When I first started writing my blog it was because I had figured I wrote everyday anyway so why not share some of it with others. I thought I had things others would be interested in and maybe sometimes I might even help some one with something through my words and insight. So off I went on my journey down the “Daily” blog road and at the first turn hit a wall. It was that word. DAILY. DAILY. All of a sudden there was nothing to write about DAILY. What? It was easy before I committed to it. Now, suddenly, my life was boring, my mind was blank and I felt like a fool. How could this happen. My career as a blogger was done. I no longer could write any thing let alone something someone else might be interested in. I put away my thoughts of becoming awe inspiring through my wisdom with words. A week went by. I was bored. A friend called. The pen by the phone seemed to navigate to my fingers as we talked. I scribbled, I drew trees, then buildings then mountains as we carried on our conversation and made plans for lunch the following day. I hung up the phone and went back to my computer. I thought anyone who can conquer mountains while planning lunch can surly write a blog. I began writing and the words came easily. They didn’t come out in a blog daily but I felt if I just left that word out of the equation I’d do just fine. So folks daily I’m not but I hope when I add something new to my pages you will get something out of what I write. Of late, I have written nothing again. When I follow up this post, you’ll understand. but for now, it’s late, I’m tired and I’m headed for bed because you see, its my blog, I can finish anytime I want, write as much or as little as I want and get back to you on my time frame. So any of you others out there that feel intimidated by that little word, daily, or feel you are obligated to anyone but yourself when doing your blog, relax. Just relax, enjoy your writing and it will come to you. Have a wordless day? They will flow like a river tomorrow. I’ll say good night now and I hope you all will return tomorrow. My silence has had many pages.
Finding something to post about lately hasn’t been easy for me. I’ve not been well and I am not the kind that likes to talk about it much. Posting when you are feeling at your worst, worse than you have ever felt in your life, is just not acceptable. However, the Doctor finally hit on a medication that helps and I have made a big change for the better today. I finally was able to tie my own shoes and brush my hair, and I can turn a door knob. These are just a few of the things I’ve been unable to do for quite some time now. Hallelujah for this much. I think we are on the right road now. Tests have been ordered and we will find the root of my problems hopefully soon. In the meantime, I have finally found a little relief.
Now let’s get back to why I really sat down here to write. Since I am feeling so much better I wanted to do something with Steve and since he has wanted to make donuts and donuts sounded good to me, I told him to go ahead and as soon as I finished taking care of the dogs I would be there to help. I have four dogs of my own and babysitting my daughters two for the weekend, so needless to say, it took a few minutes to get them all petted and loved on, fed, put outdoors and back in again with treats for their good deeds and then tucked in for a morning nap all in their respective areas. Wookie and Mo sleep in the guest room where our daughter came home to stay with us just until she could get on her feet a little better, which was supposed to be about three months in her plan of things and its now been about seven but that’s another story in itself so again, back to my original subject of Steve’s donuts. After finishing the dogs I mosied on into the kitchen where Steve was hard at it. He already had the dough for the cake donuts in the fridge in a waiting stage and was mixing the dough for some raised donuts which we were going to do maple bars out of. My job was to make the glaze for the cake donuts and the maple icing. I guess this is about where I should tell you, we have never made donuts before. What the heck. We are both good cooks and can follow a recipe, right? Well, I hadn’t looked at the recipes that Steve had picked or I would have known right from the start that this wouldn’t be some that I would especially like. Not knowing that, I followed along listening to his instructions to use the additional recipes that went with the donuts we were making. As I put the ingredients to the glaze together, I thought to myself,” I’ve never made glaze like this before. Oh well, time to learn something new.” I went on to the icing and as I got the ingredients all rounded up Steve was ready to cook the cake donuts. He carefully put them in the hot oil and we both watched them closely to make sure we got them out in the right time. While I watched him pull each one up out of the oil and placed it on the cooling rack, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. “They look too done.” I said, as nicely as I could. ” I think we are cooking them to long.”
“Yes, I think maybe you are right,” he replied with a true frown, a look you rarely see on his face.
We tried getting them out of the oil quicker but something still wasn’t right.
“The oil isn’t hot enough.” I told him. “I’m sure of it, it’s just not hot enough.”
We placed the last of the cake donuts on the cake rack and stood staring at them as if they were some strange object dropped in front of us out of no where. I was the one to speak first, breaking the silence, as I picked one up and told my husband.
“Only way to know is to either break it in half and look at the inside or go all the way and just taste it.” I smiled and held it out to him. We both laughed as he took it and, after waiting another minute with one of those, I don’t know about this looks on his face, he took a bite. He chewed, I waited. No comment. He held it in his hand looking at it then handed it out to me.
“You try it.”
I reached across the island to take it and said, “Well, what do you think? “Is it okay?” “Do you like it?”
“Just try it and tell me what you think.” he replied, and at that, I laughed, and took a bite.
“Cooked to long in the oil, no, I think the oil just wasn’t hot enough. They taste like the oil.” I said to him.
“That’s what I thought too but it was up to the right temperature so how does that happen? Steve was looking at the temperature dial as he spoke to me. As he looked back up with that frown on his face I, just as perplexed as he, said quietly,
“Maybe we should check the oil temp with a thermometer, thinking to myself , “why didn’t I think of that before we started cooking.”
As we both suspected the temp was low, the oil wasn’t hot enough, and the donuts soaked up oil as they cooked. Yuck.
I began dipping the donut’s, or “Doughnuts” as they were originally spelled if you want to get particular about it, in the glaze I had made for them exactly by the directions on the recipe. My thought was it was too thin and so I double dipped hoping for better coverage but still not getting the desired effect. We laughed again. At least we were having fun, I think partly just because we were both happy that I could take part in something again. It was nice just being together, doing together and enjoying it. It’s hard on a couple who have done almost every thing together for twenty-five years to suddenly have one unable to take part. Not only that, the other one has the responsibility of taking care of you as if you were a child which is just frightening to them, as they think that this could be a permanent situation. Not that either wouldn’t do it for the other but it is still a very frightening thought to both of you. So you both do what needs to be done, but don’t talk about it much because neither wants to upset the other. However, today was good. We were together, we laughed a lot just like we always have and it really doesn’t matter about the donuts. Now, it was time for another taste with the glaze on them.
“You go first,” he said.
I broke off a piece of one and slowly put it in my mouth. I chewed and tasted slowly. I took one more bite, you know, to make sure of my, well, my taste buds I guess, and again chewed slowly as Steve watched and waited.
“Seriously, they still taste like oil and my gosh the glaze is awful but you have to taste too. I did, so you have to,” I blurted out not holding back one bit.
“Okay, okay you don’t have to be so truthful you know. Just give a guy a little break.” all said as he took a bite. “Okay, you are right, that glaze is awful. I’ve got to get the raised dough out and cut out the other ones. It’s past time.” was his next remark as he quickly got the dough out of the warming oven. Moving swiftly with purpose and speaking not a word he went to his business of rolling the dough and cutting the donuts, placing them carefully on the pan and back into the warming oven to raise for the last time before cooking. Watching the care he took in every step made me happy. He has always put all his effort into what ever he does and takes pride in his work be it working on the car, building a piece of furniture, making the yard look as if a professional landscaper had been there, or yes, making donuts for the first time. I got out some ham and eggs. We had worked all morning and hadn’t had anything other than our coffee and a bunch of tastes of some really not so great donuts. It was time for food. Steve cleaned up some of the mess, I cooked and we sat down at the island to eat.
“I wonder if these are going to turn out any better,” he said looking across the island at me with a smile on his face.
“Probably they will,” I said, and then added quickly, “didn’t this book say they sold these donuts every where and that they were in big demand? You followed the recipe and have done everything just like they said so why shouldn’t they turn out?”
“Yes, and I followed the other recipe too, didn’t I?” We ate the rest of our eggs in silence but each of us could see the laughter in the others eyes.
Now we’ll cut some corners here and just tell you, no, these raised ones didn’t turn out as hoped either and to me, they had a funny taste. As I surely must have had one of those looks on my face as I tasted, Steve looked at me and said, ” Well, give it to me straight. What’s the outcome?”
“Well, not raised enough for one, still taste a bit like oil, and then there’s a flavor I just don’t know what it is or how to explain it. It’s just weird and not a flavor I like for sure.”
“Maybe it’s the mace.”
“Mace! The recipe called for mace? That’s it then because I just don’t like mace or nutmeg.” I said.
“Well then that explains part of your dislike to the other batch because it had nutmeg in it and I don’t care for either of those myself.” Steve said as I brought the icing over for this new batch.
“Nope, you’re right”
“Mind if I try a little of my own ideas for maple icing?”
“Nope. You have at it and do what ever you like. Can’t make them any worse.”
So I whipped up a little icing the way I know how, simple and easy, and went back to Steve for another taste test.”
“Go for it babe, put that on them. That’s pretty good icing.” he said and he helped me pour it into a flat bowl for dipping the donuts.”
“Okay, babe. This is it. One last taste before we toss it all.” he said as I finished the last one. I cut one in half, and we each took a bite. We decided the mace took over all the flavor and they were not good. We’ll let our daughter Mary, who lives next door, try one in the morning, but we are pretty sure she will be in full agreement with us. However, we also agree that there are probably some little raccoons or squirrels and birds out in our woods that might like the flavor. We also agreed that we’ll just call this a learning experience, neither of us care for nutmeg or mace, and practice makes perfect. So Steve is going to be up early in the morning and will be off to the grocery store to buy another jug of oil. We have everything else all ready to start over and give it another try. He came in a bit ago, kissed me, and said he was off to bed. I told him I’d be there just as soon as I got my computer shut down, knowing that all the while I had this in mind to write about. I think he knew it too. My minutes sometimes turn into hours and I believe that’s just about how long I’ve been at this. My dog Ziva is laying faithfully here at my side but has sighed several times in hopes I would say “let’s go to bed girl” because she won’t go without me. I guess it’s time.
I don’t know if this post was all about donut’s or more about
two people (and a couple or so dogs)
What is better than that and with that, I’ll say, ” Goodnight folks and I hope I’ll be back tomorrow.”
A subject that I have been seeing a lot about on WP lately is “Finding time to write.” Most days there is just not enough time in my day to actually sit down and write. Finding time just doesn’t happen. Right now, I have laundry in the dryer waiting for me to get it out, laundry in the washer on hold waiting for me to add to the load because I only brought out part of it, three dogs waiting for a bath which they need desperately, a daughter working on her “first house” which is a twenty-two foot travel trailer that she is remodeling to make herself a tiny home because she can’t find a place to rent that she can afford, who is in and out with questions and ideas running them past me for my input on what she is doing, a wall in the family room waiting to be painted before we finish moving book cases and furniture into a different but more effective arrangement which was mainly brought on because of a desire to make the music room a little more spacious by moving the piano which is waiting to be done yet too. Along with all the above I still have outside things that need to get done before we get any further into the cold season, a jewelry project on hold, two quilts on hold but I finally did get my sewing machine replaced so I can sew again and, and by the way, have two other sewing projects that I’m working on hold because my machine had failed me, one of which is a skirt for me and the other a jacket. Find time to write, no. Take time to write is the only way I can get it done. My daughter and husband are both outside at the moment and I’m sure they would question why I’m sitting here at the computer when there is so much to do,if they were to come in,so this post is going to be “short but sweet” as they say, because they could come in at any moment. The sweet part being that I did sit and I did write. Maybe it’s not too interesting to most but this is the way a day goes around here and I think I hear them coming. Looks like it might be lunch time so I’d better get to it and then get on with the rest of today. Oh yes, and that also means to be cleaned up, looking vibrant and full of energy by five o’clock with dinner over with and the mess cleaned up so we can go to open mike tonight at six. I guess what this post is about is that you may not be able to readily find that special time to write so the only thing to do is “TAKE IT” or it may never happen
I guess “Multi-Tasking” in this case really isn’t an option. Okay, no, I wouldn’t put my dog in the washer so I think we’ll stay home tonight and skip open mike. Maybe I can get the dogs bathed and write another post too.
My Dad passed away in March 2009. For as long as I can remember he played the mandolin. Many of those years, as a youngster, I would hop up on the kitchen counter into the corner where the two came together and listen to him, my uncles and my aunts play and sing on Saturday nights. Of course, that was after we all took in the Grand Ole Opry program on TV. While all the other kids, and there were a bunch of us, ran off to play I was always hanging out to listen to the music. I was really quite shy as a youngster and although I wanted so badly to play guitar and sing, I just simply didn’t have the courage to ask anyone to teach me. I loved country music. I loved the twang of it and the songs that spoke of so much about life. I could picture myself on that Grand Ole Opry stage singing my heart out to a Patsy Cline or Kitty Wells song. Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette were two more of my favorites. The songs telling stories of such tragic heartache could bring me to almost tears and reached way down deep into my soul pulling at a heartache I had never understood. I identified with the singer and the songs as if I had been right there during each and every hopeless love loss or as if I were the bearer of the news that would tear their world apart. Yes, I loved it all. This love stayed with me throughout my life but I never did get a chance to do anything but listen. However, sometimes, if you wait and keep your dreams in your heart, things can change. About the same time I took up writing, I mean really writing for others to read, I also started singing, out loud. Like everything else I did, although I sang often, I kept it to myself. I didn’t sing if anyone could hear me or if I even suspected that anyone might be listening. Now though, music is a part of our lives. We have a “Music Room.” Well, sort of music room. I guess I should fill in a little here with how that came about. My husband, Steve, has always had guitars but they stood in the closet and it seemed he never had time to play. When we married, between the two of us, we had six kids in the house, his two three of mine, and our grand daughter. We also had numerous dogs and soon a small farm, with chickens, ducks, sheep, rabbits and oh, so much more through the years. Eventually Steve was working two jobs. By that time we had switched to horses and all the activities included with them. He called this time of our lives a “study in intensive manure management.” Once in a while he would drag one of his guitars out, sit on the edge of the bed and strum some part of some song and then put it away again. He often thought back to the day when, while working at a clothing store, he met Bonny Guitar and was actually offered a chance to go on the road and play bass with her band. Because of his situation at that time, he wasn’t able to take her up on it. I know he has dreamed of what it would have been like to tour the country and be in a band. I tried often to encourage him to get his guitar out and play. Still, he played about as often as I sang. Then, before my Dad passed away, he gave me his mandolin and I had decided I was going to learn to play it. That idea didn’t last long because my brother came to go through a few things after dad passed and said he wanted the mandolin. I didn’t argue. Not wanting to make a big deal out of it or cause hard feelings, I gave it to him. But I still wanted to learn and I bought myself another mandolin. So now I had to work at it, no excuses and if I was going to, so I thought, should Steve. Logically, my next thought was, if we were going to work at it we needed a place to keep our instruments handy. I looked at him one day and said, ” I need some help moving furniture.” Like he usually did, he pitched right in without question and helped me. Then it dawned on him that I was moving all the dining furniture out of the dining room and into the living room.
“What are you doing?” he finally asked.
“Well, I think we need a place to play our instruments so, I’m making one. Can you and I move the piano by ourselves?”
“Not easily, but we can if it’s not too far.” he replied
So with that we got the piano moved around the corner and into the dining area. We rearranged the stereo equipment, the record and CD cabinets, and brought in a couple of chairs, the kind you can sit on to play. It was almost done. We brought out the couple of old guitars and stands that we had and sat them among the chairs.
“TA DA!” I was overjoyed with myself . Then we actually started playing something every day. After all we had done, how could we not.
It was shortly after he retired and one day while out and about we went to the music store as I had picked up a saxophone for our grandson and it needed reeds. Just planning for his future in music, I said to myself. While I was getting the reeds, Steve busied himself looking at guitars. He really wanted a bass. His had been sold long before I came into his life. So I told him, I hadn’t gotten him his retirement gift yet as I wasn’t sure what was best. “What about a bass guitar?” I asked. “What about that “Fender” up there?”
“No, that’s too much money for one guitar. At my age, I don’t need that expensive guitar but how about this bass over here and then I could get this Telecaster too?” He was on a role and enjoying this moment to the max.
“Okay with me,” I said
“But I don’t have a bass amp, so maybe just the Tele for now. No bass today. ” he replied quietly, his face showing the disappointment behind his words.
“So how much is an amp? Let’s just do this and get one. I want you to be able to play music. You’ve wanted to all your life and it’s time for you to do something that has been in your heart to do.”
As I was speaking the salesman was rounding up amps for him to choose from and we walked out of that store that day with two very happy men grinning from the purchases made. Steve, thrilled with his retirement gifts and the salesman from the commission he would get for that sale. It should have been a pretty nice one.
We continued setting up our, so-called, “Music Room” both of us excited with each new idea. We made wall coverings to put hangers for the instruments on. We found a few more instruments for extremely good prices on some on-line auctions. I ran across a round back mandolin and managed to jump into the auction at the last-minute and get it for almost nothing. Just for fun we purchased an old bugle to add to the atmosphere of the room. Steve cut out music notes which I painted black and white to go with the rest of the decor in and we hung them around the guitars and mandolins. I had taken a picture of Dad’s mandolin which we hung center stage of everything else. Then, we played together, we sang and we were having fun. More guitars, a drum set and some antique instruments came as we developed our interests deeper into the music. The drums were for our grandson and this year he will be able to start lessons. I also picked up, over several months time, a ukulele for each of us ( that’s six to be exact) and I am determined to learn and teach this to the kids too.
Now, earlier I mentioned how things can change. That change came, for me, with all these instruments, the room change, and the desire to inspire my husband and grand kids. The real change came, not in our surroundings, but in me. I have opened more windows in my life. I am letting others see who I really am. We are now having a jam session at our house on Saturday nights. Friends come over and we play and sing. I’ve started taking mandolin lessons. Steve and I have also recently started going to the Senior Center. At first it was so he could play with the band there. Ah, but then, we sang. Now we go to an open mike on Wednesday nights where Steve has been playing the bass. But this coming week will be different. This coming week we plan to sing. We are almost ready. If my nerves don’t get the best of me we will do this. Never having been a very open person, dealing with anxiety most of my life, fear of crowds and numerous other things has kept me pretty much in the background of everything going on. But this week….if everything goes right, well, not if, because it’s going to go just fine. Putting this down on paper, having actually said it out loud, sorta seals the deal, right? I have to do this. I will do this, and although it’s not the Grand Ole Opry and I certainly cannot compare myself to Patsy or Tammy, I am singing, out loud and others will be listening. It’s taken many, many years for me to fulfill this dream but I figure, it’s never to late to do something that has always been in your heart to do. Of course, my suggestion to others would be to find out why you aren’t fulfilling your dream and make some changes while you are young. Had I known the things I know now, I sure would have and who knows, could I have been up there on that stage? I’ll never know but what I do know is I am enjoying myself and being myself. Not only that, other people are liking what I am doing but more important than anything else, I like what I am doing and who I am becoming.
I’m a little nervous, but anxious for Wednesday to come and see how this all turns out.
Wow, I may not be able to take another breath until it’s over.
I haven’t published much lately, partially due too so much going on around here, and partially just because of a lack of things to write about. How many times do you want to hear about how the tractor broke down again, or the truck is still dead and sitting in Eastern WA or…..well, you get it, the same ole stuff, just more of it. I tired of these subjects long ago and I would have imagined any one who follows me has too.
Okay, lets tackle a new subject. I’ve been working out in my yard as much as I can, which isn’t a great deal, just kind of slow and steady. I find that is how I have to manage, with having had a life long history of Fibromyalgia and degenerative Disk disease. Not to worry, I get plenty done and there is plenty to keep me going as long as I do it right.
I decided to clean the outside shed out the other day. I had some pieces of furniture that Emmy could use in the little house next door. Hannah also had some things stored in the shed that she wanted out too. Wow, what a difference it makes just to get a few things out. Let’s see, three chest of drawers, a table, a bed frame, and a small shelf. What went back that wasn’t in there before? A small table. That’s all. Holly cow, we did good! But back to my original story. I was cleaning away, sweeping, and moving things when I came upon rat droppings, a lot of rat droppings. At least I attributed these to rat droppings. We had chipmunks in the shed before but these droppings looked different and bigger. Suspiciously and a little more cautiously, I moved on with the cleaning. Then I found a nest on top of a chair in the corner, having used all the stuffing out of the chair seat. No sign of activity though but fairly sure it was from a rat. Continuing on I started moving bags of stuff.Suddenly one of the bags started moving. Rustling came from within the bag and was quite aggressively restless. I sat it back down. Oh, my gosh, it stopped moving. I picked it back up. Again, extremely agitated movement came from within. Holding the bag just inches off the floor, thinking I was safe because he was in the bottom of this extra-large, black garbage bag, I and my daughter, Hannah, watched him run back and forth across the bottom of the bag.
“What do I do with it?” I asked Hannah, but before she could say a thing, that critter ran up the side of the bag, me watching the whole thing unable to move, and suddenly flew out of the hole in the top where it was tied. Seeing the next few moments take place must have been a funny sight if anyone had been watching. I dropped the bag, screamed from the startling movement and the sight before my eyes. Yes, out of that top hole he came, large and gray, and as he did he jumped, flying straight at me, his eyes as big as saucers, his hairless front feet sticking straight out,and fingers spread wide. I was backing up as fast as my feet would move. Why he must have flown at least four feet in the air before he started his decent. He hit the floor,evidently unharmed and took off out the door headed to the brush next to the shed. I had to sit down on the old deacons bench that still had to go back in the shed, to catch my breath. Hannah, stood there laughing.
“You wouldn’t be laughing if he had been flying at you ready to grab into your hair with those long fingers and not let go.” I exclaimed to her. Then we both laughed and got back to work.
Now I was in the back of the shed, no signs of any other critters, while Hannah was standing outside the door poking the broom underneath the shelf unit, when she let a holler loud enough to wake the dead.
“WATCH, HERE COMES ANOTHER ONE!” I turned in time to stick my broom down in front of it making it switch directions. It headed for the door. Hannah screamed and jumped backwards, whilst the little guy (little for a rat) jumped out the door and took off. We both laughed for five minutes.
“Do you think that’s all of them?” I asked her.
With no more incidents we got everything back in the shed and I’m happy to say we reduced the amount by about half. Today I have to go back, make sure there aren’t any critters that got in over night, nail covers over the chew holes in the wood and then finish straightening up. Next cleaning, lets hope for no rats and a place for most of my crap stuff to go, away. I’m trying to clear this stuff out a little so the more that goes away and not back in the shed the better. Now if I could just apply this same principle to my sewing/art/dog care room and my computer room, I would be ever so happy. I think too that if I didn’t have so much clutter to deal with, I might be more inclined to write more. Just a thought. Yes, just a thought. A thought, to give considerable consideration to.
“Mine do it so well!”
It was a good holiday in spite of several of the girls not being able to make it this year. For those that could, we had a great time. Mary, Eddie and Jaden came and we picked our grand-daughter ,Lauren, up in Purdy to stay the holiday. Danielle, our third born, came a couple of days before Thanksgiving to “help” us with some things that needed doing around the house and property. She worked hard, just as she always does when she shows up to help. She and her dad got a pick-up truck and a car-hauler trailer loaded with scrap metal to take to recycling. There was a lot of stuff from aluminum cans and old pipes from the well, to old fencing, car parts and just plain ole junk. They made that trip and then loaded another huge load to go to the garbage dump. Wow, what a difference it made in the way things look out around the garage. Ryan, Danielle’s husband, who came on Thanksgiving day, had to return home the day following Thanksgiving but Danielle stayed through Sunday to do more chores for us. That girl is a dedicated worker. Finally it was time for her to go. Sunday morning we fixed a good hearty breakfast and discussed what all we needed to do to get her on the road. I had been collecting things for her for a while and had them all stacked and ready to go. Four dozen wine glasses for her new cake business which I had picked up (brand new, high quality brand and still in the boxes) all for ten dollars at a divorce sale, a forty cup coffee maker, a Mr Peanut, nut dispenser I had bought at another sale just for her because everyone knows she has been called “Peanut” since the day we brought her home from the hospital forty years ago, and a plastic crate full of wedding cake decorations such as plates and pillars. That all being ready, she first started loading the things out of the guest house that she wanted. A desk and chair, coffee pot, and a few more household things. then on to the garage where dad had rounded up vacuum cleaner parts and canning jars. A huge assortment of stuff that eventually led to, yes, even a sink. Not a kitchen sink but probably a utility sink that I’m sure she had a use lined up for it. Her truck was loaded to the hilt. She came back in for that last cup of coffee and goodbyes but made one more stop in the family room at our library. There she found her some garden books and pruning books to borrow and was then a happy camper. She was looking forward to tips on vegetable gardening and getting their fruit trees pruned. We talked a bit, hugged a lot and finally said our goodbyes. As we watched her and her three companions, Zuko, Hylux, and the newest member of the family, Sammie (their faithful dogs) pull down the driveway we had mixed emotions about their parting. Torn between happiness that they came to see and spend time with us and sadness, even though we know they will return soon, that they are leaving. It will be Christmas before Danielle and Ryan can return again and Dawn and Lauren too. Hopefully, we’ll see some of the others between now and then. This last week, despite the mixed emotions, despite those that couldn’t be here, has left us with what Thanksgiving is truly about. We are “Thankful.” Thankful for the best thing that we were so fortunate to have been blessed with in our lives, our children.
All the leaves that had turned orange, red and gold
are gone now and the bare branches of the trees
reach like skeletons in the night
shaking in the breeze.
Their shadows on the ground
are a fearful site
bobbing and shaking all about
giving mortal souls a fright.
As the moon shines bright over head
skeletal shadows reaching everywhere
I walked past the grave yard filled with dread
hallowed sounds coming from within there.
The reaching skeleton arms
I saw waving all about on the ground
I was running scared, running fast
and I was homeward bound.
Before I could get there
one of the shadows grabbed me down another grabbed my hat
for a moment I looked around
still not knowing where I was at.
my next fall was abrupt
I shook my head and tried again,
pulling myself up.
What’s this I was home in my room
on the floor beside my bed
had all this been a dream? I laughed
What was there here to dread?
I then knew what was going on
it was Halloween again
this is when the bad dreams come along
at night I could never win.
I have always had bad dreams before Halloween night
I’m filled with so much fright
feeling I’m not where I belong.
Crawling back up the side of my bed
and making my way to the middle
I pulled the blankets over my head
when suddenly I heard a scary giggle
I slowly pulled the blankets back
I’m not dreaming now what’s going on,
what is it that you seek
The moon was bright the skeleton arms
were reaching in my window
they hung on the ceiling and across the wall
waving all around as outside the wind did blow.
I heard it again that laughing sound
and that wicked giggle
back under the blankets I wanted to go
but was to scared to even wiggle
We’ve come for you a hoarse voice said,
to take you in the night
we’re going to chop you up, put you in a stew,
and eat you on Halloween Night.
You’ll be so tasty with the spiders and snakes,
the rat’s tail and the pigs eye
now have you anything to say for yourself
before we grab you from that bed and you die.
why must I die this way?
go away, eave me alone,
oh how I hate Halloween day.
Because you’re mean you are a scoundrel
and you have hateful ways
you never spend anytime with your little brother
or ask him if he wants to play.
“What? What’s going on?
then the giggle turned into a big laugh
my blankets were being pulled off the bed
as at them I tried to grab.
Then suddenly popped up two heads from below
right out from under my bed
so this is what was going on
that caused me so much dread
My little brother and his best friend
laughing loudly as they got up
We fooled you yes we did you were so scared
I bet you almost threw up.
No but I’m going to get you
I said as I jumped from the bed
they started to run I was right behind
then something grabbed my head.
it drug me to the window and out
now it’s my brother who every night
wakes up to his own screams and shouts.
Steve and I were married in 1991. We started married life with six children, six dogs, and a prayer, well actually, a lot of prayers. We really wanted to get married much soon than it happened but with barely a nickel to our name we couldn’t afford to rent a building, we didn’t belong to a church, and we really wanted more than just a quick, “She does, I do, Here’s the Ring, How Do you Do.” We told friends. After all the calamity, the hugs, the kisses, and the , “We’ve all been wondering when you were going to do it,”stuff was over, things started happening. Our then leader of the 4-H group our kids were in and her sister said they would make our cake, another friend volunteered supplies for decorations, others were pitching in right and left, but we still needed a place. Then it came to us, why not out in the barn where we train the dogs. We asked the trainers and they were delighted at the idea. Last but not least, we needed a minister and as luck would have it, Steve’s brother-in-law fit the bill. Steve and I quickly made invitations and got them in the mail.
The barn was cleaned from top to bottom. Janice, our dog trainer, even dusted the rafters and another friend leveled the dirt floor with his tractor. Steve built two lattice arbors for the ceremony. His dad carved a cross to hang in the one where we would say our vows.The feed store just down the road hauled in a huge load of hay bales for our guests to sit on. A fire was blazing in the huge old wood stove that resided in the barn. Decorations went up, and while that was going on we had a “Rehearsal Dinner.” Everyone brought food, we ate and decorated and then ran through the ceremony a couple of times. Music was organized, we danced, we played, we laughed, and everything was set. We were actually getting married.
Now this wasn’t one of those, “We fell in love a first sight” love affairs that one hears about. No, to the contrary. We had been friends for more than twenty some years. We lived in different towns and our families only saw each other now and then but the friendship held. Both of us had good lives, good families, good ‘SPOUSES.” Both of us saw the devil open the gates of hell and turn loose fire breathing dragons and demons beyond belief or imagination.
Devastation. Nothing else could describe it . Left, after twenty-two years, with three children at home ( our oldest was away at school on the other side of the state) , a mortgage, a non-working furnace, a pile of wood which I was physically unable to cut, and more, but I believe you have gotten the picture. Who did I have to turn to? My friends were his friends, they stayed away. No one even came from the church to see if the girls were okay. I was alone, until I finally told my parents.
At the same time, in another town, the same sort of scenario was happening to Steve. She was leaving, him and the kids, and there was nothing he could do about it. She had made up her mind and that was that. He’d been blindsided and broken all in one quick statement, her words echoing off the slamming door as she left him standing there, middle of the kitchen, in disbelief.
Some time passed for both of us. I had taken a sales clerk job at a local department store and was trying to figure out how to sell a broken house because, as it was put to me, “he wasn’t fixing anything and he wasn’t making any payments.” My dad helped where he could with some of the work. The girls and I spent our time in the living room with blankets over the door ways to keep the heat in from the fireplace which dad had cut some wood for.
Steve, born and raised in the same town I had lived all my life in, knew of my situation. It was now Christmas time. He had made a couple of trips with his children to visit his parents. His family and my family were both well known in our little town and we both had been the subject of numerous conversations as the “grapevine” would tell it. He stopped by on one trip to see how we were. He and I in unison, put on our happy faces and told each other lies about how well we were managing. We spoke awkwardly as our friendship had always been a family thing.
He hesitated as he left, saying, “Sandy, if you ever need anything, call me.”
Obviously, I must have needed something because, if you remember, before I started telling you about devils and demons, Steve and I were getting ready to be married. It hadn’t been an easy decision to come to. To get married, that is. After all, we were friends, best friends by that time and we had been friends for so long. We had, a while back, joined forces, me and my girls moving to his town, his home, as a move of convenience . My house had sold. I had nowhere to go. He needed help with the kids while he worked. So did I. I was able to transfer my job to a store located in Auburn. We set up work schedules so that I was home on his work days and he was home on mine. On our days off, we were each, respectively, responsible for the children, all of them. By this time my second oldest, who had moved away from me, lived with her father briefly, then ventured into a hair-raising lifestyle, out on her own, moving from friend to friend, and sometimes just living hand to mouth on the streets with like friends, had now come back to me needing a place to live, a home. As things turned out, she was pregnant. The father of the baby didn’t want her and her own dad said “no ” to her coming back there. We couldn’t do that. She had made some questionable decisions. She had lived a life that the thoughts of, put a deep, sad, fear in my heart. But she was back. She needed compassion, not judgement. She, and her soon to be born child, came there to live with us. Chrissie was born in November 1990. We were all thrilled. She brought so much joy to the house hold. Another Christmas was rolling around and the feeling engulfing all of us was like getting renewed hope, a new beginning. That was when Steve first asked me to marry him.
But as I was saying, before I filled you in with our history, there was a knawing question in both of our hearts that had to be brought up and would have to be answered. What if we get married and it doesn’t work? Would we each loose our very best friend in the whole world. We brought it up and then, let it go, each of us pondering the possibility in the back of our minds, and not having too much conversation for the next several days. We went about our daily activities, glancing at each other now and then, touching little, polite conversation, and each of us wondering what life without our best friend would be like.
It was a Tuesday, Steve was on the last day of his shift for the week at work. I had just gotten home from picking kids up from activities. He called.
“Hi, I miss you.” he said quietly.
“I miss you too.” I replied, as I wondered what was coming next.
“I’m off in a half hour. Can you get the kids fed early? I want to have a quiet dinner with you alone tonight, if that’s okay?”
“Yes, of course. Dinner is ready so I’ll just get them fed and on to homework and stuff right after. Are we eating here? There is plenty you know. I was planning on us all having dinner together.” I said, still wondering about his intentions.
“No. Tell Dani we are going out for a bit and ask her to watch the rest of the kids, okay?” he answered.
“Sure, I know she’ll be fine with it. I’ll see you soon. Are jeans and a t-shirt okay or do I need to clean up more than that?” I had no idea where we were going.
“Jeans are fine.” see you in a bit. “I love you.” and he hung up.
Before I could even reply, he hung up.
Steve came home, briefly cleaned up a bit and changed to an everyday shirt. We gave brief instructions to the kids and let them know we wouldn’t be gone long. We left, holding hands as we walked silently to the car. Once inside, with the car started, Steve said he thought we’d go into Enumclaw to the Chinese restaurant that we liked. I agreed, that would be nice. It was a twenty-minute drive, mostly in silence. We got there and I found that Steve had called ahead making reservations. We were seated, ordered a drink, and we both began to speak at once.
“I want to get married,” he said without hesitation.
“Me too. We won’t ruin anything. It is possible to love each other and be best friends. But there is one more problem.” I said.
“Problem? What other problem could there possibly be?” he questioned me with a look of surprise on his face.
“Well,” I hesitated, but then decided just to let it all out. “It’s not really a problem, just something we need to talk about. When we first started thinking of marriage, it was you , Andy and Becki, and me with Emmy and Dani.”
“So what’s the problem?” he looked ready to jump out of his skin.
“Chrissie! Not that SHE is a problem. It’s just now we have a baby in the house. I’m sure Dana won’t stay settled with us long. She’s just not ready to be responsible so I can see her leaving. She can’t move around freely and irresponsibly, with a baby in tow. That means, we would have Chrissie. We’d have a baby. And I just couldn’t, wouldn’t, send her away. I’d have to carry that responsibility. I love her and just am not going to let anything like that happen, you know, hand to mouth, on the street. I couldn’t take a chance of her being in harms way. If I had my way, Dana would stay too but I know, in my heart already, she’s on the verge of going. ” There, I had said it. When it happened, when Dana felt the need to go, and it would happen, I planned on taking on the responsibility of my grand child, after all, we were doing most of her care as it was already.
“So where’s the problem?” Steve asked.
“Well, you signed on in this deal with four kids. Kids that are half-grown. You didn’t have a baby in mind. A baby adds a whole lot to the picture.” I told him and then added, “What I’m saying is I really don’t expect you to follow through with this plan of marriage, now, with this change. It’s your chance to re-think this and really get a perspective on it. You can change your mind and I won’t blame you for anything. I love you. I don’t want to ruin that. As it is, we can still be friends, helping each other, but limit it to that.”
“Listen, I don’t care if there are ten kids involved, baby or no baby. Dana and Chrissie are part of our family. We do what we need to do to take care of family. I love you and I want to marry you.” he said without pause as he got up from his chair. He shifted and suddenly there he was on one knee, holding my hand, at the side of the table. “Sandy, I love you, I want to marry you. Will, you please say yes? he pleaded, sincerely, and the look in his eyes told me this was not a time to argue.
“Of course, I will, as long as you are sure.”
“I’m sure,” he replied as he got back up, and everyone around us clapped. “Hey, she said yes!” he said to the crowd. Imagine that!” and they all laughed. But, he didn’t finish there. “And all you folks here, I want you to witness this. Sandy, this is forever. No if’s ,and’s ,or but’s. Forever, do you agree?”
“Yes, of course!” I replied, laughing as I did, because everyone in the restaurant was in an uproar, laughing and pointing, as they witnessed Steve’s commitment to me and me to him.
So now you understand how we went from best friends to the point of marriage and though the decision seemed difficult at that time, I guess it really wasn’t. Now, backing up in my story. I had left off at, “we were actually getting married.” Yes, the next day after the rehearsal dinner party we would become man and wife and family.
That morning, Saturday March 23, 1991 everyone went in different directions to get done what each had to accomplish before noon rolled around. The wedding was set for one o’clock. The kids with friends all headed out early, early morn to place signs, like old Burma Shave signs, all along the highway leading those who didn’t know to our destination. They read something like:
Steve and Sandy
are getting married today
keep on going
you’re headed the right way.
three more miles,
you’re almost there
when you see the big dog
turn right, park, and walk to the barn
there we’ll watch them walk down the isle
arm in arm.
The signs came both ways, out of Auburn and out of Enumclaw, along the Auburn/Enumclaw Highway. (of course coming from Enumclaw the read, turn left.) and the kids planted them at the appropriate spots on the highway and decorated them all with balloons and ribbons.
Not only were our friends giving us this wonderful wedding, they made it a pot luck, so everyone was bringing food. Dani was in the Junior High School Choir and they had arranged to bring risers and the whole choir showed up to sing for us with Dani having a solo part in the song one of the songs. As the wedding began, our children went before us, walking to the song “The Rose”, by Conway Twitty.” They all parted at the first rows where our parents sat and gifted their grandmothers with a bouquet and hugs all around. After that, they returned to their place at the make shift alter ,turning to us as we started our journey together in life and love. The music started. We proceeded to the tune “Love Can Build a Bridge” by the Judds. By the time we got to the children and our minister, Walter, the entire congregation was in tears, even Walter, who said at that time, “I’ve performed a lot of weddings and I’ve seen many tears of happiness, including my own, flow at these weddings. But…this is the first time, I’ve cried, and witnessed the whole congregation in tears before there was even one word spoken. I believe folks, this is truly a match made in heaven. We shall begin this ceremony with a prayer.”
Well, there was just no topping that. Our ceremony was perfect. We included our children, who, by the way, all said family vows together. We had included our parents, who I think maybe still had a few doubts when the day started but those doubts were now probably put to rest. Our friends and families were all present and involved. It just doesn’t get any better than that, except, of course, when we turned back to the crowd and started our “Recessional” to the tune of ” Two of a Kind Workin’ on a Full House, by Garth Brooks.” We danced our way back down the isle way with kids, family and friends following. Everyone was in stitches as they kicked up their heels to the tune. The rest of the day was just as perfect, lots of food, dancing, talking, toasts, and hugging. As we cut the cake and toasted each other everyone cheered.
While all this was going on inside the barn, the kids were having quite a time outside. They decorated our big ole Black and Red Ford F 250 long bed truck with enough balloons and streamers to do a cruise ship and filled the inside of the truck with the same. When it was time for us to depart it took at least fifteen minutes to get enough of the balloons and other decorations out of the cab to even get in. What a delight it was for the kids to take part in all of this.
Finally, at day’s end, we hopped in the truck, waved with tears still flowing and headed down the highway. We lead a procession all the way back to Auburn before they started departing to their own destinations.
It is now coming up on March 23, 2016. That means twenty-five years. Twenty five years of ups and downs, joys and hardships, times of plenty and times of none. Yet, through it all, we have survived. We have thrived. We have grown. We’ve learned what kind of people we really are and what is most important to us and who. As in the beginning, friendship is and always will be our number one most important need, followed with love, family, friends, a sense of humor, humility, truth and togetherness. With these things on your side and in your heart, you can’t lose.
In celebration of this milestone, our Children are giving us a twenty-five year wedding anniversary party. We’ve been told we can input if we wish, but…they are doing it. They are making the decisions. They are in control. All we need to do is sit back , ride the wave and enjoy. I do know, the colors are, Red and Black and the theme is Flannel and Lace. That, sounds just like us.
Sandra Lea Rogers
January 12, 2016
Twenty five years and still going strong.
Now that we’ve made it this far, watch for our 50th. That should be quite a love story. Steve will be 95 and I will be 93. So make a toast to friendship for us folks, as we continue this one, as long as God will allow.
My dog is dyslexic, she thinks she’s God….