May the Wind . . .

As the streetlights become bright beacons to guide eager feet that almost fly above the sidewalks, and hungry fingers begin to flex in anticipation, a quick undefinable shadow crosses the autumn moon.

All your childhood memories come alive. It must be Halloween.

You see there is a part of us, located somewhere between the heart and the head, that stays forever young. Sadly, we are too often so busy with our adult lives and begin to lose touch with the spark that stores our magic.

Thank heavens we have holidays to remind us to breathe in the glow that sheds the years.

Although some feel the night is wicked, Halloween has a sweetness, no pun intended, that allows us all the thrill of living out our imaginations. This is the night where you can be a princess, cowboy, witch or whatever gives you the itch.

The world of the imagination is a wonderful place to visit. Halloween is for both the treated and givers to create a night’s bond where memory and presents collide. So, fill your bowl with candy, switch on your lights of welcome, and may young and old both have a Happy Halloween.

It Could be the Last Time . .  .

The Celtic blessing, “May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be at your back, may the sunshine be upon your face”, has long been a favorite of mine. When I was greeted with this saying at my birthday celebration this past February, I was especially touched.

The quote was part of the toast given to me by my friend, Julie Piwowarski. Her voice was sweet and crystal clear. I can still feel the warmth of her hug as she said goodbye. At the time I could not have imagined that it would be for the last time. You never know when that last time you see or speak with someone you care about will be, but we wish we for one more chance to tell them how much they meant to you and how loved they were.

Julie died recently, and her life was celebrated with a Memorial Funeral Mass at Saint Joseph Church on Oct. 25. Julie, a petite bundle of joy, was adventurous and had a heart that only wanted to care for others. She joked with her friends that her “15 minutes of Fame” was when Life Magazine did a centerfold pictorial story of the deep-sea diving team she belonged to with her husband Bob. Julie wore a pink wetsuit for the pictures and was the only female on the team. She was born and raised in Massachusetts. It was there she earned her nursing degree in 1958. Julie and Bob moved to California in 1976. She worked at Los Banos Memorial Hospital from 1976 to 2003. Julie often spoke of how much she loved her work and all those she worked with. But most of all, she loved her children— her legacy of love.

When I think of last times, I cannot help but think of my husband, Ron Ingram. He died 12 years ago, and his funeral was held on Oct. 25. I recall him lying on the bed, a few days before he died, still aware of me sitting next to him in a chair. His face was filled with concern as he looked at me. As if I could read his thoughts, I told him, “I will be OK Ron.” I had wanted to reassure him. Then Ron gave me one of his ‘I’m not so sure looks’ and said, “Really?”, before he fell into that last deep sleep. I continue to berate myself for not saying, “No, I will not be OK. You are the breath of life for me. Don’t leave me.”

Why did I not say something loving or profound? Perhaps I felt there would still be time. Perhaps I didn’t want to accept reality. Maybe I said the words he needed to hear.

Be it a trick or be it a treat, election day is Nov. 2.

Too many people skip mid-term elections, feeling they are unimportant. However, using your hard-won privilege to vote is important.

While many vote for candidates by affiliation, Measures are a horse of a different color. Some have a direct effect on your community or life, but all are worth learning about.

Oh, I know, reading about them takes so much time and we are all so busy, but they mail the material right to you so perhaps you can look it over?

There are a few measures that almost shout to you, “hey did you read this?”

One measure is to try to stop the sale of temptingly flavored cigarette products that can begin our children on a lifelong road towards a dangerous health condition. Another lets people do sports gambling on their favorite friend…their cell phone. There is another that deals with dialysis centers, which can really matter when you need one. Some measures you will overlook, but there may be some who hit you right where you live.

Life happens.

What is before us is unknown, so maybe it is good to learn about the decisions being made by others around you.

Diana J. Ingram

Diana Ingram has been a columnist for Los Banos newspapers for four decades.