Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Tribute

Today I should have been sending out a birthday card to my Auntie Vi, as tomorrow she would have turned 93 years old. I say would have, as she passed away this late summer. She and my Uncle never had any children so she left behind only nieces and nephews. Her obituary was small, no picture, no long list of activities or achievements that you see in so many papers these days. She was a hard working, good person who led a simple life and probably did more and achieved more than we will actually ever know.
When I was growing up they lived down the road from us; the farm on the big corner that made you lean to one side when you went around it on your way into town. The farm was very well kept and clean. Beautiful flower beds appeared after you drove through the evergreen lined driveway. When I was a little girl I knew that I had better behave myself when we stopped at her house. My mom somehow left an impression with me that because they weren't use to kids we had to be very good; sit and not move. So I did...I only remember being in the kitchen, and once in the dining area when I was middle school age and my parents were invited to supper.
I do have a recollection of another time when we had a house fire in the middle of the night and we went there to keep warm until things were under control at home. That is when I first saw steps going to the upstairs. I was very young then, and we didn't have a stairway in our house so that  intriqued me:) Aside from a few other random memories, that pretty much sums up my early year memories of her.

Years later, she came to my wedding shower and gave me sheets, that I still have to this day. Not fitted, just simple flat white sheets. I was really happy that she came as my mom had passed away by then and somehow her being there made me feel special. After I married and moved away, we exchanged Christmas cards each year with a letter. When I got into genealogy, my Dad would often refer me to Auntie Vi if he didn't know the answer, so that gave us another reason to communicate with one another through letters back and forth. It was then that she would write things of great interest and I loved hearing her stories and memories of her younger days. She would often say, "Oh Auntie Vi doesn't have a very good memory." or "That could be, I just don't recall."
She often referred to me as Dear, or had her salutation written as Dear Ones. I have kept the letters she had written me and I am so glad that I did.
In my dining room on my table is a beautiful Christmas table runner she had made me one year. I put it out every year and this year when I pulled it out of the drawer tears welled up in my eyes.Somehow I never anticipated that the time would come when I wouldn't write her a card.
One year I sent her the book called "A Cup of Christmas Tea" which I thought she would enjoy as it is about making time to have a visit and a cup of tea with an elderly aunt. Every month I would send her my copy of Reminisce magazine as they were just too good not to share and I often tagged articles I found interesting. She seemed to appreciate it, and would always write me a thank you note but noted that the postage was too much and I shouldn't be spending my money on that:) It's funny, in writing this I just realized that I haven't read my Reminisce since she passed away. I use to read them quickly so I could send them off to her, but now there is a growing pile by my chair...

This spring she fell and broke her shoulder. She was in a nursing home until it healed and was very sad as she wanted to go home. The couple of times I was able to visit her are very special. She was happy for the company and I hugged her and she kissed me on the cheek as I told her I loved her. My last letter from her came in a belated birthday card after she was home again. She said she was so happy to be home but had so much mail to catch up on.
A few weeks later she fell again, this time shattering her hip. This proved to be very traumatic on her elderly body, and  a week later she had a massive stroke and shortly after passed away. I felt so empty the day I got the call.
Auntie Vi was the last of my Dad's siblings; with her went the end of that generation. Even though I didn't know her as well as I would have liked, there is still something that makes me feel very close to her. Is it just because she was family and I had known her my whole life? I didn't know her hopes, or dreams, her heartaches or losses. I just knew that she was family and I felt loved by her. I hope she knew how special she was to me too.
Isn't it ironic that my last note from her was my birthday card and now it only seems right that my last letter to her is on hers...
Happy Birthday dear Auntie Vi, I love you.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Are You Making That Up?

I am not exaggerating when I say that the BEST conversations are those held with children.  Not only do you often feel as tho you are full of wisdom when they ask questions, but I have also found that they leave ME with questions that I need to find answers for!
Last week was the second week of temperatures in the high 70's and mid 80's. Beautiful, lovely, breezy warm days filled with the soft touch of fall. I had picked up Billy, my 12 year old grandson from school and we were talking about the gorgeous colors of the autumn trees on our drive home. In conversation, I told him how I loved Indian Summer.
"What is Indian Summer, Grandma?" he asked.
"Well, it is when fall has arrived with cool, frosty weather and then suddenly you have a period of days when it suddenly gets warm like summer again before the cold weather actually comes to stay," I explained.
"Why do they call it Indian Summer?" he inquired, suddenly full of interest.
I hesitated before answering, " You know, I'm not really sure...I wonder if it has something to do with some tribes moving to different places before the hard winter arrived, and maybe that is the period of time they did this?"
Billy thought about this for a moment before saying, "So is there really such a saying as Indian Summer, or are you making that up?"
I laughed out loud and assured him, there is absolutely such a phrase, and maybe I should look it up as to why they call it that. He agreed that would be interesting:)
The following day I picked up his sister Caitlyn and her friend Maggie  to take them to dance class right after school. Once again the conversation was geared around the warm weather and I said to them, that this is our Indian Summer. Being 4th graders their reaction was much less calm.
"What is that?" they both responded laughingly.
Once again I explained the definition of it, and silently kicked myself for not taking the time to be able to tell them why it was called that!
Suddenly, Maggie inquired, "Are you making that up?"
I laughed and laughed..obviously kids these days are not exposed to the term-- Indian Summer!
With a big smile on my face, I assured her it was a true term, and I would get back to her as to why it was called that.
I did get the definition correct on Indian summer---"...warm weather after a sharp frost, associated with October to November..."
However, the reason it is named so, is pretty interesting. There appears to be a couple of thoughts on this.  One theory being that the Colonists knew that Indian raiding parties did not happen once the snow was on the ground, so after the first hard frosts and then warm weather, they knew that this was when they could expect the last of the raids for the season.
Another theory is, it was the period of time the Indians harvested their crops of squash and corn, getting them in before the hard winter.
So now I will be much more informed when I speak of Indian Summer, thanks to my grand kids.
 Also a lesson to be learned is to pass on the language we have grown up with. It can be an adventure in learning if you can convince them you did not make it up!!
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shoo Fly Don't Bother Me...

Mr. Food came out with Shoo Fly Pie last week, that he claimed was "Soooooo Good!"
I listened to him describe this" ooey, gooey filling that a person just couldn't resist digging into!" It is an Amish favorite and it gets it's name because even the flies couldn't resist it while it would be sitting on the window sill cooling down.  He went on to say that while the Amish guard their recipe closely, he had one that is just as tasty and easy.
Well, who could resist this recipe after hearing all of that? Not me!! It looked wonderful on the TV screen and hey, if the Amish love it, it has to be great, right? So I went online and got the recipe printed off and proceeded to make it.
The first clue should have been seeing the one cup of molasses....I did question it and even checked other Shoo Fly Pie recipes to make sure this wasn't an error--but they all had the same ingredients. The aroma of the pie filled my house as it baked. I could hardly wait to try it! Waiting an hour for the filling to cool down and set was one of the longest hours ever. Finally, the first slice was cut and handed out to my daughter who kept asking me if it was good? I assured her it had to be as Mr. Food said, "It's Sooooo Good!" After all, he doesn't get paid for tell lies on TV!
As I handed the slice of ooey, gooey pie to her, I grabbed my fork and dipped into it for a taste. We both swallowed our bites about the same time and we both looked at each other and said nothing---- for a moment anyhow. I think my first words were, "Oh my gosh, this is like eating straight molasses out of the jar!" Her words were, "I can't eat this, it is way too strong."
My husband who can, and will eat anything just laughed at us. He promptly took the plate out of our hands proclaiming, "Great! more for me!" He actually did finish it, but said afterward that he probably wouldn't be asking for another piece anytime in the future...
I wish I knew what the attraction is for this pie...maybe you have to grow up eating it or something--or maybe you have to be Amish???? Whatever the answer I would love to know.
Until then, "Shoo fly don't bother me" EVER again!
Talk about an adventure!

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Movie and a Prayer

Watching a movie a few weeks ago confirmed my strong faith. Not that I needed it, but it's always interesting when things like this pop up as a reminder:)
It was one of those movies where the drama and suspense was so intense that I was on the edge of my seat pulling for  the main character to make it through the obstacles that lay ahead; one life threatening scene after another!!!!
I was totally drawn in by all that was happening. My heart was pounding, my stomach hurt and I had goose bumps on the back of my neck, when I suddenly found myself clenching my hands and softly repeating, " Dear Lord, please let her be OK, please help her..." Over and over.
I exclaimed to Kinsey, "Oh my gosh, I can't believe it- I'm praying for this girl in a movie! Talk about having a strong faith in prayer!" In the middle of all the drama we both burst out laughing!

As funny as that was, it was affirming to me on how important prayer is in my daily life. For me, it is an ongoing conversation.
Oh by the way, the girl in the movie did make it through the horrific ordeal. Now that's what I call the power of prayer!:)

Friday, September 16, 2011

With Gratitude.

This week would have been my Mom's 92nd birthday. Wow! Ninety-two--hard to believe as she was 49 when she passed away. I look at other people I know that are that age, and try to visualize how my mom would look now. I just can't picture it as I keep seeing her looking the same as she was when she passed away, when I was sixteen.
A good friend of mine from high school actually brought my mom up in conversation with me at our class reunion last month. His locker was alphabetically next to to mine all four years so we became real good friends. He told me that he often admired the way I stayed positive and appeared happy while finishing out my school years without a mom. With tears in his eyes, he told me that at the time, he couldn't imagine not having a mom as a teen,  He then went on to say that he thought of me often while raising his own teens.
I was very surprised to hear him share this, and we both had tears running down our cheeks. I hadn't realized at the time that anyone even gave it a thought...no one ever mentioned or brought it up. I'm sure it was too awkward, and they were afraid of making me sad.  But now, 42 years later, he was sweet enough to let me know how he hurt for me, and I was so very touched not only by his sensitivity, but by his thoughtfulness to share it with me all of these years later. It reminded me of "the things we wished we would have shared and didn't" philosophy.
Yes, we were both blubbering by that time, and I hugged him and thanked him for sharing his feelings and thoughts with me; it just endeared him to me even more:) I told him the reason I was able to go on was because of friends and classmates like him--they made coming to school a thing to look forward to and to embrace. I loved going to school. It made me happy and took me away from the sadness and emptiness of being at home.
 All these years later I look back with such fond memories of my school years, and know that I am who I am today because of the circumstances of my life. All because the people that surrounded me loved  and guided me while not knowing what a difference it would make in my life.
I am so thankful for the angels in my life...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Starting Back!

I will be back to posting on my blog again now that I have a new computer and can do so in a timely manner! My old one just wasn't keeping up to what I needed to do.
Glad to be back:)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An "Initial" Laugh

My daughter had her first playwright performed last night at a local theatre. It was actually a contest and she was one of three winners in the adult category! How fun and exciting to get your first script accepted! It was a ten minute play and took place as a conversation between two friends in the waiting room of a Dr's office. It was funny and made the audience laugh numerous times. I especially laughed as parts were taken from our family situations and comments. She is becoming a female Ray Ramano who based his Everybody Loves Raymond show, on his real life. Now I'm beginning to wonder if I need to watch my P's & Q's down the road here:)

After her play she went out with some friends and this morning was telling me that they went to Famous Dave's and had a couple of PBR's! If you know anything about me, you know that these initial things with technology especially, throw me off base...
So, I asked her what PBR was and she responded with a pause, "Mom, you know what that is, just think about it."

So I did, as obviously I must know what that means....The only thing that came to mind was peanut butter and.....what???? So I'm throwing these thoughts out to her like clues on the final puzzle of Wheel of Fortune.
Finally, with a huge sigh, she tells me it means Pabst Blue Ribbon beer!!
Well for pete sake, since when does a person say they had a PBR when they could say they had a beer? No wonder they say there is a lack of communication between the generations:) Oh well, we had a good laugh:)
No doubt, this may be used in a future script of hers someday. Guess I'm OK with that:) Have a great Easter!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Make It Fit!

My eight year old grandson, Tate is spending a few days with us this week. We are having a good time and all is going well. It's fun to have time to hang out together!
Today Tate's Aunt Kinsey offered to play Battle Ship with him. She got out the little kids card table, and was getting it set up for her to sit on the couch side of it while Tate could sit in the child's rocking chair on the opposite side.
Well, in the wink of an eye he plopped himself down on the couch and when she protested saying that was her spot to sit, he replied in no uncertain terms that she could sit in the little chair! Of course she tried to explain to him that she wouldn't be able to fit in that chair and still he insisted she would! (She could have taken that as a compliment I guess:)
Out of pure frustration she sighed a big sigh, so he said to her very calmly, "Well, if you are too big to fit in it, maybe you should have my Dad roll over you." When she asked him in a very frustrated voice what THAT meant, he said, "Well he could flatten you so you would fit!"
Needless to say Kinsey and I got a good laugh out of that, and of course I had to intervene and ask him if he would please let her sit on the couch. In a very respectful manner he did shift to the other side.
Kids always have a simple way of solving things and making things fit...don't you think?

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Two weeks ago I had the great privilege of hearing the author, Jeannette Walls speak. She wrote the book The Glass Castle which is a riveting book. In her memoir she writes of her radical and unorthodox childhood; growing up with three sibling and irresponsible parents who manged to not only neglect them, but love them and teach them to face their fears.
I read this book two years ago and it has been a New York Times best-seller for more than three years now. It is currently being made into a movie by Paramount. This was a book that I could not put down. I was so excited when I learned she would be speaking at the convention I was attending.
Ms. Wall's message was about confronting your past and facing your fears. We all have more in common than we think and our flaws are our greatest assets. She spoke that memoirs are very personal and other members of the family don't always view things the same. Much of it has to do with how you choose to view it. It took her years to find the positives from her upbringing and now she embraces it as it has made her the success she is today.

When all was said and done I was finally standing in front of her with my book to be signed. I had noticed that she had written the theme from her talk; "Push and pray," in the books of the people ahead of me in line. As she wrote in my book I told her how much I had enjoyed her memoir and have been sharing with others. She was sincerely touched and thanked me as she handed my book back.
I didn't even think of looking inside my cover until I got to the elevator, and what she had written sent chills down my spine. She had not written in mine what I had seen her put in others; instead she wrote, Peggy, Life is an adventure!
When I told my daughter about it she suggested that I must have mentioned to Ms. Walls that I view life that way, but I absolutely had not said a thing about it--never even occurred to me!
Some people just call it a coincidence, but I believe that it was one of those moments when the spirit of one person senses the spirit in the other and it just plays itself out. God does that often if you just take the time to notice:)
Hope you are having a wonderful day!