froze. The front door opened slowly and all the kids ran to hide. Sylvia poked her head into the front door.
“It’s just me. No need to hide.” Sylvia came in with a casserole dish and a stack of magazines. All the kids came back into the living room and resumed their activities.
Sylvia handed Mrs. Green the magazines and felt her forehead. “Let me guess.” She observed all the activity in the room. “Mr. Green has gone to the store?”
Mrs. Green looked up at Sylvia. “It was raining. Plus I like the company.”
Sylvia shook her head and took the casserole into the kitchen.
Sue picked up Ampersand and carried him to the backdoor.  She opened the backdoor and coaxed Ampersand out into the rain. “Go on Ampersand. Mrs. Green just has a cold.”
The sun began to peek through the clouds and one by one each of the kids made their way home. When Mr. Green pulled into the driveway with the groceries, Sylvia had heated up the casserole and was getting ready to leave.
Mr. Green opened the front door. “Oh Sylvia. How is our patient? Thank you for bringing dinner.”
Sylvia smiled and shook her head. “She is just the same as she has she ever was.” Sylvia walked out to her car and drove home. The sun peeked through the rain clouds and Sylvia kept shaking her head “Just the same as she ever was.”
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Copyright Terri Neagle Donaldson 2015

Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mrs. Green Has a Cold

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Mrs. Green’s head ached, her nose was red, and she was sneezing five times in a row. She pulled up the warm quilt her mother had made her when she was a little girl. She rubbed her finger along the soft pink ribbon on the outside edge. She took deep breaths in and out of her mouth.

Ampersand was nestled in the corner of Mrs. Green’s knee right next to her on the sofa. He would not leave her side. In fact, Mrs. Green had to get up and walk slowly to the back door and reassure Ampersand that it was only a cold and she would be fine, before he would go out.

Mr. Green walked over to the front door. He opened it up and put a sign on the wreath. The sign read, Mrs. Green has a cold and needs her rest. We will visit with you when she is feeling her best. Mrs. Green thanked Mr. Green, but deep down inside she felt sad about all the visitors she would miss.

Mr. Green let Ampersand back into the house and helped him get under the covers in the crook of Mrs. Green’s knee. He walked upstairs and brought down a collection Mrs. Green’s favorite audio books. The Classic Collection included, Little Women, Sense and Sensibility, The Secret Garden, The Importance of Being Earnest, Enchanted April and all of her favorites.

“What shall it be today my dear? Little Women?”

Mrs. Green delicately wiped the end of her sore, red nose on a handkerchief and thought for a moment. “The Importance of Being Earnest.”She said with a stuffed up nose. “Thank you my dear for taking such good care of me.”

Mr. Green smiled at his wife. “It is not often that we get a quiet day in. I will be right back.” Mr. Green went into the kitchen.

Mrs. Green settled herself under the warm covers and closed her eyes. She liked listening to the British voices in the story. She loved the formal silliness in The Importance of Being Earnest. It reminded her not to take life too seriously.

Mr. Green returned with a piping hot drink. It was Mr. Green’s mother’s secret cold remedy. Mr. Green made it for Mrs. Green when she was sick. He would not tell her what was in it. Mrs. Green loved a mystery. The secret itself acted like a placebo and she always felt better after drinking it.

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Shshshsh!

Mr. Green’s mother’s secret cold remedy:

One cup English Breakfast Tea

One teaspoon honey

Copyright Terri Neagle Donaldson 2015

Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sunday Drive

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It was the first Sunday in spring and Mrs. Green felt so excited. She was on her way to Sylvia’s house. Sylvia was Mrs. Green’s oldest, funniest, and best friend. Sylvia knew everything about Mrs. Green and Mrs. Green knew everything about Sylvia.

Mrs. Green pulled up to Sylvia’s house and honked the horn. Sylvia came running out the front door. The two friends looked very similar. They wore what they liked to call “a jaunty scarf,” wrapped around their heads and necks, flowing down their backs. Large sunglasses covered their eyes and made them both look mysterious.

Sylvia opened the door and hopped into the old Rolls Royce, Mrs. Green called Rosy. Mr. Green had reworked Rosy for Mrs. Green time and time again. The two friends hugged each other and simultaneously began digging though their purses. They talked back and forth quickly and came to a decision about what music to play for their ride.

They turned the music up loud and away they flew, down the street, windows down, music playing, scarves flying. They sang at the top of their lungs to all their favorite songs.  They drove, and drove, and sang, and laughed, and drove some more.

Sunday drives in spring had become a tradition for the two friends long, long ago when they were teenagers. Mrs. Green was anxious to learn to drive but her parents were not so sure about it. The winter had been snowy that year and the Mrs. Green’s father had put her off by saying, “you can drive in the spring, when the weather is nicer, and the roads are safer.” Mrs. Green had been just as determined then as she was now. Finally spring had come and on the first Sunday afternoon in spring Mrs. Green’s father could put her off no longer.

Mrs. Green loved to drive. Sylvia was not so sure. Mrs. Green gave Sylvia driving lessons in a green Volkswagen Bug, Mrs. Green liked to call Myrtle. Myrtle was old and had some issues. The horn honked when you turned left and would not honk at all when you pressed the button. When you started it up it smelled of sausages. The sunroof leaked, but only when someone was sitting in the passenger seat. Mrs. Green didn’t care. Mrs. Green loved Myrtle for all her character and flaws just like she did everything else. Myrtle also had a manual transmission. This was not a problem for Mrs. Green, but for Sylvia it was another story.

Sylvia tried hard to smoothly take her foot off the clutch and roll away from the curb like Mrs. Green did. She tried hard not to jerk, poor Myrtle down the road. She spent sleepless nights mentally practicing the perfect, smooth transition on the top of a hill without rolling backwards.

Mrs. Green was patient with Sylvia. Mrs. Green played Sylvia’s favorite songs on the radio and told her to “feel the rhythm of the music.” She told Sylvia she could do it. She told Sylvia one day she would not even think about shifting gears or rolling backwards at stop lights. She promised Sylvia she would stick with her until she got it, and one day when they were old ladies they would go for Sunday drives, with jaunty scarves on their heads, and mysterious sunglasses, driving down the road, singing their favorite songs at the top of their lungs. And Mrs. Green always kept her promises.

Copyright Terri Neagle Donaldson 2015

Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A St. Patrick’s Day Story

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St. Patrick’s Day was very special to Mrs. Green. Many years ago when Mrs. Green was 16 she learned about St. Patrick. She had a paper to write in school and she chose St. Patrick as her subject. She spent hours and hours at the library learning about how St. Patrick was captured by a band of pirates at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland where he worked as a shepherd for six years. In that time he developed a strong relationship with God and accepted Christ as his savior, giving him his life and developing a strong relationship with him. It was not that he felt he was very, very good, it was more that he knew how much he needed God.

Mrs. Green felt a connection with St. Patrick. She was 16 as well and even at that young age she wanted to do something good with her life. She wanted that strong connection to God.  She knew, just as St. Patrick did, that she needed God. She knew it stronger than she had known anything in her life.

She loved that St. Patrick escaped and returned to his family only to decide return again to Ireland and minister to her ancestors.

Every St. Patrick’s Day Mrs. Green remembered the small garden outside the library where she walked after learning so much about St. Patrick. She remembered thinking how so many years ago a 16 year old boy was kidnapped by pirates and taken away to a foreign land. It struck her that God works in mysterious ways that we cannot completely understand. Had St. Patrick not been captured by pirates and taken away to Ireland, her ancestors would not have learned of Jesus and the wonderful true gift of grace God offers everyone. She may never have learned of God, or Jesus, or grace, or salvation.  It was awesome to think that someone born in the year 373 could have such an impact on her.

As the 16 year old Mrs. Green walked in the library garden that day she looked down and right before her was a four leaf clover. She decided at that very moment she would give her life to Christ. She would serve him, even in the smallest ways. And when Mrs. Green could not fathom why God chose to do things the way He did, she would remember St. Patrick and how this 16 year old boy born in the year 373 had changed her life in the best possible way, forever.

Copyright Terri Neagle Donaldson 2015

Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mrs. Green Learns to Relax

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Mrs. Green got up early on Saturday morning. She dressed in her comfortable and wide yoga pants, t-shirt and fleece. She filled up a bottle of water and went out the door to yoga. She met Sylvia in the cold and ice covered parking lot and they hugged and hurried into the warmth of the church basement.

The yoga class was full of women of various ages. Sylvia and Mrs. Green got yoga mats and placed them side by side. Soft music was playing. The instructor, Ginny, read a passage in the devotional book, Jesus Calling.

Ginny’s voice was soft, yet it resonated through the room. As Mrs. Green stretched and concentrated on her breathing her thoughts were less scattered. The list of chores and hustle and bustle began to fade from her mind. She began to feel like herself.

Yoga was not easy for Mrs. Green. She nearly fell over onto Sylvia twice while doing the downward dog. It wasn’t just the balance and the physical demands of the class. It was a different kind of challenge than any other she had in her daily life. For that one hour per week Mrs. Green had to slow down and concentrate on herself.

Copyright Terri Neagle Donaldson 2015

Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mr. Green Builds A Snowman

Every winter Mr. Green waited for the perfect snow. There were many qualifications for a perfect snow. It had to be deep; deep enough to roll a substantial snow ball. It had to wet; wet enough for the snow to really stick together. It had to be compactable; this was a word Mr. Green made up.

Mrs. Green often asked Mr. Green if the snow was just right. Because every year Mr. Green built a snowman. Everyone looked for the snowman. Everyone waited and wondered. Would there be another snowman in the Green’s yard? Mr. Green would not be rushed.

Friends visiting in March reminded Mr. Green that this could be the last snow of the year. Mr. Green was not concerned. He seemed to know about these things.

When they did get a deep enough, wet enough, compactable kind of snow, Mr. Green built a snow man. It was never an ordinary snow man though. He was Mr. Green, after all. The snowman always resembled a dear friend.

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The first year Mr. Green did a self portrait.

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The year Carson was born Mr. Green’s skills had improved.

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Sylvia and Sam have a picture of this one on their mantle.

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This year Juliette squealed with delight when she came to visit Mrs. Green and found this sitting in the front yard.

Copyright Terri Neagle Donaldson 2015

Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

March Puddles

It was March, and Mrs. Green began to long for spring. She was very busy, but on cold March days Mrs. Green found herself gazing out the window. When Mrs. Green was a little girl her mother said she had spring fever worse than any child she had ever known. So Mrs. Green’s mother used to put her to work in March, and Mrs. Green had kept up the tradition.

In March Mrs. Green dusted the insides of the kitchen cabinets; she vigorously shook the rugs watching the dust fall like sparkly spring rain on icy snow.  Mrs. Green washed sheets and towels, rarely used from the back of the linen cabinet.

Mrs. Green didn’t mind all the hard work. She was getting ready for opened windows and doors, birds singing, and flowers. She liked it when the March rain washed away all of the dirt on the snow. She was sure the March rain was getting the ground ready for spring.

Sometimes a good March rain and a few birds singing made Mrs. Green feel just like she did when she was a little girl. She felt like celebrating a little. So if you happened to see a dignified woman, in big rubber boots, recently pulled out of spring storage, stomping in big March puddles, in the grocery store parking lot, feel free to stomp right along with her. She is just imagining it is spring.

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Stomp in the puddles and get ready for spring!

Copyright Terri Neagle Donaldson 2015

Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.