Saturday, September 1, 2018

Ah, September~

Ah, September~
A person who was a great influence on my life often said, “The days are long but the years are short.” As a child, I let those words roll off me like beads of rain without giving any thought to what they meant; all I wanted was for the important days like Christmas and my birthday and the last day of school to hurry up and come - but all the good stuff seemed to take forever!
However, getting older changed my perception of time and now I know how true that statement is. The years disappear like water down a drain and I find myself wondering where they went. I can hardly believe it’s time to say goodbye to the eighth month of this year and move on to the ninth, one of my favorites. 

Many people complain. “Oh, my!” they say, “That means winter is right around the corner,” but I’m not one of those. I love September and the beauty that follows. Here in West Virginia, it is more beautiful than anything else I can imagine. Almost Heaven!

Get ready for some gradual changes. 

First, the light changes. Suddenly, you notice there is a soft golden glow instead of the harsh, hot, eye-straining yellow of midsummer. Then there is the silence – the lovely silence, delightful cerulean skies, cooler nights — and an air of expectancy! 

If you combine these golden days with refreshing silence and the still colorful, though declining, flower gardens, you have September days that seem—almost sacred.

It is a restful time. I like to visit a small man-made lake in my town where I sit on a bench beside the water and watch ducks glide gracefully across the reflection of a clear blue sky adorned with puffy white clouds. As I savor this moment in time, my mind is free of worry and stress and I feel very close to God.

“Ah, September, you are the doorway to the season that awakens my soul, though I must admit I love you only because you are the prelude to my beloved October.” ~ pth ©2010 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Summer Afternoon

We are two young girls, barefoot on a sizzling
    street; August heat - Dante's Inferno!

Faster and faster we go; upward pointed
 toes; lips O-ed as we scurry to find a
   cooler spot. At last, thick clumps of grass offer
relief. We accept. Our giggles bounce back from
   surrounding hills; breathing returns to normal.

We lie on cool grass watching big, puffy clouds 
float across a cerulean sky. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

#TBT - A Really Old One of Mr. H. and Me!


We were leaving for a weekend trip to Cincinnati. My parents were babysitting.
Fun times!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What A Narrow Life!

Jenny Lee Smith is dead!  

Jenny and I go all the way back to first grade! She was such a cute little girl. The first thing one remembers about her is her hair. It was a shiny chestnut brown and hung all around in long, individual shoulder-length curls. She reminded me of one of those big-eyed, porcelain-faced dolls I’ve always feared. I don’t mean to imply that Jenny looked scary; it was just that looking at her sometimes made me remember my Pediophobia.

The second thing one remembers when Jenny’s name is mentioned is the way her mother doted on her. She brought her to school each morning – all the way to her classroom – to her desk! Nobody else’s mother did that. I watched curiously as Mrs. Smith preened her daughter, touching her hair lightly, inspecting every curl and adjusting the bow attached to the top of her head. Finally, she’d kiss Jenny on the cheek, smile and take her leave, waving as she exited the door.

I shuddered, imagining how embarrassed I’d be if my mother did that! But Jenny seemed okay with it.

We went to school together throughout elementary and middle school but separated to attend different high schools when we were about 14. Although we no longer saw each other every day, we still lived in the same town and never completely lost touch – until I got married and moved away. Even then, she and another friend paid me occasional visits for a while but that, too, began to wane as time and dissimilar lifestyles separated us.

Jenny lived in the same house her whole life. Literally. She was brought home from the hospital to a modest home smack-dab in the heart of a small town that parallels the Kanawha River. She grew up there and when her parents died, she and her husband continued to live there, and according to the obituary, she died there. I suppose Jenny was happy but I can’t help musing: What a narrow life!

And so... recently, when I found myself needing an answer to some questions from long ago, I thought of Jenny Lee first. If anyone would have the answers, it would be her; she knew everything about the town and its residents. Dialing the number I had for her brought nothing. Checking social media didn’t turn up anything either, so that’s when I resorted to Google. How simple! Once I’d entered her name in Search, the first thing that came up was her obituary. I almost fell out of my chair. So I did what I’ve always done when I was shocked or hurt or upset – dialed the number of my lifelong friend, Caryn.

“I’m depressed,” I said, as soon as she answered.

“Why?” came her reply. “Everyone we know is dying,” said I.

Caryn is so level-headed! “You’re looking at the glass half-empty,” she said. “Just be thankful you’re still walking around.”

“I am, but Jenny Lee Smith is dead!”

“I saw her obit on Google. She died in 2014. How can that be? We just talked not too long ago.”

“Uh,” Caryn reminded me: “the copy of Jenny’s obit is four years old!”

“Yes, but it doesn’t seem possible it’s been more than four years since we talked. I can’t believe she’s gone.”

Attempting to lighten the mood, Caryn blurted, “Well, at least she finally got out of Taylorsville!”

Chuckling, we said our goodbyes and hung up.

My last thought before going to sleep that night was, I wonder if Jenny Lee’s mother was waiting to fix her hair when she got to Heaven...

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Coincidence or ESP?

Sometimes my ESP astonishes me! (Of course, I know it's coincidence but it still surprises me each time it happens). I was in the kitchen this afternoon drying a few dishes, my mind wandering, as always...

... Paris, France on a beautiful March day – on my own for the afternoon, as the people I was with had chosen to do something that didn't interest me. So, off I went strolling down the Champs-Élysées, browsing the shops, people-watching, and soaking up local color. After a while, I decided to stop for tea at a sidewalk café. Sitting there alone, sipping my tea in the bright sunshine and cool breeze, I felt awestruck! The Tuileries Garden was not far away, also the Louvre, the Place de la Concorde, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, The Opera House and many other historical places that I’d read about, but only dreamed of seeing. 
My heart was full to the brim!
Draining my cup of the last drop of golden liquid, I rummaged in my change purse for a few coins to leave on the table and left, feeling weary enough to head back to the hotel and catch an afternoon nap before getting ready for dinner with the others.
Later, when my friends returned, one of them asked, “What did you do today?” Eager to tout how well I’d done on my own, I said, “Well, I strolled leisurely on the Champs-Élysées, taking in the scenery and observing the people, and then I stopped at a sidewalk café for tea -- and oh! I even left a tip for the waitress.” (I should confess that I’d had a difficult time learning to deal with the French currency and my friends loved teasing me about it).
“That’s great, Peg!” my friend said. “How much did you leave her?” Opening my change purse, I pulled out a couple of coins that looked like the ones I’d left, opened my hand and said, “These!” Trying not to laugh, my friend said, “Good job. You left her two cents!” 
Suddenly back in my kitchen, still chuckling about an incident I hadn’t thought about for many years, I heard the TV in the adjoining room blaring:
“Breaking News!  Stabbing attack in Paris, France leaves multiple injured.”

Peculiar that I’d just been visiting that very area in my daydreams... 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Time is An Illusion ~Albert Einstein

     Only four more days of April left. One-third of the year has disappeared like a stone in deep water. April, my birth month, seems to come around faster every year. And when it’s over, I’m a year older.

    Time passes so fast, it makes me dizzy.

    Why didn’t it pass this quickly when I was a child? A day in school was l – o – n – g! A week was endless, and a year - infinite! From one Christmas to the next seemed to take forever, but now, we may as well leave the decorations out because we no sooner put them away until it’s time to take them out again.

     Just think. We’re almost into the second third of our “new year!" We’ve paid our income taxes – or received a refund – and we’re on our way to the next holiday.

     I think it’s interesting the way we measure time by the holidays. Now that the Easter candy and stuffed bunnies are off the shelves at the stores, there will soon be, if not already... oodles of flower arrangements for Memorial Day, the next holiday, at the end of May.

     And, for my family, in particular, June brings a flood of special occasions: we have five birthdays and Father’s Day! It seems the whole month is one of celebration... and gone before we know it. Immediately after, we have a big splash for the Fourth of July and mid-summer is in full swing! The hustle and bustle of summer activities makes me tired! It seems to me that everyone works so hard forcing themselves to “have fun.” It wears me out just watching. Forced fun doesn’t do a thing for me!

     It has to come naturally.

     I guess that’s why I long for the fall and winter months. It’s a restful time. What could be nicer than curling up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate on a rainy fall evening or a snowy winter afternoon? 

     With the first third of the year already gone, I’d be wishing for the next third to pass as quickly – except for one thing:

      It would only put me closer to my next birthday! 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Birthday Boxes - Plural

                                                                      Box 1
                                                                               Box 2
“Don’t you dare touch that box!” said my daughter yesterday at the end of a texting session. And, to make matters worse, she added, “You’ll get another one in the mail tomorrow.”

“May I open it?” I asked innocently.

“No!” she said. “Your birthday’s not until Monday! Don’t open anything till then.”

“Geez!” I told Mr. H.  “That’s a lot of temptation! One box on Friday and another on Saturday and I can’t open either of them for two days! That’s sheer torture!”

He chuckled.

If you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about and would like to know, you can check these links for the full story: 

I'm not sure if I can wait until Monday or not, but I'm gonna try. On closer inspection, Box 1 looks like someone has already broken the tape on the end and tried to take a peek.

I swear it wasn't me!!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Such is Life~

     As I waited my turn in the doctor’s office yesterday, a woman started a conversation with me, “It’s kinda cool today, isn’t it?” she said. “Yeah, a little,” I said, “but that sun sure is nice!”  She nodded and there were a few moments of silence before she started again.
“I had to come out here to get a prescription. They don’t phone them in like they used to. I guess it’s ‘cause so many people get addicted to drugs.”
“Guess so,” I answered.
“Not me!” she said. “I’ve lived 82 years without getting addicted to that stuff. I’m not gonna start now.”
I smiled.  She continued. “I had a knee replacement and the doctor wanted me to take pain pills but I said, “No way! I’m not taking that stuff and getting addicted. So I got up and went home! My grandmother said I was the strongest person she’d ever seen.”
“What did you take for the pain?” I said—“Aspirin? Tylenol?”
“Nothing!” she said. “I just fought through it.”
“Wow!” I said, starting to doubt her word a little.
But she wasn’t finished. 
“You can’t tell anything about this weather, can you?” she continued. “I told Mom this morning there’s no use putting out any tomato plants until we’re sure it’s not gonna frost anymore.”
“Right!” I agreed. Finally! The young doctor’s assistant opened the door and said, “Mrs. Smith” and she went in.
Sitting there alone, I started processing what she’d said. Talking about her grandmother was easy enough, I guess. She was telling a story from the past, but if she just told “Mom” this morning that they shouldn’t put out any tomato plants, that sounds about as current as it gets! 
And if this brave lady, who needs no medication for joint replacements, is 82, I wonder how old Mom is.  
And is Dad going to plow the field this year?  

Friday, March 23, 2018


During less colorful times of the year: rainy seasons, sunless skies, extreme cold, ice and snow – whatever Mother Nature throws at us – all I have to do is close my eyes and visualize one lovely October day and all is forgiven!

                          ~Peggy Toney Horton                                                                     

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

An Unforgettable Experience II

Many years ago, my husband and I had the good fortune to visit our 50th state. Just the two of us. I hated flying and hated leaving our children even more, but Mr. H. convinced me it was the opportunity of a lifetime so I bolstered my courage, packed my bags, found a reputable babysitter (mother-in-law), kissed my young children good-bye and headed out for what was to be a memorable experience.

And what a wonderful trip it was! From the moment we stepped off the plane to the lively sound of ukulele music and were greeted by a beautiful young girl who placed leis around our necks, it was sheer pleasure for the next week.

I remember many things about the experience, but one of the most significant memories is that, when we got to our hotel room, we had a very important message waiting. Our first grandchild had been born while we were en route.

Why did you go on a long trip when you were expecting your first grandchild? You ask. Well, as anyone knows, a long trip like that is usually planned many months in advance. I certainly had second thoughts about going, but it was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity and our son and daughter-in-law encouraged us to go assuring us that we’d almost certainly be back home before the baby was born. But it was not to be. Little Matthew made his appearance as soon as we were out of town. However, once assured that mother and baby were fine, we gave them our love, wished them well and settled in to enjoy ourselves by the deep blue waters of Hawaii.

And enjoy ourselves we did! 

We stayed at The Sheraton Waikiki in a beautiful room decorated with cheerful colors and designs, some of which I copied later in my own home decorating. And of course, our balcony overlooked the blue Pacific! 

Each night, after a long day of sight-seeing, beach walking and a wonderful meal, stress melted away completely and we drifted off quickly to the sound of foamy waves breaking on the seashore. We slept like babies and awoke to the joyful voices of early risers already on the beach. We felt rested and ready for another busy day.

But first: Breakfast. Like everything else in Hawaii, breakfast was leisurely. With pineapple so plentiful, there was an abundance of it on the buffet table, along with every other fruit you could think of. This was wonderful for a fruit lover like me. After sating ourselves with the sweet, juicy produce, we’d have bacon, eggs, waffles, or whatever else we had a taste for on any given morning. Finishing with plenty of coffee, we were finally ready for another day of sight-seeing.

We saw everything one would expect to see on such a trip: Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, and Dole Plantation, to name only a few. Dole Plantation was a haven for Pineapple lovers. The grounds were vast and well manicured, featuring the world’s largest maze. There was also Pineapple ice cream, taffy, jam and clothing and other commodities for the whole family.

And I must not forget the big feast... the Luau!  Such a spread I’d never seen before, or since. There was the customary roast pig, which had been cooked all day in an underground imu which is opened as part of the evening's entertainment. Other traditional foods included poke (raw seasoned seafood), lomilomi salmon (salmon with tomatoes and onions), chicken luau (chicken with spinach, onions and garlic), chicken long rice, sweet potato, haupia (coconut pudding), kulolo (taro pudding) and, poi (made from the pounded root of the taro plant). After dinner, we were mesmerized by dancers and singers performing both traditional and modern Hawaiian songs and hulas. It was an unforgettable evening!

We ate dinner most evenings at restaurants located on the beach. I thought it strange that these restaurants had no walls, which emulated having dinner on the beach. There was only one thing wrong with that: it allowed birds to fly in and out at will. No one else seemed to mind, but I, terrified of birds all my life, was most uncomfortable with this arrangement! However, I managed to overcome it somewhat, and today, when I relive the memory of that trip, birds flying around overhead while I ate is not the first thing that comes to mind. But it’s close.

When it was time to say goodbye to this lovely paradise, there was a little sadness, but I was ready to go – not because I was tired of being there, but because I couldn’t wait to meet our new grandson!

You may want to check out another post about Hawaii... here. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Alien Ornament - 2017

“What the heck is that?” I asked when Mr. H. showed me an ornament he’d just pulled from the back of our Christmas tree.

Laughing, he said, “What do you think? Looks like another alien ornament to me!”

“But what is it?” said I.

Taking it from his hands, I examined it carefully but still couldn’t give it a name. With its large eyes, it looked somewhat like an owl, but there was also pine, two miniature pine cones and four red berries.

Grabbing my phone, I took a picture and sent it to my son. Alien ornament, I wrote. He wrote back, “I love it! Funny, but somehow endearing. It may be the best one yet!”

As we continued dismantling the tree, Mr. H. and I laughed and laughed at the newest member of our Alien Ornament family. It was really cute! Even though this year marks more than a decade of finding a strange ornament on our tree when we take it down, we are always surprised and totally delighted to find it! 

And now, after we admire it a while, this one will be wrapped lovingly in tissue paper and packed away with the others in the box I labeled “Alien Ornaments – 2007 – 2016” last year – but changed this year to “Special Ornaments.”

I cherish these frivolous little gifts from an unknown source and hope that one day, when Mr. H. and I are no longer able to hang them on our Christmas tree, the person or persons responsible for them will give them a special place on their tree.

And may they get as much pleasure from doing so as we have!  

Last year's ornament here

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

January Hoarfrost

How can one awaken to the magnificence of January hoarfrost and witness rays of golden sunshine shimmering through icy trees and not be dazzled by the appeal of a wintry morn?