Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Oak Tree

We had a huge old oak tree in our backyard that shaded the whole yard in the summer and provided huge piles of leaves in the fall. The limbs were massive so Daddy built us a wooden swing on one side and a tire swing on the other side.  The tire swing was on the side that had a sloping hill on it and you could run and jump on and soar through the air.  The wood swing was just a piece of wood with a very thick cable on each end and talk about going high, you could almost touch the treetop and the stars in it.  I remember Daddy pushing me and then he would hold me up over his head and let go and I would fly so high and had tickly butterflies in my stomach when I came back down.  It was the best!  The tire swing was lots of fun too, it was my dance partner and I would climb on top and spin around in circles until I was so dizzy.  Whenever other kids came over to play they loved those swings too.  It was way better than any swing set ever made! We played with our toys and match box cars in the cool shade under there.  We had a nice patio made of granite pieces that we helped Daddy to make under the tree and had a picnic table and entertained a lot when family and friends came over.  We spent many hot summer days and evenings out there under that huge tree, it was a landmark.  Before Daddy got sick the tree started dying and they had a the limbs cut out of the top but it never was the same.  That old tree is gone now, only a huge stump is left where it proudly stood and sheltered us all those years.  It just isn't the same without it there and it makes me sad. It was like him and Daddy were gone around the same time and it breaks my heart but the memories made are forever. 
Sweet Summertime Memories

The summers are so hot and humid these days, I don't remember it being so hot back in my growing up days.  I love reminiscing about those long, sweet days of summer.  Daddy always planted a garden full of home grown goodness, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, beans, okra, corn, etc. every summer and we had to help in it but the reward was eating yummy goodness at the table on those warm summer evenings and eating juicy tomato sandwiches.  My brother and I had to go out in the evenings and pick butter beans and green beans and we sat on upside down buckets and get bit by the mosquitoes and be hot and whiny.  We would take turns having to go to the bathroom and would stay gone quite a while longer to waste time. There was something about that dirt between your toes though and the smells of fresh veggies that just made life feel just homey.  I loved helping plant the seeds after Daddy hoed the holes in rows, from those little paper bags.  What I wouldn't give now for a nice garden with Daddy out there working hard in it with his white t shirt and hat on.  The old garden spot is just part of the yard now but the memories are still vivid in my mind of how full and beautiful it was.  Those were sweet memories that I will never forget.  Most kids nowadays don't know the value of a good garden and planting seeds and watching them blossom and grow and caring for them so carefully.  I am so thankful for the times we spent together growing a garden, not just growing food but learning how to work hard for things and how good God is to provide for us always. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Daddy's Golf Cart

 This time of year is a time full of memories and emotions for me and my family too.  Nine years ago my Daddy was very sick and getting worse, he was in and out of the hospital and our times were spent in the hospital room during much of that time.  He spent about two or three weeks at home in the last four months of his life, if that much.  We celebrated birthdays, graduation, Mothers Day and Fathers Day in his hospital room, we would all cram in there and sometimes take turns so it wouldn't be so crowded.  To watch your loved one decline and not get better is a very humbling experience, when all you pray for is for them to get well, to just be like they used to be.  If I could have traded places I would have.  I remember those days like they were just last week, the images and feelings imprinted on my heart forever. But my Daddy kept his smile, his sweet personality, his quiet spirit, through it all.  He was thankful for those who were taking care of him and he let them know. One of the times that he got to come home was in May and he insisted on stopping at the lot up the road from our house that had a golf cart for sale and he got out in his pajamas and socks and checked it out and he bought it and had it delivered that afternoon.  At that point he hadn't been able to go outside much because he was so weak and breathless, but he thought the golf cart would be a great way for him to get outside and ride around the yard. It was very bittersweet watching him ride around the yard in his pajamas, he even got Mama on there and they rode and he stopped and they shared a kiss and they were giggling like two teenagers.  We did get video and pictures of that day that we cherish now.  That was the only day he ever rode that golf cart, he just didn't feel like getting out there when he was at home so we parked it on the carport unless the girls rode around on it, and even after he was gone, they had a lot of fun times riding around on it. It was worth it for those few minutes of fun and laughter and to see the happy smile on his face. I imagine the huge smile he has now all the time in heaven.  He is happy and free and full of joy and peace. It really is the little things in life y'all.  It may not mean much to anyone else but when you find something that makes you happy and makes you laugh and smile, even if just for a little while, it is awesome, it is real, and it is those moments that you will never forget. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Why I love Red Birds

My Daddy was an outdoors man, he loved working in the yard and he loved and appreciated nature.  When he died almost nine years ago I was so lost without him here and I prayed for a symbol to remind me of him.  He always loved birds and so soon after I saw a red cardinal sitting in the yard and I just felt like it was him letting me know he was there.  I started seeing them more and more, everywhere I went, and it brought me so much peace in my heart.  I have had some days when I was down and worried about something and suddenly I will see a red bird somewhere or flying in front of me driving down the road and it makes me feel comforted.  On their first anniversary after he died, I was at work and I was feeling sad for Mama and had her on my mind and I looked out of the window in ICU and there were two red birds sitting on a limb, a male and a female, and it made me cry and I was amazed to see them like that on their special day.  I have a nice collection of red bird stuff too that I enjoy looking at every day and my heart is at peace knowing that my Daddy is nearby and watching over me and our family. 

Play the Music!

Who remembers the little old record players that played records? I still have the same one I got for Christmas as a little girl and it still works! Mine was blue and green, so cool! I spent hours in my room playing records and singing along.  I saved my allowance money and bought the latest singles at the Waco store and later Sky City.  I loved getting new records to listen to and I had a little wire rack that held all of them. I was so cool! I even put little plastic toys in the center of the record and watched them spin round and round.  Ah those were the days.  I later upgraded to a real stereo complete with record player and a cassette player.  I was really cool then! I would sit for hours listening to the countdowns and waiting for my favorite songs to play so I could hit the play and record button and have my very own cassette full of musical goodness! I was about 14 when I got a Walkman cassette player and I loved it!  Cassettes were still used well into my marriage, then the CDs came out and that was awesome, I loved that you could just skip to the next song or go back to the previous one without hitting forward or rewind, what a concept!  I have had many of those through the years too, and a lot were used so much they got too scratched up or broken and that made me sad.  I have never been one of those people that keeps up with the latest technology, I usually gradually work myself into the newer stuff after it has been out for a while and gets a little cheaper. When I finally got a computer about five years ago, yes five years ago, I was amazed at all of the sources for music on there and I could find all of my old favorites that I hadn't heard in forever. I bought a Kindle Fire a few years ago and wore it out and now use a Galaxy Tab and I love it, too much sometimes, but it is my little buddy.  I love watching music videos on YouTube and I have purchased music through iTunes.  Recently I was at my brother's house and my niece has a Bose Bluetooth speaker that you can use with your cell phone or tablet and play music and I had to get me one last week with my birthday money.  It is just a really small speaker but the sound quality that comes out of it is amazing! I love it! I have been carrying it all over my house and out on the porch and by the pool and as I am typing this I am listening to some very cool oldies.  Who would have ever thought we could do something like that!  It just amazes me, and it doesn't really take much to do that because I am a thrifty and simple minded person.  As long as I can relax and listen to music I am happy as can be, it just makes me feel at peace and helps me to unwind. Music takes us back to good times and even sad times and it defines part of our lives.   I am so thankful for the gift of music, all kinds, because without it life would be boring.  So turn it up and enjoy the music!!!

The Butterfly Legacy

When my father in law died we talked about how happy and free he was from the sickness he had suffered here, especially in his final days and weeks.  We talked about how life is like a butterfly, we all earn our wings and fly free when we die and reach heaven. After he died seventeen years ago we started seeing yellow butterflies everywhere, at random places that we went or just flying around our yard and we knew it was Papa coming to visit us. It is a symbol of hope and faith and renewal. We love to see them flittering around and reminding us that even though our loved ones are no longer here they watch over us and are free and happy in heaven until we meet again.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Life is better in the swimming hole! We have one right in our backyard and it has been an oasis for us for 20 years, our little piece of coolness and tranquility. We have made lots of memories with our family and friends floating and splashing around, it is our private little paradise to stay cool and to relax. I love turning up some cool music and floating around watching the sky, the clouds, birds and airplanes crossing the blue sky. I can walk around in my swimsuit and not worry about what I look like and just be myself. It isn't a big or fancy pool but it is just right for us. I wouldn't trade anything for the memories we have made with our girls and their friends and our family all those long hot summers. It doesn't take much to enjoy quality time in our own back yard and enjoy our kids and grandkids splashing and playing and staying cool.