Saturday, December 22, 2012

This was originally written  2/12/08 as an assignment for a writing group.
An Unwanted Wanted Gift
By Maxine Hennis 

When I was small, we didn’t get lots of Christmas presents like children do these days.  We had a stocking filled with fruit and nuts and some little pieces of candy.  We usually got maybe one or two presents.  When I was about 10, I was enthralled with the idea of having majorette boots and a baton.  I pictured myself strutting around, throwing my baton away up in the air and catching it without a hitch.  
I also spent many hours at my little school room type desk my mom had found for me somewhere.  I loved to draw and went through lots of paper.  I saw a small personal sized blackboard in a store and then and there…that was my favorite and utmost desire.  I could spend lots of time drawing and not waste all that paper.  So that became another thing I wanted very badly.    I obviously voiced these desires to family members over and over.  Then…
The Christmas tree was set up in the living room of the big old two-story rock house where we lived.  About a week before Christmas, I saw it!  It was a box about 3 feet by 2 ½ feet by about 4 inches.  I just knew there was a blackboard in there.  I was so happy, so excited,  and so impatient for the day to come when we could open our presents.    

Finally it was Christmas morning.  I could hardly contain my excitement.  Finally, it was my turn to open my present.  I turned it around and around, shook it, and, then I opened it.  I opened one end and peeked in.  I could see nothing, especially anything that looked like a blackboard.  There were newspapers stuffed in the box and I began pulling the pieces out, one at a time.  I couldn’t reach the papers anymore so I turned the box over and opened the other end.  There was something wrapped in Christmas paper.  It was about 18 inches long, had two heads on it, and was solid.  To my incredible surprise, there was a baton!  I was so thrilled and disappointed at the same time.  I can never explain how I felt, betrayed, foolish because they had tricked me, happy to have a baton, but deeply hurt that I didn’t get the blackboard.  Several minutes later my oldest sister brought in another gift for me.  It was the blackboard.   

This might be a good time to share my suspicions.  My oldest sister, who was probably in her early 20’s, was kind of a rascal.  I have always suspected it was her idea to deceive me, thinking it would be funny.  Obviously the blackboard came in the box but they used the box to hide the baton.  Seems funnier as an adult but it seemed really mean to me at that time. 

I played with the baton a lot the first few weeks, then occasionally.  I learned to twirl it, move it from hand to hand in the middle of a twirl, and to toss it in the air and catch it.  However, I spent countless hours playing with that blackboard.  That was the favorite gift I ever received as a child.  When I outgrew it, I gave it to a nephew, who played with it a lot, too.  Was that gift comparable to an Ipod now?   It’s hard to imagine a child these days getting that much pleasure out of a blackboard and a box of chalk.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My One Dream
By Maxine Hennis
A few years ago I belonged to a Writers' Group at our Church.  This was originally written on 1/27/09. 

I’ve been thinking about the idea of a Bucket List.  You know, the things I’d like to do before I die.  The one thing that obsessed me when I was very young, was…..I’d like to fly! Not in an airplane, or a glider, not on a parachute.  I mean actually fly, you know, wings and all.  The same dream that the Wright brothers had.

I recall a dream I had when I was very young.  I was flying and soaring freely, with no constraints as to where I went, how long I stay in the air, or with whom I flew.   In this dream I flew high, up with the eagles, soaring and floating on the wind.  I soared over Pikes’ Peak and back to the prairie.  I flew down into the trees along the Arkansas River, watching the water birds along the bank.   

I was puzzled as to why I could suddenly fly.  I planned on asking my mother about it when I returned home.  When I saw her again, I asked her about it.  She replied that some things are just programmed into certain individuals but that not all had the same abilities.  Some individuals were better prepared to run, swim, jump, or to defend themselves.  Some were more adept at providing for themselves and their families.  The list was quite long and I understood exactly what she meant.  I was so grateful I had been given the wonderful ability to fly. 

As my dream continued, I found myself landing in some very peculiar places.   Places I would have thought were impossible to access.  But, of course, I could access them because I was able to reach them through my ability to fly unhindered.   

The dream was so vivid and detailed.  I could see the sagebrush on the prairie, and the wildflowers along the creeks.  As my dream progressed, I began to realize that this was all a dream and that, when I awoke, I would be the same as before.  Unable to fly. 

I willed myself to continue the dream as long as possible.  I willfully made myself fly recklessly around and through some trees and rocks.  Suddenly I found myself falling, falling, falling……………. I had fallen out of the nest!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I can't believe I finally was able to access this old blog of mine!   There is still confusion about the name of the blog.  At first I named it momsbehind but decided that gave a different message than I intended, so I changed it to momstheword.  So if you want to access it, and one doesn't work, try the other one.  I hope you will read some of my old blogs.  Thanks.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


The following is an article I wrote for a monthly newsletter at a veterans nursing home where I worked on the Alzheimers secure unit.

May I share some of the things rattling around in my head? "They're all the same but different." How many times have we heard that expression? It never really meant much to me until I began working with Alzheimer's Disease victims. How much they are alike, how much they differ.

Sometimes when I feel particularly distressed, I go sit with the guys in the solarium on the secured unit. We visit and hold hands and smile at each other. I observe them as they observe me.

One gentleman sits upright, with his legs crossed, arms in an appropriate position, looking for all the world as though he were not suffering from a devastating disease. He speaks appropriately, but it seems he wakes up to a new world every few minutes because he doesn't remember things that occurred very recently.

One of the many things I don't understand about this disease is...why do these men remember the way back from the dining room from day to day? How do they remember that it's okay to go with me for a cup of coffee? They know when I walk into the room that I just might offer them that opportunity or invite them to go for a ride or a walk or offer them a snack. We are familiar to them yet we are strangers. They obviously sometimes think we're wife, sister, daughter, brother, mother, father, or an old neighbor from their childhood. How can they recall how to fix their coffee to their liking?

There are some mannerisms that many of the guys have used at one time or another. My favorite is the one in which it appears that he is handling a piece of hair, lifting it from one hand to the other. I am so tuned into this mannerism that, when he gives me that object (which I can't see), I will not only take it, I will carefully put it into my pocket! How about the mannerism where he is placing a "long key chain" into the palm of my hand, watching it curl into a circle on my hand, winding it a little so it stays on my hand. What is he seeing?

One the few things I can accept is the way these folks lose their "hang-ups" or inhibitions about certain things. For instance, the way a couple of men will walk down the hall holding hands with each other (Now, really, would they have done that without feeling like a "sissy"?). But they've forgotten that men "don't do that" and just respond to the need to be comforted by the closeness of another.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Good Friends Forever

Something I had considered off and on during the past 10 years or so, finally happened! I didn't start it but I helped finish it. Our church had a Christian School from 1974 to 1992. A reunion always seemed like a good idea but I never tackled it. So... one of the young ladies, who attended for a year or two when she was very young, started making plans. I, like the softie I am, offered to help get addresses from the people in the church who were associated with the school. Funny me! Things were going well until the young woman had some personal situations come up and she felt she couldn't continue. She suggested cancelling it, but I said we couldn't because of all the people who had already notified. After a period of time she was able to jump back in and did a great job getting it all together.

Do any of you have any idea how much fun it is to find people after 18 years? I spent a total of 10 hours going through the school records, looking for parents' names, addresses, or phone numbers that jived with our current phone book. After mailing close to 100 invitations, and asking people to notify their relatives and friends, we had a wonderful reunion. We had only 22 people actually associated with the school, plus their spouses and children, but with some wonderful helpers, we had about 62 people. We all had such a good time. We had a table where we spread out the yearbooks and all the photos we could gather. Some came from other states to reunite with some of their school buddies. We had hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, corn on the cob, peach cobbler and ice cream.

Will we do it again in a few years? Don't know, but we have a pretty good start with a nice long list of names. Although I was disappointed that the most likely ones didn't come, I was so pleased that some unlikely ones did come.

Monday, May 24, 2010


I haven't blogged for three months. Not sure why except I seemed to run out of things to talk about. Today God reminded me of something of which I am not particularly proud. I care more about some people than others. Example: If a friend's son is badly hurt in an accident, I pray fervently for him. However, if an acquaintance's son is also badly hurt in an accident, I pray differently, less fervently. Is it because I know the friend's child, and don't know the acquaintance's child? When I read in the paper or hear on television that someone was injured, I usually, "Oh, that's too bad!", and go on about my business. May the Lord forgive me for this weakness.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


He has quite a history. He went missing for a few months some years ago and was eventually found to be living in a drainage ditch, bumming off the people nearby. He disappeared more recently for about 3 weeks and was found to be living in a drainage ditch in another area of town. A man was feeding him. He's had some very severe times of illness, once thought to be leukemia, was treated, and got well. The doctor said it must not have been leukemia, but maybe severe anemia, or he would be dead. Another time he was actually seen trying to avoid people and find a hiding place. He was forced to go see a doctor. They ran some tests and found out that instead of leukemia as the cause of his severe anemia, he had a blood parasite! He received daily care, almost forced medicating, and a room of his own. It took two months for him to heal, but he is fine.

However...... yesterday he climbed up a tree in the neighbor's yard and couldn't get down. I tried everything I could but had to resort to calling for help. Some handsome firefighters came, big truck and all, and helped get him out of the tree.

His name is Vinny and he's a flame point Siamese.