The Cross and the Glitter in the White Dove’s Eye

I keep telling myself how lucky I was yesterday coming home on the 101 Freeway from West Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley on a designated stretch leading to home.  I was gazing up and noticed that tiny wisps of clouds that had formed a perfect cross. The cross crowning the top was at the perfect distance up from the middle, the way all crosses displayed are drawn.  I was marveling at the sight in the afternoon sky and wondering how many others in our vicinity were seeing this spiritual spectacle. Off to the side of the car speeding along with us was a white dove.   I know you think I am making this up for a good story, well, you are wrong.  You say it could have been a seagull, they are white, but we were traveling so far inland I doubt it.  When I got home, I sat down to ponder this event, thinking to myself, this is truly a special sign and it was there for anyone driving by that spot. Or, was I the only one picked out to be the teller?

This insightful event is an eternal element needing no translation, but just in case, it may be a resolve, a magic charm, a blending of spirits, good luck, the truth set before me for contemplation, a message of peace, love, purity or a just a special unrelated delight to behold.

Before the cross and the white dove sighting, I had a brush with the devil’s javelin. It pierced me through the heart and shattered  something gnawing inside that I have been dealing with for years.  I don’t exactly know what it was, but now it is  crushed into little pieces and blown away by the wind. Now that I have witnessed the healing light, the cross bearing news of God’s force, and the will to feel free given swiftly in the glitter of the white dove’s eye, I have been blessed.

A short while before the cross and dove sighting, I met a lovely lady, rather angelic, now that I remember her.  She said, “Hello.”

I said, “Hello, are you having fun?”

She said, “Tons of it, how about you?”

I said, “Well, by the end of the day perhaps tons of it.”

She said, “ Let me tell you what my mother used to say,

‘If you are having a bad day, just think of not having one.’”



This red dress was displayed in front of an antique store somewhere in the middle of America. I wish to heaven I could remember where, and perhaps by the time I finish this memory, I will.  The store had placed an empty chair next to the dress (not shown in the picture). I was tired and while the other people in the group busied themselves with the inside of the store, I sat in the chair next to the red dress.

I closed my eyes and felt the sounds of the present melting away giving rise to differing sounds with different tones and noise levels. I was drifting. I felt myself transform in dissolving ways. My mind took on a multitude of tumbling images and finally rested on a scene, which I was not only observing but a participant.   I was walking with someone and in a few moments that someone came into full view.  He was handsome. He was my intimate friend.  We were walking to visit a party at a home where our family had gathered. The home was freshly painted, with fresh fumes wafting and the entryway trees provided shade. I was very happy to be showing off the dress I made for the special party. It fit me perfectly and made me feel comfortable and well.  I recollected that I waited for months to get just the right color and texture cloth for this special dress.

The festivities were in full swing. People were waving; children came running to greet us and hugged us both tightly. Music was playing and the sounds were floating away. Just in those last moments of my reverie, I opened my eyes because someone was calling me into the present.  I know this was a contact, a very strong contact from the past.  I wish there were more recollections to tell, but honestly it was just a snippet in time.

Oh, I can hear you readers on the other end.  This lady is cracked in the head.  I want you to know that I am not, but I do believe that there are pockets of time that are trapped  and when coaxed burst into the present only momentarily. Do I get these bursts often, no, actually I am not lucky enough to get them often. Now that I have lost a good portion of readers, this is for you who are still reading.

When visiting in Poland, my ancestors somewhere in Warsaw contacted me. They followed me to the border of Poland and Russia. They blew wind through my hair, they whispered in my ear, they nudged me in various directions, they told me they were happy I came to visit, they told me to taste the amber I wanted to buy and I did. It had an acrid taste allowing me to know it was real. I tasted others after that encounter and when there was no acrid taste I knew those pieces of amber to be fake.  I wish life were all that easy.  Just taste and know it to be a fake.

A number of years ago, on a hot and humid night with all of the windows in the house open, I was sitting in the living room. Mists and puffs came floating by, which were stuffed with sounds from an old radio show. The announcer, in his rich full- bodied voice was announcing the next program. I was too shocked and a bit too terrified to remember if I made out any of the words that would identify the program. I chalked it off to the fact that it was one of those bubbles of trapped time that exploded in my living room.

I have enjoyed my otherworldly encounters and I hope I have more in the future. I also hope you will share some of yours. We are not alone.

“A son is a son until he takes a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life.”(This is not necessarily always true.)

Many of you, after reading my post, “Four Daughters” asked me to write about our son. So, I pondered and I have written this for you.

“A son is a son until he takes a wife,
a daughter is a daughter all of her life.”

Well, what if your son does not take a wife, but takes a husband? Then you have something different.  You have two sons.  Now that’s very special!  One son is a lovely, wonderful blessing. But two sons are double the measure. When my two sons work together on my behalf, I have so much love and admiration for them and will always treasure their interest in being there for me.

My two sons look very much alike; they are the same height, approximately the same weight and the same size in clothes. Even though they are not biologically connected, they look and act almost like twins. I can buy a shirt and they’ll both wear it. I ask one for help and they both come.  I ask for sympathy and they both give it.  I ask for love and I get twice the dose. I ask for an opinion and I get two for the price of one. I ask for a favor and I get it twice as fast. And they always offer to pay for everything. I smile lovingly and proudly, knowing I’ll always receive a positive reception. I ask for one of them to drive and they both say with pleasure.  When they visit, one takes the trash out, the other puts a new bag in the can. They work in tandem; they work as a pair.

The two sons are valuable members in our family. They are loving, supportive and kind. They give each other approval to succeed and sustain the efforts of each other. They are priceless. They are double anything that anyone could wish to have in their lives. – Mother

The Not So Ancient Pot


There are much older pots than this one. There are some from almost before humans began to evolve, but this is the oldest one in my kitchen and it has served me for nearly 50 years. I know fifty years is not a long time, not really, but to me it is a lot of cooking, a lot of eating and a lot of pot washing.

See how the pot still shines? It still shines because I was taught to wash and clean your cooking utensils as if they were golden rather than stainless steel. I was taught that a good cooking utensil is as important as a good cook. More

Bits and Pieces: Thank You!

July 30, 2008

Dear Tarzana Fireman,

I want to thank you for saving my life last Monday night. We could not make it to the hospital because it was during high traffic hours and the last thing I remember saying was, “ Take me to the Fire Station.” It worked.
I have searched the English Language for words to better describe thank you and I cannot find any others. So, I thank you.

For nearly forty years I have driven by your station with respect. Now and forever, I will drive by with reverence, love, admiration and great appreciation.

I have put together some items for you that represent some of my favorite things to eat. I hope some of them are yours as well, or perhaps they will become a favorite. I have also enclosed several copies of my most recently published book, which by the way just won an award.

I thought this would be an easy letter to write, but it is the hardest. I do want to say that I was not and am not done with my life and want to continue in the realm of service and a lot of paying back. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to continue with my work and in the last few days I have looked at the world differently. It is so much brighter, more beautiful that ever, people are more understandable and it is as if a crystalline wall has been lifted. I am grateful, thankful and indebted to all of you.

Sincerely with respect and gratitude,

Sheila Clapkin

Bits and Pieces: Anaphylactic Shock

I spent two days in the hospital recovering from Anaphylactic shock.
This is all new to me. Fifteen minutes after I took my last Keflex pill, I started to go down. I was also peeling apples for a pie and maybe there was some pesticide on them, but I don’t know. My hands and feet started to itch. Before the itch I popped an anti inflammatory pill which has always been fine. Was it one thing? Was it the combination? Am I too much of a pill popper? Yeap. Whatever it was, it took me down.

Any four year old knows how to call 911, and I did not. I asked Skip to take me to the hospital because something really bad was happening. Half way down the hill I realized I was not going to make it. A picture of the fire station, which is just at the end of our hill flashed into my mind and the last thing I said was, “ I am having a stroke, I am going blind, I won’t make it to Kaiser, take me to the fires station.” For the second time in our long relationship he listened to me, and it is a good thing, too.

I don’t remember anything, but I was told that they dragged me out of the car, put a blanket on the station floor and got me going. Even in my state of shock, I opened my eyes to a group of the most adorable men on earth. Those pictures of the firemen’s calendars popped into my head and I had an internal smile. These guys huddled around me were better than any calendar I have ever seen. WOW. Now I do digress. After stabilizing me a bit more, they transferred me to the nearest hospital. I stayed there for about 6 h ours and then, they transferred me to Kaiser because I am a Kaiser member. Kaiser further treated me and then sent me home with continued steroids. I now understand the lure of steroids. When taking them, every pain ever known disappears and you feel like brand new. I only have a three-day supply, so I should enjoy the next few days of pain free living.

You would think I would never want to go into a fire station again, but it is a funny thing, I have now become fixated with fire stations, fire trucks and firemen. I am like a 5 year old. I am going to fire station #93 this afternoon with two great big bags full of goodies I have bought which represent some of my favorite eatables. I do want to thank them for saving my life and show them that they are greatly appreciated.

I now will have to take my epipen wherever I go according to the doctor. It is a pen that gives an epinephrine dose when punctured into the thigh. I think this is to help the shock and give you more time to get help. I am pretty sure you can die from an Anaphylactic shock episode. I know I almost did.

Today’s Bits and Pieces: The Colors of My Mother


Nearly two years after my mother passed, my father passed. Many of us were helping to clean out the condo and ready it for sale. My niece came upon a bag stuffed full with what appeared to be dozens of scarves. She gave them to me and said she thought I might like to have them. I tucked the bag of colors in my box of goodies and when I came home the first thing I did was to empty the scarves into the drier for a whirl. After 5 minutes I opened the drier door to a shock that went through my body faster than a bolt of lightning. The colors of my mother leapt out of the drier and into my hands. I carried them to the table and continued my astonishment. My mother appeared out of every single scarf and her expressions changed as each scarf was laid next the one that had already given a performance.

My mother liked a preponderance of light brown, the color of caramel and ground spices. She liked to back it with a light aqua softness. She splashed a green color to keep things up front, insuring she would not disappear in the background of softness. All of her colors are background colors to me, but when I look at this bunch I can see that her background colors were foreground colors to her.

She used a golden rod yellow to accent the soft browns, therefore gathering the strength and brightness of sunlight, yet allowed for the softness of sunbeams as they cascade down the scarves giving a prerequisite to the uplifting spirit of caramel and ground spices on overloaded.

As I look at the collection of my mothers colors, there is one slight, almost splash of red. Oh mother are you saying, ‘blood of my blood?” Our blood of each other has created such different entities. Our colors are so very dissimilar. I always knew that, but this experience with your scarves is so graphically explicit. I have hung the scarves on a beautiful hand carved hanger and they intermingle creating an interplay that is expressing to me all of you and all that I knew about you.

I would someday like to uncover a secret, a hole in your character, but that will never happen because you strove to be perfect; you always were and you always will be. I do thank you because I always knew you did the best you could, more because you wanted the best. I know now that we are who we have become through the ages, through the stages and it remains just this way today as well as for those who will continue after us. We have done our best with our soft and vibrant personalities, with our soft browns and our brilliant reds, through our yellows, our greens, your blues and my black. You never wore white, neither did I. If you could see the beautiful colors of you, I would see your precious smile again.

Bits and Pieces: The Penis Plant aka The Century Plant

Okay, so there is a penis growing out of a plant in our backyard. So what, right? Wrong, it is an event. It is exciting; regrettably, it is not really a penis, but a plant called, Agave Truncata or in laymen’s terms, the Century Plant. More

Today’s Bits and Pieces: My Father Died on My Brother’s Birthday

My father was kind, wise, charitable, compassionate, generous, and was strong mentally and physically. He was an unflappable man who was famous for his negotiating skills and his ability to never back down or give any information as well as tire out everyone in the session. He was community minded as well as loving and a true family man. He died yesterday morning which was my brother’s sixty-fifth birthday. My brother is in good spirits about it. Good attitude, Michael.

My father loved to collect things so I guess you would call him a collector. He collected heavy old-fashioned irons, matchbox holders, watches, pocket watches, elephants, magnets, magnifying glasses, mustache cups, and great scotch. He was proud of himself because he was sent to Los Angeles, 72 years and 5 days ago from San Francisco to open and run a Scrap Iron business. He was proud that he did it well. He provided for his family, his wife of 66 years, his children, his grandchildren and had some left some for his great grandhchildren. I would love to live to see his great, great grandchildren.

Between Skip and I we have lost five parents and each death was not short and sweet. We have the knowledge and willingness to help others who find themselves in this situation. Many have helped us and we thank you. I see myself in the future and, since both of my parents have had Alzheimer’s Disease, I feel sad about losing my frickin’ mind. I’d hate to loose all that I have worked so hard to put in it. Oh well, that’s life.

Next Newer Entries