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Showing posts with label boys. Show all posts
Showing posts with label boys. Show all posts

Friday, February 10, 2017

Shell Seeker

One of my favorite authors is Rosamunde Pilcher.  Her novel, Shell Seekers is my favorite of her writings.  Made into a movie and enjoyed by many others, this book is one of the few I saved when I packed so many of our books away to be given to to others and donated to the library last year when we moved to share a home with our youngest son Ben and his family. I kept books I knew I would like to read again.

I thought of the book's title when Nora remembered my shell basket yesterday and ran to pull it from under my bed.  She loves to sort the shells and is most fond of the tiniest shells.  We spent a long time handling the shells and talking about how beautiful each one is.  She knows the names of a few.  Later, she will learn more.  For now, it is enough to delight in them, to touch them, and pretend. She is a little shell seeker.

Our sons loved shells and liked to keep them.  Jeremy had quite a collection so many of these are his. Many of them came from the beaches on Sanibel Island, Florida, where our family spent time in 1980. The tulip shells came from a flat boat journey out to the mud flats.All of our sons talk about that trip and the fun they had being shell seekers. There are many years between their shell hunting and Nora's discovery of the same shells. The family story is still being written.  I am grateful for the seeking and the finding and the keeping, of shells, and of story.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

My Kitchen Table

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During the preparation for our recent move, one of the pieces of furniture we chose not to bring with us was this table.  We were moving to share a home with our youngest son and his family. We would be using their furniture in our new dining room, and in the kitchen would be the table long used as our dining table, Grandma Terrell's oak table.  The butcher block parson's table that had graced our kitchens in 9 different homes over more than 40 years would need to go. It was sagging in the middle - showing its age and the number of times it had been moved, not to mention the markings acquired during cooking preparations, meals, snacks, art and sewing productions worked on by our growing family of little boys, and in most recent years, their daughters. There were even spots where glue and glitter and the paint from model airplanes seemed to be ingrained in the wood.  But my oldest son wanted the table. Sean remembered the table as a fixture of his growing up years, a leaning place later.  He was 6 years old when my parents gave us the money to buy a new table because our family had outgrown a table for 4.

So, the table would go to Sean.  But first, I wanted to give it a little help. Joe and I bought the table from Storehouse, a company at the time with a reputation for quality natural wood furniture. We had it made from pecan wood.  The butcher block wood and parson's style made it perfect for a succession of chairs to go around it.  I knew of a local craftsman who makes things from old wood. His artistry is beyond recycling or repurposing. So we loaded the table into my truck, took it to Mr. Hawkins in Rosenberg, and asked him what he could do with it. He loved the table and in spite of the cost he quoted for its restoration, I left it in his hands.  I liked that he loved the table too. Nearly 3 months later, our family table is in another kitchen, and it is still our family table.  we recently had breakfast with Sean and Teion and Skye, along with Ben, Nora, plus Tim and Debi, family friends. It felt right.  On the table, along with the breakfast casserole, they placed a framed poem I wrote many years ago. The following is the copy of the poem I posted once on my "kitchen" blog.                                www.kitchenkeepers.wordpress.com 


It would be a mistake to indicate that the only ingredients in my kitchen required for successfully and joyfully feeding my family were found in my pantry or simmering on the stove.  I will occasionally include table blessings, some “table talk”, and important for the keeper of this kitchen, prayers.  I wrote this one as a prayer poem in 1998.
                                              My Kitchen Table
                      As I open your Word and lean here one more time,
                  Make my table a holy place with your presence, Lord…
                     This table of pecan wood, not hand crafted acacia.
              This table scratched and stained with family years and family tears.
             This table that has been a family gathering place in so many places,
                 A place of offering and receiving nourishment of many kinds.
                     A place of joy and jelly, high chairs, and holding hands.
                   Birthday cakes and boy talks, spilled milk and spilled hearts.
            A place where I have put my head down and wet the wood with tears.
                         A place where your care and feeding of my soul
                            Joined the care and feeding of my family.
                              My heart is seated at this table, Lord.
                                You make this a holy place.
                                   I worship you.
                                                      Mary Ann Parker, March 1, 1998

Sunday, January 24, 2016

More Postcards

As mentioned last week, major cleaning and sorting continues here.  This is more than Spring cleaning, but it will serve as that as well.  Some boxes are easy to sort into Keep, Discard, and Donate containers, but others take time because they are full of little pieces of memories, seeds of stories. One thing obvious in boxes of family correspondence, notes, and cards are the picture postcards. I am holding 3 postcards that Joe mailed to our sons when he traveled to Japan in 1983. There are similar postcards he mailed to my mother in that box and letters to me. It was a good way for them to see what he was seeing. I love the way he chose different things to say to each boy.  He knew them well.

Each card is addressed to our home, 2224 Old Orchard Court, Plano, Texas.

Sean's card is a photo of "Nijubashi" of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo -the double arched bridge hanging on the moat of the old castle. 
 Dear Sean,
I miss you. I know you are taking care of Mom and your brothers. Keep it up.

You would enjoy TV here. Lots of videos and Solid Gold. You would laugh to hear Michael Jackson in Japanese.

I love you, Dad


Jeremy's card has a photo of the same bridge from a different angle.

Dear Jeremy,
I wish you could be here to see all the sights with me. You would enjoy the fish and birds in the park near my hotel. Funny thing...the crows speak English...They say the same thing as Plano crows.

Love, Dad

Ben's card is a picture of Nagoya Castle. Originally erected in 1523 and rebuilt in 1959. Famous for a pair of dolphins on its roof.

Dear Ben,
How's this for a castle? It is beautiful here. Wish you could be here to share it with me. I miss you and can't wait to see you again.

Love, Dad

I was grateful then and am grateful now for the ways Joe kept us with him when he traveled!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Postmarked Santa Barbara, California, July 16 1986

I have been doing some serious opening of boxes and sorting and clearing. Family correspondence, greeting cards, memorabilia from years past that some might have discarded long ago become not only memories, but stories that surface.  I am glad that my Mother saved many things that remind me of details of family story.  I prefer to pass on some things, discarding others after a photo and passing on the story itself. A large picture postcard featuring the inn above in Pismo Beach, California, is postmarked Santa Barbara, California, July 16 1986 and contains the photo and following description:
                                  Shore Cliff Lodge & Inn (Best Western and Triple A logos)
                                                       2555 Price STreet
                                               Pismo Beach, California  93449
                                                     (805) 773-4671
                                          "Your complete Resort at the Beach"
Restaurant open from 7a.m., Cocktail louge.  Banquet facilities, Heated swimming pool.  Hydrotherapy pool, 2 lighted tennis courts, Spiral staircase to the beach, Cable,color TV with bedside remote, Air conditioning. Claming, fishing, dune buggy riding, All rooms and kitchenette suites overlook the ocean.

Addressed to:
                         Mrs. Opal Teal
                         413 Tena Street
                         Jacksoville, TX 74766

The content is in pencil, in my handwriting:

Hi!  We stayed here last night & the boys & Joe (notice I omit me) rode 4 wheel motor bikes on the beach today.  Ben hurt his leg but still had a good time.  We went to Hearst Castle yesterday & Joe took Jeremy to sight see at the local emergency room last night.  Some kind of allergic reaction, probably from eating too much shellfish.  He is OK today but had to have 3 shots.  We have had good food-lovely meals- Ben got a birthday balloon at dinner tonite. We will spend tomorrow (the 15th) in Santa Barbara - then back to Thousand Oaks. Love, M

This was the year that we lived in Southern California prior to moving to Indonesia.  That summer we drove up the coast on "the 101."  I am remembering several things about that time - 1. We knew we would be moving out of the country soon.  2.  We wanted to see more of California before we left, planning stops at several places on the beach.  3. Ben celebrated his 13th birthday on July 15, our last night of the trip in Santa Barbara,  the postcard was mailed.

In just over 2 months, our family said goodbye to California 1 day after an earthquake shook the Los Angeles area.  As the blog subtitle says - the joy of journey as a family!

Apparently, the Shore Cliff Inn is still in operation, although their website no longer mentions a spiral staircase to the beach!




Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Chips and Salsa and More


This post also appears in my blog Kitchen Keepers.  www.kitchenkeepers.wordpress.com
There I usually write about what is happening in my kitchen, and offer both old favorite and new family recipes. This story could so easily have gone into either blog, I decided to post in both!

In 1976, Joe and I and our sons Benjamin, Jeremy, and Sean  (age almost 3, 5 1/2, and 8) moved from North Dallas to the growing suburb of Plano, Texas. From the time we were getting ready to move to our house on Deep Valley until the time we moved from there, our favorite Mexican food restaurant was Tino’s, owned by Tino Trujillo. Even after we moved away from Plano, we tried to make it to Tino’s when we were back in the area. From the location we first visited in 1976, Tino moved to a spot in Plano’s Collin Creek Mall. Later, there was a third location called Tino’s Too. .
I can still remember Tino’s smile, his warm welcome, and his personal greetings to our sons as they grew. When we first began having meals there, Ben was still 2. Once as we left the restaurant after stopping by the front register to pay, Ben began coughing and choking. He had picked up one of the little round peppermints so often found in restaurants and tried to swallow it. We picked him up and turned him upside down and out popped the mint! Tino always called Ben by his full name, Benjamin, but pronounced ben ha min in Tino's lilting Spanish accent.
One of our favorite dishes was Chicken Flautas so I was delighted to get the recipe when it appeared in the Plano Star Courier, our local newspaper. There was a feature in the paper titled Cooking Corner.  The recipe was titled Pollos Flautas and was contributed by Georgie Farmer, a lady we knew whose picture appeared along with a plate of flautas.
Interesting to me when I pick up the now yellowed and tattered newsprint:  It does not say Tino’s Flautas, but I have always called it that. It has been many years since we had a meal with Tino, and he is no longer with us, so I can’t ask him. But these flautas are exactly like the ones I remember enjoying so long ago. We remember you fondly, Tino!
Tino’s Chicken Flautas
3 Tablespoons margarine (use butter now!)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon grated onion
dash each of paprika, ground nutmeg, and black pepper
2 cups finely diced cooked chicken
24 corn tortillas
guacamole and sour cream (optional)
In sauce pan melt butter. Blend in flour, salt, and chicken broth. Cook and stir until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Add lemon juice, parsley, onion, paprika, nutmeg, and pepper. Stir in chicken and cool slightly. Place about 1 1/2 Tablespoons chicken mixture on each tortilla. Roll up tightly.  Fry in deep hot oil at 350 degrees, holding together with tongs for about 10 seconds or until tortilla is crisp. Spoon on guacamole and/or sour cream. We also serve with salsa.
I could have sworn that newspaper recipe was called Tino's Chicken Flautas. Now it is!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Swinging

 Joe added something important to our garden this week - a tree swing for Nora!  She has not yet been here to try it when it was cool enough to be out there.  106 - 108 degrees this week is forecast!  But it is almost mid August and we are looking forward to swinging and singing before long. We have a front porch swing that all of our granddaughters enjoy.  Recently, Maddie took her root beer float out to sit in that swing.
I remember the swing on my front porch when I was Maddie's age, and also the swings our little boys loved when they were growing up. There is magic in pumping your legs to swing higher and feeling the air rush past. There is such sweetness in remembering the calls to "Swing me higher, Daddy!" and "Please push me." I know our age is one of cell phones and tablets with online games and countless diversions that can be held in their hands, but I so want to offer our sweet girls the choices of spending time outdoors, finding beauty in nature, letting imaginations fill their stories with wonder. I want to encourage them to watch for the caterpillar and chrysalis and butterfly, and which plants are good for that. I hope they will make necklaces from 4 o'clock blooms, crowns from sticky weed, and make mud pies. I want them to love rubbing herbs in their fingers and knowing its name by the way it smells. I long for them to collect rocks and seeds, to feel the wonder of cool wet dew on bare feet,  and listen for cicadas in the trees in summertime. I want to enjoy eating watermelon and popsicles on the back porch with them, watching for bird nests, listening to birdsong, planting Morning Glories and Moonflowers, using a watering can to give the flowers a "shower."  And swinging.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Daddy

My Daddy, John William Howard Teal, my mother Opal, and me at around age 2 (top) and 4 (middle) - snapshots taken near our rented apartment in New Orleans LA, and in Bullard, Texas. The studio photo of Daddy and Mother was probably from about the same time as the Bullard picture.  Daddy has the same suit on, although he probably wore that suit only to church, weddings, and funerals and kept the same suit for years!

I am reminded often of Daddy, and miss him even though he died in 1982.  He was honest, hard working, a man of faith and love for his family. He was a good businessman, a good cook, a good son, a good brother, a good husband, and a good father. He worked hard in the cafes which he and my mother owned, and worked even harder taking care of a small herd of cattle on the land he bought from my grandparents an acre or two at a time to help them financially. He liked growing things, planting a small pecan and plumb orchard, and growing seasonal vegetables in his garden. In my mind I have vignettes of him grafting pecan trees, pinching suckers and picking tomatoes, calling his cows with his truck horn, and throwing out feed and hay to them. Other pictures of him have him baking fresh yeast rolls, rolling out pie crust, grilling hamburgers, and making chicken fried steak. At my request, he would put a spoon of mashed potatoes on the grill with some chopped onions - I loved fried mashed potatoes!  When he was at work in the cafe he wore a short white cap and , a fresh white apron, and when he came home he smelled like hamburgers!

He loved his grandsons.  He took Sean fishing and to feed the cows. He let Ben play with the hose in the front yard and Ben turned the hose on him!  I have a picture of Jeremy, our middle son, when he was a baby with one of Daddy's old felt fedoras on.  After his death, I kept Daddy's hat on the shelf in my bedroom along with one of his belts and his whetstone. They have all since been given to the grandsons, but I can almost touch them in my mind. His hugs still touch my heart.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Not About the Rabbits

Recently a topic of conversation in a group of women friends: "What Easter stories or memories come to mind?"

I thought about Easters in the seventies when we decorated and hid eggs for our three little boys, dressed them up and took them to church and to visit grandparents. I thought about Easters in the past 15 years when I found just the right Easter dress to delight first one, then two, three, four, and now five sweet granddaughters! I smiled when I pictured the fun we have had with our little boys and these little girls decorating eggs, cookies, and cakes, and gathering our growing family around Grandma Terrell's dining table in our home.  Which led me to think of that same table surrounded by my grandparents, parents, my sister and me, and sometimes others.  Always my sister and I proudly wore Easter dresses sewed by Mother.  Often we had a coat, hat, and purse to match!  Those little girl Easters always included going to an outdoor Easter sunrise service in a rock ampitheater.  Those red rocks made for hard, cold seating and shivering little girls in the early hours.

I thought about all the Easter baskets and Easter bunnies these memories represent, including this stern looking celluloid blue and white bunny that was mine in 1941, my very first Easter.  I have no recollection of that Easter, of course, but the fact that this odd little rattle was something Mother kept and passed on to me is significant.  She remembered.

Remembering is really what matters after all. In all the little signs and symbols of Easter there is one common thread, one reason for each:  to help us remember. We remember that Christ came, that he lived to show us how to live, was crucified, laid in a grave, and that he rose on the third day.  We sing the Easter songs and celebrate with joy because we remember.

We practice resurrection and redemption.  Happy Easter!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Past, a Story

                                      1970 -    Joe's paper sculpture angels, at our house on Willow Green in San Antonio, Texas.  This is the only picture I have of them, and they got folded and hidden in one of our moves!

Recently a group of friends gathered for a meal and story sharing. We each told a story of a Christmas remembered. How valuable it is to hear each others' stories! Most of the stories were fond memories of a childhood Christmas experience. So much of our family preparation for and pleasure in Christmas includes ways we have done it before - stockings, and where they are hung, manger scenes and where they are placed, tree decorations, taken out of the box one by one with memories of each, carols around the piano, lots of family around for help and hugs, and cookies baked from recipes so old they are spattered and yellow.

I recounted the tale of our first married Christmas, when Joe and I were far from family and were beginning our own Christmas traditions, starting from scratch for Christmas decorations. I told part of this story in a previous post.   Our First Christmas

In our conversation and shared storytime that recent evening, I also told of disappointment (we would have to go back to Texas the first of the year), of grief due to the death of my beloved grandfather and the fact we could not leave in time to drive back to the funeral, of uncertainty for what the future held, and some of the ways those beginning traditions and stories have played out in our lives. Since that first Oregon Christmas, except for the Christmases we celebrated while living in Indonesia, we have always had some of the decorations for our tree that hung on it the year before. Those years from 1987 to 1991, all of our Christmas decorations including family stockings were mistakenly sent to storage when our overseas shipment was packed in California! That was one of the first boxes I looked for when we got the storage shipment back in 1992!

Even though the beginning Parker family Christmas may have seemed like starting from scratch, it was not entirely. We each brought to our marriage a faith that had been nurtured in our families of origin that was the reason for celebrating Christmas anywhere, at all. The trimmings for the tree, our handmade gifts, the clever folded angels Joe cut from paper for me - all of those were not just traditions carried on from the past, they signified the reason for those traditions:  the coming of God to be with us in the form of a human baby, to show us how to live and love. Fifty one years and many many Christmas candles and carols, evergreen trees and manger scenes, stockings and presents, boy grins and grandgirl giggles later, the traditions are precious, and the Christmas Story remains the same.