Friday, December 28, 2007

The Dust Tastes Nasty

Teensy and boys along with Mom and Dad have just returned "home" from West Texas. We left on Friday morning, December 21st. Getting the Spoon's ready for travel away from home is daunting and makes me want to find a dark corner, assume the fetal position and rock soothingly as I suck my thumb. We started packing on Thursday so we could leave on Friday. Had we started packing on Friday to leave on Friday we would have left Saturday morning. Just to drag you into the aneurysm inducing trauma too here's the rundown.

  • Gifts: We had to pack all of the gifts purchased for Kendra's family. This included: Poppy, Granny, Uncle D, Kendra (yes, his wife shares the same name as my wife, isn't that...special), and Uncle D's kids, Brylee, Reece, and Kendal, Grandma Greenfield, Grandma Rushing, Aunt Mimi, Uncle Randal and Aunt Janette. Having wrapped and secured those gifts it was time to dig out all of the gifts that Santa had dropped off early to our house which needed to be taken to Granny's house so our children could believe in the magic of Christmas. PLUS, oh I'm not done yet (and you are already looking for a corner aren't you?) we had to get our gifts to our children out and ready to pack.
  • Teensy: Since we were going to be gone for seven days we needed to pack two cans of formula, a case of bottled water for her cereal, drinking, and bottles, enough cereal (two boxes) for her breakfast, lunch and I just need a little tide me over snack, food, teething medicine, gas medicine, diapers, wipes, shampoo, outfits that were guaranteed to make her look just absolutely adorable because, after all this was her debut in West Texas. Clothes, Lord we packed enough clothes for her to change three times a day. Then there were the toys, blankets, pack and play for sleeping, and night night pj's. Oh yes, and a coordinating bow for every outfit, except the pj's because it really balls up the whole sleeping thing. Most of this went into her hot pink with white polka dot duffel bag that will be her luggage until she's old enough to tell us she hates it.
  • Chubbers: Chubber Chubber needed two changes of clothes per day, he could have used five changes of socks per day, but we just let him eek out on one pair per day, pj's, his special cream for eczema, special lotion, special soap, special shampoo, special spray for his beautiful curly, velvety soft hair, special comb that helps him not scream the entire time we are coming this luscious locks. Tooth brush and the toothpaste he'll use, Tylenol because his two year molars decided it would be a good time to burst through his gums, great timing molars! We of course could not forget the gucky, his special security blanket which travels with him everywhere. A pack and play for him since he sleeps in a crib still and would fall out of a traditional bed. Blankets, sheets, and a pillow so he could smell hom e as he slept. Toys, movies, and shoes. Plus jackets for windy, cold and windy, and the coldwindywhyintheworldareweoutinthiscrap jacket. This packed in a grey toned camo duffel.
  • Mister T: Titus was the least of our worries as he's the most content in most situations. He's a well seasoned traveler. When it was just the three of us we drug him all over timbuck too. He's a great traveler and a good sport when it comes to going because that's what he's been doing for his entire life. We packed pj's, clothes, play clothes, two pair of shoes, movies, games, and toys for his entertainment. He shares Emma's soap and shampoo, and of course his toothbrush and toothpaste. He usually takes along an animal but decided they could all stay home since he would be with cousins. Worked out pretty well animal free. And a pillow. This was all packed into a green and black camo duffel.
  • Snacks: This is no small feat. We filled a laundry basket and two insulated bags full of the things that our kids like to snack on. They are huge snackers and eat almost all day long. There is snack restriction from 5:00-5:30 while Mom is cooking dinner but other than that they are free to eat at anytime they wish and we make sure they have healthy snacks at their finger tips. Go-gurt, grapes, three boxes of different crackers, cheez-it's, Frosted Mini-Wheats, cookies (Mom made chocolate chip!), Sugar wafers (they aren't healthy for everyone but me loves them), Capri Sun Roaring Water, four cases of Diet Coke, Christmas snacks we made, Strawberry Newtons, and Chocolate. Nesquick for Chocolate milk in the mornings. I think I've covered everything.
  • Mom: All of her clothes fit into a hanging bag, then her toiletries bag, make up bag, and hair dryer. A pillow.
  • Me: One duffel filled with all of my clothes, shoes, house shoes, and my kit bag which had the essentials to my survival. Chief among the essentials is Claritin because there is something about West Texas my body doesn't like and I get sinus trouble every time I go so these pills are gold!

All of this fit into our van, along with us, how I did it was a Christmas miracle. We were off by 9:30 Friday morning and 1,000 feet into our journey had to turn around because Mom forgot her camera. We were on the road again by 9:50. The trip there was grueling because it took forever! 13 hours in the car with a 14 month old, 2 year old, and 5 year old is grueling. The mistake was in our choice of route. We chose to go through Oklahoma City, then Fort Worth, which is where the whole problem started. Fort Worth was a mistake. Traffic is always an issue but this particular day was among the worst traffic days in recent memory. It took us over an hour just to navigate through Fort Worth form Texas Motor Speedway to I-20 headed for Weatherford. It should have only taken us 25 minutes at least 35-40 at most. By the time we were through the Fort Worth traffic I was a fuming, angry, keyed up, road raged Daddy. If one more care had pulled into the fast outside lane and made the decision to drive slow I would have exploded! We pulled off and ate dinner to give me some time to cool down. Fort Worth was only half way and we should have already been there. We pulled into Granny's drive way at 9:40. Then we had to unload--EVERYTHING! I didn't get to bed until 11:30 that night and I was exhausted.

We haven't been to West Texas for Christmas since Titus was a baby, he's only had one Christmas at Granny's. Granny was able to have Christmas with all of her grand babies under one roof. This was all the gift she needed, but she enjoyed the things we brought her other than her grand children. Granny had not seen Teensy since she was in the NICU so needless to say she had changed a lot since she last "saw" her. Pictures just don't' do for Granny's ya know.

Kendra's family has lived in their house for over thirty years, so most of Kendra's memories are in this house. It was cool to have our kids under the same roof enjoying Christmas that their Mom enjoyed when she was their age. We made sugar cookies for Santa and used the same cookie cutters Kendra used. This kind of stuff makes me happy inside and comforts me because I'm huge on nostalgia and memories. Most of my family traditions aren't practiced at Christmas with Granny, but I don't mind being involved in their traditions and giving mine a break.

Christmas morning in my family always meant home made hot chocolate, cinnamon rolls, and pigs in a blanket. After we enjoyed that we dug into the gifts. Someone was always designated "Santa" and sorted out all of the gifts. We usually opened one at a time watching the expressions on each package opened. All of our Santa gifts were wrapped under the tree in one special paper. All of the other gifts from family were wrapped in different paper. Kendra's family opens family presents on Christmas Eve, then on Christmas morning the kids walk into the living room and see all of the Santa gifts just set out. Opened, assembled, batteries installed, grouped by child. It's a pretty stark difference and not easily over come. Making sure my wife is happy, and my kiddos are happy is VERY important and takes precedence over this tradition. Personally I would like to combine the two and settle. Have family presents on Christmas Eve, but have the kids find wrapped Santa gifts under the tree on Christmas morning. I don't really push the subject, but maybe someday.

Our kiddos had a great time playing with their cousins and we had a great time visiting with family. There is nothing to do in this town, but be with family, chat, reminisce, and relax. Sitting around the kitchen table, drinking Folgers coffee and reminiscing is a great prescription for hustle and bustle. Stopping to know that the fiber of your being is woven together with memories of family, and celebrations, and the foundation upon which "you" are is strong because you have time to be together and close and tell those you love, "I love you."

The dust in West Texas still tastes nasty, but being with your family at Christmas is delicious. I love you Teensy, Chubber Chubber, Mister T, and Kendra! You are what makes my year bright.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Memory Lane: Go, Go Granny

Fleeter Ann (Robinson) Hill was my Mom's grandmother. She raised my Mom from birth because her mother, Pauline, couldn't. I've never really been told what the reason was just that she couldn't so there you have it. My Granny had seven children but raised so many of her own grandchildren it wasn't even funny. I still have the hardest time deciding who is and isn't an aunt, great aunt, uncle, cousin, it's just all messed up.

I spent so much time at my Granny's house, had just the best time ever there. She lived at the foot of South street in the teeny tiniest house. There's one specific story that I need to pull out, but I have just hundreds of other stories knocking on my brain's door that it's hard to keep on track with the one I want to share.

Granny was feisty to say the least, stubborn, set in her ways, and always a very colorful person. She wore her hair pulled back into a bun, a perfectly woven tight bun, not a hair out of place--ever. She usually had on a sweater with her dress and wore white keds tennis shoes. Granny was the antithesis of pretentious. She chewed Good Money tobacco. This tobacco was in a figure eight shape and she would cut off a, "chaw" of the stuff and chew it. I'm assuming is was the long leaves of the tobacco plant twisted. She carried a Foldgers coffee can so she could spit out her 'backy' juice. It was the most disgusting thing, but none the less a part of my Granny and I loved her, sumtotally!

Saturday's were spent going to town with Granny. We always went to town with Granny on Saturday's. When I was younger we would go to the square, where she would shop at JC Penny's and the hardware store, etc. Sis and I would go across the street to the courthouse and try to see into the jail, never did get a peek, but it was a great adventure for us. As we got older and Wal-Mart came to town we would go there and then to Consumers market for groceries. Granny usually got the same things each week, predictably.

One Saturday when my sister was in high school we were at consumers. As we picked up Granny and headed to town she was complaining about her clothes being too big. She was just a tiny thing and I don't think I ever saw her buy new clothes. Granny was always devastating my sister in public, asking her how big her boobs were, shoving panties and bras up in the air to see if she needed any. Stuff like that would just send my sister into orbit to the planet mortification! I really loved watching my sister melt into a puddle of humiliation and the look on my Granny's face like, "what did I do?" Great. This particular Saturday would prove to be one my my fondest memories from my childhood because it involved the humiliation of my sister.

We were at Consumers and Sis and Granny were in the produce section when, "Lesa, I need to find a bathroom." "What's wrong Granny?" "The elastic in my underwear just gave way and I'm losing my drawers." "WHAT!"" Just get me to a bathroom." As luck would have it the bathroom was just behind the aluminum produce doors. Just as my sister and Granny walked through the door into the back room Granny's panties gave way and were piled up around her ankles. To make matters worse one of the cute guys at my sister's school that she liked was standing there jaw dropped, eyes popped having just witnessed an 80 year old ladies underwear fall around her ankles. "Hey Lesa, everything ok?" "Yes, we are fine. Granny come on." "Ma'am can I help you?" As the boy was leaning down to help my Granny with her panties, she stepped out of one side and kicked them up to her hand. "No! you don't need to help me. We are just fine. Thank you." As my Granny stuffed the underwear into her purse and turned to exit, my sister was just frozen in humiliation. Not only would she have to spend the rest of the day with her Great Grandmother shopping commando, but she had just encountered a peer--a cute have a crush on you peer--who witnessed the whole debacle.

I still laugh when I think of this story. It's one of my favorite stories of all time. Incidentally, Granny's underwear kind of peeked out of her purse the rest of the shopping trip and my sister just stayed back head hung low, hoping that she would die before Monday rolled around.

I'll have more great Granny stories. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

R.I.P my friend

My friendly, feisty, spunky, ever-present (until today) fish, Otis died today. Otis was my office fish and came to be my friend when I worked in Texas at Heritage. We had to do a unit in one of our Bible classes with fish and I bought several beta's, Otis was the only surviving one. Several of those little suckers leaped out of their containers to sudden death, kamikaze crazy fish!

Otis was special to me because he had some really cool tricks. He would flip his smooth black rocks at the side of his bowl every so often, which always got my attention. Other than swimming around and flipping rocks, he was quiet and reserved.

I'll miss my friend. Thanks, Otis, for three good years of love and support. I'll miss you.

Friday, December 7, 2007

A titch more Teensy

Well we've finally scraped up all the dried on frosting from the beating our kitchen took last Friday for Teensy's party. It was a lot of fun having many of our friends and family take the time to join us for the celebration of her first birthday. Levi and Emma both had less than spectacular first birthday's when compared to Titus' first birthday. His first birthday was literally a three ring circus. We had clowns, a ring master, decorated our church fellowship area in Texas to look like a circus, ordered custom made lollipops, and had a pinata (in Texas everyone has a pinata at their birthday, not sure why) the size of a small man (this thing stood about 4 1/2 feet tall for real). We had a lot more time and resources for Mr. T's first birthday, with Levi and Emma we just felt good about having a birthday.

Kendra made her smash cake and cupcakes for the guests, I made chili and green chili cheddar cornbread muffins. We had all the fixings to make Frito pie, too. One of my good friends from Texas, Sharon (who lurks about this blog now and then, HI Sharon!) who hails from Nebraska had never tasted or heard of a Frito pie! I couldn't believe that she had never had a Frito pie! For those of you who are deprived of this fantastic, crave-inducing delight, a Frito pie is simply corn chips, chili, and cheese layered together. Some folks put onion and peppers on, but me I like it just straight up. Corn chips, cheese, chili, more corn chips, chili, cheese. It is just fantastic. For the next several years anytime Sharon had not tried or had anything we would always say, "you've never had a Frito pie!" I'll have to post my recipe for Chili, it's really good an easy to make.

Back to the party. Kendra is amazing to me. She can get an idea or what my Granny would call a wild hair and just pull it off. For Teensy's cake, she wanted to make fondant ribbons for each cupcake and for Teensy's smash cake. Well we've never touched fondant, worked with fondant, other than to peel it off the cake we were about to dive into at weddings. That was not going to stop my sweet wife from tackling the project. We've watched enough Ace of Cakes and Food Network challenges to have visual memories of folks working with fondant. I made the butter cream frosting for the cakes and proceeded to make the ribbons. First she tinted the fondant to the specific colors she wanted, then rolled the fondant dough out to about 1/8th of an inch. She cut the dough into 1/4 inch strips ( it looked like fettuccine noodles) and each strip was cut into 6 inch sections. She would fold each strip into a loop (to look like a tear drop). These loops she arranged on the cupcake in a circle, then placed two or three loops standing up and viola! Ribbon. It was really cool. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the ribbon to post at present.
Here is a close up of the decimated smash cake. Teensy pinched all you see eaten with just two tiny fingers. The above shots of her are how we present all of our children on their first birthday, waist up naked wearing a party hat. She is chewing on a fondant ribbon in each shot. The hat is made of felt, each scallop has a tiny rhinestone on it, and the plate matches the hat, as well as an ice cream bowl which will come out later. It all comes in an heirloom box to keep for years to come. The high chair is the same chair that Titus, Levi, and now Teensy all sat in for their first birthday. It has a permanent place in my sentimental obsession, we can never get rid of that chair. I will also be on a mission to persuade all of my children to have their children sit in the chair for their 1st birthday (it is ridiculous, but my genetic make-up is 80% ridiculous and 20% starch). Those little polka dots were purchased in the cake decorating section and matched the colors Kendra used for the ribbon perfectly.
We have seven Christmas trees in our house at present. We have one in our formal living room, which is decorated with all of our sentimental ornaments. Then there is one in the kitchen ( you can kind of see it in the background) which is decorated in red and white with gingerbread. Kendra can flat decorate a tree! Then we have a snowman tree up stairs in the game room, Levi has a cowboy tree in his room. Titus has a tree that is all blue. Blue ornaments, blue lights, blue ribbon--blue! The tree in our room is kind of a vintage tree with copper bulbs, vintage looking hearts and such. Teensy's tree is awesome. It's a feather boa tree. The tree rests upon a shelf which is right by her changing table. We found a kit with Barbie ornaments and then some brushed metal ornaments. The topper is a tiara, which fell as I see--need to work on the fixing of that. The picture frames on the shelf have her brothers and her Momma holding her. The picture of Momma and her is in a tiara frame. Her room is Mint green and pink. I'll have to post some pictures of her room. Very cool.
Our kids are growing up with a deep love for celebrating and being excited about doing stuff. Kendra and I both want to celebrate that we are a family and we make everything a party. When we go to Target, it's a party! No matter what we do we try to make it a fun and exciting adventure and not a drudgery. Hopefully happy memories are being built as our kids carefully lay the foundation of their lives out in the Spoon house.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Teensy turns One!

I really have the hardest time wrapping my brain around the fact that our little miss has been in this world for 365 days! Watching her brother's and her grow is like watching sand pour through an hour glass, so fast, so quick, so hold on a minute I'm just not ready.
You can read about our journey with her starting here then you'll have to go here for more but, then you will be caught up. With all that we've been through you would think she's 30! As we were climbing the mountain Kendra and I thought we would never reach the top, but now it seems we've reached the summit, slipped and are now sliding down hill out of control, it's just going too fast.
She marks the end of her first year of life with some really terrific and unique "Teensy" things that only she can do.

  • She doesn't have teeth, not even a sign that teeth are in her future. Most babies have a full head of teeth by one, but not our little miss. She's going to wait, thank you very much.

  • When she is in full grin there are two perfectly symmetrical dimples right on top of her cheeks. Perfect little drops in her sweet little cheeks. Those dimples!

  • Her steel blue eyes glimmer and shine brighter than any star in the universe. Mildred talks about German glass glitter ALL the time, well it has nothing on the baby blue's of my princess.

  • Carbs! Lord oh Lord does this gal love bread. Crackers, toast, biscuits, pizza crust, rolls, crescents, you name it--she loves it! Teensy must have her bread fix as we eat dinner, nothing will suffice until we put bread on her tray. She extends her thumb and index finger to pinch up the piece of bread and then as she pops it in her mouth give the satisfactory moan of approval.

  • Mobility. Teensy is not sitting up on her own now, she would just rather lie on her back. I'm not sure it is due to the scoliosis she has or what, but she is just not sitting up. As for crawling, well she's not a conventional crawler either. She prefers to lie on her back and arch up onto her head and feet, like a bridge, and push. There's no place she won't get b doing this and by of course rolling. If she sees a tag, she will get there and let nothing stop her! She loves tags.

  • Brother's. Teensy loves her brother's. There's nothing that can make her laugh harder or longer than her brother, Titus doing many of his famous stunts. Chubbers brings her lots of laughs too, but they are short lived because Chubbers is convinced that she is in need of being dealt with. He will attempt to change her, feed her, lift her up to "holds you", or change her clothes all of which she completely ditests. The only thing that she hates worse is the sight of a Kleenex coming at her nose.

  • Right foot. There's something about a shoe and sock on her right foot that she hates. The minute we put her shoes and socks on, she's working to free that foot. Aside from the positively delicious taste of sock, she just likes to have that one foot free. I wonder if she will be the kind of gal who has to have that one foot out from under the covers?

  • Stillness. There's not much of that. She's in near constant motion. When we have her on her changing table, she's trying to buck off. The only time she's still is when she's sleeping. Which by the way she flips to her tummy to sleep. We don't put her on her tummy she just flips over, I would have to stand by her crib and flip her back which I won't do as I am fairly accustomed to sleep in my ever increasing old age.

To say that Teensy changed our life is like saying that electricity is just a passing fancy. Kendra and I are stunned by this amazing lady who has shown us more about living life that we could ever learn in a lifetime. She has taught us to completely and totally surrender control to God. There is absolutely no way that we could have made it through the last 365 days without the constant stability of our Lord. His strength, power, and assurance is all that we have had to be carried through. Every obstacle placed before us in the last year has not been a mountain because God made them molehills. Kendra and I both surrendered our selves to the Lord's care in the first few hours of our drama. I knew that facing the thought of losing my wife and unborn child, which I had no idea I had made, was beyond my ability to comprehend and control so I gave the control over.

I love you little miss, with all of my heart and soul. When I gaze into your eyes I see hope, fortitude, resolve, strength, and love for a life you have just begun to live. When I hold you in my arms I feel the future and know that tomorrow is going to a better place because you have lungs to breath and a heart that beats. I have no doubt you will do amazing things because I know you will be in the hands of a God who made sure you came into this world with pomp and circumstance and He just doesn't waste His time. Happy birthday my little Teensygirl.

Monday, November 19, 2007


It's that time of year when my heart calls me to the kitchen. I just love to bake and cook around the holiday's. I wanted to share one of my all time favorite cookies with you. The first time I had this cookie was at Mildred's house. She is a great cook and I can't even begin to tell you how many recipes I've taken as my own which she gave me. It really drives her crazy which is another good reason to continue doing it. I did give her credit when I wrote my cookbook, for one recipe--beefy rice, which is so delicious.

When Emma was in the NICU at St. Francis I made these cookies for the staff as a thank you and expression of our profound appreciation for their dedication to all of the babies that came through their loving hands. This picture of her is from November 30, when she had been in the NICU just a few hours. She held my finger at 4:00pm, for the first time. I will have a post dedicated to her on her first birthday, in 11 days.

Kendra and I tried to keep a macro vision when we were there mostly because our Teensy was doing so well compared to the other babies that were not doing so well. It just changed our perspective. We were totally focused and in tune with her, what she needed, how many grams her poop weighed, etc. But there was also this overwhelming sense of, "it could be so much worse." We had hundreds of people praying for our girl daily, as we were too, but we didn't know who was praying for the other babies. I kept a prayer list in Teensy's isolette chamber drawer just so I knew. The nurses didn't care because they knew why it was there. We ran into one of those babies at our Trunk of Treats in October and it was so cool to see the family, remember them, and get a chance to tell them that this church prayed for their baby.

When I made these cookies, I would usually make a triple batch, for each shift. I can get about four dozen cookies out of a batch, so I was usually cranking out at least 12 dozen cookies every time I made them. There were only two shifts, night shift was second, day shift was first. We took the cookies in a red toile tin with a promise that if the tin was returned empty it would be filled up again. We tried to take something every week, it became every other week after a while, but it certainly left an impression on the nurses and doctor's who cared for the babies because they knew that someone noticed them and appreciated their hard work. The most amazing thing about our 40 days in the NICU was that we were never known as anything other than, "Emma's Parents." Their whole focus was on her and her care not on the food and gifts we brought to them. As a parent we felt totally helpless, which is not a feeling that Kendra and I handle well. We had to do something and bringing baked goods was just the very least we could do. Those nurses have our undying gratitude and appreciation that will never fade with time.

There is a great candy cane company that only opens for one month at Christmas (it's in Minerva, KS) and they make the best candy canes I have ever eaten in my life. Mom's gets scads of them and has leftovers every year which I gladly eat, I love candy canes. Mom brought up all the leftovers we had and we gave them to the staff for Christmas, which they just flipped out over because it's not very often you get a home made candy cane for pete's sake.

Dr. Anderson was Teensy's neonatologist and I just can't say enough good things about him. We love him. When he ate these cookies it took him back to his home town. He told us he was from the North and that these cookies were made "up there" all the time and he hadn't had any since he had been in Oklahoma. I was thrilled to be able to give our babies doctor the cookie that took him back to his roots. I wanted to make other cookies, but knowing these were his favorite I just couldn't do anything other than these cookies.

I love the fact that they are bite sized, some people might try to make two bites out of them, and you can just pop them in. They are light and buttery with just at slight hint of almond, from the icing. But the most predominant flavor is the raspberry. I'm getting one of the worst cravings for these cookies as I type. They are so good.

I hope you try them and add them to your cookie collection for holidays. They are super easy. We have a v-shaped cutter from pampered chef and it is perfect for drizzling the glaze on the cookie. If you ever wondered what you were going to do with that thing, here you go.
Cookie Ingredients:
1 cup LAND O LAKES® Butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup raspberry jam**

Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

Combine butter, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour. Beat, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour. (I never do this step, but as disclosure it's in there.) Heat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. I use a small spring scoop (like an ice cream scooper). Place 2 inches apart onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Make indentation in center of each cookie with thumb (edges may crack slightly). Fill each indentation with about 1/4 teaspoon jam. Bake for 14 to 18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely. Meanwhile, stir together all glaze ingredients in small bowl with wire whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cookies.

**Substitute 1/2 cup of your favorite flavor jam.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Ahoy me harties!

It was a balmy day on the choppy sea as Captain Hook glared over the bow of the Jolly Roger for his nemesis, Peter Pan. Their long standing rivalry was begun after Captain Hook lost his hand, in one ill fated confrontation with Peter. His life would be complete if he could just have one good swipe at Peter Pan with his hook, or yea even his sword which is always at his side. Even though he was watching for this flying menace with the most serious concentration, one eye is always peeled for, "Tic Toc" the alligator that had a, shall we say, taste for Captain Hook. Hook knew, in the back of his mind, that his end would not be at the dagger of that malcontent Peter, but by razor sharp teeth of an alligator. His hope was that day would never come, or at least too soon.

Just as surely as the sun rises in the east, Peter shows up causing Captain Hook grief. Buzzing around like a fly--swooping down to tease Hook as he messes with the plume of his hat. Peter delights in seeing the choreographed swaps of Hooks hand flailing about. This man who prides his self on order and, "good form" is completely undone by this boy who terrorizes him to no end. Why is it that he can't stay on Neverland Island and leave the seas to Hook. Of course it is because Hook rarely ever sets foot on dry land, the Jolly Roger is his land, and Peter wouldn't have any fun at all if not for Hook and his ranting and raving as he swaps the empty air trying to catch Peter.

Most days are spent in a carefree fashion, Peter spending his time fluttering about with Tinkerbell. Peter is oblivious to the affections that Tinkerbell has for him, instead thinking that she is after all, a silly fair incapable of having more than one emotion at a time. You would think that there aren't enough adventures to keep Peter and the lost boys busy, but it seems that Neverland has an endless supply of adventure for these boys who will never know the cold steel blade of a razor against their adult cheeks. There is a part of Peter Pan that knows when the adventures end so does his childhood, which makes him all the more eager to never try to find the end of adventure. He never seeks to end the rivalry with Hook, or reveal the true identities of the lost boys, those secrets are kept in Peter's heart. Peter's family is the company of the Lost boys and without them he would have no companionship.

There is Tiger Lily, the proud Princess of the Picaninny tribe, but Peter finds their order and sense a little close to "grown up" for him. He knows that Tiger Lily is a true friend to him and is also oblivious to her affections as well. Tiger Lily would defend Peter to her death, an oath she almost made come true. You see there was one occasion when the tension between Hook and Peter took an uncomfortable twist, convincing Tiger Lily that she needed to take matters in her own hands and deal with Hook on her own. It would not be on her own terms however for she made the mistake of challenging Hook on his territory. There wasn't a mouse on board the Jolly Roger that Hook didn't know about and tolerate. Even though Tiger Lily channeled all of her Indian stealth to lurk through the choppy waters of Neverland, the minute she touched the boat, Hook knew something was up. With the knife in her mouth, Tiger Lily's only goal was to end the feud between Peter and Hook. The ambush that awaited Tiger Lily was upset by Peter Pan who flew in at just the right time to capture Hook's attention away from his beautiful friend.

Tinkerbell could do little to help Peter rescue Tiger Lily from the danger ahead, deep down in side she didn't really want to do anything because one less beautiful girl casting her glance toward Peter was just fine with her. Peter was for her and her alone. Tinkerbell, an expert at mending pots and kettles knew how to use that skill to mend broken hearts. She wanted Peter Pan to be for her and her alone, but she knew that true love would drive Peter from his childhood and straight into the throngs of adult responsibility. Nothing else could ever distract him from his life of leisure as the chief child on the island of Never land. Had she not witnessed first hand, the time she almost lost him, she would never have believed any ones tale. There was indeed a time when Peter nearly gave it all up for true love.

Peter would often fly to England in search of a great bedtime story. The summer, spring, and fall months were perfect times to hunt for good stories so he made his trips most often during those seasons. Everyone had their windows thrown open to receive the cool breeze of the night air. Peter's ears were tuned in to hear the perfect story. He heard many stories, but none caught his ear like the one's he heard from a particular townhouse in Kensington. He found them at the Darling home. Wendy, John, and Michael were indeed luck to have a mother like Mary Darling. She was the best of all mothers, kind and gentle; full of compassion and love for her children. She would enter their room at night, dressed for her own night's slumber, but wanting to give her sweet children one last story to stoke their imaginations for a night of wonderful dreams. Peter loved to listen to Mary's stories and would lose himself in the fact that he was afraid of women and resisted any adult that would come his way. Mary was different, she was kind and loving and the way in which she spoke to her children put Peter at ease of her persuading him into his own life of adult hood. He would land like a feather on the stoop and open his mind to her voice as she told the stories that dreams are made of.

Night after night of stories went off without a hitch until one night when Peter lost his shadow. Shadows are mischievous little scoundrels. Peter had to have his shadow, although it would help to not have a shadow as his shadow gave him away to Hook often times as he swooped down for his daily dose of torment. One just can't live without a shadow, however beneficial it is to tormenting Pirates. Not being familiar with chartering the skies of the Darling children's rooms, Peter bumped into a Chiffarobe, moved since his last visit. Peter had never seen anything more than the back of the Darling children's heads as they were frozen in their beds listening to their mother's stories. Their white linen sleeping gowns glowing in the moonlight. That would all change as he swooped down to catch that ornery little shadow.

To be continued.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Up Jump The Devil

My best friend in the whole wide world is Mildred. Halloween is a perfect time of the year to share with you one of the most wonderful joys of my life, more than a golden ticket from my favorite Barista, more than 90% off at my favorite store, this tops of my list of things I love--scaring Mildred. I just can't tell you how awesome it is. One thing to understand about scaring Mildred is that Mildred is a tough ol'bird. She's not afraid of tornadoes or walking in the baddest part of town at midnight, oh no bring it it on for her. She has no fear of "natural" things. No, no, see she's afraid of things that don't really happen in the natural world. I'll explain.

When Kendra and I lived in Oklahoma City and were working at Deer Creek we were good friends with the Triplett's. We spend many hours together; Mildred and her family, Kendra and Me, and the Triplett's sitting around either one's home and laughing until our belly's hurt and our tear ducts were dry. So much fun. I think for Kendra and Me the Triplett's house was our favorite place to hang out because we loved their house! It was in a very nice neighborhood of Oklahoma City called Blue Stem and the house was our dream of an absolute perfect house, now we say we would add one more bedroom since Teensy's surprise arrival almost a year ago (one month and 4 days to her 1st birthday). The floor plan was totally open and inviting, as were the Triplett's. I loved the kitchen and really liked cooking in there.

On one of our fun nights we were all cutting up and having a ball when Larry, sorry Pat and Larry Triplett, walked in the kitchen with this horrendous old man mask, that looked a lot like this one. Well Donna nearly dropped her contents! In addition to being really fun to scare she is even more fun to startle! It's really too easy to startle her, but it's still fun. Of course after she was startled we all got a HUGE classic Mildred lecture. As the night progressed, I decided it was time to pull out all of the stops. Mildred was at the sink, which had a window looking out over the side of their property. The street lights gave a blue haze to the dark night sky. I put that mask on and snuck around to the window and waited for her to get totally engrossed in a conversation. At just the right moment, up jump the devil! I popped up and caught her eye. She threw up her towel screamed and spun around! It took me a good five minutes to get off the ground because I was laughing so hard. She refused to look out that window any more that night, and really didn't want to go to the sink. The other thing to remember about Mildred is that when scared it usually marks her for life. Call her today and ask her about that night I jumped up at Pat and Larry's and we are RIGHT back to that night, and I get the same lecture as if it had just happened.

When Mildred's husband was on an out of town trip, for business, Mildred came over to the house to hang out with us. We always ate too much, laughed a lot, and just had fun together. This night was no exception other than we had decided to watch the Blair Witch Project. It was ALL the rage in 1999 and it seemed EVERYONE was talking about it. We started the movie about 10 or so. You have to understand that I'm not, so not, a night owl. I turn into a pumpkin around 10 and it just gets worse and worse at the night wears on. It drives Kendra crazy and Mildred too. I have never been a night owl, I'm a morning person. I say that to say, Blair Witch put me to sleep.

It didn't put Mildred to sleep, it put her in a state of absolute marked for life sheer terror. What makes this movie so believable is the way in which it was shot, like a home movie all bouncy and rough, not like a really fancy high dollar production. There is a part of the movie where this person is in a tent and children are all around the tent banging on it. Mildred was wrapped up in a blanket, peeking out with half an eye--totally and completely horrified. This movie ruined her.

The next day she was still ruined, still marked, still mortified that she had allowed her mind to open, even a crack, to the images and sounds of this now horror classic. It was all she could talk about. Mildred lives in the boon toolies about twenty minutes from civilization and the thought of her going back to her house...alone was all she could do. She just knew that little children would pop up and surround her house banging on the walls or something. She stayed with us for three days and then went over to the Triplett's for another three days. I really believe that she's still haunted by this movie--it really ruined her. I'm sure, not that she ever reads this blog, that she will get all tense and keyed up just reading this post. It's ok Mildred, they are all actors. My friend Tracy tells me that this happened in her neck of the woods. Since Mildred and Tracy are friends I'm sure it will come up in conversation (have you asked her about it yet, Tracy?)

Lastly, Mildred had not been on the world wide web for long when this happened, even though it seems she has been there ever since All Gore invented it. I had been after her for some time to get an email account set up. She has dial up which is totally frustrating to ALL of us, especially her. A few years ago I came across this cool picture of a kitchen/dining room and the challenge was to find something wrong with this picture. It came to me in an email, but I found it here and I'm so glad I did. Well the fun thing is as you stare at this picture you realize nothing is wrong, so you lean in closer, and closer when--up jump the devil! this monster face jumps up at you and screams. The first time I saw it I have to admit I jumped. I knew it would be fun to send to Mildred because she just simply could not resist the desire to find fault in this picture and there would be a for sure nose print on her screen. The only sad thing is I was not there to witness the shock. Mildred used to stay up into the wee hours of the morning pouring over the web and checking and responding to email. She was in this two peas in a bucket group and spent a lot of time there doing something. Well...sure enough she opened the picture and took the bait the picture was there and she was nose to nose with the screen when--up jump the devil.

She screamed, threw herself back from the computer in her rolling chair and ran out of the room. I'm sure her hands were close to her face, or covering her eyes. She was Ruined. She did not have her speakers on, or up one, because had that happened I think she would have completely dropped her contents and never touched her keyboard again. She knew she had to get that thing off the screen, but it kept poppin up and she just couldn't do it. So she covered her eyes and side step-slid, into the room waving her free arm around trying to find the computer. She finally managed to smack the screen and slide her hand down to the button to turn off her computer. I got the biggest lecture from her, lord o lord did I get a lecture. "William! I can't believe..." I really don't know what she said because I was laughing too hard. This happened at least seven years ago and she still won't open an attachment from me! How's that for holding a grudge.

Nowadays I just get my kicks out of making her think I'm bidding too early on her ravenous compulsive vintage ebay wallpaper purchases, but you gotta do what you gotta do. See since she has dial up and gets her connection dropped I get the supreme joy of doing her bidding--literally! It's just more fun that I have the ability to share, scaring Mildred. One more thing, Mildred....Boo!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Caped Fear

My Sister and I are four years apart in age, which is to say I basically grew up alone. We lived in the country at the junction of 76 and 86 highway in Neosho. These two highways came together at angles. If you picture a pie shape, our row of house was in the center right before the tip of the pie. There were six houses on our highway and none of them had children my age. I can't remember one time that I had a friend over in the seven years we lived there, except for Corbin Cornell whose mother dropped the reluctant lad off for a one hour trip into town. My cousin, Tiger, would come over but only on holiday or special occasions. I say that to say, my best friends growing up were my imagination and TV. I would get lost in my world and play for hours and hours on end and if I wasn't playing in my world, I was watching TV.

Saturday mornings, I would get up before the sun and make my way into the living room to watch TV. I can't tell you how many hours, collectively, I watched the color bars just waiting for the flag to be shown followed by the guy to com on the air and pray for the day. After the formality of the station revving up for its day of broadcast Super Friends came on, my favorite show! The Legion of Doom and the Hall of Justice was just awesome. I liked Aquaman the most, Hawk Girl and the Wonder Twins drove me out of my mind crazy--didn't like them at all. The Wonder Twins never did anything but get into trouble and cause the Super Heros more work. Gleek their mascot monkey was better than them. I wished them back to their home planet of Exor more times than I can count and wished the Wendy and Marvin would come back with Wonderdog.

I'm not sure why this popped up, but; there was a time in my life when I wondered to myself at what point the world became color. I had watched a lot of black and white TV and also color shows came along so I just knew that at some point in history things must have been black and white. Makes sense to me, how 'bout you? Pleasantville helped me out a lot in living through my thought process.

Super Friends entertained me for hours, I would just get spell bound wondering if my super friends would be able to survive the Legion of Doom's diabolical schemes. Even though Aquaman was my favorite superhero I would pretend to be Superman more than any other superhero, didn't swim much so Aquaman was just not an option, and since every super hero I became had a cape my dad made me a one to be superman. This was not a flowing red cloth, was a heavy scratchy tweed cape. That's right lime green, dark green, yellow, and white striped tweed cape with a button to attach. I didn't care because that cape would transform me into Superman, Batman, or Hong Kong Phooie, and I would have super powers just like them. None of the super heroes, however, ever had an older sister who got her kicks out of waiting for her little super hero brother to come running through the house only to grab my cape and watch me flail to the ground--flat! She loved that! I hated it! Every time I wore my cape I ran around in fear of my pesky sister grabbing my cape. Dad thought he would fix the problem by writing a note on my cape, "Don't Tug on Superman's Cape" was written on my green striped tweed cape with Marks A Lot Black Marker. It was kind of the cherry atop my pathetic attempt at being a super hero. I still have that cape in my Mom's cedar chest and it still has the warning, thanks Jim Croce, for all to see.
I knew when the Super Friends would be showcased by the villain showcased. If Bizarro, Brainiac, Lex Luthor (who founded the legion), or Toyman were on it woudl be Superman's day to shine. If Black Manta was on Auqaman would be the lead of the day. Cheeta and Giganta were the arch enemies of Wonder Woman and if Giganta was on it meant that Apache Chief would guest appear to help Wonder Woman out. Riddler, Scarecrow, or Solomon Grundy meant that Batman and Robin were on their way. Sinestro's yellow ring always battled against the Green Lantern's green ring. Just loved the stuff!
Watching those shows now I see how hokey they were, but back then I ate it up! I still enjoy watching the old shows and remember most of the episodes and get all keyed up just like I used to.
I usually watched my shows until the beginning of American Bandstand, and we left to go to town with Granny. I was never interested in American Bandstand and really, really loved spending the day with my Granny.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Vacation long ago, go

The Summer of 1974, my family and I had been waiting in our green station wagon for our turn to get into Silver Dollar City. We knew we were close because we had passed the horse ranch which my sister and I always wanted to visit, "we aren't here to ride horses we are here to go to Silver Dollar City", but knew would never happen. We loved Silver Dollar City. We loved the walk up to the tram stop in parking lot C, we loved seeing the long green snake pull up, "howdy folks, welcome to Silver Dollar City, Please wait until the tram comes to a full and complete stop before loading, watch your head." The Silver Dollar City was the first of many rides that I looked forward to. I can still remember the heat of those metal seats burning my legs as I slid into the bench, scrunching close to my Dad. Mom never let me ride against the edge because she was afraid I would fall to my death...on a tram going no more than five miles an hour!
There weren't many rides compared to Six Flags (ST. Louis) or Worlds of Fun (Kansas City) but they were great. Sis and I always made our way to every one full excitement and anticipation. There was: Fire in the hole, Run a way mine train, Rube Dugan's Diving Bell, and the Train. Of course, you can't forget Marvel Cave which wasn't really a "ride" but totally cool to walk through. Mom never stepped foot in the Cave, Dad had to go. Mom just shopped while we did the cave.

The center of town was cool because we could ride a real mule driven stagecoach, or go through Tom Sawyer's tree house (which is closed), and stood mesmerized and all keyed up because the Hatfield's and McCoy's were at it again. I really believed the story and always had a tinge of fear that those guns were loaded. The Sheriff wanted to deputize me and I was reluctant because I just wasn't ready to defend the city against the bad guys. I remember well when the Plunge came to SDC and it was just awesome! I didn't care about getting wet back then, now I do care-A LOT! Plus the apple butter house was right by it and you could sample fresh apple butter--HOLY COW that stuff was good.
Vacations for my family were always an adventure because something had to go wrong. Thinking back it was as if our car knew we were getting ready to go somewhere and decided it would just breakdown. We always packed a cooler with bologna and bread, mustard for Dad, and drinks chips. We never ate out on the road, Dad didn't want to stop he just wanted to get there. We would stop for critical bathroom breaks (most of the time on the side of the road) because I had reached the point of no return. On our only trip to Florida, which we drove to, my family loves to point out that I had--HAD to stop in every state to, "leave my mark." When nature calls you just can't tell it to leave a message.
Silver Dollar City meant funnel cakes. I just love funnel cakes and looked forward to eating them every time I knew we were going. There is one place in the park that I prefer to get my cakes from and don't really thing the other places do justice, it has to be that place. It also meant salt water taffy. Watching that taffy machine crank out fresh batches of taffy just brought joy to my heart. Plus, they give you free samples and for a boy who wasn't allowed to get souvenirs or was given spending money--free samples meant a lot! We did by the souvenir glass mugs because it meant cheaper refills. They have since become plastic mugs, but the glass ones were really cool. SDC has unfortunately become a fan of huge skillets that cook a goulash kind of conglomeration, which I am OUT on-Totally! I just can't stand the smell or sight of these huge vats of mixed up food stewing away. This picture does not do justice to the "real" sight of such a thing. I can't really describe it other than to say it looks like some took a compost buckets contents and decided to cook it over an open fire and add stagnant swamp water to it. BLECH!
We also ate lunch in the lost Mine, I don't think that I've eaten in any other place at SDC--ever. The Mine is a cool place, underground below the Fried Chicken place. You eat on tin plates and drink out of tin cups. The cornbread is just the best I've ever had. It is a buffet, but it feels like a cafeteria. Love the Mine. The Mine also had a special table which slowly crept up as you ate. By the time you were through eating it was about four or five inches higher than before. It was really fun to watch people who didn't know the table grew and see them try to fight off the feeling that they are losing their minds. So cool. By the way the picture to my right, taken from the SDC website does not--NOT portray the true visual experience of the Mine because the food does not look that good.
Hannah's Ice Cream Parlor is a true old fashioned ice cream parlor that I love. The blackberry ice cream would make anyone decide it's ok to be fat! I'm telling you it is incredible. They make the stuff right there on the sight in huge ice cream churns. They look just like the wooden bucket ice cream makers we all know, only super sized to 10 gallon not one gallon. So cool to see these things churning out such delectable confections--I'm a huge fan of ice cream. Just love it and Hannah's is the best place for Ice Cream ever!
Around 1980 or so I had a brush with celebrity. I will never forget walking by Grandpa Jones in the Park, "Hi Grandpa!", "Howdy son." He said, "Howdy son" to me--Me! Silver Dollar City had just built this huge amphitheater and showcased the Darlin Band from Andy Griffith fame. Grandpa Jones had come as a special guest. So cool to see a real live celebrity. The amphitheater called Echo Hollow opened after the park closed which meant you could stay a little longer and then go enjoy a good show. I loved the fact that the band that played with Andy Griffith was actually playing for me Live! They were really great and we always enjoyed the show. I don't' know who does the show now, but for the longest time we went to see the Darlin's at SDC. When I was a kid the end of the park was Echo Hollow but it has since grown on beyond.
We just wrapped up a trip to Branson and SDC where we took Teensy and the boys and it is just as I remember it. So much has changed and the park has really grown up, but so much is still the same as I remember it when I was a kid. Knowing that my boys can walk the same paths that I walked at their age and ride the same rides (some have been removed though, but that kind of ruins the nostalgia) is awesome. We had Teensy last year when we went to SDC and didn't know it. This year she rode in a stroller and not in her Momma belly! I got tickled at Kendra because she commented that, "these hills aren't as bad this year as they were last." There are some really steep hills you have to walk, and when you are pregnant and don't know it it's really bad!
I had the same feeling of melancholy when we left the park on Friday, a week ago, as I did when we left park in 1974 and years following. When would I get to come back to this wonderland and enjoy the freedom of fun. Waiting another year just didn't seem fair to me. These memories wrap around me like a warm blanket and just keep my soul cozy. Silver Dollar City is a good, good friend.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Memory Lane: Etta Caywood

One of the sweetest ladies I have ever in my life met was Etta Caywood. She was the mother of my loser uncle David. He married my Dad's only sister, Auntie Ilene, and they had two children, Tiger and Julie. While David wasn't worth the powder it would take to blow his brains out, Etta was a jewel. My heart is so happy right now as I'm pulling up all of the Etta love I have for her.

Etta always sat on our pew in church. She sat next to my Grandmother and drove her crazy. Etta was a fidgeting non-stop mover. She was always adjusting the white sweater that she had permanently draped over her shoulders, or digging in her purse for the Fig Newtons she ate during church, or getting her finger nail clippers out for a quick trim. She was just fidgety and Grandmother hated fidgeters. Etta made change in the collection plate. In the Church of Christ we celebrate communion every Sunday and immediately following communion we pass the collection plate to get funds. Each week as the plate came by Etta would place the plate on her lap drop in her bill and take out the change. Grandmother would just huff! Loved it. At some point in the service Etta would lean over to Grandmother and say, "Newton...Velva?" Oh how that made my Grandmother's blood boil. I've posted this before, here.

Etta looked like Granny Clampet from the Beverly Hillbillies with Queen Elizabeth's hair and Aunt Bee's wardrobe (does that do it for ya?). Her lips always glistened and were very taught, I think from false teeth that were not quite a right fit. She also had a constant smile on her face and was just absolute sugar sweet. She smelled of Ponds Cold Cream, with an ever so slight Fig newton aroma. Etta had an elastaband watch with a Kleenex stuffed in it. I can't quite figure out how one old lady with a used Kleenex and clean up a 10 gallon spill and still use the Kleenex when I have to have a shop vac and 10 rolls of paper towel. How do they do that?

Etta's house was warm and wonderful. She lived on the Corner of Hearall and Delaware. Her house was built into a hill, as most homes in Neosho were. It was a White house with a perfectly manicured lawn. She had a stone wall surrounding her property which only went up to about two maybe three feet. Atop the wall was an old fashioned fence. It was like wire hanger wire made into connected arches, very cool. You parked on Hearall, walked to the gate, stepped down about four steps to the walk and went up to her house. The house was a white asbestos tile home, very tiny. It only had a living room, bedroom, bathroom, dining room, and kitchen which was the smallest kitchen I've ever seen in my life. I would guess the kitchen floor was 3x6, literally one person could stand in that kitchen and no one else. There was a door in the kitchen which took you outside to the yard. The two car garage that faced Delaware Street was bigger than her house. It had all kinds of wonderful stuff in there, but I wasn't' allowed in there. Had she been my Grandmother, you better bet I'd be in there.

Etta's kitchen being so small, she kept her refrigerator in the dining room. She had Milkmaid wallpaper and a linoleum that had turquoise and gold glitter in it.

There were three things that stood out in my mind which came from Etta's kitchen. First, popcorn balls. Her popcorn balls were hands down the best popcorn balls I have ever eaten in my life. Every Halloween we made a bee line to Etta's house for popcorn balls. They were the size of softballs, sweet, not sticky, somewhat salty, and all perfectly shaped and wrapped. She only made them on Halloween and they were a treat. I don't really like popcorn (gets stuck in your teeth) or sticky stuff that much, but I would eat her popcorn balls. I'm getting a craving for them right now, blast! Secondly, her grilled bologna and cheese sandwiches. She always put about two-three tablespoons of butter in her cast iron skillet, made three cuts in the bologna and fried it in the butter. As the bologna was cooking she buttered the super soft white bread, the bologna was put on a blue Melamie plate while she cooked the cheese sandwiches. I didn't really care for the fried bologna and cheese sandwiches because they were served with tomato soup which I despise. The sandwiches were ok, but I prefer my bologna cold with iceberg lettuce, white bread the kind that sticks to the roof of your mouth, mayonnaise, and cheese thank you very much. Last, but certainly not least: Macaroni and Cheese.

Etta's macaroni and cheese was off-brand Kraft macaroni and cheese, never anything else but that. She always served it in shallow soup bowls. Tiger and I would be called to the table and there sat our macaroni and cheese. She cooked the noodles until they were very, very done, no al denta here more like al mooshay. The milk, butter, salt and pepper were added as well, but no cheese. As we sat down she would come in with her sweet, lovely smile, "would you like some cheese?" "yes please." At that point she would take the envelope which had been carefully cut open with scissors and sprinkle some cheese over my bowl of macaroni. Hands down this is the most bizarre way I have ever, ever eaten mac&cheese. I wanted desperately for her to just dump that cheese in the pan and serve it like every American in the universe does, but she was so sweet I just couldn't say anything.

I truly loved this sweet, sweet lady and hated how her only son treated her and how her only grandchildren hated her. It was my goal to let her know how much I loved her and I have to this day longed for her to be my "other" grandmother. Had I had her and my Granny to love me there's not telling how my life would have been different however I have no desire to be the spawn of her wretched and horrible son. I'll have a post about him...maybe.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In the kitchen with Moron

I've posted many, many times my love for cooking and as a matter of fact I can smell the aroma of brownies filling the house as I type...mood music! Before I actually had somewhat of a clue in the kitchen I made some horrific mistakes and still cause my family to cringe at the thought of them. Hey what can I say...I'm a Moron. I share two tales from my vast collection of cooking disasters created in the kitchen's of my youth.

Grilled Cheese briquette anyone?

I really like grilled cheese sandwiches when I was a kid. My favorite thing to do with grilled cheese was try to get all the melted cheese out of the sandwich then devour the cheesy, toasty, buttery bread...mmmm. Etta Caywood always made fried bologna and cheese sandwiches, not my favorite. I'll have to post an Etta's kitchen story soon, before I forget--it's a humdinger. The coldest possible glass of milk had to be on hand and guzzled, I guzzle my milk and do not slowly sip because it gets tepid too quick.

Mom and I were at Grandmother's house, which in and of itself was just amazing, I think because Mom was getting some sewing help from Grandma. Again, it's such a bizarre thing for this event, I might have just blocked the whole memory out...except for what was about to happen. I have to check the brownies...they smell done. Sure enough...where was I--oh yes. I was really hungry and asked Mom when we would be leaving because I was hungry. It took a lot of nerve to get me off the couch and into the "other" room as I wasn't' really allowed in parts of Grandmother's house other than the sofa or outside.

"Mom...when are we leaving? I'm starving." "You're hungry? Well you just ate dinner didn't you?" "Yes Ma'am we did but I'm still hungry." "Well you can go make yourself a cheese sandwich--don't make a mess!" Grandmother had allowed me into the kitchen! Allowed me into the fridge...the wardrobe had opened and I was surely stepping into Narnia. It was the only time I ever, ever felt free at her house.

I got the bread, margarine, cheese, knife, spatula, and cast iron square griddle out for my culinary adventure. Keep in mind that I'm around 9-12 here, Poppa was dead and he died when I 8, so it was for sure after that, and had no clue about making a grilled cheese sandwich. I thought I had all of the principles of grilled cooking down, but oh how wrong I was.

1. Turn on gas stove to full throttle, NASA hot.

2. Place skillet on stove to get smokin hot.

3. Butter bread with cold margarine which tears holes in bread.

4. Waft smoke from smokin hot griddle and slap on said holy bread.

5. Stand amazed at the amount of smoke created by this simple step.

6. Place cheese on bread as it is emitting a rather choking black smoke. does the cheese melt? It must melt on the skillet.

7. Use spatula to scrape black bread from skillet and flip over onto skillet allowing cheese to make contact.

8. Note: Cheese when burning at a high rate will actually flame up. When that happens scream!

"HELP! HELP! FIRE!" "What in God's name...!" Grandmother and mother were both in the kitchen which had a dense Jersey like fog hanging over it and quickly sprang into action. "Son...what were you thinking?" Holding back the was shear terror I assure you. "I was just hungry and didn't know how to melt the cheese" Grandmother wasn't happy at all and let me know it. While everyone else in the family can laugh about it (I'm snickering right now) I don't think Grandmother has yet to laugh about it. I never did get to eat.

Paul are safe!

About 1985 or 6 I was enamoured with Creole cooking especially blackening. Blackened chicken was everywhere! Paul Prudhomme was the quintessential Creole cook and lead, I think he might have even invented, in teaching the world about blackening. I was all for it, until I learned that it is hot...really hot and i don't do hot--at all.

I pulled dinner duty usually and tired to shake things up a bit when i cooked, wanting to try different things and not just have the same old same old. One particular night...sis was gone and Mom was working late which left Dad and me home alone. I couldn't talk Dad into a pizza or anything else outside of our house and offered to cook. Blackened cube steak sounded good.

I had no idea what blackening seasoning was, but I knew it looked red and then turned black. What seasoning in our pantry looks red? Lawry's seasoned salt, of course! I poured about 1 cup of the seasoning in a plate to dredge the steaks in. I got the skillet ready (medium heat is as high as I ever go--lesson learned) and dredged the steaks in the salt. They fried up great...looked just like blackened meat.
"Here you go Dad." "What's this?" "Blackened cube steak." "Bl...ack...ened? Do you know how to do that? I didn't think we had the stuff to do that." "OHHH YEAH we had everything we needed." Dad's first bite was also his last. "PFFFFSSSTD This is horrible, it tastes like crap." He was right, it was horrible. The steak tasted like a salt lick, nothing but pure salt. It was disgusting. "Don't try that again--ever, ok son?" "Ok Dad."
I'll have to get Mildred to tell you about the time I convinced her to corrupt her delicious, mouth-watering cherry cobbler. I feel a guest post coming...are you up to it Mil?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Don Juan named Ronald

My sister was always very concerned about her image and her status in the whole scheme of high school life. She was determined to run with a crowd that met her high standards of living, even though we were not "of means" like the kids she wanted to run with. She had a lot of friends and got into her fair share of trouble... those are stories for another day.

When sis started dating she set her sights on the boys who were of means, regardless of their 'coolness." One such stud was a boy named Ronald (picture the love child of Dudley Moore and the guy from Mad it? Ok, moving on.) Ronald's dad owned one of the nicest department stores in Neosho, they carried very nice clothes and my parents would never spend what the clothes in that store cost. He just so happened to attend our church, too. Bonus! Mom and Dad would let her "go out" with a good church boy from school whose parents owned a department store downtown.

The first date that sis went on with Ronald was a hay ride for church. It was Fall, the air was cool and crisp with the smell of fallen leaves filling the air...the beauty of scents that stir up the memories of fall were far out weighed by the dense, thick, heavy odor of that wagon full of hormonal teenagers looking to get whatever they could get. Ronald was among the hopeful. See, sis had been kind of flirty at school which automatically leads a hormonal boy to the conclusion that "she" is a doorknob--everyone gets a turn! What they didn't know is that sis was about as far away from being easy as you could get. She was a prude, with a sharp left hook!

As Ronald and sis snuck off to the seclusion of darkness I'm sure he was ready for his night of 1,000 pleasures with all of his hopes and dreams coming true through my sister. He did manage to kiss her, but when his hands thought they were the yellow pages and he would let his fingers do some walking, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING!" She put the kibosh on that boy's dreams lickity split. She was not giving up anything to him, let a lone anyone else who hadn't proposed and married her! Poor Ronald dejected and let down went back to the wagon with shattered dreams and a date that had the pursed lips of disapproval. Sis can give you a cold stare that would cause the sun to shutter!

Back at school on Monday, Ronald began to spin a tale, a huge false tale that put him in the club of "men" those men who flexed their muscle and showed their girl a thing or two about how the west was one. Yep, ol' Ron had his way with, "that Spoon girl" and then dumped her. One more notch in the belt of the Don Juan, named Ronald. The only problem with his plan was the fact that gossip when planted in fertile soil will grow like a weed, think Seamore's pet in Little Shop of Horrors. The rumor came back to sis, she was devastated. The devastation lasted for approximately 45 seconds before the rage set in. She was hot! When sis is hot, she gets revenge no holds barred!

One of her best friends at the time was Karen, a very ornery gal I must say. She and Karen really got into some doosies. Well...they cooked up this plan to get Ronald back, and good. All they needed was a night that we, Mom, Dad, and me, were gone...Friday night, our weekly trip to Joplin took hours.

"Ronald?...hey this is Lesa...good...say I was thinking about the, don't be sorry because I've been thinking that I was wrong to turn you away...right...what are you doing tonight? Mom, Dad, and Will are gone, you could come over if you wanted too....10 minutes great...wear something sexy." The trap was set! Ronald lived just up the hill from us. He ran as fast as he could to our house and made it in like 8 minutes.

Our house on Pineville Road was great. We had a big back yard, with a nice patio and sliding glass doors. The patio led into our den area which had a two step entrance into our laundry room, which connected to our kitchen. There was also a two step entrance into our formal living room which lead to our kitchen. Basically it was one big connecting circle.

Sis had put on a shirt and shorts...then a robe to make it look like she was naked. Karen was going to hide in the laundry room and run back up for Sis if ol' hormone tried to make a break for back door. Oh yes...there was a pistol and a shotgun involved. Sis had my Dad's Reuger in her robe and Karen had Dad's shotgun and hid in the laundry room. They were going to get him and get him good!

Ronald made it to the house in record time, driven no doubt by his pent up hormonal teenage charisma. "Hey beautiful...pant, pant, pant...came as quick as I could. So no one is home?" "Nope, not a soul come on look nice tonight." "Let's go into the den and get comfortable, I'm going to go to the bathroom, get comfortable." "OK, beautiful." As tiger bounded off onto an adventure into the 100 acre wood, so did ol' ron bounce into the den and strip down to his bikini briefs. RED SATIN BIKINIS.

When Lesa saw him standing there in all of his dorky glory is was all she could do not to bust out laughing, but she had a plan to execute. "Ronald...before we get started I have a question to ask." "OK, anything, you can ask me anything." "Well, do you know who started the rumor that you and I slept together at the hayride?" "What? no, I don't' know, let's not talk let's just get started." "Well, it's been bothering me because you and I both know that nothing happened on that hay ride, and well...I know it was you who spread the rumor." "I wouldn't do that to you beautiful." "Oh yes you would, you wanted to look good didn't you, you wanted your friends to think you took advantage of me and had your way with me, I now exactly what and why you did what you did. You pig. I'm going to get you back for it and tonight's the night."

That's when she pulled the Reuger out of her robe and pointed it straight at him. I'm sure, sure Ronald emptied his contents right their on the spot! "Oh my Gosh, Lesa, holy cow, now wait a minute here, I was only joking, I didn't mean it, honest. Is that thing loaded?" "It can get the job done. Do you know how embarrassing that was to me? Do you have any idea how mad I am and hurt I am that you ruined my reputation?" "I'm so sorry. I'll go fix it on Monday I promise, I swear I'll fix it, please don't' kill me, please."

It was at that point that Ronald decided to make a run for the back door. As he was running toward the door, Karen leaped from the laundry room holding the shot gun, "HA! Don't move creep!" "OH crap!" Ronald was standing in our den, wearing nothing but red satin bikini underwear as two girls were holding him hostage at gun point.

Karen was a tough ol' gal. She was a tomboy deluxe. Played softball, basketball, I think she might have played football if the coaches would have let her. She looked like the love child of Erin Moran (Jonie from happy days) during the perm years, and Andre the giant. Not a beautiful person, but no one ever said anything because she would beat the crap out of you.

"Please don't kill me, please don't kill me I'll do anything, please." He was crying and convinced that Lesa and Karen were going to shoot first and ask questions later. "You better go back to school on Monday and tell everyone you know that you didn't do anything to me, I'm letting you go this time, but if I ever hear about you talking about me behind my back again, I won't let you go." "OK, thank you, oh crap, thank you."

Lesa and Karen watched Ronald run home, up the hill in his red satin bikini underwear as he was trying to hold his clothes. The laughed and laughed and laughed. Ol' Ronald had been punk'd by the best and would never forget that night again.

He did as he said and tried to reverse the story, but the damage had been done. Sis was a marked woman, but she didn't care because she would start dating my future brother-in-law soon anyway.

There were times that Karen and Lesa would look at Ronald during church and close one eye, raise their gun fingers in the air and mouth, "bang." His eyes would get as big as silver dollars and he would turn away.

I can still laugh out loud as I think of this story. It never gets old or tired, I just love it. I have a beautiful mental picture of every second as it ticked away, and just love every detail. I wonder if old Ronald ever met anyone, he probably made darn sure they didn't own a gun!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Six Years...just yesterday

Tomorrow marks the sixth year of the 9/11 attack. Hard to believe that it was that long ago. That day started just as any other day in my very routing life. Kendra was working at Kelle-Harvel Elementary, and I was getting ready to leave. As was my custom I watched the Today show from my bathroom mirror. I could get ready and watch everything in reverse, even while showering. There were times that I would get sucked in and be late to the office, but I was usually on task. 9/11/01 would be a totally different story though.

I can remember hearing Katie bringing the latest breaking news of a building that had crashed into the World Trade Center--shocking. Then she and Matt went on to talk about how a plane had flown into the Empire State building in 1945, so while not unheard of it was still an unusual event. That is when the camera went to the live video and showed the tower smoldering and puking out it's black smoke. I will for as long as I live never forget what I saw Matt Lauer was talking I saw a black dot rise from the bottom right of my TV and slowly crawl up until WHAM! the second plane crashed into the second tower. "Oh my God...another plane has hit the World Trade Center...this is not an accident." Matt and Katie were exactly right it wasn't an accident and I wasn't moving from my spot.

I couldn't move...I was frozen as I watched the TV and yet I was reliving what I had just witnessed--the crash. I couldn't believe what I had seen and couldn't believe that there could be such a blatant attack on our soil. I remember the cold wave of sorrow and fear rush over my body and knowing that life as I had known it one minute ago would never again be. I was in the middle of the making of an historical event. What was I doing? Just standing there frozen in my bedroom. The news feed of course went straight to full on 24/7 coverage and they brought in Tom Browkaw to handle the heavy hitting news since the morning folks couldn't handle such a big story. I wanted Matt and Katie to be with me and comfort my Psyche, but Tom would do.

I called Kendra, and my family to make sure they were aware and as tuned into this story as I was and of course, they were. Then I did what I always do when such an event occurs...I called Mildred. There was no one else alive who could hang with me through rambling conversations and anecdotal comments. My sweet wife is not a phone chatter and couldn't talk since she was at school. We would have been planted on the couch in our PJ's watching this unfold had it been any other day. As the government flexed it's muscle in an effort to abate any further attack, shutting down US airspace for the first time in aviation history, etc. and the news reports continue with covering this disaster. Then, almost one hour later..."we've just received word that a plane has struck the Pentagon...another plane has struck our nation--we are under attack." Our Nation was under attack and I was beginning to panic. I can remember real fear coming over me. Would I see tanks on my street? Would I see armed military guards marching into my neighborhood? What in the sam hill would I use to defend myself in the event of a house by house invasion? I didn't own a gun? I didn't have stores of supplies built up to the point that I could survive on my own--I am totally dependant upon the food industry to supply my needs. I could break down all of the wood furniture in my house and burn it..did I own matches? I was really starting to get keyed up. Mildred assured me that I was being totally ridiculous and should just calm down, she was right.

After the plane in Shanksville crashed and the news assured me that the skies were safe I felt that at least the worst of the attacks were over and that now it would just be the horrible and awful task of living through this nightmare. Buildings around the Trade Centers were collapsing now (both towers ha already come down) and they were talking about the firefighters that were in the buildings doing search and rescue and all of the people who were lost. I just could not get in touch with the absolute desolate fear that the folks in New York must have been feeling. I could not come into contact with how I was feeling let alone how they were feeling. It wasn't in my backyard, but hundreds of miles away and yet I just could not come to grips with it.

I can still find myself riffling through all of the images in an effort to somehow wrap my brain around it and yet just can't seem to come to grips with it at all. It was an unbelievable day, actually the rest of the month was unbelievable as I saturated myself with the stories and listened to the stories of the survivors who lived through these horrid days. Teensy and the boys are all post 9/11 babies and will only know about this in the history books. What events of their life will mark them forever? What events will they look back upon and recall in real time as if it were actually unfolding. It's wishful thinking to hope that nothing like "this" will ever happen again, it will. Kendra and I just hope and pray that our sweet cherubs aren't involved in any other capacity other than spectator.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Encounters at the counter

There are times that fate really plays games with me. When I'm in the biggest hurry I always have to travel down my two-lane road behind a dump truck happy to be in 2nd gear. I have a knack for finding the slowest and longest of lines, or getting in a check out line that is being manned by someone who is volunteering at the register and has no clue what is going on or how to operate a register, it never fails.

Monday I had some shopping to do for a reception at the Preschool today (Boo-Hoo Woo-Hoo brunch) and ventured out to my favorite store, Target. I usually have good luck at this store and am always happy that they have a Starbucks in house (did you know they have clip on cup holders for the carts? oh yeah ask next time) for my slow browsing pleasure. I love looking at all the stuff and checking out the clearance items, so fun. I was able to pick up all the things I needed in a fairly short amount of time which is unusual for me since I get lost looking at all the new stuff or just looking period. I've never been one to get in and get out, I meander and wander, yeah even saunter through the aisles and the departments that don't have anything to do with my mission.

At the check out I hit a snag. The gal in front of me had made all of her purchases (can power bars and soy milk really make THAT much of a difference in our life?) and was ready to pay, "can I pay part of this in cash and put the rest on my card?" "Uhhh...sure...I think you much do you want to put in cash?" "$35 then the rest on the card." I'm patiently waiting when all of a sudden, "Ma'am the card was declined." Swipe. "Ma'am the card was declined." Swipe. "Ma'am the card isn't working, would you like to try another card?" "No, this one should work, I can't figure out what is wrong." "I'll try at my register." Swipe. "I"m sorry it isn't working." That is when the universe stopped. She just stood there contemplating her fate and wondering what her next move would be. "Well...try this one." Swipe. "Sorry ma'am." "This one." Swipe "NO." "Well, I don't know what to do." The clerk cancelled or suspended the transaction until the gal could get her act together and allow me to check out. By this time I had memorized all of the items on the last minute temptation rack. The gal went to an ATM close to the register and swiped that card at least 20 times. It was beginning to get funny.

"How are you today sir?" "Good and you." "Well..." Oh boy this person has obviously taken license to actually tell me how she is when all I really intended to say was, "Fine thanks. Here's my stuff I'm ready to go." "I'm so tired. room mate sprained her ankle and couldn't walk so....[my vision blurred and I was somewhat comatose] so we wound up at the ER from 11 until 6 and I had to be at work by 9 so that's why I'm really tired." " have to watch out for those ER's." "Are you getting ready for a social occasion?" Not only was this clerk a person who actually divulged all of the woes and burdens of her life upon the folks who just want to hear, "fine' and move on down the road, but she was a nosy checker at that. "Sort of I'm getting ready for a reception at my kid's preschool." "Oh great, how many kids do you have?" "Three." "Aw, how sweet. What kind of reception is it?" You would be proud of me because I at no point in this conversation spoke through my teeth although I wanted to. " A boy that's five, another two, and my daughter is 9 months." By then my stuff was checked and it was pay time. "Thanks have fun at your social." 'You be sure and get some rest...see ya."

I wasn't ten feet away from my lane when I heard, "Oh...I'm tired. See my room mate..." That woman had no idea what she had stepped into. Even if the Waste truck of fate has dumped it's payload on my lap and I've had the most horrible of days I always just say, "fine thanks." and move on down the road. It's really more of a courtesy than a concern for one's fellow man. Shouldn't we all just put on that happy face and move on down the road, "fine thanks."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Stick it in your...ear?

Growing up I spent many an hour of imaginative play being old. I was enamored with the things that old people did. It must have been because I was surrounded by nothing but old people. One of the things that always captured my attention for hours on end was my Granny's skin. It was paper thin and adorned with liver spots and "calcium bumps". The coolest thing was that I could pinch her skin and it would stay up for what seemed to me to be a minute. My skin would not "hold a pinch" and I just thought that was so cool.

Granny's house was a wonderland for me, Hostess fruit pies in the fridge (old people think that a refrigerator is a cryogenic chamber where nothing spoils--EVER!) and some of the coldest cool aid known to man. It also meant I spent 90% of my time outside. My Granny's yard seemed like it was 100 acres when it was maybe 1/8 of an acre if that. She had a cactus bed, which I fell in once--don't fall into cactus beds, and a potting table which housed the Venus fly trap, and she also had a fabulous garden, which I was not allowed near--sacred ground. Her Honeysuckle bush was enormous and filled the whole yard with it's sweet, succulent fragrance which I cannot help but think of my Granny every time I smell honeysuckle. I used to pluck the flowers off the bush and pull out the stamen then suck the nectar out of them. So good.

On many occasions I would go to my wonderland of play and set off on a journey to a distant land no where close to my reality. I would become a major player in Star Trek or my favorite an old person. This one hot afternoon I was an old man with need of a hearing device. My Grandpa wore a hearing aid that the old fashioned kind, you know the ones with the cord leading from the aid to the ear piece. It whistled all the time! I had noticed the new fangled in the ear devices which made me think of O'hura from Star did that huge thing stay in her ear? Anyway... I wanted to role play that and needed something for my new in the ear hearing aid. What to use?.....Ah-ha this stick will do. It was about the size of two tic-tac's. we coming out....I'll push it in more. There. That will do it.

Note: When trying to retrieve a stick that you stuck in your ear hoping to enhance your imaginative play of being an old not poke your finger in your ear at first as this will drive the stick further into the ear canal making it impossible for one to retrieve.

"Sis!!...Sis!" "What do you want?" "I have stick stuck in my ear." "What? A idiot how did you get that stick in there...Dad is going to kill you." "I want it out get it out." "We need to go tell Granny." "No! don't tell Granny, please don't tell Granny... she'll do something really painful." "Ok, let's go inside and I'll try to get it out...what were you doing with a stick in your ear?" "Well I was pretending to be-" "Never mind...I don't want to know...idiot." "What are you kids up to?" "Nothing Granny"

We were in the bathroom looking for some device to retrieve the stick and decided that tweezers might work. They worked alright..LODGING IT FURTHER INTO MY EAR! "GRANNY!" Granny's solution involved either peroxide or alcohol as either of these two liquids would reverse any medical malady one could possibly experience. "Wood floats, let's fill your ear with alcohol and it will float out." Even at six I was not too thrilled with the prospect of trying to float a piece of wood out of my ear by flushing it with alcohol. " way you aren't doing that. I"ll just wait for Dad." "He's going to kill are such a dork." Can't you just feel the love oozing from my sister's every pore?

Dad showed up...having just clocked out from an 8 hour work day on his feet. He was always dog tired and wanted nothing but his recliner and a news paper blanketing his face. "Dad...William has a stick stuck in his ear and we can't get it out." "A what? how'd he get stick in his ear?" By now I was crying and trying to wrap my brain around how I could go through life with this stick in my ear. "I was wanting to be old and I needed a hearing aid so I stuck it in my ear to have a hearing aid and I tried to get it out and it wouldn't come out so I poked it and it went in then SHE! jabbed it in further, 'I was trying to help you, you idiot' and Granny wanted to fill it with alcohol and it's hurting." I saw every ounce of my Dad's hopes in his son drain from his face. I hadn't used firecrackers to blow up anything, or set fire to something, I didn't torment girls with reptiles, or get in a fight, no I had a stick in my ear because I wanted a hearing aid because that's what old people do...wear hearing aids. Makes a father proud. "Let's go to the hospital...Lesa stay here with Granny." "come on boy."

The whole ride there was in silence. I spent it gazing out the passenger window...wondering how the medical profession would approach stick removal in a six year old. I hoped it didn't involve floating it out with alcohol. Our hospital, Sale Memorial, was an old limestone square building. The Doctors office portion of the campus was a long hallway which seemed to go on for ever. One side of the hallway was a waiting area with the other side being the offices. You sat outside your doctor's office in the waiting area and waited for their nurse to come out. Every doctor had their own nurse...all in a starched white dress with white hose white SAS shoes and a Nursing cap. The air smelled of sterile cleanliness, a crisp clean odorless smell almost as if you were breathing pure oxygen. It's one of the most unique smells.

Dr. Dabb's was our family doctor and about half way down the hall. His nurse, Gladys was one of the meanest people of the 20th Century--we did not like her. "Spoon...Bill Spoon...Spoon." "Here we are." "Mr. Spoon what seems to be the problem with Bill?" "He has a stick stuck in his ear." "What? a his'd that happen." "It's a long story." "The doctor will see you in a minute." Dr. Dabbs was a kind soft spoken gentleman. Very distinguished. He looked like Marcus Welby but walked like John Wayne. He was cool. He always had a grin on his face, a kind here to help grin that just didn't go away. "Hi Will, let's see if we can find that stick?" He grabbed the ear-looker (I now know it's called an otoscope) and poked it in. "Ouch! there it is." "Yep...there's a stick in your ear." Thank God all of those years you spent in medical school and all of that money led you to this conclusion! He opened his stainless steel drawer full of torture tools and pulled out the longest pair of tweezers I had ever seen. These tweezers could pull a chicken bone from the depths of a giraffe's throat. "Hold still now it." The bliss of sound coming into my ear was just wonderful. "There you go son, all better. Gladys is going to come in now and flush it out with some peroxide."

On the way out to the truck my Dad walked with me around his arm, drawing me into him which said to me, "it's ok if you get a stick in your ear...I still love you...a lot." I never heard that but knew that the actions were saying it. "Son?" "Yes Dad?" "Please don't ever stick anything in your ear again." "OK Dad, sorry." Granny was pleased that her "float it out" idea was reinforced by Gladys flushing my ear with peroxide. Yet again the two miracle liquids of modern medicine came through.

I did continue to play "old" but found devices that would fit only a little ways into my ear. After all, I had learned my lesson. The Fischer Price snap-lock beads had an awesome cylinder piece that worked great for O'hura or hearing aid play which ever I decided-they also made cool bombs. The beauty of it was you could stick it in your ear and have it stay all the while enjoying the bliss of being able to live out your imaginative play for hours and hours at a time.