Friday, February 24, 2012

Moving On

As much as we loved our country home and its fifty-two acres, there came a time that we knew it was time to move on.  For me it was the morning I had to run for the bathroom before I lost my breakfast.  That's right, pregnant again.  Precious blessing number four would soon grace our family with love and joy and laughter like you would not believe.  We had stretched the limits with three children in a two bedroom house - four would never work.  

For Edward it was a more sinister awakening.  The basement of this house was little more than a cellar and none of us liked to go down there.  However, a blown fuse or water heater gone awry would necessitate a trip for Edward.  On one such an occasion Edward made the trip down those rickety old steps and into the abyss of damp, smelly darkness.   He managed to fix the problem and decided as long as he was down there he would just clean up a bit.  He had straightened up a shelf along the wall and turned around to dust off the old furnace and duct work.  Needless to say he was slightly surprized to find two eyes staring back at him.  There he stood, no hoe in hand, nothing but an old broom, face to face with yet another snake.  It took him all of thirty seconds to run up those rickety old steps, yell "we're moving", and out the door he went.

By the end of the day he had calmed down, the snake had been "disposed of" but the determination to move was still there.  We started house hunting the next day.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Goodbye Gertrude

 There comes a time in every family's life when they have to say goodbye to a loved one.  The pain and mourning that goes along with these departures is generally unbearable and sometimes causes you to do some very strange things. 

Gertrude's passing was one of those times.  I mourned, Edward mourned, the kids cried, and even Eli the dog mourned, albeit for different reasons.

Early one morning I walked Edward to his car and waved as he drove out the driveway.  Eli was barking so I decided he needed to be fed before he woke the children.  I made my way to his dog house and stopped dead in my tracks when I spotted poor Gertrude laying just a few feet in front of me.  I stifled a scream knowing that would cause the children to come running.  Hers had not been a natural death, it was obvious to even my untrained eye.  I knew I had to do something.  There was no time to wait for the authorities.  I scooped up poor Gertrude and ran behind the garage and dug as fast as I could.  I wrapped her poor body in a trash bag and placed her lovingly into the shallow grave.  Then I ran back to the dog house and raked up the billowing reminders of this once graceful lady and placed them in the trash bag.

I was just patting down the last shovel full of dirt when I heard the children beginning to stir.  Wiping my eyes, I started for the house trying to decide what I would tell them.  It would have to be a beautiful story about how Gertrude had loved them and enjoyed living with them - but that sometimes bad things happen, even when you are a beautiful goose and you wander too far from the pond and strut your stuff too close to the Labrador Retriever.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

One More Animal Story

Seems like we had a lot of animals around that country house - George the moose head to all the snakes.  Yet early one winter morning I had an encounter with one of the most vicious of all animals. 

I was pregnant - yet again - with just a few weeks to go and went back to bed when hubby left for work.  I hadn't much more than crawled into bed when I sensed that something had crossed the room.  Out of bed I lumbered, the only way I could do anything those days, and searched the bedroom then all the rooms upstairs - nothing.  Back to bed I crawled thinking I had missed out on twenty of those precious extra minutes I had before the other kids work up.  I loved those extra minutes.

I drifted in and out of dreamland, visions of sugar plums turning to size two ballgowns and tiny feet dancing on air.  Suddenly I knew there were eyes on me - watching me - in that very room.  Slowly I turned over and there they were - two enormous eyes right on me. 

Needless to say I was out of that bed in a shot - well as fast as my swollen feet and enormous girth would allow.  I ran out of the room and pulled the door shut behind me.  I was sure whatever was in there could easily take me down and carry me to whatever living arrangement that species preferred.   

I called my brother-in-law who lived nearby to come a runnin' and to bring his elephant gun with him.  When he showed up with just a flashlight I felt sorry for him but said he was on his own and pointed to the bedroom door  as I was going into the kids' room to protect them.

It took him all of about five minutes to take care of my invader but I am sure it was hard work to wrestle that window open and shoo that tiny baby owl back outside where it belonged.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mama Don't Swim In Yukky Water

Early one bright, summer morning I watched from the kitchen window as Edward pulled out the canoe and proceeded to tug and drag and finally get it into the pond and start rowing around.  Now this pond was very small and the water was not exactly pleasant but if hubby wanted to row around I decided I would fix him a light breakfast and go outside to watch him while the little ones were still sleeping.  Not bothering to change into some more "outdoorsy" clothes I threw my terry cloth robe over my see-through nightie (this was back when what you could see through was, well much less and a whole lot better than it is now) and headed out the door.

Hubby was so proud of the fact that his 135 pound body had managed to get the 400 pound canoe into the water that he wanted to take me out for a spin.  He rowed over to the edge, took his breakfast, and instructed me on the proper way to enter a boat.  I failed the course.   I had just managed to slide my foot over the side when my foot slipped on the morning dew and I fell into the canoe head first.  Not to be outdone in the "how not to do it" department, hubby jumped up to help me and Eli the dog jumped in - not to help but to get the bacon and egg sandwich now laying unguarded on the floor of the canoe. 

Tragedies happen on days like this.  People are found years later at the bottom of dried out farm ponds.  Good dogs like Lassie get people to follow them with their "Timmy's in the well" whine.  Not today.  Instinct kicked in and just as the canoe flipped over, papa went one way and mama went the other - Eli was on his own.  Edward managed to contain the canoe and keep it from smashing us on the head.  My terry cloth robe pulled me all the way to the bottom - remember it's yukky water and mama don't swim in yukky water  - so I yanked that robe off and fought all the way to the top.  Okay, so I just stood up but it is so much more dramatic to say I had to fight my way out than to admit I couldn't, and still can't, swim a lick.  I lost my shoes, my dishes, the sandwich, an entire glass of expensive orange juice, and the best cup of coffee ever made. 

It was not a pretty picture as we drug the canoe out of the water and made our way back to the house soaking wet.  It was not until I realized hubby's clothes were sticking to him that I remember my see-through nightie.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

From Another Galaxy, Far Far Away

We were still living in the house in the country when man first walked on the moon.  There were lots of people who did not believe this was possible and that it was just a stunt thought up by the government and Hollywood.  Even Edward, who is generally pretty open minded (okay that part is a lie), refused to believe it was possible to get a spaceship all the way to the moon, some men were able to get out of the spaceship and walk around uncharted territory, and then those same men were still alive and able to get their spacecraft safely back to earth.  No, he was not believing any of this and he proclaimed it adamantly to the news reporter who called us randomly to see what we thought.  In all fairness to hard headed Edward, he actually thought it was his sister playing a trick on him but it sure kept us from being interviewed ever again.

I, on the other hand, believe not only was it possible to travel in outer space but I had first hand knowledge of this extraordinary discovery.  No I was never an astronaut but we were "visited" by a spaceship when I was a teenager. 

One summer morning when I was about fifteen my father came home from the night shift at the machine shop where he worked.  My sisters and I were still in bed since school was out for the year but we could hear daddy ranting about our leaving the garage door up during the night.  Mother assured him we had not because she had checked it just before she went to bed and it was closed.  This went on for several mornings even though all of us checked the door before turning in.  After several irate calls from my father, Sears made house calls to check out the opener only to declare it good as new - yet each morning the door was opened.  Perhaps, Sears announced, one of our neighbors had purchased the same kind of opener and it had somehow latched on to ours too.  None of the neighbors had automatic openers.  More irate calls to Sears, perhaps someone was playing a trick on us and was driving by at night, pointing their opener at the garage and viola, open door in the morning. 

We had just about decided we were going to have to buy a new opener, when we started to find the door open in the middle of the day too.  More irate calls, more house calls, more good as new diagnosis, same irate father.

My older sister, the one who never does anything wrong, decided one day she would climb up into the attic and wait to see who was doing this dastardly deed.  Up, and sometimes down, went the door.  Nobody there.  Up, down, nobody around anywhere.  More irate calls.  More promises to check into it. 

We were certain by this point that Sears thought they were dealing with an entire family of certified nuts who didn't have a clue as to how to operate these modern conveniences.  In fact they admitted such to us - eventually.

A few weeks after these strange events began Sears came back.  The repairman could barely contain his laughter when he told us that he had seen everything that he thought he could possibly see in his job - until now.  After much research Sears determined that the circuits of the Russian spaceship Sputnik had somehow linked to our garage door.  In the middle of the United States, in the middle of Ohio, in the middle of the smallest town in the entire world, Russia was linked to our family.

It did not take us long to get a new garage door opener. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Can You Digress Forward

I thought I'd move into the future for a day after Edward had some concerns about my title - Retiredandstillcooking.  I thought it would be obvious that I meant I have grown older, retired from a fantastic job, all my children are grown with families of their own - but I am still cooking and making fantastic (if I do say so myself) meals for lots of people.

Our grandson Ed, that's right there are three Edwards in this family and you can imagine how confusing that is, lives with us and is an absolute joy to have around.  He is so pleasant that half the young men in town like to come over, play video games, take a nap (or stay the night), and eat.  So I do a lot of cooking.

There are also all those family get togethers, church gatherings, writer's groups, parties, potlucks, and midnight snacks.  I just plain love to cook - eating is not so bad either.

Edward, great husband and protector that he is, has taken exception to my title.  He says all the old men from here to Timbuktu will be reading my blog and become very interested in me.  "Oh, I see," says I, "they will know that I am old and can cook."  "No," says he, "they will think you are old and still cooking".  "That's right, I am old but I can still cook".  "That's what I mean.  You're retired and old men will think you mean cooking. You know - cooking."  So after I picked myself up off the floor from laughing so hard, I guess I could see his point.  So I will digress forward long enough to say, I am old, I can still cook, but my heart belongs to only one old man.  Happy Valentines' Day honey, I still love you after all these years. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

What's Your Phobia?

There are a lot of phobias in this family.  Spiders, heights, tight spaces, well, you name it and somebody has it, but nothing, and I mean nothing, frightens us more than snakes - especially hubby.  Now the first time I witnessed this paralyzing phenomenon caught us both off guard, as do most snake attacks I am sure - nasty old sneaky creatures.

We were outside just after a heavy rain.  Our two older children were running through the front yard trying, not to successfully, to miss the puddles of rain water.  All of a sudden I spotted what I was sure was an anaconda it was so big.  It was headed straight toward Eddie who had just  managed to not avoid a very muddy puddle.  I proved to be no help at all as I stood there dumbfounded but a quick shout from hubby brought me out of my stupor just as Eddie came flying through the air and straight into my arms.  Renee quickly came over the side of the porch and hubby went running for a hoe.  I have never seen such vengeance in a man's eyes as hubby raised that hoe and came down right behind that snake's head.  I am not sure but I think I saw that snake laugh.

Time after time hubby brought that hoe down on the snake and time after time the snake turned a little closer toward hubby.  Finally, in much frustration hubby hit the snake enough to stun it into submission and long enough for him to douse a nearby pile of leaves with gasoline and with one last effort toss the stunned reptile into the fire.  Too crazed to do anything the snake lost the battle and hubby had won the war.  No we did not have roasted snake for dinner.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cooking - Kid's Style

My children were always wanting to help me cook.  Problem was they never wanted me around when they did it.  Like the time Renee wanted to make us breakfast in bed so she got up really early to make us scrambled eggs and toast.  She was about five and knew that eggs were cooked in a skillet on the stove.  So she, the sweet child that she was, took a dozen eggs from the refrigerator, drug a chair up to the stove, grabbed a spatula from the drawer, climbed up on the chair, put the eggs in the skillet, took the spatula, and beat the stuffing out of the eggs - shells and all.  Fortunately she did not know how to turn the stove on so fire was never a worry.

When her little brother Eddie got up he was ordered to make the toast which turned out very well except the toaster wasn't plugged in.  However (there is always a "however" where my children were concerned), he loved butter and sugar on his toast so that was exactly what he was going to do.  He took a stick of butter and the sugar bowl and climbed up on the kitchen table - I guess to be closer to the toaster - and put the butter on the table then dumped the entire sugar bowl on top of it.  Since he was only four he did not realize he was going to need something to mix this up with, but his hands were there and they were better than a spoon any day.

Not to be outdone Eli, our enormous black lab, wanted his breakfast too.  There was a fifty pound bag of dog food standing in the corner that we had not yet put away.  So, with the faint smell of raw eggs and sugar in the air, Eli pounced on the dog food and ripped the bag just enough to spread fifty pounds of hard, meat flavored chunks all over the kitchen floor.

So this is what we found that very early cold winter day.  What a picture that was!

(Sugared toast was a treat my mother made for us when we were very young.  She would butter slices of bread and sprinkle a little sugar on top.  Then she would put it under the broiler until the sugar just started to turn slightly tan.  We had a hard time waiting until it cooled.) 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Day The Moose Came To Call

No it wasn't a real moose -  we live in the Midwest for goodness sake - but it might as well have been.  My father, always a giving man, decided that our children needed George.  George was the stuffed head of what must have been a very large moose.  It had hung in our garage since I was a teenager - one of those "somebody needed money and had to sell something" items my father was always bringing home.  Why he found this particular time to give George away is beyond me but our family became the recipient.

We piled George in the trunk of our car, thank goodness we were not stopped on the way home because I don't think a policeman would have understood why we had this moose head protruding out over the highway.  Then we piled the sleeping children into the back seat.  We reversed this process when we got home tucking the children into their warm beds.  George unfortunately had to spend the night sitting on the floor because we were just too tired to hang him properly - I'm sure a terrible disgrace to any self-respecting moose.

The next morning our pajama clad little ones came running down the stairs.  Renee, oblivious to anything out of the ordinary, ran straight into the kitchen for breakfast.  Eddie on the other hand noticed everything.  He ran through the living room, around the corner, and came face to face with George who looked like his head was sticking up out of the floor. Absolutely every bit of blood drained from poor Eddie's face, he came to a dead stop, and immediately started to back up like a cartoon character who was leaving grooves in the floor.  He managed to back himself into the couch and couldn't go any further just about the time I caught up with him.  I think he left claw marks on my back. 

I can't say that George and Eddie ever came to be close friends but they did learn to tolerate each other - especially after Eddie learned that he could swing from old George's beard once we hung him on the wall.  Poor George, what a disgrace to any self-respecting moose.   

George paid the ultimate price many years later when he died one last time in a fire.  Poor George, may he rest in peace - finally.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Christmas And The Big Tree

Christmas at our house was a real treat.  One in particular is most memorable.  We had two children and had moved to the country.  I was pregnant with our third child, but then when wasn't I pregnant.  We decided we would take the little ones to a tree farm and cut our own tree.  I had also been having trouble with a wisdom tooth trying to work its way through my very sore and swollen gum.  Not to worry, I would rush to the dentist, have the nasty thing yanked out and be back in plenty of time to join the family for a trek through the isle of misfit pine trees. 

All went well at the dentist in spite of the fact that my grandmother, two hundred miles away, was having palpitations because pregnant women should never have a tooth pulled and she was not going to rest until I was safely home and in bed for the next week.  I don't remember why teeth pulling and pregnant women didn't go together, but Lynlie looked okay when she was born.  I mean she didn't have antlers or three eyes or anything like that.

We bundled the kids up so tight they could barely walk and we were not much better - but then I was out of shape, weary from tooth pain, and very front heavy.  We walked and walked.  We picked the kids up over and over when they tripped in the snow.  We walked and walked, picked up, and rested.  Finally we found the perfect tree.  It was about twenty-five feet tall, round and full.  It was absolutely beautiful, problem was our ceilings were only ten feet high.  So hubby climbed about half way up and chopped and sawed, then huffed and puffed, then chopped and sawed, then... oh well, you know what he did, and you probably also know he wasn't happy about it at this point.  It took a long time but it eventually fell down splashing snow all of our giggling children and their very frustrated mama. Finally we could go home and it was a good thing because I was about nine months pregnant and I really had to go - SOON!

Along about the time the tree hit the ground, the pain pills wore off and my tooth, or lack of a tooth, really started to throb.  Edward and I grabbed the biggest limbs and Renee and Eddie pulled on anything they could latch onto between falling down and being too bundled up to stand back up on their own.  So we walked and walked, picked up, and walked and walked.  Finally we were at the car and tied the tree on top as best we could.  The trip home was a lot of fun because it was like driving through a forest with all the branches laying on the windshield.  Did I mention the frustrated husband.

I don't remember how the tree came off the car when we got home because I was making a mad dash for the bathroom.  I do remember that once we cut off a couple of feet and set up the tree it took up about half of the living room - and the room was about twenty feet long.  It was so big we nailed it to the floor and tethered it to both walls.  We didn't have nearly enough decorations for it so we only put them around the front and sides.  The kids and I made paper chains and ornaments and strung popcorn.  It looked very much like Charlie Brown might have helped us, but we loved it and I think the kids played hide and seek inside it's branches when we weren't looking.
It was the best tree we ever had.

Lynlie was born three days later, so I took grandma's advice and went to bed for a week.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Our First Meal

Our first night in our little bungalow was very memorable.  Edward had allotted me ten dollars to buy groceries for the week.  I spent a little over nine dollars and managed to fill the cupboards fairly well - again, remember this was a very long time ago.  Between a few wedding gifts and some donated books of trading stamps we had managed to have some basic dishes, glasses (the ones I had to grab every time the train went by), silverware, and pots and pans.  The only problem was that we did not have a can opener or sharp knife.  I had planned to have potatoes and corn with some kind of meat (too long ago to remember what kind) but I had no knife to peel the potatoes or can opener for the corn.  What to do?  What to do?

Being the ingenious woman that I am I searched until I found an old army can opener for the corn - the kind that takes you eleven and a half minutes to open one can and I scrubbed the potatoes and cooked them with the peels on.  A little salt and butter and hubby was none the wiser for my turmoil.   

Since Edward had worked his way up to assistant manager at the grocery store we were often the recipients of  "gifts" from the store and its vendors.  Sometimes it was in the form of dented and unlabeled cans, some display item like the colander (from a macaroni company) that I still have, and finally an old knife from a sympathetic butcher, I still have that too.  The neighborhood children loved it once a month when an dairy vendor would give Edward an entire case of ice cream.  We had a very small refrigerator with the smallest freezer compartment I have ever seen.  There was no way we could eat all that ice cream so we passed it out.  We were the most popular people in the neighborhood, with the kids anyway.

A long time has past since then and if you could see my house now you would wonder why someone with so much experience living as minimally as possible would ever end up in the house we live in now.  But, again, that's a story for another blog.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Our first home was by a railroad track and very small, only a living room, bedroom, kitchen, and a bathroom so tiny the shower stuck out into the bedroom and you practically had to back into it if you wanted to use the facilities.  I loved it there.  Of course we only had one child then and she was so small I could contain her in very small spaces.  The train would go past about  noon and midnight and it was so relaxing to hear it rolling along and the gentle whistle blow as it crossed the intersection.  Okay, so it was nice for a day or two then it became a royal pain.  The clack of the wheels nearly drove me out of my mind.  The dishes in the metal cupboards rattled and sometimes came close to shaking themselves out off the shelves.  Sometimes the train was so long it held up traffic in front of the house and the horns would start to blow and shouts could be heard from angry drivers anxious to get where they were going. 

The house served us well for a short time - until we found out there would be two little ones under foot and we decided we had to move on.  Besides its a little hard to potty train children when you both can't fit in the bathroom at the same time. 

Many houses have come and gone since those early days but none has drawn us as close as the little bungalow by the tracks.  Of course, had we stayed there I am sure we would not have the family we do today - one of us would have strangled the other. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Our Youngest

Elizabeth, our youngest, was born with a head full of dark curls and a desire to talk.  When they laid her on my stomach I did what most mothers do, I threw up.  If babies were in fact able to talk, I am sure she would have yelled "Hey what's up with that?"  In all fairness, I threw up every time I had a baby so this was nothing special.  Along about three weeks I think Elizabeth did say her first words and she has not stopped since.  In fact, I think she was giving the doctor instructions on how to conduct her six week checkup and that she was quite capable to taking care of herself from then on.

I went to many parent-teacher conferences while I was raising my children.  I grew quite familiar with phrases like, such a wonderful child, a model student, wish I have a whole classroom of students like your child, always helping and putting others first.  I loved these compliments for my children.  However, we were soon hearing some new qualifiers to these compliments.  Things like, I have never heard a child talk so much in my entire teaching career, she's very helpful to the other students except she wants to do the work for them, does she talk this much at home, she tries to do my job teaching the other kids, can you do something to keep her from talking so much.  Of course I know she talks that much, no I can't do anything about it - I've tried, yes she does tend to take over. blah, blah, blah.  Why do you think I sent her to kindergarten at age 3!

Somehow we always knew all our children would be leaders and successful in life, however, we also knew Elizabeth would take over the world.  She is grown now, an excellent and talented ICU nurse.  Yes she still talks, more than most people, and she is very passionate that things are done right at her hospital.  So if you break the rules or go against the policies she will see to it you are fired - just ask the Chaplain!  But that is a story for another blog. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Middle Daughter

Lynlie was our smallest baby at seven and a half pounds.  She was tiny and had very thick, dark hair.  When an older cousin saw her for the first time he said she wasn't a baby it was just a toy doll.  We invited him to touch her wiggly toes, he did and promptly stated that her foot was real but the rest of her was still a toy.

She was a good baby but an even better child growing up.  We never had to worry about her.  If she told us she was going somewhere, that's exactly where she went and she came home exactly when she said she would.  Well, there was that time when she was eighteen and went to a birthday party and told us she would be home at 9 pm.  Needless to say when it got to be 9:30 and she wasn't home, we absolutely panicked.  We were just grabbing our coats to make a frantic search for her when she finally pulled into the driveway.  We didn't even have a chance to ask where she had been when she blurted out, "Don't worry, I'm okay.  I was with the police and because of me none of us had to go to jail".  Then she  turned and started off to her room like that was all the information we needed to hear. 

Turns out Lynlie and the girls from the party had decided to go visit another girl who had not been able to come and they were a little late leaving so they were still driving after curfew at 9 pm.  A young policeman, wanting to strut his stuff in front of a car load of teenage girls, pulled them over.  He was in the process of reading them the riot act for being out past curfew without an adult when Lynlie stopped him, showed him her driver's license and revealed that she was eighteen and therefore they did indeed have an adult with them.  Embarrassed he let them go and they went back to the party and Lynlie came home. 

That was the one and only time she gave us any cause for concern. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Our Son

 Little Eddie was born on a Sunday evening just about thirty minutes after we arrived at the hospital.  Not a lot of extensive labor like his older sister but we managed to get there in time for daddy to watch Bonanza while I was breaking the sound barrier trying to get to the labor room in time.  We soon found out that speed was going to be a vital part of this child's life. 

By the time our son reached a whole year old he had given up his bottle, his crib, and afternoon naps.  He had also learned how to terrorize his sister, open locked doors, ride a tricycle, and present partial bird carcases to his mama for approval.

He also managed to cause speed in other people.  Like the time he decided there were too many people in the pet store and he was not able to see the animals as quickly as he would like.  So, in his bright male dominate mind he just ran through the store yelling, the snakes are loose, the snakes are loose.  After that he was free to view all the animals at his convenience.

He was a beautiful child, wavy blond hair, and a smile and dimples to die for.  That's why it was so hard to believe such innocence could reek so much havoc.  But those are stories for more (many, many more) blogs.

Our Oldest

Have you ever had the feeling that no matter what you need to do you aren't going to do it right?  Well that's exactly the feeling I had when we brought our first child home from the hospital.  Renee was born a long time ago, back when new mommies got to stay in the hospital for a full five days, the babies slept in the nursery where the nurses fed them at night, and there was always some medical professional nearby to help when you needed to rest. 

Renee was a really good baby.  She hardly ever cried, spit up, or made disgusting bodily noises.  Well there was that time she tinkled on her great uncle Charles, but we don't talk about that.  She started sleeping through the night at age one and a half weeks.  That's the truth.  She would sleep from about 10 pm until 6 am with no problem at all.  However, I should explain what led up to this phenomenon.  You see, new daddy decided he should get up to feed her so I could get some rest.  He changed her and made her toasty warm while her four-ounce bottle was warming.  After being satisfied the bottle was just right he picked her up and headed for the rocking chair.  Unfortunately in order to get to the chair he had to cross the bedroom and tiptoe past the old radiator that heated the apartment.  The problem was that he didn't tiptoe past the radiator, he tiptoed into the radiator and stubbed his toe, knocked my fuzzy slipper into the heater where it immediately fused to the heated metal, stomped off to the rocker, fed the poor child the entire bottle, did not burp her, and put her back in the crib where I am sure she realized if she was going to make it in this world she'd better not tick off her new daddy. 

I knew then that God was listening the day we brought her home and I whispered this prayer, "God, please don't let this child do anything that you and I can't handle together".  So far He has done just that.

Friday, February 3, 2012


My husband Edward is the sixth of seven children.  He weighed just under three pounds when he was born, stayed an entire month in the hospital,  and slept in a box near the stove when he came home.  He has put on a few pounds since then but still likes to be wrapped up tightly when he sleeps - and he does like to sleep.  Our youngest granddaughter says if she doesn't get her sixteen hours of sleep each night then she can't function.  Grandpa taught her that. 

Hubby and I met while we were both in high school, rival schools.  I went to the good one and he didn't.  Surprisingly they are both still in existence today and mine is still the best.  He was working at the local grocery store.  My sister (the one who never does anything wrong) and I trapped him one day and asked where the canned peas were (not that we didn't already know) and managed to keep him talking for a few minutes.  Long enough to bat our eyelashes and sway a little back and forth so our poodle skirts and crinolines would swish around.  Unfortunately, we forgot we were both carrying a gallon of milk.  Now for those of you who don't remember, milk came in glass jugs in those days.  Our swishing and swaying was good for flirting but not so good for glass.  My sister swished and I swayed and BANG!   Suddenly there was a lake of milk everywhere and my poor hubby had to clean it up.  He tells people he's been crying over spilt milk ever since.

Don't let him fool you.  He loves every minute, why else would he hang around for 47 years cleaning up my messes?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Outhouse

About two weeks after the Ark settled and the waters dried up, Jane was born.  My mother was a housewife (that's what they called stay-at-home moms back then) and my father was an engineer on a river barge hauling coal up and down the Ohio River.  One of my first memories was the day daddy (who was handy with most household jobs) built a well house so mother wouldn't have to do the laundry on the back porch.  He was very proud of job he did laying the blocks and putting on the roof.  Then he poured cement on the walk between the house and the new laundry room. 

Wet cement and five year olds do not mix - anyone ever tell you that?  It became too much for me to bear and with a little help from some cousins I decorated the walkway.  Names, world class artwork, even our new found talent to write our ages all became a part of that masterpiece.  Little did we know that daddy, tired and impatient, would not be pleased and see the future importance of our art.  As soon as we heard him come out the back door we knew we were in trouble.  Where could we go, where could we hide?  Safety for us came in the little two-holer (we were high-class back then) at the back of the yard.  We ran as fast as our little legs could carry us and slammed the door behind us.  Since there was no lock on the door it took about three seconds for daddy to rip the door open, actually nearly off its hinges, and pull us one by one out the door and spank our little bottoms until we ran crying to mother who was about two steps behind him.  Now this also included my older sister who, like most oldest siblings, never did anything wrong.  And yes, in the case, she had indeed not done anything wrong and had just chosen that particular moment to use the little two-holer at the back of the yard for what it was intended to be used for. 

I believe that was the one and only time my sister ever got into trouble and it was my fault.  Of course my parents never found out that she held that over me (still does to this day) and I became her own personal slave from that moment on.