Monday, November 29, 2010

A love story

The nights would drag on as I sat with my dad, trying to keep mom from getting agitated.  As the evenings would close in, the night terrors would get worse.  As we’d talk, occasionally she would have a glint of recognition in her eyes and say something that could maybe apply.  But mostly she would wander, opening and closing drawers, look out the front door, then sit back down and start the routine all over again.
One such evening as the evening wore on, I asked dad how he and mom met.  This is the story he told me.
”We met at a restaurant across from Immaculate Conception Church.  My brother, Bill, and I would have lunch there.  Your mom and (Aunt) Jane would go there.  We’d follow them back down Miller Street.  You see, we lived on the same street with Oscar and Agnes, about four houses down from where your mom lived.

The night I asked your mom to marry me, we were driving the old red truck that they used to push cars around with [the Hood boys owned a garage].  It was a 29 Dodge with a hydraulic hook, and had Hood’s Garage written on it.  Your mom was wearing my signature ring, wrapped with tape so it wouldn’t fall off.  The date was December 13, 1946, Friday the 13th.  We went to Oscar’s Steakhouse on St. Louis Road. 

As we were leaving the restaurant I asked for my ring back.  She thought something was wrong and got very upset.   I told her ‘this ring won’t fit over it’ and gave her the diamond ring.
We were going to get married the next year, but her brothers Cy and Tony, and then her sister Jane all decided to get married.  This was too many weddings in one year.  So we waited until the next year.”

Ed & Margaret wedding

Among photos I have been scanning, I found hastily scribbled notes in my own handwriting from this conversation.  I had totally forgotten about it.  I remember now that the story is disjointed because of the number of times we would follow mom out of the room, bringing her back to the safety of the kitchen.  Damn Alzheimer’s!  But I am thankful that I have this much of the story. 

Their love story continued for 60 years, with dad showing the ultimate love of devotion, dedicating his life to caring for mom until the end.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Strawberry-Pretzel Salad

Ask and ye shall receive.  This is an interesting tasting salad, mixing the saltiness of pretzels in the crust with a sweet topping.  The best thing is that it is easy to make. 

Strawberry-Pretzel Salad

2 cups crushed pretzels
3 T sugar
1 ½ sticks of butter

Melt butter. Stir in sugar until well mixed. Mix with pretzels until well coated. Spread in a 9 x 13 pan and bake 8 minutes @ 350 degrees.

8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 T milk
4 T crushed (drained) pineapple
1 medium size cool whip

Mix all ingredients except cool whip. Cool whip should be mixed in by hand. After pretzel crust has cooled spread this mixture over crust.

Large strawberry Jello
10 to 16 oz. frozen strawberries (sliced)
(I let the strawberries sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes so they are easier to slice) 
2 cups boiling water

Mix jello and water until dissolved. Add frozen strawberries to jello and let stand for a few minutes. Spoon or pour over cream cheese mixture.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

The pie holder came from Sam's Club.  I think it cost $29, but don't hold me to that.  It sure did come in handy!

The "red dish" is the strawberry-pretzel salad

Friday, November 26, 2010

I didn’t realize…

My family is everything.  I didn’t realize it.  We stood in a circle holding hands and I lead the traditional Catholic prayer of “Bless us oh Lord for these thy gifts…” and then added my own thanks for my family.  The words stuck and tears welled.  I was more thankful than I realized.

Thanksgiving 2010 005

The food would have gotten cold had everyone given their own personal thanks, so we dug in!  It is obvious number one on everyone’s list is they are thankful for each other.

I also didn’t realize how much food I had fixed.  After cooking for days, there was enough to feed an army rather than the expected twenty-two.  The girls each brought a dish in addition to what was already there.  When all was said and done we feasted on a vegetable tray, which was gone long before the meal was served, turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn casserole, corn, broccoli rice casserole, sweet potatoes, strawberry pretzel salad, fruit salad, home made rolls, and apple bread.  Insane! 

Thanksgiving 2010 002

In addition to being thankful for my family, I was thankful that I have a big kitchen.  The kitchen table, card table, 6 ft. folding table, and the little table in the breakfast nook fit is all into one room. 

Thanksgiving 2010 003

Thanksgiving 2010 008

Several glasses of wine and full bellies later, the after dinner lethargy took over.  Stuffed doesn’t begin to describe it.  Shame on us!

Thanksgiving 2010 009


Time out for play.  Here is Greg trying to explain a video game to Reagan.  The rest of the grandkids headed downstairs to play pool and air hockey.  Everyone pitched in cleaning up the mess left behind, in preparation for dessert. 

 Thanksgiving 2010 006  

Time for pie!  Apple, cherry, two pumpkin, pecan along with whipped cream and ice cream. 

Thanksgiving 2010 007

Lessons learned.  Don’t bother with the salads when there is so much other good food to eat.  Three pies is enough.  Let someone else lead the prayer cuz I’m tired of everyone seeing me cry.

Yes, we have much to be thankful for. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hello again

It has been a while since I have posted.  This is partly because I’ve been very busy, but also because my mind is such a whirl of activity that I don’t know where to begin. 

In the middle of the night my eyes will pop open and the thoughts start to tumble.  Often they are thoughts of things I need to do, sometimes they are thoughts of worries, there are times I pray myself back to sleep.  The power of prayer is totally underestimated. 

Right now in the middle of preparations for Thanksgiving celebrations, I find myself thinking about all that I have to be thankful for.  The list is very long. 

My family tops the list.  They are the best.  Jim and I have gotten closer as the years have passed.  We work hard and enjoy being together.  My only complaint is that he spoils me and does things for me that I should be doing myself.  Pretty silly, huh.

We used to spend a lot of our time with the grandkids.  As they’ve gotten older, that has changed.  Our kids and grandkids are busy getting on with their lives.  I miss my time with them, but am luckier than many in that we still see them often. 

I also reflect on the fact that three of our grandkids are now teenagers.  How is that possible?!?!  They are great kids and I am very proud of them – and proud of my kids at the great job they are doing raising their families and teaching them the right way to live.

I woke up the other night with the thought in my mind that “my kids are my legacy”.  I even wrote it down because so often I have thoughts at odd times of things I want to blog about and then when it is time to blog, I cannot remember what it was…  I’ll bet you’ve all been there! 

So the next morning I saw the note that my kids are my legacy and I had to shake my head no.  That is so wrong.  My kids are not my legacy.  My life and the impact I have on the world – both good and bad – is my legacy. 

I told you my mind is overflowing!


I planned on posting a video of Travis wrestling, but it is still uploading.   So we will have to make do with a picture.  Travis is in the black t-shirt.  He pinned his guy in all three of his matches.

009The other thing I want to share with you is some pictures from last week’s Grandparents Day at Allen’s school.  Allen’s school went all out.  They had a program where each class did something.  Allen’s second grade class said the days of the week and number first in English and then in Spanish.  It was great.  They then treated us to huge cookies and punch.  They assured me that all calories were removed from those cookies.  Thank goodness.


We also went to grandparent’s day at Dakota’s and Austin’s school.  It was quite a different experience.  I’ll have to admit that I felt like we were in the way and they couldn’t wait to get rid of us.  It wasn’t the kids’ fault.  They were excited to have us there.  But nothing was planned.  We were invited to be there at 7:30 in the morning.  The kids showed us their classroom and projects they were working on.  Then at 8:00 the principal came over the intercom asking all grandparents and special friends to leave.  It was so very strange.  Jim went to Austin’s classroom and I went to Dakota’s.  Dakota’s teacher didn’t even get up from her desk to greet us.  It was like she was very uncomfortable with us being there.  Is this the difference between a small town school and a larger (by no means big city) school?  I don’t think so.  I think it is the difference between a principal who cares and one who doesn’t. 

I certainly didn’t plan on this being such a long post.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We live in a wonderful country and although times are hard for some, we all have a lot to be thankful for!     

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Every year the light show at Silver Dollar City gets bigger and better.  Here is what it looked like this year.

Almost 39 years ago, Jim and I honeymooned at Silver Dollar City in Branson.  It has remained one of our favorite places to get away to whenever we have a chance.  Since it has been several years since we’ve been there – it was time to check out their famous display of Christmas lights.  We weren’t disappointed.

This swinging bridge is located smack dab in the middle of the city – connecting the old with the new.  SDC is 50 years old this year.  My family went their for one of our few vacations early on – probably its fourth year of operation.  The roads leading to the city were still gravel.  They are now 4 and 6 lane highways.  This swinging bridge was the entrance into the city.

swinging bridge connecting one side of SDC to the other

By 5:30 it is quite dark and all around were displays of trees like this red one.


Tree covered with lights

And this cluster of trees was such a pretty sight.

multitude of beautifully lit trees 

This little Wilderness Church is always a peaceful place to stop for a bit and think about the beauty of this world we live in.  It has a large window overlooking the Ozark valley below.

log cabin church lit up with lights

One of the quaintness of the city is that you never know where you are going to find the

music of the Ozarks.  We happened onto this jam session in a little log cabin.  It was one of the highlights of our trip.

Jam session in log cabin

A trip to SDC is not complete without a trek in the caverns of Marvel Cave.  To read more about it go here. 

These concrete steps lead down into the many narrow, sometimes low, twisty and turny pathways through the cave.

concrete steps down into the cave

Yes, this really is a passage way we walked through.

a cave passageway

And here you see daylight from about 1/4 of the way down in the cave.  I took many more pictures, but photos of what is a magnificent site to the naked eye, is sometimes not able to be captured on film.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

looking up to the opening to outside from inside cave

I hope you enjoyed this little jaunt into Silver Dollar City with me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Photo Monday

 A weekend get-away on Table Rock Lake - Branson, MO.  I will leave you with a few photos as I head out to take care of the multitude of things that I've neglected while away playing in the Ozarks.  Hopefully all are well and will have a wonderful week.  More tomorrow.
Table Rock Lake
The Fall Colors are not toally gone

The hills of the Ozarks

Muted Fall colors

Sunrise on Table Rock Lake (taken from hotel room balcony)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sugar and spice

One is 13 and the other 3.  Ten years and two days separate their ages.  They both celebrated birthdays last week.  They both stole this Grandma's heart the day they were born. 
Emily turned into the T word.  You know, the word every mother dreads.  *whispers teenager*.  But she is such a disappointment.  She doesn’t have a teenage attitude.  She is sweet to her brothers and sisters most of the time.  I’ve heard rumors that there is the occasional blow-up but I don’t believe a word of it.  She is the everything nice of sugar and spice  Grandpa calls her Emmalemma (mostly to irritate her).  But I think over the years she has come, if not love the nickname, accept it.  Happy Birthday Emily, I love you very much.
These big brown eyes, dimples, and sweet smile melt my heart every time.

emily easter
This three year old knows her way around my heart.  Reagan calls and talks to us, telling us about Tina (her baby sitter) and all of her friends.  Since she talks 100 miles an hour, we usually have to have her daddy interpret the conversation after she says “Bye I love you”.  When she says that, she is gone.  Boom. 
Reagan’s smile is infectious.  When she smiles, I can’t help grinning like the silly grandma that I am.  Whoever coined the phrase that little girls are “Sugar and Spice and everything nice” had to have had Reagan in mind.

Reagan with her presents

She gave every present special attention, but that guitar lit her up like a Christmas tree.

Reagan playing her guitar

I don’t know if her mom and dad noticed, but I tuned it before I left the party.  Taylor Swift – move over!           

Reagan playing her guitar

Working on her picture taking techniques. 

Reagan taking a picture

Back to Emily.  Who says you can’t surprise a 13 year old…

Emily opening new cell phone

I can’t figure out who is happier with the new cell phone, Emily, or her little brother James.  I even sent her a text – and I don’t do text!

Emily smiling with new phone

Happy Birthday Emily and Reagan!  Love you both very much.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


My dear friend, Iggy, was born on this day.  Since he is a dear friend, I won't snitch on how old he is.  Well, that reason, plus I'm not real sure how old he is. 

You know how sometimes you meet someone and you immediately know this is a good person and someone you want to know better?  Well that is Iggy.  No, I've never met him in "real life" but I feel like I have and know I will one of the days. 

If you aren't already following Iggy's blog, then consider checking him out.  I never know what will greet me when I visit him.  Sometimes he reduces me to tears with touching posts of thankfulness and appreciation.  He often takes me on walks with him.  And quite often there is a history lesson on things I not only knew nothing about, but didn't even know I knew nothing about! 

One other thing about Iggy.  He is kind to a fault.  When a person is troubled and down, or just having a bad day and needs a pick me up, he does what he can to help.  That help might come in the form of an email, a card, flowers, or just an encouraging comment on a post.  I've been on the receiving end of his kindness a number of times.

For example, I couldn't grow sunflowers.  And wala SUNFLOWERS! brightened my day.  Then there was the PHOTO ALBUM that showed up in my mailbox out of the blue.  Yea, Iggy is just that kind of guy. 

So please do me a favor and pop over to Intenseguy's place and wish him a Happy Birthday.  You will notice that he is on a bit of a break, having let the weight of the troubles of his friends; the loss of a treasured part of his life, the family dog, Molly; and life in general get the better of him.  He could use a little bloggy love.

Happy Birthday Iggy.  You are loved.