Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Rest Of The Day After Story...

Not long after I got to Ben and Diane's we found out that there was a plumbing problem with all three stools in the house... Only one would flush, sort of, and the other two would just fill up and slowly drain back down. One of Ben's sons has a good friend that does plumbing and he made arrangements with him to come out Sunday morning. Diane was scheduled to sing at the church that she and Ben belong to so Ben asked if I would mind staying to be there when the plumber got there... Since getting up early is not my forte I assured him it would be no problem.

The plumber arrived before they left and as it turned out I didn't even see him. He went about his business and got the thrones all up and flushing. The point to all this? I got to sleep in... B. and D. had to get up early to get ready and go to church... when they got back home we snacked on left overs and started watching a football game, then decided we'd rather watch a movie. About thirty minutes into the movie the following is what I saw when I looked around the living room:

Bennett had crashed on the couch... He rarely takes a nap unless he is sick or just exhausted. He was the latter. He's been fighting back problems for about two months now plus working extra shifts at the hospital as he always does during the holidays so docs with young children can be off to enjoy a little extra time with their families.

He slept for about two hours.

Then I looked over to where Diane was sitting to make a comment about the movie we were watching... This is what I saw"

Yep... That's Molly curled up on her lap snoozin'. She's a five month old black lab that weighs a bit over 40 pounds... and on the footrest at Diane's feet is Samson, the kitty from Hell. He's 12 or 13 now I think and is getting more cantankerous than he was when he was younger.

I'm going to drop in another couple of photos of Diane and critters for you to enjoy but I decided to write this post so you all can see that it's not all run and gun in our lives... we all know how to relax pretty darn good.

Diane crashed out for about an hour and a half. All of that time except for the last 15 minutes or so Molly and Sam slept right up there with her. The breeder they got Molly from raises their babies around cats so she is very cat friendly... not like my two tiny terrors. They see a cat and they are off to the races trying to catch it.

Molly tries to play with the three kitties but Sam is pretty much the only one that will play with her some and B. and D. try to watch out for Sam

because Molly could hurt him with her big old puppy feet and they are BIG puppy feet.

That's all for now, folks!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Day After...

I got up Christmas Day, got around and drove to Ft. Worth for family Christmas. There was very little traffic and it was a pleasant two and a half hour drive. Our dinner was set for folks to be over about 5 or 5:30 so I had visiting time with my brother Ben and sweet s.i.l. Diane. It's was nice to have a little quiet time to play catch up and just yak a bit before everyone started pouring in the door.

Christmas is pretty much a repeat of Thanksgiving as far as who all shows up. My niece, Launa, and her husband Jeff were the first to arrive and came carrying the dressing in. Jeff is an excellent cook and his dressing is just about the only dressing that I eat. The only thing that I can figure is that he doesn't use as much sage and celery as most people do. I was walking by the kitchen door and Ben was hustling around with a mixing bowl... I had to get the camera out.
This is what I saw when I looked in:
Ben was fixing the mashed potatoes. He had peeled and cooked probably five pounds of potatoes for supper for all the folks that were expected and just dumped them into the big mixer and commenced to whipping them up... They grew.

And grew...

He got another mixing bowl and a measuring cup and split up the amount of potatoes in each bowl to finish whipping them up. I just had to rat him out because I rarely get a chance to gig him about anything. I will have to say he has no qualms about getting in the kitchen in the first place, which is way better than me, and he can smoke meats beautifully.

Diane had to tease him this morning about she may have to bar him from the kitchen when she found potatoes even on the front of the fridge.

Here are a few of the photos I took...

This is my niece Laura showing her nephew (my great nephew), Max, how to play a game on her smart phone. Max is so smart and he was taking all her instruction in and he got to play and help Aunt Loli win her game.

Diane, holding Sadie, her youngest great niece. Sadie is a delicate flower and just the sweetest little girl. We all have to get our hands on Sadie because: 1. She is just so cute; 2. She is just such a little girlie girl. She was born in August and is 14 pounds. She is from the Norris side of the family, Diane's side...

Meet Karson. He is Max's baby brother. He was also born in August. He's 19 pounds now. He is a chunk. He and Sadie like to look and drool at each other and his big brother Max was also enamored with Sadie. When his momma brought him in in his reindeer suit I had to grab a photo to share with you all. Karson is from the Gardner side of the family. I don't think there have been too many delicate flowers born in our side of the family. Even I was a 9 pounder when I was born.

This is a picture of me and my two older sisters... I would have been about two... and you can see we all had the chipmunk cheeks but as we grew older we did start to get skinny. We all kept the chipmunk cheeks, though. My sister Lou Ann was standing beside me and my sister Sue was standing in front.

Karson in Papa Ben's lap. I just wanted to show that the boy came by his jowl rightfully...

I love this photo because of how he has hold of Papa Ben's finger and is so contentedly chewing on his own.

I didn't take many pictures. I was busy eating and talking but I thought I'd put this quickie post to give you all a glimpse into some of the fun and foibles at our family get togethers.

I hope each and every one of you have some fun memories, some joyous moments and even some poignant moment filled with love for those who were with us and those who are no longer with us except in the spirit of family and songs in our hearts.

Friday, December 24, 2010

How Enterprising!

As I was driving home from WalMart after one final run this morning as I neared an intersection there were half a dozen people standing out with signs...

Mistletoe for Sale!

When we were growing up my family would go to Coalgate, OK, for Thanksgiving with family friends. Each family, there were three to four families that would go each year, would bring something and my momma and the other mommas would be in the kitchen cooking up Thanksgiving dinner and us kids were outside playing and the men would be talking and catching up. We'd all get to the table and stuff ourselves and then visit more until bedtime.

On Friday, daddy and Mr. Whitley, the friend who hosted us each year, and myself and any sibs that wanted to go, usually Bennett and me, would get the single shot .22 and Mr. Whitley's coon dogs and head out into the fields to exercise the dogs and go for a walk. It wasn't coon hunting season but the dogs needed to be exercised and if we saw squirrels we could shoot them. We'd take them home with us and Mr. Whitley would skin them and momma and Mrs. Whitley would fry them up. What a wonderful break from turkey and we felt like even though we were little we contributed to a meal for our families.

But I digress... mistletoe. When we would be out on our big game hunt if there were no squirrels about or we'd already gotten three or four we would try to shoot mistletoe out of the trees to take back with us for Christmas. To GIVE to friends and family...

Why didn't I think about selling it? How enterprising that would have been. I guess none of us thought about it because it is the state flower of Oklahoma and there is an abundance of mistletoe all over and even more so back then. Notwithstanding the fact that it was a lot of fun to make up little bundles of the mistletoe and give to folks to get them into the spirit of Christmas.

Well things are building to a fever pitch around here. Carol and our friend Datha have been in the kitchen since 10 or 11 whipping up food for our Christmas Eve. Traditionally we have snack things like Rotel Cheese dip, cheeses and crackers, chips and other dips like Knoors spinach dip and a spanish dip made with black olives, green onions, tomatoes and oil and vinegar, little smokies in bar-b-que sauce and whatever other snacking stuff that Carol has been making all week, Texas trash, oyster crackers with dry ranch dressing mixed cooked in the oven like the Texas trash, fudge with and without pecans, peanut brittle and on and on. About four o'clock we are doing puppy Christmas. Everyone is bringing their dogs over for dog toys and treats then they will go back home while the big folks get back together for our Christmas. This sounds like we need to get a life, doesn't it... Out of our friends that are coming over, Carol is the only one that had a child and he's now 37 and doesn't yet have a wife or a child, so our pupsters are our little ones.

Anyway I have NORAD Santa Tracker on my computer. He's already been through New Zealand
and Australia, is currently in Finland and headed next to Estonia. So I'm heading to the kitchen to get me some snacks and plan to be back with one more post before Santa makes it to Oklahoma.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More Christmas Memories...

A I told you in the last post my baby brother and I were always kind of paired up in our escapades by virtue of being the youngest two in a small litter of six kids. I imagine that if mom were still here she would probably say what one of us didn't think up the other one did, but we were still good kids overall. Our imagination was naturally doubled or tripled at Christmas time. A lot of 'if I get whatever for Christmas I'll share with you and it will be sooo much fun.' Or 'if I get such and such I'm gonna play with it for a while and then MAYBE I'll let you play with it, too, if you are nice and do my dishes." Totally depends on the mood, don't 'cha know.

Anyway Christmas brought out extreme hyperactivity in our home. It started building at Thanksgiving. We'd get home from our Thanksgiving visit and mom would start getting out...

wait for it....

The Christmas decorations!!!

After being carefully packed away the previous Christmas unwrapping those familiar decorations was like Christmas itself. There were things that we put out every year. Decorations that had been given to the family by friends and other family members and just seeing them come out again each year was such a delight. Although I wouldn't have been able to describe it then like this it was a wonderful comfort of continuity that threaded our lives together throughout the years.

On the big mirror over the mantle we always taped the aluminum fold up MERRY CHRISTMAS letters, swagging it down 'just so'. I found this photo that showed not only the Merry Christmas sign but also my Aunt Max, mom's sister, her oldest daughter Nancy Gale and my Cuz... her youngest, Carol. We didn't think about the flash in the mirror almost obliterating the picture. I think this was the first and last Christmas that we took pictures in front of the mantle.

In the big house where all the Christmases I remember were celebrated we had a formal dining room that was set off from the living room by french doors. I don't know why they are called french doors and have never thought about it before now... but I digress. We always taped the Christmas cards that we received all over the doors. That always helped to lend an air of shared festivity along with whatever other decorations that were put out. That's my momma, closest to the camera, probably telling whomever was taking the photo to hurry up so we could have the blessing and get into Christmas dinner before it started getting cold. My dad, in all his trendy (not) attire is at the head of the table and my sister Sue is leaning up against him.

A look from the living room into the dining room looking toward the breakfast room and kitchen. There's yours truly and the baby brother Bennett sitting at the foot of the table. Mom is standing next to Bennett. Don't you love the aprons on her and Aunt Annie? I don't think there was ever a big meal that momma fixed that she didn't have on an apron.

Anyway, back to the decorations...
This is my mom with her first grandchild, Bill Stearns. Actually it's William Stearns but he ended up being called Bill Stearns all of his life. He is 57 now... got kids and grandkids now... and I don't want to think about that now...

The tree on the mantle to the left of Bill Stearns head had a light inside and when the heat built up the tree turned around. It was fascinating to us little ones.

I'll wind up this post with the Christmas tree and one happy cowgirl. I'm going on a hunt for more Christmas photos to share with you all and to try to get at least one more post in before Christmas...

Get to looking for your Christmas memories, y'all. It brings a whole flood of memories back... and most all of them good!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Memories...

I got to thinking about it and I thought there might be some people who drop in to read a little story that think the only sib I have is my baby brother so I decided to out this picture in to help explain our family a bit.

Of course, that is mom and dad in the middle. There were six of us kids... my oldest brother, Bill, then my sister, Lou Ann. Those two are standing behind mom and dad. Next was my brother Walter, standing next to momma. Then my middle sis, Sue, standing by my daddy. Next I came along and the big finale was my baby brother, Bennett.

It just seemed to work out that we ended up paired up, the two oldest, then the middle two and finally me and my baby brother. It was even more emphasized for us youngest ones because, having two older sisters Ben and I would get shooed out of the kitchen to go play when momma was trying to get dinner going, my sisters would be helping and we'd be underfoot. So when I tell a lot of the stories that's why so many involve us two youngest heathens...

Anyway, we always had our Christmas on Christmas morning. Christmas Eve we always hung our stockings up. Daddy didn't want any nail holes in the mantle so we always pinned our stockings on the back of the sofa. That was one of the last things we did before we were sent up to bed. All of you that have kids probably know that doing something like that right before bedtime is not conducive to getting little ones settled down for the night. Seems like, as best that I can remember, that simple act started the speculation for me and Ben.

One year when it was time to hang up our stockings we all brought downstairs whatever stocking we were hanging up for Santa to fill. Back in the day we didn't have "stockings" like you see in the pictures or the Christmas cards nowdays. We used one of our own stockings or maybe one of our older brother or sisters stockings because they were bigger. Anyway, here we come to put our stockings on the sofa and Bennett came in with a shopping bag. Momma and daddy were chiding him for being greedy... but he told them he wasn't being greedy, he wanted to get a lot of toys and stuff so that he could share with all the kids that didn't get any Christmas! My momma said that her momma always told her the stock was supposed to improve and Bennett sure seemed to get more than his share of smarts to come up with that story being so young.

More to come before Christmas. Y'all get to thinking about some of the special memories you have of Christmas, things that make you smile to yourself and let's try to get the spirit going on now, ya hear?!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Yes, Helen, There Is A Santa Claus…

There are many Christmases I could write stories about but the first one I’d like tell is about our visit from Santa Clause.

I was probably five or six and my little brother would have been two or three.  It was an exciting time around the house.  Dad had brought in the tree and it had been decorated and smelled wonderful.  The big mirror over the mantel had our MERRY CHRISTMAS  lettered greeting swagged across it and there was the smell of Christmas baking in the air.

My baby brother and I were already so excited we were probably amped up so much I’m sure we were unable to stay still for long. It was not unusual for folks to be dropping by for a visit and to exchange gifts, mostly home-baked goodies, and so I don’t remember about the doorbell ringing until I heard the jingle bells and a jolly “Ho, ho, ho!!!  Merry Christmas!”

There was Santa Claus… he was walking in our front door!  He was so tall, taller than my daddy, and not nearly so fat as I had seen him on the Christmas cards we received.  His hair and his beard was as white as the snow was back in the early fifties and he had a beautiful deep gentle voice.  I can remember looking up at him all decked out in his beautiful, soft red velvet suit, awestruck.  He visited with us for a bit and talked to us kids and then he told us he had to go, he had other families and children to see.  He gave us a big hug and told us to be good children and he’d be back to visit next when we were sleeping in our beds on Christmas Eve. 

I had seen Santa!  In our home!  He had come to talk to us!  I savored that visit like no other that I can remember.  I can actually feel the awe and excitement I felt looking up at him in our living room… the wonder of seeing him up close, in person.  I don’t remember what we talked about, what I wished for that Christmas, I just remember the feelings I had.  I wish there were photos of that visit.  I know what they would have looked like in my head… Santa leaned over a bit while talking to two little ones, both looking up at him with sparkling eyes and you’d be able to feel the animation, the excitement.  I can feel it and I can see it in my mind’s eye to this day and I’m sixty-five years old.

So try to think back and find that time that you felt such a wonder in your life, savor it and wallow around in the deliciousness of that feeling.  It can work wonders for your soul.

And always, always believe in Santa Claus because if you ever stop believing in Santa… well, that’s when you start getting underwear for Christmas.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Good Golly Miss


005 Meet the newest addition to my Baby Bro and S.I.L.’s household.  Molly is 3 months old and is the new dog in the cathouse.  Fortunately she was brought up around cats and leaves the cats alone except for trying to get one of the three of them to play with her.

004 And just what is it about a dog’s paw that is so fascinating?  Perhaps the Frito smell that they all seem to have or it could be just the wonderful mixture of textures.  I don’t have a clue, I just think they are wonderful mixture of  utility and beauty.  Oh, well… You all know I’m a little strange by now and this is one of the odd things I find very appealing.

I’m in Fort Worth at Ben and Diane’s.  My youngest sib and his wife.  Ben traditionally works on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day to give other doctors who might have family to visit that require travel an extra day off.  Since both of our parents and both of Diane’s parents are gone Ben and Diane do Thanksgiving usually on the Saturday after.  That way their kids can feel comfortable about visiting their spouse’s family and be able to give thanks for all of our blessings and share a meal with whomever can get here to visit.   In other words, we are blessed with more than one Thanksgiving repast.

Speaking of which…

stuff and Thanksgiving 2010 311 The cooks did a wonderful job at our house…

stuff and Thanksgiving 2010 312 Jeff is practicing and loosening up his jaw muscles for the feast.  No, actually he was getting the dressing out of the stove for his mom and touched his finger to something hot and I just happened to be taking pictures at the time and I got this photo.  He will probably kill me for it but if he gives me grief I’ll tell him I’m going to post it on FaceBook if he messes with me, the ‘Other Mother’, too much.

.Datha photos 013 Carol and our friend Datha… both are wonderful cooks.  I asked Datha to come and play at our house for Thanksgiving and then to pup sit my girls so I can make the quick run to Ft. Worth for the weekend.

Datha photos 005 Carol’s sister baked the turkey and a turkey breast because the turkey Carol got was smaller than usual and she wanted to make sure that all of us white meat eaters had plenty to eat.

Datha photos 007 Now that’s a beautiful bird and it was so moist.  I have to give credit where credit is due. 

Datha photos 008Dressing… I’m not a big fan of dressing but thought I’d share what was on the menu with you all.

  Datha photos 009Soul sweet potatoes.  This is probably my second favorite of the holiday dishes that Carol makes for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Oh, boy, this stuff is good and I don’t even care for sweet potatoes except for this and sweet potato pie.

Datha photos 010 Spanish green beans…  Tomatoes, onion, bacon, green beans and a bit of cayenne to give it some ‘hello mama’ kick. We also had mashed potatoes and my favorite, giblet gravy but I didn’t take pictures of that.  I swear I could put it in a cup and drink it if I had the chance.  Our friend Scotty also brought over 2 pecan pies, a pumpkin pie and a black walnut pie.

Datha photos 016 Jeff and the girls.  One for each hand.  I love this young man. He is the closest thing I’ve ever had to a child and he is delightful.  Grumpy, very talented, dry wit with a hint (or more) of sarcasm but he is a good guy and very helpful to his mom and his ‘other mother’.Datha photos 003  This is the bunch of us that shared in our wonderful dinner. L-R-Yours truly, Carol, Jeff, Datha and Carol’s sister Nancy behind her and Scotty and the four-legged one is SueSue making sure there was no turkeys other than us on the floor.

I’ll try to get photos to share with you all on my second Thanksgiving, tomorrow… well, actually today since it is four in the morning and I’m having trouble sleeping but that’s another story for another day.  I’m going to turn off the light and try to get a little sleep before helping get the food going for one o’clock lunch.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sissies Don't Make It To Old Age...

No photos on this post. Just a quick catch up for you all. I went to see Carol's brother Wednesday. He is an orthopedic surgeon that I trust and I had made an appointment to see him because I have been having hip problems for several months... off and on. More on the last couple of weeks, though, as there have been a couple of times that the pain woke me up out of a dead sleep. I must tell you that I have lived in Oklahoma or Texas all my life and have slept through hard storms... hail that put holes in our roof in Bartlesville, wind that broke trees over, no tornadoes thank goodness, but I just threw this in so you'd know there's not much that wakes me in the night.

Anyway, after getting up and getting ice packs to settle the grabbing pain I finally bit the bullet and went to get it checked out. I had a hint that it was probably bursitis but I knew that Bill would be able to verify that or know if it wasn't... Sure enough, it's bursitis of the hip. If you have had to deal with this you have my utmost sympathy... if you haven't you don't want to have to deal with it. I ended up getting an injection in my hip. Afterward my Bro, who had driven me to Bartlesville, and I went to a restaurant that is one of the staples in B'ville, Murphy's.

Murphy's was started up in 1946 and is the home of the hot hamburger, at least in Bartlesville. The restaurant cooks up a couple of hamburger patties, puts them face up on the bread, puts a load of french fries on top and then covers it all with brown gravy. A guaranteed cholesterol shot right straight to the heart, but there are folks who have moved away that every time they come back for a visit they head to Murphy's for a sinful, totally not healthy meal. But that's not what Bro and I had...

Our favorite, and the thing worth driving three hours for, as far as we are concerned is their filet mignon. They serve a 6 ounce filet that is the best I've ever eaten. It is always tender, cooked just like you want it and absolutely delicious. They serve it with a baked potato and salad. That's it. And it is wonderful. They make a house dressing for the salad that I could sit and eat on crackers... sooo good. You wouldn't think that a joint known for their hamburgers would serve such an incredibly good steak, but, oh man, they do. I just groaned and smiled all the way back home.

So now you know another dirty little secret of mine... I would drive three hours for a great steak. I don't drive much of anywhere other than Ft. Worth and sometimes Tulsa, but every time I get a chance... I'll go to Murphy's.

The bursitis? My hip is doing much better but Carol's brother said that it is not unusual to have to have a 'booster' shot... another shot to get the bursitis under control.

Ask me where I'll go to eat if I have to go back.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Simple Joys...

I’ve decided that the only way to break out of the depths of depression is to take back the simple joys of my life. There seem to have been so many things that have ganged up on me in my head that I’ve just been overwhelmed and unable to fight my way out of the shadows.

In looking through my photos trying to inspire some form of emotion I ran across the following photos…

I took this photo when my girls and I were out one beautiful fall day. I don't remember what I was doing, probably putting away garden tools for the winter, but the girls were hunting grasshoppers.

"Aha! I've got one!" says my Chloe... Whereupon she promptly starts trying to rub it out... with her body.

"Got'cha now you ornery little jumping, flying thing!"

"See mom! Right there! I'm a GREAT hunter!"

"You were right, SueSue. This is a great hunting place. Now let's do our break dance to thank the happy grasshopper hunting God..."

"We've got to teach these moves to mom. When she is blue it will make her feel so much better!"

Okay, mom, get down in the grass on your back and WIGGLE!!!"

Meanwhile... in another area of the ponderosa...

Life goes on...

Keep it simple, stupid!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Off The Walls Of My Mind…

Sometimes I sit around and think too much…  Usually about one thing, but sometimes like today I have random thoughts bouncing around in my head and every now and then a thought will even stop me in my tracks.  The one thought that I’d like to share with you all today…

What costume would Lady GaGa wear for Halloween?  Would she just run around with no make-up, a pair of old jeans and a sweatshirt and normal shoes? 

This is just on example of the wonderful things that trip through my mind when I’m sitting doing something mindless on the computer but I’ll share some of my more normal recent moments now and the photos to back them up…

October 30th I went out to my Cuz’s with the girls and spent the night and had a very good visit with her and my Bro.  The pupsters got to run around outside without leashes on and they, too, had a great visit with Spud and Lucky.  My Cuz and I wandered out to the back garden on a stroll and picked these…

10.30.2010 007 Well, at least the bell peppers part of these.  We went to the front and picked all those jalapeno peppers.

10.30.2010 006 

Both the bell pepper plants and the jalapeno plant were loaded still with babies and blooms both.  They have been producing like crazy since the weather cooled down. The okra is done for the season but I thought you’d enjoy seeing what the okra looks like when it is dried:

 compactor and okra 002

These are some that I picked up, two were on the ground and two were dried on the plants.  The seeds rattle in them like a baby rattle and these four will have enough seeds to insure that I have okra seeds enough for a small plot in my yard in Norman. 

compactor and okra 003 If you look real close you can see the two pods on your left have just barely started splitting open, but what I think is so neat is the ribbon look to the pods.

Earlier in the week my cousin had picked these:

10.30.2010 008 Roma tomatoes and more bell peppers.  When we were in the front I checked out the tomato plants and there was a load of green tomatoes even at this late date.

But this is what caught my eye initially and drew me out to the front garden…

10.30.2010 003 My yellow double blooming iris that I had moved from Noble was blooming!

10.30.2010 005 Lordy I love having a touch of spring in the fall.  Whomever was the genius that managed to breed double blooming iris is wonderful.  If I ever meet them I’ll give them a big kiss on the cheek and a big hug.

My black mood that I’ve been trying to deal with was lightened, at least for the afternoon, thanks to my Cuz, my Bro, the dogs and a mystery iris hybridizer.

Friday, October 29, 2010

It's Official...

It is fall in Oklahoma... We had to turn on the heat this morning because it was about 58 degrees here in the trailer... It got cold enough for frost on the ground last night and this morning when I took the dogs out for their morning constitutional I could see my breath. I did have the foresight to put on a long-sleeved fleece jacket on over my t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants, but I will have to admit to no socks on my feet and just slipping on my Crocs... Needless to say after a 10 minute walk I was ready to crawl back in under the covers.

While the official first day of fall was Sept. 22, in Oklahoma we rarely see any crisp fall mornings until late October... usually around Halloween. Speaking of Halloween, I always make sure to check out Rick's blog, Organized Doodles blog for the latest "share if you dare" that he so kindly offers up to all us bloggers, or anybody else, to 'steal' and put on our blogs... and here it is...

But back to my 'officially fall' statement... Carol cooked up a big pot of brown beans and about 4 o'clock this afternoon turned on the oven to cook meat loaf and I had to turn on the air conditioner. It was almost 80 degrees F. in the house. It was a beautiful 70 F. outside but when the west sun hits the trailer and the oven is on... it gets too warm for this old gal and her hot flashes... so the standing joke in Okie Land is when you have to turn on both the heat and a/c in one day it's either fall or spring and since it's almost November even I figured out it's fall.

Anyway, Happy Fall y'all!!!

Oh, and please pray for or light a candle for or send good wishes out for my favorite baseballers, the Texas Rangers... Finally after 50 years they made it to the World Series and so far they are playing like a high school baseball team. They are headed back home for their game Saturday against the San Francisco Giants after getting thumped bad in the first two games but all of us Ranger fans know how to hope for miracles so maybe things will turn around.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Granddaddy Sid, Part Two…

During World War II granddad worked at Tinker AFB in Midwest City.  Because he was born in Indian Territory he didn’t have a birth certificate like folks from a ‘state’ had.  They had to do all kinds of paperwork for a birth certificate to get him cleared to work since it was for the government.  I just found this out from talking to my cousin this past week.  Granddad and grandmother lived with my aunt, uncle and cousins during this time we think because my uncle worked at Tinker and they could ride together to work.  During the war everything was rationed, gas, tires, sugar and a lot more.  I don’t know if, since my uncle and my granddad worked on the planes, thus the war effort, they had any more gasoline than normal folks were allotted to be sure they could get back and forth to work.  I wish I had thought of these questions years ago when my uncle was still alive but it seems that looking at things retrospectively is when all these questions pop into my head.

Grandmother and Granddaddy VenableMy grandparents probably were dressed to go to church because of granddad having his suit coat on…  This photo would have been taken in the late 40’s I think because of this…

 2680I was probably two or two and a half here but the photo was taken at my aunt Mac and Uncle Bud’s place like the photo before, or at least that’s where I think it was but it could have been at the house where we lived before we moved to the ‘big house’ as I like to call it because I remember next to nothing about the little home we lived in before the big house.  My grandmother is stepping out the door, probably to chase me down, but I think that my grandparents had moved to Konawa, Oklahoma, by this time and were in Okla. City for a visit and this is why there are a number of photos that were taken at this time.

Anyway, I loved my granddaddy and although I didn’t find the pictures I was looking for at least I got you introduced to my grandparents and when I find the photos that I know one of us has I’ll be able to post them and share another post about my grandparents with you all.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Granddaddy Sid…

First off I feel like I need to say that these posts are MY memories, things I either remember about family members or stories that I remember being told about family when I was growing up.  I imagine if you asked my four living sibs or any of my cousins about a certain time you’d probably get similar stories but from their perspectives.  Since my parents were older when I was born (36 and 41) my grandparents also were quite a bit older so by the time I started forming memories they had either gone to see Jesus or were getting close…

That being said my granddaddy Venable, my mom’s daddy, is the grandparent that I remember most because he lived longer into my life than my other grandparents.

Sidney Elihu VenableMy granddaddy Sidney Venable was born in Oklahoma Indian Territory.  His daddy, my great granddaddy, was a doctor that traveled around the Territory, mostly out from around Ada, Oklahoma, area.  This photo was, as best as we can figure, taken probably around 18-21 years of age.  Granddad turned totally gray before he was 30 so it was a delight to me to see this picture of him with his auburn hair and though he turned gray early he never lost his hair and I loved his gray, wavy hair.

He and grandmother farmed out in Canadian, Texas, in the Texas panhandle.  It was a hardscrabble life but both of them were no strangers to hard working.


At some point the family moved to Gentry, Arkansas, because that is where they were living when my momma went to John Brown School for her last two years of high school and met my daddy who was going to college for his bookkeeping degree.  I assumed that granddad and grandmother had a farm outside Gentry Arkansas because I don’t know of them doing any other type of work after they were married.  Grandmother taught school before they married but I think she just became a farmer’s wife after they married and I imagine it was a lot harder life than teaching. 

Anyway after the war started up grandmother and granddad moved back to the Okla. City area and lived with my Aunt Mac and Uncle Bud and their children, Nancy Gale, Ray Lynn and Carol, the cousin that took me in for the last November until I moved back to Norman in July.  Granddad and Uncle Bud both worked out at Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City, a bedroom community of Okla. City.  After the war he retired and he and grandmother moved to Konawa, Oklahoma, about an hour and a half drive from OKC.  I remember visiting them in Konawa one time before grandmother had to go to the nursing home in Okla. City.  Granddad came and lived with our family after that. 

To me, he was the kindest man.  He loved to read the stories of the old west, Luke Short and

Louis L'Amour in particular. He'd sit in his rocker, upstairs in his bedroom, and read for hours. Granddaddy also played the fiddle and if we asked him he'd break it out and play a little "Turkey In The Straw" for my little brother and me. He smoked Lucky Strike cigarettes and sometimes when money was short he' roll his own.

This is getting long and I'm having trouble finding the photos I want to show you all so I'm closing this for this evening... Stay tuned for Granddaddy Sid Part Deaux.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm Feeling It...

I feel the earth move under my feet... actually under my whole body. I was still laying around in the bed this morning, a little after 9 a.m., and heard what at first I thought was a truck, like a dump truck that was overloaded, going down the street, a rumbling. Both dogs bailed off the bed barking like crazy and the bed started vibrating like some one had installed a heavy duty vibrator in it, the kind you could drop a quarter in the box on the nightstand at the motel in the olden days and the bed would start vibrating, not that I would know anything about that but I digress...

I was laying there jiggling and smiling that, once again in my life, I was feeling the earth move when it dawned on me that it was just that... the earth moving. I heard Carol tell whomever she was talking on the phone to that she would have to call them back, heard the recliner foot rest bang back in place and she was up like a shot heading to the door. I got up and she asked if I felt the trailer move. I suppressed a smile and said yeah... She thought at first that someone had driven into the trailer and then realized it must have been an earthquake. She got into her wheelchair and headed outside and I laid back down and turned on the t.v. Sure enough in a couple of minutes the local news broke in and said there had been an earthquake and would get back on air in about 12 minutes when, hopefully, they would have more information and would be checking with the earthquake center about the strength and where it originated. I felt that there was no alarm at all, more just letting folks know that, yes, there had been an earthquake.

There was still some disagreement on the 10 p.m. new about the strength of the trembler, 4.3 according to the national earthquake center and 5.1 at Oklahoma earthquake center. The epicenter was about 6 miles east of where we live and we figure that our California friends are saying 'big deal, snicker, snicker... it's no real earthquake unless it gets into the 6+ range' and I'd have to agree with them. I was not alarmed at all during this episode, more like curious about how strong it was that we would feel it at all. We have had reports for the last year of probably eight different quakes around central Oklahoma area and this was the first one that I've actually felt since 1952 when there was a 5.5 earthquake close to the Okla. City area. I remember that we must have had people over at the house because my sis and I were sitting together on the piano bench in the living room. I would have been seven and I remember us looking each other when the piano bench started dancing around with us on it. It was not scary to me then either. I remember being curious at the chandelier tinkling and dancing and the piano bench moving.

Anyhow... just so y'all know, in case you heard about an Oklahoma earthquake, that no one was injured or killed and only minor damage has been reported such as broken windows here and there and maybe some cracks in brick mortar in homes closer to the epicenter but all in all it was more just an unusual happening.

I'm working on my next post about my family but it will be another day or two because I will be driving a friend of ours back to Tulsa tomorrow so that will be about a six hour up, unload and drive back tomorrow evening, but I've got the post about half written... just looking for a few more photos so I hope to get it up by Friday.

All's well that ends well and all has ended well this day.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

When I Stop I Really Stop…

I guess I thought that since I missed my 30 day goal I’d just get back to doing it whenever…  And here I am. 

I think that maybe I bit off more than I could chew at a stretch. Perhaps I need to think in smaller increments since I’m pretty distractible.  Maybe start off with 3 days in a row or some such and then go to 5 days and so forth.  All I can do is try.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… no, literally, the ranch.

Madisonville homestead

This is where my grandmother Lucy was raised, if I get the story right, down outside of Madisonville, Texas.   That’s her on the right in the white blouse and dark skirt.  She was a school teacher and she made my granddaddy wait seven years before she would marry him.  She wanted to be sure that she got all her brothers through school.  Her daddy, my great granddaddy, was shot and killed by three men in front of one of her brothers when they went to town one day.  Two men held him and a third man shot him and they lit out for the hills.  My grandmother and everyone else knew who the killers were but they were never caught.  I guess they left Texas for parts unknown but Lucy carried a gun in her apron for years and if she’d ever seen them she would have given them a taste of frontier justice.  My oldest brother spent a lot of time with grandmother and granddad and he said she was a crack shot.  She taught him how to shoot.  She would give him a single shot .22 rifle and one bullet to go out and get a rabbit or squirrel for dinner.  He said if he missed there was no meat on the table.

2685 Since none of these photos were dated, we just have to kind of guess about ages… this photo looks to me to be probably about the time she finished school.  She was younger looking than in the following photos.  If any of my sibs or my cousins correct me I’ll let you know…

Grandmother and her school kids This is a photo of her taken with her school children.  She taught first through eighth grades in a one room school.  You can see her there on your left with her school bell in hand.  She was a pretty determined woman from what I gather and didn’t truck too much foolishness, at least where getting an education was concerned, but I have to think from knowing my mom, my aunts and my uncle and my great uncles that humor was a part of their lives.

Lucy Irene Morgan I think this photo was probably taken the same time as the picture on the ranch at the beginning of this story.

Grandmother Venable As near as we can figure this was probably taken about the time she and granddad got married. I was only six when grandmother died and I can say that I only have two memories of her other than the stories that I was told.  One was at their home in Konawa, Oklahoma, where they lived in their old age, and the other was one time I went with momma when grandmother was in a nursing home and didn’t know anyone, but I have loved grandmother stories all my life. 

That’s all for now folks… I’ll try to get back sooner rather than later and continue this epistle.  It’s a beautiful day here, about 80 degrees (F.) here and I’m going to go do some things outside.