Skip to main content

It's Elementary, My Dear.

"Make an effort."

This morning I read that line in Emma: A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith). I felt like the character, and the author, was talking to me.  

Please make an effort, Susie. 

The Mama said it another way about herself when she felt tired, which was every day for her last several years. Plain and simple, she used to say, "I push myself."

After we buried the Mama this past April, the Only and Older Brother said to me, "Keep on living."

I scoffed at what the Only and Older Brother said. Of course, I'd keep on living. Why would I not? Lately, though, honesty keeps trying to surface. Drat that honesty. For that matter, dang to introspection, rumination, and heart-searching that show up in my dreams.


So, this is my effort today for the letter E for this week's ABC Wednesday: a story that I shared three years ago (April 5, 2013) about an amazing thing that reminded me of the wonderful effortlessness of life.

Flying with the Eagles

The Loneliest Road in America truly sums up the stretch of U.S. Route 50 through central Nevada. I had no idea Nevada had so many desert valleys until I drove this national highway.  You get over one mountain range and voila! It's deja vu—another endless valley floor with a mountain range staring from afar.

In the late 1980s, the First Husband and I decided to drive cross-country, from San Francisco to New York. However, the first day of our adventure began with a dental emergency and a pain that would eventually make itself known as cancer for the First Husband. After several days of checking with doctors, we got in our red Mazda pick-up truck and headed east, with an open mind that we would turn back at Denver if the First Husband did not feel well.

I don't remember how we decided to take U.S. 50 rather than the more direct U.S. 80 through Nevada to Utah. Most likely it was the romantic notion of driving the Pony Express Route. Those poor fellows. Miles of dust behind them and miles of dust before them. Still, if I had lived during that era, I would've wanted to have been a Pony Express rider. As it was, I did imagine myself a modern one as I drove us through eastern central Nevada. Instead of the U.S. mail, I was delivering the First Husband to several places in the United States where we could research the life of his father, a first generation Korean American who had dedicated himself to Korean independence from Japanese rule, as well as to spreading the Christian word. But, that's a tale for another day.

As we approached the Utah border in the Great Basin desert, the First Husband was napping in the passenger seat. Not too long after passing the sign welcoming us to  Utah, I saw two huge birds standing in the lane up ahead. As we got closer, I saw that they were nipping at a carcass on the ground. One bird glanced up at our advancing truck.

"Husband! Husband!" I slowed down, but continued driving forward. They were bold and handsome eagles. Young ones, I think. I was almost upon them as they positioned themselves for take off.

One eagle opened its wingspan. It seemed to be as long as the width of the front of the truck.


The First Husband woke up in time to see us driving between two gliding eagles before they soared upwards into the sky. 

Please click here to check out the other participants and/or link up in this week's ABC Wednesday.


  1. thank you for sharing - so exceptionally.
    love & love,

  2. Yes...each day you need to push forward because backward doesn't work. In times it gets easier but you need time. Love that story about your first husband...thank you for sharing this.

    1. I appreciate the reassurance, Birgit. It's almost like learning to swim.

  3. I love the writing of Alexander McCall Smith. If you enjoy retellings of Jane Austen novels, I also recommend the book The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet. Some Austen fans think this novel is irreverent to the characters from Pride and Prejudice, but I enjoyed McCullough's sense of humor about a few things. Some of the plot twists were a stretch, but it is fiction and not history.

    1. This is the first book I've read by McCall Smith. I finished it last night. His point of view brought clarity to the type of person Emma is. I like how it ended with Harriet getting the last word in. The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet sounds interesting. I always thought she got a bum deal in the novel.

  4. Hello, I enjoyed your story. I am hoping to drive across the country someday. I think we would take Rt 70 or Rt 40? Not sure now! Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

    1. I drove cross country back and forth in 1975 with a girlfriend who wanted to visit her folks on the east coast. That was a great adventure for college girls. I'd like to do it again. It would be fun to do it with the Husband.

  5. Making an effort.... thats what Life in general is about, isn't it.... we all have our good days and the lesser ones... wanting to make an effort is part of the gain!

    Have a nice ABC-W-day / - week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc-w-team)

    1. I realized while reading that line in the novel I haven't been making as good an effort as I could. I don't think I'm being hard on myself.

  6. Hold onto the memory of those wonderful eagles!

  7. Dear Susie,
    That reminds me of Bet Midler's wonderful song.....

    'The Wind Beneath My Wings'...

    Did you ever know that you're my hero,
    And everything I would like to be?
    I can fly higher than an eagle,
    For you are the wind beneath my wings.

    As 'Pondside' wisely said,
    "Hold onto the memory of those wonderful Eagles".

    So for you dear Su-sieee,
    I understand fully how you feel and sometimes making an Effort
    almost feels not worth making, keep on,
    you're heading in the right direction....
    Onward and upwards'...
    Love and hugs.
    ABCW team.

    1. Thanks, Di, for your sweet and encouraging words. Keep on keeping on. . . Love ya.

  8. What a vision to behold! We have lots of eagles here but I've never been that close to one as it took off!

    abcw team

    1. This is a memory I love to replay in my head. :-)

  9. I had to chuckle at what Brigit said in the comments... 'backwards doesn't work' ... very wise words. :D

  10. Very impressive. I like that you took the indirect route!


  11. How wonderful that you could see those eagles at close quarters! That must have been very impressive.

    1. I was glad the First Husband woke up in time to share it.

  12. Beautiful bittersweet memories -- and you deserve way more than an "E" for this effort -- it is a lovely post and I do hope that the memories and sharing them help .


Post a Comment

Thanks for the good cheer. :-)

Popular posts from this blog

Q's and A's & Mosaics

The Dude, The Husband -- Son of Jim

A Simply Stunning Surprise


Flowers Now and To Come