Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Walk in the Rain


Once, when I was unusually stressed, my doctor said, “Peggy, do you ever take an early morning walk in the rain?” Rolling my eyes and scanning my memory, I said, “I used to – a long time ago.”
“Try it again,” he said. “It’ll do wonders for you.”
When I went out this morning to run an errand, the skies were gray and rain was falling softly. As I drove along, almost hypnotized by the windshield wipers, I thought about what the doc had said long-ago and about the walks in the rain that I had let go of so easily.  
Life got in the way of simple pleasures like that one.
Pulling over to the curb, I parked, rolled my window down and breathed deeply. The sweet fragrance of the morning rain brought back many memories and I knew instantly I had to take one of those walks I’d dismissed as something I didn’t have time for years ago.
Out of the car, I was, at once, a child again! I sauntered right through a couple of puddles, ignoring the fact that my feet were getting soaked and I closed my umbrella for a few minutes, looked upward and let the rain pepper my face.
It was wonderful!
By the time I got home, it was clearing and the sun was trying to peep through the clouds. I was almost disappointed!
As I put my purchases away, I smiled  – feeling like I had a beautiful secret!



Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother’s Laughter


        My mother’s laughter was infectious – like a cheerful tune that lingers in your mind for the rest of the day. Like a yawn that starts a chain reaction and everyone else in the room yawns.
She laughed often. It didn’t take much to amuse her: the antics of a young child, a puppy or kitten tickled her funnybone causing her to laugh joyfully and everyone within hearing distance felt an urge to laugh with her.
They say we all have a talent. Although she had others, the ability to make people laugh was one of the most significant.
She was a good singer, too. It ran in her family. Her sister and three brothers all sang beautifully. Nothing pleased me more as a child than to be there when she and her siblings got together for a songfest or to hear her singing while she did her housework. Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit her vocal chords. I was pretty sure of that fact from the get-go, but it was confirmed when I was once singing with the radio while doing my housework and my dog started barking at me. I loved to sing but the only place I dared was when I was alone in my car with all the windows up. I’d put my favorite CD on the player, turn the volumn up and sing to my heart’s content. Sometimes I’d take the long way home just so I could sing longer.  J
I loved my mother but we couldn’t have been more different. I used to wonder if she might possibly have taken the wrong baby home from the hospital until I learned that I was born at home.
Clobbered that theory!
I never liked the clothes she picked out for me either. How angry I used to get when she made me wear things I hated just because they suited her!
For example, she always made me wear a beret on Easter and other dress-up occasions. She was so skillful at matching the color of a beret to my dress or coat perfectly every time! And the way she pulled the tight bands of those things down on my forehead almost to my eyebrows made me feel like my head was in a straight jacket. In retrospect, I think I must have looked like a woman who arches her eyebrows too high, causing her to look surprised. I was convinced if I sneezed or coughed hard, the beret would go flying across the room and smack someone in the face. As soon as we were in the car heading home, I’d yank it off as fast as possible, leaving an itchy, red mark on my forehead for the rest of the day. When I was old enough to wear what I pleased, I never looked at another beret!  :)

Yes, we were different, and that made for some interesting times. As I grew up and struggled to be my own person, we had many heated arguments, but she usually won. My respect for her wouldn’t allow me to go very long without apologizing. To be completely honest, I feared her, too!

God doesn’t make mistakes! He gave me a strong will, and then blessed me with a mother who would temper it. Just as He uses adversity to refine us and make us stronger, my mother combined just the right mix of nurturing and discipline to shape my character.

She was everything a mother should be: loving, intelligent, beautiful – inside and out, God-fearing and more.
I miss her every day of my life. 

(the above picture is not me)

www.amazon.com/author/peggytoneyhorton

Friday, May 12, 2017

Quote

“Like a dying ember, the child in us can flare up again when least expected."     ~Peggy Toney Horton

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Choosing New Shoes



I was born in April. I love it! Even with all the rain that is bound to come, the world becomes a brighter place in this fourth month of the year. Suddenly, the grass is greener and flowers pop up everywhere: daffodils, forsythia, tulips, violets, and a variety of flowering trees magically appear to delight us after a dreary winter. The air even smells fresher.

Ah, April – spring at last!

Thoughts of spring bring thoughts of childhood and remembrances of childish things. I was telling a friend the other day that my mother made me wear “baby” shoes – Stride Rites – until I was five years old. I yearned for the shiny black patent dressy shoes that I saw on little girls in my Sunday School class, but no matter how much I whined and cajoled, my mother wouldn’t budge. When I got fitted for new shoes, it was always white Stride Rites! I hated them!

  My 5th birthday. 

But the summer I was five years old, while she was readying me for school in the fall, to my great surprise and delight, she told me I could go to Keffer’s and pick out my own school shoes. I couldn’t believe my ears and couldn’t get there fast enough!

Living in a small town, in a much different time, was wonderful for kids. We were safe on the streets alone. Everyone knew everyone else’s children and looked out for them. Keffer’s was a one-stop shop sort of thing. Food on one side and dry goods on the other. Not quite like the store on The Waltons, but close. My father had a charge account and had instructed the owners that I could have anything, within reason, that I wanted and charge it to him. I felt quite important going into the store with a friend, buying each of us a candy bar and coke and saying, “Charge it to Daddy.”

So, on a sunny August day – a feeling of declining summer already in the air – I set out to walk the several blocks to Keffer's to shop for my first pair of grown-up shoes! It was hard to contain my excitement!

When I got there, I looked around at all the shoes on display. Though I didn’t see much that appealed to me, I wasn’t about to give up! I kept looking. White baby shoes were strictly off limits. I didn’t even look their way!

I spent quite a while looking and sighing – fear beginning to build that I might not find a pair of shoes I liked. What if that happened and Mother took me back downtown to the Stride Rite store? No! I couldn’t let that happen. I had to get a pair!

Mrs. Keffer, the woman who worked there, noticed me and came over, “Do you need help, Peggy?” she asked.

“Yes, I think so.” And the dam broke. I explained in detail how badly I needed to buy a pair of shoes and why. Mrs. Keffer was a kind lady who listened all the way to the end of my story. She told me to sit down so she could measure my foot. Then she said, “Just a minute, honey. I think I might have something in the back.”

After a few minutes, she came out with a box in her hand, took the lid off and removed a shoe. She showed it to me first, then motioned for me to put my foot out so she could try it on me. I loved it! It was the first time in my life that anything had been on my foot that wasn’t a white baby shoe! When I smiled and nodded, she took out the other shoe and put it on my other foot. I couldn’t have been happier!

      
(This is not me, but you get the idea.)  J

Smiling my biggest smile, I told Mrs. Keffer, “Charge ‘em to Daddy!”

“Okay,” she said, smiling back at me.

Untying one shoe, she said, “I’ll put them back in the box.”

“Oh, no!” I said, “I’ll wear them home!”

My mother didn’t have heart-failure when I walked in wearing those brogue-ish brown shoes, but the look on her face was one I’d never seen before, tho’ she pretended I’d done a great job picking out my school shoes. What else could she do after I’d worn them home? 

This incident amused my dad for the rest of the evening— possibly for the rest of his life.   😄



Saturday, February 25, 2017

Just a Dream?


     Dreams disturb me – especially since, lately, mine have become increasingly tumultuous. In them, I always seem to be frantically searching for something I never find. I occasionally get so agitated that Mr. H. has to shake me awake to stop the screams.

In last night’s vision, I was homeless. And to make matters worse, none of my friends or family would take me in. Just as Scarlett O’Hara often said, “I’ll go home to Tara,” I kept saying, “I’ll go back to my home by the river,” which I finally did. But, alas! my mother was cool, giving the distinct impression that she didn’t want me to stay and even my dad, totally out of character, didn’t seem overjoyed at the thought of my moving in with them.

I was devastated! Lost, homeless, and unwanted. What to do? I turned to leave with tears running down my face and was rudely awakened.

Mr. H. was kicking me. Hard! With both feet! It seemed he was trying to kick me out of bed. I hit him on the shoulder and screamed, “What are you doing?”

“Huh,” he mumbled – then turned over and immediately started snoring.

The next day, at some point, he said, “Do you remember screaming at me last night?”

“I sure do,” I said. “You were kicking me – hard!”

Chuckling, he told me why. “I was dreaming,” he said. “A dog was biting my legs and I was trying to kick it away.”

We had a good laugh and settled that mystery, but I’d still like to know why, in my dream, I was homeless and nobody would take me in.

If I were paranoid, I might think the two dreams were linked and, since nobody else cared about me, Mr. H. was making it unanimous by kicking me out!

Nah!  “It was just a dream."

Wasn't it?


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Another Broken Shoe Heel







It was very cold today. 17 degrees, I think.
When Mr. H. and I went out to run some errands, I dressed warmly. Jeans, flannel shirt, heavy jacket, knee socks and a pair of red boots lined with fur that I haven’t worn for several years. They're not stylish, but warm was all that mattered. I really love these boots, but we don’t have that much cold weather so I don’t wear them often.
Nevertheless, I extracted them from the closet today, yanked them on, zipped them up and enjoyed warm, toasty feet and legs all day.
With heavy socks on, the boots fit very tight, and when we got home, I sat down on a step and asked Mr. H. in my most persuasive voice, “Would you mind pulling my boots off? They’re hard to get off and you’re so much stronger than I am.”
And so... Mr. H. pulled and tugged for a few seconds and off came the first boot. Then he grabbed the other one, tugged and pulled and it resisted, but finally came – in two pieces! The heel broke off in his hand. It didn’t just break loose from the boot – it actually broke into two pieces.
“Oh, darn!” I said. “I’ll bet I haven’t worn these boots more than three times and I love them!” Mr. H. doesn’t think it can be fixed so I’m out a perfectly good pair of boots except for a missing heel. Why do we never break or stain something we don’t care about? It’s always something we love.
Life is like that.
Later this evening, I started thinking about the fact that I seem to have more trouble with shoe heels than most people. Sitting alone in my family room, I laughed aloud remembering the time I wrote a newspaper column about getting my heel stuck in an elevator track and the note my friend, Carol, wrote me when she read the column.
If you’d like to read her note and the column, they're here.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Alien Ornament - 2016


Here it is! This year’s alien ornament! The picture doesn't do her justice. This little angel is beautiful - white, gold and glittery! I love it!
Number ten! 
If you haven’t been keeping up with my alien ornament collection, here’s the skinny: each year for the past ten years, when Mr. H. and I take our Christmas tree down – on or about January 3rd, we find an ornament that we didn’t put on the tree when we decorated it – on or about the 10th of December. From the very first one, we’ve never been sure how it got there, although we have our suspicions.
A family member has been playing this little prank on us each year for the past decade and we enjoy being the recipients of these unusual new ornaments as much as they apparently enjoy secretly placing them on our tree – probably while we’re sleeping or otherwise engaged. 
I have written a blog post and shown a picture of each of them. Hope you enjoy the stories and pictures of our alien ornaments. 
You can see last year’s ornament here.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year - from Bickford Family and Friends

Found this on the Internet right after New Year's Day. It's flattering, but I wonder how they find all this stuff.  :)