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Friday, January 28, 2011

THE REUNION

In the late spring of 1950 my parents bought a small house and several lots at the end of a dead end road on Cody Avenue. Country living in the suburbs was new to us and delightful. We had a barn and fields to play in and woods to explore. We also had an outhouse which was the only thing I didn't like.
My parents bought the place from a Mr. Nolen. We didn't know anything about him except he had died in the house. That was spooky!
After marrying and raising my family I moved back to the old neighborhood and live across the street from the little house where I grew up. One day about 12 years ago a lady was visiting from Maryland and asked me questions about the little house. I told her I had lived there and she mentioned her friend had once lived there too and asked if I would send him some pictures of the place. I did and a few months later he called and we have been good friends since then. In November John came for a visit and we got to know each other better. We had loads of fun, talking about when we were kids and the things we did and all the fun we had while living on Cody Avenue. I learned that after his stepfather, Mr. Nolen died, his mother sold the place and they moved to California. His older brother had gone back to Maryland to live with his father by then. Eventually John did the same.

 This picture of the little house was taken when there was some construction going on, but it's the house John lived in from 1948 to 1950, and I lived in from 1950 to 1955 when I married. My mother owned it until 1998.
 There was a foundation built across the road from the house. Dad is building a boat on it in this picture, but when John lived there, his stepfather bought an army tent and cot's and fixed it up for John and his brother. They even had electricity and a radio out there. The boys loved it.
 John's mother loved flowers and kept them looking very nice. When we move in there were many beautiful plants for my mom to care for. In this picture my sisters and I are in the back yard. John remembers planting petunias on the white lattice in the picture. He rode his bike through the neighborhood and sold them.
 Back then, there was an orchard across the street from the house. My little sister Barbara and neighbor Nettie are in this picture. Nettie now lives in Georgia and we keep in touch via Facebook. John has talked many times about the orchard and all the apple trees.
Here my dad is digging something. Behind his head is the famous outhouse that was there when we moved in. We had to use it for a few years before we got inside plumbing. John did not remember this little building. LOL! The larger building is where mom kept chickens and turkeys.


 John remembered dragging cardboard up the big hill across from the house and sliding down the dry grass. My sisters and I did it too and in this picture my own kids are enjoying the same fun. The hill is now overgrown with brush so unless it's cleared the new generations won't get to have this thrill.
 Here John is walking down Cody Avenue. So many times during our phone conversations over the past years he told me he wanted to walk down Cody avenue again. I'm so glad he got to experience this. Not the same little nine year old boy anymore, but the child still lives in his heart.
 Here is my sister Bonnie sitting in the living room under a very famous window!

John told me that his stepfather drank too much and that one time he opened one of the sliding windows from outside the house, climbed up with his BB gun and shot the bottle of whiskey that was sitting on the table in front of his stepfather. He said hs stepdad was too drunk to chase him and was very surprised when the bottle exploded. Wish I could have seen his face. Both of them. LOL
 In this shot, John is reinacting this famous moment in his life. It's the same window but my pellet gun instead of his BB gun. The neighbor wasn't home at the time we staged this scene. Good thing!
 When he was a boy this old Gravenstein apple tree was growing right where it is now. He isn't exactly a 'tree hugger' but maybe remembering all the sweet juicy apples he ate as a boy gave him a moment of gratitude. Actually he was just kidding and having a lot of fun. He's good at that. Did I mention that he is Irish?
 We were surprised to learn that we were in the same second grade class at Larrabee grade school back in 1948. He in the middle row far left in the picture, me top row second from left. We don't remember each other back then. In those days our thoughts were of recess and lunch time.
 In November we went back to the same little school and were given a tour by the principal who is a very nice young man. Somehow I visualized a principal like we had when we were students there. Mrs. Bruff was at least 280 years old, wore long black dresses and wore her hair in a bun and looked mean as heck all the time. Really, she never smiled at all. Above is the very same classroom John and I
 were in in 1948.


 The kind principal walked outside with us and even offered to take our picture together in front of the Larrabee sign. Wasn't that nice of him?

 Thanks to my Daughter Cyndi and her husband we were invited to go on a ferry ride. My SIL works for a shipyard here and they had just completed work on a ferry and were doing a second test run. They even served us refreshments.

This is John at the airport when he was leaving. We had a wonderful time when he was here and are hoping he can return.
Now the prayer request. Of course you must have known it was coming.
John has been fighting prostate cancer for over two years. He has had radiation, and a lot of chemo. The last chemo treatment in October was something new and nearly killed him. He got a new doctor. Last week he had blood tests done that show that his PSA count went from 41 to 117. This is just since last October, His new doctor told him that in his experience when numbers climb that fast the patient usually only has about two more years left.
John is a Strong Christian and knows that God alone is in control of his life. We believe God is the author of Miracles and we are asking everyone to pray that he will be healed. So if you feel led please pray. If you don't feel led then pray anyway. It's good for what ails you. :)
Thank you for listening and for your concern and prayers.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

MY GRANDDAUGHTER'S WEDDING

 Such a range of emotion has flooded over me since learning of her plans to wed. I was there when she was born and saw the delight in her parents faces as they gazed lovingly at their first little girl.  I watched her grow year by year into a lovely young woman, always respectful and always a total delight to all who know her. 
Her wedding took place in the Cascade Mountains in Eastern Washington. We live in the far western part of the state.


 My daughter Cyndi drove and I rode shotgun! LOL Her dad and his wife led the way. We went as a caravan incase anyone had trouble. We had to go over a pass and  there is usually a lot of snow on the roads. As we started out Cyndi heard an unusual sound coming from her engine so her dad checked it out and asked for a bar of soap, which I had packed not expecting it would be used for car repairs.  He used it to lubricate a belt and the noise was gone and we were on our way. We stopped at the small community of Sultan for lunch then continued our journey. It wasn't long before there was snow alongside the highway. Before I continue I have to say there were a lot of prayers for a safe trip and no snow on the roads. Heavenly Father heard and blessed us with clear roads.
 We are heading into the little town of Plain, Washington near Leavenworth. See all the snow and notice how the Lord cleared the roads for us?
Along a back road in the beautiful Wenatchee National Forest is Plain so named because the Dunkards (Church of the Brethren) asked the post office for a plain name for their town!
 As we reached the town, the huge heaps of snow piled along the roads was a bit intimidating. We brought snow boots and warm winter coats and it's a good thing. Many of the homes we saw had snow half way up their windows. They had to dig out just to get out of their homes. What a job! Many had snow plows in the front of their four wheel drive pick up too and that would sure be handy in a place high in the mountains.
 Beaver Valley Lodge
I borrowed this shot from the net. We stayed at Beaver Valley Lodge and this is pretty much what it looked like with snow piled up all around and packed snow and ice on the driveways. It was beautiful outside and inside.
 After we checked in we all drove the short distance to Mountain Spring Lodge where the wedding would take place the following day. On the way I took a few pictures.  I didn't post a picture of of the lodge where the wedding took place but you can find it on the net. It is a beautiful, rustic lodge and perfect for the kind of wedding the kids wanted. We met some of the groom's family, visited, and had a delicious lasagna supper prepared by the bride's mother who does catering and does it very well I might add. 'Joanie Kate you never cease to amaze me!!! Love you sweetheart.'
 After a hearty breakfast the next morning Cyndi and I drove around to see the sights. Cyndi knew I had recharged all my camera batteries and had about three gig's to fill. LOL!!! Sorry honey girl. I hope I wasn't too much of a pain. She was so patient with me, stopping frequently and backing up just so I could get a good shot,  I just can't thank her enough!
 At Mountain Springs Lodge where the wedding took place this is the light in the main room. A lot of antlers made into a fixture. Pretty clever and certainly fit the lodge theme. It is really fun to see all the different decorating ideas. In the evening the lighting was dimmed so there was a golden glow over the entire room. Very romantic and warm feeling.

The Bride's brother and sister set the fire in the massive fireplace. The rock went all the way to the ceiling.


 This is what we saw a lot of when driving. Snow plowed off the roads was piled high alongside and sometimes was as high as the car. It looks dirty from the sand etc., spread on the road when it was covered with snow and ice.
The newlywed's had chosen white lily's for their flower . They were on the long mantle above the fireplace along with evergreen boughs and pine cones. It was just beautiful!

 The wedding cake was made by the bride's brother's girlfriend. Trena does fabulous work as you can see. The wedding goblets were first used in 1980 by the bride's parents. This was very touching as she lost her father when she was just seven years old. The wedding took place the day after what would have been the bride's father's 50th birthday.

 My grandson Ryan and me. He is the brides brother.
 The wedding theme was so like the bride, but also honored her father who was a woodsman and loved snow and all things woodsy. Here the guestbook sits on fluffy fiberfill that resembles snow, the sleigh holds cards and gives a hint of fun to come!
 In the evening after the wedding ceremony a supper was served. Here the tables were beautifully prepared and each guest knew where to sit because a place card with their name was tucked into a pine cone at their place. This was just precious! See how beautiful the birch centerpieces are? They were hollowed out in the center for candles and decorated with cedar boughs and pine cones. As you can see they were gorgeous! The Bride's family made these.
 These pictures are not in order. We had a sleigh ride 'before' dinner and it was awesome. It was funny too because the snow on the walk to the road where the sleigh's waited was not packed down very well and many of us fell through. It was a common and comical sight to see someone strolling along then have one leg sink to the knee or deeper in the snow. As far as I know no one actually fell but we sure got some laughs. It happened to me a few times too. Cyndi caught me before I became the oldest snow angel. HAHA
 There were two sleighs, each pulled by two horses. The sleighs each had six seats and each seat held four people. Both sleighs were full of well wrapped and very excited people. I wore my winter coat with fur hood, snow boots and we had a blanket over us. I took some pictures but had to keep my camera under the blanket toward the end of the ride because it began to rain, and that rain was so cold!! It felt like ice drops! The ride was about 45 minutes long and we went up and down hills too. It sort of felt like one of the rides at 'Dizzy' Land. Wonderful fun. Try it!
 After the sleigh ride, dinner, lots of toasts and a nice visit with the guests we got back to the lodge and turned up the heat and settled into our warm beds with TV, magazines, fruit and lots of chocolate. Boy did we ever pamper ourselves and what fun. we had.
 Evening at the little town of Plain, Washington was cold and a mist settled over the foothills giving the town a peaceful and sleepy look. It seemed to be saying goodbye. 
Next morning we slowly woke up then did our hair and makeup, packed up and loaded the car then headed to the hardware store where the espresso was waiting. We weren't hungry enough for breakfast so drove on to the dear little town of Leavenworth, enjoying the snowy scenery on the way. This is one of the first sights we saw there. I thought it was funny since the sign says 'parking' but the lot is piled higher than our car with snow.
Leavenworth is a beautiful Alpine Bavarian village nestled in the east side of the Cascade Mountains. My pictures do not begin to do it justice. You can learn about it here, http://www.leavenworth.org/modules/pages/index.php?pageid=1
It was pouring rain when we parked and went looking for shops and a cafe to have breakfast. We ended up going back to the car and finding a Mc*D's and got a breakfast sandwich instead. The heater in the car was like heaven after trudging in the cold rain.

     As we left Leavenworth the snowy mountains were pretty much surrounding us. We had a long drive over Steven's Pass. I had made a couple Cd's with peaceful instrumental music for us to listen too and I can't tell you how glad I am. It was just perfect for what we were about to see. As we drove through the mountains, the scenery was like something in a magazine. The evergreen trees stood strong and unyielding to the heavy snow that severely bent branches, the creeks and rivuletts meandered majestically through the marshmallow snow, stumps from fallen trees were piled with snowy statues and the entire atmosphere was of peace. The music was absolutely perfect.
I wondered about the first travelers here and how they found their way through thick forests, and how did they forge the raging river. I visualized tired horses and battered wagons driven by weary men and women, with more determination than we will ever know and snuggled deeper into my warm coat. 
     Icicles hung like jagged curtains from sheer cliffs, mud slides and small avalanches teased the roadway, and water was running like streams in some areas of the road. The river raged alongside the highway, splashing twelve feet or more high in places. Trees, logs and small shrubs were being ripped from the river banks and tossed like toothpicks in the violent, muddy water.  Thank the Lord we had no problems but I heard later that the highway was closed because of flooding. There were lots of precious loved ones praying for us.
Interesting that I was not concerned or frightened at all. I thought it was wonderful and exciting. I am changing. There was a time I would have been so scared I would have wet myself!
    All in all it was a wonderful trip. The wedding was beautiful, our accommodation's were comfortable and I loved it all. I wonder where the next wedding will be?




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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

MEMORIES & SNOW

click to enlarge photos 

I've been snowed in for a few days and cabin fever is setting in. Days like this I putter around the house, doing floors, dusting and whatnot, but I always seem to end up at my computer no matter what kind of day it is.
Above is a 1950 class picture. I was in 5th grade and am standing 4th from right in the big white collar. I look at this picture now and wonder about all the classmates, what kind of life they had and where they are now. I received a photo a while back of some of them at a class reunion and you know, they all had white hair except those who didn't have any and they were wrinkled and plump and they looked really old. (smile) Isn't it funny how we think we have stayed pretty much the same but everyone else has changed? Well that isn't exactly right. When I looked in the mirror this morning I barely recognized myself. When did I get so wrinkled?


Because I have no flowers to share I took some pictures of the snow for those of you who don't have any. This shot is off my back deck and shows my apple tree with it's new white dress. The only good thing about snow as far as I''m concerned is that it covers all the spent flower gardens and makes everything look so pristine.

 I call this gray sky a 'snowsky' because it usually means there is more snow coming and it is very-very cold.


 A closeup of the apple tree shows how nicely the snow adheres and even wraps around the branches. Actually it is the Lord's way of insulating them against the freezing cold.



 This cute little black wrought Iron chair would be a very cold seat right now. I remember sitting in it last summer with the hot sun roasting me. I like how the snow piled up on the ornate back of the chair


 Another 'cool' looking shot. I like the bit of lighter color on the horizon. It's sort of like a promise that the cold won't be here forever.


Hee-hee-hee!! Little Matilda was fascinated with the fluffy cold stuff for a short time, but hopped like a frightened rabbit over the threshold when I opened the door for her to come inside. LOL! I am watching them very carefully because last week an eagle swooped down and tried to take my little boy dog Tudie. I had the kitchen door open to the back deck where Tudie was, and he sure came in the house fast, then sort of plopped down on the rug and shook. I picked him up and held him for a while on the couch not knowing what was the matter. I called my daughter who knows a lot about dogs and she told me something scared him. While we were talking  I saw the eagle in a tree across the street.
We have to be really careful of large birds when you have a small dog. An eagle nest was recently found with over sixty dog and cat collars in it. I also heard about a woman who let her little dog run loose at a rest stop and watched in horror as an eagle swooped down and carried her little dog away.
Take good care of your little friends. Leashes are good.


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Thursday, January 06, 2011

PATTY'S CHRISTMAS SURPRISE


    My oldest daughter has had a very difficult year. I won't go into details but will say most people would not hold up under such circumstances. Please keep Patty in your prayers.
   She moved the week before Christmas and was in the process of organizing her new household and did not have time to put up any Christmas decorations. I felt so sad for her that I decided to go to her place without her knowing and decorate for her. I told my youngest daughter Cyndi who was thrilled and wanted to help, then my daughter-in-love Joan and two granddaughters Miranda and Brandey and two great granddaughters Julia and Hailee. It just grew beautifully.
  Cyndi had a key for Patty's house made for me then she took Patty out for the afternoon and we used a 'code' phrase and cell phones to know when it was safe to go to her place. Miranda and Brandey parked all our cars down the road so they wouldn't be seen.
Above is the little metal tree that Patty had decided would have to be her Christmas tree. I brought a table cloth to cover the table, the stocking and candy canes.


 I also brought over my extra Christmas tree and some decorations. We knew Patty liked gold and cream colors on her tree so Cyndi picked up some ornaments and ribbon and Joan brought some beautiful cream colored balls. In the above picture Julia is decorating.


 Joan brought a tray of cookies and also brought the makings for more cookies which she and Hailee baked, making the house smell delightful. Hailee at nine years old is a wonderful little cook and baker and she also sews beautifully. Am I proud of her? You bet! Joan has a catering business too.
 Here is Patty's table after we did a little decorating but before all the plates of cookies were added. I took some gingerbread people over and one of the gals hung them on patty's little tree. It was a darling idea. Also we brought chocolate covered cherries, red vines and something else I forgot which are Patty's favorites. At the right is Miranda's boom box. She put Christmas carols on Cd's the night before so we could have Christmas music too. The pictures are of Patty's boys and one of her on her first birthday.
 Here Miranda is putting the finishing touches on the Christmas tree. We were all getting pretty excited by this time. Carols were playing, cookies baking and evergreen boughs brought the fragrance of Christmas into the house. an evergreen swag and red bells decorated her entertainment center, Candles were lit all over the living and dining rooms, Snowmen, candles and santa's adorned the hearth, A huge, red, stuffed Christmas stocking hung beside her front door, Two Nativities were set up. We were all rushing around like a bunch of Santa's helpers.
Miranda even went to the hardware store for bolts to repair a table that had been damaged in the move. Everything was repaired and as festive as Martha-S could have managed. We did good!
 At last, we are done and I needed a sit!
Julia did a little 'crash' herself. All the hurry and scurry took the wind out of us!
 Then Miranda called Cyndi to let her know we were ready for her to bring Patty home to the surprise. We all hid in Patty's bedroom. Above Julia and Hailee are peeking out the front window waiting for them to arrive. Lots of tension and giggling at this time. LOL

We were quiet as mice when Patty walked through the door. We waited until we heard her say, "A tree?"  then we all came out of her bedroom at the end of the hall singing "We wish you a merry Christmas."
Yes she cried. for about an hour but they were happy tears. We hugged her heart. Our surprise was a huge success.
Patty won't forget this Christmas and neither will we. There is something wonderful about giving at any time of the year but especially at Christmas, and when you can do it in the form of a surprise somehow the blessing is multiplied a thousandfold. Try it and see.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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