My Story Your Story: A slightly disjointed potpourri

If this comes as a slightly disjointed potpourri, a little bit of this and a little bit of that, I meant it that way. You see, there are so many stories that cross a writer�s mind every minute of every day that sometimes the topics spill onto the page sort of like this�

Hovering over us like a chorus of angels are the many things our parents did that we vowed never to do, yet, find ourselves unconsciously repeating. Like every time I eat a banana, I�m compelled to take the peel and shine my shoes with it, just like my dad did.

When I pull wet clothes from the washer, I have the urge to haul them out to the clothesline, exactly the way Mom did, instead of stuffing them into the dryer to tumble for an hour or so.

For years, my husband, Brian, would remark, �Well, I�ll be�,� so as to say, �No kidding…� or �Is that so?�  The phrase �Well, I�ll be�� isn�t Brian�s. It belonged to his dad, Ralph, and before that Ralph�s dad, Otis, and before that Otis� father, Joel. For all I know, it probably goes all the way back to 1650, when the Damon�s descended upon this land of plenty.

When life turns topsy-turvy and everything is all out of sorts, including me, I reach for my rosaries and plea for heaven to come to the rescue, just like Mom. As the Missouri River rises near our home, I am following in my parents� Catholic footsteps, even though I�ve been a Lutheran for 28 years.

A ceramic bust of Mother Mary and the Baby Jesus that adorned their fireplace for years in Sherman Oaks, CA, is now in our picture window, facing west. Each day, I place my hand on Mary�s head, petitioning rising waters to stay at bay.

Before Mother passed away, she gave me a three-ounce bottle of holy water and said, �When worse comes to worse, use this.� I placed the bottle next to the Madonna and Child, hoping the power of two religious relics would intimidate the Mighty Mo. I don�t know about you, but I believe outward signs of our faith go a long way to channel hope and promise.

Speaking of old customs, last Sunday, we attended the 60th wedding anniversary celebration for dear friends who have been married longer than I�ve been alive. I marvel at their milestone and believe such lifelong endurance is called sainthood. In the coming months, I will spend time with them, mining secrets to their stick-to-itiveness.

Most people these days don�t clip news articles and mail them to friends or family anymore. Instead, they use keyboards or phones to click and send. On occasion, I actually cut out articles and mail them at the Post Office, like the one I recently sent to my sister and brother-in-law in Washington State. It was a story about Amelia Island, FL, where they used to live. My enclosed handwritten note read, �People don�t clip and mail articles anymore, so I am doing my part to keep up this dying custom.�

Another public information meeting was held the other night for our area, which continues to be threatened by the flood. Since Blackhawk helicopters have completed their mighty fine work of building massive earthen and sandbag levees between the raging river and us, the skies above are silenced. Eerily, it feels like the calm before the storm.

Good news usually comes in clipped news articles. And bad news? It almost always comes in helicopters and Public Information meetings.

2011 � Copyright Paula Damon.

A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009 and 2010 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, her columns took five first-place awards. To contact Paula, email boscodamonpaula@gmail, follow her blog at and find her on FaceBook.

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