Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Group Writing: Blessings from the Great Beyond

 

Dear Ricochetti,

Oh. HaHaHaHaHa!  I’ve just had the best laugh, and the best cry, I’ve had in months. There’s really no-one else to share it with right now, so, my dear friends, thanks for volunteering, and here we go.

As some of you know, Mr. She died in early July of this year, after a long struggle with many physical ailments, and a shorter, but devastating, struggle with dementia. I’ve largely been on my own since, probably even more so than I would have been in any normal year, because of COVID, travel restrictions, and lockdowns of one sort or another, both here in SW PA and in my native country of England. Nevertheless, I’ve been in contact with and visited, some friends both new and old, and I’ve even had a few folks overnighting at the farm. Thanks to all who’ve stayed in touch and who keep an eye (or even do a voice-check) on me on a regular basis. I appreciate it more than you know.

Most of the time, though, I’m by myself, and a large part of my time is spent sorting, organizing, and tidying up. I’m reminded of a couple (both now deceased) with whom we had lunch, shortly before one, and then the other, passed away. They were beginning the process of moving to an assisted-living facility, and I remember Paul remarking: “We’re throwing a lot of stuff out, and putting the rest into labeled boxes, and when we die, our children will arise up and call us blessed.” (Proverbs 31:28. Paul was a Lutheran minister.)

When I go, I want Jenny to call me blessed.

Unfortunately (as I see it now), the road to that goes through the Herculean task of doing something about Mr. She’s model train collection.

I wrote about it, asking for ideas and suggestions, on a member feed post here in late July. Many of you responded, and thanks very much, your suggestions were helpful. I’ve got a bit of a plan formulated, and expect to be getting serious early in the New Year. In the meantime, I’ve started to organize things, consolidating boxes of “like” items, and getting rid of many of the otherwise undistinguished bits and pieces from other areas of life that Mr. She must have thought might have been useful in modeling, but which he never got around to actually doing anything with (empty aspirin bottles, voluminous quantities of styrofoam peanuts, the “twisty” plastic tops from 1/2-gallon milk cartons, etc.). The gods of model railroading may strike me dead, but at least Jenny will call me blessed. So there’s that.

One of the things I’ve uncovered evidence of, as I’ve been going along, is Mr. She’s secret life as an eBay addict and purchaser of some very charming tinplate American Flyer pieces. I’m a sucker for the tinplate stuff (he bought me a lovely 1920s AF set for Christmas one year), so I’m sure all these ones I’ve just discovered must have been for me. Right? Can’t get rid of them, then.

Oh. Wait. I want Jenny to call me blessed. I think she’ll be OK with this, though. As long as I label everything clearly. Surely there’s room for a bit of negotiation.

So, on I go.

Until I open a box and come across this:

The THINK-A-TRON.

This cannot have been for me. He must have discovered this online somewhere and bought it for his beloved granddaughter and greatest fan, Miss Peachy, Science Girl (as she was dubbed by a fellow member here). How he would have delighted in the thought of her opening this on Christmas Day or on her birthday, and then in discovering with her, how it worked.

What a treasure.

“The machine that thinks like a man.”

“It Thinks! It Answers! It remembers!”

Well, one out of three ain’t bad.

Suddenly, I’m transported back twenty years, to March of 2000, and the funeral of Mr. She’s first wife. I’m watching Michael eulogize his mother:

All of us wanted [Mike] to know that we were here for him.

How astonishing it was, when, at the close of that powerful and moving service, Michael got up, and, his heart broken, read us the words that he had written about his mom, his life, and how he intended to go forward wearing his new tennis shoes—the ones that his mom had bought as his Easter gift, and which he discovered, all wrapped up for him, after she died.

At that point, we heard Mike saying, “I’m OK. I’m going to make it. Don’t worry about me. Be happy.”

Suddenly, instead of our being here for him, he was here for us, and he made us all feel better.

And I cried. Great, loud, gobby, snorty tears of grief and joy. And then I felt better. And happy.

Because I’m OK. I’m going to make it through and out the other side of this sad and stupid year. And rest assured, I’m bringing all of you with me.

Much love to you all,

Your She

Homework: Please consider, and submit for discussion a question that you’d like to ask “the machine that thinks like a man.”

Extra Credit: Please let us know how you think “the machine that thinks like a man” might respond.

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  1. Manny Member

    Oh She, I did not know your husband passed away. I’m so sorry to hear. It sounds you’ve been through some tough times lately. That first year of a close one’s passing is so hard. My deepest sympathies, prayers for his soul and for you. 
    To your post, isn’t it great to find such wonderful surprises out of the blue, out of his heart, actually. Well written, as usual. 

    • #1
    • November 21, 2020, at 2:36 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  2. Arahant Member

    She:

    Homework: Please consider, and submit for discussion a question that you’d like to ask “the machine that thinks like a man.”

    Extra Credit: Please let us know how you think “the machine that thinks like a man” might respond.

    Uh…yeah, maybe those are questions for the PIT.

    • #2
    • November 21, 2020, at 2:43 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  3. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Beautiful post, She.

    She:

    Homework: Please consider, and submit for discussion a question that you’d like to ask “the machine that thinks like a man.”

    I ask them questions all the time. The most frequent one is “What is your problem?”

    Extra Credit: Please let us know how you think “the machine that thinks like a man” might respond.

    That’s usually the problem.

    • #3
    • November 21, 2020, at 2:50 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  4. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Manny (View Comment):

    Oh She, I did not know your husband passed away. I’m so sorry to hear. It sounds you’ve been through some tough times lately. That first year of a close one’s passing is so hard. My deepest sympathies, prayers for his soul and for you.
    To your post, isn’t it great to find such wonderful surprises out of the blue, out of his heart, actually. Well written, as usual.

    Thanks, @manny. Yes, it is lovely to run across such things. And thanks for your kind comment on my writing.

    • #4
    • November 21, 2020, at 2:52 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  5. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    She:

    Homework: Please consider, and submit for discussion a question that you’d like to ask “the machine that thinks like a man.”

    Extra Credit: Please let us know how you think “the machine that thinks like a man” might respond.

    Uh…yeah, maybe those are questions for the PIT.

    Coward.

    • #5
    • November 21, 2020, at 2:52 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  6. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Beautiful post, She.

    Thanks.

    She:

    Homework: Please consider, and submit for discussion a question that you’d like to ask “the machine that thinks like a man.”

    I ask them questions all the time. The most frequent one is “What is your problem?”

    Extra Credit: Please let us know how you think “the machine that thinks like a man” might respond.

    That’s usually the problem.

    LOL.

    • #6
    • November 21, 2020, at 2:53 PM PST
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  7. Arahant Member

    She (View Comment):
    Coward.

    Well, if you really want it:

    Please consider, and submit for discussion a question that you’d like to ask “the machine that thinks like a man.”

    “What do you think of She?”

    Please let us know how you think “the machine that thinks like a man might respond.

    “Va-va-va-voom!” Circuits start smoking, fire extinguisher deployed, etc.

    • #7
    • November 21, 2020, at 2:56 PM PST
    • 13 likes
  8. CRD Member

    @She, I am in awe of your grace and strength! Have a blessed week of Thanksgiving!

    • #8
    • November 21, 2020, at 3:09 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  9. PHCheese Member

    Thinks like a man. Got to be a million jokes in that one. Wish you a better year coming.

    • #9
    • November 21, 2020, at 3:10 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  10. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    Coward.

    Well, if you really want it:

    Please consider, and submit for discussion a question that you’d like to ask “the machine that thinks like a man.”

    “What do you think of She?”

    Please let us know how you think “the machine that thinks like a man might respond.

    “Va-va-va-voom!” Circuits start smoking, fire extinguisher deployed, etc.

    Probably not the universally applicable answer, but thanks for the feel-good comment of the day!

     

    • #10
    • November 21, 2020, at 3:12 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor

    How much time do men spend thinking about sex? Or not thinking about it?

    • #11
    • November 21, 2020, at 3:32 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  12. JustmeinAZ Member

    Well, I guess you shouldn’t ask it “what are you thinking?.

    r/funny - Why women should never ask a man what they are thinking

    • #12
    • November 21, 2020, at 3:37 PM PST
    • 11 likes
  13. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    How much time do men spend thinking about sex? Or not thinking about it?

    Good one. And it reminds me of a cartoon, may have been in Punch, decades ago, of two housewives sitting on the couch, smoking and each with a drink in her hand (those details may be off, it’s been a very long time).

    But what I’m sure is accurate is the caption, which was one housewife saying to the other, “Of course he doesn’t think about sex all the time. But when he thinks, he thinks about sex.”

    • #13
    • November 21, 2020, at 3:38 PM PST
    • 8 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  14. Arahant Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    How much time do men spend thinking about sex? Or not thinking about it?

    All of it.

    • #14
    • November 21, 2020, at 3:48 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  15. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hmm… I’m wondering if the machine is limited to simple yes or no questions, like a Magic 8-Ball. Because the sorts of questions I’d want to put to it are rather more along the “why” category.

    Why do females always want to talk about feelings?

    Why did my bread not have a good rise this afternoon?

    • #15
    • November 21, 2020, at 3:54 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  16. KentForrester Moderator

    Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons? 

    • #16
    • November 21, 2020, at 4:22 PM PST
    • 11 likes
  17. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under the November 2020 Group Writing Theme: “Cornucopia of Thanks.” Ricochet will thank you for signing up, thus avoiding disco and bears.

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    • #17
    • November 21, 2020, at 4:52 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?

    Adam and Eve and Pinch-me-tight
    Went down to the river to bathe.
    Adam and Ever were drowned.
    Who do you think was saved?

    • #18
    • November 22, 2020, at 2:14 AM PST
    • 1 like
  19. KentForrester Moderator

    She (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?

    Adam and Eve and Pinch-me-tight
    Went down to the river to bathe.
    Adam and Ever were drowned.
    Who do you think was saved?

    Pinch-me-tight. Oh, oh, you’re going to pinch me! Wait, you’re a few thousand miles away. I’m safe. Whew, that was close.

    • #19
    • November 22, 2020, at 3:31 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  20. Instugator Thatcher
    InstugatorJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Dear She,

    I am very sorry to hear of your husband’s passing. I’ll pray that God comforts you while you go through this time.

    Please let us know what you do with his model railroading gear. I am certain that there will be many hidden blessings there.

    Stu.

    • #20
    • November 22, 2020, at 10:54 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  21. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    W: “For Pete’s sake. We’ve been driving around in the dark for four hours, I’m freezing, and I have to pee. Can’t you just ask for directions?”

    MTTLAM: No.

    • #21
    • November 22, 2020, at 12:34 PM PST
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  22. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVeyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ah, the Think-a-Tron! I haven’t thought about that name in 60 years. There were a handful of toys and games that tried to simulate space age technology. 

    American Flyer and Lionel were (sort of) the Chevrolet and Ford of model trains. Like them, they were completely dominant in the US until imports took away the specialty market. 

    • #22
    • November 22, 2020, at 1:06 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  23. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Dear She,

    I am very sorry to hear of your husband’s passing. I’ll pray that God comforts you while you go through this time.

    Please let us know what you do with his model railroading gear. I am certain that there will be many hidden blessings there.

    Stu.

    Thanks, @instugator. I certainly will!

    • #23
    • November 23, 2020, at 7:05 AM PST
    • 1 like
  24. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    American Flyer and Lionel were (sort of) the Chevrolet and Ford of model trains. Like them, they were completely dominant in the US until imports took away the specialty market.

    Oh, there’s so much of both, from several AF classics to the newspaper-wrapped pre-war Lionel engines and cars that were collected by Mr. She’s father, to accessories like the Hellgate Bridge (I’ll never give that up–see “cold, dead hands” etc.) And then my sister sent me the Harry Potter Hogwarts Express set (Hornby) which runs on HO track.

    Most of the stuff is O-gauge though. 

    • #24
    • November 23, 2020, at 7:10 AM PST
    • 6 likes