Saturday, April 30, 2011

Today's Thoughts

This morning, my mind swims with thoughts....nothing terribly cohesive, I'm afraid.

Utmost in my mind, of course, is my daughter, who remains in the hospital at the moment, following her surgery on Thursday.  Apparently, the appendix was quite seriously infected. Amy said that the medical people called in 'gangrenous'. Doesn't sound good, as it means 'gangreen'.  So...they want her to stay until they get a good hold on that infection.  I hope she'll take her meds faithfully to the end once she gets home.

She's so ready to be there in her own bed, in order to get some sleep. She's so tired!  I have asked her if she wants me to come up there (9 states away) to help her as she recovers. She assures me that she's got a good number of friends at the ready to stay through the day and be there at night, too, if needed. Since she's a single Mom of a young teen and preteen, there are driving needs to be taken care of, not to mention laundry and meals and other household chores.  I could be of help, and feel a little 'unneeded' as she tells me, "No, Mommy...stay home and plant pretty gardens." She added a smile and told me she loved me.   

I know she's got an army of wonderful friends surrounding her, as well as her younger sister/best friend.  I don't know what any of us would do without knowing that Meg is there and in control of it all. As my youngest, she could be a spoiled baby-type, even at the age of 35 yrs, but she's not. She's a strong, independent woman who can take charge when the need arises, and she did in this matter.  I'm proud of her... and of Amy too.

There are so many characters in this play, I just realized. Amy, the lead star, Megan, her supporting actress, not to mention the youngsters. The older daughter, Kimberly, was there at the start of this illness, and she took charge of things herself. She told her mother to go to bed and that she'd get her younger sister into bed at the right time, so she would get up on time for school.  Later that evening, she took her Mom's temperature, and seeing the continued pain, told her mother that she was going to the emergency room, and immediately made a call to their friend, a former EMT. From there, Megan arranged someone to stay with the girls, while she took Amy to the hospital. The rest is history previously  told.

It's hard to live so far from family in a 'crisis', but this mother knows that things are well in hand back home.  I know that there is no point in worrying when you are not able to do anything to help from such a distance.  So, I stand ready to make the roadtrip north, should anyone decide that I'm wanted there.  I wanted to go anyway, but sometimes too many people cause more confusion.  So, I wait, keeping a phone close by at all times, to hear the 'breaking news' as it happens.

Before long Amy will be healed enough to be on her own again, and back to work soon after. Days will return to normal and this will all fade into the background of memories.  Meanwhile, it appears that things are going well and  being dealt with as they arise, and I can be just an audience in this production. I applaud all of those involved for their performances: Mother, sister, daughters, friends, doctors, nurses, and all others involved. They're all doing a fine job!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

You Never Know...

What a day will bring.  Past the end of the day yesterday, and two hours after I'd gone to bed, the telephone rang.  At midnight, the ringing phone brings fear to a slumbering soul, and I raced to find out what was happening. My youngest daughter in NY was calling to say that she'd taken her sister to the emergency room, and that she had appendicitis. Surgery would be this morning.

She had everything under control up there, taking her two neices home with her for the night, and would be sure they got to school in the morning. She's got a good head on her shoulders and said she didn't think I should make a bee line for NY. It's a good thing, because our area was under a tornado watch.

 I turned on the TV, and we watched for awhile to see what was happening in our area for the weather. We discussed the surgery and possible trip to NY.  Of course, with all that on my mind, I couldn't sleep. I used the time to pray and trust God to keep all of us safe in our respective situations, including my other family near the Atlanta area, which was in danger of a sighted tornado.  Prayers were flying...for hours, as the thunder rumbled across the dark skies and the lightning flashed long and bright against the night.

Finally I fell asleep, dreaming that we were babysitting for a 14 month old baby in our church.  I saw myself clearly packing for NY, and taking the baby with us, as there wasn't time to give her back to her parents.  I called them (in my dream) to let them know she was fine and with us in NY, and to ask what kind of formula I needed to buy for her bottles.

I was awakened with a start, again, at 6:30 this morning, again by a phone call from the NYer.  She was letting me know that the hospitalized daughter wanted me to call her 'right now.'   I did... and she bellowed when she heard my voice.  I guess, even at the age of thirty-seven, a girl still needs her Mama when she doesn't feel well or is overwhelmed with the financial stuff this will cause.  I tried to calm her down and let her know that we'd work all that our later, that today, with pain, stress and no sleep was not the time to concern herself with those matters.

As I type this, I still don't know what time her surgery will be. I think, maybe, that she's in surgery or pre-surgery right now, as I called her cell phone and left a message, and she hasn't responded.
I know she'll be fine, but I would so love for this to be over for her. All of us have her on our hearts today, and will be glad to hear that she's in recovery or back in her room, and resting as well as she can be, to begin her weeks of recovery.

And so, I sit by the house phone and keep the cell close too.  Sometime today I will hear the words I need to hear. Meanwhile, I'm trying to lay my trust and my daughter into the hands of our Great Physician. 

To be continued.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I DID It!!!

I've been wanting to redecorate my blog page and didn't know how.  One blogger that I visit often renews her page very frequently, and she offered me some insights. Although I've still not mastered her instructions, I was able to do some renovating, and I quite like it! 

I've also found that it's a good bit of fun to find new 'wall paper' and try it out before 'sticking' it to the wall of the page.  It's time consuming, to say the least, to 'shop' for new accessories and things to make the blog look nicer than it has, but what fun to find something new to look at! Now that I know how to make a few changes, I'll be attempting it again on my other blog, very soon.

All this reminds me  of a time back in the early-90's when I had an overwhelming desire to paint. I'd tried all my life to paint pictures that looked like something other than kindergarten art. I lamented to my husband whom I was dating at the time. I said, "I wish I could paint."  He said, "If you want to, paint!"  He continued to encourage me, and when my daughter bought me a gift of acrylic paints, I got some good brushes and attempted my hobby again. Eventually I got better, and happier, with my endeavors. I must say, I've still not mastered the art, but I can bring something out that wouldn't look completely at home on the bulletin board of my granddaughter's classroom! 

So, I'd like to say thank you to Auntie for her help and encouragement in the redecorating! Without her supportive words, I'd still be looking at blah tan with the birds flying across the top!  I'd like to thank my husband, again, for encouraging me to do what I'd like to do, and not just say, "I can't" or "I wish..." .  

The moral of the story,  if you want to do something, give it a try. Work at it. Don't limit yourself with your own disbelief in yourself, or the fact that you don't know how. Pull up your big girl panties and TRY it! Learn something new!  You will never do it, that's for sure, if you don't give it a shot.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Beauty of the Finest Kind...

The other day the skies here were awesome!  There was a storm off to the southwest, and it was heading toward  us. The clouds were dark and layered. The ones closest to the ground were small pillows, with an look on the surface.  I likened it to the way marshmallows look when they are lightly toasted by a hot fire...blistered.

Yesterday I sat on the porch for awhile, in the 80 degree heat. There was enough humidity so that the air was permeated with the fragrance of the rose bushes in the garden beside the porch railing. I couldn't sit still, after a little bit.  I had to go to the blooms and put my nose into the flower to breathe in the soft, powdery scent.  From there, I left the porch, walked along the garden beds toward the back of the house, breathing deeply through my nose, so as not to miss a drop of perfumed air.  The closer I got to the back yard, the more I realized that the fragrances of the wild roses, the antique roses, the mock orange bush and the wild honeysuckle vine were all laying on the slight breeze.   What a marvelous stroll it was!

The bumble bees were seemingly drunk as they randomly wove their way from bloom to bloom. (We call them Dumble bees, because they constantly run into the gutters on the facia and the walls of the house.)  Not only were they erratic in their flight, but as noisy, too, as I've ever heard them.
The various birds that visit were chattering, chirping, cheeping and whistling, showing off their pleasure in the glorious weather.

Who could blame them?  Spring has definitely come to South Carolina, and with her arrival, she's brought along beauties of the finest kind!  I surveyed my gardens with a grateful eye, rather than noticing the weeds that were left behind in our early Fall clean up.  I saw nothing except the fruits of our labors since we moved here four and half years ago.  I did not think about the many dollars spent on bags of dirt and fertilizer or the hours of hauling it to and fro in the yard with the wagon and wheelbarrow.  I did not feel the burning pain of the work as we dug and struggled with the native, heavy, red clay.  I knew only that the gardens were rejoicing in the bright, warm sun, and so was I!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Church Attire...

When I was a youngster, the approved wardrobe was the very best in your closet. This included for the female population, both young and old, ankle socks or nylons for the adults, unscuffed shoes, most probably patent leather, hats, little white gloves and always dresses.  The little and big gents always wore suits,ties and well-polished shoes. The hair  was just perfectly coiffed and the boys' short locks were glued down with gel or Brylcream, parted, and combed into just the right wave.

What has happened to all of that? It's gone by the wayside, like manners and respect, I suppose. Dressing in your best for church was expected; it was a matter of respect for God to look your best.  These days, I've seen everything from blue jeans and short sleeved shirts on men to tank tops and shorts which should have been quite a bit longer to be considered modest in any public area other than the beach. Personally, I don't approve of shorts of any length in church...or tank tops, unless covered by a jacket.  I don't know when the dress code became a free-for-all, and I'm not a huge fan of the changes. 

I do wear dress slacks and a nice blouse, sweater or jacket at times. I have abandoned the hats and gloves, as have other women, even older ladies than I.  The men in our church usually don't wear ties and jackets, but most do, and those who do not still wear nice slacks and shirts, often with sweater vests. 

Yesterday, and last Easter Sunday as well, one of our congregation wore a hat. Last year, she sang the special solo music, and she prefaced her song by saying, "If you're short and want to stand out in any crowd, wear a hat."  Yesterday she kept saying that she was hoping to get women to wear hats again. I, for one, LOVE hats!  I am complimented whenever I've worn one of any kind, so they apparently suit my look.  They always seem to 'dress up' an outfit, or just 'top it off', so to speak. 

I think that I will pull one out of my stash, and wear one next week to church.  Perhaps Sandra and I will start a new trend, and hats will be a fun accessory to bring back!  You can keep the gloves, however...and the seamed nylon hose.  

What do you think about hats? Do you like them or not? Where would you/do you wear them, if you do?  Shall I wear a hat next Sunday...even if I stand alone in the fashion statement?  I think a survey is in order, so feel free to share your opinions. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Special Day

It is Easter ....the celebration for Christians of a resurrected Savior.  A day of Hope for believers.

It is also the birthday of two very special people in my life.  My brother, Tom, had he lived, would be sixty-one years old. My youngest daughter, Meg, will be thirty-five years old.  I was only two and a half when Tom was born, so I cannot remember the day of his arrival. But, I remember the coming of Megan.  She was four days earlier than she was predicted to be. 

Tom was very much attuned to life as he was raised. Though his own was traveled on different roads, his heart was always geared to living it in conventional ways that were taught by our parents.  He was a gentle man with soft brown eyes and soft curly dark hair. He was tall and thin, and he was plagued with rheumatoid arthritis from the time he was in his twenties until he passed away four years ago. The ailment sapped his energies, and put him on permanent disability status, but still he worked as he could on his 47 acres. He cared for his small house lot and his home. He mowed with a tractor, kept his landscaping simple and easy to care for.  He had a sure determination that kept him walking on his own two feet, unaided by cane or wheelchair for the entirety of his life.  Doctors thought he would long ago be in a wheelchair, full-time, but Tom wouldn't entertain that idea.  His gnarled joints were painful, yet he didn't complain. He did what he could to keep his life as  normal as possible, in spite of the limitations.

Megan has always had her own agenda. As I said earlier, she came four days early, and rather than the usual presentation at birth, she chose to be born face up!  "Sunny side up" the doctor said. She was a strong willed little person, and was quite a challenge for me, at times.  I remember when she had her fifth birthday. She announced to me that now she would go to 'big school' kindergarten.  I could not convince her that the school wouldn't let her go until September, and that she would continue at her nursery school until June, then have the summer off, until September came.  She would not go to nursery school another day. The fight was so strong, and silly,  that I let her off the hook.  I learned how, with Meg, to choose my battles.

She always has made her own choices about things, even when she was small. Of course there were times when I had  to enforce the rules or make her do what was best for her. But, she chose her clothing and her favorite foods. I offered other options, but how do you force a child to eat lima beans when they won't?  She has forever been a free thinker, and is such today.  Some might say that there was rebellion, and I might agree with that in certain instances. But, what harm is there, really, in shaving the sides of your head, around your ears, and pulling back the top hair in an elastic band at the crown?  What does it hurt if she sprayed it purple or blue? Hair grows out. Hair color washes out. And teenagers grow out of that stuff, thankfully.

My sweet, gentle, conservative, brother was thrilled to have this little neice born on his birthday. So was I.  I felt that God had given both Tom and me a gift  when she arrived.  I still feel that way.
My challenging, free thinking little girl has grown into a beautiful woman with good sense and comical personality. She doesn't always think as I do, but I don't want my kids to be a bunch of cookie cutter kids.  The world would never change for the better if someone didn't step out of line once in awhile and make their different ideas known, would it?

So Tom...Happy Birthday to you. I miss you and love you.  Megan....Happy Birthday to you, too. I wish I could share a face to face celebration with both of you today. But know this, that I celebrate you both in my heart and in my mind, and have been blessed to have had you both in my life.  Enjoy your day!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tis the Day Before Easter and....

All through the house, the dust bunnies have been vacuumed up and the place is pretty well organized.  I need to hurry myself along, as my eldest daughter and her two teenagers will arrive within the hour.

We've got the menus planned...easy stuff until tomorrow's dinner, and even at that, it's easy for me, because Mike will be cooking. He's such a great cook, and he cooks most every dinner for us, with a little help from the rest of us. He'd really rather do it alone, as he likes to move around the kitchen without hinderance or 'shadows' attached to his toes like Peter Pan's.

There will be a full ham dinner, lemon pie and chocolate layered pies. We cheated on the dessert, by purchasing it, as I'm the world's worst pie-crust maker! (Does anyone want to share their favorite recipe for a no-fail crust?)  Mom has always made our pies, but her last efforts have not pleased her. She has trouble reading recipes now... and though she knows the ingredients by heart, she somehow isn't able to make things as well as she used to, and she gets frustrated.  We have been grateful for her efforts, whether she likes them or not, and I will miss them at our meals.

I have to go over to Mom's house today and give her a haircut. It's long enough to put up in a little bun now, but she hates it, so I'll cut it short again, and fluff it up so that her natural curl takes over. That should please her. I used to cut my own, but have trouble now with my right shoulder, so it's hard to get into the correct position to cut it well.  I need a haircut too, but can manage to get by until I get one. I've enough body and wave to look presentable if I try.

There's much to do, and I should take my shower now...before the kids arrive. So, I will leave you all, and wish each of you a blessed Easter Sunday.  How will you celebrate it? you're answering that question, please feel free to pass along any of your favorite recipes, especially for that pie crust!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Morning Thoughts

The Earth has had it's noisy morning shower, and it's gleaming!  The fragrance of grass that was mowed yesterday is stronger now, with the addition of the rain upon it.  And, it's greener too!

Spring has made it's way to South Carolina...and as we move into each morning, we get deeper into the lovely weather!  The warmth increases, then it decreases, which is just fine with me, because all too soon, the air will be heavy with humidity, and opening the door to the day will feel similar to opening an oven door! 

This time of year is usually the windy season, as well as the time when we get the most rain during the year.  The wind can be fierce, and often there are reports of tornado warnings or watches. The moody temperatures often find themselves in conflict, and thunder storms erupt.  Not being a huge fan of thunder and lightening storms, the coming of Summer is a relief for me. We rarely see much rain or storms during those long months of summertime. 

There's nothing we can do about the weather...but wait, watch and prepare for it.  Springtime in the Carolinas can be tough to prepare for, because you never know what mood will appear.  So, we leave our windbreakers in the car and we might have to dress in layers at times. There's an umbrella in the van, also, as well as one in the coat closet, because too often, I've been caught in one place or the other without my bumbershoot!

I guess today will be in inside day, as it's gray and damp outside.  There's no more rain, but the ground is wet, and the red clay is muddy.  I've got much to do before the weekend and the upstairs is calling my name. The guest rooms await new sheets, the shopping list needs to be updated, and the shopping must be done. 

There's no time like the present to get started, I guess, so I'll "talk at you" tomorrow!  Wishing you all a great day, whether it's sunny or rainy wherever you are.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tool Box

I have a tool box full of things I need for various tasks...pliers, hammer, screwdrivers, sandpaper, a little sander, etc. There are other tools in my other tool boxes ...paints and brushes, inks and stamps, pens and canvases for craft painting. There are sewing tools and knitting implements and a never-ending supply of kitchen tools.  I am well equipped for any job I might do.

How would I accomplish my chores or my hobbies without these tools?  Oh, I might find an alternative item with which to hammer a nail into the wall, but a hammer was made for the purpose, and works far more efficiently than the heel of a shoe does. 

Daily we rise and begin our day, never knowing what it is that will be a part of the hours ahead of us. Perhaps it will be a peaceful, uneventful time, but what if it isn't?  God has given us tools with which to live an abundant life. We need to use them! How easily we climb out of bed and get dressed, going forth into each day, but forgetting to put on our whole armor and failing to pick up our weapons for the fight!

God keeps us, equips us, speaks to us, fights for us, strengthens us, guides us, and so much more. But why is it that we leave Him behind and try to do it all on our own? The Toolbox is filled with His book of instructions and prayer and supplication, thanksgiving and fasting .  As with any other part of our lives, we cannot be successful at the chore  at hand without the proper use of the tools.  We could not make a decent cake without a recipe. God's book is the Recipe for Living.  Prayer is the letting go of the problem and the release of all trying.  Thanksgiving is the recognition of His help in all things.
With this in mind, I go to don my armor!  Have you put yours on today?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Yesterday I watched a movie called "The Shunning", which was based on a book of the same name by Beverly Lewis. It wasn't the first movie about Amish people but it was the first I'd seen of Ms. Lewis stories.

Since my first visit to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I've had an interest in the ways of the Amish people. Of course, my knowledge of them is rather limited, but my curiousity is great.  In the last few months, I've discovered the lovliest blog, written by a sweet woman who was raised by parents in a community of  Amish people.   She has since left the Amish community, and as a result has been shunned.

I've learned much about my concepts of Amish life by reading this blog. She has corrected my false thinking about their religious beliefs and lifestyles. I've learned that many of the books written and movies made are not factual. But, apparently, the word 'shunning', meaning 'having nothing to do with' is a reality.

I cannot understand how any parent can ignore their child to the point where they have nothing to do with them, especially when it's a matter of choosing a different lifestyle or religious way of life.
I have had situations with my children, where they've exercised their will over my teaching. They don't live their lives in ways that I approve of, at times, and have not followed the Christian beliefs that I do my best to live daily. Sometimes all that cuts me to the core and hurts deeply, but I know that each of us must find their own way in this world.  I might want to choose a different job for my children or I might want to direct the steps they take in life. I might wish for them to have a very real relationship with Christ, and/or to go to church regularly. I might like to see them raise their children differently. I might want to control everything they do because I think my way is right and theirs is not, but that is not mine to do.

My children make their own choices, based on their own beliefs and wants. They do what they think is best giving little thought to what I think.  They do, of course, respect me, even if their way might be quite different from mine.  I respect them, as well, regardless of the difference in our choices.  I am not perfect and I've made mistakes. They, too, must find their way, hopefully learning from their mistakes, and turning them into better life choices.

So, when my door opens and there is one of my children standing there, they are welcome. When they are not here, the phone or computer lines keep us close. I hear things in our visits sometimes that I would rather not hear, and I may offer my words of advice, but I don't often expect that it will necessarily be heeded. These adult children have their own desires, their own beliefs, their own ways of living. Do they need me? Yes they do, but they don't need chastising at this age or my turning against them because we think differently.

Shunning is a part of the Amish belief, and though I do not understand it or make it a part of my own life, I cannot fault those people who do it as part of their own beliefs.  However, I hurt for the children, and for the parents, of those who have been cast off. How sad to me that their flesh and blood may no longer mingle as family.   

Monday, April 18, 2011

Going Green....

Because it's Spring and everything is in bloom, I'm going to write with green font today....'Going Green'. 

The sod isn't as 'crunchy' as it was when we walk on it, and it's putting on it's new coat of Spring green. The Creeping Phlox is almost finished displaying their bright pink blossoms, and the forsythia has passed.  The leaves are on every tree now, and the Wisteria hangs fragrant and heavy from the trunks and branches of everything it reaches. The Hostas have uncurled. The Verbena has begun to creep across the side garden and the roses are unfolding. I noticed yesterday that the Irises have buds and the Asian lilies are happily awaiting their turn to burst forth in color.

I love this time of year! I feel renewed energy, as if I, too, have been hibernating all winter and now am ready to open in the warm sun.  I have projects lined up from the top of a note pad to the bottom. How many will be done before the deep heat comes to cease all activity other than the release of perspiration from our pores? 

Spring is far too short a time, as is Fall.  My lists are far too long.  Some of my projects are more dreams to dream than to actually see accomplished.  But that's what green does to me.  It sends me into a whirl wind of thought and action, but this body isn't as young as my thought patterns are.
I've often wished there was a true 'body shop' where one could take themselves and have a stiff joint or weak muscle replaced by a new and working one. Of course, I'd be sure that it was one that was made of proper materials...'green' for the environment parts.

As I look out upon the red soil and umbrella of leafy trees that tickle the cloudless blue skies, I plan my day. After discovering yesterday that two Peace Roses have been munched on by some bug (probably those beautifully colored Japanese Beetles), I will spray them with some soap and water, or pick them off one by one, should I find any. 

Just as Spring brings one colorful flower's bloom in its own perfect time, I will practice the 'one step at a time, one day at a time, one project at a time' method until I see the list grow shorter.  As I do, I will revel in the green around me, and still wish for that body shop.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Blessing of Visitors

Our friends came to visit on Wednesday. They left, as planned, on Saturday.  In between we said more words than I've heard in ages! We laughed, we shared, we sang, compared  gardening notes, we recalled memories,we commiserated, we drank too much coffee, we ate too much and probably slept too little.

What a joy it was to see them again!  It had been two years between our last visit and this one. Our men had met for the first time when they came here in 2009, and they became instant friends. The gabbed in the rocking chairs on the front porch, as if they'd known each other for years. (or, as Nan said, "like two old women!") 

The house seemed strangely quiet after they'd gone. Mike and I sat for some time sharing the highlights of the four days, much of which the other of us had missed, as sometimes there were two simultaneous conversations taking between the males, one between the females. 

It is time now, to begin a new week, pulling things back in order and regularity. We have Easter to plan a menu  for, and a guest room to clean and laundry to do....all the routine stuff to return to. And will be Saturday when my oldest daughter and her two teenagers will arrive for the weekend. We will share time, catch up on their lives, speak many words, eat too much and sleep too little...again. We will  celebrate the Easter Day with church together and add more family to the table on Sunday. We will give thanks together for the food, for the family gathered and that which is afar. We will offer praise for the Springtime, for the flowers, for every good and perfect gift that the Father has showered upon us.

And...we will feel honored for the blessing of visitors.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Company's Coming

Friends from Connecticut will be at my doorstep tomorrow, and with so much to do, I have no business sitting in front of this computer screen. I've still got the dusting and vacuuming to do and I need to get the bathrooms final cleaning done. 

The guest room is finished, with a new quilt on the bed. The other one is great for winter, but since our temperatures have been as high as 90 deg already, I thought it might look better to have a lighter look. The new coverlet is soft peach and green patchwork. Thank you, Bed,Bath and Beyond!  There's a soft smelling pot pourri in the room too. It smells like Springtime.  The 'art' on the walls are actually photos of some blossoms in my garden which I had enlarged and framed.

Our windows sparkle, thanks to my husband and a bottle of some concoction called  'Invisible Glass.'  I can't tell you how I appreciate all he's done with and for me in this endeavor to get the house in 'perfect' shape. He went beyond the call of duty. I asked if he could climb up to wipe down the top part of the cabinets, where I can't reach. Not only did he do that, he wiped down all of the cabinets from the very top to the floor. He's the best!

We will go to the grocery store to pick up whatever we're missing for our guest's three days feeding.  We've got to go to the bank and run a few other errands. I hope there will be time to stop in at my favorite hair dresser for a haircut. I look like 'the wreck of the Hesparis' as my Mom used to say.

Things are not getting done this way, as I sit, are they?  I'll say farewell until next time, which might be after our friends' departure on Saturday. Be good, dear readers, while I'm busy chattering and laughing, entertaining and feeding, enjoying our time with our beloved friends!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thoughts on Violets

Violets...those tiny purple blossoms that grow in freedom and let us know that Spring has come!

My Mother has always enjoyed these fragrant flowers. She tells the story that she used to stop and pick them for my Grandmother on her walks home from the two story old schoolhouse on Atlantic Avenue.  I wonder if that had anything to do with Gramma's love of purple. Did the 'purple love' come first, or did it come because her daughter brought the Springtime bouquets?

I remember days when I'd walk the mile or so home from my school building in the Spring.  Especially after the rain, the violets seemed to be so abundant and bright in the field next door to Louise Davis' house on Cooper Lane.  Sometimes I'd pick some to take home to my mother, never knowing that she'd done that same thing when she was a youngster.

Aunt Nita must have liked the little flowers too, as when she bought her china, she chose a pattern with green leaves and violets on the white background.  Her daughter now owns that set of dishes. I hope she remembers her mother when she uses them, and not the struggle my other aunt had with my widower uncle's second wife who determined that they should be hers. That was not a pretty story, so I will leave that story alone. 

When my daughter made her first home, I bought her a set of every day Corel dishes and she chose the pattern.  It was ...again...violets and leaves against a white backdrop. They don't come close to the elegance of Aunt Nita's china, but still, they set a pretty table.

The other day, while looking to see what might have come into bloom in my gardens, I discovered a few volunteer violets growing near the holly bushes at my front porch. It thrilled me to see them there!  I didn't know that the climate in SC was right for them to grow. Actually, I don't think I have seen any here before, and I'm not sure I gave it much thought until these little gifts popped up this year.  I'm glad they have planted themselves there, and I hope that they will spread! 

At our old home in NY state, the violets were 'everywhere' along the edge of the woods and in our back yard.  I suppose they are technically 'a weed', but what matter is that?  They are precious surprises that give joy to me in their growing, and I adhere to the saying that 'a weed is just a flower in the wrong place.'  As for violets, I think there is no wrong place!  Let them grow where they will!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bay Scallops

As a youngster, many men were working the waters around our town.  Some were commercial fishermen. Some worked the bays for a living, gathering clams, scallops, fish in trap nets, and eels, all in due season.  There were many other men who fished the waters in their 'off' hours, working other types of employment.

One of these was my Uncle Ros.  He enjoyed going to Accabonac Creek, launching his small boat powered by a small engine.  In this way, he would drag a metal frame with a net on it, called a scallop dredge. It would drag along the bottom as the boat slowly made its way across the surface, scooping up the shellfish as it went. I was lucky enough to go 'on the water' with Uncle Ros and Aunt 'Nita a few times. I've always jumped at the chance to spend time on a boat, no matter what type it was.

After as many scallops were gathered as they could get,  we would return to shore. The bushel baskets full of heavy seafood would be loaded into the back of the pickup truck, and we'd drive home for the opening of them.  Mom was among those who would gather in a circle in the back yard of Grandma's house, where Uncle Ros and Aunt 'Nita lived. She and other friends would join together, each with a dull blade knife made for the purpose of  opening the stubborn scallops. The hand which held the shell would be wound with a thick layer of rags to pad against the roughness of the scallop. Without it, their hands would be cut or blistered.

I liked to watch as they opened the rigged shells, scooped out the salty, round, white fish, and placed them into buckets. Then they'd take the bucket inside and rinse the contents to remove any sand or sea weed bits. From there, the fish would be placed in pint or quart sized jars to be sold.  The worst part of the whole business for me was that yellow jackets would swarm around the circle of openers and anyone else who was nearby.  I didn't like bees of any kind!

That night, the openers would each sit down at their own tables with a 'mess' of bay scallops for their dinner. I wasn't enthused about eating them at that age, and since they came at a dear price, my mother usually had something else for the kids to eat, serving the scallops to my father, my grandfather and herself.  Somewhere between those days and these, my taste buds have changed. Last year, when we went 'home' for a visit, it happened to be early in the scallop season.  Though we paid a terrible price for them, we felt that after twenty or more years was long enough to wait for another meal of the morsels.  We treated ourselves and enjoyed ever bite!  It was worth every penny! 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Waste of Time?

 I spend quite a bit time on the computer, mostly on Facebook. I bounce in and out all day long, on some days. On others, I'll limit my time there, so that I can accomplish what I need to in that day.  Some seem to think it's a 'waste of time' to sit here in front of a screen, chatting away.  I don't feel that way.

Facebook is a wonderful tool for me, as it allows me to converse with my children every day, and to see the most current of their pictures and keep up with their lives, albeit electronically.  Since I hate the telephone, and most of them do too, it's easier and much more 'visual' to use a networking site.  There is one problem with it, though.  I often get caught by another person...a friend or another relative...before I can get off the computer. Then I find myself involved in another interesting visit, and before you know it...

Well, you get the idea. You may also have the same situation.  As long as I get my chores done, and whatever else that's called for my attention, I don't feel guilty about the time I spend on the computer. I'm having visits with those who are not near enough for a physical one. I'm comforting or listening to family members. I'm keeping the lines of communication open with grandchildren who live far away. I'm loving my loved ones.   People are important to me. Reliving moments with old friends is enjoyable and getting to know them again is special to me.  Sometimes I'm just a sounding board or a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes we're laughing as we visit. Sometimes we're competing in a game. Whatever it is, it is keeping connected in a way that we can't face to face.

Should I limit my time?  Yes, sometimes...but not if I have to cut off a friend in need.  I am disciplined enough to listen for a bit, offer what I can, and then make my exit without them feeling that I don't care.  Should I walk away from the computer when I really have nothing pressing to do?  I don't think so.  What is the difference whether I am sitting with a book or a hobby, or whether I am reading blogs online, or doing genealogy research which will be passed on to my family?  My aching body limits my standing, and I need to take frequent breaks.  I do what I can during my standing time. When I'm sitting, I am often doing other things...bill paying. for instance. If I'm not doing a 'sit down' chore, you might see me checking in on Facebook. You also might 'see' me there when I'm not, as I never shut down my account, but leave it running for convenience.

And... I don't feel  one bit guilty or that it is a waste of time.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cutting Words...

When I was growing up, manners were prevelent. We were raised to use good manners and to be respectful of others. We were taught that we'd be judged by the things we said and did, and the thought that no one would like us if we were rude kept us in our places. It was the way things were in those days.

Oh, I'm sure that there were bullies back then. In fact, I'd run into a few of them in school, and I went out of my way to be nice to them anyway or to steer clear of them altogether. A Biblical quote my Mother used often was 'the golden rule.'  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  I heard it echo through my head whenever I'd even think of returning a nasty comment with one of my own, which wasn't very often, to be honest.

When I began to learn about Biblical ways on my own, I discovered that the tongue needs to be 'bridled.'  We need to control our impulses to spew out anything that comes to mind in a given circumstance. That is a wonderful form of discipline for a person and saves many a relationship, I'm sure.   Our tongue is capable of soothing hurts or causing them, and we should be mindful to guard them from the latter.

These days, with so much electronic interaction between people, ie social networks, emails , blogging, etc. it's often difficult to know how someone's comment was meant to be taken.  Sometimes, however, there is no doubt. Such was the case when a comment went anonymously to a lovely woman who writes a blog I regularly read. There was no doubt that the writer of the comment had an opinion, which is certainly her right to share, but how that opinion was expressed could have been so much less hurtful. It was an unmistakeable attack.

We would all be wise to practice the art courtesy and good manners when dealing with one another, even when opinions vary drastically. If we want to walk together in peace, it is a necessity, not an option.