Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Plan B

Where am I? 


You're in a nursing home Dad. 

Dad rallied BIG time.  This past Friday we were able to move him out of the hospital and into a first rate nursing home.

He's had a shower.  He's in a wheel chair.  He's eating independently.   And...

He's made a friend.

"Calypso," a 15 year old macaw, greeted him warmly - showed off his wings and did a little dance.  

And Dad laughed

Later that night, on a whim, my husband Mark and I grabbed the dogs, picked up our grandson Jackson and headed for Newport, Rhode Island to celebrate my husbands birthday.  Our favorite little place, in the heart of the city, had one room available - a two bedroom suite.  

The weather forecast was unseasonably warm and sunny - ideal conditions for the 55th annual St. Patrick's parade.  

I was convinced I had taken Jackson here before, but he was certain it was his first time.  

After the parade, we stopped at the local arcade.  Most of the kids were shooting guns, or basketballs, or riding in miniature simulated racing cars.  But Jackson, being a quirky individualist,  headed straight for the Wheel of Fortune.

On his first spin, he landed on a small slice of silver labeled "200 Points." All he needed to do now was guess the correct letters and solve the puzzle.

W   I   L   G   A   O ...

Let me give you a hint...


Congratulations Jackson! 
You won one THOUSAND tickets!!!

In the eyes of a 10 year old, winning one thousand tickets is the equivalent of winning a million dollar Powerball.

Elated beyond words recognizable to the human ear, he quickly cashed in his tickets and picked out his prizes.

A football, a basketball, and two baseball caps - all representative of his favorite sports teams.  

Later that afternoon, as the sun was setting, Jackson, Mark and I tossed Jackson's new football back and forth on the lawn behind one of the big hotels.  

We all had one thing in common - none of us had ever played catch with our fathers. 

Once again, I asked Jackson..."are you SURE I never brought you to Newport?"
"YES Nanny, I'm sure," answered Jackson. 

That night, while sitting across from him at dinner, I remembered...  

It was Kerry who had been to Newport.  

They were about the same age the first time he visited.

Jackson was, at this moment, the spitting image of his father.

I could feel Kerry smiling down on us.  

For the first time in almost two weeks, I could breath deeply.

I smiled. 
Mark smiled.

"What?" asked Jackson

"Congratulations Jackson, you're a winner!" I assured him.

"Thanks Nanny!"

And together... we laughed.  

Kerry, age 12. 


  1. Glad to hear your Dad is doing better!!! And your trip to Newport sounds like fun! What a lucky winner Jackson is! He DOES looks so much like Kerry. :-) XO

  2. Such an awesome weekend. Jackson is going to remember that day at the arcade his entire life! So cool! -Jay

  3. He flips back and forth - sometimes he's more "Mary" and sometimes he's more "Kerry"...

    That night, he was 100% Kerry! It was the perfect release from an incredibly stressful week.

    and... I was cautious about my word placement...

    NOT to say... "winning" :)

  4. So happy to see your Dad's doing better Minkey. Been thinking of you and him alot lately. Bunny Love Always. DB & BB

  5. Thank you for the good news about your father. Glad you had a wonderful weekend with your grandson and your son in spirit.

  6. That, my friend, was beautiful. And how cool is it that he has his own mind and doesn't feel like he has to follow the crowd.

    Can I take him along with me sometime to play arcade games. :)

  7. This made me smile and want to do a happy dance. :) I'm so glad for plan-b and just so you know...I'm wearing right now my "Bite Me" bait shop t-shirt from Newport, RI :D
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  8. I am just returning from visiting Dad. Today, he knew my name :) I asked him if he knew anyone at the nursing home. "YES" he answered "one of the doctors." What's his name, I asked. "Jesus" he told me.

  9. I can not believe he rallied so fast. I am so happy, and exhausted for you. So glad to see he's better...

    Holy cow, he is the spitting image of his father! My youngest hit the "jackpot" for 280 tickets once... I can only imagine 1K...

    I think, that this week, you are all winners.

  10. Like this quote: "In the eyes of a 10 year old, winning one thousand tickets is the equivalent of winning a million dollar Powerball."

    The pictures are great for this story. That seems like a super cool Wheel of Fortune Game. It is huge.

  11. That is pretty cool that your dad has Dr. Jesus! No one is better!

  12. Thanks for sharing this great story! He's such a cutie! That photo with the tickets is priceless!! And I also am so happy that your Dad is doing better.

  13. wow ....This is ALL SO VERY GOOD, just the luck of the Irishman! ( The story, Dads upswing, the celebration, winning...happyness <3 JOY! (and even Dr Jesus) wow - you deserved it, ENJOY every minute.

  14. Your life is better than fiction. I am really happy that you are writing it down!
    You are my favorite author.

  15. What a great post! Glad to hear about your dad and your wonderful weekend. Winning a thousand tickets is awesome!

  16. I really don't know whether to cry or laugh with you but either way you are in my heart and thoughts.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  17. That is a look of complete joy on your grandson's face. I am pleased it was a such a great weekend.


  18. How lovely that you had this special time with your Grandson and celebrated St Patrick's Day. We have just celebrated Italy's 150th Birthday :)

  19. Great storiness and with a real WINNER!!! Excellent photographic execution.. I love you Monkey.. Jelly

  20. What a beautiful post, Shannon. It brought goosebumps and tears. And your description of Jackson as a "quirky individualist." The apple doesn't fall far from the grand-tree!

  21. Thank you everyone!!! I am way behind in responding to comments and reading all your wonderful blogs.

    No more excuses :) xoMOnkeyME

  22. So many wonderful things converging together, is a great place to be in! I'm glad that your father is doing better & it sounds like you had a great trip!


Thank you for encouraging my JOY of writing. By reading and commenting you are feeding my soul, stroking my heart, and in the end...making me a better writer.

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Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison