Category Archives: Blog

DANDYLION

The other day a friend posted how her husband hadn’t wanted the puppy they got, but is now in love with it. It reminded me of the first cat my kids had.

DANDYLION

Since I was five years old, I’ve had a pet in the house. Cats, dogs, hamsters, a wild rabbit, bird. You name it, we had it. Of course the most common were the cats and dogs.

When I got married, one of the first ‘rules’ my husband made was, “There will be no cats in this house.”

That lasted until our oldest daughter was about two (and her big brother was almost seven). Her daddy was standing at the bathroom sink shaving when she came walking into the mobile home with her little hands cupped in front of her. (I’m not sure who helped her up the steps and into the house – not me.) She looked up at her daddy, “I want kitty, Daddy. Can I?” There in her hands was a tiny ball of beige fur that didn’t even have its eyes open yet.

Now we all know how daddies are about their baby girls. About eight weeks later, Dandylion came to live with us.

The first night, I’m not sure whether the cat wore the kids out or the kids wore the cat out, but after the kids went to bed, I missed the cat. My husband was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper, and I asked, “Did the kids take that cat to bed with them?” “No.” I went over to the couch and there nestled in the crook of the elbow of Mr. “There will be no cats in this house,” was that little ball of beige fur sound asleep.

Dandy grew up to be one of the most beautiful cats I’ve ever seen. He was the tawny gold of a cougar with eyes the same color as his fur.

Unlike a lot of cats, Dandy loved to ride in the car. Open the car door and Dandy was in the back window.

We had him for about six years until he got into some poison some way. He was the first of four cats my kids had while their father and I were married.

Memories

 Image may contain: snow and outdoor

I know the picture isn’t from 1961 – but we didn’t have cameras like we do now.

CHRISTMAS 1961

Sometimes something someone says will trigger an ancient memory. That is what happened last week and I decided to write it down. Someday my kids may enjoy some of these memories.

  • * * *

I was eighteen and newly married. Got married in June and my parents divorced in early December.

My mother had moved to Kansas City and my husband and I lived in a mobile home court halfway between Riverside and Parkville – just north of Kansas City.

Now my home town was Trenton, Missouri which is approximately on hundred miles northeast of Kansas City, and my husband’s parents lived in Macon, Missouri which is about one hundred, fifty miles northeast of Kansas City, but more east than north. The first leg to get to either one is north on I-35 to Cameron. Then a little farther north to Trenton, but turn east to Macon at Cameron.

Christmas that year was on Monday, and my husband and I were going to Macon to spend it with his parents.

My mother was going to Trenton to be with my grandmother.

Friday morning, they forecast snow, but not much.

When Mother left Kansas City about 2 o’clock Friday afternoon it was snowing lightly.

Saturday morning, my husband and I headed for Macon. We got about twenty-five miles on I-35 to where 69 Highway goes to Excelsior Springs and were met by the Highway Patrol who told us we couldn’t go any farther on I-35 because there were about two hundred cars and trucks (including semis) in drifts between there and Cameron.

I never gave a thought to my mother. After all, she left early Friday afternoon.

We took another route to Macon and spent Saturday night, Sunday, and Christmas morning not even thinking about the snow storm.

Now this was before everyone had a cell phone and could call whenever and wherever they were. You also had to pay to call long distance.

In the middle of the afternoon Monday, I got a call from a strange man. He told me he was an OTR truck driver and my mother knew he was coming through Macon and wanted him to call and tell me she was okay. They had just spent three days with about sixty other people in a small tavern just outside of Cameron.

  • * * *

Mother’s story

Like I said, mother left Kansas City about two o’clock Friday in a light snow. She was driving a 1960 Ford Galaxy. Nice heavy car. She stopped at Liberty for gas and there was a car full of teenaged boys. One was an old boyfriend of mine who told his companions, “I’m going to ride with Mrs. Crawford so she won’t be by herself in the snow.”

They got just past the Excelsior Springs junction, and were stopped. I’m not sure if they got stuck in a drift, or if the car stalled. A couple stopped and picked them up and they continued toward Cameron.

About three miles before Cameron, their car also got stalled. They made it to this little tavern. (I was never sure exactly where the tavern was, but I think there was a junction or intersection or something.)

The tavern owner had gone into Cameron for supplies leaving his pregnant wife and nine-month-old baby when all of these people sought shelter.

The only food in the place was the shrimp the tavern served every Friday night. Of course, they had plenty of alcohol.

One of the semis was carrying oranges from Florida, and the driver broke the seal on the trailer and they had oranges.

In addition to the tavern owners’ baby, there were two more babies in diapers. Twins who were traveling with their father to meet up with their mother for Christmas. Of course, this was before disposable diapers. Mother said they had diapers draped all over the place drying.

  • * * *

The thing that made me most upset:

My mother and I wore the same size clothes. She had borrowed a dress from me. It was a turquoise wool and was one of my favorites. Needless to say, it was completely ruined.

http://www.newspressnow.com/news/reverse-snow-day-students-were-stuck-in-blizzard/article_b7e6e8d7-ee90-597b-b2c9-34fae21ca0b0.html

Image

Watch this space

graphic 1

Labor Day

Labor Day – 1991

When I woke up this morning and it was raining, my first thought was of the people out at Ren Fest. I spent many rainy, cold, and muddy weekends out there in the SCA dell. One Labor Day weekend I remember quite clearly.

It was 1991. That was the summer I was having health problems. It was also the summer my roommate, my youngest daughter, and I went to Pennsic. Now, Pennsic was in mid-August, and while we were there, I bought a piece of elk-skin suede and a gray fox tail that almost perfectly matched Lars’ hair to make a hat for him.

Come Labor Day (just two weeks later), it rained all weekend, and I don’t think the temperature got over 70 degrees. It was so cold at Fest you could hardly do any demos because your fingers wouldn’t work.

The next week all I heard every day was, “When are you going to make my hat?”, “I sure could have used that hat last weekend.”, etc. So the following Sunday, I hand-sewed that elk skin as my demo. Now, if you know anything about working with elk-skin suede (which I didn’t at the time), it stretches. I measured his head and sewed the hat – it was too big. So I measured again – it was too big. I think I sewed the sides of that hat four or five times. Finally it was finished, and the fox tail was sewn on. I walked over to where Lars stood at the edge of the list field and handed it to him. “Here’s your hat. Put it on.”

That weekend it was sunny and 95 degrees – he put the hat on and wore it the rest of the day.

What’s a Snow Day – TBT

Me and Peanut

Snow day? What’s that?

This is one of those “when I was your age” stories.

The picture above is me with my pony, Peanut. It was taken sometime in the summer or fall of 1951 when I was eight years old. That fall, I lived with my grandparents and went to school at Pleasant Ridge, a one-room school about a mile from the farm. The school was located between two asphalt roads. From our side, it was accessed by a narrow, dirt lane. From the other side, the road went down a very steep hill. The road from the farm to the asphalt was gravel and there were two or three hills between.

That fall, I entered the fourth grade and rode Peanut to school. I’d tether him to a post, give him hay and water, and store my saddle in the shed that held fuel for the school stove. I can’t remember if the stove burned wood or coal, but I think it was wood.

Sometime that semester, we had a snowstorm. The drifts in the lane to the school were too deep for me or Peanut to walk through. Grandpa couldn’t even drive the pickup through them. To go around to the other blacktop and down the steep hill was about six miles.

Even though Grandpa had a tractor, he still had a team of work mares. To get me to school, he harnessed one of the work mares and pulled me up behind him.
I’m not sure how the teacher got to school that day. She had to drive from town.

Now, when I hear of schools being closed because of snow, I just shake my head.

Storm

A post on Facebook this morning reminded me of something that happened several years ago. It was around 2001 or 2002, I think. I lived in a mobile home in Olathe and my oldest daughter lived under a mile from me. It was a June evening and we were under a tornado watch.
Now my youngest daughter has always been a worrier. “What if” was one of her favorite phrases.
I got home from work that evening and was fixing supper when the youngest called. “Mom, there’s a tornado on the ground in Topeka (60 miles away), you’d better take cover.” “M., Topeka is 60 miles from here. If they sound the sirens, I’ll go to your sister’s house.” So I hung up and called oldest daughter to be sure she was home and arranged to head there if the sirens sounded. Hung up. Youngest called again. “I’m fixing supper. If the sirens sound, I’ll go to your sister’s.” Sound of sirens. Phone rings. Oldest daughter. “Are you coming?” “I’m bringing my sandwich with me.”
I got to her house which had five levels. I found her and the two kids in the lowest level with their supper. Her husband was on his way home from Topeka and called. We didn’t know at the time, but he was even with Lake Perry where a tornado was on the ground at that minute. She asked him how to run the TV through the computer in the room we were in. (Remember, this was over ten years ago). We sat and watched the weather coverage for about ten minutes when daughter said, “I’m tired of watching this and turned the TV to HBO, grabbed her video camera and went out into the back yard leaving me and the kids in the sub-basement watching a movie. The movie? Twister.

Angel, Sassy and Daddy

Our ‘assignment’ for Friday’s writers’ group is to write a flash story about death. It wasn’t easy to come up with one, but here it is:

Angel Sassy and Daddy

ANGEL, SASSY AND DADDY

I don’t ever remember a time when we didn’t have pets. Dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, rabbits, horses and even once a couple of raccoons.
One of the dozer operators knocked down a tree and killed the mother raccoon. Daddy brought the kits home. We kept them until Daddy decided to write the conservation people to get a permit. They came and took them.
Anyway, I digress.
At the time he died, Daddy had two pets. There was Angel, a white, tea-cup poodle and Sassy a large, multi-colored, long-haired cat.
Now Angel was as tall as she was long and as wide as she was tall. This was because she didn’t know what dog food was. What Daddy ate, Angel ate. He’d go to the café for breakfast and bring home biscuits and gravy for Angel and Sassy.
Sassy was such a big cat I think he must have had some Maine Coon in his ancestry.
The last time I saw my father alive was a few months after Hurricane Wilma in 2005. He sat in his recliner with Angel on one knee and Sassy on the other and told me that’s the way they rode out the storm as it went through LaBelle. That’s one picture I’ll always remember.
Daddy always said he wanted to have his ashes scattered over Lake Okeechobee. When he died in 2007, the lake was so low because of draught you could hardly take a boat out. My younger half-sister came up with an idea. Since Angel and Sassy were both close to eighteen years old, they weren’t going to last much longer. She would hold on to Daddy’s ashes until they died, then have them cremated and scatter all of the ashes together.
Now everyone has their idea of what Heaven should be like. When I think of my daddy in Heaven, I see him sitting in a boat out on Lake Okeechobee trolling for large-mouth bass with Angel on one knee and Sassy on the other.

My impression of American Football

FOOTBALL

It is football season – American football that is. I have never understood how a game played primarily with the hands can be called ‘football’. But then, I don’t understand the game at all. I’ll try to give you my impression of a televised, professional football game.

Now the way I understand it, a football game consists of four, fifteen-minute periods separated in the middle with a half hour break. This means the game should last one and one half hours – not so.

In the first place there is the pre-game show in which the announcers tell you what is going to happen in the game based on statistics (guesses). This is similar to political commentators telling what the President is going to say before a speech.

Then we finally start the actual game. There are eleven players on each team on the field for the kick-off in which one team kicks the ball to the other team which catches it and runs toward the goal post at the end of the field until they get stopped. Then the clock stops and the twenty-two players on the field leave the field and twenty-two others take their place. This happens every time the ball changes hands. Finally after approximately thirty minutes, the first quarter is over. I’m not sure if the teams change sides of the field here or not. But they play another quarter which takes another half hour.

Then we have half time. This consists of several things:

  1. The teams retire to their respective locker rooms where the coaches proceed to tell them what they did right or wrong in the first half.
  2. The commentators tell the people watching on TV why what they said was going to happen didn’t and what will happen in the second half. (Again like political commentators).
  3. Scantily-clad young women prance around the center of the field. This has no bearing on the outcome of the game. I can only assume they are there to warm up the men in the audience.

Now it’s time for the second half which is a repeat of the first half.

It is now about three hours since the pre-game show started and we still have the post-game show in which the whole game is analyzed and re-hashed via re-plays.

Bringing in the Hay

I told a man at church today that someday I’d tell him about me driving the tractor.

Bringing in the hay

Most people who’ve known me a long time, know I spent a lot of time on my grandparents’ farm as a child. But my ex-husband’s family considered me a ‘city girl’. My second daughter was born April 1, 1973. Fourth of July weekend, we went to visit my husband’s oldest sister and her family on a farm outside of Huntsville, MO. Jim, the brother-in-law, had baled hay in the field. Can’t remember how many fields, but there were several. And a lot of hay. The weatherman started forecasting severe thunderstorms headed our way. Now anyone who’s ever been on a farm knows what happens to baled hay if it gets wet and is put into the barn.

Here is a list of those present:

On the male side – my husband, his three brothers-in-law, Dale who was just short of 16, Darryl who was just short of 13, my son who was 11 and one other who was almost 11. Two or three younger ones who don’t count.

On the female side – me, my mother-in-law, my husband’s three sisters, Susan who was almost 16 and Lori almost 15. Of course there was Michelle who was 6 and Megan 3 months.

Now everyone knows – the men do the field work and the women cook the meals. Jim had three tractors and the plan was for Dale, Darryl and one other man to drive the tractors and the rest of the males to ‘buck the bales’.

You also know that no kitchen is big enough for five women. So I offered to drive one of the tractors and let Darryl buck the bales. You should have seen the look on Jim’s face. I told him, “Jim, I learned how to drive a tractor when I was 10.” So I went out and drove one of the tractors.

Yes, we made it before the rain started.

Another Flash Memory

I got reminded this morning about another funny flash story from my youth so here goes.

A Trip Down the Hill

It was the summer before my senior year of high school. I had a good friend named Winnie Lee Daniels. The saddle club decided to have an overnight trail ride. Winnie borrowed a horse and off we went.

That night after a campfire dinner, we settled down to bed. I had my sleeping bag and Winnie had a bedroll. Of course we two sixteen-year-old girls didn’t want to pitch our beds over by the old folks so we found a place a little ways off. We laid our bedding out with the bottom headed downhill (like they teach you).

This part of the story is best told in Winnie’s words. “I just settled down in my bedroll when I heard Julia Ann screaming, ‘Help, Winnie, help,’ and I couldn’t find her.”

Three boys (and I’ll name the ornery cusses) Loren Earl Constable, Guy J. Carr, and Raymond Eugene Ratliff) decided to play a trick on me. One of them (I wish I knew which one) threw a wet, sweaty, stinky saddle blanket over my head and the other two pulled me down the hill by the foot of my sleeping bag.