Category: along the way


Pate's Honor Day

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Destroyer Escort Sailors reunion with a number of family members.

My father served on the USS Coolbaugh DE 217 from its commissioning until the end of World War II.

He was honored as we toured the USS Yorktown.

His emotions were at the forefront when we walked up and this sign was prominently posted on deck.

It was one of the few instances I ever saw him cry.

Pvt. Cole

While we were away, camping at the Dorena-Hickman Ferry last week, we met a young couple.

I did not get their first names.

The ferry had closed for the evening, the young man walked in to our camp and asked us the best way to cross the river.

Pvt. Cole is stationed at Ft. Riley KS. and had a 5 day pass to go home to ‘near Bristol, TN’ for the weekend.

We thanked him for his service, gave them an extra map of Missouri and the best directions we could.

I hope they made it.

If anyone knows them, I would like to know they made it.

This is a reminder to myself. Recently I found I have a couple of serious, long term medical conditions. I will be dealing with them the rest of my life. Adjusting my thoughts and attitude is a big part of how that ‘rest of my life’ is going to be. I want to use this little vignette as my future example.

There are two sisters in our community, a bit older than I am and they both have many health issues right now. Both have husbands and families, relatively nice homes and a lot of support. So do I.

Sister One faces her ills head on, fighting all the way, getting out to walk, spending time with people. She will greet you with a smile most days, and rarely ever mentions how she feels or what is going on physically. She nearly always asks what is going on and is enthusiastic or sympathetic or what ever fits the situation. She carries with her an aura of peace, calm and hope.

Sister Two, however, walls herself away, staying home, often not getting up from her recliner except to use the bathroom and eat. On the days she is willing to accept visitors, her only topic of conversation is her last appointment, current treatments and how she feels. And sadly, she does not want to know about anything outside her sphere of misery. This sister radiates fear, sorrow and despair.

I know illness and events can bring a person down. and I know depression is a cruel monster. Seeing these two women, so alike in many ways and yet, facing the same battle so differently, brings this home again.

Let me always remember these ladies, and try to model my actions after Sister One.

A young mother of three I know, lamented, “I wish I could snap my fingers and a genie would come clean my house.”

I knew that feeling, during the long hot summers of my own kids growing up, even as I babysat grandkids, nieces and nephews in the more recent past.

As I look back, yes, the genie would have been nice. Maybe I could have managed time better. Who knows?

I do know, moments of wonder, drawing pictures, weed bouquets in grimy hands, blowing soap bubbles in the wind, playing with them in the sprinkler, hearing them say, “Please, read/tell us a story”, and “Can we have a tea party?”, are much more precious than spotless floors, folded laundry and a clean sink will ever be.

Housework lasts a short time, so does childhood. Housework lasts forever, children grow up and move on in the blink of an eye.

I’ll take the memories, a weed bouquet and a tea party!

Some day, dear, you will wish for these things too.

Grandson and family came by for a visit today.

At near noon, I was still in my PJ’s laying on the futon in the living room.

Three year old great-grandson: “Why so you still have your bejammers on”

Me: “I was sick and had to go to the hospital, I am better, but I have to rest a lot right now.”

Five year old great-granddaughter: “did you get a baby? That’s why mama went to the hospital.”

There are some questions even a grandma can’t come up with answers for.

Hubby discovered he really likes some types of pickles. Likes them enough, in fact, that he has been learning his way around the hot water bath canner very well!

Today, he made bread and butter pickles and a batch of dilled okra.

You might wonder why he did that?

It is simple, I spent a few days in hospital and have not got back up to par… He had been great about helping slice veggies and pack jars.  The garden hasn’t slowed down one bit. Vegetables  just keep piling up!

Today’s abundance of cucumbers and okra had to be canned up, so he did it! I read the instructions, he made his brines and took right over.

He’s a good man, my pickle packing Papa!

This morning, peaches were my goal.

Stopping in Ellsinore MO for breakfast at the Log Cabin Café, Hubby noticed a sign for “Fresh Produce” as we turned off the highway.

Breakfast over and with no specific destination, we followed the road about a mile to Weavers Greenhouse.

There we were greeted by a family of Mennonites who work the gardens, run the greenhouse and a pretty fine produce stand.

Some of the girls were hanging laundry, out, a barefoot boy or two headed to one of the gardens, hoes in hand.

Fresh produce! Oh my goodness! Tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, peppers, new potatoes, summer squash, and melons, in wooden slat baskets, and peaches! Colors, scents and textures to delight the senses.

A little girl, kapp askew, braid bouncing on her back, pale blue dress rumpled, ran down the path, “We are going ‘swinning’ this afternoon”, she announced with a grin, as she skipped to a stop near the door of the produce stand.

I have no photo, only the one painted in my mind of childish joy and carefree youth, what a lovely picture that is!

Yesterday, my sister and I went down some old dirt roads together.

One stop took me back some 50+ years, as we found and photographed a house much like my in-laws when Hubby and I first wed. That house had no electricity, no water running from a tap. It held respect, knowledge and caring people, for which I am forever grateful.

out withBJ for the day 027pro.

All this picture needs is me and Granny,sitting on the porch, enjoying the summer afternoon. Feeling the breeze, listening to cicadas and birds sing, a glass of cold well water in hand. Knowing a ‘canning’ of green beans, one of tomatoes, and a batch of pickles are sealing in the kitchen. The wood stove is cooling down, dishes done up, floor is swept…nothing to do for an hour or two, until supper. At peace with the world.

Down a dirt road, at the low water crossing, cool water moves over the dam. Time to stop, sit quietly and take a few moments to contemplate the wonders of nature and the glory of God’s creation…

In those moments, listen: ripples and soft splashes. Singing birds.

Look: flashing bird wings, wild flowers.

Feel: warm sun and damp breeze.

Smell: flowers, rich earth.


You cannot purchase a moment like this.

airstrip, mayholler, maple trees on B 052

We have been visited by winter. Last week, 8.5 inches of snow and then about 3 inches of fine sleet.

The sleet has compacted to a great layer of very slikc ice, thick enough that my 130 pounds will not crack through the crust..

This morning, with temperature hovering around 10 degrees, it fell to me to take water to the kennels and check on the chickens. Not a difficult task on most days and one I have done many, many times in the past. Dressing for the weather, in high top boots, heavy coat, fur hat, I picked up my water jugs and stepped out.

The porch and stairs, nicely cleared due to the efforts of Hubby and Brett was no problem, nor about the first 20 steps across the glacier that was once our yard.

Then, Right foot went one way and left went another as I tried some sort of ice skating move! There was not grace, no beauty in my loss of traction, water spilling from the jugs just made the whole situation worse!

I found myself resting on the ice, on the well padded portion of my body, wondering ‘what now’?

Simply put, I was uninjured (if you don’t count my pride) but never the less in a mess! No way could I get up on that slick stuff, I would have to crawl to something to use to get up!  Sudden realization that my gloves were inside was not  pleasant knowledge. Sliding across the layer of water covered ice, I was remembered all the safety rules – not quite soon enough!

I made it to the dog pens, got back on my feet, carefully made my way back to refill the jugs and started over, with a walking stick in hand.

Soon the task was complete, the animals cared for and yes, now the gloves are in my coat pocket!


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