Tag Archives: family stories

Zooming in

19 Mar

A call went out from my twin sister yesterday to my siblings and their children.

Hi everyone. Just checking in that everyone is managing in these interesting times! Is everyone okay? Want to do a group Zoom meeting so we can connect virtually and see each other. 😊

There are five of us and 10 children. We are old enough that most of those children have children. Most of them live within a few hours of each other, but, with the pandemic and all, face-to-face visits aren’t an option. For those living further away, this was a way to see people we see infrequently.

When we met last night, we had six screens open and 12ish people present. I say 12ish because a few people popped in and out. Four of the five siblings were there – the first time we’d had so many of us in one place since Mom’s funeral.

Most had never used Zoom. In some ways, it was a bit of a shambles as we started, people talking at the same time, then no one talking. Eventually we developed a rhythm, the same way we are all developing a rhythm as we all stay at home.

We all checked in on one another, told funny stories, talked more seriously about how this is impacting what we do. As we wrapped up we talked about “Zooming in” again in a week, hopeful that maybe a few others would join us. I’ll let you know if they do.

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Facing my book fears

28 Aug

Have you ever been afraid to read the next novel by an author after you have discovered that the first one you read is your heart book?

I was given an ARC of Katherine Applegate’s soon to be published Crenshaw at the ALA conference.

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It has been sitting in a box waiting for me to get the courage to read it. You see, The One and Only Ivan  is a heart book. I may or may not have coined that term, but I stole it from the dog world, where a “heart dog” is that once in a lifetime – maybe twice if you’re truly blessed – soul mate dog. So, a heart book is the book that speaks to your soul.

It is a tough act to follow.

I got up the courage to read it yesterday and consumed it in one sitting, it was that good. Although Crenshaw might not make it to heart book status, it is definitely worth reading.

Publisher’s summary: In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.

This is a beautiful book and I think Applegate truly captures the spirit of a fourth grader, and the way they think, in Jackson. If I were teaching 4th grade again, this might have become my new first read aloud.

A Little Funeral Humor: A Slice of Life Story

4 Aug

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After my father’s funeral on Saturday, most people were going back to my eldest sister’s house for a reception. I drove there with my twin sister, her husband and my mother, who wanted to stop at her place on the way home so she could change clothes and drop off the flowers and urn.

When we got to her apartment building, we dropped Mom at the front door so we could park, telling her we’d carry everything in. After parking my brother-in-law, Tom, took the flowers, my sister, Andrea, took purses because she had a key to Mom’s building, and I carried the urn. Once in the building, we pushed the button for the elevator and got on as soon as the doors opened. We didn’t realize it was going down until it started. No matter. It was only one floor down.

When the elevator doors opened in the basement, a very tall man and a short woman got on. Realizing what we carried, the man avoided eye contact. The woman  took it all in with her eyes. You could see her looking at the flowers, reading the words on them: Husband, Father, Grandfather. She looked at me, the bearer of the urn, and said, “Is that him?”. All I could do was nod.

It was all over in a moment. The doors opened on the 3rd floor and they stepped out. As soon as the doors closed, we burst into laughter. I’m sure they could hear us as we travelled all the way up to the tenth floor.

Randy Ribay

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