Category: along the way

frost flowers

November mornings can bring simple surprises!

Frost flowers are created by water seeping from a stem, then freezing.

This morning we came across a lot of them in our travels.

Delicate beauty, gone when the sun warms the earth.

there are some things you really regret.

One of those things was the Christmas I was 17. Back then, as most teens, there was an aura of complacency, and not a little feeling of superiority in my being.

An elderly aunt had hand crocheted a large doll for me, looking back and now aware of what time and effort went into that doll, I know it should have meant a lot.

However, as a soon to be adult Senior in High School, I was sorely disappointed in the gift. Not because it was hand made but because it seemed to me she was not seeing me for the grownup that I had become.

The doll was tucked away, out of sight in my parents attic for several years.

I don’t know what ever became of it, but this morning while working on some Christmas craft projects, I remembered the doll and more specifically, how I felt.

I’m really sorry I was not more appreciative at the time.

My dad was a genius for homemade costumes, one year my brother was a robot, thanks to some boxes and foil wrap.

I stood out at a long ago Halloween party, done up in a brocade dress of my mothers, some of Gram’s costume jewelry and a cape. For a few hours I was an elegant queen of a far off land.

What could be simpler than a bag of groceries? Back when paper was not an option. a few clever cuts with scissors and some glue to attach empty packages.

I guess with five of us to costume it might have been as much necessity as anything, but we never felt ‘bad’ that we did not have Superman, Cinderella or a witch outfit from the store.

It was a tradition I carried on, an old graduation robe has stood several incarnations, a set of sweats with a bit of judicious trim was a Power Ranger, another with some fabric paint became an articulated skeleton and when the girls were small, every year a clown costume made of flannel also served as winter pajamas.

Life was easier, and far more practical.

Halloween, long ago.

The ‘pack’ of neighborhood kids, dressed in homemade costumes, parading down the streets.

Those kids, waiting for the homemade cookies, caramel apples, real apples, popcorn balls, an occasional candy bar or block of Double Bubble gum.

Laughter, skinned knees, carrying your fussy toddler sibling the last couple of blocks.

No vandals, no chunked pumpkins, no worries, no fears.

What happened?


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!


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