The tale, part II

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”

― Emily Dickinson

(view from our room overlooking the busy horse carts on Mackinac Island /
Julie Cook/ 2017)

I wrote this part II post Tuesday, a day before my aunt lost her battle with
the reoccurring cancer.
I know she would insist that I run the post because the ending is so much better than
any of our losses….
and so it is…..

Picking up from where we left off yesterday….

Over our subdued lunch shadowed by my angst,
I called another very nice, but much smaller historic, hotel
located in town… and to our amazement, they had a room!
And if the truth be told…in the end we preferred this
second hotel much more than our stay at the more uppity larger hotel.

Thankfully our final two days of this trip were relatively incident free…
as finally, perhaps even thankfully, the time came for our return home…

What with the many
and bikes…
we made our way back to the tiny little airport…
the one we had been so intimately acquainted with just
days prior.

The nice TSA lady told everyone gathered to make certain to take all food items,
especially Mackinac’s famous fudge, out of their carry-on luggage.
She instructed everyone to put all said fudge into separate bins
allowing it to pass through the screening machine
by itself.


I scrambled pulling out sack after sack of fudge from my backpack.
Everyone back home had asked me to bring back some of this most well known
and most delectable treat.

Finally unburdened from all packed fudge poundage,
my husband and I proceeded to pass through the detectors.

The TSA man stops my husband, who can’t hear because he’d taken out his hearing aids,
and proceeds to tell my clueless husband that he is going to patted down…
my husband looks at me to interrupt.

TSA agents don’t like for you to work as a team…

I tried explaining to the TSA fellow that my husband wouldn’t be able to hear him…
this while another TSA agent grabs my backpack,
the one that had just exited the X-ray scanner,
and asks me to step over to a counter.

All the while my husband is being frisked.
This latest TSA agent places my bag on a counter behind a screen and
proceeds asking me, in a very serious sounding tone,
if there is anything sharp or dangerous in my bag.


“I am going to empty the contents of your bag and I want you to keep your hands
where they are and do not reach over here for anything I pull out.”


She proceeds to pull out my fig newtons, a few of the knick knack gifts
I’d picked up for my son and daughter-n-law,
my windbreaker, my book, my little bag of goldfish crackers,
my camera….
finally she pulls out a sack that had been buried on the very bottom of the pack.
One last box of fudge I had missed in my rush to empty out everything else.

The agent informs me that fudge takes on the properties of an explosive.


She takes her little magic explosive wand, wiping down my fudge box as well as the
entire insides of my backpack….checking for explosive residue.

I’m sorry but I’m standing in the middle of a teeny tiny little midwestern
regional airport waiting to board a tiny connecting flight—
I look as American as Charlie Brown—a far cry from an evil radical terrorist…
and I have a ton of fudge—does that seem terroristic to you?

She proceeds to berate me for not paying attention,
for not listening to the prior screening request to empty out bags of
all candy.

“HELLOOOOOO, do you not see the sacks of fudge and taffy sitting in this bin that I obviously did empty…???!!!”

I proceeded to tell this agent, which perhaps I shouldn’t have,
that I was a teacher, and if anyone knows how to follow instructions
it was me…

Did she not pick up on that little fact by the ton of candy I had already
removed that was sitting outside of the bag..???!!!
Plus did it not occur to her that ‘I simply missed one last sack????

“Oh, and by the way, I don’t even like fudge!!!!!!”

Once on the plane and settled into our tiny little seats,
my husband exhales loudly. The restrained composure he bravely maintained
all week was now fading rapidly away….
He matter of factly states in a rather loud voice for all to hear,
that from now on…we will not be flying anywhere, ever again–
-we will be driving….

Fast forward to Monday as life resumed its monotony of routine.

I met my son at their home here in town in order to finish moving boxes and
begin the scrubbing process.
I asked why his wife hadn’t come down…again.
“She’s still sick” he replies.
“Still? What in the heck is wrong…I’ve told y’all to
hurry up and find a doctor and quit waiting till you’re near death…”
On and on I fuss, just like a fussy mother hen, I chide and ramble.

Suddenly I stop my fussing.

I slowly ask….
“is Abby pregnant?”


One word…


and suddenly our little world is transformed into
something so much bigger, so much greater,
so much more than where we were right before
he said the single simple word

“We’ve been afraid to tell y’all what with everything that’s been happening.”
Almost apologetically he tells me they had not planned it to be this way.
We know the timing is poor…but…

and so now yes,
and now but…
and now life,
and now thankfully,
and now joyfully…
it happens…

everything that was,
everything that seemed so insurmountable,
everything that was such a big deal
so annoying
so troublesome
so stupid
so difficult….

as Dad’s former caregiver told me when I shared the news with her…
“in the black community we have a saying,
when one leaves the world,
another one enters”

and so it is…
and so it does….

For by grace you have been saved through faith.
And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

40 comments on “The tale, part II

  1. Lynda says:

    I’m sitting here with goose bumps and tears at your wonderfully awesome news!! I recall something similar about 26 years ago when the circumstances weren’t perfect for my older daughter and spouse either. That little one is being married at the end of August! What a joy for you and your husband to be grandparents – there is absolutely nothing like it!! I’m writing this as my youngest grandchild is spending the week with me – exhausting but an incredible privilege to be part of their lives. Congratulations to all of you! Blessing upon blessing!

  2. says:

    Yay! You are on your way to a wonderful new day. Being a grandparent is our reward for making it through parenthood. I know you’ll love it. I love the part of the story about the fudge. I can see Barney Fife patting you down and putting his gun with one bullet to your back. Ha ha and hooray for another chapter. Aunt Martha would be delighted too.

  3. So happy to hear the good news Julie!! 🙂

  4. Sarah says:

    Wowee, congratulations!! 🎆 🚼 🎉 Seems like perfect timing to me though: if you don’t deserve some good news for a change, I don’t know who does!

  5. phyllissnipes says:

    God is good!!! All the time!

  6. Wally Fry says:

    A grandbaby! Yay!

  7. I love that this is the first post I read in ages! Huge congratulations granny. Much love to everyone and I’ll get my Little Paddler to put this new baby on the prayer list. Life will never be the same again.

    • well I’m glad you work backwards Marieen because had you not, things seemed so bleak and hopeless, you might have quit reading…
      I wrote the post before my aunt’s death yesterday–but the pos with its ending only added to the hopefulness found even in death!
      And how great is it that our last big adventure together was Ireland???!!!!

      So yes, we need the wee paddler’s prayers for the all these new arriving little paddlers and for some of us tired old paddlers 😉
      I’m thinking moppie and poppie 🙂

  8. Praise the Lord ~ enough said!

    • Fran—It dawned on me the other day that I had not heard from you….I would comment, but would not see a reply….which got me thinking. For what ever reason…WP often sends my comments to friends immediately to their spam or waiting moderation bucket.
      Please know that I have been commenting.
      I had to dig deep back into my own conversation bucket to find one between us that I could then add to hoping it would find you.
      That, to me, is the most frustrating part about this blogging business—not readily being able to contact a friend should the original conversation mode go awry—as we don’t usually have e-mails, etc….
      So please know that I have had you in my thoughts and prayers as I read your anniversary post…and today the birthday—of which my birthday wishes also disappeared from your site…sigh
      I wrote about Watchmen Nee today with you in mind 🙂
      Happiest of birthdays my friend !!

  9. Oh this brought tears to my eyes. How fabulous in the midst of all that happened leading up to your dad’s death and now aunt Martha’s day that the Lord brought you life and joy and happiness!!! Congratulations. You and your husband deserve the good news!! Praise the Lord!!! 🙂 ❤

  10. SLIMJIM says:

    Whoah! Congratulations!!!!! You’re a Grandma!!!!

  11. Citizen Tom says:

    Congratulations! Grandchildren are fun!

    Oh, and by the way, I don’t even like fudge!!!!!!”

    Can you imagine being someone who loves fudge and spending your days looking for explosive fudge? The only thing worst would be someone who hates fudge and spending your days looking for explosive fudge.

  12. David says:

    Congratulations Julie!

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