Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Autumn's Last Road Trip

It has been twelve days since I have blogged. I have missed readers and reading.  We pulled in at home this afternoon after driving the interstate through pouring rain hour after hour. The day was tedious and trying. So while yet another load of laundry spins and twirls tonight, I am going to start catching up.

The autumn was quite late here with the trees barely changing colors for our annual Maple Leaf parade. The day was so cold we did not go to the parade or the band competition. Like old folks, we watched it from our chairs covered by blankets. The next day family from Montana came for lunch, and it was warm enough in the afternoon to sip tea on the deck…one last lovely day of autumn.

By Tuesday we were on the road again after repacking our car with warmer clothes. The air took a turn and frost warnings were out. I had to leave my mums to fend for themselves since we were heading to see our grandchildren. That meant we traveling across the state of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and into Kentucky.  The weather continued to pull at us making us feel like a yo-yo being toyed with.   

The first day out was damp and chilly, but the trees were turning as we went. The temp then dropped to freezing so all the liquid things and bottles had to be hauled into a motel. At one place, a man looked at us strangely and asked if were moving. “No, we are just the Clampetts from Missouri taking a trip. We left Granny’s rocking chair at home though.”
In Illinois, my shoe feel completely apart with no warning! So I had to dig out my “going to the pumpkin patch shoes” for rest of the trip. By Indiana we had to dig out hats and gloves. In Kentucky we made the effort to go to the pumpkin patch, but it was SO, SO cold we could not stay long. Then the weather turned again becoming delightfully warm when we hit St. Louis. We saw people lunching at sidewalk cafes at The Hill as we stocked up on Italian groceries. But then this morning as we tried to get out of the city, rain poured and did so all the way home.
                                                   Hank, the newest grand-dog.
We came into to town to see the trees a rainbow of autumn colors despite the rain; my mums were alive and waiting even though they looked a tad worn. The squirrels had a hay day with the yard while we were gone. It was a good trip because we took a new way that enabled us to see some special things on the way to see the grandkids. I can’t wait to share them when I have time, but right now the washer is still and dryer is buzzing so I must get back at putting our lives in order here. October is fading…..

Sunday, October 20, 2013



A few days ago I got a new anthology in the mail. Longest Hours: thoughts while waiting is a title published by Silver Boomer books. This one deals with the tension and anxiety we have over waiting for things in our lives. These events can be happy or tragic situations that put us into waiting mode. The publication has one of my poems on its pages.

Over two years ago, while our daughter-in-law carried our second grandson, the tests showed the baby had a tumor on his brain. It was a sock to the gut no one expected. Those things always happen to other people, don’t they? Good news was ahead as Simon came to us in fine shape. However, there were some long prayerful and waiting days in that winter.

I have not read the other entries yet, but the first thing I do with an anthology these days is search for names I know. This time I knew none of the other writers. I did spot the name of Kim Lehnhoff and her bio tells me she might be a friend of some St. Louis writers I know. I am sure as I read more, I will find some web or blog addresses that invites me to visit when I read the articles. Anthologies are a great way to meet new people…on the page and otherwise.

We Wait For You

You, little fellow, are holding our hearts

Long before you can lace twiggy fingers

Around our tree stump thumbs.

We have seen you floating in your sea cave

Budding, developing, growing, becoming. 

Now we learn there is a shadow that hides

In the folded wrinkles of your brain,

Upsetting the once perfect picture.

Yet, this fearful knot of unknowing matter

Is part of you, and we wait to see

What this silhouette means.

We wait with you;

We wait for you—

For all of what you bring.



Friday, October 18, 2013

Toto Turns 75!

More and more I find the Olden Days interesting to me. I like the comfort of childhood I guess. Then again, maybe age causes confusion about just what year I am in, especially if former years were memory makers and I would rather be there on a given day. I was standing in line at Wal-Mart when I noticed a LIFE cover. LIFE?

LIFE and LOOK magazines were eye-fetching magazines when I was in fifth grade and I was searching their pages for current events articles for class. Another look at this LIFE showed it was not the magazine I remembered but one of those collector editions now being put out. Ah, furthermore this whole issue was devoted to the movie The Wizard of Oz and saluting its 75th birthday. You kidding me? Wow, a cornerstone in my Kansas life! The magazine jumped into my shopping cart (what publishers and Wal-Mart alike hope for at the checkout) and I toted it home for a visit to 1956 by way of 1939.

I first became acquainted with Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz when my mother read me a chapter a day at nap time each afternoon. I loved the story. My mother had seen the movie in 1939 when it was released and she was ten years old. I was a little younger than ten when the movie first played in homes on the televisions. That night my dad went to bed due to work the next day, and my sister was down because she was only three years old.

It was a rare occasion: time for just Mom and me in the dark, late night. Oh, I loved the story all over again with a little bit of fear (tornados), happiness (songs along the way), dogs (Toto) and friends (a scarecrow, tin man, and lion). We followed the Yellow Brick Road all the way to intermission sharing the sofa and being real quiet in the small bungalow where the rest of the family slept. At intermission we went to the kitchen and got glasses of milk and saltines. (I love saltines to this day.) Then the show began again, this time with flying monkeys and melting witches! I have believed in the power of ruby slippers ever since that night.

The LIFE issue is full of pictures and tidbits about this famous movie like how many of the stars were second choices. Did you know they wanted Shirley Temple to play Dorothy? But it was Judy Garland that put Somewhere Over the Rainbow on the big hit list. And Buddy Ebsen was first choice for the Scarecrow…then he moved to the Tin Man but was allergic to the aluminum dust necessary to play the part. He ended up in the hospital and went on to become the character of Jed Clampit instead.

How wonderful it must be to be a writer and to generate a story that holds both children and adults in hearts for years. To have created flying monkeys that are still in our lingo today...or lines that threaten with few words like “I’ll get you my little pretty!”

The year 1939 was great for movies and many were made from books: Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Of Mice and Men, Wuthering Heights, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Stagecoach, and more. I have watched many of these originals or the remakes in my lifetime. The power of a good story lives forever…and often takes me ‘home’ with the turn of a page and a click of my heels.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Musings

Home from Branson fishing, looking at a full calendar and fading autumn days. The forecast for this week is rain and cold temps, down to 36 at night! I am simply not ready, folks! S.A.D. can make its appearance as early as August. This syndrome makes some people crave carbs more (is this possible, chocolate lovers?). Season Deficit Disorder people begin to stockpile food and toilet paper and boxes etc. for the coming winter like squirrels hiding nuts. So far this year I have kept this feature at bay….if you don’t count the three bags of Anasazi beans in the utility room and the huge order for winter teas I place yesterday with Harney and Sons.  

I don’t usually bring out my browns until the day after Halloween and until Thanksgiving. But this morning when I heard the rain try to beat the acorns to the gutter, and I thought about an upcoming Kentucky trip that marks the passing of October, I decided to go ahead and set out those warm, fireside-feeling browns.
I have tried (and failed) to keep my accumulating possessions under control. While I stayed out of all Branson shops, I managed to find a couple of goodies right here in town the week before. I hated the floral cotton tablecloths of my  1950’s childhood and wished for lovely lace or linen clothes on our tables. Little did I know how much work those fancy cloths were, as even the cotton ones took time to keep crisp and fresh.  I kept one from my Granny’s things at her death, but put it in our picnic supply box. Recently, I dug it out and wanted more. Apparently so do some other people because vintage tablecloths are in demand at flea markets.
I am having fun using these cloths, despite DH’s tendency to spill and slop on them. They are meant to be used; we are doing just that.  I know that the tablecloths are more than d├ęcor or utilitarian coverings for the kitchen. The bright colors and 1950’s designs take me back to childhood. I remember Gran’s homemade French fries on Saturday night, tea from aluminum glasses (hated those), the then pastels of Fiesta Ware, and Howdy Doody juice glasses. The tablecloths are memories and just plain fun now, a comfort for the coming winter…and that is as life should be.

Friday, October 4, 2013

New Work Chair

Another week is ending, a week of ups and downs. Next week is more fishing, and tonight there is a storm front moving in. Our temps will drop 30 degrees, and I just hope it doesn't throw Mother Nature into a temper tantrum!
So when I opened my eyes and saw the gray light of dawn this morning, I put on the kettle and stepped out on the deck. Ah, nice air...I came in an grabbed teapot, china cup, tea cozy, and some books. I vowed not to let this good morning escape!
It was a great morning. I read a few pages about writing sense of place, devoured an excellent  western story in my new Cactus Country Vol. III, penned the outline for an autumn poem, drained the whole teapot of  English Breakfast tea and just enjoyed the autumn air.
When DH got up, he assembled my new office chair. I  have loved the old one with wooden arms and blue fabric that matched the wallpaper, but I was wearing it out. I tend to sit on the edge only of the chairs to reach the floor and desk as I want. So we decided to move my Old Blue to DH's computer so he could put wear on the nice back of the seat! (Also it would enable me to remove the horrid monstrosity that passes for his desk chair!)
I think I will love this new chair despite its looking so business-like. Maybe that is what I need to settle me in for winter and some serious writing business! Until then I will continue to grab any good parts of autumn that I can find.
Happy Weekend ahead to all you readers!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Family Stories

Okay, so my mind is usually quite a muddle anyway, but after a family reunion it is bouncing around like a Mexican jumping bean. I can’t focus on anything; everything seems slightly out of focus. Stories keep interrupting each other trying to tell themselves, trying to make themselves fit into the jigsaw puzzle called family.

I was honored to be invited to my Dad’s side of First Cousin Reunion. I was the only representative of his line, one of three not First Cousins. My paternal grandpa was one of eight children. They had a hard life as their father was a mean and difficult man. He happened to be handsome, smart, and achieving which all gave way to the stills he operated and also imbibed from himself. These eight children grew up in tough times and then raised their own families during the Depression. I “read” my family like a novel, one I can’t put down for wanting more stories!

Thanks to distant relatives, I got to see my great grandmother who I never knew. She is dressed in white, standing near her own mother. Great Gran Mary Catherine had a rugged life and how I wish I could sit down and visit with her. The only real story my dad ever told me about her was that she was a lovely, sweet woman despite her harsh existence. He remembered that during the Depression when they had nothing and were hungry, she found ways to give them chunks of homemade bread slathered with lard and sprinkled with sugar. It did not sound good to me, a child then with a Twinkie in her hand. But at the reunion Sunday I heard another man speak of that wonderful bread with lard.

I only knew of the Irish blood and never really understood there was strong German in my very veins too. I was shocked with the new information. These seven children stand with their mother Philomena whose own parents came straight from Prussia.

Excuse me while I go search these faces and see if they will talk to me from the past.