Saturday, December 05, 2009

It Must Be December…

We’re still full to overflowing with lovely Thanksgiving memories. Just made and packaged the first batch of instant spiced tea for seasonal gifting. Gentle piano/guitar carols are playing on the CD. And, we’re having our first snow. Yes, it’s December.

DH is up in the woods hoping the snow will make deer more visible and apt to roam earlier (as in before dark). We have some in the freezer, but with other children, grandchildren expected before month’s end, it wouldn’t hurt to seal up another deer or two for their freezers as well. It’s a good excuse for woods tramping, and since he seems to be less bothered by heart symptoms this week, how can he be denied the pleasure. There is something so soothing about snowy woodlands – until that clump of snow falls down your neck, anyway.

Childish of me, I know, but I do love snow – the fresh air cleanness, the silence, the dreaminess, the calm. Seems to me not many Decembers come to West Virginia without a bit of snow in the first week. This is perhaps a prelude to winter weather that won’t settle in for a while. Does give one room to hope, though!

It’s time to bring in a pine bough or two and add some orange slices, cinnamon and cranberries to the steam pot on the wood stove. Maybe also time to curl up with a wisp or two of childhood fancy? Presents were fewer in those days. I recall one “big” practical present (usually clothing) and as many little things as Mom could stuff, make and imagine on a limited budget. I remember apples, oranges, nuts, homemade fruitcakes, stuffed turkey and colored lights, tinsel icicles on a fresh-cut tree. Anticipation … it was all about happy anticipation.

And with that we choose to forget that rooms were a bit drafty in our cinder block house, space heaters burned in each room on the main floor and still the windows frosted, then melted through the day. We stuffed old towels around the sills of metal framed windows to keep them from dripping on the floor. Two bedrooms up stairs were split between boys and girls, and since there was only one boy and four girls, the girls slept in two double beds in one room. But heat rises so those rooms were always toasty. I don’t remember ever feeling deprived. Our country relatives thought we lived in luxury (and indeed we did) off in the big city of Charleston, but we liked visiting the country tremendously, too.

If December is the time for making a list and checking it twice … the doublet for mine will be still be counting blessings and planning how to share them.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


When she walks through the door cloaked in clouds and rain, November may seem dreary. Not so this year. Here at Teelside we've had sunny days, crisp and cool, but sunny. Nights have dipped into freezing and brought down leaves. Still, leaves floating through sunshine lend cheer and peace.

Travels south for a grandson's wedding and visits with DSIL's and DD kept me away for most of the autumn color. Flying back home over the West Virginia hills was thrilling - though not quite so much for me as the returning soldiers (7-months out) that sat across the aisle. And there is yet enough fresh fall scent in the air for absorption. Ahh-h-h-h.

It's hunting season again. DH is gone for hours - watching deer, squirrel, 'possoms and turkeys from his tree stands. He's happy for a dry first of the season as well. Imagine his disappointment when three deer stood 10-20 feet away and he had not the strength to pull back the bow. Age is tricky. That slip, however, was easily corrected by dropping the tension on the bow back a few notches/pounds before venturing out another day.

While DH plays (and prays) in the woods, I sit by the fire reminiscing and reading. I'm enjoying that, though I keenly miss the handwork postponed by a sprained wrist. We do miss what we lose use of -- strength of hand or summer glory. Thankfully, most loss comes with a replacement of greater value. The Lord is so gracious that way. Each season brings it's own joy and, passing with time, leaves hope for fresh new sheets upon the calendar.

While I sit by the fire remembering, it's tempting to wish I could drift back and relive those calendar pages. But then that is exactly what I do in memory, isn't it. I wish all changes were easily restored; or that every precious memory would hold through every season; but such is not the way of life. Seasons come and go. And though some seasons bring troubles that settle softly with the leaves, we know the Lord Himself sustains the seasons and will gently heal our wounded hearts.

Wait on the due season.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Teelside Log, Friday, September 11, 2009

“Plan for flexibility” being the motto of standby travel, we did so by heading for Seattle a day sooner than really necessary, just in case. We lifted off from CRW @ 7:00AM and arrived at SEA @ 10:20AM without a hitch. Before noon we had been shuttled from the airport by the motel and were settled into the Rodeway Inn – not the most luxurious accommodation on the block, but certainly adequate. As Denny’s restaurant was within walking distance; we opted for a mid-afternoon meal there then took a very warm stroll up the hill and around the block.

Bedtime could hardly come soon enough and we slept well. I was up at 6AM and we tootled over to Denny’s again for an 8:30AM breakfast. The air was pleasantly cool so we took a long walk down the hill – just hangin’ out for the morning, awaiting the Snow’s arrival. DSIL & Co. arrived early afternoon and we were off to Denny’s again. We took another walk to the near 7-11 store for sodas and then on the way back to the motel hand-picked dessert: fresh blackberries on vines in the alley. Our bodies were on the west coast, but heads were still on eastern seaboard time and bedtime seemed tardy … we slept very soundly again.

Cruise Log: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2009
12:00nn Weather: Wind 8kts, Cloudy sky, 20°C / 68°F
3:15pm Passenger boat drill
3:45pm Let go all lines, commenced sea voyage

After Sunday services, two private carriers transported us to the dock. Our great adventure was underway. Tagged luggage was whisked away from the trunks of carrier cars and dock to mysteriously reappear in our stateroom later in the day. Registering online made the check-in process brief and painless. We were assigned a group number and waited in a large area to be called for boarding. There were two ships boarding at the same time, but somehow they managed to steer us to the right one. There were cookies and lemonade on the sidelines – the first of seemingly infinite food offerings. We waited our turn for all aboard. Rooms weren’t ready yet, but the scattered boarding meant the Lido Deck (9) with myriad late lunch buffets would not be swamped by 1,500+ guests in one clump. Having already determined this would be my chance to try dishes never before tasted, the first thing on my plate was sushi, rounded out with a small bowl of oriental chicken/rice, then a plate with grilled salmon and spinach. YUM!

Sharing room 4016 with the DBIL/DSIL was easy … like their company. Friends had the cabin next to ours. Tight quarters, like all ships, but we managed to stash clothing in closets/shelves and hide the suitcases under beds. We had a nice veranda and spent some time there every day. Before leaving dock there was the obligatory boat drill at a near station, but were instructed over the intercom to leave life vests behind. Was that because after donning the vests (stored in the bottom of our closets) we’d be too wide to get out the narrow cabin doors? Those in charge were wearing their life vests and could count heads per station which must meet drill criteria. I was feeling uneasy about being in front row separated from Wayne until Bob reminded me of the rule of the sea: “women and children off first.” That done, we returned “home” to watch from the veranda as the ship “let go all lines” and sailed forth from Seattle’s harbor.

The six of us sallied forth about 5:30 for our evening meal in the Vista Dining Room. We were seated at table 189 and introduced to waiters Reza and Agus. After a delightful ‘supper’ (though I am sure they would never call it that – a meal where the waiter puts your napkin in your lap for you must have a fancier name!) we left a request for the same time, table and servers for the week. Our ears were greeted with chamber music as we left the dining room. A nice string quartet was playing in the sidelined Explorer’s Lounge … so there we stood – Wayne with his eyes closed soaking up sound, me watching the sea waves pass hypnotically to the strains of Vivaldi – enraptured!

The evening filled out with a mini-show in the Vista Lounge to give us a sample of programs, music and comedy to come, then it was back to our room. Beds all turned – Wayne had the bunk that dropped down from the ceiling (over Dot and Ken’s poor heads) and I had the sofa, turned out by the veranda doors. It had been a long day and we were ready to turn in. That’s when I fell in love – lying in the bed, rocking to sleep with the waves. Better than codeine, it was a wonderful sweet-float sensation, with no diminished senses. I’m surprised they ever got me to move!

Cruise Log: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2009
12:00nn Position: 51°30.9'N 1130° 32.3'W
Weather: Wind 6kts, Cloudy sky, 13°C / 53°F

The next meal pattern was established by DBIL/me leaving a bit early for Lido deck coffee (breakfast to follow). We are typical earlier risers and so could claim a table for siblings DH/DSIL to join us. Of course they were well ensconced in conversation as they arrived and we were on our third cup of java. DBIL favors eggs Benedict; I tried eggs Florentine the next day. Generally, I settled on fruit (ate my weight in apricots) cheese and a hard dark “peasant” roll for the day’s first meal. When spouses/siblings arrived I sometimes switched from coffee to Earl Grey tea. Obviously the supplies of food and drink were endless!

Monday was the day to find a way around the ship. DH’s first forage was sick bay – poor baby does not like motion (does not do carnival rides, either). They fixed us up with some meclizine, enough to carry us through the week as half doses were best. Morning weather was lovely and we started our exploration of the ship with a few rounds of Deck 3 where outer decks allowed full circle walking. We made no use of some onboard facilities – casino, bars, swimming pools (for obvious reasons); little use of others, because some amenities get pricey. But it was interesting to browse the shops (whoever could use that much jewelry?), sample the scents drifting from the spa, and check out décor of gathering areas on decks 2-11. You had to go through the casino to get to the dining room (planned, no doubt); the Vista Lounge was really a theater area and aside from stage acts, it also served for several naturalists/natives educational talks and other meetings. There was a nice library; several computer classes offered. A studio-type kitchen arena featured cooking and later cute towel design demonstrations, daily mass for those interested and evening movies. All of this did not mean we never got lost – it’s pretty easy to lose your bearings on a moving target.

Cruise Log: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2009
12:00nn Position: 58°50.0'N 1136° 32.8'W
Weather: Wind 19kts, Overcast, 100C / 500 F

This was by far our favorite part of the trip. I’d say second only to Niagara Falls “Maid of the Mist” excursion. We did not disembark, but the ship wended its way through several inlets close to high walls of glacier ice, brief beaches and towering mountains. It was cool with some rain, but the rain did not dispel the beauty. To some the dirt and gravel moving along beneath and before the ice may have lessened the splendor of the glaciers, but not to me. Towers of blue ice formed like 100-foot crystals atop layered sand-sculptures of brown, gray and black. The scenery behind the glaciers was equally breathtaking. At John Hopkins glacier we heard ice calving like great claps of thunder. There were seals on floating ice, but my vision did not stretch that far. We saw whale spouts, but no breaching mammals; a brown bear trotting along the shore at some distance; bald eagles in tree tops. I spied a brown seal very close to the rail of our veranda. Another world….or rather, the same majestic world of our Great Creator!

Cruise Log: WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2009
5:18am Safely docked
12:00nn Weather: Winds 5kts, Overcast sky, 12°C / 52°F
6:39pm Let go all lines, commenced sea voyage

First day in port. It seemed strange to be docked at land again. You wake up and there you are – quite still beside a dock bedecked with bus stops where guides were preparing to hock their tour tickets; tram lines that disappeared in the fog at the top of the high slope and, beyond the parking lot, shop after shop after shop. End of season sale signs proclaimed: The tourists are coming, the tourists are coming!! But before shopping, we did a bus tour out to Mendenhall Glacier. The bus driver’s dialog wasn’t much aid behind fogged windows, but I did catch a glimpse of the sign and building for the Juneau church which heartened me somehow. From the bus stop, we walked a trail where bears had been but were no longer expected, since there was a lull between salmon runs. Something had left behind some pretty foul fish remnants. The bears' absence could be a good thing; it was crowded and escape routes were few – it was hard enough to leave the rotten fish odor behind. At the top of the hill, there was an odd familiarity about Mendenhall; probably because photos of the site are so common. A waterfall adjacent to the glacier was nearly as impressive as the moving ice. Both would have greater impact with closer observation. It was raining again, but we were told to expect that in this tropical rain region. That must be what makes the evergreens so lush.

Interesting facts about Juneau – the only way to get there is sea or air; most buildings (all buildings of any age) are wood; the capitol building is small, has no dome and made of yellow brick; and I missed the perfect chance to photograph Wayne with one of several a life-sized cut-out posters of Sarah Palin. Politically astute or attuned, we must not be.

Cruise Log: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2009
7:51am At Anchor
12:00nn Weather: Winds 9kts, Overcast sky, 12°C / 53°F
4:42pm Commenced sea voyage

The bay at Sitka is too shallow for docking the cruise ship, so we were taken ashore by lifeboats put into service as “tenders.” This charming city likely claims second place among favored spots. The cameraman had far more shots of this area it seems. Perhaps this is what was in our minds eye view of Alaska. Shore-side cabins among tall pines, boat docks and wooden wharfs, lots of Russian and Indian influences about. Very historical on the surface – ranging from totem poles and stone fort walls to mid-1900 shops along the street. We visited a very nice quilt shop and a Ben Franklin five-n-dime. The latter had front shelves and sidewalks piled with tourist items, but the back of the store was like walking into Charleston’s 1950 version complete with yard goods and craft supplies. I would think there would be time for lots of winter handwork in Alaska, but they say the coastal regions are pretty mild and so may have little need of cabin fever relief. Walking through town we also discovered a grocery store where DH found some caffeine/sugar free cola. [Isn’t it funny how we tend to lean toward home patterns even on distant shores? We lugged those slowly diminishing cokes back to Seattle and left half of them in the motel there as they wouldn’t fly – hope someone found use for them.]

We re-boarded ship in time to get ready for dinner…eating again. By now or soon hereafter (so much eating – it’s all a blur) we have lots of new dishes under our belts. Escargot, calamari, prawns, fillet Mignon and lobster, tiramisu, coffee cheesecake, lemon and mango sherbets, assorted European breads, leafy green salads with exotic dressings, lamb chops, lobster bisque, French onion soup (the only thing I ordered twice), salmon galore, and on and on and on. My favorite appetizer was a spring roll nesting in a luscious (hot) puddle of Thai sauce; my least favorite entrée was the lobster. It was good, but I still like shrimp better. As for escargot – you can eat anything drown in butter and garlic.

Cruise Log: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2009
6:45am Safely docked
12:00nn Weather: Wind 4kts, Overcast sky, 13°C / 53°F
12:50pm Let go all lines, commenced sea voyage

What’s to catch in Ketchikan? Salmon, crabs and tourists. B/S left ship early for a zip line adventure, but by the time we were up ‘n at ‘em there wasn’t a lot of time for visitation of the real city. Like Juneau and Sitka our first glimpse of Ketchikan was tourist-ville. I left a bigger dent there than intended, but not in shops. I moved backward off an unseen wharf step and landed (rather hard) on my backside – only real harm was embarrassment for DH – still sore, but recovering well enough with time. You’d think with all this padding…no, don’t go there. We became accustomed to the tourist trends and jewelry shops. Surprises me that gold and diamonds and semi-precious stones are so plentiful in such a sparsely populated state. And then there’s all those “yours from Alaska” trinkets that read “made in China or Philippines” on the reverse of label. But I digress. There are plenty of nature/outdoor activities available earlier in the season, so the case is (again) made for a road trip with more control of a schedule. All of our ports could have used double time for exploration it seemed.

Dinner routine was a bit different this day, as service personnel took a turn at entertaining along with food service. It all began with tossed napkins (versus tossed rolls) to the tune of Blue Danube waltzing; veggie juggling before serving salad and a more fixed menu. The guys had fun and so did we. Baked Alaska was the slated dessert – and who takes an Alaskan cruise without trying baked Alaska??
Another aside about food (since we’re never far from the subject), though supply and variety were endless, it was quite possible to eat reasonably on a cruise. Dinner courses were small proportions and always included whole grains, fruits and no-sugar added ice cream as options. I did say quite possible, not likely. You’ve already noticed that several of my choices were neither sugar nor fat free.

Cruise Log: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2009
12:00nn Weather: Wind 7kts, Partly Cloudy Sky, 15°C / 159°F
6:20pm* Safely docked
11 :30pm* Let go all lines, commenced sea voyage
*Times are estimated

Main Street Victoria was a short taxi trip from the dock. We were not far from nightfall when we hopped out in front of the Empress Hotel, then took a good walk down Government Street and over to the Wharf Street. By the time we circled back to the hotel, darkness had descended and the hotel was lit with lights like a fairytale castle. I like the feel of Victoria and probably would have really liked the botanical gardens had we been early enough in the day or season to take that route. Again, back for our last supper – er, dinner on board and adieu to the sweet serving crew.

As to servers the vast majority were Indonesian “youngsters” – some looked no more than twelve. They work 10-months a year on the ships to support themselves and their families. Perhaps that disconnection makes them more interested and attentive to guests, or perhaps they are just sweet and friendly. Whether by training or nature, they were very pleasant and polite, without exception.

Tired enough to turn in early, as usual, we packed our bags and left them outside the door for transfer to the dock in the wee hours. I don’t know when we left dock to head for Seattle, the dream coming to a close; but I am sure it was after the projected hour before midnight. Or maybe not … I didn’t turn into pumpkin before departure.

Cruise Log: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 20,2009
5:30am* First line ashore
6:00am* Safely docked
*Times are estimated

There was a full afternoon of sightseeing in Seattle on Sunday’s log. We walked over to the Space Needle and finding long lines, hopped on the monorail to downtown Seattle. Talk about culture shock! I would never have imagined such a sea of people on a Sunday afternoon. For you Sleepless/Seattle fans, we went to the waterfront market, lunched at the Athenian; saw the stools with brass “Rob Reiner/Tom Hanks sat here” tags attached and very recognizable piers outside our window as we ate fish/chips. Then on to an underground tour of the original Seattle street level – so close to sea level that sewers worked backwards (gross) at high tide. Consequently, they redesigned streets by building stone walls, filling them with nearby hillside dirt to bring road and sidewalk levels up one story. The original sidewalks remained in use for some time, then the first floors became basements and the second floors were street level. Pretty ingenious. Present streets are bustling, noisy; a Starbucks on every corner (no surprise); a complex bus system, a big city contingent of homeless street musicians (some sad, some scary), unusual architecture and big spattering of ‘the arts’ throughout. Bus and monorail got us back to the Needle, the large crowd had moved on and we went up to view the city and, of course, Mt. Rainier. Been there, done that and I’m glad for the memory.

Six or seven hours afoot tired tourists make … didn’t take us too long to rearrange for next day travel home and hit the sack. I awoke in the middle of the night and had to giggle. Three tired puppies snoring to beat the band (for the first time in our week of rooming together). I’m sure I joined the chorus when I fell back asleep. Whipped, we were, for sure!

A long day in the airport on Monday and the trip of a lifetime ended Tuesday – wheels down in Charleston just after noon; feet across the threshold of Teelside about 2:30. Time to thank God for the good company, an indescribably wonderful time, absolutely Awesome sights and Providential protection that guarded our journey start to finish.

Signing off …

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


That has come to mean a fun vacation in an unique environment ... that pretty well describes my trip to Alabama. This was the first time I'd visited the Brown family since they moved away from WV (mid 90's - Wesley preached in Chas for 9 years before moving back to his home state). We've had several occasions to reunite as their work brings them to OH & WV, but no opportunity for extended visits. We were so excited when Donna and two daughters planned to join us at the Teel Reunion ... but those plans didn't work out as she was diagnosed and had major cancer surgery just a few weeks before that was to happen. Since she couldn't come to the mountain....we went to her. She wept when I told her I was coming and said, "thank you, Papa for sharing her." That's Donna, always grateful.

The bridal tea -- wedding shower to us Yankees -- was set and the whole family was headed south. We came early and stayed late with a purpose. Since Donna is no longer up to the wedding sewing she planned (bridal and 4 bridesmaids' gowns), the loving work passed from Laurie's mama to her future mama and grandmama in law. (Nina and Donna are great friends, so their all get the picture.) Also, I was already on board for doing wedding flowers, but hadn't been able to find suitable silk blooms in Charleston. Arriving several days ahead of Nines, we found our blooms and I went to work.

Joe and Wes tagged along with us flower shopping. So funny. We called them the flowermen. A couple days later when the corsages and boutonnieres were done and I was starting on the bouquets I gave Joe the job of cutting those stout stems into similar lengths -- like how could the groom resist a chance to show off muscle? The next day, the Koen family and GA Teels (minus David) arrived. Jonathan was my engineer for the next phase of the project. O.K., Jon, here's your challenge - Laurie wants clutch bouquets, which means we have to find a way to secure a likely bunch of stems to the bottom of this Styrofoam disc that will hold the blooms. He sorted and counted the stems (I had saved/added the ones from Isobel's grandson's wedding flowers), divided by five and devised a 3-point triangle of floral picks to anchor the stems. And it worked. Joe helped. There they were groom and groomsman (cousins) poking, wiring, glue gunning like mad-scientist florists. A priceless memory and invaluable assistance.

I got up the morning of the tea and did the last item, the bride's bouquet. Saved it 'til last and it turned out best...that was the plan. The folding table was then cleared for sewing projects. Next day, Nines' pinned/cut the wedding gown and we were on a roll. She'd join pieces with pins, I'd sew; then she'd baste the next seam while I serged the former. Went very smoothly. The serger, borrowed from Nines' friend was much like the one Isobel gave me and it was the life-saver. We'd never have managed to hand turn all that satin and organza. Well, we probably could have, but I'm surely grateful we didn't have to. The finished dress took only three days, and the bride was delighted. Mission accomplished!

There's a point to all my rambling...believe it or not. Today I am reflecting on the great time we had working together for a great family occasion. I think about how pleasant it was to work together with Nina - doing something we both love for someone we both adore. We were working in the living room between a folding table and the dining room table which were moved together to accommodate the process. A lot of furniture was misplaced to create a convenient work space. And a lot of family was misplaced to accommodate our coming. Daughters slept on couches and floor in the living room, sons slept on couches and floor in the family room; families combined funds to rent the van Lisa (and boys) drove from IN to AL with Nina and seven kids on board; aunts/uncles and church friends provided bed/board for some of the crew; Laurie gave me her bedroom, Pami / Dianna gave Nina and little ones their bedroom; Wes worked overtime toting and fetching, doing dishes, wash, cooking (for 16-20 folks), with Donna directing and helping as she was able. A chaotic time became a sweet symphony ... somewhat syncopated rhythms, yes, but just great. And in all of this there was TIME for SHARING - worship services, Bible studies, family memories, extraordinary affection, stories of life-struggles and humor ... lots of humor and laughter.

In another era, this family would have lived on a homestead, or at least in the same community. They would have joined in work and celebration with similar milestones. We traveled across seven states by air and highway to join hands in the cause. The time-share of family traditions ... God is so good.

And Lord willing, we'll do the same in October, for the wedding.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


If it takes bread crumbs to make bread pudding, then a quilt made of crumb blocks can be CRUMB PUDDING. Makes sense to me! And, it’s my quilt top.

Crumb blocks are so much fun aren’t they? This top is set up with four (4”) crumb blocks per square, set with 3-inch side sashes and cornerstones (crumb blocks trimmed to 3”). It’s the classic “Scots Plaid” pattern -- very easy to accomplish. I’m quite pleased with the taupe and cocoa sash fabric Nines helped me find. Also happy to finally accomplish a quilt top with NO outside borders. I’d brag, but Nina still has an oversized (84” X 98”) top to quilt. The size is reason enough to stash it a while, though I’m glad it will wend its way out of my hopper and into hers.

I do the easy part and am truly in no hurry at all for the finale.

Spring is well on its way in WV. We’re enjoying molly moochers, the daffodils are on their way out and the redbuds are bursting on the banks of roadways. DH is right – they should call the latter purplebud – and he does.

Changing season may mean less sewing and piecing … may …I’m not making any rash promises!

Monday, March 16, 2009


The quilt top pictured before is now a finished quilt (on Benjamin Seth Teel's bed). I titled the "XXX" quilt "Grandmother Kisses." And, here's this quilt's story.

The first time I was back home (a year after marrying and moving off to FL), my Mom held my face in her hands and covered my cheeks with kisses. . . before she inspected her new grandson David, even. What a sweet memory!

I tried to smother my babies with kisses like hers ... and then my grandchildren (at least seven kisses to count at all). Even the older ones are admirably tolerant, but it was (I think) one of Nine's girls who named my shower of affection "Grandmother Kisses."

Get in line ... I have plenty to spare still.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


While visiting a family friend in a Hospice House this week, we had the unexpected pleasure of seeing him joined by friends and son for an impromptu bluegrass session. What a blessing!


Virgil picked the fiddle up
To play a little tune
And one by one the timid notes
Rang out across the room –
Each note a wee bit stronger
Than the one that came before
Virgil brought the strings and bow
To harmony once more.

The wonder of the moment was
Sealed up with tender tears
Of friends and family bound in heart
Remembering all the years
That Virgil played his fiddle
With a strong and gifted hand,
Bringing gleeful smiles and laughter
To so many ‘cross the land.

Virgil picked the fiddle up
And soon forgot his pain
The music claimed his spirit,
Soul and body once again.
How precious, then, to see him play,
His frail, beloved frame
United with his fiddle
In familiar sweet refrains.

Virgil played the fiddle
All because true friends in deed
Understood, so well, the value
Of his music; saw his need
To know again the magic
That no other hour could hold
Like Virgil and his fiddle …
Making memories of gold.

[Dedicated to Virgil and to his pickin' buddies Joe, Glen and Eddie.]

Saturday, February 21, 2009

PICTURES IN POETRY, VOLUME II -- highly recommended!

Hot off the press and worth twice the price!


Mail your request with $10.00 to cover book and postage to:


While supplies last, Paul will include a complimentary copy of Volume I with your order for this new book. If it is convenient to do so, you might include a mailing label with your request - to save his dear (81-yr old) fingers some writing/typing.:)

Saturday, January 10, 2009


My DGD Hannah Beth and I worked together on this one. The central fabrics were a gift to me, she approved of the colors and block pattern and once the blocks were assembled decided how she wanted them laid out. I love her design - meshing and progression of colors. It may be pictured upside-down...I can't remember whether she started with dark or light rows. I found the border fabric this week, so it's all done and ready to mail to GA. Miss Beth will quilt it by hand ... after she finishes a top she is doing for her other grandmother. Sorry, Beth, it's clearly a family addiction and you got a double whammy.

We're seeing a good bit of winter rain. We had lovely snow on Thursday, but it is warmer now. Rain or snow, I'm ready to sew. Crumb blocks may be next.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


It's probably a good sign when grandchildren are happy to be going home again. No matter how much they love time with grandfather and grandmother, back to known surroundings and routines is good too. But my, how quiet the barn is without them.

The shuffle for today is a final print-out on a 100+ pages of a poetry publication I'm compiling for a dear friend. This is his second book - Pictures in Poetry, Volume One was published in 1989. We'll be delivering the manuscript to its Ohio author tomorrow and I'm hoping additional corrections will be very few. What a joy it has been to convey such talent to sheets of paper! DH has been my trusty proof reader and he has enjoyed the reading as much as I have.

Once that project is truly in the chute (to the printers), perhaps I can concentrate and progress elsewhere. Even crochet and Sudoku have taken a back seat. And forty-three umpteen fun "winter" sewing jobs are awaiting. Nothing major or pressing - January ought to be good for at least one new quilt top, a flannel shirt and a jumper or two, though.

The woodshed is full, so bring on the snow and keep the sewing lights up and running.