Friday, July 27, 2007

Pictures from Dad's Memoir

My dad is working on a memoir of his life and I have enjoyed helping him with it. It's been fun to read old papers and family memorabilila, both from my lifetime and previous years. Here are a few of the pictures we are including in the book, thanks to my sister's help:

My grandparents in the 1950s. My grandfather died in 1960, when I was two years old, so I have no real memories of him.

My two sisters in a cute picture from their childhood.

Our family in the late 1960s. Look at the hideous glasses on that oldest daughter.

Mary Lee and Rhoda with a baby basket and doll Rhoda brought to Mary Lee from the Dominican Republic

John Michael, Lauren, Mary Lee, and Andrew - cousins having fun together around 2000.

Eventually I may share some exerpts from Dad's book (if he gives the OK). He has a very engaging writing style and a way of bringing out interesting details. We lose too much history in this day, and I'm glad he's getting his story down on paper.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Pines and Pine-Sol

This quotation was on p. 13 of the new issue of FARM AND RANCH magazine:
"People born before 1930 associated their past with natural odors they inhaled during childhood, such as hay, horses, meadows, and pine trees. Those born after 1930 connected childhood recollections with Pine-Sol rather than piney woods; with manmade scents like fresh plastic, scented markers, airplane fuel, VapoRub, Play-Doh, and Sweet Tarts--not with fresh-baked bread or wet laundry hanging on the clothesline."

We've missed out on a lot in recent years. Even those of us who try to make our children aware of some of the pleasures of our own childhoods--if my children are going to enjoy the smell of home-baked bread, it will be from a breadmaker or baked frozen roll dough. But I'm astounded at the number of children for whom a pastry means a Pop-Tart. So much is gone from earlier years and replaced with cheap--make that expensive--substitutes.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bifocals = getting old

The time has come to buy a pair of bifocals. I've worn dual contacts for two years (left eye corrected for distance, right eye for reading) but sometimes you've got give your eyes a rest and wear glasses. For some time now, my family has scoffed at how I've accomplished reading with glasses on. What difference does it make, when you're at home reading in your La-Z-Boy, if you wear prescription glasses and then put reading glasses on top of them?!!

Anyway, I spent the better part of yesterday getting my vision straightened out, due to an error on my contacts prescription and then trying to get the glasses too. The cost of glasses is, in my humble opinion, outrageous. With some lame excuse about safety frames or something (it didn't make sense), Wal-Mart refused to use the frames I wanted to use (unused, $.50 at a yard sale, but nice--don't laugh) and the least I could have spent there was $300. Lenscrafters, WITH a coupon--$450 minimum.

I took Mary Lee to work, saw Sears Optical from the outside of the mall and decided--what do I have to lose. Walked in, tried on a pair of frames, liked them. Then--here's the good part--they are running a sale. Spend $400, they'll take off $200. Bottom line: $221 including tax, and I'm done. Thank you Lord for a nice little blessing.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Of Gravy and Grease

Yesterday I asked Mike, "Did you do something with the bacon grease in the frig?" When he said no, I asked Andrew the same thing. To his no, I said "It was in the bottom of a measuring cup." Upon which he got a funny look on his face and said "That was bacon grease? I thought it was gravy and I put it on my deer steak."

Earlier he had mentioned that he didn't realize that gravy had such an unusual texture and turned so liquid when heated in the microwave. I thought that was an odd question at the time but didn't think anything of it.

No wonder he thought that piece of steak tasted so good!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Twenty six blooms!!. . .and other thoughts from our trip

--The Mississippi River is much wider at Vicksburg than when we saw it at Hannibal, MO, a few years ago. Either place, it is a dramatic view of raw, liquid power.

--The views of the beautiful river were marred by the ubiquitous casinos.

--Louisiana is a different world. Different names, different food, and water everywhere. Bayous look like creeks to me.

--The weather in Louisiana matches the Carolina lowcountry in July.

--Southland is a nice camp. Older and rustic, but a very nice atmosphere.

--You can trust a son you leave at home alone! (at least this one.) This is what the den looked like when we got home. And the lawn was mowed, the dishes washed, his clothes washed, and everything on his list completed!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Southland and Vicksburg

Mike and I just got in tonight from driving 1500 miles in the past three days, going to Southland Christian Camp in Louisiana to pick up five of our youth group teenagers who stayed there for LIGHT camp (it's an acronym but I can't remember what it stands for)--a leadership camp where they were intensively mentored the first week and served as assistant counselors the second. We went out in two days, meeting my folks in Birmingham for lunch at Cracker Barrel, stopping overnight at Vicksburg and touring the battlefield the next day, then driving on to the camp. This morning we left Southland at 10:20 AM EDT; we pulled into Oakwood at 10:21 PM EDT. Mike got us back quickly and safely. We had five teens with us, including our daughter, who did NOT want to come home.

Everyone should tour Civil War battlefields. They are a reminder of the inhumanity of men to other men, the horrors of war, and the reality of our national conflicts. Mike saw a Vicksburg battlefield T-shirt in the information headquarters that he really liked. He said he would have bought it if the south had won that battle.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Farmers' Market

Today I shopped yet again at the Anderson County Farmers' Market. It's open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and I love to go there. Even if some of the produce is slightly higher than other places, I like buying vegetables and plants directly from local sources. Even though there wasn't supposed to be any corn this summer due to the freeze and the drought, a few farms have produced some, and it is delicious. I've also bought cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, new potatoes, and much more. And, we've enjoyed the hibiscus so much, as well as lantana and re-seeding vinca, that I am getting more and more interested in perennials. I want to get three more hibiscus plants, but they won't be available for another month, so I settled for three lantana plants this morning. (And five black-eyed susans, but Mike doesn't know yet that he's going to have to plant those tonight too. Please don't tell him.)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Independence Day 2007

"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism." --Erma Bombeck

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

An Overcast Day

Yesterday was rainy and cloudy, an unusual occurrence in a South Carolina July. The temperatures never got out of the 70s. I took my dear friend Nancy out for lunch for her birthday to Sullivan's in downtown Anderson. It's located in an old hardware store and it's got personality all through it. Mike and I like to go there from time to time. At lunch it's very reasonable, with an interesting menu, but we don't go for supper without a coupon--too expensive. The teachers at school go there occasionally, like during the half days at the end of the year, and we've made some fun memories there.

Mary Lee is gone to Southland Camp for two weeks. I miss her.