Monday, January 15, 2018

Hey, anyone seen a chocolate cake?

I write a monthly newsletter for my seniors citizens.  After 24 years of that, you start to worry about repeating yourself.  Instead, I decided to poke a little fun at myself while marveling over the fascinating changes my grandfather experienced. Here it is.

I have one of those “milestone” birthdays this year—much to Mom’s dismay. I turn 60. (She STILL declares herself too young to have a kid my age). I don’t dread it. Any occasion featuring chocolate cake is a win. 

An adult once told me, “Age is mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn’t matter.” I believed them. Still do. So while I’m too young to retire or collect Social Security, my brain believes I’m more of an “experienced kid” than real adult. Growing up, I had adults to admire...role models, like road maps on the journey to adulthood. And I still find myself glancing around, searching for those adults. While my reflection in the mirror claims I’m suppose to be one, some days I don’t feel like one. Then again, when you’re my height, you’re often treated like height equals your I.Q. or age.

I’ve worked on my family tree for years, yet I was surprised to realize my paternal Granddaddy was 60 years old when I, his first grandchild, was born. As a kid, I thought he was r-e-a-l-l-y old because he was born in 1898; everyone else I knew was born in a year starting with 19. Plus, he had an “extra” middle name: Dwight Moody Rhett. Even little girl me under-stood why he’d quietly dropped the “Rhett” from his signature. 

We lived next door to my grandparents until I was eight. Over time I realized all the remarkable things Granddaddy had witnessed growing up. Born when McKinley was president, he’d known 12 presidents in his lifetime; from the intriguing Teddy Roosevelt and FDR to the disgraced Nixon. After a childhood of horse drawn carriages and telegraphs, he’d witness radio, airplanes, cars, television (B&W to color) and men walking on the moon. During his lifetime he saw the creation of things I take for granted: paved roads, air conditioning, windshield wipers, traffic lights, sun glasses, parking meters, toasters, supermarkets, recliners, clip on ties, the electric razor and cheeseburgers. 

Born during the Spanish-American war, I once asked if he’d ever been to war. He replied, “I was too young for WWI and too old for WWII.” In my genealogy records is a copy of his WWI registration card: two months before the war ended, he’d left farm chores long enough to go enlist, which required an older brother’s signature. 

There are so many questions I wish I could still ask. I don’t know how much Granddaddy would’ve shared. He was a quiet man. By the time I was 12, he’d had 2 strokes, was bedridden and didn’t speak. But I always knew he loved me. A photo of 3 year old me points excitedly as he rounded the corner in the company truck. He shared his favorite coconut covered marshmallow cookies and Orange Crush, in the brown bottle, with me. And if you were a quiet child during those Sunday rides (to get Grandma out of the house), there was an ice cream cone from the drugstore in your future.

I inadvertently learned more about Granddaddy when cleaning out my aunt’s house when she went to a nursing home. I found a stack of cards/love letters to Grandma. For a quiet guy, he had a way with words. There was a photo of him with his prize possession: a model T Ford. For a kid coming from a horse & buggy generation, that car must’ve seemed like a miracle. I have a piece of that miracle on my mantel: Granddaddy’s small bronze lighter, in the shape of a miniature Model T.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Nurturing the Spark

It happens every year.  I don't even know when it began, but I have an internal tradition each New Year's Eve that I can't shake or outgrow.  Maybe I just don't want to, no matter how silly it seems later on.

Every year as I stare at that ball in Times Square (which has gotten uglier over time), I feel this inner...tingle.  That countdown from 10 to 1, turns the tingle of anticipation into a spark filled with the childhood excitement of Christmas, Birthdays, End of School and Beginning of Summer, all rolled into one. This year I finally figured it out.

That spark within is my moment of hope.

A hope that THIS year will be different in ways which count.  To be kinder.  To smile more and worry less.  To continue the southern girl tradition of putting others first, without guilt from taking time for myself, occasionally. To still believe that it's not too late for the world to get it's act together before Mother Nature puts us in a Time Out of never ending misery, be that cold, wet or burning.

Tomorrow, I go back to work.  I've been off for two weeks and when you're the only person where you work, the first day can be overwhelming.  All my senior folks will be shouting that THEY need my undivided attention FIRST.  It's like herding cats while holding catnip.

So rather than dread it, I found this.  And in 2018, I'm gonna embrace it not as a helpful suggestion, but as nurturing hope.

 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

What IS this stuff?!

Bourbon, who is 16 months old, has just experienced his first snow.  Yes, it's "only" about 3 inches, but it's been awhile since we've seen any.  Nice thing about southern snow is that it's here today, shuts everything down for 24 hours, then it's gone.  But the Boy's reaction to it this morning was hysterical.

First he took off, literally running circles around me.  
I think he was laughing.

Then he started farther away and made a beeline for me.
Glad he has good brakes and I didn't end up in the snow.





Seems he feels the same way about cameras that I do.  What a look!


His conclusion?
Snow tastes like....nothing!
But he kept checking, just in case. 


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Wow!

Hope your Christmas was as exciting as 
waiting on someone to open a new bag of dog treats!
May you anticipate and receive a Happy New Year!
(Mom's on vacation...something about only doing what she wants to.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

For Sav


Hubby has always been a great storyteller...to the point I have to look him in the eye to see if a mischievous twinkle is present, indicating something is afoot.

When we were in college and dating, he worked at a convenience store. I was at his parents’ home one night when he said, “You know the cat that always hangs around out front?”

I nodded.  The cat constantly tried to get inside when it was cold outside and getting him back out took exasperation to a whole new level.
           
“Well, he got in again.  I was busy with customers and didn’t have time to shoo him out.  Then I forgot about him.  Toward the end of my shift, I went into the cooler to stock beer.  And there he was.  Stiff as a board.”
           
“Dead?” I asked as Hubby’s Dad sat down next to me.
          
 “I wasn’t sure.  So I took a rag, put some gas on it and held it under his nose.  To see if he’d come to.”
           
“Did he?” I asked, almost feeling sorry for the little trouble maker.
          
“Boy did he!” Hubby exclaimed, his hands pantomiming the cat’s every move. “Second pass under his nose with that rag and he jumped straight up in the air.  Then he started running through the store like he was on fire, knocking stuff off the shelves.  I don’t know how many times he zigzagged past me while I tried to catch him.  Then all of a sudden, he just stopped in his tracks and keeled over.”
          
 “Dead?” I whispered, as his Dad leaned forward.
          
 “No,” Hubby replied calmly.  “He just ran out of gas.”
        
Hubby’s Dad slapped himself in the forehead and yelled, “I don’t believe it!”  Seeing the look on my face, he added, “He told me this story last week and I just fell for it again!”
          
 Which is how I learned to look for that twinkle in someone’s eye.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Enjoy your Turkey Day

I'm home with some kind of cold and pulled chest muscle combo.  (When I mess up, I do it big time).   Between the coughing and that HUGE pot of soup I had to lift for work Tuesday onto a stove top UP and exceeding my height abilities, I've had better days.  :)  ( I know, I made the pot of soup and I should've stopped adding ingredients, but it was good).

So I've avoided the news today as much as possible so it doesn't take away the breath I do have.  (Although I do know David Cassidy perhaps can now R.I.P.)

So here's to all of y'all, hoping you have a day filled with happiness and just the right amount of food!