Monday, August 30, 2010

First Day of School

My first day of school was in 1959.  In those days, kindergarten was only held for a couple of weeks in the summer and then they chucked us directly into first grade. Back then the ABCs and counting were taught in school instead of an entrance requirement.  

Mom made us each two new dresses for school.  My grandkids find that hard to believe, because they have wardrobes that fill the laundry baskets to overflowing. They only wear a couple of things, but they own thousands.

This was our first day of school in 1962-ish.  I was in third grade and Betty was in sixth.  I was wearing a hand-me-down dress with a portable collar that came from another sister who wore it about 1952-ish.  Things lasted then.

 My Katie Belle is still a standard model first day of schooler.  She likes to look nice and has pretty mild taste.  She is a couple of years older now than I was then.

 Then there's our Bay.  The last couple of years she has been a silent wallflower, but this year she bloomed.  She is loving life and has lots and lots of friends.  She has a friend, Joe, who is as eccentric and happy as she and they are a joy to be around.

Her big brother is in love and it is very trying.  He sneaked out before pictures this morning.

 This, however is the man of the hour.  Today is his first day of school EVER.  He worried on the way over to the school about missing his family while he is there.  His parents helped him find his cubby, his seat, and his supplies, then stood off to the side for a while.  Mommy kissed him goodbye and he gave her the "Oh. You still here?" look.  He'll be fine, better than she will!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Meaning of Life

I have been waxing philosophic a lot lately, going on about clearing out my mind, moving on with life after work, and trips down memory lane.  After expounding on all these heavy, deep topics, I've been reveling in all the accumulated wisdom of my 58 years and have felt pretty superior about it all.  I'm on the cusp of @%@(#**&-ing nirvana! 

Trust a five year old to cut you off at the knees.

 "I'm going to my own woold now." 

(That's how you say 'world' when you can't pronounce r.)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh ----


Well, is that what it takes?  It seems simple enough. He was good enough to explain the whole process, emphasizing the point that it has to be done on a hard floor (hahd floi).  

If one is trying to get back to basics and simplify one's life, why not take the advice of a five year old?  How much simpler and more basic could one get?  It's something to think about


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Evaluation Time

My 15 year old granddaughter is a free spirit.  She has funky hair and wears different colored socks. She plays with little kids and hangs out with other teens.  She tells her little brother evil penguins are going to take over the world, but even he doesn't believe that -- much.  She's a good student, but very scatterbrained.  She's what every young girl should be.

 I was a free spirit at that age too.  That was in the 60s and everyone thought I was stoned all the time.  I really wasn't.  I was happy, a happy hippy.  

I noticed a while ago that my brain feels heavy and tight.  You know how a high school kid's backpack full of books feels like a 50 pound dead weight?  You know that do-it-yourself guy who likes to tighten things just that one last turn?  That's how my head feels.

I look at my goofy girl now, and at my groovy hippy self then and compare it to now.  Experiences, thoughts, catastrophes, events, failures, decisions good and bad, responsibilities, and discipline have filled my brain up full and tightened it up to that last deadly turn.  

 It's time to clean house.  There are no more deadlines, no more reports due, no more children to raise, and my health is good.  Why would I need all that other crap?  My aim is to get rid of what isn't necessary to keep.  Can I use it?  Will it do someone else some good?  Will it help me in my future life?  If the answer is yes, I'll hold on to it, if it is no, out it goes.  

 I'm going to stop and smell the roses, and dodge sucker punches the best I can.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dereliction of Duty

Oatmeal cookies are one of God's greatest gifts to mankind, and kidkind. I'm not talking about just any oatmeal cookies, but the homemade kind from my childhood.  They are big and brown and full of raisins and walnuts.  The whole neighborhood came around when Mom made oatmeal cookies.  In our old age, they are still remembered.

I've made the cookies in the years between then and now, but it was brought to my attention yesterday that I have failed to teach my youngest offspring the secrets of making them successfully. There goes Mother of the Year right out the window - again.

When I got married 40 years ago, at the tender age of 18, cookies were the only thing I knew how to make.  I figured that between my mom's oatmeal cookies and his mom's sugar cookies, the major food groups were covered.  Can you see that my 40 year old recipe has been rode hard and put away wet?  I can still read it just fine.

I went through the routine of mixing and sifting and measuring with daughter and her children.  The dough tasted just right, so I knew we were in good shape.  We used to only cook about half the dough, because we (six of us or more) ate the rest raw. Mmmmmm.

Did I tell you they smell wonderful, even before they are cooked?  They do.  After they are cooked, there is no smell that can compare, unless it is a new baby's little noggin, but that's not part of this story.

This, my dears, is a vision from my childhood.  This is heaven on earth.  This is oatmeal cookies.

It is a good thing we have lots of people in this family to help eat these, because if we didn't, I'd be obliged to eat them myself.  Today.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away

I'm ready for a good summer storm.  There should be lots of rain so it makes the gutters run crazy.  Lighting and thunder are a must,  and it should go on all day long and into the night.

I like storms more than the average person probably.  I like weather that does something. I want a gully washer! a turd floater!  We've been dry too long.

When I was young, every house had a ditch in the front.  Ours had a single concrete slab set at a drunken angle that served as a bridge.  We would wait until it was raining pitchforks and race from the front porch (which was really the side porch) out to the bridge and back again to see who got the least wet.  It got harder to tell as the trips out and back added up. We kept going until we were soaked to the skin and laughing like loons.

Then, after the rain, the world looked like it was brand new.  Colors were brighter, lines were crisper, and when the sun came out everything sort of twinkled with raindrops.  It kind of made you want to keep going to see what's next.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Family Feed

We used to have a lot of family feeds at our house, both summer and winter.  The sisters, their husbands, and their children came, and each family brought something to add to the feast.  For many years before I got a big house, we would go to Betty's to get together.

To sing my tired old refrain, time marches on.  Demographics have changed, but we try to get together a couple of times a year.  Both times are for Thanksgiving.  We do the same old Thanksgiving everyone else does in November,  but we try for another one around the end of June. 

Attendance has dropped way down because as families grow, priorities change.  It is understandable, but sometimes I long for the good ole days.  I also longed for decent weather in June, but it wasn't to happen.  Thanksgiving at the end of July is more than we bargained for heat-wise. 

Lord help us when I long for the good ole days.  Sometimes I can reminisce over the times when my kids were little, for when I was little, and for years before I was ever born.  I'm like that.


These tractor seat chairs were Mom's.  She kept them in the back yard under the black walnut tree.  I was giddy when no one else wanted them and we hauled them home. Mom needs a place to sit if she stops by to eat.