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Simply Elegant

close up photograph of flowers

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Six days ago, we brought four of the centerpieces home from the wedding reception.  On Sunday, Katie brought over her bridal bouquet, which brings the total to five arrangements.  All of the arrangements are different and include flowers from roses to hydrangeas, baby’s breath, and snap dragons.  Some contain blue, white or pink flowers that poke through.  Each one is complemented with velvety greenery.  Every morning, their fragrance greets me when I walk down the stairs.

It seems so long ago when we met with the flower lady.  It was January, and we had to figure out which flowers would be blooming in August.  I found many beautiful arrangements on Pinterest, and I remember sending those to Katie.  Katie liked the photos and sent them to the flower lady.  The flower lady asked what the theme was.  We showed her a picture of the wedding dress, and we told her how we thought it was simple but elegant, and that was also the theme, which Katie decided at that moment.  🙂  At the end of the reception, we invited guests to take home a centerpiece.  People were thrilled to have an arrangement to keep.  We offered some to the staff too, and I couldn’t help taking some leftovers.

The initial planning started in October last year.  We made our lists of who to invite, which came to be about 325 guests.  When we discovered that the church and a venue could all be reserved on the same date in the summer, we were all so excited, because we didn’t think we could get a summer date so soon.  We shopped for the elegant wedding dress right away.  The bride made sure to have her bridesmaids get together to try on dresses during a sale.  Those dresses got ordered promptly in the color of rosewood.  Even I found a dress.  Anything that could be done in advance, was accomplished.

Just before we met with the flower lady, the news of the coronavirus kept wafting over the news.  I especially followed the news about Italy and how sad it all felt with their loved ones passing away.  Then March came, and we were asked to shelter at home.  In the backs of our minds we wondered what would become of the wedding in August.  So many brides had to cancel their March weddings.  Then a few brides and grooms were able to get married in April, with only 10 people in attendance.  

“We’re still going to get married in August, no matter what happens,” the groom announced in March.  None of us wanted to see the wedding postponed.  The food tasting had been scheduled for the end of March, but since the venue was closed, it kept getting postponed.  Just when we thought we would be able to get together in June, for an outdoor tasting, the weather didn’t cooperate, so it ended up getting postponed too. That amounted to a total of five postponements.  When food tasting finally happened, we were delighted to be able to get together with the groom’s parents, even though we wore masks and stayed far apart from each other.

At the food tasting, we were told we could have 90 guests at the venue, so we got busy calling or emailing our friends to let them know we were only going to be able to invite the wedding party and close family members.  Some family members decided they didn’t want to attend, so we were able to invite some friends and more friends of the bride and groom.  Even though people were uninvited, gifts kept arriving daily.  It was nice to have the support and understanding.

There were other changes at the venue too.  We were not allowed to have a head table or a big dance.  We could only have four people to a table.  The tables had to be six feet apart.  There were stickers on the floor by the bar to remind us to socially distance.  People were required to wear masks when they weren’t seated at their table.

It was hard to limit the guests.  I tried to think of something to say to my daughter to make her feel better when we were going through this process.  She must have read my mind and said, “There’s nothing you can say to make me feel better,” so I just kept my mouth shut.  The quote I wanted to share with Katie is below, and it’s just what Katie and Mike did without me having to say it.

I tried to keep positive thoughts about the big day, and I prayed for a beautiful wedding for Katie & Mike ever since after their engagement.  I tried to chase away the what ifs that popped into my mind as the day got closer.  What if Father gets sick and can’t perform the ceremony?  What if the bride or groom get sick?  What if the catering director or photographers or flower lady get sick?  What if my husband or I get sick?  

Thankfully, when the big day arrived, everyone who was included in on the final plan, was there.  I couldn’t help but think, any couple who survived all this unusual wedding planning has a very strong bond.  ❤️

The day turned out to be simply elegant.

Life is accepting what is and working from that.  ~Gloria Naylor

Dear to Our Hearts

Dad and Me
Dad and Me

“Grandma, why do you have so many black combs?” 

“I just do,” I said in my nicest grandmotherly voice.  I made a snap decision to not explain why I had so many combs, so I changed the subject.  “I keep them in this junk drawer.”

“What’s a junk drawer?”

“It’s a place where we put things that don’t have anywhere else to go,” I said.  That seemed to be a good enough explanation.  The little guy was off to explore something else.

When I combed my grandson’s hair earlier that day, I thought about my dad, because it was Dad’s comb I used.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could be here, and maybe leave us another comb? You would love this little guy, I thought, as I tidied up the little one’s hair.  Several times when my father came over to our house with my mother, when our kids were little, he accidentally left one of his combs.  Dad bought them by the bagful.  Dad liked to build towers and other such things with the kids, and somehow the combs slipped out of his pocket and onto the floor.  I never noticed the combs until after my mom and dad left.  I stored them in the junk drawer.  It looks like I forgot to give them back to Dad the next time they came for a visit.

Sometimes, even to this day, little black combs show up out of nowhere.  The other day, when I was organizing a basket of odds and ends, one appeared.  Another time, I noticed one in the street, which made me think of Dad.  Seeing it felt like a good sign, but I decided to leave it stay where it was.  It looks like I get combs from heaven, instead of pennies.

When the little guy gets bigger, and if he’s still curious about the combs, maybe I can tell him this story.  I’ll also let him know that not everything in a junk drawer is junk.  A junk drawer can hold something dear to our hearts.

Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes. ~Gloria Naylor

The Cheese Song

stack of love wooden blocks

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

After our first grandchild was born, I was lucky to take care of beautiful baby boy (BBB) off and on for about two weeks while his parents were at work.  I made up a song about BBB and called it “Beautiful Baby Boy.”  The song goes like this:  “Beautiful baby boy, beautiful baby boy, La, La, La, La, beautiful baby boy,” which is too short.  I remembered a much longer song my classmates and I used to sing when we went on field trips in ninth grade.  It was something we sang on the bus, and it stuck with me.  

So tiny, I sang “It’s Cheese That Makes the World Go Round” to BBB from the beginning.  One time, when he was at our house and started to fuss while waiting in his little car seat, I sang The Cheese Song to him in front of my kids, and the familiar melody calmed BBB down.  The kids thought it was a silly song and much too long.  I am sure I sang it to them once or twice when they were little, but they didn’t remember.  It’s a song for grandmas to sing because it goes on forever!

One day, after BBB grew and grew and started to talk, he said, “The Cheese Song,” which made me beyond happy because it makes me think he likes the song, probably because it goes on forever!  Like many toddlers, BBB has figured out how to delay the progression towards nap time.  Now when I get to put BBB down for a nap at our house, BBB and I cuddle in the old wooden rocker that used to be in my own children’s baby bedroom.  BBB and I rock back and forth and the wooden floor boards squeak underneath along with us as we go.  We rock with our hearts facing, in one big hug.  Now it seems like our song isn’t long enough because sometimes, when you think back, hugs seem too short…

There are different renditions of our song on the internet, but the one we know goes like this:

It’s cheese, it’s cheese, it’s cheese that makes the world go round,
It’s cheese, it’s cheese, it’s cheese that makes the world go round,
It’s cheese, it’s cheese, it’s cheese that makes the world go round,
It’s cheese that makes the world go round.

Oh, rolling over the meadow, rolling over the sea, rolling over the
meadow and the deep blue sea, Oh, rolling over the meadow, rolling
over the sea, rolling over the meadow and the deep blue sea.

For the next six rounds, the word “cheese” is replaced with the following words:  mice, cats, dogs, boys, girls, and finally love, so that the final version is “It’s love that makes the world go round.”

Have you ever heard of The Cheese Song?  

I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.  ~William James

Gather it Up

nature flowers summer plant

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I “inherited” the purses.  There may have been five.  There may have been more, but each one was filled with old emery boards, crumbled tissues, a pack of TicTac mints with varying amounts within, and a couple of pieces of chewing gum.  Almost each one had a pouch inside the zippered pocket in the lining.  The little white pouches have the words “My Rosary” stamped on the front.  I didn’t know my mom had so many rosaries.  I took the rosary I liked best, which is blue, and I put it in my own purse, right inside the zippered pocket.  Before the blue rosary went in, the white rosary came out.  The white rosary was a First Communion present from my godfather and his wife.  I transferred my rosary to a little wooden box.  It stays there until I gather it up, along with a frayed pamphlet entitled “How to Say the Rosary.” 

I’ve recently noticed that the beads of my rosary look worn.  The stones are soft and smooth.  The chain between is soft too.  It is the one I’ve been using since second grade.  I’ve never prayed the rosary with any of my mom’s rosaries.  There’s no reason why I haven’t.  I just like mine, and I’ll use it as long as I can.

I kept all the pouches and the rosaries I found in the purses.  Those rosaries stay in my desk beside the Bible Mom had.  I kept the black purse Mom crocheted, but I didn’t like the others because they were not my style.  They were either too big or looked like snake skin.  Those went into the donation pile to be appreciated by someone else.

You might wonder why my mom and I had the custom of keeping rosaries in our purses.  Mom might have told me it was something I should do, but I don’t remember her telling me.  Maybe I was following her example, like little kids do.  Rosaries can be thought of as protection.  Moms and Our Lady want to protect us, plus you never know if or when you might need a rosary to say prayers.  It’s comforting to know Mom’s rosary is always with me, in case I need to gather it up.

The Little Sisters of the Poor are looking for a million of the faithful to pray the rosary everyday for an end to the pandemic.  If you have time and feel called, you should check it out!  Here is a link to their website: http://www.littlesistersofthepoor.org.  As of today, a little over 12,000 people have signed up.  I’m sure many have been praying for the end of this crisis, so let’s hope it’s over soon.

Let us run to Mary, and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms
with a
 perfect confidence. ~ Saint Francis de Sales

What Little Beauties Will Appear?

20180708_0922495491600727189644411.jpg20180708_0923127802616713461733185.jpg20180708_0924051615899125882250094.jpgThis morning, I was surprised when Lila and I were out for our usual walk because we came upon a field of blossoming flowers. Walkers passed us by as I snapped some pictures.  One couple stopped and admired the field right along with us.

“Do you happen to know what kind of flower that is?” I asked as I pointed at what I thought was a poppy. Its delicate petals fluttered in the breeze.

“We think it’s a poppy,” the man and woman said in unison.

“I don’t remember this field of flowers being here last year,” I said. Lila’s nose and paws were going farther into the field as she munched on some tall grass.

“They must have planted these wild flowers last year when they were fixing up the place,” the man reminded me.

“It’s going to be fun to watch,” said the lady. We smiled and nodded at each other as we went along our way.  I thought back to when Lila and I walked about the park last summer.  The walkers and bikers were only able to travel one half of the park, and the part where the wild flowers were was unreachable because of the rebuilding.  A bike path was added to hook up with the current one, plus a wooden foot bridge was built over part of the brook.  Most people do not go down to that part of the brook anymore because of how the foot bridge was constructed.  Many large rocks now hug the shoreline there, which makes it difficult for us to climb down to the water.  We now admire the brook from the bridge.  Since there was much digging going on last year, mice, moles, and turtles scampered around the paths looking lost and missing their homes.  Sort of like us because we weren’t able to walk around our usual way either.  Once I heard what I thought was a deer bounding about in the woods, crunching bushes and bramble as he ran to find some shelter.

This year, the creatures have settled in and are back to hiding in their homes, and we get to walk around the entire park because no part of the path is blocked. The wild flowers took the place of some beautiful towering trees that are missed, but there were never any wild flowers in the park before.  It’s nice to see them growing in the July sun.  At first, I missed the natural look of things and the way they were, but now I wonder what little beauties will appear in the field by the brook when August comes along.

I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds and bowers,
Of April, May, of June, and July-flowers… ~ Robert Herrick

 

Celebrate Good Times

She gently took me from the car and carried me like a newborn baby. Each step up the stairs, she held me a little higher. When we got to the bedroom, she swung open the closet door. She reached up to set me at the top of the closet so I could stretch down. When she unfastened the plastic, the bottom part fell. The ladies at the dress shop told her to unwrap me so I wouldn’t wrinkle. Even though she wasn’t the one who would wear me, she let out a sigh of relief because she didn’t want me to get dirty. It was her daughter, Laura, who chose me.

“It took her a while to figure out what kind of style she liked,” I heard the mom say once. Once she figured that out, it didn’t take her very long to find me.  After Laura ordered me, and I was all put together, I was shipped to the bridal shop. It took four months before Laura got to try me on. I waited patiently in a closet.  I heard people go in and out everyday. It seemed like forever before Laura came to see me. When the lady reached up to pull me off the pole, I thought she was going to take down the dress next to me. When she held onto my hanger, I couldn’t believe it was finally my turn.

The person took me upstairs to hang me on another pole for a while. I was wrapped in plastic, but I heard them coming up the steps. They seemed excited to see me. Their voices were loud and filled with laughter. It sounded like three different types of giggles. They walked right by me and sat down on the sofa. I don’t think they knew I was hanging right next to where they were sitting.

The seamstress helped Laura put me on and then the others came in. Now that the plastic was off, and Laura was wearing me, we both looked in the mirror at each other. I liked the way we looked together, and I thought we made quite a striking pair. It’s like we made each other shine somehow.

When I looked at the other two ladies in the room, I could tell by the look on their faces that they thought I looked good. The way their voices softened told both of us they approved. The seamstress suggested adding a few alterations so the bride would be more comfortable on the day of the wedding.

Laura came back to see me a few more times – sometimes with different ladies but always with her mom. Laura’s future mother-in-law suggested that the belt would look better sewn close to the bodice instead of around the waist, and everyone agreed.  The next time they had to make sure the hem was the proper length. Each time they came, I knew it was getting a little closer to the day when we would get to walk down the aisle together.  The last time they came, the seamstress showed the mom how to fasten the buttons and put up the bustle.

Now as I stayed hanging in the house where the bride grew up, I knew the big day was going to be tomorrow.  That night the house was quiet, but when they came back, it felt like a lot of energy was buzzing about.  Laura came into her bedroom and looked at me hanging on the door.  It wouldn’t be much longer before we would get to celebrate.  We would see how all the preparations would fall together.

The next morning, the doorbell kept ringing as ladies arrived bringing more bubbling energy with them. Happy voices traveled up the stairs as the morning went on.  Then the time arrived when Laura took me down from the door.  Her hair was swept up like a princess.  She carried me to the car, and we went to church.  When we arrived, the photographer took me for a while and took pictures of me in front of a window to make shadows in the sun.  After my solo picture, the mom and bridesmaids helped Laura put on her dress careful not to ruin her hair or smudge her makeup.  The mom closed up the back by using a hair pin to grab the little string to wrap it around each little button just like the seamstress showed her.

Laura and Mom and Dress

“Whew,” she sighed.  “I remember my wedding night and how it took the groom a very long time to unfasten the buttons…”  A few more giggles traveled around the room.  After Laura was all ready to go, lots of pictures were taken inside and outside.  The temperature was cool, but Laura didn’t shiver.

“People are starting to come,” said Marilyn, the coordinator who volunteered at the church.

“They are?” the mom said as if she was shocked that everything was going the way it was planned.

“Yes,” Marilyn said with a smile – like she’d seen this sort of thing before.  “You’ll need to stay in the nursery and hide before you make your grand entrance.”

The priest quickly stopped by to say hello and to give a few instructions to the bride.  After Father left, the father-of-the-bride came in to say, “They told me to come in here right when everyone was starting to show up.  I wanted to say hello to a few people!”

“I guess we’re supposed to do that later,” the mom said.  Marilyn came back in to let the bridesmaids know it was time for them to walk down the aisle.  I waited with Laura and her mom and dad.  It was very quiet in the room.  Off in the distance, we could hear the organist playing Ave Maria.

“It’s time for you to go,” she said.  We walked out to the commons.  Marilyn and the other volunteer closed the doors to the entrance after the groom and his parents walked down the aisle.  All was quiet.  The organist began to play Canon in D by J. Pachelbel while we stood together.  Laura’s dad linked his arm through his daughter’s arm, and the mom held onto Laura’s elbow.  I felt little shivers coming from the mom.  Everyone else seemed to be calm.

“Oh, my god,” the mom said very quietly.

“Mom!” said Laura.

“Whoops,” Mom mumbled.  Marilyn gave us the thumbs up sign, and we walked to the doors.

“Are you ready?” We gave a unanimous nod, and the ladies pulled the two big wooden doors open to show us the guests.  As we walked down the aisle, some people nodded and smiled at us – Great Uncle Jack gave us the thumbs up sign.  When we met the groom at the altar, there were hugs and handshakes and sharing of “love you” among the four.  Laura and I walked up two little steps with the groom who soon became Laura’s husband.

As the day went on, I didn’t stay ivory clean as the mom hoped.  Only once that entire day did my bustle come undone, and it was during the reception.  After Mom pinned it up, she said, “Oh, look how dirty your dress is on the bottom!”

“That means the bride is having a good time,” said a voice from a corner of the bathroom.  From what I saw, it looked like everyone knew how to celebrate good times!  I’m glad to have done my part of being the wedding dress.  This special occasion was celebrated a year ago today.  Now it’s time to celebrate another special occasion:  Laura and Michael’s first wedding anniversary!

An anniversary is a time to celebrate the joys of today,
the memories of yesterday, 
and the hopes of tomorrow.  ~Author Unknown

All Grown Up

It was dark where we waited in single file to pay a nickel for our carton of milk.  We walked down a wide staircase to reach the basement where a lady collected the fee and handed each one of us a carton.  A small light bulb lit that room outside of the lunchroom.  After we got our cartons, we walked into the lunchroom where long columns of windows bordered one wall to brighten the place. Long rectangular tables lined up evenly to fill the space. I had to lift my leg high to get over the bench while carefully holding onto my brown paper bag where I’d just stored my carton that was sitting on top of my lunch. My other hand held onto the table for balance.  I didn’t think I could hold onto a lunch bag and a carton of milk while maneuvering my legs over the bench especially while wearing a jumper.

Mom always packed the same lunch for me in first grade.  I opened the bag, took out the ice cold milk, and opened one side of the carton so the opening reminded me of a diamond shape.  Waxy bits of the carton made my fingers sticky.  When I looked in my bag again, I found two pieces of white bread sitting inside neatly folded wax paper.  If I was lucky, the carton didn’t squish the sandwich.  I always lifted one edge to make sure crunchy peanut butter was on one side and grape jelly was on the other. After a few bites, I drank straight from the carton because we didn’t have straws available to us. (Yes, straws had been invented then, but our school didn’t have any.)  Sometimes when I drank, a chip or two of frozen milk cubes surprised me. After the sandwich was gone, I twisted the stem of a bright red apple while I recited the ABCs.  Whichever letter I was on when the stem broke off, was the first letter of the last name of the boy who liked me that day!  I bit into the crunchy apple and ate it all away except for the seeds and core.  By the time I got to my dessert of a powdered donut, my milk was gone because it seemed like peanut butter and white bread need a lot of washing down to get it all to the stomach. For the rest of the day, it felt like the powdered sugar stayed on and around my mouth.  Even if I tried to wash it away, my face still felt powdery.

I was glad when I made it to second grade because that’s when I got a lunch pail, and I got to eat bologna sandwiches with Miracle Whip. I must have matured enough to figure out that I could let Mom know I didn’t want any more powdered donuts and that I was tired of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I’ve only eaten a handful of those donuts since I graduated from first grade and doing so brings me back in time to my old school’s lunchroom.  Yet, I will have a crunchy peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich at least once a week even now.

How about you? What did you use to eat for lunch when you were in elementary school?  Do you still eat that now?  Did you have a lunch pail?  What picture was on your lunch pail?

It’s hard to remember what it’s like to be small sometimes, after we’re all grown up.

Blog post idea courtesy of WordPress:  Your typical childhood lunch. 

Yeah Write Button Fiction

 

A Sight for Sore Eyes

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I stumbled out of the car and briskly walked towards the door. I was so relieved we arrived. A series of moments had taken place to get me to that door, and I think maybe the seed was planted by the TV show, The Gilmore Girls. Rory, the main character, always talked about how she wanted to backpack through Europe. As my daughter Katie and I watched the show, Katie often commented on how she would like to go to Europe someday.

I would say, “Oh, but that’s so far away. You really wouldn’t want to go that far away from home.” Katie was often reminded about traveling to far away places when her classmates from grade school and high school travelled away on mission trips. “I didn’t even want to bring it up because I knew you and Dad would say no,” she told us. She was right about that.  After Katie went off to college, she hinted about travel abroad programs to Rome and Greece.

“Oh, but that’s so far away. You really wouldn’t want to go that far away from home for that long,” I repeated over again and hoped that something would distract her and make her want to stay. Or I said, “How about you do a short trip, like your sister.” Laura traveled abroad for three long weeks when she was in college. But, Mom’s idea of keeping Katie close to home was not an option for the determined young lady. Katie informed us that she went to a travel abroad meeting at school. “I am going to go to Ireland,” she announced. “The director is awesome, and I think I would learn a lot.” A plan to go to Ireland was smart because of the Irish roots Katie inherited from her father.

It was funny how the orientation meeting for parents and students was on St. Patrick’s Day. I wore my shamrock scarf and my husband dressed in bright Irish green colors. Katie told us that we looked like we were going to a party. As we learned more about the trip, the better we felt.

Next thing we knew, Katie was packing her one suitcase and one carry on that would have to last her for a semester in Ireland. It was hard for me to imagine how such a fashionable young lady was going to manage with one suitcase. As she scattered all of her favorite clothes on the bedroom floor and resolved to eliminate the unnecessary items, I still marveled how her dream of traveling abroad wasn’t even going to be stifled by having to abandon about 90 percent of her wardrobe!

When Katie stood in line with her future travel companions to check on her suitcase at the airport, I realized that the hardest part of being a parent is the letting go. But letting go doesn’t mean that we couldn’t go visit! I never thought that I would be one who would travel abroad, but my husband and I set about making plans.

Soon we were on an airplane to Philadelphia and then on a flight to Dublin. We flew over the Atlantic Ocean at night and having had a very busy day, I longed to lie down, but there was nowhere to go. I thought about how beds were underrated. I snoozed a bit until I was woken up by bits of turbulence or fellow passengers who were coughing, snoring or emitting unusual odors.

Thankfully, the sky started to light up and we saw how different the clouds looked beneath us. They seemed more compact and fluffy! As we went through the cloud bank, and the patchwork quilt of greens and browns greeted us, we felt lucky to see a land that was unfamiliar.

We ate a quick breakfast of eggs, sausage and potatoes and wondered why the breakfast menu offered pudding. We didn’t order pudding, but later Katie told us that Irish pudding is pig’s blood mixed with some other stuff like grains and looks like sausage!

We found the Go Bus, got on board and traveled through the sleepy town of Dublin along the Liffey River. After we went through a long tunnel, we were able to enjoy the countryside. I said, “This is the longest I have ever traveled to see someone!”  We snoozed off and on, and in between we spotted cattle or sheep happily grazing amongst the many colors of green that are divided by stone walls.

When we arrived at the bus station in Galway three hours later, we were surprised that we had to pay 20 cents to go through the turnstile to get to the bathroom. It’s the first time I had to pay for such a visit. The words, “I like to live in America, everything free in America,” a song from West Side Story kept running through my head.

My husband called the rental car company and a very nice young lady came to get us to deliver us to our rental car. We carefully paid attention to how she drove on the right side of the car, but on the left side of the road. It was scary how the traffic came at us from what we thought was the wrong direction. The pedals on the floor are the same as in the US, but everything else was backwards. We could not find signs identifying the names of the streets. The driver pointed out that sometimes they are on the sides of buildings or stuck on stone structures!

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By the time we were in our rental car and ready to go, I prayed that we would make it safely to our destination. My husband drove, and I think I was glad it was not me.  It took a while, but we found our hotel which was quite crowded with people trying to check in. When we got to our room, we grabbed a few items from our suitcase to deliver to our daughter, went to reception to ask for directions and headed out.

I felt cramped as we drove along because the streets are quite narrow and don’t have shoulders. It always felt like we were going to hit the curb, and I hated that I felt like a driving instructor as I had to remind myself and my husband to stay on the left side of the road. The travel book that I read before we left said that driving in Ireland is stressful; I wished that the author would have elaborated that point a little more because I missed seeing how beautiful the sky and mountains were and the pretty bay that we passed by because I was worried about everything! When we saw the sign we were looking for, we scooted over into the driveway, got honked at, passed by a parking lot, and found the cottage with a big sigh of relief.

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We rehearsed the procedures of putting the car in park. I got out and knocked on the door. We arrived at the time we predicted. When Katie greeted us, I thought to myself, “You are really a sight for sore eyes.” We hugged and I knew that all that it took to get to that door was going to be worth it. Not only to visit with our daughter but to be in such a beautiful place.

The journey to that door helped us discover that our children’s dreams can be and often are contagious!

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

The Adventurous Ones!

Katie & Me on a Bench Somewhere in Rocky Mountain National Park
When we visited Estes Park, Colorado a few years ago, Dad, Laura and Matt decided to be adventurous and go on the gondola ride.  Since Katie and I are not ones for rides, we decided to go explore the shops instead.  After we saw the rest of the family off, Katie and I headed down the path and we talked and talked while we walked and walked.  We chattered enthusiastically because we were secretly happy that we didn’t have to go on that ride, and we told each other all about it.

There was not much activity going on where we started on our way.  We walked by many houses that were along a dirt road.  One other lone walker was right ahead of us, and we slowed down because we didn’t want to pass him up.  Suddenly we both realized that we didn’t know where we were going.  We thought that we were heading towards the quaint shops, but it turned out that we took a wrong turn at the very beginning.  Even though we had driven through the town many times before, I knew we had been on this road.  It would have been better if we would have taken a right instead of a left, just like Dad told us.

I was disappointed in myself that we went the wrong way.  Not only did I feel like a bad Mom who wasn’t paying attention, I knew that we would hear about our getting lost from the adventurous ones later on.  It was yet another confirmation to me that I was not born with an internal compass.  This idea is difficult for those who do have internal compasses to understand.  They cannot fathom that people like me do not automatically know the direction by where the sun is sitting in the sky or that we do not have some connection with gravitational forces like they must.

Panic started to set in a little.  First, if I knew that we were going to be going on such a long walk, I would have worn tennis shoes instead of flip-flops because my feet were starting to hurt.  Second, if I knew we were going to get lost, I would have paid more attention to where we were going in the first place.

Our feet got grungier and grittier, but we finally came to a spot where we could turn.  About the time we tried to connect with the rest of the family was about the time when we thought we were on our way to the shops.  We dialed numbers that kept on ringing.  When we didn’t get an answer, we decided to enjoy the scenery on the way and discovered that the quaint shops were not where we thought they were.

After many lost phone connections and directions of ways to go from the adventurous ones, we found our way to the Super America Gas Station where we met up with the rest of the family.  That’s where Katie and I got a Coke and called it a day.

There were more days left to discover the cute shops, but that day it turned out that we made an adventure of our own.  Even though we got lost, we saw lots of sights that we would not have seen if we thought we knew our way!

Cute Shop!
We were glad to make it back to the cabin ~ this wasn’t the cabin we stayed in though!
When we were all together again, we stayed that way, and explored Rocky Mountain National Park as one happy family!
We made sure we stayed together on hikes.
I made sure I wore my tennis shoes!
We were glad to see beautiful streams!

We drove up high into the mountains!
Luckily, we only saw one wild animal!
Don’t let people drive you crazy when you know it’s in walking distance. 
~Author Unknown

Every Time a Train Whistle Blows

My Dad and Me 60

One day Daddy brought me to the railroad yard where he worked. The train tracks seemed too high for me to go over, so Dad held me tight and carried me across. When we got to the train, I looked down along its path and saw all the cars hooked together. Dad pointed to the caboose and then climbed up into the engine while he kept me in tow. It was dark inside, but being up so high, I was able to see the tracks that we just crossed and the building that Dad said was the station. Dad looked at me and smiled and said, “Pull that string.” He pointed to a cord that hung down from the ceiling. I shook my head “no” as I looked into his big blue eyes. Dad didn’t ask me to pull it again. He just pulled it himself. That’s when I knew what needed to be done to make the whistle blow. The sound of the whistle was so loud, but it didn’t scare me because Dad held me tight.

Ever since then, I wished I would have been brave enough to make that whistle blow. Sometimes I felt like I was a little afraid of Dad because I didn’t see him very much when I was small because he worked nights. Every now and then, I would see him in the early morning just when he got home from work. I didn’t blame him for my being a little afraid because I knew that it was his schedule to work, come home and eat, and go to bed. It was what Dad had to do to take care of his family.

If I got up early enough, I was lucky to see my Dad. I hid behind the kitchen door and peaked at him through the crack. I held myself very still while holding onto my white baby blanket. The bright morning sun hurt my eyes as its light crept through the window. I watched Dad’s back, and listened to his spoon hit the bowl of cereal with a sort of steady rhythm as he held the newspaper in front of him. His engineer hat usually sat on the counter right next to him.

Suddenly, he belted out a tune that took me out of my trance and had me pulling my thumb out of my mouth:

Peak-a-Boo, I See You,
Hiding Behind the Door!

He sang it over and over in a melody he made up until I got brave enough to come out from behind the door. When I got close enough, Dad pulled me into his lap and I felt more comfort there than I did from my security blanket and my wet thumb put together. That nice warm hug made all my being afraid go away.

It always shocked me when he sang that song because I couldn’t figure out how he knew I was hiding behind the door. Now every time I hear a train whistle blow, I think of you Dad!

Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever. ~Author Unknown