He Was My “Big” Brother

My nephew, who has handled almost everything up to this point, has been patiently waiting. My niece and her adopted family, they too are waiting. Relatives in Oklahoma, more in Port Angeles and Forks, all waiting. Me, my family, all of us waiting. The Marines. Yes, I have even kept the United States Marines, waiting for my decision on a date to have this memorial.  Because we have chosen to have the Marines handle the Memorial, only they can remove him from the funeral home directors care. Someone from the US Marines will go to get his urn and carefully transport him from Colorado to us here in Washington State where he will be given a hero’s buriel  at Tahoma National Cemetery.

The wait was because I’ve had two back surgeries this past year, the last one in December, and needed to have some recovery time. Now, the word recuperate no longer has a place in my vocabulary,  I’ve set the date, which moves the event a little more forward than what I was thinking, to approximately six weeks away.  We will need confirmation from the Marines that this date, April 6,  will work.  So now it’s my turn to wait for that answer. There is so much to do to prepare for this. I have two beautiful guest rooms and both are piled high with Christmas things waiting to be put away. The living room has piles of things waiting. The computer room, everything is waiting. Crafts, bills, taxes, sewing, the room is full of things, waiting to be handled while I took time to recuperate. Many other projects are in half done stage and need to get finished. Then there is the yard. We won’t even start on that. I need to sell my car. Sad yes, but I won’t be able to drive it. Maybe someday, I’ll have another one, but that’s another story.

I should know in a day or two I would think since this is the United States Marines we are dealing with. I was told that once there was a date there would be no waiting.  Now, I must move quickly, no matter how many times my body says no. No matter how tired the walking and the lifting make me. It’s time to get in shape. It’s been nine months since the neck surgery and it’s been two and a half since the low back surgery. I must remind myself often what my goals are and why.  It will bring back some much needed good health and strength to my body. I then can attend my brother’s memorial on my own two feet. April 6. That’s not long. I can’t forget about emotional strength. That matters most of all. I must be emotionally strong. I know others will be watching me to make sure I don’t over do but this isn’t for them. This is for me. I need the strength to carry on, I need to know I can do this, that I won’t have an anxiety attack. I won’t fall apart. I will hold up and speak of him with pride and tell how proud I am of him and his achievements. Oh, not the achievements he got in the marines which are great. All the medals he got are wonderful and they need no explanation.

What I see, what I’m talking about aren’t achievements. I guess it is more about his qualities as a person and the things he did for me as we grew up that made him seem so great. He was my brother.  MY BIG BROTHER. The one that took me fishing at the creek and showed me how to find and put periwinkles on a fish hook. The brother that “let” me carry his news paper bags and go with him to deliver the papers. The awesome one who waited for me to find all thirteen of my new baby hamsters when they chewed out of their cage one one morning and then walked to school with me because we were late and missed the school bus. He taught me checkers and marbles and go fish. He brushed my hair sometimes when it got tangled, and  it got tangled often.  Yes, he was my big brother.  He is also the one who made sure he got around to going to see my art work when my seventh grade teacher featured me on the main hall bullitin board.  We all had to take turns feeding the dog his evening meal which was served to him in the garage. In the winter when the darkness came early, knowing I was afraid to go get the bowl, Jerry would wait at the back door for me. Sometimes, I would cry because it scaired me so to step into that dark garage to retrieve the dog bowl. Jerry would take it back out for me. There were times I struggled with my homework and he would sit with me at the kitchen table explaining  it over and over until I got it.

The last time I saw him before his death was in 1998. He came home for Christmas. It had been years and he just showed up one day. He stayed at mom’s for a bit and at my brother Darrell’s home. Then he came to stay at our house. We had a chance to talk a little bit. I found out we shared the love of photography. He would have loved to be a professional photographer. Nature was his ideal medium. He also loved trying to find gemstones in the mountains of Colorado. I found that interesting because I am a jewlery designer and am awed at the beauty of the many gemstones mother nature provides for us. We found that we shared the Amethist as our favorite. We spoke of things but never about us. Not about the growing up years and how the death of our mother affected us. Even then, just as it was when we were young, it was a forbidden subject. I didn’t know how much he remembered or knew nor did he about me. Neither of us brought it up. I’m sad about that. That was the last time I saw him. I tried to find him when Dad died with no result and then again when Mom was ill and it was evident that her time with us was limited.  Still I found no clue to his whereabouts.

Time and distance, however, make no difference in the fact that we were family and that I loved him for the brother that he had been to me. As we give him up to God it breaks my heart not to have had more time with him. Time to talk and share feelings that we both kept inside for so  many years. I know though that now he can know his mother and re-unite with Dad and mom Ernie. The pain he kept inside all his life will now be gone. He will know peace.  He was my big brother and I’m glad he’ll be able to let it all go as he enters the kingdom of God.

































After the Fire Breathing Dragons and Demons

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.


Our Wedding

We start our journey of friendship, marriage, and family.


Going to the barn, and we’re going to get married.


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.





Back some years ago, so many that I don’t remember exactly when it was, but probably around 1981-82, my dad and mom, my two youngest daughters and myself were headed out on a day trip. My third born, Danielle, needed to find a small tree for her 4-H Christmas party. With camp shovel in hand Dad climbed into the passenger seat up front, I was driving and Mom sat with the two girls in the back. Excitement was swirling in all our heads as we headed out the highway with our destination in mind. For the girls, it was a day out with Gramma and Grampa and like an adventure as they hadn’t been to this place before. For me, time with mom and dad was always good and I loved getting out in nature. I had my camera, as usual, hoping to get some good shots whether it be of the family or the surroundings, it didn’t matter. Now if you aren’t from the Port Angeles area you probably won’t have any idea of where I am talking about but if you are, you will be saying any minute, “Oh ya, I know where you mean.”  Well, I had explained to the girls where we were going but it wasn’t but a few minutes before they started asking how long it would take. I headed out C Street, then past Lincoln Park and the airport. We went through the Dry Creek area and turned right when we got to Highway 112. We were headed for the lower Elwah River where the old one way bridge crossed over. To cross, if there was oncoming traffic you had to pull over, let it pass and take your turn when it came. But we weren’t crossing that day. About one hundred feet before the bridge, on the left, was a narrow little road that went down to the river. I pulled onto the road and started slowly making my way down. I could see the perfect place to park the car about one hundred and fifty feet straight down over the side of the road. Since I have a thing about heights and didn’t want to drive off the edge into oblivion, I was really driving slow. The road was rough, full of ruts and rocks but we eventually made it and I resumed breathing. Dad got out with the shovel and mom and I helped the girls out. They were immediately running and laughing saying, “Come on. You guys are too slow!” We walked a bit enjoying the sound of the river and looking at the change in the scenery since the colder weather had set in. The evergreens of course were still green but the deciduous growth had lost all it leaves and the tree branches reached out like skeletons. We stopped along side the river where the water had pooled and  was not flowing too swiftly. I tried showing the girls how to skip rocks but was never too good at it myself. Dad on the other hand could make them skip three to four times. Danielle and Mary-Elizabeth loved it. Dad said we should get going to find a tree. We hunted through a group of smaller ones and found a good one about three foot tall, filled out fairly even all the way around and with only one top. Dad dug it up and I held the bucket that we had brought with us still as he put it in. Danielle was happy thinking she would be bringing the perfect tree to the group. We started walking back up the side of the river towards the car. The girls wanted to throw more rocks but dad said we should get going if we were going to have an early dinner before we headed home. That had been the plan. We were going to go on to  what is now the Family Kitchen Restaurant in Joyce, WA but at that time was called the “Atlasta Burger” Restaurant  where they served what was called the “Logger Burger.” Now this burger was bigger than a dinner plate and I don’t know who could possibly eat the whole thing but, if we cut it into six servings, giving two of those to dad, we thought we could manage it. I understand that the place was sold and changed names somewhere around 1983 but still serves those burgers.

Suddenly, Danielle started shouting, “Stop, stop, I hear something.” We all stopped and listened. Nothing. We picked the bucket back up but hadn’t gone two steps when Danielle yelled again. “I hear it, I hear it. Stop!”  Mary-Elizabeth joined in. “I hear it too. Mommie you have to do something. It’s a kitty. Mommie do you hear it.

“Yes, I do, but where is it? Where is the sound coming from. The three of us were practically on our knees by this time looking under every tree and log.

“Here it is, I hear it here in the ground.” shouted Danielle. “How can it be in the ground?”

I listened and sure enough the sound was coming from the earth. I got back up and took the shovel that dad had already reached out to hand me. Digging slowly, taking small amounts we could hear the cries growing more faint. Time was running out. Mary-Elizabeth was almost crying herself. “Mommie, you have to save it, you have to.” I handed the shovel back to dad and began digging with my hands. It was hard. So many rocks. I finally opened up a small hole and there we saw the tiniest, dirtiest, striped Tabby kitten ever. I reached in, cupping her in my hand and drew her out of her, “GRAVE?” all the while thinking to myself, could someone have actually buried her there. I wiped the thought out of my head. It was a sickening thought.  She moved. Good she was still alive. I brushed the dirt off her face. Mom handed me a kleenex that she had dipped in a puddle of water close by. I wiped it’s eyes which were full of dirt as were it’s ears and mouth. As I moved it around it tried to meow but ended up spitting and pawing trying to get the dirt out. I assisted carefully with my little finger as a scoop but it was mostly up to her. She spit and gagged but finally had most of it cleared. Then we heard the sweet sound of a real meow, one that sounded actually like a kitten. I continued to wipe the dirt away as we went back to the car where I wrapped her in an old sweater that I kept in the car for emergencies and handed her to Danielle.

“Dad, I thing we’ll have to do dinner another day. ”  I’m covered with dirt and now we have this kitten. Dad agreed and we loaded the girls with the kitten into the car. About a mile down the road I asked Danielle how the kitten was doing.

“Oh, she’s doing fine, she’s purring.” she answered. Then she added, “Mommie, what do you think we should name her?”

“Hold on there one minute. No one said anything about keeping her.” I replied quickly.

“But mommie, we have to, we saved her,” said Mary-Elizabeth almost in tears again.

“Well, I think they should get to keep her,” their gramma said.

“You stay out of it,” my dad said back to her, “It’s none of our business.”

“My business or not, I think they should keep their kitten.” she said sharply to dad. “And girls how about the name “Bridget” , after all, we did find her under the bridge.”

“Hey, I like that name gramma,” said Danielle. “Me too,” giggled Mary-Elizabeth.  “We should call her Bridget.”

Dad and I looked at each other. He shrugged his shoulders and I smiled. We both knew at that point, this little kitten, our rescue named Bridget, now, had a home.

The Best Wagon Ride Ever

My Grandson was here today

asked me would I play

and help him make his wagon go

pleading with his brown eyes so

I stopped what I was doing

to give him a hand

riding his wagon down the hill

He said, “Grammie, I knew you’d understand.”

I pointed the direction

gave him a little push

he got to the bottom ending up

in a huckleberry bush

“Grammie that was really neat

can we do it a gain?”

he exclaimed with sparkling eyes

and the biggest grin

Smiling at him I said,

“Let’s try some weight in the back.”

Full of excitement he responded

“Oh Grammie, You’d do that!”

“Sure lets go for a ride

you sit there in the front

don’t let us turn over

or run into a big tree trunk”

We got in

I gave the wagon a push

Down the hill faster than ever

right past that huckleberry bush

Laughing together

he said, “Grammie you’re so much fun

That was really awesome

Can we do another run?”

We rode one more time

all the way down the hill

at the bottom falling out

for both of us a thrill

We giggled so much

laying there in the grass

He said, “Grammie your’re the best ever!”

Now…could a grammie ask for more than that!

What Do You Do If a Kangaroo, Knocks on Your Front Door

Wallaby sketch 9-17-15I had just prepared myself a little lunch one day, back in about the year two thousand and five, when, I heard a little knock at the front door. I’m fairly sure it was early on in two thousand and five because we hadn’t lived here very long and Steve, my husband, was still working at the Can Plant in Kent, Washington. Also, Mom and Dad hadn’t moved out here yet, which we had been preparing for that year.  I had been busy cleaning all morning. I made a half of a tuna sandwich and a cup of tea, which I planned to eat at the front window, sitting in my rocking chair, so I could see the birds and squirrels in the front yard. It’s a good thing I was going to sit at that moment because I wouldn’t have heard this if I hadn’t been right there. It was so quiet but definitely it was a knock. Here it came again. Just a tiny little knock. I didn’t see anyone just by glancing out the window as I went to answer the door. Wondering just who it could be, I opened the door slowly and only an inch or two just so I could peek out. We live in the country, fairly secluded, so I am pretty careful about answering the door if I’m not expecting anyone.  There was no one there. I saw no one. I opened the door a little further and still couldn’t see anyone yet. Knowing the storm door was locked I opened the door a bit more and stepped so I could see around the facing. I was totally taken aback at just who I came face to face with. Well, it would have been face to face if I had stooped a little bit….. ummm,  I mean, quite a bit, rather. Standing there in front of me was a darling, three-foot tall, Kangaroo. Yes, a Kangaroo. At least to my knowledge, at that time, that was what he was.

“Well hello there little guy,” I said while looking around to see if someone was with him. He was alone. All alone.

“Where in the world did you come from?” I asked, as if he could answer me. He just stood there looking at me, with an almost pleading look in his eyes. I was a little in shock, myself. I mean, who has a Kangaroo come knocking at their door in the middle of the day, or any other time for that matter? For a moment, I pictured him standing there wearing  a red cap and a small red plaid vest, saying, “Please help me, I’m lost.”

“Well, we gotta find out where you came from but first we gotta tell Steve.” I continued talking to him as if he was a little person. Stepping out the door I held my hand out to him. He just stared back.  I inched my way around him then started walking backwards, with my hand out to him, saying, “Come on Baby.” He started following. I went very slowly, not wanting to  frighten him.

“It’s okay little guy. I won’t touch you and I won’t hurt you.  You come with me. Come on baby, let’s go get Steve up.” Steve worked a twelve-hour night shift at a job that was an hours drive from home, which in essence gave him more than a fourteen hour day, or rather, night. He had a sleeping room in the garage. He set the room up with air conditioning, a blackened  out window for complete darkness, and a heater for winter. He could sleep soundly, without interruptions from what ever I was doing in the house during the day.  I kept coaxing the Kangaroo, patting my leg, and calling him along. It seemed he understood what I was saying.  He followed, slowly, but he followed, all the way around the house to the back patio.

“Okay, now, you stay here baby and I’ll be right back,” What was I thinking. If anyone had witnessed my on going, one way conversation they would have thought me a nut for sure. The Kangaroo looked around  and took in everything there was to see. I took off, bursting through the garage and slammed the door to Steve’s room open.

“STEVE…GET UP, GET UP, GET UP ! ” I shouted as I shook his shoulder.

Steve jolted up to a sitting position saying, ” What the,  what’s going on?”

“You have to get up right now. There is a Kangaroo on the patio, hurry, come on, you gotta hurry!”

“Oh for Pete’s sake,” he moaned as he covered his head with the blanket and crashed back down in the bed. “I don’t know what you’re up to here, but quit. I’m tired.”

I grabbed the blanket, pulled it back off his shoulders, and said, ” NO, I’m not playing. You have to get up….there really is a Kangaroo….COME ON, HURRY UP ! and with that I took off again headed back to the patio. My new little friend was right where I had left him,  watching the garage door, I guess maybe for me to come back. By the time  I got over to him, Steve was coming out the door.

“Well, I’ll be, ”  were the first words out of his mouth. ” Where in the world did he come from?”

“I don’t know. He just knocked on the front . I opened it and there he was. Isn’t he about the cutest thing you ever saw?”  I was still so excited I could hardly talk.

“KNOCKED?”  “You’re telling me he knocked?”

“Yep….twice. He knocked twice! What do we do with him?” I asked Steve. Ah yes, at last, the real problem just came to light.

“I mean,”   I said, continuing before Steve could say anything, ” it is Memorial Day weekend and it is three o’clock on Friday, and everything will be closed by four or so and everyone will be gone for the weekend, if they aren’t already. You know us, Steve. You know that if he stays here until Monday or Tuesday waiting for someone to be around to contact,  then he won’t be going anywhere. HE WILL BE HERE TO STAY!  You know how we are. He’ll have a name and his own little house by then. You know that. We have to do something, NOW!”

“Okay, but first what do we do with him for now? What do you suppose he would eat? Where do we put him while we find out something?”

“Well,” I said, “We could put him in one of the dog kennels but not knowing what he might be used to that might scare him. What about the garage? Couldn’t we just put him in the garage while we make some phone calls?”

“Sure, that would work. Tell ya what, I’ll get some hay  from Harley’s shed to make him a bed and then he’ll be fine for a bit.” Steve answered as he went to the horse shed to get the hay. Harley was our horse. The only one we had left. Before we moved here we had five. But the kids had all grown up and left home, except for our youngest, and she and I couldn’t take care of five horses. Steve was working two jobs at that time. So we kept her horse and found new homes for the others.  Harley, was a Welsh/Arab cross, stubborn for sure, but we all loved him. Steve got the hay and we piled up a nice pile to make a temporary bed for our visitor.

“I wonder what his name is? I’ve been calling him Baby and he’s been coming right along with me.” I said to Steve as we walked back to the house after bedding the little fellow down.

“Don’t even worry about a name. You don’t need to worry about that because he’s leaving soon. As soon as we can get him gone. Don’t get any ideas, no names. Got it! He laughed as he looked me in the eyes, straight on, holding me by both shoulders. You understand that, right?” Although he was laughing, I knew he was dead serious.

“Yes,” I said, and smiled back at him.  “I understand. Besides, I don’t even know what to feed him. Oh, we’re going to have to figure that out. Let’s go find someone to call.”  We went in and started a list of possibilities and their phone numbers. Okay, here we go, first on the list is the Humane Society.  I dialed their number and got an answering machine. Please call back on Tuesday.  Next King 5 news; no answer. News 7 ; no answer, the radio station; busy, busy, busy.  Now what. Who next?  Alright, I’m going to call city hall and see if they can steer me in a direction.

“Hello, Gig Harbor City Hall, how can I help you?” The voice on the other end, a woman, sounded pleasant.

“Hi, my name is Sandy and I need some help. It’s about a lost pet.

“Oh, did you try the humane society?”

“Yes ma’am, they are not taking more calls until Tuesday.”

“Okay, well dear, is it a pet you lost or you found it?”she asked.

“Oh, I found it, or I guess he found me.” I answered

“Is it a dog or a cat?” again she came with questions.

“Okay……now first, my name is Sandy Rogers, I live on the Key Peninsula. This is not a joke. Please promise you won’t hang up on me.”

“Alright….” she said, very cautiously. “But why would I? I mean what’s wrong, what is this pet?”

“Now don’t hang up. I am not kidding about this. Ummm, he is a Kangaroo, a small one, and we really need to find some one to take him today. Everyone is closing and we didn’t know who else to call, that’s why we are calling you. Maybe you have some ideas?

“There was silence on the other end of the phone. A long silence.

“A Kangaroo? You are really telling me a Kangaroo?” she said very slowly. “This must be a joke.” She added.

“NO MA’AM, please, this is no joke. We’ve tried the humane society and the news and radio stations and can’t get any answers  and we have to find some place, some one to take him, TODAY!” I answered frantically thinking she might be on the verge of hanging up.

“Well I’ll be, really, a Kangaroo, ” she said again and then added  “I was just thinking, well, have you tried the Fish and Wildlife department?”

“No, oh wow, we never even thought of them!” I was excited about this prospect and she even provided me with a phone number. I called and got an officer Jeterson to commit to coming out to take a look at what we had. When he got here we just about died laughing at his remark.

“Hey, are you folks sure about what you have here?” he asked as we led him in the direction of the garage. ” I mean, do you think maybe it could be an opossum or something like that? Maybe a skunk.”

“Oh my gosh.” I said, as I just about fell over. “NO sir. It is not. It’s a KANGAROO!”  We got to the garage and opened the door. There sat our little visitor on his pile of hay. He was so cute, not budging a bit, just sitting, holding one hand in the other, seeming so patient with us. I already wanted to say we made a mistake, please go and just leave him here. but I knew we couldn’t. I knew it would take time to learn how to care for him and provide the necessities for a healthy home for him, so I kept my mouth shut.

“See officer, a Kangaroo, just like we told you,” Steve said with the biggest grin on his face. “So what do you suggest we all do here?”

Officer Jeterson just scratched his head, rubbed his chin, and said, “Well, I’ll be.”  which seemed to be the phrase of the day. Then, he stood there staring at the Kangaroo and, yes, the Kangaroo stared back.” I still wanted to rescue him from whatever the officer might come up with. My heart was starting to ache.

“Well, folks,” he started slowly and we could tell he was trying to think of a good reply. ” I guess I could take him with me and I’ll figure out something later.  I don’t suppose you know what to feed him?”

“No Sir, we don’t. We could go look it up though and get some ideas.” Steve answered.

“No, I can do that once I get home. I think I have a box we can put him in to put him in my truck. He can ride up on the front seat in the box. I’ll get it.”

“What do you think you will be doing with him?” I asked.

“Well, there must be some way to contact his owners. I’ll be trying to figure that out but he’ll probably stay with me for the weekend because it’s just too late to put much else into action on a holiday weekend.”

“Okay, but let us know what becomes of him would ya please? My concern was still growing by the minute. What if he didn’t find an owner? What if no one came forth to claim him? Then what would happen to him? Now, I was sorry I had called around, rather than just handled it myself. I could have kept him, posted adds about him and looked for his family myself. I should have done that but no, I had to make sure he was gone, right away, because of my inability to stay unattached to any living creatures (except maybe a snake). So we watched as officer Jeterson plopped him in the cardboard box on the front seat of his gray, Ford F150  truck. I understood the box. It was a really nice truck with a completed computer set up centered from the dash to the console between the bucket seats. Besides, the little guy might not like riding. It was best to keep him enclosed and buckled in good. He shook our hands, said thank you for taking the Kangaroo in and got in his truck. We, of course, thanked him too for coming to get him. We stood there as the truck pulled out and down the driveway.

” I wish we hadn’t called for help,” I said to Steve.

“Ya, I kinda know what you mean,” he replied. “But, it was what was best, I’m sure.”

The next day it was all over the news about how an unidentified couple had reported that he had knocked on their door and how the Fish and Game Department had turned him over to the Tacoma Humane Society that morning. Steve was headed home from work when he heard it on  radio station KMPS.  As they were talking about it, the owner called them and said she was on her way to get him. She was in tears as she had feared she would never see him again.

“That was us!” Steve shouted at the radio. “We tried to call you yesterday.” He pulled the car over and tried to call again but couldn’t get through. The lines were all busy. He called me, told me what was going on and to turn on my radio. I did and the TV too. I also got the busy signal when I tried to call. So, we would continue to be the unidentified couple. Officer Jeterson did contact the owner and give them our name. They called and thanked us over and over.

“I told her that I was so surprised that he knew enough to knock on the door. She told me  that he was actually a Wallaby, that his name was Buddy and  he did it all the time at home. He would go outside for a while in the yard, then knock when he wanted to come in.  He had his own little recliner for sitting in the house. He was house trained and would go outside to do his jobs. Yesterday, he just happened to find a small gap under the wire part of the fence and managed to squeeze through it. We figured he made a three to four mile cross-country trip through the forested woods from their place to ours. He was lucky. There are bear, coyote, and cougar in the area. Yes, he was very lucky. Being saddened at letting him go, we soon became overjoyed, realizing how much he was loved and missed at home. We had done the right thing. But if a Kangaroo, or Wallaby, comes knocking at my door again, I’m not sure. I might just have to keep him. So, again, I ask you, “What would you do if a Kangaroo knocked on your door? That doesn’t sound like such a silly question any more, now does it?

The Odd Couple

This morning, I’m pulling from my files a short story written back in 2012, which I have included in my , unpublished as of yet book, “A Little Bit of Me.” It is a book, mostly written for my children, about my life. It includes poems, most of which tell a story, short stories, pictures, and some drawing and art work. I’m hoping, now to have the book published someday. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this short, but true, story about a cat and dog that were truly a blessing to our lives as they supplied endless hours of entertainment and love to us.

The Odd Couple

The Siamese cat and the Rottweiler dog don’t seem like a very probable pair.  Frankie, the cat, likened herself to a princes, extraordinary, noble and certain that mousing was beneath her. She appeared to think she ruled the house and we, including the dogs, were just her attendants. In her case, I believe this assumption, was mostly true.

Blossom was a one hundred and thirty pound dog engaging and delightful in disposition. Her immense, resplendent, brown eyes engulfed your senses and turned even the strongest of men into adoring, belly rubbing, playmates. Loving every one and every thing, this robust girl didn’t have an unkind bone in her body. Her only resolution in life was to please.

One early spring morning while sitting in my easy chair reading, Blossom at my side, I noticed Frankie saunter into the room. As usual, she held her head high, but for some reason appeared to be extra dignified that day.  She paraded, gingerly over to Blossom, rubbing gently from Blossom’s shoulder to her hip and back again, purring quite loudly. She repeated the action once more. Suddenly, I heard a very sassy meooow, then another and another as she looked at the dog with her intense, piercing, blue eyes. Blossom hadn’t been paying any attention, but now, she was sitting upright and taking notice, as was I. The cat sassed urgently and this time rubbed under Blossoms chin. With that, Frankie retreated slightly, meowed insistently, raised a paw with claws extended and slapped Blossom fiercely across the nose. She then meowed once more and rubbed Blossom’s chin. Blossom shook her head portraying a look of what seemed to be sheer amazement and I’ll be darned if she didn’t begin bathing Frankie right then and there. After a few minutes, Blossom hesitated slightly, as if contemplating her progress, and likely anticipating permission to cease. Instantly, here it came again. A meow so sassy you’d be taken aback to hear it. Without hesitation, Blossom returned to bathing the cat. Frankie was luxuriating immensely in the whole bathing process, only shifting positions occasionally, to allow Blossom the ability to wash every inch of her. This went on for nearly a half an hour until Frankie was visibly wet. Finally, she arose, sporting what appeared to be a satisfied smile, meowed softly and yes, even pleasantly, rubbed Blossoms chin and without further adieu, pranced away. From that day forward this became a daily ritual between the two of them. Frankie would approach Blossom, rub her gently, and Blossom would respond immediately to the cats wishes, without the sassing or the slap, of course. The two of them shared many other encounters and rituals during their time together. This is but one or their stories.

August, 2012The odd couple picture

Awesome is such a great feeling!

Just picked up the newspaper this morning. It’s a small community focused paper but has lots of interesting features in it. I however, had one thing of interest this morning. The Poetry Corner. I went straight to that page and low and behold, it was there. They have published yet another of my poems. Wow, this is so exciting. My poem was published last month and now another one this month.  I am so thrilled!newspaper, poem 8-1-15 002

Love, In a Garden Grows

Days begin with a walk to the little house

I feel her presence there, in the garden where

the beauty she brought is quietly displayed.

Stopping  to pull a few weeds, Im

compelled to work the ground.

As the dirt and I become one

I feel, most likely a breeze, kiss my face.

The chirping of the birds beckons me.

I stroll, lost in my thoughts,

logical time slips away.

We’re walking side by side, holding hands.

I remember we planted this one on her birthday.

Warmth surges through me.

Squirrels dance at my feet,

I hear the shuffle of her walk.

Hummers buzz playfully past my ears,

and I smile, as she has whispered to me through them.

The Snowball tree is blooming already.

We planted it together,

along with the Lilac Bush and the Hydrangeas.

Her garden was a place of joy for both of us.

While she has gone away,

her spirit has not.

It was her time in the garden back then,

She left all these things,

cultivated by her love.

Now they all look to me for nurturing.

I have the love,

I don’t have her knack.

The garden and it’s residents

are patient with me.

Mom's Hydrangea Bush

Mom’s Hydrangea Bush

Hero’s, Honky Tonks and Hassocks

It’s getting late. Almost time to get ready for bed. Willie Nelson is playing on the stereo “Living in the Promised Land.” I don’t know about you but I love Willie. He’s been a little  bit of everything in his life, a singer, actor, had his own television show, he’s fought the government and he’s raised money for farmers through the “Farm Aid Program.” He, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash were all part of the original “Outlaws of Country Music.” In the beginning this group became known as this because there was a change taking place in country music excluding  much of the honky-tonk styling that had been so predominant through the years. Willie and the rest felt they weren’t going to be told by the record producers what kind of music they could play. I know many of you think he was just a drinking, drug doing, hippie, who traveled the country in a bus singing wherever he happened to stop. Who know’s, I don’t know him personally, but I kinda of see him as a hero. He stood up for what he believed in and he helped where he felt help was needed. For me personally, I think he’s a heck of a singer. Right now “You Are Always on MY Mind is playing. A very lovely song indeed.  Yep, I love to listen to Willie. Not only are so many of his songs just soothing to listen to, many of them tell a story. Stories we should take to heart and listen to the words. Okay, enough I guess. I didn’t start this post to talk about Willie. It’s just that this is a wonderful album and I’m enjoying it very much. Steve is asleep in his chair and the house is quiet except for the stereo. But as long as we are on the subject of musicians, most of you already have figured out that music is a big part of my life. Oh my, “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground,” one of my very favorites. Oh, um, well, what can I say? Music, I love all kinds of music. Country/Western, Jazz, Blues, Gospel, and of course Rock-n-Roll and lets not forget Rock-a-Billy. Steve and I were just talking the other night about how so many of the the really great artists from our generation have and are passing on. It’s like telling a member of your family goodbye. I grew up watching Grand-Ole-Opry on Saturday evening.  Me, stretched out on my big, pea-green hassock and enjoying every minute, not about to go on and play like the other kids. My cousins would come inside, tugging at me and pleading,“Come on, let’s go play hide and seek. It’s dark now, it’ll be lots of fun.” But I was too enthralled with Chet (Atkins), Johnny (Cash), the Carters, George and Tammy, Even ole Tennessee Ernie Ford. Then there was Hank Snow, Bill Anderson, Porter Wagner and Dolly. Lynn Anderson, Kitty Wells and one of my favorites, Patsy Cline. Mel Tillis and Ferlin Husky. Yes, those are just some of the great ones, but one I don’t want to leave out was good ole Hank Williams, another of my very, very favorites. I could go on but you all get the idea and probably don’t remember a lot of these names anyway. It was another time. A great time. After the Opry my Dad, and my Uncles would all get out their instruments and commence to playin’.  My Aunt Bonnie would sing and I’d perch myself up on the kitchen counter in the corner so I had a perfect view of all of them. I so much wanted to join in. I wanted to sing and sing and sing. But, I was too shy. I loved it but I guess it wasn’t enough to bring me out of the quiet place I lived. But I’ll never forget those nights, the Opry, my family and the good times we had when we all got together. My dad played mandolin, Uncle Arbie, guitar, Tony, Guitar, and Uncle Homer, I think had a banjo. It was a lively bunch full of fun, laughter and music that would last half through the night.  Mom and my aunts would have to pack us kids off to bed as we got too tired to get there ourselves but we argued all the way. Especially me. I just didn’t want to miss a minute of it. How unbelievably awesome it would be to be able to go back to even just one of those nights, jump off that counter and join in with the group, singing my heart out. Of course, that can’t be done in real life but, in my mind, we’re all on a stage together, the music is flowing loud and freely, and the audience is loving it. Oh, and remember that big,pea- green, hassock that I mentioned above, well, I still have it. I had asked my folks to save it for me, evidently when I was young, and by golly, they did. It was funny day when we were moving them from that house, the house I grew up in and where they had lived for fifty-six years, and Steve crawled out of the attic asking, ” Do we really have to get this thing down from here?” I replied, “What thing?” “Well, climb up here and take a look.” he answered, still looking a bit dismayed. ” It’s so big, and heavy, and ugly.” I climbed on the ladder and made my up to the attic opening in the ceiling and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I laughed, then told him, We most certainly do. I can’t believe they saved that thing for me. You bet I’m taking it.” I climbed back down still laughing and Steve made his way back to get the hassock. I think I heard a little grumbling  as he went. Something that sounded kind of like, “Oh brother, what I don’t do….and then all I heard was the shuffling of that huge old stool and a few more groans.  Yes,  I still have the hassock. I don’t know what I’ll ever do with it. Right now it’s in the garage but one of these days I’ll find a spot for it.

Yep, here it is. Stuffed in with a bunch of other old stuff from the past. Someday, I'll make a place for it. Maybe recover it first though. Not a big fan of Pea-green.

Yep, here it is. Stuffed in with a bunch of other old stuff from the past. Someday, I’ll make a place for it. Maybe recover it first though. Not a big fan of Pea-green.

Who Would We Have Been

A very young woman full of life

a spirited soul that knew no strife

Her life ended when she was so young And my life had just barely begun In memory of Wynona

In memory of my first mom, Wynona Her life ended when she was so young
And my life had just barely begun

her life wrapped around two little kids

they were first no matter what else she did

A husband who loved her very dear

no one knew the end was drawing near

too soon she was taken too soon she was gone

the way her life ended was terribly wrong

A horrible man came into her home one frightful day

took her life and then took his the same way

her life ended in an instant and all that was left

was two little children and a husband that wept.

I was the smallest of the two kids

to young to know what that man did

but I often think of my brother with fear

knowing he saw it and the shots he did hear.

Such wrong was done on that horrible day

often times I have wondered many times I have thought

what would have happened if that day had not.

Would we all have had a wonderful life

Dad, Wynona, Jerry,  and I.

Would I be anything like her what color was her hair

did we have any talents that we both could share

Did she like sad movies or going to the beach

did she have goals she was trying to reach.

I’ve dreamed of being an artist some day

did my desires come from her was she gifted that way

Would we have gone shopping just for fun

would we share secrets when baking cookies was done

Would she have liked spending time with me

I’ve wondered what kind of person would she be

Her life ended when she was so young

and my life had barely just begun

All these things and so much more

answers I’ve been longing for

I’ll never know because on that horrible day

that evil man took my mother away.