Monthly Archives: September 2011

Dad’s Little Friend

She was about 18 months old, but for some reason her folks decided to bring  her to church with them rather than leave her in the church nursery.    The sermon had been longer than usual and she was getting more and more restless as the sermon continued.  

She stood up on the pew and peered over the back of the seat.   A little pink ribbon taped to her head seemed to say, “I’m a girl.”

She looked across the back of the pew at my Dad and grinned.   I couldn’t see his face, but I am certain he grinned back.

Soon she sat down again.  She tugged at one shoe until it came off.  She picked up her stuffed bear and waved it in the air.  Then she stuck his ear in her mouth to free her hands so she could remove the other shoe.

Her mother quietly moved the shoes putting them out of the way so that little Miss Blue Eyes would not kick them onto the floor.  Her Mom appeared to be getting worried that she would disrupt someone or she would cry.  She crawled in her Mom’s lap for a minute and then quickly stood up on the bench again.

She stood there with the bear hanging out of her mouth until she grinned and it fell on the floor.

My Dad quietly reached down, picked up the bear and handed it back to her.

She just stood there staring at Dad, hanging onto the bear as she leaned as far over the bench as she could without falling on her head.  Suddenly she dropped the bear on the bench and stretched her arms out as if she were waiting for someone to pick her up.

I should have been listening to the sermon, but I couldn’t quit watching the exchange between this little girl and my Dad.

Her Daddy finally tugged on her dress to get her to sit down.  She turned around, sat on his lap for all of 20 seconds and once again stood up and started staring over the back of the bench.

Her Daddy once again tried to get her to turn around and sit down.   She sat down long enough to remove her socks.  Then she popped up again and started to stare at my Dad.   I am sure my Dad was smiling at her.   She grinned back at him.

I bowed my head for closing prayer as the sermon ended.

I couldn’t see what happened but I heard her laugh.

As I opened my eyes I could see my Dad once again picking up her little bear.

He handed it back to her.   She grinned. Dropped the bear on the floor and laughed again.

Dad of course just kept picking up that bear and handing it back to her.

As we rose for the final hymn, she turned around and pushed the bear at her Mommy.  Again she turned and peeked over the top of the pew.   This time she played hide and seek for a minute, bringing her eyes just above the back of the pew so she could see my Dad and then lowering them just enough that her eyes were hidden from him.

Then all at once she put her arms out and tugged on his sleeve.  He just smiled at her until she raised her arms as high as she could and leaned toward him.  I saw her Mommy turn and acknowledge my Dad as if to say, “Okay, go ahead!”

He carefully lifted her over the back of the bench and held her until the end of the service.

She was like many toddlers.   There was something about my Dad that drew them to him.  I never saw a toddler shy away from him.  I still can’t figure out what it was that little kids found so appealing. Maybe it was just because my Dad truly loved little children and they could tell.

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Filed under HOME, writing

The Dining Room

“Good evening Miles,” the hostess welcomed him into the dining room.

Leaning heavily on his cane Miles shuffled through the doorway.  He pushed the wire rim of his glasses a little higher on his nose and then brushed what little hair he had off of his forehead.  This was his first meal at the retirement home and he didn’t want to be late.  Despite having served as an Air Force pilot in both World War II and the Korean conflict, and having survived getting shot down twice, he laughed and said, “I feel like the nerdy new kid at school.  Well maybe it’s the nerdy old guy at the retirement home. Where should I sit?”

“Sit any where you like.   We don’t have reserved seating.”

“I think I’ll sit over there.”  He looked in the direction of a large window overlooking the pond.

“That’s a lovely spot.   Do you need help?”

“No Ma’am, I can make it just fine.”

Miles had barely seated him self when Ray came storming in.  He marched up to the table, stamped his foot, shook his fist and bellowed, “That’s my chair.”

“What?”

“That’s—my– chair.”

Looking in the direction of the hostess, Miles calmly responded, “She said I could sit anywhere.”

“I said, ‘that’s my chair.”  

By now a small group of residents had circled the table.   Balancing on walkers and canes they stared at the scene, their mouths hanging open, their eyes blinking in disbelief.  No one had ever confronted Ray before.  None of them expected this wimpy little guy to be the first.

Without saying a word, Miles hooked the crook of his cane around the leg of a nearby chair and pulled it close.  Then pressing one hand on the table and leaning against his cane he pulled himself up to a standing position.

Having suddenly noticed the conflict the hostess started toward the table. 

 Clearly believing that he had won this battle, Ray smiled at the hostess, and then he smiled at the crowd that had gathered.   In the amount of time it had taken Ray to gloat, Miles had pushed the chair he had been sitting in toward Ray, pulled the other chair into position and re-seated himself directly in front of the window.

Miles smiled pleasantly, “Here’s your chair.  This one here is just fine.”

The hostess smiled.   The crowd gasped, and Ray stomped away to another table.

 

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Ruby Beach

 It is that time of year when the weather can’t make up its mind.  We drove to Ruby Beach earlier this week. It was cloudy and the marine air made it look deceptively cool, however my sweatshirt was much to warm.

Ruby Beach

  My husband remembers it as it was in the 1930’s.  It was  the Ruby Beach Resort.  There were cabins, a gas station and a store, as well as camping for those that wanted to wade out into the water for smelt.  I think he found it a little frustrating because you can no longer tell where the road used to go down to the beach.   The only access now is via a walking trail.  He also couldn’t tell where his family used to camp or where the cabins were.

Trail to the beach.

The beach is now part of the Olympic National Park and all remnants of the Resort are gone.

Natures artwork in the sand.

 

Natures artwork in the water

 

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Filed under HOME

Basil, Zucchinni and Newspapers

I have discovered that I really do like gardens.  Please note, I said gardens, not gardening.  It will soon be time to prepare the garden plot for winter.  Last year I saw a program about the garden at the University.  They used shredded newspaper to cover the garden and then topped it with sheets of newspaper.  After turning the garden under last year I tried this.  My garden plot was totally weed-free when I got ready to plant this year.   You will soon find me running my newspapers through the paper shredder so I can sow them in my winter garden.

 This weekend I brought in most of my basil.  It will soon be too cold and wet for it to prosper here.  I made pesto and we ate pesto on flat bread.  What a treat.   Pesto is so easy to make that anyone can make it.

 Start with at least 2 cups of fresh basil leaves.  You’ll probably want more after you taste it. Add some nuts.  I used pine nuts this time, but walnuts will work.  Not too many, maybe a quarter of a cup.  Add garlic to taste, you decide how well you like garlic.  I put in about 4 cloves.  They say (whoever “they” are) that garlic is good for us.  Add some good oil, I like olive oil.  Add the oil slowly while blending until the pesto is the desired consistency.  Then you can add  a little salt and some pepper, if you like, and eat up.  Pesto and crackers is great with tomato soup.

 Tomorrow I plan to grate up all the excess zucchini and freeze most of it.  I will make one fresh loaf of zucchini bread for a weekend potluck.   Then this winter–when I am no longer sick of zucchini–I will pull out a package of grated zucchini and make some more bread.

The last head of lettuce will  get picked this week.  I will have tomatoes for a while if the weather stays nice enough for them to ripen.   That is always a big “if” in the Pacific Northwest.  I might get a beet or two and then it will be time to cover the garden.

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Fill up the buckets–don’t kick them

Summer ends and autumn begins, both in the garden and in life.  We’ve dug the spring bulbs and will soon split them and replant in a few days.  Although their story for this year is told, they still have more to share–they multiply.  Just wait another year.

Those of us that have reached the autumn of our lives are not unlike the bulbs.   Although part of our story has been told it doesn’t mean there is no more.  I’ve been making a list of the things that I might still do.  This is not a bucket list, not a list of things I intend to do before I die, but instead a list of projects or challenges I might undertake.  This is a list to go to when I am uninspired and need to be motivated.  This is a list to give me the figurative kick-in-the-rear when I forget to live my life to the fullest. This is a list to fill up the buckets, not empty one.

I must go now.   I have several buckets waiting to be filled.

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Filed under Retirement

Zuchinni, Friend or Foe?

Zucchini friend or foe

I only planted four seeds

Little did I know

This stuff will grow and grow and grow.

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Filed under HOME, writing

Quiet Your Mind–Make Time for Creativity

I have read that a good way to tap your creativity is to sit quietly and let your mind wander.  Doing that isn’t difficult, but allowing yourself to do it is not easy.   While sitting in my living room, in the quiet early morning, I gave it a try.  Much to my surprise, a good first paragraph, for a story that I have been struggling with, popped into my head; as did this as a topic for my blog today.

Often I find that my creativity flows more smoothly when I am writing longhand in a notebook.  Once I get started then I can move to my computer and my creative flow continues.   Perhaps there are too many distractions sitting at the computer screen.

When do you find yourself the most creative?   What techniques work best for you?

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