Monday, November 29, 2010

My little brother...

I have always had a memory of standing on my Grandma's front porch,
with her holding my hand, & watching Mom & Dad pull away from the driveway.
We went in the house & she fixed me a bowl of home canned tomatoes,
sprinkled with salt, pepper & sugar with saltines crumbled in the bowl...
one of our favorite between meal snacks.
And I have always thought that memory was when my mother was on the way
to the hospital to "get my brother, Steve".
I would have been 2 years & 9 months old.

Throughout the years we  have had the typical "big sister, baby brother" relationship.
I have always loved him with all of my heart,
in spite of being the bossy big sis!

The rest of my memories include him...
I don't remember a time when there wasn't a little brother, Steve.

We grew up together in that little Missouri town-
back when times were simpler

when we safely played in our front yard without Mom having to worry about us,
when our entertainment was listening to the radio & Mom reading books,
when we were faithfully taken to church & learned to love Jesus,
...back before the world changed as we grew up in the protests of the 1960's

And as we grew up, distance kept us apart.
Steve moved away to Colorado for work,
later moving to Ohio and then on to California.
Thanksgiving & Christmas brought our families together.

Life happened.
When I was 15 & Steve 12, we were surprised to find a baby sister
added to our sibling mix.
Decades passed.
And somehow we are now the age that our parents were not so very many years ago.

For a while, Steve made his home with us and then he returned to California
for just a little longer.
There was no reason for him to stay.
So he returned to see if he would be happy living in this part of the country.
He has made a good life for himself and we love having him a part or our family.
Hopefully, Indiana is now home to him.

It's strange to look in the mirror & see that we are now Senior Citizens--
and we are the oldest generation in our family.

Happy birthday, Steve!
May you celebrate many more at home in Indiana!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November 24th...

118 years ago, on a small farm in Boone County Missouri,
a baby girl was born to Samuel & Linnie Pemberton.
She was their firstborn
& they named her Nettie Exie

She grew up to be a beautiful young lady,
married Charlie
& became my Grandma Fulkerson.
I grew up in the same small town, living only a few blocks away,
& I loved her will all of my heart.
Sometimes I still dream of her...
and some day I'll tell you her story.

99 years later
a beautiful baby girl was born to my sister,
Kylie Ann.
And today is their birthday!
Grandma lived for 81 years.
I wish Kylie could have met her...

And I'm watching in amazement as the years speed by,
watching Kylie grow from that sweet little baby,
into a beautiful woman!

Happy birthday to our free spirited Kylie!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Stretch The Table Out"

One evening I was sorting through a box of old photographs & clippings,
when I found a copy of a reading I didn't even know that I had.
I've been saving it to share with you on a special occasion!

I wish you could have met her...the sweet little lady from years ago that used to attend our church when she came in the area to stay with her son for a while.  Her son still attends on Sunday evenings & he recently celebrated his 90th birthday!  Some of you know him as Rev. Gale!

Old Sister Gale raised her family in almost poverty conditions
on the prairies of Nebraska.  Some of us have heard the stories of the times when
the Gale family lived in a "soddy" out on the prairie, & later in a railroad box car, having very little.
One time she recited an old poem, at the encouraging of her son.
And once we heard it, we always asked her to tell us again...
tell us of the times that they "stretched the table out".
I don't know who wrote this, if it was something that she memorized while in school,
or if she was the author.  It is from a long, long time ago...a time when
it was customary to share a meal with our friends & loved ones.

"It was not too much work for her in the days of long ago,
To get a dinner ready for a dozen friends or so.
My Mother never grumbled at the cooking she must do,
Or the sweeping or the dusting, but she seemed to smile it through.
And the times that we were happiest, beyond the slightest doubt,
Was when good friends were coming and we stretched the table out.

We never thought when we were young to take our friends away,
and entertain them at a club or at a small cafe.
When my Mother gave a dinner she planned it all herself,
And fed the people that she liked the best,things on the shelf.
The one task always came to me, for I was young and stout.
I brought the leaves to Father when he stretched the table out.

That queer old-fashioned table, I can see it yet today,
with it's curious legs of finished oak, 'round which I used to play.
It wasn't much to look at, not as handsome or refined,
or as costly, or as splendid as the modern oval kind.
But it always had a welcome for our friends to sit about.
And though twenty guest were coming, we could always stretch it out.

I learned it from my Mother, it is foolish pride to roam-
The only place to entertain your friends is right at home.
Then bring them in by dozens, let them laugh and sing and play,
and learn to love and know them in the good old-fashioned way.
Homes the place for fun and friendship,
 home's the place where joys may sprout
And if you crowd our dining room, we'll just stretch the table out.

Some day we'll leave this earthly home and journey to the sky.
Some day the silver chord will break and we will say goodbye.
But when we get to Heaven, that good old-fashioned home,
We'll hang our hats upon the rack, at last we'll cease to roam.
And then our Blessed Lord will say, when he hears our joy our shout,
'Hurry, angels, Saints are coming!  Let us stretch the table out!' "

May you gather with your loved ones around your table
& have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Christmas Open House at Elsbury's

Until this week, we have had unseasonably warm weather,
making it hard to get in the Christmas shopping spirit.
I needed a little inspiration & motivation
so treated myself to an afternoon out last Saturday.

Just south of the little town of Hope, Indiana,
is one of my favorite places to go each spring.
I've taken you there through my journal
but I don't think you have ever seen their Christmas display.

I found a Winter Wonderland this past weekend at Elsbury's Greenhouse.

Trees were decked out in their finest bubbles & bangles-
& they were all for sale!

This one took my eye as I an a collector of Snowmen.
I resisted the urge to splurge!

I loved these 3 small wispy white trees!

And the train display was awesome!

is known for their poinsettias

and about any color you would want is there-
from small to super-sized!

I think I like the red...
no, maybe the peppermint striped...
or the white--

I can't make up my mind!

Elsbury's is operated under new ownership this year
& they have added a florist & a cafe.
The tables were full of lunch time guests,dining in the greenhouse.

The gift shop was overflowing with more trees, ornaments,
Santas, Snowmen, & Nativities.

I brought home one of the plates for myself
& found some sparkly stems for decorating.

And now that the air is crisp & it is cold enough for a jacket,
I think I'm ready to go Christmas shopping.

If you are on my list--
you had better not pout or whine--
& you had better let me know what you want.
Mrs. Claus is heading to the Mall!

Friday, November 12, 2010

November Memories

November brings memories of family times,
from my childhood, from the years when my own children were growing up,
and to the Novembers of the last few years.

As a little girl growing up in Central Missouri,
I don't remember any fancy Thanksgiving dinners or large family gatherings.
We lived in the same little town as my maternal grandmother
with my aunts, uncles & cousins living miles away.
So, on Thanksgiving day, it would usually only be our little family and Grandma.
Dad & Steve would go hunting early in the day.
I don't remember them ever hunting for deer, so it must have been rabbit season.
Early afternoon would find us gathered around our gray Formica kitchen table,
for a delicious turkey dinner.

I remember Mom making the best dressing!
She made it from scratch, saving up bread during the week to add to the bowl.
She would use sandwich bread, biscuits, cornbread, and whatever else was handy.
Freshly chopped onion & celery were simmered in turkey broth
& seasoned with sage.
It was the best!

Mom didn't have fancy china or silverware.  She just used the dishes we had for every day.
But on special occasions she would bring out her Fostoria stemware.
Later, she did have better dishes & would set a pretty table for our special dinners.
A long time ago she passed the Fostoria goblets on to me
& I sometimes use them for holidays.

The years went by. 
My parents moved to Kansas when I was 17, I married when I was 18,
& moved to Indiana with Bob when I was 23.
Our children were born here & I have learned to love living here.
We drove many miles, often on treacherous, snowy roads, to be back "home" for the holidays...
sometimes it would be Thanksgiving & sometimes Christmas.
I treasure the memories of those days.

But there were also times that we spent with the grandparents here in town.
I can still see Bonnie scurrying around her kitchen, always running late,
never having dinner ready on time, but so happy to have us all under her roof.
Bonnie was also a wonderful cook & would delight in fixing our favorite dishes.
And that day was spent with Mom & Dad, brothers & sister, we "in-laws",
& the cousins...Bonnie's grandchildren.
The men would end up laughing the afternoon away in the family room,
while we ladies did the mountain of dishes in the kitchen.
Sometimes games were brought out & we would gather around the table
for a game of Masterpiece, Monopoly, or Uno!
I remember one particular Thanksgiving when we were playing Uno.
Somehow Dad had to sit between his two daughters-in-law
& we ganged up on him & had the best time giving him our
"Skip" cards, or "Draw 4".
He decided that we had put him in between on purpose!

Now it is our immediate families that get together. 
And I'm trying to make the holidays times that my children & grandchildren
will look back on & remember them as good times.
 My dressing isn't as good as Mom's
and my mashed potatoes will never be as creamy as Bonnie's.
Mom's pie crust were always homemade-
mine come from the freezer section.
Bonnie's cranberry relish was delicious!
Mine comes from the deli & my family doesn't notice the difference.
No one will ever bake yeast dinner rolls like my Mom.
I'm thankful that I discovered Sis. Shubert's!

When the day is over, it doesn't matter whether it was homemade
or bought at the bakery.
What matters is that we are a wonderful family
& we enjoy being together.
And I'm so anxious to make another November memory!