Del Webb, Anyone?

Sun City, Arizona Home

A home in Sun City, Arizona. Sun City is the original development by Del Webb “For Active Adults 55+” and opened in 1960.

It doesn’t matter whether you choose a luxurious house like those found in a Del Webb community, or a low-income Senior housing situation. It’s all the same.

At some point you will realize you are in your final act. You can learn to make sushi rolls with a bamboo mat, sit on residential boards, do the daily morning news at your PA system, but it’s all the same.

This is your Last Act.

Last week, in my retirement villa, a woman I had known from a distance was found in her apartment. Dead. Two weeks before I was with her at a beginning crochet class. I asked to take photos of us, to prove to my kids I had actually left my apartment. She ducked her head. In a bit, since we were next to one another and she clearly was a wonderful crocheter, she mumbled she made lap afghans for the Veterans home. After that she was silent.

Only after that afternoon did she acknowledge my presence as we passed in the hall. She would look up, blink, and we moved on.

I called her, in my mind, the little country mouse – like in my childhood stories. Tiny. Quiet.

And before I got to know her, she was gone.

It could have been Del Webb’s. Or my retirement home. Or on the street, where I think Bonnie came from.

Rest In Peace, dearest soul.  Where you are now I pray supersedes anything you knew here.

I know you passed in a warm home, well fed, with the promise of better days ahead. I believe you finally have those days.

Save me a place…


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I’ve Missed You

I’ve missed you. This past year has been a bit of a challenge for me. I moved from a home and town I loved, to a new town and a new way of life — a retirement community! My choice.

I’m near all my children now, and my youngest grand babies who are 3 months, 3 and 5 years old. I’ve not had this privilege since my kids all lived at home and we all lived in Grayling. So that’s a big deal. (Thank you, Papa 🙏🏼)

But with that joy comes a condition I don’t do well: change. Like this image, my life has been a series of cocoons and emergence.  This year has seen many stronger cocoons, with each time taking more strength than I have on my own to break free of.

And so, I have been focused on just one thing:  To fight the prison my mind is determined to create, adapt to my new life, and have a longer period outside of the cocoon than in. Does that make sense?

With this post, and the “Prayer for the President” that was posted 3  days ago [“I Don’t Hate Anyone!”], I’m seeing a ‘breakthrough’ which gives me hope. Don’t expect miraculous results — though they truly are — I’ll still be me. A little bent, a little broken, but me.

Might be a while for the wings. Might even be a moth. But I’m still here.

And that leads me to the rest of the story.  Stick around. This may be interesting.

Love you, thank you for your patience. Your prayers.


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“I Don’t Hate Anyone!”

“I Don’t Hate Anyone!” was in the headlines this morning, attributed to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, when asked if she hated the president. “I pray for the president every day.” 

Well, Nancy, so do I. I pray my own respectfully expanded version of a prayer written in 2009 by Bishop Robert J. Baker of the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama.*

A Prayer for Our President and Public Officials

Lord God, Author of Life and source of eternal life, move the hearts of all our public officials, and especially our president, to fulfill their responsibilities worthily and well to all entrusted to their care.

Help them in their special leadership roles, to extend the mantle of protection to the most vulnerable, especially the defenseless unborn, the poor and homeless, the elderly, our children and the infirm, the stranger, those marginalized and the abused — all of those whose lives are threatened by an indifferent society.

Guide all public officials by your wisdom and grace to cease supporting any law that fails to protect the fundamental good that is all human life itself, which is a gift from God.

You are the protector and defender of the lives of the innocent unborn and the anawim**. Change the hearts of those who compromise the call to protect and defend all life. Bring our nation to the values that have made us a great nation, a society that upholds the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.

Mary, Mother of the Living, help us to bear witness to the Gospel of Life, with our lives and our laws, through Christ our Lord.


Of course, the prayer could be as simple as “Oh God, help our nation!”, which seems appropriate for many occasions and religions.  As well as “Thank God!”  — Which may be the most important of all.

Blessings, Vicki 

* Imprimatur: January 23, 2009 + Most Reverend Robert J. Baker, Bishop of the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama. His prayer can be found in the Catholic Prayers: Official app, available for iOS and Android.

** Anawim (pronounced ann-a-weem) are the vulnerable people of a society.


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Winter Came. Celebrations Postponed.

I’d planned to drive to Vicki’s this week and celebrate her birthday, a little belatedly. As she wrote in a post earlier this month, Vicki has reached her 70s. Happy Birthday, my dear Friend!

But my plans, and the plans of several million other people, changed when a Polar Vortex brought extreme cold and wind and snow to the Midwest and Eastern regions of the United States. Michigan was one of the states really slammed this week. We’ve postponed my trip to celebrate Vicki’s birthday.

But the funny thing is, like so much in life, this extreme storm has also brought beauty. This is what Vicki saw this morning after sunrise:

Villa Maria Snowfall Jan 31 2019

Fresh snow at Villa Maria, January 31, 2019

Here in Steubenville, Ohio where I live, our experience of the Polar Vortex wasn’t as extreme as Vicki’s area, but it was still intense. Before and during the storm I witnessed so many people helping others in the harsh conditions. Beauty in the heart of the storm. And I’m sure Vicki will have similar stories to share when I visit.

I’ll get there pretty soon, Vicki. But, alas, not today.

And here’s a reminder that this year has much ahead for us:

Villa Maria in the Summer

Villa Maria in the Summer

Jim Coyle

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Happy Birthday — to Me!

It’s the eve of my 70th birthday. I can’t remember how I got here, but here it is. Age is but a number, I’ve heard. A BIG number (laughing to myself).

Snowy Villa Courtyard

But not here. Here at “The Villa” I’m a kid. Daily I nearly get mowed down by 90 year olds, scooterless, walker-free adults who apparently can’t count and are intent on just living. Who knew a 104 year old could boast a very snazzy hairdo and not succumb to white hair Afro perms?

70. Seems like just yesterday I was trying to convince my parents that at age 11, I was a teenager, since – in my mind – I just wrapped up my first decade, and it seemed logical I should be in another 10 years as a teen. I fought with them for the next two years until they realized I had been right all along, and I allowed them to call me a teenager.

I had so many dreams of what I could be, would be. When I was a Mercy-ette I was sure I would be a nurse. Or a Carmelite, following in the footsteps of St. Therese of Lisieux, my favorite saint; or maybe a Sacramentine sister after attending a retreat at their convent near Petoskey. But mostly, since I was 3, I wanted to be a wife. And a mother.

young Vicki with a doll

The route getting there took awhile and had some twists and turns, but it happened. While the marriage was short, my life has been long in blessings, having given birth to four amazing children, watching 3 of them grow into beautiful, funny, and smart adults, who in turn married. Giving me seven – yes, 7! – grandchildren. Wait. 7 1/2 grandchildren. Yup. There will be 8 of them in August.

I have more sunsets than sunrises ahead of me I suppose. But as I teeter on the precipice of my next decade, I can smile. Just as I made it as a teenager, now I’m about to accept the honor of being a Septuagenarian. Feels pretty satisfying. And damned lucky.

Thank you Papa, for giving me enough extra time to meet my growing family, to find new friends and to still be able to recall all my old Pals. For deep, rich memories. For having a very happy Birthday. –It’s me, Vicki

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