July 30, 2014

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Jim Langham

Elnora brings the gift of a special mother moment PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 8:37 PM

By Jim Langham

A few days ago, when I got out of my car in the parking lot in the beloved Limberlost Loblolly where I find solitude nearly every day now, I heard a cry somewhat foreign to marsh life.

The howling of a cat was coming from beneath the canopy of flowers on Trail One. Suddenly, a tiger-striped rustic brown cat appeared, crossed the parking lot and came to me like I was a long-lost friend.

It was very obvious this cat was fond of humans. It immediately started to nuzzle its face against my leg and rub its body against my ankles. I was startled with many quick questions such as, “Who are you? Where did you come from? Why did you come to me in such a friendly manner?”

Child’s passing leaves caregiving mother with a broken heart PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 9:39 PM

By Jim Langham

Several weeks ago I wrote a column about a special situation a few miles away in Decatur, Indiana. It involved a mother who purposely adopted a little girl with cancer in order to give tender love and care to her during her time of illness.

That was four years ago; Beth Ann Fawcett took little Ebony into her arms and cared for her as an “angel-mother” during the duration of her fight with cancer. During that time, Beth Ann lost her job and made major sacrifices on behalf of Ebony, who just celebrated her ninth birthday. But none of that meant anything compared to the heart full of love she poured out on her little girl.

On July 8, at 1:08 p.m., Beth Ann’s arms were emptied of her bundle of joy when her daughter and best friend passed in her presence in Decatur. Since then, it has not only been Beth Ann who has grieved the loss of Ebony, an entire community and surrounding area who knew this special bond has mourned the loss of Ebony and sought to bring comfort to a mother’s broken heart.

Today's bounty experienced through the stained hands of yesterday PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, July 08, 2014 7:15 PM

By Jim Langham

Who would think that a 66-year-old man would take a picture of his hand when it’s stained purple from eating mulberries.

For me, it wakes up the little boy within who used to run to the neighbors during mulberry season for a tasty treat. The picture of the purple hands is a reminder of those days when I ran through mulberries bare-footed and frustrated my mother with purple feet, purple hands and mulberry stains on my clothes!

Th magic of intergenerational connections PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, July 01, 2014 9:27 PM

By Jim Langham

There was a lady in the small village where I was raised by the name of Sadie Snow. Sadie was one of my grandmother’s best friends. By the time I met her as a young child, she was nearly 90-years old. She lived in the family home on the next corner down from us. She kept “hardtack candy” in Ball jars and when my grandma and I walked down to visit her, she always told me that I could have as much candy as I could grab in one handful.

As small as my hands were at that young age, it was amazing how many pieces of candy they could pull out of that special jar as Sadie and Grandma laughed at my efforts.

These days, I occasionally visit Sadie’s grave in a cemetery named after her family, the Snow Cemetery. But I look at her life in a different perspective.

My new friend in wings PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 8:55 AM

By Jim Langham

It’s been nearly two weeks ago now that I became aware of a brand new friend. He may have actually been there sooner, but he caught my eye the day he greeted me with a song and dance that was graceful and beautiful as any I’ve ever seen in nature.

Ronnie Redwing, who “poses” as a red-winged blackbird, has quickly become the gatekeeper to the famous trail that I enjoy so much when I walk in the Limberlost Loblolly. It’s a restored wetland just south of Geneva, Ind., developed in honor of famed naturalist writer, Gene Stratton-Porter.

Every name is a story PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 8:34 PM


By Jim Langham

As I walked the track at the Relay for Life a week ago, I found myself reading the names, and in some cases, messages, on the luminary candle bags surrounding the track. The more I read, the more it hit me that every name I was reading represented some kind of a story.

Some names represented those who have passed on because of cancer. Others represented families who have, or are, going through cancer struggles. Still others are tributes and salutes to survivors who have battled the disease and others say, “thank you,” to caretakers who have set themselves aside for the lives of the suffering.

A valuable table in spite of a few scratches PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 9:27 PM

By Jim Langham

These days, our dining room table is mainly used for “desk purposes.” I place my laptop on it to do much of my writing, surrounded with notebooks filled with story ideas and interviews.

Underneath the writing tools are memories of when it was once surrounded by our children, their friends and special family outings.

It was the centerpiece of family visits in our dining room in Michigan, a time when the kids were still home, my parents and Joyce's parents were still alive, and visits meant spending much of the evening visiting around the table following the evening meal.

It was where we colored with the kids, entertained guests, played board games and sat and drank coffee. Three days before my dad passed, he and I sat at that old table, drank coffee all afternoon on a Christmas Day that we didn't realize at the time would be our last one together.

Early introduction to autism grabbed my heart PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 10:24 AM

By Jim Langahm

I’ve never known a part of my life when autism wasn’t a part of it. Following the death of her husband because of a car accident, my Aunt Eleanor remarried and she and her second husband bore two sons that played major roles in my life.

Her oldest son, Max, was autistic. When his parents needed to go somewhere, they would often bring Max to our home. I was a child at the time and Max a few years older than me. I was quickly impressed by his autistic characteristic of echolalia (usually answered back with the last word or a key word in something you’ve said) and his tendency to rock in a rocking chair, hum cheerfully and play with a string.

Entertaining angels unaware PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 9:36 PM

By Jim Langham

This morning in a local restaurant, I wondered for a few moments whether or not I was in the presence of an “angel.”

It all started when a young waitress showed my close buddy and me a story she had uncovered on her phone about a young man who was recently killed in a tornado in Arkansas. As the fury of the storm bore down on the trailer park where he lived, he crawled into the bathtub and kept texting his mother, telling her how much he loved her.

The mother kept reassuring the son he would be okay and he texted, saying, “It’s getting closer, I love you mom.”

The beginning of a lifetime journey of steps PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, May 06, 2014 9:07 PM

By Jim Langham

A close friend this week had the special experience of seeing a child take the first steps right in front of her as she was visiting with the parents in their home.

At the time, she felt like the most blessed person in the world to be present for such a special moment.

I remember when our granddaughter, Kirsten, started walking, and also the initial steps of our children. It is such a historical moment, both in our lives and especially in the life of the child. To think that they have just taken the first steps of hundreds of thousands over a lifetime; the future of those steps and where they are going to go is unimaginable.


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