Monday, August 21, 2017

“Keep On Keepin’ On”

Blogging Friends…. When you’re me and you have several dear friends who are all in their sixties or seventies {older, wiser, experienced women whom I learn a lot from} health issues on their end are kind of unavoidable. Somebody who I love dearly and am very close to is currently battling breast cancer. Well.... Today just so happened to be her fourth {and last!!} round of chemotherapy!! As it turned out, God threw us all a party via the 2017 Solar Eclipse!! Now, if that’s not cosmic, I don’t know what is!! Plus there were bombs…. Uh, I mean, loud, resounding, echoing, booming fireworks.... Which did nothing but frighten my poor, trembling, noise phobic mutt, Rosalita!! And me!! My dear friend’s next 'adventure' is radiation treatment. She will be absolutely alright…. For my dear friend is definitely a beautiful, strong, brave, courageous, inspiring, amazing, admirable, resilient woman!! This particular fictional story was written from an aunt’s/daughter’s perspective {because I am one} for a Grandmother’s little granddaughters and grandson. Because…. As I have several good friends who are in their sixties or seventies, I also just so happen to know many of these women’s grandkids!! Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive, Raelyn

Note…. ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’ was not initially going to be a children’s story. Hmmm…. I do not remember what ‘genre’ ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’ was going to fall under. {As a rebellious artist, I absolutely hate that word…. ‘Genre’. It feels so limiting to my God-given gifts and abilities!! Anyway….} I was feeling somewhat like a visionary {Blogging Friends say that my fictional stories are brilliant, which must mean that I'm brilliant, but I do not buy it!!} after Google-searching children’s books about Grandmas having breast cancer. I found nothing. So I wrote one!!

“Keep On Keepin’ On”

Cancer. It is probably the most frightening word in our dictionary. For ‘cancer’ brings a sense of uncertainty, it brings a sense of mystery, it brings worries, fears—and prayers sent toward Heaven—along with it. There are doctor’s appointments, there are operations, there are seemingly countless medications which need to be taken…. Including chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

For, no matter how severe—or how ‘highly curable’ it is—cancer sucks.

Roberta. Susan. Sally. Nancy. Rita. Sheryl. Christina. Robin. Olivia. Wanda. Teresa. Judy. Gloria. Cynthia. Maggie. Carly. Jaclyn. KathySuzanneKylie. Giuliana. Hoda,” I said to my nieces, Charlotte and Hazel, “Do you know one thing that these beautiful, strong, brave, courageous women all have in common?”

What?” Charlotte and Hazel asked simultaneously.

“They are all—each and every one of them—breast cancer survivors!!” I said.

Really?” exclaimed Hazel, despite not really understanding what I was talking about, “Wow!!”

“What does ‘survivor’ mean?” asked an inquisitive Charlotte, “I do not know that word!!”

“What a good question!!” I said, “It means that they had breast cancer {just like Gran does} but their doctors helped them get better!! They are healthy now!!”

“Did all of those girls lose their hair and go bald?” asked Hazel, “Like what happened to Gran?”

“Yes,” I answered, “They all did. Because one of the medications that those women’s doctors gave them—called chemotherapy—causes complete hair loss. But it was only temporary baldness!! Eventually, those breast cancer survivors all did have their hair grow back!! And so will Gran’s, too, someday!!”

“Like when Mama gave me a haircut?” asked Hazel, “It is growing back, now!!”

“You mean when you gave yourself a haircut?” I said with an enormous smile written on my face, “Well.... Now Gran has a ‘not haircut’!! Get it?!”

I laughed at my joke.

Yeah!!” said Hazel, “Because Gran does not have any hair!!”

“Charlotte?” I gently said, “You’re suddenly being very quiet over there…. Which is uncharacteristic of you!! Talk to me…. Come on….”

And then Charlotte suddenly interrupted my talking by letting out a wild, crazy, annoyed-sounding, frustrated growl.

“Charlotte….” I softly and patiently said, “What’s the matter? Is your little, very smart, brilliant, genius—yet still childlike—mind processing everything that’s been happening to Gran? What are you thinking, baby….?”

I paused to listen for Charlotte’s soft-spoken answers from such a sensitive soul…. But there were none.

“Charlotte?” I said, “Baby, we do not have to talk about Gran {or breast cancer} if you don’t want to!! I will change the subject!!”

Stay emotionally and mentally strong, Hannah Louise, I thought to myself, For Charlotte. For Hazel. For their baby brother—my nephew—Oscar. For Mom, who is the one that has breast cancer. For myself. To quote Bob Dylan from his song, ‘Tangled Up In Blue’…. ‘The only thing I knew how to do was to keep on keepin’ on like a bird that flew….’ We are very good at that. Because…. As a family who has persevered though plenty of trials and tribulations, we keep on keepin’ on!! Breast cancer? Chemotherapy? Radiation treatment? We keep on keepin’ on…. Yes, ‘like a bird that flew’!! Stay emotionally and mentally strong, Hannah Louise. Now is not the time to fall apart!! Now is the time that I become more confident in myself!! Now is the time for growing up, for maturity!! Now is the time to ‘keep on keepin’ on like a bird that flew’.... Even when I do not feel like it!! Take that, Self-Doubt!!

“I miss Gran’s hair….” Charlotte finally said, “It was so pretty, it was white and grey-colored, it was curly, and it always smelled good…. Will Gran’s hair really grow back….?”

Yes!!” I exclaimed, “And not only that…. But Gran’s hair might even grow back straight and a completely different color!!”

Really?!” Hazel excitedly said, “Will Gran’s hair grow back purple?! That is my favorite color!!”

I laughed.

“Probably not!!” I said.

“Will Gran’s hair grow back pink?” asked Charlotte in a soft-spoken tone of voice, “That is my favorite color!!”

No….” I said with a cockeyed smirk written on my face, “But pink just so happens to be the international color for breast cancer, though!!”

“It is?!” said Charlotte with a smile written on her face at last.

Yes!!” I said, “That is pretty neat, huh?”

Yeah!!” agreed Charlotte, “It is!!”

Then Charlotte grew momentarily quiet.

“I did not want to see Gran different….” Charlotte confided, “Like another person…. I did not want to see Gran change….”

“I know….” I said, “I understand your thoughts, feelings and emotions….”

“But Gran is still the same Gran as she was before!!” said an insightful Hazel.

“That’s right!!” I said with a smile written on my face, “Gran is still loving, still fun, still nurturing!! She will still bake delicious chocolate chip cookies with you, still ask if you’re alright, still make pizza for lunch!! Gran is just mostly bald right now, that’s all!!”

But Charlotte still looked visibly sad.

“Come here,” I said on that sunny day, “I am going to drive you—and Hazel—somewhere!! Go put your shoes on!!”

Alright!!” said Hazel, who immediately ran off and put her purple-colored sandals on.

Why?” asked Charlotte, with a sense of hesitation in her voice, “Where are we going?”

“To Mary’s Place!!” I explained, “Come on!! It will be fun!!”

“Mary’s Place….” said Hazel, who absolutely loves Bruce Springsteen, “You mean the song?”

“Yes!!” I answered.

“But how do you ‘go’ to a song?” asked Charlotte, as she put her pink-colored sandals on.

Mmmm….” I said, as I held The Rising in my hand, “We push play. We close our eyes. Then we listen and feel everything!! For, no matter what happens to Gran—breast cancer, chemotherapy, radiation treatmentbaldness—it will be alright!! Why? Because we’re at Mary’s Place!! But first, we hop into my car!! Let’s go!!”

And hop into my red-colored 2014 Subaru Forester we did!! I buckled both Charlotte’s and Hazel’s car seats. I put The Rising in my vehicle’s CD player. And I immediately skipped over to track number eleven, which is ‘Mary’s Place’!! Within seconds, we were transported, we were moved, we were taken away…. To Mary’s Place!! Neither Charlotte, Hazel nor I stepped foot out of my car. Because we did not have to!! Charlotte and Hazel closed their little eyes. So did I. Then the girls listened and felt everything as Bruce sang!! So did I….

Because Mary’s Place is a refuge, an amazing shelter and church all rolled into one!!

Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain, let it rain, let it rain, let it rain, let it rain; Meet me at Mary's place, we're gonna have a party; Meet me at Mary's place, we're gonna have a party; Tell me how do we get this thing started; Meet me at Mary's place….” Charlotte, Hazel and I sang in unison on the top of our vocal chords.

Familiar faces around me; Laughter fills the air; Your lovin’ grace surrounds me; Everybody's here; Furniture's out on the front porch; Music's up loud; I dream of you in my arms; I lose myself in the crowd….” Charlotte, Hazel and I sang together.

Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain, let it rain, let it rain, let it rain, let it rain; Meet me at Mary's place, we're gonna have a party; Meet me at Mary's place, we're gonna have a party; Tell me how do you live broken-hearted; Meet me at Mary's place….” Charlotte, Hazel and I sang in unison on the top of our vocal chords.

I got a picture of you in my locket; I keep it close to my heart; A light shinin’ in my breast; Leadin’ me through the dark; Seven days, seven candles; In my window light your way; Your favorite record's on the turntable; I drop the needle and pray; (Turn it up); Band's countin' out midnight; (Turn it up); Floor's rumblin' loud; (Turn it up); Singer's callin' up daylight; (Turn it up); And waitin' for that shout from the crowd; (Turn it up); Waitin' for that shout from the crowd; (Turn it up); Waitin' for that shout from the crowd; (Turn it up); Waitin' for that shout from the crowd; (Turn it up); Waitin' for that shout from the crowd; (Turn it up); Waitin' for that shout from the crowd; (Turn it up)….” Charlotte, Hazel and I sang together.

I then temporarily pushed pause.

“Are you ready for me to turn Brucey up, girls?!” I asked.

Yeah!!” replied Charlotte and Hazel simultaneously.

Turn it up, turn it up, turn it up, turn it up, turn it up, turn it up, turn it up….” Charlotte, Hazel and I sang in unison on the top of our vocal chords.

And then ‘Mary’s Place’ ended, so we obviously stopped singing.

“Do you remember that list of breast cancer survivors which I mentioned earlier?” I asked Charlotte and Hazel, “They are—in my opinion—heroines!! Each and every one of them!!”

“What does ‘heroine’ mean?” asked a curious Charlotte, “I do not know that word!!”

“What a good question!!” I said, “Heroine means female hero!!”

I paused momentarily.

“You know what I think?” I said, “Those breast cancer survivors—and that will definitely include Gran someday—are much more than heroines!! They’re superheroes!! Just like Wonder Woman!!”

“And Batgirl?” asked Charlotte.

“Yes!!” I agreed, “Definitely just like Batgirl!!”

“Wait….” said Hazel, “Is Gran just like Supergirl, too?”

“Yes!!” I said, “I cannot wait to add Gran to all of those inspiring, amazing, admirable, resilient breast cancer survivors!!”

Yep…. I thought, My Mom is just like Supergirl…. Wonder Woman…. Batgirl…. Storm…. Black Widow…. Rogue…. Gamora…. Jean Grey…. Just like every single female superhero that has been created!!

“Can we go back to Mary’s Place?” said Charlotte, “Put it on repeat!!”

“Yeah!!” agreed Hazel, “I want to go back to Mary’s Place, too!!”

“Sure!!” I said, with a smile written on my face.

And go back to Mary’s Place we did!!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

“Daredevil Trapeze Artists”

I do not wish to write a book series. I have far too many names and diverse characters who reside within my crazy never-shuts-down head for just one. Far too many. Plus my God-given talents expand much broader than writing a book series. –-Raelyn
Blogging Friends…. This above quotation was something that I wrote several years ago. I saw it on the very bottom of ‘Minuscule is good!’ yesterday, and I laughed inside. Why? Because I had forgotten all about this vow to myself. And here I am—today—working hard on Fictional Story Number Thirty-Seven…. Which just so happens to be Part Three in my first ‘official’ intentional book series!! Why? Because I fell in love with my characters, Ellington and Elizabeth!! Well…. This will also be—if I can control it—my very last book series!! Why? Because—as I expressed above—I possess a crazy never-shuts-down head!! And to quote Bob Dylan from his song, ‘Maggie’s Farm’…. I got a head full of ideas that are drivin’ me insane…. While writing this particular fictional story? That line reflected exactly
how I’d frequently felt—as several different potential fictional stories simultaneously spoke to me—I got a head full of ideas that are drivin’ me insane…. This is also my second version of 'Daredevil Trapeze Artists', because, apparently, the first version—which was written in longhand—sucked!! Well!! This is what happens when I let Little Miss Perfectionist run amok…. ‘Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive’, Raelyn
“Daredevil Trapeze Artists”   
Children are a blessing, not burdens. That is exactly what Ellington and his lovely wife, Elizabeth, firmly believe. Now, many, many, many happy, positive, Life-changing events have occurred in their existence since they met during the unlikely circumstances of when she served as a police detective—who found his late first love, Lucia’s corpse—drowned in Rocky River’s scenic, yet freezing cold rushing waters. Lucia had committed suicide there over twenty years ago.
Since then, Ellington and Elizabeth got married at Three Wooden Crosses Church!! It was there where they became born-again Christians!! Elizabeth resigned from her career as a police detective. Together, they have created twelve beautiful children—who rage from age twenty-two to two years old—Eleanor-Lucia, Ellis, Eliora, Eldridge, Eleena, Eldon, Electra, Elliot, Ellen, Elmo, plus fraternal twins, Elvis and Elvira!! Elizabeth has obviously had her hands plenty full as their ‘non-working’ homeschooling Mother and Ellington’s wife!!
“Mom, Dad,” said Eleanor-Lucia—age twenty-two—one day during a visit to Ellington and Elizabeth’s house, “Everybody…. I have met somebody!! I think I’m in love!!”
Really?!” said Elizabeth, “Oh, Eleanor-Lucia!!”
“What is his name?” asked Ellington.
Zimmerman,” answered Eleanor-Lucia.
She smiled.
“But I call him ‘Zimmy’!!” said Eleanor-Lucia.
What?!” Ellen—age six—said matter-of-factly, “‘Zimmerman’?! You mean his name does not start with an ‘El’ like the rest of our family?!”
Nope!!” said Eleanor-Lucia, “Zimmy and I are going to break the mold with our relationship!!”
“That is stupid!!” protested Ellen in a bossy fashion, “Why would you want to ‘break the mold’?”
“Be nice, Ellen!!” said Elizabeth.
“Is your relationship with Zimmerman as serious as you are making it sound, Eleanor-Lucia?” asked Ellington.
Yes!!” said Eleanor-Lucia, “Zimmy and I are absolutely inseparable!! We’re together every single day!!”
“That is so sweet!!” Eleena—age fourteen—who is Ellington’s and Elizabeth’s young, Hallmark film-watching, love story-reading romantic of a daughter, “How did you two meet? Tell us!! I want to know!!”
“We met at church!!” said Eleanor-Lucia, “You may—or may not—have seen him there, Mom and Dad!! But, who knows, because Three Wooden Crosses is a huge congregation with practically hundreds of people!!”
“What does Zimmerman look like?” asked Elizabeth, “Describe him, Eleanor-Lucia and maybe—just maybe—I will be able to picture the guy in my head!!”
“Zimmy has curly brunette hair and distinctive beautiful blue eyes!!” gushed Eleanor-Lucia.
Wow!!” exclaimed Eliora—age eighteen—who is a practical thinker, “Zimmerman has brunette hair and blue eyes?! That is seemingly unusual!! Brunette-haired people normally—but not always, obviously—have brown eyes!!”
“I know!!” said Eleanor-Lucia.
Elizabeth shook her head in bewilderment.
“No, I haven’t a clue who Zimmerman is!!” said Elizabeth.
Neither do I!!” said Ellington.
“Let Eleanor-Lucia finish the story!!” said Ellen.
Yeah!!” agreed Eleena, “Eleanor-Lucia has not even gotten to the romantic part, yet!!”
Eleanor-Lucia laughed.
“Anyway, I was talking to my best girlfriend, Lorraine, on Wednesday night, when she said something absolutely hilarious,” continued Eleanor-Lucia, “So I laughed out loud!! And then Zimmy said that he immediately thought, Who is that? Where did her laugh come from? Ah, she is ‘the one’!! And….”
Eleanor-Lucia smiled.
“'The rest is history', as they say!!” Eleanor-Lucia finished.
Awwww….” sighed Eleena, “Are you and Zimmerman going to get married?!”
“I hope so,” said Eleanor-Lucia, with a smile written on her face, “Someday…. But Zimmy has not even asked me to marry him yet!! We are still in our dating season of Life!!”
“If you and Zimmerman get married, then you’ll leave our family….” whined Elliot—age eight—who is a sensitive soul.
“Do not get ahead of yourself, Elliot!!” Eliora chimed in, “Like Eleanor-Lucia said, Zimmerman hasn’t even proposed to her yet!!”
“And I do not even live here anymore, remember Elliot?” Eleanor-Lucia gently said, “I am trying to live my own independent Life as an adult!! But I still visit you all frequently…. Right, Elliot? I am here today… Right, Elliot?”
Yeah….” said Elliot.
“Well, that will not change when Zimmy asks me to marry him, alright, Elliot?” said Eleanor-Lucia.
“Do you promise, Eleanor-Lucia?” asked Elliot.
She smiled reassuringly.
“I promise!!” said Eleanor-Lucia.
“Is this Zimmerman guy a nice man?” asked Electra—age ten—who is cautious, “We do not even know him!! Does he like big families? Because we definitely have one!! Does he like kids? Oh, what if Zimmerman hates us?!”
“Zimmy is a nice guy!!” gushed Eleanor-Lucia, “He’s wonderful, he’s humble, he’s kind!! Do not worry…. Zimmy serves in Three Wooden Crosses Church’s kindergarten Sunday school class every single week…. He is great with kids!! And his classroom has, like, fifteen or twenty children…. That is obviously way more than this family’s clan!! Zimmy will absolutely love you all!! I promise!!”
“Do you and Zimmerman kiss each other?” Elmo—age four—said in a childish, immature fashion, “Ewwww!! You can catch cooties from Zimmerman!!”
“Wait. What?!” said Elizabeth, with surprise and shock in his voice, “Where did you hear the word ‘cooties’, Elmo?”
“From me!!” Eldridge—age twelve—confessed matter-of-factly, “Because I say that girls have cooties all the time!!”
“So do boys!!” teased Eleanor-Lucia with a cockeyed smirk written on her face, “That is why Zimmy and I have decided to wait until marriage before we kiss each other!! Why? Because you cannot catch cooties from your husband or wife!!”
Everybody laughed at Eleanor-Lucia’s witty sense of humor.
“I think that saving your very first kiss for marriage is so romantic, Eleanor-Lucia!!” sighed Eleena, “I mean…. Because nobody does that anymore!! Not in books, not in movies, not even in real Life!!”
“I know!!” agreed Eleanor-Lucia with a smile written on her face, “Which is exactly why Zimmy and I are waiting until marriage for our first kiss!!”
Eleanor-Lucia smiled a cockeyed smirk at Ellen.
“Zimmy and I are going to break the mold and exempt all of society’s clich├ęs if possible!!” said Eleanor-Lucia.
Alright!!” exclaimed Elizabeth on a whim, “We have now all heard an awful lot about Zimmerman!! Would he like to meet our big, crazy, insane, wild, rambunctious, yet beautiful family?”
Yes!!” replied Eleanor-Lucia, “Zimmy would absolutely love to meet this clan!!”
“Wait. What?!” said Eliora, “You do not even need to text or call Zimmerman and ask his permission first, Eleanor-Lucia?”
Nope!!” said Eleanor-Lucia, “Zimmy and I have talked about him meeting this clan!! I’ve told Zimmy all about you!! Besides, Zimmy goes with the flow real well!!”
Good!!” said Eldridge—age sixteen—who is sarcastic, “You know what that means, right, everybody? Zimmerman will fit perfectly into this clan!! Because what is our longstanding family motto?”
Go with the flow!!” said everyone in unison, except for twins Elvis and Elvira—age two—because they are bashful.
“Can Zimmerman come over here—at our house—this upcoming Saturday evening for dinner and dessert, Eleanor-Lucia?” asked Elizabeth, “You do not need to bring anything!!”
“Just Zimmerman!!” said Eleena, with a grin written on her face.
“Yes, yes….” said Elizabeth, “I will cook and bake everything!!”
“And I’ll help you, Mom!!” volunteered Eliora, “Because you cannot possibly cook and bake a huge meal for fifteen people without some extra hands!! I will drive here early from my house!!”
“I’ll help you cook and bake, as well, Mom!!” offered Eleena.
Me too!!” said Electra.
I cannot cook or bake, Mom!!” said Ellen, “Because somebody needs to teach me how!! But I will set the table!!”
Thank-you, girls!!” said Elizabeth, “I will appreciate that!! See, Eleanor-Lucia? I have a lot of help!!”
Alright!!” said Eleanor-Lucia, “Zimmy and I will arrive here at 5:00!! No earlier, no later!! Is that time alright for you, Mom and Dad?”
Yes!!” said Ellington.
“I am so glad that you and Zimmerman can come on Saturday!!” exclaimed Elizabeth, “We all look forward to meeting him!!”
“I have a valid question!!” said Eliora, “Does Zimmerman have any food allergies or issues that we should know about? Is he vegan, gluten-free, or a vegetarian?”
That is my practical Eliora!!” said Elizabeth, with a smile written on her face, “You always think of everything!!”
“No, Zimmy does not have any food allergies or issues!!” said Eleanor-Lucia, “He isn’t even on a diet!! Thanks for asking, Eliora!! Just cook and bake whatever you want, Mom!!”
“But Saturday is pizza night!!” said Ellen, “Remember, Eleanor-Lucia? Mom always bakes cheese, pepperoni, Hawaiian and cowboy pizza on Saturdays!!”
“That’s right!!” exclaimed Eleanor-Lucia, “I miss Mom’s Saturday night pizza now that I’m no longer living here!!”
“Then why did you move away, Eleanor-Lucia?” said Ellen, “Huh? Why? I do not blame you for missing Mom’s homemade pizza!! I would too!! Make pizza on Saturday evening, Mom!!”
So that is exactly what Elizabeth—and the girls—did!! They made steaming hot pizzas, creamy Caesar salad and buttery garlic/cheese bread!! For beverages, Elizabeth offered water, strawberry lemonade, and soda pop!! Ellington also made coffee!! For dessert, Elizabeth—and the girls—baked homemade blonde brownies!! Eldridge—who recently obtained his driver’s licence—drove Ellington’s ‘old’ 1970’s baby blue-painted Ford pickup truck {which once belonged to Lucia, Ellington’s first love} toward their nearby grocery store for vanilla ice cream!! Just like she promised, Ellen set the table…. With plates, silverware, napkins, glasses and mugs!! Now it was time for everybody to meet Zimmerman!!
Wow, you really outdid yourself with tonight’s dinner, Mom!!” exclaimed Eleanor-Lucia.
“I absolutely agree!!” said Zimmerman, his crystal blue eyes sparkling, “Pizza. Caesar salad. Strawberry lemonade…. It feels like we are eating out at Serito Con Amore Italian restaurant, or something!!”
Thank-you!!” Elizabeth humbly said.
“Mom wanted to make a good first impression with Zimmerman!!” said Eleena.
“Of course she did!!” said Eldon—age twelve—who is a smart aleck, “Doesn’t Mom always like to make good first impressions with people? Well? Doesn’t she?”
I’ll say!!” said Zimmerman, “You certainly are making a good first impression, Elizabeth!!”
Thank-you!!” Elizabeth humbly said, “But Eliora, Eleena, Electra, Ellen, Eldridge and Ellington all helped me!!”
“What do you do, Zimmerman?” asked Ellington, “I mean…. Do you work or have a career or have a job?”
“I absolutely hate that question!!” protested Ellis—age twenty—who is an aspiring writer, “‘What do you do?’ I don’t currently have a career, or a job. Well, other than volunteering at Sir Barks A Lot Dog Shelter part time…. You know what….? Sometimes…. I feel lost and without any purpose in Life…. Sometimes…. It feels like I don’t do anything with my Life…. Sometimes…. I feel like a complete failure whose Life will never, ever amount to anything….”
He blinked back vulnerable, insecure, wet, hot tears.
“But, Ellis, you are a writer!!” encouraged Eleanor-Lucia, “I have read your fictional stories…. They are brilliant!! Someday—in the near foreseeable future—you’ll even be an author!! Your books will be published…. Even sold in places like Barnes & Noble!! That definitely counts as doing something with your Life in my book…. Ha!! No pun intended!!”
Everybody laughed at Eleanor-Lucia’s witty sense of humor.
“Do you write, Ellis?” asked Zimmerman.
“Yes, every single day….!!” answered Ellis, “I have written children’s stories.... Dramas.... Love stories.... Dark tragedies.... Comedies.... Feel-good stories.... Even poetry…. I do not exactly have any ‘genre’ that my fictional stories fall under, I just write whatever I’m in the mood to create….!! As a rebellious artist, I absolutely hate that word…. ‘Genre’…. It feels so limiting to my God-given gifts, talents and abilities….!! Why do you ask, Zimmerman….?”
“Because Bob Dylan once wrote…. A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.’,” said Zimmerman, “So, Ellis.... My question is ‘do you live out this Dylan quotation’?”
Yes….” said Ellis, “I guess I am living out that Dylan quotation….!! Even though my dreams, aspirations and ambitions of being a published author isn’t happening….”
Not yet!!” said Zimmerman, “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever stop writing, Ellis!!”
“Oh….” Ellis vehemently said, “I can never stop writing, Zimmerman…. Even if I do not become a published author!! Because writing…. Is the heart that beats a steady rhythmic beat within my chest!! Writing…. Is the blood that pulses through my veins!! Without it, I would be dead!! To me, writing is the best form of therapy!! It's healing in every single way!! Writing is the superglue that holds me together both emotionally and mentally!! Because, writing.... Helps keep me sane!! Writing…. Is my heart and soul!!”
Good!!” said Zimmerman, “I am glad that you are passionate about writing, Ellis!!
Zimmerman looked at Ellington.
“To answer your question,” he said, “I am currently attending college. I want to be a doctor!!”
“In what?” said Elizabeth, “Psychology? Counseling? Therapy? You are very profound, introspective and wise, Zimmerman!!”
“No….” said Zimmerman, with a smile written on his face, “But thank-you, Elizabeth. I am attending medical school to become a primary care physician!!”
Wow!!” exclaimed Ellington, “That is an admirable career choice, Zimmerman!! Not to mention, it’s quite the long-term commitment!! And very expensive!! Are you working to pay off college expenses? Or is your Mom and Dad doing it?”
“No, my parents don’t have very much money,” replied Zimmerman, “Dad delivers morning newspapers and Mom works as a secretary. So.... I am currently working twain jobs to pay for college!!”
“Wait. What?!” exclaimed Eliora, “Zimmerman, you work two jobs, attend college, serve in Three Wooden Crosses’ kindergarten Sunday school class every single week…. And yet…. You still somehow manage to spend time with Eleanor-Lucia on a daily basis? Yikes!! Do you even sleep?!”
Zimmerman laughed.
No!!” he said, "I do not!!"
“Zimmy is my Superman!!” gushed Eleanor-Lucia, “He flies through Life and somehow manages to do it all!! The only thing that can actually defeat Zimmy is Kryptonite!!”
Everybody laughed at Eleanor-Lucia’s witty sense of humor.
“Do you take Eleanor-Lucia out on romantic dates, Zimmerman?” asked Eleena.
Yes!!” answered Zimmerman, “I have taken Ells-Bells ballroom dancing, out to dinner, we’ve walked along the beach together….!!”
Awwww….” sighed Eleena.
“Well, duh!!” said Eldridge, “What guy doesn’t take his girlfriend out on romantic dates?”
“Your Dad didn’t!!” said Elizabeth, with a smile written on her face, “He took me out on wild, dangerous, adventurous dates!!”
“That was because we were both skydiving, lion-petting, bungee-jumping daredevils!!” said Ellington.
“But not anymore!!” said Elizabeth, with a contented smile written on her face, “We aren’t leaping off of waterfalls now, huh, Ellington?”
“And why not?!” said Ellen, “You should still be skydiving or bungee-jumping!! Besides, I want to pet a lion!!”
Why?”said Electra, “Do you want to be mauled by one and die a bloody death?! No, thank-you!! That place was not Daniel in the lion’s den!!”
Electra!!” scolded Elizabeth, “Ssshhh!! You will frighten your younger siblings!! Or me!!”
“But why aren’t you daredevils anymore?” pressed Ellen, “Come on, Mom!! Tell me why not!!”
“Who says your Dad and I aren’t daredevils anymore?” said Elizabeth as she sat while holding a clingy Elvis on one leg and a clingy Elvira on the other, “We have twelve children under the age of three…. Right? I say that your Dad and I are trapeze artists!!”
Everybody laughed at Elizabeth’s witty sense of humor.
Now, your Dad and I obviously possess a huge responsibility as parents!!” continued Elizabeth.
She smiled a contented smile
“You know what?” said Elizabeth, “I used to serve as a police detective. But not anymore, because I ‘retired’!! Now, I am ‘sacrificing myself’—if you will—for family, not a community!!”
“Wait. What?!” exclaimed Elmo, “You were a cop, Mom?! Really?! That is so cool!!”
Elizabeth smiled.
“And I have absolute zero regrets about our decision to be daredevil trapeze artists as your Mom and Dad!!” said Elizabeth, “Because I love you!! I do mean that!! I love being a Mother!!

Sometimes…. When you are truly in love, it does not take very long to realize that he or she is ‘the one’. Six short months later, Eleanor-Lucia and Zimmerman were married at Rocky River by Pastor David from Three Wooden Crosses Church!! Yes, where Ellington’s first love, Lucia, committed suicide. Yes, where Eleanor-Lucia’s Mom and Dad were engaged!! It was a small intimate wedding shared with only close family…. Eleven of whom were Eleanor-Lucia’s siblings!! Eliora, Eleena, Electra and Eleanor-Lucia’s best girlfriend, Lorraine, served as bridesmaids!! In their hands, they carried bouquets of friendly-looking daisies!! Ellis, Eldridge, Eldon and Elliot served as groomsmen!! Ellen was their flower girl and she tossed daisies in the makeshift aisle!! Elmo served as the ring bearer!! Shy, overwhelmed, timid Elvis and Elvira cuddled up on Elizabeth’s lap!! An emotional, teary, proud Ellington walked Eleanor-Lucia down the aisle toward Zimmerman!! And they each vowed…. ‘To love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, until death do {them} apart!!’
Three months after that, Ellington and Elizabeth gave birth to a baby boy named Elston—their precious surprise—who is Beautifully Unique and has Down syndrome!! Yes, yes, Elston made baby number thirteen!! Also—just as Eleanor-Lucia and Zimmerman said he would—Ellis became a published author….
--The End--