Friday, May 24, 2019

What Memorial Day means to me

I realize Memorial Day is meant to be a day to honor and remember the people in the armed forces who never came home from the wars, although I only learned it after I joined Facebook, I think, when someone shared a meme telling the difference between Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, and... some other day.  Yeah, I'm too lazy to look it up.  But when I was a kid, Memorial Day simply meant a day when we met up with relatives, went to some cemeteries and put flowers on the graves.  The grownups talked about the relatives who had gone on before; they all called it Decoration Day.  Maybe that's how I got my love of graveyards, because it just seemed like a happy holiday to me.  I liked walking through the tombstones, reading inscriptions and imagining what life might have been like for the people who died long ago.  Sometimes I'd make up stories in my mind about the little girl who died at the age of two, or the wife who died giving birth. 

I'd like to visit some relatives' graves on Memorial Day weekend, but I know how Cliff hates driving.  My family mostly lies buried in or near Harrison County in North Missouri, a two-hour drive.  Cliff's mom, dad, brother, and other relatives are in the graveyard at Versailles, Missouri.  That's a hundred miles to the southeast.  He'd take me because he loves me, but I hate to make him do it:  I realize the people who lie buried in those graves don't know the difference, whether we go or not.  I'm thinking I will ask him to take me to Kansas City, North, where my sister's husband is buried, taking some flowers to lay on the grave.  My sister Maxine has moved yet again, even further away.  When she was in her 80's, she decided she ought to move nearer her only son and his wife, so she moved to McPherson, Kansas.  Now her son and his wife are both retired; their two sons and their families live near Oklahoma City, and they wanted to move there to enjoy their grandchildren.  So they sold their house, my sister sold her house, and they bought houses down there.  Maxine (my sister) just moved this week.  I told her when she felt like company to let me know and we'll be there; that's a road trip Cliff will take me on any time.  Maxine recently had a heart attack, got some stints put in place, and was back to normal in a few days.  She is my only sister, the straightest arrow you'll ever find, and the best example of common sense, hard work, and a Christian woman of anyone I know except for Cliff's Aunt Gertrude, who is 93 and in a nursing home now. 

Three-day holiday weekends are no big deal to retirees, but I'm feeling sorry for the poor working stiffs who look forward to the time off, because if the weather forecast is right, it's going to rain every single day.  So far today has been a nice one, albeit rather warm and humid.  We went to the local U-pick strawberry patch up the road, Fahrmeier Farms.  We got there when they opened at 9 o'clock and picked more strawberries than we really could afford in no more than ten minutes.  It's all the berries we'll be able to eat this weekend, though.  And we can eat a LOT of strawberries!

Cliff did NOT want to be in the picture I took at the strawberry place, so he looked both peculiar and unhappy in it.  So instead, I'll share this picture from five years ago that came up on my Facebook memories of the grandson and him smoking a cigar. 

Gabe and I try to spend awhile every day in the hammock swing in the yard, with him gazing over at the neighbor's place watching for their three dogs to show themselves.

I'll leave you with a video taken in our small town's cemetery.  I made it while riding my horse, Blue, years ago.  The guy singing the song is Loudon Wainwright III, who wrote the theme song to M.A.S.H., "Suicide is Painless". 

Have a wonderful weekend.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

No clothes hanging on the line today

We're in for a few days of rain, they tell us.  So I'm back to the old dryer, which works just fine, but uses propane and costs me a few cents.
Yesterday there was an earthquake in Oklahoma, and I felt it here.  I often feel the ones from Oklahoma.  They are so tiny by the time they get to Missouri, you'd never feel them if you were up doing things, but I was sitting on the couch reading at the time.  I even went to Facebook and typed, "Did I just feel a small earthquake?"  Within five minutes people started sending me news items about the 4.4 event in Oklahoma.  I always heard animals get nervous before an earthquake, but Gabe was sound asleep on my lap both before and during the minor event.  Thunder makes him a little nervous, though.  

Yesterday I guess you could say I lost the whole day.  I have a touchy stomach, and it ruins an occasional day for me once in awhile.  I'm not deathly sick, you understand, but I don't feel like doing much, either.  The doctor told me I have gallstones a while back, and I can't help but wonder if that's what causes my occasional indigestion; I wonder why I don't just ask her about that.  But I digress.  

Cliff had planned for a long time to hook up to our big trailer, go to his brother's place, load up an ancient backhoe he had borrowed from a cousin, and haul it home.  "Home" is over 100 miles away at the Lake of the Ozarks;  Cliff didn't enjoy loading it up and bringing it home months ago, and he surely didn't look forward to returning it, but it's his only remaining brother, and he sort of likes him.  

I'm always wanting to turn something like this into a road trip, and at one point I discussed going along for the ride, taking my dog Gabe with me.  I figured that way I'd have something to amuse me while three guys messed around down there with the business of unloading the monstrosity.  However, I saw Cliff sort of stressing about the trip and really dreading it, I began to have doubts.  I told him, "I think you have enough to worry about today without having to cater to me and my dog, bathroom stops, and all that."

"You may be right," he said.  I'd had doubts about going anyway, because I knew they weren't going to have an easy time loading that thing.  Any time Cliff loads a tractor onto a trailer, I turn my eyes in the opposite direction.  He's very careful, but I've heard horror stories of people getting hurt or dying in a tractor-loading accident.  So I opted to stay home, where I still worried, but had quiet surroundings and the good sense to pray every once in awhile if I caught myself worrying.

I did want some pictures of his day, though.  He seldom remembers to use his cell phone to take photos, so I asked him to take pictures if he thought about it.  He left sometime after 8 AM.  When he returned almost 12 hours later, I said, "Well, how did it go?"

He groaned, "Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong."

Then he showed me this picture:
In trying to load the beast, this happened.  Seriously, Phil is lucky he escaped unscathed, since he was up there on it when it occurred.  There isn't a decent place to load anything at Phil's place.

See, Phil isn't bothered by the things that drive Cliff crazy.  Everybody's different, and what's important to Cliff isn't a big deal to his brother.  If he needs my husband's help working on a tractor or implement, Cliff has him bring it here.  Cliff's shop is neat, with a place for everything (unlike his clutter-bug wife, who can't usually find her shoes).  If he's going to do a lot of work on someone else's stuff, he'd rather do it here.  He knows where every tool is.  At his brother's house, it's a game of hide and seek.  

To make a long story short, it took three hours for them to get it loaded; it was after noon before they headed for the lake.

I would have been scared to death, if I'd been there.  I wouldn't have been watching, but I would have heard that thing hit the ground and maybe had a heart attack.  All I can say is, I'm glad I prayed a few times.  No, I'm not taking the credit here.  But the praying helped keep me from worrying.

All's well that ends well, right?  And Cliff told his brother he wasn't ever going to haul the backhoe again.

I will leave you with a recipe I found on my favorite recipe site,  Blueberries were 99 cents at Price Chopper, and I wanted to make some blueberry muffins.  The recipe is "To-Die-For-Blueberry Muffins".  The reviews were almost all five-star.  How could I go wrong, with that name for the recipe and so many wonderful reviews?  They have a sugary topping that I was sure would be over-the-top good, and I thought what a nice surprise Cliff would have when he got up, even though we could only have one, due to calorie content.  

Well, the topping hardened like cement, and we weren't either one impressed.  I put them in a tight-sealing, clear container, but last night I told Cliff I thought I'd just toss them.  He didn't have any objection.  This morning I got out the container to throw them away, but decided I'd take a bite first, just to make sure I was doing the right thing.  I'll swear, they were indeed "to-die-for"!  We each had one for breakfast, and they were that good.  Somehow, being enclosed in that tight container sort of softened up that hard crust from yesterday and made them perfect.  The recipe is HERE if you want to try it.  Just don't eat them right out of the oven.  At least, that's my experience.

Have a wonderful day.