Monday, November 30, 2009

Just Home Cookin' for Jeff...

Today is Jeff's 33rd birthday.
It doesn't seem possible that he is grown man with a family of his own.
Where did those few years we had him as a little boy go?
Jeff's a home body.
He prefers to be at his own home with his own little family...
or to be at home here with us.
And when asked what he wanted to do for his birthday,
his request was "just to eat at Mom's house".
It couldn't have pleased me more!
So it was a meal of round steak & mushroom gravy,
mashed potatoes & all of the vegetables that goes with that meal. And we topped it off with a chocolate birthday cake...
one from Mom's oven--no bakery cake for Jeff!
We hope Jeff had a very happy birthday & will have many more to come!
We love you so much!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Steve!

Wishing my brother, Steve, a very happy birthday!
Here are a few glimpses of him over the past year...
part of which he shared with us here in Indiana
Our official turkey carver last year.
Think he had a sample before it went to the table?
This was always Dads job...
& we thought he looked like the spitting image of him that day!
Ready for our big fried fish dinner last summer...
hmmmm--one of my favorite meals.
Thanks for cleaning all of that crappie & catfish!
We know you enjoyed the catching part of it.
Here he is grilling up a platter of burgers & hot dogs
on our very soggy 4th of July!
After a day in the sun on Lake Monroe

just wanting you to know that you are loved very much
by your family...
our little ones still ask about you

May good things come your way!
Happy # 58!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


We hope your Thanksgiving day has been full of blessings! Ours was.
Our family celebrated on Sunday this year as it was going to be an "in-law" year for our children & their families. And as you can see, my house was full of blessings!

A few weeks ago I was digging around in some dresser drawers, trying to rid myself of excess junk. I discovered an old paper turkey that I bought not too long after we were married while still living in Kansas.

Bob thinks Mr. Turkey must be at least 40 years old!

If you look closely, you can spot him in these two old pictures, one dated 1969.

I cannot imagine that I was brave enough to fix a Thanksgiving meal for my family back then! I'm sure Mom must have helped me with all of the finishing touches.
Pictured is Dad, my Uncle Bud & Paulene Palmer, my brother Steve, Carol, & a glimpse of Mom.

Our celebration this year has been a little different. The Wheeler's weren't able to come, Steve has returned to California, and as I said, we celebrated early. An invitation came from our nephew to come to dinner at the Best house, which we did, feasting with the Thompson side of the family. Thanks to Jason & Lucy, the meal was delicious! We discovered that Jason is a big fan of the Food Network & he did a great job fixing the turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of my little turkeys!

One of our more recent blessings... niece Jade Lynn--6 months old
with her Great-Uncle Bob

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sweet Eighteen!

I can't let the day get away without wishing my sweet niece, Kylie Ann, a very special Happy Eighteenth Birthday! I can't believe she is so grown up already.

She was born just before Thanksgiving, on her great-grandmother's birthday. We made the trip to Kansas & it just happened that Carol & Baby Kylie had gotten home from the hospital, I think that very day. Mom had knee surgery right before that so wasn't able to be on her feet very much. That left me to help out with the baby & I was delighted to go spend the night at the Wheeler's!
And what an exciting night it was! Baby Kylie decided to wake up in the middle of the night & in no uncertain terms, didn't want anything to do with Mother Nature's way of feeding her...& threw an absolute fit until a baby bottle was placed in her mouth--much to Mommy's dismay!

Then Mommy had taken some medicine which required her to take possession of the only bathroom in their house. And cousin Karen was in despair, almost writhing on the floor (well maybe not quite that bad) in dire need of the same facility! I remember us laughing at all of the commotion, with about every light on in the house, in the middle of the night.

Kylie, you have turned into a beautiful young woman, leaving that little mischievous girl as a faint memory. What fun we have always had!

May you continue to be the sweet girl that you are. You have always had a mind of your own, even from those first early nights. I'll never forget that the very first day I saw you, you heard your Mommy's voice & you turned your head & smiled at her at only 2 or 3 days old! At first I thought it was just a baby reflex, but you did it more than once. I knew from the beginning that you were very special!

Happy Birthday! Your great-grandmother would have loved you too!

And thank your Mom as I stole most of these pics from her Facebook! : )

Kylie's great-grandmother...
born November 24, 1892

Saturday, November 21, 2009

On The Road Again...

I'm a big sentimental cry baby. I hate to say goodbye.
My brother came & stayed with us several months during the past year while he was on temporary leave from his work for a back problem. He left in August & has been on a journey trying to decide where he wants to settle & where he can find a job.
This morning I talked to him & he is once again returning to California. Seems like a big magnet just keeps drawing him back. It's just so far away...
Jobs are few & far between. He does have his old job on hold & hopefully it will work out. But we all know that car sales in not a very good money maker during these difficult times.
Please breathe a prayer for Steve...
that he will have a safe journey...
that he will be released to return to work...
that he will be able to find somewhere to live where he can put down some roots..
and that he will return to the God of his childhood.
We miss him, but know that life must go on.
We love you bunches, little brother!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"I Can't Get Up the Mountain"...

Goldie Fern Brown-Wry-Bunch
Our Winter issue of "Hospice Happenings" was among the stack of mail I dropped on the kitchen table. I briefly glanced through it, putting it aside to later read the front page article. As I skimmed over the pages, a familiar photograph caught my eye. In the collage reminding us that "November is National Hospice Month", I saw down in the right hand corner, a picture of my aunt & cousin! What made it more amazing was that it was taken in the mountains of North Carolina several years ago!My sweet Aunt Fern & cousin Nadine--lower right hand corner

And that brings me back to a story that I never finished.

If you know me very well, you have heard me talk about my trip to North Carolina with my sister & Dad, just about a year after Mom passed away. Dad had heard me talk about wanting to go to The Biltmore House so long, he finally decided to take me! Carol came along & it was one of the most beautiful trips I've ever taken. Somewhere back in my Blogland archives is a post about our day in Asheville, if you care to read about it.

Our Aunt Fern was living with her daughter, Nadine, up in the mountains of North Carolina. Until we made the drive to see her, I had no idea how far up in the mountains she really was!

Carol, at one of the overlooks on The Blue Ridge Parkway

Dad & I at one of the highest points --He was having trouble breathing here.

We made the drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, soaking up the Spring sunshine & enjoying the dogwoods & redbuds that were bursting with blossoms. It was a beautiful drive. We exited off at Little Switzerland & knew immediately where the little village got it's name. The winding little mountain highway lead us to Bill & Nadine's mountain hideaway, literally built on the side of the mountain!

Fern was Dad's oldest sister. She had lived in Eldon, Missouri for years but her health was failing & she had no choice but to come live with her daughter. She was hard of hearing & her mind wasn't very sharp. Dad thought that she might not even recognize him. But when we walked into her charming little room, her eyes met his & with a big smile, she breathed out "Duane!". She immediately knew him. We could tell that Dad was absolutely delighted that we had made the trip, hard as it was for him to breathe in the thin mountain air.Her room was tiny, but Nadine had painted it Fern's very favorite color...purple! A beautiful old quilt covered her & she was surrounded with photographs of her loved ones, a picture of "Little Brook", the farm that she & Tom had lived on back in Missouri, & little mementos of her past. There was a double window facing the road in front of the house, & just past it, a mountain!

Nadine told us that Fern could sit for hours, watching her mountain. And just for her, Nadine had place a bird feeder so her Mother could watch them feed out her window.
Nadine & Aunt Fern The view out their back door

We spent several hours there that day, letting Dad go back & forth in the little bedroom, visiting with his beloved sister. You see, they were all that was left of the Brown family...she being the oldest & Dad the youngest. And he knew that more than likely he would never see her alive again.
Time came for us to leave and it was hard to say our goodbyes. The trip had been made, Aunt Fern knew us all, & we were so happy that we had traveled the miles to see her.

When we walked out that door we didn't know that we would be saying our goodbyes to Dad first. Only 5 months later he slipped away from us. Fern lived 18 months longer than he did, passing away in March, 2006.

Aunt Fern was a devout Christian. Her first husband died suddenly, leaving her as a widow way too soon. She married a Baptist preacher, moved back to her roots in Missouri, & served as a pastor's wife for several years. She was a loving & very generous person. She was a hard worker, loved to plant a large vegetable garden so she could share with her neighbors & family, maintained gorgeous flower gardens, & never passed up the opportunity to go fishing. She loved people. She loved her family. But most of all, she loved her Jesus.

The picture above was taken from an article in the McDowell, North Carolina Hospice newsletter, featuring an article about Aunt Fern, back in May, 2004. In the article is a paragraph telling of her mountain she loved to watch out her window.

"Mother had a special prayer place up over the hill across from the house. She would go there every day to have her quiet prayer with God." When asked if she were going today, Mrs.Bunch replied, "No, I can't get up the mountain".

Her special care givers...daughter Nadine & son-in-law, Bill

Hospice took wonderful care of Aunt Fern & eventually she had to be in a Nursing Home for a few weeks. They thought she was precious.

Even before Fern was gone, Bill became ill & found out he had cancer. And now he is gone also.

This morning I called Nadine to tell her of my surprise. She told me that the local Hospice representative had brought her a framed print of the Hospice poster. And they told her that there were plans for it to be somewhere out there on a billboard. Who knew that we had celebrities among us!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thanks to My Hero!

Long before I was even thought of,
my Dad was a scrapbooker & didn't even know it!
This beautiful old wooden album was always around our home
& I remember going through those pages time & time again,
wondering about the land where my Dad was those many years ago,
who all of those strange people were,
& why in the world were some of those soldiers in swimming trunks!
Dad was in the Army-Air Force & was sent to
Belem, Brazil, South America
to serve as a Military Policeman.
Amazingly, for a young kid from a poor family, he had a camera!

There are all kinds of old pictures in this album.
Photos of aircraft, ships, soldiers-both in uniform
& some where they are ready for a dip in the ocean.
Silly shots of guys goofing off, flashes of men in dress uniform
perfectly lined up to march in a parade.

I've found a few letters that he wrote home, that someone
saved & tucked away in the old pages. Letters that he faithfully
sent back home to Missouri to his Mom & Dad,
enclosing part of his paycheck to help them out.
As the youngest son, he felt it was his duty to take care of his parents.
In recent years as we went through this old album,
Dad told me how hot, humid & miserable it was in Brazil.
No wonder those young men took advantage of there off duty
time to cool off in the waters of the Atlantic!
I also remember asking him why he was stationed in South America
while the War was being fought in Europe & Africa.
He said that the giant cargo planes heading south,
couldn't make it across the ocean without stopping
& Belem was their refueling station.
They also had to patrol the waterways,
keeping the enemy scared away.
It must have been quite an adventure for that young man from Missouri.

If you look closely in the window, you will see the flag showing that their son was serving in the military.

And in some of the old stuff we went through the old flag showed up!

Dad's Company, before shipping out from Miami, Florida

He is the one in the white gloves!

Thanks, Dad, for serving our country,

for being a great son & supporting your family,

for being a wonderful husband & father later on in life...

& for taking all of those pictures & passing the love of

photography on down the line!


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Turkey Feathers!

My Grandma Fulkerson used to raise turkeys!
From the looks of this picture, those old gobblers liked to see her come around.
This was her way of earning a little extra money,
& from the number of birds in this old photograph,
she probably made a pretty penny!

Today is our annual Thanksgiving Supper at our church
& I'm looking forward to a delicious meal.
I'm very, very thankful that I don't have to wring a turkey's neck
or pluck a lot of turkey feathers in order to enjoy the main course.

May the month of November bring you memories of
Thanksgivings of the past.
And with that in mind...
may we all be making memories for our own families future.
Now, please pass the bird & the gravy!