A Test of Patience and Maturity

A trial-and-error process on the road to writing a book during a slight mid-life crisis.

Photo by Madhuri Mohite on Unsplash

I’m about to try something that scares the hell out of me.

I’m frightened of the potential for failure, and I’m frightened of the possible repercussions of success. With over fifty-plus years of living under my belt, I’m familiar with many proverbial forks in the road.

The forks don’t surprise me anymore. I’m prepared to suffer the consequences headed my way, good or bad. Even so, reinventing myself as a writer is a crazy idea at my age, unless it works and then I’ll wonder what took me so long to get here.

I’ve got 42,000 words written to date…


The Reality of Delirium

The birth of clarity hides in the wake of death. Life and death are two sides of the same coin.

Photo by Mario Dobelmann on Unsplash

My subconscious searched for a solution, or at least a welcome distraction. Compelled to glance up, I saw her sitting dead center in the bedroom doorway, gazing with solemn interest at the scene unfolding in the room. Her stance exuded an air of calm confidence, an inner strength and brevity found in knowledge.

Tabbey was one of those reclusive cats found cowering under the sofa or hidden in the bowels of a closet. A crouching blur caught by the corner of your eye, darting into the shadows leaving you to wonder if the image was of this world or another.


If only uniting the world were as simple as two sentences. If only a childhood diversion were enough to silence the noise. If only …

Photo by Roby Allario on Unsplash

Cat’s fur to make kitten britches. Do you want a pair?

Two little sentences equivalent to a conversational slap in the face. A lingual jolt to snap you out of your train of thought.

Pulled from the dusty back section of my filing cabinet of memories, my mind opens a folder marked Childhood to hear these nonsensical words spoken in my Dad’s voice. The ethereal sound is followed by visions of puzzled expressions on the little faces peering up at their role model for answers to a myriad of questions.

A diversion made of ordinary letters and syllables. The perfect…


Crisis is not the time for irrational reactionism. The generations before us understood the practical application of being in this together.

Photo by Jake Espedido on Unsplash

The clock’s second-hand kept ticking with a steady, unaltering rhythm. Heart rates increased with each tinge of panic infiltrating the bloodstream. All the while, time marched on with no interest in current events.

Well after midnight, our household was awakened. Each of us grabbed by the collar and yanked out the door of tranquility by the forceful hand of a loved one in distress. Exiting the blissful realm of dreams, we landed in a moment of crisis.

It was the early 1970’s. I was only about 6 years old and had not yet experienced an asthma attack firsthand. My calmness…


Looking for a pocket of joy in a coat of sadness. The darkening view from inside a five-month migraine hell. Helpless against triggers created by those who choose not to see.

Photo by Megan te Boekhorst on Unsplash

Troubled dark clouds fill my head. Lulled to sleep each night by thunderous weeps as raindrops of sadness soak my pillow. Looking for a pocket of joy in a coat of sadness worn for too many migraine filled months.

Joy is a forgotten pleasure. My mind stretches in desperation to grasp the flickering remnants of happiness that grow weaker, more distant.

Joy disappears into the dark void of despondency. My will surrenders, collapsing into a heap of useless flesh melting into a remote corner of abandonment.

The steady rhythm of breathing suggests life continues. Lost in the battle, I lie…


Some riches are self-made. Others are bestowed in the form of Melmac memories more valuable than fine China.

Photo by Alexander Shustov on Unsplash

The sun was shining on the little house on 5th Street. Even though cartoons were playing on the television inside the house, the playground de jour was the front yard. The 60/40 mix of grass and weeds was encroaching onto the uneven rectangular sections of sidewalk cutting through the yard.

Cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers, kicking a ball around, riding a tricycle along the sidewalk expressway … I do not remember what we were playing.

The imagination of a child is far more powerful than midlife memory.

Mom burst out the front door, interrupting our creative thoughts with reality…


Some of us are not destined to live in color. Purpose can be subtle.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

“Tammy Cullou! And how are you?”

The old farmer’s sing song voice greeted me with a smile each morning during harvest, in a small Oklahoma town along the custom combining trail. With less than a decade under my belt, any adult could be labelled old and location was of little consequence to summertime play.

I have never known the proper spelling or meaning of cullou; if there is a meaning at all. The simplest answer may lie in the arrangement of letters creating the necessary number of syllables and rhyming with the word ‘you’. …


Heritage flows through our veins with loyal patience. Seeds planted in our youth may take years to reach maturity.

Photo by Robert Fischetto on Unsplash

The voice resonating from old black and white photographs commands attention. Yellowed by age with edges worn down by the vestiges of time, these windows to the past contain an earnestness not found in today’s studio portraits and urban alley photo shoots.

Our ancestors were not pretending. Strong and steadfast, the eyes looking out from time battered photographs contain a depth of living that would shatter the delicate psyche of today’s version of humans, myself included.

Sifting through a box of old family photos, I find solemn pictures of Maggie before she and I knew each other. Her neatly coiffed…


From childhood adventure and exploration to adult contentment and security. If your journey has gone stale, break out of the barriers holding you back.

Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

Life is not so much a circle as a grotesque, misshaped circuit of ups and downs and around the bends. Gentle curves and peaceful straightaways blindsided by the occasional sharp turn until we return to the place of origin.

My circuit began on a cool Wednesday in February. The high temperature hit 41 degrees that day, though the gusty winter winds would have added a biting chill to the air.

My apprehensive arrival into the world was inconsiderate of others’ time. The doctor had planned to have a day off that day. …


A Journey of Discovery

The excavation of layers of living found in a tattered old boot box. A virtual walk down the path of generations gone by.

Photo by Neal Kharawala on Unsplash

I sense a smile on the face of fate today.

Sunshine radiates through the atmosphere adding warmth to the crisp autumn air, balancing the brisk breeze to a perfect temperature. Changing seasons bring a peaceful contentment as time moves forward with discipline and familiarity.

I pulled into the driveway of the cute little senior housing fourplex my Mom calls home. The sidewalk strolls past a favorite diner for the local hummingbirds and onto a cozy two-seater sized porch with a perimeter of traditional white railing.

She has never been sentimental about where she resides. A fact much appreciated by my…

Tammy Hader

Ex-accountant, lifetime cat lover and avid wearer of hats. Exploring a creative path during the second half of my existence.

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