Sunday, November 29, 2009

LAST OF THANKSGIVING MEMORIES

I thought I would share with all of you some of the bits of our Thanksgiving . Jim and I were invited down to my son's house in a city about 75 miles away. Here are some of the scenes of our day.

Such a vividly beautiful Thanksgiving table setting!





Miranda showed off her Halloween Bunny
Costume



Another view of Matilda

The day ended with a quick return to catch a visit with Bill and we got him just as they were putting him to bed.
Below is something Jim ,my son who is visiting, wrote that I think holds a real thanksgiving message...
------------------------------------
It is his only contact with the God that has sustained him for all these years through toil, war, illness, rejoicing, tears, sweat and now Alzheimer's. He was eager to be there by 10 am, in the activity room where church is held for the residents by a WELS Lutheran pastor who accepts all Lutherans.

Dad rolled his wheelchair down the long halls to the activity room with the altar in the corner. About 13 Lutherans in wheelchairs came where two or three are gathered in His name will have Christ in their midst as we are told by our Lord.

They handed out the red LCMS hymnbooks of yesteryear. Hands that once were confident and strong are shaky, deformed from years of arthritis could barely hold on to hymnals. Eyes weary from age needed help finding the hymns while the pastor said the words, line by line so they would understand them. Feeble voices filled the air when the hymns were sung with a piano, and every stanza was sung to the end.

The lesson was on Psalm 118 of thanksgiving that mentions "O give thanks unto the Lord for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever!" (I remember singing that in the liturgy during my childhood in the red old Lutheran Service Book & Hymnal)

The sermon was on how unthankful many of us are during this time of economic downturn, job loss, and aged and broken bodies that long to be 20 years old again. However, we were reassured that God still cares and that his mercy will endure in our lives and we need to be thankful.

Then it came time for the Lord's Prayer. Dad at 87, whose Alzheimer's has taken away his speech patterns and physical mobility, started talking and reciting from deep within. I looked at him and watched, as the prayer is something that the demonic Alzheimer's has not taken away yet.

I felt a tear in my eye as it was beautiful hearing my Dad recite with confidence, a prayer, which has been instilled in him from the time of childhood. I gave him a hug. I thought of my family then who I wished were there to see the lovely moment that I had just been given.

The Lord's mercy endured today and I was able to see a glimpse of my father like he used to be. Perhaps that is what God wanted me to see today to help me be reassured that my Dad is still there despite his fading away from us

Sunday, November 22, 2009

MY FIRST CAR



MY FIRST CAR



When we lived in Denver several years ago (a whole lot of years ago, I guess) I had Grandpa’s old green Plymouth Fury with the big fins for my personal use. That car had been many places and did even make the trip from Minnesota, tho it was not in the best of shape .

One day I was going to play golf over on Federal Blvd way and as I went down 104th to the six lane corner, I put on the brakes for the stop light and it decided it wanted to go right on through. I escaped unscathed only because the blue language yelled at me by the entire cross traffic covered me with a fog so that miraculously I was not hit. If you believe that, well, I have a piece of land down in……. No, I don’t know how I escaped being hit. All I know was that I was mad and I made a U turn and drove back to 104th.

Those of you who know Denver know that l04th is car sales alley and so I drove into the first one I came to which happened to be a VW garage. I was met by John who was fascinated by my red striped top. No mastectomies yet! I saw this pale yellow vokes bug which I loved immediately and began to haggle for price and allowance for my great big Plymouth. I got the allowance I wanted and I wrote a check for the rest and drove my first car home that I had bought on my own... Sure, I had been consulted about the previous cars, but this one only I made the decision, signed, sealed and delivered.



My eldest 16 year old son would take the car up in the mountains and he and his friends would ride on Jeep trails with it as far as they could. When they came to a place where there could go no further, they simply lifted the car and turned her around.

Everyone in the family seemed to love Griselda and my husband, tho he complained when he had to fit his 6 foot 2 inches frame into it, went along with it too. When we moved to Michigan, the car came along. Actually, my daughter used it often when she attended Michigan State. They had a lot of fun with that car. One day when she came out of class a gang of guys had lifted the car up umpteen steps and there it sat in front of the doors in all its glory looking down on everybody.

I loved my little yellow VW but one day Bill started sounding the ominous note that the ball joints were going and therefore it was no longer safe to drive. Knowing nothing about that sort of thing, I agreed and Bill turned her in for a Nova. I later found out that VWs do not have ball joints. Men—got balls, but such liars!!!!

My first car was fun. I shall never forget it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Old? Who me? Of course


"The advantage of being eighty years old is that one has had many people to love" Jean Renoir



Hey, everyone, I just had another birthday! I am 85 years old or at least working on it. How can that be, you ask. You were just 83 the last time we looked. This is my way of looking at it.

Years ago, I read somewhere that the Chinese way of looking at age is that when you are born you are not counted to be one year old until you have completed that year. Therefore your birthday is always behind by one year. You follow? So when you get to your birthday, you have been working on that year all the time before and therefore you have finished that year and are starting a new one. So this next year I shall tell everyone I am 85 and then when my birthday comes again I won’t feel so bad because I have been that age for a whole year already. Is that nuts? My kids think so.

There seems to be also something in my memory bank about how they also count the 9 months in the womb some way. Some of you won’t like that. You are already older than you think. Bad. Well, age isn’t such a bad thing. You cannot stop time and although I would like to go back, as does everyone I think, one cannot. So you accept it and enjoy each day you can.

There are a lot of misconceptions about old agers. One that I always debunked when I was teaching school was to tell the kids that just because someone is old does not mean they are wiser. If they were stupid when they were young, they are just as stupid when they get old. Harsh? Perhaps, but wisdom does not come automatically with experience and long life.

This post came out of the blue. I did think of a topic yesterday as my son and I were driving home from Appleton after a brief shopping trip. But I forgot what it was and he can’t remember it either, so there you go. It probably will come back to me sometime. So for now, this is it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In Your Face Laughter


“Laughter is the sun that drives the winter from the human face “

Mark Twain


Have you ever gone back in your life and thought about the things that really can still make you laugh? I, of course, have a huge advantage here as I have lived longer, but then again I have forgotten more.

One of the funniest memories that can really make me haw haw laugh is the following. Bill and I were attending one of our daughter’s friend's wedding and were staying in this cool hotel along with the other guests. At the reception which followed, Bill had a great time dancing like a mad fool and drinking probably too much.

The party broke up and we got to our hotel and as we were going to get ready for bed, Bill in slurred speech said that he wanted “one more drink with his daughter and that husband of hers” and took off out of the room. I tried to stop him. Apparently my daughter didn’t enjoy his drunken self either for he came back to the room fairly soon. I was already in bed and he was trying to get undressed in the near dark as quietly as possible.

I lay there listening to his efforts and his blistering comments under his breath as he got tangled up in his clothes. Finally he made it. He turned toward the bed and I heard him take a deep breath and throwing his arms in the air made a flying leap toward what he thought was the bed. He landed Kerplunk right beside it on the floor!

I turned on the light and looked at him sprawled out on the carpet and I could not stop laughing. He wasn’t hurt, just mad. My mom used to say that God takes care of drunks and babies. And I guess that was the case that night. But I can still see his big 6 foot 2 inches frame flying through the air and landing –thump. And I have to start laughing all over again.

And then there was the time we were on a trip to Canada in my son Jon’s new Regal Buick. . We were staying in this hotel and I had gone into the bathroom. The fire alarm sounded and Bill and the boys all ran out of the motel (Jon to move his precious new car away from the building) and without a thought for their mother and wife left me in the john. The fan must have drowned out the sound of the fire alarm and when I finally came out and heard it, I grabbed some suitcases and struggled down the hall. When I reached my gang outside they took one look and laughed and laughed. Especially Bill. He said he could just see the headlines of the morning newspaper WOMAN DIES IN BATHROOM WHILE SITTING ON THE THRONE and laughed and laughed again. Oh, by the way, it was a false alarm.

Then there’s the story of my new vacuum cleaner. Lorraine my best friend and neighbor came over and we were reading the instructions on how you put the dustbag on. It was a good old Hoover with the plastic hose sticking out upon which you were supposed to put the rubber thingy which was attached to the bag. As we struggled to pull the rubber like attachment onto the hose, all of sudden we both thought the same thing- and we rolled over in laughter on the floor. I think of it every time I change the bag on my present vacuum (still a Hoover) and laugh and laugh again.

I’ll bet every one of you could think of funny events that occurred in your life to make you laugh. How about sharing some of them?



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hail to the Veterans today


Today is Veteran’s Day and I wish to add my tribute to all who have fought for our country. These soldiers and sailors and marines and air force men and women have earned our respect and gratitude. Two of my brothers served during that war, one in the South Pacific for four years. My husband is also a veteran of that war and served for four years in England, France and Germany. So Veteran’s Day is important to me. However….

The first Veteran’s Day I remember was when we lived in Ironwood, Michigan. We had just moved there from Illinois and it was my first day in the new school in the new town. The observance was for veterans of WW1 and the war seemed long ago as this was 1935. I had just turned 10 years old. I was in the Seventh Grade (skipped a couple) and I can still feel the churning in my stomach as we walked single file into the auditorium. A tall girl named Carol had been assigned to be my buddy and of course we were directed to the front row. I was so nervous and so upset already but when the trumpets sounded right in front of me, I lost it and threw up all over me and Carol. Needless to say, Carol didn’t like me much after that.

Today we are engaged in two other wars. They are a little unlike the first and the second World Wars and the wars in Korea. Guerilla warfare make our superiority in nuclear power useless and the wars seem to not get anywhere. I hope that soon we can have peace again and the men and women can come home again soon.

I hope those of you who have close ones in the service come home safely.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

What have we done to the first Americans?



The hard rains from the hills are our father
The soft gentle rains are our mother

Paraphrased : Navajo belief


What kind of thoughts does the words “global warming” conjure up in your minds? We used to hear a great deal about it every day, but now we hear about our two wars, health insurance reform, immigration, education and killings at Fort Hood in Texas and again in Orlando.

Tonight I watched Bill Moyer’s Journal as usual, and the topic was a movie about the Hopi and Navajo Indians in Arizona whose land has been ravaged by a coal mine that has polluted all their water for energy to light up Los Angeles and San Diego and other southwestern cities. They fought that hard and long in court and finally the mine was shut down. First small victory. But they were left with ruined land, loss of jobs, and no way to climb out of their depression.

They have formed a coalition to fight to supply these areas with energy with the use of windmills and solar energy. They have the most sun and lots of wind there to use. They feel they are owed help on this project from California and some of the other states who used their coal. And Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill that they will not let new mines come back to the reservation. Second small victory.

Denmark gets all its energy from windmills and even sells some to other countries. And Germany has done a lot toward using solar energy and mills with some success and they don’t even have a lot of sun or wind. The Federal Government was into using windmills during Carter’s administration, but since Reagan, all presidents who followed have been advocating “clean coal”, oil, and nuclear power. These Indians, even tho the lines crisscrossed their land and the slurry water pipe ran under their land, never had any electricity themselves. Oh, they were paid $20,000 a year but what is that to a whole
Tribe?

But the saddest thing of all is the land being ruined for all future generations of these Indians in addition to their not having anything to live on nowl Some Indians in North Dakota and other states are going ahead with building the solar energy thingies and windmills. Did you know that it only takes 1 or 2 days to put up one mill and you get immediate energy from it and it takes 5 years to put up a coal station?

Seems to me there is no doubt about the proper answer to the problem here. I know many people do not believe in global warming. Even my son often says in the winter,” I just shoveled 12 inches of global warming off my driveway.” But I do. And I am for windmills and solar energy.
Just NIMBY.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Beautiful Door County, Wisconsin

One beautiful day, my son Jim and I drove up to Door County. Door County is renown for being like a mid-west New England. It was a little late in the season, however, for pics of the boats and the beaches and such but the colors were beautiful. So I am going to take you on the trip with us.






















video
All trips to Door County must include a
visit to Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in
Sister Bay where you must order the traditional
Swedish Pancakes and Swedish Meatballs.
With these you must have lots of
Lingonberries, a delicacy grown only
in Sweden. (They are sort of like cranberries
only they are sweeter) And they have a
thatched roof with live goats living there.
The Boutique has all these wonderfully
expensive Norwegian sweaters and Swedish
woolens and clothes for about $300 a pop.
I always buy the 10 cent matchbooks!









These are the pancakes with lingonberries spread liberally on top. Jim likes his lingonberries almost more than the pancakes.



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