Things Possible Eliza Sarah Graham
All Things Possible
Eliza Sarah Graham
Copyright © 2013 Eliza Sarah Graham. Scripture verses from the King James Version of the Bible Quotations from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran Henry David Thoreau The Serenity Prayer Author’s photograph by Hannah Morgan Photography Hannahmorgan.smugmug.com All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Balboa Press books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting: Balboa Press A Division of Hay House 1663 Liberty Drive Bloomington, IN 47403 www.balboapress.com 1-(877) 407-4847 Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them. The author of this book does not dispense medical advice or prescribe the use of any technique as a form of treatment for physical, emotional, or medical problems without the advice of a physician, either directly or indirectly. The intent of the author is only to offer information of a general nature to help you in your quest for emotional and spiritual wellbeing. In the event you use any of the information in this book for yourself, which is your constitutional right, the author and the publisher assume no responsibility for your actions. Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only. Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock. Printed in the United States of America. ISBN: 978-1-4525-7242-0 (sc) ISBN: 978-1-4525-7243-7 (e) Balboa Press rev. date: 4/16/2013
For Greg, The one in the middle where all the good stuff is.
Acknowledgments I want to thank Rebecca Heyman for her wise counsel and editing of All Things Possible. The wonderful staff at Balboa Press is to be thanked for their patience and guidance with a focus on positivity. Dreamstime always provides beautiful images for my book covers and they make it easy. My husband, children and grandchildren are the best of anything Iâ€™ve ever done and my thanks always goes to them first and foremost.
nce in awhile when my car comes over the hill into Newport Beach and I get my first view of the ocean unfurling like a vast and exquisite diorama, I say to myself, Bobbie, old girl, you are the luckiest woman alive. On other days when April’s dreariness turns into May gray, and will surely be followed by June gloom, I wish I lived in Hawaii. The best time of year is from October through January. That’s when the horizon is seamless and the ocean goes and goes until it falls off the lip of the earth. Sunsets begin with soft brushed tones of gentle rose and baby blue, but as the sun sinks lower and lower, all those colors deepen into crimson with bursts of yellow so intense, they’re blinding. The eye can barely take it in, yet it’s impossible to look away. These are the kind of sunsets I suspect the first peoples worshipped, because surely a source more powerful than us creates them. 1
Eliza Sarah Graham
Summer is less predictable. It ought to be hot and sunny every day, but more likely we’ll have three perfect days swallowed by a thick and ominous fog. It rolls up in huge billowing walls of gray, a vision of Armageddon, consuming all in its path like God’s own wrath. The trade-off is the pelicans that migrate in large numbers at the first signs of summer and glide like Baryshnikov across the sky. Each season has a personality and mood of its own, and as the sun reappears and the fog lifts, the pelicans soar and so do my spirits. It’s more than the pure beauty of the sky and the ocean that entices me. It’s even more than the laidback lifestyles I see everywhere. My husband, Bud, nails it when he says, “It feels like nothing bad could ever happen here.” By “here,” he means our small pocket set just outside the sea of humanity coming from the north, a sea full of anger and violence, of gangs and barred windows, where no one is safe after dark. “It’s an illusion,” he says, “but one I can buy into.” Even Cliff, the manager of the wholesale nursery, says with a toothy grin, “What a great place to live. Aren’t we the lucky ones?” He always wears a cabana hat and khaki rubber boots and drags a python of a hose behind him. The spray fans out over hot pink begonias and orange and yellow ranunculus, creating a double rainbow. “Luckiest in the world”—I agree. I don’t think of it as luck, though. I think of it as a choice, one Bud and I made many years ago, not only for us, but for our son and daughter. “Great place to raise kids,” Bud said then, and I thought he’d read my mind. 2
All Things Possible
It’s also near my mother. When she retired from being a high school music teacher, she sold the house she and Dad had paid off and bought into a retirement center with all the bells and whistles. When I asked exactly what bells and whistles she was referring to, she said, “Tennis, golf, swimming pool, poker nights, yoga and travel groups.” She was quick to add, “But I’ll keep on teaching children piano. I’d never give that up. They keep me young.” Saturdays are the days when I see both Cliff and my mother. This is Mom’s and my day to run errands together and because Bud orders many of his supplies from Cliff, Mom and I take the opportunity to breathe in the beauty of the seasons while we lug fifty-pound bags of decorative rocks or redwood chips into the Jeep for Bud. On alternate Saturdays we go to the farmer’s market in Corona Del Mar. Mom reflects on a time when shopping was always like this, with stalls of fresh vegetables and flowers, where everyone carries a canvas bag and fills it with fresh produce. “Not like our supermarkets today,” she says. It’s brief, this leisurely, countrified pace. The clock tower on the corner plays a song on the hour and when it hits noon, all the stalls begin to shut down. We grab armloads of fresh flowers and call it a day. Our reward is lunch out with a glass of wine. Sitting at a tall table at the Gulf Stream Restaurant with our feet dangling, Mom orders what she always orders. “Roasted chicken with that rice salad thing you make.” “I’ll have the same,” I say. “You have mashed potatoes today?”
Eliza Sarah Graham
Mom asks this every week and every week for the last year the patient server says, “No, I’m sorry. Only at night.” Mom always retorts, “Well, it’s night somewhere,” and we all laugh and get a refill for our wine. There is something comforting about this ritual, even the banter. If the server suddenly said, “Why yes, we do have the mashed potatoes,” it would throw off our whole routine. “So,” Mom begins, “what has your week been like?” I groan. “You remember that client I told you about with the old house in San Clemente near the beach?” “The rich divorcée?” “That’s the one. Well, with a little work her home could be something for Architectural Digest. It’s authentic Spanish, and cute as can be. I worked a hundred hours pulling fabrics and furniture concepts for her and you know what she said?” Mom shakes her head, smiling. “What’s that?” “She wants a more modern look. Like with glass and stainless steel. I want to shoot her or myself.” “You love it. You’ll figure it out. I wish I had your eye for design.” She’s right. She has no eye at all. She still has the furniture I grew up with, jammed into her small condo at the retirement center. “What about Bud, my real child?” My mother adored my husband from the day they met. He pandered to her vanity when he asked her advice about marrying me. “Plenty of fish in the sea,” she told him, and he laughed, thinking she was joking. 4
All Things Possible
“I wish you wouldn’t favor him so blatantly.” I laugh. “He’s fine. A little bored I think, but that’s normal at his age, right?” “Men didn’t have midlife crises in my era. They just went fishing.” The server sets our plates in front of us and then from behind her back she reveals a small bowl of mashed potatoes. “Don’t tell anyone. I had the chef make you some special.” So much for rituals. “Eat up. I’ve got a golf date at three,” Mom says, and I’m at once glad and sad that my mother has a full life of her own and doesn’t need me at all. As I turn into our driveway I wave to our new neighbor, Mr. Albert Ragoni. I always wave to him and he never acknowledges it. “Kill him with kindness,” is my mother’s advice. I can flip to page three of her book of wisdoms. Growing up she’d say things like, “You’ll catch more bees with honey than vinegar.” Or, “Be kind to unkind people. They need it most.” But to date, Mr. Ragoni is immune to my neighborly efforts, even the plate of cookies I delivered the day he moved in. He mumbled “thanks” and shut his door. Bud says a lot of old men are like that—unsociable. I’ve never been able to resist trying to win over difficult people. Mom says I was like this as a child. “You were the giving-est girl. You gave your pippins to that sour faced friend of yours in third grade. You gave the necklace your grandmother gave you to that wild child neighbor girl who tormented you day in and day out and when I went to retrieve it, she stuck her tongue out at me.”