Saturday, March 25, 2006


Nines thumb-ectomy tale rattled some bones in the Family Album closet. I looked in a file and found this verse, which explains itself if you've read Nines' account.

Who will dry a father's tears
For harm that cannot be undone,
For pain come to a precious son
So suddenly? Who understands
The depth of love within this one whose
Heart is torn more with this hurt
Than with his own? A lifetime spent
Protecting them in deed and prayer
Will not prevent upon this plane
Realities of mortal man...
As much as he would wish it.

When they were babes he kissed
Their scrapes and made them go away.
No more. And yet, he feels no less
Their anguish. The grown child
Bravely sheds no tears, but I was near
Enough to touch his father's e'er they
Found his pillow – to hear him speak
Of cruel heartaches met within a sense
Of helplessness at needless hurt
And breathe a prayer for strength
From the Almighty. How dearly held
Are each of you within your Papa's being!
Remember, then, when words are stem,
How great his heart and firm his plea –
Delivered, not for lack of trust…no, rather
Simply because he cannot bear
To see his children suffer.
[Funny, but that sweet man up there just doesn't look like the type who would be pickin' his nose with his thumb....;o)]

Friday, March 24, 2006


I’m glad to be home again – though we had lovely visits on both sides of Florida. We split the week up between SIL's at Ormond Beach and DD1's family in Tampa. It was short but sweet .. we kept the 3-day company rule and slipped out before we wore out our welcome. (Not that we could....) Back in WV it took over 24 hours to reheat the Barn and catch up on laundry, but we’re making progress. I made a big pot of vegetable soup today to compensate for the snow on the homecoming stairs. After a week’s spoiling in the Sunshine State, I’m thinking I’ll be glad when those balmy temps turn north. They must be coming because the daffodils are up and at ‘em and the fruit trees a poking little bud noses through their branches.

Today I have had difficulty getting beyond the picture of Evabeth that I placed on our desktop. She’s looking so good, isn't she! (Thank You, Lord.) When GF saw it, he started singing John Denver’s “You’re so beautiful…I can’t believe my eyes…” Indeed. Indeed.

While I was at it I decided to crop/add a few other recent grandson photos. It doesn’t take a genius to tell that these boys are related…at least in good looks. Give me all day and I’ll tell you how especially they differ as well. Like siblings, cousins have their individual traits … and a few common genetic markers. Stare hard and you’ll see (shown in opposite order) Jonathan’s humor, Luke’s charisma and Josiah’s earnestness. How Grandma Jessie would love them all!

GF was reading an article from the gramps and granny insurance company about keeping brain cells active as you age. One of the no-no's in the item was heating food in plastic containers or Saran wrap. Somehow the heated molecules affect brain function. So, says he as he pops a serving of creamed corn in its plastic storage container into the microwave, "I gotta keep doin' this, if I give it up I'll have no excuse." He might be right. :o) Now where's mine?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Sister Stories

A bit of weather and delayed flights kept us from taking off to FL last night. We could get out of CRW, but would miss the next leg …we spent a night in the ATL airport once and that was not an experience we wanted to repeat. SO, I may get to keep my ‘threat’ to talk about Isobel sooner than I thought. Our dad always called a lie a "story." This isn't that kind of a story.

About the picture – she may want to skin me alive, but I love it. Now think THINNER FACE, because she was diagnosed with diabetes just last year and has worked faithfully with diet and exercise since. Otherwise, it seems to me this snapshot is a great character pose.

Isobel, as you can tell by her writing, is a nurturer and a natural teacher. She taught elementary school grades with devoted gladness (said gladness tarnished a hair the year one little imp bit her and drew blood, maybe) and has a way of making everything easy to understand. Anytime we’re together, I know I’m going to learn something useful. She’s always busy, has tried and succeeded at so many creative things and excels at sharing her knowledge for such experiences. It’s a “you can do this, it’s simple” proposition with step by step to-do instructions. Hey, Isie, I’ve been thinking I might want to learn how to carve spoons…:o).

Back to the picture. Isobel’s dear friend Nancy has twin grandchildren who adore Miss Isobel. In this shot, Isobel was playing pretend with them and gladly donned the princess crown to do so. She once took our Laurie to live with her for a couple of weeks where she attended Isobel’s kindergarten classes. She keeps up a running correspondence with Nina’s son Jak. Like Uncle Gale and Aunt Ruth, she takes each child into her attention and lets them know how special they are – and I can imagine every child thinking they are quite favored, in a good way. That’s a gift, especially so, because her favor is sincere.

Isobel has a great sense of humor, but don’t think she’ll put up with any foolishness. She doesn’t have time for that – living is too important. And did I mention what a good cook she is? We might give our Brady genes part of the credit for that. And Isobel is so generous – GF says he has to be careful what he says he likes around her, because next thing he knows she’s handing it over. You wouldn’t want to take advantage of such a giving spirit. But, I confess, I knew no shame in snitching my favorite of her carved spoons right off her wall.

Well, it’s time for me to get ready to head for another try at the airport. I doubt this hurried little post does her justice, but it’s a start. Love you, Isobel...and I don’t think it counts when you brag on a sister. Besides, doesn't she look smashing in her tiara?

Thursday, March 09, 2006


With Spring quickly approaching the border, GF is gearing up for gardening. Like a kid with a date at the candy store, he was off to Greene’s Feed and Seed and back with fruit trees in 7-gallon buckets – two Fuji and one gala apple and a plum. The bank for fruit trees we loosely call the orchard is full, so the new trees found a place in the meadow. They’ll get lots of sunlight there and hopefully the wide wire cages will protect them from deer.

If I were looking at that job, I would plan to plant two trees one day and two a couple days later. After all, they require holes 18” deep /wide. But not GF – the deer were waiting to come out and eat before he was finished, but it was a one-day deal. Like moving 12 asparagus plants a few days earlier (12” holes this time) – 6 a day , no way! Do the whole dozen and water them by moon light. Corn and beans will be the no different when the ground warms enough for planting them. But, truth is he’s so happy to be working his socks off that he’s almost giddy. Working in the soil just makes his soul sing, I think. And how I thank God that he is here and able to do what he most enjoys – hard work!

Chilly days call for chili soup. That cabbage/beef variety made a few days ago is a take off from our old Shoney’s soup and salad bar favorite. Like its vegetable cousin, by the time you get all the ingredients combined it’s a hefty pot (that would make maybe two meals with the kids home). So, some of this will be freezer bound. Nice thing about GF is that he doesn’t mind eating the same thing over… and over … and over … until it’s all gone. Maybe comes from eating beans and cornbread most days as a kid?


--making a two-person pot of soup,

--closing eyes, ears and MOUTH to the heart patient’s tiller, shovel and hard working garden agenda,

--cleaning house when you’d rather be sewing, painting, reading…any number of other things,

--playing barber in the dim light of the Barn after sundown,

--taking that healthy walk when it’s less than 60 degrees – (guess I think the outside temperature should at least equal my age),

-- getting three little pictures in the right order/space on a blog page

--blogging sans bragging or complaining….

Little challenges, indeed they are comparatively. Kinda keep life interesting, though, to say the least. (..and maybe less said would have been better...:o)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


This snapshot was taken at the Miller back porch. My dad is the first on the lower left, my mom is the last on the upper right.

For those of you following MarylandMama.blogspot story lines, I’m here to add these little caps of memory. As “matriarch” (her term) of our family Isobel knows more family history than I; and she likely spent a little more time with those special folks. I love her stories. Perhaps everyone finds a special quality to childhood memories, but it seems our heritage is rich with anecdotes of the kind that are vanishing all too quickly. Shows our age – and as our brother Andy recently wrote, “It puts things in perspective when your little sister is a grey haired grandmother.”

Community courting – could be limiting but they managed well. Not only did Uncles Gale and Bon marry sisters, but Aunt Carrie and Uncle David married siblings Bonnie and Dane. Both the oldest (Aunt Minnie) and youngest (Uncle Bly) married Normans – only in this case I think it was uncle/niece, not siblings. Our Mom and her first cousin Vera Miller married two of the Brady brothers, too. That made for a lot of double first and second cousins, but didn’t seem to tarnish the gene pool – I don’t recall any of those cousins being other than smart and good looking.

Vance was one of my favorite cousins and I made a pest of myself to visit with him at Aunt Minnie and Uncle Coy’s house. Before or when she was first married, Aunt Minnie taught her younger siblings at the one room schoolhouse on Tanner. One Sunday after meeting I tagged along for lunch – she fixed a hamburger skillet (innovative for the 50’s) by making a doughnut ring of a pound of hamburger (to help it cook quickly?) and covering it with chopped onions and a quart of home-canned tomatoes. Later she made what I always called ‘biscuit cookies.’ Soft vanilla mounds…a Sunday dessert that appeared especially because a niece had come to call. While they were baking Vance took my first boyfriend’s bracelet out to the shop and buffed away the scratches. (Don’t panic Nina – I was only in junior high, but a ‘steady’ only meant talking on the phone a couple times a week. Even so, don’t let my grandchildren do that! No chance.)

My most vivid memory of Aunt Carrie involves berries, too. Not strawberries, though. I don’t know what kind they were, but these little red berries grew close to the ground and were best eaten fresh – I probably ate more than got to the buckets. While picking berries a host of chiggers snuggled beneath the waistband of my skirt. The next day I wore a fiery red chigger belt. Arthritis notwithstanding, she was the best housekeeper I ever knew. Many years later I visited Shock for Sunday services and a sweet postcard followed from Aunt Carrie. She wrote on the margin, “you have your mother’s hands.”

In adulthood, every time I dropped by to see Uncle Bly he’d hug me and ask, “How’s my favorite niece?” He likely said that to all the girls, but I loved him no less for it. When he and Aunt Mavis lived in South Charleston (again, in the 50’s) they introduced us to pizza. Only in those days it wasn’t “Pizza,” it was “Piz-z-za PIE.” You need to lean on the z-z-z’s so they tilt like the tower.

Now I’ve gone on and on and still haven’t told about Uncle Bon and Aunt Janet letting me soak all afternoon in the pond and feeding me home-canned chicken for lunch; or Uncle Gale and Aunt Ruth prompting us to be a very young story tellers, (seemed we weren’t at grandma’s more than 15 minutes until we were begging to walk up to Uncle Gale’s); or Aunt Luanne’s story book romance. Another day - another story or two.

Thanks for the memories, Isobel!

Monday, March 06, 2006

My girls are celebrating…

Happy, Happy Birthday Evabeth & Rebekah ! Can they really be 7 and 5? I wish I were close enough to collect some ‘strawberry’ kisses!

It’s good that they were born in March – when Florida/California strawberries start rolling into northeastern markets. But, if I know Nina, she’d find a way to have strawberries at the North Pole in December if that was a birthday wish. Such special girls! Such a special Mama!

It’s snowing in WV today…big lovely flakes that won’t tarry long. GF has been gardening already - moving asparagus, tilling the rest of the garden in hopes of planting potatoes soon. I think he’s overdoing it a bit; I check on him occasionally, but he’s having so much fun I haven’t the heart to nag. It seems to me a hard chore to let your man go at his own pace, regardless. Guess I’ll leave it in the Lord’s hands…and maybe pray for rain a few days a week? :c)

The birds think its spring already! It’s good to have their songs bringing up the sun again. In the fall there comes a day – all at once – when morning is quiet and you realize of a sudden that most of the birds have flown on. We have a lot of wintering birds, but they don’t sing much in the cold. Perhaps it takes all their energy just to eat enough to keep warm, or they need a little respite, or we need to be reminded to treasure their songs.

Made some half Splenda cookies yesterday and told GF they were the last try - fine flavor, light texture, but dry and crumbly. GF says, "weird cookies." Big Fours come as close to a healthy cookie as is possible. From now on a cookie is a cookie and to be eaten in moderation. I think rolls with oat bran and sunflower seeds are on today’s bread agenda. I bought some fresh seeds yesterday, so maybe these won’t go to the birds. (I mixed the other flopped rolls with peanut butter, raisins and oil and filled trays for the suet holders. They’re tucked in the freezer until needed.) What is it with me??? The same ole quilters’ syndrome: can’t throw it away - have to add to it and put it to some use. Sigh…no hope for changing at this stage.

I printed Bonni's Prairie Braid Border instructions yesterday. Maybe I'll give that a try today while the rolls are a'risin. Or ruffle up a couple of slips for my birthday girls. That sounds about right to me.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Feelin' Frisky

This picture of Benjamin came the day before his reassessment at Riley hospital. Doesn’t he look better!!! Out and about and feelin' frisky! Riley was also pleased with his progress. He’s gained five pounds and though he still has some sugar swings, they are evidently within acceptable perimeters. They say he’s still on his Diabetes honeymoon. I’d like for that honeymoon to last a lifetime! Some can, you know.

Endless Possibilities

It’s about those no recipe rolls – the variations appear to be endless. I keep adding and adjusting and coming up with new and exciting flavors. But the best part is no measuring, as such. To No Fussin’ Muffins, Nina has added No-Trouble Double rolls. (However, no trouble does not mean fool proof...if you foolishly add too much flour they will tend to be leaden.)

Yesterday I couldn’t decide whether to make cinnamon or rye, so made both. So little trouble, it’s easy to do double. I used some rye flour, cocoa, dried minced onion and lots of caraway seeds for Black Forest rolls; and also brushed them with egg white mixture to make them crustier. Then I pinwheeled a wheat roll combo with a chopped apples/walnuts, Splenda and cinnamon mixture. They were low-fat and no sugar and of course less tasty, but Aunt Margaret can enjoy them. Raisins would have helped perk them up, but of course she can’t eat the raisins that are high in potassium. I think GF and I like the rye rolls best. Well…to be truthful, I like the cinnamon rolls made with real butter and real sugar and real icing best, but alas, that’s not an acceptable option for my plate:>).

Since I awoke early this a.m., I whipped up yet another batch of cinnamon/brown sugar twirls to send to Marie and Steph. (Yeah, maybe I should just increase my no recipe to larger single batches.) GF is going out to fix Steph’s furnace. Perhaps she could use a little sweet comfort while she plans her trip to VA Beach next week – her sis Debby is having heart by-pass.

Now GF will have a lot of bun stops to make – though his primary purpose for driving to town is to see about a Stark Bro. Fuji apple tree and pollinator. No doubt I need to reconsider Mt. 7:12 – I’m loading him down with numerous errands, which is something I do not relish having done to me when I’m going out. In fact, if he had fewer stops to make, I might tag along…but I’d rather stay here and listen to rain on the tin roof.
  • So, says GF, with a twinkle in his eye, “Is blog another word for brag?” Oh me, oh my, Miss Molly…maybe so…maybe so.