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Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I have good news to report. Napoleon is doing well. He is beginning to use his injured foot gingerly but it looks like some of the swelling might be down. I went out with his plate of assorted things he likes and he ate with more interest than at the beginning.

In fact, I came in the house and later heard him yelling close to the front door. He was looking straight at me and I knew what he wanted……he’s crazy about pecans now. To baby him along, I’d been giving him some to encourage him to eat. He ate the first and didn’t move which was my cue to bring more. I did and he ate all of them……a third time he ate all of them and by then, I decided he‘d had enough.

He has moved around quite a bit today and no longer spends hours in the berm. It is good to see him returning to more normal activity. I think he knows he has a large following and wants to get well.

I’m not only relieved, but very happy that my feathered friend is looking better. Rocky used to call him “Turkey”…….a pet name. Rocky had a name for everything and everyone he crossed paths with……just one of his little pleasures. A nickname always meant you were definitely included in whatever he was doing.

For now he is better, any changes shall be reported. He’s a treasure to many of us up and down the street……plus the people who drive by every day. They always look for him. The picture was taken today to try and show his recovering foot……..

Essentially Esther

Saturday, April 24, 2010


This day, three years ago, Rocky’s journey ended. A man who had great strength and a big heart.

After fifty-one years since high-school we found one another and were married. We were living our dream when a simple check-up showed Rocky had colon cancer. Our doctor gave Rocky about 4-months but we determined to beat the odds and make it as long as we could. (He did live two years after the diagnosis.)

Later we found this is a battle unlike any other and no matter how hard we resolved it would eventually take his life. We have seen many people, famous or otherwise, who swear to beat cancer but in most cases it simply takes the life or the quality of life. Therefore, our days were spent very carefully. Most cancer patients will tell you it gave them a new lease on life. The memories of some of those wonderfully ordinary days are what continues to fuel and feed me.

The deck became our place to observe God’s creatures doing what they were made to do. As we sat one afternoon Rocky noticed butterflies going over our house……and pointed them out to me. Unusual for them to be so high, we thought. Then a full scale sky-full began going over and we realized it was migration time. We sat holding hands, not speaking……just watching. Winter would soon come.

The next Spring we were taking a break on the deck and a mother squirrel was running across our yard. She had a baby hanging from her mouth and darted up a tree at the back of our yard. We watched as she came down and followed her same path across our yard, across the street and up another tree. Without hesitation she made the same trip back and forth until she had her babies safe in their new home. To witness that was pure joy.

There is always so much to see, hear and touch in God’s world. We just need to make ourselves available to it. God gave Rocky and me the miracle of finding one another again and bringing us together in His time……….for now, our paths have separated but there will come a day when our paths will meet again.

Until then my journey must be alone……..

Essentially Esther

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Things stayed pretty much the same until yesterday. When I woke up and checked the tree he roosts in, he was grooming himself, and I forgot about him until later in the morning. When I did go out to see about him he wasn’t in front of the garage where he usually enjoys the sun until it gets too warm, which sends him to the berm for the day.

It was eerie. No sound, nothing, no where. The more I looked, the more I worried because he wasn’t anywhere he normally is at that time of day.

I rationalized that he couldn’t go far because of barely being able to managae from the tree to the garage to the berm. Therefore I couldn’t believe he would go to any of the neighbors, out of sight.

I spent the whole day looking and preparing myself that he might not come back. I had all kinds of scenarios floating through my brain and wore myself out by dusk. Something made me take one last look and here came Napoleon up the grade into our yard from across the street.

He was still hopping but his hurt foot hung lower down and he would swing it in rhythm with the other leg in a walking motion though not putting pressure on it. I was overjoyed at first and then when he was so blasé about the whole thing I wanted to jerk him up and give him a piece of my mind. (Though there isn’t much to give away anymore.)

I had the same sensation with my little John the day he was playing in the street and riding his bike up the next block. Wobbling up the street with cars zigzagging around him I was so relieved he was in one piece I hugged him and had an over-riding sense of gratitude for a few minutes, and then, I was close to grabbing him up and spanking the daylights out of him. Relief comes in many different forms.

Today was much the same. We had a good rain this morning and Napoleon was sitting on the porch-railing of the house across the street. OK….I can deal with that because I could see him. Later in the morning he came back here so he is definitely becoming more mobile. He makes his rounds (normally) and several people had missed him and asked if I’d seen him…….he hangs around here because the cats keep him company and I’m out in the yard quite a bit. Also, he loves the treats he gets.

The picture is one of my azaleas…….they are so pretty but almost leafed out now. I enjoy them as long as I can, no matter the stage they are in.

Well, all’s well that ends well…..so that’s the scoop on Napoleon……if there are any changes I will keep you posted…….

Essentially Esther

Monday, April 19, 2010


A week ago today Napoleon encountered some sort of accident which is effecting his right leg. I noticed he stayed under the ornamental grass in the berm most of Monday. It’s one of his favorite places to doze yet see what’s going on. He flew up in the tree that night and I didn’t notice anything different.

The next morning he was already down from the tree and standing on the left leg with the right leg pulled tight to his body when I checked on him. He enjoyed the sun and did some grooming…..then hopped on the left foot to the berm. He stayed there all day. That night he flew up in the tree at sundown and I am relieved when I know he’s up there.

Later that night when I had Mandy out for her walk the motion light came on and Napoleon was laying next to the house in the gravel. I assume he lost his footing on the branch and fell…..then couldn’t see to get back up. Under normal circumstances he flies to the lower branch and then works his way up by maneuvering his long tail through the tangle of branches. He goes to bed near the top.

At any rate, there was nothing I could do but talk to him and hope for the best. The next morning I woke early to see if he made it through the night and he did. This was our pattern all week. I keep food and water where he positions himself during the day and watch to see that he is not bothered nor compromised.

How his leg was hurt, I do not know…….can’t even make a guess. If he got it caught in a fence going over or twisted it on a landing it will take 6 to 8 weeks to heal. He’s pretty smart and as long as he gets food and water…….lots of rest and TLC he has a chance.

I know a lot of you have seen or heard about Napoleon and are interested in his well-being so I’ll write of any changes one way or the other. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

He’s a Christian bird……………

Essentially Esther

Monday, April 12, 2010


I came into the Rockenbach family late. I had been a widow four years. A strange twist of fate brought Rocky into my life again at a school reunion and long story short, we were both widowed and the rest is history. High school sweetheart’s, still.

Rocky was the baby of the family with a big brother Richard and big sister, Marie. The Rockenbach “kids” made a habit to get together somewhere for a reunion every year. They would decide on a point of interest and meet for a few days to touch base with one another.

I had known his brother and sister from years past when they came back to our area during summer break from college. It wasn’t difficult to pick up our friendship after Rocky and I married……..and meeting a couple of times a year kept me up on the family tree.

Marie was the eldest and married Harold Theerman. Richard was the middle child and married a lady named Helen with a Greek name I can’t even pronounce, let alone spell. (Forgive me, Helen.) Rocky and I had six years together before cancer took him after a hard battle.

Sadly, Marie’s husband, Harold, died last week and his memorial service was this past Saturday in St. Louis. Harold was the kind of guy that didn’t talk a lot but when he said something we all listened. He had the ability to be very much a part of everything without drawing attention to himself. I rarely saw him without a smile on his face.

He adored his wife and they totally put one another first in everything. Living all those years together made it easy to know exactly a need or preference. They went together like salt and pepper……can’t have one without the other. They were both professional people who gave back to their community and kept in touch with family and friends. They had a full life together and I don’t care if a marriage is long or short……when you lose the one who makes your life complete it is a huge loss.

It is good to remember when we see a sunset, a sunrise is beginning some other place. Harold was a sweet, sweet man and he left the world a better place by being in it. I shall miss him greatly………..

Essentially Esther

Thursday, April 08, 2010


I have lived in the Ozarks for most of my adult life and am never prepared for the beauty Spring brings. It’s an over-night event…..the blooms materialize as the next sun comes up and all about the yard are splashes of gorgeous color.

Each year I take pictures of the bushes, trees and flowers……each year thinking they are prettier than ever. Many of them are looking like me……kind of grown out of their intended shapes to display some scars over the storms they’ve had to stand up to. Nature is much like us for we are made from the soil and therefore have a kinship like no other.

A strange thing happened one April that Rocky had mentioned to me about a Cardinal who fell in love with the mirror on his big truck. Every-time he drove to where the truck was parked, a Cardinal would be looking and kissing the image he saw in the mirror. One time I went on a delivery with him and sure enough….there was the Cardinal hovering around the mirror. We neither had seen anything like it before.

As we pulled into the parking area (on our return) we didn’t have the engine shut off before here came Mr. Cardinal. It was a mystery to us and no one we talked to had ever witnessed such unusual behavior. After a while we both forgot about it and life went on. Three Spring-times have come and gone since Rocky went to Heaven. I was working in the berm out front recently and when I stood up to rest my back I noticed a flash of red.

I could hardly believe my eyes. There was Mr. Redbird at the mirror on our mini-van fluttering about and enjoying a rendezvous with the mirror. (Of course, not the same bird as before.) Rocky quickly came to mind and while I spent a few moments reminiscing, all was quiet. The silence was finally broken by a lone dove singing from the top of our big oak out front.

It was just a moment but a moment I believe Rocky was very near. Call me silly, simple or crazy…….I believe.

Essentially Esther