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!!!"