Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Childhood memories

Sometimes a random childhood memory will float into my mind, and I'll wonder, "Just how old was I when that happened?"

Like one time we went to Des Moines with my sister and her husband to visit my brother and his family.  Their house was small, so we spent the night at a relative's house (my brother's in-laws).  The only bed they had for me was a baby crib, which bothered me because I wasn't a baby.  Mother bid me good night and raised the rail (why?), which meant I couldn't easily get out of the bed.  Even as she stood there, I realized there was some pressure in my bladder, but for some reason I said not a word.  I awoke later really needing to go to the bathroom, but went back to sleep.  Why didn't I just go?  First of all, it was a strange house to me, and I had no idea where the bathroom was (or outhouse?  My brother had an outhouse at that time, so maybe his in-laws did too.)  Also, I didn't know where my parents were in this unfamiliar house.  Third, that tall thing I'd have to climb over seemed like the great wall of China.  When I awoke, I had wet the bed and my mother was apologizing profusely to my brother's mother-in-law.  I was so very ashamed.  Considering all the circumstances, I surely was no older than three.  I remember all the feelings I had, though:  embarrassment to sleep in a baby bed, lying awake in the night needing the bathroom and having no idea what I should do about it, then embarrassment at having wet the bed.  

Happier memories are the holiday ones:  Christmas get-togethers, Fourth of July celebrations... they all run together in my mind, but those are some of my fondest memories.  

I recall sitting on Daddy's lap at the switchboard in Guss, Iowa on a Sunday morning, dressed for church, and looking at the comics from the Des Moines Register as he read the words to me. 

I think I remember Hank William's death:  It was a cloudy, cold day in Iowa, and I was lounging on the couch, listening to my mom's radio playing (she didn't ordinarily keep the radio on constantly because, after all, we lived in the telephone office and she spent a lot of time at the switchboard.)  Anyhow, I recall one man's voice singing song after song.  I know the lines were simple, because as I lay there I started guessing what the next rhyming word would be before the guy got to it.  I'm fairly certain now that it was Hank Williams, and the radio was likely doing a tribute to him.  He died January 1, 1953, so I was eight-and-a-half years old.  Not surprising I'd remember that, I suppose.  

We went to the rodeo at Hawleyville, Iowa, one time and saw a man get thrown from a horse and badly injured during the bareback bronc-riding.  I recall my parents talking about it in hushed voices on our way driving home, and I heard them the next day saying he died, which really bothered me.  Google tells me Billy Wakefield died in June of 1948.  I wasn't quite four years old, and yet this has stayed with me, something I think of often.  Perhaps this was when I first learned that people die:  After all, I watched this vital cowboy ride out of the chute on a bucking bronc that evening, and next day I heard he was dead.  How could that be possible?

I remember my first day of school.  My mom took me to the little country school where we were the first ones to arrive except for the teacher, Mrs. Eighmy.  Then another mom drove up with her little boy (I still remember his name, Carrol Stamps, because I thought "Carol" was a strange name for a boy.  The teacher pointed the two of us toward the teeter-totter and suggested we play there.  I don't think either of us enjoyed it, but we did it.  I was five years old.

Carrol is the little boy on the left, in front.  I'm in the row on the right, next to the back.  This was taken in 1951, so we were a little older.  This brings back memories of playing "Upset the Fruit Basket" at recess on rainy days.
I'm pretty sure it was in my first year at Skinner, during a noon recess, I decided to slide down the teeter-totter as though it were a slide and got my bottom full of splinters.  I was too embarrassed to tell the teacher, so I sat on my splinter-loaded butt the rest of the day, with the pain getting steadily worse.  I was SO glad to get home, lie face-down on the couch, and let my mom remove the offending splinters one by one.

I have lots of church memories, since we were usually in church at least three times a week, plus all the Gospel Meetings within fifty miles of us.  One time at Hepburn Church of Christ I kept kicking my hard-soled mary-jane shoes against the leg of the pew in spite of my mom, who kept whispering, "stop".  I didn't think it was that noisy and saw no reason to stop, which resulted in my being dragged up the aisle, through the door, and soundly spanked outside.  All the way to the back door I shouted, "I'll be good, I'll be good!".  Looking back, I'll bet that brought the house down.  And now you know what kind of kid I was.  Not much has changed, by the way.

That does it for this morning's memories.  It's kind of fun, putting them into words.  


Friday, August 26, 2016


On the way to a tractor show at Hamilton last Saturday, we stopped by a Mennonite store north of Richmond to buy a pint of sorghum.  Now, sorghum is one of those things we probably shouldn't have in the house, but we only use it when we have home-made biscuits, which is about once a week these days.  Too often, I know.

When we walked in the door at Der Brot Pann Bakery, right ahead of us not five feet from the door was a table loaded with warm, freshly-made donuts.  

I hadn't wanted a donut for a long time.  I used to crave them.  It's the same with candy bars:  Almost every time I went through the checkout at Walmart, I'd casually grab two candy bars... one for me, one for Cliff.  But that was twenty-five years ago, and even when I backslide on my eating habits, donuts and candy bars don't faze me.  Or at least, they didn't.

Until we entered the Mennonite store, that is.  Those donuts spoke to me in a quite obscene way.  However, we didn't succumb, but got in the car and went on to our tractor show, confessing to one another that those donuts really tested our will power.  

Tuesday I made Cajun-fried okra.  I fry okra in a cast iron skillet and turn each little slice of okra with a fork so both sides get brown and crispy.  Cliff looked over my shoulder and said, "Is that how you fry those?  Looks like a lot of work."  

"Well, ideally you'd fry them in a deep-fryer," I said.  "But I got rid of mine years ago because I never used it, and it was taking up space."

We ate our dinner, but the die was cast, the seed was been planted.  Amazon was in the computer room calling my name, so as soon as the dishes were washed, I looked up a Fry-Daddy.  Wow, they're not much higher-priced than they were thirty years ago!

The Fry-Daddy came today.  Of course I had to try it out.  We'd already had dinner, so I decided to make dessert:  Donuts!

One of the few foods over which I had gained control now owns me, all due to a stop at a Mennonite store.

Evil folks, those Mennonites.  

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Time for my weekly "random" update

Ha!  It hasn't been a week this time, but my entries do tend to be fewer and farther between these days.  Let me offer some words of explanation.

I've always been an early riser, even as a child.  I rejoice at waking up in the morning, wondering what sort of day is in store.  I'm at my most creative in those wee hours.  If I had ever gotten a driver's license, I would undoubtedly do my grocery shopping before dawn.  Through the years, I've done most of my blog entries before daylight.  

Three years ago we started babysitting.  It's been one of the most rewarding things we've ever done, the two of us, and has probably helped keep us healthy.  After all, mood is supposed to affect health, right?  We laugh a lot more when the little girl is around.  Right now, at three years old, she emits a steady stream of whys and "I-knows".  The "I know" usually follows my  answer to one of her "whys", leaving us to wonder why she asked if she already knows (she doesn't know, of course, but wants to give the impression that she does).

I still need to blog early in the morning if I intend to do so at all.  No interruptions, no noises or distractions.  

But if Cora is going to be here, I also need to get an hour-long stationary bike ride in before she comes.  It's not that I can't do it when she's here, but it's easier to do it another time.  She has questions; she wants me to let her "ride" along with me (impossible); she needs me to do something for her that she can't do herself.  Even if Cliff is in the house to watch her, she wants to make sure she knows what I'm doing all the time.   

It's the same with spending computer time:  If either of us is using a computer, the child is right there looking over our shoulders asking, 'what's that" or "who's that" when she sees a picture.  That's fine if you're just googling information, but it's a distraction if you want to do a coherent blog entry.  So I put it off.  The trouble is, the less often I blog, the fewer ideas I get, because the act of writing stories seems to begat more ideas!

Keep in mind that we usually only babysit four days a week, and less than that during rainy times when her dad can't work at his construction job, so we have plenty of time to ourselves.  There are also whole weeks that she spends with her Iowa relatives.  It's just that blogging needs to be a habit, something I do at the same time daily, and right now I don't do that.

If you think I'm griping about babysitting, think again!  We whine on the days the kid isn't here to make us laugh.  She is the light of our lives!  I keep telling folks that if somebody dropped off a baby on our doorstep these days, we'd keep it, we've had so much fun with Cora.  Of course, we might have a change of heart after a sleepless night or two.    

I just want my long-time readers to know that I intend to get back to the regular blogging in time.  Little girls grow up, you know, and then I can go back to the almost-daily reminiscences and small talk (unless a baby is dropped on our doorstep). 

On a whole other topic:  Remember that I recently burned my journals and diaries?  I didn't get them all burned on the first go-around, so I brought the last three inside and saved them for the next month (full moon).  I had tossed all the others in the fire without even looking at the contents, but for some reason I took time to quickly leaf through those last ones and pulled out a few pictures.  One was a picture of my son and an Army buddy of his, taken in Killeen, Texas when he was stationed at Fort Hood over 25 years ago.  His wife had sent the picture to me with a letter.  It meant nothing to me, but I mentioned it to Jim; it turns out he'd been wanting to get in touch with that old friend for a long time, but couldn't remember his last name.  Kathy had written the guy's full name on the back of the picture, so after my son typed the name into a Facebook search, they were in touch before the day was over.  I'm glad I pulled that picture out before burning the book.  

That's one of those random things that most people chalk up to coincidence, but I think it was meant to happen.  These days if something suddenly comes to mind... some thought about a long-ago acquaintance, for instance, or somebody you just can't stop thinking about... I examine the idea, wondering whether there's a reason for what's on my mind.  If there's some sort of action I can take, I often do.  

When I was first asked to sing at the Church we attend, I was singing songs I wrote.  The reason for this was that I'm nothing special as a singer and I'm a lousy guitar player, but I've written a handful of amazing songs.  So if they didn't like my voice or guitar-playing, I knew they'd like the song.  Since I'm not that prolific a songwriter, I soon ran through my entire repertoire singing one song per month.  At that point I could sing the same half-dozen songs over and over, or I could sing something besides my own creations.  So I started looking at the old hymns nobody sings much any more.

 I'm tuning in to the universe these days, I guess, because I actually pay attention when a random hymn floats into my brain, one I haven't heard or thought about in years.  A few weeks ago I was riding the stationary bike when Ola Belle Reed sang "Higher Ground" on my Pandora folk station.  The song wouldn't leave my thoughts, and finally I sat down with my guitar and an old hymn book and sang it.  It was so much fun, I got goosebumps.  I knew right then I had to sing it at church.  It was well received.

Last week a gray veil of sadness fell over me after I learned that a treasured friend is approaching the final days of her short time on earth.  Through the veil I began to hear the strains of "Oh Come Angel Band".  The song played itself in my head throughout the day, so I finally printed off the words, got the guitar, and sang through it.  I remember it being sung at Cliff's Aunt Faye's funeral, but I am most familiar with it from seeing the video of George Jones and Vestal Goodman.  Other than that, I had no previous knowledge of the song.

It was another "goosebumps" moment.  I loved singing the song so much, I went through it several times.  And yes, I sang it at Church Sunday.  Apparently most of the congregation enjoyed it as much as I, since they were all smiling and had positive comments.  Most of them were unfamiliar with the 150-year-old hymn, so it was new to them.  On the way home, Cliff said, "You nailed that song.  Made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up."  

I've learned to pay attention to goosebumps.  

Sunday, August 21, 2016

This business of aging

I've been blessed with reasonably good health throughout my life.  Even now, the only prescription drug I take is a diuretic for high blood pressure.  The doctor wants me to take a statin, but so far I have remained adamant on that score.  Cliff has taken Lipitor for years with no side effects that I know of, but I'm stubborn (big surprise, right?).  I trust myself to know if and when the time comes that it's a serious enough issue to go on another drug.  Worst thing that happens is I have a heart attack or stroke, and hey, a person has to die from something, right?  I realize strokes and heart problems are nothing to make light of, and I know sometimes either can lead to something other (worse?) than death, but dark humor is how I deal with things.

Something I never even considered throughout my first sixty years of life is the fact that most senior citizens are suffering varying degrees of pain all of the time.  Sit in a parking lot at Walmart and watch older folks getting out of the car:  They gingerly straighten up as they step out, then limp halfway to the store entrance.  Even after they've gotten the worst kinks out, many of them, like me, walk funny as they go about their shopping.  

Who knew it could turn into an ordeal to sit on the toilet?  Now I know why there are handles to grab in the handicapped stall!  

I've learned that once you reach a certain age, you begin every day by assessing your pain, be it great or small.  Most of the arthritis pain I suffer comes from my knees.  Cliff, on the other hand, has had the kinds of jobs that really wore on his bones:  The butcher shop got his right shoulder, his back, and his thumbs.  His knees and hips bother him.  His back was so bad that, back around 1980, he was applying for a loading job at Yellow Freight and the doctor who gave him his physical said, "I wouldn't recommend you for any job that required you to lift over five pounds."

Cliff stayed on at the butcher shop lifting whole quarters of beef (back before cattle were as huge as they are now, but still...) and went on to work at concrete construction for many years, where he lifted huge amounts of weight constantly.  Sometimes doctors are pessimists.  However, he has always had what I refer to as a "glass back", where the least little thing could put him in pain for days or weeks.  

When you get older, the first thing you do on waking up is assess your pain.  It's always there, but mornings are the worst, it seems.  Arthritis is a strange thing in that the degree of pain varies from one day to the next for no apparent reason I can figure out.  I've never been able to see any connection to the weather, although some folks swear they can.  Sometimes the pain gets better after you've been up awhile and move around, other times not.

Cliff's back can almost totally handicap him for days or weeks, and he'll take a couple of Ibuprofen or Tylenol every morning.   Then the pain will fade and hardly bother him for weeks or months.  I only take something for pain once or twice a week, so I'm much better off than he is.  I used to keep a prescription pain pill on hands, but the doctor seemed to worry so much about prescribing it, I decided it wasn't worth the bother.  Ibuprofin seems to do just as well anyhow, without the side effects of oxycodone.

Meanwhile, I intend to do all I can in spite of the knees.  Cliff sometimes offers to drop me off at the entryway of a store so I won't have to walk from the far end of the parking lot.  I tell him, "No, I want to walk as long as I can, as much as I can.  I need to walk."

I'm still spending an hour a day on the stationary bike.  There will probably come a time I won't be able to do that, but I intend to keep going as long as I'm able.  So far the main thing I use my mobility scooter for is racing Cora in the Barbie Jeep we got her, but I've used it enough to know that if I'd let myself, I could sure get used to going everywhere on wheels.  

You know what amazes me?  How little you hear most people in my age group complaining!  If you're with a group of mostly older folks you see them laughing and joking, having a great time, when you know most of them have something, some body part, that hurts.  And the heart-breaking losses they've suffered!  They've lost children and/or spouses and gone through huge financial setbacks in their time, but they keep on smiling and trudging onward and enjoying life.

The people of my generation inspire me.  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A tribute to a long-time friend

I'm going to share a note I wrote this morning in hopes it will spur some of you, my readers, to think of somebody you've lost touch with and let them know you haven't forgotten them.  

Back in 1969, Cliff went to work at the Country Butcher Shop.  The owner of that shop had several kids, the oldest of whom was Tom, then a teenager.  He grew up to form a construction company, first with his brother and then by himself.  There was a brief time when he took over the butcher shop, but it eventually closed.  Whatever business Tom was running, there was always a place for Cliff if he needed it.  I'm not sharing this to make myself look like a wonderful person; I just wanted to do a public tribute (the last I knew, Tom refused to get on the Internet, but he will have the actual hard copy).  I want you to think of an important someone you have lost touch with.  

It's just so easy to forget. 

August 11, 2016

Hello there, Tom, and happy birthday!

Years ago when I was still sending greeting cards to friends and family on a regular basis, I set up birthday reminders on the Internet. Well, I stopped sending cards to anybody years ago, but I still get reminders in my email; I usually delete them immediately. Half those people are dead anyhow, at this point.

But for some reason, when I got a notice last Sunday announcing that “Tom's birthday” was coming up, I didn't want to delete it. I thought to myself, “We've totally lost touch with him. He probably thinks we've forgotten him; we'll send him a birthday card.”

Cliff agreed.

You played a vital role in our lives throughout our marriage, and this seems like a time to remind you that we appreciate everything you've done over the years. When Cliff lost other jobs, he could always fall back on you and you would make sure he got in 40 hours a week, even if you had to put him to making chicken nests. Most people who lose jobs don't have such a “fall-back” place.

I remember you coming to our house at Oak Grove when the kids were small, giving them motorcycle rides. Both of them considered you a sort of super-hero back then. In fact, I recall three-year-old Jimmy trying to make his voice sound lower and more adult, saying, “I'm Tom”, pretending to be you.

I still have, and use, the leather-tooled checkbook cover you made me back then. I don't write many checks these days, but when I do, I think of you. I'm almost superstitious about it, as though it's the lucky charm that kept us from falling into bankruptcy during hard times... but of course, it isn't the checkbook that saved us, it was Tom Dent in person, always willing to put Cliff back on the payroll if needed; he didn't have to come to you, hat in hand and begging. You found something for him to do and put him to work, apparently glad for his return.

I asked Cliff if there was anything in particular around here that reminds him of things you have done for us. He named so many things I can't remember them all. He did mention the various times you voluntarily helped him do things around here: building our old barn, building fence, putting a floor in the bathroom of the old house (while doing that job, you guys lost Cliff's hammer that Boyde had given him. It was found under the floor last year when the grandson remodeled).

Cliff mentioned the letter “W” (for Wood) on the high point of the barn, said you were the one who put it there.

We went shopping for a birthday card with the intention of getting a nice, serious one, but they were all too corny and none of them said what we wanted. So we bought a silly card that you'll relate to, and I'm writing a letter saying exactly what I want, in my own words.

Have a great birthday. You are never forgotten. We love you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Changing times

If you read yesterday's ramblings, specifically the part about the BLT memory, I want to give you a little backup story that hones in on some personal soul-searching and yes, overthinking, that entry required.  Maybe someone can relate to this, in an ever-changing world.  And as usual, I'll probably do a bit of rambling here, too.

Back before civil rights really gained a foothold, a huge percentage of this country's population never rubbed shoulders with African-Americans.  Up until I was twelve years old, we lived in rural Iowa and north Missouri where everybody was white as could be.  Even after we moved to the city, there were, in the early sixties, no black students or teachers at North Kansas City High School.  I believe there weren't even any black people living in "the Northland" at that time.  I had to get my first job before I actually had any association with African-Americans.  I remember once in awhile you'd hear someone throw in this phrase:  "Some of my best friends are colored."

Somehow the fact that it was necessary to even make such a statement shows what kind of times we lived in, because why should it be necessary to even say such a thing?  We don't say things like "Some of my best friends are blond", or "Some of my best friends are short."  

Now.  In the story I related about my daughter and I going to meet two guys in a bar, I didn't mention that the two men were gay.  Since I knew that Sim, with whom I'm still in contact, would be reading the entry, I wondered if I should mention that.  Would he think I was ashamed to tell people I have a gay friend?  But that detail really had nothing to do with the story.  Common sense told me to leave it out, and of course, that WAS the right decision.  However, I checked with Sim and told him what went through my mind.  He agreed, saying,   "I didn't even think about the gay part, Donna -- like you say, it has nothing to do with the story!"

But in an era of change, you just never quite know exactly how to handle things.  

I do remember a couple of things Sim and Russ joked about that day.  First of all, when we walked into the bar and found them waiting for us, the bartender said something to the effect that my daughter and I were meeting up with the wrong guys if we were looking for some action (as if I wasn't already uncomfortable enough just being in a bar).  I also recall Sim and Russ (who weren't a couple, by the way, just friends who had met on the Internet) assuring us that the month when gays "recruit" straight people had already passed, so we were safe.  

Rachel and her husband, I believe, met up with Russ once after that.

We all continued to converse in the comment section of Russ's blog after the meet-up until Russ faded away into the sunset.  Sim and I are in contact on Facebook.  

Meanwhile, for several years after my meeting these guys, whenever I'd mention any local male blogger, Cliff would say, "Is that the gay one?"

I hope this entry makes sense to anybody.  At least I know what I'm talking about.

As Bob Dylan wrote, "The times, they are (still) a-changin'.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Tomatoes and garden things (and yes, more rambling)

It's been a wet year, which never bodes well for my tomato plants.  For a while we had to put an electric fence close to the ground to keep the raccoons from devastating the crop, and believe me, they were doing it.  Once Cliff, bless his heart, got that problem taken care of, we started getting some nice, big, tasty tomatoes unblemished by the teeth of little varmints.

We have had far more Kirkland bacon (for BLT's) that anybody in our age group should consume.  But you know, a time comes when you ask yourself, "Do I want to graze on broccoli, skip making biscuits forever, ban pie from my life, and never have another fried green tomato so I can live 30 more years, or shall I just take my chances and eat the stuff that I long to eat, the things that really make life worth living?"

The thing is, my tomatoes usually suffer from blight to some degree, so I never know whether they will supply me through the season.  Now, if I have ever led any of my readers to believe I'm a master gardener, I have deceived you.  I have never in my life done ANYTHING to the best of my ability, except in the realm of cooking sometimes (biscuit nirvana).  I look around at other folks' gardens and the tomatoes are blight-free.  So obviously it's my laziness that is the problem.  I do move the crop from one spot to another each year, but beyond that, I don't do the things I've been told I should (or shouldn't) do to prevent blight.  Too much trouble.  Most years the plants provide enough to satisfy us.  

There are so many crops I've given up on.  Zucchini, for instance, and cucumbers.  Before I can get any reward for my efforts at planting viney crops, the squash bugs devastate them.  Now, here's where I should have made some effort to actually make some friends, because all around me people are saying, "Oh my, I have too much zucchini (or cucumbers, or melons).  People run the other way when I try to offer them some."

In my whole life, nobody ever offered me any zucchini or cucumbers.  Or anything else from their garden, really, at least not since my mother grew too old to garden.  What crazy person would turn down food?  I would be running toward the source, at least until I'd had my fill.  OK, enough of that.  I am ashamed, by the way, that I can't raise something that most people have more of than they can use.  

On the subject of BLT's, I recently saw on a billboard a picture of a grilled BLT.  This brought back a memory from the past, because the first time I ever tasted a grilled BLT was at a bar and grill where my daughter and I went to meet two men.  Yep, my daughter and I met two men in a bar, the only time in my life I met anybody in a bar.  It was in my old blogging days: I had done an AOL blog search to see if any Kansas City area folks had an online journal.  What I didn't know then was that there was a far bigger world than AOL, and that's where most people did their blogging.  So the only local person I found was Russ, who worked for Hallmark.  I was the first to comment on his new effort.  As time went on, another fellow (Sim) began leaving comments for Russ; and then my daughter joined us.  We would have full conversations in the comment section of Russ' blog.  

Rachel and I decided that since we had all these typed conversations and weren't that far from one another, we should meet in person.  This is the type of thing that makes Cliff shake his head in disbelief, but I guess he figured our daughter was surely clever enough to keep us out of trouble.  

At this tavern, we all had a grilled BLT.  It was delicious!  Later, at home, I tried grilling one myself.  It was very good, but I decided it was just too much trouble (and too many calories... added butter on the outside, plus a slice of cheese melted on the inside) so I think I only made the grilled variety twice.  Cliff didn't care for them toasted.  

Because a billboard had sparked the memory of something fattening and good, I decided yesterday to take the trouble to grill my BLT.  It was good, but still way too much trouble.  However, it made me think about that meet-up with two Internet guys.  I'm still in touch with one of them, Sim, on Facebook.  Russ has totally vanished, and I sometimes wonder what happened to him.

Funny, the things that will trigger a memory.  It's amazing how often food is the trigger.  


Sunday, August 07, 2016

Random, interrupted

Oh, don't worry.  You'll get your random update.  But I got up from the computer when I was about to do this entry.  Coming back from the kitchen with another cup of coffee, I saw out the east window what looked like the beginning of a lovely sunrise.
I try not to miss any pretty sunrises, so I went out back and sat on the deck for awhile.  I've often said that if the only way a person could see a lovely sunrise was to travel thousands of miles... if you couldn't just go outside most mornings and see it at home... people would spend fortunes to go where they could see such a sight.  I had hoped to see a lovely sunrise when we were at the Grand Canyon, but it takes clouds to make a nice sunrise.  Apparently clouds are a rarity there.

Allow me to digress one more time.  I simply have to share a photo stolen from Facebook and cropped.  Friday the little girl we babysit was in a demonstration of police support in Kansas City:  She and her mom rode her pony in the group of almost 200 horses and riders.

I went through 159 photos to find this one, but it was worth the effort once I cropped it down to the really important people.

Now I'm back to bore you with some drivel about tractors and parades.

We got up bright and early yesterday, and Cliff loaded up the tractor with the grandson's help.  I can't help him because I can't bear to watch; I've read and heard about some terrible accidents that happened while someone was loading a tractor onto a trailer.  Cliff is aware of the danger and is very cautious, but I still can't watch.  I was surprised that the grandson was even awake, but he made the mistake of posting something on Facebook, so I gave him orders in a comment to get his clothes on and come and help his grandpa.  He found it rather funny that I knew he was running around in his skivvies, but I've known the boy a long time.  He's been heavily influenced by his grandfather, who only began wearing pajama bottoms around the house when I began blogging and taking pictures of him at unexpected times.

The parade at Odessa was attended by a huge crowd, including many children who had brought sacks for the candy some of the parade participants were tossing to the crowd.  Sort of like trick or treat, but the treats come to you, so it's less work.  At first I thought perhaps I'd take some candy to the next parade we take part in, but when I saw one girl step out pointing at her treat bucket and demanding candy, I decided against it.  

I took this picture before we even got downtown.  LOTS of people!

I took this picture because of the car show behind the people... it was a huge car show.  We had another parade to attend twenty miles or more away, so we didn't get to check it out.  I do believe that one girl at the left side of the picture was posing for me.  

(I think yet another Canon point-and-shoot camera has developed moisture inside, blurring certain portions of my pictures.  But again, I digress.)

I didn't see a lot of folks I knew, so I was excited to see my daughter's insurance agent!  OK, well, he used to be the music directer where I went to church at the time, too.  I hadn't seen Rusty in years.  He's a nice, very talented fellow.  

Then we were loaded up again and heading to Dover, which is a tiny little town with a tiny little parade.  I won't bore you with the details.  Let's just say that the seven or eight tractors that were there made up most of the parade.  We did see someone we knew there, though...

David, a former next-door neighbor, chatted awhile.  He's the guy responsible for getting Cliff the job he retired from, and we are forever grateful for that.  He invited us to a fish-fry they'll be hosting, and we figure we'll probably attend unless our tractor club is having an event.  There will be music!  For those of you who remember the twins next door who practically grew up in Cliff's shop, David is their uncle.

That's all for now, folks.


Friday, August 05, 2016

It's August already? (random)

Yes, it is.  My longtime readers might recall a time when I updated my blog almost daily, but lately I seem to have a problem finding something to put in an entry.  The other morning I kept thinking about my childhood and was going to do an entry about my mom's wallpapering sideline when it occurred to me that I might have already done that.  Sure enough, if you type "wallpaper" into the search box in the upper left-hand corner of my blog, the second entry down addresses the subject.  Have I really covered everything about myself that's fit to share on the internet?

Perhaps that's my problem lately:  I've covered every thought I've ever had that's suitable for public consumption.  There's nothing new under the sun, at least in my life.  Nothing I'd want to put out in public, anyway.  Oh yes, friends, even I have little secrets that I won't tell the whole world.  And opinions?  I never do well sharing my opinions, so that's out as a blog topic.

Jack Crabb, the old cowboy in "Little Big Man" told the story of his life by phases or periods:  There was his snake-oil-salesman period, his religious period, his gunfighter period.  He was a freight-hauler, an army scout, and a Cheyenne warrior during various phases of his life, always reinventing himself.  

I look back through my blogging life and I see the working woman (Kohl's Distribution Center), the horsewoman, one-half of the biker team astride the Honda Gold Wing.  I took Jersey cows back into my life and wrote about that.  I had three dogs in succession that were, at times, topics of interest.  

Then there are threads of gardening and antique tractors woven throughout my blogging tapestry, subjects that have always been common topics.  

The subject that dominates my life these days seems to be the three-year-old child we babysit, and although she has a faithful following on Facebook, I hesitate to share too much about her here.  The motorcycle is gone, the cow (regrettably) is gone.  The horse, Blue, died long ago.  I don't have a dog now, and I'm not sure I'll ever want one again, although I imagine when the little girl is gone from our lives I might change my mind.

If I blogged about what's going through my mind this morning, here it is:  I've been thinking about Bob Seger.  I never heard of the guy until we rented the movie "Risky Business", but when I heard him singing "Old Time Rock and Roll", I wondered who was singing that incredible song.  Later on I heard him singing "Night Moves" and "Turn the Page" and was blown away by both numbers.  I loved the way they each painted a picture and told a story in which you could almost feel yourself participating.  Wow.

So you see, that's probably the sort of entries you'd be getting these days... the story of my fascination with a musical artist I never heard of until he was practically a has-been.  

What's coming up this weekend?  Two, count 'em, two tractor show/parade events on Saturday.  Each year on the first Saturday in August, there's a stretch of 24 highway that comes to life.  

The 9th Annual Blazin’ the Trail Event is a 20 mile event along the Santa Fe Trail spanning from Lexington to Waverly.  Along the way, you will find Fresh Produce, Garage sales, Antiques, Crafts, Food, Wine Tasting (featuring the Lafayette County Wineries), and other Family Events.  At the heart of the trail lies the small town of Dover celebrating their Dover Days Festival.  Here you will find a great tractor show, a variety of vendors, kids games, food, quilt show, bands and much more! Please come travel the trail and get a taste of what our local area has to offer!

The little town of Dover has a tractor show (that would be our club, mostly) and a parade at 2 PM.  However, before that, there's a parade in Odessa at 10 AM.  There's a 20% chance of rain in the forecast that day, just to keep things interesting.  

I've put a lot of peaches in the freezer, thanks to a friend who gives me all the culls I can handle.  The peaches will have lots of sizable bad spots or bruises, and yet, they'll be a little green.  I go through them constantly to pick out the ones that have ripened while they were sitting around my kitchen drawing fruit flies and toss the ones whose bruises and rotten spots developed faster than they could ripen.  Not the most pleasant task, but in the middle of winter when I can take those free peaches out of the freezer and add them to our otherwise boring cereal, I'm repaid for my troubles.

There you have it.  Random thoughts of a hippy/hillbilly/aging blogger.  Peace!