Liz Flaherty photo

Dust and Hummingbirds and Being A Spectator

Sometimes I think I should change the title of this column to “The Rocking Chair on the Porch,” because I’ve discovered a disturbing part of aging I hadn’t expected—although I should have.

I’ve become a spectator.

I am envious of people my age who have not. You know who you are, those of you whose flower beds still look great and who plant gardens and run your vacuum cleaners before walking across the carpet makes you sneeze. I’ll bet you dust, too, before someone writes “dust me” on the table with a snarky finger. No doubt you cook meals every day, sometimes more than one a day. Most unforgivable of all, you probably have good hair, too.

Another meaning of the word “spectator,” however, is “observer.” I like that much better, don’t you? Probably because it doesn’t make me think about dust, weeds, or other people’s hair.

So, here are some observations. Tell me what you think. Better yet, tell me some of yours.

• Hummingbirds either like you or they don’t. They don’t like me, but they hover around my friend Carolyn Moon as if she hung the…moon. I’m fairly convinced Carolyn drives all over the Windo over the Sink Logoplace stealing birds from the rest of us. But maybe I’m imagining things. Maybe they really don’t like me.
• I always like the color green, but in the spring, it becomes my favorite. I bought a pair of green pants that absolutely nothing matches. I splash little pictures of shamrocks all over things I write and I gush about the grass and the trees and how lush and beautiful they are. Duane mows three times a week in spring and doesn’t gush nearly as much as I do, but, hey, I’m the observer here.
• At this point in my life (the rocking chair stage, remember?) it takes 15 minutes to get from Monday morning to Friday night. I have no idea what happens to the days in between. If I do find them, I invariably have the wrong one because when you don’t get up to go to work, it’s not necessary to know what day it is, right?
• If I am early or on time to an appointment, the other half of the appointment isn’t ready for me. If I’m late—or have the wrong day; see above paragraph―the person’s standing there twisting her hair and looking at her watch and rolling her eyes. I may be overdramatizing that a bit, but can’t you just see it?
• No matter what your job is, everyone on Facebook could do it better than you do. They’d also do it in less time for less money.
• A common question is, “Do you prefer coffee or tea?” I answer this differently depending on the time of day, when the truth is if someone else is paying for it or pouring it for me, I’ll take either. Thank you.
• When lookups for the word “exculpate” spiked 23,000% with Merriam-Webster on July 24, 2019, I was one of them. I was pretty sure I knew what it meant, but “pretty sure” has gotten me into trouble before.
• I haven’t gained weight or appreciable wrinkles in my feet, and pink nail polish with sparkly little flowers on the big toes makes me feel good.
• If you are a Millennial or a Gen-Xer, talking trash about Baby Boomers does not endear you to us. If you are a Boomer and act like the trash they are talking, who can blame them?
• Generalizing is hardly ever a good idea. See above paragraph.
• If you don’t know whether it’s true or not, keep it to yourself. Even better, look it up.
• Calling people names has never done a single positive thing for anyone.
• Growing up in the same house or even the same community as others doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to agree on things. Anything. Ever.
• You don’t have to be a Christian to know that Acts 20:35 is the way to go. (Hint. I’ll just give you the last part: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”)
• Sometimes you need to get out of the chair and walk somewhere. Maybe in someone else’s shoes.

That last one tells me I’m not ready to change the Window to a Rocking Chair. You’re never too old to be productive, never too busy to be kind, never too poor to give. It’s great to talk, but even better to listen—I’m talking to myself here, by the way—and laughing is the best thing of all.

Have a great week. I hope you laugh a lot, but don’t bother with dusting—it just comes back.


Liz maintains a blog that you can visit by clicking this link:

Get her latest Romance Novel Nice to Come Home from Amazon by clicking on this link:

Nice to Come Home To is the third book in the Lake Minigua series, following Every Time We Say Goodbye and The Happiness Pact.

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