Saturday, December 31, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

With the New Year, we have before us a brand new book containing 365 blank pages. May we fill them with all the forgotten things from last year—the words we forgot to say, the love we forgot to show, and the charity we forgot to offer. 







Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cherished Traditions


Only a few hours ago, my house was full of happy chatter and laughter. Now it’s as quiet as a tomb. My out-of-state children and grandchildren have gone home. Christmas is officially over. Even the holiday music on the radio and TV has been silenced.

The Christmas tree stands in the corner looking much less impressive than it did a week ago. Last night, at least two sets of lights opted to close their eyes on the Christmas of 2011. I usually enjoy the tree until after New Year’s Day, but, with large sections of darkness dominating, it has lost its charm, so I’m ready, for the first time in years, to take it down and put it away before January 2nd.

But first – a little rest. How exhausting it is to enjoy oneself! It is especially so when the celebration is always at my house and I’m the one who does most of the work. My husband helps, of course. I’d never make it if he didn’t. I cook, he washes dishes; I bake cookies, he makes wonderful cashew brittle; he puts wrapping paper on the presents, I add ribbons and bows. We decorate, order gifts online and go shopping together when it’s necessary. It’s a shared effort and we work well jointly. Not a surprise. We’ve been doing Christmas as a team for many years!

Unlike most people, we aren’t finished with this holiday at the end of Christmas Day. Our daughter and her family, who live in another state, arrive the day after Christmas, and her siblings and their families return for yet another celebration. Though it’s enjoyable, everyone agrees that it's getting a little more difficult every year to pull off the second festivity with the same joyfulness that we did the first. Not only are we, the parents, getting older, but so are our children. Therefore, we’ve considered making changes in the routine.

But, since the mind seems to erase bad memories and retain only the good ones, chances are we’ll be raring to go next year as always. It’s not easy to alter cherished traditions. Once again, we’ll gather at this happy time to eat, laugh and reminisce; we'll also take pictures and make beautiful memories to hand down to the younger generations.

And before many years pass, someone else will be forced to take over the hosting of this, and all, special family events.

The never-ending cycle continues...




Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A December Graduation

A little more than four years ago when my husband and I attended our grandson’s high school graduation, I promised him we'd be there in four years to watch him walk across the stage and accept his college diploma.

When I made that promise, there was no way I could foresee that he’d be graduating with the fall class and his graduation ceremony would occur only one week before Christmas. At that time, I imagined a spring ceremony: warm weather, blooming trees, daffodils, the scent of lilacs floating on the breeze. No pressure – just a wonderful trip to North Carolina for a leisurely visit with family and a side trip to attend the graduation.

But those four years passed like a dream and that special occasion is taking place this coming Saturday, December 17th. I really hate long car trips anytime, but doubly so in December! However, some things you do - like it or not.  And so... we are preparing to make the trip on Friday, and praying for good weather.

It'll be a quick trip. Like many people, we're rushing to get everything done in time for the big day, so we plan on returning Sunday. That'll be a lot of hours in the car, in a short time, for two "older" people and we'll no doubt be exhausted. But we’ll do it. Why? Because there’s no way we could “not” do it.

A promise is a promise. Especially to a grandchild!



Saturday, December 10, 2011

Admit You Need Help Now!


Alcohol destroys!  It not only destroys the person who drinks, but also the people who care for that person – family, friends and acquaintances.

If you think you may have a problem with alcohol, here are a few questions to ask yourself. If any of these apply to you, you need to start treating your alcohol problem today…

1.      When you drink alcohol, does it cause problems?
2.      Are you always looking for more alcohol once you’ve exceeded your limit?
3.      Have you tried quitting before?
4.      Do you hide alcohol around the house?
5.      When you get drunk, do you pass out and later forget what you’ve done?
6.      When you’re drinking, does your personality change?
7.      When you’re drunk, do you become angry with other people?
8.      Do you often start arguments with family and friends when you’ve been drinking?
9.      When you’re in a sad mood or alone, do you always look for the bottle?
10.  Does your health suffer from drinking too much alcohol?
11.  Have you ever wondered if your life would change for the better if you stopped drinking?

If you can be honest with yourself and admit that three or more of these points apply to you, then you need medical help!

Most of us have had experience with heavy drinkers. No matter how much patience we have, it finally grows thin and we either have to tell the person how we honestly feel or distance ourselves from him/her. It’s a matter of self-preservation. Drinkers often do and say cruel, hurtful things that we never forget. And the worst part is, they almost always find a way to blame their problems on someone else. Until they come to terms with their problem and do something about it, they will always be in danger of an early demise from the effects of alcohol—and even worse, they will undoubtedly end up alone!




Friday, December 2, 2011

Grandparent's Answering Machine

Good morning. . . . At present we are not at home but, please leave your message after you hear the beep. Beeeeeppp ...

   1. If you are one of our children, dial 1 and then select the option from
       1 to 5 in order of "arrival" so we know who it is.

   2. If you need us to stay with the children, press 2.

   3. If you want to borrow the car, press 3.

   4. If you want us to wash your clothes and do the ironing, press 4.

   5. If you want the grandchildren to sleep here tonight, press 5.

   6. If you want us to pick up the kids at school, press 6.

   7. If you want us to prepare a meal for Sunday or to have it delivered to
       your home, press 7.

   8. If you want to come here to eat, press 8.

   9. If you need money, dial 9.

If you are going to invite us to dinner or take us to a restaurant, start talking - we are listening.





Sunday, November 27, 2011

Just Another Day

 
Another Thanksgiving has come and gone, and soon we’ll be saying the same about Christmas. Everyone I know bemoans the fact that it all comes and goes so fast. Why do we care?

While sitting around after our Thanksgiving feast, trying to fight off the effects of the natural sedative some believe turkey contains, my grown children began talking about their growing up years – in this very house. One of them said, “We loved Thanksgiving, but the best part was – it meant that Christmas was not far away. Still, it seemed to take forever! We thought it would never come.”   

“And there were all those threats,” said another. “Mother would say, ‘Don’t forget; Santa is watching you.’ We were afraid to do anything!”

“We were blackmailed into going to bed early, eating all the food on our plate and not fighting with each other. If one of us even thought about misbehaving, all Mother or Daddy had to say was, ‘Remember, Santa is watching.’ We were model children during the weeks between the two major holidays.”

“With all the shopping and baking and decorating, our excitement was hard to contain! It was great fun hanging ornaments on the tree and helping with the dozens of cookies Mother always made. We loved spending a whole day in the kitchen shaking red and green sugar on some and placing chocolate pieces on others. And getting to eat a few along the way was nice, too.”

“When Christmas Eve finally came, it was like a long-awaited dream. We were almost overcome with excitement,” the eldest daughter remarked. "Soon after breakfast, we’d get all dressed up and go visit relatives,” she said. “Yeah,” her sister chimed, “we visited both grandparents; we saw aunts and uncles and cousins that we didn’t see the rest of the year, then we’d visit some old neighbors that were special to us. Everywhere we went, people gave us goodies and Mother and Daddy were sure we’d be sick on Christmas morning.”

“When we got home, the neighborhood was glowing!"

 “Everyone participated in the lighting of luminary candles. Remember how awesome it was? It was magical – every home on every street was aglow! And it was even more beautiful if it happened to snow!”

“Then at midnight, we’d all pile back into the car and go to our church for a candlelight service! None of us will ever forget the final few minutes of that service. We were each given a small white candle. One candle was lit by the pastor and the rest were lit, one by one, from the candle of the person who sat next to you. When all of the candles were burning, the lights were turned off, and, with dozens of candles flickering in the darkness, we sang Silent Night. It was the most beautiful sight ever! I still get chills just thinking about it."

“When we got home, we were so tired; we had to go right in and get ready for bed, but not before hearing the threat one last time: ‘Santa is watching; he won’t come until you’re all asleep,’ we were warned.”

“After leaving milk and cookies for Santa, Mother planted kisses firmly on our foreheads and tucked us in – to fall asleep and dream of the treasures we’d find under the tree when we awoke.”

“What happened to those great years?” said one. “Why is Christmas not that exciting anymore?”

“We grew up!” Another answered. “Christmas is never the same after you’re grown.”

Nodding in agreement, everyone laughed and decided it was time for dessert.
~~~
So why do we care about the rapid passing of time? I suspect the child in us longs to be set free at Christmastime, but as adults, our lives are different. We have responsibilities – jobs or careers, or are homemakers. We have many things to think about. There is no time for child-like expectancy. Therefore... instead of savoring every minute of this beautiful season like we did as children, we find ourselves rushing to get everything done and looking forward to getting it behind us. And Christmas is never the same again!

But why do we continue to yearn for that long-ago enthusiasm?

Simple. Because anticipation is the soul of enjoyment! Without it, Christmas is just another day.

~Published in the Charleston Gazette's, Write Your Own Column, December 25, 2011~






 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ever Hear of Bill Gates?

It’s never been easy for me to admit I can’t do something. Whatever I’m asked to do, I’ll almost always say, “Yes,” and then wonder why – especially if it's something I've never done before. This recently happened. And now, I’m vowing I’ll never do this particular thing again. Oh, I managed to pull it off, but when I was finished, I knew it wasn’t a first-rate job, therefore it will always haunt me – knowing I didn’t do it as well as it deserved to be done.

Many times in my life, I’ve been faced with this same situation. Makes for an interesting life – always trying to be what people expect you to be – or better.

I got married at the very young age of 17. To use a tired expression, I couldn’t boil water!  But my wise mother-in-law gave me a wonderful cook book. Fortunately, I was determined and not afraid to experiment in the kitchen; and since necessity is the mother of invention, I learned to cook. But before that came to pass, my husband ate a lot of things that weren’t “like mama used to make,” but he was a good sport and didn’t complain. It wasn’t too long before I was actually getting compliments from him.

And then there were children. Five of them: two boys and three girls. Husband bought me a sewing machine. I didn’t even ask for it. Guess he thought we’d save money if I did some sewing. But my only experience with the craft was a semester of Home Economics in high school where we made only a pot holder and an apron. But once again, rather than say, “I can’t,” I learned by doing.

After many failed attempts, tears of frustration and hundreds of stitches removed because they were sewn in the wrong places, I finally began producing wearable play clothes for my children. Some of the little summer sundresses were really cute and I was proud to say, “I made it,” when someone commented on one. I even turned out a shirt for my husband once... although I’m pretty sure he never wore it. That was one of my problems: once I learned something, I became obsessed!

When I learned to crochet, I started where most people do – with afghans. Then it was doilies, tablecloths, placemats, bedspreads, sweaters for my girls, and crocheted covers for everything from Kleenex boxes to hand lotion bottles. (Did I mention obsessed?) And I actually crocheted a coat for my daughter, which she enjoyed very much.

Ever hear of Bill Gates?  Well, thanks to him and some other very smart people, I had another challenge thrown my way. However, I must explain that my husband’s very first computer had a Dos operating system. He and my son enjoyed it, but I had no interest. It seemed overwhelming to me. But things have a way of changing and it becomes necessary to keep up, so not long after Bill Gates began singing the praises of Windows, my husband jumped on the bandwagon and bought a new computer. Surprisingly, he was a little intimidated by it. He’d been used to putting commands into the Dos system – being in control, you might say – so the new Windows system that seemed to have a mind of its own was a little daunting.

But not for me!

I’d just had gallbladder surgery and wasn’t supposed to do much, which gave me a perfect opportunity to play around with the new computer while my husband was at work and the kids were at school, or working. Once again, I had no fear. I clicked on literally everything. I just had to see what everything did and why. When I ran into trouble, I’d call one of my sons. One worked with Windows at his job and the other had already purchased his own computer with Windows. So I had some back-up. I’d say, “You’ve just got to help me get this straightened out before your dad gets home! He’ll kill me for trashing his new computer!”

My boys laughed, but always came through for me.  In fact, I learned things from them in those early days that I’ve never forgotten.

By the time my husband finally got over feeling intimidated, I was sending and receiving e-mail every day and tackling the Word program. But unlike me, he went about learning the new system very methodically—buying books, reading and studying. Before long, he was quite knowledgeable about Windows and I was learning from him. He’s now our family’s computer expert.

I suppose I should try to be more like him: learning first, and then doing – instead of the other way around. It’s just so hard for me to say,”I can’t.”

I really can’t!






Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Magic Highway

There was an eeriness about it today – the country road I feel compelled to write about each time I travel it. With nary a car traveling in the direction I was, and only a couple passing on the other side, I nearly had the five to six mile stretch all to myself. This is unusual.

This thoroughfare I’ve come to love was quite different on this mid-November afternoon than it was a month ago. White birch trees stood tall, their outstretched branches devoid of the magnificently colored leaves of only a few weeks ago. Their stately posture projected the attitude that they were braced for Mother Nature’s first assault, whether frost or snowfall.

The area I call "my tunnel" was darker than the rest of the highway even with the trees bare because many large evergreens cast ample shadows across it – as they stood guard while their taller neighbors were already resting for the winter.

The last time I wrote about this highway, I told you it was magical. It’s true! I sense it every time. It’s impossible to drive the route and be stressed or unhappy. Whether I travel this road in the springtime when trees are budding and everything is brand new, or in summer, when vegetation is lush and green – creating a darker tunnel than any other season, in autumn, when the foliage is so breathtakingly beautiful that one drives more slowly just to take it all in, or in the deep of winter when a blanket of snow covers the whole thing with freshness and tranquility, I always return home relaxed and happy. 

I can’t explain it. But it makes my heart sing!  

~~~

If you'd like to read my other stories about this same road, check here and here.




Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Changed World

A family member phoned last night, rather late, and said he was coming by to drop off some things. My first impulse was to unlock the door and continue reading my engrossing book, but on second thought, I decided that wasn’t a good idea.

What if a stranger decided to walk in?

When I was growing up; we never locked our doors. In the summertime, at night, we used the little latch on the screen door and left the big door open all night. We had to. It was hot and we had no air conditioning. Besides, there was nothing to fear. We lived in a small town where everyone knew everyone else and we took care of each other.

Imagine leaving your doors unlocked now. Mine are usually locked. Even in the day time. My grown children have their own keys. I wish we didn’t live in such an untrustworthy world.

As a child, I walked quite a distance to school, sometimes alone. In those days, no one ever thought of a child from an ordinary family, like mine, being kidnapped or harmed in any way. In a small town, like the one I lived in, everyone looked out for all of the children – not just their own. It was a much safer world then.

My friend and I used to spend Saturday afternoons at the movies eating popcorn, watching a movie, sometimes more than once, and interacting with other friends from school, who spent their Saturdays the same. It was great – something to look forward to every week. We'll never forget those Saturdays of our youth!

Nowadays, mothers deliver their children to and from school and accompany them everywhere they go. There are some who still ride school buses, but when they step off the bus in the evening, their mothers wait nearby to take them home.

Some of my most enjoyable times occurred on the way home from school in the afternoon. I shudder at the thought of all the fun things I would have missed if my mother had picked me up!

There was a soda fountain in our town reminiscent of the one on “Happy Days”. My friends and I stopped there on our way home most evenings for a coke, a milkshake, or just enjoyment. Lots of good things happened there: I sometimes met a new friend or engaged in a flirtation with a boy from school. And when I was in high school, many Saturday night dates were made sitting at the old soda fountain – or at least my phone number written on a napkin for someone who wanted to phone later.


Yes, it’s a changed world. I suppose my parents thought the same thing when I was growing up. If there’s anything we can count on, it’s change. But no matter how things vary, the era we grew up in – to us – will always be the best!

 

  


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Can Ya' Say Yea?

Every family member carries with him at least one or two memories from the past that make him smile, just thinking about them. These may be funny antics done by young children or even something an adult did or said inadvertently – or intentionally – that was comical or embarrassing. These precious memories are what make us feel warm all over and why we are drawn close to our family. They are the very essence of “family ties.”

Today I was thinking about something amusing that my granddaughter used to say and do. Even at only four or five years old, she loved the American rock band, Bon Jovi. Any time several family members were together and Bon Jovi appeared on the TV, Danielle jumped up and down, clapped her hands and yelled, “Bon Jovi!” Then she’d go around the room speaking to one person at a time in this fashion: “Bon Jovi! Can ya’ say, ‘Yea,’ Maw-Maw?” And each person had to say, “Yea,” and clap his/her hands together before she’d move on to the next person. “Bon Jovi! Can ya’ say, ‘Yea,’ Uncle Lee?”  

“Bon Jovi! Can ya’ say, ‘Yea,” Grandpa?” And so forth. It didn’t matter how many were in the room. She challenged everyone to say, “Yea.” This happened literally every time she saw either the band Bon Jovi or lead singer, Jon Bon Jovi appear on TV or heard them on the radio.

Danielle is now in her mid-twenties and that expression remains our family’s catch-phrase for most everything pleasant. Any time something good happens, at least one of us never fails to clap his hands and say, “Can ya’ say, ‘Yea?’”

I think it’s one of life’s sweetest pleasures that an innocent child can inject something so enjoyable into a family that it lasts forever.






Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Life Is But A Vapor





Ah, November first. A sunny 61°. Beautiful day!

A little sadness creeps in because my beloved October is gone for another year. Why does it seem to pass more quickly than the other eleven months?

But today is a special day – my husband’s birthday. We’ll have a special dinner, and later, our children and grandchildren will visit, presents in hand, and we’ll enjoy cake and ice cream and a lot of fun together. This is the way it goes in our family. There are many of us. Each birthday and special holiday, we gather at our house, eat and enjoy each other’s company. We are blessed.

We couldn’t have guessed when we eloped on that long ago day in early September – a little more than children ourselves – that one day we’d be the parents of five children, and grandparents of seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. We couldn’t imagine ever being old; we had parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles older than we were. Old age was far away!

How could we know when we said, “until death do us part,” that time would pass so quickly – like a dream – and one day those older parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles would be gone and we’d be the senior generation – next in line to deal with our mortality.

James 4:14 says: Life is but a vapor that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. We must try to enjoy each day, appreciate every moment, be thankful for our blessings and, most important, distribute all the love we can. Our love should radiate like the sun, warming everything it touches!

Just like my beloved October, life passes much too quickly. Let us savor each golden day. Every precious moment!



HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KEMPER!









I LOVE YOU!




Saturday, October 29, 2011

Not A Hint Of Sunshine


A friend sent me an e-mail this morning with a picture attached. Caption: Summer and fall... come and gone.  Her note read: “Look what I woke up to this morning.” And there in the picture was her deck and two chairs covered with snow. It was a gray day – not a hint of sunshine – the kind that depresses me.

I love the snow, but I’m not quite ready for it. It's too soon!  I’m sitting here enjoying a sunny 49º afternoon. From my windows, I can see many colors remaining on nearby mountainsides~ enough to make one say, “Ahhh! and Oooo!” and wish autumn weren’t so close to being over for another year.

This lovely season comes and goes too quickly, doesn’t it?  Don’t you sometimes want to shout at Mother Nature, “Hey, slow it down just a wee bit so we can enjoy it?” It’s hard to keep up. Just when we get used to one season, another one pushes it out of the way and takes over. We have no choice but to adjust... like it or not.

Long before the sweltering days of summer are over, stores are filled with Halloween paraphernalia, turkeys, gourds, and all sorts of Thanksgiving gear. Closeby, we find Christmas cards, trees and other decorations for adorning our homes and surroundings to make ready for the most important holiday of the year.

When we were kids impatiently waiting for Christmas to come, the days passed by like a slow, boring parade, but now that we’re grown, it seems we no sooner get the decorations put away until it’s time to take them out again.

I wonder... Could that be the reason some people leave their outside lights up all year? 



Friday, October 28, 2011

Say Something Nice


Gossip, or idle rumor, is rampant in today's society. Gossip is one of the oldest and most common means of sharing facts, but also has a reputation for introducing errors and misinformation. Some newspapers carry "gossip columns" which detail the social and personal lives of celebrities or of élite members of certain communities, and with the advent of the Internet, gossip is now widespread instantly, from one place in the world to another. What used to take a long time to circulate is now far-reaching in a second.

I recently read about a business place that has a zero-tolerance policy for gossip. If employees are caught gossiping, they are reprimanded, and if they continue, they’re fired. They’re encouraged to confront each other with any problems they have instead of gossiping behind each others’ backs. Idle talk that spreads malicious rumors about another person is strictly forbidden!

How unique!

Speaking badly of others betrays confidence, separates close friends, and causes shame or a bad reputation. People rarely can undo the damage their untrue words have done to a neighbor.

Many things that others say aren’t meant to be repeated. But there are times when some of us just can’t resist being the first to share a bit of juicy gossip. Wouldn’t it be nice if we always followed the rule our mothers taught us: “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all?”

I know someone who actually lives that way. Whenever you say even the slightest negative thing about someone, this friend always comes back with something good. It never fails! He absolutely will not listen to anything unflattering about another person. According to him, "The best way to deal with gossip is to ignore it. A person who gossips is looking for a reaction, but if he gets none, it loses its appeal."  

I’m guessing that those who work for the business place that forbids gossip quickly discover that, if they want to keep their jobs, they must learn to say only nice things about their co-workers.

Perhaps this policy should be universally adopted.




Monday, October 24, 2011

A Cold, Gray Day

My daughter, Toney, and I used to go to a nearby gym and work out three times a week. We had a great time on those days. Life was good. But, as everyone knows, when it’s too good, something is bound to happen. I think it’s a law!

One fall day, after we’d done our workout and were on our way home, she said, “Let’s stop for yogurt.” There was this doughnut place on the way home that had frozen yogurt in many flavors. Assuring each other that a cup of it would not diminish the effects of the workout we’d just done, we stopped.

We got our yogurt and sat in a booth. It didn’t take long to learn that my daughter had another reason for this stop. She had something to tell me that she feared would cause a bad reaction and she wanted to be in a public place rather than at home – just the two of us. Smart girl!

“Mike has been transferred to Michigan,” she said. She and Mike had been dating for several months. We liked him fine, but I wasn’t ready for her next announcement. 

“He asked me to marry him and go with him,” she managed to get out in a meek little voice.

Feeling like my world had just crashed, I said, “What did you say?”

“I told him to give me a few days to think about it. I don’t want to leave my family and go that far away to a strange place where I don’t know anyone, but I’m not ready to give Mike up either.” She looked like she was going to cry – and I felt sick!

This was my eldest daughter. We were close. Very close. She had never been away from home except for short visits with friends. I hated the thought of her living that far away, but knew I had to let go no matter how much it hurt.

Mike had to leave for his new job the first week in January, so we had a beautiful, small church wedding on New Year’s Eve. The guests were family and very close friends.

It was a cold, gray day when the young couple packed up the car and started out on the eight hour drive to Flint, Michigan, a long way from West Virginia! I fixed a nice lunch for everyone and, when it was time to go, the family walked to the car with them. Her younger sister, Tish, was as heart-broken as I was watching her sister leave. The two of them hugged right before Toney got into the car, and it was a touching sight. Embracing each other for several seconds, their bodies quivered as they struggled to hold back tears.

When the car carrying my beloved daughter pulled out of the driveway, taking a piece of my heart with it, we waved until it was out of sight, and then went inside. There are no words to describe what I felt. If I had been a child, I would have sat in the corner, sucked my thumb, held my blanket and twirled my hair!

They left on Saturday and by Monday morning, I was missing her terribly. As I sat by the window staring at the dreary January day – watching the snow fall and wiping tears from my eyes, the phone rang. It was her!  How good it was to hear her sweet voice!  I could tell she was shedding a few tears, too. She tried to be cheerful, but it was impossible to hide her homesickness from me, the mother who knew her so well. 

That was almost twenty-three years ago. Toney and Mike are still married. They have a son and a daughter. They never got transferred back to West Virginia, but they’re only four to five hours away now. They come home for special holidays and we visit them occasionally. It’s not so bad. One gets used to changes, I suppose.

But still, sometimes I daydream about the many good times we had together when she lived close.

That's a mother’s prerogative.







Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quit Lollygagging


In a return e-mail today, a friend, who is taking a short trip this weekend, wrote, “I already have my clothes laid out. Typical.”

Her remark brought back memories that made me giggle as I thought about how different we all are. I never would have clothes laid out on Wednesday morning for a Friday trip! I’d be lucky if I knew what I was going to wear when I got up on Friday morning. I’ve always been that way. Sometimes we visit my daughter and her family in North Carolina and I usually pack the morning we’re leaving. How does one know for sure what the weather will be like, or what her mood will be until the very day—the very hour?  If it’s a rainy, dark morning, I’ll probably want to wear something bright, like red or yellow to cheer me up. But if it’s a sunny day, I can tone it down with softer colors.

My daughter, Toney, is just the opposite; she’s like my friend. We call her “Miss Efficiency.” When she’s going on a trip, she’s packed at least a week ahead, and everything is done that needs to be to make for a smooth departure. Nothing to worry about... but wait! She has a daughter just like me!

Uh-Oh! Jourdan inherited her grandmother’s worst traits. First, she doesn’t want to get out of bed. And when she does, she yawns, and groans and lingers over bed-making until Toney yells, “Quit lollygagging like your grandmother and get ready!” She’s usually the one who just has to have a particular pair of jeans washed at the last minute or must shampoo her hair. This drives Toney crazy!

Jourdan loves to spend a week with me in the summertime. We stay up late playing games, watching TV, or just talking. We eat too much, sleep as late as we want, and if she doesn’t make her bed, I close the door. We have fun! One summer, when I took her home, she slept late for days. Toney thought she was sick and took her to the doctor. The doctor didn’t find anything wrong. She was just very tired. Toney said she couldn’t come anymore. But she did.

They say history repeats itself. I suppose it does. My mother was efficient, like Toney. I drove her crazy, too. She often said to me, “You’re just like your dad,” who was easy-going, too.

I think hard-working, efficient people must live longer, considering my mother lived to be 85, and in good health until the last three years, while my father died at 63 after suffering five heart attacks. Perhaps I’d better change my ways. Nah! You can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Besides, I’m having too much fun!





Sunday, October 16, 2011

Happy Birthday!


Just like every other little girl in the world, I really loved my daddy! He's been gone many years, but I thought about him a lot today. It’s his birthday!

He was a special man! I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again: he loved God, his family, and baseball! In that order. Oh, I suppose if I were honest, I’d have to say he wasn’t perfect. After all, he went through the same growing up process that we all do. I’ve heard many stories from him and others, about when he was a young lad first getting to know about life’s ups and downs.

One often told tale was about the first time he came home drunk. Possibly the only time! Everyone didn’t have a car in those days. Those who didn’t, either walked or rode the bus, depending on how far they were going. The bus stop was about a quarter of a mile from my dad’s home. When his father, my Grandpa, realized how late his son was out on this particular Saturday night, he headed for the bus stop to meet the last bus of the night. Sure enough, when it stopped, my dad got off, reeking of alcohol. When he saw his dad, he knew he was in a heap of trouble. Trying to smooth things over, he said, “Hi there, Pop! How ya’ doin’?” Well, Grandpa wasn’t so cheerful. He grabbed him by the shoulders, spun him around pointing in the direction of home and said, “Let’s go, boy!”

As my dad started walking, every time he took a step, Grandpa kicked him in the seat of the pants. By the time they got home, he could barely sit down. As I grew up, my dad laughingly repeated this story many times; and the way he remembered it, the soreness lasted for days.

It appears he had his wild days like most young men do. There were many tales about his strict father struggling to keep him in line. But those are just stories to me. It seems as if those swift kicks did what my grandfather intended. What I remember is a responsible father who worked hard and provided for us and played with me and took me places. A dad whose smile is etched in my brain and whose goodness will live forever in my children, upon whom he made a lasting impression!

October 16th, will always be a special day on my calendar!