Archive for the ‘Non-Fiction’ Category

The Opossum and the Poodle

Posted on 7 Comments

246698_1739850381453_608818_n

The Opossum and the Poodle

By Shawn R. Jones

      I had on knee-high rain boots.  That would not have been so strange had it been raining, but there was no rain in sight and the night was humid and full of mosquitos. I asked my son to get my black leather gloves and red sweat jacket with the hood.  I put on a small baseball cap and then pulled the hoodie over it.  Maybe I should get those goggles from the basement, I thought, just in case it comes for my eyes. Standing at my screened door, I looked up at the backdoor light.  Moths and mosquitos were nothing compared to the creature I was about to face.  I glared into the yard. I heard hissing and growling in the bushes on the side of our garage. `My son ran and got a flashlight.  He had on his amour, too. He went out first.  He shined the flashlight in the bushes and said something like, “Man, that thing looks angry.”  At that point I got a broom, wishing it were a gun.  I stood next to him, broom in hand.

“Well, what is it?” I asked him.

“I don’t know.  I think it’s a opossum.”

I pictured its fuzzy white face and long rubbery tail.  My tongue felt strange in my mouth and goose bumps ran across my skin like racecars.

“Mom, come on.  We have to get Angel.”

Angel was my white poodle who was in the bushes with the opossum, barking and growling like she was a Rottweiler. I’m afraid of opossums, so I really had to take a moment to think how much our poodle meant to me.   Had it been my son or daughter, I would have jumped in the bushes thoughtless and unarmed. I looked back at my daughter, the future vegan and animal activist, who was standing on the back step.   I wanted to call out to her, “Look, I’m your mother.  You’ve known me all your life, but we’ve only had this poodle a short while, and it was a stray!   Had our thoughtful neighbor not brought it to us when she found it on her front lawn in the pouring down rain, something would have eventually eaten it anyway…”   But, I didn’t say any of that.

I gave my son the broom.  He was much braver than I.  I never even saw the thing, but I had a clear enough picture in my mind to feel faint.  My son started poking at the opossum with the broom, hoping it would run off, since my poodle was not backing down.  She looked at my son and back at the opossum and barked even louder.  Now, she had an ally.  The opossum grew angrier and started biting viciously at the end of the broom stick.

My daughter was yelling, “Don’t kill it!”  Angel was still barking. The opossum was hissing.  I was sweating in my armor while trying to coax Angel out of the bushes. The commotion seemed to go on for hours.  I don’t remember how we convinced Angel to come out, but she did eventually.  We may have given her a treat.  The opossum, however, spent the night in the bush.  Once I got my crazy poodle settled in the house, my son and I went back outside with the flashlight.  The opossum was curled up, exhausted from the fight.  The next morning it was gone.

Months went by.  No opossum. Then one evening, I was coming home from dance class.  I parked my car in the driveway.  I walked up to my front door and as soon as I pulled my house key out of my pocket, a huge opossum ran from behind the bushes, onto my step and across my white canvas sneakers.  I screamed as I felt the weight of its body on my feet.

By Shawn R. Jones

 website: www.shawnrjones.com

Author of the devotional book, Pictures in Glass Frames   http://t.co/BxiNwWRG

and the poetry chapbook, Womb Rain, 

http://www.amazon.com/Womb-Rain-New-Womens-Voices/dp/1599242699/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337717218&sr=8-1

The Front Porch

Posted on 5 Comments

This is an excerpt from my next devotional:

The Front Porch

By Shawn R. Jones

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Matthew 25:21

     A three-story abandoned brownstone sat in the middle of our block.  It seemed as if the only things holding it up were the two houses it was positioned between.  The same maroon chipped paint that framed the boarded up windows and doors also trimmed the small rickety porch. From a child’s perspective, I am sure the house looked “haunted.”  I was quite nervous walking by it myself, and I certainly never walked by it at night. Too me, it seemed to serve no purpose at all, except for the many insects and rodents it housed, until I rode by it early one morning.

On that morning, there was a tan mound on that rickety porch.  At first I couldn’t tell what it was, so I stopped my car and stared out the driver’s side window.  There was someone sleeping under a tan coat.  My heart shuddered and my throat tightened.  She twisted, rolled over, and stood up.  I put my foot on the gas and proceeded to parallel park.  After I parked, I got out of my car and looked down the block before I put my key in my front door. I was so shocked by what I saw next.  The lady was using the coat to sweep the porch, her porch, her home.

Compared to that homeless woman, I have so much, and yet I still complain. Her coat was her blanket, her pillow, and her broom.  That was over fifteen years ago. I don’t know where she is now, but I can still see her sweeping.  It was also during this time that my elderly neighbor used to complain that I didn’t clean off my own porch well enough.  I gave her the poorest excuse I could think of, “I don’t clean it because it never stays clean.” There was a bird’s nest above my front door and the birds left raindrops of poop across the gray painted wood. It was an unpleasant sight that I seldom swept.  My neighbor would fuss, “Girl, you need to get some bleach and clean that porch off!”  I was thinking, Is she serious?! The inside of my house is enough to clean.  I don’t have time to worry about a porch. I am sure I would have felt differently if the porch was all I had.

We acquire so much that each one of our possessions becomes less and less significant to us.   What did a porch mean to me when I had a beautiful two-story brownstone behind it loaded with tons of things?  Now, if a storm or fire destroyed the gray wooden posts that held the porch up, the porch would suddenly become a priority.  Isn’t this how we sometimes treat many of our possessions?  Isn’t that also how we also treat some of the people in our lives?

P1070307

     Take an inventory of everything you own.  You can do this mentally, but it would be best if you could write it down on paper.  And because you are so blessed, this could take you hours, so I suggest you plan on writing this list over a period of a few days, or a few weeks, or a few months. Once you are well into this exercise, you are going to realize that I have asked you to do an impossible task because you have so much you cannot write it all down. What you might want to do instead is give away some of that stuff that you never get a chance to use.  Once you have done that, maybe you will take better care of the things you actually need.

Speaking of needs, let’s move on to the people in our lives.  I know it’s sometimes difficult to accept that we need people.  I guess that’s why it’s difficult for us to thank them sometimes. But there are people we should take a moment to thank.  They are worth the time.  They are also worth the small gesture. Who has God placed in your life to be a blessing to you? I can think of a few people in my life I should thank with a small bouquet of flowers, lunch, or at the least, a phone call.  Some people just need to hear the sincerity of your voice.  They need to hear you say, “I love you.  I appreciate you.  Thank you for being there for me.”  You know, thanking people sometimes makes us feel awkward, but imagine how you would feel if they were no longer there.  How would you feel if the porch suddenly collapsed?

     Dear Lord, I have learned so much from watching that homeless woman sweep the porch of an abandoned house with her coat.  I don’t even know if she is still homeless or alive today, but my prayer is that you bless her wherever she is.  She has indeed blessed me. Let her know that her life is significant and full of meaning and purpose.  Shelter her, wherever she may be. Amen.

 

After Tragedy, You Can Make It

Posted on 4 Comments

My Father, My Father

By Shawn R. Jones

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Matthew 5:4

When I was seventeen years old, I sat in my bedroom thinking about my biological father. I had not seen him in seven years, but for some reason, on that particular day, I became overwhelmed by emotions and flashbacks of time spent with him. I walked in my mother’s bedroom and fell on the bed crying, releasing feelings I had suppressed.

“I want my father,” I cried like I was still ten years old, waiting for him on the front step.

After a brief search, I found him in Leesburg State Prison with a six-year sentence. For his remaining years of incarceration, I visited him regularly, and we talked on the phone extensively. He shared stories of his tragic past and ongoing struggle with a heroin addiction. We talked about God, and he told me how he would hide his Bible from the other inmates as he walked across the open field of the minimum security prison.

When he was released, we spent less time together than when he was incarcerated. I began to worry. Then, in the middle of the afternoon, I heard a small knock on my front door. It was my father. He looked much thinner than he had before. I let him in. Humbly, he asked me if I would pray with him because he felt himself “slipping back.” He confessed that he had drunk some alcohol and a bottle of cough medicine. I remember thinking, At least it’s not heroin. He lightly yanked my hand, pulling me slowly down to my knees. He prayed fervently to the Lord. When he left, I just knew he would be all right. Shockingly, less than a year later, he died of a heroin overdose.

I became angry, guilt-ridden, and depressed. I kept thinking, My father and I prayed together, and he still died. I just did not understand, and I did not want to go to church anymore because the last thing I wanted to hear from people was, “God won’t put more on you than you can bear.” Then, I dreamed my father came to me and told me to keep my family in church. The dream seemed so real that I figured it was a message from the Lord.

My family and I kept going to church, and eventually I learned that you don’t have to understand everything to have a relationship with God. You are going to be disappointed sometimes, and people you love are going to die. People have been dying long before you were born, but when it becomes personal, you are more likely to change your perception of God and walk away from Him. Today, I am telling you to stay with Him, and if you don’t know Him, find out Who He is by consistently praying and reading His Word. When I found God, I realized that He was the father I was crying for in my mother’s bedroom.

Dear Lord, help me realize that life on earth is not supposed to be perfect, but You remain perfect even in the face of tragedy. I love You, Lord, and I am going to follow You, no matter what each day brings. Thank You for loving me, and thank You for bringing me through. Amen.

 Reprinted From Pictures in Glass Frames

Ambassador International, 2011

Available at these links:  http://t.co/BxiNwWRG and http://shawnrjones.com/books It is also available on Nook, Kindle, and itunes.

 

IMG_1478

 Shawn R. Jones

 website: www.shawnrjones.com

Author of the devotional book, Pictures in Glass Frames   http://t.co/BxiNwWRG

and the poetry chapbook, Womb Rain, 

http://www.amazon.com/Womb-Rain-New-Womens-Voices/dp/1599242699/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337717218&sr=8-1

 

Home Remedy 1968

Posted on 7 Comments

 

Debris had fallen months
before my unwanted arrival
when Grandmother gave
her unwed daughter
tar black pills to swallow
behind Tanqueray gin,
mixed turpentine and hot water
in a pea green bucket,
held mom’s flannel gown
around her stretched waist,

and told her to crouch down
as close as she could get.

Shawn R. Jones

 

Reprinted from Womb Rain
(Finishing Line Press 2008)
Womb Rain (New Women’s Voices, No. 61)

Restore Them

Posted on 6 Comments

Restore Them

By Shawn R. Jones

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

Galatians 6:1

We don’t know the hearts, minds, or histories of others. People often feel the way they feel, think the way they think, and do what they do for reasons we cannot fully understand because we don’t know the details of their past or present situations. We are not even sure how we would respond under similar circumstances. For instance, my childhood friend grew up to be shamelessly promiscuous. People called her despicable names. For years, I also wondered why she had multiple partners. I grew up with her, and from what I could see, she had a decent childhood. Well, one day when we were in our early twenties, she confided in me. She told me she had been sexually abused by a babysitter when she was three years old, and the abuse lasted a couple of years. She told her story as if the abuse was a minor bicycle accident.

As I sat there, feeling and looking uncomfortable, she said, “I’m all right, though. It doesn’t bother me.”

After our conversation, we just went on about our day, doing what twenty-year-olds do, laughing at everything and nothing, like neither of us knew pain.

Today, twenty plus years later, I would handle that situation much differently. I would help her find a good therapist who specializes in the treatment of sexual abuse and suggest a number of helpful books she could read by Christian authors who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Sadly, I cannot help my friend now because her promiscuity led to her death. Unfortunately, while she was alive, no one realized she spent most of her life trying to forget the torment of her childhood. I certainly didn’t realize it until it was too late. I never mentioned it again because I didn’t want her to regret sharing her secret with me, so I went on with our friendship pretending the abuse didn’t matter. Even if that was what she wanted, it was the wrong thing to do.

After I realized the magnitude of my mistake and the weight of my regret, I decided to help others by writing about it. I figured it was the best way for me to reach people without being intrusive. Some issues are uncomfortable and painful to discuss, like sexual abuse, but God still wants us to talk about it so the healing process can begin. If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, please get help. Go online and research agencies today. May God’s grace help you through the restoration process.

 

Dear Lord, please help victims of sexual abuse and rehabilitate perpetrators who have robbed others of their innocence. Lord, it is so hard for me to pray for the latter, but I know they are Your children too. Please teach me to be sensitive to everyone who needs restoration, and renew my strength in areas that have been weakened by life’s circumstances. Amen.

Reprinted from Pictures in Glass Frames

(Ambassador International, 2011)

 Available at this link: http://t.co/BxiNwWRG,

 

“The Day I Started Living”

Posted on 5 Comments

“The Day I Started Living”

By Shawn R. Jones

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

John 14:1–4

 

My mother is not sure what came first—the hives or the convulsions. The doctor gave her a shot of penicillin. Her body convulsed. Shoes flew off her feet. Hives closed off her airway. She scratched at her neck, trying to make a hole to breathe. As one of the nurses said, “Oh my God, doctor, she’s dying,” my mother watched her own hand turn gray and stiffen.

 

A doctor and nurses tried to restore my mother’s breathing. As she watched from the ceiling, she thought comically, “Wow, they’re really working hard to bring me back.” Next, there was nothing but darkness. Then, there was a brilliant light, a light so brilliant she could not see the man’s face who had on a robe with his arms outstretched. He showed her everything she had done wrong in her life. My grandmother, who had died five years prior, was there also, speaking in my mother’s defense, reminding him of all the good her daughter had done.

 

My mother was active in her community, helping the underprivileged even though she was the underprivileged. She volunteered for Welfare Rights, NarcoticAddictsRecoveryCenter, and the Community Development Block Grant Program. She sat on several boards and was also a mother, struggling to raise a child in the projects.

 

My mother pleaded with the man, whom she now refers to as Jesus. “I can’t die now. I would stay here with you, but I have an eight-year-old daughter, and she doesn’t have anyone but me. She is just not ready for this.”

 

The man spoke calmly in the most beautiful voice my mother had ever heard. “Rhonda, scream. Just scream.”

 

My mother tried to scream. It was very difficult at first, but once she was able to get a bit of sound out, she saw a glimpse of the room where her earthly body lay. Whenever she would stop screaming, there would be darkness. The longer she screamed, the longer she saw the light of the room, so she began to scream uncontrollably. The doctor and nurses tried to calm her down, explaining that they had just given her a shot of adrenalin. Regarding her return, my mother has often said, “They think they brought me back, but it wasn’t them.”

 

After that ordeal, my mother just wanted to get home to make sure I was okay, but the doctor called an ambulance to transport her to the hospital. Meanwhile, I was home worried because she had not come home from work. My uncle picked me up and took me to the hospital to see her. When I got there, she was sitting in a wooden wheelchair, looking exhausted with bloody scratches on her neck. I asked her what happened. She grabbed my hands, looked into my eyes, and said the most meaningful thing I have ever heard her say. She enunciated each word slowly and sincerely. “Shawn, don’t you ever ask me again if there is a God, because there is a God.”

338214_2328530530134_6663340_o

My mother in the 70s

 

Prior to that day, which was October 8, 1976, I had often asked my mother, “Is there a God? Is God real?” One day she answered, “No. I don’t know, Shawn. When you die, you just go in the ground.” Yet she continued to read The Lord’s Prayer to me every night before bed, so I wasn’t fully convinced. Well, after October 8, 1976, I was fully convinced that there was a God, and I never asked her again.

 

My mother says, “October 8, 1976 is the day I started living.” Psychiatrists tried to convince her that she had imagined the whole incident, and others said it didn’t make sense biblically. Regardless of what others have to say about the validity of my mother’s story, the incident changed her life for the better. She became even more helpful in her community. She sent me to Sunday school, and she began to appreciate things on earth like grass, trees, and even concrete. For the first time, she could truly see the miracles on earth and look forward to spending eternity with Jesus.

 

Dear Lord, You have decorated heaven and earth with Your magnificent glory, divine creativity, and awesomeness, and I am so grateful that You have blessed me with the opportunity to enjoy both heaven and earth. Amen.

By Shawn R. Jones,

Reprinted from Pictures in Glass Frames

(Ambassador International, 2011)

Author of the devotional book, Pictures in Glass Frames   http://shawnrjones.com/books

and the poetry chapbooks, Womb Rain and A Hole to Breathe

http://www.amazon.com/Womb-Rain-New-Womens-Voices/dp/1599242699/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337717218&sr=8-1

PIGF cover

Handling Disappointment

Posted on 5 Comments

Handling Disappointment

By Shawn R. Jones

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33

As a Christian, your life is not based on chance, luck, or coincidences. When you follow God obediently and sincerely, He covers you until your last day on earth and into eternity. However, your Christian walk will not exclude you from disappointment. Disappointment is a reality in everyone’s life, saved or unsaved, but do not be discouraged. God still has a plan for you.

Both negative and positive situations can prepare you for divine destiny. For example, my son applied to the University of Pennsylvania when he was a senior in high school. He maintained honor roll throughout high school, was involved in several clubs, performed many community service hours, and received many awards. It seemed he was well qualified for the University of Pennsylvania, but he was not accepted.

So, what happened? He concluded that he was destined to be at another institution. However, he didn’t fully understand it until he had completed his second year at Rutgers-Camden. He was on the dean’s list every semester and received recognition and awards from Rutgers, the state, and local organizations for helping disadvantaged people in the surrounding community. He was truly happy and got so much joy out of helping the residents of Camden that he believed the state school was a divine selection and the Ivy League school, a divine rejection. Could he have gone to the University of Pennsylvania and done the same? No human knows for sure, but the important issue is that my son’s first responsibility was to God’s kingdom. As a result, God stayed with him and blessed his endeavors.  He graduated Rutgers magna cum laude with departmental honors a couple years ago, and today he is a home-owner, business owner, and husband-to-be.

Image

Like my son, many people want to go to the best school, get the best job, and just have the best of everything. There is nothing wrong with setting goals and having high expectations, but if things don’t work out according to your plans, remember God can bless you anywhere. Just because an institution or occupation has an esteemed reputation, that does not necessarily mean you are supposed to be there. Remember, God wants you in the place that is best for you. It may not be the most popular place in the world, and it may not be the most attractive position, but if God ordained it, it is for you.

 

Dear Lord, please lead me into Godly purpose. Choose my job, my neighborhood, and my friends. I welcome Your process of divine elimination. I appreciate Your choosing all that is best for me. Amen.

Reprinted from Pictures in Glass Frames

(Ambassador International, 2011)

You can order your copy of my devotional, Pictures in Glass Frames, from the following site:

http://t.co/BxiNwWRG  It is also available on Nook and Kindle.

So What the Grass is Greener

Posted on 19 Comments

The Other Side of the Window

By Shawn R. Jones

On my side of the window, I was the “stay at home Kool-aid and oatmeal cookie” mom who went to the local university part-time while her husband worked sixty hours a week.  With that one degree, I educated myself, my family, and a neighborhood full of children on the porch of the century old brownstone my husband renovated a couple years before we met.  Twelve foot ceilings, a marble fireplace, and a second stairwell off the breakfast room were  a few amenities that added to the elegance of our first home in the inner-city.   Even though the media often reminded us that we lived in one of the most dangerous cities in the country, we were proud of our “castle.”

 

We turned dollars into diamonds by purchasing second-hand furniture from antique flea markets.  An elderly gentleman in an old storefront reupholstered each piece as he sat on a footstool with his thin body hanger-bent as his dark fingers moved skillfully across silk fabric. Each time we stopped by to check on his progress, he promised he would “be done real soon.”  I don’t remember his face because he spoke as he worked, looking down and balancing a lit cigarette between his chapped lips.   As a result, our sofa, ottomans, and chairs smelled like smoke.  It was a problem we fixed with a cool breeze, two metal fans, and a loud-mouth window.

 

Image

On the other side of the window, an occasional body was found and the swat team tiptoed through our backyard as quietly as black ants on moist soil.  Gun fire was more common than birds singing and the Fourth of July was more nerve wrecking than fun because you could not tell the difference between fireworks and firearms.  But we stayed even when we could afford to leave because there was something spellbinding about that city.

 

Maybe it was Miss Joyce who warned of headless demons hopping between the walls of our row homes or Light-Eyed Mr. Leroy who wore velour tracksuits and complimented all the women through his gold-toothed smile.  Or maybe it was Tanya, Mr. Leroy’s sharp-shooter wife whose veins popped beneath dark skin when she pulled the trigger or Miss Pat who listened to our fights with her ear pressed on the bottom  of a drinking glass against her aged plastered wall.  Or it may have been the two little Johnson girls who mourned their hamster after they threw him down a flight of stairs  or the twitchy addict on the corner who still managed to brighten my day with a funny comment and a smile.

 

Whatever it was,  it kept my family on that block for ten years.  Big houses, quiet streets, and competing green lawns could never replace it, and I later discovered similar problems creep through larger homes down wider streets.  Demons don’t need connected walls to travel, and the “Stepford Wives” don’t need drinking glasses to spread gossip.  The scorned wife doesn’t have to be a sharp shooter to pull the trigger and the twitchy addict doesn’t stand on the  corner with a witty line and a smile.  Yet, everything that plagues the city, plagues the suburbs in decorated packages.  I have lived in both places, and one of the most horrific tragedies has made me realize that the mother who weeps in her mansion over the loss of her 20-year-old-heroin addicted son does not weep with any less grief.  Botox lifts her skin, but not her pain.

 

By Shawn R. Jones

 website: www.shawnrjones.com

Author of the devotional book, Pictures in Glass Frames   http://t.co/BxiNwWRG

and the poetry chapbook, Womb Rain, 

http://www.amazon.com/Womb-Rain-New-Womens-Voices/dp/1599242699/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337717218&sr=8-1

*This is an excerpt from my next book.  This is a working title.

The Villa in Cambridge, London

Posted on 2 Comments

I was very happy when I walked in the front room of the villa.  It was clean, quaint  and bright.  I knew I could easily spend a few nights there and be very happy, much happier than I was at the hotel.  I had a few mishaps at the villa, but I would not be “Lucy” if all had gone smoothly.  Besides, how boring would that be?

Here is a fuzzy photo of the kitchen that I almost burned down while cooking chicken fajitas for my husband.  I know you think that blur is because of my camera, but it is actually smoke!  I blame it on the pan.  It was the lightest pan (as in weight)  that I have ever used.  Also, the stove was electric, which I hate.  I prefer to cook with fire and I really don’t like non-stick pans.  I know I’m stuck in the 7o’s, but that’s okay.  I love the 70’s.

P1030429

I am convinced that food tastes better when it is cooked in cast iron pans over a flame.  So, there I was in the kitchen, cooking in this flimsy non-stick pan on a rickety electric burner.  Out of nowhere fire shoots up from the pan and the room is filling with smoke and my husband and I are laughing hysterically while trying to open the windows, saying “Oh my goodness, we are  gonna burn this place down!” Well, the fire disappeared.  I mean really disappeared because I didn’t do anything but move the pan off the burner.  My husband said it was one of the best meals he had ever had.  Go figure.  His chicken and salmon was burnt bunt, and he loved it.  I also loved my crispy vegetables.

While I am in the kitchen, let me share a picture I took of our orange juice.  Have you noticed that it does not say “no pulp” and “lots of pulp?”  Yeah, I was con-

P1030427

fused for a second, too, but I must say that “no bits” and “extra juicy bits” are kind of cute phrases.  “Extra juicy bits” is actually kind of funny.  I can imagine a mom calling her child from the other room, “Come here, Juicy bits, and let me finish combing your hair!”  I love it!  And of course Juicy Bits is  real skinny with chubby cheeks, curly hair, and a sassy walk. Maybe I will make her the subject of a poem or short story some day.  For now, back to the villa.

I don’t think I was used to the food and…I don’t think the toilet was used to me.  The English should really use more water in their toilets!  I don’t think I really need to go in detail.  I’ll just let you know my husband worked on the toilet for hours!  It was not a romantic evening, but we got a few hearty laughs out of it!  Well…moving right along.  I think this would be a great time for another photo.

I claimed this space as my reading area:

P1030463

I claimed this space as my writing area:

P1030452

My husband looking at a map on the wall:

P1030482

There was an upstairs, too.  It was just a small sitting area with a telephone.   I didn’t claim that space because it looked very businesslike.  I couldn’t read or write there. I gave that space to my husband.

P1030567

P1030564

We were on our way to Cambridge University where my daughter was studying for the summer.  Everyone in town called it, “Uni.”  It took me awhile to catch on.  My husband’s original plan was to rent a car and drive around England. It is a good thing he didn’t because although he is a confident driver in the U.S.  I am not sure he would have gotten used to driving on the opposite side of the road on the opposite side of the vehicle.

P1030570

Next stop Cambridge:

P1030536

Thank you for stopping by : )

Pounds and Pence

Posted on 12 Comments

For the first 15 years of our marriage,we spent most of our family vacations in Disney World.  Our children were not really interested in going anywhere else.  Every other place we took them was probably against their wills. However, when they look back on the photos,  I am sure they have fond and fun memories.  I would have never even considered vacationing in England, so when my husband and I got to London, it was not really what I expected at all.  I eventually got used to the carbonated lemonade, lukewarm apple juice, and small bathrooms with very little water in the toilet.  You would think a toilet with a little bit of water is not a big deal, but believe me, it is!  It seems to me that the English are not as wasteful as Americans.  Boy, I really hope I don’t get blasted for that comment.  Let me just add that I am American and I fully indulge in and appreciate our wastefulness.  Anyway, there were some things I just had to get used to and I did rather quickly.  But there is one thing I just could not get the hang of, the money.  Pounds and Pence!  I could not count that darn money to save my life.  I missed my pennies, nickles, quarters, and dimes.  At one point I handed the cashier my money and said, “Just take what you need.”  Oh and even crazier than that, I was tipping folks left and right.  If we went some where more than once, workers remembered us well.  I told my daughter how friendly they were to us at this one restaurant so we just kept going back.  She said me if we were tipping and explained that they do not tip in England like they do in America.  Who knew?  No…I didn’t read up on English customs before I went.  It was kind of a last minute trip, but I will have to explain that in another post.

Oh, it is time for a photo break.  I wouldn’t want you to get bored:

Image

Can you imagine your face being on money and you’re still alive?!

Image

Pence

Image

The pound was worth 40 cents more than the American dollar : /  So, if you purchased as hat for $2 pounds, that would cost you $2.80 in American dollars.  That may not seem like a big difference, but it is when you are purchasing something for $200.

Image

Me: Excuse me, but I asked for lemonade.

Waiter:  That is lemonade.

Me:  With bubbles?

Thank you for stopping by!  I will post more about our week in Europe another day : )