Today is July 5. The day after the celebration of Independence for the US, but for me it is a fun remembered day as it was my dad’s birthday.
I remembered his favorite cake was a caramel cake – I think it was a white cake with a caramel type icing. And we also had a few left over fireworks along with the long standing hamburgers on the grill. He had this neat contraption that held all burgers in a wire grid and a handle and you could flip them all at the same time. I thought it was fabulous but have never seen another one.
The many fun trips we made on the rivers of Florida in our boat have wonderful memories as well. Was he perfect? No, far from it but at some time you just have to let the negative crap go and focus on the great memories. And although each child has a different remembrance of their time with their parents, you can generally hang on to a few of the great fun times and let that be the memory to hold fast to. For me there were a lot. I was the youngest so I actually got to spend more fun time with my dad that my siblings. So this day, his birthday, I honor him even though cancer took him from us over 20 years ago.
This is the smile I remember in a place he loved the best, our house in Florida. Happy Birthday Daddy. You are still greatly loved.
Remember how much a smile can make you smile and smile often. It is contagious, so smile and be kind.
The fun and joy of being a grandparent should never be taken lightly. Families who hold to the bonds of family love through the rough times are the families who survive the whimsical nonsense of the coming generations. It shows them the importance as they grow that those with strong values of family, memories and grandparents helps the entire family stand firm.
I never really knew my fathers parents as he was the youngest of a large family and I was the youngest of our four, so by the time I was old enough to understand grandparents, they were both gone. But I did enjoy many fun memories with my mother’s parents. My grandfather was a farmer & a gasoline truck driver. And my grandmother was a school teacher. She was well loved by many through her years of teaching and I wrote a post about her in December if anyone cares to read that one as well. I remember the funny stories she and Buckshot(my grandfather’s nickname) would tell us about our cousins that I had never met who had other interesting nicknames like “Catgal”. I would love to know the stories behind the many funny nicknames of my ancestors.
Below are the pictures of both of my grandmothers, maybe later I will do a post on my grandfathers.
The is Lottie with Brownie, per pride and joy.
Some families do not have the luxury of sharing the memories of their ancestors. Some families who do not have that loving relationship or members who can’t feel that love from their family members are families that tend to disintegrate and scatter away from each other. It is a very sad phenomenon that I saw happen in my own family with my siblings from strained relationships or actions that can shatter a family. I also have this same type of disconnect with my own children where their relationships were severely strained as children and then as as young adults, my work scattered us 1000 miles from each other not allowing for a reconnect. I have grandchildren I have never held while the older ones have no real clue who I am other than a vague memory. It is a terrible thing to happen to a family. As my youngest told me, we never felt like we were a family due to all the disconnects, anger and frustrations we had. It ever reminds me just how fragile this life can be. But I am trying to fix that and hope that by year end, all strained relationships can at least be on the road to being mended.
This week Nancy Merrill challenged us with a photo of the week as grandparents. It rang true with me as I am trying to get better reconnected with my boys.
So I challenge all who read this to understand the values of all members of the family and to make all efforts to maintain as much of that family bond as possible and to make a connection whenever possible. Even those who fight it, they really don’t want to be left out in the cold. So try to reach out.
And in closing as I remind my readers – try to always be kind. It reflects the very love of God.
I stand and remember the wonder of this place, familiar smells are embedded forever
The three legged milking stool to stand on as she worked, with sun shining in her hair
The herbs are still there, were there even before, as great gran-ma was most clever
By planting them by the cellar door, the door great grand-pa had built for her to share
So when winters blast came through out the land, with white seeming to go on forever,
With simmering smells floated through the warm home, the cold could not compare
The love of family around a small table, only a candle for light, a memory that last forever.
Come join in with Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo writing prompt. Use the image above as inspiration to create a post on your own blog… poetry, prose, humour… light or dark, whatever you choose, by noon (GMT) Wednesday 26th June. Don’t forget to use the #writephoto hashtag in your title so your posts can be found.
And those who know my writing, always know I close in a reminder to be kind. Kindness is a reflection of God’s everlasting love for all things.
The screen door slammed as Jerry entered the kitchen sniffing the air of fresh backing cornbread just coming out of the oven.
“Sup, grandma. Smells great in here.”
“Sup? All that education you have had and that’s the way you talk.”
“Sorry. Good afternoon Grandmother. How are you this fine evening?” he teased pecking her on the cheek.
“Hmp, now you are just being ridiculous,” she said as she sipped in her tea. “There is sweet tea in the fridge and get out the syrup so it can be warming up a bit.”
Reaching in the fridge, he pulled out the bottle of Georgia Cane Syrup made by Johnson’s farm at the southern part of the state. He poured himself a large glass of tea and came to sit at the table across from his grandmother as she finished slathering butter of the steaming ears of corn. Reading of the bottle of syrup he noted the date on the back label.
“Does syrup get old?” he asked.
“No, why do you ask?” she said.
“It’s got a date on the label.”
“Oh, that’s a best used date, before it starts to separate,” she explained.
She stopped with her hand on her hips and stared at her grandson. “Have you learned nothing from me and this farm? What is syrup made from?”
A gleam lit in his eyes knowing a good banter was in the making. “Well that depends. You have maple syrup where they pull sap from a tree, boil it down to make syrup.”
He glanced up to see the good natured scowl deepen on her brow.
“We don’t grow maple trees here in the south. We grow cane. Your grandpa had 2 full acres ever year before he passed. The sugar cane juice, sap, is boiled down as the cane is crushed. If you let it sit too long on the shelf it will turn to sugar crystals – separate. Here, take your plate and grab you some field peas and greens from the stove. Pork chops, corn and cornbread are already here on the table. How big a piece of cornbread do you want?”
“Normal size for now,” he said. “Then I will get a bigger slice to sop up remaining juices on my place before I add the syrup.”
“Yea, that’s the best part of the meal,” agreed Grandma as they settled in to a warm enjoyable meal.
Growing up in the late 1900’s gave a different meaning to the family meal. It was a time for fun shared over good food, teasing to help you grow with lots of assurance of love and togetherness. We seem to have lost that as we are rushing to the next battle to conquer. A lot of the encouragement has been lost and we find ourselves at times not knowing exactly what the next step needs to be. So I challenge you this year to try to regain some of that back. Love on you family members and friends and encourage each other. And as always…remember to be kind. Even when drawing a hard line if needed, it cane be done with love, encouragement and KINDNESS.
GC and Sue W have created a prompt that is so up my alley. The joys and traditions surrounding Christmas are my most favorite of the year. See their prompt below to join in on the fun and share your photos.
For me and my daughter, we start preparing the week before Thanksgiving but this year we started the 1st week on November as I was due for surgery the second week and I was not going to miss out on my decorating. We are also major college football fans, so every year there is an off weekend where our team does not play. That is the designated day for Christmas decoration shopping day. Sometimes we find something and sometime we don’t but it has become a yearly tradition we look forward to with love and fond memories.
When I decided to move from the deep south to the midwest for a new job, my daughter wanted to come. He job was going nowhere and her last relationship had crashed and burned. So we moved together. We were fortunate to find the perfect house with a walk out basement and a kitchen on both floors. So she is downstairs where it stays cooler to her liking and I am upstairs. Close to each other but separated as well.
My daughter and I are both suffers of the same…”illness?!?” – YCHTMC – An acronym for “You Can’t Have Too Much Christmas”.
Upstairs I have are 3 full size trees and 3 table trees. Down stairs my daughter has 3 smaller full size trees and 1 table tree.
Below are the downstairs trees in her large living area.
I have 6 multiple pieced nativity sets in various styles, colors and sizes with many single unit nativity scenes.
My biggest set has individual lights for each house and my smallest is actually a fountain.
My daughter has 2 multiple pieced nativity sets and several single unit scenes.The reason I have more is I have been doing it longer. It is a sickness I inherited from my mother and I have several ornaments that were hers. It is a family affair. With my sons, their wives keep them in check.
I am also an angel collector and most of those stay out year round; they just get located in a different location allowing other and numerous table decorations. Plus there is the village that grew this year and now has a section located in a different spots which houses the country scenes and the Christmas tree village.
There are traditional decorations, whimsical decorations and some just silly decorations but laughter and the love of Christ is what Christmas is to me. Through November I have displayed some of my pictures so I will repost a few but you are interested you can review my other post from November.
I sincerely hope you all have a marvelous Christmas regardless of your religious affiliation. It is a season of love hope and caring and we must always be considerate and kind to each other, especially at this season. There are many hurting during this time of year and will need and extra hand of kindness shared with them so please share kindness when you can.
My mother’s mother was a real southern jewel. She was a beloved 2nd grade school teacher and even on her meager salary she would find a way to help buy one of her students a pair of shoe or winter coat if needed. As pitiful as we pay our teacher today, back in the 40’s I can only imagine. She retired when I was in early high school when she said she turned 65 but we all knew she was probably older but refused to admit it. The courthouse that had all the birth records of her home town had burned down along with many records of the area. But her retirement was a big shindig where all the school attended along with former students, the local paper and of course family.
Her name was Charlotte but everyone called her Lottie or Miss Lottie, even her grand children. But she was NOT a grandmother. Don’t get me wrong, she loved her grandchildren and called us her grandchildren but she was not a grandmother. “The very idea!” I think that was her favorite saying. She had lots of great sayings but coming from the south, we do come up with some interesting ways of putting things. Sometimes words didn’t even need to be said, you just got “the look”. How many of us remember “the look”. I don’t think I ever mastered it, my kids could see right through me. But Miss Lottie’s was so strong you could feel it from the back, your hackles would rise. You didn’t even have to see it, you just knew you were getting it. Such fond memories.
Well, I am here to tell you that you don’t discount those memories you had with you grandparents as you never know when you may need one of those memories. One that tickled me the most were her clothing sizes. When she was young and thin I am sure she wore a size 12 but not in her grandmotherly state. So when we bought her clothes, we cut the tags out and told her they were size 12. And as we get older our feet spread and we gain a little weight, our shoe size changes. It’s part of aging I guess, at least that is what I have noticed, but I spent 40 years on a concrete manufacturing floor which probably didn’t help.
My grandmother loved this type of house slipper that looked very similar to a Japanese style slipper. I remember they were dark blue in color with darker swirls in the fabric and it was the only kind I saw her were. But she insisted she wore a size 7, yea, no. She was easily in an 8. But she would buy the 7, they would be too tight and bind her feet. So she would take her brand new slippers and cut them to allow room for her foot. I remember asking her one time(and only one time) why she did that. Her answer was that her feet swelled at night and she needed the extra room for the swelling. I returned with the question of why not buy the next larger size. Well, not only did I get “the look” I got “The very idea! Then how are they going to fit when my feet are not swollen?” Indeed, I thought quietly to myself as I nodded approvingly to her statement.
I laugh at myself now as I remember this story because I am using her “technique” until the swelling goes down in my right foot. After my first surgery, I was fitted with orthopedic inserts for my shoes to start using once I started walking to add the extra support I would need for my feet. The inserts do take up room and it is no issue with my left foot as it has minimal swelling left. But the right one is still pretty swollen and my foot would not fit in the shoe. So, Miss Lottie, I am using your method and it seems to be working fine. I removed the laces and the tongue and then slit the top just like she use to.
So the moral of the story is don’t fully discount the stories of your grandparents as they may be beneficial to you one day. Life is always a journey and memories sometimes are the things that help us make it through.
And in closing I remind you of the joys of laughter in helping you heal. Share your joy, laughter, kindness with others this holiday season. This can be a difficult season for some so always be kind. Reach out with a gentle touch to show others you care. It may be the only kind thing that person gets that day.