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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Birthday Rose

This week I celebrated my 77th birthday with a variety of celebrations, greetings, phone visits, hugs and meals. On the morning of November 14, Joe brought me this rose. I am thankful that at almost 54 years of marriage, he knows I love a flower cut from our garden best of all and that he will go out and find one to bring to me in a perfect little vase. He gave me a new Kindle for my books and music, and  Ben made me a strawberry smoothie. He and Kristen knew I would love the new Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds book. Hugs and Happy Birthdays from Nora added to my morning. We all made a trip to Costco for family groceries and lunched at P.F. Chang's in Sugar Land. All day the phone rang with happy greetings from my family, including all 4 of those in Nevada. In the evening, Joe and I joined our poetry group from church at a friend's home for dinner and poetry reading. Desert was a cherry birthday cake with candles and our friends' rendition of the birthday song.

That did not end the celebrations. Today, we all gathered with Sean, Teion, Lauren, Skye, and Kasey at a fusion restaurant in Sugarland Town Square called Jupiter's. Waffles, fried chicken, pizza, and sweet potato waffle fries filled the table!  More gifts, including a sweet nativity Christmas ornament, and a picture taking session by the giant Christmas tree in Town Square completed the morning.

I am savoring all the sweetness - not the kind found in the food. I am grateful for my family, and grateful for each day given to me to love them.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Cousin Connection

"Skye" was one of Nora's first words, something Skye mentions often. As they grow and change, I hope the pleasure they express now will remain. When I was a busy young mother raising three little boys, I had no idea that their daughters would have such fun together.  I am glad these girls get to enjoy their cousin connection often.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

No Tricks, Just Treats!

As October days count down to the end of the month, Jack-O-Lanterns dot our house and yard and costumes get tried on. Oliver and Nora practice trick or treating, we fill the treat baskets, and get ready to greet our October 31 visitors. Ben made a spider web for the front door complete with its resident spider. He and Kristen will help Nora carve one of our pumpkins this weekend.

Joe and I have always had fun counting the number of kids who come to call, keeping a tally like a domino score. Some years there have been many, some years only a few, but we enjoy acting surprised and trying to figure out who is under the masks.  When our boys were growing up, their costumes were always homemade.  Through those years, costume projects included lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!) as well as bats, wizards, and vampires. The ones remembered most fondly are R2D2 made from a meat smoker with silver paint and blue tape, a furry Chewbacca, and Hans Solo. The crocodile from Peter Pan was Sean's request and a challenge for any seamstress.  This year, Nora is deciding whether she will be a Troll, a Fireman, or a Princess, and Oliver has already been wearing his Tyrannosaurus hoodie. But he may choose the lion hoodie at the last minute.

The dressup trunk has long been a favorite for the grandchildren year round, but there is a bit of magic in the evening when other people are in costume, knocking on doors, collecting treats. I will put on my jack-o-lantern earrings and be ready!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Birthday Greeting

We are celebrating Jeremy's birthday tomorrow - long distance. They now live in Nevada, too far to join him for a hug and birthday dinner. But celebrate we will, with a phone call or Skype!  He is faithful to call and I love the phone visits.

 I am glad you have the chance to travel and ski and climb mountains and work as a pilot. You followed an early call; from the time you were three years old that is what you wanted. I am proud of your integrity, your dedication to your family, your good parenting,  your determination and sense of adventure!  Happy Birthday, Son.  I love you! 

Sunday, October 8, 2017


At the beginning of each day, and before the close of the day (plus some in betweens), I pray for our sons and their families. As I consider each grandchild by name, I realize the amazing gift I have been given in being called Granmary. I could not possibly capture enough photos to portray the images of relationship and connectedness, the giving and giving back. I have a deep sense of those who have gone before me, and held my hand, the hand that now holds the hands of these 6, smiling as I think of their hands holding their own children and grandchildren. I am grateful beyond words.
To have grandchildren is not only to be given something but to be given something back.
You are given back something of your children's childhood all those years ago. You are given back something of what it was like to be a young parent. You are given back something of your own childhood even, as on creaking knees you get down on the floor to play tiddlywinks, or sing about Old MacDonald and his farm, or watch Saturday morning cartoons till you're cross-eyed.
It is not only your own genes that are part of your grandchildren but the genes of all sorts of people they never knew but who, through them, will play some part in times and places they never dreamed of. And of course along with your genes, they will also carry their memories of you into those times and places too the afternoon you lay in the hammock with them watching the breezes blow, the face you made when one of them stuck out a tongue dyed Popsicle blue at you, the time you got a splinter out for one of them with the tweezers of your Swiss army knife. On some distant day they will hold grandchildren of their own with the same hands you once held them by as you searched the beach at low tide for Spanish gold.
In the meantime, they are the freshest and fairest you have. After you're gone, it is mainly because of them that the earth will not be as if you never walked on it.
~originally published in Beyond Words

Friday, September 29, 2017

Daddy and Son

I love this silhouette of our son and his son. Ben and Oliver. Since all our other grandchildren are girls, I have written many times about Daddy and Daughter. The photographs are always so precious. What a dear privilege it is for me to see our sons cherishing and parenting their daughters, but Ben and Oliver have now and will always have a unique relationship, man to man!  I watched with gratitude as Joe and our own sons enjoyed each other, and am thrilled how much each adult son thrives in loving and caring for their Dad. Enjoy your journey, Oliver. You have amazing footprints to follow. You are loved well and always.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Ky Terrell

Ky and Clyde Terrell, circa early 1950's

I recently saw a FaceBook post referring to the son of my friend Barbara Nichols. We called her Bobbie, a college friend who got her degree in nursing at the same time I did. She married, as I did, before we graduated. But she was pregnant during our senior year with their first child, a son they decided to name after my own matrnal grandfather. She heard me talk about Papa Terrell's name, shortened for understandable reasons. I believe he was named for my great grandmother's father, Hezekiah Wilson. It is easy to think how a tiny baby boy born in 1885 and named Hezekiah Peyton Terrell would come to be called "Ky" for the rest of his life!  When I noticed the post about Ky Nichols, I thought of my grandfather as I often do and realized I have never written a post that was just about him. I loved him dearly and knew that feeling was mutual.

My mother often told stories of how proud he was when I was born, his first grandchild. The earliest stories included ones of his getting down on the floor and letting me ride him like a horse even though he had been "laid up" with a bad back before we came. He was toothless and loved the angel food cake and divinity without nuts Grandma made for him. He was an avid baseball fan, leaning over his small radio to listen to the games.I remember his laugh, hearty and loud, and his cheerful spirit in spite of heartbreak and hardships like loosing his oldest son at age 13 to a hunting accident, making do during the depression, failing health including a stroke, and suffering along with his other sons during mental health crises. He was a farmer and at one time owned a small general store with his son Travis. My memory does not include his owning a car. He thumbed a ride at the bottom of the hill they lived on near Bullard to go to town for Grandma's small list of supplies. 

When he died in 1965, Joe and I were in Oregon. Before computers and cell phones, a long distance call in which Mother told me caused me to weep for not being able to say goodbye to him, for not being there for my grandmother and mother, and for knowing I could not make it to the funeral. We were preparing to move back to Texas within a week. Plane tickets were too expensive to consider. The trip from Corvallis, Oregon to Texas would take days. When we did get there, I remember Mother and Grandma were in the kitchen of the house where I grew up on Sunset Avenue in Jacksonville. And I remember that as I embraced my grandmother and sobbed, she was the one who comforted me.