Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Friday, October 11, 2013

Four Cows and a Docent on Widowhood Lane

I spend yesterday afternoon learning how to be a museum docent and I came home with a 106 page book on the history of my adoptive home town that I’ll have to study plus a copy of the pamphlet that we’ll hand out to visitors. The pamphlet is a self-guide to the exhibits in phase one of the museum so I won’t have to memorize a lot of facts and dates, I’ll just have to know where to find them on the pamphlet. And I’ll have to practice smiling as I try to keep kids off the horse drawn mail wagon and from crawling inside the turn of the century living room and kitchen display. It shouldn’t be too hard. There is a play area in the center of phase one with toys where kids can learn how to be lumberjacks or to sit on the floor for lectures and puppet shows.

Phase two of the museum isn’t completed yet but it will double the exhibits and includes a few neat things I’ve never seen in a museum. They will have video recording booth that old people can book for half hour taping sessions of their memories of growing up in the area and those tapes will be archived for their descendants and others to access. That would be a neat place to bring grandparents for an interview. There will also be an area where people can sit and watch media like a series 1920s films of the town---something a woman offered to donate on my shift, once they are converted over to a DVD. Two docents will always be on duty on any given four hour shift. So it’s a good opportunity for me to get to know others in the Historical Society. I worked with a Chatty Cathy this time. However, half our shift involved locating all the stuff on the pamphlet and learning where they hide supplies, keys, the phone, emergency info, locking and unlocking the place, etc. Signing up for this volunteer opportunity is going to turn out to be a good widow’s project, I think, but not so much during the winter months. They cut back on hours and I won’t want to trek through miles of snow to get there.

This week I had another interesting/funny/scary experience. My niece in-law and our two dogs went for a walk on the nature trail and as we walked along we got the sense that something big and black was keeping pace with us on the other side of the tree line. Since bear were sighted in the area last spring we were spooked so we picked up our pace, heading towards the parking lot about a quarter of a mile away. It was a good thing we did. Just as we passed an opening along the tree line four monstrous cows came charging out onto the trail. Well, they weren’t really charging but I was running so fast I actually thought at first it was a family of bear. Image that, I can still run at my age! My niece in-law claims I was shouting, “Oh, my God, oh, my God!” over and over again.

I stopped running when I came to a split rail fence and I put the fence between myself and the cows. Great protection should the cows want to come taste my face. Have you ever had a cow lick you? I have and I was worried my dog wouldn’t let that happen and he’d get trampled trying to protect me. As the cows stood on the trail taking in the scenery, a group of hard charging bikers in Spandex came along and just like cowboys on horseback they got those cows running north towards my adoptive hometown. Another couple along the trail called the police and a few minutes later an elderly man came out through the opening in the tree line looking for his missing cows. By then the cows were probably half way to town and I was upset over what the bikers did. When they first came upon the cows they could have gotten off their bikes and walked around them---the cows were just standing there minding their own business---but the bikers didn’t even slow down, frightening the cows into a full gallop. The trail is busy that time of the day and I can’t image what it would be like to see four cows running at you with 15 guys in Spandex racing close on their heels not to mention there are some places along there where you couldn’t get out of their way without falling into a deep ravine. There are also a few roads that cross the trail and someone could have gotten in a serious accident trying to avoid hitting the cows since I seriously double the cows had time to read the ‘yield to crossing traffic’ signs. I worried about that cattle drive all day! Damn bikers, I will never admire their tight tushes again!

The weekend is coming and I’m glad I don’t have anything line up except for going to the grocery store. I need a long nap! Next week is going to be another busy one here on Widowhood Lane. Monday I’m going to a ‘gadget zoo’ where a young tech will teach us old timers all about tablets, e-readers, smart phones, and GPS. I also have appointments for the dentist, getting my hair low-lighted, and for another hearing test. One day I’ll attend a Red Hat Society business meeting and another day we’re throwing our chapter a birthday party. And if I still have the energy after all they, my Movie and Lunch Club meets and I sure hope they pick Gravity. The reviews have been great.  ©


  1. Moss will NEVER gather on or near you! Oh my goodness you are so busy. I'm looking forward to a month of doing nothing. Although I think I'm adjusting to Maui hours of up with the sun and down shortly after the sun. I still stay awake too late. Even with my glass of red and a 5 mg Ambien. I can always take a nap if I get tired during the day.

    Runaway cows sounds almost as bad as bears lurking along your path ...

  2. I will be slowing down soon. I over booked myself for last month and this month. Winters here will keep me home soon enough and I will have projects here to keep me sane.

    Cows running on the trail actually could have caused someone some serious damage. I can't believe those bikers didn't have one among them with some common sense.

  3. I agree with your opinion of the spandex boys, and I'm an avid cyclist. They weren't thinking, which is stupid and will get them into trouble. More to the point is that they would get the trail walkers into trouble. Stupid and criminal!

    I am so impressed by your taking on docent responsibilities. I want to visit your adopted hometown, if you ever reveal which it is, and take one of your tours as a secret admirer. However, the likelihood of my getting to the Midwest is pretty slim, unless you live near Chicago.

    Hooray, Jean, for finding your mojo. I'm finding mine, too, though it's a lumpy ride.

  4. I'm hoping the police ticketed them for what the did, since it got reported AND that part of the trail is paroled by police on bikes and would know who they are. The bike club goes through there almost every day.

    Na, I'm never going to reveal the name of my adopted hometown or a few other facts. As much as I do reveal in cyberspace there are still few things I believe in keeping to myself. But if someone hassles me at the museum someday, you'll be the first one I'll suspect. LOL

  5. I love cows and have great empathy for them in this situation. Have you ever tried running with those large udders flopping up and down and side to side? Well I have and believe me, it is painful!!!

  6. You made me laugh out loud! Sadly, I've never had the "big breasts" problem.

  7. The image of you running in fear of those cows cracked me up. Maybe the cows were just bored and looking for a little company. When I was a kid, I used to frequent a local park with a small zoo (the kind that would now be seen as inhumane with one of this animal and one of that animal). One enclosure had a kangaroo that I "made friends" with. I used to spend hours running up and down the fence line with the kangaroo hopping along beside me on the other side of the fence.
    I love the idea of the video booth at the museum. It reminds me of the StoryCorps project at NPR. -Jean

  8. I've never seen a kangaroo other than on TV or in the movies. What a neat experience to remember from your childhood!

    The video thing at our museum will be like StoryCorps only just for local residents. It's a very cool idea. I hope some people book appointments while I'm working.

  9. The museum gig sounds quite interesting! You will probably have that pamphlet down pat before long.
    I, too, have a mortal fear of bears. Your account of running away from the 'enemy' had me worried until you said cows. I laughed pretty hard, I saw myself in that situation.
    I hope they catch those bikers. That was such an irresponsible move on their part. No points for tight buns, either!

    1. The were irresponsible. I just don't understand that kind of thing.