The Ponderosa, Tree Frogs and Emotional Whiplash–there’s a lot on my mind!

I was hoping I’d find a clever way to illustrate the equivalent of an emotional “double take.” I have vague memories of cartoon characters with rubbery physical features, heads whipping back and forth in exaggerated, bug-eyed fashion in an attempt to follow a bouncing object. We have been following an emotional bouncing ball this weekend, and I may have whiplash!

Saturday was full of fun as we packed into a school auditorium and watched dozens of 3-4 & 5-year old preschoolers perform in  their annual fundraiser and talent show. They were adorable–not just our Sophia, but each child! Some fell prey to stage fright and couldn’t be coaxed to sing their song or move to the beat of the music, while others were naturals and easily took to the stage. Sophia and one of her friends danced to a “freeze” dance for her first performance, followed by the well-executed choreography of the Village People’s “YMCA”. Her t-shirt read “Biker” and she was very comfortable with her moves. How wonderful for these children to look out from the stage and see moms and dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles–an admiring throng!

Sunday our emotions whipped in the opposite direction as we attended a memorial service for a good friend. Sometimes the words “good friend” don’t add up to all there is to say. But then it is also true that sometimes words are rather empty anyway. Art was my husband’s childhood friend. They’d already been friends for over twenty years when I first met him in 1971. First as neighbors, they became more like brothers over the years. Art’s death was very unexpected. He played pro-level senior tennis, was a lifelong athlete in excellent physical condition–as far as we knew. Since we weren’t aware of any medical problems, whatever occurred, it was quick and came as quite a shock to us and others.

The memorial service brought a large gathering of bewildered and somber friends together, and as is typical of these occasions, lots of talk about reconnecting and staying close, celebrating the importance of strong relationships, and about living life with intention and attention not to delay taking that trip or doing the things that you always wanted to do!

I had a brief post-birthday conversation with my stepson. He lives in Hawaii and mentioned that he’d been pondering how much he loves living on the beautiful island of Oahu, yet it prohibits him from being closer to family. I mentioned that “pondering is good” and with his inimitable quick wit he said, “Yes, it seems my head is the Ponderosa!” I appreciated the laugh. I needed it.

I’m not prone to melancholy, but I ponder. And this weekend MY head was the Ponderosa, too! Jay and I took the time to remember Art in our own way and to sit for a bit thinking about how much we value our family and friends, and how each day we have is a gift from God–not to be squandered or taken for granted. Life is usually spent somewhere between the joys and the sorrows.

While I was in this pondering mood  I picked up my weekly produce box from Abundant Harvest and after organizing this week’s fruit and vegetables I sat down to read the accompanying newsletter. Abundant Harvest’s “Uncle Vern” begins by sharing about the  jillions of tree frogs that come to life this time of year in his local creek. Penny at Life on the Cutoff called them “peepers.” I’d never heard of peepers before, but Penny was clever and kind enough to include an audio link so we could hear nature’s sweet spring symphony. Do listen!

And Vern shared:

If tree frogs were people, they’d be sitting around worrying that the rain might stop, or there’s big ol’ herons that wade in the creek and next to the shore…they eat frogs you know, and so do bass, it’s just awful. And if you croak too loud, who knows what might find you appetizing.

We are sobered at the loss of our friend, but mindful of the importance of keeping our minds on enjoying today–maybe being a bit more like the tree frogs and singing instead of getting mired down with pondering a bit too much. I was able to laugh quite a bit today–my babysitting day. Laughter does make the heart lighter.

Since the mention of the Ponderosa I haven’t been able to turn off the Bonanza theme playing in my head! I thought I’d share it with you and maybe you’ll feel a little lighter after re-visiting Ben, Adam, Hoss and Little Joe for just a moment. It’s funny what we can use to help calibrate our feelings. Laughter is a necessity! I can be sad and laugh at the same time. I hope you know how to do that, too!

Breathing lighter, Debra

46 thoughts on “The Ponderosa, Tree Frogs and Emotional Whiplash–there’s a lot on my mind!

  1. Oh Debra… I do appreciate your “pondering” and remembering to take the time to treasure each moment… I will remember that as I spend precious time with Amelia today as I accompany her in her chemo treatment… No herons or bass will get either of us today… :-) Judy

  2. Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend Debra. You’re right, sometimes words are just inadequate. And I love that you found laughter on your babysitting day. The little ones do have a way of brightening things up don’t they. :)

    • Thank you, Kristy. I think I’d have to stay home if I couldn’t keep my spirits up around the girls–I’d be in a bad way! Just watching the children perform at their school the other day was such a good balance to other emotions. They are funny without even trying, of course, and they are good examples for us all–I think 100% they live in the moment! I hope you and your family have a wonderful day today! Debra

    • Thanks, Jen. I drove in to work today with a beautiful sunrise, and it is going to be a nice day. I slept well last night, too–that always helps :-)Hope your day is also a very good one. I just saw what recipe you posted…oh boy! Debra

  3. So sorry to hear of the loss of Art, Debra. I know how these kinds of losses take us by surprise and leave a hole in the heart. How well you have handled it, showing us that in among the grief should be a fondness for life and to live it as fully as we can, for there are talent performances with little ones (or big ones) to attend and peepers who still sing.

    Thank you for linking to me and for this beautiful perspective on how the peepers/frogs keep singing, no matter the heron that may be stalking nearby.

    (Loved the Ponderosa and hearing that bom-bada-bom-bada-bomba tune once again.)

    • Thanks so much, Penny. We all know what it’s like…that’s for sure! I am a little “all over the place”–from Vegas to peepers–ha! But that’s sometimes just how it goes. I immediately thought of you and your “peeper post” when I read the newsletter, and went back at the time to hear them again. I’m hoping my California friends will check out the audio link…I just think it is the most spirit-lifting sound! I’m glad you enjoyed the theme music. I smiled and chuckled, too, and wondered if much younger people will recognize “Bonanza” and “Ponderosa.” I hadn’t heard it in a very long time! Hope you are having another beautiful spring day. Mine is just getting started :-) Debra

  4. Wow … what a weekend of a full range of emotions.

    Sorry to hear the news of losing a friend. Never easy … yet the unexpected ones hit us hard. We lost one in November, and I know I cried at least once a day for a week. However, each loss is unique, but their memories live on to warm hearts and produce smiles.

    Although I like to use ponder, but I have yet linked it to Ponderosa. Dang … and I loved Bonanza!

    • Thank you, Frank. It sounds like your November loss was a profound one, too. We all know that loss is part of living, but I think a period of grieving the loss of friends is appropriate when they mean so much to us. I know my husband and I will be talking about Art and looking for old pictures…just remembering, and that in itself is quieting. My stepson is very clever…and quick! When he came up with his “Ponderosa” comment I really gave him quick credit! I now have a new tag for myself when I’m in one of those moods…and I also found myself eager to find an old Bonanza episode to watch! I hope you have a wonderful sprng day today! Debra

    • Thank you, Sharyn. Quite a swing from the sounds of Vegas to the symphony of tree frogs! Focusing on what nature has to share always lifts my spirits, so both Jay and I are quieting in a bit…and the Ponderosa/Bonanza theme supports our desire to “circle our wagons” for a while and just be pensive! We have sun today…I hope you aren’t sending any more rain our way? I know we need it, but I’d like a delay please. LOL! Debra

  5. Sorry, Debra, to learn of the loss of your friend. I cannot see how anyone can suffer such a loss without becoming at least a little pensive, as a result. And, yes, it’s good to laugh when times are saddest.

    But the Bonanza theme? Really? This I need to ponder…

    • Thanks, John. Yep! I can’t seem to get the Bonanza theme out of my head…Maybe life on the Ponderosa just feels simpler!Lots of coincidences…on our Las Vegas drive we were recalling that we once visited the “real” Ponderosa near Lake Tahoe, Nevada. So for some reason I’ve had Bonanza and the good old Ponderosa in my head for weeks now! I know it’s rather random! I hope you have a great spring day today, John! I’m enjoying some early morning sunshine after a couple of rainy days! Debra

  6. I’m so sorry about you and your husband’s loss. Death is never easy, and none of us get out of here alive either… funny how we are. Either way it’s hard. I am sorry it happened so suddenly. It is so heart breaking. My prayers are with you, your husband and his friend’s family.
    I do love that you can turn a rough situation into a good one. You have a beautiful outlook on life.

  7. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, a good friend is a wonderful thing. Bereavement takes many forms and I believe we all need time to absorb and as you say ponder – osa.
    And your description of the cartoon character at the beginning of your post is spot on ! Here’s hoping have a good week, Claire

    • It is always hard, yes, and it’s something we all go through! Friends are a blessings and the best thing is when you can look back without regrets. We will indeed have a good week…and I thank you! Debra

  8. Definitely. If I can’t find something to laugh or smile at, no matter what is going on, then you know I am in deep trouble.

    Thanks for my now knowing what peepers sound like.

    Sorry about your hubby’s dear friend. You never know what life holds. I believe in living each day as if it could be your last. Staying really present, telling people you care about what they mean to you, making decisions you can live with forever, treating everyone like you may never see them again, enjoying every possible moment…life is too short…too short, I tell ‘ya! ;)

    • Aren’t peepers just the best? I’ve had more fun with them today…so many of my friends here on the west coast have never heard them before! Their little symphony does make me smile :-) Thank you for your kind thoughts. We will miss our friend, but we know that we were fortunate to have had as many years as we did. That’s a gift in itself. Thank you. Debra

  9. Watching the Bonanza opening, I remembered that Dan Blocker came to a theater performance at SGHS. He was a friend of the drama teacher (Mr. Reed?).

  10. Dear Debra, . . . just last week, the man who wrote the theme for “Ponderosa” died. And yet that theme lives on and you used it today. We never know what people will remember about us when we die–whether it be a theme song we wrote, a tennis game we played, or the kindness of our response to a friend. And so it is that you remember your husband’s friend Art. He was a blessing in your life as your husband and you must have been a blessing in his. And so long as his story is repeated, like the theme of Ponderosa, he will be remembered. And your posting itself, which will stay forever on the internet, gives him immortality. Peace.

    • Isn’t that a nice coincidence about the Bonanza composer…I am quite sure I didn’t hear that! Thank you for your thoughtful reflections on friendship and passing, as well as the blessing of memories. We do have that, as well as a faith that tells us he has simply moved on to a whole new life. I really appreciate your very moving perspective. You always add such depth, Dee. You are a gift. Debra

  11. …Maggie & I like your blog…thanks for the pingback…we like to “breath lighter” too anytime we can…. as to the tree frogs…”their song becomes a soothing, calming resolve after a hard day pursuing your work and your dreams”…have a great day!…
    ..

    • Thank you, Chef! I am glad you stopped by and felt at home. I spent some time on your site, too, and definitely liked your overall focus. I really smiled at the Stardate app on the front page. I love their NPR spots, and I am a sky watcher! I’ll be checking in with you frequently! Debra

  12. Debra, I am sorry to hear about Art. An excellent reminder for me to reach out to the people I love.

    Tree frogs are among my favorite symphonies. They boom like bass in the center of my chest.

    • Thank you, Andra. Yes, it’s a good time to hug someone :-) Loss is a part of everyone’s life…we all go through these seasons, so it is just a good time for us to slow down a bit and make sure we’re paying attention! I do not have any tree frogs near me at all–I feel very cheated! I’ve listened to Penny’s recording multiple times and simply enjoyed! I can see why you’d be very fond…Debra

  13. It is true that often we cannot find the right words and that the ones we find sound empty that is because we do not have enough words for how we lovesome people differently from others.. words. .we need to invent some more maybe. I know exactly what you mean.. lovely post.. c

  14. Death reminds us that we must seize THIS moment . . . and THIS one . . . because we never know how long we have left on our lifetime line.

    Love the quip about pondering in the Ponderosa (I used to enjoy the show too).

    And, last, but NOT least . . . we do not laugh because we are happy . . . we are happy because we laugh.

    Thanks, Debra!

  15. It’s always such a fun treat to see your child perform at that age. I’m sure the show was full of unexpected and unplanned moments. I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. From his level of involvement in sport you would think he would continue on until a ripe old age. It’s so tragic and like you say, we all need to treasure the time we have and make the most of it. I was a big fan of Bonanza when I was growing up and I used to sit and watch it every week with my sister – great and happy memories there xx

    • Thank you so much. It’s been a long and unusual week, but a good time to reassess and contemplate and just be still! I got very nostalgic with the Bonanaza clip…tv was very simple then. Maybe that’s what I miss :-) Hope you have a wonderful day today. Thank you for stopping by! Debra

  16. Thank you for the sentiments in your post. It’s always amazing to me how life smacks us in the face and says, “Notice me. Celebrate me. Enjoy me.” I know Art’s passing was a loss for you and your husband, but I was so impressed with the fullness of his life. Be well and have faith and breathe and live.

    • Thank you so much, Kevin. Your response is very kind. I love the way you have expressed yourself, and it is so true that we have been celebrating life this week, even in our remembrance of our friend. I’m so glad you stopped by today! Debra

  17. You’ve been pondering plenty and had quite the full week… I’m sorry about the loss of a friend and I hope the weekend will give you time to rest and put your feet up… Debra, inhale, exhale, aaah! :-)

  18. Your grand daughters sound like delightful kids Debra.

    I’m very sorry to hear of the sudden death of your friend. Why is it always the guy who eats well exercises well, and doesn’t ride in the golf cart who dies like that?

    Its so important to be reminded not to put off doing the things we always wanted to do because none of us know how much time we’re going to have on this earth.

  19. What a post, Debra! All of life is there, joy and sorrow, family and friends, the exuberance of youth and the shock of sudden death. I’m so sorry about your friend’s death, but glad that there was so much in his life to celebrate. As for the children’s performance – sheer bliss. :-)

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