Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An Old Fashioned Woman

"The Old Fashioned Woman"

I suppose I'm an old-fashioned woman---

at least all the neighbors think so;

They say I am clinging to customs

That went out of date years ago.
I simply can't learn their slang phrases---

In style, I am worse than a wreck;

My skirts reach clear down to my ankles,

And my waist comes clear up to my neck.

I'm still saying grace at the table,

Tho' the bread may be barley, or rye;

I don't hanker to join the "new women"---

I'd not enjoy it if I'd try.

I still love my husband and children---

I supposed that's an old-fashioned view;

And I still read my Bible each morning,

My faith in God's care to renew.

And so, when they say I'm old-fashioned,

It's truth I don't want to deny;

For I love the old creed and the customs

That were born in the ages gone by.

And if the great morning of Judgement

finds my soul without blemish of sin,

How much do you think it will matter

How queer and old -fashioned I've been?

author unknown

I recently found a yellowed with age clipping with this poem written on it, tucked in the pages of my Grandmother's Bible. Yes, she was an old-fashioned woman, leading a simple life, and was always happy with having the few earthly possessions that they owned. I think this little poem pretty well describes my sweet Grandma Brown.

Missing Pieces of the Genealogy Puzzle

I'm sure I have mentioned before about my grandparent's last names, on my father's side, being Brown & Smith. Those common names had me running into a barrier not too many generations down the line. That, plus burned down court houses, properties being flooded to make room for the Lake of the Ozarks, along with not very good records being kept at that time. I assumed I was at a dead end.
Just a little over 2 months ago we made a trip back home to Missouri for me & after having a great reunion with my Brown cousins, I made a blog post about it. I never dreamed that sentimental post would lead to cousins I had never connected with before!

An email came to me & I immediately knew it was the person I had wanted to connect with, but had no idea where to even begin. Somehow her brother had run across my blog post & he too knew immediately that we were family!

Somewhere in the tangle of my treasures of our family, is a faded newspaper article telling of twin baby girls being born on separate days, in separate cities! Dad would tell this story every once in a while...especially when my own Karen was expecting her twins!

It was quite the tale! One baby girl was born in Warsaw, Missouri, when the doctor discovered there was another baby! He was unable to do the delivery so the mother was rushed to a hospital in Kansas City, 125 miles away, and on the next day, baby girl # 2 was born! Headlines were made & the story was passed down through the family.
I was almost at a loss for words when I read the email & discovered it was from none other than one of those famous babies! Cousin Karen had found me. Karen & Sharon
And the best was yet to come! Karen also had a deep interest in our family roots & had done months & probably years of research on her part of the family. You see, her grandmother & my grandfather were sister & brother! Our parents would have been first cousins! And somehow, through the miracle of the Internet, we had connected.
Sharlen & Leonard Howe
parents of Karen & Sharon
& my Dad's second cousin
Jim & Maude Tolliver
grandparents to Karen & Sharon
& my Dad's aunt

The Alexander Brown Family

Leslie Brown, my grandfather on the right

Marthan--or Martha Ann (Upton) & Alexander Brown

our great-grandparents

from Warsaw, Missouri

The past few weeks, Karen & I have sent scanned photographs to each other, some that we had were the same, some neither of us had before. I shared my information on my branch of the family tree, filling in an empty space that Karen thought she would never find. Karen has sent me documents filling in blanks that were empty, and has shared a complete Brown document. And my new treasurer is a book that she wrote for her family, giving her memories of growing up in Warsaw, Missouri, "Memories of Maude & Jim".

Our interests are very similar. Maybe it is that Brown bloodline we have running through our veins! At least it won't be our fault if the family history isn't shared with younger generations. My three Howe cousins...

Sharon, Karen, & Gary

We are making plans to meet not too far off in the future. Karen told me of a friend that lives in Indiana & she plans to visit someday, hoping to work in a visit with me also. I could barely believe it when she found out that her friend actually lives in Columbus...just the next overpass south of me! Our paths are meant to cross.

There are just so many stories to share, some that we don't know all of the details too, some have been locked away with the passing of the generation before us. For both of us, there is no longer someone to ask.

Pass your heritage on down the line. You never know who in your family might take interest. Write things down. Right now our younger generation probably isn't too interested, but some day they too will want to fill in all of the blanks in their genealogy puzzle. Who knows how many other cousins are out there lurking in blogland!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I must tell Jesus
All of my trials
I cannot bear these burdens alone
In my distress He kindly will help me
He ever cares and loves His own
I must tell Jesus
All of my troubles
He's a kind and compassionate friend
If I but ask Him
He will deliver
Make of my troubles
Quickly an end
I must tell Jesus
I must tell Jesus
I cannot bear these burdens alone
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone
I woke up this morning with this song going over & over in my head & I can't get away from it. You see, yesterday was a day of sad burdens.
Without revealing too many details, I'll try to explain.
The past few days have brought news of someone not too far away loosing their job, along with another grave problem in their family. Then I received a call where a son of a lifelong friend is having open heart surgery today. Just after that there was news of someone very dear to me loosing their home.
And then the terrible news came that a neighbors only child died an untimely death at the tender age of 22. While I was talking to another friend about this situation, I learned that her son was also in trouble once again & in jail for mistakes me made over the weekend.
I went to bed with a heavy heart. My prayers were for Jesus to help in each situation, but especially wrap his arms around Beth & Kevin who are no doubt devastated at this time. Sleep came, but I can't tell you how many times I woke up thinking about the problems that I heard yesterday.
And then when I woke this morning, the soft tune of "I Must Tell Jesus" was humming through my head. Yes, I must tell Him. He alone is the answer to all of our problems. This world we live in isn't an easy one any more. I need to learn the lesson that I don't have to bear those heavy burdens alone.
May we show our faith to those in need in the next few days.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

If Drinking Glasses Could Talk...

Bob & I hadn't been married very many months when Grandma & Grandpa Thompson came to Kansas for a visit. They rode the train all the way from Washington, Indiana to Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, where Bob picked them up. I love this old photograph with them standing in front of the railway station with their luggage!

It was during that visit that Grandpa Thompson helped do a few little jobs on our house that was being built. One of his big projects was to burn a huge stump that was laying in the back yard. For several days he had a fire going & kept rolling that big stump around and finally there was nothing left but a pile of ashes. He was a big tease and I hadn't gotten very well acquainted with him yet & wasn't quite sure how to take him. He loved to laugh & tell jokes.

Recently I was given a piece of Grandma Julia's history, two pretty little drinking glasses that belonged to her when she set up housekeeping. I intended to set them on my Hoosier cabinet, but instead they have found a nesting place on top of my pie safe in the dining room.
Can't you just imagine some of the meals these glasses have been at & the conversations they heard. Well....assuming glasses have ears!

Bruce & Julia McFarland Thompson

It wasn't but a few short months after their Kansas visit that we got a phone call saying Grandpa had passed away, due to a sudden heart attack. We didn't have much money back then and Indiana seemed such a long ways from where we lived, so we didn't go to the funeral. And quite a few years later, Grandma went on to her Heavenly reward.

So I don't have very many memories or stories about "Grandpa Bruce", other than what has been told to me.

Like how he used to about make little Bobby cry when he "milked a mouse".

Or how his boys had to drive the old slop truck through town & gather up garbage to feed their hogs, once accidentally dumping the muck all over their sister!

Or the time he tried to sell a "moon-eyed" horse to a friend.

Or how for punishment, he would make his boys get out in the yard & cut the grass with scissors!

I wish we would have had a little more time to get acquainted. From the tales I've heard told, Grandpa Bruce was quite the man!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Summer Project--Finally Completed!

Most of you that know me, know that I have the old lady "gardening syndrome"...where I never tire of looking at gardening magazines, running to garden centers, & am forever thinking of just one more thing I can plop down in my lovely green yard. For some reason I thought I couldn't live without a fountain! I browsed through my magazines, checked out every garden shop that I went through, for just the right fountain. I knew what I wanted. No....I didn't want a big hunk of granite or marble or stone. I wanted rust!

As luck would have it, a new garden center sprouted up north of town, and coming home from church one Sunday, I spied it! A glorious hunk of iron, already quite rusty, & I knew it had my name on it. Well, it took a little persuading to get Bob to agree, but he finally caved in & the iron thing was ours.

I'm not sure how many gallons of water that monster holds, but it drinks it up, especially in the heat of the day. And then, much to my dismay, the area where we sat it up became a muddy quagmire because of the splash over from the fountain. It got so bad that I finally turned the fountain off, refused to fill it up again until we figured out a solution to our mess of a problem, & then I let the weeds grow. I can't believe I'm showing you this.....but this is what it became. I even was heard to sputter out the words--"I wish I'd never seen that thing!!!".
No wonder it was a muddy mess around the fountain as I think we had rain all summer! Finally the clouds disappeared & the heat went away enough that Bob & I decided to tackle the embarrassing mess.
Before I could say "John Deere", Bob had his chain hooked up to my beautiful 30 year old azaleas & quickly jerked them out! So much for digging out the roots. Then out came the day lilies that had already seen their prime for the summer. And down the hill they went in my "dumpy cart" to the rubbish heap. I yelled out as Bob drove away..."just plop those azaleas down in the woods & maybe they will take root by themselves". Doubtful...
The next step was to dig out all of the mucky mire, drain the water from the fountain, & then dismantle the thing.
We thought we knew what we wanted. After a trip to Lowes, we decided that we probably needed to just buy paver stones & have them layed around the fountain.
Then Bob got the big idea to check out this place....Got Rocks! And boy, did they have the rocks!
I was never so confused in my life! I thought I knew what I wanted until we drove into this place! It was like a rock wonderland. There were big ones, little ones, all different colored ones, flat ones, round ones, jagged ones, well...you get the picture.
Both of our eyes kept drifting to the pile of field stone & that was what we decided on. And then he told me..."aaaah, we have to load this ourselves". Are you kidding me? But we did it. With work gloved hands we hand loaded 1,960 pounds of stone--one rock shy of being a ton! I dragged my tired old body back in the truck & as we headed home, didn't think my back would ever be the same again.
There wasn't much I could do with the rest of the project so I spent my time doing some much needed weeding around the front of the house. (If you remember, a snake had been slaughtered earlier in the summer by my front steps, & that ended any outdoor work out there for me for quite a few weeks!)
Bob unloaded sand & hand layed each stone just the way he wanted it. I probably would have just tossed them around the fountain & called it quits, but he patiently worked a couple of days, getting each rock in the design he envisioned.I had plenty of yard chores to do so left him to his work. When he did call me over to see if I liked what he had done, this is what I saw.
And I was a very happy old lady. If my back would have been in better shape, I would have done a happy dance right then & there! I loved it.
After some very hard work & being on his knees much longer than he need to be, Bob was finished. I grabbed my two urns from the front porch, just to add a little color for now. I'm not sure if they will stay...or maybe I'll find something rusty to match the fountain!
So, thank you very much, dear hubby of mine, for all of the hard labor you went through to get my hunk of rust back to where I love it again! Guess we won't have to make a trip to Kroots after all!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Prayer of a Child...

This year Parker is attending our Christian Day School operated in cooperation with our church. Each morning they say the Pledge of Allegiance & the Pledge to the Bible, along with saying a prayers of their own.
Yesterday, Parker's teacher told his Grandpa Bob about one of his recent prayers. She said it about broke her heart.

"Dear Jesus,
My Great-grandma is up in Heaven with you & I really miss her!
Could you tell her 'hi' for me?"
Last night Bob could barely get the words out to tell me about his conversation with Miss Willard.
Sometimes we think that our little ones are not touched so much by the grief that we bare. But evidently Parker still feels some sorrow in the loss of his beloved "Grandma Mother". Heaven is very real to Parker. He doesn't question it's existence, just accepts that it's really there. May his heart always be so tender!