Thursday, December 27, 2007

TIMELESS TREASURES



My Grandpa Grover had gifted hands. He could play the fiddle, carve a wooden chain from single block of wood, make furniture, including weaving cane chair bottoms and hew cemetery stones. That’s likely just the few of his talents. Remarkable genes and my DB, Andy, helped himself to a share of them, I’d guess. Just look at this table top!!! I cannot imagine thinking this design through, much less executing it in wood. What a piece of art.

Don’t think Andy hogged all those genes, though. There are several other gifts among us to carry on Grandpa Grover’s legacy. But when I remember Grandpa, I don’t think first of fiddles or chains or chair bottoms. I think of hymns and smiles and prayers. And I’m glad – for these are eternal … a timeless legacy that has blessed so many through generations.

Friday, December 21, 2007

WHERE DID I GO WRONG?

It's amazing how much Miss Molly looks like my dad and
Miss Oe looks like my mom. Grandmothers leave their mark!


So, laying aside a sewing task for today, I turn to the computer corner. Five pair of pirate pants in a row, and the first of the front plackets sewn in is a puckerdy mess. I don’t know what I did wrong…it looked so smooth when I was sewing it together. But I figure tomorrow is soon enough to figure it out. Some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets you. And I’ve reached the stage of life where I figure it’s better to leave some things alone to fix later if it’s not working out. It’s surprising how well DD Laurie’s “step back” admonition works…and how many stops for later fixing crop up these days.

We’re easing into holiday times with our usual not much fluff and frill. There are reasons a-plenty for being content -though I miss the charm that children add to such times. The Barn is dry and warm; the icicle lights hanging from the cross beams make me feel like a little girl again; we’ve had many sweet greetings from family and friends; and are blessed with warm memories of loving times with so many from the year now passing and those gone before.

The year is winding down and we’re getting reflective. What’s a year without a few bumps in the road? And thankfully things are evening out quite nicely, bumps and all – thank you, Lord. And what’s the prospect of a new year without great anticipation? I think New Years is my favorite holiday. We all need a fresh start from time to time and there’s just something invigorating about God’s gift of a clean slate and new time in which to do a little better!

Enjoy your holidays!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

DONE DEALS




DH and I finished separate November projects yesterday...just in the nick of time, for November is surely almost over.


November means deer hunting in WV. I think I'm thankful that DH's ardor has waned in that arena. We still like to can/freeze/smoke the meat; but the whole process is a lot of work for two old folks. Now instead of trying for the 5-6 he would be allowed to harvest between bow, rifle and muzzleloader seasons, DH is content to have gotten a nice big doe with the rifle and anticipate another try with the muzzleloader. The die was cast when he had to lug that big doe up the bank - which in this case was a near 90-degree slope. He was about as tired as I've ever seen him that day, the next day when heskinned and cut the meat and several days later when he smoked and ground what wasn't frozen. We do like those smoked venison hams/roasts, though.


A while back I gave a wonderwallet as a courtesy gift and the recipient was so tickled with it she asked if I could make some for her to give her church friends next month. I don't think she'll need more than half of these, but it was just as easy to cut two from each fabric as one. I can always use such things in my ditty stash. If you're looking at the buttons, you might want to know I've decided the flat ones are much better. The shank buttons, thought showy, add bulk and the whole purpose of the wonder wallet is to be able to tuck it in a small pocket. But I do suppose that if your jeans are too tight to acccomodate a shank button, they're likely too tight anyway.


Today DH will pick up our next to oldest DGS Jonathan for a visit. Life is good.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

TALES OF THANKSGIVING...



Fron the Family Album 1990
(Cousin Vernon Miller would ask, "Was It 20 Years Ago, Or Yesterday...")

. . .are so new they are nearly obscured by proximity. As I type, the Moyers are driving back to Louisville. Craig is working his Saturday After shift at Radio Shack and Lisa's out grocery shopping. David is likely replacing the washer pump that left puddles of water on the floor this week, while Beccie tends their pretty ones. Bill extends his friendly hand at 84, while Nina and Joseph snuggle up for a nap on the couch ( I haven’t phoned to verify that news, but I am fairly certain it is accurate.) Papa has had his lunch and is scratching his head over the next procedure. With washer and dryer wheezing and thl~ping in the background, I am enjoying a fresh pot of coffee and the next to the last piece of pumpkin pie. Life after holidays returns to normal.

At this particular point in time, I am beginning to feel a certain affinity with the Hebrews whose nostrils tired of quail. Turkey, turkey everywhere – more than we all could eat. I thought I'd get a jump on the plan and cook one bird two days ahead of schedule. That way, I'd have broth for dressing and leftover meat for the day after. It worked. Laurie also brought a smoked turkey (which matched my first in size) for next day sandwiches. The "real thing" was a 20 lb. baby – and would no doubt have been sufficient in its own right. Of course the good intentions of the cooks were complicated by several factors – the first of which was a nasty virus which sent David and Beccie as far away from food in general, and turkey in particular, as they could get (and home a day early, sob...sob...sob), and the last of which was the "Chili's Fever" that often attacks the Moyers and Koens simultaneously. (They left a note saying they would have waited and taken us with them, but were afraid if they stayed another minute they would succumb and become desperate enough to eat turkey instead. . . and were obviously unwilling to risk that calamity.) Laurie could not be persuaded to take a single slice back with her, either, but that complication (and accompanying morning distress) should disappear come early April and a new little Moyer. But a mother never gives up. I packed one bag off to Lisa and Craig (newlyweds always welcome an extra package in the fridge, I think) and will divide the rest between tomorrow's company and frozen trays for Papa to nuke while I'm exercising. No little gobbler ... or two or three ... is gonna get the best of me!

Lest you think the Thanksgiving Table a failure, lets reverse this tape to mid-Thursday. Get your drinks and Chex snacks, settle in, REWIND: whir-r-r-r, static, snow, STOP – here we go.

For all its preparation (or because of all the helpful pre-preparation) the day has a casual, unhurried feeling about it. Breakfast at ten, with sourdough pancakes and sausage, leaves room for plenty of time between meals. Mama even slips off to rest her back, read a letter, take a short nap beside baby Hannah and dream pleasantly of home. There is no need to rush the clock – just take time as it passes and enjoy it.

It’s raining lightly outside. Papa and "the boys" are laboring (or so they would have us believe) in concert at the barn. The kitchen is at last beginning to fill with warm, sage-tinted shades of baking. Ten pounds of potatoes (yes, the whole bag of Idahos) are peeled and chill in water 'til a later hour. Alabama biscuits are set out for rising on the table. A sweet potato casserole and onion pie have taken their early turn in the oven. Two side pans of dressing wait for the turkey to finish its shift -- one is ordinary, the other boasts of sausage, apples and almonds, just for variety. A cranberry mold will soon be turned out and garnished with Mandarin oranges. [Since only one can of oranges will be required, Laurie and Nina and Beccie nibbled on the other as they shaved the spuds. . .and any cook knows it doesn't take nearly as long (or as much help) to eat a can of Mandarin oranges as it does to pare 10 pounds of potatoes.] A spicy brew of cranberry/apple/orange juice simmers in the crockpot, ready to be sipped at will, but we're too busy stirring around, talking, knitting, tending babies to remember it is there. All that remains to be done is make a bowl of cole slaw, put the green beans in the pot, boil and whip the potatoes, set the table, wait for the guys and put this show on the road. . .or, more precisely, the table.

My memories drift off to my first baked bird : Thanksgiving 1964, in Pennsylvania. We were "boarding" with the Hetzers the week before we moved to Oxford. Our hosts were visiting West Virginia, so Papa and I and 3-month old David were on our own. We couldn't afford a turkey, so we bought a chicken and baked it with dressing. I was so afraid the meal would be a flop, but it was delicious and the day a special memory. There we were...no immediate job or money or place to live; and all kinds of hope and faith and love for the family we were beginning. And here we are. . .that family extended many-fold, our faith rewarded abundantly, our love expanded timelessly, our hopes renewed continually. And, as I travel back to the present, I see children, where we were then. . . and wonder at the circle of our lives. GOD IS GRACIOUS.

The door rattles and in come the carpenters. One by one they whisk quickly off to shower while all hands man the deck at stove-side. That corner is crowded as Papa carves the turkey, Mama stirs the gravy (and almost burns the biscuits) and Nina whips the potatoes (in two rounds). All done, we clasp our hands and listen to the patriarch of Teel-dom speak of love and happiness well wrapped up in the moments that we share as family. Thank you, Lord, for such as he. And in the words of one now round the feast in Florida, "Amen, Go."

But wait. . . . .I didn't tell you about dessert. What? There's more? There is for sure! Nina prepared it all with her own little hands while Joseph rode 'long side to keep her going. If I didn't know better (or didn't want to brag) I'd say she shipped straight from the Greenbrier. For the eyes....what a gorgeous array! There's pumpkin pie (one standard), cranberry-mincemeat pie (with pretty peek-a-boo circles cut in the top crust), chocolate mousse cake (600 calories per 1/2 inch slice, should have been called "death by chocolate"), pumpkin cheese cake with sour cream glaze (embellished with pecans and slivers of orange peel – beautiful!) and grasshopper delight graham cracker pie (a marbled, minty cream cheese/whipped cream filling atop a chocolate mint base). If I've missed anything, I could clearly plead omission on grounds of being overwhelmed.....or over dosed, maybe. Incredible... just incredible!

And that, my dears, is about all the Thanksgiving that any of us can stand – for most of us (with the possible exception of sweet William) are probably due to repent today and diet tomorrow.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

WAR AND PEACE

Shifting echoes fill the hallway,
Shadows move within the light
Weaving fear and grief and courage
Through the tapestry of night.
Here reflection comes to surface
In the images of dreams
Once a distant recollection
Suddenly a clear-cut scene
Of remembrance, ever haunting,
Etched in fire upon the soul
And no length of time or space
Can move beyond its seared control.

Though the heart would draw its curtains
Round this memory and abide
In the gentle breeze of autumn,
Still the ever-rolling tide
Can so quickly recollect
The vision seen so long before
In the far-off realm of youth
Held in the deathly grip of war.

Who can know the pain they suffer
Hidden ‘neath the cloak of life?
Who can touch the wounds they carry
Deeper than the surgeon’s knife?
Who can count their sacrifices,
Or extol the gift of those
Who, with courage far from human
Face the terror of such foes?

God alone can see the battle,
Know the hearts by duty stirred;
Understand the need and anguish
Found upon that foreign sod.

God alone provides the comfort,
Strength and hope to light the way
From those paths of bleak destruction
To that bright, eternal day
Where all pain will be forgotten,
Every tear counted and dried
Swallowed up in joy and glory
By the grace of One who died
That the souls of every race may know
The power of His blood
To bring peace and reconcile
Our souls within the Love of God.

*****

There are stories yet unwritten
In the wrinkles on their face
Heads of snow bow down in mem’ry
Of that distant time and place -
Of another world, soon slipping
From our chance to truly see
Through their eyes the untold sequence
Changing now in history.



PJT 11/10/07

Thursday, November 01, 2007

AUTUMN'S INVITATION


November shades are dampened
By the coming autumn storm,
Even so the rain cannot decry
Its colors soft and warm.
A blanket of gold leaves is
Spreading comfort on the turf,
And all around the scents of
Changing seasons fill the earth.
How precious are the moments
Passing through the Love of God -
Found in beauty of the hillside,
Drifting leaves and dew-drenched sod.
Will I one day wake in Heaven
And behold with spirit eyes
Glory passing through my vision
Shadowed by these gentle skies?
Well we know that there, God is the
Light, no dimness will abide
Yet within November wakefulness,
Its view of shifting tides,
There is a cycle - woven 'mong
The morning's dawning Grace -
That softly beckons us to come
And bow before His face.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

OCTOBER AIR....

There is something in October
Air that makes the soul feel
Restless - the cool crisp tints
Of gentle summer leaving - the
Space that slips so quickly
Through your hands. Blue skies
Sing out and beckon to incurable
Romantics held in the spun illusion
Of the breeze. Somewhere within
The passage soft and transient, the
Longing comes to seal the scene
Indelibly in memory - to cast
In stone the magic of the hour.
October comes and slips away without
Saying goodbye - so take the cup
And deeply drink the warm sweet
Dew of autumn while you may.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

SEPTEMBER MOON

A big orange moon hangs in the sky
And whistles a soft lullaby
She chuckles gently o'er the spell
She casts across our wishing wells

On such a night dreams dare come true
Magic is found on evening dew
The moonlit path will lead the way
For fairy tunes and elves that play
Along the edges of the wood
Beneath the fringe of autumn's hood

Come out, come out! Come sing and dance
Come join the moonlight's breathless trance
Let laughter sprinkle on the breeze
And music whisper through the trees

A summer lays aside her cloak
The golden hickory, russet oak
Will soon be glist'ning, bare of limb
And lunar light will sing a hymn
Of shifting seasons; changing scenes
Between the layers of our dreams

The big orange moon turns almost white
Bathing the field in shimm'ry light
A vision that cannot remain
When winds blow in a welcome rain

But e'er she slips behind a cloud
The moom and meadow laugh out loud

(pjt 9/27 - perhaps I should title this one "lunar lunacy" :)

Friday, September 21, 2007

TEELSIDE MEMORIES - 20 YEARS AGO TODAY


A DAY REMEMBERED


For the absolute joy of it. And the beauty. And the myriad of reasons to be grateful,--children together for a time, helping each other in so many ways, enjoying just being in one another's company. That alone would have been enough to fill my heart to bursting! Nina thought well, to be married in the fall. The air is very special then. Crisp, clear skies over the Kanawha. A wind that could only whisper with happiness. Sunshine that was as gentle as the dreams of a new bride.


The weekend schedule was filled with endless details that turn now into a kaleidoscope of memories -- blessings, everyone. So many here to help smooth the busy way. Laurie, in her usual capacity, working tirelessly to entertain visitors, prepare food, do dishes, polish Nina's nails (I recall that DS Patsy polished mine on my wedding day, so her presence was felt, even in absence) etc., etc., etc. DS Isobel saved the morn (cramped by a late baking turkey) by whisking away the groom's cake and promising two more pies, eliminating one more detail and an undertow of anxiety. Kathy Jane washed the candlesticks and put her Uncle Wayne in a good humor (some services are valuable beyond measuring). Sweet Nicholas, his eyes alight over a new truck, charmed us with his smiles. Could any smile be as precious as his? The thanks due for food is beyond accounting,--Mother Ruth's and Miss Anita's apple pies, casseroles galore, courtesy of friends and family. Donna Brown kept the tally, Karen and Isobel and Kathy were on hand to pull it all together (and make the decisions beyond the last minute capacity of the mother of the bride--like how to get ice and tea into glasses when it came time to serve).


Meanwhile, on the floor, a group of newlyweds themselves (Becky and David, Laurie and Doy, Kelli and Bruce) tended to decorating tables, folding napkins, placing candles, checking music. . .until there was no more time for details, only the time for new beginnings. And such a beautiful beginning. The clarity of George Winston's piano filled the room and the procession was begun with an air of tranquility. The groom’s mother was seated by her son -- surely she will treasure the memory of his kiss as he seated her beside his grandmother. (Surely his father, so recently lost and sorely missed, would have approved.) Wes, so well chosen as best man, presided over the party with patient precision, perfect timing. We each sat listening in the interludes to the loves that blended in our hearts, joined in waiting for a bride most beautiful. Her father was the only one who felt her trembling -- she looked so serene.


Yet, there of was evidence among the bridal party of the full emotions felt by each. So precious was the sequence. Maid of Honor Lisa's tender tears; the tremor in Bill's voice as he repeated vows; Nina's words--a breath of sweet intensity; Wayne's fervent prayer (deeply felt, truly shared -to bear them safely on). No selection could have been more appropriate than the chords of "Joy" that broke as a recessional, for it was total joy to be a part of this beginning.


Other scenes fall like confetti across the memories of this special occasion: Nina with all the children gathered around; Bill clowning in the high backed chair; Nicholas eating spaghetti; Rebecca collecting flowers, Karen, Kathy and Laurie serving among the tables; the friends and neighbors there to share in the celebration; Nina (who for years has said she wanted pumpkin pie on her wedding table) picking up a piece of peach pie with her dinner; and later in the evening (when tension had subsided) Nina stooping to share a special kiss with Nicholas and Bill whisking Nina up into his arms as if to carry her away.


And so the memories roll in sweet succession.The grand events continued with friends and family close at hand through the next few days. Those of us who were together, thinking of those who had come and gone again, or who were close in mind and heart. I was thankful so many times for the simplicity of Nina's wishes which lent so well to pleasant visitation. Other days can be envisioned, like unto these with their sense of warm communion -- the ties that bind us all together.


PJT: The Family Album, 27 September 1987 – first edition, first article.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

EARLY HARVEST


So the Koen's came a-helping and the little ones went a-playing in the woods. Didn't they have fun building a house in the woods, furbishing it with sticks, stones, moss and hickory nuts!!


Imagination and freedom can take a long journey. On a trek down by the creek, Abe looked up at the big pines and said, 'We could build a fort here - the trees are all in a line." Pretty astute.Every unhinged rock and sapling, along with a few loosely hinged ones, are fair game when children get into the spirit of the woods.


Grandfather was wondering which little Indian relieved the pawpaw tree of it's supporting stake (put there to keep the deer from finding the pawpaws on the lower branches). I'd be guessing, but Abe did bring a sweet boquet of pawpaw leaves to his mother that day.When Grandfather went out this morning to investigate the pawpaw patch, he discovered an early harvest. There they were, all but one of the pawpaw 'eggs' from that tree neatly nested in a soft bed of moss. [He brought them in and put them in the frig, but thinks the picking may be a week or two too previous to allow them to ripen off the tree.]


Me? Well I'm not as fond of pawpaws as is Grandfather, so no doubt I find this considerably more amusing...but I did manage to control my giggles when he brought in 8-9 pawpaws and first relayed the story of their premature harvest.


Babes in the woods -- You gotta love it!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Galloping Red





















Grandma Oe always liked a little red in her quilts. I've mentioned this before, I am sure. The red in this one farely gallops off the surface. Nines sent it back home recently; I'd forgotten all about it; and now it is a quilt all done. Well....all done but a label, I suppose. But a quilt you've forgotten about all bound up is still a very good deal.
Nines quilted this end-of-red-scraps wonder with sweet swirls and hearts. I love the backing she chose. Had no notion what to do with it; but now have a notion it may make a nice Valentine present for a little friend.

As for the table runners - they go to the tune of "Happy Birthday to We!" While making them it seemed a good idea for sisters to have tables that ran alike...so I added a third one to go along with DTS and DS's -- for me. After all, my birthday is in July too. Mine gave me something to practice on, which was a good thing. Nines suggested doing these bindings on the machine since they will be washed more often than a quilt. So I did. Still need some MORE practice, but I'm sure from now on any hand binding will be reserved for hand-quilted pieces only. Woo-hoo! This is so much quicker and looks fine...if you follow Nines' instructions and go slowly, three inches at a time. The little bamboo stylus DS gave me for guiding curved seams worked well as a tool of choice for holding the binding steady on the top side, too.
Now these month-late runners need to find their little way into envelopes and on to OH and MD tables.
"Happy Birthday to We!"
"Happy Birthday to We!"
"Happy Birthday all Three!"
"Happy Birthday to We!"

Saturday, August 18, 2007

TOO SWEET TO STASH....EXPOUNDED

When "My Brother" 's son posted that TOO SWEET TO STASH poem [see July 20, 2007] on the family site, he asked is sister to expound. She did so beautifully and her detail adds such life to the lines, I couldn't stash it without sharing it as well.

Description: I'll let Judy fill in the description.

Okay, here goes. I will also note that Dad was 18 years old when Uncle Jake was born. Each stanza is about a specific incident or incidents. The first stanza tells of events on December 18, 1930, the night Uncle Jake was born. Dad walked to Rosedale to get Dr. Roberts. Once we got telephones, every Dec. 18 Dad would call Uncle Jake and and say something like "Brrrrrrrr, my feet sure are getting cold, just thinking about what I did ___ years ago tonight.

"The second and third stanzas refer to December 1936 when Dad was stricken with spinal meningitis. (By the way, the ambulance was a big truck owned by Eck Norman. A mattress was placed on the bed of the truck and some way, a canvas tarpaulin was tied over the side rails and top of the truck in order to give some protection from the December weather.) Dad always felt that the prayers of Uncle Jake and Grandpa (who spent most of the night praying), were the reason he recovered. The doctors had told Grandpa that he would not survive. Dad remembered (in his delirium) hearing the doctors, who were standing at the foot of his bed, talking. One said to the other, "He won't be here tomorrow." Dad took it to mean that he was going to be released from the hospital to go home.

Stanza 4 refers to the time that Grandpa and Stella moved to Sand Fork so Dad and Uncle Harp could go to High School. There was a high hill close to where they lived and Dad would take Uncle Jake (about 3 yrs. old) to the top of the hill and they would watch cars in Sand Fork. They would also fly kites. Dad graduated from high school in 1934, he was 21. He had gone to Rosedale as they kept adding grades, but they only went to the eleventh grade. In order for him to finally finish high school, Grandpa moved to Sand Fork for a few months. In February or March, the family moved back to Tanner and Dad and Uncle Harp rented a house in Lockney and rode the bus to Sand Fork to finish that year of school.

Stanza 5 refers to home experiences and to times when Dad was in college. One day Minnie Nicholas had come to the house to get a bucket of milk and she had set it down on the porch above the steps to talk with Stella a little while. Uncle Jake (about 6 or 7 years old) said he was aiming to kick over the bucket, but anyway, he yelled to the other boys there, "Catch it, boys!" Well, he kicked the bucket and all the milk was spilled. His mother started to him to paddle him and he said two big arms ran under his arms and picked him up and ran down to the Brady place (Homer Sampson's) and he and dad played around down there until Stella had cooled off and wouldn't punish him as hard.

Uncle Jake slept with Dad and each night Dad would race him to bed. Dad usually won. Many times he would go outside, crawl in the bedroom window, get in bed, and then say, "Jake, when are you coming to bed?" This usually started a fight and they would have to race again and "do it fair."Dad didn't have much money while he attended college, but he would always manage to bring Uncle Jake a small toy or peanuts or candy when he would (walk) come home from Glenville on the weekends. The book incident is self explanatory.

Stanza 6 refers to the time when Dad first started to Glenville State College. He walked to Glenville and didn't have the 50 cents necessary to stay in the Whiting Hotel so he went to the sheriff who permitted him to sleep in an empty cell that night. Before the next night, he had contacted a local farm family who agreed that he could do work for them in the evenings and every other weekend as partial payment for room and board.

Stanza 7: Stella died in April 1944. Vernon was 14 years old. In 1946, he came to live with my parents and go to school. In the winter, Uncle Jake had only a thin poplin jacket and he was walking to Shock (1 1/2 Miles) to catch the school bus to Normantown High School. Dad took him a special trip to Glenville to get him a heavy winter coat. Uncle Jake kept that coat until the the 1970's when a neighbor in Montana lost his clothing in a housefire and he gave him the coat.


Stanza 8 refers to Chester Nicholas who at the age of 16 had reported his age as 18 and had joined the army in World War II. He survived some rough battles and when he came home on leave, he refused to return. MPs were sent in to get him and he was facing the possibility of a court martial. Dad wrote to his commanding officer and explained the circumstances and that Chester had entered the service at a young age. He asked that all the circumstances be considered in the decision to be made. Chester did not receive a court martial.


The last verse is self explanatory. (I bet you won't ask me to add another description. I never know when to stop …J.M.K.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A LITTLE TEXTURE IN MY LIFE














A friend handed off some swatches of upholstery textiles. Most was too heavy and small for piecing, so -- of course -- it migrated to the postcard stash. And what fun it has been.

As you can see, the swatches came in all sorts of colors and styles. These designs are very simplistic, but with all those textures not a lot of embellishment is needed. The buttons came from a bag purchase and ironically - or not - the white ones are stamped "idle time." Guess this is how I have been spending some idle time of late.


The fall assortment grew out of a September morning mood.

DH dubbed my postcard collection: "PENI POSTCARD" s. Now isn't he clever! Why didn't I think of that? Maybe I'm not so clever, but I am smart enough to know a good thing when I see it penned on the back of a postcard. "Peni Postcard" it will stay.

Monday, August 06, 2007

BREAKFAST ANYONE?


It's odd - the different breakfast traditions in different areas. This one is likely as colloquial and my hill billy accent and ever a favorite. We called these 'creamed tomatoes' growing up. Some folks call it tomato gravy. Best made with home-canned tomatoes or juice (I used a quart that didn't seal on Saturday - likely excuse). No sugar, please, for me. DSis's "boys" don't like those "pi-son" chunks, so she uses juice.


As a child, I ate them on a plate, with butter melting in the tomatoes and bits of buttermilk biscuits dipped in the buttery spots. I still prefer them served that way. DH eats his from a bowl, poured over a buttered biscuit. Mine cool down faster, which was good in the days I could have a second serving.


Creamed tomatoes and sausage are a good combination, too. And yes, any time of day is good. When the kids were home they made a quick and easy supper. Those biscuits look a bit puny - but it is nearly impossible to make mile-high biscuits with less than a cup of flour, you know.
And yes, that stick of butter was indented by the roll of a corn cob. Ah, summer!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

SHOCK THERAPY


Back trailing the paths through Shock WV is very good therapy. I recommend it highly.


The garden is coming in - I will not say with a vengeance for fear of discrediting the Lord who blesses us all so liberally. My DH does most of the IN garden labor, but the coming of the garden always takes me back to what I knew first. It takes a good while to scrub down beets, so this morning I laced my Miller bones with a good dose of tylenol, tied up my best sneakers, put my Vernon Miller CD on high volume and went to work. At the sink, scrubbing is a nearly mindless task that allows you to gaze out the window at WV woodlands, soak up the sounds of Vernon's guitar (don't you just like those doubly strummed chords that go, jingle-jingle?) and be drawn to roots. That's easily done with garden fare afoot. I drift back up that dusty Tanner road, fringed with half-runners and tomatoes in the gardens, waist high rhubarb, corn beginning to tassle, hay stacks dotting the meadows and canning jars sunning on the fence posts. If the locals lacked full pockets, they did not lack full lives and hearts and a mind to enjoy working the land. Would that all children could know the wonder of summers in Shock! Such a bright and peaceful place; such dear hearts and gentle people. And no wonder I enjoy canning so - some of that industry just had to rub off.


Like several of my cousins native to Shock, I have A-negative blood...seldom a postive matter. Still, I am thankful every day for the Shock factor that runs through my veins. I'll loan you some if you need it.


For those of you who are wondering, I do cook the beets just so. Leaving the root and a bit of stems means they bleed less, retain more of that wonderful red color. After stewing and cooling the roots and stems are trimmed and the peel slips off easily. They are then ready to eat - any which way you like them.

Friday, July 20, 2007

TOO SWEET TO STASH


A cousin recently sent me a copy of this poem. It was written by another "first cousin once removed" for his older brother, Bob. I requested a copy of the poem when I heard it read on a DVD by brother Bob - thought I'd really like a hard copy in my files. Now that I have the hard copy in hand, I think it far too nice to stash away in a file somewhere. Before doing that, I just want to share it. It's one of those Shock WV legacies.



MY BROTHER

One night in December
A long time ago
When the earth was cold
And covered with snow
As a prisoner at dawn
From his warm bed is torn
On this night of all nights
I chose to be born.
Who then that night
For the doctor would go
Walking for miles
In the cold and the snow?
MY BROTHER!

I remember our home
Was saddened one day
A terrible sickness
It was so they say
And then on the day
That the ambulance came
Who didn’t hear
When they called out his name?
MY BROTHER!

I wanted to cry
And I felt so alone
When the doctors all said
That he’d never come home,
But I couldn’t believe
That he would die there.
And who was it for
That I said my first prayer?
MY BROTHER!

How was it I went
To that hill every day
To look at the cars
On the road far away
And who took me there
To fly the big kite
And taught me to do
My arithmetic right?
MY BROTHER!

When I’d misbehave
With some foolish fun
And my parents got made
Who would grab me and run?
And who was it
That raced me to bed every night
And brought me some toys
To fill with delight,
And even at times
His meals he forsook
To save enough money
To buy me a book?
MY BROTHER!

To school I would go
Some young men will say
But who for the books
And tuition would pay?
I knew a young man
Who slept in a jail
In a small college town
By the name of Glenville;
He worked for a farmer
His money to earn
And who was this kid
With a hunger to learn?
MY BROTHER!

When my mother died
Who sent me to school
And treated me gently
When I was a fool?
Who bought me a coat
To help keep me warm
And loved me and spoiled me
Since the day I was born?
MY BROTHER!

A young man returned
From the war once to find
That the killing and carnage
Had messed up his mind
No one seemed to care
That for them he had fought
Now that he was home
And in trouble a lot
Compassion he needed
But nobody would
When he needed so badly
Who understood?
MY BROTHER!

I just can’t imagine
How it would have been
My life as a kid
If it wasn’t for him
But I’m sure there are many
Who feel that way
Whose lives he has touched
In some kind of way
In this whole world I’m sure
There isn’t another,
A man among men,
Bob Miller!
MY BROTHER!


Vernon D Miller
July 1974


Friday, July 13, 2007

YOU CAN'T HURRY LOVE..

Angel #17 - not much of an angel baby anymore...but still all angel Abe from here.

...you just have to wait.


I was trying to hurry little table runners along and scurry was disastrous. After taking two or three seams out, I decided to pile it up for the day. Two days later it went smoothly enough. The runners are pieced and off to Nines in today's mail. But don't hurry, love, we can wait until you're ready for the quilting.

This week has brought good rain and a break in the heat. The garden is happy and I am tempted to coulnt my canning jars before they seal. I even bought sugar this week for jam. How's that for hope! Nix on the low-sugar; sugar free tries. Real jam spread thinner will do as well and more often turn out like it should.


We had a very pleasant Miller reunion. I took a dozen postcards to the auction, they all sold, so now I need to replenish my supply. Alas, I have 12 mocked up (with heat n bond) and stabilizer enough for only half that. Guess I can be choosy and get JoAnne on the line for finishing out more in due time. No hurry, it's just something I'd rather do than work, you know.


Meanwhile back to the old exercise routine and the cookstove. DH is down picking cabbage and onions for soup, even as we speak.
NOTE: That head of cabbage weighed in at 9 lbs...took 1/8 of the head for a large pot of soup.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

REUNION TIME...AGAIN

Happy Birthday, Dear Sis


Today's the day for the G.C.Miller family reunion. Cooking is simpler than usual for me - yeast rolls are in the works and DH dug some new potatoes to go with green beans (home canned, as the new ones aren't bearing yet). I may throw in some fresh cooked squash. DSis is bringing chicken and cookies. That sounds like round enough menu for the two of us.

I look forward to the reunion as it is a once-a-year chance to hug some very dear folk. Today is DSis's birthday so that will be a special hug, now won't it. Lot's of good food, an auction which may have an heirloom or two included, a little singing and sometimes, even some live guitar, madolin, fiddle playing. What's not to like about that!

And there will be a tinge of sadness. How can you go to your Mom's family reunion and not miss your mommy? Also a sweet cousin lost her husband this spring and two dear uncles may not be well enough to attend. Reason enough to share and be grateful for those extra hugs!

Guess it's time to go scrub those taters...

Sunday, July 01, 2007

VACATIONitis


Most folks get vacationitis when they've worked hard and long and need a good break. My case is the after-the-fact version. Bags are unpacked. I just cut up the stale steak rolls to soak overnight and bake into pudding tomorrow. The laundry will also wait for tomorrow. My heart is still in TN with all those happy scenes, my bones are still on the road and my head is still in a fog. This might be a good place to sign out...


What a wonderful week we had! The cabins were the nicest we've ever had: Top of Townsend is just a hop away from Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, but well secluded. We managed to avoid the tourist race for the most part. We did drive over to Cade's Cove one day. It was our second visit there...we like the atmosphere and were able to see deer, turkeys and a black bear this time, which was nice. Otherwise, we just hung around visiting between kin and let younger bones do the tubing and hiking.


Evening meals were pitch-ins mainly with plenty of fare for an army (a Teel reunion trait). The second night a family friend provided T-Bones and desserts for everyone (53 minus a few who requested chicken). What a spread! The picnic area where we met for supper was a bit crowded, but I didn't hear any complaints. After supper on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings, we sang for spell. It was great four-part harmony and especially tender for this GM when those hymns were led by grandsons. Singing is a precious heritage, I think; and my heart leaps up to see children and grandchildren continuing to enjoy that tradition.


(I still remember the time when my grown children were visiting and sang late into the night...I was recovering from surgery, I think...anyway; I retired early and they sang me to sleep. It's a lovely memory.)


We always say this is for the children. And oh, it is good to see those cousins build relationships with each reunion. But I am sure they could not have more pleasure than we have watching them. They hiked, tubed, made flip-flops and wallets out of duct tape and tie-dyed shirts. The second generation guided scrapbook making sessions which produced lovely appreciation scrapbooks for each of the first generation Teels. One of the highlights of the week is always the talent show. The elders abandoned the youngsters this year, but the cousins had no trouble filling the bill, believe me. A lot of talent - a whole lot of talent - entertained and amused us for the evening. From violin solos, to Shakespeare recitations, to be-bop, to movie themes, to hilarious skits. I look forward to the talent show more than the food, really!


It was extra nice to have a dear friend join us this year. When I hugged her at church this morning I had to admit it was going to pretty hard to be separated from her sweet presence. (One granddaughter had named her the queen of num-nums - she is dear to us all)


It may take a day or two for the V-itis to wear off. Meanwhile, we'll deal with the left-overs, do the wash, clean the Barn a bit and try not to scratch the bug bites. After that we'll seriously delve into THREE four-inch binders FULL of ancestry information collated by our DD's DMIL over the last months.


We have been so blessed!!!

Friday, June 22, 2007

HEM-HAWING AROUND


I should be packing. The Teel Family Reunion convenes in Townsend TN next week - we'll be leaving Monday AM and return Sat, Lord willing. But I'm not packing. I'm not cleaning or washing. I'm sewing. Go figure.

Well, Wayne's Aunt Margaret has been passing along bags of fabric long stored in some forgotten closet corner. Some, was unusable, even for piecing, but some looked like play clothes to me. So I've been making a few jumpers, nighties and play pants for my "little" granddaughters. They're not so little any more, but still can get by on smaller yardage and aren't at all picky about Grandmother's stitching. This is a lot more fun than washing, packing or cleaning. So today I will do the wash and finish one last jumper; tomorrow I clean up the Barn a little; packing can wait 'til Sunday.

A dear friend's mother had three girls - she always said "you can't sew and keep house." Sew....the girls were assigned to keep up with her threads and cook, clean and do the dishes. Sounds like a plan...now where are my girls anyway? Probably cleaning, washing and packing...they're better people than I am.

Monday, June 18, 2007

READY - SET - GO


I have a week to get ready...set...go.



Every other year, the Teel clan merges - usually at some state park - for a reunion week. It gets harder to find as spot as the family expands and it's a lot of work for those who organize it. This year we handed the planning over to the second generation - they appear to be far more capable.



Maybe I don't know where to start because I've already started. A little box is packed with recently sewn items for some of the grandkids. Today DSIL will call and we'll make notes for buying breakfast groceries. This time we'll share a cabin with our Niagara Falls travelers and a dear friend from this area. I'm getting excited!



We will sorely miss our youngest and his family. Try as we may, it happens at times that one or another of us can't make it. And the older those grandchildren get; the more complicated working out schedules becomes - unlike former times when families lived in a near circle, on adjacent farms. Togetherness is a challenge. I'm thankful for computers that link us nicely...but a cyber hug / smile is not quite the same. Tangible warmth lasts longer.



We'll head for Townsend TN next Monday. Maybe by then my bags will be packed and I'll be ready to go.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

AWAKENINGS


The morning wakes in gentleness -
Thin mist between the treetops on the ridges;
The birds begin their anthem to the dawn;
I watch the layers melt and peel,
Light breaking slowly o'er the hill
And shifting grey to tints of verdant summer.

How many times upon the morn
Amid the symphony of dawn
Have I awakened blanketed in wonder?
The Lord is near - His finger moves
To paint the scene with shades of Heav'nly beauty.


So then, my soul begins to stir
To shout with joy, to sing with love
To bow in awe, to wait with faith
And, breathless, see His goodness.


A sacred dawn; a sacred day
Hallowed by sacrifice and ressurection.
Awake! Awake! Break forth in songs
Of gratitude and praise for His redemption!


Hold to the Hand that holds the night,
The day, the sun, the moon - the Light
Reflected by the rays on yon hill rising
That Light will guide, will wash in peace
The heart that seeks His righteousness
...as surely as His Power has come
To gild the dawn with glory.

Friday, June 15, 2007

TEELSIDE MAILBAG








Yesterday's country lunch and company were a fine thing. Another couple - dear friends from OH - came over as well. We had a lovely visit!

Today I was ready for some sit-down amusement, so I carted out the scrapbooking/card making supplies DS shared with me when I was in MD last month. It had been long enough for me to forget about most of her little goodies, so I had some fun playing around with them. I can see where the cards could get more and more involved. . . No doubt I'll mess up a few of these when I get around to writing inside. Perhaps I will print/paste message sheets inside when something other than just a note card is in order. We'll see. Seven seemed fair progress, quite easy/enjoyable and were considerably faster than postcard making. [BTW, DS - the stencils worked nicely with fearthered colored pencil strokes, a little heavier where I wanted shading.]

Joyce and Janet, sisters among yesterday's company, were interested in the postcards. I think Janet does many crafts and was excited to see something that hadn't come to her neck of the woods yet. Went ahead and passed along the little postcard "kit" DS made for a quilting guild session she taught on postcards. But, I forgot to warn Janet about how addictive it is. As an aside, I'm amazed at how much zip and sparkle a few layers of sheer ribbon adds to the postcards - but the ribbon won't take as much heat, so last stages of heat'n'bond need more care so that sparkle doesn't fizzle. (Ask me how I know...sigh)

I've been mailing more of my fabric postcards of late and with a few paper greeting cards out of the chute I am imagining card store days are over. That's just as well, as we get out of the boonies less and less often. That must be a good thing, seeing as how it takes as long to clean up the mailbag mess as it does to make the cards.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A CHANGE OF SCENERY


Time for changes...just little ones.

It will be a nice, busy day. Dear friends are coming for a late lunch. Plans are for a veggie plate - new kale and wilted lettuce from the garden, creamed corn from the freezer, creamed tomatoes w/macaroni from the canning shelf and mashed potatoes (creamy, we hope) and a fruit salad. Sounds a little starchy, but maybe the greens will balance it out. And maybe I'll salad some eggs for protein. [When the kids were small, I didn't like to use the phrase "deviled" so we call them salad eggs.]

So, if company is coming, what am I doing here? I'm posting just because I can. In short order, with the new DSL hookup. No more waiting 5-10 minutes to share a picture or look at one. Sweet! And instantI spell-checking - even sweeter! We've had DSL for two days and DH/I haven't fought over it once...yet. I see new addictions coming on. He had such fun watching all the space shuttle videos last night. I guess we're out of the boonies now. The best part is an open phone line. But quick or no, this will not sweep the floor or make a fruit salad (two quiet chores while DH finished his nighty-nap). Poke a fork in me...I'm done.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

SOMEONE SO VERY SPECIAL....


..was born on this day. What a blessing for us all!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

HE DID IT!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

God did it, but the experiment is a success. For long years DH has been interested in grafting...and this spring he finally tried his hand at it. It was funny watching him, knife or pruners in one hand and the Stark how-to booklet in the other. I think he was a bit surprised to see one graft bloom (a golden delicious grafted on to a red delicious) and now hold five apples.

Almost as surprised as I was to find I could use the photo site to put the picture on here. Thanks for the hint, sis.

Several other grafts look quite healthy and may have fruit next season. Next month he'll try doing some bud grafts. One thing I love about DH - he's always interested in learning new things!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

MIXED GREENS




Mom used to pick mixed greens in the spring. It was our 'spring tonic.' She knew plantain, cress, dandylion, poke and a host of other edibles. As with a lot of things, I wish I could remember; or had paid closer attention. Of the lot we now know, we prefer poke greens best when it can be found. Never understood why some folks call that 'poke salad' - when we parboil the poke sprouts thrice before serving them hot with a touch of vinegar. Maybe it's the vinegar. Whatever you call it, it's very tasty! Of course poke must be picked early, just the first tender sprigs...later and larger is poisonous.


DS sent DH 24 asparagus plants a few years back and that lovely crop along with wilted fresh garden lettuce and green onions have constituted our tonic this spring. Yum! Yum! DH opined at noon that we need to eat more lettuce, to which I replied, "Well, do you want it for breakfast...we're already serving it for lunch and supper?" He just smiled his twinkley-eye smile and kept munching like a little rabbit.


When the weeds all grow together, I know it's getting on to summer. Any mixed greens are a sight for the eye. Ivy and periwinkle co-exist on the other side of the stairs. The snow on the mountain does better here than some places as it is protected from direct sun. I may as well like it, because once established it isn't going anywhere. I don't even mind that sprig of poison ivy...since it's out of reach. This photo was taken a few weeks back and now the hosta hoop around a near dogwood tree is completing the green theme. The beautiful blooms of spring are about gone; but summer in restive shades of green is still a fine thing to behold.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Shhh!!...don't tell ...




Every quilt has a story….

This one began with a swatch of fabric pilfered (with generous permission) from twin Patsy’s quilt stash. I was quite taken with the maple leaf design and the blue shades with metallic gold outline. The blues (not as green as the look in the closeup) became the focal point for grandson Jon’s graduation quilt. Almost made a career out of this quilt! Began my search for blending fabrics two years ago; and Nina, with her good eye for color, was great help finding pieces here and there. When Nina found the dragonfly print it was a sealed deal and with graduation in sight, I finally buckled down to the job. Nina also supplied the pattern [“Magic” Itza Lulu Designs] I’m happy with the outcome, though I don’t see myself repeating this pattern. Maybe it was my mood, but it seemed almost more challenge than fun…though clearly it would be tempting to try it with more contrast in the colors.

Back to the quilt…Jon is fond of dark blue shades and mentioned once that he liked dragonflies. The ‘flies keep the quilt from being too somber, maybe. Besides, even a very serious young man needs a little whimsy in his life. Nina did her usual fine job of quilting – I love the way her freehand designs pick up the motion of the quilt and fabrics. She even quilted a big dragonfly in the upper corner…I predict it will take Jonathan about 5 seconds to spot that. There are two leftover squares and some binding with which to make a couple of potholders...Jon is a first-class oatmeal cookie baker, you see.

The quilt is titled “Woodlands Moonlight” – most of the fabrics feature leaves or branches in midnight shades. Jonathan loves rambling the woods. When he visits here he’ll tie his boots and head for the hills for a spell every day. I’m reminded of Lew Wetzel (sans vengeance) black hair, long strides off to explore the woods. Jon would scarcely credit my saying so, but he really strikes a romantic picture!

All grandchildren are special. I admire Jonathan most for being a devout Christian, a very hard worker and a deep thinker, serious student. I also enjoy tremendously his ready humor.

That is the beginning of this quilt’s story. The best of the story, as we all know, is in the use of the quilt when it is completed and how those loving stitches bind us together. I have on my dresser a heart shaped piece of one of Mom’s quilts surround by this quote:

Families are like quilts
Lives pieced together
Stitched with smiles and tears
Colored with memories
And bound with love

Thursday, May 31, 2007

REMEMBERING MAY


IN FORMER DAYS....


...when Memorial Day was ON Memorial Day;
...when iris, daisies and peonies were cut, put in cans or jars to take to gravesides - on Memorial Day;
...when most family members spent their entire lives in one community and were there nearby in the family cemetery when time came for honoring their memory;
...when a trip to the cemetery usually meant hiking a hill, walking up a sweat and fighting off a few insects;
...when picnics were eaten on the ground; and old quilts kept the ants at bay;
...when most everyone fixed fried chicken, potato salad and green or baked beans for the picnic menu;
...when being out of school meant a prospect of hazy summer days - swinging and singing under the oak;
...when, the first week out of school, you slathered Crisco on your arms for lotion in hopes that the freckles would run together and make a tan;
...when ice frozen in Campbells soup cans (with a spoon for a licking stick) waited in the frosty freezer for a quick cool down;
...when June was in the wings with full promise of trailing pink roses, morning glories, blackberry vines, and strawberries.


GOOD-BYE MAY....and may JUNE BLOOM beautifully!

WHO COULD RESIST?



Yes, I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for twins.


When I first saw pictures of these twins (who are new to a cousin's daughter's family), I thought ... what else ..."those two little cherubs need play aprons!" Then this photo showed up on a family website showing the twins on the kitchen counter licking beaters with dish towel drapes and of course, as Nines would say, "It was a SIGN."

I do not know the status/details of their adoption into a sweet family, but I do know the twins appear to be having a fine time of it in their new home! I will mail the aprons off tomorrow with hopes that they'll have many joyous beater licking experiences.

DH's garden looks good, but is sighing for moisture - more than his 5-gallon buckets can deliver from the creek. We're hearing thunder all around...but seeing no rain. Maybe someday...the Lord knows how to send the early and latter rain; and I guess He ought to get to set the rain clock, since He made it.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

RAG BAG MANAGERIE



When Grandma Oe had a rag bag it contained just that – clothing worn to rags. The most threadbare parts became cleaning rags and the more serviceable parts were used for piecing quilts. By true rag bag standards, my most recent acquisition might be considered up-scale. It was given to me by DH’s Aunt and contained all unused pieces of fabric.

But some things can almost wear out with time, you know? I haven’t a notion how long these pieces were hoarded and I’m afraid to ask. What to do? Too old and sheer for piecing! I’m trying to be older and wiser – at least more discerning about the quality that goes into a quilt.


SO…APRONS! Half a dozen big and little.

Most of the pieces survived laundering, but still smell a tiny bit musty to me. More fabric softener next time. The plum is so sheer it may not wear ‘til the first batch of bread gets hot; I couldn’t resist putting heart-shaped pockets on the valentine print; and at least the 30’s quilt-plate print has a nice feel to it. As for the pink nightgowns, they are from my own left-over waffle knit. Their first line summer dresses are cut out ready to sew/serge up next week. (So Nines’ girls can wear pink night and day!:) That serger surely makes quick work of things.


The shiny 70's double-knit from Aunt M's bag are cut for play pants. Seems slick knit is back in style. Or maybe the swings will close their eyes. More importantly, it will do Aunt M's heart more good than I can imagine to know her rag bag didn't go straight to the garbage bag.

And yes, like Grandma Oe, rag bag quilts are still my favorite…must be those utilitarian Brady/Miller/Minney genes.

Monday, May 21, 2007

NO HANGOVERS


My last few weeks have been spent in the throws of a little computer job – revising nutrition charts for a former WVDE boss. There were some 160 documents – a few with only one page, a few with 10-15 pages, but most between 3-5 pages that needed format revisions. You do the math. I logged in 58 hours before the job was done; but that just means I’m old and rusty – not that the job was difficult enough to hang over my head. I rather enjoyed it for the most part. Now it’s saved off my computer for later delivery and I can move along to other things.

This morning it was rather exciting to drag out my sewing machine for a change. I sewed the binding (first round) on a quilt. Nines did a super job quilting it and the way she trims the edges when she is through makes binding a breeze. The hand work can wait for break times.

Other lovely things that are waiting in the wings, but not hanging over my head came from Nines as a mother’s day remembrance. Every day is mother’s day for me! Gotta love her boxes, though! I should have included the journal that came in her last box, but forgot. Anyway, aren’t those flannels just luscious? And I love the circle quilt pieces. I’ve been fascinated with that concept for a while, but afraid to try it. The kit titled "Wheel of Mystery Quilt" should keep it from being a permanent mystery. (And that bamboo stiletto came just in time, Isobel :) The candle smells like a high Arizona meadow – clean juniper spice…mmmmmm!

The white toweling is remnants of Nines’ turbie towel making. Guess she made 8, for there are 8 each dish cloths and towels for serging - all nicely squared. When I was a girl we called dish cloths “dish rags” and tea towels “dish cloths” – we were perhaps too hillbilly or not southern enough for dish cloths and tea towels. These may return to IN when edged.

Pinto beans are soaking – to go with cornbread and green onions from the garden. Nothin’ wrong with hillbilly roots, you know. The lettuce will be ready to thin out and use this week, too. That means wilted lettuce! We’ve been eating fresh asparagus about every other day, too. Before we know it will be goods things from the garden of the jolly green gardener; no meat required.

Since the machine is up, I can finish off a postcard or two. Or maybe I’ll get out the serger and edge those rags.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

PORCHSIDE


[About the snapshot: Taken in the early 50's, that's DS Karen in front of Grandpa Miller's front porch. Part of me waits at the top of the stairs.]

Distant visions of front porches are among my fondest childhood memories. Remember those swings? I talked an arm and a leg off Cousin Vance and Uncle Gale while enjoying their swings. Both men were pleasant company and if you timed it just right you could even grab a juicy grape from the vines at the back of Uncle Gale’s swing..

Grandpa Grover’s front porch was symbolic of everything I loved about Shock, WV. My eyes still see it. Just down the road is the church building and I watch as Grandma and Grandpa walk down the dirt road on their way to meeting. On around that bend is Uncle Ben’s. Sweeping back there’s the little house where two Aunt Bonnie's and Aunt Carrie live (in turn), the Uncle Sam mailbox, a perennial mud puddle somewhere by the road, the Puddle Jumper parked by the woodshop and then around the next bend on to Aunt Ruth’s and Uncle Gale’s, the store, the Tanner schoolhouse and Aunt Meda’s. This porch is my hub of all grandchild memory.

A place of rest, relaxation and congeniality - what’s not to like about a front porch? Grandpa Grover’s front porch may have had a swing at some time, but not that I can recall. I see rocking chairs and benches on either side of the door – all built by Grandpa Grover (or his sons?). I see Uncle Corley walking up the path to the porch for a weekend afternoon visit with his folks. I hear Grandpa singing hymns with sons and grandsons. Was that not where Gene taught us “How Great Thou Art”? I see and hear Grandpa lifting his hand with a hearty “Har-ree!” for everyone who traveled by. (“Har-ree”…is that a contraction for ‘how are ye’? Always wondered about that phrase and never heard it anywhere but Shock.) I see Grandma Oe rocking, apron still pinned on; and hear her laughter.

Times can be hard but that front porch was a special place in time. A place where there was always time enough for smiles and hugs, songs and laughter, dear family and neighbors.

And is that wisteria growing up the post and over the roof? Perhaps we all could use a little more front porch time and philosophy in our lives.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


TWO STEPS FORWARD...ONE STEP BACK

Spring keeps springing backwards. Couldn't resist lifting this photo from DB's email note of yesterday. Up state NY hasn't seen much spring yet! DSis noted similarities between this and my own backyard. When I visited there last fall, I was impressed with DB's back woods - so like his native WV hills. The front yard view was far more open and expansive however.

We've been on the road. Caught a little snow and cool air in NC, but had a nice week with DH's brothers. I pretty much had a week of doodling. Puzzles (now hooked on Kakuro, sigh) and reading and being almost unbearingly lazy. Really like those western NC mountains, too - looking out over those porches is like being on a mountain retreat.

Good news from the cardiologist when we returned! DH's heart function has increased 15-20% since installing those five stents. We'll take that and Praise God for it! DH says he can feel those little buggers in his chest, but that should subside in another month or so.

The creeks around here usually flood once or twice in the spring. Sunday was our day for that after a full night of rain. No harm done, not even the usual debris, as it came up rather slowly, but we were hemmed in for a few hours. Couldn't get out to 'meeting' (as Grandma Oe called church services) - that left the whole Son-day off balance. So I just loafed. Yesterday was 'shut-in' day; the laundry's caught up and with a few housekeeping chores done today, I'll call it settled back in. I learned long ago CAUGHT UP is a fantasy.

Monday, April 02, 2007

SPRING'S FANCY



Seems that everyone, everything
Is leaning into the rush of Spring…

A series of thunderstorms swept through Teelside last night. We watched the lightening display from the balcony until the rain drove us in. Water was still rushing down the creeks this morning, but the banks held in the one and one-half inches of rainfall, perhaps because it came in waves.

The rainbow preceded the storms not long before dark. I get as excited about a seeing rainbow as hearing a whip-poor-will call. Nor can I turn away from the wonder until the last glimmer of color melts into the clouds.

I was thinking yesterday about a less colorful, but sure sign of spring. Have you noticed the birch trees among the bare winter trunks along wooded highways? By this time of year their leaves are papery wisps in the wind – forerunners of the dogwood that will soon hang suspended in the breeze. The birch leaves are a nearly colorless beige but beautifully fragile parchment - just rustling in place, waiting for the new rush of Spring.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A LITTLE COLOR IN MY LIFE...



DH thought I needed some brighter shades for my postcard habit. Nines to the rescue with rainbow hues. (If you're peeking over my shoulder, DSIL, the top two (bottom photo) are slated for Angie's angels.)


It's that kind of day...warm like summer; a lazy Monday. Breakfast was cheerios, lunch was PBJ with a glass of milk. DH is off doing charity work. The windows and doors are wide open, the CD player played full blast (over the sewing machine) for a couple hours, but now I'm letting the windchimes and birds entertain me while playing with postcards. The birds sing louder after you've given them a dose of Sarah Brightman or Beethoven Sonatas. I'm sure of it!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A LITTLE SPRING DITTY


It’s beginning to look a lot like Spring Time
Everywhere you go
The bright yellow daffodils
Are dancing upon the hill
And Carolina wrens sing all aglow

It’s beginning to sound a lot like Spring Time
Winds are playing chimes
The willows are wriggling toes
The tulips poke out their nose
And roses stretch before their summer climb

We’re beginning to find the joy of Spring Time
Everywhere we look
The maples are sprouting red
The bunnies will soon be wed
And rippling waters sparkle down the brook

It’s beginning to look a lot like Spring Time
Let those showers pour
For the loveliest gems are found
In the treasures that abound
Near our own front door
[Writing a ditty is fairly simple when the melody/meter of a familiar tune gets stuck in your head:)]

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

THE NAME GAME


Names are interesting – we labor intensely to choose just the right one for our children, and sometimes wonder 'why didn't we choose?' when they're grown. Nines, for example should have been Nina Marie.

My FIL wanted to name DH "Claude Arthur" so his initials would be CAT. MIL didn't agree, and I'm glad. Wayne David is much better! Of course we did turn around and name our youngest Craig Alan, so it was CAT after all.

I should have been Penelope. I could have been Allison. I ended up Pamela Joan. It all started when mom and Dad decided to call the Brady Twins Penny and Patsy (after discounting Allison and Avanell). Patricia Anne was fine for Patsy; Dad vetoed Penelope. So Pamela it was. Lots of folks don’t know that’s my “real” name; and many who do ask, “Where did Penny come from?” It’s this long story.

So my nickname doesn’t match my real name and most likely leads to an even larger array of nicknames. And I didn’t help matters any when, at about age 13 while confined to bed and looking for new entertainment, I decided [in typical 13-year-old fashion] to change the way I spelled Penny – after all it was a nickname, so what would it matter, right? Peni. It looked so cute when I was 13.

A rose by any other name ... after that this name thing was a widely rambling rose – Pamela on documents, Penny for immediate family, Pam at school, Pammy at piano lessons, Peni among teen-age friends. Add to that P.J. (by preacher P. J. C. for obvious reasons) and Momaly, Mom, Mama and Momma (the kids each have their own name for me, it seems.) One of my bosses solved her dilemma by calling me Peni-Pam. Is this not broad grounds for a first class identity crisis – or even multiple personalities?

Life gets complicated and names are confusing, but you can’t go back to simplify it when you have two precious namesakes - Penijean and Pamela (Pami) - either. Guess I’ll just keep answering to about anything. So call me Peni, call me Pam; spell it anyway you can…Just let me keep clinging to the Brady and Miller family trees.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Thank You, LORD

Just a short note for now about DH's big day in the cath lab.

It was a long procedure, but all went well. One of the new grafts was 99% blocked; and another crucial area was 87% blocked (in several directrions). The first was pretty straightforward, the latter more risky than usual; but Dr. S felt more by-pass urgery was not an option and medicinal therapy would be of little help. So, DH agreed to trying the stents.

DH and Dr. S and THE LORD did quite well. DH's heart now sports five new drug-coated stents and the good doctor predicts he will feel a "considerable difference." And DH may be discharged late today...or tomorrow.

To God be the glory!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

IT FLOATS


Some of us remember the time when that was a prized slogan for Ivory soap. DH remembers from his boyhood that the coal miners in his community always took a bar of Ivory soap to the river – it wouldn’t sink to the bottom as they cleaned off their coal masks and gloves before going home after work. I recall Ivory from my childhood too and have to buy a bar just every so often for the comforting scent of it. (It also works well for cleaning out acrylic paint brushes as DS Isobel taught me.)

A couple of weeks ago we had overnight rain that brought the creeks over their banks. When we awoke the next morning, the ice on the creek had shifted. So, it floats. Ice, that is. Some of these slabs were 8-10 inches thick, which made DH feel not quite so reckless about walking across the creek when it was frozen. Dealing with the flotsam was no problem. It took way over a week, but once a warm day or two marched by, it melted.

My February sewing kinda waned (read Wayned) to the extent of a few postcards and one quilt top. The blocks are all together and the borders are cut for the quilt, so that’s a one-day finishing project. Having restocked a few postcard supplies, I managed to finish the stitching on a dozen yesterday…something of a record, as five a day was my max before. I’m still not totally satisfied with the quality of my postcards, but most are nice enough to mail and the more I mail, the more practice I get.



The heart patient is out with his chain saw. He’s scheduled for another heart cath next week, and this time the doctor did not include the instruction, “Take it easy until we get this done.” That instruction has always been part and parcel of pre-cath agenda, so I’m thinking it was an oversight. DH won’t buy that! Actually DH says running the chain saw isn’t all that strenuous…I’m thinking it’s denial or his way of working off anxiety. Maybe both. At least this week it has been the small chainsaw on nuisance saplings and such – much smaller than the 100+-year old white oak. I helped him a little yesterday afternoon and I’m buying “not strenuous” for about the same price he’s buying “take it easy.”