Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Next Day...

Bess rose early, but a little later than usual.  With her eyes half-closed, she shuffled her way to the counter and found her morning medication. Then she filled found the coffee filters in the cabinet next to the coffee, and prepared the pot of java.  Strong.  She needed a  potent cup of coffee to get her motor running.

Then she made her way to the living room, glanced at the thermostat, and decided to stir the air with the ceiling fan. It was still hot and sticky in the house. In fact, it was probably cooler on the front porch.  When the alarm sounded on the coffee machine, she pulled her favorite mug from the cupboard, and filled the cup, leaving just enough room for her measure of half and half.  The woman picked up the mug, and decided that she'd take it to the porch, rather than follow her usual habit of watching the early news.

It soon became apparent that her  outdoor sit would be short. The sun was rising and it was shedding it's light and heat across the porch between the ceiling and the cement floor of the porch.  Things were going to be unbearable outside in just a little while, but by then, the AC and fan would render the house cooler. Bess sat in her rocking chair, sipping the hot coffee, and feeling the perspiration beading on her face.  She saw her best friend backing out of her driveway, about to drive off to work. She knew the time was eight o'clock on the dot.  Her friend was very routine in her leaving.  Bess rose and went to the door, turning to wave at Claire when she honked the car horn to bid Bess a good day.

Back inside the house, the temperature had dropped four degrees, and it was a bit more comfortable. Bess fought with the remote, until it finally yielded to the pressure, and turned on the news.  As usual, there was nothing good to report. There was the on-going Government argument of the debt ceiling, the never-ending blah-blah of political situations, the Iraqui conflict, the local vehicle accidents and traffic reports. "Why do I even watch this stuff?" Bess asked herself.  She flipped the channel to a no-commercial music site, and prepared to write out her bills.

Suddenly it occured to her that if the thread of Social Security checks being witheld were to come true, this would be the last month her bills would be paid, without dipping into their retirement fund. How long might that last, if the government could really rob them of their monthly stipend?  Then Bess realized that they were much better off than many, should something like that really happen. At least they had  a retirement fund!  What would happen to all those elderly people who don't have one? What would become of all the disabled who collect SSI? What about those fatherless children who receive the Social Security to help them to survive?  And how on earth can the government keep someone's money from them?  She thought Social Security was a private institution, not a government one! 

Just then, she heard her husband fixing his coffee, and her thoughts were interrupted. She pulled herself to her feet, and joined the old guy in the kitchen. She'd long ago learned not to talk too much when he first awakened, so she said, 'good morning', and then followed him through the sunporch to the rear steps, where he was in the habit of sitting while he had his coffee.  It was cooler there in the morning, as it was all in the shade.  She plunked herself down beside him, and, sipping from their mugs in silence, each tossed their thoughts around in their own heads.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Yesterday a friend wrote that someone she knows is very close to death. Trying to encourage her, I shared something that happened in the 1980's when my brother had had a serious car accident. He lay in a hospital bed in Florida, with a spider fracture in his skull. The doctors didn't know which way it would go, but it didn't sound good.  My parents were grieving...and as I drove to their home, I found myself saying aloud, "Lord, my brother is dying."  Immediately I heard a still, small voice which said, "Grieve not what needs not to be grieved at this time."  And, I suddenly felt the peace of knowing that as long as there was breath, there was life. By the time my parents arrived from NY, Tom was sitting up in bed and recognized them, and though he couldn't yet speak, he was on his way to a full recovery!

Yesterday afternoon I understood the grief that my friend was feeling, as I received news that an email friend of mine is on his last journey toward Heaven. He's an old gentleman that I 'met' as we shared information of our ancestors who lived and worked in the same place at the same time.  Jimmy has been fighting for years...two bouts of cancer in which he was victor, and then kidney problems which put him on dialysis. Now, he's in a deep sleep and he's going Home.  But Jimmy's faith has carried him through his life and it will lead him on. He's a strong man, with a wonderful sense of humor and  he's been a terrific encouragement to me. I  will miss him much. Right now I feel that grief that my friend spoke of yesterday, and I feel somewhat as if I might not have recognized her emotions enough when I tried to encourage her with my words about my brother.  Today I will contact her  and apologize for that.

As I write about these friends, I realize how blessed I am to have them and all the other people I know and love.  Each of them has brought something special into my life, just by their being there.  Some have brought laughter, some lessons and examples, some wisdom and encouragement, but whatever they have offered, it's all been a gift of their love.   I've been truly blessed to have them.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Why is it that some people think it's ok to do whatever they please, regardless of how it affects other people?  Why do they feel they have a right to enter you private life and make it their business to broadcast all manner of tales, whether true or untrue? Do they really think that it makes them important or attractive to the eyes and ears that are exposed to these people and their words?

I was brought up to behave in a completely different way. My parents taught me to respect  other people, to mind my own business, and to be careful not to s.peak in ways that would hurt the feelings of others.  They taught me to be kind, to be forgiving, to see the good in people.  I can't say that I have always heeded my upbringing, but I've learned that it's best to live just the way my parents taught me.

You may be wondering what brought this on.  Let me say just this, recently some very gullible people followed  a ring-leader in an attack of wicked lies, hurtful words and actions against someone I'm close to.  There was no cause for their behavior, but they got their desired results by hurting my friend and her family.  They have also gotten some results that they may not have thought about. They are being looked upon now in a very unbecoming light, which will affect their own lives as far as friendships are concerned.  I guess it's true. If you want to be respected, act respectful.

I hurt for my friend's family, and I'm also proud of them for not striking back. They are better than that. They are sweet people who believe that people are basically good. This time they chose the wrong ones to befriend.  I am a strong believe that 'this too shall pass' and they will move on, but it may be that their faith in people will be sorely affected by this.  They are hurt now, but they will heal in time.

As for the hurtful ones? No one  needs to  retaliate against their evil railings.  They are painting their own life's works...and I believe they will receive every ounce of payment for their behaviors.  There seems to be always someone who is bigger, someone who is  a greater bully, and no doubt, they will run into that one sooner or later. Already they've lost some others that they called 'friends'.   Do not be fooled...there is great truth in 'You reap what you sow.'  I think that these people will find it out in due time.

Meanwhile, it solidifies for me that I must practice what I was taught as I was growing up. That  is the right way to live.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ode to Erinne

Today's offering is an oldie....written in 1975, when my daughter was four years old. She's just a few weeks ago had her 40th birthday. I get a kick out of reading this because it's a quick rhyming story of something that truly happened. I hope you find a chuckle in it. Here goes:

One sunny day my little girl, whose age is a ripe, old three,
Went out to play and she climbed up in the great big old oak tree.
She sat in a fork, and she sat some more until I heard her call to me,
"Mommy, Mommy please come quick, 'cuz I'm stuck up in the old oak tree."

I pushed and I shoved, and I yanked and I pulled but I couldn't pull her free.
I had visions of the neighbor man's saw cutting down the old oak tree~
So, I prayed and I begged and I pleaded and I coaxed but I still couldn't set her free.
I had more visions of my little girl staying there eternally!

I prayed some more and I yanked some more and she came out with a 'slurp' finally,
Then I went inside to fix myself a strong cup of camomile tea.
I left her outside to play for a bit while I took care of me
And five minutes later I heard her call, "Come quick I'm stuck up in the old oak tree!"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

In the Still of the Night

She walked across the bedroom to the back window to adjust the blinds. She fingered the rod that should have closed the louvers but they didn't respond to the action. She ran her hand from top to bottom of the shutters, hoping to darken the room. When she'd done all she could, she returned to the wall switch, turned the ceiling fan on and the light off.
Despite her attempt to shut out the full moon light, it managed to slip in and it lay on the bed in shadowy patterns. She turned her back to the window and attempted to find some rest from the busy day.  The night was against her and it took her a good, long time to finally fall asleep. Her husband found his way to lie beside her an hour or so later.
The air was stifling, regardless of the slight breeze offered by what the woman called 'the plane propeller' on the ceiling. She hated that thing but had to admit that it was better to have the fan at work than not to.  At four in the morning she woke to see her husband putting on his clean Tshirt and a pair of shorts. She asked him  where he was going in the middle of the night. He answered that he was going to the front porch for  a smoke. He couldn't sleep, and she hadn't slept well either.  A moment later, she  wandered to the porch and took a seat in the rocking chair next to her husband.

There they sat for some time, in the lights that glared from the neighbors garage wall across the street.  They rocked quietly, each in a semi-sleep, listening to the multi-layered chorus of the insects. She remarked that she could hear at least five different bug songs, their pitch being slightly higher or lower than the others.  The old man couldn't differentiate between the notes that each individual bug put forth. Viet Nam, and later machinery, had caused his hearing to deteriorate some.  She felt badly for him, that he couldn't enjoy the sounds as she was doing.

Six miles in the distance there was a hum of the Interstate. Normally they couldn't hear it, but that morning, in the otherwise stillness, she could sort the sound of the light traffic from the singing insects and the neighbors air conditioner.  She sat there, with her eyes closed, until she felt  sleep was closing in on her. She pulled herself to her feet as the first neighborhood vehicle fired up it's diesel engine, ready to start the day.  She told her lifetime mate that she was returning to bed.

He put out his cigarette and stood up, ready to follow.  He opened the door, and together they went to the bed they'd shared for so long. He brushed her lips with his kiss, she slid her hand beneath his larger one, and felt the ring she'd put on his finger such a long time ago. Together they found sleep in the comfort of knowing each was there.

Friday, July 22, 2011


I'm just tuckered out, and my brain feels fried.  I'm not going to complain about this heat, because everyone is suffering under the 'heat dome' right now...everyone except those in my husband's home state of Washington.  The west coasters seem to be fairly comfortable, but they're whining for some warm sunshine.

You can't please everybody where the weather is concerned. If there's one subject that everyone has an opinion on, it's the weather, no matter what it is where they are located.

Anyway...I really can't think. I just kind of wonder through what I need to it was to take Mom to the 'bone doctor.' She's got some arthritis in her knees that doesn't hurt, but does cause some weakness when she's walking or trying to walk up the stairs.  Thankfully, we had a 9:30 appt, so even as we left the office at 11, it wasn't so awfully hot as it would get later in the day.  For some reason, I chose yesterday to deep clean Mom's kitchen...because it needed it, not because I necessarily felt up to it.  I found myself perspiring...which is something I rarely do, but I got the job done, and then had an hour nap in the afternoon.

Interesting life I'm leading these days, isn't it?  Like  I said, I feel like my brain couldn't pull up a clever thought with a long rope and a bucket!  I'm just plumb tuckered out from this intense heat and humidity. So...stand by...maybe tomorrow you'll get luckier!

Stay cool....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


We rarely go to the movie theater. My husband doesn't care for the discomfort of such narrow seats. I feel the temperatures are either too cold or too warm, and the sound level  is far too harsh for my ears. So, it's a mutual decision that we don't go.

We used to rely on video rentals. Now it's dvds that we get from my son in law or movies that show on the TV in the comfort of our living room. We are able to pause them for a run to the necessary room or a snack from the kitchen. The seats and temperature are 'just right' and the volume can be adjusted. We're happy in our version of a 'home theater.'

We have never cared whether we see the movie when it's brand new, so the fact that we have to wait a bit doesn't cause us much concern. Sometimes though, we find that we've missed seeing something we'd looked forward to seeing, because we don't write a list.  If we did so, we could get the film from my son in law, who has a huge collection that grows routinely.

The basic problem with this arrangement is that we often disagree on the type of movie to watch, as is probably the case with most couples. I'm not fond of violence and war movies, unless it's a historical type of thing. He's not crazy about watching what he calls 'chick flicks' , but usually likes them in the end, especially if there's another story line woven through a love story, or a lot of comedy added.

As for me, my favorites are 'Cold Mountain', which I've seen many times over, 'Summersby' which is another Civil War era flick.  I also like 'Bridges of Madison County'  and 'The Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood.'  I always enjoy books by Nicholas Sparks and John Grisham when they are made into movies, even thought the films vary a bit from the books. We both enjoy watching anything with Julia Roberts, Shirley McLain, Sandra Bullock or James Garner. We also usually can agree on suspense and intrigue, so we watch what we agree on together, and find another time to watch our individual choices. 

The compromise works pretty well in this house! How about yours?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pot o' Gold

Did you ever dream of finding a pot of gold? Maybe it was some other form of treasure...buried or otherwise.  I recently heard a true story of one who found one.

His occupation takes him crawling through roof rafters and under houses. He often finds himself shimmying around stuff that's been stored for years, in order to do his electrical work. He confessed with a chuckle that for many years he's been on the watch for something worth a lot of money, but never had found one.

Then, while working to update a 40 year old home, an empty house inherited by the owner's brothers, his  dream come true!  He had to move a suitcase from his path in the attic, and when he tried to do so, struggle as he might, he found it too heavy to move it.  Curious as to what might be inside, with some trepidation, he clicked the latch and lifted the lid. What did he find?
An incredible stash of rolled silver dollars and hundred dollar gold pieces! 

Now, because my friend is an extremely moral and Christian man, he would never have thought to remove even one coin from that satchel. What he did was to report his find to the three brothers when they arrived that afternoon. They didn't believe him until they went to the attic and looked at the find with their own eyes.  They'd known that their deceased brother was a thrifty man, but had no idea that he would have stashed such a fortune as that in his attic! Of course, they were thrilled. 

They made a comment to my friend that he must be a very honest man, because he 'could have put that money in the truck and driven away, and no one would have been the wiser.'  It would have never have crossed his mind to do such a thing, but the comment made my friend think about what sort of person might do that.  As he boarded his truck the next day, he noticed a folded bill sticking out of a compartment. It was a one hundred dollar bill, which he immediately deduced had come from the heirs. They were, he thought, rewarding him.

When he found the money in his truck, he was accompanied by his grandson. He held it up and showed it to the younger man. He asked, "Do you know what this is? It is those guys' money, and it's going right back to them.  You don't need to be rewarded for doing what is right."
I understand his point,and of course, he must follow his convictions, but I wonder if he's correct in that thinking. We should always do the right thing, and if we receive a reward, what is wrong with that if we're not looking for the reward? After all, we are in line for some punishment if we do the wrong thing, aren't we? Even God gives reward for doing the right things and gives the evil doers what they deserve. Isn't that what justice is about?

What are your thoughts about this? 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Computer Friendships

Sometimes you meet someone and you just know after sharing a few words that you'll be friends. Sometimes it's because they are interesting people who are very different from yourself and you just need to know more.  Sometimes it's quite the opposite, and it's the same interests that draw you together.  I guess it's really hard to say what actually brings people together.

In this world of technology, there are many 'meetings' that take place across the miles. Perhaps it's an internet 'anonymity' that makes one feel safe enought to reveal things that would be kept more private if one met face to face.  Some of those 'meetings' develop into eventual marriages. I, for one, am skeptical of that sort of thing...not that I, personally, am in any danger. I'm happily ensconced in a loving and secure marriage, but I have friends who have found 'significant others' with the use of the computer.

My only interest in friendships on-line is just that...friendship. It's a modern version of the old-fashioned 'pen-pal.'  I've 'met' several very nice people with whom I correspond, and some that I've actually met face to face after more than a year of writing multi-emails daily.  I've met them through gardening groups, geneaology groups and decorating groups. I've met ladies of like-mindedness through on line Bible groups. I've collected new folks who follow blogs that interest me as well. The social networking site, Facebook, has been instrumental in my connecting with people from my hometown, no matter where any of us find ourselves situated these days.  I didn't know them 'back home' necessarily, but I knew someone who knew them. There are some relatives who were not in my circle of friends at home who are now much better acquainted with me and vice versa.  I think, as long as one is cautious, you can make some life-long friendships.

I love mail, and I love people too. The computer has allowed me the best of both possible worlds.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Things ....

you may not know about me and probably don't care much about either!

Sometimes, but rarely, I'm silent.  Usually, I have lots to say.

I'm quite opinionated, but I always give others the option of having their own opinions.

I love to grow things....except the 'age spot' stuff that I seem to have inherited from some who came before me. They are not cancerous or even dangerous,according to my doctor...just ugly, sort-of wart-like spots.

Decorating is one of my interests.  Crafting is THE major one, though....and I fluctuate between the many options of crafting. Currently, it's card making and scrapbooking.

I am the family-history keeper and explorer, and I get very excited over new findings.

Once, when I was in grade school, I played the lead part in the play, "The Little Match Girl."  While reading the part, I read her description as 'bed raggled' rather than BEdraggled.

Once, much later, I wrote a play for our church Christmas production, from the book, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever."  It was such fun, and the kids all did a wonderful job!  I might like to do that again sometime.

I used to bite my I don't. Right now my nails are healthy, all the same length, and are too long at 3/4" past the end of my fingers.  They are in the way, but I'm kind of curious to see how long they will grow.

Heat and cold temperatures are more extreme to me than to most people. I seem to be more sensitive, 'freezing' at a higher temperature  and feeling the heat at a lower one than most. All this since the 'change' hit me in my 40's.

Thrift shops and yard sales draw me like a magnet, though I've behaved myself very well for the last few years.  Antiques are even more appealing to me, especially rustic ones.  I wish I had the option of rummaging through people's old barns and attics, but so far, I haven't found that!

I'd like to have a swimming pool...even if just a lap pool...but we don't need the expense...or the work.

I like paper dolls....and like to make my own. I wish my granddaughters enjoyed them more, but that's an old-fashioned idea, and these techno-age kids aren't much enthused about them.

I'm flexible....but I am pretty stubborn too.

In late grade school, a teacher told me that I had very nice cursive handwriting. She suggested that my letters were well-done, but that it would be even better if I practiced my slant, as I seemed to have no particular choice about how the letters sat on the lines.  I worked hard on it until I managed to find my comfortable slant.

It paid off,too, because in high school I was asked to write the hand-written menus for the Hedges Inn, and upscale restaurant/inn....and I was paid for it.

I also was paid to type the manuscript for a booklet by Ferris Talmage about the small hamlet of the Springs, in East Hampton.  There was no mention of my name in the booklet section where credits and thanks were given, so I can't prove that I did it...but yes, I did it.

I was at the Shea Stadium Beatles concert....far up in the mezzanine. I'd have seen them better if I'd stayed home and watched it on TV, but that's ok. I was there...I watched history made! I couldn't HEAR it at all, but.... know.

I'm thinking that's enough for you today!  Hopefully I'll find something interesting to write about tomorrow!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Uninvited Guests

Yesterday was a rather interesting one. I was visited by two uninvited guests.  Well, one has been here in the house, actually for several weeks, but I just that afternoon discovered that he was here.

You see, a few weeks ago, we brought in some hanging potted Fuscia, some unplanted Hollyhocks and a small tray with small pots of Mums in it. Because we wouldn't be home to water them, we determined that the best idea was to bring them inside and put them in our master bathroom. (After all, we do have a 'garden tub'.)  So, we did just that, after putting  a few inches of water in the tub, we placed all of the plants into the 'pond', and let them be.  We never use the tub to bathe in, as we prefer to use our large, separate shower...and knowing that we'd be returning to my daughter's house again next week, when we got home from our first visit, we didn't rush to take them out of the tub. there I was, standing there in my towel, having just finished my shower in preparation for going out to run errands.  I happened to look in the tub at the plants, thinking I might add a little water. Suddenly my eye caught something brown...something that I hadn't seen before.  There in the center of one of the full, lush Fuscia baskets was a big, fat, stinkin' hop toad!  Still in my towel, I ran to the kitchen to inform my husband that I needed!  He could tell from my tone of voice that something was urgent, and he came quickly. I told him to look in the tub...and then had to actually tell him what he was looking for. (He probably thought I'd found a snake, in which case, I'd have had to dress and call an exterminator, as Mike would have been barefootin' it up the road, screaming, "Feet, don't fail me now!")

I was fearful that the toad would jump out of the plant and end up hiding out somewhere in the house. When Mike picked up the dripping hanging basket and headed for the front door, he sheltered the toad with his hand, which wasn't entirely successful because the poor spotted thing was hopping about in the foliage, trying to hide from him.  I ran to open the front door, following the inevitable stream of water from the bathroom, across the bedroom carpet, down the hall, and then across the wood floor  in the living room, to the door.  Tell-tale bits of plant were evidence, too, of the traveling. A little clean up is well worth the disappearance of that little guy....(unless he was a she and might have left eggs somewhere in the bathroom. No...I won't borrow that trouble.)

Ten minutes later all plants and Mr Toad were outside on the porch, in the shade. Of course, all of them might not survive, now that they've accustomed themselves to inside temperatures which are twenty degrees lower than daytime temperatures are in the great outdoors....but, so be it. At least there's not a reptile living in my bathroom, or elsewhere in the house.

You might think that's the end of the excitement for the day, but not so!  We finally got ourselves in the van, with the windows open because we haven't had the AC fixed in it yet. So, we were cruising along, when I suddenly felt something hit my shoulder, just near the tank top strap.  I didn't feel anything for....4 miles or so. Then, I thought I felt something move on my back...inside my shirt. I shook my shirt, but didn't know if anything was there or not.  Another mile or so, nothing...when suddenly, about two inches below my too-loose waistband, I felt movement again. I screamed and said, "something is in there!"  Mike tried to look, when we stopped at a red light, but he couldn't see, as the darned thing had made it's way south  and was crawling down my fleshy bottom...EEK!  Apparently I'd given it access when I tried to get Mike to see if he could see it, by pulling the elastic on my panties away  from back. 

This was NOT funny!  I didn't know what on earth was crawling around inside my clothing, or whether he'd had lunch yet. So far, he hadn't tasted what might have been, for him, an All You Can Eat buffet...and I hoped he wasn't hungry.  My beloved Knight in Shining Armor pulled over into the hospital parking lot, and parked into a space far from sight of other cars. He told me to see about getting that bug out of there. So... I shimmied out of my jeans... and I lowered the panties 'til the darned bug fell out. Where it went after he left me, is beyond me...nor did I care much. I'm sure the bug, which was black and as big around as the end of my pinkie finger, was as anxious to be set free as I was to free him!  I quickly covered my birthday suit with my clothing, opened the van door and got out to stand in the parking space next to the van. I shook the pants legs...I smashed my hand up and down my lower body. I just wanted to be sure I was alone in my clothes!

Boy!  All this company was just a little too much excitement for this old gal~

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Rain Dance

Soft rain drums the porch roof, like fingers drumming the table top. A higher tone comes from the drops as they hit the rain gutters at the edge of the house...sounding somewhat like a low pitched triangle. 

I lay my head back against the cushion of the  wooden Adirondack chair that holds me, and I listen.
Beyond the surface sounds, I detect the pitter patter of the water as it kisses the thirsty leaves of the hollies which are planted near the porch railing.

In my minds eye, I see the circles on the surface of the far-off creek. At low tide it is little more than a gigantic puddle. The circles grow, expanding until one joins the other. The breeze picks up and the salt marshes give forth a fragrance all their own. I breathe it deeply in as the gentle movement of air brings it my way.  I watch the Queen Anne's Lace sway in rhythm with the sway of the feathered beach grasses. The rustling of the reeds adds to the symphony of rain.

The air chills. The rain reaches a crescendo and the sky darkens to a deep gray.  Like the pounding of horses hooves, thunder beats across the clouds.  Distant lightening flashes, spotlighting for only a moment the raised arms of the trees in the rain dance.

I open my eyes and rise from the comfort of my deep, cushioned, chair. I notice that the rain continues, but that there is no salty smell of a muddy creek. Instead my nostrils identify what was here all along...parched, red dirt and a newly-mown grass.  Far in the distance, the thunder rumbles again, as a pounding rain beats against my porch floor. Opening the door, I enter the shelter of the cool, dry house. I take one more look at the darkening day.  As the water rushes swiftly over the stones in the drainage ditch, I close my door to the storm.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday's Thoughts

This morning I woke up at 5:30. Immediately a friend popped into my head, and knowing some of the struggles she's encountering, I sent a heartfelt prayer heavenward. Hopefully,  very soon, she will be relieved of some of what's on her mind.

My heart is full this morning...of gratitude for the beautiful things I know in my life. I've got a husband who is beyond word description. He's so me, to my Mom, to my kids.  He's so giving, so comical, so stinkin' cute!  I've got a terrific and healthy Mom, and for that I'm grateful.
I'm glad that we still have her and that she is capable of still living alone. She refuses to live with us or anyone else, and says she'll hire someone to care for her if it ever gets to that point. Thankfully, it hasn't. 

I have a large family and good friends, and I have an ever-present God. I am not alone. For that I am grateful!  I have good health, albeit aches and pains, there's nothing to really complain about.
I have 'enough' and want for nothing.

There is an ever-changing world around me. There are trees of all sorts, with varieties of shape and color. There is light that alters itself according to the time of day and season. There are shadows that dance across the surface of the ground, and clouds above that never appear to be the same in the skies.  There is so much to look at, so many things Nature gives us to ponder.

Life is good! And, I am grateful.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Thoughts on the Fourth

Today I awakened to hot sun. Since I'm usually up before the sun, before the birds, I was surprised to see that my wrist watch read 8AM. Ahhhh well, I must have needed that sleep.

I find myself thinking about many things this morning.  Yesterday's church service was attended by about half of our normal gathering, which is often the case on a holiday weekend. People are traveling, people have family...or a number of other reasons keep the numbers down. Those who weren't there missed a fantastic time in our sanctuary. We sang the patriotic hymns with great gusto, and I felt that my pew mates had their hearts fully engaged.  There was a real attitude of joy in that room, some having to do with the freedoms we enjoy in this country of ours, some having to do with other blessings we have. Yesterday's blessing was multiplied by the presence of some of our congregants who have been out for some time, due to illnesses. Harold was back after an extended absence following heart surgery and rehabilitation, Sarah was back following surgery, Bob was back with his  sense of humor following the suffering of a debilitating stroke, Sue was back after a long time of grieving for her lost husband, and Betty was back after a continuing battle with cancer.  We also saw a photo of our pastor's great grandchild who was born in January, 3 months premature with lungs that weren't fully developed. We didn't know if that tiny guy would make it, but there he was in the photo, smiling, chubby and healthy. We were blessed to see so many of our prayers answered and failed not in giving thanks for each one!

I find myself wishing that my family members lived closer, so that we could enjoy this holiday together.  My Georgia girls families have their own plans for the day, and my New York kids are limited by time and money. Our best friends are spending time with their own families, and one has to work today. So, we find ourselves alone, spending time with each other, which is definitely not a bad way to spend the day! We'll probably just stay home so that we don't put ourselves in harm's way on the highway.  (LOL, I've corrected it just now, but my first typing of highway was 'HITway'. Freudian slip?)

Those ornaments I made for the "Christmas in July" ornament exchange are finished, so today I will package those up and get them ready to mail out tomorrow.  The ones I've received thus far are very cute and diverse. There's a paper pinwheel made with snowflake scrapbook paper, a rusty old mason jar lid with a painted snowman face on it and a small rusty star hanging at the bottom, and a 'dirty' muslin stuffed star with a rusty vine of berries and a small rusty bell sewn on it which hangs from old twine.  The rules stated that the ornaments should  be handmade 'primitive' ones, meaning that they should look rustic and old, even if they aren't.  My choice to make was  small broomstick horses. The heads are handsewn, attached to a small dowel for the stick, with yarn manes and twine bridle and reins.  They are white homespun fabric, but stained with tea to yellow the cloth. I hope they will be among the favorites with those in the exchange.

We'll start another exchange soon...for Autumn. I've decided that I'll do either small,stuffed scarecrows or  oak leaves that are muslin and stuffed with a quilt batting, with embroidered 'veins'.
The dyes will be natural ones made from beet juice or onions.  When that exchange is done, we'll do a true Chrismas exchange.  It's fun having other women's handwork!

My mind is racing with things this morning...but now it's time for my body to get up and move forth into the day. I hope you're all enjoying this holiday. Be safe, and I'll see you tomorrow.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


In East Hampton, we always went to the fireworks on the Fourth of July. Well, it may not have been on the fourth, per se, but it was in celebration of the fourth. When I was a child, we chose the show that  the Devon Yacht Club put on.  We'd go down to Big Albert's beach or Fresh Pond beach and face toward the south and have a perfect view. We'd sit on our beach towels or blankets, and ooooo and aahh at every blast of color sent skyward.

The traffic was awful, even in those days, as we left the beach for home.  It took quite awhile to get from the parking lot to the road as the police directed one car into the line from one direction, then another from another direction. Once we got on the road, we crept at a snail's pace, as we meandered through the woods on the winding road. By the time we arrived home, I think only my parents were awake!

When my kids were young, we often chose to go to the Main Beach fireworks, at the oceanside. The school band would assemble on the pavillion, and there would be the added enjoyment of the patriotic songs and Sousa marches. Most of friends, and their families, would gather there as well, so it was a party for us all.  The volunteer fire  department put on the fireworks show, and they did a wonderful job. They really were better than the ones at the bay.  It was often cooler at the ocean beach,too, which meant not so many bugs. There were times,too, when the mist was so thick that we'd come home covered with salty dampness.

The leaving of Main Beach was no easier than leaving the other site. The police were there to direct traffic, and it was all done in an orderly fashion, but since there were so many cars and people, it was slow-going. In order to alleviate some of the excess on the road, the Village began running a school bus to and fro, so that people could still attend without having to have a car.

As the years went on and the kids grew up, we'd try to gather them to join us for the fireworks. My husband had a dump truck for his business, and we'd discovered that if we parked near the country club, a pretty good distance from Main Beach, we could sit in the back of the truck in lawn chairs, and all of us could see very well. We'd turn on the local radio station, and have our patriotic music while the pyrotecnics lit the skies with color and design. Parking there made it far easier to escape at the finale,too. 

We've seen firework displays in Connecticut, aboard a ferry boat that we thought would just deliver us to the shore of Long Island. Little did we know when we boarded that the boat would stop in the Sound, to watch the fireworks display! What a delight! We watched the light show in Massachusetts the night after my son was married. We've seen them in Woodstock, NH, after watching the most delightful parade of local people with home-made floats and children's decorated bikes and wagons, and listening to their military band in a gazebo on the square. I think that was Mike's and my favorite celebration of the fourth in our history. It was so simple and real.

So here we are again, and tonight we will watch fireworks put on by a church nearby. We'll park in the parking lot on a hill, facing the church, and will enjoy the show.  How will you celebrate? Will you have parties? Where will you watch fireworks, or will you not?  What is your favorite memory of a Fourth of July?  However you choose, let's all remember to say, "Happy Birthday, America!" and thank God for the sacrifices made over the years to ensure the freedoms that we enjoy!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summertime...and the Living is...HOT!

Summer here in SC is sweltering. We've had temperatures in the high 80's and 90's for months, summer weather in the springtime. The humidity seems awfully high for too long as well. It's too hot to be outside, and the no-see-ums and gnats seem to think that I'm sitting on the porch just so that they can sink their little teeth into my perspiring skin. No fun!

So...I stay in the house with the ceiling fan spinning and the AC set at 78 deg. I can handle that.  We cook outside nearly every night, which keeps the oven from heating the house. I'm getting a lot done while I'm hiding from the heat, but I'm missing my husband, who looks as if he's truly melting away as he sits on the front porch, enduring it.

I was thinking today of summers 'back home' when my kids were small.  We'd do whatever needed to be done in the house, and then I'd assign each child a beach item to carry to the car. One carried the insulated bag with sandwiches and beverages. One carried the bag with towels, another had the mesh bag of sand toys. Another carried the tubes, and another took the sand chair.  It was a great undertaking to pack the car and get the 5 youngsters to the beach and then unload it all. Then, of course, there was the reverse of the same when we left!  But, it was worth it to spend those carefree hours watching my kids splash and swim and enjoy themselves. It honestly was a great way to spend the summer days.

There was always a Fourth of July parade in the neighboring town of Southampton.  Depending upon the traffic, it could be a drive of anywhere from half an hour to an hour, taking the main roads. It was a real mess trying to get away from the parade site, but we would generally park somewhere near the beginning of the parade, so we could leave as soon as the last float passed by. We'd walk to the car, and weave our way out of town, taking the back roads through Noyac and Sag Harbor. We'd be home and heading for the beach before the parade had actually finished its route.

Something else that was available in Southampton was a weekly concert. It was held in a park, and was usually worth going to. I remember one evening that I went with my husband's cousin. She and I parked ourselves on our army blankets on the grass, and watched as the kids romped and danced to the music.  On that evening, someone sat down very near to us, with her family and another woman.  She spoke with us throughout the evening, laughed easily, and was very friendly. It was Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg. We recognized her, but didn't reveal that we did. She was as nice a person as I've always envisioned her mother to be.

Summer back home was miserably humid, as my hometown was so that it was surrounded by the ocean and the bays.  Being near the ocean where the breeze was salty and nice, was some relief, but the bay beach didn't have quite the same breeze quality. Sometimes it was breezy, but warm, and not so much help in cooling us off.

Ahhhh well. Summer is summer wherever you live...and there are good things about it, like longer days and fun things to do. (and central Air Conditioning) and pools or beaches.  There are a few things to complain about, like heat, humidity and crowded conditions in those pools or on those beaches and roads.  For most, the season is worth waiting for and far too short. As for me, I'll be happy to see the temperatures fall about twenty degrees.

I hope you're enjoying your summertime, no matter where you are or what you're doing!

Friday, July 1, 2011


It's inevitable. Wherever there are animals, there is bound to be 'roadkill'.  When we lived in East Hampton, it was generally deer that I saw, as they were so prolific. Sometimes there would be an occasional squirrel or cat or dog.

Here in SC, there are more critters around.  We cannot drive the country roads without finding at last one victim of a motorized vehicle. There are deer, cats,dogs, snakes, fox, racoons, opossum and that odiferous cutie, skunks!   Just driving the 9 miles to our grocery store the other day, I was blessed to pass two of those dead polecats who filled my car with the unmistakeable 'perfume.'

It saddens me to see these cadavers lying there after meeting their fate. I like animals (not necessarily skunks...but they really are cute!) I find myself shuddering with squeamishness as I pass by. More than the sight of them, I despise the smell of them!  And, I think, more than that, I hate seeing the vultures as they gather for their feast.

I haven't much more to say on this subject...and I'll bet you're glad it's come to an end, aren't you?  Well, this is part of country living and it was on my mind....but I do apologize if I've 'grossed you out.' I'll come up with something more pleasant tomorrow, I promise.