Saturday, March 27, 2010


A milestone was a marker placed to indicate when you had gone a mile on a road or path. Now days a milestone is a marker in one's life, usually a marker of some significance. Today is a milestone for me.
One year ago on March 27, 2009, I was watching my grand daughter in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It was a normal day and also a stormy day. I knew I would be there a bit later than usual as the next day being my birthday, my grand daughter had insisted on helping bake a cake for me. My daughter, Jennifer, would not be coming home that evening, as she was at a Womens Retreat in Bentonville. My youngest daughter, Elizabeth, was coming over to bring me a gift. So there was to be a small party for me.
Ross arrived there from work about 3:20pm and his mother called us there to let us know his father, Lee, had passed away that day. His father lived in Missouri. His parents divorced many, many years ago, but still conversed often. My husbands father was not in his life very much and really only started to become close after we married.
The storm had broken and given way to sun and Forrest wanted a wagon ride, so her sweet PawPaw took her for a ride. He needed the distraction of her and her wonderful undying love for him at that time.
We had some cake after my son in law and my daughter arrived and then left for home. It is a long drive home, about 30 minutes, and we talked about when he would leave for his father's services in Missouri. We talked of normal daily things and of how a house had burned down the road from us and laughed about the "save the foundation" policy of the volunteer fire departments in our area. They do their best, but by the time they all assemble it is usually too late. Thankfully no one lived in the house and it had been undergoing renovations and it was thought some work being done in it was the cause.
Ross asked me if I needed anything from the little store in Winslow and I said no I was fine. He himself would have loved some cigarettes as he had been trying to quit, but he refrained from going to buy any!
As we came up the hill to our driveway we could see it had rained quite hard out here, it seemed to be foggy. But some how our instincts told us it was not fog..
Our home was gone! Completely destroyed and still burning! I just let out a moan like cry and said, "Oh Ross"!! He replied he saw it and pulled up right next to uor root cellar below the house and told me to stay in the car..fat chance of that happening! But stay I did for a few minutes and I sat there shaking in fear for my concern for our cats safety.
We had been working on the inside of the house for as few years, as one day our entire ceiling suddenly had collapsed. The former owners had put in all new ceilings and had used no mud, only taped and had used roofing nails. They did this just before we bought the house. But after a few years of the weight of the insulation on those large headed and short nails, the ceiling had given way and pulled it all down! what a mess that was to come home to when it had happened. The only ceilings that stayed in place were over the dining room and the bathroom. The upstairs had all wood so it was not affected either.
So as I sat crying and shaking Ross went up the hill to what was left of our home. I of course got out of the car and proceeded up the hill, which is hard for me with my fibro and all the mud from the rain had made it slippery and of course no light to see.
I could not see Ross, he was someplace towards the back yard, but I could see the flames still burning high and could see my dining room and my tea cart was on it's side. I thought of how the tea cart, which I had restored from a piece of trash, held a beautiful while and gold speckled tea set that a dear friend had made me many long years ago. And I thought of all my beautiful tea pots in that room. and my rooster and chicken collection and the wonderful antique rooster lamp I had and the beautiful panting of a rooster and chicken and the chicks that had been on the wall. Years and years of collecting gone.
I yelled to him and he called back and said to stay back, it was dangerous. I went into our little camper, my mother had given us..I was in a state of despair, not really shock, but over whelming say the least. We had a momma cat and a litter of kittens in the camper and I was looking at them. Looking at them, but not really seeing them, if you know what I mean by that. I knew in the house had been our mama cat, Stripes and her new litter and their father, Fatso and several other of our cats as well. I was so sad wondering of their fate. In the end we found out Stripe and her litter did not make it out and Fatso had a bad gash on his leg. Most of them were safe, but we eventually lost a few due to what the vet said was stress and some lung infections from the smoke. I digress..
Ross came into the camper and told me he had to have a cigarette and was going to go to the store before it closed. I said okay go, I understand. He had already found a long enough piece of the phone wire and climbed the pole and got an old phone out of a storage container that was outside and hooked it up for me. He told me to call someone to come get me.
After he left I started to scream and cry and ask why, why, why?? I was almost hysterical!! I looked to my right and in the light of the lantern I saw on the wall of the camper my mother's Jesus fish, a calm came over me and I began to pray and ask God what was next for us, what would we do and how would we proceed with our new lives. Oh yes I have cried many times since then, but never became despondent or hysterical again. God had plans for us and he would never harm or hurt us.
Of course the following weeks were very hard. Ross would not leave the property and the animals and he had no power. But he is a country boy and he can survive and he did so quite well.
You know what was funny? I kept thinking while I was waiting for my daughter to come pick me up, I had no clean underwear!! But had like 4 pairs of shoes as I had 2 new pairs in the car and the ones I had on and my comfy ones all in the car!
I sometimes do what I call "Walking After Midnight" when I can not is were I mentally walk through the house and see all my things. Yes it is sad, but it is also my memories and a healing process of sorts for me.
I lost all my crafting things and sewing machines and that has been hard for an avid crafter and sewer, but some wonderful friends have sent me some great things. I so appreciate those people and all the ones who have helped us with their words, prayers deeds and acts of kindness. without my family and friends and our love for one another and my strong faith, I do not know what we might have done!
Yes it is a milestone in my life and tomorrow is another one as I turn 60!! Me 60???
Wow how did that happen??
Until next time, God bless you all, always in all ways!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Queen of the Hop

I love to dance!! This darn fibromyalgia has had me sidelined for a very long time now, but in my heart I am still prancing and dancing up a storm like I used to..
I first learned to dance by standing on my father's feet, as he would teach us things like the Hollywood Step, the Fox Trot, the Waltz and so many other dances. We would dance to Glenn Miller, Sammy Kaye, Lawrence Welk, Benny Goodman, Guy Lombardo and so many others. Dancing to songs like "American Patrol", "String of Pearls" and many many other big band tunes. We played records that were 78 rpm's, we had no 33's at the time and only a few 45's. But at "The White Elephant" a resale and thrift junk store we could buy 78's for five cents each!! I could spend hours pouring through those records! I think I had every Spike Jones record ever made and Hank Williams Sr. too! I so loved music and any kind of music. And I loved to dance to them too.
I taught myself how to do the swing dances and the Charleston and jitterbug and any dance I heard of was soon mine to learn how to do...even taught myself ballet!
But I was a 50's-60's child and rock n roll was the music of the day and I fully embraced it and the dances as well. We had street dances in Lee's Summit, Missouri and usually there was some prize awarded from one of the local merchants.
One summer the prize was a turquoise transistor radio from Western Auto and I wanted that thing in a bad way! I practiced as much as I could to do all the Rock n Roll dances. I made myself a poodle skirt and I had my white short sleeved crisply ironed blouse. My hair was very curly and reddish and I managed to comb it straight enough to put it in a high ponytail with a huge pink scarf tied into it!! And my bobby sox and my black and white saddle oxfords (the only shoe my father would buy us). Oh my look at me I am Sandra Dee!! lol
But I had not finished one of my many chores and Daddy said no I could not go..but for some reason he relented and took us anyway. The dance was being held on the street and this one was on the upper part of 3rd Street close to the funeral home. When we got there I got shy and scared and would not go out to dance, but eventually I made my way into the crowd. Daddy said he could see me by watching for my feet, as I had the whitest shoes and socks there. He had taught us to be a stickler about white things and to use lots of white shoe polish for our shoes and lots of bleach in the laundry. A habit I still have to this day.
Boy did I ever dance, I rocked and I rolled and I jittered and I strolled! I was just a little skinny thing and I wore myself out trying to win that radio!! AND I DID!!!! I was the "Queen of the Hop" that night! My father was so proud of me and I was proud of myself too! How I loved that little radio and it was all mine now!
I have danced myself crazy many nights since that time, but nothing was ever as satisfying as that night on 3rd Street! Now I dance in my heart and in my dreams and I am still "The Queen of the Hop"!!
Until next time, stay safe and may God bless you!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I never saw a flying cow..

Oh boy, it is here already!! Tornado season is upon us and has been unkind already to many in Oklahoma and Arkansas. We live in what is known as "Tornado Alley" which is most of the middle section of the United States. A fact of which I have lived with all my life!
I know there were many tornadoes before the first one I ever actually recall, but the first one that really stuck in my head happened on May 21, 1957. We were outside playing hopscotch and waiting for "I Love Lucy" to come on television. I shall never forget the grim look on my father's face as he told us to go get some blankets off our beds and get some clean clothes and our pajamas. We asked why and he told us to just do what he said to we watched him and Mom gather up some things like cereal, milk, bowls, gallons of water and candles and flashlights and proceed to put them all in the car. What the heck was going on we wondered, were we going to Grandmothers? to the lake, camping, what and where?? We could not leave Lucy was about to come on!! Come on Daddy, you got some splaining to do!! We simply can not miss Lucy!!
But we did miss we went with the car all packed up to Mr. and Mrs. Ritter's house down the road. Why? anyone, please why? Well the Cotter kids were there too, so maybe this was not going to be too bad what ever the hay was going on.
The rains began to pour and thunder and lightning was everywhere..we had been shuttled off into the root cellar which was completely underground with a huge mound of earth over it. A place I hated as it was full of potatoes and onions and I was sure it had rats and mice and all other kinds of vermin in it as well. There were bins kind of like bunk beds and that was what they became, our beds. Yuck!!
All the sudden the rain stopped and it became very father went into some kind of survival mode and I recall him saying that this was it..WAS WHAT?? He grabbed a hand saw and about threw us down the stairs back into the root cellar, making sure the Ritters and the Cotters were all inside and closed the big heavy door. As he did you could hear the wind begin to howl, but it was somehow different from the usual sound of the winds. It sounded almost like a train was passing close by! I still do not think I was really scared, as I had no real idea what was taking place! The sound of the wind became deafening and there was a loud crash against the cellar door. Daddy looked at Jim Cotter and they both looked very grim. As the sound of the wind lessened, the two of them began to try to open the door. The door was at an angle and something seemed to be against it from the outside. The two of them managed to get the door open enough that one of them could get outside. We heard groans and grunts as my father pushed a huge maple tree off the door. It was calm outside now, so we were allowed to come outside. Good as I was sure a rat had run across my feet already!!
The world was a different place as we came out of that cellar. Trees were everywhere, parts of the roof of the houses were gone, the windshield of the Cotters car was smashed from a tree limb..what was going on? Then I heard Daddy say that tornado was close..well I knew what a tornado was and now I was scared.
He sat me and my sister Gwen on the hood of our car and Denny Cotter joined us there. Denny was a year older than me and both myself and Gwen thought he was a cutie. A few years later we actually fought over him!
As we sat there on the hood the lightning lit up the sky and you could clearly see three tornadoes, side by side. There was a huge one in the middle and two smaller ones on either side. I shall never ever forget that and that suddenly as the lightning hit again it made a outline that looked like the USA map..Denny and I looked at each other and we had such terror in our eyes. we both thought the same thing, that the entire country was being destroyed!! After all we were children of the "Red Devil" era and Nikita Khrushchev eras and he scared us to death! Was this a warning we were all about to die??
My father and Mr. Cotter stood a few feet in foot of us and I heard my father say it was over the Jackson County Hospital now, my aunt Pauline lived close to there and my good friends Russell Swall and Donald Case and Nancy Ramsey all lived over that way too and I was so frightened for them. As it turns out my aunt's house was totally destroyed. They were okay except for a few minor cuts and bruises. They had taken a mattress and all got into the bathtub with it over them. When the house was blown apart the tub fell into the basement with them in it, so they were okay.
That was one of the longest nights I ever remember as a child. What we were to witness in the next few days has left an indelible mark on me. We saw chickens with no feathers strutting around..dogs with fur gone in patches..splinters of wood driven straight into huge telephone poles!! Houses moved from their foundation and actually set upon the foundation of the house next to them!! The Truman Corners Mall, which was fairly new was almost all gone! Many people were dead and many more injured, it was so sad. One thing that still sticks with me is a tape was found in the debris of a house that this lady had taped as she watched the tornado approach her home in Hickman Mills, her husband had called her and told her to leave and go to a neighbors basement, she did not feel she needed to, she was pregnant and she died in that tornado. So sad, I never knew her name but can still see that tape in my minds eye.
I never saw a flying cow as in the movie "Twister", but what I saw gave me total respect for a tornado and what it can do!! Heed warnings, even if you think it might not happen, don't be like that lady with her video tape!!
Until next time, stay safe and God bless you all!
Link to what tornado alley is and where it is:
Link to the May 21, 1957 KC, Missouri area tornado:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oatmeal, crochet and fishing..or how to be odd while pregnant!

I am one of three sisters. I have many step-siblings and one half brother, but for the most part it was myself and my two sisters together as we grew up.
One sister Gwen, lives in Missouri at the Lake of the Ozarks and she and her husband own a bar/grill by the name of Possum Holler. Yes really that is the name of it!! My sister is also married to our step-brother..don't go all shocked, there is no blood relationship and actually he and my sister were married before my mother and step-father. They have been married almost 45 years!! They have 4 children and 5 grandchildren. Gwen has very severe rheumatoid arthritis, but you would not hardly know it to see her take on that kitchen when it comes time to cook for the customers. Her husband Bill aka Possum is the brother that has cancer and is undergoing treatment for a relapse of that cancer.
My little sister Cherry Lee was killed in an auto accident in Tucson back in 1986. She had 2 daughters and would have loved her 4 grandchildren to pieces.
When my mother was pregnant with Cher, as she preferred to be called, she had strange cravings as many women do at that time. I still think my mother's was the strangest I personally ever saw. She craved raw oatmeal straight from the box! I mean the woman could eat a ton of it every day! Dry, dusty and pasty as it was she gobbled it all day long!
As kids we did not really know how poor we really were and many of our meals were either hunted or caught. To this day I can not stand the taste of most game animals. Squirrels belong in trees and not in my stew or frying pan and rabbits should be only cute and delivering Easter eggs, not simmering on the stove. I came to completely hate pheasant and was shocked to find out it was served "under glass"!! Dear Lord, how could pheasant be so expensive, we had it coming out our ears!!
But one thing I still love the taste of is a good sun perch. It has such a sweet buttery taste to me, all fried up and golden.
We used to go fishing almost every warm, non-rainy day with my mother. We went to a little pond (now long gone) back in the field behind Shorty Well's milk barn. We called it Shorty's Pond. You had to trudge through the cow patties to get there.
Come those early nice spring days back in 1954 when Mom was pregnant with Cher, off we would go a fishing! She would have two toddlers in tow, blankets, fishing tackle, her oatmeal and crocheting. Our tackle was usually just a long twig with a fishing line and a bobber. But wow could we ever catch the sun perch!
All the while Mom sat on the blanket eating her oatmeal and crocheting. Oh my how her fingers flew as she crocheted with that tiny little hook and that thin thread. She made a doily in no time flat and a bedspread in just a bit longer than no time. She used no patterns either, it was all in her head. I was always totally amazed to watch her fingers move so rapidly..a feat I can now master myself. I now know she used what is called tatting thread and a size 12 crochet hook! If you know anything about the crochet world you know that is a very small hook and a very thin thread. I do not know who taught her how to crochet, but I think it must have been either my Great Aunt Myra or my Great-grandmother Torrey as they were quite artistic and my grandmother was an educator and had not much time for things like crafting or sewing.
After my mother passed way, we found many of her crochet tools and projects she had in the works. I was lucky enough to inherit those things as my sister does not crochet too very often. Sadly I did lose most of them in the fire.
I know my love of crocheting came from my mother and I know she was proud of me and the many awards I have received over the years for my crocheting. She once looked at one of the christening gowns I made and said she could never do anything like that..but of course I know better. The woman could make a huge pineapple doily from her head for pity sake!! But it made me proud to have her say that.
You know when I close my eyes sometimes I can still see her fingers flying over those doilies and the box of Quaker oats next to her or resting on her full pregnant tummy and yes I can still taste the sun perch!
Have a blessed and productive day!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Marion quite contrary how does your garden grow

My father, who was named Marion, was raised as a farmer in a large German family. As a young man he used to deliver vegetables to housewives by horse and buggy all over the Kansas City, Missouri area. The stories he told about that and his education as a youth were something else!
Being a farmer never left his soul and spirit..we always had a huge garden! We had potatoes, corn, tomatoes, okra, green beans, beets, carrots, radishes, cucumbers and many others as well. March 15th, known as the Ides of March, meant time to plant the potatoes. He got seed potatoes from a co-op and we would cut those so there was an "eye" to be planted pointing up so the new plant would grow straight up. Then off to plant the nice even rows he staked out with string so that everything grew in perfect straight rows. Part of the potato growth was designated as the new potatoes and would be harvested early. Oh how I love new potatoes!! I did back then and still do!! When the rest were to be dug up, we had to be careful as to not hit them with the shovel and ruin them. Then off to the root cellar for cold storage they would go and we had potatoes for the whole year! As my husband can tell I am ready for potatoes almost any day of the year!
Then there was the corn..oh dear heavens, is there anything better than fresh grown corn, steamed and dripping in butter with pepper on it!! There might be, but I am hard pressed to think of anything that tastes any better. The proof was come harvesting time you would find me at meals with butter dripping off my face and down to my elbows! Heaven I tell ya, sheer heaven!
But then again, well maybe the best thing ever is a freshly picked tomato right while standing in the garden with a salt shaker in your pocket!! But take those tomatoes slice them up and add bacon and stick it in a toasted sandwich and I think I hear Saint Peter calling, it is that good!!
Oh no, can't forget the cucumbers either..right from the garden.. peeled and salted. Oh maybe with the fresh green onions and pickled. And the spicy on the tongue. My father used to slice them up and put them in a container with some butter and shake them up so that they were all coated with the butter and put them in a sandwich with fresh cucumbers and tomatoes. Little did I know in some circles that was considered a delicacy!!
Which brings me to the green boiled up in big huge pot with what else but bacon and new potatoes. I wonder why was I such a skinny little girl, I ate like a princess, even if I did not know it at the time. Chicken fried steak or fried chicken, green beans, buttered corn, pickled cucumbers, corn bread or biscuits and always some kind of pie for dessert!! But I think it all finally caught up to my bottom as I reached 40!! Never mind the cholesterol it must have had, but who cared back then?? Sure not me or my father!
The funniest tale was always me and okra..I loved fresh raw okra..ewww, I know I would not eat it today, but I did back then. One of our neighbors grew the biggest fields of okra you ever saw and I could be found there if I went missing eating the raw okra. One time as they were plowing under the old plants they almost ran over me sitting under them eating okra! Mr. Ritter said he saw a little redhead bobbing under the plants or he might have plowed me under too!
We used DDT for the insects and Daddy would spray the plants down until they dripped with it. One time we had some spinach, which I also ate raw, growing up around the house. Daddy sprayed it and without even paying attention I grabbed up some spinach leaves and started to munch on them! I thought he was going to kill me if the DDT didn't. He swooped me up and started pouring water down my throat, all the while yelling did I not just see him spray those plants?? That was another time, besides the bleach incident, I ate or drank something I should not have and would not be the last time either!
The other big benefit of a large garden was that all that was left over, we got to sell out of our front yard to use to go to the county fair!! We loved selling those vegetables and were so proud we helped raise them.
It is sad children today miss out on so much of these wonderful gardens and the lifetime of memories you might just make by growing a garden. Try making even a small garden with your children and they may write about it someday too!
Until next time, God bless and stay safe.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Boogy Woogy Fever..

My husband has some kind of flu..guess the doctor either could not say or would not say.. guess we will know more when the nasal swab results come back.
Since I am recalling my childhood and all the old memories lurking around in my mind, it brings up all the times I was ill as a kid. Sad to say it was really quite often. Doctors have said it could be related to the fact I have fibromyalgia today.
My first recollection of being ill was having the mumps..back then they wrapped a scarf around your head. Kind of like this:

You got quarantined by the doctor, who actually came to the house for everything!! Try to get a house call now, you will hear them rolling on the floor in laughter as they hang up on you. Well, they also did this trick of giving you either a pickle or some vinegar and if it about killed you, yup, you had the mumps! Cruel punishment for a child already ill!
I seemed to be very thirsty and had asked my mother, who was frazzled with 3 kids with the mumps, for a glass of water. She told me my legs were okay and to come get it myself..BIG mistake! She was also doing laundry or as we usually called it "The Washing". We had one of those old wringer machines and doing the wash took almost all day. You had to wash it, then wring it, then rinse it in a separate tub, then wring it again! If I had to do laundry that way we would be buying new clothes all the time!! So anyway, I went to the kitchen and she had told me my water was sitting on the counter..I picked up the glass (why did we call them glasses, we had those old colorful aluminum tumblers) and downed the water. Tasted a bit weird, but I had the mumps, nothing tasted good! I went back to the sofa and laid down, when she screamed from the kitchen, where was the glass of bleach?? Oh dear Lord, I drank her bleach!! Thought it tasted weird and why did she has the bleach in the dang glass any how?? Which was just what my father wanted to know too!! Oh well he said guess I was clean inside now. No ill side effects
Wasn't the first time I ate or drank something I should not have, but that is a story for another day!!
So hubby is home and resting and will take the rest of the week off of work..oh more fun!! I most likely will never get anything made this week!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Memories light the corners of my mind...

As I swiftly approach my 60th birthday the 28th of this month, memories of a lifetime rush in to fill all the little nooks and crannies of my mind. Seems these days the least of things can trigger a memory of the last 59 years.
Like the other day looking at a pattern to make my 4 year old grand daughter a new dress (she asked me to please make her a new dress, not that she does not have tons of clothes, guess she just wants one I make), there was a pattern of a cute little aline princess style dress in a beautiful pale green. I had a dress like that when I was in elementary school I dearly loved. Wore it as often as I could too! Never forget the last time I got to wear it either..
We were on the way to school in the bus and had just started down to pick up the Rice children, when the driver reached over to pick up something and took her eyes off the road. We went over the edge of the low water bridge into the rushing stream below! It had been raining heavily the past few days and the stream was a bit swollen and moving fast! I don't know why, as she was the only adult aboard, but the driver panicked and kind of froze. I got the back door open and started getting the kids off the bus. I got my younger sister off first and sent her to the Rice home to get help. The toll of the whole ordeal was my beautiful pale green dress was ruined and I never got to wear it again!
Memories like that keep flooding into my thoughts..maybe this is a good thing, because I can still recall and see those things so clearly and vividly in my mind. So I guess my mind is still pretty sharp for an old gal!
Maybe my daughters can use my "blogging and remembering" to make a journal for whoever might want it..hint. I plan on trying to do some mind jogging every day up to my birthday. Seems to be the only exercise I get these days!!
I hope and pray for each of you that your memories light up the corners of your mind and you can keep your mind sharp and working well as you grow older too!