Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rose Garden

"I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck"   
                                -Emma Goldman

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday's Ramblings

Isn't it incredible how each one of us has our own mind that thinks all by itself about anything we want to think about?  When I stop to think about that fact, my mind boggles and it just doesn't seem possible.  Over six billion human computers all working at the same time, all perceiving existence differently, and yet we manage to co-exist as well as we do.  Amazing.

Often I think about two people, maybe even two siblings who had the same biological parents, and yet they are as different as a rock and feather.  The way we perceive things to be is not the way it truly is.  It is simply what our mind thinks.  Our perception might be a deception. 

Here is an illusion.  Do you first see an Indian head, or do you see an Eskimo?

And, have you ever wondered if other people see colors in the same way you do?  Is what I see as yellow the same as the person across the street perceives to be yellow?  And, what if there was no color on the earth, only grays?  Wouldn't that be awfully depressing?  Would we be able to recognize things as easily as we do?   Do you suppose Our Creator emerges early morning with an army of angels, buckets of paint and paintbrushes, and they paint us a new day? 

My mother always loved the color red, and she wanted me to wear red.  So, guess what color I never wanted to wear?  Yup, it was red.  In fact, my first pair of glasses that I got when I was about 9 years old were red, for god's sake.  My tendency was to wear earth tones, or what mother called 'dull stuff.'  She, again, was drawn to the bright, bold colors that came out and smacked you right in the head.  This difference of taste remained between us through all the years, and finally I think she gave up and expected me to be quite dull.

The crazy part of it, tho, is that red is probably the most beautiful of all colors.  The blood that runs through our veins is red.  Lots of times I draw red hearts on notes, cards, and letters to let the recipient know that it's sealed with love.  As I type this, I'm looking at a small rug that mother made out of small squares of polyester fabric, and let me tell you, it's packed with bright reds, purples, greens, pinks, blues.....well, you name a color and she's put it in there.  The only reason I have it in the livingroom is because our little bichon likes to lay on it.  Mom would be tickled pink.

We humans spend way too much time thinking about the colors of clothes we wear.  Think about animals and birds.  They're given one outfit, and they have to wear it their whole lives.

I think my brain is starting to rev up, and I'd best turn off my ignition. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lots of Spiral Notebooks

I wonder what instills some of us with a passion to write.  When I was about 9 years old, I tried writing a book with a mysterious plot that involved a cave and a man with no name.  Unfortunately, the pages of my tablet didn't get filled and my ambitious attempt went kaflooey.  In my late teens I started writing in a diary and kept that up for 25 years, and then I graduated to journaling in simple spiral notebooks that I bought for 10 cents right before school started.  The diaries we buy in the stores are so confining, and I do not like boundaries.  Even in my spiral notebooks I write in the margins, just because they bug me.

Journaling helps me work my way through problems, think things through, and simply get my head organized.  Now that there's such a thing as Blogging, well, I feel I've earned my Ph.D. in Journaling.  My gramma kept a diary for years, and it is with sadness that they magically disappeared after she died.  Oh, what I'd give to read her thoughts, cares, and feelings.  Maybe it's for the best, who knows.

If anyone is interested in starting to journal, but is apprehensive, I have a cool way to start out that doesn't require anything more than a pen and a spiral notebook.  Handwritten journaling brings out better writing in me than typing for whatever reason.  I think it's because it takes me longer to write and my head has a chance to think ahead.  But, there's no right or wrong way to journal.  It's as individual as our fingerprints.  The way to start out is to have a guide to follow and each day finish the sentence with as much writing as you want:

Outside my window.......
I am thinking.......
I am thankful for......
From the kitchen.....
I am wearing......
I am creating......
I am going.......
I am reading.....
I am hearing.....
Around the house.....
One of my favorite things.....
Plans for the rest of the week.....

This outline is all one needs to start out with, and each day we have new thoughts to write for each of these. It doesn't take long before we expand our journaling ability and soon we're writing about many different things. Then we're hooked.  And, it doesn't need to be fancy either.  Many of my journals had sketches, doodling, cross-outs, and just whatever I felt like putting on paper.  Not only does this get to be an outlet for our emotions, but can end up being a priceless gift for children, grandchildren, or anyone who may love us enough to want to read them someday after we turn into mulch.  Or, the journals can simply be burnt or thrown away.  I must enter the confessional here and tell that a few years ago when life was relentlessly throwing big rocks at me, I boxed up and destroyed all my diaries and all of my handwritten journals.  I'm talking about years and years of writing.  That's okay, tho, and I truly don't regret doing it, simply because my journals contained feelings that served no purpose by being passed on.  That's the cool part of journaling.  It's personal, it's individual.  Journaling helped me work my way through terribly difficult times.  Plus, I saved a heck of a lot of money by not going to a shrink.

Around our house my ten-cent spiral notebooks have gotten to be a joke.  There's a stack of 'em downstairs, and they're laying around the house in every room, the car, and the patio.  Cuz, when/if I get an idea or something strikes me as being a real 'wow,' then I jot down notes to myself so I won't forget.  The funny part is that it's almost time for the back-to-school sales!!!!!

It's another gorgeous day today.  The moon was big and bright last night.  I should do something constructive today, but really don't feel like it.  I'd give anything if the boyfriend would suggest a day trip.  Maybe I'll have to drop a couple of hints and see where it takes us.  Ta-ta.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Shocks and Homemade Lemonade

Usually I sleep through thunderstorms that pass over us during the nighttime.  But, last night a little white fuzzy paw gently kept touching my head so I'd wake up.  It wasn't that she was afraid of the storm, but rather needed a drink of water and use the potty pads that she's trained to use in the house.  We keep them both downstairs, so she and I carefully crept down the steps, did our thing, and went back up, cuddled back in, and fell back asleep.

Severe storms were in the forecast for our area, but I don't know how much it rained or if there were winds or heavy rains that may have caused damage.  The corn crop is growing fast and furiously, and it'll be interesting to see how high it is by the Fourth.  Years back it was a big deal for the corn to be "knee high" by the Fourth of July.  Modern fertilizers have the growth far beyond that nowdays. 

Summer is going fast, don't you think?  We notice that some oat fields are headed out and starting to turn color, and some fields have been flattened somewhat by high winds.  Farming has changed so much since I was a kid, I barely know what's what anymore.  Some of the machinery that crawls through town here is so huge, and I have no idea what they do with it.  Of course, farming isn't tending to a couple hundred acres anymore.  Big farmers are using this big machinery to work thousands of acres. 

I remember the days when a bunch of small farmers would get together for "threshing" the oats.  And remember the straw pile?  The men would make shocks out of bundles of grain, and I always thought a field of shocks was a beautiful thing.  When farmers worked together harvesting the crops, our mothers would bake chocolate cakes and cookies, fix sandwiches, make lemonade out of real lemons and real sugar, and we'd pack up the food and drive it up to the field so the guys could take a rest and grab a bite about 4 o'clock in the afternoon.  The men would be sunburned, all chaff from the oats, itchy and sweaty.  My daddy always wore a wide-brimmed straw hat and striped bib overalls.  Back then our neighbors were extensions of our families.  Helping each other with big jobs like threshing was just the way they did things back then.  While the guys were working in the fields, mothers and daughters milked the cows by hand, fed the pigs, and tended to other barnyard chores.

Daddy used to say that there'd come a day when the little guy would be taken over by the big guy, and he sure had that right.  My heart will always stay in the days when cattle roamed the green pastures, a little kid and his dog walked to 'get the cows' before milking time,  and a husband and wife raised their family on a small farm and took mighty pride in doing so.  Respecting Mother Nature as I do, it pains me to see the timbers being taken down, wildlife habitat being destroyed--all in the quest of more grain and more money.  But, the world doesn't stand still, it progresses on a course guided by the human spirit--good or bad.  Each generation does what it feels it must do to keep the ball rolling.

I could write volumes about growing up on a farm.  My memories are for sure sugar-coated by now.  The real mccoy wasn't easy, it wasn't always fun, and our parents worked far too hard for what they got in return.  But, for us kids, it was a good wholesome place to grow up, learning to accept birth and death, getting attached to animals and then watching them be taken to market.  We learned the tough stuff right from the get-go.  We weren't pansied, that's for sure.  My first sixteen years were spent on our family farm, and those years molded me into the person I am today.  It was there that I learned to work hard, to save money for a rainy day, to be compassionate to all living things (except mosquitoes and snakes), and most of all to love every inch of the ground we walked on every day.  Nobody had to tell us we were walking on sacred land.  We just knew it.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


A spontaneous suggestion put us on the road early this morning heading east to the boat for breakfast.  Gamblers we are not, so after filling our tummies we mozied our way over to a Walmart.  Bought a new flag for the Fourth of July.  Stopped at three garage sales and, heaven help me, I added more fabric to my stack for weaving rugs.  Now we're back home in the air-conditioning.  It's hotter than we all know what.

We stopped at a convenience store in one of the small river towns, and the sidewalks were covered with dead mayflies (also called june bugs and fishflies).  They're attracted to light, and man do they leave a mess for the workers to clean up.

This spring a mayfly hatch along the Mississippi River was actually so massive that it was picked up by the National Weather Service's Doppler Radar.  The squishy, stinky dead bodies of mayflies cause real messes for towns near bodies of water.  It's not uncommon for towns to use snowplows to clear roads of inches-deep dead mayflies.  Driving a car over them is no pleasant thing either cuz you can hear and almost feel them crunching under the tires.

Now, I'm surely no insectologist, but as I understand, a mayfly spends up to four years as larvae in a body of water, then emerges as an adult that won't ever eat, lives for 2 to 72 hours, mates once, and then dies.  Help me out here...... what's the point?

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's Friday!

What a glorious morning. Sunshine, windchimes tinkling, birds singing, white butterflies flitting in the gardens, and it's Friday. Even though we are no longer tied to an 8-5 routine, five days a week, we still have a feeling of anticipation on Fridays. Time to tip a few beers, grill some brats, and hang out with friends. Time to de-stress.

There's a goldfinch at our feeder as I type this, right outside the screened patio. The little bugger is a flashy yellow and, of course, he's wearing his black vest. A real fancy dan he is. I see that the feeder needs to be re-filled and it's almost as though the finch is smugly hinting the need for more food! We buy bird seed in bulk and the big jars of grape jelly for the orioles. Grape jelly is a popular item on our menu. We've seen catbirds, house finches, and even hummingbirds sink their beaks into the sweet stuff. Next thing they'll be wanting toast on the side!!!!

At first we hung the grape jelly from a tree, but that came to a screeching halt when the man of the house saw a squirrel helping himself. That's when we switched to a shepherd's hook and once again the squirrels were outsmarted.

My hubby makes the cutest jelly feeders by spiraling copper tubing and attaching a sherbet dish for the jelly. One thing he cannot understand is how a teeny-weeny ant can crawl up a 6' iron shepherd's pole and shimmy down a 2' spiral of copper tubing to feast on the grape delights right along with the birds. He would like to know how an ant is motivated to find that food source when there's no track to it.

Speaking of ants, those little beasts have a race track in my kitchen. It's Terro time!

Our lawn needs mowing. That's another thing a person likes to get done on Fridays so it looks nice and groomed for the weekend when people are out and about. I'm spoiled because I don't have to do yard work. I'm not sure if it's because I'm being pampered or if the spouse doesn't want me screwing something up.

Today we will go through our veggie garden and pick whatever goodies the Earth has ready for us. I see some long green peppers, peas, and green beans. We've had lettuce, onions, and radishes already. We also have a cherry tomato plant, and I see a clump of about a dozen nice and ripe. Nothing like the taste of juicy home-grown tomatoes--the big ones. Can't wait so we can have California Cheeseburgers with sliced raw onion, lettuce, and thick slice of tomato with a titch of salt and pepper. Omigod!

So it is that we are wrapped in the arms of Midwest Summertime. A place where the soil is black, rich, and generous. A place where we share our days with the animal kingdom, the bird kingdom, the plant kingdom, and the insect kingdom. Sometimes we humans forget that it's their world, too!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bootheel of Missouri

First, thank you for your concern the last couple of days. My surgery is over and pathology tests are benign. We are so thankful.

On Tuesday while I was having my pr-op tests, my husband met a guy in the waiting area who lives in the 'bootheel of Missouri.' His family usually doctors in Memphis, Tennessee, but his wife was referred to Mayo last year for a very serious heart surgery. They were back now for her one-year checkup.

Before she had surgery last year, the doctors told them to expect to stay for about nine days before she would be well enough to tolerate the 2-day drive back home. Well, they encountered problems and she almost died on the operating table. Before they would release her to go back home, four weeks passed. All the while the husband stayed at a motel, so one can imagine the financial setback that was for them. He works as a school custodian, and fortunately they have good insurance. Total cost of the ordeal was over a quarter of a million dollars.

Before this, we never paid much attention to the bootheel of Missouri, so I did a little checking and find that it is the southeasternmost part of the State and gets its name from the shape of its boundaries. It is flat and mostly agricultural, with rich soil well-suited for growing rice and cotton. It's also one of the more impoverished parts of Missouri. In fact, the guy was telling about a factory in his home town that recently closed its doors and left the local people practically in ruin. The business was moved down to Mexico.

A person couldn't help but feel the pain this couple was enduring. They were down-home common people taking the brunt of a lousy economy. The husband was patiently standing beside his wife during her sickness, he was doing all he could for his family, and I think he truly needed someone to pay attention to him for a just a few minutes. And, that's where my husband shines--he always tells me that no one is ever a stranger to him. I think it's a rare gift that not many of us are given.

More than likely we won't ever see these people again, but in that brief time our spirits touched and communicated in a way that was a notch above an ordinary meeting. What is that, I wonder. And, I wonder, too, if they feel the same way about us.

The guy's eyes were all watery as he waved his last words to us....."Y'all take care now."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tending to Things

Am giving a heads up to my faithful readers.....the next couple of days I cannot guarantee that there will be posts from me. Reason? Well, tomorrow we are heading real early to Rochester for my pre-op tests and then back up on Wednesday for a same-day surgery. Nothing earth-shaking, but just enough to rattle my cage a little bit. Please check in, tho, cuz I sure don't want to lose you.

When a person hits the 60s, the body begins to act up. If we don't take care of things, it can get downright ornery. However, it's definitely a perk that my doctor is tall, dark, handsome, and in his 40's (woo hoo), so lord knows what else I might think up to have wrong with me! (giggle)

Stay tuned, and I'll be back soon as I can......ta-ta

A Celestial Tug of War

Am up a whole lot earlier than I want to be or need to be, but the fur babe decided it was time for us girls to get out of bed and come downstairs. She pretty much rules the household, and we let her. Somebody has to exercise a little discipline around this place!

Another day of celebration for us earthlings--The Summer Solstice--the turning point of the seasons. Spring passes the torch over to Summer.

Stacations (stay-at-home vacations) are getting more and more popular. Our economy has alot to do with that, but that's not a bad thing. Going away from home is not necessarily the best way for a family to spend time together anyway. We love to see the young families playing backyard games, sitting around evening bonfires and roasting marshmallows, and daddies building tree houses for the kiddies. This summer we're just going to hang out and stay close enough to home so we can return the same day. Anyway that's the plan right at the moment. That could change in a heartbeat if one of us gets a zany idea.

Sure looks to be another wet, rainy day. Do you suppose that Miss Spring and Miss Summer are having a tug-of-war, and one of them is close to tears? I wonder if Spring doesn't want to leave or if Summer doesn't feel like taking over. Hmmmmmmm.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

An Added Little Ditty

I've added a new element to my blogsite. If you arrow down to the bottom of the page, you'll see "the daily puppy." We canine kooks can't get enough of the little sweethearts. Hope the pics will add a smile to your days like they will to mine!


Happy Day to all the Dads out there.......notice I didn't say Fathers!!!!!

At our house Daddy is being honored with a special breakfast "his girls" will fix for him. I found a recipe online for a breakfast bake using hash browns, little sizzlers, eggs, and cheese. Gonna have frosted donut holes, too. The smooch pooch has left a sweet note for her Daddy on the bathroom mirror. That's a tradition in our house on special days. The bathroom mirror is our family bulletin board.

Besides it being Daddy's Day, today is also supposed to be the Happiest Day of the year. According to the Huffington Post, researchers (?) use an equation to back up their 'new discovery.' O+(NxS)+Cpm/T+He.

"O" stands for being outdoors, being involved in outdoor activity.
"N" is connection with nature which is in full bloom now.
"S" is for socializing with neighbors and friends.
"Cpm" is for Childhood positive memories.
"T" is for temperature, which is now usually warm.
"He" stands for holiday expected!

So, there we have it. Conditions are right, with all the positives joining forces, sort of like when clouds gather and a big storm system develops. A bit of 21st century complexity, if you ask me.

Isn't happiness an elusive experience? It comes and it goes. What makes one person happy may drive the next person nuts. And, some people couldn't be happy no matter what. Doesn't everyone know a perpetual grump or grumpette? A good slap is what those people need. Maybe two slaps.

I don't know, but aren't we making things more difficult than necessary these days? In order to 'feel good inside' all we really need is a gratitude journal or just turn on the t.v. and see what people in other parts of the world are going through. If I sit down and carefully make note of all the blessings that I've had in my lifetime, how could I help but not be happy every single day. And, if I'm not, then somebody oughta slap me! It's so easy to get wrapped up in the demanding details of the day and completely forget about the good stuff right under our noses. Perhaps I'm too easily pleased, but despite everything else going on in this world, all it takes to fill my heart is to hear a wren singing in the back yard, feel my puppy adoringly lick my hand, or a little child's legs energetically pedal a trike on the sidewalk in front of our home. Real contentment comes from the proverbial 'little things' that cannot be reduced to a string of letters and numbers.

Guess I'll just go on living by the 20th century KISS equation--Keep It Simple, Stupid!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

First Father's Day 100 Years Ago Today

"One hundred years ago, in the Big Bend hills of Washington, Father's Day had its beginning in a lonely farm dwelling. There Sorrow ministered amid the moaning of the March winds.

"A father sat with bowed head in his aloneness. About him clung his weeping children. The winds outside threw great scarfs of powdered snow against the window panes, when suddenly the last born tore himself from the group and rushed out into the storm calling for his mother. Yet even his baby voice could not penetrate the great silence that held his mother.

"Hurriedly, the father gathered him back to his protection and for more than two decades, William Jackson Smart, alone, kept paternal vigilance over his motherless children.

"This poignant experience in the life of Mrs. John Bruce Dodd of Spokane Washington, who was then Sonora Louise Smart, was the inspiration for Father's Day which materialized through the devotion of this father. Through the observance of the love and the sacrifice of fathers about her everywhere, her idea of Father's Day crystallized in 1910, through a formal Father's Day petition asking recognition of fatherhood.

"In 1926, a National Father's Day Committee was formed in New York City. Father's Day was recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1956. In 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father's Day to be held on the third Sunday of June. So, Father's Day was born in memory and gratitude by a daughter who thought that her father and all good father's should be honored with a special day just like we honor our mothers on Mother's Day."

Like all of us whose dads are eternally asleep, we wish we could ask them questions to find out more about them. As kids we didn't think about doing that, because the world turned around us. I was one of the lucky ones, in that my Dad simply adored his only little girl. His was a quiet gentleness, and sometimes when I'm going through some 'rocky places,' he comes to me in dreams and gives me a hug and tells me everything will be okay.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Visit to the Amish

We're back home from a visit to an Amish settlement about 40 miles from home, where we had coffee and fresh bakery for breakfast. The warm apple and red raspberry turnovers were positively delicious, the crust flaky, just like our mothers used to make.

The bakery owner told us that he accidentally dropped a freshly baked ground cherry pie on the floor earlier, and so he had this broken pie to eat in the kitchen. We could tell he was nervous to get at it, but customers kept coming in the door and he had to man the old-fashioned adding machine. I wanted to say that I'd gladly tend to the broken pie for him, but thought that was probably asking a bit much.

This bakery feels down-home, they serve free coffee, and people simply stream in the door for the donuts, cinnamon rolls, homemade bread, all kinds of pies, cookies, angel food cakes, and even some fresh produce. Amish men sit around having coffee with the English--a quiet natural blend of vastly different cultures. And, out on the front porch a big old collie dog lay sprawled out eating bits of donuts that people were tossing out to him.

Down the road a ways, the Amish were having a farmers market auction, and we stayed long enough to see how that worked. All kinds of hanging plants, flowers, tomatoes, beets, strawberries, rhubarb, and lord knows what all were being sold at very reasonable prices......all the stuff for sale is locally grown in their farm greenhouses. We didn't get a number to bid, but we'd like to go back another day to get in on the action. Maybe even take another couple with us who would enjoy that sort of thing!

Dark clouds with lightning started to move in from the northwest so we decided to cut our visit short. Then after we drove some miles on our way back home, the clouds started to get a bit lighter. My head almost snapped off when I spotted a garage sale sign that pointed down a gravel road. We followed the arrows and balloons to a farmstead that had the most glorious flower gardens with reds and purples welcoming us as we drove in the yard. We didn't buy anything, but had a nice visit with a young gal who was tending the money box. Earlier we had noticed a white cross up in the field, kinda up on a hillside. We asked if she knew the reason for the cross being there, and she said it marks the graves of a pioneer family. Just goes to show that it pays to ask questions about things that pique our interest. Lots of cool stories out there just waiting to be shared.

There's a golf game on t.v. this afternoon, but I think I shall busy myself with a book. My hubby took a chicken out of the freezer, and he's going to grill it for supper, using the can of beer method. Ooooh, that'll be yummy. Looks like it's gonna rain some more, so we're going to cozy in, just the three of us.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Germ-X and Pop Cans

I'm sitting here watching a steady stream of dedicated morning walkers. Every day the same ones walk at exactly the same time, they walk the same routes, geared up in walking shorts and tees, walking shoes, some wear earphones with radar or some kind of receptive device, and absolutely no one is smiling. One guy takes a plastic bag with him and picks up pop and beer cans as he walks. Thanks to him, we have alot less litter. We know of one lady who so very religiously went out picking cans, that she actually paid for a trip to Europe with her 'can coins.' Whenever I see a can along the road, I can't help but think that we should stop, cuz it is $$ just laying there. At the price of gasoline these days, I fear it'd cost more than it's worth to pull over to the side of the road and let the car idle while retrieving the can. And, there's always the possibility of getting rear-ended!

The problem with picking up cans these days, tho, is a person just doesn't know what's been in that can or if they're contaminated somehow. For me to pick up a stranger's can, I'd have to wear plastic gloves or use a pair of tongs. I think over the years I've grown to be a 'germ freak,' and I'm a fanatic for using Germ-X or other germ killers. We carry the stuff with us in the car, and it's really nice that restaurants now have dispensers available. The Clorox kitchen wipes are a mainstay in our home, altho I've read that these bacterial cleaners aren't any better than the others. I'm just not convinced of that yet.

Even motels bug me. My head starts thinking about the mouth that might have drooled on the pillow the night before and lord knows what other trapeze acts might have transpired. The very thought gives me the willies!

When I was little, I was forever in the dirt, playing in the sandbox, and my Grampa used to say that a kid has to eat so much dirt in order to be healthy! Wonder what he'd think about me now.

P.S. Happy Birthday, DJ!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Maxine - A Real Diva

You'll notice I've added a picture of Maxine to my blog. That's cuz Maxine is my heroine of choice. I can't look at a picture of Maxine without laughing, and that's reason enough to like her. The scariest part of Maxine is that I see myself in her.

This aging business brings with it a suitcase of new stuff for us to cope with. Things I truly didn't think could possibly happen to "me." For instance, pain. Lots of pain. In our younger years, we try to stay in shape and exercise. For years I got up at 5 o'clock in the morning, jogged 3 miles, and thought that was helping me. At the time it did keep the pounds off, but nobody said a word about me wearing out the cartilage in my joints.

Did you know that there's a mean (really mean) old fairy who descends upon us during nighttime sleep, and she nastily packs extra pounds on our worn-out bodies. She skillfully plunks them down in the worst possible places, and she's sneaky enough never to be caught at her cruel ways. Then come morning, we're expected to innocently lug this extra weight around like we had something to do with it, and the 'old bat' goes scott free.

By the time we retire, we're tired. If we've given life our "all," then it's only normal that we be content to busy ourselves with tasks that require sitting and drinking coffee. Anyway, those are my two favorite sports now.

Oh, and there's the Red Hat Clubs. We've all seen a long table of elderly ladies wearing red and purple, having a meal together, laughing and having a hi-ho time. God bless them. I hope the younger generation realizes the value of an elderly lady. She has held babies, wiped tears, rocked sick children, silently worried herself almost to death, listened to secrets, loyally kept secrets, comforted the dying, and her list of goodnesses is unending. There is no other group of humans who deserves to be respected more for their contribution to humanity.

Within every 'little old lady' is a young girl still beaming with the same girlish silliness and the same need to be loved. Our outsides change, but our insides don't. This hurts so much. We Americans are way off base when it comes to how we feel about those who have lived many years. One time I asked my mother how old she felt on the inside. At the time she was in her 80's. Her answer to me was, "about 35." That made me sad. I felt like she was a prisoner trapped inside a crumbling body.

What's nice about Maxine, is that she makes our frailties and physical faults okay and she goes so far as to strut her stuff. She frankly doesn't give a darn about much of anything. She laughs in the face of whatever she bumps into. I like that and think it's way cool. Most of us take life too seriously and try to mask ourselves and pretend that we're not suffering the daily crumble-syndrome that is part of being alive. We can lift loads of stress off of ourselves if we simply go with the flow. There's nothing we can do about it anyway.

I salute Maxine and what she stands for. Yesterday I was crabbier than all get out. Just couldn't shake it all day. I went to bed about 11 o'clock last night and just prayed today would be better. And, gull darn, it is. Sun is shining, we're having friends over later, there's a refreshing breeze coming through the windows, and the forecast is for temps in the 80s.

At this stage of life, dear friends are our main arteries. Nothing feels so good as a phone call, an email, or a visit from someone we've grown up with or met along the way. To me, my friends are my family. The main thing is to follow the light-hearted trails and steer away from the ones that cause heartaches. Life simply is too short and not worth putting ourselves through things we can avoid.

I have a long rope of strong women who came before me--mother, grandmothers, aunt, and great-aunts. It's not that they actually ever gave me alot of advice, but from little on, I watched and carefully listened to what they did, how they did it, and what they said, and what they didn't say. Honestly, I gotta admit that there definitely was a bit of Maxine in each of those gals. Yup, I know there was!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Format

I've made changes to my blog page. Thought I wanted to spruce it up a bit, make it wider and the print larger. Am new to this, so today I did a bit of exploring and here's what I came up with. Hope it's easier to read. I chose soothing colors. This may happen off and on. It's like changing the location of furniture in our house. We're always moving things around.

Sun is shining this afternoon. Nice for a change. Think it's time to mix a Harvey Wallbanger and head for the patio.

Hope you like my new digs!

Grandma's Apron

In one of my earlier blogs, I shared that my paternal grandmother died when I was two. Today I just have to share a poem that describes perfectly my maternal gramma that I was blessed to have for 12 years. Back in those days grammas wore a bib apron to keep their dress clean. The only time gramma didn't wear an apron was on Sunday when she went to church. But, the minute she got back home to make dinner for all of us, she quickly changed back into her everyday wash dress and an apron. Her pantry was her executive office, and that was her 2-piece suit!

Wish I could claim authorship of this poem, "Grandma's Apron," but its original version must be credited to a Tina Trivett who wrote it after her grandma passed away in Kentucky. She couldn't make it to the funeral cuz she was stranded in a snowstorm in the North Carolina Mountains.
"The strings were tied, It was freshly washed, and maybe even pressed
For Grandma, it was every day to choose one when she dressed.
The simple apron that it was, you would never think about;
The things she used it for, that made it look worn out.
She may have used it to hold some wildflowers that she'd found.
Or to hide a crying child's face when a stranger came around.
Imagine all the little tears that were wiped with just that cloth.
Or it became a potholder to serve some kitchen broth.
She probably carried kindling to stoke the kitchen fire.
To hold a load of laundry, or to wipe the clothesline wire.
When canning all her vegetables, it was used to wipe her brow.
You never know, she might have used it to shoo flies from the cow.
She might have carried eggs in from the chicken coop outside.
Whatever chore she used it for, she did them all with pride.
When Grandma went to heaven, God said she now could rest.
I'm sure the apron that she chose, was her Sunday best."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fly High, Old Glory!

Today is Flag Day!

Great Spirit, please keep your watchful eye on America. We thank you for the freedoms, rights, and privileges that set our country apart. We ask that you guide leaders of government, religion, medicine, science, industry, and education in ways that will help all Americans who are struggling every day to keep their families well and safe.

(Picture taken from east side of our home.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I've added a place at the bottom of each of my blogs for you to check your reactions to them. Just for fun! Am so happy to have you aboard. I welcome your comments, too.

First Sighting

We've been keeping a close watch for the baby fawns that come into the world this time of year. On our way out of town yesterday, I was jabbering away about something when I saw a momma deer and baby along a hayfield. My husband turned the car around in the nearest driveway so we could take a picture, but by the time we got the digital turned on and zoomed in, two white tails were hopping away from us into the woods. The little one jumped behind her momma, and was already learning the skillful arts of alertness and speed.

This year again we have a deer behind the house that comes out on the back lawn and nibbles on tree leaves. We're thinking maybe she has a fawn, but she hasn't brought the little one out yet for us to 'ooooh and aaaaah' at. Isn't it incredible how Mother Nature dresses fawns in camouflaged outfits and keeps them free from any odor so as to protect them from other animals that would harm them!

The book "Bambi" influenced all of us as we were growing up. We remember Bambi like we remember learning how to tie our shoes. Every time I see a fawn, Bambi flashes through my mind. It feels good today having "spotted" the first Bambi of the year!!!!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake Season

The first spring berries are ready! That's almost as big a deal as the mardi gras in my world. I love strawberries right from the vine, in pies, jams, shortcakes, and daiquiris. Probably my absolute #1 favorite way to eat a strawberry is to dip it in chocolate, roll it in crushed Heath Bars, and then dip it in whipped cream!!!!! (just gained a pound)

Strawberries actually belong to the rose family, and this picture is a simple way of making a fancy 'rose' shortcake with only two strawberries! Isn't it pretty?

Sure is a dreary day with good chance of showers and storms. Yesterday was hot and awfully humid. That's the part of summer I like least. The best place for me on muggy days is in airconditioning. Just can't take it anymore. What did we do in the days before airconditioners? One oscillating fan served as relief for one household back then, and it was the size of a plate. I remember being told not to stick my fingers in it and not sit directly in front of the fan or I'd catch cold. We have ceiling fans downstairs, and now we're going to put them in the upstairs bedrooms. They circulate the air and give good comfort when it's hot and sticky. Guess if we choose to live with the four seasons, then we've got to accommodate ourselves to get along with 'em.

Let's all have a safe and playful weekend. Ta-ta.

Riddle Winners

Congrats goes out to M.J. and J.T. for submitting the correct answer to yesterday's riddle. The answer was: When you're eating watermelon!!!!! Each of you will be receiving a counterfeit million dollar bill. Thanks for participating. Go forth and buy a watermelon, watching out for those seeds, tho.

Friday, June 11, 2010


When do you start on red and stop on green?

Comments/answers welcome! Answer will be in tomorrow's blog.

Town vs. Farm

When I grew up, a kid belonged to one of two very elite groups--town kids or farm kids. This was no small divide. The town kids thought they had the upper hand, but we farm kids knew that we did.

Doing chores was one of the big differences between the two. Kids who lived on a farm had assigned chores that were their responsibility, and back then there was no benefit to whine or complain. Experience taught us that parents didn't tolerate it, nor did they let it pass without assigning additional chores or a deprivation of some kind.

I was on the chicken coop crew. Once a day I had to pick the eggs. I hated it. It was a job from hell, and it was all mine. I figured that this was the punishment I got for being the baby of the family.

Chicken coops were awful, dingy places. Interesting how the words 'coop' and 'poop' rhyme, isn't it? So it was that this little girl trudged out to the coop with her pail, unlatched the door, and entered the world of the chicken. Rows of wooden nests were along one side, and the roosts for the chickens to perch on were on the other. It smelled in there.

To get the eggs from the nest into my pail, I had to stick my hand under the hen. Does any mother let you get that close and personal without retaliating? The old hens picked my soft little hands with their hard beaks, and it hurt alot. I'd yank my hand back, try again, reach, yank, reach, yank. Naturally, the old hen thought I was teasing her, but I wasn't. All I wanted was to get those stupid eggs and get out of there. I remember being so frustrated that I'd sit down in the coop poop and cry. That's how bad it was, but I also knew that sooner or later the eggs would have to get into the house in order for the second phase of my chores to kick into gear----yup, washing the eggs.

Each egg had to be washed before selling. I used Ajax (that abrasive, chalky cleaner), water and a rag to do that. Some of the shells were soft, so I had to be really careful not to break them. Of course, the really soft shells were kept separate and incorporated into our supper. Sometimes an egg was really really stained, so I'd look to see if anybody was looking before I'd accidentally drop it in the old porcelain kitchen sink. If my parents would've seen me do that, I probably wouldn't be blogging today. Mother sold those eggs for a few cents a dozen, and that money paid for the household groceries.

Eggs were a food group all their own on the farm. We ate 'em scrambled, sunny side up, easy over, and we thought we were mighty sophisticated when we'd take a glass, drill a hole in a slice of bread, crack an egg and deposit it inside that hole, and fry it on both sides.

Today eggs remain a mainstay in our refrigerator. If we're out of eggs, well, we'd better hustle to the supermarket! If shoppers today knew how cushy they have it when all they have to do is reach in a cooler and deposit a cardboard carton into a shopping cart. There have been times, tho, when there wasn't an egg in the house and I was in the middle of a batch of cookies. Thank heavens that there are substitutions for an egg if we're in a pinch, like......

**1/2 banana, mashed (medium size) +1/4 tsp. baking powder
**2 TBS applesauce
**3 TBS mayonnaise
**2 TBS lemon juice + 1 tsp baking soda.

Mom used to make a homemade custard pie out of eggs. Man, was that ever yummy! Wish I had a piece right now. It had a unique consistency that felt good in the mouth. Sometimes she'd sprinkle it with coconut, which made it taste even better. Isn't it something how our memories cling tightly to the tastes of the food our mother's made for us when we were kids?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Acorns and Acronyms

A light mist falls this morning cooling and refreshing the earth. The sun must be playing peek-a-boo with us, but there's more boo than peek!!!

Worked the daily crossword, and gotta say that a day doesn't go by that I don't learn something new. One of the clues was "a tiny acorn." Hmmmmm. I thought an acorn was an acorn. But, I'm here to say that I now know that it's a "nutlet."

That reminds me of the time in grade school when the nuns gave us a test and one of the multiple-choice questions was: What is the name of a baby pigeon? Back in those days, we ate pigeons and I knew that my parents called them "squabs." Two of the possible answers were: squab or squabble. My naive mind figured that if we were eating squabs, then a baby would be a squabble. Needless to say, I was wrong. That was probably when I was in 4th grade, so that goes to show how our mistakes can make permanent dents in us.

Acronyms have gotten to be the thing these days. Everything is an abbreviated form of something else. The first time I realized acronyms were taking over was when I saw a billboard sign that read, "PBR yourself ASAP."

Do you ever get emails with abbreviations in them? And, you really don't know what they mean? Well, I have, and my saving grace is where I find the definitions. Of course, there are some not-so-nice ones, but I'm glad those are included just in case somebody is telling me something nasty. A person has to try to keep up with this fast-paced human community, or we're gonna get left behind.

Aging brings with it a deeper understanding of just how this world of ours unfolds. I can remember that we'd tell our parents they were so "old-fashioned" because they didn't do the things we kids were doing. A for-instance is when they'd tell us to turn the radio down when we had rock & roll blaring till the windows shook. Well, to me now "old-fashioned" has a whole different connotation. I think it means that each generation holds to what it knows and how it feels and when another generation comes along with new ideas and feelings that replace ours, we buck and are viewed as "old-fashioned." No matter what we told our parents, we most assuredly will hear those same words sooner or later ourselves. It's simply the way it all works.

Have a great day and keep passing out smiles to sad faces. SWALK

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Sticks, Stones, and the Farmer's Almanac

Okay, kids, buckle up your seatbelts. Today I'm gonna tackle a rather sensitive subject. Any guesses?

Awhile back we did some redecorating here at the house. Laid new kitchen flooring, had painters come in and paint the upstairs and the kitchen and bath. I crocheted our valances for the kitchen windows cuz I couldn't find curtains that I liked, nor did I want to spend a fortune for them. Well, anyway, my hubby didn't care to drill new holes in the wall so he went to Walmart and brought home a freestanding toilet paper holder that has place for extra rolls. Perfect-O!

A person cannot help but wonder what it must've been like in the past when there was no such thing as t.p. Curious thoughts have been chewing my brain away about this today, so I gave up and Googled.......yup, the history of toilet paper.....

The ancient Greeks used stones and clay, ancient Romans used sponges on the ends of sticks that they kept in jars filled with salty water, and the mideasterners used sand and the left hand, which is supposedly still considered unclean. The Eskimos used tundra moss in the summer and handsful of snow the rest of the year. Those living in the tropics used coconut shells. Chinese emperors were the first to actually use paper for this purpose and ordered it made in 2-foot x 3-foot sheets. Corn cobs, leaves and pages from newspapers and magazines. The Sears catalog produced funny jokes like the "Rears and Sorebutt." Here's one for ya......the Farmer's Almanac with the little hole punched in the corner served double time by being relegated (at the end of the year) to the out-house so that it could be hung on a hook and the pages torn off easily for this delicate purpose.

Interestingly enough, back in 1973 there was actually a shortage of t.p. How it happened was that there was a shortage of oil in the 70's. So, when people heard the word 'shortage' they'd hurry out and buy up these things since they already knew what it was like standing in line to get gasoline for their cars. Anyway, on December 19, 1973, the writers for Johnny Carson heard that the federal government was having trouble getting bids to supply t.p. and that it was possible that in just a few months the U.S. could face a shortage. So, Johnny jumped on this in his usual spontaneous manner and used a joke in his famous monologue saying, "You know what's disappearing from the supermarket shelves? Toilet paper. There's an acute shortage of toilet paper in the United States."

The next day 20 million people that had watched Johnny the night before ran out and bought all the toilet paper they could get. By noon the stores in America were "wiped out." (sorry, couldn't resist that one) The shortage lasted only three weeks, which is how long it took for the manufacturers to restock the shelves.

For the crafters out there, if you go to, you can learn how to make flowers out of toilet paper. Ain't it something!

The personal opinion poll of the day: How many squares are there on a normal roll, not the big roll? And, what is really the right way for the paper to come off the roll.......over the top or the from the bottom?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Deals at Denny's

It's weird how ideas come to us during the middle of the night. Heaven knows where this thought came from, but let's just say hypothetically my life span will be 100 years. Okay, then on my next birthday I will subtract the number of years I've lived, so in other words I'll be turning 36. Yowza! That thought set me back.......there ain't that many years left. And, who's to say I'm gonna get 100.

When we turned 50, we got our first letter from AARP (American Associal of Retired Persons). As I remember, we felt offended because along with that letter came the harsh reality that, yes, we are going to be entering an era of life that is frightening. Well, okay, so we joined AARP cuz it's membership fees are minimal. I think it's like $16 a year for the two of us. Now we're reaping some of the benefits by saving money on our house and car insurance through Hartford. Not only that, but we're very pleased with the telephone representatives that we are actually able to connect with. And, that ain't no small matter these days.

Yesterday we got an email from AARP advising that if we present our AARP card at a Denny's Restaurant during the hours of 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., we get a 20% discount for the total bill and coffee is $1 for us and our guests. Retirees like bargains. Our SS checks aren't made out of elastic.

Now we get other kinds of distressing mail. Yup, we get letters from crematoriums. The letters drip with sugary concerns by listing what they'd charge to put us in an oven and turn us into ashes. Now, I'm here to say that's no way to start one's day. Thus far those letters have been tossed with angst. But, sooner or later we do have to face those chilling decisions, and we'll want to get all that kind of stuff arranged ourselves rather than leave it for others on the 'next of kin' list.

Egad, where did all this come from? I like to talk about good things in my blogs, but if I focused only on the "good," then others may think that my life is always rosey and without its cares. Life can be the pits, or it can be really quite a spectacular thing, and a long time ago I vowed to search deeply for every and any thing that lifts my spirit. Doesn't matter if it's a kind word, a simple gesture, a puppy's lick, a field of corn growing in the spring, a tiny is an endless stream of good if we are able to learn how to filter out the things that hurt us. Sometimes it feels pretty impossible to do that, but if I keep at it and keep my nose ahead of me, put one foot in front of the other, I've overcome the sadnesses of my heart. I've also had to withdraw from persons and places in order to maintain my sense of peace and tend to my business. Without fail, through my life, every hardship and pain I've endured has opened a door that led me into refreshing places that now I can only call endearing gifts. Kinda reassures me that there is a Big Design and no matter how many years we live, all that's asked of us is to fulfill our assigned tasks and then be put to rest for the next person to take over where we left off.

Some days my mind veers off on these philosophical trollies. Other days my mind is sillier than a bedbug. And, so goes the mind of a living soul in search of the age-old question........why are we really here?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Clouds and Cobwebs

The dew fairies must've been up all night, cuz our lawn was glittering this morning. Mother Nature is at work 24-7, always leaving something for us to marvel about. Come to think about it, dew goes pretty much unnoticed unless the lawn needs mowing or something as pretty as this cobweb appears.

Paid bills today and sorted through stacks of envelopes that accumulate in no time. So much junk mail. One has to be careful not to throw something important away. Paying bills is so much easier now that I've bitten the proverbial bullet and taken to cyberspace banking. Whether it's a smart idea or not, I don't know, but what it saves me in time and stress, it's gotta be worth it. Now instead of spending hours balancing my checkbook and looking a frickin' nickel, I just push buttons and put my faith in the banking gods. I've laid to rest my Type A behavior and am now enjoying life as a Type F (frivolous).

You know, I can remember back to the first time I ever saw a credit card. A good friends of ours took us out for pizza, and he said he'd pay for our pizza. He walked up to the counter, took out his billfold, and handed the gal, what I later learned was, a credit card. He laughed and said, "I'm paying with plastic." I had no idea what that meant or how it worked. Now, of course, I wouldn't want to go anywhere without my piece of plastic. It's not that I'm a "charger," but some places only take plastic, and I don't carry cash.

Big puffy white clouds today. Looks like dollops of whipped cream floating in the sky. It's such a nice day that my husband is going to go fishing after awhile. He's had the itch all day. I had the chance to go with him, but sometimes it's good for men to get away from their main squeeze for awhile and spend time with other guys. Think I'll fix something good for supper while he's gone. There's a pound of hamburger in the fridge that I can do something with. Over the years I've collected lord knows how many cookbooks. The sad part is that now I wouldn't even need them with the Internet. Usually I go to and can find something that will curb the cravings.

One of my favorite summer treats is the good old root beer float! Man, if I knew I was going to die tomorrow, I'd fix me one in a bucket. I miss the A & W's with the frosted mugs. Car hops, trays hooked to car windows, and Elvis singing 'Love Me Tender."

Such fun!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Cool, Clear Water

What is it about water that is so calming? It doesn't seem to matter if it's a small stream wandering crookedly through a park, a local river that's deep enough to fish in, one of the 10,000 lakes up north, a small waterfall like this one, or the Big Niagara. Water just plain makes a person feel good.

A great part of our summer vacations through the years were spent at lake resorts or on the Mississippi. When we were first married, we'd rent a small cabin for a week. As part of the package, we'd get a small boat, but you'd have to pay to use a motor. We didn't have alot of money to spend, so we'd use our muscles and the oars to get us out by the reeds close to shore. The loons in Minnesota at sunset called out and mesmerized us with their wailing cries. We'd watch 'em go under the water and wait for them to pop up in another place.

As kids we fished all the time and picked nightcrawlers and worms for our bait. After a rain, they'd come out and crawl on the sidewalks. I liked picking them like that rather than walking around in the dark pulling them out of the ground. It was a test for me to do that kinda stuff without acting like a prissy girl. Now, years later, it drives me nuts to put a wiggling nightcrawler on a hook. At this stage, it's okay for me to have girlish tendencies. I don't have to impress the guys anymore!

Maybe water soothes our souls cuz aren't our bodies supposedly about 2/3rds water? It's in our blood, our muscles, our skin, all over the place. The older I get, I find myself drinking more and more water. Wonder why that is. We didn't have running water in our house until I was 8 years old. Before that, a water pail sat on the kitchen cupboard with a dipper in it. When we were thirsty, we dipped out some water and we all drank from the common dipper. None was wasted either. Who'd ever thought there'd come a day that we'd buy water, but we do. Whether bottled water is any better than tap, well, the jury is still out on that one. But, the bottled water is so easy to take with us in the car or to a ball field, plus it's just the trendy thing to do. Have to admit, though, we do refill the plastic bottles to save money. I've read that's not a good thing to do, but that's another thing for the jury to ponder.
(Trivia question: Which beer came from "the land of the sky blue waters?")

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Rainy Saturday

70% chance of rain today. That's okay 'cuz I love rainy days. They remind me of years ago when we used to take the kitchen chairs into the livingroom, arrange them so we could build a house with blankets draped over them. Loud cracks of thunder and lightning, and we'd crawl inside our cozy little blanket house and that was the neatest feeling ever. Both Mom and Daddy were there, so everything felt just right.

Rainy days are good days to bring out the books, cuddle on the couch, and read. Or, bake a batch of cookies, preferably chocolate chips. Television is a hopeless source of entertainment these days. My hubby is still asleep, but I'm thinking maybe we oughta get in the car pretty soon and hit a few garage sales. On Saturdays they usually run only until noon, so we'd have to shake a leg. It's not that we "need" anything, but rather just something fun we can do. Never know what one might find on a table for just a few cents.

There's also a Rhubarb Festival not too far from where I live, and that might be something fun to trolley over and see. It's held in the city park, and from the advertisements I've read about it, they're offering all kinds of goodies made out of rhubarb. We're always looking for little day ventures like that.

Got up early this morning and have already worked the crossword puzzle and word jumble in the daily. One of the jumble words was "wabile" and for the life of me I couldn't figure it out. Rather than wear out my brain, I resorted to the online jumble solver. The word was "bewail" and then I was upset with myself for not recognizing the word. Oh, well. At least I was able to figure out the answer to the puzzle after that. The puzzles are first thing I do every morning after I pour that first cup of java. Kinda kicks me into gear.

Oh, I hear footsteps coming down the stairs. I'd better start hinting about the garage sales. It'll be easy, cuz my hubby enjoys them just as much as I do!
I think we're gonna get wet.

Friday, June 04, 2010

A Gift of Love

My paternal grandmother died when I was only two. I've seen pictures of her and was told that I have her eyes. One can only feel a void when someone as special as one of your Grandmas is missing. And, all my life I couldn't help but think that if my eyes look like hers did, then we must be somewhat alike, she and I.

A few years ago, I was at a tea party with some other ladies. I remember the hostess bringing china plates of cookies and other delicate treats to the table for us to nibble on, and her dining table was covered with a linen table cloth and set with fancy china cups and saucers. I'd always been fascinated with tea parties, so my mind quickly reverted to my childhood when I hosted grand tea parties for my imaginary friends beneath the big tree that grew beside our house.

When the hostess came to me and reached for my cup, she smiled and said, "You don't know this, but this teapot belonged to your Grandma. I bought it years ago at the auction sale after she died."

I have no idea how I responded to what she said, except I remember that my heart started pounding and about jumped out of my sweater and onto the table. Never in a million years did I expect anything like that. As anyone who knows me can attest to, I don't get through things like that without getting weepy, alot weepy. You know, come to think of it, that's another thing I inherited from her--Grandma was said to be laughing one minute and crying the next!

Well, through the thoughtfulness and generosity of the hostess, the following Valentine's Day I was gifted with the teapot. The perfect gift for the holiday of love. I am sure Grandma held me and talked with me when I was just a baby, but I was too young to know. But, now as I hold her teapot in my hands, I know that her hands held it, too, and with my creative imagination we do sip tea together and chat about how I grew up, got married, and all sorts of other life stuff, including a secret or two. We can laugh and we can cry. Just the two of us--and a little black teapot.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Another Girl Gone

They were golden, weren't they? And, to think Rose is now the only one left. Good-bye, Blanche, and thank you for the laughs!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

I can just see her.....

Here is a picture of what remains of the one-room school house my mother attended as a little girl four miles from the farm where she grew up. I can just see her riding bareback on her pony cutting it across the fields, bouncing up the school steps, and conscienciously sitting at her desk learning the abc's, her numbers, how to add and subtract, learning first to print and then to write in cursive. Here is where she learned to read.
Mom told about the times in winter when her teacher would put potatoes and milk on the wood stove and the students would each get a cup of hot potato soup at lunch time. Some eighty years later, her face would light up as she'd still say it was the best potato soup she ever ate and she could still taste it.
Mom always insisted I study hard and to read, read, read. I think it's sweet that she insisted on naming me after a character in a novel she was reading at the time she was expecting me. Books gave my mother a way to travel and know what the world was like through someone else's eyes without leaving her rocking chair.
It's mind boggling to think how education has changed from back then to me now sitting in my home in front of a laptop and being able to audit a class at Yale. When I found out about, a new and wonderful world opened up to me. I live with an insatiably curious mind, and I can't help digging and scrounging around for answers or explanations to things that maybe are beyond human understanding.
And, I can't help but think that this little old schoolhouse had something to do with me being like that.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


Clear blue skies set today's backdrop. June 1st already! Next thing we'll know, it'll be the 4th of July. Our small town is known for its exceptional fireworks on the 4th, along with the little league games, free watermelon for the kids, and the homemade chicken noodle soup made by the devoted volunteer ladies. Don't know how hot soup ever got started for a hot summer day, but it nevertheless is something people look forward to around here. Our population is about 400 on a busy day, but on the 4th of July thousands stream into town, lay their blankets and coolers down on the grassy park lawn, and wait for the night-sky entertainment that begins about 10 o'clock. Patriotic music plays loudy and has enough punch to bring tears to a grown man. Especially Lee Greenwood's, "God Bless the USA."

Hanging baskets of blooming petunias are a new addition to our village. They are so pretty and add a sweet charm to an already pretty place.

The corn is growing nicely in the fields. Farmers are baling hay. Seems the crops, flowers, and gardens are two weeks ahead of most years at this time. Our peonies usually blossom mid-June, and here they are already on their last days. We do need rain. If we don't get some soon, there will be no need to mow the lawns. We water our garden and flowers each night. Storms are forecast for late this afternoon and evening. We were going to take a drive today, but our better judgment kept us home. Why put ourselves in storm's way if it isn't absolutely necessary.

So it is that summer is bursting with its scheduled events. Now that Memorial Day is behind us, the next special day will be Father's Day. Craft shows, art fairs and flea markets entertain us with usual favorites, like kettle popcorn. The vendors stir the popcorn in their copper kettles,while the sweet aroma drifts through the air tempting our appetites.

Time to open the windows and doors and let the fresh air in. Our flag is moving ever so slightly this morning.