Monday, September 25, 2023

Watermelon Day

 I have so many happy memories of being a child. This is one of the best.

During the summer Saturday nights were special nights. The farmers came to town to purchase what they needed from the grocery store and the feed (for animals) store. It was a small town so there were not many other stores there.

What we did have was the free show. The free show was a big movie screen with a bunch of benches set up for us to watch. And it cost absolutely nothing.

I got 25 cents each week for allowance. Five cents went into the collection plate at Sunday school but the rest was mine all mine. Before the show started I would stop at the store and buy a bottle of pop and a candy bar. It took half of what was left but it was worth it. Besides I would get back a penny when I returned the bottle for the deposit. That penny was worth two pieces of bubble gum.

I loved sitting outside watching those movies. It was just like being at the theater. Except we had the stars above us.

The reason the free show was there was to keep the kids busy while their parents shopped and socialized. The fire station was where the men would gather to play cards and discuss manly things. The women stood off to the side talking about children and whatever else they talked about.

We lived just a block and a half down the street from the free show so I always went. Unless it rained. Then us kids would join the adults in the firehouse.

At the end of the summer came the best day of all. It was watermelon day.

On watermelon day all the farmers brought part of their harvest to town. Someone donated a cow and someone else donated a pig. They were both roasted in a huge pit dug in the ground. They started cooking a day or two before.

Then there were tables set up. They held cooked potatoes, corn on the cob, fresh salads, vegetables, fruits, homemade breads, pastries, cookies, cakes, homemade jams and jellies... you name it, it was there. And watermelon.

After eating more than you could possibly eat, you had to go back for a huge chunk of watermelon, then another one, and so forth. It was everyone enjoying the bounties of the harvest.

There were games like sack races and other fun group activities. When the sun went down there was the free show.

The very nicest thing about watermelon day was... IT COST NOTHING. It was just people getting together and enjoying each other and the offerings from the land. It is one of my favorite memories.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Halloween Songs

 Halloween will be here soon. It is a celebration of the time when the earth and the afterlife are supposedly so close that sometimes spirits cross over. Some religions believe Halloween to be evil. Other folks (like me) believe it to be a time for fun and imagination. 

A lot of Halloween songs are not scary. They can be silly and even goofy. Some are normal with a surprise ending. And some are scary. Take your pick. As always they can be found on YouTube.

The Witch Doctor by David Seville

Little Ted Man by Ugly Kid Joe

I Put A Spell On You by Broken Peach (also the three witches in Hocus Pocus and by Screamin' Jay Hawkins}

The Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show

Fiddler's Green by The Irish Rovers

Long Black Veil by The Band

Teddy Bears' Picnic by Jerry Garcia (trust me it's scary)

Season of the Witch by Donovan (the Joan Jett version is good too)

Grim, Grinning Ghosts is from Disney's Haunted Mansion

Vampira by Bobby Bare

Monster Mash by Bobby "Boris" Pickett ( Boris Karloff did it too)

Laurie (Strange Things Happen) by Dickey Lee

Shudders and Screams by Ben Colder

Ghost Riders In The Sky by Marty Robbins (and many others)

The Martian Hop by the Ran-Dells

The Theme Songs for The Addams Family and The Munsters

Ghost Busters by Ray Parker Jr

The Blob by The Five Blobs

The Danse Macabre Op. 40 by The Philharmonic Orchestra

Miller's Cave by Bobby Bare

This House Is Haunted by Alice Cooper

Joe Bean by Johnny Cash

Can you tell I like Halloween? Feel free to let me know what I left out.

Monday, September 18, 2023

The Big C

I have not given you an update on my daughter in quite some time. She has had a really rough time of it as you can imagine.

For those who are new or just do not remember my daughter was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of breast cancer. She underwent chemotherapy for what seemed like forever. Of course she lost all her pretty blonde hair. 

The chemo left her weak and tired. On top of that the shunt they put in to make it easier for the nurses administering the chemo was installed wrong. They had such a hard time using it that my daughter considered stopping it after a couple of months. She said it was just too painful. Finally the doctor did surgery to put in a different one.

My daughter needed a special drug for her chemo. Her insurance would not cover it. One of the nurses was kind enough and tenacious enough to find a program that paid for it.

My daughter decided to have a double mastectomy because the odds of it traveling to the other breast were high. She just wanted to be done with it.

The surgery went well but she did not seem to recover very fast. Maybe I expected too much. She usually heals quickly.

After the surgery there was more chemo along with radiation therapy. The radiation burned most of the skin from her armpit. 

When they removed her breasts they fitted some contraption under the skin to prepare for transplants eventually. They caused so much pain the doctor had to remove them. My daughter said it felt good to be able to breathe pain free again.

So finally after a few months she had surgery to put in the implants. What they do is remove tissue from the abdomen and place it in the breast. 

During the surgery and recovery she received 14 units of blood, 2 units of plasma, and one unit of something else. On average an adult has around 10 units of blood circulating in their system.

On about the third day of recovery someone finally took a look at one of the 6 drainage tubes that my daughter told her was bothering her. My daughter was lying in a pool of blood. When the woman went to gently move the tube to one side it exploded outward similar to an erupting volcano. It sprayed the woman, my daughter, and all over her bed. The only thing it missed was a little stuffed animal that was wearing the St Benedict medal my daughter was not allowed to wear but wanted close.

They covered the implants with folds of skin that had been saved from her breasts. After the first examination by the surgeon she was told that one flap of skin looked like it was dying. They would watch it for progress.

 It seemed to be getting better. Instead it died. Another surgery removed that flap of skin. My daughter insisted on going home. She felt she was not getting the care she needed at the hospital. She felt more comfortable at home.

She has kept her doctor's appointments and is doing what they prescribe. 

One day she noticed that the implant was exposed where the bad flap had been. She notified the doctor. He immediately performed another surgery because the implant actually fell out.

There will be another surgery in a couple of months to either make another implant or somehow pull a muscle from her back around to use as an implant. I do not understand.

Internally and emotionally my daughter is so much better. Physically she still has huge limitations but she is no longer afraid she is going to die.

I am not looking for sympathy and it drives me insane. I only wished to let you know how she is doing.

Saturday, September 16, 2023


 When I was a child westerns were what we watched when we got home from school and all summer. Cartoons were only available Saturday mornings. 

Of course I had some favorites. The Cisco Kid was special. He and Pancho righted all the wrongs they encountered. At the end of each show they had a little conversation that ended with "Oh Pancho Oh Cisco". Then they rode off to the next adventure.

Hopalong Cassidy was another. He and his horse Topper took care of many bad guys.

Roy Rogers was a favorite of most of us kids. Dale Evans and Pat Brady were sidekicks. Did you know that Dale Evans wrote the theme song Happy Trails one day as they were on the way to film the show? She was a talented author and song writer. Pat Brady was known for his Jeep Nellybelle and provided comical behavior for the show. He also a singer in The Sons Of The Pioneers which was co-founded by - you guessed it - Roy Rogers. Roy Rogers was well-known as a horseman too. You will never see anything more beautiful than Roy Rogers riding Trigger at full gallop.

Gabby Hayes was the ultimate sidekick. He mostly appeared in western movies so whenever he was in a television cowboy show it was a real treat. He even had his own TV show for a time. He did not star in any of the features but he played the host of the series.

I vaguely remember Wild Bill Hickock but I do remember his sidekick Jingles. His real name was Andy Devine and he had a strange voice and usually was reluctant to enter an adventure that might be dangerous. He later had his own children's show on television called Andy's Gang sponsored by Buster Brown Shoes. It had Midnight the Cat and Froggy the Gremlin.

Annie Oakley was a female western star which was almost unheard of then. She could ride and shoot with the best of the men.

The Lone Ranger will end my list. It is the story of a man who rode with his brother and other Texas Rangers into an ambush. All were killed except for him. He was found half dead by a young Indian who nursed him back to health. Tonto remembers that the ranger had befriended him when his village was wiped out. When the ranger recovered from his injuries he and Tonto travel the Southwest helping people who are the victims of outlaws. He is called the Lone Ranger because he was the lone ranger to survive.

As a side note the Lone Ranger's brother left a son named Dan who spent a lot of time with his Lone Ranger uncle. Dan became a father to Britt Reid. Britt Reid was the Green Lantern.

Hi-Yo Silver.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Old Gadgets

Have you ever used old gadgets that younger people have not even had access to? I will talk about some that I have used. 

Can openers. I have used the old can openers that you punch into the top of the can and use the sharp blade to cut around the top to create the opening that allowed you to get the contents out. There were the punches that opened beer cans by pushing the point through and making a triangular hole to drink from. They were called church keys. They could also be used several times around a can to remove the lid but it was not easy to do. Then they invented a small opener that was placed at the top of a can and had a handle to twist. As you twisted the two attached parts slid together to fasten it on the can. By twisting the handle the opener would travel around the top of the can to open it. Later they made an opener with long handles that were squeezed which punctured the can. A wheel-type handle being turned moved the opener around the top of the can causing it to open. Both of the previous openers were especially hard for us lefties. And all of them left sharp lids that I cut myself with many times. Thank goodness for new electric openers that do not leave sharp edges.

Washboards are a wooden frame holding a corrugated metal piece. To wash your clothes you stood the washboard in the edge of a washtub filled with hot water. When the clothes (one piece at a time) were soapy you scrubbed them up and down on the washboard to mix the soap with the dirt so it will leave the clothes. Then you wring the water out by hand and drop the clothes into a tub of rinse water. Diapers get two rinse tubs. Again you wring the water out and put the clothes in a basket to take to the clothesline to be pinned up and dried by sun and air. There were wringers you could attach to the tubs and hand crank them to get more water from the clothes. They were clumsy and more trouble than they were useful. It was not unusual for the tubs to tip and spill when using the wringers. 

Then came wringer washers. Electricity was a wonderful addition to doing laundry. The tub of the washer was filled with hot water and soap. There was an agitator in the tub that swished the clothes around in the soapy water. When the allotted time for washing was over you turned off the agitator and put the clothes through the electrically operated wringer into a tub of rinsed water. Often the wringer was rotated to wring rinsed clothes to another rinse tub. Then the clothes were put through the wringer again . With the water wrung out the clothes fell into a basket and were taken to the line to dry.

Clothes did not dry with no wrinkles. They had to be ironed. When they came off the line clothes to be ironed were sprinkled with water and rolled to evenly distribute the moisture. Ironing day was also an all day affair. The first irons (besides hot rocks) were heated on the wood stove. They needed to be replaced often so there were often two heating while one was being used. Along came electricity and some nice person found a way to heat the iron that way. Eventually irons had dials to regulate the amount of heat. Next was an iron that sprayed steam on the clothes. No more sprinkling.

I was going to talk about wood stoves and cleaning rugs. I have run out of space. Next time. Do you have an odd gadget that you find interesting? Please share.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Songs For Children

 I love children's music. I have ever since I was a child. I have happy memories of my mother singing to me. My father would whistle and once in a while fancy that he sounded like Bing Crosby. Music was a staple in our house.

Here are some favorites. At least most of them can be found on YouTube.

Pineapple Princess by Annette Funicello

Daddy What If by Bobby Bare

I'll Stay In The House by Jimmy Boyd

Scarlet Ribbons by The Browns

Hula Hoop Song by Theresa Brewer

Cuban Pete Sally Sweet by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball (the video is fantastic_

Mr Sandman by The Chordettes

Que Sera Sera by Doris Day

I'm Gonna Knock on Your Door by Eddie Hodges

Happy Trails by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans

At The Codfish Ball by Shirley Temple and Buddy Ebson (really anything from Shirley Temple)

The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens

My Boy Lollipop by Millie Small

All of Schoolhouse Rock

Swingin' On A Star by Spooky and Sue

Bug That Tried To Crawl Around The World by Johnny Cash

Your Nose Is Gonna Grow by Johnny Crawford

Centerfield by John Fogerty

This Land Is Your Land by Woodie Guthrie

Little Bitty by Alan Jackson

Pretty Irish Girl by Sean Connery (from Darby O'Gill and the Little People)

Witch Doctor by David Seville

High Hopes by Frank Sinatra

Tippy Toeing by The Harden Trio

Iko Iko by The Dixie Cups

Bimbo by Jim Reeves

Minnie's Yoo Hoo by Carl Stallings

Ragtime Cowboy Joe by The Rank Rangers

The Marvelous Toy by The Chad Mitchell Trio

How Much Is That Doggie In The Window by Patti Page

Oh my goodness. Look how many there are already. I have so many more but I must stop. If you have a favorite I left off the list please let us know.

Monday, August 28, 2023

More Remodeling

 My son and his friend came to visit again. Lots of work was done. I will bore you with it now.

My front steps were deteriorating and breaking. The very center seemed to be sinking. Since I am still using a walker it was becoming more and more difficult for me to maneuver. I needed help to lift the walker into the house. Then I would hook my elbow inside the door to help pull myself in as I stepped into the house.

They rebuilt both sets of steps into the house with nice solid cement. Now I will not have such a big step to deal with. I like it.

They also put a small awning over the steps so rain would not come down and straight into the house. Now I will not get a shower every time I walk into the house as it is raining.

The plan was to shore up the threshold of the back door which they did. But in the process they discovered that the wall on one side of it was ready to fall off. What a job that was.

Basically he tore the whole wall away and rebuilt it... all in one day. With the temperatures well over 100 degrees it was miserable work. But now the wall is solid and safe. Two windows on the wall were completely replaced.

In my room the window is brand new. They made some repairs to the walls in my room. They also mounted my television which gives me a lot more room. I had a large space rug which they put under my bed and across half the room. No more cold tootsies when I step out of bed in the morning.

In my son's room one window was replaced. Half the floor was reinforced. 

Moving on to the hall the floor was reinforced. It is nice and solid now. Quiet too.

Off the kitchen my ex-husband had built a small block house around a big wood burning stove. The heat came in through the window which he had sealed inside metal. The problem was that it leaked a bit. The window was replaced and looks beautiful. The light it lets in is so nice.

On top of all that my son took us all out to a nice restaurant for my birthday. We all had a good time. 

In less than a week all of this was done. Of course we paid for it. That kind of work is not cheap. But if we had hired a company it would still not be done and would have cost many times more. I am happy with the results.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Who I Am

 I am a baby boomer. After World War ll, there was a huge increase in new babies. The servicemen coming home from the war married and started their families. My father was in the navy. His younger brother was dating a nice girl who had a sister who was not attached. A blind date was arranged and my parents met. Soon after, they married and a whole 10 months later, they had a beautiful baby girl.

My daddy had always wanted a daughter. When he came home from overseas, he had a kimono for his wife-to-be and his little girl. He wasted no time getting both of us. I have always felt very special because I was the little girl my daddy wanted. I have 4 brothers and two sisters. It was great being part of a large family. We never had much money but there was a lot of love.

My mom was the most intelligent person I have ever known. She was a quiet, nurturing woman. Daddy could make or fix anything. He loved being a family man and we all adored him.

Daddy was always looking for something better so we moved a lot as I grew up. I went to 9 different schools before I graduated from high school. He still kept moving until they moved to Detroit. I think he finally found his home.

Mom just packed and moved to where-ever. I don't think she liked Detroit and as soon as she could after Daddy was gone, she moved to warmer weather.

Today is Mom's birthday so she is very much on my mind. Daddy's birthday is in a week and a half with me plopped right in the middle. 

My parents are both dead now. I miss them both so much. 

Emma is not my real name. My family have not given permission to having the world know them. So I made up a name. Otherwise any facts I give about myself or my family are true.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Silly Songs

 I have yet another group of songs. These are my special passion.  I love anything that makes me laugh and silly songs certainly do that. See how many you know.

Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah by Allan Sherman

The Ballad of Irving by Frank Gallop

I'm A Lonely Little Petunia by Arthur Godfrey

My Boomerang Won't Come Back by Charlie Drake

Dead Skunk by Loudon Wainwright III

Wasn't That a Party by the Irish Rovers

Lily The Pink by The Scaffold

My The Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose by Little Jimmy Dickens

Mule Skinner Blues by The Fendermen

Mahna Mahna by The Muppets

Snoopy vs. The Red Baron by The Royal Guardsmen

Wild Thing by Sen. Everett McKinley

Oh Lord It's Hard To Be Humble by Mac Davis

Charlie Brown by The Coasters

The Little Nash Rambler by The Playmates

Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport by Rolf Harris

Disco Duck by Rick Dees

Mister Custer by Larry Verne

Daffy Duck's Rhapsody by Daffy Duck

It Came Out of The Sky by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Boa Constrictor by Johnny Cash (The whole album named Everybody Loves Nut is good for a chuckle)

The Doo Hickey Song by Ben Colder

Chug-A-Lug by Roger Miller

The Streak by Ray Stevens

I have hundreds of them. Like I said they are my favorite kind of music. All of these should by on YouTube if you want to hear them. If you know any silly songs I welcome them.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Are You Happy?

 So many people have had unhappy lives. I read about them on various posts. I see them on the news. I hear them from folks I know. 

I have been mostly happy all my life. There have been unhappy moments... deaths, illnesses, and so on. But my life has been good otherwise. 

So I was pondering happiness recently. What makes a person happy? What makes you happy?

I think I was born happy. I was my parent's first child and the first (of many) babies in close proximity to other various family members. I received lots of attention and love. My parents also gave me the gift of six babies they called brothers and sisters. Boy did they love me.

My father worked hard. There was never a lot of money. That is the reason I have little use for money. Too many other things are more important.

So I have narrowed happiness to two categories. Things I need and things I want.

I need a roof over my head. I personally NEED an indoor toilet. I need healthy food and water. I need and want my children. I need clean air to breathe. I need my medication (darn it). I suppose I need clothing and (ugh) shoes. I cannot think of anything else.

I want my favorite baseball team to win more than they lose. I want my dishwasher so I do not have to do dishes. I want to be able to walk again without my walker. There are little things that I want from time to time but the pleasure from them is temporary.

I am realistic enough to know that the whole world will never be at peace. I wish for it even so.

Think about it. What makes you happy?

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Sad Songs

 As promised here are some sad songs. Some will tug a bit at your heart. The first one makes me cry every time I hear it.

Willie McBride by The Irish Rovers

The Winner Takes It All by ABBA

Yesterday by The Beatles

Hurt By Timi Yuro

House Of The Rising Sun by The Animals

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me by Culture Club

I Will Always Love You by either Dolly Parton or Whitney Huston

What In The World's Come Over You by Jack Scott

I'd Love You To Want Me by Lobo

Don't Just Stand There by Patty Duke

Massachusetts by The Bee Gees

Detroit City by Bobby Bare

Teddy Bear Song by Tanya Tucker

Ruby (Don't Take Your Love To Town) by Kenny Rogers

HaveYou Ever Seen The Rain by Creedence Clearwater Revival

One Of Us by Cher

Three Stars by Eddie Cochrane

The Ballad Of Ira Hayes by Johnny Cash

Walkin' After Midnight by Patsy Cline

Stormy Weather by Keely Smith

Cool Clear Water by The Sons Of The Pioneers

This Time by Troy Shondell

So Sad by The Everly Brothers

Tracks Of My Tears by Smokey Robinson

Great Pretender by Freddie Mercury

Who's Sorry Now by Connie Francis

Wasted Days And Wasted Nights by Freddy Fender

World Without Love by Peter And Gordon

Where Have All The Flowers Gone? by Peter, Paul, and Mary

I'm Sorry by The Platters

She Cried by Jay & The Americans

As usual by Brenda Lee

Return To Me by Dean Martin

Lonesome Town by Ricky Nelson

Cryin' by Roy Orbison

And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda by Liam Clancy

That should give you an idea. You should be able to find all of these sad songs on YouTube. As always I left out a bunch. Is your favorite missing?

Thursday, July 27, 2023

A Mother's Love

My mother could not swim. In fact she could not stand water on her face. But she tried to make sure all of us could swim. Of course Daddy was a Navy man so he had to be a swimmer too.

One year after I was married they all went on a camping trip. There were some problems with the car but Daddy knew he could fix it.

There was a small lake just over the hill so my father helped them all get settled there so the kids could swim. Mom was the 'lifeguard'.

They had been swimming for some time when suddenly a brother and sister began screaming for help. Mom told them they were not funny and to stop it.

When she suddenly realized that they were actually in trouble she acted instinctively. She told my little sister to keep my baby brother from following her. She grabbed the only stick she could see and headed into the water.

As she got closer to them she saw that myy brother was trying to help my sister. Mom told him to get out of the water and to tell our other brother to go get our father from the other side of the hill.

In the meantime Mom waded out as far as she could. Her foot caught on a root or something under the water. She used it as a anchor because the water was up to her mouth.

She stretched as far as she could and calmly said, "Becky grab the stick." Of course my sister was panicked. She was flailing around and not listening.

She went under water but was able to kick herself back up. Mom could see my sister was getting tired. She kept telling her to grab the stick.

After another trip under the water Mom could see that another time my sister would not come back up. 

She stretched farther than she felt safe and sternly told my sister to grab the stickstick.Somehowister took hold of the stick and Mom jerked it hard toward her. The stick was old and broke but it did what was needed.

Even though Mom was losing her footing she grabbed my sister and tried to propel them both toward shore. Daddy and my brother came running over the hill just as Mom and my sister were getting out of the water. 

It goes to show that even though there was good chance that my mother could have drowned she needed to save her child. A mother's love is special indeed.

Sunday, July 23, 2023


 My sister was 16. She had a good pat time job. She wanted to buy a stereo of her own.

Off she went to the store. The stereo she wanted was expensive... more than she had saved. She tried to buy it on time and was informed that she was too young to make a legal deal. Could she have someone co-sign for a loan? 

She went home extremely disappointed. Our mother said that of course she would co-sign. Back to the store they went. Mom was told that because she was only a wife she could not be held legally responsible for her daughter's debts.

Of course Mom was furious. She handled the family's finances, she was an adult, and her credit was good. She was still complaining when Daddy came home. My sister was unhappy. 

Daddy took them both back to the store. He explained that he would co-sign for his daughter. But not there. 

They went to another store. My sister bought her stereo. My parents both co-signed to guarantee the payments. My sister happily set up her new stereo as soon as they got home.

Mom had a meeting to attend and Daddy was working in his back porch workshop. I was visiting and extremely pregnant. 

As I was alone in the living room I heard an awful noise. My sister was moaning and groaning making the most awful sounds. I yelled up the stairs that I could not climb because of my pregnancy. No answer.

I went and got my father. He thought I was overreacting and went to the bottom of the stairs to call my sister. 

When she continued that horrible noise and did not answer Daddy rushed up the stairs. I was terrified. Then Daddy came down laughing/

My sister's new stereo had headphones so she could listen to her music without disturbing anyone else. She was listening to her music and 'singing' along. Her singing sounded like she was in unbearable pain.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Happy Songs

 Have you ever listened to a song that just made you feel good? I have a list of SOME of my favorites. I would love to see which songs I left off the list. All the songs on my list are available on YouTube if you want to smile.

Happy Go Lucky Me by Paul Evans

The Chicken Dance by Werner Thomas  ( I first heard it on Lawrence Welk)

Old Time Rock and Roll by Bob Seger (see if you can keep your body from moving)

Little Bitty by Alan Jackson

Singin' In the Bathtub by John Lithgow

Tippy Toeing by the Harden Trio

Bimbo by Jim Reeves

I Know An Old Lady  choose an artist

Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor by Lonnie Donegan (He sings several different versions)

Lah Di Dah by Billie and Lily

Lucky Ladybug by Billie and Lily

Rubber Ducky by The Muppets

Mahna Mahna by the Muppets

Mr Bassman by Johnny Cymbal

I've Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts by Merv Griffin

The Marvelous Toy by The Chad Mitchell Trio

Frog Kissin' by Ray Stevens

Boa Constrictor by Johnny Cash

Jump In The Line by Harry Belafonte

Choo n Gum by Theresa Brewer

Potato Chips by Phil Harris

Jump Jive and Wail by Louis Prima (Brian Setzer is just as good)

Centerfield by John Fogerty

The Motorcycle Song by Arlo Guthrie

Daydream by The Lovin' Spoonful

Chug-a-lug by Roger Miller

The Hamster Dance   I cannot find the artist

Pheasant Plucker's Son by the Irish Rovers

Pata Pata by Miriam Makeba

YMCA by The Village People

Give up? There are a lot more but this is a good start. If you have a favorite that makes you feel good I would love to know.

Friday, June 30, 2023

 I love to read. I even read junk mail. I will read any book or magazine I get my hands on.

My mother loved the Lord of the Rings series. On January first every year she treated herself by reading it again.

Usually if she liked a book I would read it and enjoy it as well. For instance I loved the Mrs Polifax series. And I introduced her to Silence of the Lambs. She was not impressed. But usually we liked the books together.

I have tried to read Lord of the Rings at least half a dozen times. I cannot get past the first chapter. I have no idea what the problem is. So I have never read this iconic series.

I would be interested to know if there are books others have a problem reading.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Wake Up!

 I wake up slowly in the morning. I watch the trees from my window as I lounge in bed. Usually there are birds flitting around just to make my life more enjoyable.

Then I watch the morning news and some other programs that I regularly watch. I then get dressed and go into the kitchen for breakfast. 

It is the way I like to start my day. I feel awake and a bit pampered.

I also know that not everyone is such a slow starter. My youngest sister actually growls if you so much as speak to her before she is awake in the morning. Slow starter.

My siblings and I learned when we were very young not to shake my father or get too close if we had to wake him. He had served in the Navy during WWII. Aboard the ship he had to get up and be ready to go immediately. That training never left him. 

When Daddy woke up he jumped straight up to his feet and stood at attention. If you were too close he might knock you right over!

As I said we learned to stay far away. He was an immediate starter.

That training came in handy for me. I married a man who had 4 brothers. All 5 of them were full of vinegar. They loved to pick on each other.

I already knew not to get close when waking a sleeping man. My husband would wake up swinging his fists to ward off whatever foolishness was coming his way.

So my children also knew not to get close to a waking person. Do you wake up fast or slow?

Saturday, June 10, 2023


 What kind of music do you listen to? 

I listen to all kinds of music depending on my mood. I do have favorites. I do love music.

For instance if I am in the mood for a light-hearted instrumental I might pull up a minuet. Franz Joseph Hayden composed some lively minuets. 

Music played for barn dances is fun. We usually think of square dancing when we think of this type of music but there are also slower dances for couples. My grandparents played at barn dances. When I was young a couple I knew used to take a couple of us girls to square dances.  My favorite to watch was "Swing Em Like Thunder".

There are a lot of fun songs and dances from the Roaring 20's.  The Charleston and Black Bottom come to mind. And Bety Boop's "Boop-oop-e-doo" is still well-known.

Big Band music has a lot of favorites for me. Some bandleaders were Lois Armstrong, Count Basie, Les Brown, Cac Calloway, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Phil Harris, Bennie Goodman, Dizzy Gillespi, Louis Jordan, Guy Lombardo, Glenn Miller, Vaughn Monroe, Ozzie Nelson (Ricky's dad), and so many more. Louis Prima is my favorite. And Brian Setzer is the newest member.

 Many famous singers came from Big Bands. Doris Day and Keely Smith popped into my mind right away. Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra began as singers for Big Bands.

Big Bands played some of the smoothest music ever. They ushered in the age of Swing which led the way for newer sounds.

Country Western Music has existed since early times. The original Jimmie Rodgers was also known as the singing brakeman. He sang early Country Music and could yodel with the best of them. He is not to be confused with Jimmie Rodgers who sang "Honeycomb". Both are favorites of mine.

The Carter Family sang early American folk music. They began in 1927 and descendants are still singing today. June Carter eventually married Johnny Cash who is a famous singer too.

Early Country singers were the singing cowboys like Tex Ritter and Roy Rogers. Dale Evans who married Roy Rogers was also a prolific songwriter. She wrote the theme song for their television show one day on the way to filming their television show.

A lot of the early Country singers were the first Rockabilly performers. Bill Hayley and the Comets performed perhaps the most famous song of the fifties with "Rock Around the Clock".

At the same time religious music was popular. Depending on the religion a person followed music was a way to help a person worship' Some hymns were more sedate while others worshipped with more effusive joy. What was called Negro spirituals were also a precursor to our next step in music.

These spirituals were used during slavery to send messages that the owners would not understand. Some gave instructions to escaping slaves while others let them know what was safe and what was not. 

Anyway music in the Black community consisted of spirituals and raucous and sometimes raunchy music. Often there was a strong background of drums or pounding piano that was so attractive to young people.

We entered the age of Rock and Roll. Singing groups like the Platters were popular. Single performers like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Ricky Nelson. I remember them all. This is my favorite music.

In cities young men would gather on street corners to harmonize. Thus were formed the Doo-Wop groups we all loved.

We have since experienced Heavy Metal, Hair Bands, Grunge, Rap and Punk Rock. All have their own merits. 

As I said it depends on my mood what I listen to. My favorites are music from the fifties and sixties and The Irish Rovers. I also have a passion for silly songs. What do you like?

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Ear Worms

 I have read several posts lately referring to popular songs and people commenting that the song gets stuck in their heads. It is called an ear worm.

It is so annoying to have a song running over and over in your mind. When the song Poison Ivt was popular It stuck in my brain whenever I would hear it. As a matter of fact I can feel it starting right now. I should have stayed away from this topic!

There is a way to rid yourself of an ear worm and you will be surprised how easy it is. Just look directly at a person near you and sing a catchy part of the song. That transfers the song from your brain to theirs.

Late at night while you're sleeping Poison Ivy comes a-creeping around.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Sgt. Floyd Monument, The Biggest Gravestone in Sioux City

 This is an article from The Sioux City Journal. The Floyd Memorial is just one of the historical monuments in the area.

Sgt. Charles Floyd got very sick in the summer of 1804. 

On July 31, 1804, Floyd wrote in his diary: "I am verry sick and has ben for Sometime but have Recovered my helth again." 

Floyd's improved "helth" would not last, however; he had only three weeks to live. 

The explorer, a member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, was stricken with what was described as "bilious colic." His condition was consistent with what is now known as appendicitis. There was no doctor available in this uncharted spot, at the time part of the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase. 

He was probably just as well off without a doctor. Medicine in that era was primitive and unscientific at best, and often cruel and counterproductive.

Floyd died Aug. 20, 1804, in the area that is now Sioux City. He was the sole member of the Corps of Discovery to die during the hazardous journey. William Clark wrote in his diary that "We buried him on the top of the bluff 1/2 Mile below a Small river to which we Gave his name, he was buried with the Honors of War, much lamented," according to the Sioux City Public Museum. 

Fellow Corps of Discovery explorer Patrick Gass described Floyd's burial as being conducted "in the most decent manner our circumstances would admit."

A cedar post was used as a grave marker, inscribed: "Sergt. C. Floyd died here 20th of August 1804."

Fifty years after Floyd died, a city sprang up in the area near his grave. By 1857, according to the museum, the grave itself had fallen into disrepair; Sioux Cityans gathered what remained of his remains and re-buried them in a walnut coffin. 

By the 1890s, a decades-long, nationwide historical monuments craze was intensifying. In the eastern states, scores of monuments were built to commemorate the Civil War.

In 1894, Floyd's journals from the expedition were rediscovered, according to the Sioux City Public Museum. In an era when community leaders everywhere itched for something important to immortalize in stone and bronze, the memory of Charles Floyd sprang back to life. 

Unfortunately, in the decades since his 1857 reburial, cattle had trampled the grave and (as was common practice in those days) souvenir seekers took whatever they could get from the gravesite. Eventually nothing was left above ground; no one knew where exactly the grave was. 

On Memorial Day, 1895, after a lot of searching, Floyd's grave was rediscovered. His remains were placed in two earthenware urns and reburied again on Aug. 20, 1895, according to the museum. A special re-interment service was held, and a more-permanent grave marker was installed -- a four-foot-by-eight-foot marble slab over the grave. 

That same year, the Floyd Memorial Association was formed to see that Sgt. Floyd would get an even more substantial grave marker. 

A decade earlier, the Washington Monument -- which had been under construction in fits and starts since 1848 -- was at last completed and dedicated. An enormous Egyptian-style obelisk was used to honor the first president; obelisks, and Egyptian-inspired decorative arts in general, were very popular at the time. 

Sgt. Charles Floyd would also be honored with an obelisk. Floyd's obelisk, however, would be less than one-fifth the height of the 555-foot Washington Monument. 

Help poured in from all around: $13,400 was secured from the federal government, the state of Iowa, Woodbury County and from private sources of funding. Colonel Chittenden with the United States Engineer's Office in Sioux City offered his services, according to the museum. Materials for the monument were transported free of charge by the railroads. 

The foundation of the monument was laid May 29, 1900. On Aug. 20, the cornerstone was ceremoniously laid, 96 years to the day after Floyd died. The obelisk's capstone was placed on April 22, 1901, and the finished monument was dedicated on Memorial Day, 1901. Thousands of people attended the ceremonies. 

Sgt. Floyd's remains are entombed inside the Floyd Monument, in its concrete core. The exterior of the monument is built of Kettle River sandstone; like the Washington Monument, its pointed cap is made of aluminum, a relatively innovative element at the time.

(The aluminum tip, depending on the ambient light, doesn't always have the shiny, bright appearance of other aluminum objects; often it has a rather darkened appearance. This likely contributed to the "big pencil" moniker the monument eventually garnered, as the darkened aluminum point does bear some resemblance to the graphite point of a wooden pencil.) 

In 1960, the Floyd Monument would become the first-ever National Historic Landmark in the U.S. 

Though the monument outwardly looks like the sort of thing that lasts forever with little or no maintenance, it is in fact showing its age. For more than a year, the Sioux City Parks and Recreation Department has been keeping an eye on the monument's condition; spalling, a phenomenon wherein pieces or flakes of material break away from a larger body, has been noted on the south part of the landmark. 

The obelisk last underwent repairs in 1998. 

Visitors can see the monument at 2601 S. Lewis Blvd. Also, details about the Lewis and Clark expedition can be found at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, 900 Larsen Park Road, at the Sergeant Floyd River Museum, also at Larsen Park Road. 

Sunday, May 21, 2023

What To Do If Someone Has A Seizure

It has been a long time since I have reminded people of what to do if you see someone having a seizure. They are awful to see and worse to experience. Do you know what to do if someone has a seizure? Read further and you will.

When I was 16 I took a summer job babysitting. It was a family of 5 children. They lived in a trailer park on a lake. Their trailer was a very large nice home.

They had four boys and one daughter. I would sleep in the same room as the daughter because I would stay there all week. On weekends I would go home.

Both parents worked so they needed someone who could take care of the children, do light housework, and cook at least two meals each day. No problem. Remember I have six younger brothers and sisters.

The children also had an aunt and uncle only a few trailers away. The aunt was only a few years older than I. I was asked to never leave the children alone with her because she had epilepsy. She had been in a car accident and there was a bruise on her brain that caused seizures.

She was a very nice person and we got along very well. She would come down a couple of times a week just to visit while her husband was at work.

One day she had a seizure. She was just sitting and quietly watching television when she began to act strangely. She yelped a couple of times and slapped her leg repeatedly. It took me a few beats to realize what was happening but I had no idea what to do for her.

I had promised the children I would make Johnny cake for breakfast one day. What I call Johnny cake is just hot cornbread with sugar and milk poured over it. It is delicious if you want to try it. So one Monday morning I got up early to start baking.

I did not know that the parents had broiled steaks the evening before. They decided to leave the oily aluminum foil on the broiler and clean it after work Monday.

I lit the oven and started making cornbread batter. The oldest son of the family came in rubbing his eyes and trying to wake up. As we were talking we saw the flames flare up from the broiler.

I am good in a crisis so I was going to go out and turn off the fuel tank. When I got to the door I suddenly felt myself turning to the left and spinning uncontrollably. (I was not. It only felt that way.)

Then I was waking up on the couch with the mother of the family hovering over me and the children looking so frightened. She wanted to know if I was okay. I felt fine. Maybe just a little sleepy.

The oldest son had the good sense to run outside and turn off the fuel. Then he ran down and had his aunt come up. She called the mother who came right home. It was about a 45 minute drive.

The mother decided to take some time off work so I could go home. My parents had me rest and stay calm even though I felt fine. After one week I went back to take care of the children again.

I was there for about a week and a half. I was up before the children once again. As I moved through the living room toward their rooms to wake them up I turned and saw myself walking slightly behind and to the left of myself!

Once more I woke up to see the mother there as I was lying on the couch. This time my mother was with her. I was still so scared from what I had seen. The mother of the children of course needed someone who was not passing out all the time. She had made arrangements for a friend of mine to finish out the summer. That was fine with me. I wanted my mommy.

Mom took me home and we were relaxing again. That same day I passed the television as I was walking to a chair. Mom was in her bedroom folding clothes.

There was some sort of art program on television. The program was flashing from one painting to another and the lights changed with each painting.

I felt dizzy and was able to sit down. Then I felt myself reach up and tear the whole left side of my face, jawbone, teeth, and all, completely off. Then I felt that same hand reach down and tear the muscle from the top of my left leg. Of course that did not happen. I passed out.

Mom said she heard a funny noise and came into the living room to see me sitting in a chair with everything on my body trying to fold into itself. I am not a limber person. She said my hands were sort of palm up with my fingers almost touching my wrists.

I went immediately to the doctor. I do not remember much about the doctor visit. He admitted me to the hospital.

I had never been in the hospital before. I thought it was kind of cool to be served my food in bed. I did not like the testing they did as most of it involved drawing blood.

The second or third day I was there (I do not remember how long my stay was) I was lying there and I began to think about epilepsy. I remembered hearing my grandmother talk about two sisters in town who had "fits". That and the aunt of the children I had taken care of was the limit of what I knew on the subject.

My parents came in that morning and stood at the foot of my bed. They told me that the doctor thought I might have epilepsy. I said, "I thought that might be what it was."

When I got the chance I asked the doctor what this would mean for me having children. He said not to worry about it. But I did worry about it. So he assured me that the chances of my children having seizures was not even 1 in a million.

I was put on the medications that they used to treat seizures at that time. Now I am not a medicine taker. Two aspirin will knock me out. The medicine that I was taking made me so sleepy all the time. I do not know how I got through my senior year of high school that year. And with my A average to boot.

I have grand mal seizures (now called something else). Those are convulsive seizures. They are extremely painful. Each one a person has is a bit worse than the one before until they can be so bad that a person can die from a seizure. In fact I have almost died three times. I feel very fortunate to be here.

I am also very fortunate that I am very well controlled with medication. It has been so many years since I had a seizure that I cannot remember when the last one was.

I am still taking the original medications that the original doctor prescribed. One of them is a controlled substance. After sixty years I am physically addicted to it. That means without it I will go into withdrawal and the classic symptoms that accompany withdrawal. It does not mean I am constantly craving more. I just need it to live.

A dear friend of mine was on the city council of the big city we lived in. She was on President Carter's epilepsy commission. She asked me to go through the information she had and give her a synopsis. No problem. Until I saw the research. It was five books. Each one was about four inches thick except the last one. It was about three inches.

What I read was a real eye-opener for me. While epilepsy, like many other maladies, is not inherited the predisposition is inherited. That means that my children might have a weakness that they inherited from me that would make them more disposed to having seizures.

Also they used an example of a parent with four children (I have four children). If one child has seizures the likelihood of another having seizures multiplies (not adds up, multiplies). If three children have seizures the fourth will have seizures.

I learned that an uncle of mine had epilepsy. He died before my father was born. He was in a home for juvenile delinquents. My father always thought his brother was "bad" because that was better than being "defective".

My mother suffered terribly from migraine headaches. They are a first cousin to epilepsy. Many of the workings of the brain are the same in both.

Two of my sons had migraines when they were about 8 years old. Testing showed some brain activity but I would not allow them to be put on medication until there could be a definite diagnosis. Neither has had any further problems. My daughter is fine. I recently discovered that my other son has been having petit mal seizures for about three years. He did not want to worry me so he kept it to himself.

Two of my grandchildren have migraine headaches. So does their mother, my daughter-in-law. Two of my grandchildren have had seizures. One was placed on medication for a year. The seizures stopped and the medication was also stopped. He has been fine for several years now.

If anyone needs to know anything about seizures feel free to ask. I am almost an expert. And if I am not certain I have the right answer I can probably guide you to the place to find it. In the meantime I am going to tell you what steps to take if you are with someone having a seizure.

1. If they are upright, lower them safely to a prone position. That will help keep them from injuring themselves in a fall.

2. NEVER, EVER, EVER, try to force anything into their mouth. Fingers have been bitten off. Tableware and wooden sticks are either broken or cause damage to teeth.

3. The human tongue is a muscle. It sits in a particular spot in the body. It is physically impossible to swallow your tongue. However the tongue like any muscle can fall to the back of the mouth and block the air passages. Gently position the person on their side. That way the tongue falls to the side instead of the back of the mouth.

4. If the seizure lasts for more than three minutes or if there are repeat seizures call for medical help immediately.

5. When the seizure is over often the person will lose consciousness or maybe just be confused. When they awaken the body and brain are busy trying to re-establish connections. They have no time to answer questions like "Do you know me?" Leave that for professionals. Simply say, "hi, (insert name, it is important). I am (insert name, it is important). You just had a seizure. You are safe and I am right here. Everyone is taken care of. You need to rest so go to sleep. I will be here when you wake up." If an ambulance is on the way or the doctor is on the way let them know that too. That way they can let their body heal itself without wondering what is going on.

In the beginning  I was up and full of energy after a seizure within a couple of hours. As time went on it took me at least two full days to be able to even get out of bed and stand on firm feet. Each person is different.

Epilepsy is nothing to be ashamed of. No more than diabetes, heart disease, or asthma. If you were ever to see the list of famous people and world leaders throughout history who had seizures you would be amazed.

But it must be treated. By a doctor who knows what he is doing. Not many do. Most of the "maladies" are only mentioned in medical school in passing. I hope I have enlightened you a bit. I hope you never need the information. But if you are confronted with a situation you now know what you can do.

Saturday, May 13, 2023


 I love to read. What other activity provides you with adventure, knowledge, travel, personal interaction, and the ability to know other people?

When I was a child the town we lived in had library. Each person in my family had a library card. We all checked out 3 books at a time because that was the limit. Sometimes we went a couple of times a week.

Eventually we read all the books in the library. I did not read them all because not all were age appropriate. But as a family we read them all.

Periodically the library would order new books. When they were delivered the librarian would call us to let us know. We read all those new books before most people knew they were available.

I read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I read almost anything I could get my hands on.

I do not want it to sound like we stayed in the house all the time. We were normal active children. But we all loved to read.

I still do. For the last few years my passion is biographies. I really enjoy knowing what people felt about the times they lived. I have learned why our country was founded. I have learned about the reasons for our Civil War from both sides. 

So read a book. If you want to go to Rome a book will take you there and show you the sights. What an adventure.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Wacky Weather

 We have all been commenting on how strange the weather has been this year.  Not all the time is it happy news.

A few days ago it was raining when I got up. Soon after it was sunny and warmer. After some time the wind picked up and the sky was overcast. Then it began to rain. Along came pea-sized hail. The hail lasted for quite a bit longer than usual. It turned to sleet which I found interesting. My son opened the door to let the dog out and it was snowing!

When the snow ended the sun came out again. How nice. It did not last long. The same cycle of wind, rain, hail, sleet, snow, and repeated two more times. It was strange indeed.

I live near the Missouri River. Its levels are high but not flood stage. On the other side of the state is the Mississippi River. It is flooding with a vengeance. Both rivers have their beginnings north of here. Strange.

I hope your weather has been kind to you.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

It Is New

 We have been remodeling our house. I told you about my son rebuilding the bathroom. They did a better job than I thought possible.

We painted the bathroom white. It had been an awful green and a stark flat blue. When we were through the white was a bit stark. Then we put wallpaper on the door that looks like steps leading to the clouds. It provided the necessary color and a bit of whimsy.

Our living room now is papered with stone looking paper. I was not sure I would like it but it has a nice warm feel. We left the large dark wood molding that goes well with the stones. It is completed by adding new carpeting that adds to the warmth of the room. I love it.

Next we painted the hall. Two coats of off-white gave me the feeling of light in the otherwise dark hall. My son changed the wall light from a hurricane style to a modern flat light that actually gives more light to the hall. Then just for fun we papered two false windows on the walls for depth. There are three doors to bedrooms. They are now papered with various outdoor themes. 

My room has a garden archway leading into a magical forested area. The other two doors have wooden hanging bridges leading to two different wooded places. They are fun and for our eyes only.

Now we have begun on the kitchen. We bought new appliances last year. The first thing is to refinish the counter tops. I am shocked at how easy it is. The first counter will be finished in the morning. Then it will have to dry. It looks good already. 

They will be white. Then the cupboards will be a medium gray. The floors will be a slate color.

My son wants a rock look for his room. He likes feeling like he is in a cave. I have not decided yet what to do with my room. I find an idea and then change it the next day. Mom always said I was a flibberty-gibbet.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Let It Blow Let It Blow

My boss finally took a vacation!

He had hired in at the small factory when he was too young to work in many other places. As soon as he was old enough family members got him into one of the car companies.

He did not like the work. It was terribly boring to stand in one spot for hours and do the same small task over and over.

He began to stop at the bar with other workers after work. Some of those workers were family members. Many had drinking problems that affected their home lives. He watched as several of them drank on the job. Some were hurt. There were even whiskey bottles hidden in the new car seats,

He realized he was drinking too much and too regularly. He quit his job and went back to his original job.

Through the years he advanced with the company. He became supervisor of one area.

When I applied to work there I was hired by a different supervisor. He was a very nice man. I enjoyed working there.

When the nice man retired Ken was made supervisor of our area.  

Ken had a family. He had never taken a vacation. I do not think he liked the work as much as he was afraid someone would see that another person could do his job.

One year his family talked him into going to Disney World in Florida for a week. He was not keen on going but at the same time he was looking forward to it.

We expected him at work the following week to tell us about the fun they had. When he did not come in we thought maybe he decided to stay for another week.

He came to work in the middle of the week.

Florida had suffered a hurricane. My boss and his family had been trapped in their motel room. 

He told us that the whole place shook. He thought they were all going to die. He was white as a sheet just telling us about it.

And he declared that he would never take another vacation.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Memories Of The Farm

I told you before about milking the cows. Grandpa sold most of the milk to a large company. Therefore everything surrounding the process had to be completely clean. Often we would be given a scrub brush and cleaning solution and the hose to scrub the buckets. Besides cleaning the buckets we could not leave any trace of milk in the seams. It was hard work.

One day I had been teasing one of my uncles mercilessly. I had several aunts and uncles who were not much older than me. Anyway I was in the kitchen with the buckets of milk. Mu ncle came through the door with steam coming out of his ears. He was looking for me.

I saw how angry he was so I began backing slowly away from him. He kept advancing in a menacing way. As I backed up I suddenly felt a milk bucket with the back of my legs. Too late! I sat right into the bucket that was full of milk.

Grandpa was furious. It is the only time I remember him being mad at me. I was banished from the kitchen for the day. The milk went to the hogs.

Grandpa had in his younger days been a cowboy. Yes. A real life cowboy. They lived on the range taking care of the cattle in Montana. On occasion he would have the opportunity to ride his horse to town. It was a three day round trip. He stopped at the Indian (that's what they were called then.) camp. They would feed him. Then he would get back on his horse and continue on his way.

Late one night he was riding his horse. He saw two glowing eyes ahead. He pulled out his rifle and shot. He killed a bobcat that was waiting to attack. When he could he had that thing stuffed. I was terrified of that thing.

Grandpa played all sorts of stringed instruments... guitar, banjo, and fiddle among them. Grandma played the piano. They used to play for barn dances. When Grandpa's arthritis crippled his fingers they stopped playing.

Grandma had her stories too. Once when Grandpa had gone to town she awoke in the middle of the night to commotion in the barnyard. A coyote was trying to catch its meal. Grandma grabbed the shotgun and rushed out. She had never shot a gun before and a shotgun has a powerful backlash. She held the gun out in front of her and pulled both triggers. It kicked back and hit her in the mouth knocking out her two top teeth.

There was a cow with a gas problem. She always told me the cow could not belch. My youngest sister says the other end was the problem. Grandpa knew like most old farmers where to stick in his pocketknife to release the pocket of air and give the cow some relief. Grandpa had gone to town.

Grandma could not stand hearing the cow bawling in pain anymore. Even if she knew how to stick the cow she did not have the strength. She took a pitchfork handle and shoved it into the end that had the problem. The air was expelled! My mother said the whole farm stunk for days.

It was great fun to have Sunday dinner outside at the picnic table. Grandma would fry chickens and we would have all the 'fixins".  When aunts, uncles, and cousins came it was even more fun.

 One summer my aunt and her family came to visit from West Virginia. Those are the only cousins my age. I was about six months old as was one of my cousins. We were both teething so we were each given a dill pickle to chew on. We loved them and ate a whole quart of them.

On Easter the Easter Bunny left us baskets of candy and hid the eggs we had colored at home. After we collected all of them and had breakfast we loaded the car and went to the farm. Another aunt lived fairly close so her family came to the farm too. They brought their eggs and of course Grandma had a bunch. We would re-hide them and hunt for them all day.

On rainy days we went to the attic. At the top of the stairs sat that atrocious bobcat. If it was Easter and we were hiding eggs someone always put one in the bobcat's mouth.

The attic was a treasure trove. My mother and her sisters used to make paper dolls from models in the catalogue. Then they would find clothes with a similar pose. They made clothes for the dolls with those. clothes. There was a shoebox full of them. It was such fun.

The attic was where the black walnuts from the tree on the way to the pasture were kept. We cracked them open on a thick piece of metal with a hammer that was there just for the walnuts.

For many years electricity was not available on the farm. At night the house was lit with kerosene lamps like you sometimes see on television. Of course we went to bed quite early. Up early in the morning was a farmer's way pf life.

On Saturdays my uncles would hook up the crystal radio. A wire hooked into the wire of the screen door served as the antenna. We would listen to baseball and cheer for the team we wanted to win.

And there was no indoor plumbing. As I have made clear many times I hate having to use an outhouse. On the farm the outhouse had three holes plus a short one at the side for little ones. Grandma did not buy toilet paper. A page from the mail order catalogue was used.  I do not miss that at all.

I have so many happy memories of the farm and my grandparents. I almost hate to end this but it is time.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Back To The Farm

 As I mentioned in the last post Grandpa loved his horses. Because we now lived in a mechanized age the horses did not have to pull plows or hard labor like that. Most of the time they were used to bring the cows back from the pasture for milking.

The horses were also for enjoyment. We learned to ride on the farm. Most of us grandchildren learned on Bird. Bird was unusual because she was known to be cantankerous. But she could tell when we were just children and she was gentle and patient with us.

Bird was born the same year as my mother so she was not young. Still she had the energy and sense of humor to play tricks on older riders. One of her favorites was to swell her stomach as the cinch was being tightened to hold the saddle securely. Once the rider was in the saddle Bird would breathe normally. Then on the way to the pasture she would purposely run under a low-hanging branch causing the rider to lean to the side to prevent being whomped in the face. The saddle would shift and the rider would end up on the ground. She only did this to experienced riders.

We loved it when we were allowed to bring in the cattle. It meant a long ride on the horse. We could also go faster than the pleasant stroll around the corrall.  What a great ride.

Someone owned an old Model A Ford car. If it were raining my uncles preferred taking the car to get the cows so they (my uncles) would not get all wet. If they were in the mood they would let us ride along. My Uncle Donnie was a bit of a daredevil and drove very fast.

One day we were coming in after driving the cars and Donnie was going too fast. We went around the corner on two wheels. Of course we loved it. Today I wonder how any of us made it to adulthood.

Behind the farmhouse was a windbreak of cedar trees. Cedar trees' lower branches are close to the ground. We would each choose a tree to make a house. It was even better than the manure pile.

In front of the house was a mulberry bush. Grandpa hated the mulberry trees that grew everywhere. When a mulberry tree grew in the yard he cut it down. Then to make sure it would not grow back he chopped the stump into a million pieces. As if that was not enough he covered it with lye to kill the roots. Eventually it grew back as a bush and gave us nice large juicy mulberries. 

There were mulberry trees all over the farm. We happily climbed the trees and picked as many as possible. We made whipped cream and covered the berries for a luscious treat.

There were other trees as well. My favorite was the black walnut tree at one corner of the dogleg that led to the pasture. We gathered them to use especially at Christmastime.

Grandpa had lots of farm equipment. We were not allowed to ride on any of it for safety reasons. We could play on some of it when it was not being used. We had some glorious imaginary races on the tractors.

Grandma was the best cook I knew. She used an old wood stove. Her water came from a pump outside. Every morning she baked fresh bread. If she made pancakes for breakfast she made her own syrup. I do not even like pancakes but I always hoped for leftovers so we could cover them in sugar and roll them like cigars. Great treat for the middle of the morning.

After milking was finished for the day all the pails were brought into the kitchen. The separator was made ready. Milk was poured into the separator. We watched with excitement as the cream was separated from the milk. If we were lucky we could catch a bit of cream on a slice of Grandma's bread. After spreading the cream evenly we sprinkled sugar over the top. It was the best treat ever.

Once again it is too long and I have so much more to tell. Until next time.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Being On The Farm

 I had my own amusement park when I was a child. It was my grandparents' farm. Want to know more? Read on.

In one outbuilding Grandpa kept small equipment. Scythes, axes, rakes, shovels, hoes and things like that hung on the walls. Of course I was not allowed to mess with those. But they needed to be kept sharp and Grandpa had a sharpening wheel for that. It was a giant wheel that was approximately 3 1/2 feet in diameter set so it could turn on a contraption much like a bicycle. I would pretend to ride that thing for hours. I rode all over the world in that little shed.

I loved the barn. On one side was the tack for the horses. Bridles and saddles were safely hung in their places on the walls. All sorts of other equipment for the horses were stored there. Grandpa loved his horses. Not much to play with in this room but it had ladder-type stairs that led to the second story. 

We called it the hay mow but I have since heard it as the loft. That is where bales of hay are stored. The hay is used to feed the livestock and needed to be dry. Sometimes small amounts of grain like corn or wheat were kept there too. We would sit on the bales and tell stories or even just read for a while. Sometimes we would re-arrange the bales and make forts or houses to play in.

Big doors at the front of the hay mow opened over the pen the cows came to before entering their part of the barn to be milked. Hanging in the center of the door was a pulley with a long rope looped through it. Grandpa and my uncles used it to pull the bales of hay up for storage. I was not allowed near the rope. Every once in a while I would watch with envy as an uncle would hold onto the rope and lower himself from the hay mow.

The other half of the barn was the milking area. No machine milking on the farm. Grandpa and my uncles did it. This part of the barn was immaculate. Grandpa sold most of the milk. The floor in this part of the barn was concrete. (Easy to clean.) There was a trough behind the cows who were inconsiderate enough to eliminate themselves while in milking position.  The cows' heads were moved into stanchions and a board moved so they were unable to back out until released

We were not allowed close to the cows because they tend to be a bit testy while being milked. Instead we stood against the far wall to watch. If Grandpa or an uncle was in the mood they would squirt a stream of milk our way for us to catch in our mouths. It was exciting.

The pen the animals came to before milking had a big water trough. It held enough water for us to wade in on hot days. We had to be careful because there were sharp edges of rust and other buildup from age. At one end of the trough was the windmill. It was used to pump water into the trough. There is an art to controlling the windmill to protect it from high winds and to direct it so wind would provide the optimal amount of energy to make the pump work.

At one corner of the pen was a huge manure pile. Manure was used as fertilizer so it was saved. This pile had been there for a long time. We decided to make use of it. We dug out a cave that we used for a playhouse. It was cool in the summer and warm in the winter. After some time manure no longer stinks. It was a fun place to play.

This is quite long so I will regale you of more glories of the farm next time.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Moving On

Spring is coming. Even though we are scheduled for 3 to 12 inches of snow tomorrow the signs of spring are showing.

You can hear the geese flying overhead as they migrate north. On my way to join my sister-in-law for lunch today I saw hundreds of water birds resting on the Big Sioux River.

Late at night the coyotes are extremely vocal. They have a unique howl. If you were to hear it you would say, "That is a coyote."

Then on my way home I saw turkey vultures circling overhead. It is early in the year for them to be here but here they are. And there seems to be a larger number of them than we had last year.

My son even saw a moth when he let the dog out this evening.

So far the trees are not being fooled. No spring buds yet. That will be the final sign. Until then I will be content to watch the huge flocks of birds flying north.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Who Do You Come From?


Northwestern European                                    84.6%

      • French and German                          45.3%
      • North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
        Canton of Bern, Switzerland
        +2 regions
      • Central Denmark Region, Denmark
        Nordland, Norway
        +4 regions
      • Greater London, United Kingdom
        County Limerick, Ireland
        +14 regions
    • Masovian Voivodeship, Poland
      Czech Republic
      +3 regions
Unassigned                                                0.1%

This is the result of my DNA test. I find it informative because there are nationalities that I did not know were a part of my heritage.
Most of my grandparents knew of the German. One of my grandmothers was born in Denmark. 
The Irish have a saying that you are what you come from. It looks like I am really mixed up.      
If you have not had a search done I recommend it. I also must tell you that as they refine their methods you may find some differences. The company will let you know if there are updates.
It has been fun comparing with family members to see the similarities and differences.
Have you done yours? Were there any surprises?