Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Tribute To My Wife, And I Love Her

A lot of you know the story of how Joan and I met but for those of you that don't
I will tell you my story. The first year you lose someone you love is the hardest,
the first December I was having a hard time as Christmas was always Bubba's
favorite time of the year, my daughter Martha, my son-in-law Jimmy and my
granddaughter Jessica were living with me at the time and we had no Christmas
spirit, we didn't even decorate or plan any thing special.

I went to the cemetery one day and I said Bubba I am having a hard time
adjusting to you being gone. I said I have prayed, I have talked to family and friends
but it is still tough. I said I know God is very busy but if you get a chance to talk
to him ask him if there is any thing he can do to help a lost soul down here on earth.

About a week after that I got a Christmas card from Joan, Joan and Bubba had been friends
for many years and had bowled together, I was really surprised that her being Joan's friend
and Bubba had passed that she had not scratched me off her card list as I had only
met here a few times through Bubba. That was on a Saturday, I thought about it all weekend
and on Monday I looked in Bubba's old address book and Joan's phone number was in there,
I called her to thank her for the card and we talked for an hour. Joan had lost her husband
at a young age also when her daughters were 17 and 13 so I knew she had been through
the loss of a spouse. When we hung up I said WOW you did not tell me any thing I probably have
not heard from lots of other people but it was like I was hearing it for the first time. I said this is the best
I have felt since Bubba died, can I call you again some time and she said yes you can.

I waited about a week and called her again, another hour just flew by, I said I have a friend in the hospital
in West Palm Beach, I was living in Lake Placid, Florida at the time I asked her if we could continue our conversation over dinner and she said yes.

Now as Paul Harvey use to say, now here is the rest of the story. LOL:

I called her a couple of times to confirm us going out to dinner and got nervous and hung up. I said to myself you dummy if she has caller ID she is going to think you are nuts so I finally made the call to confirm. We were going out on a Saturday evening so I came over on Friday and stayed with some friends. When I got up Saturday morning my friend said Joe how did you sleep, I said do you really want to know or are you asking just to be polite, he said of course I want to know and I said well the truth of the matter I didn't sleep hardly at all. I told him I was to nervous to sleep and I said as a matter of fact I am really nervous now. He assured me every thing would be alright . I showered and put on my best cologne and headed over to her house. I was so nervous that I drove around the block a couple of times before I had the nerve to pull in her driveway. LOL I knocked on the door and she opened and I went in. We were standing in her foyer talking and she asked me if there was something wrong with my ear, I said I don't think so WHY, she said I was just wondering as you have a Q-tip sticking out of your ear. LMAO What an impression that was, any way we went to dinner, talked a lot and when I took her home she said it is a holiday weekend and she had something planned for Sunday but if I was going to be around on Monday she would be off work and maybe we could do something. Well I have to tell you what a relief that was as I thought well maybe she doesn't thing I am a complete idiot. LOL

Long story short that was a start of a wonderful relationship that ended up with us getting married on November 10, 2002.

God needed Bubba for one of his Angels and in looking out for me replaced her with another Angel, and I thank him for that every day.
Since Joan and I were married in 2001 we have experienced some of the highest highs and some of the lowest lows.
I could write a book just on the high points alone. The wonderful cruises we have been on, the other trips, all the fun time shared with family and friends, the birth of Carter & Griffin, I could go on and on.
But we have experienced some very low, lows also. Joan has been through a couple of scary health problems, Thank God she is ok now.
She has been with me through two back surgeries, and now my current bout with neuropathy which has limited me in some ways. I have used the word can't more in the last 6 months than I had used it my entire life. Because I CAN'T do a lot of things it has put more of a burden on her. She refuses to let me get down, constantly telling me it is ok, don't worry about it She is living proof that all Angels are not in Heaven, she is one here on this earth.
My problem is not the worst thing we have gone through, one year after we were married Joan's beautiful daughter was killed in a tragic automobile accident on Christmas Eve 2002. Then in 2003 my beautiful daughter was struck down with a major stroke, she is very limited in her movement but the worst part is she has not been able to talk since then. Her mind is as sharp as ever, she still smiles and laughs and has some enjoyable times, she can say words just can't put them in a sentence.
I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with the proper way to pay tribute to my beautiful wife and then the other day I heard a song by the Beatles called
3 min - Dec 5, 2013 - Uploaded by Rock Remastered
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The Lyrics To The Song
And I Love Her

I give her all my love
That's all I do
And if you saw my love
You'd love her too
ILove Her
She Gives me everything
And Tenderly
The kiss my lover brings
She brings to me
And I love her
A love like our
Could never die
As long as I
Have you near me
Bright are the stars that shine
Dark is the sky
I know this love of mine
Will never die
3 min - Dec 5, 2013 - Uploaded by Rock Remastered
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You all know that I am always talking about how important it is to have a sense of humor and how important it is to laugh, well this Ladies story will confirm why I say that all the time.

I belonged to the Staying Alive Fitness Center in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida in 1993, 1994 & 1995 and I was lucky to meet and become friends to Amy. What a character she was.
When she started coming to the center she had arthritis so bad she could hardly get around, Working her way through a lot of pain she got to the point that she could walk on the tread mill, ride the stationary bike, and even do some light lifting on the weight machines.
And oh I failed to mention I knew her for three years when she was 83, 84, & 85. At that time she lived alone, she had outlived her Twin Sister and ever other relative except one niece.
Her niece talked her into moving into Classic Resident By Hyatt, the Lantana assisted-living facility. After that I lost touch with her. Everyone at the fitness center missed he so bad. I have never forgotten Amy and I have told some of her stories over and over through the years.
She was the first woman to ever serve on the City Council in Pittsburgh and I was told by friends that knew her she held her own with all the men on the council and never backed down from a fight.
So many reasons I will never forget Amy, I would like to share a few of them with you.
One day she said Joe did I ever show you my locket?   I thought she was going to show me pictures, she opened it up and it had a COMDON in it and she roared with laughter and she said JUST IN CASE I NEED IT.
She said she was on a cruise and a man older then her asked her to dance. While dancing he whispered in her ear, Amy lets go back to your room and make mad passionate love. She said to him who is going to lift you on and off.
There are so many more stories but I will close with the message she had on her answer machine. It said
" If you are a millionaire on Viagra leave me a message, other wise please hang up "
Staying active, having a great sense of humor, and always laughing carried Amy to 100 years young. RIP you wonderful, wonderful lady, and I for one will never forget you.

This Was Her Obituary:

AMY BALLINGER " 1910-2010"

Amy Ballinger loved to make people laugh. When the 100 year old Pennsylvania native passed away Thursday, saw a sad eyed friend she'd toss out a joke. Still blond the husky voiced centenarian revelled in making a bawdy joke, bringing out a smile or a blush.

Amy was vivacious, over the top. She embraced life said Lisa Shawn the lifestyle director at Classic Resident By Hyatt, the Lantana assisted-living facility that was Amy's home.
An avid swimmer, great dancer, and a decent golfer, Ms Ballinger grew up in a family of steel workers in Pittsburgh. She and her twin sister were the ninth and tenth children of parents who were immigrants from Germany. Amy quit school after the eighth grade and went to work in a Laundry said her friend Jeanne Shaw.

Angered at the poor conditions of workers, Amy helped establish the Laundry and Dry Cleaning International; Union. Her fearless attitude and political contacts got her elected to the Pittsburgh City Council twice beginning when she was 70 years old.