Monday, June 30, 2008

Prayer Request for...

Shirley Dunn learned today that she will have to undergo open heart surgery tomorrow, July 1st. The doctor's will be working her into the schedule so they are not sure what time the surgery will be. Please pray for guidance of the surgeons hands and for a complete recovery for Shirley. She is a dear friend.

Also remember her family in prayer. My father underwent open heart surgery & I remember that it is a stressful time for everyone.

We love you Shirley!!!

Friday, June 27, 2008


If she could have lived life to it's fullest, we would be celebrating Sherry's 61st birthday today. But at the too young of an age of 23 years, Sherry was taken away from our family.

Sherry was the oldest of the Thompson children. She was born just a few short weeks before her parents celebrated their first wedding anniversary. And then, eleven months later "Bobby Gene" was born!

Her hair was jet black, and her Momma took such pride in her curls. She was a beautiful child! Sherry & I didn't meet until she was a teenager, but the first time I saw her, I was stricken with how pretty she was. I remember her deep, dark eyes, beautiful hair, bubbly laughter, and her way of living life to it's fullest. She was always on the move, always had somewhere to go, something to do.

She became engaged to a fine young man that her family knew & loved and wedding plans began to be made. But suddenly, for reasons she kept shut inside her, she broke that engagement. In a few short months she dated another young man that her family admired, became engaged to him, but soon called off that wedding.

She started dating again & somehow during that time became very ill, contracting hepatitis & ended up in the hospital. I remember going to visit her on a Sunday afternoon & being alarmed at how golden & frail she looked.

Shortly after that her family moved from Kansas to Indiana, leaving her behind, living with friends. Bob & I stayed in Kansas also & we tried to keep in touch with Sherry but we were all busy working and we didn't see her often. We knew she continued to date Calvin but were quite surprised to learn one weekend, they had gone away to another state and gotten married. That was in September, 1968.

The weeks & months flew by & we saw Sherry & Calvin often, visiting back and forth some on the weekends. He was a guy that could remember every joke he ever heard and he kept us in stitches when we were with them! We had a lot of fun times together. Sherry wasn't always feeling well when we were together. She was so excited when she became pregnant and then in a few short weeks called crying, saying she had lost the baby. In a few more months she was pregnant again but not feeling well, and later learned it was a tubal pregnancy & that baby was lost also.

And then the third time she became pregnant she had a beautiful, big bouncing baby boy! We were so excited that we were now "aunt & uncle" & tried to see them often. I wish during those years I would have taken more pictures. For some reason I didn't have a very good camera & have very few pictures of the baby.

4 Generations/ Mother, Grandmother Winiegar, Sherry & Baby Kevin

I remember keeping Baby one weekend while Sherry & Calvin went to the Missouri State Fair with his family. That was my first experience of keeping a 3 month old all by myself...& I quickly learned that Baby needed a lot of attention! Sherry got sick on their little vacation and we ended up keeping Baby an extra day. We took him home on Monday evening, in early September, & I was surprised once again how frail Sherry seemed.

The weeks flew by & autumn came. I'm sure we saw them some but time has erased some of those memories. One day our phone rang & it was a call from Indiana. Sherry, Calvin & Baby were at Mom & Dad's in Indiana. Sherry was sick & wanted to go home to Mom. They had been there over a week & we didn't even know it. Mom & Dad were very concerned. It was now mid-November, 1970.

Then another call on a Saturday afternoon saying that they were taking Sherry to the hospital. And then a call came on Monday that we needed to come to Indiana, and come now. Hurriedly we made the 8 hour trip, and ended up in the waiting room at IU Medical Center in Indianapolis. We couldn't believe that this was happening. Sherry was in ICU and not responsive.

One by one, Mother Thompson took us in to see Sherry. I'll never forget how she softly touched Sherry's forehead, told her how much she loved her, and that Jesus loved her too. I saw a tiny, tiny tear slip out of the corner of Sherry's eye. And that was the last time I saw her alive.

Later that night, we went back to Columbus to relieve Vickie & dear Pauline from their babysitting duties. In the night I heard the garage door open and felt my heart ache as Mom, Dad & Calvin walked in the door. Sherry was gone.

We mourned...but somehow we knew that she was safe in the arms of Jesus. You see, during the ambulance ride to Indianapolis, Mother was able to ride along and she prayed her heart out with Sherry. And Jesus took her in His arms & held her close until He decided He needed to take Sherry where she wouldn't have to be sick anymore.

Maybe these thoughts should be private. But somehow I needed to share them with at least my children and possibly with Kevin...Bob's youngest brother. You see...that precious 6 month old baby that lost his mother, was adopted by his grandparents & raised as their son. It's something we didn't' talk about when he as a little boy. It was something that was unspoken when we gathered around the table....but maybe it should have been talked about, maybe it would have helped him to understand all of his older brothers & sister a little better. Oh, he heard the story later on, but not when he was small.

Often I wonder what Sherry would look like as a woman in her sixties. I'm sure she would have been beautiful. But I can't imagine that raven hair turning silver or white. So Sherry will forever be a young, beautiful thing in our memories.

Have a Heavenly Happy Birthday, Sherry!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Happy Birthday to Yoouuuu!"

Happy Birthday, April!!!

Welcome to a new decade! I'll try to be nice & not do "old" jokes. :)

I remember the Big 30 being a traumatic birthday for me. But it is the beginning of a decade of seeing your children grow and change in so many ways. And a time for you & Jeff to grow in your marriage also!

Just think...when you turn the next decade, you will have just celebrated your 15th anniversary, Kerrigan will be 18, Carter almost 14, and Brycen 12!!! (And I'll really be an old woman wearing purple & a red hat! :)

Happy, happy birthday, April. We love you very much!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

He doesn't always know I'm listening...

Not often, but sometimes Bob walks in the door and goes straight to the piano. Maybe he has heard a song on the radio & he wants to play the notes on the piano himself. It might be an "oldie", a song from our teen years that has a special meaning. But more than likely, it is some Southern Gospel song or a song from our church hymnal.

He doesn't play often, but I always enjoy it so much when he does. He has a special touch that I would recognize without ever seeing him sit on the piano bench.

I remember him telling of the many piano lessons he had to take as a young boy growing up in West Virginia. His mother had found out who was the best teacher in town & she made sure her children took lessons from Mr. "P". They laugh about it now but at the time I'm sure it wasn't funny--the time that the teacher made inappropriate remarks! Mom was told & she knew that the teacher was the best in town and she didn't want to loose him as a teacher! So from then on, she sat in on the lessons, holding a hard bottomed purse in her lap...ready to swing into protective action...just in case! After that Mr P was on best behaviour & the children learned more about music than they wanted to know.

All five of her children took piano lessons, but Bob was the one that had the "ear for music", or as I think of it, a "gift from Heaven". He is the one that can listen to a song & tell you what key it is written in, can have you sing or hum a tune & he can scribble the notes out and play it back for you. Yet the years of lessons from Mr. P were not wasted as they gave him the basics of timing and key changes that matter so much in the songs he plays.
If you think about it, several of the Thompson cousins are gifted muscially and very accomplished pianists. I remember Grandmother Thompson plinking away at the piano keyboard & loving to sing. Maybe that is where the gift of music comes from down through the family lines. It certainly doesn' t come from my side of the family!

Saturday evening usually means that Bob will decide what songs he wants to play for our church prelude & offertory. He selects a song that will be appropriate for our other musical instruments to accompany him and will also have a special meaning for that church service. I love to hear him run through the music, letting me have a little preview of what others will hear later on.

Once in a while he will ask if there is something I would like for him to play for offertory. He knows most of my favorites which are standards such as "My Wonderful Lord" and "How Great Thou Art". And then once in a while he will surprise me and play "Jesus Will Walk With Me" without even asking...and I know he is playing it for me.

He's my favorite pianist! Oh I know others are much more accomplished, spend hours and hours each day practicing, and play with more gusto & flourish. And I greatly enjoy hearing their music and have a collection of Gospel CD's. Probably because I know the man and that he plays from his heart, but I never tire of hearing him "tickle the ivories"!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Jeff & April!

Happy 5th wedding anniversary to Jeff & April!

It is hard to believe that it has been 5 years already. There have been a lot of happenings in their lives in 5 years! May the next 5 or 50 be happy years also!

Kerrigan was 3 years old then, is now 8, getting ready to begin 3rd grade, takes gymnastic classes & is doing very well in them. She enjoys reading--loves movies--and can be a big help with her little brothers...if she wants to!

Carter came along July 9, '04 & livened up all of our lives. Remember those first few months of colic and walking the front yard with him?!? For some reason his favorite number is "4" & he can't wait to have his birthday. He is the spitting image of his Daddy!

Brycen arrived March 23, '06 & is supposedly the "caboose" of our family! (Never say you won't be having more kids...) Brycen was the complete opposite of Carter & would go to sleep by himself in his crib! And...he is the spitting image of his Mommy & big sister!

Jeff now works for Honda & April works for Tommy Hilfiger.

May you have a wonderful anniversary!!! We love you very much!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Spray Paint Crazy

Just for my sister & a few friends---here is what I did to an inexpensive metal table I purchases at Hobby Lobby a couple of summers ago. I think I got a little carried away with the spray paint!

Jeff's kids were here yesterday & Kerrigan thought it was pretty ( but she loves purple!) and Carter wasn't quite sure what to think of my new art work. He spotted my chair from the patio window first thing & said "look at your black chair". Black????

Anyway...does anyone think I should tone these things down? Help!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The old metal chair...

I do believe that the old metal lawn chairs might be older than me. That definitely qualifies it to be an antique!

Yes, that is me as a baby trying my best to sit up in the old metal chair. We had two of them and our summers were spent lazying around in our yard, under the shade tree, trying to see who could get to the chairs first.

I remember Dad coming home on a hot summer day after spending the day in the welding shop, stretching out in the back yard to cool down a bit after supper, sitting in one of the old metal chairs. The summers were hot, our cars were not air conditioned, and no one we knew had the luxury of central air. So the chair was the perfect place to relax, read the afternoon edition of The Columbia Tribune, and watch the traffic go by.

Of course the chairs were moved to Kansas when we left our little Hallsville home. There, our new home had a beautiful fenced in back yard, decorative stone patio, and wonderful shade trees, and the perfect place for our vintage chairs.

After our parents were gone and the time came to go through their things, I made sure one of the old metal chairs came my way. I don't think Steve is quite as sentimental about seemingly worthless things, but Carol & I both go on little sentimental journeys every once in a while. I'm the one that wants to hang on to all of the old things of the past. Steve is welcome to come sit in my old chair & and listen to me chatter about our childhood memories.

This week I decided my chair needed a little sprucing up. I had seen in some of my gardening magazines how vintage chairs were painted bright colors and used as an accent piece. So...I purchased a couple of cans of spray paint and went to work. I had chosen "watermelon pink" as I loved the color displayed on the plastic lid. But much to my surprise, the color became a lot more intense & vivid than I had visualized! My old metal chair now looks like something you would find in some artzy antique shop.

For now it will have to do and I'm hoping that the sun fades the color away just a little bit. Meanwhile, I know have one of the brightest old metal lawn chairs around. It almost matches Dad's shed that Steve painted "Peptobismal Pink"...and that's another story!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

My Old Man...

I am now officially married to an "older man"!

But is 60 really that old? I'm only a few months behind, & believe me, time passes quickly.

Bob has been a great husband these past 40+ years. He was only 19 when we got married. Both of us had a lot of growing up to do in those early years, but amazingly, we made it.

My Senior Banquet Date...18 years old

Bob has been a good provider. When we were first married he worked the midnight shift at Rock Island Railroad in Kansas City, attended college & worked part time at a Sinclair gas station. Later, we moved to Indiana...really not knowing for sure what he was going to do...where he ended up working hourly for his Dad in construction. After helping on just a few houses, he ventured out on his own & has been building homes ever since.

Bob has been a good father to our two children, being a fine Christian example for them. We traveled many places when our kids were younger, making great memories on some wonderful vacations. Now he is doing a great job as being "grandpa" and dearly loves all six of his grandchildren.

One year ago...

Bob is my favorite pianist...(well, Kim Collingsworth comes in close too :) ...and has played for our church for many years. He has served as church treasurer and been a board member long enough that I'm ready for him to retire that job! He loves old Chevy's & has a beautiful collection of "Classics". Through his car hobby he has made many friends across the country and has left his Christian footprint with them.

Baby "Bobby Gene"

Bob & his sister Sherry...11 months apart

The familiar grin!

Here is wishing Bob many more healthy, productive, enjoyable years ahead. He isn't that old yet!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Declared Disaster

There is no way I can describe what has happened to our city. I've made several trips in town, camera in hand, and when I went to take a picture of the tremendous loss, had to put my camera down. I don't want to exploit the terrible loss of others just to make a statement on my blog. I will post a few pics of landmarks, but not of personal homes.
A view of our county

Most heartbreaking to me is the loss in Windsor Addition. My father-in-law developed this subdivisions several years ago and our family built most all of the homes there, on more than 120 lots. Not all, but most of those people have lost everything. We know a lot of these people which brings it much closer to home. Flood waters from Hawcreek came rushing in, filled basements & overflowed into the main living areas. Thankfully, no one was even hurt in the evacuation.
Second Street Bridge was rumored to have collapsed...but all bridges are safe

Karen drove through the subdivision on Sunday and the sight brought her to tears. People were bringing their wet belongings out to dry, draping their wet clothes, linens & rugs in the sunshine. What was ruined became piles of filthy trash. You could look down each street and it seemed to be mountains of ruin. Karen worked with an RN that lived there & she has lost everything on their main floor. Jack, our electrician, lives there too, and told Bob "all I have left is a shell". Our dentist lives in the subdivision & Bob saw his granddaughter carrying damaged things to the curbside.

Bob's aunt & uncle live there also. We have always complained of their steep driveway, but now can be thankful for it, as it saved them from loosing their home.

Entrance to Mill Race Park, Downtown

at East Fork of White River

But that is just a little corner of our county's devastation. Darin & Amy live just down the road from Windsor Place. Their subdivision was one of the first to flood. Their finished basement completely filled with water. At one point a wall of mud & sand burst the window open & tons of the muddy mixture came spilling in. All of their neighbors suffered the same loss, but not all had as much mud & sand.

Over the bridge from them is Candlelight Trailer Park. It was swamped with water & many homes are in ruin. Central Avenue became a lake. Kerrigan's Daddy lives there & he has major damage to his home.

Around the corner Cummins Engine Plant I was flooded. Their medical buildings windows were smashed in by the wall of water & swamped. Cummins Child Daycare & the Tech Center, just across the creek were in the pathway of the water. Along Pleasant Street homes were ruined, including the father of Martha, one of our church members. Mariah Meat Packing Company was flooded. Premier Ag's grain elevators were flooded & were in danger of collapsing. Yesterday a convoy of semis helped empty the bins.

Up Washington Street White River overflowed & raced into the two lagoons which are surrounded by beautiful homes. Many with lower levels lost there things. The Coca Cola Plant & other businesses & homes were ruined.

Eastbrook Plaza was one of the worst hit. Irwin Union Bank, the bridal shop, Alley Frame Shop, the grocery store, a pet store, The Furniture Shop, The Ark Book & Gift, China Buffet, a furniture rental store, a tanning booth shop, & more lost almost all of their merchandise.

On the west end of town Hwy 46 was submersed in the muddy muck. McDonalds was flooded & is still closed today. Other restaurants & businesses suffered damage but most have reopened.

There has been loss over in Hope. We just learned today that our friend, Danny, has lost his home. All of Hope is without water because of a break in the main water line.

Saddest, is Columbus Regional Hospital is closed, possibly for months. Today's Republic showed pictures of the inside of the building, letting us know how extensive the damage was. Doctors are having to get credentials for other hospitals, emergency medicine for our area is being planned. All employees have been told to not return to work until further notice. But they are receiving a paycheck tomorrow, have been told they may need to be available for clean up, and are having several employee meetings on Friday.

Bartholomew County was only one of twenty counties in Indiana that have been declared disaster areas. It is hard to imagine how quickly this happened and how huge of a loss there is. Most people do not have flood insurance so they will not be covered. FEMA has been here & says the Federal Government will help by giving "no interest" loans. But how can some pay the mortgage they already have, pay on a new loan, and perhaps have no work or maybe fewer hours?

Our city has stepped in and is quickly cleaning up this mess. Some of the mountains of trash are already disappearing. Street sweepers are scouring the streets, getting rid of the already stinking mud. Volunteers are walking up to home owners & offering to help however they can. Some that haven't been affected are pulling out their charcoal grills & cooking lunch for their weary neighbors. Amy told me of two sweet little girls that came around pulling a wagon full of water bottles, giving them to the thirsty workers.

Washed out area inbound on Hwy 46 West

There isn't much talk of anything else. People are overwhelmed. It will take months and perhaps years for some families to get back to normal. I felt such a wave of helplessness today. It reminded me of our 9/11 disaster, where we felt such a loss. I remember at that time how people banded together to help others and we are already seeing so much of that happen here. It is sad that sometimes horrible tragedy's are what bring us together.

Sinkhole at 46West & Willow Trace (old Carr Hill Road)

litered with dead, stinking fish!

For those of you that live far away, maybe this will give you a glimpse of what has happened. There is no way I can even touch on it. Our lives have definitely changed. We have to reach out to help our neighbors in need. Now you know why my posts have been quiet for a couple of days....I wasn't even sure I wanted to write this one.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Without thinking this morning, I went to the frig & filled my glass with iced cold water & downed my daily dose of pills. Yuck! That crystal clear glass of water suddenly did not taste quite right and I quickly did a lot of spitting and sputtering around. I had forgotten that we are on an advisory not to drink the water without first boiling it.

I decided I needed to make a necessary trip to Sam's Club to load up on some bottled water...& maybe a few other beverages. :) (Angie Davis...notice my Starbucks Cappuccino!)

Bob had called earlier & asked that I not venture into town today as the traffic & roads were terrible. Hwy 46 was going to open up around noon, but before that all local traffic was detouring up to the Taylorsville exit and I had heard that traffic was extremely heavy. Bob said it was taking him about an hour to get into town & it just wasn't worth me getting out in that mess...even though I do have a bad case of "cabin fever"! (I could be doing yard work, but it's extremely hot & humid & it will just have to wait.)

Anyway...we are now supplied with beverages and I did get to make a little trip. I tried to get a few pictures but my camera just doesn't capture what is really there. The fields are sodden with water...corn stalks & weeds everywhere...the ponds on each side of Carr Hill Road filthy with debris and mud. And no telling what is in town, just across our beautiful Red Bridge.

Hopefully we will never see anything like this happen again. It was record breaking so none of us alive should be around for the next "100 year" flood. However...1913 wasn't quite 100 years ago, was it?

I found out that water was still running across Carr Hill Road. It actually was pouring over the roadway rapidly & I was a little apprehensive about driving through it but saw that cars ahead of me made it just fine. The long building in the picture is the back of Menards and Sam's Club is just west of there.

Down in the cornfield, I noticed 4 white birds, unusual ones for this area. They looked like egrets to me. I "googled" them when I got home, and sure enough, they are egrets, a type of heron. They were described as "fish eaters, also known to eat worms & snakes"! No wonder they were having lunch in that field! I was so glad I hadn't gotten out of my car to go see what they were feasting on! I'm also wondering what happened to all of the wildlife around Mill Race Park, Driftwood & White Rivers. Did they escape? We sometimes see deer in the cornfields near the rivers edge and I'm sure there were a lot of other animals living in that habitat. Surely some of them were able to outrun the flooding waters.

Not all of this field was under water, but even so, it is very wet. As I drove down the hill I noticed the wildflowers growing there & appreciated that even in the middle of troubles & storms, there can be something beautiful. I think we are finding out through this flood, that although many people have lost their earthly possessions, they have found the beauty of help and friendship from family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers that want to help.

A view of Hwy 46, now opened, with the receding East Fork of the White River behind our new Walgreen store, on the north side of the highway.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Pictures from my neighbor...

Hwy 46 W--looking towards I-65 bridge

Swifty gas station/46 West/across from Bob Evans

Willow Trace (old Carr Hill Rd) & 46West -just east of new Super Walmart

Waves in an unplanted field

Old Nienaber Farm

Heading into Columbs on 46West

Our neighbor just sent us awesome pictures of the Interstate 65 & Hwy 46 West Interchange.

I'm not sure how he got in walking distance of some of these shots! There is a People Trail along there that is somewhat elevated. He's quite the walker. Thanks a lot Gerry....hope you don't mind me sharing...
This boggles my mind. It looks like all of the 46 West businesses have water damage. I'm not sure about Super Walmart, Menards & Sam's Club. This morning they looked okay for my viewpoint.
Mary McGuire told me of stores in Eastbrook Plaza having broken windows. The Ark has heavy water damage.