Friday, September 29, 2017

Buttons And Lemons

My father once bought a red Thunderbird to drive. For anyone who is not sure Thunderbirds were sports ars made by Ford.

He and I loved that car. It was used, not new. It had a strip of leather and metal that started on the ceiling and ended at the front of the bucket seats. On the strip were buttons... lots of buttons. We liked buttons.

Most of them did not work. But they were buttons and we liked them.

As a brand I prefer Fords. For some reason the seats fit my bottom and back better than most brands. I drive a Jeep SUV right now and I like it a lot too. But back to Fords.

For a luxury car I liked Lincoln Towncars or Mercury Crown Victorias. I liked Edsels too. Thunderbirds are sports cars. The 1956 model is one of the nicest looking cars ever. That is the model driven by the mysterious blonde in the movie American Graffiti.

I once bought my own Thunderbird. It was beautiful. Powder blue was the color. It had a tuck and roll white interior. Not very practical with children I know but nice to look at.

It also had a turbo engine. I have little idea of what that actually means. It is supposed to sound like the car is fast. All I know is that those turbos were one of the first things to go wrong with the cars.

I did love that car. I knew it was a lemon almost as soon as I got it but I loved it anyway.

I spent a lot of money on repairs for that car. Including a new turbo. Something was constantly needing to be fixed. I did love that car.

I finally gathered my senses and sold it for far less than I paid for it. I was lucky to get anything for it. It was a lemon after all.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

From These Roots

I write this blog to leave a family history for my children, their children, and on down the line. They are the leaves on my tree.

I include stories about family, tell about different family members, and sometimes I simply put down my own thoughts.

There is an old Irish saying that says, "Every branch blossoms according to the root from which it is sprung". It simply means you are who you come from.

I want my offspring to know who they are and who they came from. It helps them get an idea of where they may be going. Besides it is fun to look back at the laughter, tears, and scallywags that belong to our family.

Over the years I have worked off and on to make a family tree. It is such hard work. Trying to find records is difficult. I know quite a bit until we get past grandparents and great-grandparents.

I did not know my paternal grandfather. He died before I was born. I do not remember even seeing a picture of him.

My paternal grandmother talked about being the first child born in the United States after her family arrived from Denmark. She had one sister that I knew a tiny bit. She had brothers who lived in the same town but I did not know them.

My maternal grandfather had several brothers and sisters but I only knew one brother. Others had died or lived out of state.

My maternal grandmother had a sister who lived near to all of us. She was married but did not have children.

Grandma's father was still alive though. He was one of my favorite characters. I thought for years that he was a leprechaun. He's not even Irish!

My son recently discovered yet another family research site. It begins with him. Then he puts in information about his parents. Then information about his grandparents. It took off from there.

Some branches end early. I believe it is because the families did not keep records and did not do family trees. Great-grandpa was orphaned as a baby and came to this country to raised by an uncle. He had older brothers. The family lost track of them over time.

Some branches go back to as far as 600 BC. Can you imagine? They are the ones who did extensive family trees.

We have discovered rascals and royalty. Most are common folk like we are. So now we are trying to find more connections to the shorter branches. It is fun but oh my is it tiring.

Friday, September 22, 2017

It's A-Comin'

I have been seeing signs of autumn. The leaves on the trees have been turning yellow. No oranges yet but they will happen soon.

The sumac leaves are a blood red now. The rust colored fruit clusters at the tops of the plants are showing off their fall finery.

There is a vine growing up a tree beside the highway that has bright red leaves. If ther were any way I would pull over to see what it is. The olor is beautiful.

I see squirrels in the back yard busily running with the nuts they will bury for winter.

Farmers are beginning to harvest the corn. The soybeans are yellowing and about ready too.

Once the crops are harvested the farmers turn the cows out into the fields to forage for any grain that did not make it to the trucks. I like to drive in the mornings to see the deer in with the cattle eating up before winter makes food hard to find.

I guess that means I should think about winterizing the house. I will only think about it though. The temperatures are still in the upper 80's some days. I do not like the heat.

So some guy has predicted that the world will end tomorrow (Sept. 23). If we are still here I will have my favorite time of year to enjoy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Uncle Harry and Aunt Helen

Uncle Harry fancied himself a ladies man. He liked pretty women and tried to keep as many as he could close to him. I have pictures of him in his World War I uniform surrounded by lovely nurses. He had been injured in a mustard gas attack.

Uncle Harry was Grandpa's younger brother. He is the only one of Grandpa's siblings that I knew.

Aunt Helen was one of three sisters. All had first names that began with the letter H.

Aunt Helen was pretty with red hair that she enhanced a bit with a henna rinse. She also had the redhead complexion. That meant she burned easily. She also hated freckles. I remember her working in the garden with a huge hat to protect her skin from the sun.

Aunt Helen was a school teacher. She loved children. Uncle Harry did not much care for work. He did not want to be a father.

When they decided to marry Uncle Harry told Aunt Helen that she would have to be the breadwinner. The school she taught was in another town quite a distance away. At that time teachers were not allowed to be married so she had to keep that a secret.

Uncle Harry was not without resources. When my great-grandfather died he left a farm and a business in town to each of his sons. Uncle Harry sold the grocery store he owned. He kept the farm. They had a house in town too.

I spent a lot of time with them. When I would spend the night Aunt Helen would tuck me in on the couch. Then she would carefully line chairs in front of me so I would not fall off in my sleep.

Because they had no children they had what I thought of as fancy food. I remember them having cantaloupe for breakfast one morning. Cantaloupe was not that fancy. We often had it in season. But Aunt Helen and Uncle Harry ate it with salt and pepper on it. Fancy.

Aunt Helen loved strawberry preserves. Me too. But we usually only had jelly. It was cheaper to make I guess. So I liked having toast and strawberry preserves with her.

Sometimes during the school year Uncle Harry would come and take me to a movie. That was fun. He even got popcorn.

What was the most interesting thing for me was to go to the farm when they cut hay.

Uncle Harry hired Indians (as they were called then) to help. Once the hay was cut and dried he did not bale it. He made haystacks.

Of course I was not very old so I could not help. I just sat on a wagon or back of a truck and watched. I found it fascinating to watch the men fork hay up into a huge pile. It may sound boring but I enjoyed it. During lunch break I would listen to them speaking their native language. I know it was some Sioux dialect but I do not know which tribe.

On a trip a few years ago I saw the house in town. It looks exactly as I remember it. I wish I could have gone inside.

Friday, September 15, 2017

As You Like It

Everyone has favorite foods. Some of my favorites are watermelon, devil's food cake with fudge frosting, and lobster.

Most of us have foods we really do not like. I cannot eat liver even though I have tried. I will not eat "gamey" meat even though I have tasted some of the varieties and some are not bad. I still will not eat them.

I also do not like pancakes. I used to eat them when we stayed on my grandparents' farm. Grandma made pancakes for breakfast and she made her own syrup. It was the syrup I liked. There were usually leftover pancakes too. We would sprinkle one with sugar and roll it up to make a "cigar". It was a fun treat for mid-morning.

I still did not like pancakes. But I could make pancakes. Remember this is before mixes were available. My pancakes were very good they tell me. Mom loved pancakes.

I do like waffles. Mom did not like waffles at all. She made good waffles.

What we did was one of us would make waffles and the other would make pancakes. We found out who in the family wanted which and we would make breakfast.

We could not afford maple syrup. What we had on our pancakes was Karo syrup. I did not like the dark Karo. Mom preferred it. We would have both on the table.

My youngest brother loved pancakes but did not make them as good as his wife. She liked over easy eggs but never was able to make them without breaking the yolks. She did not like pancakes and he did not like eggs.

Sunday mornings when they had a big family breakfast my brother would make her eggs and she would make his pancakes. Their children put in orders for what they wanted. It was a good arrangement.

Do you have a favorite that someone else makes for you because they do a better job?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Day Off

I have no post for today. My son is having a colonoscopy and I am designated driver.

It is simply part of a routine physical and we have no concerns about a good result.

However there is a family history of cancer so it is worth doing. Check with your doctor to see if you should have the procedure. It is painless and time consuming but it is worth getting that clean bill of health.

Be back Friday.

Friday, September 8, 2017

How To Say Hello

Living in the apartment next to us in the big city was a man with his two young children. The oldest was a girl and the youngest was a boy. Occasionally the father's girlfriend was there with her daughter also. We did not visit back and forth but we were on a "smile and say hello" basis.

When my family moved to the big city they took an apartment on the first floor of our building. My sister and the girl next door to us became close friends.

My husband had a younger brother about the same age as the girls. He still lived back here with their parents but visited every year when they came to the big city to visit.

I stayed in touch with the girl next door even after both families moved from the building. She was a nice girl who had been given some rough knocks in life.

Years passed and my brother-in-law came to the big city. He wanted some excitement. He also wanted a wife.

He brought his other brother's wife's sister with him. She would be the one. Thankfully it did not work out.

He dated a girl who lived across the street. They were talking marriage. For some reason it did not work out.

Then he connected with the former girl next door. I cannot remember how. Before long they ran off and got married. Then they moved to California.

The girl next door was now my sister-in-law and going to have her first baby. Then my brother-in-law was drafted.

She was all alone in California. I invited her to stay with us until they knew where he would be stationed. I knew she did not want to stay with her father and she did not want to be alone.

She had a beautiful baby boy. Eventually she moved. Then when my brother-in-law came home they moved to Florida. They proceeded to have 6 (yes 6) more children.

They moved to Tennessee. They have a gorgeous home with a bit of land. They have done very well for themselves.

Years passed and my father-in-law died. My children and I came back here for the funeral as did the rest of the family.

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law had a nice big camper with plenty of room for them with all 7 children. They were staying at my sister-in-law's in town so I did not see them right away when we got here.

Much of the family was sitting in Mom's living room when they came out. My sister-in-law rushed toward me.

"Emma, How the hell are you. I'm so glad to see you!" Then she hauled off and slapped my face as hard as she could!

I just sat there in shock. No one ever did that to me before. She sat down and we started to catch up as if nothing happened.

My son later told me that that was a sign of affection in the area where she lived. After the funeral she insisted that I sit with her and we talked for a long time.

So now I know how to say, "Hello." But I will not. Not that way.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


What does success mean to you? This is an important question.

Some people think of fame. A lot of people know who you are. Hopefully more love you than do not.

Is it education? The more you know the more successful you feel.

Power. Some long for control over people or businesses. They are the final link in the chain.

Does a lot of money mean we are successful? Some think so.

Maybe you are successful if you have a career you enjoy. It might even be what you always wanted to be.

Maybe you have a different idea of success.

A few years ago my son and I were just sitting around talking the way family members do. I mentioned that I was sorry that I had not prepared myself better to give them a better life and myself a more secure future.

My son asked me what I had wanted to be when I was younger. I searched my mind. There were those fleeting and basically childish dreams. I would be in a group like the Lennon Sisters. I would be the next Hayley Mills. I would marry Ricky Nelson (his wife would not mind). I would go to college and decide then what I would be. I would be a physical therapist. There were so many.

Needless to say I was not a Lennon Sister,,, I cannot sing. Hayley Mills was not threatened by my desire to emulate her. Alas Ricky Nelson's wife was unreasonable so I did not become Mrs. Nelson. I did not make it to college until after I married and had four children. I realized that physical therapy was not for me.

There were many other short-lived dreams. None of them were serious either.

After much thought I told my son the only thing I had always wanted to be was a mother. I do not ever remember a time that I did not want to have my own children.

Of course I knew that in order to have children I would need a husband. A husband was not my priority.

I had a sister-in-law who lived to get a husband and keep him. For me what I really wanted was a father for my children.

My son simply looked at me and said, Then you are a success." I guess I am.

Friday, September 1, 2017


So I was lying in bed this morning as I love to do. I was looking at the sights out my window. The phone rang.

Since it was only about 7:30 AM I quickly put on my glasses to see who would call so early. The number is the cell phone of my youngest granddaughter.

I quickly answered. "Hello?" There was no response. "Hello?" No response. "HELLO?' Still no response.

Then I can hear screaming and yelling. In the background someone seemed to be crying. "HELLO!"

I still heard no answer. Suddenly the phone hung up.

I immediately called back. No one answered. I tried again. No answer.

So I called her mother. I told her what had happened. She said my granddaughter was at school. We live in a different time zone so I had not considered that. 

Her mother said she would call the school to see what was happening. She would call me back as soon as she had spoken to my granddaughter.

After a grueling 45 minute wait the phone rang. My granddaughter had been on her school bus when her phone called me. The noise was apparently normal children-on-the-school-bus noise. 

My granddaughter did not realize that her phone had dialed me. It was in her pocket. Somehow it also hung itself up. She was surprised that it happened. 

Her mother thanked me profusely for contacting her. Of course she was my first thought after my granddaughter. If it had been my child I would want to know. Thank goodness nothing serious happened. It was one of those cases of better safe than sorry.