Friday, December 18, 2009

Seeing Christmas

For most of us Christmas is photographed and filed, but never left for long to gather dust. We see Christmas in real as well as imaginary albums.

1997's pictures show the first celebration for my youngest grandchild. The stars weren't limited to the tree. As it happens every time we have a new baby in the family, those eyes twinkled in the hearts of all of us, as we relived our own first-remembered Yuletide through the stars in the new child's eyes. I ran back down the years and reached out with little-girl arms to hear again a dear old great-grandmother whispering in my little-girl ear, "Now, don't forget." Before regressing quite so far, I had other, "visions" with not a sugar plum in sight. I saw holidays slipping past, with different, "youngest" grandchildren laughing merrily at some grand, shimmering tandenbaum. And further back to my own babies. How clearly I can see them toddling by in their sailer suits and ruffled dresses.

Through irridescent, wintry clouds of splendor, through times of trouble and hearts we would swear were broken beyond recycling; through falling snow flakes, rain drops and hopes, December 25th keeps coming. A few soft words inhabit northern winds, "Now, don't forget...." I see Christmas when hugging a friend I have had since girlho9od. We did our shopping, "downtown" before malls were anything but big hammers. With fur-lined boots and parka's we walked past store-fronts festooned with greens and colored lights. Carols poured forth from overhead speakers far above us and we talked about "Little Women's" Jo who sold her hair to buy a present for her mother. We couldn't wait to begin purchasing gift with our allowances. It snowed for days that winter, and I foun d a sled under the Christmas tree. But just before I went to sleep on Christmas Eve I heard that whisper, "Now, don't forget..."

I see Christmas when I think of my parents and grandparents...remembering gifts of Nancy Drew myteries, ice skates, bicycles,scooters, dolls and even a small bright red kiddy car when I was four-years old. I see a sweet-faced aunt touch my cheek and say softly, "Now, don't forget..."

Different days with grow-up presents came too quickly, at least in retrospect. Then one December 7th, and for a long few years the world wasn't sure there would be more Christmases. But, of course there were, along with lockets and high-heeled slippers, and Evening in Paris perfumes. I had an uncle in France on one of those holidays, who would have traded his evening in Paris for most anybody. He was carrying a rifle through mud up to his knees and hadn't been able to change his socks for weeks. Still, I heard it yet again, "Now, don't forget..."

Some people say, "That is more than I care to remember." Not me. Every one is a gift to acknowledge and recall.; even the years I made the biggest fool of myself--the most colossal errors in judgement. Christmas is always there at the end to bring about healing when we remember what this day is all about. Sooner or later this season, I will be bending over a small bed, touching a soft cheek and whispering," Now, don't forget...Joy to the world, the Lord is come!"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Old Christmas Carols

Old age--from my point of view--has one thing going for it this time of year. I have a huge stock pile of Christmases to remember every evening just before falling into a short nap in my recliner. As it stands now, I have much clearer memories of those 30 years ago than I do the one last December. As time rolls on my recollections seem to move further back with each year. If it keeps going this way one of these winters I will experience vivid scenes from my very first Christmas, at age five-months while forgetting to put the lights on the tree THIS year. It just goes that way in life and the longer we are allowed to live, the more there is to forget about yesterday and to recall about the far past. There is that wonderful thing that happens to us oldsters. (I'm 78) we are given the gift of remembering incidents that happened many decades ago. My mom was still recalling songs from the far past just before she went to the Lord at age 94.
To get a bit serious, there are some slow moving, yet relentless machines at work to plow under some of our oldest traditions. The trappings and scenes of Christmas, and some people's attitudes have changed from the times of my youth. I hate to have to say it, but they haven't added anything positive that I can see. The greatest thing about this special day of December 25th is that it doesn't matter what we humans do or don't do about it; it will go right on being celebrated as the birth of the Savior in the hearts of millions. There is an astonishing phenomenon working its way through the country right now--a movement we couldn't have imagined on ly a few short years ago. There are those who would be much more contented if the whole Christmas thing would go away. It seems to worry them a great deal, particularly the spiritual aspects of the season. Even the decorated tree has become forboding enough to cause some of them to change its name to something less threatening than,'The Christmas Tree."
I have heard it said that the more fanatical people become the more ridiculous they become. Maybe so. As far as that goes, there are those who would call me a fanatic because I am a Christian. My Christianity is not just a bi-product of being born in America, and it isn't a religion; it is a relationship with Christ..not to get excited please, my soap-box is nowhere in sight. I am not a, "Bible Thumper." But, I do cringe to hear unbelievers explain what goes on in My heart and mind as a Christian. When they attempt to do so, it is so obvious they haven't a clue as to who we are. And hey; I don't expect them to. After some research of the different movements afoot that would squash all reverences to Christianity. It almost seems silly, but, of course, it isn't.
Perhaps the traditions could be made to disappear from the American scene over time, but I don't believe it would have much of a spiritual impact. They might do away with the Nativity scenes, rename the town-square trees, change the words to "Silent Night" --as one school already has--not allow Christmas songs at the school pageants, let the retailers tell their personnel not to greet their customers with the apparently dangerous statement of, "Merry Christmas" and it woudn't matter one iota to the faith that can move mountains. It isn't often that I splash around in the political pond, and actually don't feel that I am getting my feet wet right now. But, you know what? I just had to say something about the attacks on Christmas.
No one knows the date of Christ's birth. The 25th of December is just the day that was decided on to celebrate what was a wondrous day for believers. But it isn't necessary for our faith. Neither are, "Silent Night" or the stable with the baby in the hay. We can get along nicely without, "O' Tannenbaum, the school programs with no references to Christmas, the carolers, and all the rest. Our faith and worship is based on something immovable and unchangeable. Still, how perilous can it be to be wished a, "Merry Christmas?"
*The picture with this posting is part of the remains of a very old song book I found in a second-hand store. It has all but turned to dust. I love it...MERRY CHRISTMAS

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mistake in last posting

I left out an important word in last post. The word, "regret" was left out of last sentence. It should read, "He surely did shiver that night, but there was a warm spot somewhere near the area of his heart that kept REGRET from getting in at all.

I don't know how to correct it....sorry


One cold night a stranger came calling

In 1930 , December came puffing and blowing, dumping immence skies full of snow over Puget Sound. Numbing Arctic winds finger-painted the scene with silvery strokes and on one particular snow-filled morning a Western Washington farming community went about its business. at 10:30 a.m. a mournful, drawn-out whistle led a swaying freight train out of the deep forest to halt at the wooden water tower where it would spend an hour- and-a-half taking on a fresh supply

Thus begins a true-to-life tale.


The trains carried the men from one ocean to the other, then back again; men who had taken to the open road for one reasons or another. Some were good men, some maybe not so good, but a large number were husbands and fathers striving to come through for the families waiting at home. Finding even the bare requirements of dood on a daily basis was a challenge. Every day hundreds of down-at-the-heels men app;roached hundreds of back doors across the country hoping for wood to chop or ditches to dig in exchange for a meal.

Women bore their own kind of burden;months taken up with trying to fill children with scanty rations and imaginations.

LIttle old Mrs. Moore had no such worries. The modest farm produced plenty for the two of them. She and her husband Knapp, had raised their one child long ago and soon would be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. She put anothehr stick of wood in the cook stove, check on the baking bread in the oven and eased down into the waiting rocking chair.

As the train gave a long, steamy, "Sheeeeeeesh," a long man jumped down from one of the middle boxcars, pulled his tattered overcoat close around his neck and took off at a slow and cumbersome run across the frosty field.

Nearby Mrs. Moore had heard the whistle. She roused herself, put on a pot of coffee and began to slice potatoes and ham into a frying pan. He would be hurrying along now, one of the fellows who, "rode the rails" in these hard times. There was never more than one man at a time looking for a hand out at the Moore farm on the daily runs. This seemed to be the procedure amongst the travelers. Farmers in other areas reported the same routine. The elderly lady continued to work at the stove and decided she would have her visitor cut some kindling.

When the box in the woodshed was full of newly chopped kindling he took an armload and walked to the back porch. After dumping the wood into a container near the back entrance he shook the snow from his worn coat, slapped his hat against his leg and entered the country kitchen. He looked to be about 35 years-old . His face was craggy and thin, almost to the point of gauntness, with cheeks reddend by too many winter rides in icy boxcars.

She chatted of this and that, plaing dishes and utensils on the table while pointing him to the wash basin and a hanging towel.

He didn't talk much , spending his energy on the food in front of him, but nodded politely when he felt a response was necessary. His, hostess, seated at last with her own cup of coffee, thought she saw him send a fleeting glance of longing toward the tiny decorated fir tree in the dim parlor. But, if so, it was quickly suppressed. Then, as he was finishing up the last scraps of the meal she watched as his eyes wandered to the back door window. There was a large card there, suspended by a string and facing the outside.

"I know," she said, though he hadn't asked, "We can't see it from in here. I just never got around to turning it around. It's what the angels told the shepherds," 'Peace on earth, good will to men."

Her grey head turned toward the message, "Seems to me we humans get that backwards today. We keep wanting thhe peace, and all the things that go with it, without giving the good will first."

The sojourner put down the checkered napkin and asked without much interest, "What is good will anyway?"

Almona Moore massaged one arthritic hand with the other, thinking carefully about her answer. "Well, it's wanting to be helpful," she said, "It's looking for, being aware of--no, it's looking for opportunities to be giving even when it isn't so easy. It's a willingness, an attitude. Yes, that's it. It's an attitude of kindness."

The man answered, "Hmm."

Suddenly Mrs. Moore spotted a sack on the chair by the door. She rose as quickly as her 80 year-old arthritic body would allow, put her hand to her cheeck and keened, "Oh, dear my poor husband has forgotten his lunch." She glanced at the clock on the shelf. It showed 11:45, There was still time if...her visitor saw the clock also.

"You see," the woman continued frowning, "My husband had a chance to make a little money today reparing a neighbors fence, but he's not even completely over being sick and he just can't go without this meal. What in the world can I do?" The faded blue eyes looked straight at the man sitting at her table

"Well, how far away is this neighbor?"

"A mile or so down the road," was the hopeful answer as she pointed in the opposite direction from the halted train.

Rising to shrug into his coat, the man replied, "Sure do thank you for the food, Ma'am, but I can't do that. Gotta get that train. I'd have to walk clean into Tacoma otherwise."

The lady sat back down, holding tightly to the sack, and sighed, "Yes. well, goodbye then."

A gust of frigid air came in as the man went out. "So long, Ma'm. Sorry."

He walked 10 paces in the crunchy snow and stopped. Slowly, by small jerks, he turned his head and looked over his shoulder. He could see that sign as if it had a built-in light. That one word sure looked brighter than the rest. GOODWILL. He couldn't figure how he missed seeing that on his way in. He growled, "Shoot!" as if somebody was giving him an arguement, and kicked at a mound of snow. Finally he turned reluctently all the way around and began to retrace his steps. The door opened before he knocked and Mrs. Moore handed him two sacks. "Straight down this road, Son. Mr. McGreggor's place. You can't miss it. Biggest barn you ever saw. Oh, Yes, and that large bag is for you. I wrapped up that ham shank, some bread and a few winter apples for later.

The fellow shook his head and took the bags. "How did you know I'd go?"

"Just thought I saw a lot of goodwill in you young man."

"Yeah, and I'll regret it when I find myself shiverin' in somebody's haystack tonight."

"No," she said firmly, "You won't."

He surely did shiver that night, but there was a warm spot somewhere near the area of his heart that kept from getting in at all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Coming nearly to the end of this endeavor

Yes, we are almost to the end of Tarzan and Jane's strange, but unusual eating habits; and we will end with the absolute best of the bunch. UBANGI, I BANGI, WE ALL BANGI ON THE TREEHOUSE WALL STEW

21/2 diced peeled potatoes
2 tsp salt
1 Tbls oil
2 tsps chili powder
1 recipe corn dumplings (given below)
2 cu pinto beans
1 lag. chopped onion
2 beef boullion cubes
3 lg fresh tomatoes

Mix potatoes, beans and salt and 3 cu water in good sized kettle. Sauate onions in oil. Add 2 boullion cubes. Add chilii powder and tomatoes. Stir well and add to first mixture. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 min. Drop dumplings by heating tablespoons on top of stew. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Causes aggressive behavior in some.


1 cu canned corn
1 cu flour
1 tsp soda
3 Tbls cornmeal
salt to taste
buttermilk to moisten

Mix ingredients until blended . Keep dough fairly stiff.


Maybe there is a large critter in your life, sniffing the air for some sweet sustenance as he comes in from swinging from tree to tree.
And, one evening very soon, after he has showered and changed his loin cloth you may present him with one of the best meals he has ever bounded through. We sincerely hope your Tarzan is a bit more talkative at dinner.

Believe it or not, we are about to end this thing, but must add just a couple more paragraphs to explain ourselves in regards to Janes's kitchen utensils. Perhaps you think we have been particularly nasty in witholding information about Jane's preparation tools. That's because they ARE particularly nasty. A blackened pot, a filthy stick and a few crummy hot rocks. UGH we simply cannot discuss it. But we have nearly forgotten Jane's all-time, top-of-the-list, very favortite: YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE HORS d' OEUVRES. DEFINETELY YUMMY SHE INSISTS. And it is only a matter of walking the banks of the river--any-river will do--and grabbing everything that moves. Our kitchen testers refer to this, "dish" as CANAPES WITH CRUNCH

Hope you've had fun, I sure have

Monday, November 23, 2009

This is the last elephant in this particular jungle

Continuing with the lost family's favorite recipes Tarzan claims everyone would love ALLIGATOR SUPREME. He says, "The chewing is so beneficial to the teeth and gums." Now, you know he never said such a thing. This character can barely grunt out more than three words in succession. Nevertheless, he did make it quite clear that the above mentioned recipe is for the more advanced cook; one who can wrestle. His actual words were,"Go slow. Carry big stick."
Now here is a goodie.
1/2 cu. shortening
1 tsp ginger
1cu molasses
!/2 tsp soda
3 Tbls baking powder
1 egg
1/4 cu sour milk
1cu raisins
1/2 cu sugar
1 tsp salt
3 cu flour
Cream shortening and sugar. Beat egg and add it too. Then add molasses, mixing well. sift flor, soda baking powder, ginger and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with sour milk. Add raisins. Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased baking sheet. BAke at 400 deg. about 10 minutes. Yields 7 1/2
From the title of that last recipe you may guess what Boy thought these cookies were the first time Jane told him what they were called as she handed him one of the little hummers. It showed he had inherited at least one of his father's traits when he accepted it without an argument. They really are very good. Even Cheetah likes them. Now that we think about it that isn't much of a recommendation, he also enjoys munching on beetles.
Grit your teeth there are only a couple more of these unique offerings to endure
You can't say they haven't been ...different shall we say?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Jane is back

Our jungle family's very favorite recipe's have not been included. We thought them a bit gamey for sophisticated appetites, (OH! Dear Jane! How far you have fallen.) However, in the interests of gourmet curiosities we will relate their names to you. Near the top of the list is, ANTHILL AMBROSIA. Jane recommends the wearing of boots for the gathering of ingredients. (Arm-pit length gloves wouldn't hurt either.)

Our next offering is; a tasty surprise.


1 frying chicken, cut-up
1/3 cu. butter
salt and pepper
1/2 cu. sliced onion
2 cu. light cream

Cheetah fooled around and came up with this recipe. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Roll in flour, saute in butter. Place in greased casserole. Saute onions in drippings in pan until lightly browned. Add cream and pour over chicken. Cover tightly and bake in 325 oven for 2 1/2 hrs, or until tender. Serves 6


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Here we are back with Jane, Tarzan, and an elephant or two

Another Jungle Recipe
1 Tbls plain gelatin
2 Cu. milk
1/3rd Cu.sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 Cu cold water
2 eggs
1/8 Tsp salt
Soften gelatin in cold water. Scald the milk, add gelatin, stirring until dissolved. Combine beaten egg yolks, sugar and salt. Slowly stir in the milk and gelatin mixture. Cook over hot water until lightly thickened or about 5 minutes. Cool. When mixture begins to set add vanilla and fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Pour in to one large or six individual dishes. Chill well. FEED SOME TO THE MEANEST BOA CONSTRICTOR IN YOUR JUNGLE. YOU MIGHT GET A BIG HUG
I'd bet my mosquito net you will simply LOVE this one
1 white cake mix
1 large can crushed pineapple
1 large can apple pie filling
1 stick butter or margarine.
Grease 9 x 13 pan. Layer ingredients in this order. Pineapple, pie filling, and cake mix. Then slice margarine into pieces and cover cake mix. Pat down gently, cover tightly with foil wrap and bake at 350 degrees for 40 -45 minutes.
more later

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jane's story Continues

At any rate Jane was found; whether by Tarzan or his constant companian, Cheetah, the chimp, is anybody's guess. Our money, if we were betting people, would be on the monkey. His human friend couldn't seem to find an erupting volcano without assistnce. He truly wasn't the cleverest individual who ever trod the jungle paths.

Edgar Rice Burroughs never imagined a, "Jane". At least we don't think he did. It was just Tarzan and the Apes, and for we ladies, that can get a little boring. Someone else thought so too apparently, for some, "romantic " came along and brought Jane into the pictures--movies that is. It certainly made it more interesting for the female audience. A beautiful cultured woman destined to spend the rest of her life with ...well, let's turn our thoughts to something a little more pleasant; like the next recipe


2 cups canned peaches, sliced
Peach juice and water to make 1/4 cup
2 Tbl Minute Tapioca
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 Tbls lemon juice

Combine tapioca, sugar, salt and liquid, (not lemon juice) in pan and mix well. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and fruit. It will be thin until it cools. Chill. Serves 4-5

More about Jane

So Jane and Tarzan formed an alliance. They were a couple, as Tarzan so aptly put it, "Me Tarzan" you Jane. The guy knew a good thing when he saw it. A banana and a chaw of bark may be okay for a bachelor, but something in his genes, shouted, "You Jane, you COOK.!!!"

To be continued

Friday, November 13, 2009

Through a different kind of jungle

This mini cookbook is something I've been fooling around with for awhile. A critic I know
thinks it is quite good as slapstick comedy goes and might make an acceptable, "coffee table" piece. Forgive me if you think it is the silliest piece of writing you have ever seen.
Perhaps you don't know much about Tarzan's Jane; well, she was one-in-a-million, and a good thing too. It is too horrible to contemplate more than one of our "sisters" being tossed from pillar to elephant in such rustic surroundings. Jane was a real lady, English if we remember correctly. She exuded refinement from every dirty little toe. Gentleness and charm mingled within her snarled and matted curls; definetely, "to the manor born."
Alas, poor Jane became lost in a remote area of the African jungle. It isn't clear to us now just how she got there. There is some fuzzy recollection about her having been on safari with her father. It's possible that she wandered off in search of a, "ladies room" and shockingly found herself stuck amongst the briars and the pricklies unable to free her delicate self without unthinkable embarrassment. And so, there she remained until...Enter, Tarzan, the King of the Jungle; a man not clear-headed about finding his OWN way back to civilization by most accounts., (actually, EVERY account paints him as a rather slow dunderhead.) He, himself, had been lost since childhood and didn't know it. And, in spite of seeing his quite human face mirrored in every mud hole south of Egypt , the fellow believed himself to be one of the Great Hairy Ones, an ape.
What can we say, except it wasn't his eyesight that made him famous, it was Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author who fictionalized our man of the jungle.
If we were reading a real book at the moment I would tell you to turn the page and take the first step into the leaf-shadowed world of Jane's "kitchen" and some unusual---we might even call it bizarrw--cuisine. So, go ahead, pretend we are reading a book
First Recipe
Acey Deucy Juicy Watusi Dessert
3 cu diced rhubarb
1/3cu honey
1 egg beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 cu flour1/4tsp salt
3 Tbls orange juice
1 Tbl butter 1/2cu honey
2 Tble sour cream1/4 tsp soda
Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8x8 inch pan. Arrange rhubarb in pan. Mix orange juice and honey. Drizzle over rhubarb and dot with butter. In medium bowl combine egg, honey vanilla and sour cream. Mix flour salt and soda. Add to egg mixture. Spread batter over rhubarb and bake about 30 minutes, or until nicely browned. ONE DISGRUNTLED OLD CHIEF BECAME PERFECTLY GRUNTLED AFTER JANE SERVED HIM A BANANA LEAF FULL OF THIS TREAT.
(These are actual recipe's from an old book as the saying goes: only the names have been changed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


"Yesterday's Grief"
The falling rain of yesterday is ruby on the roses, silver on the poplar leaf , amd gold on willow stem; the grief that fell just yesterday is silence that encloses God's great gifts of grace, and time will never trouble them.
The falling rain of yesterday makes all the hillside glisten, coral on the laurel, and beryl on the grass. The grief that fell just yesterday has taught the soul to listen for whispers of eternity in all the winds that pass.
O faint of heart, storm-beaten, this rain will shine tomorrow, flame within the columbine and jewels on the thorn, Heaven in the forget-me-not; though sorrow now is sorrow, yet sorrow will be beauty in the magic of the morn.
This poem was written by Katherine Lee Bates. I can't say I understand all of it, but it seems to cry out to be looked into a little deeper. Let me know how you feel about it.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I have become a near-brunette again. I was just suddenly overcome lately with the urge to see what was under the varigated situation adhering to my scalp. I say" near" because there are still some stubborn grey hunks that won't go along with the program. But yes, that is me hiding out under Dark Chestnut #14 or, whatever it said on the bottle of dye. Actually that mass of hair on the attached picture was also mine a whole lot of years ago.
The comments of friends and relatives have been many. An example is, "What have you done!"
I can't even say, "Only my hairdresser knows." I couldn't wait for an appointment with her so I mixed, stirred, and whipped up the coloring myself and proceeded to dribble it over my tresses. Really, I don't have tresses any longer; they were transformed into hanks awhile back when they began to turn an icky grey shade and have the texture of pot scrubbers. Naturally, I wanted to cover them up; am I crazy?
There are few physical bummers a person can actually alter without the help of a surgeon. Even a goodly amount of pounds has to be vacuumed off with the liposuction procedure.
Hair, however, may be changed, and we have so many choices today. There is a whole color spectrum from which to choose. The purple appealed for a micro-second, but, I wanted my mother to continue speaking to me. For some reason, she has come to believe hair has some sacred spot in the scheme of things and prefers that all of us leave it in whatever state it gets to over the years. She has conveniently forgotten the Henna she put on her hair when I was small. I remember it though. It was the most awful looking muddy gunk you ever saw. According to her it never happened. She suggested I must have mistaken it for a stew she was making. oh yeah, and the little empty bottle under the sink didn't say, "Henna" either.
I am all for change, that is why January 1st appeals to me...resolution time...except that I don't do well at keeping the resolutions for long. I usually go down to defeat around the 2nd or 3rd of that month.
No, I am not good ar resolutions, but I have all kinds of ideas concerning changes and a lot has to do with hair. My family will tell you. They are never sure whenever they will be greeted at my door by a platinum blond in a baseball cap, a pixie with less hair than most arms, or the wild and crazy coiffure of Cruella DeVille from 101 Dalmations

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Some years ago Pearl Bailey recorded a song titled, "Mama, a Rainbow." The lyricist wrote of unique presents he might give his mother...some gift to surpass all those that had gone before. His ideas were imaginitive and mostly impossible. Thinking of that old song prompted me to make a list of my own.

How wonderful it would be to hand Mama a reservoir of liquid sunsets to swim in whenever she pleased. Or, be able to hand her the reins of a diamond-saddled silver charger to carry her to Camelot, or Shangri-la. What about a golden door, always open, to that ever-blooming Secret Garden? Or, consider one perfect, cobalt blue and star-strewn night for Molther to fall asleep curled up in the hand of God; with a dream of girlhood to go with it; a dream so real a pale blue ribbon from yesterday would be on her pillow in the morning, along with the scent of Lily of the Valley. And years! Oh , yes! I would give her lots of extra spun-gold, carefree years.

All of us would like to see our mother's eyes shine with joy at whatever we choose to give her on Mother's Day, or her birthday. Because if we are blessed enough to still be able to look at her beautiful face we want her to know how very much we love her.

In my mother's case it is doubly difficult to find a gift because she is ...not an average woman. For years I had my suspicians and they were confirmed not long ago when she informed me she needed to shop for a black leather out fit. Surely I hadn't heard her correctly, "Black leather?"

"Yes, a jacket and a pair of pants."

"Oh, you mean for one of the grandkids?"

"Now Audrey, which one of the kids could possibly need an outfit like that?"

Who indeed? And yet it was an ensemble my 89-year-old mother deemed a must-have for her wardrobe. Quickly, I looked at this lady who brought me into the world. It was she alright."You want to purchase leather pants and a jacket?"

That's right with silver buttons and lots of fringe."

The matriarch of our family is as alert, concise and witty as she has always been, and it never entered my mind to think she had slipped a cog overnight. "Mother,what is all this about?"

She glanced sideways at me, lifted her head a few inches and answered, "I'm riding with the gang."

This was sounding serious--maybe even dangerous. I began to recall the fact that my mother had always been a brave individual. She had many daredevil childhood exploits to her creditm and when I was a baby one of Mom's favorite pastimes was doing barrel rolls over P:uget Sound in an open-cockpit, two seater plane. (As a passenger.)

With a little more prompting I learned my little 5'1" grey-haired mama had been riding with a Christian motorcycle club associated with her church. She loved it! No, she didn't drive, but sat behind the driver. They all wore black leather with silver buttons and lots of fringe. She just want to fit in.

Mom is quite well known in our rural community and surprisingly everybody loves her. I say, "surprisingly" because, as I mentioned before she is a one-of-a-kind, strong-willed female, and a mother in eveny DNA corner of her determined body. She is still perfectly comfortable threatening me and all of creation with the disciplinary wooden spoon. Happily, most of us can finally out-run her.

By the way I discovered that perfect gift for her and every mother. Mom is the one who told me what it is. We have it with us day and night, even though it's priceless and precious. Everyone of us has an allotment of it and yet it can't be seen, held or saved. It is continuously passing through our fingers and when it's gone, so are we. We can't hang on to it, but we can throw it away. Shakespeare called it, " inaudible and noiseless foot."

Yes, it's , TIME, the invisible commodity our mother's want from us more than anything. If we are still so blessed as to have our mother's here, and it is possible, go spend a day of minutes with your mom.

Sometimes I write fiction...this isn't and my mom is everything I've related here...and lots more.

She passed on to be with her Lord 2 years ago at 94 years of age.

Who do YOU think brought on the rain?

During the reign of Abdullah the Third, a great drought struck Baghdad. The Mohammendan doctors issued a decree that all the faithful should offer prayers for rain. Still, the drought continued.
The Jews were then permitted to add their prayers. Their supplications also appeared inefectual. Finally, when the drought resulted in wide spread famine, the Christians in the land were asked to pray. It so happened that torrents of rain followed almost immediately.

The whole conclave was more upset over the cessation of the drought than it had been alarmed at its continuance. Feeling that some explanation was necessary, they issued this statement to the masses, "The God of our Prophet was highly gratified by the prayers of the faithful which were as sweet-smelling savors to HIm. He refused their requests in order to prolong the pleasure of listening to their prayers; but the prayers of those Christian infidels were an abomination to HIm, and He granted their petitions the sooner to be rid of their loathsome importunities."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Out of the Sea

Two of my grandchildren, knowing that I am a writer,wanted to know how to write a story. My first inclination was to suggest we wait for another time. It was really an excuse but, an idea came to me and it led to an interesting undertaking.

Connor was 13 at the time and Katie was 9. They liked the challenge I gave them, and, although it isn't completed as yet, and may never be, they always remember that it is here.

It began with me writing a sentence out of my head; "The young man was on the beach when he saw the big dog fighting the waves, trying to get to shore."

Next I ask Connor to add another sentence. At first, he found it difficult but came up with, "And, to the amazement of the boy a dolphin appeared and guided the exhausted dog almost to his feet."

Now, it was Katie's turn. She took some time and finally added, "The young man sat, a little big shaky and a little bit afraid as the big German Shepherd loped past him towards the forest behind them."

My turn again and I felt as if I had "painted myself into a corner." However, I was able to add, "As he turned to follow the dog, his father's high-pitched whistle called him home."

This time Connor managed this sentence. "After lunch he talked his father into returning to the spot on the beach where he first saw the dog."

It ended with Kate's last entry, "No matter how long they searched, there were no dog prints, only the boy's."

Starting out to be quite a mystery isn't it? It has never been added-to since the week-end they both spent with me, but, hopefully they gained some knowledge about writing and imagination. They both know I still have the beginning of, "The story," and ask about it frequently. Maybe it will never be finished, because it will take all 3 of us, but never know.

(the beautiful German Shepherd on this post belongs to my daughter, Cheryl, and her name is, Akeera)

Monday, October 19, 2009

The house that Jack built

My son Jack is a builder and owner of Capital Country Homes out of Olympia, Washington. The family all teases him a little with, "The house that Jack built." And now, there are many of them.
This guy was a whopper when he was born...10 pounds and 18 inches long....or should I say, "short." On my birthday this last July we made arangements for him to take me to lunch when he wasn't right in the middle of building one of the pretty, custom built homes that are his specialty. We hadn't been able to complete those plans until today.
Before we went to eat we stopped by my sisters log home--which he built and said it would be the one and only log house he would build; I guess because it was such a huge undertaking. It's a dream house to me and my sister has it decorated like something out of a Home and Garden magazine. As we were leaving I tried my best to get a picture of the house. I am just not that good at it. Fooey! but I tried and I promise to get better. The three pictures I did get are the front of the beautiful log house; me and Jack, and me and Jack's truck.
It really is a gorgeous home

Thursday, October 15, 2009

When I wasn't looking

My last post was about my father and how he loved and protected his daughters. We were not to have him very long because when I wasn't looking he slipped out of this life.
This beautiful stained-glass window was made by my sister-in-law Janet. She is an absolute wonder and just started this new craft/art not many days ago.

Fifty years have passed
Like ground mist in a
Morning sunrise
Can it really be that long?
Surely I saw that dear face
Only yesterday
Every flower claims its scent;
And Daddy's shaving cream
Was a favorite blossom
I smell it still
Across a half-a-century
Of deprivation
His gentle hands
Are more remembered
Than last night's dream
And yet....
Those same hands only touched
His loved ones for
Forty-four racing.
Plummeting, laughing years
And then,
They moved no more
Hearts, sore and torn,
And angry
Were left behind
Oh, Daddy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Understanding Daddy

Mr.Jekyl and Mr. Moore
My father went a little strange when we girls were betwen the ages of 14 and marriage. I wondered what all the fuss was about and I really didn't understand until I had a 12 year-old granddaughter spend the night with me recently. We played a sort of dress-up where I fashioned a big chignone (sp)at the back of her head and then did a fancy (I thought) makeup job. Wow! It hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks, and a feeling rushed through me like flooding river. Of course I already knew she was pretty, but this girl--only 12 years old--was gorgeous. I had ugly thoughts of doing bodily harm to any male that spent more than a nano second looking her way. I was beginning understand my dad.
Dad always whistled from the pantry window for us to come in to dinner in the evening. By putting his thumb and index finger between his lips and blowing he could be heard way down at Spears Confectionary two block away. But, usually we were right there in the back alley playing Kick-the-can with the neighborhood kids. Six families on our block produced 19 children, and all of them were good kids as far as I could tell.. Father would not have been in perfect agreement.
My dad had more friends than anyone I have ever known. He really enjoyed people, from the youngest to the oldest, except for the years my sister and I were between the ages of 14 and marriage. During that interval his personality changed, but only toward a small group of the local population; all the boys between the ages of 14 and marriage. A Mr.Hyde miasma took hold of Dad. Day after day, in his opinion, these dropped lower and lower on the food chain until amoebas towered over them. They were microscopic worms, and yet, paradoxically, capable of eye-bulging plans and horrendous actions.
I was never given any specifics as to any personal peril, but some instinct told me Father must have been exaggerating at least a little when he muttered, "Gangsters! Degenerates!" And, it became worse. The muttering became almost like a second language. If a boy was in sight you can be sure we were getting the garbled, under-the-breath tirade, " good...amount...hill of beans...MY daughters." It was a mystery to me; for quite a few years anyway.
In spite of the glitch in Dad's otherwise gentle nature, all of his worrying in those years was for nothing I was merely, "one of the boys" myself. None of my buddies were drawn into undying love at the sight of my scabbed-over knees or spiky, scarecrow coiffure. There wasn't a one who tried to hold my calloused hand or put an arm around my sweaty shoulders. If anyone HAD committed such a faux pas he would have been duct taped to the old chestnut tree and left for crazy.
Romances, boy-girl stuff and interest in my appearance hadn't yet wriggled out of the main part of my brain. It was still-more-or-less- a sleeping giant. However, there was one girl who caused me to suffer bursting cannon balls of contradicting thoughts every time I saw her. She was eighteen, gorgeous by anybody's standards, and her name was Mardell. I was cross-eyed with confusion.
When my boy pals hung around Mardell, all looking like Dopey of the seven dwarves, I would have applauded her instant extinction. I mean, they were so uncool with their jaws down on their chests. It was a different story however, when she invited me in and I watched as she did her hair or painted her nails. There were moments when I would have traded genetic
codes with her and never looked back.
Alas and alack, I was tan, freckled and tall. Mardell was petite, golden and delicate. She always made me think of the fairy tale about the princess and the pea. The test of true royalty was whether or not one could feel the tiny green sphere through 10 or 20 mattresses. I didn't know if anyone had ever cluttered up Dream Girls bedding with any vegetables, but I was sure of one thing. Very few frogs would she have to kiss before the prince found her.
Gradually, I experienced my own metamorphosis and, while I couldn't claim "butterfly hood" I wasn't a bad looking moth.
Dad did his best to prevent us girls from falling for boys that would probably be very mucyh like he was...a male, and he knew all about that gender. But we did, we do, and we will, because we just like the opposite sex.
And that, "Daddy" who first picked us up out of our cradles is at the top of the list.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Scarecrow Clown

I saw the scarecrow as I drove out of town. He was a poor specimen even for his kind, as he stood with his back right up against the barn door that was hanging on its hinges. The owners had apparently given up on large scale farming and yet there was that down-at-the-heels apparition. His arms were raised up high, as if forbidding entry. But, it wasn't the barns contents he protected. It was the small garden directly in front of it.
These guys with their battered hats, colorful shirts and straw bodies used to dot the American countryside. That was when half of the country raised their own food. My grandfather was part of that percent, and every early summer Mr. Scarecrow appeared in some part of the garden and stayed until Autumn. Where he was deposited the rest of the year was a mystery. In my child's mind it could well have been in a coffin in the basement away from all wooden stakes, crosses and garlic. I was terrified of the straw man and never snatched so much as a green pea from his domain.
Grandpa's scarecrow always seemed to look the same, except for once. It was the year my still-at-home uncle saved for months to buy himself a fine maroon colored suit. He bought it in March for his wedding the following October, but before hanging it in the closet, he noticed the tiniest of spots near the bottom of the slacks. He went down to the washroom to ask Grandma if she could remove the stain and she quickly did so. Uncle laid the pants over a tub near the trash and went on talking of other things.
Grandpa's ever-vigilant garden protectorWAS different that year. He had on an old army helmet, a brilliant purple puffed-sleeve blouse, (neither of which was ever explained) and a good looking pair of Maroon pants.
By the time my uncle found out who was wearing his slacks it was too late to do anything but snort and paw the ground a few times; then take whatever the store had that would fit him. He was a stubborn man and determined to wear at least the jacket of his new suit.They only slacks they had available were a mustard color. So, those were the pants he had on with the maroon jacket. Would you believe it started a fad in the neighborhood that continues even today. Well, maybe not.
Matching the wedding flowers proved to be a challenge but, our family doesn't have to worry. We moved away long ago and have been busy starting similar disgusting fads in other areas of the county.
Strange how things happen. When the first farmer stuffed some straw in an old shirt, put a hat on it and hung it in his corn patch to scare off the crows, he couldn't have known what an impact it would have. Imagine him saying, "Yes, siree, this here'll scare those crows outta my corn. Those crows'll be mighty scared. It'll scare those crows so bad they'll stay away. Crows scare easy. Now, what'll I call this crow-scarin' fella?" And ...Voila!Scarecrow! A new word sprang from the soil of Americana. All because crows wouldn't stay out of the corn. Well,, I have trouble that way myself sometimes
Taken from the book, Uptown Down Home by A. Yeager

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A great deal of what is written here is unknown to my friends as it is some of the history from my past. Heaven has musically gifted some of us. At an early age the blest among us are able to bring forth actual melodies from keyboard, horn, or stringed instruments without lessons. Then, there are people like me; the wannabes who just can't seem tobe's.
My first chosen instrument was the piano. My grandmother had been a piano teacher; perhaps some of her talent
had rubbed off on me. But, either she didn't have enough to spare me a few grains, or, I wasn't able to absorb much more than a watered-down version of Chop Sticks. After many lessons I was barely able to pound out a fairly adequate rendition of Mary Had a Little Lamb.
Somehow, my parents figured they could make better use of the hundreds of dollars that the piano teacher could and I was left in musical limbo.
Either my mother or my dad must have felt there had to be some musical talent in there some place because the steel guitar came next. this time it was group lessons. I loved the twangy, electric whine of that instrument and gave it my all, the louder the better.
It was the teacher who ended those happy . I heard her tell my mom she didn't feel this was the instrument for me.and it was better to stop now before there was any injury to the other students. I had no idea what she meant. They were an unhealthy bunch anyway. Their eyes watered every time I played.
While still in grade school I begged to try the drums and was denied on general principles; or, as Dad said to Mom, "This house is not big enough for me, YOUR daughter and any percussion instruments."
Musically, it was a long, dry spell. There was only one time of temptation as an adult when the thought of playing the saxaphone appealed to me. Then, I heard my brother-in-law--who plays a mean sax himself--say; after not playing for awhile, "I've lost my lip."
While it is true, I'm always trying to lose weight, I would prefer not to lose it in the lip area. so....
I was almost music-less until this year, when I became interested in the violin, and mentioned it to a couple of my daughters. What I didn't tell them was that I was renting one to see if I liked it.
The experience was daunting in the extreme, unfruitful, and artistically deadly. The only sound I could produce with a fiddle was the soprano-pitched squeal of a high-powered race car skidding out on a curve. I couldn't wait to get it back to the rental store, and certainly never wanted to see another violin, or even a picture of one.
A few weeks after that friends and relatives gave me a surprise birthday party. My children had pooled their money and bought me the most wonderful gift they could think of giving me. I have seldom seen them so tickled. They could hardly wait for me to open the package. Two of them were actually jumping up and down. "You're going to love it, Mom!"
Of course it was a violin.
Guess who will learn to play the violin or die trying.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Humble Pie for Breakfast

Pride goeth before a fall, and there are all kinds of, "falls."

Let me tell you a perfect example from my past.

We left Southern California in the early evening, my new husband, my mosquito bites. and I, enroute to the Pacific Northwest. The bites had been acquired during a fishing trip a few days before, and were now itching something awful.

I had worked for eight hours, the last day of a two-week notice, and anticipated sleeping during the night while my husband drove. I would do the day-time driving.

Just after sundown, my mate informed me that he didn't see well driving in the dark...that the oncoming lights blinded him. Oh, goody. We changed places. Almost immediately there was the sound of contented snoring beside me.

It was a long night. By six in the morning my eyes burned, my back hurt, and the mosquitos bites hadn't let up for a minute. And,believe me, it isn't easy to drive and scratch your ankles at the same time When we stopped for breakfast I had the temperment of a wounded grizzly bear, but kept it inside of my twitching body. I prided myself, (oh! oh! there's that word) on always remaining cool and calm.

We entered a crowded restaurant, seated ourselves and waited. Then, we waited some more. We called to a waitress, she waved. Forty-five minutes passed, and so did my appetite for ham and eggs. Tears of frustration threatend, but I would never make a fool of myself like that. When the waitress DID come to take our order, I pulled myself up to what I thought was a regal pose, expounded at length on the inadequacy of the help, the owner, and the entire operation.

The other patrons stared our way, as I at last gave my order. In what I assumed to be my most queenly manner, I then stated, with perfect inuunciation, "Bring me a HUP OF CAUGHT CHOCOLATE AND A BOOTER HORN!!!"

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Semi in the House??

Earthquakes are not a common occurrence in the Pacific Northwest, but they do happen.. In nineteen-forty-eight we had a big one.

My mother was gone for the day and I was taking care of my 2-year-old brother. I was 17 at the time. We were in the kitchen having lunch when it started. Our old house began to creak and shudder, then the floor seemed to shift slightly. For a moment I was frozen to my chair, then I looked at my little brother and realized I had to get him out of the rickety building.

Grabbing the baby, highchair and all, I ran for the back door. Down the stairs I dashed, doing my best to handle the cumbersome chair. The Earth was moving like a sluggish sea. Trees were waving crazily and the telephone poles were leaning, first one way, then another. I was terrified, but managed to get the little guy out of the chair.

Flopping to the ground, I made an arch of my body over my brother in case something fell on us. There was a cacophony of sound around us; horns honking, people yelling, and finally the ground beneath us stopped that awful undulation. It was over.

During all of this commotion my brother hadn't made a sound. I carried him back into the house and sat down on the couch, rocking him back and forth. After a few minutes I stopped rocking and looked down at him, concerned because he was so quiet. His eyes were opened wide with uncertainty, as he said, rather tremulously, "Dat was a big twuck."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

girls with peaches

Two little girls with peaches and a great-grandmother between them. It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon and there were only a few peaches left after Mama and Grandma put the rest of the bounty in glass jars. We were busy children with something usually hatching in our young minds. Some times it got us in trouble. One particular Sunday we nearly outdid ourselves. Actually, we thought we had embarked on a heroic enterprise. We were wrong. There was no indoor plumbing in our little house, or the grandparents either.
We were all forced to use the same old "two-holer" out at the end of the garden...way out at the end. Not a cool prospect day OR night. On top of that it was so old it had turned grey on the outside AND the inside...really yucky, dark and gloomy. We just thought we might be able to remedy that. Sooooo; Sunday morning Mama usually made pancakes. and sure enough , she didn't let us down...not that she had any idea what five-year-olds can cook up between themselves. When breakfast was over we snatched the bottle of syrup and ran for the outhouse.
Sure enough the supply of catalogue paper was abundant; just what we needed. We had seen our mother and father wallpaper a bedroom and the idea had given birth. Of course we didn't have any pretty paper, but the catalogue pages would do just fine. Well, we thought so anyway. Our unreasonable parents did not agree. Such a shame too, because the syrup was more than sticky enough to hold the catalogue pages onto the old grey walls.
Enough to say; the remainder of the day left two un-busy little girls waiting for Monday and a new start.
P.S. I'm the one in the dark red dress and that is my sister Elaine on the other side of Grandma, Allie Moore

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Heading home

Living in a small apartment doesn't give much opportunity for viewing a lot of wild life, however, there is a couple of times a year I am always thrilled with an amazing event that takes place right over my head. My country town must be right on the migration highway of the marvelous geese.

Few sights evoke as much attention, and awe, as that of a large flock of Canadian geese winging their way in their V-formation to the north or south. They speak of the changing of seasons, and also of the value of teamwork.

What many don't know is that when a goose gets sick or, perhaps is wounded by a shot, it never falls from formation by itself. Two other geese also fall out of formation with it and follow the ailing goose down to the ground. One of them is very often the mate of the wounded bird, since geese mate for life and are extremely loyal to their mates. Once on the ground, the healthy birds help protect and care for him as much as possible, even to the point of throwing themselves between the weakened bird and possible predators. They stay with him until he is either able to fly, or until he is dead. Then, and only then, do they launch out on their own. In most cases, they wait for another group of geese to fly overhead and they join them, adding to the safety and flying efficiency of their numbers.

I probably haven't shared anything most of you didn't already's just that the migration event is so indicative of our Creators majesty and unending beauty that He has placed all about us.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Winter's Dream

Winter's comin'
Can you hear his approach?
He's drivin' a great big pumpkin
That fairy-tale coach

The geese took off
On a wing and a prayer
When they heard the old ice king
Had left his lair

The ruby-red leaves
Are waltzin' the hills
Up and down valleys
Through rooks and through rills

Turkeys are runnin'
While the runnin' is good
Mountains have put on a snow cape
And pulled up the hood

Barns are bulgin'
With hay by the load
Whoa! Here he comes now!
"Round November's road

He's pickin' up speed
A use'n that whip
And Jack Frost's ridin' shot-gun
On his favorite trip

So, run for shelter
And don't look back
Just make sure you have wood
By the ten-cord stack

Get out the quilts
Pile 'em on the bed
Find the raincoats
And why not the sled

The air is gettin' colder
He's right around the bend
May it be a lovely season
Happy Winter, Friend

Audrey Y.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Ignorance is Always Swift to Speak

One of the favorite stories of Arturo Toscanini, the great symphony conductor was this: An orchestra was playing
Beethoven's Lenore overture, which has two great musical climaxes. Each of these musical high points is followed
by a trumpet passage, which the composer intended to be played offstage. The first climax arrived, but no
sound came from a trumpet off stage. The conductor, annoyed, went on to the second musical high point. But,
again, --no trumpet could be heard. This time the conductor rushed into the wings, fuming and with every intent
of demanding a full explanation. There he found the trumpet player struggling with the house security man who
was insisting as he held for dear life onto the man's trumpet. "I tell you, you can't play that trumpet back here
You'll disturb the rehearsal!"
Until you know WHY someone is acting the way they do, it's better not to criticize him. Until you know who has
told him to, it's better not to attempt to stop him!
Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath James I:19

Thursday, September 3, 2009

In the swim of things

If you tend to be a pessimist consider the benefits of choosing the optomistic route as described in this old poem
Two frogs fell into a deep cream bowl,
One was an optomistic soul;
But the other took the gloomy view,
"I shall drown," he cried, "and so will you."
So with a last despairing cry,
He closed his eyes and said, "Good-bye."
But, the other frog, with a merry grin said, "I can't get out, but I won't give in! I'll swim around till my
strength is spent. For having tried, I'll die content."Bravely, he swam until it would seem his struggles
began to churn the cream. On the top of the butter at last he stopped and out of the bowl he happily
What is the moral? It's easilyfound.
If you can't get out--keep swimming around.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Autumn is old-fashioned, and my personal images of the season can't be tugged much beyond Grandpa and Grandma's long-gone farm.

My Autumn is a tan, straw-hatted boy strolling and kicking through the gold and bronze riches given up by aspens and maple trees. It is a narrow twisting lane, dividing red-barned farms where plump, rioteously orange pumpkins tumble all together at the gardens edge. The fall of the year is a time and a place where scarecrows humbly bow their floppy heads after a job well done.

Autumn is the cornucopia's bounty gathered in bushels and baskets and jars; it's the pickles and kraut from Grndma's root celler. It's mounds of cornhusks and apples with the taste of honey. It's a great copper-colored moon that dwarf's the planet, and makes a back-drop for a navy-blue horizon.

Autumn must have been born in a Heavenly country house; near pearly gray fences and old crooked gates with a finger of smoke from its chimney and a hint of frosty breath from its throat. Autumn always comes bursting loose from the hills and orchards with colors bright and brilliant. Late August explodes with sunny, saffron tufts of stubble from cut fields. It sizzles with yellow ochres and burnt sienna's left tattered from the harvest; the scene in disarray, with beigy-brown potatoes and amber yams. Autumn came out of Earth's womb with the electric touch of a Master painter and a supernatural color-wheel.

Autumn can't ever be tempted to don a fashionable ensemble. Her gown is every summers glory held captive for the moment among the blazoned, marching hills, with every fiery bush an accessory.

Autumn's trees were born to dance. Any whispery breeze may set the tempo and the waltz begins-across the county, the country, the continent. When the last leaf is on the ground, the golden season tip-toes to the sidelines, making way for Winters hulking, dancing bear.

Yet, Autumn is a stand-up comic, a clown dressed from a cosmic box of crayons. He grins with some unnamed humor bubbling and gurgling up from the ample belly. There is the hint of a wonderful, mind-blowing secret, barely held in check--waiting for the okay to tell it all-----Yesssssssssssssssssss!

Friday, August 28, 2009

It came with the Autumn

This is the favorite time of the year for many of us. Autumn has a, "homey" theme somehow. "Homemade" becomes the byword amongst women, and the need to create prevails. With men it may be the psychological whispers of an era long past when their main occupation was providing food, warmth and protection for the cold months ahead.
The ladies still have some hands-on-options to fulfill the deeper urges of gathering and storing. Visions of jams and pickles, pumpkin pies, knitted scarves and jewel-colored quilts waltz through feminine minds. Big pots of homemade soup appear on the back of the stove and the stores have a run on electric bread-makers. Even with all the improvements technology can provide for us it seems that at least a part of our love for Autumn hearkens back to a time when it wasn't quite so easy to prepare a family for the coming winter.
Those were times when people were truly busy, "making" their living, yet, the checker games were played with sons and daughters. The classics were read and listened to with fervor. Friends came over for an evening of simply talking. Imagine that.
There was a lot of singing around pianos that sat in 80% of American parlors. Most everyone knew the words to hundreds of songs, and nearly every family had a musician or two.
Long, well-written letters crisscrossed the world with affection and interest. These were not notes of facts and figures, but scaled down works of the heart talking; so dear to the recipients that many were tied with satin ribons and read over and over. It took time to compose those missiles and time was just as precious as it is now...precious enough to spend any extra on those we cared about.
I have a theory that Autumn is the favorite season for so many people because a big part of us would like to LIVE the Autumns of our grandparents, or even our great-grandparents. Mainly because we haven't researched what that involved. The harvest alone would hospitalize most modern couples of today. Then canning. preserving drying, butchering and smoking would finish them off. We think we're busy now...?
Busy is the most overused word in the English language today. It's everybody's excuse for...everything. "Sorry, I'm just too busy."
If we aren't careful we will become too, "busy" to hold conversations of any substance, to pat a cheek, to say a prayer, to keep in touch with an old friend, or look--really look--into the eyes of a little one. These moments come but once. We can't go scurrying after them and gather them up again if the mood happens to strike us.
Too many of us are over-occupied with justifiable, "business."
Some years ago I dropped an oral thermomenter on the floor. It broke in two and the mercury inside began its oily, quicksilver race to find every crack in the wooden floor. The harder I tried to pick it up with a spoon, the faster it slipped away...splitting up, muliplying a hundred times until it simply disappeared in places too small for me to investigate.
Once the thermometer was severly damaged there was no way to save the meaningful part of the apparatus. Recently, I've seen a parallel between this idea and an aspect of life....the whole point to this story.
September 11th most Americans had spent some time weeping. Tears flowed from sea to shining sea, and we all had questions. Who? Why? And then, the more personal cries from ordinary people who lost chunks of their hearts between a quick morning leave-taking and a never-to-be, "Hello."
From some slight experience I know the endless keening sent toward Heaven, all the regrets, all the, "If only's.
Did I take the time to tell her/him how much they were loved? Why didn't I give just one more kiss. Why did I make excuses last night when she wanted to talk? Why didn't we take that get-away cruise? Why didn't we spend more time just being together? No TV, football games, or sit coms?
Some of the complaints against ourselves are natural and usually invalid, but, I was hit between the eyes with some very real shortcomings of my own. Just how, too- busy had I been over the last couple of years? How many times had I mnde excuses for missing showers, birthdays, picnics, etc. and yes, even funerals. I didn't like the answer. Had I lost too much mercury from my thermometer? Was it too late to get another and protect it wih backed-up, carried-through intentions?
We hear it over and over, "Our contry will never be the same." and I know that's true. Every day I am learning to live in this new place. The back of my mind is never completely clear of niggling apprehensions, and yet, I believe we can turn the results of that Autumn disaster toward the light and a better way of spending the life we have.
Let's not be too busy to try harder to love our neighbor
A trivial , tired and meaningless quest? I hope to God...not.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Music music music

How much influence does music have on a person's life? Is it true that "Music has charms to soothe a savage breast," as English poet, William Congree maintains? If the The Three Tenors and Ella Fitzgerald had decided on different professions would we be a less gentle peopole? Might it be possible to judge someones character by how he reacts to music?
William Shakespeare thought so and wrote the following.
The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with concord of sweet sound, is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils; the motives of his spirit are dull as night, and his affections dark as Erebus; let no such man be trusted.
No minced words there; that's about as opinionated as it gets; even more so when you consider that Erebus, in Greek mythology, was a gloomy part of the underworld on the way to Hades.
In this age of information we are challenged with some new conclusions on the subject of music. Shakespeare could well be proven right in the near future. Those studying the possibilities have come to believe it may be a much stronger inherent force than we once thought. So strong, in fact, that those without the desire to make music might even be termed abnormal.
Those of us who ponder such things may begin any such study by first looking to our ancient, ancestral, musical roots. Did we have any? Or, did the tunes come later?
A great number of us may consider early man/woman as musically deprived, but according to a National Geographic news report dated January 2001, that is not so. Finely crafted flutes made from bone have been found at some of the archeological digs covering the most ancient periods. These were not simple, single-hole whistles, but actual instruments.
It seems there has been a song in most every heart practically since time began, and if the so-called experts are to be believed, that doesn't mean just the human heart either. Animals are included as potential composers.
Through the fairly new, but, quickly evolving fields of bio-musicology and animal communication research, unique ideas are coming to the fore. They are asking us to consider the similarities between certain human and animal sounds and the possible innate desire of animals to create music that the similarities suggest. (There are also other voices questioning these folks sanity, and at least one reporter wondering if these, "sounds" are merely biological functions better suited to locker room jokes.)
Science has shifted into high gear in the bio-musicology community, wondering if some rhythms, patterns and tones might be instinctive to animals as well as humans. Could this point to a shared inherent knowledge of music that has been around forever, and perhaps with many more implications than we dream?
Let's start with birds and their, 'songs." We can hear definite melodies there. It seems to fit perfectly with some of our own musical renditions. Mozart's Piano Concerto in G major actually has a passage that he wrote to match the song of a starling he kept. However, this century's interests are concentrated in the throats, vocal chords and other parts of more uncommon, "musicians."
We are being asked to hesitate before defining music in the old, traditional ways. Some followers of this new thought have even suggested it was animals trilling the very first compositions, not humans.
Merchandisers are on top of it, and albums of whale, dolphin, and wolf song are everywhere. Promoters are keeping an ear out for new groups every day.
The croak,yap, grunt and howl are being given a thoughtful listen and should--we are told--be viewed as a great melodic storehouse. Whoever composed, "Old MacDonald," was evidently ahead of his time.
We find, in, "Science News" that the alliance between biologists and musicologists-biomusicology--has come to life for one express purpose, to ask and answer the question...what is music?
And we thought we had that one figured out. But, the great thinkers have warned us, "Just when you figure out the question, they change the answer...or words to that effect.
Many of us have remained in the dark on this new study, feeling deceptively certain that if we were asked we could at least give a fair definition of the word, "music." And, if all else failed we felt the inquisitor could be answered if we warbled a few bars of, "The Hills are Alive With the Sound of....well, you know.
Quite a bit of craziness, don't you think?
To be serious, I believe that music is much more than we think it is. I can just imagine Milky Way Orchestra's rolling through outer space with beauty we can't yet imagine...will we ever? I think so.
Here is a little story about one of my grandson' a teenager. I used to baby-sit him and his mom dropped him off at my house very early. He wasn't ready yet to start his day and neither was I so I cuddled up on the couch with his little back up against my chest. He had quite a habit of humming...I mean he hummed pretty steady until he was about 4 or 5. One particular morning as he was humming quietly, I found a note to harmonize with the note he was humming. The minute I hit that note he stopped suddenly but didn't more. He had just experienced a harmonic, "buzz." I was silent and then he softly began to hum the same note he had been humming before. He was very pleased and we kept up our little acapella duet for some time.
He now plays guitar and writes music and sings
It was a truly magic moment for me and I think for him too.
He's the grandson in this post....not a good picture but the only one I could rustle up in a hurry. (The girl is Vanessa, She was on my blog with a high school graduation picture last week.) Love those kids!!!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Having a busy day in the kitchen

Even though I called this picture a busy day in the kitchen, I haven't been in the kitchen at all today...I just wanted to show off this wonderful old camp-coffee pot that one of my sisters painted for me many years ago. Isn't it wonderful? And the tole work is excellent too. It's also a good opportunity to relate a little tale. Did you know that there is now a dial-a-prayer for atheists? You call a number and nobody answers. Not true of course, however, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.." Psalm14:1 and thus our story.

A tale is told of a colony of mice who made their home at the bottom of a large upright piano. To them, music was frequent, even routine. It filled all the dark spaces with lovely melodies and harmonies.
At first the mice were impressed by the music. They drew comfort and wonder from the thought that Someone made the music--though invisible to them, yet close to them. They loved to tell stories about the Great Unseen Player whom they could not see.

Then one day an adventuresome mouse climbed up part of the way in the piano and returned with an elaborate explanation about how the music was made. Wires were the secret--tightly stretched wires of various lengths that vibrated and trembled from time to time. A second mouse ventured forth and came back telling of hammers--many hammers dancing and leaping on the wires. The mice decided they must revise their old opinions. The theory they developed was complicated, but complete with they claimed. In the end, the mice concluded that they lived in a purely mechanical and mathematical world. The story of the Unseen Player was relegated to mere myth.

But, the Unseen Player contiunued to play nonetheless. Note* our family is in the midst of a few medical problems so I have not been on my blog. Hopefully that will be changing very soon

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Please remember this is slapstick humor based on fact.

Humans have been searching for the Fountain of Youth in one way or another for untold years. Being the impossible-to-please species that we are, it isn't only that we want to live longer, we want to look and feel 17 while while we are doing it. Naturally, there are crowds of "experts" advising on how to become youthful and good looking. Take hair for instance. On a guy what was a forest of thick locks at 21 has become an almost totally logged-off area at 50. While the experts are selling them the possibility of new growth, somebody else is showing women how to get RID of excess hair. Go figure

Another point regarding hair; more and more women are having their hair cut about the length of an ants back. It's the boyish look, supposedly youthful, but isn't it ironica that the actual boys are letting their own hair grow down to the him of their shirt? Am I getting old, Or what? One thing is for sure; nobody is seeing any more of my bumpy skull than is absolutely necessary.

Most of us hae a certain amount of vanity and like to look as good as we can without resorting to extraordinary methods. However, there are those among us who go the extra mile for--what they consider--a pleasant appearance. case in point is the Body Lift. They showed the procedure on TV a while back and I was fascinated. Mind you, there was very little fat to get rid of, it was loose skin; what is more commonly called as flab. One of the women had a 12"wide swath of sking taken from around the waist area. That's foot. The surgeon then took the lower portion, pulled the top part down to meet it and stitched the two pieces together. I thought about this for a long time and decided it wouldn't work for me. Not that I don't have any extra flab, but that is just it. If the surgeon was going to have total success, the lower incision would have to be made at my knees and the upper one just below the neck. When the upper and lower pieces were sewn together I would only be two feet tall; barely able to see over the bottom of my truck window. This simply would not do in this, "drive-up-window" kind of society we live in.

That surgery is definitely not for me. I have very little self-control. That's how I got the extra weight that became the flab in the first place. What if I DID get the Body Lift, with the above mentioned result? I would simply gain more weight, which--as the years passed--would become more flab, and before you could say, "Thumbelina" I would have to go back for another tuck, and then another. One day I would just disapear.

There are other changes we can make for contented living. I'm getting a hobby today, a pet tomorrow, and looking for all the hugs I can get along the way. And, I'll still be 5'6" or thereabouts.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

What a winter

Do you recall a stifled yawn when your male parent started a sentence with, "When I was a kid."
Lecture time again and you knew he was setting out to prove how easy you had it, being practically carried about on a silken pillow, never knowing a moments strain of pain. naturally the anquish of listening to this tale for close to 20 years was never counted.

Dad's five-day-a-week, torturous sojurn to learn his ABC's was made during the Ice Age. Either that or about 40 years before the telling, his neighborhood had a run of bad luck with five or six killing winters and no time out for spring, summer or fall. The freezing snow was a couple of stories high and Pop's shoe soles were as thin as a mouse's ear. If he had a coat at all--the information differed--it resembled Swill cheese more than any piece of clothing.

To hear my father tell it the frozen noses and toes were accepted with a stiff upper lip. (no pun intended.) And arriving at the one-room school house--did you expect anything different--brought little relief. The wood pile was invariably buried beneath a pinnacle of snow one foot short of mountainhood. The only warmth on the premises was from the breath of Smiley Baileys English Sheepdog. Pupils and teacher leaned in toward the animal like sticks for a teepee and studied McGuffey's Reader. When lunchtime came they chopped their sandwiches apart with an axe and...well, you no doubt have all of the piture you can stand by now. And that brings me on my meanering way to the point. Exaggeration is the point. Coincidentally it involves the weather.

Ten years ago, or so, television predictors were the brunt of many a joke. The only members of the population who gave them any credence was their mothers. Their reading were so far off that if they said it would be sunny we got out the sandbags and prepared for a flood. Where did they get their information? From rolling dice? Picking daisy petals? There were those who questioned why they never seemed to consult the sky. Surely big black clouds meant there was more than an even chance of rain. The sun shining in a great expance of blue almost always pointed to ...the sun shining in a great expance of blue.

Enough picking on the weather people. To be fair they didn't have the scientific tools at their disposal they have now, and those tools do an almost fool-proof job. Maybe the lack of a challenge like they were faced with in the past has them bored, because they exaggerate something awful, drawing out what should be a two-minute report to about 10. An evening of winter rain has become, "A storm coming in off the Pacific to pound the coast. Snow falling in the mountains is now, "A blizzard of driving, blinding snow buring the mountain passes.

It's winter neighbors and that's the way winters have been as long as I've lived here. We had some other rough times though. Why, when I was a kid....

Taken from my humor column, Down Home.