Category: Life Stories

Happy St. Patrick Day


Hopefully with the last snowstorm behind us, I would like to give you an insight through my roving reporter’s eyes this past week.

Registration is now being taken for men’s and women’s softball teams for the spring/summer leagues. Wonder if they might have to clear home plate of any snow?

Did you happen to see the early morning traffic as they maneuvered around the rabbit that was sitting in the middle of Smith Valley Road? Speaking of rabbits, we’ve had a rabbit that has been hanging around our mini barn on a regular basis. I hope he doesn’t get any funny ideas on becoming a house guest. Once I get my garden with red tomatoes….let me be the one to pick them.

More than one red bird is feeding in our bird feeders now along with several robins, which is always a good sign that warm weather can’t be far off.

The daffodils that grow along the front of my house have put forth blooms and my tulips lived through the winter, though they seem to have suffered a bit of wilting in that brief snow we had a week ago.

Yesterday my sister brought me a Mosquito plant, so that I might be rid of the pesky little critters. The easy-to-grow Mosquito plant emits a fragrance that keeps mosquitoes away! The only catch is you must rub or crush leaves to release the scent. I’m hoping to plant it along side of the garage and convince my husband to crush a few leaves each time he comes home.

Remember if you do not like Indiana weather; give it a day or two. Within days of the last snow this month, we actually opened up a few windows in the house mid-afternoon to enjoy the fresh air.

Then it snowed the next day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saran Wrap It Up …….

 

Saran wrap, at times when I see it, I am reminded of my Aunt Mona.

When we were kids, my sisters and I yammered and argued when we sat in the back seat, on the way to visit our dear Aunty Mona. “There’s nothing to do there,” I’d say.

“She’s family,” my father would say.

Her fruit and scroll garland printed settee, chair and ottoman were all covered with plastic. Even the accent ruffled pillows were wrapped in plastic. The lamp shades were covered with yellowing plastic wrap.

In all the years of visiting, our family never touched anything directly but plastic.

I never once felt comfortable in her house.

There was an unspoken rule about visitors and fingerprints. I never once touched her coffee table. Even our parents arranged their bodies on the couch so that they never touched anything!

When she opened the door, we were hit in the face by the scent of moth balls. It lingered in the air making our little eyes water. We could even smell it on our clothes on the way home. Mother would shoot “that look” in our direction, so us girls knew not to blink our eyes or even mention the odor.

We visited in the heat of summer we knew it would be torture. “Have a seat,” she would say. Sweating away inside her non-air-conditioned house was terrible. We couldn’t even squirm around on the plastic. In this heat, once your legs were planted – they stuck.

In the living room, I was worried about my legs being permanently attached to her plastic covered chairs. My sisters and I always left the house thankful that we still had skin.

Life was never cleaner or quieter than at Aunt Mona’s house. My sisters and I sat there on the couch until Daddy would finally say, “We should get going.”

Earlier today, in my kitchen, I watched my nephew Doug poke holes in saran wrap. He had already made a mess of things in the den.

I’m just grateful that my nephew feels comfortable in my house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indiana Weather

 

Less than a month ago my neighbor fired up his backyard barbecue. My husband rode around town on his motorcycle. Our jackets were hung in the closet and we never once thought of getting even a sweater.

Yet it looks like cold weather and snow might stick around for a while.

It is winter time. Yes, we have snow and ice. After all, this is Indiana. If you want warmer weather day after day visit Hawaii.

Weather is the topic at the shopping malls, restaurants, even grocery stores. You can’t go anyplace that weather isn’t the center of conversation. True, I am as guilty as anyone else.

Aren’t we Hoosiers? We should expect it. If you listen to some people, you’d believe it was something new. If you have switched from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day and back again, you may live in Indiana.

Perhaps a mild winter can spoil us. My mother recalls “old-fashioned” winters, when the days and nights were cold, with ferocious winds day after day for weeks.

The combined lack of sunshine with below average temperatures will amount to a formula for feeling under the weather. Thus, everyone will talk about the weather. Although some welcome any postponement of hot, humid Indiana summer, others foresee a more ominous forecast for area temperatures.

Each person you meet on the street has an opinion about the weather and they will tell you.  Get with the program people, this is Indiana weather!

Indiana High School Basketball sectional time is nearing and some of the worst winter snowstorms have struck during this time period. The snow may close schools, stop work and halt traffic. You can bet the basketball sectionals will be played as scheduled.

It is winter in Indiana.  Deal with it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Carving Opinions !

 

As Halloween approaches, the most single visible and popular symbol is the pumpkin. Or more commonly called – the jack-o-lantern.

Pumpkins are plucked from the vine then spark into flaming life with leering faces, while leaves die on their branches in bursts of red and gold.

I took my nephew to a local produce stand looking for the perfect pumpkin. Later at home we washed and dried it. A slippery pumpkin would be hard to work with. We then spread newspapers under the pumpkin.

We decided to save the pumpkin seeds. No, we didn’t want to get ahead of next summer’s crop. My mother has a recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds. She uses these toasted pumpkin seeds in breads or muffins, or just to eat as a snack.

The afternoon was turning out to be enjoyable up to this point. Other adults stopped by to visit. The little guy now had way too much help!

Uncle Bob thought I was silly that we carve out the jack-o-lantern. Why cut and clean out the pumpkin. He always painted faces on his pumpkins. “Oh no” says Aunt Linda. First you must decide on the face. Should it be scary? Happy? Silly? She made the little guy draw several rough drafts of his carving on paper first. Aunt Linda went inside and my nephew opted to draw on the pumpkin itself.

I always cut my jack-o-lanterns at the top. We begin to carve a circle around the stem to make a lid. My neighbor had stopped by. He always makes his cut on the pumpkin from the bottom. The neighbor leaves and we continue to carve from the top.

Suggestions were still flowing when my husband drove up and mentioned that we cut a hole in the center of the back of the pumpkin for ventilation.

Hopefully, next year we won’t have so much help. There was more to carving this pumpkin than first met the eye.

Regardless of the different opinions, we transformed an ordinary pumpkin into a magical, seasonal decoration with a frightful design. It should delight the neighborhood with Boo-tiful decoration for Halloween.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s For Supper ?


Ours is a fast food restaurant or microwave diet. So gardening, canning and preserving food may seem out of step and anything but fun.

For generations, gardening and canning have filled those vacant, school-free hours between June and September with a fruitful activity that can still keep a food cellar — and a family pocketbook — full.

Still, canning requires some effort. Anybody who has done gardening and canning knows it’s not much fun. While family members love the fruits of their labor, they’re not prone to help much.

My mother has been making her own ketchup, jams, jellies, tomato sauce and salsa for years. She keeps busy through the summer, and the work doesn’t end until she is done with apples in the fall.

As I was taking the package of frozen peaches out of the freezer today, I began to think of how we put them up when I was a young girl. We began by watching the trees, and as soon as most of the peaches had turned a beautiful pink, we knew they were almost ready.

We put them in mason jars. I knew that when those jars came out of the basement, I would automatically wash them. Mother would work all day preparing the peaches for canning. While we kids popped peaches into our mouth as we worked.

Now as I sit at the kitchen table eating peach cobbler that was made from store bought frozen peaches, I think of the fun I had while working with my mother. Yeah right….. If God had wanted every woman to cook he would have never invented Del Monte.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep Calm – Back To School Tomorrow

 

The Greenwood Community Schools start the 2019 school year next week. Although my nephew could spend a few more days enjoying summer vacation, his mother can hardly wait until the start of school.
We spent last Saturday at stores going over Back to School Sales. Shopping for his first day of school is a task that we all agree can only be endured once a year.
Why is it that mothers and sons can never agree while they shop? I assured my sister that school shopping for the little guy will get easier as he gets older. She gave me a sneer, she knew I was lying.
Each item has to be just right — approved not only from the school but also by his peers. He is ten years old now and why would he actually want to use last years back pack? Why would he need new socks? The ones he has worn all summer are good enough for him.
The list from the school states he needs to bring four large glue sticks, a box of tissues, scissors and yes a box of Band-Aids. No ring binders are allowed in school and please bring one sealed box of children’s Tylenol. My sister wonders if she should buy a box of Tylenol for the teacher.
Perish the thought that he might ride his bicycle to school on summer days. He is a year older now and would rather walk than ride a bicycle. Can a motor bike be far behind?
When we parted at the end of the day they were still discussing how
he was going to get his hair cut.
This summer has been hot and humid but tolerable. After many happy hours on his skateboard except one – my nephew will have his cast taken off in two more weeks.
School started this week and for the most part both mother and son
are glad of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Livin’ the Dream with Green Stamps

 

My nephew Doug, was helping me search the attic for a particular box. Naturally, he did more looking around than being actual help. He came over with a book of what he called funny looking postage stamps. No, they were not postage stamps; they were trading stamps I told him.
A few of us remember the day of “trading stamps” from Gold Bond, Eagle,
S & H Green, Top Value and others. They were given out by grocers, gas stations and some department stores with each purchase.
The stamps had to be put in books, which usually meant my sister or I would sit around the kitchen table, licking stamps. Although my mother used a sponge to wet the stamps, my sister and I would resolve to lick the stamps till our mouths went dry.
At different stores, you would get fulfillment books to put your trading stamps in. The pages of each book outlined that enabled you to paste your stamps in the proper place.
Each page required a total of fifty stamps. Stamps came in point system: singles, ten, and fifty. You couldn’t mix the points. If you wanted a page of singles you had to press fifty singles. If you wanted a page of tens you needed to press five tens. With the fifty point stamp you need to press only one on a page.
Several books full of stamps could be redeemed for all sorts of merchandise . . . small kitchen appliances, sporting goods, children swing sets, radios, televisions — you name it.
I remember vividly my family planned to save trading stamps for a blender. Only after mother explained that we could make milk shakes did my sister and I agree with her plan. My father simply went along with the program. He would just bring home the stamps. We only needed 10,000 stamps to get the blender.
Saving up 10,000 stamps seemed like a daunting task. There was a Osterizer at the end of that rainbow, so we patiently filled up stamp books until we reached our goal.
Eventually, a few stores discontinued the stamps and cut their prices accordingly. Trading stamps vanished from most places. “So you got things from just saving these stamps and stuff?” Doug asks.
I tell my nephew, “You know the silverware you use at grandmother’s house came from Betty Crocker/General Mills box tops.”
Condescending, Nine year old Doug rolled his eyes, “No Way” he said shrugging his shoulders. I shook his little shoulder. “Yes Way.”