Another Death

Burnis T. Gardner died on June 29 at 3:19 p.m., as I held his hand and talked with him. He quietly exhaled his last breath peacefully.

He had a graveside service in Sallis, MS at Harmonia Cemetery, the quiet little cemetery where Freddie’s headstone lives. It is very peaceful and remote. My family has owned that land for 169 years so all of us will go home to this place to wait.

It seems I have been here in MS more than AL. My sister continues to have problems losing blood and having transfusions and I continue watching in hopes that this last time the doctors might have corrected the problem.

After a week in the hospital, we came back to the silent waiting house filled with many memories of times past.

When she is stronger, I will leave again. The road back keeps getting longer.

Here is a photo. Next post may be the video if I can figure that out.


“But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” – George Noel Gordon, Lord Bryon

The Holy Squirrel

Last Sunday I was at Mass. it had been a long time since I had been to Mass for various reasons.

I found the first priest that we, as a family, had when we came to Huntsville in 1970. Not that he was lost; I was sorta not recognized as a catholic in good standing after my divorce. Now I must say in all fairness to me, I kept my promise I made when I married the father of my two children by continuing to take them to mass and to catechism until they were confirmed. But I digress.

I sat and listened intently to hear the Irish brogue, now not so distinct. I remembered all the right prayers and responses; I almost missed the offering but the young man did lean over and take my check. Everything was moving alone nicely. I knew in my head and heart that another kinder, gentler Franciscan priest had listened to my story and I had been accepted back into the church, in good standing. Therefore, when it came my pews time to proceed to communion, I was in line.

We moved slowly forward and then it was time for me to receive communion. I cupped my hands correctly, I responded correctly as the host was placed in my palm, I turned to face the cross and to place the host in my mouth…..and then it was on the floor.

How could I have dropped it…I stared and thought for a second; knew I could not leave the host on the floor but never in all my years had this topic been covered. Therefore, I gracefully bent and picked up the host but did not put it in my mouth. After all, it had been on the floor. So I held it in the palms of my hand; went back to my seat; placed the host in a Kleenex in my purse; stood for the last song; went over and spoke to the priest who did not remember me but was kind enough to ask me my name. I thought perhaps I should tell him I had a renegade host in my purse but there were to many people around. I retrieved my car and drove home feeling rather strange, like maybe the sky might fall any moment.

Arriving home, I quickly googled “dropped host” on the catholic website to see what could be done.

The instructions told me to put the host in clean water in a clear cup and let it dissolve. I found a clear cup, put the water in, unwrapped the host and put it in to dissolve. After dissolving one then pours it into the earth.

While waiting for this to happen, I undressed and put on home clothes, ate a salad and watched the host floating merrily on top of the water. It was not dissolving as it was suppose to do. I pondered what to do.

I found a real silver spoon and stirred the host around and around and nothing happened. By this time I did not think it was holy anymore, more like stubborn. Why did I have to go to this particular church which I did not know anyway? There was no going back so I take the cup and spoon and merry host to the deck and found some plain ground, the earth, and poured everything out.

Now, I thought, I have done the best I could when lo there appeared a squirrel who came from out of nowhere. It came right up to my feet and looked up at me; down at the host and then ate it all.

The squirrel then flipped his tail at me and straight way ran up the nearest tree.

I guess I now have a Holy Squirrel.

You might ask if I am going back to that church but I think you probably know the answer.

If you are Catholic, the lesson here is how to dispose of a dropped host.

To share a son

How can you tell

The story

Of one who had

So many talents

To share

Gave so much

With openness

And joy

You can say

God graced them

With so many talents

And He did


How can you measure

The difference

They made

And he did


How can you tell

How he lives in each life


Never forgotten

And he will not


How can you tell

That the memories

Will live forever

In their hearts

And they will


How can you tell

He will be missed


By all the lives he


And he will


With unending


For eternity

Love Unconditionally

When my children were small and as they grew, I always taught them to be proud of who they were.

There was love in our family, however, not overtly shown all the time. I loved them unconditionally. It was simply understood that both were loved equally, or so I thought.

However, no matter how many times I repeat this to myself, one memory haunts me.

One night in July 2016, Freddie said to me, in the middle of a long night of illness; “I always thought you hated me.”

I leaned against the wall next to the bathroom sobbing uncontrollably and cried out, ” How could you possibly think that? I fought your entire life to find a way to make you well. I loved you more than life. The doctors failed me and consequently you.”

As the tears continued to fall, I thought my heart would shatter into millions of small sharp pieces never to be whole again. I could not fathom how he could have thought this.

But then, now as I look back, I can see the things I failed to do. Simple things like baking black bottom cookies more often with him. Praising him for the things he did well every day not just now and then. Letting his room be messy; leaving his buildings standing; hugging him more…

Sometimes it is not the things we do but the things we failed to do that haunts our days.

That small sick voice telling me this in the middle of the night……how do you write this down on paper and burn this memory? How do you make a plan that encompasses this tragic moment? My friends, how?